Friday, December 31, 2010

The End Is Near!

"Another fresh year is here...Another year to live! To banish worry,doubt, and fear, To love and laugh and give! This bright new year is given me, To live each day with zest...To daily grow and try to be My highest and my best! I have the opportunity Once more to right some wrongs, To pray for peace, To plant a tree, And sing more joyful songs." --William Arthur Ward

This is the time of year that I find most reflective. It is a time to take stock of what works and what doesn't work. It means too much to some folks, but to me it is just a time to think about what I would like to do better.

I have been busy this week with the usual knitting, spinning, and sewing. I am trying the compost dyeing technique, and it is an interesting process. I will show pics another posting.

We had a tornado this a.m. about 15 miles away from here. It was quite devastating to a small community of Cincinnati. I have been watching the news, but only because CJE called this a.m. to find out if I was ok. Evidently Tontitown was mentioned in the path, and it was really just west of here about 10 miles or so as the storm headed northeast towards Bentonville.

I just wanted to say thank you to all my friends that have supported me this year in all my endeavors in the fiber world. We have had some fun and have certainly learned a lot of new techniques and some new skills. I hope that we can continue to learn and share and laugh and have more fun.

My son gets married a week from tomorrow. So I may post one more post before then, but who knows. I may get stressed out and not do anything but stress out. I have been making sure I am not doing any stress eating, but I sure do want to.

I have to make appointments and get a lot of things done. But in the evenings I have been working on my socks and a new scarf. Pics to follow when done. My spinning was going well, but I lost the groove and could not get my rhythm going the last time I sat down. So that handspun sweater is on hold until I finish the yarn. I am sewing on a cute quilted wall hanging. I also decided it was time to clean up the sewing room.

Thanks again to everyone for a good year in fiber. May we keep our spirits high and our needles clicking!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa Brought the North Pole With Him!

Today is very WINDY and blustery! It is certainly a cold enough day without the wind. We had some kind of frozen stuff that left white on the deck. It didn't seem to be real snow, more of freezing drizzle-"frizzle". It didn't stay out there long with the wind. Nothing on the ground. I noticed it when I went out last night, and it only seemed to be visible in front of the flashlight.

Anyway it is a day to snuggle in and keep your nose warm.

The last nice day I scoured a batch of cloth to start a new dye project.

I finished number 1 of both socks. I have started number 2, but am not pushing myself.

I got the binding on the quilt, a label made, and made a storage bag. The large printed something in the left lower corner is the storage bag.

I washed the quilt and left it out on the line to air dry. I got photos of both sides. I like it.

I got it mailed out on Tuesday, and my son called me on Thursday morning that it had arrived. He and H. were very excited about having it. I did not know that sunflowers are her favorite flower. Synchronicity again rears its head.
I have been busy the last coupla days getting my chicken and vegetable broth made to put in the freezer. With the real winter weather comes illness. I decided since I am in a cooking mode to make a batch of cracked wheat rolls. They are a little bit dense, but still very tasty. Of course, with the cooking of the broth comes the necessary evil of cooking a whole chicken. I pulled all the meat off and put in freezer bags. Last night late I threw the carcass and stuff out into the woods, yelling to the critters, "Merry Christmas!" And maybe they will stay out there and leave my cat alone.
Noodles is walking a little bit like Grandpa McCoy. With the bones healing at a wonky state, his leg is uneven. He actually is putting a little more weight on it. When he runs, he lifts it up and runs on 3 legs. I guess naively I thought that he would heal and be back to himself and life goes on. I am not sure whether he will ever be able to defend himself with that back leg again. I kinda gave it three months to heal, but I am thinking maybe all winter. Then I have to worry about the bad boys that migrate around looking for lady love in the Spring. Being a kitty mom is hard.
I have been sewing the blocks on the quilt top that I have laid out for ever so long. I just wanted to get it done and finished. After the blocks are done, then I have to lay it out to see how I want the blocks to be. I mentioned to my son that I wasn't sure if this one would be big enough for their bed, but it will be close. He, of course, said that any quilts I want to give them they will take.
I just had a memory flash. A long, long time ago I remember a co-worker asked me what I was going to do with all this "stuff" I make. I said, "I don't really know. I guess my son will have to deal with that." She said, "What if his wife doesn't want any of this 'stuff'." I snorted," Well, obviously, he married the wrong person." I guess I am lucky that H. likes all this "stuff", and seems to be really attached to family "heirlooms".
I am going to try some compost oven dyeing. I have a roasting pan I use for steaming dye bundles. So I am going to try to hasten the process a tad by cooking it in the roaster. I don't think anything is going to "cook" in my compost bin for some time. Especially on a day like today. That's why I scoured the fabric.
I also started the front of the handspun sweater, and I am making the knitted hem right now. I have to get busy this week and make a new skein of yarn for that.
I hope Santa was good to all of you. My friend CJE got quiviut from Ingrid the muskox in Alaska! She must have been a really good girl, huh?
Just like Patty-do anything you can to stay warm. Even if it means using a wool sweater! That's what sweaters are for-right? Talk at ya later.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I have a tendency to keep friends. I don't mean in a drawer or a jar, but as friends. Last weekend I went to AE and CJE's house for the end-of-the-year party that our "tribe" has each year. They have been doing this for ?35 or ?40 years. I don't know how long, but a long time. I have only been with this group for 21 years. There is something about these people. I may never see some of them but once or twice a year, and they always act as if I haven't seen them since a week ago. And they always want to know what I've been doing, and how am I doing, etc. It is very validating as a person to have people that really, really care about you.

I managed to bring a guy that has been in the group for almost 30 years, but has kinda stayed away from events with this group for personal reasons. I didn't think he needed to do that anymore and told him to go with me. I don't always stay a long time, and that we could leave after 3 hours if he chose to. Everyone acted like he had only been gone a week or so, and everyone hugged and kissed and asked how he is doing and what is he doing and where have you been in so long and we have really missed you.

So since the weekend I have been trying to stay out of the cold and just hunker down with projects in the house. It is getting to be that time of the year when the cold settles in and the gray skies move in and it is time to hibernate.

I downloaded a book from NetLibrary and stayed in the sewing room one whole day. That felt pretty good. I managed to get 11 blocks completed, and umpteen million to go. I stayed focused the whole day. That's amazing.

I also have gotten to the shoulder shaping on the sweater back. This week I have made a major decision that this sweater will not be warm enough for the blustery cold up on top of a mountain. So I quit pushing myself. It is always best not to push, because that is when I start making mistakes. I am being very careful with this now and if it gets done, I can wear it in the Lodge on Friday night before the wedding. But it is not going to be a warm enough sweater for the mountain winds.

I am decreasing the toe on the pink sock and I am one inch from the toe decrease on the gray sock.

I blended some yummy pink wool with the multi-color faux cashmere. I can't spin that until I finish with the sage-dyed wool I am spinning. I also need to spin up a new ball of the grey for the sweater to start the front.

I did some spinning on one afternoon while watching the History Channel. I have discovered this show about underground cities in Europe. Evidently many cities over the centuries have built new layers on top of old layers. Old is the operative word. I did not know that much about the history of Budapest or Prague until this show.

So that has been my week. CF came for a school play that her grandson was in and to deliver presents. She then came over here to spend the night. We had to catch up on knitting projects and to catch up on news.

Not much else to report. Not a busy week, but productive anyway. It is the time of the year to stay indoors and keep busy indoors.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's Thursday Already!

