Monday, April 27, 2009

Life Is Good

I'm feeling better; my computer is fixed, except Conor has to figure out the Internet part; it was a beautiful day today, the daffodils are out in full force; Travis was 24 yesterday; Travis found out today he is graduating after all on May 17th; I have wonderful family and friends; my house is full of fiber and yarn and spinning wheels. What more could a person ask for?

That's just a short list of what is good, but it's almost midnight and I must go to bed so I can go to work tomorrow. Why don't you make your own list of what is good about your life?

Here's a picture of the birthday, soon to be college graduate, boy with Begonia. I have a friend who thought Travis was scary when she first saw him. Can you imagine anyone thinking that sweet, smiling young man was scary?

Friday, April 24, 2009

I Think Spring Might Really Be Here

Today was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and it was truly wonderful to be outside in the sunshine. Now if we can just continue in this weather direction life will be good. The tulips and daffodils are up about 4 inches, and some hyacinths are showing their lovely purple blooms.

I finally went to the doctor on Wednesday and discovered that I have strep throat, a sinus infection and an ear infection. No wonder I had no energy and a searingly painful throat. Due to the wonders of modern medicine I am feeling better now and can actually swallow without flinching-quite a delight.

I have moved on from knitting dishcloths, another sign of my healing. I finished two pairs of socks I have been working on, and am now working on finishing a third pair. The socks I am working on are bed socks made with worsted wool and mohair with 32 stitches, so they go really quickly and are very soft and warm to wear.

I am at a loss as to what to do for my next project. Nothing seems to be appealing to me. I want to knit a February Lady's Sweater, but am not sure what yarn to use. I think it may be time to do a little stash diving to see what I can come up with. And perhaps as my health improves, my desire to knit will improve as well.

I think it's time for bed. Not a very scintillating post I am afraid. I'll try to do better next time.

I'll leave you with a picture taken in the beauty shop where I recently had my hair cut. Love the red and blue wigs-I think I will go for the blue color next time. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'm Back!

Sorry for the week long absence. It's hard to believe that it's been as long as it has since I last posted. How time flies when you are not really having much fun at all. There has been quite a bit of drama going on in my family which required my attention and energy. My laptop is also broken, which means I have to venture up to the third floor to use the computer. This is Conor's domain and is such a mess that I find it hard to focus on writing a post when I am distracted by the squalor that he and his friends have created. I realize that I could make him clean it, but I choose to save my fights with him for more important battles that one can have with an almost 18 year old. I do have to remember though, that now he has his license I do hold the car keys, and he is quite interested in borrowing the car on a regular basis. Perhaps the third floor will be cleaned this weekend.

The Phat Fiber Sampler Box sale was once again a giant success. I think the boxes sold out at each selling in under one minute. Truly amazing. Here are the samples I sent in this month. The theme was Green, either the color, or eco-friendly. I chose to send in fawn colored, undyed corriedale fiber, hand painted mostly merino wool dyed in the colorway Trillium and worsted weight wool yarn dyed in the colorway Leaves of Grass. Larger sizes of the samples are for sale in my etsy shop.

I am enjoying the challenge of producing samples to go along with the theme of the month. For May the theme is Showers and Flowers. I already know what yarn sample I am going to produce, which goes along with the showers part of the theme, but I am still working on the flowers part, which will be dyed fiber of some sort. I need to start feeling better so I can venture down into my dye studio. Dye studio is fancy talk for a portion of my basement where I do my dyeing. I would love some day to have a place where I can dye that is not in my basement and has great light and lots of space. Heat would be a nice thing too. Dyeing in the basement when it's 20 below outside is not a fun activity.

I took these pictures last week. This is my cement garden dragon and my cement Buddha. I love them both. I found them at a church bazaar when we lived in New Jersey, and they moved to Massena with us. It makes me happy and makes me think spring is coming when I can get them out and place them in the garden.

