Friday, December 30, 2011

Did Mother Nature Forget This Is December?

I finished the scarf!  It is Scalene by Carina Spencer.  I used size 4 needles.  The red is Everlasting by Dream in Color and the black is Cosmo by Linie 33.  The black has 5% cashmere in it.  Actual yardage used is red: 360 yds ; black: 217.5 yds.    Because of the garter ridges, it is soft and squishy.  Whew!  Another project DONE!

The weather is incredibly warm-high 50's!  It is very windy today.  I did do a bit of clean up yesterday in the front flower bed.  Because of the wind, mildew, dust, and whatever else is in that bed, my sinuses are killing me today.  I am not going to do yard work today, although I may go out and weed eat a little bit.

The sun feels oh, so good!  We have a cold front moving in Monday, so I am taking advantage and trying to be out as much as I can.

I can't believe that Sunday is January 1, 2012 already!  Wow!  December went fast for me.

I have an ingrained belief from one of my grandmothers that whatever you do on the first of the year is what you will do the rest of the year.  I want to take Patty out for a hike in the woods somewhere.  I know that I will knit or spin or something all year.  But maybe this will be a start to doing more outdoor activity again.  I love to go for walks in the woods.

So have a great weekend.  Enjoy your celebration, but go play on Sunday.  We need more relaxation, don't we?   

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day!

Well, Christmas is officially done.  I had quite a lovely day of sitting in sunshine, watching the birds eat me out of house and home, watching the Christmas tree lights twinkle, and since it was Sunday, I listened to NPR and spun yarn.

 I finished up the green Polworth, skeined and washed it, and it is on the blocker as we speak.  I started some roving I got a while back that is a "stretched" merino.  I am not familiar with that process, so I am not sure what that means.  It is easy to spin and works really fast.  So it won't take long to make it appear into yarn.

It has been lovely and sunny for two days now.  I found a way to set my chair in front of the French doors and let the sun shine on me.  Then this morning we are back to rain and chill.  I am so thankful every day that we do not have snow or ice.  I do not want much of either one, but since we have three or four more months of winter, I know it is coming.

I stood out in the yard last night watching the stars.  It is remarkable how the earth rotates and the sky changes.  I love the winter sky more than the summer one.  I think it has something to do with light, but I don't really know why I do.  I love the quietness of the nighttime, and just watching the sky.  The trees are skeletons without their leaves.  So viewing is very easy.

I got some really lovely gifts, and I am so thankful for those.  But for me, gift giving is a year-long activity.  I like to find that special "something" and I know exactly who to give it to.  It is the hunt, I think.  I read a long, long time ago that that is one of the differences between men and women.  Women see something that reminds them of someone, and it is an emotional response to purchase it for that person.  I think the article I read was about food primarily, like buying the special cheese someone likes or a special wine. 

Both the animals are asleep and avoiding the weather.  So I think I will turn on the audio book I am listening to and spin some more "stretched" merino.  It seems the perfect day to eat soup and bread, and do something simple-like spin yarn.

I hope the weekend was good for everyone.  One more week in December!  Wow!   

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Birthday

Today is my younger brother's birthday.  As morbid as this seems, all three of us have outlived our parents' ages when they died.  That used to be a goal, but now I am way past and don't think about it.  I never hear from my brother any more.  He has been mad at me for some time.  But every year I send him an email wishing him Happy Birthday.  He used to always get a chocolate cake.  He doesn't eat sweets, so I never understood the chocolate cake thing. 

Yesterday was Solstice.  Normally I have a simple ritual with candles and I like to cook something special.  Yesterday I had a hairdresser's appointment for a hair cut.  Then I swung by CJE and AE's house.  CJE and I wrapped gifts until we were starving.  Then she drove us to a nearby town to a wonderful new restaurant.  It is run by some Mennonites in town, and the building frame was a really old, old barn from Michigan.  The food was great!

We were seated at a small table by a window, so both of us had a chance to knit while we waited for our meal.  We celebrated with a shared dessert-a brownie with ice cream and chocolate drizzle.  Sigh!

So then we decided to go to a local antique/junk store.  Driving there I saw a sign for the Wildlife Safari drive through place.  So off we go to find that place.  The sun was shining so brightly and gave the illusion of warmth.  We saw tons of animals that I have never gotten a chance to see in real life.  It is approximately 5 miles of driving slowly through different groups of animals. The emus like to run in front of the car.  So imagine the Ozark hills and high plateaus with Serengeti animals.  There was one really cute hippo playing with a big black rubber feeding bowl.  He was tossing it around, rolling it, and pushing it with his nose.  I tried not to think of the big cats in big cages.  They had huge, tall platforms for them to climb on, and there was one tiger way up on his throne.  I thought that surely he could just give one big jump and be out of there.  Oh-there are white American bison everywhere.  Some were really blondish yellow looking, but not albinos.  They were everywhere.  Some of the big guys had really muddy faces that I guess was from wallowing. 

Returning back to our starting point, CJE parked so we could go to the petting part.  They have several Pygmy goats that were expecting any minute, and a tiny donkey that looked pregnant.  So that pen was locked.  We went into the kangaroo section.  I have never petted a kangaroo before.  They have the softest fur that I can't describe as anything but downy.  There were a lot of babies there too.   There were bunnies, chickens, ducks, peacocks, and one big huge turkey.  One chicken followed us around, and a staff member told me he follows her all the time.  She just calls him Red.  We stopped on the highway leaving to see a couple of young camels.  They were expecting a gift (food) and one just made rude noises when we didn't give them anything.  Further down the highway was a huge pasture with yaks, long-horned cattle, and those African cattle with the weird horns. 

Of course our fiber eyes were only thinking of what we could do with all that fiber we were seeing.  CJE is wanting some of the white bison fur. 

So returning home from my day out, my two fur kids were very unkind.  They were "starving", and did I notice I was gone all day.  I had told them I wouldn't be gone long when I left. 

So today we still have a few clouds, and occasional sun.  From this day forward the days will be longer until June 21.  This always works for me until March.  Then I want it to be warm.  I usually tire of winter about the end of January.  February is a short month, and I suffer through.  But by March I am so over winter. 

I am nearing the end of the red scarf.  It will then be time to start the Fair Isle vest.  I haven't been knitting as much as normally.  I am spinning some luscious Polworth roving.  It spins so fast.  I love this fiber.

CJE bought me a beautiful calendar from Quilting Arts.  There is a most wonderful iguana on the front piece.  I love all the embellishments.  It makes me want to get in the sewing room.  I have neglected my sewing for too long.  So.....why am I not in there right now?

Happy Happy Whatever You Believe In!  I am one of the few who loves Christmas, but mostly because of the Solstice thing.  We are now on the side of more light! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Year of Christmas Disasters

Mom-The birds are driving me nuts!
I finished a beautiful afghan for R and H for their Christmas present.  It was something that would remind him of my grandmother, which he knew and loved.  I finished it, and I washed it.  When I laid it out to block it, two nice size holes appeared right near the middle where the yarn gave way.  SIGH!  A disaster.  Yes, I did repair it.  Even if it doesn't look too awful, I just can't in good faith give them a gift that may fall apart again when they wash it.  So I just grabbed a quilt from the pile, wrote an apology note and explained the situation, added all the embroidered pillowcases I had left from my "hope chest", and shipped it off. If they still want the afghan, they can have it with full warning that it may not last long.  SIGH! 

So after Noodles and I watched the birds for a while, I knit this little elephant.  Isn't she cute?  A little wonky, but still cute.  The wool was from something I had frogged, and I even made her a little scarf to wear.

