Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Thursday, May 31, 2007

How to design a patchwork top

Well I had this cotton yarn that I dyed up a few years ago and no two balls match, but they all use harmonious colors. And then I got this lovely bamboo-tencell that goes with it all. So I cast on 25 stitches on my size 7 circulars and started some stockinette to see how it would look. . Then I added some garter stitch in the bamboo blend. Then I tied on a different ball of cotton. And I found it good. I finally came to my senses when I had a strip that was about 30 inches long. Hmmm - it's just about long enough to make a top that goes over the head and sews up the sides. Can I use this strip? Yep! Can I use it without sewing strips together? Yep! I picked up along the side of the striop and knit three more rows of bamboo blend garter stitch. then I cast on 25 stitches at the end in cotton, and picked up a stitch from the far end of the circular needle, kit two stitches together, turned, picked up another stitch, from the far end, and knit two more together. (Yeah, it's magic. I knitted the underarm pannel off the front and back of the circular needle so it was knit in without seams. I'll take a picture when I knit the other side to illustrate.)
When the underarm pannel was deep enough, I added three rows of garter on top and bound off all around the armhole. then I picked up bamboo blend along the other side and proceeded with three rows of garter, then cast on 25 and knit in stockinette, picking up and knitting together along the seam side as I went.
(Yes, the bottom edge looks wonky {love that word} but I'm planning a band of ribbing to moderate all cares.)
It's great fun. Since I'm working on narrow bands, it grows fast. The cotton feels nice to work on, and it's delightful to see how the colors are striping up - or not. More pictures as it grows. Now do you see what I mean when I say I think sideways?
Ok, now a question for the experts. You want a link for my book (soon to be books.) would you like a link to Amazon or to the print-on-demand publisher? I'm not sure what would be helpful.
And then some fun questions for everyone:
What is your favorite color?
What kind of music do you like?
Bath or shower?
Favorite fragrances?
Favorite fibers?
Why do I want to know? It's too close to Christmas for you to be asking so darn many questions!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Beach story part two

The salal is blooming beautifully.

Here is the place we stayed. Two stories with an ocean view from the tower. Three useable bedrooms and a fourth being remodeled. Upstairs living room, downstairs living room, three bathrooms, kitchen and dining area. Washer and dryer. Great house for beach parties.

Dinner with the full complement of eleven. Thirteen-year olds facing us. DH with back to the camera.

I did take a walk on the beach, but I didn't take my camera. Doh. Picture wind and solid cloud cover and brown sand and gray water.

And I didn't get raw oysters, but I did finish off the visit to the penninsula with a deep-fried oyster-burger. Blew the diet straight to hades!

Wanna stay are Rick and MJ's beach house? They charge about $50 a night because it's still under construction. there's a closet FULL of fishing gear.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Beach report page one

Oh the glories of the Long Beach Peninsula – Wind and omnipresent overcast and a 2 and a half hour commute through truly lovely scenery. Buccolic fields full of cows and calves, plantations of genetically engineered cottonwoods being strip farmed for paper pulp, quaint valley hamlets with the ubiquitous video rental stores because the surrounding ridges block all television and cell phone reception. Really picturesque winding narrow roads following the river and clinging to the hems of the mountain like a frightened child clings to mom’s skirt. There was one section of road that was one way for about a two mile stretch because the overhanging hillside had slid down across it. It was rather unnerving to drive along and look up at several tons of slightly unstable rock and dirt looming thirty or forty feet up and just biding its time . . . Landslides are entropy in action. Everything seeks the lowest level, including road embankments.
And sometimes, when the river rises, the lowest level gets pretty darn swampy. Riverfront houses are up on stilts, with a boat moored to the back deck by a loooong rope and a ladder. The cry of the loon, the pacing of the heron, flights of geese in the dawn all have their appeal, but if the river is actually likely to come and try to get in bed with you once in a while, I think I would rather seek higher ground for my abode. And NOT at the edge of a cliff, thank you.
Entropy has been a bit of a theme for me this weekend. Things slow down, things fall apart. This was the weekend for a huge community garage sale all across the peninsula. Everyone had their bits and bobs of gently used excess stuff out on display. Since many people move to Long Beach to retire, there are the no-longer needed elements of past lives. “We don’t need good china. If people come for dinner, we use paper plates.” “We haven’t been skiing in 20 years.” “Bob had a stroke so he won’t be needing those duck decoys or that shotgun anymore.”
On the other hand, used paperback books are moving like wildfires. I think they get passed around and around till they just fall apart. If your body ceases to go where you want, you have to travel in your mind.

