Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tommorow is July Already!

What happened to June? Well, it feels like July already. It has been hot and HUMID and dry, dry, dry. No rain in sight! My girlfriend in Jasper just called to say they were getting heavy rain. Bleah!

Bugs have invaded the corn, and I have been trying natural things. Just shake your head no, it's not really working well. I do have watermelons coming on. I have just got to pour the water into the plants now.

I have almost finished the pretty yarn. Remember I teased you with that photo of the fleece? I will ply it and block it and then you get a picture.

I did save some of the fleece to mix with some other colors I have. I am into COLOR right now. I even dreamed in color of my quilt I am sewing. I guess summer brings this on everyone. Winter is just a blah time of year, with such little color happening. Summer is rich, vibrant, and bursting with COLOR. I did sneak out to the correopsis the other evening and pick another handful. So I probably have enough of the tinctoria and the hybrid yellow correopsis to make a dyepot. I have a baggie of marigolds, but CJE has been saving her marigolds. So we can put ours together to make a nice dyepot.

I found about 7 baby redbud trees sprouted in the wood mulch pile. I guess there were redbud chips in the pile that got happy. I bought this batch from the Fayetteville city compost lot. They just take a big scooper and fill up the bed of the pickup. I got it late last Fall. Now I have to figure out where to put the babies in the yard. I am so happy to get new trees. The four I planted last Fall have done well. They are growing and healthy looking.

I took a little side trip in my knitting. I am on the second of the baby socks I am knitting. They are not newborn size, but about 6 months size. I will put pics up when I finish them. They are cute. They are fast, easy, and almost done!

I just found out about Angelina. It is a sparkly fiber you can add to your fleece to give it a little shine. I only found out about it because of my Phat Fiber box I got this month. CJE came over and she mentioned it when she was examining the box of stuff. I gave her one of my samples. We went online to find it, and we could not justify buying it. Sorta expensive, although a little goes a long way. I got an email from one of my quilting sources, and sure enough there was Angelina in a sampler pack. Evidently sewers melt it onto fabric to make a sparkly fabric. So I ordered her some. I can't wait to see how much came in the sampler pack. It was a much better price than the spinning sites I had been looking at.

Tomorrow is First Wednesday for our spinning group. It is our sit 'n spin meeting, and I like to go when I can. Everyone is happy and sharing and loud. It is a fun group.

Nothing else new. Just HOT! and DRY! That's nothing new either. Stay cool. Keep spinning and knitting.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Little Bit of Garden Wonder!

I have three kinds of sunflowers in the garden in front. The ones in the back are from the birdfeeder, and are large yellow flowers.
I have a lot of correopsis tincturia, my absolute favorite dye flower. But I cannot get to them before the bees arrive. This morning I was warned by several that I was to get out of the flowers NOW! Consequently I only have a small baggie of flower heads in the freezer so far. The honey bees do not look like the cute fuzzy normal looking honey bees. These are smaller, browner with less stripes, and are very happy in the flower bed. I guess they are country cousins.

The zinnias are really pretty.

Bachelor buttons in three different colorways.

I just loved the way the little flowers were holding up the bigger flower.

And this is a new marigold that I ordered from Johnny's Seeds this year. I cannot remember the name. They are really small, but have vibrant burgundy and gold colors.
The corn is tasseling. I have picked a few squash. I have only gotten one cucumber so far. I have eaten two messes of beans, and I really love the freshness of those. I just bought some Arkansas peaches at a roadway stand this morning. I LOVE peaches when they are in season and really ripe. Like juice running down your chin ripe.

And lastly-ta-da-I finished sewing the quilt top last night. It is beautiful, even though I didn't do anything but sew the pieces together. It was a kit I bought at the quilt show this Spring. The pieces were already laser-cut, and I just had to sew them together. I would never picked out the material that was in this kit on my own. But when I saw the sample, I loved the colorways. I am going to use this as a starting point to decorate the guest bedroom. I think I am going to paint the walls a light turquoise-y blue color. Or maybe a light blue-gray color. I'm not sure. I like the rust-orange-sienna colors. I promise a real picture after I get it quilted and the binding on.

A report on the dyepot. It turned out to be a blah-bland-beige-y color. So I overdyed it pink. I like it better now. I will write off dock seed heads and stalks from my list. I guess if one was wanting a neutral color, this would be fine. But I can get natural colored wool that color, and I want to dye COLOR. So it is now pink.

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's A Good Day to Dye!

The baby sweater is finished! It is washed, blocked, and little buttons applied. Yeah! It is a deep plum-y purple sock yarn. A good weight for a baby sweater in our part of the woods.

