Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's The End-Again!

Although I don't think of the traditional Jan 1 as New Year's, it is the beginning of new things.  It is an Aries moon, a time of new beginnings, a time of turning things around, a time to reflect and change.

Since my last time to leave Patty at the boarding place, I knew that my adventures away from home would be coming to an end.  She is not doing so well; she has certainly showed me signs of a geriatric dog with special needs.  I notice them because of my education and training and the fact that I am with her all the time.  Her vision has decreased, her hearing has decreased, and her need to be with me has increased. 

So this whole month I have been thinking about what to do.  Partly thinking, anyway.  I have a tendency to put ideas in and let them stew for a while.  I have enjoyed my selfish knitting and my selfish spinning.  I don't feel the pressure to put out more and more.

I have also decided to teach myself a new skill-rug hooking.  I don't think the process is difficult-it's the practice, practice, practice kind of skill.  I like the type of hooking that looks as if it is painterly.  I like the mixing of colors and textures to add interest.  It is the color in the lines part I don't like.  We will see how it evolves. 

So this is just one more thing that is taking up my time.  Now add to that my sewing.  I bought a design wall and I have placed my quilt blocks from the quilt that was abandoned two years ago.  I did give a lot of fabric away to my SIL that quilts.  I cleaned off the shelves.  I did not sort through the flannels yet.  I also need to decide what to do with some other things in that room.  I have pillowcases to make, also.

So this is the end of the year 2014 by our traditional calendar.  Time to reflect and decide how things are going to go.

Thanks to all my friends and comrades that helped me along my path this year.  My book was published, book signings were done, fiber shows were done, and lots of stuff to consider. 

Several transitions have occurred and it is time to think about those people too. 

See you next year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day 2014

Yes, it is another Christmas.  Strangely I haven't been singing as many songs as I like to sing during the season.  This is the first year I haven't worn my Christmas pin.  And I didn't put up the Christmas tree this year.  Although all this sounds sad, I am not sad.  I just feel right. 

I went to CJE and AE's house yesterday to help clean out his mom's closet.  It was an archaeological dig and then some.  It is apparently going to take a few days of pulling things out, rather than a one day event.  CJE and I did not want to traumatize him and it was beginning to be apparent that he was saddened to see us take both cars loaded to Care and Share to drop off sacks of stuff.

I did bring home a sack of woolen clothing that could be made into fabric for rug hooking.  I left it out on the screened porch last night to freeze any critters.  I will sort it out there, wash them, and cut them into useable parts.

I just read an interesting idea for dyeing fabric that I want to try out.  It looked like fun and something to experiment with.

I began giving Patty a medicine "treat" that has chondroitin in it.  She just thinks it is a treat, and gobbles it down.  I am hoping this will help her hips and back knee joints.  She is having some difficulty with jumping.  She is more "spacey" lately and it is obvious she is thinking through the process of whatever task she is supposed to be doing.  The OT in me watches her and tries to think of creative ways to keep her independent.

I just heard honking and looked up.  Evidently my neighbor across the road has relatives coming.  Three cars pulled in behind each other and through her gate. 

I have been knitting on my sweater and have one more inch before the ribbing.  I have slogged through all the miles of stockinette, and relief is in sight.  I started knitting a feather/fan scarf with some of handspun yarn.  The colorway is so gorgeous.  It reminds me a forest floor with shadows, moss, and tiny flowers.  I will post a pic next time.

Today is a beautiful sunny day.  This has been the cloudiest and gloomiest weather month.  We have had drizzle, freezing rain, drizzle, and more drizzle.  Clouds every day.  I think I will wash something and hang on the line.  It was cold last night, but pleasant today.

I had Santa Claus when I got home last night.  Someone (I don't know who) sent me a new camera.  It isn't an expensive one, but nice.  It has more megapixels than the one I had.  I also got my package from Ryan and Holly.  She always finds the best little gifts.  I would rather get a sack of small gifts than one big one.  I donated money to a charity for them, and I sent them a few items in the mail.  I know that it is cheating to do that, but I like to think that they appreciate the idea of the donation.

I guess I jinxed the sky.  Clouds just covered up the sun.  Sigh!

I haven't been very faithful to this blog.  I think I need to reassess what I want to do about that.  I either have to close it or write more often.  I guess now that my book is published, I could write more here.  I just don't seem to "get around to it".

I also need to consider what to do with all the "stuff" I have lying around.  I need to finish some projects that have lingered too long in the unfinished line.

Instead of thinking about any of this, I think I will go and watch the birds.  I think this is a sit and stare out the window kind of day. 

More pictures next time.  Have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Oh No, Not Another Learning Experience

This has been a strange beginning to my hibernation season.  The weather has been up and down as it does in December.  I am so happy we have not had another December like last year's mess.  I remember the ice and snow.  It has been overcast, dreary, and damp.  The highs are seasonal. 

I am now facing the facts that I have a geriatric dog and that I am now getting geriatric.  I have more aches and hurting than ever before.  Patty has been doing a lot of staring at me and shaking.  After a phone call with my friends, we decided she is in pain.  I read online I can give her a low dosage aspirin.  So I gave her an 81 mg pill after calculating her weight and dosage.  She slept in her usual way, with getting up and groaning and stretching, and she could not jump onto her usual places.  That seemed to get her through that rough day.

Then she did the strangest thing the other night.  I walked into the kitchen to get a snack around 8 pm, and she followed me as she always does now.  I don't know why I turned around as I walked into the living room, but I did.  She was squatting and peeing on the floor.  She never does this.  She could not understand why I was screaming and yelling "no, no, no, no" over and over.  Of course, she isn't able to hear me, but she could read the body language really well.  She walked through the puddle and went to her safe place-her bed.  Sigh!  So she is being monitored constantly for any more signs of aberrant behavior.

I did a most unforgiveable thing for me to do.  I forgot to pay a bill.  It is so bizarre.  I have a very rigid method of recording my bills in a notebook and in my check register.  I do most of my bill paying online, but some require checks to be mailed.  The other night I was thinking about a gift for my son and daughter-in-law and thinking of putting it on my credit card, etc.  Then a flash went off-"Did I pay that bill?"  I remember getting it, but I couldn't remember anything after that.  Of course, my excuse is that I had to clean up my house really good for someone to come over.  I went through the stack where I keep bills-another rigid habit I have.  I have one place that I place bills.  I tore the house up looking for the bill.  I went online to check my electronic statements, I checked my check register in my purse, I looked and looked and looked.  I finally concluded that I hadn't paid it.

Sure, you would think I could go online and check there.  No, I have to have an access code that is on the statement.  No statement-no access code.

Finally I called the bank in Kansas City.  I explained I had had a senior moment.  Bless "Nicole"'s heart-she waived the late fee and took the info down to  pay the damn thing.  Then when I hung up I cried.  I can't believe I did that.  How could I forget what I did with the damn bill?  Either it will show up many months down the line, or I burned it with the paper trash.  My bets are on the latter.

That's two things that I have forgotten this week.  It is very scary to me.  Is this a sign of dementia or is it truly just a "senior moment". 

I also could not find anyone to knit those damn slippers for my friend DA.  He wants a pair of slippers like the old ratty one for his brother.  His brother loved that slipper until he wore a hole in the bottom.  So I found a pattern, cast on, knit them both, and sewed up the first one.  That's when I realized that these were way, way too small for a heavy-set man to wear.  I threw it down and sulked for two days.  I finally ripped out the two I had knit and cast on again.  I finished the one and sewed it up and it is 11 inches!  I was so thrilled I squealed.  So last night I knit the garter bottom and I am ready to start decreases on the second damn slipper. 

I really shouldn't hate knitting these as much as I do.  I am knitting with two worsted threads together on a size 9 needle.  It should knit fast and quickly.  Unfortunately I find the bigger needles hurt my hands more so than the smaller needles.  So I have to stop, flex my hands, wash the dishes in hot water, and go back later to it.  I will have this damn thing finished soon, and it will be done!

I finished the most beautiful yarn on my new electric spinner.  It is a multi color with black, dark blue, greens, yellows, and a dab of pink thrown in.  Really pretty.  Quite proud of my first skein off the new machine.

I am also getting really close with the sweater I am knitting.  I have over nine inches of the body completed.  Stockinette is boring, but I am getting it done.  I have to have fourteen inches of this and then the ribbing.  Yay!  Then the sleeves, then I am DONE!

I have picked out a pattern for my handspun handknit project this winter.  The blue yarn I love did not produce as much yardage as I expected.  So I am going to do a vest.  The pattern I picked out is Kasuri Chanchanko out of Folk Vests by Nancy Bush.  It will require a contrast color for the stranded work.  I think I am going to use white.  I have to finish the sweater on the needles first.  I am still planning ahead.