The other element of entropy is all mine. I have been spoiled by the wonderful bed we have at home. A night in a strange bed tweaked my back. I am SO grateful to live in an era that has Aspirin and hot pads and BenGay ointment!! But still, I spent the weekend stove up and creaky.

MJ and Rick hired Mike, a professional sheet-rocker, to straw-boss the construction crew. DH has hung drywall in his time, and Rick is trainable (though as an engineer, he expects greater perfection than his team has the skill to produce.) MJ and Rick have a 13 year old son and a16 year-old son who each invited two friends. The friends were all girls. Very interesting interplays going on. The girls all slept in the four-bunk bedroom, were sweet and polite and even helped in the kitchen a bit. The boys slept on couches in the downstairs living-room. The teens mostly hung out and teased one another, while MJ and I kept food coming and plates washed, and the menfolks measured and cut and hung and taped and mudded from 9 in the morning till 10 at night.
Then, when we finally called it quits and drifted off to bed, the raccoons in the roof began partying down. Over our head, it sounded like they were pitching woo. Cooing and purring, thrashing and chirruping with primitive abandon.
Mike slept on a couch in the main living room. He said it sounded as if they had gotten a pinecone and were playing soccer. The last time the raccoons invaded, Rick hooked up a strobe light in the rafters to make them feel unwelcome. We tried it again, but this seems to be a new generation of ‘coons because the next morning we found they had stolen some aluminum foil off the grill on the deck and were presumably creating their own disco ball. Last weekend, Rick’s brother had been up with a pellet gun and discouraged a couple of adults and their four babies, but evidently the attic is prime real-estate because a new young couple moved right in. We even saw them coming and going. One has a severely truncated tail. We called him Stubby. The other, smaller and with an evil look in her eye, we call Esmerelda. No one was willing to go up on the slippery metal roof to search out their entry and exits, so the raccoons remain in residence. They live there all the time and probably think of us a horribly intrusive squatters.

The peninsula has a lot of undeveloped, forested areas, and the deer run rampant. Again, they are the permanent residents, and they obviously are really annoyed at the weekend people that show up and pester them. We were driving back from the hardware store at twilight, and a doe with two fawns crossed the road ahead of us at a leisurely pace, giving us a look of such profound disgust that I burst out laughing. Never before in my life have I been scorned by a deer.

As the guys were cutting sheetrock I heard them chanting a helpful mantra that I thought I might pass along. “Fingers bad. Sheet rock good.” This is to help them remember what to cut. It worked. DH still has a full complement of ten. He did, however, lose his cell phone. He feels seriously handicapped.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dogwood days

Grandma Flea and Janette love dogwood, so here's a picture of our willing and lovely front-yard dogwood. DH bought it for me for a birthday present about twelve years ago. It was just about waist high then. Now, it's about fourteen feet high, and still growing.

Hardy green things are such a wonderful gift of love. Every morning when I go get the newspaper, I see this beautiful tree that he selected just for me. It makes my heart hop up and down for joy.

And for the color of it, here's a staunch pansy that wintered over or re-seeded itself or something. I have a planter box full of these bold and daring blooms. Yayyy Pansies!