I am getting geared down for hibernation.  I took on a massive project for someone to knit a traditional Fair Isle vest.  We finally picked the six colors last weekend, and I ordered one skein of the yarn to knit a swatch.  If the swatch is right and accepted, then that will be my winter challenge.  I am insane for doing this, but it will be a challenge for the wintry months when I can't get out to do much.

We have had a lot of rain this month, and only that one little snowfall.  The weather is fluctuating up and down, and we even had thunder and lightening last night.  I just can't get too excited about all this.

Somehow a bad person picked up a cookie from me and tried to scam some money.  The difference in this phishing is it was a fake email from a yarn company in Washington.  It was something about my paypal account did not go through, and could I go to this link and check the account, etc.  So I deleted it and went to the real website.  I checked my account since I knew I had not made any orders.  I emailed them to let them know that someone picked up their website info, etc.  I guess knitters are fair game to bad people now.

AE and CJE had their annual Wild Foods Party.  It seemed much calmer and not as wild as in the past.  My friend GO drove us to the party, and we left early.  There were lots of people leaving, and he noted that people are getting older and tamer.  I guess it is good to not be so feral as some of us have been in the past.  It seemed that there was not as much drinking as I have seen this group do in the 20+ years I have known them.

My brother sent me a link to a video my niece, Shelley King, did for the Austin Chamber of Commerce.  She is a singer/songwriter in Austin, so it was good to see her do something like this. 

I expect my neighbors will leave after Christmas to get away for the winter.  It will be nice to just let Patty go out on her own for as long as she wants.  When I do now, she heads straight to their thrown-away food in the woods.  Then she gets sick and that is not so pleasant. 

Well, I guess that catches us up on news.  Sixteen and one-half days until the New Year.  Isn't that hard to believe?  This year has gone fast.  It is hard to believe Christmas is only a week away.  Well, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

St. Nicholas Day!

Yes, I have a sock on my tree.  Doesn't everyone do this?
 Yes, I have a bear on my tree, too!
 And yes, of course, I have sheep!  Somehow the picture of the spinning wheels didn't happen here.  But I have spinning wheels, too.  My angel is made out of sheeps wool.  What can I say?

Last weekend we went to Hot Springs for the Arkansas Fiber Extravaganza.  I know several folks wonder at the marvelous decor here.  Instead of a bottle tree, we have a plastic flower tree.  These are just sticks stuck in the fence, and covered with plastic flowers. And we are talking the whole length of the fence.  We didn't tarry long in front, just long enough to take photos.
I did not take any photos of the event until at the last moment I took three awful photos of folks lingering around outside the vendor space.  There wasn't a lot of seating, so people do what people do, we rearrance the whole place to make nests or pods for our visiting.
And finally-this was what my yard looked like last Thursday.  Of course that is mostly weeds-or pasture plants-but green anyway.
 This was early morning today.  OUR FIRST SNOW of the season!  I know it isn't much, but it is the first of what will come.  It is time to hunker down and do some serious knitting!
Happy St. Nicholas Day!  I hope you get something in your shoes tonight!  Remember to leave something for his horse-carrots are always good!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stick A Fork In It-Part 2

I finished the plain socks-got a pic before washing and will get another one after wash.  Like them-they fit well-whew!  That's it for my socks this year.  Unless I get high behind and finish the giraffe socks!
And we will see about that.  I think that it is 8 pairs this year.  Maybe 9, but I think 8.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stick A Fork In It-It's Done!

My handspun yarn from Crown Mountain Farms-100% merino.  I used 1197 yards of handspun on size 5 needles for the body-size 3 for ribbing.  It is Anne Hanson's pattern-Aztec Mazes.  I started in April and finished November 26.  I am calling it at 71/2 months.
Things I really liked about this sweater-
1- The softness of the merino yarn.
2- The neckline is perfect on me.
3- The armhole technique was unique. 

The pattern was challenging, but very, very well written.  I will sing the praises of this designer.  She obviously knows how to make things as if she were designing for clothing.  I know she has a background in fashion design and it shows.

I am quite proud of myself, and this year's sweater is done. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Spiraling Dance of the Seasons

CJE and I got together and had another dye day.  She was so excited to have a new dyepot-a big ole turkey cooker like mine-and we had to try it out.  She got this lovely red stuff.  JE came over later and we dyed some of her stuff up too.  The blue is from the dye day two weeks ago.  I never did post pics for that.

We are gearing up to go to Hot Springs for the Arkansas Fiber Extravaganza.  I have been saving my money for that.  I have been really good to resist the impulsive buying of stuff online.  I have a bad habit of seeing something and getting it right then.  I am waiting until I can support the vendors at the show.

I heard a wonderful phrase yesterday that stuck in my mind-coupe de coeur.  It means something you fall in love with immediately-not necessarily an impulse, but close.    You just know it is the right thing immediately.

Tomorrow CF is coming into town to eat dinner with her daughter and grandsons.  But she decided she would spend the night with me.  That way she can relax and go to bed early.  She will be spending the day with the boys on Friday and half a day on Saturday before going home.  It exhausts her to spend so much time with young boys who wrestle and are interactive, but she loves them so much it hurts.

I am being my quiet self, working on my gratitude prayers, and happy to just sit and knit.  It has been so gloomy and rainy and chilly.  Today is sunny, warmer, and Spring again.  It is a good day to be outside more. 

I am about 1 inch from finishing the back of my sweater.  Yeah!  Today I can knock that out.  Then sew it up, put on the neck band, and voila! done, done, done.  Yeah!  I already have another one in line waiting to be cast on.  But it can wait until I catch up a little bit with some other projects.

I have been spinning yellow yarn.  It is so gorgeous.  I dyed it with goldenrod.  It is the creamiest butter yellow.  Gorgeous!

And today is a grooming day for Patty too.  I got her reservation for doggie day care while I am gone.  She has had her bordatella snort, and I am glad she will be well cared for.  She is so happy to see me when I pick her up it is well worth it. 

So Happy Thanksgiving.  Thank you for reading.  It is time to go outside and enjoy the sunshine.  Patty is ready to go for a walk.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What Delightful Weather!

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn. ~Elizabeth Lawrence

What weird and delightful weather this week has been. Yes, we have seen tornadoes, thunder storms, and other indications of Springtime in Autumn, and yes, there have been earthquakes in Oklahoma that were felt here. But it has been so warm that I have opened up the house to air it out. I have had time this week to clean the gutters, mow and mulch the leaves in the yard, and run all the gas out of the two lawnmowers. I have washed rugs and blankets and aired other things outside.

I think it is most important to know that this is only temporary, and that things will change. But I am enjoying the time I can outside.

Today I have spent most of the day out on the deck with one of my spinning wheels. It was lovely to sit in the warm sun and let the wind blow all around me. At one time I had two butterflies flit up to my wheel and stop to see if there was a flower there. The yarn is colorful, but not so tasty.

I am so very close to finishing the front yoke of my handspun sweater. I keep measuring, and as per normal knitting, it is not moving along fast enough. I picked up the giraffe sock the other day and did several more rows of that. I am so anxious to start my next project, but I am making myself finish up some of these projects.

I finished my order for the handspun yarn early last week. I was so happy to get that done. It was delivered on Saturday. Whew! I am not going to get behind again. I don't want it to be so much like work. So last night I spun up one bobbin of my goldenrod dyed BFL. I decided to spin up one more bobbin of my yarn for the sweater in progress. So today's spinning was to do that. Tonight I will ply it and tomorrow I can get it on the blocker.

