Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winter Sweater Finished! Now What?

I started this September 14, and finished December 29, 2012.  I could have knitted faster, but I found the stockinette, plain knitting boring.  I used the EZ Percentage Method for my math for a 40 inch chest.  I used a pattern called Collegiate Sweater from the Knit Picks Design Team for the color work part.  It had the exact number of stitches I was using, and there was no jiggering around trying to match up numbers.  Used size 3 needle for ribbing, and size 5 for body.  The brown is Targhee semi-worsted wool from a friend's sheep and is mill-spun.  The pink is my handspun from my stash.

Now what do I do?  I am finishing up the little color work pouch, and then there is nothing on the needles!  Gotta get excited about doing something else.  But what?

Just proud that I have my hard-working, tough-as-nails everyday sweater to wear.  It is loose, comfy, and just a little bit bunchy around the shoulders.  But I love it!

Friday, December 28, 2012

We Finally Got Snow!

 After waiting, waiting, and finally giving up, I went to bed the other day disappointed that we did not have snow.  Just this afternoon, I got up from my spinning wheel and stretched, walked to the back door, and it was snowing!  I was not expecting any snow at all.  It is very light, moist, and will not last long.  The only danger will be the freezing roads after dark. 
I took this photo of Noodles the one day we had sunshine!  It was supposed to be warm because of the sun.  But when the door opened, the cold air was awful.  He normally does not mess with my wool, but I guess his butt was cold.  So with warm face and butt, he is one happy camper.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Birthday!

My brother will never read this, so I feel safe to write this story.  Yesterday, the 22nd, was my younger brother's birthday.  I know-how unfair to be born so close to Christmas!  So in the olden days, my mother went in to the hospital to have her baby.  In those days, women got something called a "twilight" and the baby was taken out and voila!  she had a baby.  She only had one request from the doctor-pierce her ears while she was "out".  She was too scared to get it done, because in the olden days someone used a needle and thread and left the thread in the hole to keep it open until it healed.  You had to rub the thread around and put alcohol on it to keep it from getting infected.

Okay.  I was 31/2 years old and my older brother would be six in February.  One day my father said we had to go to Little Rock and pick up mother from the hospital.  I remember he left us in the car, because in the olden days you could do that.  I remember seeing him walking out of the hospital with mother.  She was wearing her red cape.  She was carrying something.

When they settled in the car, my brother and I peered over the top of the front seat.  The seat went all the way across the car-no bucket seats in the olden days.  I asked, "What is that?"  She said, "This is your Christmas present.  Santa Claus brought it for you."  She peeled the covers back to reveal a thing they called a baby.  I said, "I didn't ask for that.  You can just take it back in there and get something else."

My older brother, being the oldest, said, "What are you calling it?"  Daddy said, "His name is Stephen Lee."  My brother said, "You can't call him that.  Those are your names!"  My father's and mother's names combined to make one name for their baby.  So off we went home to show off the new baby to all the relatives and friends gathered to ooh! and aah! over "it".

People cannot believe that this is my true memory.  Everyone thinks I got bits of stories and made a memory.  But this is my true memory of that event.  I especially remember the red cape.

My younger brother was my mother's "baby".  I wasn't jealous, and he became my "baby brother".  Since we lived on a major busy state highway, and we lived on a fish farm, mother had to hire someone to watch him during the day.  He was constantly active.  He inherited their night hours, and one never knew where he would be in the mornings when you woke up.  They tried putting hooks on the screen door really, really high up.  He got the broomstick and knocked it open.  The woman who watched him during the day knew he was in trouble if he was really, really quiet and hiding.  Once I remember the "art" he painted on the wall behind the t.v. (remember the really big old cabinets that t.v.'s were in?) and he  had painted with one of the tubes of my mother's bright red lipstick.  Remember the lipstick from the 50's?  It was a permanent stain on the wall.

So we grew up and we are all in our 60's now.  Happy Birthday!  It's good you got your hair cut.  And cleaned out your sewer line.  Those are two important things to do on your birthday.  Getting old means "Who cares-it's another birthday."  Aren't you glad Mother didn't take you back just because I didn't ask for you? 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fickle Weather Reports!

I know it seems as if all I think about is the weather.  But sometimes it really is all I think about.  This is December 19, and I have been working out in the yard again.  Tonight a storm is brewing, and tomorrow the high is supposed to be 39 degrees.  Then we go back to the 50's again.  Is is just too stupid to think about.

