Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sigh! It was a false alarm!

Well, this week has been about patience and tolerance for silly Spring jokes by our mother the Earth. I don't think I have ever been this anxious for Spring to really get here. It just seems so long this year.

At least I have not been able to work in the yard. It is too windy and cold in the wind. And, of course, the rain. But we need rain, even cold rain. When I get out in the wind and cold I get cold sores on my lips. It is yucky!
So, my friend YC came to visit at the tail end of Spring break last Friday night. She lives in Wichita, and has an incredibly stressful life. Whenever she visits me, she gets to sleep in late, have someone feed her, and someone to vent to. I started this red yarn for her as a pair of socks. Her secretary has been asking her for years to bring some of my yarn to her and she will knit YC a pair of socks. The red is actually a tomato red, not that putrid pinky red in the pic. It is deep and really pretty. When things happen, I can usually flow along with them. Last week was one of those weeks. I just couldn't get the yarn finished. Now that it is finished, I am not sure if there is enough yarn for a pair of socks. I made the green/red as toe and heel yarn. The green is nylon I dyed. I will send it along and perhaps her secretary can knit her a hat or scarf.

I picked this fiber out of the pile I have to spin up. I wanted to see how it would look. The colors are true in the photo. Isn't that the most luscious purple? The greens are light to dark with teal and a teeny little bit of turquoise. The purple is grape-y to deep, deep purple. It is BFL from frabjous fibers. The colorway is Green with Envy. It has been some time since I have spun BFL and it spins like butter.

For someone who claims to be a hermit, and it felt that way during hibernation, my Life is full right now. First YC came to visit. Tomorrow OSM from California is visiting. Then my cousin is arriving on the 10th. Last Friday night JH and her husband came over to look at my spinning wheels and pick my brain. He is going to build her a spinning wheel with cherry as the main wood, and yellow heart as the wheel. He is making an 18" wheel, the same size as my newest one. So I guess this is what Spring means. People are out and about again.

What this truly means is I cannot get all the stuff done I want to get done right now. I have not had the time to spend with my Shibori class, and I want to really understand that. I have not had any time to spend with the sewing machine either. I have learned how to keep the floor clean in between visits, and try to keep the kitchen straight. I still have the dye table set up in the middle of the kitchen floor, and it will probably stay there until the temp is okay outside. And less wind.

I also have been busy trying to keep clean sheets on the bed in the guest room. I still haven't had the chance to paint that room. Oh, well.

The days are longer with light and now I can get more done. Soon the rush will be over and I will return to hermit-life again. I am in no hurry to finish any one project. I just want to play.

No knitting since last Thursday's knit night. Too busy. On hold right now. But I am spinning.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yes, It Is Finally Spring!

If you have never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. Terri Guillemets

I know that cold will return next week, but I am just enjoying this week of warm. The March winds have been blowing, primarily from the South. I have been planting seeds, and trying to maintain a somewhat appearance of a tidy lawn. The weeds are quite prolific this Spring.

I am supposed to get company this weekend. I hope she does come. I am making myself stay indoors and clean a little bit. I know it is silly, but she has never seen my house and I would like to have the floors clean and the bathrooms clean. I have fresh linens on the bed in the guest room.

Patty got a major haircut yesterday, and the wild and wooly little dog is now the sleek and skinned dog that she evidently likes. She has been outside three times this morning and seems to be quite playful. She actually prances. It is so strange to see her act the way she does today.

I spent a lovely day on Saturday with CJE and JE. We went to the Spinning Guild meeting, visited with lots of folks, went to lunch with one of the friends from the group, and then headed back to my house. After some visiting and a wee nap by CJE, we headed to her house. We knit, talked, CJE wove on her scarf, and took a little walk. After the walk we ate a nice bowl of soup and then headed home.

It appears that more folks than just me are happy that Spring is finally making an appearance. We talked a lot about the weather with friends at the meeting, and I have heard lots of conversation in the stores when I am standing in line.

I got lots of compliments on my new sweater. It is really a sweet feeling to know that I have petted the sheep, I have helped shear the sheep, I have spun the wool, and I knit the sweater. It makes it feel different to me somehow. I guess this sounds somewhat silly, but it feels comfy to me.

