Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Andean Dreams

This is how much snow fell overnight. I left work about 4:00 yesterday when it started snowing in earnest. I have never experienced such a harrowing drive, and I've lived here since 1975. I drove about 12 miles in near white-out conditions, with snow falling so fast that I had to put my windshield wipers on high. With only a couple hundred feet of visibility, headlights appeared almost at the same time as I came upon the vehicle. At one point, a pair of headlights crept past me on the left, then almost immediately I saw a pair on my right side - freakout! It was the lights of a car that had spun out, but they were able to pull back on the road after I passed which is good because I was afraid to stop.

I took a picture of Zaria this morning. The distortion is because I had to shoot through the window. I still hadn't shoveled the deck. She came to us from Oregon so the only weather she had experienced before coming here was rain. She's chewing her cud (is that what llamas do?) and completely is contented. I believe she's having Andean dreams.

Monday, February 26, 2007

First Lace

This is the first lace I've ever knitted. It's just one sock and I can tell you that there is two socks worth of knitting here. I ripped as much as I knitted. It took forever before I finally was able to see what the stitches produced and keep track of the pattern but when I finally did, I found the knitting very enjoyable. It's only a four row repeat but it feels gratifying now that one sock is done and I'm pleased to find that I like working on the second one.

I caught this picture of finches feeding in the front yard. There have to be at least a hundred of them. No wonder the thistle socks are empty tonight.

Speaking of tonight, I drove home through the worst snow conditions I have ever experienced. I just thought I'd take a picture of one of our llamas contentedly kushed in the snow but all I got was a picture of blowing snow. Buster is on the edge of our deck and, at this moment, those tracks are erased. We haven't had snow much all winter and now it's decided to fall all in one day.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Vegetative Matter

Ian took the camera down this morning when feeding. How do our sheep get so much hay in their fleeces? I just don't get it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I was driving down to the surface street this morning when I suddenly realized that the only clouds in the sky were these. Here on the eastern side of the Sierras, I'm used to interesting clouds. If you remember from school, it's all a part of the orographic lifting over the mountain block that makes photographs of our clouds find their way into textbooks.

I might as well have had a bumper sticker that said "I brake for clouds" because that's what I did,multiple times. Every time I drove into another valley, I'd think, oh man, look at them now. Pull over, get out camera, shoot from car window.

Suddenly I realized that I had reached the clouds and was driving under them. Brake, grab camera, get out of car, shoot picture, see man in truck in driveway across road with tractor on trailer, wave, get back in car, go through gears to get to speed because car is coming and promise self not to stop anymore or risk being late for work. I'm bummed because my brand new camera, now two months old, needed to have the battery charged. But you can still see the lovely eastern Sierra clouds. The wind has blown hard all day and snow is forecasted for tomorrow, however, my head and knee have not confirmed that forecast. When I drove into the next valley, I realized that these clouds were the northern-most of Reno's cloud cover. Sometimes they will get a storm that will completely miss us - weird.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Dye Purchase Postponed

I finally decided to order the Landscape Dyes from Woodland Woolworks and was just trying to determine which six colors I was going to get, when an ad on the opposite page for this book caught my eye. I forgot that I had ordered this book to get free shipping from Amazon when I was buying some other things last year. I put on the shelf of my bookcase upstairs and that's where it has been ever since. I started reading it and was fascinated to realize that the color harmonies I was selecting actually had a reason and that's why my eye was drawn to them. It seems that I'm prone to select split complementary colors. So I decided to postpone ordering the dyes until I finished reading the book.

Meanwhile, the Foothill Fiber Guild is having a dye day on March 25th. Sara Lamb will be there and has promised to answer any questions we might have. Allison emailed to say that she would drive if I wanted to go. We both belong to this guild even though it's on the west side of the Sierras and we live on the east side,. It simply cannot snow that weekend! I'm really excited for this opportunity and am spinning up generic yarn to dye. I'd like to take some roving too, but will wait for the emailed supply list before I finalize my selection. And so I postpone my order of more dyes, yet again.

I was disappointed to realize that the fused glass class this Saturday is in conflict with our grandson Logan's sixth birthday and he would like us to buy him either clothes or books. It will be books. We gave him the first two dozen of the Magic Tree House series last year and they were a huge hit. That's my boy.