Knit in Public was fun. I got to the sight a little bit early to stake out a claim in the shade. It was not too hot until around 11 or 11:30 a.m. It was very windy, which helped a lot. We did get a few curious folks, and some people just stared at us. One asked if we were selling anything.

This is the yummy wool fiber I am spinning now. Pics to come when finished. It is going to be really pretty. There is purple, blue, yellow, pink, and lime green colors in this. Fun!
I have a dyepot on the stove right now. I read in an old, old book that you can use the seed stalks and leaves of the dock plant for a dye. I was trying to figure out when to dig up the root of the plant. When I saw this, I knew that was a better deal than digging in this heat in the dried up, hard-packed, rocky soil. I have never tried that before, but I am going to give it a try. It doesn't look like much. We will see. I have always experimented like this, and sometimes it doesn't work. And sometimes it's okay. I'll let you know.
Hand Held-my LYS- is now on the World's Longest Scarf list. They have a team started, and it seems to be going along. Go into the shop and sign up and knit a row or two.
I am moving along on the MIA scarf. It isn't a hard pattern, and it is knitting fast. Hopefully that will be done really soon. I am also at the stage of sewing my blocks together for the quilt top. Both things on my agenda this week.
CJ came by yesterday to visit. We dumped the buffalo hair out on the floor. That was a fun mess. I still haven't sorted or picked up the mess. That's okay, I guess. Who's going to see it, anyway? It's not like the Secret Housekeeping Police would come to my house anyway for a surprise visit. I do have company coming this weekend, so there is a limit to mess.
I also got a Phat Fiber sample box, and we sorted through that bunch of stuff. We then went online to look at some of the sites to look at larger quantities of stuff. You know, fiber people are fun folks! We just get excited looking at pictures of fluff!
Gotta go stir the dyepot. My house smells like boiled plant material. I think I will take an antihistamine while I'm at it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Computer Is Sick!

I am taking the computer into the shop to visit the computer doctor. I will be out of touch for a while. He says he will do a 24 hour turn-a-round, but last time he told me that it took 3 or 4 days. I am almost-just a teeny bit more-finished with the baby sweater, my quilt top is almost done, and I think the tank top is toast. I am so out of love with this thing. It may end up in the frog pile. So hopefully next report will be finished projects. SIGH! It has been a long time coming. I am slow, slow, slow. Knit in Public is Saturday morning. So hope to h ave pics for everyone then. Have a good end to your week.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A New Week Begins!

The first sunflower! I love sunflowers. I have more that are ready to open their little rays and shine on the world.
Noodles is my go-to kitty when there is work to be done in the garden. As long as there is shade and a cool spot, he is right there. He continues to mow down any catnip I plant. I guess I will have to buy a full-grown plant next time. As soon as he sees me weeding or looking over the garden, he goes to the catnip and searches for a snack to eat.
I quit weeding the front flower bed. The weeds inside the bed have alluded me, and are now going to seed. BUT..... yesterday there were yellow finches eating the seeds. Yeah! My own little helpers. I now have a lot of insect activity going on in the flower bed, as well as a few hummingbirds. That was the purpose of the bed. It may look like it is a wild and woolly mess of flowers, but there is a lot of activity going on. The bumblebees are the loudest complainers when I go out there. The roadrunner this morning ran down the sidewalk west to east, then across the little footpath, jumped up on the wall where the hostas live, and made a complete circuit for amphibians and reptiles.
I actually saw honeybees on the watermelon flowers this morning. So keep on pollinating little guys.
I sewed most of the day yesterday. I finished sewing the blocks on the little quilt. I am now squaring them before sewing them together. That is a chore and a half.
While looking for stuff for my neighbor's yard sale a week or so ago, I found a scarf that was tucked away unfinished in one of my totes. So that brings my projects to an unmanageable amount. So I am finishing the baby sweater with the last sleeve and buttons, then I can finish the scarf this week, and then on to another project that has been put aside. I started a side-to-side vest with handspun alpaca. So if I will finish these three projects, I will then start another one. But not until then. I am making myself be good. It is hard.
We are doing the Knit Out in Public this Saturday. That will be fun. The first year it was very cold. So we moved it to another May weekend last year. It rained about 11 a.m. So this year HandHeld decided we needed to do it in June with the public knit out. I hope lots of folks come.
A busy week ahead. I want to finish squaring the quilt blocks. I want to get the baby sweater completed, washed, and blocked. I want to get the scarf finished, or at least make an attempt.
Don't forget-Solstice is coming! A turning point for summer!
Have a good week. Keep busy, and keep cool.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yes! It is Humid!