Yesterday I washed the binding fabric for a quilt that I need to put binding on, and then I ironed it well while it was still damp. I left it to finish drying before I cut it. So when I did return to the sewing room, one of my little helpers found a warm spot and claimed it. Thanks a lot! That is his broken leg, by-the-way, on the top.
There is nothing like a plain sock out of one yarn to remind one that stranded knitting is nuts! These are my two WIP's for socks. I am still working on the handspun sweater. I actually started my plain sock for the weekend, because I knew I could never do stranded work while the show was going on, or when I was too tired to think. I haven't touched it all week, since my mind is still tired.
I have almost caught up on laundry. I did my personal laundry Tuesday, and then today I stripped the guest bed and washed all the sheets and the towels from the bathroom. I forget about them in the washer/dryer when I get busy with other things. Then I have to go push the dryer button again .
My new personal goal is the wedding in January. Then after that I will have to think of something. I have to get the handspun sweater finished so I can wear it then. Thank goodness I have a very heavy, long wool coat to wear. I am thinking of hats, but I hate to wear one of my pull-down-over-my ears cover-up-my-head kind of hats. I think I will have to have something a little dressier, but warm. HMMM! I may have to felt one.
Tonight is our knit night, and I will talk to some of my cohorts. They always have good ideas.
Nothing else new to report. I am still keeping busy, but at a much slower pace. I am a little bit tired.
I got some wine from our new local winery for the Wild Foods Party at CJE and AE's house this weekend. It is the official close of the year for our group. Everyone shows slides of their adventures through the year. I think AE will be showing the official video of our 30 year celebration at Mirkwood. I know he will set up a continuous loop of video of their trip to Borneo on the big screen tv in the living room. He did the same when they went to Madagascar and Uganda. They went to see the mountain gorillas before they disappear. The trip to Borneo was to see the orangutans before they are gone. Last year they also went to Trinidad to see some tropical birds that are hard to find anywhere else.
Patty is asleep on the sheepskin rug. Noodles is asleep on the guest bed. So now is a good time to sew. Talk at ya later.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Well! That Was Fun!

CJE, JE, and I decided to have two booths at the Arkansas Fiber Extravaganza this past weekend. This is the last year at Mt. Magazine State Park, and I will miss that. I love this park. We stopped on the way up the mountain to look out one of the overlooks. A friend, SDH, went along, and offered to take a picture of the three of us.
Here is CJE talking to a customer. Everyone enjoyed her shawl that she handspun and handwove.

JE made a banner to put out on the front table. Isn't it cute. I really, really think she tried to bring her whole shop. It took all four of us to put it together.

SJM was supposed to man a booth for Buffalo Gold. UPS lost the boxes somewhere in Little Rock, and they never made it. So she bought a Spindolyn from JE and taught herself how to spin while she waited for the boxes to not make it. By Saturday afternoon she had spin a little bit of yarn and knit a tiny little sweater. We put it on one of our ornament animals, and now she has her first handspun for a Christmas ornament.

Right by our booth there were two spinning classes - 1 in the a.m. and 1 in the p.m. That was fun to watch.
I sold my "Damn" socks. The lady really, really liked them. Her friends threatened to steal them. So she put them on. I got a picture.

We got home early afternoon on Sunday. It was really a nice weekend, but I am still very, very tired. I took a long nap yesterday afternoon, but I think I can make it through this afternoon without that. Anyway, it is too late in the afternoon to think about it.
I spent the morning running errands, and now I am ready to sit down and knit. I put up a Christmas tree with some of my ornaments and one string of lights. That's it for decorations. I am in the mood to make candy, but the window of opportunity closed this afternoon. A new front is moving in with more moisture. It has been very, very dry, and it is perfect to make candy then.
So Happy St. Nicholas Day a day late. Remember Pearl Harbor today. Have a great week the rest of the week.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Get Excited about Linen!

One of my fellow knit sibs CP has put out a video on Ravelry that is so fascinating. It is called
Be Linen, A Movie. It takes flax from seed to couture houses in Europe. The farmer talks about flax so lovingly. It is a living thing, it grows only in certain conditions in certain regions of Western Europe, etc. etc. It made me want to run out and buy some linen. I don't think I have seen the yarn they were discussing in the design studio. It was a 50/50 blend of linen and cashmere. It looked very drapey and light.

I am packed and ready to go to Mt. Magazine for the Fiber Arts Extravaganza. If you read this and want to come out this weekend, be sure to stop by our booth and say hi.

Gotta go. Have to get more stuff done before this weekend.

But be sure to look at this video. Wonderful!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Last Week to Get Ready!

I met with JE and CJE yesterday to finalize our plans for the booths and the set-up and all that stuff. I feel much better that we have a sorta kind of plan. Of course, I know that in reality that our intentions could be pure, but we may have to punt and say a few prayers to get everything right once we get there and see the space.

I still have to price and tag a few things. I want to get everything packed by Wednesday evening, but it may be Thursday before things are completed. I am really excited to go, but I am nervous at the same time.

I am getting really close to done on the back of the handspun sweater. Yeah! Just the front to go after that. Of course that is just the knitting. There will be blocking and sewing it together to finish. I am really happy so far. I am glad that I ripped out all the lace and did everything right. I wasn't so happy at the time of trying to get it right, but now I am happy with it.

Noodles' leg is slowly healing crooked. The big bones have found each other and are overlapping. The process at the end of the tibia sticks out and makes a noticeable huge bump to the inside of his leg. He is outside right now on the deck. Yesterday he walked to the edge of property and sprayed a huge amount of urine to mark that part of the territory. Then he went into the brier patch and stayed over in the woods for a while. I worry that some of the wild kitties will attack him while he is unable to fight right now. But he is trying to act normal.

Patty is getting really brave and has found a way out of the yard into the woods. I haven't worried too much since there are briers and woods debris and other blocks to her escape. But she found a hole under the neighbor's fence that allows her access to the back woods. Sigh! What a difference from that meek, scared little dog a few months ago!

I probably won't be writing this week, and I suppose I will be doing what I am supposed to be doing-getting ready for the show next weekend. Sigh!

Have a good week. I hope this weekend has been relaxing for everyone.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gratitude Week!

Gratitude is the fairest blossom that springs from the soul.
Harriet Beecher Stowe

This is the week that I remind myself that I have so much to be grateful for. It is often hard to sort through the emotions and the ego that say, "I wish........"

Noodles was able to get out of his cast, and is now quite happy that he doesn't have to drag that thing around. I had a conference with my vet, and she finally agreed that the best thing to do is leave him alone. The bones may never heal together, but hopefully it will eventually heal without infection. Noodles is part Bengal, which is still a wild cat. He is used to being outside, in the bushes or woods, and he is a hunter. He has been learning to be three-legged. He is ten years old. Sigh! Sometimes decisions are hard to make. But he is happier and he is monitoring himself pretty well.

The frogs are calling for rain. It is so warm today and it is hard to believe this is Thanksgiving Week. The weatherman says that a cold front is coming in for Thanksgiving, and that it will be really blustery and cold. Okay! I can't watch the parades without some holiday chill.

Patty finally got a bath this morning. I couldn't stand the smell any longer. I washed all the bedding, too. Later this afternoon we are going to do a little bit of grooming-nails, ears, trim. She looks really shaggy, but I hate to give her a traditional cut in the winter.

I know that all the folks on the t.v. say people are buying more, and that people are out in the stores more. But I made a quick trip to the mall to Penney's to look for a tablecloth for the show in a coupla weeks. I purposefully went at opening, thinking I could beat the crowds. There were no crowds, and there were big empty parking lots. There were sales people that are jumpy and really willing to help out. I went across the street to go to Home Depot, and that lot was pretty vacant too. It was so weird. I was wondering if I was in some kind of alternate dimension.

Not much to report. I am only knitting on the pink fair isle socks and my handspun sweater. I am spinning some yarn that I dyed with sage last Fall. It is hard to be a nurse and mom and do all the other stuff.

Yesterday we had a little group at our sock club meeting. We met at SDH's house, and that was really nice. I kinda like this meeting at people's houses. It is more intimate. We will skip December, and start again in January.

Have a good Thanksgiving! Enjoy the feast.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Broken Bones!

Sometime Thursday evening between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Noodles got into a fight. I was at the Thursday Night knit group, and when I got home I was trying to get dinner ready, etc. I heard a funny noise in my studio-his food bowl is there-and when I peeked in, he was standing kinda funny. I then saw the wounds and the blood. I grabbed him to check it over, and his rear foot just flopped.

Friday he went off to the vet's office for the day. She did not want to cast it since he had wounds. But when she looked at the x-rays she knew she had to do something. He broke both the fibia and tibia right above the knee joint. They were really severe. Being an occupational therapist, I could tell right away this was serious. But when I saw the x-rays, my heart just sank. This was going to take a long time to heal.

It was a very long tedious weekend. Finally yesterday I gave up, opened the door, and said, "Go for it." He is much better in the attitude department since I have given him some modified freedom. He is not an indoor sissy cat, and he wanted out of this house. I had a terrible time with the potty business. Now he is allowed to go out in some of his favorite places.

