Monday, March 30, 2009

Look At This!

Since this lady is not dead yet, I didn't feel disrespectful taking a photo of her headstone. Do you see it? A Shuttle! This lady is a weaver. Isn't that the coolest thing? I have never, ever, ever seen a picture engraved on a headstone before. I just loved it. Her husband was a clockmaker, and there was a picture of a grandfather clock on his stone. I just love it. I also found a few stones that listed the Native American tribe affiliation for that person. I thought that was touching too. But a shuttle! It just was wonderful. My cousin asked if I was going to do something like that for my headstone. I told him I wouldn't have a headstone, so it didn't matter. You know how that conversation went from there. I just had to share this. Later I will catch up with the news.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What A Blah Week!

Well, I was right. Spring brings more storms, and tomorrow the weatherman is calling for snow!
We just got over the ice storm damage, and we are just getting used to the broken trees, and all the tree debris on the streets. And here comes Spring storms! I read about a tornado in Mississippi in yesterday's paper. And the floods up north! Spring!

But I have given my weekly yard work a week off, and I have been knitting. I remember at Madrona someone asked me, "Do you knit every day?" I didn't even have to think about it. Yes, I knit every day, doesn't everyone? Even if it is only two or three rows on a sock, I knit every day. There were two days I did not knit this week. I worked outside on Sunday all day, and I was tired. I sat in my chair for a while, took a really long hot bath, and crawled into bed to read. This will be my standard routine when yard work goes into full swing. At some point, I will quit all the heavy work and just maintain for the rest of the summer.

I am continuing to make a little progress on the Surprise jacket. I am about halfway through the first part-the decrease. I am going to make a summer top with some yummy cotton/modal I have in my stash. I came home last night and made a gauge swatch. I am right on the money with that. Yeah! No math figuring for this one! And I continue to work on the socks from Hell! I have had more trouble with this pair of socks for some reason. As many years as I have made socks, I have never had this much trouble. Even when I made my first sock from handspun I never had this much trouble.

We had Thursday Night Knitting Group, and we had a good crowd. There were some storms in the late afternoon and early evening. I thought perhaps some people just wouldn't come because of that. But they did. And someone brought a brie wrapped in pastry for the goodie. Whew! I resisted that by not even looking at it. I could smell it, but I didn't really look at it.

My cousin from Washington, D.C. is in town on a business trip. I am excited that we are going to see each other tomorrow. I haven't seen him since his mom died, and we have only talked on the phone or email. He probably knows me better than my own brothers know me. Sunday we are going to go to his family place in Grove, OK, and visit that. We will probably go out to the cemetery, and check that out too. His grandparents and his parents are buried there. I am anxious to see the place again. His grandparents bought some property on Grand Lake as a summer place way, way back when. No one did that then. They have the award for having the oldest single-owned property on the lake. After Mike's grandmother died, his parents decided to not sell it, but keep it in the family. They eventually moved there. Now Mike and his sister own the property, and who knows what will happen now. It is quite nice, and is a sought-after piece of property.

So nothing else is new this week. It is gray, overcast, and chilly. It has rained and things are sodden. I guess I will go to the grocery store and get that out of the way. Then I guess I will sit down and knit. What else can one do on a gray, overcast, chilly day?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Redbuds are Blooming-It's Spring!

In our Thursday Night Knitting Group there was a discussion about redbuds. It seems many of them were damaged by the Ice Storm from Hell, and we are concerned about them. They seem to be blooming really late this year. Usually they bloom during the blooming period of serviceberry, but not this year.

I started watching every day since Thursday to see a redbud blooming. Well.....Today Is The Day! At least it is the day I saw redbuds blooming in everyone's yard. Yeah! Some look pretty ragged and scraggly after being chopped from the storm. But they are blooming! I saw some down the street that were on the edge of a tree lot. They appear to be old and scraggly, but they were proudly waving blooming branches in the wind.

