Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End Is Near For 2009!

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The end is slowly closing on 2009. It is another change that is inevitable. I have so many things to be thankful for. I have two companions that are always amusing me. This is my refrigerator monitor that watches every time I open the door. I pause to think about what I take out. If you had someone staring at you and crooking his head to watch as you take something out, wouldn't you pause and think about what you are doing? None of that mindless eating stuff going on here. I also have been thinking about how things have changed this year. I think the biggest change I have seen is in the world of fiber-especially knitting. I have never seen so many independent designers in my life. I guess the change on that scene is Ravelry. The designers now can sell their designs without going through a magazine or book publisher. The internet makes it so easy, and many designers sell a download for a very low price.

On that note, I have seen an increase in fiber stuff on Etsy also. What a great marketing tool that is. I am envious of whoever thought up that little idea. The internet is by far the fastest way to find things these days. It is so easy to look up patterns, and it is easy to find other people who have used that pattern.

Blogs have really taken off. I find myself reading more and more blogs. I like to read what others are doing, and it really brings that person's thoughts to me.

Which brings us to the internet. With the internet, we are closely connected to one another. It seems that our community has grown because we can connect to one another now. I feel like I am someone's friend, and when I go places I look for blogger friends or Ravelry friends. I think the internet has played an important part in the growth of the fiber world.

I have never seen so many new fibers as I have lately. I cannot believe that it is so easy to find corn, bamboo, tencel, milk, or soy fibers. I remember a few years ago I hunted for a little dab of soy to just see how it spins. Now it is everywhere. I found a source for bison this year, so that is something to be happy about. It is so expensive to buy and I consider it a true luxury fiber.

I am happy that I was able to attend three fiber events this year. I had a good time at all, and wish I could do more. It is very expensive to fly to some of the locations, so it is essential to find events closer to home. It is very important to support the local events for that reason. It is also important to continue the community of local knitters, spinners, and weavers. I am so fortunate to have sisters and brothers in the fiber community that I share my passion with.

I am ready for new change and new connections. I am ready for new challenges. I sometimes forget that others do not understand the passion for knitting that I have. My neighbor asked me the other day, "Do you knit all the time?" His wife piped in, "When she's not spinning or weaving or sewing." It is hard to sit in a restaurant without some knitting in my hand. It is hard to stand in a line without some knitting in my hand. It is hard to wait anywhere without knitting in my hand. Maybe it is obsessive, but I am rather content when I have my hands engaged.

So friends, do not despair. Just pick up the pointy sticks and follow me. We are off to another year of adventure and fun. It will be a better year for us all.

I leave you with one more photo of Noodles bird watching. It is better than buying that program for Kitty T.V. He sits for hours watching them outside.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Is It Over Yet?

Finally, most of the snow is melted. There are still patches in the shadows, and there are still drifts on the sides of the road. It isn't above freezing temp, so nothing is going to go away easily.
I have been busily keeping the bird feeders filled, and trying to keep some water for them. It is difficult since the water freezes pretty quickly.

I think all the holiday hoopla has died down. I'm not sure since I have only left the house once since Christmas Eve. I decided to spend the time indoors doing my chores and spinning. I downloaded an audible book from NetLibrary, and away we go. I finished the alpaca I had started some time back, and it is waiting until I can get the blocker out of the frozen tundra. I am plying the pretty blue/green/turquoise merino that I purchased in Tacoma last Feb. It is going rather quickly. Then I have to decide if I want to finish the yak/merino, or do I finish the blue/green/turquoise merino. Hmm! I am also going to tackle the baby camel/merino blend pretty soon. I keep looking at it, and I pet it when I get close.

I am knitting a pair of socks with Zauberball. I have never used this yarn before. It was a gift from CF when she went to Philadelphia. I thought I wouldn't like the colorway, but it is amazing. It blends into the next color and so it is not a true stripe. I guess you could say it is a blended stripe. But what I found out is that it smells wonderful. Yes, I am a yarn sniffer. But this has a wonderful scent that is not a familiar scent. I felt it was a little bit scratchy at first, but I love the way it slides on the needles.

I am almost finished with the second glove. The second glove is too big in the hand. ??? I am guessing the ball that I am using is a bigger gauge than the first one. I guess you are really supposed to only use one yarn size when you knit gloves, but I just grabbed these leftovers. Sigh! So it isn't going to be perfect, only better than those awful gray ones. I have a yarn in my sock basket that I think would be wonderful gloves. So those will be destined to be fitted gloves.