I really don't care if his leg heals perfectly at this point. I just wanted to respect him and try to give him some freedom. Today he has a plastic bag and little sock over the lower part of the cast since we had rain last night.

This is much like having a toddler with an attitude. He is no longer on any pain meds, and I am hoping maybe the uncomfortable part of the cast will slow him down a little bit.

And to top it off, I was eating some scrambled eggs and toast this morning. I felt something stuck in between two back teeth. I have really close teeth in the back, and I am always digging stuff out with floss. I put my fingernail in there, and out popped a piece of tooth that chipped off. Now we are talking about a rush to the dentist. I go tomorrow morning. I am going to my friend AE, and maybe that will help my dental phobia some. At least he knows me. Strangers never seem to take it seriously when I tell them I don't go to the dentist regularly because of my fear.

JE came over to visit Saturday after the Weaving Guild meeting. She was surprised when I told her over the phone about Noodles. It was good to have someone there to help distract me from being so worried. She is making some really pretty counting bracelets to sell at our booth at Mt. Magazine. I have gotten distracted from what I was doing last week. I need to get back on track again.

I was digging around in my basket yesterday, and I found my last pair of gloves in the bottom of the basket. I guess I never finished the fingers. I have two fingers and a thumb to finish. I think I can do that without thinking. I tried to do my fairisle socks yesterday, but I couldn't concentrate. And I am not doing any lace on the handspun sweater for the same reason. I messed it up once, and it was such a pain to repair.

I found these mushrooms in the back yard in a wood chip pile. The color is accurate. I cannot find them in my i.d. book.

I have to go peek out the back door now and check on the kid. He gets this look on his face if I stick my head out and ask him if he is okay. People don't understand that he and I have always been able to communicate pretty well. A friend of mine once told me that she was impressed that both my cats always looked people in the face as if they could understand what that person was saying. She said most cats do not make eye contact and they certainly don't appear to be listening.

Patty has been totally oblivious that anything is wrong. She is pretty upset that she is not the center of attention right now. Dogs!

Have a good week. Catch up with everyone later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Six Months to Miss Patty!

Miss Patty has been here 6 months today! I am letting her hair grow out through the winter. She is happy, healthy, and getting so much braver than the first time I showed you her photo.
She is now spending a lot of time outdoors during the day by herself. A lot of time means maybe 20 minutes. When your bravery is measured in minutes, that is a long time.
I think I have finished all my outdoor chores for the Fall. I am always getting myself into some kind of mess that reminds me that I am now in my sixties, and there are reasons to call someone to do chores. But -no!- I can do this one myself! Yeah! Right! It took me all day long to do this chore.
I have always wanted my gas cylinder bell in a different location, but my neighbor snuck over in the early morning hours of my first week in the house and hung it in the tree by the deck. When there is full leaf on all the trees, it does not catch a good wind. I have full knowledge that it is very, very heavy, and hard to hang. So I left it.
When I went to Taos I found two galleries that had these same kinds of bells-just fancier, of course- and that made me want mine in a good wind place. So I have been studying this for a month of where to put the silly thing. There are no trees, except the one that it was mounted on.
And how am I going to mount this thing. So I found this cast-iron thingie that I thought would be sturdy enough. Then I decided I wanted it in a place that someone would not be able to steal it.
Sunday I climbed up my extension ladder about 13 feet off the ground and tried to screw in the cast-iron thingie. Well- the screws just would not go in, and it took many trips out and up the ladder to finally get that done. Then I decided maybe it really wasn't strong enough, so I put something over the support piece to support that.
Okay! Now I had to remove the bell from the tree location, and I got out the eight foot stepladder. That took a lot of effort, strength, and at least three trips to do that. I mean this sucker is heavy! I rested a little bit, and contemplated how I was going to carry that heavy thing up my extension ladder 13 feet and get it onto the cast-iron thingie!
But it is done. Everything groaned a bit when I placed it onto the support. It held. If it falls, nothing will break. I would just have to repair the wood. But my god, it took me all day to do this. And I really was shaky in the arms by the time I finished this last part.
I got the stalks cleaned out of the garden, and the pokeberry stalks cut back. I got some grass cleaned out of the front bed. It is too dry to pull out much grass. I got the rain barrel and spout cleaned out of all leaves and gunk. I disconnected the rain barrel for the winter. I cleaned out the gutters this morning of leaves directly under the tree.

A little bit of spinning going on. This is the orange, happy yarn that I finished last week. I am spinning on my sage dyed Romney right now , and I am not working really hard. I am finished with my toddler-sized socks, and almost done with the last pair of fingerless mitts.
I am starting to get labeling done for the Fiber Extravaganza at Mt. Magazine.
Oh-speaking of Mt. magazine, my son RC and his fiance HJ are getting married at Mt. Magazine on January 22, 2011. And yes, it will be cold! And yes, they want to have the ceremony at the scenic gazebo outdoors!
So back to work. Did anyone see the Conan O'Brien American Express commercial in India making his curtains for his show? Too funny!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Wow! I am back on track with my homespun sweater! It took over 4 un-knitting tries and much, much concentration. Last night there was victory! I am to the point of decreasing the armholes! I really thought that maybe I was retarded. I just could not get the unknitting to get to a point of figuring out the pattern. I was off my count by two stitches. During CSI last night I took a deep breath, unknit the last row one more time and found the two stitches and was able to get my lace rows on track! WHEW! What a mess.

I also took these blurry photos with my old camera. I did buy a new camera, thought it was easy to use, and it isn't as easy as I thought. Somehow the old camera has forgotten to tell me that there is an error 45, so I did get two shots for the blog.
The reason I took the photo of the marigolds in the weeds is because I did not plant marigolds, I was weeding one day and saw them over to the side. Volunteers are nice to have, but so late in the season is another thing. I did not weed around them, and I am letting them re-seed themselves again. Another perseverance example, huh? I have not "felt" good for a coupla days. I decided maybe I just need to rest and get myself back on my own schedule again. So yesterday I put on the podcasts and made myself spin all day. I was able to find one more little pkg of pin roving that appeared to match the bright orange and yellow yarn I spun. Now that I have finished it-spun and plied-it is not exactly a match. But it is a fraternal twin. I like it.
I like to listen to podcasts or an audible book or something while I am spinning. Especially if I am on a spinning marathon. There certainly is limited interest in t.v. and I especially have been turned off by the election mess. The media is still full of it. As if they can prove anything by talking so much about it. No one knows what is going to happen until it all happens.
I have been thinking a lot lately about my conversation in Tacoma two years ago with another fiber lady that said she belonged to the Slow Fiber Movement. I found a link today for the Slow Cloth Movement. I think this quote from Elaine Lipson sums it up:
"It's not a project or technique; it's a way of working with textiles in any ____ that begins with recognizing the value and beauty making things with integrity and skill." My computer did not print all the way to the side and I can't read the missing word(s) where the blank is. CJE and I talk a lot about only doing things that create joy for us and that we love.
Sometimes I wonder what my perseverance is with this handspun sweater. I got so frustrated when I made the big mistake, recognized it, and was disgusted. I threw it aside for some weeks. But then I was determined to correct the mistake, and that has taken me a week to do. And now I am back on track. I don't think of myself as having a deadline with it; it's just getting it done. It will be a beautiful sweater when completed. It will last a long time. Believe me, the yarn has held up to a lot of unknitting and tugging and poking and pulling. And it is still a nice yarn. Handspun yarn is meant to last a long time.
So I guess I am on the train now with the Slow Fiber Movement. I want to create something I like, something that shows my skills as a spinner and knitter, and yes, it will take me a while to complete it. Actually I have the upper part of the back and the front to knit. Then I block it, and sew it together.
I want to get the dyeing done with the red oak that I have and I have a coupla other things to dye. I looked at the walnut tree, but it appears the squirrels have been busy there too.
So keep working. We have time on our side and we want to use that time wisely. Oh- Fall Back this weekend. I hate daylight savings time. Don't even get me started on that. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Election Day!

I am sick-I mean really, really sick- of all the stupid campaign ads. I have gotten so used to just walking away from the t.v. when there is all that crap going on. I mean-Campaign 2010- is the newest slogan!

