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

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Weird Thought

I sometimes get some weird thinking going. I was looking at something today, and the phrase "Stick To Your Knitting" popped into my head. Okay. So I googled it, and most of the responses were something that Archie Bunker would say to Edith.

Most of the responses were that it was a phrase used to tell people to do what they do well and do not try to diversify.

Also I found one reference that was interesting. Instead of trying to find out about something you are unfamiliar with, just stick with what you are familiar with.


Aren't most knitters constantly looking for that perfect pattern or perfect yarn or reading about a fiber that seems really interesting or on and on and on? I do not know many knitters that just stick to one thing. I do have one friend that will knit socks until the cows come home when she is busy, busy, busy. But I can show her a new pattern and she will incorporate that into her repertoire.

I do not know too many knitters that are static and typically just do one thing with one yarn. I am not talking about monogamous knitters that do one project at a time. I am talking about a knitter that just never explores a new avenue or who never becomes curious about a new pattern.

So what is it with this idiom that seems weird? Knitters never stick to one thing. If we get tired of knitting sweaters, we knit a scarf or a hat or some socks. Or we run to the LYS and get a fiber fix and then ideas start flowing. We do like to diversify.

And one other thing. In a knitting group, I think everyone talks about everything. We talk about food, children, parents, sex, books, politics, local gossip, and just about everything.

So there is my commentary on "Stick To Your Knitting". I know that it is strange to persevere on something as silly as this. But it kinda seems weird to me. I think it may be a cultural expression, but it needs to be visited.

Philosophy is a wonderful thing. So curious knitters keep on doing what you do best.