Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When Denial meets Reality

Dear Mom,

I've been trying to ignore the persistent countdown to the last day of school as reported faithfully by the Young Lady, but I cannot do so any longer.

Tomorrow is the last day.

Thankfully tomorrow is a full day of school, but I am completely indecisive about how to spend my last two relatively alone with my piece of quiet days. Do I whirl through the house ridding it of all dust and dog hair and debris, leaving it all clean at once for one last time..... or do I use the time to fill my creative well with as much knitting and spinning as I can????
I know the answer. I won't be able to relax with knitting in my lap knowing there is housework to be done. So cleaning it will be.

I've got a small knitting project nearly completed and I'll show it to you when it is off my needles. I've also got a couple of  projects going that are not photo worthy yet. And I've done a  decent amount of spinning over the past week which I've neglected to photograph, so I'll save that for another post.

What I CAN show you is the t-shirt makeovers I've done. My changing figure and current fashions don't seem to be complementing each other. When I try stuff on, this is what I see looking back at me in the dressing room mirror:

Yep. That. Except without the fur.

Sooo. In self-pitying desperation, I went to Target and bought a bunch of Men's v-neck t-shirts. (For me, the sleeves on women's tees are too short. Even when I was thin my upper arms were not attractive.) And so far this is what I've done.

I won't be gracing the pages of any fashion magazines with these looks, but at least I don't feel like Harvey Korman when I look in the mirror.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May's Socks

Dear Mom,
Started late but finished early, these socks are ready to be washed and put in the gift drawer! I started out with these using a rather complicated stitch pattern, couldn't read the stitches in the variegated colors, lost my place in the pattern and realized that really, when it comes to socks, I just want to knit on auto pilot. Hand knit socks feel good on your feet no matter how plain or fancy. So, simple socks it is again. And again.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

Dear Mom,

It was a busy weekend of good weather and a visit from My Hero's dad. Thanks to their hard work, I had another dozen flower boxes to plant and Patsy has a dozen less escape options. If everything I've planted thrives, the fence will be a show stopper and a Patsy stopper.

I was able to get my garden planted on Friday afternoon. Once upon a time I had the thought of planting rows of beans and corn in succession so I wouldn't be harvesting all at once, but it would seem that thought left my brain once I got out there and started planting. This year I've planted more of fewer things. Except tomatoes. I am hoping less of those will give me enough tomatoes to eat and can without an over abundance. Part of me wants to rush out there and plant a couple more tomato plants for just in case, but that is why I end up with a tomato jungle every year. So this year I'll try being reasonable about them and see what happens. I still have Many Many plants from the seeds I started in March. I've given them to everyone I can think of and still have some left. I'll hang onto them for back ups a little while longer and then... I don't know. I hate the thought of trashing them. In fact I know I just won't be bale to do that. So maybe I will end up with another tomato jungle after all.

When I was planting I realized that I didn't have any new, or enough, row markers. Necessity being the mother of invention, I came up with these, which I think are way cuter than anything I would have purchased ( and could have been way WAY cuter had I taken the time for decorative writing):

This is a small clay saucer stuck half in the ground. I used a sharpie to write Corn. If I'd taken my time and had planned ahead for this, I would have used paint pens to write nicely and added a drawing of corn. I've done the same at the ends of my rows of beans, too. (Except of course, those say Beans.) In the Herb Garden I took the pots that partner these saucers, turned them upside down, and wrote the names of the herbs on the outside of the pots and sat them in the ground next to the plants.

Now comes the waiting part. I go out there two or three times a day and just look at the dirt. Like I am going to see a sprout after 3 hours or something. But I don't want to miss the magic.

And speaking of seeds sprouting...
A finished This is THAT Sweater has been posted on ravelry! The knitter blogs about the sweater, which she made for her Mom (!!), here. It is very satisfying and exciting to see one of my knitting designs "out there"- and especially when the knitter is so happy with the results.

My socks for the month of May are right on schedule despite their getting a late start. With the Dancing with the Stars finale and the Glee finale tonight and tomorrow night, I should have them done with no trouble.

Generic sock pattern, Claudia's Hand Painted yarn- color Toast

This is a beautiful day and I hope to enjoy a bit of it on the back porch. With only 7 more school days left, I need to fill the well with some quiet time.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

News to share

Dear Mom,

For a long while now I have been denying my Inner Weaver. I kept trying to keep her quiet, telling her that I have enough other things to do, that knitting and spinning (and gardening and housekeeping and family keeping and dog keeping) really should be enough.

Inner Weaver just got a little louder. She was especially worse after Sunday Spin Ins at Tabby Tree Weaver. I had to drive home with the windows down just to blow the weaving fumes off of me and clear my head.

Inner Weaver wasn't fooled.

Before Inner Weaver got b-itchy, I publicly acknowledged her existence. I said that someday I would have a loom. I thought that would settle Inner Weaver down a bit, but it actually just made her more assertive. She knew she was winning.

And now this.

This is a Schacht Baby Wolf loom. It should be arriving on my doorstep in the next 4-6 weeks. The only other weaving I've ever done is this rug in a one day class. Unless potholders count and then I've done LOTS of weaving in my day.
I am scared and excited. There is so much to learn and that may be the best part about it all.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What to do?

Dear Mom,
What to do in the middle of May, when the outside temperature is 46 degrees (the weatherman actually used the words wind chill this morning) and it is rainy, too?
Brew some hot cinnamon spice tea.
Start a fire.
Heat up some Herb Bean Soup for lunch.
Listen to an audio book.
And spin.
After the daily housework is done, of course.
And it is.
And I am.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Working my Aster off.