Weaving is not progressing very much. I can't get too excited about this project I am planning. It just seems tedious. I am going to make myself finish warping the loom, and just get on with it.

I also never finished my sewing before Christmas. I need to take my machine into the shop to be serviced, and I wanted to finish this sewing first. I checked with the store, and they are backed up until after the first on the year. So I am not in any big hurry.

So I guess spinning is back to being my first priority right now.

I am not a resolutions kind of person. I decide what I would like to do in the next year, and then I either do it or I don't. That sounds rather weird, I guess, when I write it out. I did lose weight last year, and I did do more Fair Isle and charted knitting. My challenge this winter was to learn to knit full gloves. Which I have done already. Well, at least I have mastered the idea and technique of gloves. Now to actually knit a pair that look and fit correctly. I am also going to keep on knitting socks. I love to knit socks. I would like to get most of my spinning stash cleared out this next year. Whew! That'll be a chore. I am not going to go hog wild and buy any more fiber until I get this stash knocked down. Well.... unless someone were to show me some milk, bamboo, or other exotic stuff. I also would like to set up an indigo vat when it is warmer-maybe in the late Spring. I am looking for more blues in my dye stash. I guess I am just going to continue to challenge myself in the knitting department. And maybe I can do more weaving. And more sewing. Hmmm! All I can really count on is that change always happens. I can always count on change. Nothing stays the same-thank goodness. That's part of the challenge.

So I hope you and yours have a blessed 2010. Maybe I will think up some more ideas this week.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Morn SNOW!

This is the first time since 1975 we have had Christmas morn snow. It does effect some members of my family differently than me.

Isn't it pretty?
Anyway-I hope that Santa Claus was good to all of you and your families. I had lunch with a friend yesterday, and got all snuggled in like a country mouse. I closed off the windows, and got out my knitting, and enjoyed a very quiet evening. There was an unusually windy night, but what a pretty sunrise this morning.
My cats would rather explode than use their kitty potty. I suggested that when Noodles was screaming and scratching the front door. I then realized that their kitty door to the outside was frozen. So that got me up and that's how I got their pictures on the front porch. I kicked the cat door to get it open, and then took more pictures.
So Good Yule to you and yours. Just get a cup of soup, and go back to bed. It is a good day to just snuggle in with a good book or your knitting. Don't worry about anything but staying warm and snug with all your loved ones.
Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. Norman Vincent Peale

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gloves-My New Friends!

The ugly little gray ones are store-bought gloves that used to have elastic in the knitted wrist. It wore out a long time ago. All the fingers are knit in a row. I think this is what they call- "Plan for obsolescence. They can always buy more."
My challenge was to learn to knit gloves to fit. I have a small hand, my fingers are short, and I always go to children's gloves first.
I used left-over scraps of handspun wool, and this gave me a nice heavy glove. It fits, it is wonderful, and it is warm. All the criteria one could ask for in a glove. I am now working away to finish the second one.
I am also back to knitting on the lifetime blanket. I am back on my schedule of a minimum of two squares a day, and hopefully I will get back to three or four a day.
I do not have pics yet of my loot from our Christmas exchange on Saturday. I got a Spindolyn from CJE and a pair of sock blockers. Yeah! JE gave me a wonderful book of funny cat photos. Someone likes to dress up their kitties. Mine would never stand for that! I got kitty stitch markers and a cat shawl pin.
Yesterday was a day of cleaning house and straightening up. I do this on both Solstices. It makes me feel like I can spend time doing my fun stuff if I have a clean house. I even cleaned the carpeting. I have one of those little steam cleaners that do a nice touch up job. Sunday I spent the day organizing some of the spinning stash. I blended my bison with alpaca, and it is ready to go. I have 5 spinning projects lined up and ready to go. I just gotta spin.
Today is the last fairly nice day for a while. A new front(s) is moving in . I am going to meet one of my best buds for lunch, and do all my errands today. Then I will be ready for the cold and yuck. I can just sit and knit or sit and spin.
I better go if I am going to get to town in time. Later.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Solstice!

