Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Last night...

Dear Mom,
.... I finished August's socks.
And later on came downstairs to find Patsy sleeping like this:
Squished into a chair. She doesn't look comfortable, but she didn't budge during the photo shoot, and I took several shots.
Let's take a brighter look, shall we?

Yes. Her muzzle is resting on her right back foot.

Never a dull moment.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Beautiful Morning

Dear Mom,
It's a hotteaonthebackporch kinda morning.
Enjoy the day!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August Socks

Dear Mom,
I am woefully far behind on August's Socks. Woe.Full.ee. I turned the heel on the first sock only this afternoon. What's today? The 25th? That gives me 6 days to knit 1 and 1/2 socks if I am gonna finish before the end of the month. I know I'll get plenty of good knitting time while watching Project Runway tonight and if I knit nothing else for the next 6 days, I can probably beat the deadline.
This is more Vesper sock yarn, but it seems I've lost or thrown away the ball band so I can't tell  you the name of the colorway. Actually, I found a ball band in my sock knitting case, but it was for the colorway "Candy Corn" and I knit those socks way  back in January. I also found the business card for my neighbor's orthopedic surgeon and she saw him early in 2010.....


Monday, August 22, 2011


Dear Mom,
I've been asked by the Village Yarn Shop in Zionsville to teach some knitting classes- my North Porch Hat and a mitten class, to be specific. Teaching knitting classes is something I've resisted for a while now. There is so much knitting in my brain that I am afraid that in my excitement I will try to regurgitate it all up at once and confuse/overwhelm/scare any and every one of my "students". I have been giving it some thought, though, and guiding knitters through some simple patterns, sharing my little hints and tips for turning out something worthy of their time and efforts is something I want to do. I've taught individuals how to knit, and certainly done a decent amount of problem solving and question answering in my past. I should have no problems (I hope) with a room full (I hope) of friendly (I hope) knitters.

Along the lines of keeping it simple, I needed a very basic pattern for the mitten class. A quick perusal of the patterns out there convinced me that I would be better off and more comfortable designing and teaching my own. And the Village Mittens pattern is born.
Village Mittens
I've got a girl's sweater design on my needles- an update of one of my favorites sweaters I knit for the Young Lady when she was just a little girl. Nothing much to show right now, but here is a little peek:
I am not getting an accurate color in this shot- the green is much more a dark evergreen and the red is very cranberry. I'll try to do better when the sweater is finished.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Here we go again

Dear Mom,
There comes a day every summer when I Need Them To Go Back To School. Yesterday was that day.
Which is pretty good. Probably the longest stretch of summer break before the alarm on my internal Back-to-School clock went off. A testament to the busy-ness of our summer, I think.

I realized I'd crossed that threshold when I stopped vacuuming so I could say things like "wasting time" and "good books" and "make stuff" to the Young Lady. Being the smart sort of teenager she is, she quietly slipped out of the room and found a less obvious spot to communicate with whichever electronic device she happened to have in hand at the time.

Tuesday is the official First Day of School, but the High School tennis season is in full swing and the Young Lady has already picked up her schedule and loaded school supplies into her locker. I've written checks for yearbooks, school directories and in-line skate rental. If we are gonna do all that they might as well be there. I may not be ready for the early alarm clock, but I am definitely needing the routine. Plus, I am tired of cleaning around the extra bodies.
And, I know. I KNOW! I should be making them pitch in with the housework more than I do, but some battles aren't worth fighting.

This next bit has nothing to do with the first paragraphs, but it is definitely worth sharing....

Earlier this week we discovered that Patsy is a hot tub kinda gal. Why doesn't that surprise us?

Patsy didn't stay in long (hot), but the duck and the beach ball were too hard to resist.

She jumped in and out a couple of times. Maybe the best part was watching her race around the yard after she jumped out- like dogs do after they've had a bath. That, or watching her head pop up in different spots around the hot tub while she tried to figure out the best way in.

It isn't a full blown case, but that Startitis I felt coming on has arrived. Details coming soon.


Monday, August 15, 2011

And we even had cute shirts

Dear Mom,
Saturday night's tragedy at the Indiana State Fair understandably cancelled all fair activities on Sunday, which meant there was no Sheep to Shawl competition at the fairgrounds. Lives were changed forever and a little spinning and weaving contest is nothing in the shadow of that. Still, Team Ewephoria was disappointed not to be able to compete after so much went into preparing for the day. And even though we were the only adult team competing, we were anxious to complete the task of carding, spinning and weaving a shawl in 4 hours. We will be ready next year for sure, and hopefully more adult teams will join us.

On a happier note, my Dragon Wing Shawl is finished and thanks to your floorspace, is blocked and modeled here by cooperative Elle.

Little projects on my needles now, bigger projects swimming in my brain. I feel a bout of startitis coming on.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dragon Wing Shawl

Dear Mom,
I have a shawl on my knitting needles that is very nearly finished. I've loved knitting every stitch of this pattern and it may be the quickest, biggest shawl I've ever knit.