Look at those day lilies behind the Buddha. I think they have grown another 4 inches since I took these photos. Don't look at the pool liner on the edge of the picture. It is not very attractive, and we have a lot of cleaning up to do in the yard. The problem has been that it has rained, or snowed, so much that the leaves don't have time to dry up enough to get out there and clean them up. We are supposed to have a sunny Saturday, so backyard cleanup will be on the agenda, especially if the boy wants to use the car. I hold such power now. It is a wonderful thing.

We also have a lot of day lily dividing to do. I love day lilies. They don't require any work (well, they do have to be planted, and divided occasionally, but other than that they don't require any work), they spread prolifically and there are so many different varieties, blooming throughout the summer into fall. My sister Jane lives near a nursery called Olallie Daylily Gardens. It is located in the foothills of the Green Mountains in Vermont and is an organic day lily wonderland. I want to try to visit the farm this year as I spend hours looking at their beautiful catalog when it arrives, and it would be fantastic to see fields of them blooming. Jane goes every year and had some absolutely gorgeous flower gardens before she and her family moved. They now rent a house, so I don't think much effort is going into perennial gardens.

I promise to be better about posting. I do miss it when I don't blog, and hopefully life has calmed down a bit for now. I say for now, because I know it won't last, but I will enjoy it while calmness is here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Knit Night at the Library

Despite the continuation of my sickness, I have been instructed that I must come to knitting at the library tonight.  I think I can handle it, a two minute drive and sitting in a comfortable chair knitting dishcloths, because that is all I seem to be capable of knitting at this time.  And since I have about 100 skeins of dishcloth cotton, it seems like a good thing to be doing.  I have been making a circular dishcloth pattern and am trying to figure out why it is so much faster to knit than a square or rectangular cloth of the same size.  

I also started a kitchen hand towel from a pattern in Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines.  It's fun and going quickly.  I think I might draw the line at making a Swiffer cover though.  Although it would be a money saving thing to reuse instead of throwing away the pads.  It depends on how much longer I am enamored of Peaches and Cream dishcloth cotton.  I have also been contemplating using some to make a string bag for shopping.  For that project, crocheting would win over knitting-lots faster and only one huge hook to hold instead of two giant needles.

Want to see a picture of my granddog? Begonia and Travis came to visit me at Caitlin's apartment.  She is HUGE! and only 8 months old.  She is very sweet as well, and loves stuffed animals.  Every fifteen minutes or so she would disappear into Caitlin's bedroom and come out with a different stuffed animal or cat toy.  I wonder how Caitlin's cat feels about having her toys slobbered on by a huge Newfoundland.  

Isn't Begonia cute?

Here she is modeling a scarf I made for Catilin out of Noro Yarn.  It's good to know my knitted gifts are appreciated.

And here is Begonia with Travis.  I think this picture gives a sense of what an immense dog she is.  Travis is 6 feet tall, to give a size reference.   It will be interesting to see how big she will be when she is full grown.  

Since this blog is not just about my state of health, or the animals in my family, here is a new colorway I dyed recently.  It reminds me of springtime in the Adirondacks, and is called Trillium.  It is part of my contribution to the Phat Fiber Sampler box this month, which goes on sale on the 17th, I believe.  There is a lot of anticipation building once again for the release of the box.  I hope people are a little more understanding this time around about the limited availability, and that they play nice when talking about Jessie and the box.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Life Stinks Sometimes

I'm sick again, and am not thinking very coherently, so don't think I am capable of writing much of a blog post right now.  This is so typically the way things happen in my life. Conor went to New Jersey, I have a whole week to myself, I am planning all kinds of wonderful things to do while he is away, and I get sick the day after he leaves.  Argh!!!  I am so sick that I don't even feel like eating.  Can you imagine such a thing?  So I think the cats and I will be spending a lot of quality time in bed together, and I'll be back as soon as I am feeling better.  I figure that will be when I can swallow without being in excruciating pain.