The Wild Foods Party is this weekend.  AE is in his fevered preparation stage, as usual.  CJE is fighting her sinus infection and avoiding his anxiety.  It will be fun to see everyone around the table again.

When I talked to the young lady at the bank this morning, I was asked my security questions.  I don't remember what I picked, but obviously one of them was my mother's maiden name.  How secure is that anyway?  After I hung up, I suddenly thought about that.  I remember then that my mother has been gone 30 years now.  It just seemed strange-30 years! 

Well, I guess I need to go knit on those slippers and get that project off the list.  Sigh! 

Patty is staring at me again.  Maybe she needs to run outside again.  Another Sigh!

I am going to try to be a better blogger, but no promises are made.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ah! The Sun Is Shining!

This is only the beginning of late Fall, early Winter.  We have had snow.  I know it wasn't a lot of snow, but what little bit is on the leaves in the shady parts of the yard are still there.  It is also windy.
This is not my favorite time of year-can you guess?

I am making a very emotional decision to sell my Ashford spinning wheel.  A young woman from Joplin is coming on Saturday to look at it and to try it out.  I know it will go home with her.  I am very emotionally tied to this wheel.  It feels good on a gut level to send it home with her.  She is a beginner and it is a basic wheel. 

Because it will be gone soon, I am trying really hard to finish up the blue yarn I have and get it plied.  I have been plying on the Woolee Winder that is on the Ashford.  It is faster and more efficient than the way I would do it on the Sequoyah.  An inconvenience for the short time until Saturday, but do-able.

I am also knitting on the red sweater.  It is about nine inches from the ribbing.  It is actually looking like something now.  I started a pair of handspun, handknit socks that I am doing for a friend as a surprise.  She spotted the yarn at some point and said, "Those look like socks to me."  It didn't sell at the fiber show, so she is getting a pair of socks.  The colorway is coming out stripes, which surprised me.  I don't remember plying stripes.  Oh, well, still pretty.

My friend YC lost her close friend today after two weeks in the hospital.  She went into organ failure last week, but was holding herself together until her mother could get there.  Such a time of transitions for everyone.

Patty goes to the groomer tomorrow.  I am thrilled.  She has such wiry hair, and I noticed that some of the curly stuff was in her eyes.  Time to get a trim.

We are supposed to get some warmer weather by the end of the week.  It is still below normal for this time of year, but I will imagine it is warmer than the 10 degrees this morning.

I have finally sorted and disposed of the last three boxes from my friend's storage unit.  It was bothering me to walk around the stuff and the smell was aggravating my sinuses.  I know it was the right thing when a HUGE brown recluse spider crawled of a box of letters I stirred up.  I sprayed it with ant/roach spray.  And I burned that mess right away.

Not anything else to report.  I think my neighbor is finally on the mend from her foot surgery.  She isn't very strong, and the walker is hurting her arms.  She went to the doctor to get stitches out yesterday and I haven't checked in on her.  I imagine they are tired of my bringing food over, but poor husband is trying to do everything in the house. 

So back to spinning pretty blue yarn.  It is so lovely in the sunlight.

Have a good week.  Stay warm.  Put on your woolies.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's Gray-It's Chilly-It's Just November Already!

I have been working around the yard trying so hard to clean up.  I will say my yard is a mess.  A friend said it best, "Your yard is feral."  Oh, well, that's the way it is.  I have been picking up things left lying around and put my tools away in their little shed.  I have run the gas through the lawnmowers to put gas stabilizers in the engines. 

I also picked up and swept the deck.  I put the indigo buckets and the dyeing jars under the table.  I have the big ole iron pot tipped over. 

Inside I have also been nesting, trying to get the toys situated in the rooms and by the chairs that I want them.  I feel like Goldilocks with my new e-spinner.  I think I have finally settled on a chair and a small bench to place it.  It seems to work well so far.

It is strange, isn't it, to have a spinning project in the studio and in the living room.  Nice!

Patty is looking like a poor wooly dog.  I really should break down and take her to a groomer for a little trim.  Noodles is in snuggle mood.  If I am sitting he wants in my lap.  If I get up, he snuggles in the warm spot.  I placed a felted wooly thing in the bottom of a basket, and he is there at the moment.

I think the majority of the cleaning out of my friend's storage units is done.  There is a little bit of nothing left in one unit.  JH helped me recyle almost all the rest of the books and National Geographics.  All the metal stuff is recycled.  Whew!  Just some burning left to do.

A friend's landlord makes extra money by selling used appliances-washers, dryers, air conditioners, etc.  He was able to get one of the old washers inside tub for me.  I am going to make it into a fire pit for this winter.  I like to sit by the fire and watch the flames.  It will be nice when I finish it.

So all the preparation is almost done now to settle in for the winter and the winter projects.  I am knitting a simple easy top-down raglan sleeve cardigan.  I am on the body of that now.  Then I have to decide what to do for my winter project.  I don't think it will be as complicated as last year's.

The birds are into full-fledge feeding at the three feeders.  It took some time to get the suet going, but I noticed two Downey's fighting yesterday and then the winner gorging on the suet.  It is a sign that the weather has turned.

I am spinning some yarn for me.  I love the subtle coloring of the deep steel gray with slips of reddish pink, yellow, and teeny bit of green.  I think it has to be something for me.  I also saved some purple for another something.  So the spinning is for me right now.

I have discovered a sight on Facebook that auctions fibers periodically.  I won two a while back, but only 4 ozs of each.  The last one I bid on is two skeins of orange-y colorway.  I am spinning one of the first ones, and it is really pretty.  I am imagining it to be a chevron patterned scarf.  I think it will be pretty that way.  4 oz should be adequate for a scarf.

Nothing else new.  Just a little chat for the week.  Have a great rest of the week.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Time To Change-Time To Prepare

We finally had our first hard freeze two nights ago.  On Facebook folks are posting their first snows.  Ugh!  I am so not ready for that at all.

This week has been the week I have begun to get ready.  I put gas stabilizer in the two mowers and ran them to get the engines ready for the winter.  I put them under the back deck and covered them.
I will put one more tarp over the two of them, but for now they are almost ready.

I moved the tool shed this morning and I gathered up all the various yard tools that needed to be put away.  I put the watering can in there too. 

Yesterday I rearranged the living room and swept out corners.  I have begun to rub all the wood furniture with orange and oil to clean them well.  It is time to close the windows.  Although leaves come in the back door, there should be less dust than before. 

It is that time of year when I get prepared for indoor activities.  I am through with my wandering around and I am planning winter projects.  The leaves are falling fast now.

I have all three bird feeders up and a sack of thistle seed.  I am filling the feeders daily.  There is a mad frenzy to eat and stay well through the winter now.

The past week I have been cleaning out the storage units that held my friend GO's possessions.  It is hard physical labor and it is dirty and dusty.  There is a part of me that is very sad to think that this is what happens to one's life after death.  All the things you cherished and loved just "stuff" now.  My friend CF came and stayed five days to help.  G's and my friend JH has been a blessing.  I asked him at one time "Where are all those friends he had when we need them the most?"

I am also in the mood to clean out my stuff, but right now I am just organizing things.  The last three weeks have flashed by.  I had one week of preparing for a fiber show in Missouri.  After returning home from that OS came for a visit with her dogs.  Then I had two days to change the linens and clean the bathroom.  I swept the floors.  I then drove to Jasper for a book signing.  I spent the night with CF and then she returned to help me this week with the storage unit. 

Now I am ready to settle down and just knit and spin and be.

I am excited that Netflix has Season Six of one of my BBC detective shows.  So today I am going to binge on George Gently and spin yarn.  I get up to stretch and move around.  I move things around and throw things away.  It is a job only I can do, and I have procrastinated long enough.

So have a great first week of November.  Where did the year go?  A year ago I was caring for my friend after he had a stroke.  I lost three months of the winter, and it made the winter go pretty fast.  I will hopefully have a quiet and settled winter this year. 

"The best way out is always through." = Robert Frost 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mid October-Time To Prepare

The weather is trying to decide if it wants to be warmish or coolish.  It is the usual preFall that occurs in my part of the world.  Now we are in a coolish state with lots and lots of rain.  A few thunders occurred, but mostly rain.  I actually turned the heater on to 68 today.  It is cool, damp and not very comfortable on old bones.

