Thursday, March 31, 2011

And More Surprises

When I was in town yesterday, Melissa and I decided we needed a little cheering up and what better place for that Jimmy Beans Wool?? She was looking for Cascade 220 to make handles for a felted purse and I decided I need three more skeins of this Noro sock yarn. I had just started the socks, but reluctantly since I'm tired of wearing socks - my feet want out of show jail! I decided this will be a light shortsleeve cardi. I just need to figure out a pattern - yea for Sweater Wizard.

We had a lunch at a new restaurant called Creme, which just opened two months ago. They are open from 7:00-2:00, serve crepes, have a great bakery and their locally roasted coffee comes in a French press. Simple and recommended. We followed lunch with a visit to the Nevada Museum Art for the new Ansel Adams exhibit. I was much cheered by the day.

After lunch today I went over to Mim's to get eggs. She said, come see my babies. I thought she meant her guard dogs. Simon is getting huge! She recently acquired Casey as his companion.
And of course, Jo Beth is in the action. She's Mim's snooper-
visor. This is a better picture of Casey. Both her guards dogs are so sweet, I'd have a hard time leaving them with the livestock, which is their job. She's still training and working with them.
The babies she was talking about are her goats. These triplets are about a month old. They are minature La Manchas, which are earless like her guard dog Simon.

The mom to the black triplets is on the right and man was she talking to us and they weren't happy sounds. The mom on the left also had triplets.
Her babies were in the barn because they're only a week old. No wonder Mim wanted to come to see her babies - they are precious, unbelievably tiny and so innocent. I think 8-pound Charlie is bigger than one of these.

I didn't go to yoga last Thursday because it was snowing so hard, I didn't want to mess with the conditions, and here are are, one week later. You'd think I'd be used to this by now.
We talked some more about packing hat kits. We bought a couple of these plastic jars but in trying to get the contents in, we can see we need bigger jars. The pattern is smashed in and so is the yarn. Back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More Surprises

I got home from town today to find this box at my gate as Benita had said I would. A couple weeks ago she told me she was paring down her fabric collection and dispersing the extras, would I care for any? Yes please!!
I told Benita that I preferred cottons but had no idea she would be sending me so many pieces. And of course it wouldn't be possible to sort through them without my dedicated snoopervisor. No wonder she said she was looking forward to having some space back.
There are many pieces in many colors and as I was looking through them, I realized that I have gotten off my goals by trying to make and fit pants. My goal is to sew with handwoven and I probably wouldn't be making pants from that anyway. I also want to make more rag rugs or placemats, so tomorrow I'll clear out the pants and start sewing strips. I need to order carpet warp!
In the meantime, I'm setting these two pieces aside as they look like the making for a sundress in Alexia's favorite color.

Benita lives in Indiana and is excited that Butler is one of the Cinderella teams going to the NCAA final four. I had mentioned that two Cinderella teams are competing and it's going to be hard to watch - I want them both to win. She said the governors of Indiana and Virginia have made a friendly wager. If Butler wins Saturday's Final Four game in Houston, McDonnell will send Daniels a Virginia hand-cured country ham from S. Wallace Edwards & Sons in Surry. If VCU wins, Daniels will send McDonnell a variety of duck products from Maple Leaf Farms in Milford. She suggested we do the same. I'll cheer for VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) and she for Butler. The loser sends the other 4 ounces of something from our fiber stash. That sweetens the pot a bit, doncha think.
So I went to the doctor this morning because I have been feeling like I have iron-poor blood or something, or maybe the thyroid-replacement that I've recently started wasn't working. He told me I have SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, and talked about strategies for dealing with it. And look what came out today - the sun! I wrapped up and sat on the deck until it got too cool. Thank you sun!! Please come again.

