Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Birthday Coupon Code Paradise Fibers
This photo came to me from Paradise Fibers.  They send discounts to their customers on their birthdays.  I loved the two sheep.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Okay! It's Official-I'm Old!

I just returned from a whirlwind tour of the Arkansas Ozarks.  My friend CJE invited Ann Hood, the writer, to attend Books in Bloom in Eureka Springs.  She had to drive to Little Rock to pick her up, and deliver her to the Writer's Colony.  They spent a delightful evening on an art crawl on White Street, with wine and snacks along the way.  CJE had to return home to check on the moms and to check in with her husband.  Sunday a.m. she came over here, and we took off to Eureka Springs for the Books in Bloom event.  The afternoon was mostly HOT, with occasional clouds and wind.  We had a wonderful meal at Carib with a lot of the local folks that CJE knows.  Then after a restless night at a friend's house, we got up Monday to return Ann to Little Rock to fly away eastward. 

We took a quick trip down the Pig Trail, and onto the interstate straight into Little Rock.  We arrived in plenty of time to swing by the capitol building.  Then after dropping Ann off at the airport, we headed westward on the interstate.  We stopped at some friends' house in Conway to check in with them.  We stayed overnight, and then up and out yesterday morning.  Home again around 1 p.m.

I met some wonderful people, but I tell you the best were the kitties at K and R's house in Conway.  They have ten cats.  They were wonderful kitties.  I needed some kitty love by that time.

I picked up Patty at the boarders, and she was ecstatic to go home, too.  Bless her heart, she slept the whole afternoon and evening.  She was worn out.  Well, we both were.  Two old ladies , groaning and moaning, and just pooped.

It was fun to talk to Ann the whole trip, but I don't know how she manages her schedule and her life.  She travels a lot.  It was just remarkable to hear the stories and to laugh and to have fun on this quick little trip.

I am finally getting back to schedule again.  I got the trash out this am, watered what little bit I am watering, and unpacking my bag.  I need to shower and get dressed, but I may just not do that today.

My neighbor brought me supper last night.  I had to keep from hugging her.  I was so tired, and hungry, so I just pulled out something from the freezer to stick in the oven to heat up.  Just as I closed the oven door, the doorbell rang.  She had a platter full of fried crappie, real fried potatoes, and hush puppies.  It tasted really good.  When they cook fish, they usually bring me some of it.  That is the only time I eat fried foods like that.  It always tastes really good, because someone else makes it.

So I am going to try to get the vest finished this week.  I only have a coupla days left in the week, but I think I can do it. 

We are getting water-deprived here.  I have been watering my buckeye trees and some of the flowers.  A friend reminded me last night that I don't have to water the trees.  They go into dormancy to reserve energy.  But it hurts to see their leaves go yellow and fall off.  Nature is so good to figure out how to survive things like droughts.

Have a great rest of the week.  Gotta run!

"As I get older, I just prefer to knit." - Tracey Ullman

Saturday, May 19, 2012

August in May

Well-the weatherman says we are in an August weather pattern for two weeks-August in May!  Can this weather get any stranger?  I have been watering already, since we have had no significant rain whatsoever.

I am almost finished with the last motif for the vest, and then onto the easy ribbing part.  I am ready for this to be done.  I can only do the knitting in the early morning hours or in the evenings.  It is too hot during the day to have a sweater in my lap.

I am supposed to go to a wedding this afternoon.  I have talked myself out of that, but I feel guilty.  This is a lifelong friend's son, and I know him.  But I don't know the woman that well, and the wedding is all about them anyway.  I would only be there for my friend, but she will be caught up in all the activity that I won't be missed.   See how well I justify not going!

Patty is going to the doggy hotel for the weekend today.  I am going to Eureka Springs with CJE for Books in Bloom, and then we are going to Little Rock Monday to take someone to the airport.  So a little change of pace here.

 I gave Patty a bath this morning, so she is clean and not stinky.  She is going through an itchy spell.  I can't find any reason for the itching, but she does.  Of course, she rolls in the grass. 

Things are drying up fast around here.  When I walked to the mailbox yesterday, the grass is beginning to crunch.  It is so sad. We have had such lush greenery, and then for all that to dry up.

Nothing new to report.  Just wanted to check in and update a little bit.  I have a new project in mind after the vest.  It will be a long time knitting, but hopefully it will be exactly what I want.  Details are forthcoming.  And it will be after I turn on the air conditioning.  So far I have avoided that.