Anyway, the weekend went pretty fast. We got a late start, and we ended up at our meeting place later than planned. Our ride was waiting on us. It took a major effort to unload all our gear! One would think that we were staying a week or two. But luckily we had eaten in the car while driving, and all we had to do was set up our tents in the dark and settle in.

It was the worst coldest night I have ever spent in a tent. It wasn't just me, either, because everyone in a tent was complaining about being cold. I have spent many nights in a tent with the same sleeping bag, and I have had my tent covered in snow and frost. I have never been as cold as I was Friday night.

Patty was shivering so badly that I stuck her down into my sleeping bag. Now you have to picture me in a mummy down bag with a little dog stuck in the bag. I was not able to zip it totally closed, but I was able to pull it up and around my head.

We got up pretty late, despite all the noise of the early risers. You have to imagine that there are always early risers that start the coffee, start the hot water, and are generally pretty noisy. There were more small, little children than we have had in a very long time. They were pretty raucous and tree-climbing and pretty much having a great time in the woods.

After our Saturday night meal-always a community meal- we had our trick or treat time for the kids. Then there was the spider hunt, which the kids all love. Finally we had a video session with everyone telling their memorable story about Mirkwood. It was the 30th anniversary, and this was a documentation and testimonial video. I snagged one of the couches in the cabin as my sleeping place for the night. It was much more comfortable than a cold tent.

Patty blossomed. She went from person to person and socialized all the whole time. She really won everyone's heart. I was like a proud parent watching her. She actually snuggled in my lap a couple of times during events and took little naps. She pretty much ignored the other dogs. She never barked or made any noises. Oh-and she actually did a First. She drank out of the creek! I was so proud of her. It took a while to figure out she was not going to get a bath, and that it was safe to just drink the water.

I got little knitting done. CJE, JE, and I did get a lot talked about our booth at Mt. Magazine.

Last night my son and his new fiance (notice no longer girlfriend) called to talk to me about their trip. My heart is so full of love and emotion about it that I can hardly express much. She told me she finally is able to talk about the trip without crying. She loved the family ring, and the history behind it. We laughed about their last visit, and how hard it was to keep everything secret and how hard it was getting the ring out of the house without her knowing. They are thinking of a January wedding. Pretty quick!

I have been studying cameras. I have pretty much settled on something, but I have not really gone into the stores to shop for it. I know blogs are pretty boring without pics.

Time to find something to eat. Have a good week!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wow! The First Frost!

Yep! There was actually frost this a.m. I can't believe it. It is actually Fall now! And in that case, it is time to go camping! Yeah!

It is time for our annual trek to Mirkwood. Remember in past loggings I mentioned our annual trek to Mirkwood, and how our "family" gets together at this remote-I mean nine creek crossings remote-place in the middle of the national forest. Well, my friends JE, CJE, and I are heading out this afternoon to actually work in one extra day of camping. Someone will meet us at the first crossing since we do not have a vehicle capable of getting into the location.

Right now I am baking cookies, and I have most of the food ready in the food box. Yesterday while I was at our Thursday Night Knit Night, Patty got into the food box and ate all of her treats. I mean a sack full of treats. I am surprised that she wasn't throwing up all night. She bypassed her food sacks I had prepared. I guess the treats are more better.

This will be Patty's first camping trip, and her first sleeping in a tent trip. I am actually carrying a small blanket for her. Since I am not backpacking, I am not so concerned about the extra weight. I can't wait for her to realize that we cannot go inside the house to get warm. It will be a shock for her, I am sure.

I am not sure what knitting I will be taking. I know the mitts, since they are just a rib stitch. I want to take the fair-isle socks, but that will require some concentration. I finally dug out the handspun sweater that I had thrown aside in disgust about a month ago. I have almost tinked down to a spot that I can study the pattern and try to get back on track. That's about 4 inches of unknitting. It will require some concentration, too. I thought of baby socks, since my friend GAK wants me to knit a pair for her new baby grandson-of course, in green.

I will be carrying my Kindle, of course. I have a great book light that I clip onto my clothes and I can knit or read or whatever. I have my lantern/flashlight, of course. If I am sitting in a group, it isn't polite to have a bright light just to do my thing. My book light is a small LED light that I can direct down to my lap. It works great for this sort of thing.

There will be no phone service either, so everyone is out there without communication. You will not see anyone with a cell phone in hand, texting, talking, or other rude behavior. There will not be any computers anywhere, either. My Kindle is about as tech-ie as it gets.

I haven't replaced my camera yet, so there will be no pictures. Sorry! It is totally gorgeous in the forest, and the creek will be pretty high.

So off to get last minute things done. I have to get the ice chest out of the shed, clean it up, and then I have to check my list of camping gear one more time. Then I guess I better clean myself up and make sure I have all my activities lined up. Off to the woods! Yeah! First Frost! Yeah!

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Spring Again!

My camera is dead. I got the new battery, installed it, and the same error message came on again. I talked to a friend that knows a little bit about cameras and he told me immediately it is a wiring problem that is probably connected to the lens opening mechanism. So it is cheaper to go out shopping for a new camera at this time. I am not ready to do that, but will add it to my to-do list.

Yesterday was our sock group meeting. We met at someone's home instead of at the LYS. It was a very relaxed and happy group. One of our friends had some knitted garments in a fashion art show, and the people that attended gave us a report on that. We ate a lot of sugar, but it was all good.

My son and his lady friend are on their vacation. They will have some news to give us when they get back. My older brother called at 8 am to tell me he saw them last night. They were in Atlanta staying overnight with his daughter, and he came into town on a swing through to Mobile. He said they seem really good together, and that his daughter now has a boyfriend that is settling her down some. So I guess all the kids are settling down. His son is engaged to be married next year.

I finished the feather/fan scarf. It is really pretty, and it blocked out really nice. I used Noro sock yarn that was gifted to me. I don't like single ply yarn for socks, so it was destined to be something else.

I am almost finished with one of the ribbed fingerless mitts. I tried a cable pattern, but it got lost in the colorway. The yarn is very nice. It feels good, and I think it will be soft once washed.

I put everything on hold last week to get the alpaca spun for the judging deal. I got lazy about Friday, and did not push myself to finish by the end of the week. I set goals and push myself to meet goals. I get grumpy and I get mad. So I backed off, gave myself permission to not finish, and I have just a little more to do. Last night I got out the fiber I had carded, and spun up my single. Today I will ply it and card the last one. I will get it done, but it will take me longer than planned.

We are having the weirdest weather. I know I have been saying that a lot this year. But it is the fourth week of October and it is in the high 70's! Maybe close to 80 degrees today. It is muggy with humidity from the rain we just had over the weekend. It feels very Spring-like. Yesterday there were tornado warnings out for the southern part of the state up towards Little Rock. They say we are going to have a cold front this week, and that the low will drop to the 30's. Really! We are not getting a good Fall color season this year. It has just been too warm and dry.

My friend CJE spent the afternoon yesterday dyeing some more fiber. She found a tree had gone down over the driveway when she walked out to get the newspaper. So she just spent the day putzing around and decided to dye. I think she has finally gotten the dye-bug.

My computer just froze and I am hoping all this is working now. I had to go back and correct a few things, but I better quit while I am ahead. Have a good week!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

$500 Socks! Yeah! Right!

I tried to copy/paste the article today on Shine at Yahoo about the $500 socks that were ugly as sin and were not washable. Okay! What's the deal? I hope that my homely homemade socks are not going to be the ugly step-child in the closet. I like my warm woolies on my feet, I like that I can wash them, I like that they are handmade, and I like to make them. The joy of homemade socks is boundless.

It just doesn't seem right. Sock people have tried to tread on the surface for some time. We like socks, we like making socks, we like wearing socks. Despite the prejudice from What Not To Wear that threw out all the ladies socks she wore, I have persevered with making socks. I dare Clinton or Stacy to touch my socks.

Now this ridiculous parade down the runway with ugly tights and ugly socks. Huh! Sock people have more class. And cuter feet!

I believe it is daytime, although the fog has set in for a little stay. We had an unusual hot and dry spell for some weeks, and we finally got the rain we needed. With that rainfall, we got a cold front, so we had lots of thunder-boomers and lightening. Patty does not do well with that show of fireworks, and pitter-pattered up and down the hallway until I yelled at her to just get in bed and go to sleep.