Dear Mom,
This string of mostly dry, very warm days has been ideal for getting yard work and garden projects done. I have very little to show for it though. I continue trying to repair the lawn's drought damaged areas and where it was once bald, it is now sprouting up wispy little baby grass. And LOTS of chickweed. I'll deal with that once the grass seed is firmly established. I've been digging it up where I can do so with out disturbing the new grass too much. I do not exaggerate when I say that this past week I've spent more time pulling weeds than I have knitting.
I've also tilled up my vegetable garden the old fashioned way. With a hoe. If the soil had been difficult to turn over I would never have done it, but once I got going I convinced myself that by manually tilling up the earth I was saving the gas the would run the tiller, emitting no noise pollution or engine exhaust, and getting some really good exercise. I'm also hoping that all my hands on attention will be rewarded with the best vegetables ever. But I do have to admit that while it wasn't all easy, I really do like digging in the dirt and planting things. One of the best feelings, for me, has to be crumbling a chunk of soil into fine bits with my hands. And I like the smell of dirt.It's almost as good as the smell of rain. But then I also like the smell of a wet dog, so there could be something not quite right about me.
 After tilling I added some compost and peat, mixed up my fertilizer recipe and worked that all in. I'll give the dirt a few days to settle, turn over the soil again and then plant- probably sometime next week, depending on the weather. I would like it to rain again before I plant. Why do I have the feeling that now that I've planted stuff that needs water the faucet has been turned off and we won't have anymore rain?
My Hero and I have been sidetracked from out indoor spring cleaning with outdoor projects. A big one has been the fence and our efforts at making it Patsy-proof.
I am not kidding when I say we should have named her FloJo after Florence Griffith Joyner. Patsy can run fast and the fence is just a high hurdle for her.
Last summer we replaced the planks on the gates, making them higher. She just found new spots to hop. We tried placing obstacles on the ground along the fence in her new preferred locations. She found new ones. A good portion of the interior of the fence perimeter is landscaped and not jump-able. But there is still a good portion that is wide open. The motion collar is a deterrent and really did cut down on Patsy's jumping habit. Unfortunately, everytime Patsy is in the backyard someone (usually me) has to be watching her ready to press the button that will vibrate her collar everytime she gets near the fence. With the warm weather we like to keep the door open onto the screened porch which has the doggie door, which means that the dogs can come in and go out whenever. We like that. We don't like that Patsy can't be trusted to stay. in. the. fence.
Our next attempt at Patsy containment was based on the theory that Patsy was using the horizontal 2 X4's to get a lift up and over the fence. We decided to put new planks on the inside of the fence, creating a shadow box type fence. We hoped that not only would she not be able to use that horizontal beam, but the dogs would not be able to see through the fence as easily and perhaps Patsy would not be tempted to leave.

Ok. Not.

But it worked for a few days. I don't know how she manages to get over the fence, but she does. That dog is just too smart. And I hate being outsmarted by a dog.

So now it is Plan.... D? And here is what we're doing. ( I know. Some people are  reading this and wondering why we just didn't get a taller fence. Because I like to be able so see out, that's why. To look out into my backyard and see a 6 or 8 foot wooden wall would make me feel closed in.) We My Hero is taking all the pieces of cedar fence planks that we cut to make fence height and using them to make flower boxes that we are placing ON TOP of the fence. We have come up with a simple design that has a rudder or whatever you want to call it that comes off the bottom of the box and slides down in between the fence boards. The flower boxes could tilt if they are nudged, but the rudder keeps them from falling off the fence or tilting over far enough to spill their contents.
He has made about a doxen flower boxes so far and we are placing them wherever we see even the slightest possibility of an escape. And they look really nice, too.
When the first few boxes were completed and ready to be placed, My Hero asked where Patsy's favorite jumping spot is along the back.
Ummm, I think......HERE.

Yep. Definitely.


So far, the plan is working. We'll keep building and planting flower boxes until we run out of wood or places to put them. I don't want to think about what happens if this doesn't work. Because I don't think this

 is going to blend in with the landscaping.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Babies in the Family

Dear Mom,
We have anticipated their arrival for weeks. Treading lighting.  Coming and going carefully.  Always mindful.
They are finally here! Oh! Soooooo worth the wait!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Socks, Spinning and Something Really Pretty

Dear Mom,
April's socks were finished in April, but just barely. These will go into the drawer for future gift giving. The yarn for May's socks is still languishing on the dining room table waiting for a ride on the ball winder.

I spent a good bit of time over the past couple of weeks spinning this. It may just look like more pretty yarn, but I see this skein of yarn as evidence of improving spinning skills. The roving for this yarn was purchased by CarolWhoseHouseGotStruckbyLightning at the Greencastle Fiber Event and I agreed to spin it for her.
 And this next beauty came off the needles last night and off the blocking wires this morning. It was started in July 2009 and set aside for a reason I can't remember, but it certainly wasn't because this thing was hard. It was a pretty quick knit once I buckled down and actually worked on the thing.

 This is the Panda Silk Dk Fan Shawl by Gail Tanquary- a free pattern. I used Blue Sky Alpaca's Alpaca Silk yarn- 5 skeins, I think.  I couldn't be happier with the way this turned out. Beautiful yarn, elegant shawl. Really perfect for spring. And one less project waiting to be completed. If only I could be certain that they would all turn out this nicely.