I know that there are two days of rain this week. So I think I will knit during that time. I am just enjoying the warm outside while I can.

Last weekend CJE came over to overdye some yarn she wants to make AE a sweater. She bought some brown and cream barber-pole yarn, and he did not like it. She knit up a swatch to show him, and he still didn't care for it. So we got out the big dyepot, added some Gaywool, and it is gorgeous now. It is now a deep slate-gray blue and a lighter blue where the cream was. It is knitting up really nice, and he likes it. My motto is "If you don't like a yarn, just overdye it." It works most every time.

I am getting a little bit excited about the Fiber deal in Hot Springs the first weekend of December. I am not buying anything online, and I am saving my money. If I have any money left over after that weekend, I can buy stuff online. I am not too excited about Hot Springs. The only reason to go is to see people, and to be surrounded by fibery goodness. I love Fiber shows. It just gives me a chance to be with people who love the same things I do.

Noodles had his first anniversary of the broken leg. I am so thrilled he did not have any surgery, especially an amputation. The two big bones have fused into a weird bump, and occaisonally he limps. But he is killing things right and left, and still climbs trees. Not bad for an eleven-year-old kitty with a bum leg.

Patty is looking rather ragged without grooming. But I wanted her to have a longer coat for winter. I did get her down and trimmed her face, her nails, and some of longer hair. She likes colder weather, and she wants out all the time.

So we are just putzing around, getting things done before the cold sets in, and just enjoying the nice day. Noodles has gone out to the screened porch, and I am about to put some food in the oven for my evening meal.

Have a great week ahead.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Are You OCD?

This is just a little thought-are you OCD with your knitting? I am just going to give a few observations about people I watch knit.

I, personally, am OCD about details. I was taught by grandmothers and great-grandmothers that if you are making something, make it right. My great-grandmother that taught me to embroidery at age 5 would take my daily lesson and look at the back when I was finished. If it wasn't "right", she would take out the stitches and make me re-do the damn thing. I learned very quickly that it was best to do it "right" the first time.

Now 58 years later, I am not so meticulous about my embroidery. But I am finicky with my knitting or crochet. I want it "right". I may take something out several times until I am satisfied. When the shoulders didn't do "right" on the Jacob fleece sweater, I redid it twice. It drove me insane that I could never figure out how you do a sock gusset "in pattern" with the giraffe socks. Those darn Estonians-huh?

So today I am baking a cake, plying my yarn, and I just sat down for a quick sandwich. I then picked up my no-brainer scarf that is garter stitch. It is taking forever to get to 200 stitches. So just for fun-sies I decided to time myself knitted across 170 stitches with an increase at each end. 6 mins. I started to flag towards the end, because the dryer timer went off and I got distracted.

So this is a little extreme maybe. But not too bad an obsession. I just want things to be "right".
And that is my right, not anyone elses.

Now I have a friend who knits teeny lace, and occasionally big lace. But she can tell you exactly to the stitch how many stitches she has knit. And how many beads, etc. I don't have the math skills, and believe me, I have tried to think how one does calculate that.

I watched one friend fiddle around with tiny beads on a scarf she was knitting. Across the table another person was knitting the same scarf and not fiddling. There was a difference, but probably not to the average person. It is noticeable to some one who fiddles a lot.

And a couple weeks ago K at knit night was talking about how she didn't like the way the drop sleeve on her sweater was a little bit tight under the armpit. And that was the end of that discussion. I guess you know I wanted to rip it off her body and "fix" it. But I sighed and restrained myself.

So I am just curious how one becomes OCD with this stuff. Is it just a matter of training, or boredom, or what? I just know that I fudged one stitch on each side of my front and back yokes on the present sweater, and it is driving me nuts. But not enough to rip it out for the third time. In another year or so, I will forget that one stitch on both sides. There is an advantage to getting older.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Follow the Trail Marker

A little Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I think the drought and other conditions have stunted the poor thing.

I love the pattern of the worm trails on this dead tree.
Another dead tree adorned with lichens. I couldn't focus well on the fuzzy ones. But it was gorgeous!

I know you are not supposed to go off trail, but I did wander a little bit to get this photo of the lake from the trail. I have no clue what that streak of light is to the left of the golden brown tree in the middle.
All around the visitor's center they have planted a bunch of little trees. They were all red, while everything else, especially the indigenous trees, are yellows and browns. Sumac is deep blood red. There is a dogwood up close to the building, and it is a deep red color.

So why am I showing you all these photos? Is there a story here? I just wanted to explain a little bit.

Everyone is quite aware that this is the end of October. Monday is All Hallows Eve-Samhain for some- and for others, the night we are closest to spirits that wander. Tuesday is All Saints Day. The day to honor our ancestors and others who have passed on.

This is the season that we start to go into hibernation. We go deep into ourselves and we close up the house, and we get really quiet. We use up our stores.

We just had a New Moon cycle last week. With that cycle and the end of season cycle combined, I "went down into the well" We had two days of dark and gloomy and wet. I could see that winter was going to be a long time of dark and gloomy. I became dark and gloomy. I tried to do spinning-nyet! I tried to do knitting-nyet! So I watched mindless t.v. and slept a lot.

So to restore my balance and give me some new energy, I loaded up Patty today and headed to the woods. I did not care that it is the end of the cycle of colored leaves. There is still lots of color to see. I replenished my mental supplies with how the colors interacted together. As I drove to the destination, I observed how the yellows and brown and the greens melted together. I got ideas for dye combinations. I replenished!

And, yes, I got a confirmation last night that I have another order for yarn. And, yes, I needed to buckle down and spin today and finish the first bobbin of alpaca I started yesterday.

But I went to the woods. I needed to see the last day of glorious weather-maybe the last day. We never know. I just know it was perfect. A little windy, but warm and sunny and bright enough to put on sunglasses.

I observed what I needed to observe to replenish!


So now I can focus on what I need to do and finish the order. I can study the various yellows I have dyed and think about how to combine them into a yarn I might like.

I just took the banana bread out of the oven, and I think I will now go eat a bite of that.

Happy Halloween-Samhain-All Hallows Eve! Light a candle Tuesday for your ancestors to let them know that you are thinking of them.

I hope that you realize that this cycle is normal for everyone. It is not abnormal to be sad that the season is changing. Our culture just focuses on being young, happy, and thin. Just remember that your ancestors knew that this is the time to go deep inside yourself and find the balance that is needed to get you through the next cycle of seasons. Just remember to replenish your stores and you will get through the dark and gloomy times.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is Knitting An Addiction?

Ten Key Signs of Having an Addiction
Whether it's drug use, sex or overspending, do you wonder if your behavior is crossing the line into addiction? Dr. Gary Stollman, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist who helps individuals overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. He gives 10 key signs of having an addiction:

1) Recurrent failure (pattern) to resist impulses. 2) Frequently engaging in those behaviors to a greater extent or over a longer period of time than intended. 3) Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to stop, reduce or control those behaviors. 4) Inordinate amount of time spent in obtaining the object of addiction and/or engaging in or recovering from the behavior. 5) Preoccupation with the behavior or preparatory activities. 6) Frequently engaging in behavior when expected to fulfill occupational, academic, domestic or social obligations. 7) Continuation of the behavior despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent social, academic, financial, psychological or physical problem that is caused or exacerbated by the behavior. 8) Need to increase the intensity, frequency, number or risk of behaviors to achieve the desired effect, or diminished effect with continued behaviors at the same level of intensity, frequency, number or risk. 9) Giving up or limiting social, occupational or recreational activities because of the behavior. 10) Resorting to distress, anxiety, restlessness or violence if unable to engage in the behavior at times.