I am waiting for the battery for my camera. I had to order it and it should be delivered today by UPS. Then I will find out if that error message was for the battery or is the camera DOA. I hope this works, because I have lots of things I want to take pics of .

Saturday my friend CJE came over and we spent a blissful day in and out of the kitchen dyeing and experimenting. We got the most luscious blue alpaca, some really lovely blue wool, some pretty pink wool, and she had faux cashmere from Paradise Fibers. I had never heard of it, but let me tell you, it sucks up the dye within minutes and sucks all the dye out of the water. We did several batches of that with just fun kind of dyeing. I also did one skein of blue that I consider to be a denim blue that looks like indigo. The sock yarn is an alpaca/merino blend. Unfortunately the alpaca rebelled and frizzed. I didn't do a second one because of that. It was very exhausting (what a pun). CJE took a nap late in the afternoon, and when she woke we went to eat. A rather busy, busy day.

Right now I have the handyman doing some essential repairs that have to be done now, rather than later. It is terribly distracting. But I am glad to find someone who really is doing the work, and not someone who will call me back later-then never does.

I got up early this a.m. to get ready for the repairs. Poor Patty. I had to make her go outside and then afterwards she went back to bed to sleep. She keeps yawning and stretching. I am seeing an older dog in her more and more as it gets cooler. I don't think she is as young as 5 years old. She moans and groans as she goes to lay down. And the snoring!

Noodles insisted that he wanted the lap every time I tried to sit down yesterday. It is hard to knit around a big ole cat in your lap. I finally gave up and put my feet up on the recliner. Then he eventually spreads out on my legs, and that gives me more room.

I have been working on the alpaca for the spinning guild work. I am not too happy with it, since I want to play with the stuff we just dyed.

The finches are definitely in their Fall coats. I miss seeing the bright gold and black flashes outside. Now everyone just blends in. They haven't started a feeding frenzy yet. There are too many seed sources still, and we haven't had a freeze yet. My cosmos is gorgeous. I hope the camera works so I show them.

Well, I will stop now so I pay attention to the handyman and what he is doing. Keep knitting socks, and don't expect to get $500 a pair for them either!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Simple Life

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. - Abraham Lincoln

My life is very simple, and for most days it is equivalent to watching paint dry. A lot of people ask me what I do all day, since now I consider myself retired. It sounds rather dull and boring, except to me. I get up, I open the back door, greet the back yard and scan around, walk Patty for her first little walk, and then I begin my day. I may spin a little, I may dye a little, I knit a little bit, I read, I do all those things and more. I check my emails, I might visit Ravelry once a week, and I do read other people's blogs.
This past week has been out of my comfort zone. I have had strange people in checking out the furnace system, and a new handyman that hopefully will do the priority things that will make it through another winter. I have been making appointments for winterizing the house and my riding mower. All these things are not part of my simple life, except they have to be done so I can have my simple life.

I am letting Patty's hair grow, and hopefully it will help her get through the winter okay. She is already groaning and moaning, so I think she is maybe a little bit arthritic. Everyone last weekend thought she was older than 5 years old. I can't tell. She's just a little dog to me. I now am calling her granny lady when she groans and moans. Right now she is in deep, deep sleep and is snoring loudly.

I could not find a manual online for my camera, but I did find a q&a section that mentioned some other error message for a different camera. It was suggested that they take out the battery, wipe it clean, reinsert it, then try that. When I was in Taos one of the vendors I know from the times I go there told me it was my battery. I tried the taking it out, wiping it, reinserting it, and it still was giving me the error message, and the black screen. So I tried recharging it. It would not recharge. So I took it out and I have tried every place I can think of in this town to get one. No one has that size battery. Everyone suggested the priciest camera shop in town. I am not going there because that store scares me. I am going to the Internet first. I will try to track it down. It is beginning to look like I may have to spring for a new camera if this becomes any more of a hassle.

I finally broke down and turned on the heat last night. It has been around 40 degrees, but yesterday morning when I got up my indoor thermometer said my house was 61 degrees. I was cold. I did not put on a wool sweater, but the sweatshirt was not all that warm. I did put a child's flannel shirt on Patty. It was good to just sit in the sun on the deck. Last night I turned it on and it was pleasant all night and this morning. I am one spoiled puppy when it turns cold.

So I am off to run a few errands. Then I will return to my simple little house and live my simple little life that is probably boring to most folks. But I am happy, and my birds are happy, and my pets are happy. What else could one ask for?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yep! It's Fall!

My assistant is looking for warm places lately. This seemed the best place at the time, even though it wasn't really the best.

I spent two days cleaning and sorting through things getting ready to go again on another quick trip. My son and his lady friend spent Friday night with me, and they left early on Saturday morning.

Then I rushed to take a shower, pack my bag, get the food together, and pack the car. I threw Patty and her stuff into the car and away we went on a trip to south Oklahoma. I have another friend that I used to go on trips all the time, and now just an occasional trip or two. So I guess this trip was in honor of those trips. I knew I needed to go west and south. So I held the map in my lap, and when I got to a road I would glance to see what direction it would go. I zig-zagged west and south and it took forever. At least one hour longer than was necessary. Coming home I took a direct east and north route and was home in much faster time.

I am now dead tired from all this traveling. I emailed my cousin and talked to my brother last night. They both have to travel all the time for their jobs. I cannot understand how they do it. I am truly worn out.

This morning I awoke to a heavy fog outside the window. It really and truly feels like Fall. It is chilly enough to wear a sweat shirt while I have the back door open. I have started feeding the birds.

Another sign of Fall are Fall chores. I have had the furnace inspected. The lawnmower man should be here today to service the riding mower for post-season stuff. And the handyman is lined up tomorrow to give me an estimate on all the chores I need done before winter. The furnace man assured me that my furnace and air conditioner are old and decrepit. I knew that already, but I am not ready for a reality check. I do have a sales person coming today to discuss all the options I have and I can do some more studying.

Yesterday evening I went online for the umpteenth time to study hvac issues, and I found an energy stick on one website. After I plugged in one year of utilities, I found out on a scale of 1-10 I am at 10 already with my old, decrepit units. I have a 0% footprint at the moment. But I think that is because I live alone, and that I am very,very conscious of my actions. I am insulating the windows and doors more this year than last. I put on more clothes or socks or a sweater or something. I was raised in a drafty old house with little insulation, and I know how to dress for the colder weather. It isn't pretty or sometimes comfortable, but it's do-able.

How do people manage without savings to prepare for these emergencies? I don't like to write big checks. It pains me in a way that is hard to explain. Maybe it is because it takes so long to get some savings, and I don't want to give it away. Maybe I have enough Scots-Irish in me to genetically say I am frugal. Maybe it's because I was raised by grandmothers and a grandfather that went through the depression. I don't know. But I hate to tap into my savings account.

Patty is still hunting for grasshoppers. I am hoping that soon she will forget them. If she eats too many of them, she throws up. Since she has no teeth to chew them, she gums them into small enough pieces to swallow. So when she throws up, there are grasshopper parts that are pretty recognizable.

Well, I am going to go back to winding off this skein onto the skein winder. I need to get the spinning off the wheel. It is hard to get back into my normal routine after all this chaos.

Have a good week. I hope all goes well. It feels like time to get the woolies out.

The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. -Eden Phillpotts

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fiber, Food, and Fun!

This is a HUGE pumpkin patch on the road to Taos through Kansas! This is in Granada, CO. It was after this picture that my camera screen went black and a message that said, "Error 45. Please see your user manual." So I was only able to get three photos the whole trip. I tried several times.

My girlfriend and I got up early Thursday morning, loaded up her stuff, and away we went across southwestern Kansas. I will not try to explain about the feedlots that hold huge amounts of cows waiting to be slaughtered. You smell them miles away and there is only that aroma that comes from a feedlot.

We stayed in Trinidad, CO, which is near the New Mexico border. Then after a stop at WalMart to get cold medicine for my friend, we crossed over to New Mexico. We saw tons and tons of antelope and one bison farm in the grassland before the mountains.