Winter Solstice is the birthday of the Sun and of the year. It is a time when we experience the greatest darkness, when the hours of darkness are so much greater than the hours of daylight. And yet, it is within this time of greatest darkness that the Light of the World is reborn, for now the hours of daylight will begin to grow and the hours of darkness will lessen.
In all cultures, the Winter Solstice is a time of rejoicing, a time of thanksgiving and a time of hope, when the beauty and truth of the Light is remembered and honored. We light fires and gather together with our loved ones, we give and receive presents, and we make wishes for the New Year. For this small space of time, we actually come close to living the ideal of "Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men" which the angels proclaimed in the skies over Bethlehem. Copywrite: Cathy Lynn Pagano
May you be blessed this longest day of the year, and may you be creative and happy in the years to follow. Love, Juliann

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Waiting For Santa Claws!

Well-she is a little bit optimistic! I mean-has she been naughty or nice?
Finally things are calming down in that lull that comes after the rush of the season. First I had to make the quick trip to the Fiber Extravaganza at Mt. Magazine. That was fun!
Then my son comes for a quick visit with his lady friend. That was fun! Even though I had to quickly straighten up my mess, and try to hide some of the "stuff" (yarn, projects, etc), it still looked presentable.
Then last weekend was The Wild Foods Party at CJE and AE's house. That is always a great event. It is really the last of the tribe's get-togethers. It is always the second weekend of December. It was nice. Everyone seems to be mellowed out this year. It was mostly bird-quail, pheasant, duck, etc. I think the chili was venison. There was some kind of meatball dish that just said, "Dragon's Balls" on the label. It didn't really taste like beef, so maybe pork and beef combined????? Anyway, there is enough food there to feed thousands-or at least hundreds-and we all ate a plate full.
Now we are in the lull. No events, no more parties, no more gussy-ing up. I am knitting fingers on the glove, I finished the neck warmer, and I just put a sock on the needles. I am trying to finish sewing my Christmas gifts, but I am not in any great hurry.
Although neither cat seems to notice the tree, Baby does like to sit under it. Noodles did nose one of the lower ornaments tonight, but not in a playful way. It was more that it was right there in front of him, and he had to see what it was. Nothing interesting, obviously. Whew!
I ran out of bird food this morning, so I had to make a quick run to the store. I wouldn't want them to go hungry. I wasn't so worried today since we had a little warm up to nearly 40 degrees. It was 16 degrees last night. It appears that now we are in a roller coaster event of really bitter cold, a little warm up, then back to bitter cold, then back to a little warm up, etc. I absolutely hate cold and wind.
Nothing too much to report. It's good that things are slow and not harried. It is hard to believe that half of December is over. Soon a new decade will start. It seems weird that the year 2000 was 10 years ago. It just seems like the other day.
Keep plugging away. Soon Christmas will be behind us.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Tree Is Up!

My son is coming for a visit tonight. So being a guilty mom, I went out to get a tree. I bought a wonderful Austrian pine that I will plant next Spring. It is a good landscape tree, and I will plant it in the front yard. It was 40% off, so what the heck! Get a big tree. How many people do you know that have an angel made out of fleece? Not many, I bet! How else do we know this person likes fiber?
Nope-not the bear!

Ah! A spinning wheel! Nope-not one spinning wheel, but four spinning wheels on this tree!

And a sheep! Nope-not just one sheep either. This is one of four sheep sprinkled on the tree!
I also had the assortment of antique glass ornaments, my collection of handblown glass icicles, my clay bell and my clay star, and my old gingerbread man made out of cinnamon. Remember the ornaments made out of cinnamon and applesauce and baked? I have a nutcracker I bought in Germany. I have a bicycle. I have different wooden ones. You know-the usual odd assortment! I didn't even put all the ornaments up since I will take it down really soon to get the poor tree back outside. I just like to see the twinkling lights. Oh! The lights are icicles, too, that blink! I didn't put my dragonfly lights on the tree. Maybe next year.
Have a good weekend. Going to CJE and AE's house tomorrow night for the Wild Foods Party. It is our "family" reunion. Get to see folks that I haven't seen in a while. Lots and lots of food. And our entertainment is a slide presentation by different folks to show off what they did this year. I'm not too sure they really care to hear about my trips to Tacoma, Taos, or Mt. Magazine. Oh, well, Muggles are like that.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Shiver Me Timbers, Matey!

