Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Late September

Late September by Ted Kooser

Behind each garage a ladder
sleeps in the leaves, its hands
folded across its lean belly.
There are hundreds of them
in each town, and more
sleeping by haystacks and barns
out in the country - tough old
day laborers, seasoned and wheezy,
drunk on the weather,
sleeping outside with the crickets.

from Flying at Night: Poems 1965-1985

Monday, September 28, 2009

Woodland Woolworks

We left my sister-in-law Georg and Wash-
ington this morning right after breakfast. Ian was agreeable to a detour to Woodland Woolworks and I was thrilled. I have bought from them as long as I have I have been a buyer, but I can tell you that you have to want to get here because it's just about no where and at the end of the road around a corner and at a dead-end. And after that you have to figure out how to get someplace.

Michelle and I had talked about hooking up at Oregon Flock and Fiber but I opted out, not wanting to lose a day with Georg. Michelle gave me her cell and told me give her call - she'd try to meet me here. She and I have been blog buddies and email friends for a couple of years and I really hoped something would click but Ian and I were on a short timeline.

We went in, looked around, got an orientation by one of the staff and I realized I was over my head and totally starving. Our breakfast had been light and I suddenly realized that it was past lunch and I couldn't make a reliable decision.

The show-
rooms were full of everything that I wanted, and I wanted it all. We needed to eat. I needed to eat. It being Monday in a small town, the staff directed us to the one and only place open for lunch - The Filling Station. It's an old gas station, now restaurant. We filled up.
We weren't back long from lunch when the front door burst open and in strode Michelle. I knew her instantly and it was a hug long overdue. I was trying to calculate yarn to weave along with my handspun - I think that's this discussion. I love the staff. It would be expensive to live any closer than I do.
We snagged the staff for a photo. It's Debbie, Michelle, me, Paula and Wanda. I am in awe of these women. They do what they love. I regret that Ian didn't catch a photo of Michelle's son Brian as he played the violin for us. He was an absolute treasure, carefully playing his lesson, trills and all, and upon applause, he rewarded us with a beatific smile. I spent a lot of money but the experience was priceless - really. To see Brian you have to go here. Next destination - Bend, Oregon.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Our Second Destination

We're at The Farm on Greys River for several days, visiting my sister-in-law. My brother died two years ago so we try to get up once a year, just to stay in touch. The weather has been lovely and we've had such a nice visit.

They remodeled the 100-year-
old bungalow, attached the bunk house and created a B&B. Bob developed a flock of sheep and goats to "mow" the grounds, and he also landscaped the yard. Georg still runs a summer gift shop in the barn, which was built in 1926 and is a registered historical barn.
Georg and I kept chasing the sun and finally ended up in the yard. It was only warm in the sun and I figure this was my last day to wear shorts in 2009. When you only have a couple of days to do a years worth of visiting, you just have to cram it all in, the best you can.
Here are the mowing machines. She uses electric fences to allow them access to two pastures, which they keep well groomed. Her locker lambs have been a welcome additional source of income and do quite well for her. She just had a dozen put down and will take delivery tomorrow. She sells them quite readily and has just acquired a Romney ewe, hoping to bring up the size of her lambs.
The Greys River is absolutely gorgeous at high tide. It's also a deadly river and the year after they bought the place, a 100-year flood completely demolished the house. They had it elevated to above flood level and had to completely gut the interior in order to make it habitable. During the flood last year the water was lapping at the top step and deck. She lost four sheep and a couple of chickens, just washed away.
Bob planted all the trees as twigs so it astounds me at how huge they are now - it's a park!

Today we are going back to Astoria to eat at the fish market. Ian and I ate there on our way here, where I had the best grilled oysters that I have ever had. I'm thinking about crab patties today.

We leave in the morning and will stop at Woodland Woolworks, on our way to our third destination, Bend, Oregon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Beach Camping

We bought this new tent just for coastal camping. It's big enough for sleeping and chairs so we can go inside after dark and read. Coastal camping is damp camping but the trade off is no mosquitoes.

This is the overlook from our camp-
ground to the Suislaw River and its outlet to the Pacific Ocean at high tide. I love to fall asleep at night to the distant sounds of pounding surf and the sound of channel buoys. It's one of the things that has drawn me back to this campground for ten years.
Ian and I got perfect weather for a walk on the North Jetty beach. This is the craziest piece of washed up driftwood that I have ever seen. It looks like something from a science fiction movie.

I get the biggest kick out of the driftwood and the humor that the locals have. Is this not the best driftwood castle you have ever seen?!
I'm at the ocean but I'm not at the ocean until I my feet are in the ocean, and while the sun is shining, the water is cold, cold, cold. Ian is so nervous walking on shore - don't drop my expensive camera in the water!

What does a Croc look like on the beach sand? Just like this!

The Crocs are leaving the building, I mean, the jetty....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What do you think about pink?

I’m a little fascinated by this color. Amy has a deep aversion to it and it’s my granddaughter Alexia's absolute most favorite color of all. I’ve been thinking about it because I bought yarn to make Alexia a sweater, but the hot Pepto-Bismol color feels like it's burning my fingers. I have spent six months trying to drum up the discipline to finish this project. I feel bad when she asks me what happened to her “jacket,” but apparently not bad enough.