Once we arrived in Taos, we drove around a while so I could orient myself to the town again. We had a very hard time finding the alley that led to the bed and breakfast we were going to stay in.

This is the door to our room. I am pretty sure that this at one time must have been the maid's room. It was up three flights of very, very steep spiral stairs. It was located over the kitchen area.

This is only a part of the stairs we climbed up and down to and from the room. I think it was perhaps two feet wide. But I loved it. It was really a little bit isolated from the rest of the rented rooms, and I guarantee that no one would climb those stairs unless they wanted to. The door was not secure and we had a wide window in the bedroom that was open to the roof. We left that open most all the time. There was a skylight in the bathroom that allowed a cross ventilation.
What do I have to say about the Wool Festival? It was wonderful. There were 60 vendors this year. Some were new and some were old and familiar. The weather was hot during the day, and I got a little red burn in the face. I went to a class on how to start a business on etsy. That was very good.
Sunday we went to Espanola and Chimayo and returned to Taos on the High Road. They now have a brochure to promote the artisans and galleries on the High Road called The Art Tour of the High Road. Of course, most everything was closed since it was Sunday, and many of the studio require prior notification. We just enjoyed the twisting mountain road, and the coolness up at higher elevation.
Then we left our fantasies behind and returned to the real world.
Food was wonderful. We tried to eat outside as much as possible. We tried all kinds of stuff, but I don't do as well with strange food as I used to. My friend can eat peppers and hot stuff better than I can.
On the way home we stopped in Granada to buy some produce. My friend bought 50#s-yes, 50#s- of onions. I bought some melons. There is a town called Rocky Ford that has a reputation for melons. This is the last crop and they are smaller than previous crops. They smell wonderful.
So now I am back home, trying to get several things done before I have things to do this weekend. I have a load of clothes on the line outside, and I did a small permanent press wash that is in the dryer. I ran some errands in town earlier. I need to wash and vacuum the car, but I haven't done that yet.
Patty and Noodles were ecstatic to see me, needless to say. Noodles brought me a live rat sometime in the evening. I made him take it outside to eat it. When we went to bed, he got under the covers up close to me. Patty slept with her head on my feet.
I got up early and spent a lot of time in my studio. I love to brainstorm with other people about problems with different dye jobs or spinning problems. One lady gave me an idea this past weekend, and I wanted to try it out.
So now I must buckle down and get back to work. I need to finish some sewing. But I am still tired from my trip. It will take a while, I am sure.
More details later. Just to let you know I am back!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Updates!

Yes, this is Friday. A day that is unlike any other day this week. Just when I think I am getting ahead, I am reminded that I am behind.

Plus this Blogger goof is constantly editing itself. I lost one whole paragraph when I hit the space bar.

I finally finished the stupid linen stitch scarf of 450 stitches across and knitted long-wise. I tried 4 different bind-offs and I do not like a single one of them. I was told at the Knit Group that a standard bind-off is fine, and that when washed and blocked it all works out somehow. Well, I did not like that chained effect that conflicted so harshly with the cast-on stitches.

This morning I finished the bind-off, and I hate it. I tried my 4th one, and said to Hell with it. I am just going to finish this thing. I hate it. I am afraid it did not "work out" in the wash and block. Right now it is pinned and drying. I do not know what to do with the thing now that it is finished, and not to my liking at all.

I am on the home stretch with fingerless mitt #1. I decided to do something easy and fast to make up for the scarf debacle. I am using some fat merino yarn gifted to me, and #7 needles. Works up FAST!

I have been contemplating what knitting to take with me to Taos next week. I know I will take the feather/fan scarf, and what else? Actually I thought of not taking any knitting and giving my hands a break for a while. So what I will probably do is take the scarf, and not work on it much. That would give my hands a bit of a break. My arthritis is screaming today (we had rain this a.m.) and I have a sore tendon in my L thumb.

Our sock group meets on Sunday. CJE is coming over early so we can catch up on news. A lot of people are still busy, so it will be a small group.

Patty has certainly taken macro-steps this week. She has discovered the hunting and catching and gumming to death of grasshoppers! It is so totally gross, and I will not go into any details to anyone. But this has made her want to go out on her very own, and I have left the back door open for that purpose. Anything to encourage her independence. She is so intense with the hunting thing. I see her looking into bushes and plants. She pounces on them. It is funny to watch, until I see the legs sticking out, etc.

The babysitter for Patty and Noodles is coming tomorrow evening to get her key and to meet the animals and get the routine down. Yeah! for babysitters!

I am getting really excited about leaving on this trip. For the longest time I really dreaded the whole idea of packing up and driving and all the hassles. But the more I think about the cooler weather, the energy from all the fiber folks, and just being in Taos again, the more excited I get.
Just to be around people who speak the same language helps.

Well, Happy Weekend! Stay cool and remember it is never too early to knit for Christmas!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Is It Really the Middle of September?

My gosh! I looked at the calendar just now, and yes, I will be in Taos in two weeks! Wow! Two weeks! I better get high behind and get this piddling knitting done and get something portable on the needles and get ready.

I am sorely tempted when I go onto blogs or etsy sites to buy something woolly, but I am holding myself back for the wool festival. I know that I will find something really nice there. I mean-who wouldn't find something nice there?

I also will make my regular trip to LaLana Wools and to Rachel Brown's store. I don't really have an agenda this time. I just want to go. I just want to be away. I just want to smell the sage and chimisa and all the desert plants. I want to have some different scenery.

I did get my car serviced this a.m. bright and early. They even washed it and vacuumed out the interior! I can strike that off the list.

I am really tired of the knitting I am doing right now. I want it over and done with. I have really found out that I am a process knitter. Once I have figured out the pattern and casted on and knitting is going smoothly, I am bored. I think that is why I like colorwork knitting. Lace is good too, but I get distracted easily and I don't always know how to read the knitting to figure out where I am on the chart.

I am disgusted with myself over the handspun sweater. I started decreasing for the armholes-no problem. I started with the lace pattern, and I thought it was no problem. Then somewhere about 2 inches into the lace pattern did I remember that one has to mark off the repeats so it lines up right as I decrease the armhole. Duh! How stupid! So now I have to unknit all that and start that over again. SIGH! Some days I could just scream at myself!

My friend's kitty that was sick did not die! Whew! She is eating again and is doing so much better! I am so relieved.

I did get a call from a long-distance friend that her mother had passed away yesterday. She has been in hospice for three months, and she passed in her sleep around 12:30 a.m. without pain or anymore suffering.

The weather is in that in between state of coolish mornings and 80's in the afternoon. Just now I could hear the woodpeckers calling. So it is getting close to time to put out the birdfeeder. I noticed that the finches are turning colors, too, into their winter time plumage. They are still eating on the sunflowers that are left. I made sure the manure tea has plenty of water and will age some more over the winter.

I had a huge garden spider in the compost bin for quite a long time. The biggest storm we had lately made her lose her web. I did notice another one attached to the shed wall and the comfrey stalks. I don't know if this is the same one or another one since I didn't get her name when I tried to put compost into the compost bin. When I was a little girl I called them letter-writing spiders.

Patty is wanting to go outside, so I guess I will walk out with her. Have a good weekend.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weird Friday-Random Thoughts!

Yes, the weather is changing. I read other bloggers and many up further north of this state are actually have coolish nights. Enough to actually be unsure about plants outside. We still have one more solid month before we begin to worry about plants outside.

The blackbirds are migrating. I toyed with the idea of putting out the birdfeeder so the finches would have enough seed to molt and fatten up for winter. But when I looked out and saw birds on the power lines like in the Hitchcock movie, I thought the birdfeeder can wait. If one of those pesty birds gets an inkling there is choice feed, all the birds will come around.

The light is changing. Normally I wake up around 6 a.m. and stay in bed as long as I can before Patty realizes I am awake. Lately I have been waking up around 7 a.m. instead, and I am always surprised that it is later than I think when I look out the window.

I am listening to a Deepak Chopra tape-The New Physics of Healing-while I am spinning. I decided to blend the two dabs of wool that I dyed with the brazilwood. So this yarn will be 50% romney, 25% merino, and 25% angora. The bunny is almost greasy feeling-certainly harder to spin than other fine fibers.

