Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, SH!

Today is one of my oldest friend's birthday. Oldest meaning the length of years we have been friends-not chronological years. I am actually a wee bit older than her. But we grew up from cribhood on together.

Yesterday I went to her house to spend the afternoon with her family. Her oldest son and his family are visiting from Maryland, and her daughter and granddaughter came over to visit also. I think my friend is a little bit tired, having a house full of young people running around, eating, and just making a lot of noise. She actually took a week off from work so she could be available to them. And they have been busy.

I know that I had a headache by the time I got to the yarn shop for Knit Night. And our usual quiet get-together turned out to be the night of a combination birthday/going-away party for Sarah Jo. So the shop was full, the noise was very loud, and we didn't get a lot of visiting done.

The biggest problem we have in this group is when one person shows something, or is knitting something, we all want to do that something. Last night is a linen stitch scarf knitted with koigu. Okay, I know I have tons of yarn at home, but I bought the pattern and 3 skeins of yarn for the scarf. Just like everyone else. Unfortunately they only bought 6 patterns, so only six of us are doing this right now. Or whenever I can get going. It actually looks like it is woven, because the linen stitch looks like the product is woven.

I just took a little break from this. A strange service truck pulled into my drive. I am always nervous when someone strange drives in, because it is not a normal thing. It turned out that my gas meter was scheduled to be replaced, and he then came in to turn on the hot water heater pilot. You know, I think this is the first time ever, ever, ever that anyone else other than me has lit a pilot light for me. Well, sorta, I guess. The hot water heater was turned on when I moved into the house. He also checked the furnace to see if I had an automatic ignition, and I told him it did. He checked anyway.

I scanned my usual blog entries this morning. It appears that Summer is happening to everyone right now. I don't feel so bad. I think it is seasonal, and that I have work that has to get done. I am the only one to do the work, and I haven't trained my dog to run the lawn mower - yet! I think she is such an airhead that it would look really funny when she finished.

Our sock group meets this Sunday. Four or five people have already emailed or told me they cannot come. I think it is the Summer thing again. A lot of people have family things going on, and some people are traveling. I can't get all that excited about this sock, so I am not too upset.

I am doing the waist decreases on the handspun sweater. It is kinda fun since I have to keep in pattern. Not enough of a challenge that it is demanding. I just have to keep on my toes a little bit.

My friend CF is back home again. The friend that she was staying with passed away this week. It is such a blessing, but it is sad for his children. They were all with him all last weekend, and were with him when he passed.

I am just glad my friend can get her life back on track. She said she wanted to re-evaluate her pottery and see what direction she wants to go with that. This is the time of year she can make money, and she needs to get to work on that. The gallery that sells her stuff has been really understanding of why she has such small pieces and such a small inventory. But I am sure they have called her already and asked for some bigger stuff.

I guess I will go make some lunch. It is 12:30 and I am a tad bit hungry. I know this is awful, but Red Baron makes microwave pizza by the slice. They are not so bad. I know it is not the same as homemade or restaurant quality, but not so awful. The crust is thick and chewy, and the sauce is okay.

Well, have a good weekend. I am so very close to finished on the mitered blanket thing. I have to finish the ends, and wash it. Then it's done. Yeah! Pics soon. I have put the crocheting down for a little bit. My forearm is hurting, and I know it is the way I crochet that aggravates it. It is about 28" square. I like it.

Keep cool and keep knitting! Just sit under the ceiling fan like Noodles does. He is stretched out right now directly under the fan!

Friday, June 18, 2010

June-A Month of Heat, Humidity, and BUGS!

The sunflowers are now blooming! I love the red ones, but the yellow ones are so strong and YELLOW!

I just noticed the phlox blooming right over by the monarda. What a contrast between the purple and that red!

Butterflies are loving everything, and I caught this little guy on the cosmos.