I found this so amusing, I wanted to share it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Marching On and Out

I got a surprise package in the mail yesterday. I forgot all about winning Laura's blogaversary give-away. I had a sluggish computer almost all of last week so when I answered the phone and she said, "So, what do you want?" - I was completely taken off guard. I didn't realize she had emailed me to ask what colors I'd like. She is a crazy master at dyeing, natural or chemical. Her college minor was chemistry and I think she practices her chemistry on wool!
She described my options and I was pretty much, Duh, I dunno. Aren't these colors spectacular?! I'm in the middle of a project so I won't get to start this right away like I'd like to, but I'm antsy to see what yarn I'll get. The fiber is merino, bamboo and silk and there's 4 ounces. I'm tempted to ply it with something else to get 8 ounces. I hate to wait. I can remember my mother saying that - "Can't you just wait?" Guess what - NO!
My hat-kit hat is finished and it looks like charging $.15 a yard will have me setting the kit price at $20, which also pays for the jar. My pattern is free :) I am partial to the natural colored yarns - this is my from my favorite, Shetland. The white is from Wobbie the Wam, named by our grandson who at the time had a W-for-R substitution. I probably need to think about dying yarn some for those who might not be attracted to these neutrals. My next craft fair is April 9th.

I just finished the third of the books Ian bought me for Christmas. I thought Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible was engrossing and sobering. I wasn't prepared for The Immortal Live of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which I finished today. I read the second half in one sitting and I'm warning you, the tears were running down my face. It's going to stay on my top ten best books ever, along with A Yellow Raft in Blue Water. It's non-fiction but one of the most compelling books I've read in a long time. If you choose to read it, you will cry - you have been warned.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ready, Set, April

The dogs are absolutely and utterly done in. They had Alexia for a week and then a visit this morning from DIL Missy and our Oregon grandsons. I told Missy that if she wanted to drive in on her way home, she could have my backup Kenmore sewing machine.

Don't get me wrong. The dogs love the grandkids and Sammie will endure any amount of loving, but they have given all the grandkid loves they have had to give. I am sad I forgot to pull out my camera, which wouldn't have mattered since I had plugged the battery into a different and live power socket during the power outage when Ian had the generator running and I had forgotten all about it. It took me a while this evening to figure out why my camera was unresponsive.

Missy has never sewn before, though she thought watching her mother sew all these years would have her ready. We went through the machine, winding a bobbin, threading the machine and how to thread the needle. The documentation on this machine is good - I know this - so she has backup. I had Missy go through all those things. She stepped right up the plate, sewing like she knew what she was doing. Grandson Logan was excited, wanting to try it all. I love it that boys are okay to knit and sew these days. They were late getting out of here and we both knew she was facing harsh road conditions in her rental car. Long day, rough drive, but they were home by 6:00. Two of my hats left for Oregon this morning. Moms never go off duty.

As of last night, Ian and I have a partner to share a CSA basket with this year. Carol signed us up and we'll figure out pick-ups, etc later. It's not cheap, but we will get organic locally sustainably raised produce from April through October. Carol is thinking about buying a greenhouse and putting it here. She's not home to take care of one but she wants the outcome. I'll let you know if that pans out.
Meanwhile, I decided to knit a hat kit hat while Ian and I watch NCAA basketball - it has been a wonderful year of upsets. My pool bracket tanked several games ago but I love watching these young athletes pour their hearts into these games. I think basketball is the perfect college sport since only five team members are on the court at one time. VCU (Virginia Commonwealth) who came out of the backfield to win, has just 14 students on their bench. North Carolina has a graduate student playing who still had a year of eligibility. I love how articulate the players are when interviewed. Can you tell that I'd love to see football eliminated from college sports??

So hats. Yes, where was I?? Well, I found an error that I'll have to fix in the printed pattern. I figured out that if I weigh the yarn before I knit the hat and then weigh the leftover yarn afterwards, I'll know how many ounces to include so someone can knit the hat without running short of yarn. I also have figured out that I have an error - thought I had caught them all.

The wind has pounded relentlessly all day. Even if the roads are dry, the dogs won't walk in these gales. If the forecast is right, I will finally be able to walk the dogs in the mornings, beginning tomorrow. Every day for months it's been either snow or wind - I'm not holding my breath but I am hoping. My body is hoping.