We are starting to pack up for the trip to the beach for drywalling. I'm taking books and blankies and knitting and warm wool socks, scarves, hats, and a back-up pair of sweat pants in case the bedroom is just too cold to sleep in. (And you can never go wrong with back-up sweat pants at the beach.) For DH, I am also packing some Thermawrap heat pads and a big tube of BenGay. Of course he won't need them. Of course! But they'll be nice to have just in case. We are planning on buying a pan of ready-to-heat lasagna to feed the troops (There will be eleven of us) and since I'm lactose intoleranat and can't eat the cheese, I may just make a run to the fishmongers and pick up some raw oysters. Oh bliss. I have NEVER had too many raw oysters.

I will also pack the laptop and see if I can find a WiFi site. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Good day Wednesday!

I got a local independent bookstore to carry Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice!! Yayy for Looking Glass Books!!!

If you want to order the book for yourself, it is available from Author House Press fo$11 plus shipping and handling, or from Amazon for $15 plus shipping and handling.

Thank you, thank you to everyone who suggested I put in a link on the sidebar. I'll give it a try!

So, on the way back to my car from the bookstore, I was accosted by this bruiser who waddled up to me, rolled on his back and demanded a tummy rub. Is that a good omen or what!

I assume "Red" here is male because most red cats I have met are. There is so much fluff at the back that specific details are completely obscured to the casual observer. This is a PROSPEROUS cat! Wish I could have gotten a picture of him sitting with his back to me because he looked like an equilateral triangle.

I had to drop off a book at the library, and took an opportunity to go visit the geese. there are three families down at the pond. These are the youngest goslings: still fluffy and yellow, adorably going "peep, peep, peep."

And these are the oldest goslings: Already getting their grow-up feathers and just as lanky and unfinished as teenagers. Sullen and silent and greedy, too.

And this is a picture of the lovely bamboo yarn Teresa gave me for knitting the anti-lace scarf. time to wind it into balls and start swatching.

I'm just about done with the washcloths and soap project. Time to ribbon up and donate. I have some cotton yarn I dyed in shades of blues and greens a while ago. Rather than work all of it into more dishcloths, I think I will make a top of some kind. Since no two of these skeins looks even remotely alike, I'll have to figure out some way to work them all in together without being too fussy about it.

We are spending the weekend at Longbeach, Washington with MJ and Rick. DH is going to help hang drywall, and I am going to stand back and cheer. (Power tools are NOT my friends.) So this means at least 2.5 hours drive time coming and going, and lots of sittin' and talkin' time in between. I may not get to the blog til Monday morning. I'll bring lots of pictures back, though.

Grandma Flea tagged me with the seven things meme again. Again, I won't tag anyone else, but if you want to tell us seven things about yourself, please do. I love talking about myself, so here's a bit of my family background.

1. My twin brother and I were adopted as a set.
2. My parents already had two boys, eleven and twelve years old at the time.
3. My older brothers taught me how to swim.
4. I found that the hardest part of learning how to swim is getting out of the bag.
5. My older brothers introduced me to many other interesting experiences.
6. I found that stinkbugs taste worse than they smell, in spite of all brotherly advice to the contrary.
7. My twin died of a heart attack at age 47, but my two older brothers are still making life interesting for me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

a little cross-pollinating at the washcloth bush

For fun, I crossed some garter-stitch domino knitting with a quilt square. Makes for an interesting and mostly mindless washcloth.

The purple washcloth turned out so much prettier than I had any reason to hope it might. I grabbed two balls of yarn at random, with my eyes closed, working on the theory that if it was ugly, I could rip it. The thin multi-colored weaving scrap yarn didn't look like it would go with the purple. but it did! It did!
I took the anti-lace scarf to Teresa on Tuesday and she gave me two skeins of bamboo yarn for my troubles. It's pastel pinkish/greyish/bluish yarn and has my name all over it. (Teresa usually likes to work with more saturated colors. She was trying to get black/white/grey yarn, but black dye is evidently very tricky stuff. I'm more than happy to take the unsuccessful experiment!!) I'll try to get some decent pictures today, because it's subtle, way cool, and very hard to photograph in artificial light. Teresa told me that the bamboo loves to be steamed and pressed. It gets flat and shiney. So something in stockinette. Hmmmm. . . .