I got this off of

The reason I ask the question is because I am presently reading The Yarn Harlot's newest book. There is an essay about this very question. She only thought of it because one of her family members claimed she was a Yarn Addict. So she went to the library and looked up info in the DSM to see if this was true. As with any other addiction, she was able to explain it all away, and she didn't think she has a problem.

So today I am watching Dr. Phil while plying my current spinning project. As usual, it was about some whiny, spoiled little girl who was mad at her parents for their divorce and she is a drug addict. There was a line scrolled across the bottom that led you to go to to find the ten signs of addiction.

So, okay, we can certainly find faults with ourselves, so I called a friend that attends AA regularly (like 4 times a week), and I ran this by him. He said he didn't think I had to worry too much. Whew!

I know I have an addiction personality. I was anorexic until my middle 20's, and I was told by my therapist that I have an addiction personality. If I am not consumed with eating problems, then I substitute something else. Luckily I don't gamble (unless you talk about bad pattern selection) and I don't drink and I don't smoke and I am too old to worry about sex any more. So I knit a LOT. And I spin, and I dye, and I spend my days filled with fiber goodness.

And as for #8-I think it is pretty safe to say that attempting to do more challenging stuff like fair isle, or lace, or intarsia is not harmful to my health.

And as for #9-my social life revolves around knitting. I go to Knit Night when I need to socialize. I don't think it is so awful to decline a social event because you can't take your knitting with you.

My sweater does not seem to be growing very much. I am at the point when I want it to be done. I want it to be time to separate the tops so I can knit the yoke. I keep measuring and it doesn't seem to be growing. Hopefully soon.

I spent the day Sunday with CJE and playing with fiber. We measured out all the yarn she has done with her spindle (Navajo plied) and wound them up into yarn cakes, and then I put them in plastic zip-locks with the measurements inside. They are ready for her to knit now.

Signs of Fall are abounding. The trees are turning rapidly. The fronts are coming in sooner than I want them to. We have had clouds all day with misty rain. Temperatures dropped all day. There will be rain tonight with the front. The birds are eating at the feeder now. The geese are migrating. And this weekend is the work weekend at Mirkwood.

And the ads on TV are advertising Lay-Away for Christmas and what are you doing for Thanksgiving? Yikes! It is only a month until Thanksgiving! Hard to believe.

I tried to rearrange the kitchen today, but I don't like the refrigerator and freezer sticking out into the space so much. So I just cleaned well behind things and swept the floor well. I guess the thought of closing up the house for the winter is getting to me. I have been cleaning a lot. Maybe I will rearrange the living room.

Patty really needs to go to the groomer, but I want her hair to grow out more. I trimmed her eyebrows and around her mouth. She is really energized by all the cooler weather. Noodles has been eating more rodents and staying in more. Another sign of a change.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What a Beautiful Day!

I know this is stretching my imagination, but I saw a heart shape in my bread today while I was putting a sandwich together.

I have been enjoying this warm weather. It is so strange to know that any minute now we could be in cold weather. In fact, next week may be our first frost. It is good to get out and store up some Vitamin D. I read today that older people cannot manufacture Vit. D as well as younger humans.

We had a goodly amount of rain, even some thunder boomers. That made things a little more tolerable. I hope to goodness that today was the last day I have to mow for the season. I actually did some trim mowing as well, since I have not been keeping up with that in the heat.

CJE and I went to the weaving meeting last Saturday and then we went to Winslow to the FiberFest. She badgered me into putting a few things into the show to give support to the community of the event. Well-I won third place for my handspun socks. CF made the comment "Those aren't even your prettiest socks!" Yes, I know that, but they are handspun, handknit socks. Oh, well.

CJE won Best of Show for her shirt she made for AE. It is made from cotton they grew, she spun, she wove the fabric, and she sewed the shirt. I think she certainly deserved the award. She also won a prize for her quivuit scarf and her gloves.

I am plugging away on my handspun sweater. I have two more weeks to meet my self-imposed deadline for it. We will see. I have four more inches to knit until I divide at the armholes for the yoke. Probably not, huh? We will see.

I also started a pair of plain old socks with some self-patterning yarn in my stash bowl. I also started a Scalene scarf from some stash yarn and some black I picked up at the yarn shop. It has 5% cashmere in it, and it is SOFT!

I took my car in for service Wednesday. I normally have to wait for about 1 hour, and I get a little knitting done. This time I was there for 2 1/2 hours and I got a lot of knitting done. I worked on both the scarf and the sock in my bag, and I read a little bit of my book. I was not very patient, but I tried to think positive-"Look how much work you are getting done on this scarf and sock." "Big whoo! I can do that much at home, too!" I told self. Oh, well. The car is serviced and ready for winter.

The leaves are trying to turn color now. Unfortunately, I think the dry spell did make them unhappy. But I love to see the colors in the Fall!

Leaves are verbs that conjugate the seasons.

-Gretel Ehrlich

So this week we had a FREE day to drop off electronic stuff. I was so happy to get rid of an old computer, an old phone, a printer, and several other things. I was happy to drag them out from under the bed and out of the house. I had to figure out how to delete info from the computer, but I already had purchased the cable to transfer stuff from the old computer to the new one. I then could not figure out how to delete the info from the old computer. I Googled it, and all you do is Restore your computer back to a date before any files or programs were in it. I used the Restore program CD that came with the computer. It worked. Problem solved. Unless you are the FBI or CIA or someone that can pull something out, I think it is safe.

So this has been a busy week. CJE and JE met me at Bella Vista to go to one of the arts/craft shows yesterday. Just a bunch of STUFF! I did buy some seasoning packages for soups. There was Knit Night last night. And tomorrow is spinning group. So I am really behind in my schedule of things to get done. Yard work had to be done, and the car had to be serviced. But soon it will be time to stay inside again, and I will catch up with the work.

Have a GREAT weekend. Enjoy yourselves and get out to store up some Vitamin E.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Let's Dye!

After washing, I came out with a soft, dull, yellow. It was a clear dye, but the color is not brilliant. I tried various places and could not get a true picture of the color-sorry!

With the leftover flowers, I made a fabric bundle to dye and was hoping for some pattern to appear where the flowers were placed.

When it was completed, unwrapped, and washed, it was an allover yellow color that was pretty. It did not have any hints of pattern from the flowers. Oh, well. It was a fabric that I had already dyed with compost, so this just added a new dimension to the fabric.

And then there was clean-up. My least favorite part of the job. I always do a soap and wash job, and it is always ready for the next time. It is all put up and ready when I get another wild hair to push my luck on the natural dyeing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October 1! Yikes!

Hey, Mom! Mom! Mom! Is this the Animal Planet channel? Mom!

He really does hit the button while I am watching some show and knitting, and suddenly there is some conversation or commercial that does not go with what I had tuned into. I look up and realize that Noodles has hit the button again. And yes, the sun is warm and toasty and makes everyone sleepy. Sleepy. Sleepy.

Not a lot to report. I am sure this month is going to be a crazy month. October always is. The second weekend is the weekend that there are something like 6 arts/crafts shows going on. We will be getting the leaf lurkers out, driving around checking to see what the back roads are doing for Fall color.

This weekend there have been bikers around everywhere. It is the weekend of Bikes, Blues, and Bar-b-que. They run around in gaggles. The locals that drive cars either get scared of the group of bikers and slow down really, really slow, or they get angry at the bikers and hope they run them off the road as they drive too close. Yesterday I drove up to Bentonville, and I had to watch for both kinds of car drivers and the crazy bikers who dart in and out of traffic.