Look, water that isn't frozen.  Having come from the Adirondacks yesterday I am sad to report that there are still several frozen lakes. Since it is the middle of April we can assume that soon we will be seeing them unfrozen though, although it did snow most of the drive home yesterday. This is the view from the dock in Cranberry Lake. I'm really wanting to go up there, but it has to get a little warmer first.  Enjoy this glimpse of summer, which must be on it's way. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Do Baby Chicks Mean It's Spring, Even If It's Freezing Out?

It's Mud Season!

But Mud Season is also the season for baby chicks!

And cats taking an afternoon snooze together.

I took these pictures while I was at work today.  I've been told that when I see the chicks next week they will look very different because they grow quite rapidly.  They were entertaining to watch, walking on top of each other and being awake one minute, and asleep with their heads in the slots of the feeding tray the next.

Aren't Simon Peter and Philemon cute sleeping together?  I think they were huddled together for warmth.  It was windy and cold today, but at least the sun was shining.

I have been busy the last few days with some dyeing, and I've had a wonderful time making some new batts for my etsy shop.  It's so much fun blending the colors.  My favorite part is putting the sparkly bits in.  I'm hoping to get some photos taken tomorrow, so I can list the batts before I head south to take Conor to meet friends who will take him off to New Jersey for spring break.

This departure means that I will be home all alone.  What will I do with no one to ask me what's for dinner at 2:00 in the afternoon, and no one to ask if he can use my car, and no size 12 sneakers to trip over when I walk in the door?  It will be good practice for when he goes away to college.  Seems like a small road trip for me might be in order.  I'll have to think about that.  Any suggestions?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Granny Squares Took Over the Day

Suzanne is making a granny circle, or octagon, afghan for her daughter.  She was having trouble with one of the blocks and asked if I could help.  The pattern was published in a knitting magazine, but was rife with errors.  It took us all afternoon to figure out one block.  I do not understand how a magazine can publish a pattern with so many errors in it.  I feel sorry for a relatively new crocheter who might attempt that pattern.  I'm sure they would think it wasn't working because they had made a mistake, not the  magazine editors.  Suzanne checked for errata and there was none published.  It's really a beautiful afghan-what a shame that it is going to be so difficult to make.

I am still working on my granny square afghan also.  It's being made up as I go along, so I'm not having any problems, and the book I am getting the blocks from so far has had no errors, something that should be commended.

The big news at our house is that Conor got his license today.  He needs to get a job and earn lots of money so he can get a car and not drive mine.  His plan is that I should get a new car and give him my old one.  Good luck with that one, Conor.  I now have someone to run errands for me, my favorite part of having another driver in the house.  

No photos today.  If it ever stops raining I would love to go outside and take some photos of spring as it is springing her in northern New York, but the weather forecast is not looking good. Bummer.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Likin' my Lichen

In February I went for a walk in the Adirondacks and one of the photos I took was this lichen colored log.  I love the silvery green color of lichen and wanted to try to reproduce it on fiber and yarn.

This was taken as the fiber was drying outside.  (I do vaguely remember that we had a sunny day a couple of weeks ago when I was able to dry fiber outside.)  I think this color is pretty close to the color in the picture.

And here is another photo of the dried fiber getting ready to be listed in my etsy shop.

Guess what the colorway name is?  Lichen.  Aren't I clever?

Time for a cup of tea and a gingerbread muffin and bed.  I found the best Irish Breakfast tea at Hannaford's, called Thompson Family Teas Punjana Irish Breakfast Tea.  It's really yummy, yummy enough that I had it instead of coffee for an afternoon pick me up yesterday.  

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Where Is Spring?

I know that April showers are supposed to bring May flowers, so I guess that means we should be happy for the rain, but the rain is getting a little old, in my  humble opinion.  It's not good when the 10 day forecast only has one picture of the sun, and that is next Thursday.  I want to go out and get some pictures of spring arriving, but I'm not sure that it is.