Have a good weekend.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Moving Beyond Fear

Can knitting really make one crazy?  Maybe, maybe not.  I will not go through the details, but the Fair Isle vest I finished for Easter has returned to be made longer.  Okay!  First, I had to decide exactly how this can be done on a finished product, and one that has been washed twice and blocked twice.  That means the wool has settled into each other and is attached to one another.

So after consulting everyone I trusted in the knitting circle I live in, I decided the best solution was J's solution.  First put in a lifeline.  What a great idea!  That struck me as very sensible.  Then cut the ribbing off, pick out the broken threads with a needle, and pick up the stitches on a cable needle. 

So I put the vest in sight for about two weeks, studying it, and touching it, and thinking about cutting the ribbing off.  Once the first stitch was cut, that was a permanent thing.  Sigh!

Finally it was time.  I put in the lifeline, held my breath, and snip, snip, snip-away went the ribbing.  I carefully picked out the broken threads, and after some time I had a cable needle full of knitting stitches. Then I unknit that row and set everything up.  It worked-and I am now knitting new motifs.

I made it sound easy, but it wasn't.  I was under my own self-imposed angst.  And now I moving along on it.

So, can knitting drive one crazy?  I think when one is tested, your mind and ego are racing to remind you that you have no idea what you are doing, this is too hard, and you are certainly making a mess.  They may be simple disappointments or difficulties, but the mind creates a huge obstacle to the perfect solution.  The melodrama is tremendous. 

But I am one who believes there are hidden gifts within friction.  I am learning a higher skill, and I am fine tuning my perfected skill.  I can learn to separate my identification with an object, and know that I am not stupid or that something is too hard.  I have learned patience with my craft and with myself. 

Well, what weird thoughts on such a beautiful bright Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Knitting Tips

One of the greatest knitting tips I give to anyone is "YouTube is your friend".  Pretty much any knitting stumble or mind freeze one has can be found on YouTube. 

The next best is Knitting Groups.  I have been going to the same group for almost seven years now.  We have a core group of people that I consider to be friends, and there seem to be new people wandering in and out all the time.  Now besides the usual socialization that one would expect in a group of like-minded folks, groups like this can be a real place to learn about food habits of the depraved, social habits of the depraved (this includes real people as well as not-so-real people), and certainly political discussions are more interesting than t.v.  This includes any discussions that are well lubricated with wine and goodies around the table. I think most people would blush if they were a mouse sitting in the corner.  We know there are no mice because Sasha lives there- the ever vigilant kitty around the shop.

Then there is the LYS.  This is the local yarn shop, but around here we have three and a half.  Where our group meets is my closest one.  These are wondrous places to go, but one must be extremely cautious.  Feeding one's stash addictions is like going to a crack house for a fix. 

This brings us to that ugly slogan "Life is too short for cheap yarn."  Really, as a spinner, knitter, etc., I agree wholeheartedly.  But my weakness is wool, wool, wool and some of the other protein fibers.  I likes me some alpaca, bison, yak, and some of the other goodie stuff like silk.  But give me a wondrous wool creation, and I smile and love it and rub it on my face and sniff it.

There is also no excuse-ask for help.  I go to my knitting group, and I usually get an answer I can live with.  I ask for help with colors, technique, boo-boos, and other miscellaneous stuff.  I seldom go to classes.  If there is a technique I get stuck on, I ask for help.  Or I go to YouTube.

Classes are wondrous things.  Learning new techniques is the greatest gift to give oneself.  I remember taking a class on cast-on techniques, and I had one of those DUH! moments.  It was difficult to not slap my forehead and say "Why didn't I think of that?"  There is a reason to train, train, train, and train some more.  It is the way to become a better knitter.

Then there is the knitting space in your home.  Make a nest somewhere.  If you have to live with other people (you know what I mean) grab a corner somewhere, place a comfy chair and good lighting, and set up a place for your knitting.  I always said that I would live in my studio some day.  I have achieved that now.  I have designated rooms in my house for my obsessions.  And my cat and dog do not care.  They like all the "stuff".  It is not so easy for others, but it works for me.

And lastly, find some friends that are knitters and stick with them.  They will understand when you call and go on and on and on about that wonderful sock yarn you found, or that you just can't get gauge.  I have wonderful friends outside of my knitting circle, but I don't know how to talk to them any more.  After all the "catching up" is completed, what does one talk about?  I remember going to a wake of a friend's mother.  After the initial chatting with the mourners, I found myself sitting in a spot away from everyone and yearning for the sock in my purse.  When I realized that no one was approaching me and talking any more, I slipped my hand into the bag and rubbed the sock like it was "my precious".   It sounds a little bit obsessive, but heck! I just didn't want to look like Madame LaFarge sitting there knitting my sock while others dab at their eyes with tissues.