I am frantically trying to prepare for next weeks fiber show in Missouri.  I am not going to spin another bit of fluff until after the show.  I am tired of spinning fluff.  Well, not really, but I wanted to be a little bit dramatic.  I have some really pretty yarns, and I hope they sell well.  I know that some of them will make something nice if they don't sell.  It may be a very nice winter for knitting.

I have been on the selling binge for the book too.  Ugh.  I hate this part of writing a book.  It is a given that it has to be done, but UGH!

My friend CJE gave me some chicken the other day.  Someone had given them a huge amount of chicken for the freezer, so shared part of her booty.  Yesterday I baked a HUGE chicken for my evening meal.  Last evening I pulled all the meat off and packaged it for the freezer.  I then transferred the bones, gristle and bits into a pot for boiling.  I want to have some broth on hand for this winter.  I always like to be prepared for winter viruses.  I like to have chicken broth and chicken on hand to make soups.  Call me weird, but I find homemade chicken broth and soup the one thing that gets me through a stomach virus.

I have been buying extra canned goods for the pantry for winter preparation.  Each week that I go to grocery store, I buy a can of this and a can of that.  I have been waiting to go to Aldis or to the Bent and Dent store for my major buying for the pantry.  I scored Thursday at the grocery store.  They had generic canned pumpkin for $1 a can.  I bought three.  I love pumpkin and I eat it all year round.  Not just for pie, but for all kinds of things. 

It is time to start buying tomato soup too.  I like to drink soup for lunch, and my favorite is creamy tomato.  I put it in a cup, heat it in the Microwave, and lunch is ready.

I went through a bleak period of not wanting to knit.  I got over it.  I am now starting a plain simple top down raglan cardigan.  I  figured it will not take me too long to get it done.  I like it so far.

I also started a pair of knitted slippers for my friend DA.  He wants them for his brother in Wisconsin.  I normally do not do this kind of knitting-meaning on demand for a specific project.  I hope he likes them, because this is it.  No second chances.

I have been tired of Netflix-not much variety right now.  I have been watching PBS video of past shows.  I also have been listening to books on tape from the library.  These two get me through.

I realize I have not been in my sewing room for a while now.  I have two quilts that I started in early 2013 and never finished.  I have got to get myself into a better place and get some of my past projects finished and completed.  I shake my head and chastise myself, but I don't get it done. 

The leaves are started to turn a little bit.  The ornamental trees have started to be deep maroon/purplish across the road.  My neighbors Bradford pears are turning red and yellow.  The hardwoods are slowly showing some yellow.  Soon it will be really pretty around here.  The last hurrah.

I have to finish pricing my yarn, go through all my other inventory of "stuff", wash and iron the cover for the table, and finish making the postcards I designed instead of business cards.  I am a little nervous, but not over the top yet. 

I noticed that Oct., Nov, and December are going to be long months.  My friend CF does not understand it.  She tells me they still have the same number of days as always.  What difference does it make how many weeks there are or weekends.  I know it is illogical, but when I look at the calendar I see long months ahead.  

Not anything else to report at this time.  I haven't knit a single pair of new socks in a long, long, time.  I am thinking waffle pattern.  I found an easy waffle pattern that will not take much thinking.  After I get these slipper socks made, I think I will cast on.

Stay warm and stay dry.  It's going to be raining for a coupla more days.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Almost Fall

Yes-this blog entry is loaded with photos.  I haven't been putting photos on as much as I would like.  The pics above is my current yarn being plied.  I wanted more orange.  Well-surprise! As it is spun and plied, the dominant colors are the greens.  The orange, reds, purples, grays are just thrown in the mixture.  Oh, well, it looks like Fall anyway.  The wool is Polworth!  I love Polworth.  I bought this from October House Fiber Arts.  Robin is from Hot Springs, so supporting my local indie artists.

This was some lovely BFL I completed from the roving you see in background.  This is from Two Windows Dye Co., Hutchinson, KS-  Deb Waggoner is the dyer.


 YAHOOOOOO!  I finished the sweater that seemed to take forever to knit.  I am very, very proud of the accomplishment.  Let's see.  The pattern is from the book Medieval Inspired Knits.  The designer is Anna-Karin Lundberg.  It is merino/cashmere.  Love the feel of it, love the warmth of it, and glad it is DONE!

 I attended a wonderful workshop with my friend Beth Brown-Reinsel on Latvian mitts.  It was an all-day class in Eureka Springs and I was pooped out by 1pm.  It is amazing to see the various mitts as they progressed along the day.  Beth is a wonderful teacher and if you ever, ever get a chance to take a class, grab it. 

This is my study in craziness.  I bought this wool on Etsy because I wanted more orange/reds in my life.  I got it from Phoenix Fiber Co.-the dyer is April Noel- and I was so excited to see it in real life.
I listened to a book on tape while spinning.  I got so enthralled with the book and listening that I did not pay attention to my spinning.  I ended up with cousins instead of twins.  One skein has more reds and the other has more grays.  Oh, well, they are pretty.  Again the wool is Polworth.

Now on to more current news.  CJE's mother passed yesterday morning.  It was a short hospital stay this time, thank goodness.  Of course, CJE is in that suspended time of dealing with the aftermath of a death and dealing with the emptiness.  Her husband is the emotional one and the one to watch.  They now are down to one mother left, and I think it is surely not that far away.  She is 92 yrs old and frail.  She is strong-willed, so one never knows.

My little kitty Tommy Cat has disappeared.  He did not come home after going out Friday night some time.  He was only here a very short four months, but I think he was becoming a very loving kitty.  He was feral most of his life, so he had a good last four months of love and care.  I miss  him.

I am liking this cooler weather, but the ragweed is killing me.  I know it always bad, but this year is especially cruel.  We had such good growing weather this year instead of the awful drought.  I hope it goes away soon.

It is truly a pretty time with the goldenrod blooming, the late sunflowers, and the asters.  The verbena is still purple.  There are some butterfly weeds that are orangey. 

It will soon be time to close up the house.  The spiders are really kicking in gear now before the end of season.  I sucked a small one with the vacuum and she did not want to go.  I hate to do that, but I can't have them in every corner.  There is a big one on the inside of the screened porch.  Now why does she thing she can catch anything on the inside?  Wouldn't it make sense to be on the outside?

I am trying to get the house cleaned up before the closing up time.  It just seems pointless sometimes. I did put in a clean filter for the furnace.  I haven't checked the smoke alarm lately, but I think the battery is fine for that.  I cleaned behind the appliances early in the summer when I cleaned out the freezer. I never cleaned the windows for the summer, so those still need doing.  Of course, there is the endless chore of keeping floors clean.  Some of the plants need to be cut back.  I am still mowing the yard, but that will go on until hard freeze in mid-late October. 

Yes, I am still selling books.  UGH!  It is not my favorite thing to do.  A book signing did cancel last weekend, and I wasn't too upset.  I have two next week.  Then October is busy, busy, busy.

I guess that's all.  I am knitting on a Kate Davis design for a hat.  I am planning my next sweater, which is not going to be so complicated.  I think I need something easy for a change. 

I am listening to a book while plying this next yarn.  I hope it turns out to match it's sibling.

Happy Fall next week!  Enjoy the beauty and coolness.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

OMG! August's Almost Over

Well, I am going to moan and groan a bit about the heat.  We have had an unusual summer this year.  It has been cooler and wetter than usual.  Until two weeks ago anyway.  Then one of those highs that get the weather man going.  It moved into the central part of the US and hasn't moved in two weeks. We have had really HOT weather and  humidity.  There is a promise of cooler weather and maybe rain by the weekend.  Hope so.

My friend Beth is coming from Vermont this weekend.  She will be staying in Eureka Springs for two weeks.  I warned her it may be hot.  She is a New Englander-she doesn't do hot.  Oh, well, she chose to come in September.

I haven't been doing a whole lot of anything since the heat moved in.  I did mow the yard this morning.  There is a bit of Bermuda mixed into the regular pasture weeds.  It does grow in the heat.  So it was a lick and a promise type of mowing.

In the back yard I have a swath of rectangular grass that does grow thickly.  It must be where the gray water comes out.  It is away from the septic tank.  I couldn't mow it this morning because of the wetness.  I will tackle it close to dark tonight.

Tommy Cat is officially a member of our family now.  He likes to have regular meals and he likes air conditioning.  I didn't think he would ever give up his wild ways of survival, but he is much tamer now.  He and Noodles have a truce going on.  He finally respects that Noodles is old and is the head cat in this family.  I don't know that he likes it, but he does lower his head during the staring contest.

I have finally gotten somewhere with my stranded sweater.  I have cut the steeks on the neckline and I have to cast on to finish that bit of work.  It actually looks like a sweater now.  Boy!  This has taken me forever to make this one.