I decided I needed a plain sock to knit when I am away from home. So I scrounged around in the huge box of leftovers and put together 4 skeins of blues, three of which are self-patterning yarns. I knit 4 rows and change colors. It is amazing how nice they look. I love them. I am so excited that I am about halfway down the foot already. I cast-on Friday night so I would have something to knit while I was at the meeting.

I haven't gotten a response from anyone about the giraffe sock and the gusset issue. No one seems to really understand my problem. I was talking to people on Saturday at the meeting, and CJ says, "How can you stay in pattern on the gusset if you keep changing the number of stitches?" I said, "Exactly. That's the problem!" So one person out of hundreds understands the problem. So I just went ahead and finished the gusset and said it will just have to look weird and not be right. I give up on this issue.

Normally I just do what I want to do when there is a weird pattern situation. I should have gone with my gut and put in a striped gusset and sole and put the pattern on top like I did for the pink socks. But I wanted to try to learn this, and it was just not working for me. Now I am frustrated and I don't like the sock because it looks wonky. Oh, well! Life is tough, huh?

Patty's out again. She is one little strange dog. Noodles is out on the screened porch in his favorite chair.

I think I am going to tackle the jacket I was trying to knit a coupla years ago and see if I can progress on that. I was knitting in a bulky handspun that I had dyed in Fall leaf colors. I think I can figure out where I left off. I think I stopped because the bulky yarn was beginning to hurt my hands to knit. I can't really remember, but I will try to bring it out. This is Spring, time for rebirth, right?

I also have another thing I was knitting, and it did not go well, and I just folded it up and put it in a basket. I think it is time to make a pillow or something out of that. It is time to clean up messes left behind.

I painted my kitchen last week. At least that is fresh. I want to do something with the cabinets. But not right now. Maybe between my company this weekend and my cousin's annual visit.

Guess that is all for right now. The wind chimes and the bell are really ringing loudly. The wind is up. I just washed one of the blankets and my garden gloves. So I guess I will put those out on the line to dry.

Enjoy the sun and the Spring temps. A cold front is supposed to blow in over the weekend. I am hoping for some rain soon. My bushes I planted last week are leafing and I am watering them every other day.

Gotta go. Have a good week.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Journey Has Ended!

It starts with a sheep. Not just any sheep, mind you, but Diablo, the pet Jacob sheep. He is approximately 14 years old in this photo.
I sent this fleece to a mill to be cleaned and put into roving. Then I spun it into 2-ply goodness to be knit into something. I didn't know at the time, just that it would be something.

while looking through old Interweave Knits, I found this pattern. It is Gatsby Girl Pullover by Jodi Green. It has ribbed sleeves, and I made mine in the lace pattern.