And, lest I get bored, Teresa gave me a small skein of lycra and cotton yarn that will make killer socks!! Better yet, since it's a sample, I won't have to make the dreaded second sock! Ohhh, life is good.

The day has dawned with clear skies and roses blooming. At nine I get to talk to a local book store owner about leaving a few copies of my book in a real store. At noon, Writer's group up at the college. In between - errands and errands and more errands. Today I have time, but not much money. It's a balancing act, isn't it?
Check out Dave's neat new book at What a marvelous thing to do with your photos!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Oh My gosh! this is post 301!

I picked the entire crop off the washcloth bush yesterday. Today, I will run them through the washer and dryer, then hit the dollar store for some nice soap and body wash, tie it together with ribbons, and donate it to the local women's shelter. And that will be a bit of the cotton stash reduced. Maybe I'll try linen washchloths, too. Use up some of the linen weaving yarn stash.

I really want to reduce the satsh, because Black Sheep Fiber show is coming to Eugene soon, and I won't go if I have too big a stash. Anyone want to drive to Eugene with me?

Right now, there are two scrub Jays pulling the coconut fiber out of my hanging baskets to use for nesting material. Those baskets will look pretty ratty in a few weeks if this keeps up. Oh well, everyone needs to live somewhere. And if I don't water those fuschias, the baskets will look pretty ratty regardless of the jay's depredations.

DH has just been diagnosed with diabetes. He bought the book, Diabetes for Dummies. I'm going to sit and read it over for the first time today. I imagine we'll be going over it several times in the next few years. Thank God for modern medicine!!

I know lots of folks are living healthy, happy lives in spite of their diabetes. Anyone want to chime in with words of wisdom and advice? This is going to mean a lifestyle change for us. Fewer slug-like weekend mornings lolling in our warm comfy bed, more dragging our lazy, dead-possum carcasses out for walks and healthy breakfasts. Fewer margaritas, rumballs, and glasses of wine. Has anyone tried cooking with Splenda or the other sugar substitutes?

OK, all you young people! Your strong, healthy, energentic body is just a loaner. Enjoy it while you can because Father Time and Mother Nature are gonna re-posess it before you know it. Dance before your knees get creaky. Try new food while you can still digest it. Hug your loved ones while they are still handy. The longer you live, the more you lose.

Of course, living longer brings certain benefits as well. You learn to quit worrying what other people think. You start to learn which things are changable and which aren't. You get a sense of when you should cut and run and when you should stick it out regardless. You have friendships that have lasted years. You quit spending all day in three-inch heels and your back thanks you. When you have introduced some young man to some young woman, attended their wedding, baby-sat their kids, gone to the kids' weddings, and are now knitting tiny garments for the children of your friend's children, you get a certain mellow perspective on life.

By living through hard times in your life, you learn that you are much stronger than you ever thought you were, and that the worst that could possibly happen rarely does, so don't waste time getting all wrouoght up about it. Even if the worst does happen, you can take it.

When was the last time I wept my heart out over something? I remember a ninety solid minute sobbing spell when some caddish guy broke my heart, but that was decades ago. My heart is much bigger and far more resiliant now.

I may have lost my tight, strong, limber body, but I have gained some kick-ass memories. I'm gonna be a decrepit, story-filled, opinionated crone in about thirty years. Think I'm free with my suggestions now? Just you wait! By the time I'm ready to die, I may have figured out this whole thing about how one should live.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

a busy day

So I got up dark and early (it was overcast and a sweet, fresh drizzly rain was blessing us), and finished setting the table.

We had roses,

and strawberries.

Juicy ripe grapes,

And velvety sweet apricots.
I made curried chicken salad sandwiches. Tamara made cucumber sandwiches, her world-class biscotti, and some divine rhubarb cake. The tea was Murchies' Golden Jubilee blend.