I have been spinning and spinning and spinning.  I think I am going to quit for a while.  I have enough for the show in October, and I will have to think up things to do with the yarn that is left over.  I may buy a little more roving at the Greenwood fiber show.  Otherwise, I am done for a while.

I have been trying to decide what sweater to knit next, but I am kinda burned out on sweaters for a while.  I have been looking at patterns.  I really would like a sweater coat, but I don't have enough yarn in stash to make one.  I don't want to buy any more yarn.

So we are in the summer doldrums right now.  I am feeling lazy.  I don't want to cook, and food is not interesting to me.  I have been able to keep myself from living on ice cream so far. 

I guess nothing of interest has been going on.  I have been trying to decide how many books to order.  I have dipped into the last box, and I have a busy Fall calendar ahead for book signings.  I have been writing quite a bit, but nothing has come together in a solid way.  I've been thinking about that a lot.

Friends of mine have gone on vacations this summer.  I am home with the three animals.  I wanted to go to Taos for the wool festival, but I just cancelled my room reservation.  I am going to be good and not spend money.

So moving onto September next week.  This summer has passed quickly and without too much fuss.  It will soon be time to clean out the sunflower stalks and pokeberry stalks.  The robins have moved in for the pokeberry season.  I saw a huge flock of geese on the mossy pond on Barrington yesterday.  Soon it will be time to put away the hummingbird feeder.  A change is coming again.

Stay cool.  Have a fun Labor Day weekend.

Monday, July 21, 2014


I am really depressed about my stranded sweater.  I thought maybe it was coming up a year soon that I have been working on it.  So I went to the archives and damn! my first mention of the planning was July 9.  My next entry on the blog was July 23 and I said I was moving along on the pattern.  That is really not right. 

I don't think it has ever taken me over a year to complete a sweater of any kind.  Even when I was a newbie sweater maker in the 8th grade.  I am definitely going to get this sucker finished sooner rather than later.

I lost about three months with my friend's illness and subsequent death.  I also started another sweater and finished it quickly.  At least in my three month normal time frame.  I have finished a lot of things other than that sweater.  I am not going to keep making excuses.

I normally have two or three projects going.  I have a tendency to put things down and walk away for a while.  This particular pattern I could only do in the daylight.  I found putting a chair by the window allowed me the right light to see the pattern without strain.  There was no glare on the pattern propped up on the magnetic board on the table by the chair.  My eyes did get tired and I would have to stop.

Once I started the sleeves it should have been a breeze to finish.  It is a simple trellis pattern that is easily readable for any mistakes.  On the first sleeve I was two or three inches along when I realized I had made a mistake.  I ended up unknitting three times until I finally got the thing in my head. So now I am on the second sleeve and I have the pattern in my head and I know immediately when I have made a mistake.

 I think it is a geometry thing.  When I was in high school I had to be tutored to get through all the math classes.  My father was a whiz at math and tried to explain things.  He got frustrated and hired someone to tutor me.  When it came to geometry he would actually make the 3-D things and try to explain it to me.  I never got it.  I am so amazed when I see 3-D knitting or crocheting.  How does one think up that stuff?  They have a head for geometry and advanced math formulas that I don't.

I was in the fifth grade when the teacher explained to my parents that I was able to get the correct answers on the math problems.  The problem was I was not using the "correct" formulas or methods to get the answers.  When I tried to explain how I got the answers my father would just look at me like I was nuts.  I couldn't understand his language and he couldn't understand mine.  Sometimes I still use my old methods to get answers.  It does seem a little convoluted.

The irony of all that was the summer I stayed with my parents in my twenties.  I needed a part-time job until I moved on with my life.  I got a job in the superintendent's office at the local school system doing secretarial go-fer stuff for the administrative assistant.  It was boring.  My old fifth grade teacher found out I was there and she asked if I could help some of the kids being held over for summer school.  These poor kids were having the same problem I had with math.  She told me that she didn't care what method they used as long as they could get the correct answer in the end.  So I spent a lot of time with fifth graders helping them pass their math tests using a weird math system.

So isn't it strange that I can do the simple math stuff for knitting?  Sometimes I have to go over my notes just to make sure the numbers are right.  With weaving I had no trouble since I only wove with four harnesses.  So everything was divided by four.  Simple everyday math I can handle.  I can make change in my head so I know how to make money transactions. 

So is this a long drawn out excuse for not getting the sweater finished.  No, but it is an explanation of my warped thinking.  I now have the map in my head of how the knitting is to be done.  So now I can finish my sleeve.

So back to this other thing.  I have met a lot of people in my lifetime that have a greater math phobia than I do.  I mean I really lock up when someone starts with "Let's do a little math game." or "Do you remember how to do this algebraic formula?"  I shut down.  When I told one of my weaving students 30 years ago or so that weaving is basically a simple mathematical tool and she shut down.  She could not figure it out.  I finally asked someone for help.  This was in the days of early computers, so he built a program for me that would show the draw-down and when I pushed a button the woven piece would show.  By changing it to a visual thing she understood what I meant.  She went on to do beautiful work from that point on.

So, yes, I will finish this sweater before it is cold enough to wear it.  Yes, I have two other projects going that require work.  Oh, yes, I am already planning the next sweater.  It is going to be a simple thing-maybe a gansey or something. 

The weather is warming again.  It is in the 80's and the humidity is returning.  The yard needs attention.  I am lazy and have not been out in the garden lately.  Just this morning I was thinking I need to get that ragweed out of the front bed.

Gotta go.  Sorry to make so many excuses for my poor knitting habits.  I am going to get this sweater finished soon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Is It Really Mid-July?

This is BFL that is so lovely it hurts.  I bought the roving from the same dealer and the name is the same-Oatmeal.  It may be difficult to see, but the bottom one is browner than the top batch.  Sigh! I had intended that this be a bottom half of a yoke sweater if it doesn't sell at the show in October.  Now-I don't know.  Maybe something else entirely.

Today is another weird weather day.  We had the low 50's when I woke up and I had to put on a sweatshirt and a light pair of knit pants.  IN MID-JULY!  With this polar plunge front from the north, the humidity is nil-thank goodness.  I have to go out and stand in the sun to warm up my fingers.  Crazy-Crazy-Crazy!

A new kitty has adopted us.  He began hanging with us in the winter and I did not encourage him.  He and Noodles got into horrendous fights.  Since Noodles is an old grumpy cat, he lost most of the battles. 

Well, tomorrow the new kitty has an appointment at the Spay/Neuter Clinic.  I am so thrilled for this service.  They are neutering him and giving him a rabies shot for $35. 

He has become tame enough to love on when he sets the terms.  He still jumps and runs if I do any weird arm motion or clomp too loudly around.  Today he actually played with some toilet paper rolls.

I had thought in my head that Noodles would be the last kitty I would have.  He is fourteen and could live a while longer.  I am not getting any younger either.  And here is the new one coming into our lives.  Noodles hates him, of course.  He is not adjusting well.

I finished the sleeve of the sweater and I have done two rows on the second sleeve.  I cast on a quick mosaic stitch cap that is fast and easy.  I am thinking I need to think about the show in October, but I am not really motivated.

The book got off to a good start.  I have signings set up and I am thinking of ordering more books.  I just don't know.  Unfortunately my momentum has slowed down and I am not pushing myself to sell what I have.  I just don't have the get up and go.

We have had a lot of rain and it has become hard to mow around the rainy days.  I am slowly mowing down the seeds for the bachelor buttons and the fleabane.  It has been a hard job.  I found some sweet annie sprouted that I didn't realize I had until I had mowed a coupla times.  So now I have a patch of tallish grass to allow that to continue growing. 

The tansy is blooming and I could get a nice dyebath out of that.  I just am not motivated to push myself anymore.  Oh, well.

Not a lot to tell.  I am so amazed at our weird weather that it consumes me.  I have noticed signs of late summer- wooly worms, orb spiders, walking sticks.  The finches are devouring the sunflowers that are seeding.  The bees are pollinating the sunflowers that are blooming.  I have marigolds, black-eyed susans, calendula, verbena, and other flowers blooming.  Oh-the catnip is in full bloom and the bees are in heaven!  They love catnip.  So a typical wild flower place.

Have a great rest of the week and weekend.  Enjoy the coolish weather while we have it.  It will be July again soon.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

What to Do Today

1. Okay-there comes a time in every knitter's life that decisions must be made.  The other night I realized again for the third time that I am not following the pattern on this hat I'm making.  I am tired of ripping it out, so I studied it and studied it.  Surely I can fudge something and keep knitting and it would look all right.  So I set it aside to look at objectively in the daylight hours.  I also didn't want to use my emotions to make a decision.  When I look at it now, I realize I don't like the two colors together and I might as well rip it out.  Regardless of the fact I have made mistakes so many times on this damn thing.  So that is one thing I can do.