I purchased the pattern at Earth Guild 3 years ago, and the yarn (one sport weight 16 oz cone) was purchased last summer at Marr Haven Farm. It took almost a year for me to figure out that the two would be perfect for one another, but once the match was made, the shawl has practically knit itself.
The shawl is a full circle with an opening along the radius. Magic happens with lace knitting when it is blocked out and I can't wait to block this one. I may have to clear out a room to have enough floor space. (Or borrow some from you- hint hint.) I imagine the diameter of this shawl will be longer than my wingspan when it is blocked.

MelissaMySpinningFriend came over last night for an emergency Sheep to Shawl practice session. We worked out some kinks, honed our rookie skills and feel we're as ready as we ever will be. Nervous, excited, curious, a little scared, but ready for the new experience. I've realized that once I start spinning it is hard to stop. It's like getting into a good book that you can't put down. Seeing the bobbin fill up with pretty yarn inspires me to keep going. And then two full bobbins practically DEMAND to be plyed Right Now. I stayed up way past my bedtime last night.

And haven't the past few days been Perfect? Sunny. Mild temps. No humidity! Cool breeze. Blue BLUE sky. Just makes a person want to sit out on her back porch all day and pretend she is on vacation....between loads of laundry.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Dear Mom,
I've had a few people ask me about Patsy, and I've neglected giving the blog a progress report. And Progress it is.
I haven't been fair to Patsy in adopting a  'No News is Good News' attitude. Especially after having been so quick to report her antics, and even more especially after having worked so hard to get her where she is today- a Good Dog. Well. Mostly a good dog.
The joyful pup that bounded into our lives back in January 2010 is maturing. We are nearing that magic number in a dog's life- sometime this fall Patsy will be 2 years old. She can often be found sleeping in a cool spot inside, or sunning herself on the patio.

yes, that is my knitting bag she is laying on
She has a particular fondness for curling up in chairs that she shouldn't, but it's hard to kick her out when she is being so "good?".

The flower boxes we've strategically positioned around the fence are keeping her contained for the most part, although if she really NEEDS to get out she finds a way. In other words, our flower boxes did not stop her from chasing a raccoon at 4 in the morning a few weeks ago or from coming around to try to enter the house through the garage door when I locked the back door. Yes, Patsy can open EVERY door in this house. We even caught her trying to push down the knob and PULL the front door open.
Without a doubt, Patsy is the smartest dog I've ever known.

I hope never to meet one smarter.

All our efforts haven't trained all the impishness and Alpha dog out of her. She'll still block Bumper's entrance or exit through the dog door- just because.

a very good dog
Or pull on his collar to make him go where she thinks he needs to be.
Her super sonic ears hear everything and the guard dog in Patsy wants us to know it.

Our goal was not to erase the Patsy out of Patsy, but to manage it. We've eased her fears and found the loving dog we knew was in there.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Whole Bunch of Random Stuff

Dear Mom,
The stitches are out. Frankenthumb is still very tender, but looking less like Frankenthumb and more like Kim's thumb. I know my thumb will feel better eventually, but I am not sure I'll ever be able to look at the lid from a ravioli can without shuddering.

Before the detour to the ER, I finished some spinning which I want to show you.
Yes, there are weeds in that picture. That Pinch of Death needed to thoroughly pull a weed requires the use of the tenderest part of Frankenthumb. A Weed-free garden is another casualty of my injury.
This yarn is spun from "Screaming Wild Monkeys", colorway On Golden Pond, from River's Edge Fiber Arts.

I have to confess/admit/acknowledge that I have been all about the weaving lately. It's like Donna Reed is my new best friend and I have a wild crush on weaving. I am still knitting and I am getting pretty darn close to finishing a shawl...And I've done a little spinning, but mostly just to see if I could spin with my thumb all wrapped up. (I could, with a latex glove to keep the fibers from turning the adhesive wrap on my thumb into a giant fur ball.) I had to know- we had Sheep to Shawl practice last night.

FYI- The Sheep to Shawl competition at the Indiana State Fair will be held on Sunday, August 14 from 10-2.

Okay. So Back to the Weaving.

I couldn't stand to see Donna Reed resting naked, so I dressed her up in more kitchen towels.

I love weaving.

Yesterday, while trying to ignore the weeds, I cut some flowers from the yard.

Zinnias, Black-eyed Susans, Purple Coneflower, daisies, lythrum and yes, Queen Anne's lace from seeds I scattered into my perennial garden last year for exactly this reason-so I could have some to cut for flower arrangements. It may take over and make me question that decision, but for now I am loving it. And the bouquet is happily collected in my favorite vase- handmade by my Young Man in grade school. It leaks, which makes it priceless. (I have a cellophane bag tucked into the vase to hold the water in, and the rubberband holding the bag in place is disguised by the ribbon.) So. That was yesterday. Then this morning I see all the pretty vases and small flower arrangements on Susan Branch's blog and I was inspired to go out and cut another bunch. When she said she had mint in one of the arrangements a  went off in my head. Heck. I have mint in one of my flower boxes! I grabbed a tiny old pitcher and Out I went, in my jammies, and came in with this:

 which I put it next to my side of the bed- more Queen Anne's lace, a hydrangea, some russian sage, a sprig of mint and a peace lily.

But my favorite way to share cut zinnias is like this:
In a recycled glass jar inside a brown paper bag and tied up with a bit of leftover ribbon.