Today is warm and sunny and pretty. Friday night our first Spring storm moved through. Lots of lightening and some thunder. And rain, of course. The yard is soggy. But I have rested for three days, and I am going to tackle the yard again.

Yesterday CJ and I went to the Spinning Guild meeting, ate lunch, and met JE at my house for an afternoon of spinning, knitting, and talk. I really like this informal getting together we do on Saturdays. We rotate between CJ's house and my house. That gives JE a break from her family and sheep responsibilities. She has a very understanding husband.

I started my Surprise jacket with my handspun. I think it will be pretty. The yarn is certainly nothing to be proud of. I spun it 20+ years ago to make my husband a sweater. I spun it single ply, thick and thin, and it is a coarse wool. I can't remember the kind of wool. I never made the sweater-partly because I knew Joe would never wear a heavy sweater and partly because I wasn't pleased with the yarn.

Forward to finding this pattern, dyeing the yarn, and just doing it. The sweater is knit in garter stitch, which is certainly forgiving for thick and thin yarn, and the colors look like fall leaf colors. But the wool is still coarse and yucky. But it will be fine for outer wear. We'll see.

So out I go, to mow the back yard. The weeds are pretty high right now. I need to plant the creeping phlox I bought. I love the way they creep over the edge of the bed. I need to finish putting dirt into the garden boxes. So lots of little things to do today. I refuse to do any heavy lifting today. Just putzing around stuff.

So go forward into Spring. It's here. Yes, there will be cold spells ahead, and there may be a bit of snow. But officially it's Spring.

"Spring won't let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again. "-- Gustav Mahler

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Have One Hour!

I have company coming in one hour! I will have really only a few minutes to quickly send out a blog, because I have to start cooking lunch. I am going to make a Spinach/Egg Impossible Pie. Yummmmmm!

Yesterday was the day from Hell around here. The men showed up to stain and seal the deck and two porches. I had a hard time picking out the color, but I chose a darker color with a warm yellow look about it. WRONG! It is now chocolate brown. It is going to take some getting used to it, but overall, it is really nice. It is nice to know the wood is protected, and there is a lot of color going on. All three match now. As if that really matters to anyone.

So......while they are doing all that, I am outside in the warm 70's doing yard work. I got the rototiller out and weeded that big flower bed in front. Now it is ready to plant some more pretty flowers. Yeah!

And since I cannot go inside the house with all three doors blocked, I made a pathway across the flower bed with the big concrete blocks that I got from my friend's business. That was very hard and very heavy work. I laid down weed barrier cloth under them, but could only do two at a time because of the weight. I cleaned the extra dirt on the sidewalks and off the railroad ties. I was tired out.

So now that the wood has dried 24 hours, I have to drag all that stuff that is stacked out in the yard onto the porches and deck again. I love my collection of rocks, but why did I have to get big rocks?

There are a bunch of weeds coming up, and I need to weed-eat them. But I will have to wait until my friend leaves tomorrow.

Things are slowly coming together for Spring. It is a lot of work to get things cleaned up and ready for Summer.

Oh-I have broccoli, spinach, and lettuce coming up in the garden! Yeah! They like the sun too!

Here's a bit of Irish humor for St. Patrick's Day:

"The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scotts as a joke, but the Scotts haven't seen the joke yet."- Oliver Herford

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's Sunday-It's Time to Blog!

I have been sulking most of this week. I haven't been able to be outside cleaning up or working in the yard. Yes, the weeds are up. They are trying to get a hold on the yard. But instead of whacking weeds, I have been sulking. It has been cold, sleeting, freezing rain, yucky weather all week. I know this is only March, and yes, one has to get through March to get to Spring, but why does it have to be cold all week?

