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