I began knitting a hat with the Targhee wool yarn I won at the fiber festival in July. I loved it so much that I ordered more of it from Gail at Ozark Carding Mill. So the hat is frogged and I am waiting for the yarn. I think I will have enough to knit a sweater. It is sport weight, and is semi-worsted spun. So a tight wool yarn. I think I may knit a gansey. I am not sure yet. I have to get through with the handspun sweater first. I am half-way through with the lower body up to the armpit.

My friend OSM is visiting her property in Oklahoma and just called to find out my schedule. How come I am suddenly busy when usually I putz around day to day with no plans? I am working part-time this week helping a friend out and I am teaching a crochet class Wednesday night. O sounded so let-down when I told her I would have to let her know later this week. I guess she thought I would be available and was planning to do something.

So just a little checking in and yes, I am knitting. But nothing new or exciting to report. H got her socks and they fit and she loves them.

Kindle has a new thing called Kindle Fire. They are surely trying to compete with Nook right now. It is exciting, but I am waiting to see what happens to all this. I like my reader I have just fine.

Take care. Enjoy the cool evenings and enjoy being outside while the weather allows. Have a fun weekend. Later.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Antiques Roadshow Marvel

I am sitting here watching Antiques Roadshow. There was a pair of "handspun, handmade" Civil War socks. Yes-Civil War! They did not have any holes and were pristine. They had a US flag on the cuff, and a Confederate flag on the sole by the heel. They dated them to 1861 because of the Confederate flag. The meaning was "step on the Confederacy". They valued the socks at $1000-$1050. So go figure-huh?

So today I decided I needed to organize a little bit. I put patterns and yarn together in bags so I have projects ready to go. It scares me to see this happen. I love to spend my time looking at patterns and dreaming about projects. When the projects are lined up in bags ready to go, it just proves there is never enough time in a lifetime to do all this stuff we would like to do. I will continue looking at patterns and dreaming, but it is a waste of time.

We have had a warm-up and we are definitely in a time change. I will probably mow the yard some time this week. No need to hurry since everything was dead for so long. Amazingly things are coming back, but I think it is a little bit late in the year to be having pretty things coming up. I did a little bit of weed-eating today. Just to tidy some things.

I wanted to do some dyeing this past weekend, but I didn't. It was overcast both mornings, and one morning we had a little bit of spitting rain. By afternoon both days the sun would come out and heat things up. So dyeing is still on my to-do list.

I saw a black walnut tree down the road that might be accessible to get some nuts for dyeing. I also found a field of goldenrod down the road. I will have to make a run for materials soon. The nuts have not started dropping. The little piddly tree in my backyard had 10 nuts this year, but one the tree rodents has already harvested them.

Not much to report. I started a simple watch cap for simple, mindless carry-along knitting. I have about 6 inches on the sweater. I am spinning some more yarn for that.

Keep knitting and keep happy. Knitting makes me happy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sigh! Self-Discipline Wins Again!

H's socks are done! They have been washed, blocked, dried, and wrapped in tissue. All I have to do is go to the p.o. tomorrow and mail them.

These socks started out as just another sock project that I kept in my purse for a take-along knitting. Once I finished the leg of the first one, I knew they had to go to H, mainly because of the color. Once I finished the first sock, I was in LOVE with Malabrigo sock yarn. It is the softest and easiest to knit I think of any I have knitted with.

Somewhere along the way, it got cooler outside. I know, I know, it is warmer in Little Rock than up here. So I mentally made a note that I needed to start focusing on knitting the socks daily instead of only when I went somewhere. Then a week ago Friday night I was lying in bed thinking about my knitting. I do this a lot at night when I review what I have done for the day and what needs to be done.

So I mentally said, "Okay. We need to get the second sock finished by next week. I need to knit every day and get this done." So I turned the heel by Sunday night, and cruised along on the foot during the week. I pushed myself to get it done. I realized that by Tuesday I needed to knit a minimum of 2-3 inches a day. It was doable if I pushed and did not try to do too many other things.

The nicest thing about these are the feel. You want to just rub your face on them. They are soft, soft, soft. And I used a nice wooly wash that smells good, too.

Other than that, I have been working on my sweater body, the afghan, the placemats, and the weaving on the loom. I am still spinning the Oxford wool.

I also have had three cable guys here trying to figure out what to do with my cable service. So it is difficult when you have clunky guys wandering around.

We have had major raining for two days now. It is unbelievable, huh?!? First we were in late summer and drought, then wham! Fall arrived with cooler weather, and now Spring has come with thunderstorms and tornado warnings! The sky was the ugliest yellowish color right at dark, and that always makes me nervous. Lots of thunder booming and lightening and buckets of water. You know-Spring weather!

Patty and I spent yesterday with CJE and JE. We went to the opening of a new yarn shop, we went to eat Mexican food, then to JE's shop so I could get some CotLin to weave, and then finally to the nursing home where CJE's mom is having rehab. A full day to say the least. When we got home about 8:30 p.m., I fed Noodles and Patty, and Patty went to bed. She was exhausted. I had to wake her up at 10 pm to go to the bathroom before I went to bed.

So this self-discipline thing is how I finish projects that need a nudge to get it done. And this morning on NPR there was a discussion with somebody who has written a book on self-discipline. He did mention that dieting is the hardest, since we need to keep our glucose levels up to concentrate and get work done. That's when people have a tendency to cheat with a little something because their energy levels are so low.

Occasionally I get wild and set goals and push myself to get things done. It works for me. It is only a challenge for me this time, since obviously no one else is pushing me to finish these socks.
I usually set goals when I have a deadline, and I try hard to reach and obtain those goals. I don't always make it, but I can get close most times.

So no final pushes this week. I did catch myself knitting on the giraffe socks tonight and counting spots. I put it down and said, "It will get done. Don't worry about it."

Enjoy the week. The storm has passed for now. I am unsure how many more we will get tonight. Well, there is more rumbling. Weird! Spring in September.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Journeys Create Change!

We are all on a journey, and sometimes our paths do pass one another. We meander along, or muddle along, and change happens without our knowing. We are now in another change of season, and it is happening rather quickly. We have 90 degrees one day, and the next day it is 65 degrees. We haven't had rain for so long, and today it is cloudy, windy, cool, and there is spitting rain. Not a ground soaking rain that is needed, just spit. The light is definitely changing.

I have been observing the moon rise on full moons for some time now. Monday night it was almost dead center east. Don't you wonder what the ancients knew about moonrises? They observed them night after night after night for a whole lifetime. And it was knowledge that led to the survival of life for many. I have mentioned constellations before in blogs, but I also observe the Big Dipper's position during different seasons and also Orion.

AE and CJE are back from their journey to South America. They actually spotted a jaguar, and CJE mentioned whole herds of vicunas in the highest elevations. Of course, they are a protected species, but she still wanted to collect something from the dead bodies she spotted. I don't know if vicuna fleece is worth scavenging a dead body or not.

My friend GO is on a journey today to the Rockies in Colorado. He goes every September to hasten his return to cold weather. It is also a reminder that he is no longer that youngster that was able to hike miles up into the mountains without much provision. Now that he has approached 60 like the rest of us, he decided he wanted to try some backpacking again. Yeah! Right! I did loan him my backpacking tent, just in case he wants to. We will see what happens after he returns to tell his story.

I am not going to Taos this year, but I sure have the itch. Especially now that the weather has changed. Whew! It is really hard not to, but I don't need to go. Just want to.