It has become a synonym for feminine. When my son was three, he fell in love with the pink jacket that a neighbor girl outgrew. He wore that jacket until the sleeves were too short. The only photo of him wearing it is in black and white. I knew he’d take a life-long teasing from his siblings otherwise. How did pink become so stigmatized?

I decided to take a wander through Wikipedia. The simple answer is that pink is a pale red color, a combination of red and white, with other tints being combinations of rose and white, magenta and white or orange and white. The use of the word for the color was first recorded in the late 17th century to describe the flowers of pink, flowering plants in the carnation family.
The practice of associating color with gender began in the 1920s, with pink considered appropriate for boys because red is more masculine, and blue appropriate for girls because it was from a more delicate and dainty color and related to the Virgin Mary. Reassignment began in the 1940s but they didn’t say why.

Pinko is a derogatory term for a person regarded as sympathetic to communism though not necessarily a communist party member. The idea is that pink isn’t quite red. My father used to say that when you slid through an intersection just as the light was turning red, you were running the light on the pink. And in Japan, cherry blossom pink is associated with a woman’s vagina, so soft-core porn films are called “pink movies.” Mary Kay chose pink to represent her product line, even driving a pink Cadillac, a healthy Brit is considered to be in the “pink of health,” and a termination of employment notice is referred to a pink slip.

As you can see, there’s more to this color than meets the eye. I just need to pick up that hot pink yarn languishing on needles and get focused. Tip knitting?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Falling Leaves

I entered my scarf in the fair and received this ribbon. The pattern is Falling Leaves and is in the most recent edition of SpinOff. I happened to be at a retreat about a year and a half ago with Sara Lamb and the other ladies who contributed to the article. They had just started working on this pattern and everyone was knitting different things as a test. Sue was making a shawl from her handspun Corriedale and wrote down the pattern on a piece of notebook paper. Since it hadn't been published, I was sworn to secrecy. This is the third time I have knitted this scarf. I relate to Sara saying that she hasn't gotten bored with knitting this over and over. The results look great and it's not too complicated for me. I don't do much lace.
I thought it would look nice in socks with the Merino I just dyed and spun. I found that Martha Waterman provides instruc-
tions for both knitting in rows and also for knitting in the round in her book Traditional Knitted Shawls & Lace. I love how it looks and tried it on after I turned the heel but found that it the sock is pretty tight. I was worried about the Merino pilling so knitted on size 1 needles. I tried it on again this morning and the truth is that the socks really will have to be frogged. I need trip knitting but reknitting this sock wasn't what I had planned.

There were several questions about soap. I wrote about it here a couple years ago. I have to make two more batches after we get back from vacation so will try to make a tutorial at that time. Yesterday I made Juice Bar and today I made Bar None.
I am pleased with the socks from Noro that I finally finished last week. I was dawdling because I thought they'd feel rough, and frankly, I can't imagine how long single-ply yarn will last in socks, but Noro does sell this as sock yarn. They feel great and don't rub the soles of my feet like some sock yarns. I give it two-thumbs up.
At the beginning of summer I started knitting the Sideways Cardigan designed by Deborah Newton in the Spring/Summer 2008 Vogue Knitting. I finished it several weeks ago but just bought the buttons this week. Even though I made the smallest size, it's a little commodious. Amy suggests that I throw it in the drier and I think I shall. I got stumped but found a Ravelry group for this pattern as well as a KAL. It was fun to knit but I probably would happier if I had used a little nicer grade of cotton.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Surprise under the Quilt

It was soap under the quilt - one huge block of soap. I've let my stock run out almost com-
pletely. This is the time of year that it sells best and a bad time to be so far behind.
I lost track of time, apparently easy to do when you're retired. I somehow thought that we had another week here before vacation, but I realized today that it is this Monday when we leave.
I'll make another batch tomorrow. I had wanted to have 200 bars curing while we're gone next week but will only have 100. Curing takes at least three weeks. It just means that I'll need to hustle when we get back.
I finished my final hat for the Artisans' Store this morning and it's drying on the glass head. I can't remember a project that I've disliked as much as this one. This is the yarn I spun from the wool I blended half with mohair. I hated the feel of the yarn and the hat is heavy and droopy. It was would be great for a bald man because it's going to be too hot for anyone else.
The image I posted of this hat yesterday really didn't do it justice so I'm posting another one - bragging rights.

We are leaving Monday for the Oregon coast and several days of camping. We'll visit my SIL in Washington just north of Astoria few a few days and then return to Oregon for a field trip to Woodland Woolworks. On our way home, we'll stay a couple of days in Bend to see DS who has started his job and is living there in their 5th wheel.