Baby likes to stretch out under the ceiling fan and get the most exposure to the air.

I have been in a funk as far as knitting goes. I can't get excited and creative when I am hot. I am not going to start anything new until I finish what I have on the needles. I am really close to the end of two things. Yeah! But I am not knitting.

A coupla weeks ago I washed all the Romney white fleece I had left over. I have it piled up like this.

So when I get a few minutes, I run it through the picker to open it up.

Then it goes into a bag to wait until carded or dyed or whatever.

It is just another step in the process. I know it is an insane way to do things. But I cannot fathom why I would spend hours and hours to get it all done right now. I am in no hurry. So I will do it in little bits as time permits. There is enough there to card or dye if that notion hits me. So I will just take my time and do it in little increments.
I am not really happy with this fleece. It is really old. I mean- I have moved twice with the dirty fleece. I just stuck it in a corner when I moved here. Once I got my "new" old electric wringer washer to wash fleece, I dug in the corner and pulled it out. I was appalled that I had let it stay dirty so long. I am ashamed that I neglected a once upon a time nice fleece. So I stupidly used a strong scouring liquid to wash it with. Afterwards I remembered that Romney is not an oily sheep to begin with. So now it is really dry. But it will be okay since my picker and my carder have oil from other fleeces to soften it some. I still have a brown fleece to wash, but I will only use a little Orvus on that one.
This is an orange echinacea. I love all the varieties. This one has very large cone heads.

This is foxglove. I love foxglove. I think it is so pretty with its "bells" and speckles inside.

This is Monarda. It is commonly known as Bee Balm. I love monarda also. This one is the purest red color. The hummingbirds love it. The wild monarda is more of a pinky-purply color. Earl Grey Tea uses monarda as a flavoring.
Close up of the Monarda.

Well, that about covers it all. I am listening to podcasts and picking wool. Nothing exciting going on. Noodles just woke up and looks like he is going out to check out the world. Maybe I need to go weed a little bit. We have had rain and thunderstorms the last two nights. So the ground is soft. And yes, the grass is ready to mow again. YUCK!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Can I Tell When The Moon Is Full?

My mind is racing right now. I have so many ideas, and I get distracted and scattered and I am not really getting anything done. Yes-tomorrow is the Full Moon!

Just as I settled down and said I am going to just maintain the yard for the rest of the blasted HOT summer, my girlfriend brings me two weigeilas. Okay-no big deal. Just dig a hole and plant the suckers. Except I can't decide where exactly I want to plant them. They do get big, and they will need water this time of year. So they have to be within watering distance. Then I laid in bed the other night thinking about this problem. Because now it is a problem. Okay. So then I think I need to plan on a big flower bedding on the other side of the yard across from the big bed in front.

Whew! That will require A LOT OF WORK! I can't just stick plants in the ground. I have to prepare the bedding, etc. Just like I did for the other bed. And what kind of flowers do I want to plant? The big bed is a jumble of wildflowers and some annuals, a sorta-kinda English garden style.

Then this morning I went to a garden showing by a local garden club in a nearby yard. OMG! This woman has a husband to die for. He has created all kinds of garden gates-some out of old doors, some out of sticks, a gazebo out of sticks, water gardens, water features - I loved the old watering can that is a fountain. It pours water into a bed of blue glass- too much to think about.

So now I think I will plant the weigeila and use that as a starting point for this new bed. It will take me all summer to prepare the bed for planting. Surely by Fall I can think of what kind of flowers I want to plant. I like the idea of maybe putting an arch with a gate between the two bushes and walkways with small beds of flowers. But I will need to have bushes or tall plants to create a "room".

And yesterday my neighbor allowed me to put some "stuff" in her garage sale. I sold all my yarn I did not want. You know the stuff that is leftover or just odds and ends. I did have one large quantity of wool that I had bought on sale, and never could find the right project. So it is gone now. My futon and mattress is gone. I could not get rid of some of the old stuff, but it could go to Goodwill soon.

I did get more of the tank top knitted while I sat with her yesterday morning. Her husband made us a yummy sandwich for lunch. So it was a productive day, and I made a few dollars.

My grandmother would be appalled that I got rid of that yarn. She never let a piece of yarn go. It would be knitted or crocheted into something-a coaster or something. She was really bad about mixing up yarns that did not go together. So I am sure she would have been upset that I "wasted that yarn". The lady that bought all of it looked like the type that will mix it all up into something like my grandmother. So I don't feel too guilty.

It has been cloudy all day. I did not think we were supposed to get rain this weekend. Just in case, I mowed the yard. I even did the trim work.

Have a great weekend.