I found a wonderful link yesterday to a piece of art that is very exciting. I bought a downloadable The Illuminated Book of Cats. It is very, very interesting and beautiful. She also makes cards to sell.

I listened to Brenda Dayne's podcast Sunday and she had a wonderful audio journey to Dylan Thomas' beach house. A friend of hers read the poem, "In My Craft or Sullen Art" while sitting in the cottage. It was so beautiful. I found a copy of the poem, and now I have a copy right here by the computer. Isn't it funny how we forget about poems or poets or writers that are no longer in the media? This was a nice reminder to go back and revisit some of my favorite writers.

I am almost finished with one set of placemats. I sewed three sets of three charms to see how they look. I think I am really, really going to like this next project. The placemats did not turn out what I envisioned, so instead of a Christmas gift, it may be something for me to use. We will see. I am again starting the give-away box. It will tickle several of my friends to death to get to go through that when they visit.

I have tried to do some yard work, but it makes me sneeze and sneeze. The dust and mold is awful. I did get some trimming done in one spot, and I had to go inside to take an antihistamine.

My neighbor had a broken pipe that I found on Saturday. It is on the side of his RV barn that is closest to my yard. I noticed a big puddle and soaked ground by the fence, and he later found the leak. He called his grandson to help dig the hole and he has been trying to get that repaired as quickly as possible. He mentioned his water bill was over $100 last month, and he did not investigate it!

The new tv season starts soon. Thank goodness! I am not really thrilled with some of the trailers I have seen, but some do look interesting. It appears that strong women are again the focus of this season. I guess they are targeting the young women that are professionals out there in the real world. No one cares what an old lady thinks, huh?

I have been pushing to finish H's socks. I am almost to the toe decrease on sock 2. Yeah! I am ready for these to be finished. Once I turn the heel, I am so looking forward to getting them finished. Isn't that weird? I think I am going to do a lacy pair after these. Something that keeps my interest, but not difficult to follow. I have a pattern that can be easily memorized.

I am still plugging along with the afghan-just changed colors again. I am now doing the body of the sweater. It was a challenge to figure out how to display the charts and keep my place, but I have a system now. I got a three-ring binder, some plastic sleeves, two magnet boards, and voila! a system. I have the pattern itself in another sleeve so I can flip over to see it when needed. It is working pretty well. I just can't have a big fat cat sitting in my lap when I am knitting that, since the notebook takes up the lap part.

I did a little bit of spinning Sunday while listening to podcasts. But for the most part, I am sewing or knitting. I give myself permission to take breaks.

So that is all the big news. Nothing much else to report. Keep busy, keep safe, and keep knitting.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Signs of the Change!

Yes, it has been warm. It is dry. But this morning I opened the windows and doors and there is a slight, slight cooler feel in the air. The wind is blowing from the north, the wind chimes are singing, and the birds are eating seeds frantically. The light is different too. Surely these are all signs. Falling leaves due to the drought are all over the yard.

The hurricane season began with a flourish up the Northeast coast, and lots of good-hearted people are having hard times right now. With hurricanes, it is never over until the rain stops and the surge is complete. At least when we have a tornado, when it past, it is over. The cleanup begins. When we had the ice storm, it was just a matter of waiting until the power returns and just keep warm. When we had the snow storm last winter, it was just hunker down and stay calm.

And there are still fires in the West. Texas and Oklahoma are still in a terrible mess with the drought and fires.

I finished my spinning commission and the yarn has moved on to its happy home. I got busy yesterday and reintroduced myself to the quilted placemat project I had abandoned to spin, spin, spin. I made a major decision last week that my next quilting project will be something simpler and something I don't have to really think about during the process.

I did some research last week on The Disappearing Nine-Patch quilt pattern. This is going to be the perfect next project. I went to the quilt store with my neighbor, and we both bought some charm packs. I know it is expensive to buy pre-cut fabric, but right now I am willing to buy the fabric already cut. So once the placemats are back on track, I will start making nine-patch squares.

I am about two inches of the ribbing finished on the body of the sweater. I am still moving along on the socks, and I did catch up some on the crocheted afghan. I started spinning the Oxford wool, and it is really nice. And I still have a scarf on the loom.

I stopped to straighten up the messy house a little bit. The floor gets grungy with a dog and the cat around. With the wool, hair, and other stuff, I find dust bunnies blowing around the floor regularly. And my occasional dusting had to be done. There comes a point of wondering how long one can live dusty.

So nothing else new. The football games have started, and the crazy people have been around driving like crazies. I decided it was best to just stay home and stay out of the way. The Fall craft shows have started with the Prairie Grove Clothesline Fair this weekend.

So go outside and smell the air. Enjoy the cooler weather while it is here. We still have to get through September until I can start complaining about the cooler stuff. Summer actually went pretty quickly, but the heat this year is one for the records. Enjoy Labor Day. The last hurrah for summer.

Change always comes bearing gifts. -Price Pritchett

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blah! Blah! Blah!

Just a little check in that things are going along on the normal pace of Blah! Blah! Blah! The temps are still close to 100 degrees, so indoor activity only.

That would have been the case on Sunday, except my friend JE decided to buy out the estate of a rug weaver and needed help loading everything into her truck. She had already made one truckload of yarn on Saturday. I don't want to taint the escapade with my personal judgment, but what the hell is she going to do with all this stuff? Sigh! She and CJE are definitely hoarders.

CJE and AE will not be back to this part of the world until Sept 7. I can't wait until she sees this mess of stuff.

I am now working on the body of the sweater. I am enjoying the ribbing and cable, but I know that when I get to the pattern work it will be a challenge to keep up with two charts. But it is fun. I still love, love, love the yarn.

I am trudging along with the toe-up giraffe sock. Nothing new to report there.

I finished my spinning for a little while. I am spinning the Oxford wool right now that I bought in Oklahoma. Will give full report when it is finished.

I am itching to get back to my sewing. I want to finish the placemats that I started before I got distracted with the spinning job. I also found an interesting pattern that I might make a little quilt with a coupla charm packs. My neighbor called last night and wants to go to the quilt shop this week. That's as dangerous as knit shops.

So a little bit of rain, less than 1 inch, a few clouds, high humidity, and heat. Nothing else new. I got some trim mowing done, but that is all the outside work I have done.

Just going to keep on knitting and spinning, and maybe a little bit of sewing. Keep cool.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Spell Is Broken!

Not to break the charm of our weather, I will report that the 110 degree weather has moved on. At least for this week, anyway. We have actually had a little bit of rain, and I am mowing again.
Yesterday I reached over into the dead flower bed to pull out some of the weeds, and a HUGE thorny thing jammed into my right thumb. It was very, very painful, and it bled really badly. Because it had a barbed point, I had to really pull HARD to get it out. I almost got pliers to do it. So now I have a bad bruise from the tugging and bleeding, and it is very, very tender. It is also swollen from the edema and trauma. I make it sound much worse than it is, but fingers are delicate critters.

Patty got her last short hairdo for the summer. I couldn't take the shaggy face look, and now she has the scalped look.

I am doing the most crazy thing, but what can I say? You remember that the giraffe sock was too small to get on my fat foot? It is actually a Nancy Bush Estonian pattern called Goat Eye. But my color choices remind me of giraffe spots. Anyway, I stayed awake the other night thinking about this sock, and was I going to accept failure. I got up at midnight, soaked the damn thing in soapy water, played a few games of solitaire while it soaked, and then stretched and stretched and stretched. I thought I would break threads. I was not gentle with it. I finally put it on the sock blocker and left it to dry. Now I can get the damn thing on, with tugging over the heel, and I can wear it. So #2 giraffe sock is on the needles. I am doing it toe up, and I am going to put on an afterthought heel, I think. I will decide when I get there. I am hoping that I can avoid that tight spot over the angle where my ankle joins the foot on top. That is where the first one is tight. We will see. They may just go into the give-away box. But I will finish what I started.