I don't know what I was thinking when I enrolled for this glass class. It's on the 24th. Logan was born on the 24th. He carefully printed the information on his own invitations. I'll cancel as soon as I get to work tomorrow. So, no Amy, no fused glass buttons for your birthday this year.

Friday, February 16, 2007

And yet more bags

During my houseboundness, I found myself watching a lot of mindless TV and movies, thanks to the brainfog of Percocet. And in that mindless TV and movie watching, I was thankful to have yarns available for mindless knitting. I did finish these three bags

The body of the purple bag is rainbow dyed, not so you can notice, but it was supposed to be rainbow dyed with purple, pink and green. I dyed it with hot pour and didn’t wait long enough between pouring to get good color definition. The color variation is slight, but it looks pretty cool against the contrasting purple.

The biggest surprise was the connecting color on the bag going from purple to claret/merlot/whatever-red wine. That was the last of my very successful rainbow-dyed yarn that I did do the dyeing right. I actually waited in between pours and, boy, does it ever connect the two colors in the bag. When I do something like this, I get all excited and want to stay up all night and dye yarns and rovings. Thankfully I have a sane husband who brakes my insanity.

I get such a kick out of how each one of the bags turns out, because while I’m knitting, they look shapeless and ugy. It’s not until going through the several washing cycles that they look completed. And they don’t look like bags until they’re blocked. I’m starting to get the feel of how the different wools felt, and now I’m ready for a change. I’m finishing up knitting the wools that I have spun or dyed and am contemplating how to put different wools together to take advantage of their various rates of shrinkage.

I knitted this bag a while ago but just wasn't happy. I moved the button and changed the fastener from i-cord to crocheted band. I loved the button but it didn't show up well before. I'm taking another fused glass class next Saturday. My focus will be on buttons. I think glass buttons on the bags are oh-so-cool.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love you so much,

I’m knitting you a treasure.

I hope you enjoy it too.

It gives me lots of pleasure.

I knit it in the airport

I knit it in the car.

I knit it on my breaks at work.

I knit it in the bar.

Am I being obsessive

Have I gotten carried away?

Only when you receive this eight foot scarf,

Will you be able to say.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


This is Eddie. He is the first dog we got after we moved out here four years ago. In town, we had three large dogs, but within six months lost them all in a short succession of deaths. Ian was reeling from the loss of his companion of 16 years, a remarkable dog that loved him unconditionally when he was drinking and no one could stand to be around him. Ian wasn’t ready for another dog he said – no one could replace Bud. And I couldn’t argue that. This was a dog who came racing through the dog door when he heard the theme song to his favorite TV show – America’s Funniest Videos then would kneel in front of the TV to watch and comment on the whole show. The other two dogs were my running partners. It’s hard to start over – dogs are family.

One day Allison called me at work and said there was a terrific dog that needed a home. She wouldn’t call if he wouldn’t something special. At first Ian balked, but co-incidentally, that issue of Black Sheep Newsletter had two articles of incidences of people losing livestock to neighbor dogs. We had purchased our llamas and were boarding them with Toni in Chilcoot until Ian finished our fence. I was nervous. Ian reconsidered and agreed to the meet this dog of Allison’s where he was being kenneled. Eddie had Ian at hello – still has him.

Eddie had wandered into the ranch where Allison boarded their horses. She and her girls loved him. He went by the name of Lucky. The name reminded me of the joke about the three-legged dog who couldn’t see out of one eye. Ian and I are big fans of the black and white photographer, Edward Weston, and decided this dog needed a black and white name, hence Eddie.

