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!