I am about 1 inch from finishing my sleeves on the sweater. I am still doing H's sock in my take-along in my purse. And I am still working on the crocheted afghan.

What I am really working on a LOT is spinning. I have an order to complete this week. And then I can relax. I just want to get this task done, the skeins blocked, and then tagged. Finished and done! That's all I am focusing on this week.

Has anyone other than me noticed that there is nothing on t.v.? I am really getting through the audiobooks while I am spinning. The library has a new lending thing online, and I can just click and download and listen. It's great. I am listening to a book a week. I am listening faster than I am reading, which is a lot anyway.

I read on the Harlot's blog site that her new book is published. I know she is happy about that. To finally have that goal met and in your hands. Isn't that an accomplishment?

My friends CJE and AE are in South America on their yearly trip. Last year was Borneo (to see orangutans), the year before was Tanzania (to see birds and wildlife) and Rwanda (to climb up to see the mountain gorillas), and this year to some swampy place in south Brazil to see birds. It is good they can do this while they can, and before the moms are totally 24 hr care. I hope they are safe and enjoying themselves.

R and H went to Seattle on a short 5 day trip. He called me to tell me all about everything and what they had seen. They actually went up to Victoria and then drove to different spots. They came back to Seattle to go to a ball game and to do some touristy things. They went hiking up at Mt. Rainier. Of course, just like everyone else I know, they want to go back. It was refreshing to leave the 105 degrees of Little Rock to go to 70 degrees in the mountains.

R told me H is starting a new job after Labor Day, so their trips will be limited after that. She loses her time off, although she will be paid for vacation days due when she leaves the old job. It's the sick days that she loses that hurt the most.

So nothing else new. I really need to get back to my plying. I am almost done with this skein of yarn. I will wash and block it, then tag it, and it is done! Yeah!

Keep cool. I feel sorry for the kids that have had to go back to school already. It is just too hot outside during the day to do much. I do my outside stuff early, early morning or late, late afternoon. I can hardly believe it is almost September. I will be complaining about the cold soon.

Keep the stitches going. One row at a time, one skein at a time, one stitch at a time. I never mathematically try to figure out how much longer it is, since that makes it too real. I would rather guess about how long it will take me to do this, and set a goal. My right brain kicking in.

Talk at ya later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Whew! It's Raining!

Before I get into discussions of weather, Patty likes to chew on her chewy. But she puts her front end down and keeps her back end up! What's with that? Even though she has no teeth, I found out that she likes the chewy jerky treats. She can gum them all day and it is so much fun! I am finding this a good exercise for her tongue too.

I have been watching The Dog Whisperer every day, and Cesar Millan says dogs live in the now. They have no emotions about what is happening, just what is going on right now.

So in that case, I am now happy with the rain and cooler temps. I ran errands this morning and the car thermometer said 69 degrees! Sigh! Just two days ago it was 100 degrees. It was actually cool! I have opened windows and the porch door! It is so nice for "the now".

I turned the heel and put the gusset on H's #1 sock. I read an email from someone who went to the sock summit that said Ann Budd's response to second sock syndrome is that the first sock is actually the second sock. I don't have to trick myself into thinking that way. I like to finish a pair.

Our local library has a new electronic system to download ebooks. I was so excited and really scanned pages. I downloaded two audio books and put some ebooks on Hold. I had forgotten in the library system several people vie for one book. Oh, well, it was fun while it lasted. I haven't heard another word about the books on Hold. Hmmm!

We had a quick storm blow through Monday night. It was really nice to smell the difference in the air yesterday morning when I took Patty out at 7 am. Yesterday afternoon I noticed that I had two small hollyhock blossoms way up top, and the chicory had 4 blooms. I guess that is the way the desert works too. After a long spell of no rain, things bloom as soon as there is some moisture.

So last night the storms started coming in. Lots of thunder, a little bit of lightening, and some wind. Today it has just been raining. Occasionally I hear thunder. What a relief!!!

Nothing else to report. Just working on the same projects. Two of my friends are going on vacations soon, and R and H are leaving for Seattle for a quick vacation. It is that time of year. Our local school systems start school next week to make up for snow days. It will soon be a new season. Two more months of heat, then Fall briefly, then winter again. Isn't that amazing after this heat we have had?

Have a good rest of the week. Just be happy with the "now".

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Very, Very Short Reprieve!

Here are the Confetti socks. I sprinkled Kool-Aid and got a confetti-like dye job. A knitter in our knit group said it reminded her of the Angel food cake mix that had the confetti in it that is sprinkled in the mix before baking. The yarn is Aracauna wool and bamboo. A nice lightweight sock. Our sock group did a fun afternoon of playing with Kool Aid and I used the last bits that were left over from everyone's play. The way it knit up was a surprise, because it did not look like much in the yarn cake.

Yesterday I woke up to actually cooler temps! It was 85 degrees and little humidity. The nicest part was clouds! It actually appeared to want to rain. I mowed the little bitty strip of Bermuda grass that grows above the gray water release. No rain, but blessed clouds!

I went to three different stores on errands, and it appeared to me that there were quite a few people out doing the same. The sun finally came out in the afternoon, but just a nice little reprieve from the relentless heat.

This morning I awoke to 85 degrees, and it was so hot when I took Patty out. The sun was blaring out heat and the wind was just hot air blowing. It was a major contrast of weather.

I am so close to finishing the sleeves on the handspun sweater. I am knitting the heel flap on my daughter-in-law's sock.

Speaking of socks, I have to repeat what my brother and I discussed yesterday. He called me after he had visited his son for his son's b.d. He again told me about H and R's trip that he had organized for them to Seattle. He tells me this every phone call. ?Senior Moments? Anyway, I mentioned that I would certainly love the yarn shops, but not the ballgame that they are going to.
And, as usual, he glossed over that and blathered on about more stuff. Finally I said, "Did you know that in that part of the world there were over 6000 sock knitters gathering for a Sock Summit, and that over 600 of them did a flash mob?" He didn't get it. I had to repeat sock knitter three times. He finally said, "Do people really still knit socks?" So I sighed and said yes and let him blather on some more about stupid stuff.

I got high behind today and sent him two pics of socks that were on my camera and said, "Yes, people really do knit socks. It is a great way to express artistic color choices."

We will see if he "gets it", but I am not holding my breath. Muggles!

I did not achieve my goal of a new skein of yarn this week. I am about 1/2 finished with the second bobbin. I tried hard for about three days, and I quit working so hard. I did finish one of the books I had downloaded from the library to listen to. It was really good. Nothing else keeps me on track with spinning like audiobooks. Podcasts just don't do it any more.

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What Can I Say?

I am not going to blather on and on about the weather. Yesterday it was hotter here than in Death Valley! That is not normal. When I walk across the yard it crunches and sounds dead and dry. Ft. Smith had its 28th day of over 100 degrees. It is just too hot.

Despite all that-or maybe because of all that-CJE and I toodled over to the Fiber Christmas in July last Saturday. I was definitely bored enough to do anything. This idea of staying indoors all the time is crazy. CJE spent the night Friday night. We got up really early and left around 7 am. We beat the heat to get there, and we found a parking spot in the shade.