Yesterday when Allison drove down our long driveway, Eddie was waiting for her at her driver’s door. After four years, he was thrilled to see her. Different truck, different smells, but he knew her just the same. How do dogs do that?! He loved all over her, but when Ian came home it was clear to me whose dog he is. It was hard to take the first step of starting over on our dog family, but Eddie is lucky and so are we.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Knit and Chat

Allison came out today to knit and chat. After bringing in her knitting bag and purse, and she toted a big box into the house, saying "I brought something for you." Mim came over with a felting project that she needed to continue working on, and that turned out to be perfect. (Check out her site for stunning wet-felted bags.) In Allison's box were bits and pieces of colored wool roving that were leftover from SOAR last year. She was helping with cleanup after the event and this box was slated for the garbage. She had nylon stocking legs and a paint tray insert for friction. We ended up felting over bars of soap. I have a bunch of imperfect bars of soap upstairs in my workroom. We didn't end up knitting a thing, but this is what I did do.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hats Off

We've had moisture for three days now and I was thrilled to wake up this morning to see snow. It's been raining on top instead of snowing. Carolyn comes to the guild meetings from Truckee and reported that it was raining when she left home. It's not a good year for skiers. Lake Campbell continues to grow. That's as far as I got laying the stones before winter and other things set in. I'm glad to see that they work as I had hoped. Those things are heavy and it makes it tired just looking at them. Lifting them out of the truck is what ruptured the three disks in Ian's back. With that in mind, I drag them.

I finished two more hats so will get the hats sent off to the Brewery Arts Center when I go back to work on Wednesday. The post office is right on my way. It's the first time in my life that I have had a convenient post office.

They're been a great mindless project during my house arrest. Everything is green and purples and shades of. It's clearly time for me to buy more dyes, and after much deliberation, I've finally decided what I'm going to buy - more on that later.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Guild Meeting Saturday

Last evening at twilight I just happened to glance out the window to see a funny cloud creeping over Peterson Mountain and pouring into the south end of our valley. Even though it had just started raining, I couldn't resist running out for a picture. Mim's house is right under where it's pouring and she told me today that they were absolutely socked in last night. No wonder!

It rained last night here - finally. I was so excited to see a pool of water this morning that I ran, well hobbled, back into the house for my camera. The LadySmith Black Mombazu song, "Rain, rain, rain beautiful rain" keeps running through my head.

I rode into the CSSW guild meeting with Mim this morning. Our new meeting location at the South Valleys Library is absolutely perfect for our needs and central to the widespread geographic spread of our membership. We have to drive an hour, but many people do, and today 33 people did. It was great to see Wayne. He came with samples as he has just sheared and has 60 gorgeous fleeces. We don't get to see him much outside of the fair, so it was a treat. He told me that he lost three lambs in the freezing temperatures last month. One ewe lost both her babies. When he found her, she was frozen to the ground, one lamb dead and one partially born but dead. He had 15 lambs in his kitchen at one time. He said that when he was growing up, there was rule that if you came into the kitchen and found the oven door partially open - don't turn it on. He still uses it as his incubator. He was clearly sad about the loss of his lambs but happy that about his kitchen babies. Oh, he was able to save his ewe and she's fine now. Another treat, after running the Jimmy Beans store in Reno since its opening, Allison has retired and was with us today too. And more good news, it's raining again.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Two More Hats

I finished a couple more hats and have decided to do two more so I can send another half dozen to the Brewer Arts Center. I checked my inventory list and see that I only have about a dozen hats left down there. Besides, they’re fun to knit and I like to see how the different colors work up together. I thought I would like the green one a lot and it didn’t turn out so hot. I picked it as the contrast yarn because I had rainbow dyed the roving with the same dyes that I did the solid colored yarns. I then Navajo-plied it and thought because it had the same green that it would look cool but instead the green got lost. I can’t wait to see what the next hat looks like.

The sweater is an absolute disaster. I carefully blocked the pieces and sewed up the side seams. What I failed to do was wash my swatch or I would have calculated the measurements differently. The armholes that I carefully measured at nine inches are closer to a foot and the sleeves simply don’t fit. I’ve ripped them back and will knit them longer but I have a feeling the final sweater will fit Goliath. It’s a jacket so I was okay with loose – this is way beyond loose.

After the wasp incident, I went back upstairs and finally found his unrepentant self and sent him to reside in the septic tank. I can’t believe that six months before my 60th birthday, I who have never ever been stung by an flying insect in my life, get stung, not once but twice by the same miserable creature. I mean, what do wasps do anyway? They don’t make honey and as far as I can tell, they live to sting. Anyway, that run of luck is over.