Here's the table all dressed and waiting.
And here are all the happy actual guests, knitting and nibbling and talking and laughing. I introduced them to all my virtual guests as well, and they greeted you joyfully. It was a lovely, lovely party!
And then, come evening, DH and I went to his company's awards banquet. DH has been there for 20 years now, and got called up front for a handshake and a gift certificate. ($500 pre-paid VISA card. {Omigawd, omigawd!} But we do have to pay income tax on it.)
There are about 18 people who have been there 20 years. There were 13 guys who had been with the company for FOURTY YEARS! Seven of them will be retiring this year and all of them, "...enjoy fishing, ..." Some also enjoy hunting, others also enjoy golf, and a few also do woodwork. So the key to longevity in your job is to be a guy who enjoys fishing.
Employees got to attend the banquet for free. If spouses wanted to come, there was a ten dollar fee for the meal. They overcharged. OK, to be fair, the salad was wonderful! Nice crisp fresh greens, with grapes and strawberries and a wild variety of edible flowers. Pansies are yummy!
But the entrees - DH's steak resembled a chunk of broiled wet-suit. And my salmon had clearly been frozen and thawed repeatedly. No matter how you cook salmon, it should never be mushy. The asparagus was nice, with a pretty sash of carrot strip bundling the five stalks together. I passed on the fried cheese and potato thingy and I passed on the desert which was a cake and pastry-cream confection with berry preserves. (I'm lactose intolerant) Really, now that I think of it, everything but the entree was quite nice and well presented. Just because I couldn't eat some of it, and wouldn't eat the mushy salmon (Yuk, yuk, yuk!!) doesn't mean it was a crappy meal.
And we had a great time. We sat with the couple who will be taking a cruise with us in December- Igor and Yanna. Igor just got back from visiting his family in the Ukraine, so we had lots and lots to talk about. It was a grand evening.
Between the knitting tea and the award's banquet, I pretty much blew my diet. But it was WORTH IT! It was such a lovely day.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

before the party

Here are a few table settings for my virtual guests

The cat-tail mug forLucia.

A close-up of the tea-cloth for Pat K who loves linens.

Some blue willow(and dragons) for Willow who loves blue.

Grandma Flea likes her tea in a mug, so here's a blue one.

Warrior Knitter will soar like a bird in her sailboat. Blue-winged wonders for her place.

The party will of course be a success because inspector Fly has given it his sniff of approval.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Houseworking day.

Thanks for your kind thoughts about the GED proctoring. Yes, after I sat and looked our chief examiner square in the eye while busily knitting a sock, AND carrying on an intelligent converstaion, I have permission to knit while proctoring. I'm making washcloths. I think I will put them together with bars of soap and donate them to the local women's shelter. Tied up with a ribbon.

The kids were a bit distracted yesterday as I tried to pull them together for their second test. So I stuck two fingers in my mouth and whistled. Not sanitary, but oh, so effective! It shocked them silent long enough for me to say, "For most of you, this is your last test. The sooner you settle down, the sooner we can finish this and send you home." Ah, short-term motivation!

So, just as I am starting to learn their names, they are out the door and I'll never see them again. Since they don't have the time to get on my last nerve, I can sincerely wish them well as they leave. Blessings on you real teachers out there. I don't know how you do it!!

Tomorrow is the ladies' knitting party. Today is the housecleaning blitz. And here is my rant about RSVPs: If you think you'd maybe like to come if nothing better turns up, don't, for the love of God tell me that. Imagine how unimportant it makes me feel. It's much kinder to say that you won't be able to make it, maybe next time, thanks.

If you just aren't getting around to making the phone call to let me know you want to come, have a little consideration and just call me now. Leave a message on the answering machine. Everyone is not-getting-around-to-it, and I am one day before the party with no idea if I will have five or twenty-five guests. Should I pull out one or two leaves on the table? How big a cloth should I put out? How many cups and saucers and plates and napkins? How much food should I prepare? And if you don't respond, but show up anyhow, don't be surprised if I have to open a package of grocerystore cookies and seat you at the corner of the table with a paper plate. I love doing these teas, but they take a lot of work and planning. Please, please, please let me know if you will be coming.