I have been reading The Secret Life of Bees all week. I grew up in the South in the 60's, and I cannot imagine what this poor girl is going through. Yes, I remember all the Civil Rights stuff, I remember segregation, I remember what my parents did for the people that worked for us. I also remember that women were not important in the scheme of things. I remember at age 12 writing the closest college that I could study veterinarian medicine. I wanted to know what courses I should study until I could apply to attend the school. I wish I had that letter that I got in response. Essentially I was told that women did not become veterinarians, that it was a difficult course of study, and that I should think of doing something else with my life. I was so angry and upset that I shredded up the letter and burned it. I remember I showed it to everyone first.

I have been knitting on my Lifetime Blanket. It seems that I can do 4 or 5 blocks a night, and I cannot tell that much has been done once it is spread out. I also did a batch of dyeing this week. I dyed the yarn for the Secret project. I have been winding the yarn in balls. I also did my gauge swatch and math. I did it two different ways, and they were different. I am going with EZ's EPI method, I think.

I also ripped out the damn socks again. I made a coupla mistakes in the pattern, and when I knit back I created a tiny hole. Yes, I could just sew up the tiny hole and be done with it. But I know it's there. I also found it was taking me forever. So rip it out and be done with it. I have almost caught up to where I was just doing a plain ole stockinette sock.

I guess it has just been a frustrating week. But it is supposed to be warm again next week. Let's do a Happy Sunshine dance today and get some of this warm going on. I also have to have sun to dry out the deck so the nice man can finish staining and sealing it. Have a good week. I am hoping to get some yard work done this week.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Gosh! It is going to be a green-up Spring!

On Friday I went on a half-day journey with two friends. With the glorious green-up Spring we are having, my two friends did not want to work the whole day. They are both able to just take off from work. So I met them at one's house, and away we went. It was 80 degrees outside, bright sunshine, and it is a shame to waste that kind of day just being in an office! This is a tiny little post office in a tiny little town. If one blinks twice, the town is missed.

Unfortunately, most of the little post offices like these are being replaced with pre-fab, cookie-cutter buildings that are cheap to make. These cute little places need to be honored, so I took a picture to remember the glory of old post offices.

We found road names like Gobbler's Knob. The further one goes into the mountains around here, the stranger the names get. In hill-speak, a knob is a small, rounded hill. So there must be a lot of turkeys on this knob. Don't you often wonder where names come from originally? The names of creeks and streams has always fascinated me.

Yesterday was a day of work for me. I have a good connection now with someone to do odd jobs. He hauled off my load of trash that was in the back. In real life, he is a painter. He is licensed and bonded-a real plus around here. Yesterday he brought the compressor and power-washed my porches, deck, and the whole house. He will come back when all is dried to stain and seal the woodwork. It was difficult to pick out the color for the stain, but I think it will be the right one when it is done.

While the two men were working so hard, I went out the back to pick up sticks and small trees that had been cut. It seems to be an never-ending job of cleaning up from this storm. I found I needed to be available when they needed a decision made. These guys even cleaned out my gutters while they had the ladder available. I cannot believe how clean my outside walls of the house are! What was once a darker, blueish gray is now a light gray color. It is apparent that there will be a need to paint, but I think I can wait another year for the house. The porch railings will need to be painted soon.

So, yes, there is little knitting done. The most I have done in the last few days was after the journey Friday. The three of us sat around for a coupla hours knitting, and long enough for supper to be prepared by my friend's husband. I have started a sock with a complicated herringbone pattern. I cannot seem to get the pattern memorized. I cannot find a rhythm to the pattern. I tried to start this pattern three times in Tacoma, but ripped out after a coupla inches. I am wondering if this is one of those patterns I don't need to do.

I have finally found a pattern for my handspun yarn that has been waiting in a basket to be knit. It is a thicker single-ply, but it will need to be dyed something brighter than it is. I am thinking of yellows, but maybe blues would be nice. I'm not sure. I need to try out my swatches. I did dye one swatch last weekend when I mixed up a mauve-y pinky-purple. I did not like it on the swatch, but the fiber can be blended with other colors.