Friday, March 25, 2011

What Spring?

Late Tuesday evening DIL Missy texted me that she had gotten a great deal on a spring-break car rental and so she and the boys were at her mother's in Reno, was I free for lunch tomorrow? We drove through a snow squall on the drive in, and then had a hard time finding the restaurant. Out-of-the-blue, in walked Alexia's little cousin Marla and all her family, including grandparents - on Alexia's daddy's side. The two boys are Logan and Evan, my grandson's from Bend Oregon. These are all Lexi's cousins. Pretty crazy.

I told Missy about my new sewing machine at lunch and she asked me what I was going to do with old one. Why, keep it as a backup machine, up course! After I got home I started thinking that was a bit of a doggy in the manger attitude, so called her to say that if she wants to stop by on her way home Sunday, she can have my old faithful Kenmore. She was thrilled.
I spent some time sewing on pants yesterday and Alexia wanted to be in the studio with me, so she worked on a pot holder on Hilary's looper loom. The pant fit was pretty off so I looked for help online and also sent Theresa a panicked email. Her practical advice was to check the pattern against pants that I already know fit me. So smart.
I love the colors of these loopers. Lexi carefully selects each color for her "pattern." Hilary used them in a rug for bright color spots. I've got one of those on my mental project list.
It started snowing while we were working and came in from the south instead of the west, piling up in my south-facing window. I missed yoga last night as I didn't want to drive in this.
We awoke to this today. This March came in like a lion and is going to go out like a lion. We're moving into the last of our firewood. Spring has started - get on board, Spring!
Alexia wanted to show off her newest potholder last night. She was in the bath this morning when the power went out so had to finish with a Coleman lantern. And of course I had a load of laundry in the washer and dryer
She woke up feeling puny this morning. In spite of throwing up her breakfast and lunch, she's such a sunny little girl that she was singing while playing. I think the bath helped, with the steam and moisture. She's eating rice with butter right and seems to feel better. The problem is the sinus drainage from her cold. It's tough to be a kid.
I used the power outage to cut out fabric with the help of my snoopervisor, including a new muslin to see if I've got the pant fit right. But for now, I'm hanging out with the Lexinator and enjoying the new sofa. She asked me if I would measure her so I can make her a beautiful dress.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cooking Plans

I have no idea how you're supposed to block a mobius since it will never lie flat, but this my best effort. Babysitting is knitting opportunity, and as the contemporary line goes - it's a win win. The yarn fairies can no longer add to my yarn ball, and so I gave the teeny leftover ball to Charlie. What is it with cats and yarn anyway?
I finished my blouse today. Actually, it was done but I had to learn how to make buttonholes. Alexia was taking a bath in the next room, so I embarked on this new journey. I have never had a machine that could make buttonholes without my intervention. I tested it and worked though the error messages, which were mostly because I didn't know which model machine I had purchased. I had to come back downstairs, log on and find the bookmark for the machine model I had ordered. I needed the model number for the correct buttonhole number selection. That's all folks. With that information, I dropped the needle at the starting point five times and zip-zop, had five buttonholes. I am in awe.
I handed Alexia the camera and asked if she thought she could take a picture of my blouse. She said she had taken zillions of pictures.

I looked at her picture and said, Alexia, you got Papa looking grouchy and you missed the whole top of my head. This is her next image - better Papa, manic-hilarious Grandma. She's pretty good for a six-year-old. Of my two blouse tries, this pattern will be my next go. I have given up on the no-waist life of the "mature body." As Amy said, it is what it is.
Charlie has made tentative peace with Alexia which is no small deal since he has a reputation for scratching our fast-moving grandchildren. He has her Wii-exercise sweat towel and her special lion here.
Alexia is absorbed into a world of Wii princesses and all the fairy tale magic that goes with it. She doesn't know it but her favorite cousins in the whole world are here this weekend - text message alert. I know that seeing Evan is one hundred times more awesome than one Wii princess.