If you haven't heard about Sock Porn, my daughter sent me this. The sock porn part is unfortunately at the end. http://www.zefrank.com/theshow/archives/2006/04/040306.html

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Actually Knitting a Sweater

I was feeling bummed with this project yesterday as I finished up the second sleeve. It is ugly yarn and I can't see how ugly yarn won't make an ugly sweater. Just the same I washed up the body and put in on an sweater drier last night. I rinsed up the sleeves this morning and was spreading them on the sweater drier when I felt something poke my knee. Without looking, I brushed it off and discovered that I had knocked a wasp to the floor, but not before he stung me on both my knee and left index finger. I remembered what my mother did for Chrissie when she would get bee stings and made up a poultice of Vaseline and paprika which I put on my knee. I used ice on my finger. I think the reason Mom made the poultice is that Chrissie would never sit still long enough to keep the ice on. The ice worked fine for my finger, but my knee still stings now and then. Why not hold ice on it too? My hands are busy knitting.

I'm really bummed about the wasp. We had a horrible problem with them last fall and it looks like we're going to have a bad go of it again. I think it's time to call the exterminator.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Can't You Just Sit Still?

My foot

My foot on drugs.

I am bored. I finished my book, started another, read two back issues of New Yorker, started another, watched two movies, knitted the backs, fronts and on the sleeve of a sweater. And now I know, when my teachers asked me so many years ago, "Can't you just sit still?" The answer is NO, I can't. The pots in the picture are Joe Winter's, a potter who lives a half mile from us. I wanted to "sweeten" the picture.

I just read "Made in the Shade: Annals of Commerce" in the January 22nd New Yorker. It's about the Color Marketing Group and their role in forecasting color for industry in the next year and beyond. I learned that the screeching green that we've been seeing this year is Wasabi Green. Aren't you glad to know that? I first heard about it from Judith MacKenzie when she told us about the group in a dye session I took at the Black Sheep Gathering. I thought, "Nuh, uh - I'm not color suggestible." But when I finished the article and looked down at my gray sweatpants and navy blue T-shirt, one of my favorite color combos, I had to think twice.

I love all my Japanese plates - I'm not sure why I want to dress like one.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

100 Things about Me

I didn't sleep very well last night so decided to think about putting together the 100 things list that I've seen appear on other blogs. The list might be different under other circumstances, but this is 100 things about me today.

1. I grew up on an organic farm in East San Diego County and we ate what my parents raised and grew. We subscribed to three magazines: Life, Organic Gardener and Prevention.

2. My parents had me so late in life that was father was born in the 19th century.

3. My parents lived in Fairbanks Alaska when I was born.

4. I was born in Seattle and the Thompson Maternity Hospital, which no longer exists, because my mother was high risk due to her age.

5. My mother taught me to knit and the Red Cross taught her to knit as part of the war effort – the first world war.

6. My great grandmother hiked the Chilcoot Trail to the gold rush in Dawson Creek, Yukon Territory.

7. The gold bracelet I wear comes from a single nugget she was given for bringing good luck to her outfit.

8. My mother wore the bracelet until she gave it to me when I got to high school.

9. It doesn’t come off any more so I am always wanded at airports as a potential terrorist – me and the other old folks with implants and plates.