Well, now I am going to go out and work in the bright sunshine for a few hours. We are supposed to get a snow by Wednesday. So I want to enjoy the sun and warmth while it is available.

If you haven't seen it, you need to go to WeaveZine and see the pictures of the sheep in sweaters. The shearer came and so did the snow. So what does one do with naked sheep that are shivering? Look at the pictures!

Have a blessed day. Enjoy each day for whatever joy we are given for that day.

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. ~Margaret Atwood

Monday, March 2, 2009

Finally It's March!

Why is it that February is the shortest month, but it always feels like the longest month? March came in with a little bitty snow and we are heading for a warm-up this week. This is kinda like an oxymoron since there is always a chill in the air from wind, but the temps are warmer.
When I lived in Little Rock (which is way warmer than here) we always celebrated the Snow Tire and Daffodil Festival. This was a cute article by a journalist for the Arkansas Gazette. Richard always knew when the first daffodils appeared, there would always be a snow. I thought of that this weekend when it was snowing like crazy, and the daffodils are still blooming.

I finished this little hat. The color is true. The pattern is Syncopated Caps by Kate Gilbert. It was in Interweave Knits, Summer 2007. On Ravelry, one person said it is just a little bit short of the ears, and that she added an extra row of pattern. I did the same, and it fully covers below the ears and to my neck in the back. It is to my eyebrows in the front. Just a tad bit too long. But it is an easy pattern to do. I limped along at first. But once I got my rhythm, I just chugged along with it. I made a promise to myself that I would finish this during the weekend, and I finished last night.
I couldn't get a decent pic of the pattern. I used Jitterbug for the yarn. It is the right weight for this hat. I used a variegated contrast yarn, and that is the purply color you see. When I started it I didn't like it. But I was determined to finish with it. I kinda thought this is a flower garden, and not all the flowers are blooming. Anything to keep from just ripping out the damn thing.
March is a wonderful month. It is the last major month for winter. April can still bring snow, ice, or freezing rain. But it is short lived. And in April the redbuds and dogwoods bloom. In March we usually get serviceberry blooming, and it is a spark of hope on the mountain sides. I am always hopeful by April. It is just getting through whatever March can bring.
I am going to plant a few things this week in my little garden. I will spend some time outside this week trying to get the last of the clean up finished, and the beginnings of garden started. I am trying to enjoy the warm while it is here.
This is also the beginnings of cat-hair-shedding season. I started grooming with the deshedder comb yesterday. I usually groom Baby daily, since she has a rabbit coat that is soft and thick. I forget that Noodles sheds faster with his short, stiff coat. I got two handfuls of shed hair yesterday from him alone. They seem to be rolling more in the dirt and dragging in more dusty stuff to deposit in the house.
I did get my spinning space picked up and straightened up this weekend. I will usually get to a certain point on the messy scale, and then I stop and pick up. I straighten and put things away. It is a wonderful feeling to have things neat again. It will last about two days.
I found a neat thing yesterday. It is called "New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails". Evidently New Mexico has gotten behind it's fiber artists and fiber farmers and has produced a 66 page brochure that gives maps, description of artist and studios, and farms on a trail system divided into North Central, Northwest, and South. It is totally fascinating and interesting to look through. Since I am going back to Taos for the Wool Festival in October, I am going to map out some places I want to be. I know some of these people will be at the festival as vendors, but I usually make a trip to LaLana Wools, Rachel Brown's place, and I have been to Los Ojos once. I have been to some of the smaller weaver places in Chimayo 3 times. I am not really fond of the big touristy places. I like to just explore. It will be fun since I am going with two fiber buddies.
So let's start off March like a lion and get moving along here. There is work to do and things to explore and mess to clean up. I never do Spring cleaning, but I like to air out the house. I also like to wash blankets and quilts and put them outside to dry. I like to air rugs. I like to air pillows. It is time to let in some clean air, and get rid of the stale old stuff we have been breathing all winter. Enjoy your week! Be back later.