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!