I guess this is a plea to everyone out there. If someone likes you well enough to invite you to a party, You should at least be kind enough to respond promptly and decisively. It's much kinder to say, "Thanks for thinking of me, but I'd rather not." than it is to just not respond at all.

Except for virtual parties. Virtual cookies and virtual tea are ever so much easier to produce and clean up! You are all virtually invited, and pictures will be forthcoming.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

How do teachers manage?

I administered GED tests yesterday to 17 "Alternative school" students. They are bright, personable people taken individually, but when they congregate, a gestalt occurs and produces a what - personality change? Mob mentality? Veil of idiocy? We have a script that we read from to make sure they all get all the information. We tell them the same things at least two different ways. And they still get it wrong. Are these kids so poor that they can't afford to pay attention?

And how frustrating it must be for them, trying to sort out priorities (should I pay attention to this old woman nattering on at me about this dumb stuff, or should I pay attention to what Lissie is whispering?) Trying to find happiness (I want to be a professional skateboarder and make millions, going on tour and being surrounded with totally hot groupies) is dating (I want to get married and have babies.) And analyzing the major products of Brazil just isn't that important to them. They are not fully in touch with reality because teens rarely are.

I have control issues with this group. They are basically honest, and can't understand why I won't let them use their phones for text messages while they are testing. I'm such a harsh old meanie. Or why they need to show photo ID before testing. Or why they can't whisper a few messages to their buddies who are still testing when they leave the room.

At least they have a couple of really good instructors. People who tell them, "In life, you have to get used to jumping through hoops for the government. The better you get at hoop jumping, the easier life will be for you."

So I'm off again to administer more tests. Oh joy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Feather and fan

Behold the Anti-Lace! I have about four feet of this so far, and about half a ball of yarn left! The bamboo has a wonderful soft drapey hand and it took the colors beautifully.

The good old Feather and fan shows off the color-play quite nicely.

Wanietta ( her team, the Toronto Spiders, are participating in a back-to-back challenge, and she has bribed her loyal readers with a chance at prizes for posting the announcements of it. So here it is! If you'll be in Toronto, you should drop by.

On Sunday, May 27, the Toronto Spiders will take up the International Wool Challenge (Back to Back Competition) for the fourth consecutive year. This competition, involving teams around the world, requires that a sheep be shorn and the fleece spun, plied, and knitted into a sweater (according to a standard pattern) in one day.After two years at the Ontario Handspinning Seminar and a year at Toronto's Riverdale Farm, this year the Toronto Spiders will be at the Pickering Museum in Greenwood, as part of their Opening Day. The team is made up of Wannietta Prescod (the Fastest Knitter in North America in 2005 & 2006), Barbara Aikman, Julia Lee, Judy Pergau, Denise Powell, Karen Richens, and Lorraine Smith of Spinners Quarterly. Our shearer is Bob Comfort, and Joan Kass and Judy Findlay will be our timekeepers and educators. We look forward to having lots of interest and support from passers-by. Like all Back to Back Challenges, we will be raising money for cancer research.We will be attempting to beat our Canadian record time of 6 hours, 51 minutes, and 15 seconds, so hope to finish some time between 4 and 5 p.m.If you are in the neighbourhood, please do drop by and wave, say "Hey y'all", but don't expect us to stop what we're doing to chat with you until the sweater is done!
As a postscript - Lucia remarked that all the pretty flowers I have been photographing prove that I'm not a true black-thumb-and-killer- of-all-things-green. But really, the flowers we have are the sort of things that thrive on neglect and just about qualify as weeds. Daffodils and roses grow wild here in the valley. The magnolia tree was well established by the time we got here. And I steal photos of the neighbor's yards all the time. If things need care, attention or any special treatment, they are dead plants standing as soon as they get to our house. DH's favorite garden implement is the flame-thrower. And if it comes to a question of pulling weeds or napping in the sling-chair, I put my feet up. If you come to visit and don't know what would be a suitable hostess gift, don't bring a houseplant. Even my silk ones look kind of puny after a while.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sling chair

Yesterday, it got up to 80 (which is around 28 to your centigrade people) and that is just warm enough to put up my sling-chair in the backyard and swing in beamish bliss in the shade. I was still fully covered and wearing a sweater because the breezes are cool when you are lolling in the shade, but it was a perfect way to get in the mandatory reading that has been piling up. You know, those magazine articles on the right kind of detergent for your family and the catalogs that you intended to look over and the offer from your insurance company? Stuff you need to read but just don't get around to. So I dragged it out to the sling-chair and settled in for a careful perusal of my literature.