10. When I was nine, we moved into the little house my father built out of scrap lumber.

11. My parents got our C of O before the house was finished.

12. For the first year we heated water on the stove and took baths in a galvanized tub in the kitchen.

13. We had an outhouse – it was painted green to match the trim on our white house.

14. My mother raised meat rabbits for money so she could stay at home with me.

15. I had to walk a mile to the school bus, uphill both ways – okay, just one way.

16. My mother played piano in church.

17. She gave me accordion lessons – gads.

18. I lived in the Philippines for two years as a Marine wife.

19. My oldest son was born in the Philippines

20. Ian is my third husband and we celebrate our 10th anniversary in September.

21. We have seven children and seven grandchildren between us and they all like us.

22. I was a medical transcriber for two years, so I can type really fast and I can type what I hear.

23. My only brother is 23 years older than I am.

24. I fidget – when I was a kid, people used to say, “Can’t you just sit still?” and I would think, “Whaaa….?”

25. I was raised Protestant.

26. I am a confirmed Catholic.

27. I still eat the same as when I was growing up.

28. I am still the same weight and size as I was in high school.

29. Some of my clothes are really old.

30. So am I.

31. My favorite color is green but I’m starting to like purple.

32. I have always hated purple.

33. I have finally learned never to say never – or always.

34. I can’t bear to knit one single project at a time – minimum four.

35. I like to bead with seed beads.

36. I decided to learn to weave because my mother wanted to learn but couldn’t afford a loom.

37. I have two looms.

38. I don’t love to weave.

39. I will learn to love to weave.

40. I love to spin – spinning is my meditation.

41. I learned to sew in 4H which I couldn’t wait to join when I turned ten.

42. I am a good seamstress.

43. I don’t sew anymore.

44. I took cooking in 4H but it didn’t take to me.

45. My mother-in-law taught me to cook.

46. I am a very good cook.

47. I don’t like to cook - I don’t have or make the time.

48. My great grandmother, my grandmother and my mother were all professional cooks.

49. My mother and grandmother were able to work all through the depression as cooks at truck stops.

50. My daughter doesn’t cook either.

51. Both my boys are very capable cooks – the lineage switched gender.

52. My best friend is my husband.

53. He cooks.

54. We met through work.

55. We love to camp.

56. Our favorite campground is Lane County in Florence, Oregon.

57. I am allergic to sagebrush.

58. Our place is named Sage Creek Farm because that’s what is in our creek.

59. I take allergy shots for sage brush.

60. The hardest thing I have been through is my daughter losing a baby.

61. My daughter is my favorite woman on the planet.

62. Alexia, her daughter, is 2nd runner up.

63. I started running when I was 30 and continued for 25 years.

64. My furthest fun distance was half-marathon.

65. I ran in the Journal Jog as a bride, wearing a Laura Ashley dress.

66. I fell off of a mountain bike and couldn’t get my toe out of the toe clip.

67. I’ve only ridden a mountain bike once.

68. I was able to run after the first knee surgery but had to quit after the second one on 9/17/2001, the week after 9/11. We went to DC and NY the next month – it was spooky, quiet and somber.

69. My running partners were my two dogs and after they died, I scattered their ashes under some willow trees on our favorite trail.

70. They pulled out the trees and paved the trail over after we moved out here – progress.

71. My grandmother taught me how to make custard and pie crust.

72. I am a good pie maker.

73. I like to make pies, any kind, including quiche and meat or tofu pies.

74. I love dark roast coffee, the darker, the better.

75. My favorite drink is India Pal Ale – I can’t drink just one.

76. I prefer red wine to white.

77. I drink a bottle of wine a month.

78. On the Myers-Briggs personality scale, I am an EFTP, which means I talk a lot and like to have a lot going on all at once.

79. I was a white blonde clear through high school. I once met an albino Mexican girl who looked just like me and my feelings were hurt because she wouldn’t talk to me.

80. I knit really fast.

81. I talk really fast.

82. I don’t drive fast.

83. I love to read.

84. I can’t enjoy the mystery genre, no matter how hard I try.

85. I am angry at our White House Administration.

86. I don’t trust the mainstream media and get my news from the Internet and NPR.

87. I worry that we won’t leave Iraq until our Administration has privatized the oil fields.

88. I am a good sleeper – no insomnia here.

89. I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1996.

90. I resent it but am glad to finally know what’s wrong.

91. I hated the high desert when I moved here, but after living in Redding for a year and running on tree-lined streets that looked like the other – couldn’t see the view – I fell in love with it after we moved back.

92. I love the high desert.

93. My favorite season is autumn.

94. Spring is my second favorite season but it’s usually very short here. The high desert is spectacular in spring.

95. I am impatient and tend to follow directions after my first attempts fail.

96. I am trying to enjoy every age as I am in it. My mother lived to be 95, so I expect many stages and ages to come.

97. Ian says I “spread” but it’s important to have all my tools around me when I’m working. That’s why he insisted on a workroom for me when we had this house built.

98. We only fought over leaving a window open from my workroom to the great room – he was right.

99. I asked him what he wanted when we were planning the house – he said, “A view.” I’m glad I listened to him. He was right.

100. I don’t have to be right all the time, but I do like to be right.