2. If I rip out the hat, do I make something else with the yarn?  Or do I just find another yarn that is compatible with the one color I like and continue the pattern that I have messed up on?

3.  I would like to start an indigo dye bath.  I think it is warm enough now to keep it at a proper temp.

4.  I also need to finish up the little dab of BFL I have left.  If this yarn does not sell this Fall, it is going to be the bottom of a yoke sweater.  I like it a lot.

5. I think I would like to make my great-nephew a coupla of little hats.  His mommy and daddy are moving back to Atlanta.  So he will need to keep his little head warm.

6. I am also in the mood to do some sewing, but not enough to go back there and figure out where I left off.  Lazy me.

7.  I am still plugging along with the first sleeve of my sweater.  It will be done some time in my lifetime.

8. I could go read for a while.  That would mean I could turn off the brain for a while.  It is tough having to make a decision about what to do.

9. I could clean up the front room.  I let my chaise lounge go to CJE for her new studio.  Naw! No cleaning today.

10. I could play computer games.  That is mindless, too.

Well, there are lots of options.  I don't know what to do today.  I feel really tired and lazy.  Yesterday JE and I went to CJE's to move things into the studio.  A LOT got moved, but there is still a lot to move.  We did get one of her storage units cleaned out.  That will save her money.  It will be nice once she organizes and gets things in the places she wants.  The electrician is coming tomorrow. It will be nice with the fans going and light in there.

So off to figure out what to do now.  Have a good start to the week.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What To Do On A Hot July 1

My friends CJE and AE are taking care of both of their moms in their home.  One is 92 and the other is almost 90.  They are not well, but with the care given them they could last a while longer.  Because my friend CJE is a weaver, spinner, dyer, knitter, and a writer, she had to give up some of her own personal space to house her mom.  It has been a long two or so years of grumbling and passive behavior.  So my friend took her own money and bought a portable building and yesterday it was delivered.  JE and I showed up to support our fiber sister and to watch the events. 
Needless to say it was hot outside all afternoon.  I was pooped by the time I got home and Patty went to bed.
 We are gathering on Saturday to move things in.  It will be a great space for her to play and be creative.  She will have her looms out and ready to weave.  Her spinning wheel can go from house to studio and back.  So can her knitting.  Now the containers of fiber can find a home, the books can find a home, and it will be really nice to put things in their places.
Just as Virginia Woolf said, a woman really needs her own room.  Congrats to CJE! It is wonderful to have you back in the mood to weave and play and spin and knit and write whenever you walk into the door.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Solstice Day!

I prepared myself for this change in season by cleaning out things.  It started as a simple cleaning out the underwear drawer to cleaning out three drawers and the closet.  As I accumulated things, I started looking around the house for things that I don't use or don't need.  I ended up with a box that was overflowing, six grocery bags, and a small table.  It felt pretty good to get rid of things.  Luckily the Goodwill folks opened a drop-off branch right down the way from me.  It is close and convenient.

Today I got up early to enjoy the coolness of the morning.  I dropped Patty off at the groomers and I headed south to Boston Mtn. for the spinning guild meeting.  It was a long, long meeting as far as our group meetings go.  There was a lot of stuff to discuss, so I got a lot of crocheting on the baby blanket.  I am really getting tired of the blanket, but I am persevering to try to get it done sooner than later.

I was able to sell some books at the meeting and that made my savings account happy.  I don't know what is going to happen when I run out of friends.  I don't want to get stuck with a lot of books.

After picking up Patty, she and I headed up to CJE's house. JE was visiting and I thought I would check in with them.  It was a good quick visit, but I didn't want to stay away from home too late.

I made a good supper with a baked potato and some barbequed chicken on top of the baked potato. Easy dinner.

Tomorrow I am going to go to an oral storytelling class that is being held on a vintage train.  It should be fun.  I have stories to tell, and that isn't the problem.  It's how to get them out there.

So now to go to do some meditating and some prayer work for this glorious Solstice.  I always think it is the end of summer instead of the beginning.  Oh, well.  For me a new year starts and new goals and plans to be made.

Have a good rest of the weekend.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Beautiful June Day!

I could keep running from the person I used to be. Or I could write another story.

My new quote for the day.  It struck a cord with me.  I found it on a blog called A Dribble of Ink.

I really haven't been writing for a while.  Then suddenly I am staying up at night with a story going through my head.  I wish there was some magical way to just put those thoughts on the computer and then I could go to sleep.  Sometimes I have to get up and write them down.  Sometimes I finally go to sleep.

I lived with Amy Kate for 38 years before she was printed in my new book.  I think I have a new character that may live with me for a while.

The yard is wild and overgrown on the edges.  I need to do so much trimming.  I am not motivated, so I still need to do so much trimming.  My hollyhocks are taking the prize this year.  So gorgeous!

Patty is itching all the time now.  She drives me insane with the scratching, licking, sucking that she does to relieve the itch.  I have checked her over and no ticks or fleas.  I did find one flea last week, and I immediately bathed her and washed her bedding. 

Wild Kitty wants to fight Noodles for a place in the yard.  The last two nights have been screaming matches that make me go out and move Noodles into the house.  He just wants to sit on his deck in the chair and watch the world at night.  It is a difficult transition to being a senior kitty with a protective mom.

I have slowed down my knitting lately.  I am just not inspired.  At this rate I will not have a baby blanket for SH's new grandbaby.  I also started a new pair of socks for the baby-and they are still in the bag.  I did knit on the sleeve of the sweater yesterday.  I love that it isn't a difficult pattern.

I found a great film on Netflix over the weekend.  It is Mile Mile and a Half.  It is about a group of people who plan for six months to hike the John Muir Trail in one month.  That is about 210 miles of rugged mountainous terrain.  Whew!  I guess it helps to be young.  I used to think I wanted to do a long-distance hike.  One that would take a long while to walk.  I never got around to doing that.  Now I could manage maybe a 4-5 day trip.  Then I would be hungry and cranky and tired and sore.  Especially my feet.

Saturday was my parents' wedding anniversary.  Yesterday was Father's Day.  So I did some thinking over the weekend.  Some times that is good and some times it isn't.

I finally got all the gift books sent away.  Now any monies I make go into the bank.  In theory I won't have any emergencies that require extra money.  Ha!

My friend CF was needed by her daughter to babysit the grandkids for 10 days.  Luckily I was able to go pick her up last Monday and bring her back to Fayetteville. The drive was gorgeous.  It rained both days, but we made the best of the coolish and wet weather.  Every stream, every river, every creek was flowing with tons of water.  I saw a swan at the mill pond.  I saw elk.  A female turkey was standing out on the road coming down from Steele Creek.  The woods are lush and jungle-like.

Today I am going over to B's house to pick CF up and we are going to meet DA for lunch.  It will be old home week.  The wind is blowing and it isn't too hot yet.

I made a new batch of granola over the weekend.  I didn't have pumpkin seeds to put in this time, but I did add some diced up prunes.  I also added a bit more cinnamon than usual.  It is so good and fresh.
Breakfast of champions!

So off we go into the Solstice this weekend.  So funny that everyone talks about it as the official beginning of summer.  Actually I always think of it as the ending of summer.  From Solstice on the days get shorter.  It is so gradual and subtle that one doesn't notice it.  Then suddenly it is Autumn Equinox.  Humans are such funny creatures.

Well, I must shower and go pick up CF.  Have a great week.  The weather is turning again.  I think the hot will move in soon.  We have had such a cool and wet early June that we are lulled into thinking this is okay.  Hmmm!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Yes, I Live In A Jungle!

My book is here.  I sold my first ones yesterday!  I stayed up late last night to read some of the stories. I was disappointed at the mistakes I found.  Oh, well, lesson learned.  One can never, ever find all the typos.  I hope others will forgive the mistakes.

I finished two itty, bitty knitting projects that were a divergent from the big knitting.  I did spend two really nice rainy days this week watching Netflix and knitting on my sleeve. 

The weather has been rainy, rainy, rainy.  It is hard to quickly run out and mow the yard before it is too thick to mow.  It is also too wet to mow most of the time.  It is such a weird weather pattern.  The weather man last night said this weather is the first "normal" weather we have had all year.  I guess.
Come July when we are HOT and DRY I will remember my complaints about the wet.

