Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Going to Taos!

Just wanted to check in and let everyone know-as if you didn't already know-that I am off to Taos Wool Festival. Will be having loads of fun, getting loads of sage-filled oxygen, and my hair will be flying with the dryness out there. Going with a gang of gals, and this is so out of my normal routine it is not funny. I like to go on trips by myself, and I can go off on a road excursion off the map if I want. But it will be fun to see it through their eyes, and get a new perspective of the whole thing. We are meeting up with other women from our weaving and spinning guild. We will have quite an Arkansas presence there. Will try to remember to take lots of photos, and will catch everyone up on the news. Have a safe and prosperous week and will talk at ya later.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Just a Few Pics for Friday!

I finished the baby sweater. Ugh! It isn't that yucky yellow-it's green! It's very big-cotton does that! She will have to grow into it. I am just happy to be done.

First woven scarf off the new loom. Approximately 63" long, without fringe. 10 1/2 inches wide.
Twill weave. Beautiful yarn from Road To China. It has alpaca, cashmere, camel, yak, soy fiber.

It has softened from washing, and it drapes pretty on me. It is very luxurious and warm. I think it will be pretty with a pin.
That's all the finished things this week. I am about half-way on a knitted cuff and am working on a stranded knit hat. I am beginning to think of what I need to take to Taos with me. You know, knit wise. I will need portable and easy. Maybe a sock. If I can get this cuff done, then the body of the mitt would be easy and portable. Let you know next week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumnal Equinox!

I wanted to show you in photos what to do with soft apples that aren't good to eat raw. I peeled 'em, cooked 'em, and then made applesauce. My great-grandmother Annie always told me that you have to have plenty of applesauce and apple butter for the winter. She always told me that they were good for colds. I have three jars of apple butter in the pantry, and now this one large container of apple sauce. I always add extra spices, since I like the mixture of nutmeg, allspice, clove, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar.

I always find I have to have applesauce and peaches in the freezer about January. That's when I start craving fruit. I guess the newness of citrus fruits has worn off about then, and I am craving summer fruits. I always have a container with orange-cranberry relish that I mix up and eat regularly through the holidays. But that gets old after a while.

The chickadees are here! Time to think about getting seeds in the container and getting the bird feeders repaired. They are finishing up the sunflowers now, so no big hurry. The robins are busy, busy, busy eating pokeberries and getting worms. They are surely the fattest birds on the place.

Yesterday was our Indian Summer day. It was hot, humid, and the sun was out for part of the day. Then humongous storms rolled in around 6:30 p.m. It was a real thunder-booming evening. So today is gloomy, overcast, cool, and wet, wet, wet.

I finished weaving the scarf. It is really, really pretty. I washed it and hung it out on my portable wooden dryer thing on the screened porch. The yarn bled really badly, but I think it is okay now. I cannot decide if I want to hem it or leave the fringe. I will wait until it dries, and I will try it on again. Pictures will follow if the blogger will let me.

No new knitting news since I spent part of Sunday and all of yesterday finishing the weaving. I ordered some corrugated cardboard to use as a divider for the warp, and I wanted to get this off before I get that. I am going to warp for kitchen towels next, and I want the warp to be evenly distributed.
I guess that's about it in the news front. Just wanted to share some of the apple goodness. Have a good week. Fall is here!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Loom Lust

Well, today CJE and JE and I went to the loom's home to "look it over". The weaver selling this monster loom has had multiple surgeries, and just had a total knee replacement. She also has a neuropathy in her R leg. So she is unable to manage a big ole 8 harness loom. By the time I helped FS down the few stairs to the loom room, I found CJE sitting on the bench, rubbing the beams, treadling, and I know what that means. It is a beautiful loom, practically brand new, and it is BIG. But CJE did have the sense to tell FS she will think on it, and will get back to her. Ha! I know what that means too.

I think it is quite extraordinary that one would need such a big ole loom. But I understand the excitement to explore, to experiment with multiple harnesses, and to push oneself to one's limit of sanity. It is a giant math puzzle, and CJE loves puzzles. We will see how long she can hold out.

Evidently last week when CJE got home one day, her mother-in-law had bought lock, stock, and barrel of one of her friend's alpaca fleeces. It sounded like this is enough fleece to spin on for the rest of one's life, if one only wanted to spin alpaca and nothing else. She has no clue what it is going to be like in Taos when we get there. I have tried to warn her of the temptations, but we will see how it goes.

I started a stranded hat with a diamond pattern in it. I thought I would use some of the wool I had, but it is too small for the gauge. I did make a swatch in pattern with my yarn and it is no where near the gauge. So I bought some JoSharpe on sale at LYS the other night. It was a very small knit night until around 6:30 p.m. People started coming in, rain had started again, and I thought I should get home before dark. I don't see that well at night, and in the rain it is dangerous.