Well, our first snow flurries this season. There was just a dusting on the front porch and deck. The sun keeps peeking out. So no more than that this time around. Thank you, Storm Gods, for diverting the storm around us.

But the wind! My goodness! My chimes and the big bell rang all night long. I heard something blow off the deck some time in the night. It is fierce!

My friend from southern California called me last night. They got sleet in the desert where she lives, but snow in the higher elevations around her. She thinks she might have saved the tomatoes and peppers, but still unsure. She says they never pay attention to the rain notices they get until it actually starts to fall.

I put out extra feed and suet this morning for my bird friends. I even smeared some peanut butter on the feeder and suet cage. The finches hit that early on.

Noodles went out in a hurry this morning, but has gone back to bed now. It is just too cold in the wind for much hunting.

I went to the Fiber Extravaganza down on Mt. Magazine this past weekend. I went with CJE and JE on Friday and we stayed overnight at the Lodge there. It was really a beautiful place. I did not get a single photo the whole weekend. Just shoot me now and get it over with.

After we explored the lodge a little, we found the restaurant. It was a little bit like being in the western states lodges with large timbers, expansive fireplaces, and huge open rooms. There were no dead animal heads anywhere, which is typical of Arkansas. I know-it's a state park, but I was watching for dead animal heads somewhere.

There were a good number of vendors there. Some were from Mississippi, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. I told myself to not buy any more sock yarn-my basket is overflowing. But no! I bought sock yarn. I did not buy any fleece or spinning fibers. Whew!

We attended the lecture about Cowichan knitting presented by Susan Burdan. That was interesting.

With just a little hiccough on the way home-JE lost her wallet-and a return to the mountain for the wallet, we arrived home by dark on Saturday evening.

I watched a documentary about a nomadic herds people in the Zagros Mountains. They filmed the migration from their winter valley across the mountain passes and rivers to their summer valley. It is a very harsh and dangerous migration, and it is certainly not something I would do in this lifetime. It went slowly and it took them 5-6 weeks to get there. They did not lose any people on this migration and just a few animals. They are much tougher than I could be-that's for sure.

I guess nothing else to report. I am now to the pinky finger on my first glove. I have been working on the Lifetime Blanket a lot. It is really warm when I spread it across my lap as I knit.

Stay warm. Keep busy. That's all the advice I have on cold days!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I've Had Enough Cold For Now-Thank You!

I cannot get a good picture of the color green this is. It is really a light sage green. This is too blue in the photo. Ironically-it is dyed with eating sage-not wild sage-and I used copper sulfate as a mordant.
Now I know this sounds strange-given that they are cats-but Noodles and Baby have never slept on or in any of my wool piles before. The only time I saw Baby get into wool was some llama I had in a sack, and when she was very young she found a pile of buffalo fur on the floor on a sheet where I was sorting it. I have yarn in baskets or containers all over the house. I have knitting projects all over the house. The only time they get on a knitting project is when I am knitting it and they want to sit in my lap. But-----here they are-sitting on the little dab I have not carded yet.

This is a testament that it has gotten cold. I don't mind the temperature, but the wind has been unbelievable! I have to go out today and fasten one of the gutter pieces down. It banged in the night. I hate wind most of all. It just cuts right through whatever you are wearing. I actually put blankets over the door to the screen porch and the back doors to the patio. I really didn't feel that much blowing through, but I know it helped some. Normally it doesn't bother me. But if there is a major wind, I cover openings.
That reminds me that on Mythbusters they decided to debunk the idea that depression people in the dust bowl could block out the dust with paste made from flour and rags. They had a house that would have been an example of the type of houses people lived in, and put up a major wind machine and someone poured dust as the wind machine blew it towards the house. They were not able to keep out the dust that blew through the cracks of the house in windows, floorboards,battens on the sides of the house, or chimneys.
Well, I am still using my blankets to block some of the wind. My house is pretty well built, but wind is another thing altogether.
This weekend is The Fiber Extravaganza at Mt. Magazine. This will be fun. I just like to see folks and see what they are working on. I like the community part of it. It will be cold up there, so sweaters are to be dug out and carted along.
Tonight is Knit Night. Haven't been since before Thanksgiving. Gotta catch up on the news.
I started my first glove last night. I did a swatch, and used a calculator mentioned online that is great. It is a basic glove-nothing fancy. I just want to learn the basics, then I will get fancy. I am using some leftover handspun yarn. Nothing to show yet-just doing the 1/1 rib for the wrist. I told myself that I wanted to wait until I finished the neckwarmer. But I couldn't wait. I just had to cast on. Both are pretty mindless right now. I figured I would be finished with the scarf by the time I have to do something with the little finger part. So far it is just like doing a fingerless mitt. First you do the wrist and then you do the gusset for the thumb. I can do that. Then when the scarf is done, I will be doing the hard part on the glove.
At least that is the plan for right now. Who knows?
Gotta go. Will catch up after the event this weekend.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