I did spin up one of the blue bobbins I need for skein two.  I am addicted to Netflix as I do some of these tedious long tasks.  I watched the 2012 season of Longmire.  That has gotten rather complicated.  And I watched the third season of Sherlock.  I had stopped watching those a while back, but returned and finished them yesterday.  I also like Murdochs Mysteries and Poirot.  Those are much longer series, so I can have marathons of Murdoch and Poirot.  They are both period pieces and I enjoy the simplicity of good vs. bad.

Patty found a new pile of garbage my neighbor threw out.  I think she would eat until her stomach would explode.  Thank goodness I got her before she did that.  But it is taking a few days to get it all digested and pooped out.  She is pathetic.

Noodles has moved from eating chipmunks to eating baby rabbits.  He is systematically eating one-sometimes two-a day.  He sleeps all day during the heat and mugginess, and then hunts during the night.  I have to look around for bodies when I get up.  Ugh!

So now it is getting dark again and is ready to rain again.  I tied the hollyhocks up this morning.  The wind blew them around last night and I am afraid they will break.  The bumblebees are still pollinating them no matter what.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Made a Committment

Yesterday I got the invoice for the first 100 books.  Whew!  I am financially in shock right now.  I quickly figured out how many books I need to sell to make the money back.  It is a step through the rabbit hole and I don't know where the crazy queen or the mad hatter or any of them are hiding.

I am presently signed up to do a book signing in four different venues.  It is a teeny-weeny baby step into the unknown.  Hold good thoughts for me world.

I finished the blue skein.  Really, really pretty.  I think I did a good job with the color and the spinning.

My yard is lush and green and wild and out of control.  I know I say this every year, but there is no reigning it in.  I did manage to get the riding mower out today in between rain showers.  We have had the pre-summer stuff of one cloud goes overhead and rains.  After it passes on to the west, the sun comes out.  Hard to get excited about mid-July when the drought hits, but right now it is all green, lush, and wild.

Patty is somehow getting into ticks all the time.  Even with the poison stuff on her, I have to check her over constantly.  Luckily I have figured out that when she starts scratching, I look closely.  I find an average of two or three a day.  Noodles has been indoors more as he ages and the other cat is hanging around.  I have found some on him, but only when he is out foraging.

I just can't get too excited about knitting right now.  I pick it up and knit a few rows, but it is not interesting to me.  I got some new fabric to make a quilt top.  I think what I am planning is taking the striped quilt top that is not appealing to me and make it the backing for the new quilt top.  That way it is reversible.  It's a thought anyway.

So CJE reports she is finally getting well.  She is still taking the super-duper decongestant and the antibiotic.  So I guess she is feeling better.  I think she is still sleeping a lot, but her body is finally healing.

I had a good birthday.  R texted me and we had a nice text-conversation back and forth.  Isn't that funny?  My niece S sent me a picture of flowers on Facebook.  And Google wished me happy birthday.  I guess welcome to modern times, huh?

Not a lot to report.  Just wanted to mention the book.  I am so excited to finally be finished with one part and now the next journey begins.  This is the part I don't really care for-the meet and greet and marketing stuff.  I realize I have to do some of it, but I am not going to kill myself to get it done. I want to have fun with it.

Time to take Patty out and go to bed and read. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Almost June

I have been a horrible blogger this month.  A whole lot of nothing going on.
-Yard work takes precedence over everything else.  It takes a big chunk of time to mow, trim, and weed eat.
-CJE and I went to Hollister, MO for an OWL (Ozarks Writers League) meeting.  We stayed in an old hotel that has been restored to nice accommodations.  The noise level from the bar and the people in the hallway made me feel as if I was in some dormitory somewhere.  CJE was deadly sick the whole weekend with sinus infection.  Not a lot of fun.  She slept the whole trip.
-CJE and I went to Eureka Springs after OWL meeting, stayed at the Writer's Colony Saturday night, and then attended Books in Bloom on Sunday.  Again, CJE sick, sluggish, and not feeling right. AE called me to talk to her, and we headed home after that.
-Moving slowly, but steadily, along on the sleeve of colorwork sweater.  After ripping out the four inches, I think this time it will stay in.  Looks good to me now. Interesting part- decreases every four rows. Repetitive pattern not so interesting to create, but looks pretty.
-Had a spurt of interest in spinning some yarn, and could not face white.  So dyed it pretty blue color.
The yarn will match my bachelor buttons outside.
-My yard is again covered in bachelor buttons and weeds mixed in those.  I am amazed at my neighbor's abhorrence of the untidiness of everything.  I like it, and I don't care that they don't.  She is afraid of snakes.
-Noodles has decided now to systematically kill off every chipmunk that might be around.  I wish he would kill other rodents, but he has his own menu.
-Patty was boarded while CJE and I were on our weekend trip.  She came home with some weird habits from the other dogs.  Noodles had to slap her down twice until she remembered she was out of control.  Things back to normal now.
-The dreadful privet bushes out front are blooming.  It is a very sickening sweet smell that I am highly allergic to.  Since I keep windows and doors open and sit on the screened porch, there is no avoiding the smell or pollen.  UGHHH!
-I started a barn-raising square.  I had so much trouble with the cast-on and double points.  Gave my one square to CP at LYS, and told her my problem.  I showed her the granny square afghan I am crocheting with the yarn I bought.  JF came in, laughed at me, and said she always teaches people to use the magic loop method.  That was a DUH! moment.  I never thought of that.  She said everyone on Ravelry that had problems used double-points. DUH!
-I had my birthday this weekend.  Weirdest thing-Google had birthday cupcakes, etc. When I pressed the Google logo to see who had a birthday the same day as me, it popped up "Happy Birthday, Juliann".  Now it is strange to know I have a relationship with my computer.  I also got a birthday email greeting from Toyota.  Too strange, huh?

So see not a lot going on.  Just mundane things that occur around here.  Not a lot going on.  I am moving towards sewing, but haven't gotten there.  Goal for the summer is finish the two quilts I started last year.  I want to do some small sewing projects too.  Just moving towards hottest part of summer when I am not as interested in knitting. 

So soon we move into June.  I really like June.  It is a transition month with the Solstice in the middle.  I enjoy the screened porch in the first part of the day, and seek coolness for the hot part of the day.  So come on June-I'm ready for ya.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinquo de Mayo!

Today is a lovely day in northwest Arkansas.  It has jumped into early summer from Spring, but it is very nice.  The endless winter seemed never-ending.  We had a bit of cooler weather last week, but this week is sunny and hot.  It is just a holding pattern until flowers start blooming. 

Patty has become very restless and wants out all the time.  Yesterday she disappeared while I was busy, and I found her finally in the woods.  She had been eating something, and her stomach was bulging.  I gave her a bath to get rid of the smell, but I watched her like a hawk from that point on.

Noodles is in active killing mode.  He has slowed eating of store-bought food, and leaves little guts and surprises all over the house.  He prefers to eat it on carpeting or a rug.  It is so much nicer than eating it alone outside or on the hardwood floor that can be cleaned easily.

We did not get the normal April rain or storms.  We did have one big storm last time, but the killing stuff stayed south of us.  The weatherman is predicting thunderstorms this Thursday.  We just need the water, and not in gushing proportions.  A nice soaking rain would be nice.

My book is scheduled to come out in June instead of August.  Whew!  A year in the making!

I was knitting along on the sleeve of the color-stranded sweater.  Something wasn't right.  I found one mistake in the pattern work.  It was not so noticeable.  Then as I am knitting along, I found I had made one other mistake.  So yesterday in a fit of angst I ripped out four inches of pattern work.  Sigh!

I am also ripping out the toe of a pair of socks I made about six years ago.  I made them for my friend that died in January.  They are worn and stained.  I would never give them away to someone else in this condition.  So I am ripping them down to my size.  I will wear them out.

CJE and AE are back from Peru.  She is seriously ill from two broken eardrums and a giant floater that appeared in her right eye. 

Nothing else new to report.  I hope you have a great week.

Friday, May 2, 2014

It's Finally May!

As usual the first of May is coolish.  I am still wearing sweaters.  Some idiots are wearing short sleeves, flip-flops, and occasionally I see a silly little girl in shorts; I am still wearing sweaters.

The weatherman is promising 70's by this weekend.  Be still my heart.  I will be sitting outside in the sunshine for sure.

Today is chaos.  The men are here installing a shower in the hall bathroom.  It is not a big job, but one that does require some skill.  I am not very good at plumbing.  They have their cloths laid out on the floor, and the work has commenced.