I got the braid and the border pattern completed during a film on Lifetime tonight about Georgia O'Keefe. She has always been one of my favorite women artists. I knew her life with Steigleitz was not the best, but Jeremy Irons played him very well in this film. He came across as egotistical, childish, and as his brother said in the film, a bully. I found Mabel Luhan charming in the film, but I think she was very avant garde for the late 1920's. They actually filmed this at Ghost Ranch, so the scenery was authentic.

I am almost finished with the body of the baby sweater. It actually looks like a sweater now, although I still need to pick and knit the sleeves. It will be big, but she will grow into it eventually. I will put a picture on when I finish it.

CJ knit a hat for her grandson, age 5. He picked out the yarn from her stash, and he drew a picture of what he wanted. He wanted eye holes knit in it so he could pull it down over his face. She said he wore it two days, and the third day he had a rash on his face. I think I have convinced her to wash all her handknits now before she gives it to the children. I am always leery of dyes and chemicals used in other countries without the controls needed to safeguard them. Good lesson learned.

Well, off to read a little bit before I go to sleep. Remember Tuesday is Equinox!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Times-They are A-Changing

First I present my three finished objects.
First the fraternal twins-Fingerless mitts. I used two different sock yarns to create the stranded work, but the body of the mitts is the same type of yarn. The balls just unwound with a different colorway. Second-A pretty little plain ole hat. This is an Araucania wool, alpaca, silk blend. Very soft, very easy to knit, but stretches a bit and bleeds. I love the feel of this yarn. This was knitted with the EZ hat that I consider Mac 'n Cheese knitting.
And lastly, a little baby hat. I used two strands of sock yarn on a size 7 needle. Very fast, very easy, very simple.

It isn't just that the calendar says September 15, but the signs are pointing to change. The light is changing rapidly. It is dark, dark, dark by 8 p.m. It has been cloudy and rainy for a week, so the cloudy dark days are depressing already. I saw a huge group of geese at a local pond the other day, grazing on the seeds in the field. The boneset is blooming. I haven't seen as much goldenrod as normal, but it is blooming wherever it is. Some of my songbirds have already migrated. The leaves are starting to turn colors. So far it is a muted, softer, gray-green with some gold and brownish colors mixed in. The sumac is red. I saw a maple tree in town the other day that had the tippy top leaves red. The chill is there in the mornings, but not uncomfortable. It just makes eating breakfast outside pleasant. The cats are killing more rodents than birds. I have seen a few more spider webs in the corners that I have to route out. I saw the orb spider's web the other day. And I saw the flying webs of the parachuting type of spider. You know the kind of web that is hanging from a limb really high and the web is floating in the air. And the one true sign-aching joints.
So I have a few more plans for the knitting projects, but for the most part I am not inspired to do anything too crazy. I am plugging away on the Surprise Jacket right now. I just put a new block on the LifeTime Blanket. I am weaving on my scarf. And I am spinning the yak/merino yarn. I thought of a design for a quilt top that I would like to start. But nothing grand.
I did a presentation at the weaving guild's meeting last Saturday. My friend CF came into town on Friday, and she went with me to that. She is a good sport to do that, since she is a potter first and a knitter second. But she said she enjoyed it. A good friend indeed.
CJE and JE came over to my house for our Sunday get-together. We had a good time. I did not do any knitting, just visiting. I am finding that if I have company, I spend my time chatting, cooking, eating, drinking, and all that stuff. I only enjoy doing my fiber work alone and when I am the most creative. I do knit in public when I am waiting at a restaurant, or at meetings.
CJE is thinking about an 8 harness loom with the ability to add 4 more. Why? Don't ask. She just wants it. I am really happy with my little 4 harness, and it suits my needs just fine. But I will support her effort to have a "big girl loom".
I baked some beans the other day. I was going to make cornbread, but opted for biscuits instead. See-another change. Beans and cornbread or beans and biscuits. No more salads. I put apple butter on the biscuits. Yum!
So prior to hibernating for the winter, it is the Taos Wool Festival. Then home again to hibernate for the winter. I have enough wool to last several winters, but I betcha I'll bring some home with me. I'll see. I am trying to be good, but it is hard. I want to get some more dyestuffs, and that's all I really have planned. I just want to be around "my kind of people". I like to soak up the energy, and talk fiber stuff, and talk about knitting patterns, and actually have people around me who care about this stuff.
Well, enough chattering. Off to fix a little sandwich, and maybe then a little bit weaving. I downloaded an audible book from NetLibrary yesterday. I like to listen to books while I spin. Have a good week. Enjoy the cooler weather.
I need to finish the yard work, but I can't seem to get around this weather.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

AHHH! Cozy Knitting!