We woke up this morning to discover that we had no hot water.  This made no sense to me because we have two 50 gallon hot water tanks and I couldn't figure out how they both could break at the same time.  I went down cellar with some trepidation expecting to see the floor of the basement covered with water, but it was totally dry.  Thank the wool goddesses, since I had bags of fiber on the floor right next to the hot water heaters. It made me realize that more shelving is needed in the dyeing are of the basement.  I took a very lukewarm, very quick shower and Conor and I headed out to the grocery store, because not only did we have no hot water, but not much food either. 

 Upon our return, I put in a call to our plumber, and shockingly, he did not return my call.  I did a little batt creating, trying to figure out what I would do about a shower tomorrow if the plumber didn't call me.  Conor had not taken a shower when there was a little lukewarm water left, so
 asked me every 30 minutes or so if the hot water had fixed itself.  I suggested he heat some water and take a bath, but he didn't like that idea.  I put in another call to the plumber , and left a slightly more desperate message, listened to Conor ask me once again if the hot water had fixed itself, remembered the sign I used to have which said that raising children is like being pecked to death by a duck, and called my brother to see what he  might know about hot water heaters.  He came over, flashlight in hand, (knowing, of course, that despite the fact that I buy flashlights on a regular basis, I would not be able to find one) and went down cellar to discover that both pilot lights were out.  How did that happen?  I know it was windy last night, but I don't think windy enough to get through my very thick stone walls.  It's a mystery, but now we have hot water, a most wonderful thing. And I guess I'm happy the plumber didn't call because I would not have wanted to pay him the huge amount he would have charged me to light those pilot lights.  Not to mention that I would have felt like an incompetent female for not having figured that out on my own.

On to more interesting things. I think a while ago there were promises of photos of what had recently been dyed.  This is one colorway I just listed in my etsy shop.  It is called Scarlet Begonia in honor of Travis' dog Begonia.  This is the second time I dyed this colorway because the first fiber was purchased by members of my spinning group.  This colorway makes me smile.

This colorway is called Blue Days and Green Nights.  It is an effort to recreate a colorway I dyed at the end of a day when I was using up little bits of dye.  It's not quite there yet, but I think I have a better idea of what I need to try next time.  My favorite part of these rovings are where the colors blend together and create beautiful pools of color.

I have not been doing much knitting lately, but have been crocheting instead.  Suzanne's interest in starting a granny square afghan reminded me of the granny square afghan I had started last winter when a horrible fate befell me and I was not able to knit for about a month. I dug the bag out of my yarn closet and realized that I only need to make about 20 more squares and it will be done.  I'd forgotten how much fun it is to make granny squares.  The patterns are from the book 200 Crochet Squares for Blankets, Thrown and Afghans, and it's fun going through and trying out different patterns.  I amassed quite a large collection of yarns in my color palate, and it's giving me an opportunity to try some different yarns.  I started with some skeins of Harrisville Shetland yarn I had picked up my first trip to Harrisville.  I love their yarns.  The colors are rich and complex, and I like the way the yarn softens with age.

My last completed knitting was a sample for Mountain Gift and Powder using Lopi Yarn.  I had never knit with Lopi before, didn't really like the yarn, but discovered as I knit with it that I really like the way it knits up.  It wouldn't be comfortable worn next to the skin, but does make beautiful garments.  Here is the neck warmer-what do you think?

That's it for now.  It's sort of been a stressful day and it's time for me to go to bed.  Seamus just arrived and meowed to tell me that it's past my bedtime.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Missing In Action

I'm sorry I haven't been writing. At this point in time I am dealing with issues with two of my children which are taking most of my energy and time.  I'm also trying to keep up with the Phat Fiber Sampler Box (which is much more time consuming than I had anticipated, although fun).  These activities do not leave me much time, or brain power, for blogging.  I'll try for a post tonight, but no guarantees.  

I have all kinds of knitted and fiberly goodness to show you, so please keep coming back.  We'll get through these bumps in the road, I know.

If you give a cat a basket, he'll sit in it.