I spent my May Day (yesterday) with a friend who had oral surgery.  I couldn't help but compare his experience with mine.  I felt as if I was in a factory.  The workers were well organized, scripts were memorized, and the doctor was quick and efficient and on his way to another patient.  I barely understood all the instructions he gave.  It is helpful that I know what meds are what and how they are utilized.

Afterwards I was able to get my friend into his pharmacy and drugs purchased.  Then on the way home I pulled through Sonic to buy him a milkshake.  My surgery team gave me a free coupon for ice cream, his did not.  I know it is pure sugar, but I thought my friend looked a little bit shocky.  After eating the ice cream and some cold tomato soup I brought for him, he slept until 5 pm. 

I was able to get the dogs walked twice, checked on the horses, and I got a lot of knitting done.  My friend does not have t.v. or internet, so knitting it was going to be.  I got him up at a little after 5 pm and got two cups of warmed broth from the soup I made for him.  I left him a huge container of soup and some soba noodles for today. He was rearranging the horses in different grass eating places when I left.

Today he reported to me he feels fine and normal.  There is minimum swelling, and he is going to do some of his errands as planned.  He is telling me there is minimum pain.  So I guess he will not need the narcotics that the doctor ordered.

I am spinning some very lovely BFL in small quantities.  I find my attention span is limited to small batches right now.  The color is called oatmeal, and is a blend of two light browns of natural color.  Very pretty.  BFL has become my macaroni and cheese spinning.  It is comfort spinning.

I began knitting a square for the Barn Raising afghan.  I found the cast on very fidgety and had some difficulty keeping the stitches from falling off as I knit around in the beginning.  So after blocking it, the laddering is so apparent to me.  I don't like the way it looks.  I tried again to start a second square, and just had the same experience of loosing stitches as I began the knitting.  So I ripped it out and started crocheting a giant Granny Square afghan.  I like the way it looks and the mistakes I make are not so apparent.  It seems to suit the yarn better.  I am using Noro's Taiyo sock yarn.  The colorways are nice.

I have sewing on the mind, but my attention span is limited to short time at the machine.  I have a project or two going and I can't seem to finish anything.  Oh, well, when the summer heat arrives, I like to spend more time sewing than knitting.

I managed to get the riding mowing part of the yard work done this week.  It was rather silly to see me in a jacket and a knit cap out mowing the yard.  I knew I would lose yesterday and the men were coming today for the bathroom.  Then it's the weekend, and another week has gone by.  So to help control the weeds, I did the major mow job.  I still haven't gotten the trim work or the weed eating work done.  I don't feel compelled to run out in the wind and do it.

Patty is feeling rather clingy today.  She felt so totally abandoned yesterday that she is not letting me out of sight.  Noodles was somewhat following me around this morning, but he is off to his hunting routine at the moment.

I finished the red sockies, and they should be in Holly's hands today.

CJE and AE are home from their trip to Peru.  She is happy to be home.  I think she learned some valued lessons on this trip about caring for herself.  She needs a vacation from the vacation.

I guess that is all the catching up I can do.  I want to get the hummingbird feeder cleaned and restocked. 

Hopefully the news continues to be good news.  It is time for warmth and sunshine and happy days.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Patterns of Life

Sometimes I am sad.  Sometimes I am okay.  Sometimes I am happy.  I don't know what regulates all that.  I know that Patty and Noodles are happy most of the time that I am home and on our regular schedules.  Schedules are important to them. 

Today when I woke Patty was smacking her mouth getting her mouth wet after drooling all night.  Noodles was yelling.  I was dreaming a sad dream about my friend that died in January.  So up we go, out the door into the rain, potty time completed for the two of them, and then BREAKFAST!  Food is very important to them.

It is so strange since Noodles can come and go as he wishes with the cat door.  Every night and every day he goes for the first walk with us and the last walk at night.  The rest of the time is his own imaginary free time, until 3 pm.  That's dinner time for the two of them.  Of course, they have to beg for shares of my dinner, but please do not go over the 3 pm time for them.

I also now have wild birds in the mix of schedules.  I cleaned the sugar water for the hummingbirds as scheduled.  I threw out more ground seeds and filled the big feeder.  I have one woodpecker that will "talk" to me if there isn't enough seed.

So I made a promise over the weekend that I will get the sleeve going on my stranded sweater.  It has languished long enough.  I made a commitment to myself to finish this before the heat is on.  Yesterday was a struggle.  I picked up and knitted 131 stitches around the sleeve hole. I counted at least six times, and I got six different numbers.  I finally put a stick in between stitches once 50 was counted twice.  That worked.  I was able to do the first row fine, but the second row had to be completely unknitted.  Sigh!  I finally got the second row finished.  But somehow now the third row is not working.  Double Sigh!

So today after everyone was fed and watered and I finished my emails, I said out loud to myself," Today we are going to get this set up finished and the sleeve moving along."  Here I sit typing instead of sitting in my knitting chair and knitting.

I notice that I have a lot of bumblebees.  I haven't seen as many honeybees as usual.  Some of my etnobotany friends say that is good.  The honeybees are invaders of the bumblebee territory anyway.

Oh, well.

I am turning the heel on the second sock that is commissioned.  I am so over socks right now.  I did decide that my easy-peasy summer project is going to be a barn raising afghan.  It is knitted in squares.  I am using Noro Taiyo sock yarn.  I like the two colorways I chose.  It is begun in the center, and for some reason it took three tries to get the stupid circle to close.  I am real close to done on the first one.

I finally remembered that seeds have to be in the ground by Good Friday!  I remembered on Good Friday.  I know that is not a real rule, but it was my grandmother's rule.  So I seeded some perennials and some sunflowers.  I never get a good crop, but the few sunflowers I get are loved by the finches, chickadees, and nuthatches.  I did plant some dye flowers, but I think my seed was old.  We will see.

Today is a nice soft rain day.  It was going good for a while, but has stopped momentarily.  I think we still need rain.  It hasn't been a bad April, but this is usually a rain month for us.  Weather is so unpredictable any more.  No patterns to follow.

So keep on knitting through the frustrations and keep on trying.  My new motto.  See ya next time.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Almost Spring!

This year the weather has been so unpredictable.  With the never-ending winter, any sunshine is welcome.  April is traditionally the month of severe storms, and lots of rain.  We have had some storminess, but a good amount of rain.  Last year we had snow for the first time ever in May. 

So I have company coming over the weekend.  My cousin is making his annual visit and we always go to Grove, OK to visit his family property that he and his sister own.  Once we roll into town, I stop at the big convenient store by the WalMart and get a drink and to go to the bathroom. 

Then we head to the cemetery to visit his family there.  I love to drive around cemeteries.  I know it is a Southern 'thing', but I love to read headstones.  I found one some years ago in the Grove cemetery that I loved.  The woman has not died yet, but her stone is a double one with her husbands.  His side has his pertinent information, but the most interesting thing is the carving of wood tools.  Her side has a shuttle.  I think this is a grand way to be remembered.  A woodworker and a weaver-side-by-side through eternity.

I am stuck on the fancy sweater.  It has a complex way to add on the sleeves, and I am not sure I understand it.  I asked my friend CJE to read it, and I think we both concluded the same solution.  I am just not sure it is the right solution. 

I have finished one of the red socks that a friend wants me to make.  I also started a scarf with some handspun yarn that I am doing in a chevron pattern.  It isn't fancy.  I wanted to do a cable pattern, but had some difficulty following the chart.  I started over with a lacy pattern, but I kept losing stitches.  After these two failures, I cast on the garter stitch chevron pattern in my head.  It isn't fancy, but it is textural.

I walked into my sewing room this morning, and it felt sad.  I have ignored my sewing for way too long.  I have to finish the two quilts I have started.  I don't think I have procrastinated so long before on these projects.  I usually like to sew in the summer and it will be here sooner than I think.

I have also been dyeing two summer dresses with the Steep and Store method of India Flint.  I took one out of the jar last weekend and it looks good.  I have to make some darts and modifications to the top.  I am sorta in the mood to embellish it some with some embroidery.  The other one is still steeping.  It is always a surprise when one dyes this way. 

Two years ago I tried compost dyeing.  I left compost, fabric, iron bits, and leaves in my iron pot on the deck.  I did not remove anything until the winter was over.  I like some of the fabric a lot.  I am having fun with all this stuff anyway.  It is a more ecological way to dye, but it takes a lot longer to do than the traditional heat and serve method.

My girlfriend CF says her first sentinel hummingbird has arrived.  Whew!  My other birds will not like it if I take down any of their feeders.  I remember last year I waited until a week after she saw her scout, and that water I put up soured.  I think it is more like two weeks after her report that I start getting the early arrivals here. 