We had a great time and expanded our brains until we were overstimulated and exhausted. I am still on a strict budget, but I had saved some money and that was all I was going to spend. We walked around and looked everything over. The one thing I HAD to get was some BFL roving that was so soft and squishy. It was $1.80/oz! Cheap! Cheap! Cheap! I also bought some art batts that were not cheap, but have every luxury art fiber carded in you can imagine, including milk. I won a door prize of two skeins of Targhee yarn from Ozark Carding Mill. I also bought some roving of Oxford wool. I have never heard of Oxford and liked its feel. So I bought it and I will report back on that.

We did not get a single picture. I didn't think of it until we were in Tulsa coming home.

We ate lunch in Sapulpa at the American Diner. There were Christian Bible verses everywhere-doors, walls, everywhere. We ordered Southwestern chicken fajita taco salad. When it came it had curried chicken, and that was kinda strange. When CJE came back from the restroom, she announced the owners were Muslim. I said, "Really?!" So we made up our own scenario of the Bible verses were a cover-up and allowed them to live in Sapulpa, OK without too much harassment. Anyway, it was fun!

Then on the way home we made an unscheduled stop at the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa. That calmed my brain down and helped me to relax some.

So an interesting day and fun, and very tiring. The heat sucks out every bit of strength one has. It was 103 degrees coming home.

Sunday I got busy and picked and carded up some fluffy batts of 50/50 alpaca and Romney wool. They are dyed in two shades of blue, so the yarn will be semi-solid. It is spinning quite nicely, and is really pretty to look at. I am really happy with this batch.

I cut the sample off the loom and I am going to rethread the pattern to something else. Another project, I know.

And as if that isn't enough, I started a Christmas project of making some quilted placemats. I found this box of fabric and some blocks that I had started when I lived in OK. I couldn't make heads or tails of the blocks, so I studied it all for a day or so. I then just decided to start a new project with the fabrics. It will be kinda scrappy, but I think it will be pretty.

And I finished the confetti socks. Picture next time, if I remember. I am now knitting a pair of socks for H. I called her to verify her shoe size. I am using a Roman rib for the cuff, and the foot will be stockinette.

That's it, I guess. Patty is snoring away under the desk. Noodles is lying under the fan on the floor. I need to get spinning. I want to finish this blue stuff pretty quickly. I have an audiobook checked out from the library loaded onto the computer and I am ready to go.

I will try to write more often, but nothing is new here. Just trying to keep cool. You do the same.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Alligators in the Toliet!

I finished the afghan I made for my nephew and his lady love as a wedding present. Since there is some trouble in paradise with the parents on both sides, I am not sure when or where the wedding is going to be. Both parents have grandiose ideas of where and how they want the wedding. The lovely couple want simple and friends, etc. They have stated quite plainly that they will just elope and the parents can have the wedding they want without them. We will see what will happen.

In the meantime, I finished their little gift. I mailed it off to them and it should be there today or tomorrow. Let them enjoy it this Fall and know that I love them and want them to be warm and happy.

Have you heard of the urban stories of snakes or alligators in the toilet that come up and bite you on the butt? That is not the same story of the outhouses that have to be kicked before entering stories. Well I have proof that strange things show up in toilets.

I didn't have on my glasses. When I looked into the bathroom, I saw a piece of gray dryer lint on the inside of the toilet. It was too big to be a wad of hair, so it had to be dryer lint. When I got closer I saw it was actually a gray tree frog.

The only way one could find its way to this bathroom was with Noodles help. He probably brought it in and lost it. As soon as it disappeared, he lost interest and it moved in. Well, I will say this was one lucky tree frog day. I didn't pee on it or flush it down the toilet. I took it back outside where it truly would be happier, even in this draught.

I have been watering every day, but I am afraid I am going to lose a lot of things. It is promising to be 100 plus degrees every day this week. I can't do anything outside in the heat of the day. I get up early just to sit out on the screened porch and have breakfast. The rest of the day has to be indoors and air conditioned.

My cousin and his wife and grandson stopped by for a quick visit on their way home to Virginia. I got an email this morning that he sent yesterday afternoon. There are still things he needs to get out of the house and garage, but I think he and his sister are going to rent out the cabin and house. At least they will be used and lived in.

I am spinning some weird wool roving that I got from CJE a while back. It has a slick processed feel to it. She says the thrift store got it in and called her about it. She has spun some of it, and it washes up nicer than it feels while spinning. I plan to overdye the yarn once spun. It is a blah light brown now, and I think it needs something to jazz it up.

I am turning the heel on the number two purse sock. I picked up some other sock yarn the other night to try out a pattern I found. I spent some time trying to get it to look right, and it didn't. I ripped that out and put the yarn back. The next night I tried a coupla more patterns, and finally I found a pattern I really like. So now I have another pair of socks started. Isn't that stupid? Oh, well.

I am almost through with the sleeves on the handspun sweater. I am itching to start the body now. The wool feels really squooshy and I love to squeeze it. It is merino, of course, and it is going to have a really nice hand to it. I am so in love with this yarn. I just hope this sweater turns out okay, because I will be disappointed if I don't get to wear it.

Nothing else new. Just trying to stay cool and less humid so I can spin and knit. I need to do some sewing, but.....

Stay cool, stay creative, and keep challenges at bay.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Obsessions and Life!

I think I am finally at the point where my "hobbies" are my life and that is just fine with me. I am reflecting some today, because yesterday two friends told me they are retiring. Both are knitters, and one plans to get into her weaving more and the other plans to get into her spinning more.

My advice is there is no advice. I wake up every morning and then have to decide what day it is in the "real" world outside my little sphere of being. I go through morning chores, and then I decide what has to be done today. Then again, all that can change when someone calls me and says, "Can you come over and help me with ........?" So then I stop and go and come back and my focus is off and then I may just sit down and knit for a while.

I find I don't have to do laundry more than once a week. There is more laundry in the summer because I do yard work and I do change my clothes more often. I have enough underwear so I don't have to stop and do a load of wash just to have clean undies. I still remember when I had to do a quick laundry of clothes for work because suddenly I realized at 10 pm that the pants or shirt I needed was dirty. Or that I was needing something that was not in the closet and sure enough, it is in the laundry basket.

Also, if you are eating lunch in front of the tv, you can watch that show in the middle of the day. No more having to tivo something to watch "when I can".

With no husband (or significant other) or children, I can spread my stuff out all over the place. I can put the blocking board out on the guest bed and leave it until the knitted piece I am blocking is dry. I can put the warping board up and count out my warp threads without worrying that someone needs me right now and I have to stop in the middle of the project.

I also don't have to cook all the time. I have stuff in the freezer that I can dig out and fix. I don't mind leftovers, either. If I have something a second day, it's still good. Then the rest can go into the freezer for a later showing.

Do not rush because there are no expectations. There are no rules that say you have to be up and at it by 6 am anymore. If you like getting up at 6 am and want to sit out on the deck and drink your coffee, then do so. But don't feel bad if you read that good book until 2 am and you don't get out of bed until 8 am.

Life is fun, and Life is crazy. There are always changes going on all over the place. But I don't push myself any more and I don't "have" to make choices that I used to make. I may do spinning like crazy for a week while listening to an audio book. I may decide that today is the day to finish up that afghan I am making and I will not budge except to go to the bathroom. I still like to set goals, but they are realistic goals like "I will get this done within the next two weeks."

So to my friends I say, just relax. It will all happen when it happens. Just work on the small stuff for a while before settling into the big stuff. You are going to enjoy the freedom of providing yourself your own entertainment.

Best of luck, and good health to both of you. Have a good beginning of the next phase of your life.