And for now, I loved my February Lady sweater so much and wear it way too much, so I decided to cast on some yarn I've have for a long time, which matches the gauge. It's gray Targhee which I put into a yellow dye bath. Interesting? We'll see.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

March Madness

I never wore this vest one time after I finished knitting it, not even to a guild meeting as show and tell. It was not fun to wear and didn't feel good.
It was snowing when I woke up this morning and continued to snow all day. I ended up watching NCAA basketball and turning that vest into this. It's going to be a reverse stockinette vest knitted in the round. So much for fancy.

I also decided to try my hand at knitted head-
bands. The plastic ones can be pretty tight and I'm pleased at how comfortable these are. I made them 17" long and stitched them together, not well I might add, but the seam is hidden by hair.
Alexia is on school break this week so we're baby-
sitting. DD Chris brought her out late this afternoon after the snow finally quieted down. Alexia entertained herself with her Little Petshop figures while we tortured ourselves with NCAA basketball.
This is her favorite dog, I think. I don't know actually as she had a story for every figure, including two mice she said were twins named Qwimsy and Mimsy.
She read a story to me and afterward I told her that this was a first, as always before I had read to her. She said, Uh-huh, and I was good! She's in remedial reading at school so I was pleased at her excitement. We'll read more throughout the week. Note the bear to her left. He's wearing a Cat in the Hat T-shirt and glasses.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I was doing a memory walk through our New York City pictures from last October this evening and was arrested by this image I took when were at Fulton Market. I had been completely taken by that fascinating tower in the background.
I got as close as I could and took another shot. It was such an exciting building, and then I forgot about it until I read the article in The New Yorker at breakfast this morning and which you can read about here. No wonder I was captivated. The architect is Frank Gehry. And in case architecture isn't your affliction, he is the name behind the Walt Disney Hall and the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum.
As for what I'm spinning, I have no idea. This bump was a birthday present from Amy about three years ago. I know it's Ashland Bay but it's very dense and heavy. I'm stash busting and it's just time to spin this up, whatever it is.
I'm spinning for a triple ply yarn and in looking at this picture, I think I see a halo, as in maybe mohair? That would explain why the bump feels so heavy. It's much prettier on the bobbin than in the bump.

Knitting: I have been working on this project for so long that this morning at our knit-in, they teased me that fairies are adding to my yarn at night when I sleep. I'm knitting on it while I watching NCAA and it still seems to be never ending. How do you trap a knitting fairie?
Meanwhile, I've cast on and started my next project. Quandry. The difference between medium and large is 11 inches! I don't want the sweater to be as big as large but won't be able to wear it smaller. I've gone up in needle size and chosen medium. I think it's the wrong answer. I need to think more before I knit more. It's handspun.
Meanwhile, I have finished by February Lady Sweater from Ravelry. It's such a perfect house- weight sweater that I've worn it all evening and am swatching for another one. I wanted to wear it this morning and show it off to my knit-in but it was still wet. It started snowing during the night and talk about dedication, I drove 22 miles on a sheet of ice and then after the freeway, it was just a mess. I had cabin fever relief in a knit-in and book club - good medicine for what ails me. I drove home on dry pavement this afternoon. You have to have lived in the high desert to believe it, but it's so normal. I'm not sure I'd have gone in had I not been sure the ice was just a one-way trip.

I got home to find a book I had ordered from Amazon and that was back-ordered and forgotten about had finally arrived: The Sky's the Limit by Steven Gaines. I had read the reviews and ordered it through interlibrary loan several years ago but have been wanting to reread it - more New York City architecture (my affliction). Sandy's Book Club was after my knit-in this morning, and we talking about Packing for Mars, which we all absolutely loved - a non-fiction. The author is Mary Roach and I plan to read her book Stiff next, 4 1/2 stars out of 452 Amazon reviews. We all bring in books we've read to share so I offered The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, rated 4 stars out of 290 reviews. When I get around to loading it to My Library Thing, I plan to give it a 4.5 rating - brilliant lovely writing. BTW, spring has not sprung here.