So yesterday in a day of glorious sun and 60 degrees, I loaded Patty into the car for a little day trip.  We drove east on a major highway.  It is four-lane until suddenly it is a two-lane old highway.  It begins to wind upward into the mountains.  I turn off the road and drive winding around a mountain and through a valley.  I pass through tiny towns and then really begin the mountain trip.  This is a most treacherous winding road and one better be sober to do it.  I know the road well, and I am still careful to not let my mind wander too much or to suddenly look out the window to see something.  One little slip and it is a long way down.  The loveliest part is when we go down into a valley called Boxley Valley.  It is a very historic part of the state, and the same family that originally settled there still lives there.  There are elk in all the fields, along with the cattle and horses.  In the ancient old mill site, there is a pond that the beaver always flood this time of year.  It was especially full yesterday.  And the swans that were introduced back to the area by Game and Fish are still there.

Then another climb up into the mountains and over to Jasper.  I visited my friend CF.  She is having her grandsons for five days, and she is so excited for them to visit.  She has given up her car driving, and depends on the Area Agency on Aging bus for shopping.  So yesterday I drove her to Harrison. 
We did several shopping stores for winter pantry stocking up.  She is set for winter to set in now, but I don't know when that will be. 

There is one store that she and I both love.  It is a grocery store called Bent and Dent.  Their prices are amazing.  It is run by Mennonites, so there is a lot of home-made cheeses and lots of bulk foods.
I got a tote bag full of stuff at very reasonable prices-my total was less than $20.  She got a HUGE box of stuff that will last her for a while.

We ate a wonderful homemade pizza made with Alfredo sauce, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and artichoke heats.  I ate sparingly since I cannot eat rich sauces.  But what I ate was really good.

So after we returned to her house, we walked the dogs down to the creek.  We visited a while, and then I headed home-over the mountains, through the valleys, and home again, home again, jiggety jig.

I finished the first rows of patterning on the yoke of the sweater last night.  I like the colorway, but it is very subtle. 

My neighbors are readying their moterhome for their trek south after Christmas.  I just shake my head.  He has not been well this year, and I cannot imagine their doing this again.  She does not want to go, but he is determined to do so again.

So nothing else new.  Christmas week is winding to the big finish.  Of course, for me Solstice is the major day.  After that, there will be more light each day.  Yeah!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The World Is In A Sorry State Right Now!

I posted this on my Facebook page some while back.  Right now it seems even more appropriate.

I am not too sure how we could possible control guns.  Even if we banned gun sales tomorrow morning, there would be enough guns in the US to do whatever we wanted.  And I feel like there are more guns than we know.  Not all guns have been registered according to law. 

I know my father had 22 guns under their bed when he died.  My mother was rearranging the furniture after his death, and she found all of those under there.  She had no idea there were that many.  This was before gun registration as we know it.

I just know that fear is the key to all of this.  If we allow fear to take over, more damage is going to be done.  We have to go about all this logically and sensibly.  I know that sounds weird to some, but I know that the crazies are still going to get a gun.  If they can't get a gun, they will make a bomb.  Or they will use other weapons.  If someone wants to kill, he will find a way. 

So all I can do is what I do every day.  I get up, eat breakfast, and I work on all my therapeutic projects all day long.  I work in the yard.  I visit my friends.  I stay in touch with all my acquaintances.  I maintain my daily routine as best that I can.  It isn't as easy on some days as it is on others.  I turn off the media.  It is all hype anyway.

In the midst of this latest tragedy, I turned off the t.v., refused to look up things on the internet, and I baked cookies.  I know how to bake cookies.  I don't know how to comfort those people other than through my thoughts and prayers.  I refuse to let fear take over. 

I know I sound a little bit strange, but it is my comfort to myself.  I am not going to give into the negative things that are out there.  I know they are there, but my sanity is at stake.

And-no-I do not own a gun.  I gave the two I had away a few years ago.  I felt it was too dangerous to me to have one.  I know that is the thing that the crazies are looking for-little ole ladies with guns that they can steal easily.  Because if they can't buy one-they will steal one.

Sorry for the rant.  Just my own crazy thing here.  My own opinions.  They aren't worth too much.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Spinning Is Magic


                                                           Equals This
 It's magic! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Little Greeting