It has taken me some time to do this, but I wasn't concerned by the time. I just worked on it sporadically in the beginning. By the time I was finishing the front, I really got busy and worked hard on it to get it done.
In the beginning, I debated whether to make it seamless to the armholes, but then I reminded myself there are reasons to have pieces to sew together. Mostly the fit. It looks fitted snugly on the model in the photo. So I made mine a size bigger than normal, and it drapes nicely on me. It is a tad bit short, just coming to the tops of my hip bone. I like mine just a bit longer, but not much. So I won't quibble about that.
I always make my sleeves first. I decided I really didn't want to do K1P1 rib and have a snug sleeve. So I chose to do the lace, and then I knew when blocked it would not be snug. And it isn't. I also did not put the buttons on the shoulder. The neck opening is large enough to slip over my head without difficulty.
I found this a long project, but worth it. It seems that my other handspun projects did not take nearly the time it took for this one. But I am not in a race. Handspun yarn is so satisfying to use, especially if I spun it.
So kuddos to me! Another finished project!
I spent the afternoon yesterday digging huge holes to plant red buckeye bushes. AE gave them to me Sunday when I went to their house. My neighbor mowed his non-existent weeds and it has begun already. He has to have the perfect yard. Sigh! I am still trying to clean up mess from last year before the grass starts growing up again. Later in the evening I weed-eated some tall stuff around the fenceline.
AE told me he thought my bird I saw was a brown thrasher. He pointed one out in a tree nearby and gave me the binoculars to look. I still think it could be a juvie mockingbird, but perhaps it was a juvie thrasher. I am not too worried about it at this point.
The Sisterhood of the Pointy Sticks met on Saturday again. JE, CJE, and I met at the Weaving Guild meeting. We went to lunch. We spent the rest of the afternoon sunning on my deck and looking at old issues of Shuttle, Spindle, and Dyepot. When it started getting cool in late afternoon we moved indoors. JE did some spinning of some sari stuff that looked like dryer lint, but was a pretty yarn. CJE is knitting a pair of Nancy Bush gloves. We both are having difficulty with these Estonian patterns. I went over to CJE and AE's house Sunday and spent the afternoon. It was very chilly, but CJE and I took two short little walks with Patty.
So right now I do not have any major knitting projects going. I am trying to knit these socks with the Estonian pattern, and I have the afghan I am crocheting for my nephew's wedding gift. I am spinning the red yarn. And that is it.
I have been dyeing some silk for my Shibori class. I guess I am just not really good at this fabric folding and stuff. I am terribly disappointed that it does not look like what I would like it to look like. I know the dialog about "just beginning", and "just learning a new technique". But it should like something other than a Rorschac strip. I made the mistake of looking at some of the photos of other students stuff. I can't figure it out. But I am learning some new stuff, and that was what I wanted.
I found an interesting site for anyone to check out. She has begun the Fibershed Project. It is an ecological way of using fiber sources near you within a 150 mile radius. Like my sweater above. I found it interesting and worthwhile to check out.
I guess that wraps up this week so far. I am trying to pace myself with the yard work. But with the nicer weather, I want to just jump right in and get to work. I paid for that last night. It took some time for my back to settle down after the hole-digging.
Happy St. Patricks Day and Happy Spring next week! Yeah! I can't wait! Bring on the heat.
Oh-before I go, there is a cute commercial on. There is a group of men in someone's backyard grilling burgers. Suddenly this man stumbles into the group wearing a huge parka and looking dazed. They surround him and ask him "Where ya been buddy?" He says "I don't know. I was inside and it was all white." One of them says, "It was Winter, buddy. Someone get him a burger, quick!" Yeah-it was winter. Everyone is talking snow by the end of March. We had sleet on Monday. That was enough for me. Bring on the sunshine, please!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Another Week Has Passed!

It is hard to imagine another week has passed, if one is measuring their time in work weeks. I guess old habits, etc. I really have to tell myself every day what day of the week it is, but many of my friends still work. So I think about them in their time measurements. My friend YC is coming for Spring break the end of March, which is two more weekends away. That's another weird thing. The end of March already!

YC has been going to school as long as I have known her. She hopes to finally finish this year, but it seems every year some crisis comes up and it postpones the end somehow. You would think that having grown children with their own children would free her to do her own thing, but you know how it is when people take care of the family whenever a need comes up.

I have been blessed that no one calls me and asks me to help out. It helps that mine just got married, is happily paying off his own debts, and is saving money for "whenever". When I talked to him he told me that he and H turned down two parties to go to that would have cost them ___ amount of money. He thought they could use that money on the trip to Phoenix they are making at the end of the month. She has to go to a conference for work, and since she has a room paid for, he bought a ticket and is tagging along.

They loved the quilt, by-the-way.

I went to Knit Night last night, and there was a large group of folks there. There is a little eating place nearby that was having a fundraising event for the University fine arts department. They were selling ceramic bowls made by students, and you got soup to go with it. TR and I walked down there and looked over the bowls. I saw several I liked, but I told myself I did not need anything extra.

I finished knitting the handspun sweater and it is blocking/drying. I only have my giraffe socks, so I took them to group last night. No one there had ever heard of knitting in pattern when the gussets are being decreased. I am just not smart enough to figure it out. So the pattern will have to be wonky.

I don't know what just happened, but I just lost two paragraphs of writing. It just went away somewhere.

I saw the strangest bird the other day. I think it must be a juvenile mockingbird. It was gray, the size and shape of a mockingbird, but it has a russet colored thatch on top that looked like a bad toupee. It also had brown and cream stripes on the breast like a sparrow markings. I will ask AE when I see him and he will know.