ACK! I've Been Kissed By An Alpaca!

Just a quick little photo of some bittersweet that was growing near my friend's house in Newton County. I love the color of it. I thought the birds would flock all over it, but so far they haven't. I kinda folded it into a wreath and hung it on the porch.
Ah! Alpacas. This is the spinning guild's annual trek to the local alpaca show. We sit in the foyer and spin. Of course, we have to walk around and look at the animals and watch their cute little antics. They hum, they sing, they look cute, and they are very pretty. Except for that Suri one that rolled in poop and was covered in little dung balls in its curly locks.

I don't have a picture of the one alpaca that is a "kissing alpaca". A young lady was walking her pet around to just get her some exercise and to prepare her to walk into the arena. I talked to her briefly, and petted the sweet young alpaca on the muzzle. The young woman said, "She likes to kiss people." I leaned into the alpaca's face, expecting to be nuzzled on the cheek or neck. The little thing kissed me on the lips! I've never been kissed on the lips before by an alpaca. Horses, yes. But an alpaca. After the kiss, she nuzzled my cheek and neck. It was a very soft brush of fur.

This one is called a calico. It is a little bit rare to get this color pattern. There are four different colors on its little body. It kinda looks like a paint job gone bad with splatters.

This year the person in charge of promotions did not promote the show. There was nothing in the local papers. There were more animals than before, and there were far less vendors. There was never a horde of folks coming in. A few family groups, but never a large group around us. We ended up having a very relaxed day of visiting, spinning, walking around, eating, and just hanging out.
Ray farms donated two lovely fleeces of alpaca for us to spin. The owner is a spinner, and she raises her fleeces for the softness and spin-ability of the fiber. So I got some really pretty white alpaca yarn finished. Thanks!
So nothing is too new. Going to the Fiber Extravaganza next weekend at Mt. Magazine state park. I am planning to stay overnight Friday night, hang out with fiber folks, walk around the vendors, just chill out with people that speak the same language, and then drive home Saturday afternoon. This is a big event that is advertised all year on Ravelry. I think it will be fun.
Well, time for some breakfast, check my newest dye experiment, and see what the day will bring. It has been a good weekend.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thank You!

For each new morning with its light,For rest and shelter of the night,For health and food, for love and friends,For everything Thy goodness sends.~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gratitude is one of the many things I try to practise daily. I am so thankful for all my many blessings I have received. This is the time of year I try to focus on that thought, especially during this month of plenty. My heart swells with emotion when I watch the shows that are meant to bring the t.v. people more money. I saw a wonderful story of a man who lost everything, turned to drugs, and was so far down he was contemplating suicide. You know the story-it is a common one now. He went to the Salvation Army for help, because a friend took him there. He got into the drug rehab program, took their lessons on cooking, and now is the head chef at the Salvation Army that saved him. He is now teaching other drug rehab people the same skills that saved him.

Take time today to forget that feeling that there is not enough time to finish all the things that need to be done. Take time today to just sit and count your blessings.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful Tuesday!

These are a few snaps from our impromptu, fast and dirty, Kool-Aid dye mess at the sock club meeting on Sunday. We had so much fun. It was hard to think of all the stuff we might need, but I had plenty of stuff. We just ran out of Lemonade for yellow, but everyone was amenable to that.