Well-enought blathering!  Time to spin some more yarn.  Sunday is my spinning day, and I listen to books on tape or NPR.

Oh-one more thing before I go.  Join Ravelry if you haven't done so.  It is a blessing in disguise. 


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hodge Podge of Thoughts!

I have such a hodge podge of thoughts going through my head, and it is hard to really organize them and make sense of one thing. First what is the origin of hodge podge:
1350–1400; Middle English hoche poche, rhyming variant of hotchpot

When my cousin came to visit, he reminded me why he and I are so alike.  As I drove the car, he would see a sign or a street name or something and ask what it was or the meaning of something.  Often I would not know, and he would pull out his Blackberry and look it up.  I often write down something, and then look it up later on the computer.  But most often I would forget or lose the paper I had written something on.  Sometimes when we returned to my house, he would look up information on the computer.  So now I am going to get back into that habit. 


This is an iris I found on the hillside two late winters ago before the honeysuckle had covered everything up.  Isn't it lovely?  I think I like it better than the bearded iris that is in everyone's yard.  What kind of iris is this?  I think it is a blue flag iris. It has a rhizome, and it is not bearded.  So it is a flag iris.  That much I know.  It has quite a long stem, and it seems to spreading out, as iris do.

A young child was here on Sunday with is mom.  In the middle of the conversation, he suddenly said, "I think I hear a bird."  I said it is a bird.  He said where did I keep it.  And I pointed out the window to the top of my oak tree, and told him to look up there.  My brown thrasher sits there and whistles and talks all day long.  He is much noisier than the mockingbirds.  It is usually the first thing I hear in the morning.  I am trying so desperately not to use the air conditioning, and the windows and doors are open all day long.  So I get songs all day long.

My friend who had the surgery is doing really dumb and stupid things now.  She went out to breakfast with her husband on Sunday-six days after open-heart surgery.  She went to her doctor for her blood test for coumadin yesterday.  Her mother-in-law drove her, and they stopped at a quilt shop on the way home.  She lay down when she got home, and when she woke up she was disoriented and thinking something was on her mind.  After finally waking up fully, she realized she had another doctor's appointment to have an ekg done.  And she drove herself to that appt.  I am wiping my hands on this one.  I think once I get over being mad at her, I will give her a good stern medical talking-to.
I am so happy she is never one of my patients that I have to work with.

I was standing outside this morning while Patty was sniffing the ground.  I was trying to see what my front of the house "really" looks like.  I like it.  I remember that when I moved in there was nothing in front.  There was a huge expanse of pasture grass/weeds that had to be mowed.  Now I have several redbuds, a huge expanse of flowers, two weigelias, and four red buckeyes.  I did not take the birdfeeder down that is in the flower bed.   That gives a primitive sculpture added in.

We are having temps close to 90 degrees this week.  I refuse to use the air conditioner this early.  My allergies are rampant. Even with allergies, I just breathe better with real air, not that artificial stuff.  So far the front north room that I use for knitting/weaving is the coolest room in the house.  I moved my spinning wheel in yesterday to ply the yarn.  It is nice to sit under the ceiling fan and have the windows open. I also get to hear all the birds and I get to watch the woodchuck come out and eat.  I did see my roadrunner yesterday running across the front of the yard and then across the road to the cow pasture.

Cows-my goodness we have had a bunch of babies hatch in the last week or so.  They are so darn cute.  Yesterday I went out to the mailbox and roadside to weedeat, and all the cows with their babies were up to the fence line.  I just stood there and watched the babies and their mamas.  Once I made eye contact with one of the kids, but he/she wasn't really interested in me.  One of the mamas was watching me pretty closely.

I know it sounds pretty rural, doesn't it.  Actually I am in the city limits.  A friend once told me it is called urban/rural.  I like the area.  I am within 15 mins of a hospital driving fast.  I am within five miles of grocery, gas, and three miles from Highway 412.  Going the other way I am in Fayetteville within fifteen minutes.  But I get to see cows, horses, birds, hear coyotes at night, and listen to owls.

The yearly battle with ants has started again in the kitchen.  It usually only lasts a short time, but it is ugly to see the line marching across the counter.  I found a huge glob of them trying to figure out how to get into the honey jar.  So I made a paste of borax and water and smeared all over the jar.  So far that has worked.  It is imperative to not leave any food out, and to keep wiping down the counters. UGH!

Well, I think the grass has dried enough that I can do the trim mowing before it gets too hot.  I need to weedeat, too.

Have a good weekend.  Try to stay cool and calm.  It is nice to just stay in and knit, weave and spin.