The weather is warmer. I am happy with the sun out. I need to get outside, but there is still a slight cool breeze and it is cool in the shade. I am thinking I will have to mow weeds soon. Weird, huh?

So no plans for this weekend. Just the same thing that I do every day. I think I might sew, but I have to finish this red yarn I am spinning. I am also dyeing fabric. And there is always yard work to fall back on if one gets too bored around here.

I was cleaning out a pile and found a note card that I had saved for the saying on it.
"Cultivate friendships wherever you go, and gladness will bloom all around you."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Little Helper!

Noodles is checking out one of his catnip spots. He loves to eat catnip. He hunkers down and starts grazing. That is my garlic in the first pic in the upper left hand corner. It is so tall already. I am glad I put catnip in two places. This is his favorite spot, but I have seen him in the front bed too.
I went down into the ravine to dig up some daffodils and other bulbs the other day. Patty would not venture down there, but, of course, Noodles was right beside me. I had to cut my way through the honeysuckle and briars.
After I carefully replanted these bulbs with "good" dirt and composted horse manure, Patty decided it was time to eat the dried up horse manure. I had to run her out of that and clean out her mouth. Even though it is dried, it becomes wet in her mouth. It was gross.
And I found my first tick later that evening! March 4-first tick this year! Whew! You would think that winter would have killed them off.
Nothing else knew. Just wanted to post these pics of Noodles. He is such a good helper. Note that he is using his broken leg really well. We are approaching 4 months since the break. I think it is healing well. I saw he was limping a little more the other day, but probably just a habit now.
Patty has recuperated well from her heart worm treatment. She is still limited in her activity, but you would never know it the way she acts. She spends a lot of time outside now. She is really blossoming for an emotionally traumatized dog. I just have to keep an eye out that she does not head to the street. She has no concept of the danger that is there.
Have a good week. I start my Shibori dyeing class online tomorrow. So something to look forward to this week. I am really excited to learn something new. Until later, think warm and happy thoughts.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Take Those Shoes Off!

My feet were screaming at me the other day to just take those ole shoes off. So now I am barefoot again. I remember as a child I hated to wear shoes so badly. But the rule in our household was no bare feet until after Easter. That was unbearable this time of year. I love to feel the earth under my feet. I like to feel the coolness and moistness of the dirt. Summer heat is a different feeling. This time of year it is the expectation of what is to come.

I have been really going on the handspun sweater. I am shaping the armhole, and the lace knits so much faster than the cabled part. The only downside is that I had to stop and spin some more yarn. I was so sure that I had enough the last spinning. So last night I spent the evening plying up the single that I had spun in the afternoon. No knitting last night.

I did get going on the color stranding on the new pair of socks night before last. I was watching NCIS and I got one whole set of pattern rows knit. I am now going to dub them the giraffe socks. They look like giraffe colors and spots. It is supposed to be goats-eye, but looks like giraffe spots to me.

I worked in the yard a goodly portion of the day yesterday. It is already starting, isn't it? The endless yardwork. I don't mind admiring the flowers, the insects, etc. But it is the work that gets done behind all that that is tedious. What is so crazy is that I spent hours doing yardwork, and I can't really see much done. I still have an untidy yard. I spend time cleaning up stems and flower beds, weeding, etc. I always leave the beds with stems through the winter so the birds and small critters have shelter. So now I can see all the grass and weeds in the beds. Sigh!

Today a cold front is coming in with a storm. It is beginning to cloud over. The wind is picking up. I have found that I do better if I work hard one day and rest the next. I can get more done if I pace myself. So today I took the yarn off the blocker, wound it into a ball, and I think I might spend the afternoon on the sweater. Maybe. Right now I am hungry, and all I can think of is food.

I find when the weather changes, so do my food habits. I like to eat smaller, lighter portions during warmer weather. And I eat often. In the colder weather I eat one big meal a day and two smaller ones. I drink more liquids in warmer weather to hydrate myself- especially if I work outside.

Well, have a great weekend. I am going to have some fun some time this weekend. Probably Sunday since the rain is supposed to carry over tomorrow. Maybe Patty and I will go exploring somewhere. She likes to nose around places.

Take care and stay safe. Enjoy the weather while we can.