Is everyone gone now? I can quit hiding and go back to being my usual adorable self?
After my company left on Sunday, I realized how tired I was. I had been pushing myself all weekend to make sure everyone had enough to eat and drink, and to clean up after cooking. I was not in my normal routine. I washed a load of clothes, including the sheets and towels, and cleaned up the kitchen. I putzed around and straightened up the mess. I tried to lay down and read a while, but I was not able to concentrate. So I do like any other normal person would do, I pick up my knitting. I turn to comfort knit or cozy knitting. I started a plain jane old Eliz. Zimmerman round hat. I am knitting it in luscious, yummy yarn, and it knits up fast. Plain old, non-fancy knitting to soothe the nerves. I calmed down in just a few minutes. Enough calm-down that getting up to take the clothes out of the dryer did not bother me. I didn't even bother to eat a real meal. I just fixed a cup of tea, ate a sandwich, and then continued on my little hat.

Yesterday another friend stopped by to visit on her way back home after her Labor Day trip. That was very nice to see her. She and her grown-up daughter were on an outing together, and obviously enjoying themselves. My neighbors returned home yesterday, also, from their week-long RV outing. So I guess things can get back to normal.

After I settled down last night, I was able to actually finish the stranded work on my fingerless mitt, and get to the gusset increase. But then I picked up the little hat. I am ready to decrease that. Should be finished tonight, if I get all my errands done in time.

"Mom, do you think my butt looks too wide lying on this chair like this?"

And yes, you can tell he has Bengal in him from this photo. When he is relaxed, I can really tell how big he is. This is the first time he left my side after the company left on Sunday. Baby wanted to sit in my lap, and he just wanted to be close by.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Check List

My friend called from the Kansas/Oklahoma border. They are on the road.
*go to grocery-done that
*sorta kinda straighten house-done that
*clean linens on guest bed-done that
*vacuumed-done that
*cleaned the bathrooms-done that
*put away knitting projects lying around-only one put away
*make a path through spinning/fiber room-done that
*aired out house-done that
*swept kitchen floor-done that

I have also cut up cucumbers and onions to make the marinaded salad in vinegar and syrup. The syrup is cooling.
I have taken the casserole out of freezer and put in refrigerator.
I went to produce stand to get fruit, and they had just taken some bran rolls out of oven. So now I do not have to cook bread.
I do want to make some brownies, but may not have time. Will pull out cookies from freezer just in case.

Yes, I do not get company that often. My friends do overnights, but not company. I don't do all this for just an overnight visit.

Gotta go. Must try to get a few things done yet. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Okay-it is now September 2, 2009. I woke up in the night and heard rain. Drats! I rolled over and when I woke up again, it is pouring rain. There is a little bit of thunder, but mostly just rain. I luckily mowed the big mowing last night, but did not get the trim work, rocky areas, or driveway mowed. But I was cold this morning. Is that weird? On Sept. 2, I put on a long pair of knit pants (lightweight, mind you), and then I ended up putting on a light flannel shirt over my t-shirt. I eventually hunted around in the closet to get my fuzzy slippers out. I kept telling myself, "This is wrong. This is dumb. This cannot be right." But I haven't put on lighter clothes yet.

I put out fresh sugar water for the hummingbirds. They are desperately trying to get enough fuel for the trek south. I haven't been seeing as many at the feeder as usual. And I haven't seen as much fighting territorially over the feeder as usual. So I think the migration is looming.

The finches are squabbling over the few remaining sunflower seeds. They have the prettiest voices. I love to listen to them chirpling and talking and fussing.

Yesterday I was in the mood to do some of the Fall yard work to get ready for the end of the season. I never got around to it, and now I wonder if I will be able to plant any shrubs in time. I usually plant shrubs and trees in September. That gives them enough warmth and energy to put down good roots. I am not sure this year.

Surely this is just an aberration of the weather, and we will have our usual hot September.

Noodles has been on a killing spree. Two birds and one rat. So far. He was so proud to bring me breakfast yesterday. Thank God he does not jump on the bed with it. He just dropped it next to my bed where I will step on it when I put my feet out to the floor. YUCK!

I am supposed to have company this weekend. I have been trying to pick up and straighten up and vacuum, etc. I always wait until the day before arrival to clean the bathrooms. I don't know why that is, but that is just me. I walked into the knitting room yesterday, and both chairs are covered with knitting. I guess I will put that away when I have to. I want to start some bread dough Friday to bake bread. I hope the weather is more cooperative.

I bought the stuff to make some soup this weekend. Isn't that weird? Soup in September!

The county fair is this week. Our spinning group is scheduled to demonstrate on Saturday. I can't go since I have company. The big arts/crafts fairs start this weekend too. Sigh! I guess time just keeps moving on. Pretty soon we will be talking about the holidays.

I am going to go make me some hot chocolate. Have a safe holiday this weekend.