I am now decreasing for the armholes on the sweater. I haven't been knitting as much this week. My arms ache, and I decided to give it a rest. Last night was Knit Night at HandHeld.

Our sock club will begin again in a coupla weeks. That will be a nice intimate group of knitters, and I like that smaller group better. It seems we can share and talk about things better than a big group of people all knitting different things and talking about everything under the sun.

One of my knitter friends has a sick kitty, and it makes me sick to my stomach. It sounds just like how Baby got towards the end, and it makes me cry more. I know she is really hurting and trying to do everything for her kitty, and I can only hope the best. It is so difficult to lose one's fur child.

I finally made up my mind to go to Taos to the wool festival. I signed up for a class on Saturday morning, and that will be fun. I made reservations last February for a B & B downtown near the Plaza. Everything will be within walking distance, and I can just park my car. I found a sitter that will take care of Patty, and that's a relief. It will be very difficult to leave her, but it is not feasible to take her. If I was just traveling around, I would take her along. But since I am parking and not traveling for a few days, I can't take her along. I feel guilty, but I know I will get over it by the time I get through Tulsa. That sounds awful, but it will be good to be away for a while.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of 9/11, and it seems a lot of people are working themselves up into a tizzy. I just shake my head, and wonder what is wrong with people?

This morning at 3:30 am Noodles got in a big cat fight with someone traveling through. I ran out to the deck, quickly assessed the situation, and threw a big bucket towards them. It broke up the fight, but the intruder still had a hard time getting away. Now I just hope Noodles doesn't get sick from something he might get from the fight.

I think everyone is beginning to feel the need to knit sweaters and other garments since the weather finally broke. I am thinking about socks lately, but I have too many projects going right now. I kinda like the new group on Ravelry called Frankensocks. I have been using my leftover yarn for a lot of projects.

Have a great weekend. Get out and enjoy the weather while it is nice. I know Fall sports are starting, and don't forget to take your knitting with you to the game. We can root for our kids in all their games and still knit.

Don't forget that it is getting close to Fall chores in the yard, too, before the Frost. And don't forget to have your lawn mowers serviced at the end of the season.

Keep knitting and have fun!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Whew! The Drought Broke!

Yes! It is Pre-Fall! We have had some rain, a little thunder-booming last night, and a cool front blew in with a lot of north wind! It is one of those glorious days of listening to the wind chimes and bells, and letting the wind blow in through the open windows and doors.
I boiled up some marigolds that were stashed in the freezer and made a wonderful dye. Although the color looks washed out in this photo, it really was a golden mustard yellow. Really nice! So nice that one of my little friends decided to visit. I had to wait until it left before bringing in this skein. I didn't want to disturb him/her.
I am having a hard time concentrating today. I just want to do stuff. I guess I just hunkered down waiting for the weather to break during the whole month of August.
Yesterday I took Patty with me to Knit Night. The LYS has some really gorgeous yarns in right now. A sure sign that Fall is coming soon. It was really noisy at some point, and I just packed up and came on home.
I am in the mood to sew right now. Don't know why, but I am. I haven't actually cleaned up that room since I did the floors way back in the Spring. I still have stuff just stashed in there, and I really need to clean it out. That seems to be the one room Noodles likes the best; I guess because there is less traffic through there than the others.
Speaking of Noodles, he is on one big ole rat-killing spree. Every night he tries to bring one into the house. So far I have managed to way-lay him and keep them out. I found one decapitated on the back doormat, and a whole one on the front doormat the other day. These are field rats-like pocket rats-not those ugly big ole Norwegian sewer rats. They are not too repulsive. At least he has laid off the birds for a little while.
Speaking of birds, the hummingbirds have slowed down. Maybe they are going to migrate soon. I have noticed a change in light lately, so maybe they will take off. The earth is rotating again. Another season is approaching.
I did get out and repair and remake my post birdfeeder. It seems the bottom was totally not savable. With Noodles and the raccoons jumping up on it, it had finally decided to give up. Noodles will jump up and hook his arm onto the feeder and swipe out to catch the bird. It is quite a feat, but doable for him. I put a new bottom on and got it all ready for birdfeeding season.
So stay focused and enjoy this glorious weekend. It is wonderful weather again for a little while. So enjoy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Busy Week!

Well, this has been a busy week! It has gone by fast, and when I look at the calendar, I wonder where the month has gone.

I have been knitting a lot, and I have been spinning a lot. But there does not seem to be a lot of progress made. The linen stitch scarf is on the last two inches now, but it is such a slow-knitting scarf. I have to finish it this week to avoid humiliation. Everyone else has finished at least one, and TR is on her second one already. I have lined up a fair-isle scarf as the next one, but it is waiting patiently for its turn.

CP brought a pair of socks she is working on in a knit-a-long that incorporates the linen stitch in the pattern. I really like the idea of using the linen stitch for the heel flap. Seems a nice sturdy heelflap that would take the wear and tear. You know, I do not have a sock on the needles! How strange. I am socked out right now.

I was honored that SDH asked me to play with dyes with she and her granddaughter yesterday. We did splatter-dyeing for t-shirts and we ended up dyeing two skeins of yarn for me and three for her. I do not take dyeing very seriously, but I am always amazed at dye results from first-timers. I think that it is always interesting when one has never learned the rules and feels no fear to try something that is new. And a child always thinks a lot of dye is better than a little bit of dye.

My neighbors have gone on a little trip, so I am getting their mail and newspaper. It is a chance for me to catch up on news. I quit reading the newspapers a long time ago, and I seldom watch news on the t.v. But I grew up reading the paper twice daily and discussing it. But the newspaper here is dull and repeats the same old news all the time. But I do like to read the local reviews of movies and get the happenings around town. Not that I go to movies any more.

JF went to see Eat Pray Love and said it was definitely worth going to see. I trust my friends reviews. I read the book, and I am sure Julia Roberts integrity would not allow a sleazy movie.

I am presently reading a wonderful book about a guy that blew up the Glen Canyon Dam and a smaller dam downstream. He is -gasp!- an environmentalist that was tired of the bureaucrats and other politics in the organizations he joined that he hoped would save the Colorado River. Of course, they were a waste of his time, so he concocted his own scheme to save the Colorado River. I think I shocked the others in our knitting group when I told them that one of my fantasies as a young girl was to blow up Hoover Dam and save the Colorado River. That's why I like the book, I think. Someone else had the fantasy, too.

I just made a cable boo-boo on my handspun sweater. It is really difficult to unknit cables. I am not happy with it, but I think it will be okay. I am not going to rip it out again. Pooh!

Patty went to the groomer this week, and he skinned her good. I am trying to let her go back to the Schnauzer look, but it will take a while to undo the mess I made in my haircuts. Luckily her hair does grow pretty fast.

It has been pretty cool at night, and she is sleeping pretty close to me at night. I get too restless at times, and she moves away. But I will wake up with her attached to my back or my butt or my legs. I may have to make her a sweater this winter.

Well, must go. Have a good weekend. I still have some marigold dye left, and I am going to dye a coupla more skeins of yarn. Nothing else is planned.

I know CJE and AE are back from Borneo, so we will probably get together some time this weekend. Nothing else going on.

Talk at ya next week.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Finished the DAMN Socks!