You can hardly tell he's there. Look on the left side of center, and you see the bee! I have a bumper crop of bees this year. Bumblebees and honey bees. I enjoy looking at the garden. I have to admit this year the garden is a bit wild, but I wanted a naturalized garden.
What I don't like are the darn ole Japanese beetles. Because of the other good species of insects I cannot put out poison to get rid of them. So I am trying the traps that are supposed to do something that it is not doing well. Last night I spent 30 mins on one plant just picking them off and throwing them into the traps. Yuck! They are consuming at an alarming rate of speed. My poor althea is just about lost all it's blossoms.
And I could not fathom what happened to my hollyhocks. They have been a surprise, because I did not plant them. They have been well over 8 feet tall, and the prettiest pink flowers. I love hollyhocks. I mentioned that in a previous post. Then two days ago I found most all of them have been broken off and are bent over and dying. I was really hurt by this. I appreciate the gift that was given, and now this!
Last evening I looked out the window, and guess who was enjoying the hollyhock pods and blossoms? My friendly woodchuck family! The culprits got chased off, but that is a futile job. They are really clever and will figure out that I am not always standing around watching for them. Sigh!
Let's see. I only have 4 more squares to finish the mitered blanket! Hear me scream Hallelujah!
I did spend a little time watching Antiques Roadshow and was able to get ends woven in. It is hard to watch that show and do any pattern knitting or counting.
I FINALLY got the hem put in on the sweater! Yeah! I have started the rib and cable part, but kinda forgot that I need to start decreasing on the waist. Will start that now, but have to write down the numbers so I can do it the same on next section.
I am slowly working on the fair-isle sock. Nothing ecstatic about that. I did not enjoy knitting the first sock, but liked the result. That is the reason I am persistent with this second sock.
And the crocheted afghan is going along well. Nothing exciting there either.
Still spinning -actually plying- the same wool.
And I am in the mood to dye. Maybe this weekend.
Tomorrow is our local Knit in Public Day at the Fayetteville Square during Farmer's Market.
So that about sums it up. Yucky bugs, good bugs, beautiful flowers, heat, humidity, and grass that still needs to be mowed and weed-eated. Life could not be better! Unless I get the spinning wheel that I have put a bid on. That's it for this week. Good weekend to all. Stay cool, stay calm, and think happy fiber thoughts.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday was my parent's anniversary. If they were living, it would have been their 63rd! A little less than one year later, I was born. I have seen a video of old home movies that a friend of mine has. They looked like kids. They were young, they were so in love, and they had their whole lives ahead of them.
The monarda is blooming. It is such a vibrant red! It looks really pretty now with the yellow of the correopsis. The echinacia is blooming also. I have the purple and an orange one of those. The sunflowers are almost there. The lambsear is blooming. The althea in the back has a few blossoms coming on. So the change is happening from the early flowers to the summer flowers.
I guess everyone has heard about the Albert Pike flood in southwest Arkansas. This was a place that I spent a lot of my childhood, and then it was not a fancy campground. We did primitive camping, and we were away from the main campground area. We had our camp set up on the banks of the river. There were two mommies and six small children. I remember that my youngest brother was 18 months old when we first went there. There was never any danger of flood then-or that I knew of at that age. We walked quite a long ways to a spring to get water. Everyone had to carry containers of water. On the news it said Langley-the nearest little town-was six miles away. I remember it as being a long ways away, and that we made a major trip there once a week to get ice for the ice chest, and maybe to wash clothes. There was someone who had a you-pick-em field of corn on the road, and we always stopped to get corn on that trip. We never worried about how to communicate with anyone. There was no danger as we know it now. Our mothers probably called our daddies when we went to Langley, but I don't remember it. The only danger I remember was the fear of wild pigs getting into the camp. We had drills where we had to run to a tree and climb a tree as fast as we could. I can only remember once that it actually happened. I also remember how intrigued I was when Miss Eloise made toast in the fry pan by putting a dab of butter in the pan, and then the bread to brown it. I had never seen that before, and that was fascinating to a little bitty kid.
And also I spent a great part of my summers in Gulf Shores, Alabama. And now it is gone too. The oil has ruined the beach, and people are not going. When we went it was just a summer place for people out of Mobile. The cabins were very simple and rustic. We always rented a cabin that belonged to a friend. There were no condos anywhere then. We put crab traps out, and we fished a lot. We had friends in the shrimp and fish business, so we always got the freshest fish as the boats came in. I remember one time that a doctor met us on the beach. He was so intrigued that there were four generations of us there together in a tiny little cabin. My great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, and us kids. A family friend that was older than my grandmother lived in a small town in Alabama and we would often get her and bring her along.
Sunday was spent in the raging hot sun building a fence for Miss Patty. My goal is to teach her that she can go outside by herself without me holding her paw. Right now she will only go out with me and I have to walk along with her around the yard. She is getting more adventurous, and she has ventured out onto the deck by herself. I have seen her in the yard twice by herself.
By winter it would be nice to open the door and she could go without me.

I looked out just now and a beautiful yellow finch was in the front flower garden. I guess it is eating what seed there is. But I think they know that the sunflowers are coming along nicely. They just want to stake out their claims.

CJE and JE came over during the fence making activity. My friend GO had pounded the stakes in, which is the hard part I cannot do. I had nailed the fencing to the deck, and the four of us were able to stretch the fencing and wire it to the posts. I just want to say, getting old is not all it is cracked up to be. I was hot, I was tired, and I was wiped out by the time that fence was finished.

GO left as soon as the fence was completed. CJE and JE and I ate a chicken wrap, and lay on the floor to cool off. We then did a great deal of show and tell. JE gave CJE and me a small bag of merino roving and a dog toy for Miss Patty. We had such a good time together.