The rebuds are blooming finally.  The forsythia is on the last few days of its bloom.  Leaves are sprouting all over that.  The weigeilia is leafing out.  The red buckeyes have huge leaves and flowers are coming on.  The hollyhocks are about a foot high.  They need to be sprayed soon.  The daffodils are done.  I always leave the green shoots for a long time to give the bulbs time to feed.  The bachelor buttons are popping up all over the yard. So all signs of early Spring.

I am hopefully on the final editing of my book.  I am so sick of these stories.  I have learned that I have to read everything very, very, very carefully.  The editor misses some things.  I will be happy to be done and on to printing.

So I am feeling guilty.  I need to clean the house a little bit today.  I will start by washing dishes and sweeping the floor.  That helps. 

Have a good week.  Don't put sweaters away yet. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

What A Roller Coaster!

Some days there is sunshine and warmth; some days there are clouds, rain, and coolness.  Today is the latter.

My friends CJE and AE took the maps that have been sitting in my kitchen.  I had seven sacks of maps from my friend G's file cabinets when I cleaned out his house.  So I finally decided that my so-called help was not coming.  I sorted through the sacks one by one.  I now have two sacks of recycling material.  I had two sacks I burned.  That left four sacks of maps left.  They  now have them and the wall maps that were standing propped against the wall.

I have been going through a strange bit of not sleeping.  It is very strange to go through my day groggy and discombobulated.  At bedtime I am so tired and sleepy.  Then I lay there thinking and thinking and thinking.  I eventually get up, go to the bathroom, and rearrange the bed covers.  I tell myself that it is 12:30 am and you have got to go to sleep.  So I lay there and lay there. 

Of course, the animals still get up at their usual time.  And I go through another groggy day.

I finally got one shoulder grafted correctly on the medieval sweater.  It is not as perfect as the messed up one.  I don't care at this point.  It is done.  I have knitted a bit on the socks.  I have knitted a bit on a bookmark.  That's it.  I am not inspired.

I finished replying the yarn that I am going to do something to it.  CJE came over Friday, and she felt the color was beautiful as is.  So that's two people that like it anyway-counting myself of course.

I have been doing some writing.  I have a new story going through my head, and I have done a bit of research.  Finally I sat down today to begin.  "The new story" is the part I like.  I don't like having to go back and flesh things out and edit things out.  I like the new story to flow out of my head.

Otherwise there is nothing new to tell.  Another week of weather blahs.  Hope things get better.  Of course, we are now starting our Spring storm season.  I am sure that will be the topic of interest now.

Have a great week.  Hope to have more cheery news next time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Come On Spring!

This is the hardest part of the Spring awakening.  It is only March, and it is almost April.  Some daffodils are blooming.  So-why is it still so blasted cold?  Then I try to remember that the blasted cold of April is not the blasted cold of February.  My mind is not so plastic any more.  I want sunshine, flowers, and warmth.  Sigh!

I have finally returned to the Starry Sky sweater from Medieval-Inspired Knits.  I cut the armhole steeks and now will graft the shoulders.  Then arms added.  I am so slow knitting this.  I am trying to not beat myself over the head for being so slow.  It is a very complicated pattern, and I am so OCD about making sure I do everything correctly. 

When my friend passed away, I had so much on my plate to clean out his house, put things in storage, sort maps that were in a file cabinet and now are in sacks, and just dealing with legal matters.  Now that my part is complete (except sorting maps), I can return to my normal knitting routine.

I am knitting on a pair of socks for a customer, but otherwise, no knitting in this house.  I found a new website called Creative Bug.  There are a lot of classes that I want to take there.  The prices are more reasonable than Craftsy.  So yesterday I sat down with Brandon Mobley and learned how to do his magic-ball trick.  My selection of yarns wasn't as exciting as his.  Duh!  I do like the idea he conveyed.  Not difficult to do, just a little tedious.  It is a way to control the colorways that one can't control with Noro or Freia yarns.

I have not been a very spinnery mood lately.  I finally decided to take a skein of my yarn that was not attracting anyone's attention.  I am replying it, and I am thinking of dyeing it another color.  I am famous for overdyeing something.   I have always told folks, "If you don't like the color, dye it another color." 

This is a horrible snapshot of the pastel cardinal I have been watching for a coupla months.  This is the first time she has been so close.  I know the screening distorts it, but I wanted to prove she is still around.  Where the brown should be, it is a pale beige color.  Her red parts are salmon pink.  I call her Blondie.  I notice that she is still not accepted by the others.I guess that catches us up.  Our Mirkwood group had its Meat Fest on Saturday.  Of course, it had to rain, but Parker and others still started a bonfire for all the kids.

Have a good week.  Do the Happy Spring Dance and maybe it will get warm sooner.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Whew! We are almost to Spring!

We have some delightful days of warmer weather.  When the cold comes, it doesn't stay as long.  When it is supposed to snow, it doesn't last as long.  Yes, I remember that last year it snowed in May.

I have been piddling along on the medieval sweater.  I really haven't done much knitting at all.  I don't know why, I am just tired of it at the moment.

I haven't really been spinning, either.  I finished the pink yarn, and that was it.  Done for a while.

What have I been doing?  Writing.  I submitted a manuscript to a publishing company, and it was accepted.  So began the long and tedious editing part.  We are really close now.  The cover art is almost done.  I have two folks who have agreed to endorse the book.  And then the fun really begins.

So when time comes, I will be sure to let everyone know what is happening.  I am not looking forward to the marketing part, but it is part of the package deal.  Sigh!

I have also been extremely busy cleaning out my friend's home that is a total mess.  He died in January, the attorney/executor hasn't filed the estate, and it is a crazy mixed up mess.  The owner of the cabin is also a friend of mine, and he has been reaching out to me to help.  So for three awful days I got to help box and sort and get everything in storage.  And the house was a total filthy awful place.  I half expected that a t.v. show would be filming this for Hoarders.  I am almost done with the things that are in my home.  Friends are going to sort the maps tomorrow.  All seven sacks of them!

So I have created a new website, and I hopefully have this blog connected to it.  This is my first experiment to see.  It wears me out mentally to spend so much time trying to figure things out.  I am exhausted.

My friend CJE's mother is in the hospital again.  She has pneumonia, but the medication they are given her causes her blood sugars to soar to unbelievable heights.  I told her today her mother may have a stroke with the blood sugars so high. 

Otherwise, I am still trying to enjoy the sun when we have it.  Today is overcast, but warm.  We are supposed to have gobs of rain tonight, and a cold front will turn it to snow tomorrow.  We will see.
I am not going to get too excited.

So I am going to close now and see if this posts on my new website.  Crazy, huh?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Finished Just In Time For Spring

This is Mr. Greenjeans from  It is merino roving with some alpaca added in for more softness and airiness.  It is really a deep burgundy color.  There is black and other colors added to darken the color.  It was a top down raglan shaped shoulder.  I made the sleeves three-quarter for my own personal choice.  It was an easy pattern.  It just took me longer to make it because of the craziness in my life this winter.

It feels like I lost two months or more of my life this winter with GO's illness and death.  I am still moving along on the other sweater.  I am now shaping the back neckline.  About three more rows on that.  Then put the shoulder stitches on holders.  Then finally I can cut the steek on the armhole and start the arms.  Yeah!  So, yes, moving along.

I finished the pretty pink yarn.  I will wind the final bobbin on the skein holder and then wash and block that and be done.  It was a joy to spin.  BFL and silk are two of my favs.

We got another cold spell with ice, sleet and snow.  I am so ready for this to be over and done.  I am ready for Spring.  I have begun digging up the front flower bed and trying to get grass out of it.  It is a chore that I don't like.

This past weekend we began the dirty, nasty, odious chore of cleaning out GO's cabin.  I am now aware that I really didn't know him at all.  He was very secretive, and even though I have know him  for twenty-five years, I still am amazed at the hording and clutter and mess.  I don't think he ever cleaned.

So now I am down to one knitting project.  A customer in Little Rock wants some red socks.  I have ordered some yarn, but nothing else planned.  I guess I should just concentrate on the medieval sweater and get it done.  Soon I will not be interested in knitting as much, and I would like that sweater finished.

CJE has two sick mamas in her house.  H is feverish, dehydrated, and not eating.  She thinks she has won the lottery.  C started with a sore throat and is now having a respiratory infection.  I don't know how she does it.

So now I will go open the front blinds and knit on my hard sweater.  I use my insulated blinds when it is really cold.  Which it is right now.

Keep warm.  Keep going.  Winter does have to end sometime, doesn't it?