Yes-as one can see-the DAMN socks are finished!!! This started as a knit-a-long with the sock group. I don't like toe-up, so I started at the other end of the chart and did top-down. I rushed to finish a goodly part of it so others in the group could see what it looked like. As I looked down at the instructions, I noticed that I was supposed to use one unifying color as the background color. Oh, no, I was being so "smart" and using up scraps of leftover yarns and ended up with this totally weird pair of sampler socks. It kinda reminds me of the "scrappy" quilts that just uses up scraps and bits of fabric. Oh, well-they are done and finished! Oh-and yes, they do not match. Some of the patterns I just had a time keeping up with the charts. And the second sock had to use a different shade of the color that was on the other one.
Yes-it is still really, really hot and dry. I am trying to keep up with some of the plants, but mostly they will have to survive on their own.
There is one major sign that Fall is coming soon. Tomorrow is the Full Moon for August. In one month will be the Autumnal Equinox. Whew! It cannot come soon enough. We had a lovely display of planetary alignments this month. I never saw the meteor shower or any aurora borealis during the huge solar flare-up. There is just too much light pollution here. I know the real reason for the constellations in the sky, but I like the solace of the Big Dipper holding all the water in and therefore we are getting no rain. Soon the earth will rotate again and the Dipper will allow some of the water to spill out.
It is weird how sometimes these things come to my mind. There were so many taught me by grandmothers and grandfather. I remember a particular dry spell like this one, and my grandfather went out and killed a snake. He hung it over the garden fence with its belly up. It rained after that.
Another story that came to mind this week was the one about my older brother. Since I was a baby, I don't have a memory of it. But I remember being told this by my grandmother. My older brother-like most boys-played with frogs. We lived on a fish farm, so there were lots of frogs. He particularly liked tree frogs. One day a snooty woman from our church came out to visit my mother. My mother worked on the farm, so she didn't encourage visitors during the work week. As they were sitting around talking and drinking iced tea, my brother came running in the house. He had a tree frog attached to his forehead, and he was so proud of his frog. Mother dismissed him and told him to go back outside and play. After he left, the snooty lady said, "Orel Lee, I know it is none of my business. There are doctors who can take that birthmark off of Bill's head. He would look a lot better without that mark, and you need to do that before he starts going to school. Other kids would make fun of him, you know."

I finished the orange, red, yellow yarn. It is quite vibrant. Since I worked on my handspun sweater again this week, I thought I would spin a coupla ounces of that wool so I would have another ball of that. Instead of digging through the sacks, I reached into the bin and pulled out some roving of the Jacob I had premeasured and put in zip-lock bags. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I had gotten the wrong fleece. One has more charcoal gray in it, and it was the wrong one. But I finished up that little dab today and it is blocking out on the yarn blocker.
Now I just need to find the right fleece and spin up a coupla ounces and put it with the sweater. Then on to better things. But I will be diligent and finish this little project. Luckily it is easy to spin and works up quickly.
I am about half-way through with the linen stitch scarf. My friend GK gave me a ball of Noro sock yarn, and I started a feather and fan scarf with that. Otherwise, my knitting has been going rather slowly. For some reason my arthritis decided to hurt a little bit in my hands, and I have been careful with that. Just now I washed my dishes and washed my skein of yarn. The hot water for the dishes helped more than anything. And the yarn wash was warm. I always told my patients to save their dishes to wash for the mornings. And to wash them in the hottest water they could stand. And now I am doing just that.
Patty's hairdo is looking a little bit rough. I have been keeping it short for the summer, but I do not know how to do a traditional schnauzer cut. I think she must have a problem with her skin, because if I let her go over ten days without a bath, she licks the top part of her feet a lot, and I find her licking her stomach a lot. Enough that her stomach turns pink. A friend suggested she could have a grass allergy. We don't have much grass left, but there is some. Once she is bathed, she is fine. No licking for several days. Around day 7-8, lick, lick, lick.
Noodles is laying under the ceiling fan right now. He knows where the best air movement can be. He tried to play a little bit with Patty the other night. He crouched down behind a cosmos plant, wiggled his butt, swished his tail, and jumped out towards Patty as she trotted past. He made a chirpling noise and danced sideways with his tail crooked. Patty skittered sideways like a scared pup, which she was. Since Noodles attacked her week one of her stay and ripped open her tongue, she has avoided any close contact with him. I patted him and tried to explain that Patty doesn't know how to play kitty-play, and that he would just have to forgive her this once. He just looked at her with scorn and tried to ignore her snub.
Well, I am going to vacuum the area around the spinning wheel. Then I will dig around in the stash and find the right fleece. And on we go, around and around.
Have a good week! Faith is knowing that Fall will be here soon. Hope is waiting for rain to come. Keep on knitting. Keep on spinning. It all keeps us sane until the heat breaks.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Observations!

Just some random observations:
-I was up at 6:30 a.m. to water what little bit of watering I could do to keep some plants alive. As I was carrying a bucket of water out to the forsythias out by the roadside, I noticed there were 12-15 larvae crossing the road. I looked up and sure enough, the poor catalpa has leaves stripped off. I am sure these are "catalpa worms", although they are not worms but larvae. By-the-way, if you are a crappie fisherman, this would have been heaven to get the "worms" so easily. But......where were they going and why?

-In the middle of the day, it is advisable to just stay indoors. I cannot breathe in this heat. It just takes my breath away. Even Patty is panting by the time she goes potty and come into the house. Noodles is staying in during the worse part of the day.

-In spite of the heat and thanks to a/c I am still knitting and spinning.

-I really appreciate my friends. Although I have much gratitude, it was just a little bit annoying to get so much company all at once. I know my close friends have been worried about me, but please, I am fine and I am busy.

-My friend GK came last week and she really helped my move out of the stupor of selfish pity-pot. She didn't expect to be waited on, and we were able to go to our own spaces. She loves to read, and she rested and read a lot during the visit.

-Finally recuperated from her visit, I got an email from another friend about coming to visit me. I assured her I was fine, and that GK had just left two days before. So she and another friend showed up on Monday night. Sigh! This time I had to cook and "attend" to them. I had to blow up the air mattress.

-So last night I went to knit night to try to catch up with "goings on" and with my knitting. I feel like I have not been keeping up with my daily requirements.

-I downloaded a good book from NetLibrary and have been spinning some happy, joyful, blissful pretty merino roving. It is a thriller called Doomsday Key. It is really good. I have read other books by this author with these characters, but I really like listening to this one. It keeps you excited and "on edge".

-I am only about half-way through with the linen stitch scarf. I am plugging along with those damn fair isle socks. I am about half-way through with the foot part of the #2 sock. Almost there.

-My friend that came this week brought a watermelon. We halved it and she took some home with her. I ate my half yesterday. I was hungry for just wet and cold. It was so good. Isn't watermelon one of the most perfect fruits? And my possums and raccoons like the leavings.

-I take Patty for last trip outdoors around 10 p.m. For the last two nights there has been a big armadillo nosing around in the back yard. Patty doesn't bark or show any interest in the critter. She just looked for a few minutes and then moved on. I think most dogs would be barking and yapping and acting like something was invading territory. She is one strange dog!

-I noticed that ragweed is beginning to bloom! Great! If heat isn't enough, then add a little ragweed to the mix!

-Enough rambling along. Maybe next week I will be back to normal again. At least I am not moping around. I was having a lot of trouble focusing for any length of time. Now I am able to spin and knit for longer periods of time. I even listened to podcasts on Sunday as I got to spinning again.

-Try to keep cool. In about 3 months we will be complaining about how cool it is becoming.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Odds and Ends

This is the granny-square baby blankie all stretched out on the blocking board. The colors are not very true. I used left-over sock yarn. I like it, and think it is really pretty. It was easy, easy, easy. This is a walking stick that was on the screen for a coupla days. He/she was really pretty. I love the color green of this insect, but could not get the color shooting from the other side of the screen.
My friend GK came to visit for three days from the Wichita area. I have known her for many, many years, and I know her reason was to comfort me. She says she just needed to get away from home for a few days, and that this was the time she could get off from work. Today is her birthday, and she is celebrating with a group of her children and grandchildren.
Today I washed Patty squeaky clean and gave her a little bitty trim. I did her nails, too. She looks and smells so much better. She actually went to sleep while I was doing the trim work around her feet. I don't know if it is normal with her breed, but the hair on her feet grows really fast front and back and in between her toes.
My friend CJE and her husband AE are leaving for Borneo for three weeks on Monday. They want to see the orangutans before they are all gone. They are also going to see flora and fauna. We have had major discussions of what knitting she should take.
I just can't seem to get back to my normal routine. I am behind in my work on fiber objects, and spinning, but I don't seem to focus when I sit down long enough to knit. I need to do a load of laundry, too, and sweep the floors. I think I am going to take a nap.
A few days after Baby died I bought Noodles a new scratchy pad and sprinkled catnip on it. He is so happy. Yesterday I found him like this.

How does a 17 pound cat fit on such a small surface? But he was sound asleep and never knew I was taking his picture.
I promise not to bitch about the heat. But when August hits 100 degrees actual temp and feels like 107 degrees with the humidity, it just takes my breath away.
So I will leave with this quote:
"What dreadful hot weather we have! It leaves me in a continual state of inelegance."
-Jane Austen