I am very thankful for friends that I can play with, and friends I can just enjoy messing in dye with. No one used gloves, we all had pink and dark stains on our fingers, and we just made a mess. It was fun.
I am very thankful I lead a very simple, uncomplicated life right now. I don't have to worry about parties, cooking large meals, getting gussied up to go somewhere, and I don't have to worry about being somewhere I don't want to be because it is necessary to do that. I sound a little bit like Madge right now. I don't smoke, tho'.
I am very thankful for having enough food to eat, enough Orange and Tangerine Zinger herbal tea to see me through, enough shelter, and two cats that are great companions. I just have to worry whether I am going to knit, sew, weave, or spin. And I only fret because there is nothing on t.v. to watch.
I am thankful I have a computer to lurk around on when I am bored, and that will give me Hulu to watch movies or t.v. shows.
I am thankful that I have so many good and long-lasting friends. They are my tribe and my clan.
I am thankful that I have warm sweaters and socks that are wool, and that I don't itch when I wear them.
I can sit at my window and watch the birds feeding. Or-as I am now-watch Baby stalking a mole that has evidently come too close to surface. She digs a little, then tracks where it has moved to. She is a little huntress! This is good entertainment.
I am thankful that I still have flowers blooming in the garden. At Thanksgiving! But when it is warmer and the sun is out, the bees are out. So I leave the flowers there for any nourishment they might give.
Yesterday I took a quick trip to the mountains. I had to go to the quilt shop to pick up my quilt that was quilted. Then I drove South and Southeast to my girlfriend's house for a visit. We went to Harrison for shopping, and then back to her house. We had a good visit, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. On the way home, I looked for the elk and swans in Boxley Valley. I did not see any. I did see a HUGE flock of wild turkey that were feeding.
Then as I was almost to the turn-off road to leave Boxley Valley this is what I saw:

This is only the portion I could photo from my car window. To the left there were over a hundred more! I have never ever in my life seen so many elk! In the Rocky Mountains I normally will see a family-mama, daddy, babies. But never anything like this. I mean-there were over 150 head of elk out there! In the bottom photo, there is a speck that is lighter right in the middle. That was the BIG DADDY. He had a huge rack of antlers! And he was just watching his girls!
So, yes, I am thankful that I was able to see such a marvelous sight as this!
So much to be thankful for. If we could only say one prayer every day, it should be a gratitude prayer for all the blessings we do have.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another Pair of Sockies!

These photos were taken just after bind off-before they were washed and blocked. They are handspun mill ends-merino with some mohair in them. They are dyed with Kool-Aid. They are fraternal twins, but heavy and warm. They are "tough as nails" socks in a plain pattern that is in my head.

They fit perfectly, and they feel great. I will love them a lot. I only have three pairs of "heavy" socks for the toughest winter days. I usually have the lightweight wool that is comfy when it is cooler, but don't make your feet sweat.
Today is a day that I have been dreading-the real return of cold weather. My arthritis in my hand is hurting, and I got a wool sweater out of the closet. Brenda Dayne's podcast always ends with "Remember-if you are cold, put on a sweater. That's what they are made for." I love my wool sweaters, because they breathe.
The weather men have been predicting snow showers today, but I don't think so. We had a rain move in for a coupla days. You know- the wet, cold, dreary, cloudy kind of days. I did check my blog from last year, and I did post the first snowfall on the ground was December 1. So we will see what happens. The warm weather fooled a lot of folks, I think.
In a macabre kind of sense that only a cat-person can understand, Noodles has a hidey place in the dying weeds around the standing bird feeder. He jumps up to the feeder, latches one front paw on the feeder, and lashes out with the other one to snag a bird. Sometimes it works. Now Baby, just this morning, hunkers down near the feeder, chatters a little bit, and just jumps up in the air as if she could catch a flying bird. It never works. Only occasionally does she ever get a bird. Now with mice, chipmunks, some field rats, she is a killer kitty. Noodles brings his prey in and dumps it unceremoniously on the floor, may try to play with it some, but mostly just eats it. Baby comes in prancing with her head up, and looking like a lioness on the hunt. She then plays with it a long, long time. If I get there first with either one, it is out the door and back outside where it belongs.
I am winding my warp now to make some kitchen towels out of cotton. So back to the drudgery of counting. Have a good week.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Update on Veteran's Day Cactus!