A Spinster’s Twelve Days of Christmas by Paula J. Vester, Southern Fibers
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
12 shearers shearing…
11 ladies carding…
10 rabbits for plucking…
9 weavers weaving…
8 niddy noddies…
7 scoured fleeces…
6 pots for dying…
5 cashmere goats…
4 Ashford wheels…
3 lazy kates…
2 white lambs and
a silkworm in a mulberry tree
This was provided by CJ in our Spinning Guild's newsletter.  I had to pass it along.
I am not as ambitious as the above workers.  I am slowly and steadily working on the last little drab of spinning on my current blue yarn.  It is gorgeous, and I think that when plied it will be wonderful! 
I spent a nice leisurely day spinning, knitting and reading yesterday, and now I have to run some errands. 
We had a major cold snap.  Of course, with the current weather conditions it will last a coupla days and then warmish again.  We need rain so badly.  We had a nice little storm Sunday morning around 2 am or 3 am. I heard the thunder first and then I saw some lightening.  I thought about running Patty out before the storm, but did not budge from the bed.  Then, of course, it was over and gone by the time we got out of bed about 6:30 am.
We had our Wild Foods Party at CJE and AE's house Saturday.  It is an annual event, and I guess I will say, the food wasn't as wild as we have had before.  Lots of venison and some actual field quail.  I brought Bison sausages.  There was a real odd assortment of food, and the desserts just about did me in.
I took a guest, and she seemed to be intrigued by the long-lasting friendships we have within the group.  I have accepted it and do not notice that so much any more.  I guess one could call us a "tribe", and that some of the friendships are lifelong.  I suppose an anthropologist could come in to study our group.  It is a quite intriguing group of professionals who have no appearance of being professional when together.  They have lots of fun, and they like to party.
Not much else to share.  I have completed my 1.75 inches of stockinette on the yoke, and I am now ready for the colorwork.  FINALLY!  I wound the balls last night, and I am keeping fingers crossed I have enough yarn.  It is handspun, and there is no turning back once started.
I am also about halfway on the colorwork bag I am making.  It is a pattern from the magazine Jane Austin Knits.  It is a cute little bag, and I don't know why it intrigues me.  Maybe because it is small, and that means not a lot of knitting to complete.
In my head I think I want to start the twined knitting fingerless gloves next.  I will see. 
I just got some lovely new sock yarn.  I know I didn't need any more sock yarn.  I just caved with the sale.  I got four balls of Regia yarn and shipping for $16.95.  I haven't designated socks or other projects yet.  I have to work on that bowl of yarn this winter. Sigh! 
Have a good week.  Stay warm!  Have a safe and happy time wherever you are.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ways to Avoid a Major Project!

 O.K.-I now have the sleeves and body all on one needle.  A whole lot of stitches on there!  Now I begin my yoke and my colorwork.  For some reason I am busy doing other things.  It is an avoidance thing, I think.

First the other night I was so tired, and all I could knit was one teeny-weeny sock for my Christmas tree.

Also other people in my house had both comfy chairs.

Then yesterday I went to Eureka Springs for a mini workshop by Beth Brown-Reinsel.  I learned a Swedish technique called Tvaandsstickning.  I apologize that I don't know how to put those little marks above the a's.  We call it Twined Knitting.  It is a technique about 400 years old, and it makes a firm, warm, and inelastic fabric.  Beth showed us a beautiful jacket found in Sweden on one of her trips.  The sleeves were knitted in twined knitting, dyed after knitting, fulled, and taken to the tailor to finish.  The tailor then sewed the sleeves to a fabric that was made from a felted material and embroidered.  There was a cotton lining. It was very heavy, and I assume very warm.

We all were concentrating so hard with the beginning of the workshop.   It is a bit fiddly to learn how to manipulate the stitches.  Once that part got into my head, I finally developed a rhythm of sorts.  I know if one practises a lot, there would definitely be an easy rhythm to flipping the threads front and back and in the twining process.

 We had potluck!  Lots of good food and desserts!
 And lots of visiting going on.  That was fun too!
 And my finished cuff!  Not in the least bit perfect, but finished.  I did get the instructions from Beth to make a pair of fingerless mitts using a cuff like this, and another pattern for a pair of gloves. 
I took Beth and another friend downtown to do a little bit of snooping in shops.  We had a nice walk and saw some really beautiful things!  Then home again, home again, jiggity jig.

I am still spinning on the pretty blue yarn.  Nearly there, but another week of work probably before plying.

I found a great sale today online-I will apologize now to my LYS-for some sock yarn.  It was Regia for 2.95 per ball.  Then they had a great discount at the end.  When it came to shipping it was only 30 cents more to ship Priority.  So for 16.95 I got yarn for two pairs of socks!  Yeah!  A great bargain!
Another Christmas gift under my belt!

It was so warm on Monday that I went out to the front flower bed to dig out more grass.  It was nearly 75 degrees!  I ended up putting on a pair of shorts.  Then Monday night we had a little rain, and a cool front.  Still warmer than it should be this time of year.  But the really cold front is coming next week.  Highs in the 40's.  Sigh!

CJE and AE are having their annual party on Saturday.  This is a big event for our tribe.  I have some Bison sausages that I will cook.  It will be good to see folks again.  I didn't go to Mirkwood for the usual events, and I haven't seen most of these folks since last year.

So all avoidance aside, I should be able to start knitting the yoke this afternoon.  I want to spin a little more, and then I will sit down to that.