Yesterday I finished a book that one of the library patrons brought to me while I was still working. She knows of my fiber interest and thought of me when she had finished reading it herself. It's called Indigo Dying by Susan Wittig Albert. The title is a pun on a small Texas town by the name of Indigo that is struggling to survive and also on some natural dye workshops that are part of the story. Allie, the rancher who teaches the dye classes, has a small herd of angora goats and a guard llama named Shangrilama. I'm not usually a fan of murder mysteries, but I have to say that I'm recommending this one, if you haven't already read it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hats Again

Going back to my oven-dyed rovings, I want to show you how they worked up. The two rovings on the left are Corriedale top and the two on the right are Merino top. The Merino is for socks.

I made this hat from the pink and purple roving and was very surprised at how much color it had. I had expected a more pale yarn, based on how the color appeared while I was spinning it.
The darkest of the four rovings was much more complex and struck me as perhaps a good yarn for a man's hat. I'm guessing since most of the hats that I've knit for the men in my family are natural colored wools - their request.
I waited too late today to get good light for the hat that it made. The contrast of the corrugated ribbing is lost, but I still think it's a good hat. I have one more hat to go, and then I'll put them in the mail to the Brewery Arts Center.
John's parents brought all of us gifts - an insane amount of gifts. Karen said that she saw from my blog that I like dishtowels and brought this one with historic buildings from Deerfield, Massachusetts where they live. I do love dishtowels and historic architecture as been as an interest of mine since high school.
It was kinda embarrassing but DD Chrissie marched Karen into our water closet to see this poster that hangs across from the john. I bought this in the Renwick gift shop in D.C. and hand carried it on the plane home to ensure it wouldn't get crushed. As I have said before, our house isn't decorated, but our walls are adorned. Every image in our bathroom is of architecture. I love the towel - she nailed it.
Do you know what's inside of here? The suspense is killing me, but I can't peek until tomorrow afternoon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Last Post - Honest

The 5th wheel became the social center for children: five cousins, two neighbors, no fighting. Remarkable.
Adults socialized in the garage. Our grand-
niece has completely passed out. She is held by her mother, seated next to her mother, whose 87-year-old mother is at the table, playing Hearts. She saw those cards come out and she was all over them - she loves cards. I could kick myself for not thinking to get a four generations shot!
Last year Audrey rode a mile from her house bareback and this year she is riding with Belle and her brother Rogan is riding the other horse. They do have to cross a paved road but the rest is dirt and Belle's grandmother drove ahead of them to open the gate.
Belle's feet don't even reach the horse's belly. We all just stared as she slid off by herself. We're fenced so they took off the bridles and let the horses run. Then they played with the rest of the kids. Our llamas couldn't have cared less - false reputation that horses and llamas don't tolerate each other.
There were *so* many cousins. The two women are cousins and the three children are cousins - and there are more. They all were invited and now say they want to come next year. More tents!
Ian's oldest son organized the First Annual Sagecreek Horse-
shoes Tourna-
ment, complete with brackets, and it went for two days. Fortunately I lost in two hours.
Petie goes to all the Bluegrass festivals but skipped Strawberry this year in order to come be with us. He plays claw hammer banjo and we couldn't get enough of it. He is Ian's friend from community college and gymnastics!
Noah loved the banjo so much that Mommy made one for him too. His form is good but he needs a better instrument.
Jason (nephew-in-law) brought a box of cigars - huge success. Here's John, his dad Paul and Pete.
SIL Michael was smoking one until his tragically exploded. I told him he needed a little cheese with his ham. Note the knitting in the background which makes this a fiber post. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
These four days were intense on so many levels. This is one of the moments that sticks with me. Alexia has finally warmed up to her big brother and has decided that she loves him. John and his Uncle Matt instantly bonded. That was sweet too.

I leave you with a view of our Red Rock Valley from inside the stables.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hey diddle dumpling, my grandson John

At the airport, Christina says an emotional hello to the baby she relin-
quished over 23 years ago. Her ten-year-old son looks on.

These are his wonderful parents. I meant to have more pictures, but well, it was pretty emotional and I meant to take more pictures. I just said that.
Chrissie and her boys. I have no idea where anyone else is. Did I mention it was an emotional moment???

Kitchens seem to be the place people collect to visit. I caught this picture that night after they got here. John went with Chrissie to her belly dancing classes - they were the first classes of the semester and she really needed to teach them. They were both exhausted.
They're looking through the photo box - I've pulled everything from the magnetic albums in antici-
pation of placing them in archival albums this winter. Back row: DD Chris, DS Josh, me - Front row: Alexia, John DS Matt and his girlfriend Julia. John and Matt has been texting for weeks and were instant best friends.
I'm not sure that any one picture shows how much John and Matt look like each other, but I can tell you that more than once over the weekend, I'd catch one out of the corner of my eye and be fooled.
Alexia was absolutely in love with her big brother, maybe a little to the excessive side.

A little ham~

I'm thinking that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

John's parents are simply unbelievably wonderful. His mom Karen and I enjoy a laugh as the boys look at photos of Matt's childhood artistic expressions. She made two photo albums for Chrissie. John made insanely similar projects. Matt and John spent time talking about their art, bands and their music. Matty was only five when his newly anticipated "brother" didn't come home from the hospital and it was very hard on him. I don't know what to think. Nature vs nurture? His parents are so cultivating. I don't know what to think. I just said that.