On Wednesday-as expected-two blossoms opened up. I now have more open blossoms. Isn't that the prettiest pink?
What is this? This is what I removed from inside my handknit socks the other day. I have always been so proud that I care for my socks very carefully, washing by hand, and baby-ing them along to expand the lifespan. I very seldom turn them inside out, so this has accumulated for a while-I guess. I pulled off my sock the other night, and it turned inside out. That's when I noticed this covering that is sorta like moleskin. I know enough to realize that I had felted it a tad bit with friction and heat and probably some moisture.
Why is this important? It means that our socks wear out from the inside instead of the outside. I have always illogically assumed that men wear out socks quicker because they rub them against shoes that are heavier than most women's shoes. But perhaps this is because they sweat more with their feet and they have more friction inside the shoe from the inside. So go look inside your sock now and see if you can find the moleskin.
I went to Oklahoma on Friday, and my friend just wears me out. She is so focused on her mother's passing, and she just goes on and on with the same stories that I have already heard over and over. Also another friend of hers is having some problems with grown-up children. Why is it that almost everyone I know has grown-up children with problems?
My friend CJE has located an old wringer washer. I am really happy that she has found that. She has been looking for some time.
I listened to an interesting interview with Anne Rice this a.m. on NPR. She rejoined the Catholic Church, and does not write about vampires any more. She is just releasing a book about angels. It sounded like an interesting plot. I think I will watch for that one. She had some interesting thoughts about the current books and shows about vampires. And she did not have too many kind words about current angel movies. She does like Clarence in It's A Wonderful Life. But that is an old movie.
Nothing else new. I am almost finished with the foot part of the second sock. I will try to finish this pair this week, and I will post photos when I get it done.
Have a good week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One Year Later-A Mystery Solved!

One year ago-actually November 11, 2008- I posted that my Christmas cactus was blooming! I really didn't know why. I moved into the house in August 2008, and I kept the cactus plants and the aloe vera on the front porch. When it was time to move indoors, I put them in good sunny locations to make them okay with the transition. Then this thing bloomed. I thought perhaps it was just the adjustment to new lighting, maybe the heat inside the house, etc. One year later, it is blooming on the exact date! So now I have a November cactus blooming. Maybe it is a Veteran. Who knows? It is one of those mysteries of Life, I guess. It is creamy white with a tinge of yellow in it. It will probably be in full bloom tomorrow-it's anniversary!

I also finished two skeins of yarn. This is the yak/merino blend. It is too hard to get a good picture of this. It is soft and scrumptious. I still have two more ozs to spin. I had to break it into two tasks, or I was going to go nuts. It is very tedious, fine spinning.
So to give myself a break, I gathered a lot of little samples and batches of dyed merino. I mixed hot pinks, light pinks, purples, lavenders, a little green, a little orange, and I got this odd-looking little skein. I love it. It is a great blend-a one-of-a-kind. It is only 149 yards, and weighs two ozs. But I think it could be used in some gloves or something simple.

On Saturday I watched a movie called Wooly Boys with Kris Kristofferson and Peter Fonda. I can turn on and watch stuff like that. I started this little skein. So Sunday I needed to ply it, and I again turned on Hulu. I watched a very OLD version of Sherlock Holmes shows in black and white. They lasted about 30 mins each. And viola! a skein is completed.
Not much else going on. I made yeast rolls yesterday, and actually cooked a good meal. So leftovers tonight. I have a tendency to cook a good meal and put leftovers in the freezer. Then I don't have to cook that often. Just pull out the frozen stuff, heat it up, and dinner is done. I am always amazed when friends tell me their spouse-or their families-don't like leftovers like that. It just seems like a gimmick to make someone cook more often. And who wants to do that when there is knitting and spinning to do.
Actually there is sewing to do. I haven't got the binding on my quilt yet. And I have a little sewing project I am working on besides that. So I think I will not spin for a while. Just sew.
The weather is still warmish during the day. The doors are open and the clothes are still able to dry on the clothesline. Isn't this a strange November? I did check and we had our first little snow on December 1 last year. We'll see.
Well, I guess it is time to head to the back room to sew. Have a good week. I am going to Oklahoma for a few days at the end of the week. Will catch up later.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Is It April Already?

I seem to remember this is November, but Gosh! it feels like April or May. It is SUPER WINDY! It is warm. It is really warm. Just a month ago we had the promise of a long, nasty, yucky winter. Then it's Spring again!

I have been investigating Windspires. I like the idea of a vertical tower that generates energy. But the cost is rather steep-$10,000. I am sure I can get a tax credit or something, but that's a rather high price right now. A day like today I am sure I would be selling energy back to the electric company.