I am knitting the hem on the handspun sweater. I have done this three times now, and I guess this is going to be it. Why is the provisional cast-on and then picking up of cast-on have to be so fiddly? I seem to have a major time with it.

I have been knitting on the second fair-isle sock, and I did another stupid thing with that. I was knitting along on the row, and without thinking I snipped the tail of some yarn hanging inside. I didn't realize that I had not woven the ends in. So when I got to that section, it pulled out when I inserted the needle to knit that stitch. So last night I tinked back to that section and will start over again. Sigh!

I am crocheting along on the giant granny square. I am quite happy with that. Yesterday I could tell I was tired. I had added a new color, and did a coupla stitches and kept looking at it. It wasn't right, but what was wrong? It took a while to realize that I was going the wrong way. The good thing about crochet is that you just pull the string and the mess goes back to the right place, and you don't have to worry about a dropped stitch.

I apologize for the appearance of this entry. I went back and tried to tidy up and space a few things. It got all out of hand. So I guess it is all good. Just as long as I can get some news down it doesn't really matter what it looks like.

I guess I will go sew for a while. I also have some more sorting through junk to do. GO reminded me that I need to make a new will since I have the house now. Sigh! I just want to sit and knit. I guess I need to pay some bills too. Later.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

June Is Busting Out All Over!

On June 1, NPR played this song, and I can't help but remember it. It is a beautiful, joyful, exuberant song. "June is busting out all over!"

Well, anyway, my flower garden is looking really full and lush, and it is definitely a naturalized garden. There is not a drop of formality or planned-ness in it. I drove up yesterday and I looked at the garden from the street as I turned in the drive. It looks really pretty. Much better than that expanse of weedy grass that was there. My surprise hollyhocks look very odd over by the side of the ravine in the weedy patch. They are very pretty and pink. I absolutely love, love hollyhocks, but for some reason I have never been able to grow them. I get them to get to a certain point and that's that. I know they are weedy little greedy plants, and that they are like a pest in some people's gardens. That's why I am ecstatic to see them at all. I hope they take over that little patch of weediness.

Yesterday a neighbor dog came over to check out the smells in the yard. Miss Patty actually barked at the window. I didn't see him at first, and couldn't figure out what she was doing. She never, ever barks, and this was a new behavior. But he eventually came into view. I was amazed that she even woke up enough to see him there. Normally she is in such a deep, deep sleep that she never hears anything. She sleeps through the doorbell!

As predicted, it has turned really HOT! We are baking for early June. It is so weird that we had that cool, rainy three weeks in May, which was so unusual for May, and now this baking, searing, hot early June. The stupid grass seems to be thriving, and I am still mowing like mad. But I have to do my chores in shifts since I get so hot.

The yarn bombing (or yarn graffiti thing) went off without me. The last I heard it was going to be done in the evening of First Thursday on the Fayetteville Square. But the industrious little wenches went out early Thursday morning and covered the lamp posts on three sides of the square and the posts up to the City Center. Arkansas Fiber Peeps has some links to pics on their Ravelry site. It looks really good.

Our LYS HandHeld is doing a trunk show of Cynthia Parker's knitwear. Amazing stuff!

Miss Patty still requires me to go out and lead her around the yard. Now the cats have to walk around with us. So the four of us walk around the yard, and Miss Patty stays far enough away to give the cats their room. She is definitely getting her real personality showing through. There are still scary moments to her if she interprets things as scary. But she is learning to play a little bit. And she is trying to be a little bit independent.

Last night I was determined to finish the one fair-isle sock. It is done, and amazingly I like the way it looks. It is a wee bit short, but I am not undoing it. I am still knitting the finishing pieces of the mitered blanket, and I am crocheting on the addiction afghan. It looks good too. I haven't been too excited to knit or crochet this whole week.

This morning I did find a quilt that I liked, and I drew out the picture of the block. I think this is the way I want to sew the next quilt. I haven't been sewing, either, which is weird for me. Summer is always my sewing time. I have a set of pillow cases all ready to sew, and they are draped over the ironing board. Maybe next week I will get high behind and do that.

I don't even want to talk about the Gulf mess. It is very distressing. A friend of mine sent me pics of the America from 1930-1939 during the Depression. Well, in 20-30- years ahead, someone will be sending folks pics of the Gulf Of Mexico debacle. It will never, ever be the same again in my lifetime. It will take at least two generations to regenerate the eco-systems that are being destroyed.

I am going to CJE's house today to play. She has been really, really, sick with a virus that almost put her in the hospital. So off to play, and have fun.

Have a good rest of the weekend. Enjoy the sun, but be careful. Wear sunscreen and hydrate.