I found a company that sells windmills, but they just produce supplemental energy in a battery pack. I like the idea of having something hooked up to the grid. That way if we have a lot of days like today, I can sell it back to them.

Yesterday was a complete day of sloth. I was so tired after my visitor I just couldn't get past the sweats and t-shirt without a bra thing. I didn't even comb my hair. I was yawning by 6:30 p.m. The cats just laid around with me, or on me, whichever way they flow.

My neighbor took me to a garage sale. She found it yesterday, and it was a good deal. A lady died, and her family was trying to get rid of stuff to clean the house for the market. The lady evidently did "retail therapy" because most of the clothes still had the tags on them. They were brand new! I got a pair of DearFoam slippers, a nice tencel shirt, and a chamois shirt from L.L. Bean- all for $3.00! At another sale on the way home I bought a long-sleeve t-shirt and a sweatshirt for $.75! So I am set now.

I thought this morning I would get out and work in the yard some today. I went to the Wal-Mart Neighborhood store instead for groceries. Then when I got home, the neighbor and I went to this garage sale. Now I am ready for a nap. I don't think I could do yard work now.

I guess that's all since the other day. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Socks Can Be Worn To Death!

These are the first pair of socks my girlfriend in California got from me. I think she said when she got them, she wore them one month straight without taking them off. That is except to bathe,of course. She has been visiting me, and she has been wearing her little sassy socks I made her the second time around. This morning she brought these in and said, "Is there anything that can be done to them?" I just shook my head and said, "We could give them a decent funeral." I was appalled that she put them on and wore them anyway. She said she will wear them until they become anklet warmers. I have repaired them a coupla times, but this time there is nothing left to repair! She said she feels one of the most important things she has inherited after her mom's recent passing were the socks I sent to her mom last winter.
As much as I am pleased to see this friend, she wears me out. She takes a lot of energy to be around. I do more cooking, although neither of us are big eaters. She is not picky about food, thank goodness. But her mother passed two months ago, and she is still grieving. So I had to be patient and listen to her long discussions of everything about the final months, and the funeral, and all that stuff. As you can guess, she has left already. So-whew!
Sunday CJE and I did a coupla dye pots of marigold dyeing. I felt this was an appropriate activity to do on All Soul's Day. How else should we honor our ancestors than to do a big dye mess on the deck?

I really couldn't get a good picture of the final colors. We used some light gray Rambouillet and a white Romney. Of course, the white is a brighter color, but the gray has a heather tone to it. I thought it was pretty anyway.
Yes, we are still having the most glorious Fall days ever. It has been in the high 60's, windy, and SUNNY! I think the rain is supposed to return next week. SIGH! It should have been like this all through October. But no, we had to have 22 days of rain and a coupla cool days there.
I actually did a load of towels this morning and they are out on the clothesline. I did some jeans with them, and they are dry already. I really like these sunny days.
I had the Sears repairman over this morning to do a maintenance on my riding mower. I have a real thing about plopping out the money for things like this. If I don't do this, it will come back to bite me in the butt later. The joys of being a single female that does not know how to do this work on the machine herself. I just know I have to take care of these things so it does not cost me an arm and a leg later on. The guy did tell me he had to replace the blades. One was bent really bad, and the other one had been chewed up by rocks. Whatever!
I look forward to my t.v. programs tonight. My friend from California has been mad because she cannot get t.v. reception in her cabin in Oklahoma. She bought one of those converter boxes, but does not have the proper antenna in place. So she was missing her t.v. stuff. Yet the whole time we had the t.v. on the last two nights, she talked through it all. I just sat in my chair and knit. I just let her ramble. I usually turn on the shows I like on low volume, knit away, and I don't have to interact much with anything. Occasionally I will look up to see what is going on. Last night I went to my bedroom and laid in bed reading. I left her to the t.v. and she told me she fell asleep during one of the shows. I think that's what she needed more than anything. To just sleep and rest.
Well, I am going to go back outside and try to get a little yard work done. It is so pleasant outside. I love wearing short sleeves in November! I have to get as much Vitamin D as I can before the Dark Days arrive again.
I hope you are having glorious days this week. I wish I could share all the gratitude that I have at this moment.