But this was the view I had, and somehow, it was sooo much easier to rest my eyes on that dappled verdure than to focus on the worthy things at hand.
Then Fly the cat came to join me, hopped up on my lap, scuffled the papers and magazines aside, snuggled down, and purred himself to sleep. I followed suit. Woke chilled to the bone and dopey with rocking and didn't get a darn thing done. It was glorious!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

eight random things

Amy (writerslane) tagged me with another meme. I'm supposed to list 8 random things about myself, then tag eight other people.

1. I don't like assigning tasks to people. If you would like to do this meme, please volunteer.

2. At 6 ft, I'm taller than everyone in my immediate family.

3.My oldest niece is eleven years younger than I am. She married a guy who pilots the Atlantis submarines in Hawaii. and they love to go on cruises as much as we do.

4. When my first husband proposed, my mom told him, "She can't cook, she can't keep house, and that's not her real haircolor."

5. I quit using henna on my hair when the grey started giving it a decidedly pink cast.

6. People in my neighborhood drive odd cars.

7. I need a hot bath to get my feet warm before I go to bed.

8. I can burn jello and kill plastic ivy.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

the latest meme

Our first rose, for you my lovlies!

You copy the list, bold the stuff you've done, italicize the things you want to do and leave the rest ordinary


Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk

Moebius band knitting I figured this out independently. Should have run with it and written a book.
Participating in a KAL shut up and knit your Dave Daniels yarn
Sweater –
Drop stitch patterns

Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch pattern
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles –
Baby items

Knitting with your own hand-spun yarn
Graffiti knitting – what’s this?
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book--I've published a FICTION book where knitting played a part in the plot!
Participate in an exchange
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting
Knitting to make money
no one wants to pay for your time. I’ve made money. Couldn’t make a living at it.
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars
Knitting with someone else’s hand-spun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related
Teaching a male how to knit

Bobbles I HATE bobbles!!
Knitting for a living-- ah, if only...
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener stitch
Knitted flowers
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backward—
Machine knitting
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Stuffed toys
Knitting with cashmere

Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern--suck at it, but yes.
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies I’ll probably get around to this, but it’s not on my list of must-dos.
Tubular CO
Free-form knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/arm-warmers
do cat beds count?
Knitting a pattern from an on-line knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting if I get around to it..
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets

Knitting with dog/cat hair— Samoyed dog blended with angora bunny. It’s sooo soft!
Hair accessories headbands and scrunchies
Knitting in public

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday skies

A partly cloudy good morning to you! 72 Farenheit is 21 Celsius, and for those of us easing out of winter, it's just about barefoot weather. Five years ago, when DH and I were in Sydney and still jet lagged, we found a 24 hour cafe on the harbor where we could catch breakfast at 7 AM. We were sitting out on the patio in our shirt-sleeves, enjoying the warm morning, watching the commuters come off the boats wrapped in heavy coats and hats and scarves as if they were expecting blizzards. It's all a question of being acclimated. May is autumn in Oz, and everyone was used to the searing summer heat. 72 was downright chilly to them. May is the start of spring for us, and we were coming out of a lingering winter. 72 feels downright balmy!! And we will probably get that high again today. I, at least, intend to gt balmy.

And then, the weatherman tells us, the thunderstorms will roll in. We're going out for dinner tonight. I'd better remember to bring a slicker for the walk back to the car.

The washcloth bush is producing quite nicely. Wonder what I'm going to do with these when they're all harvested? I'm beginning to think washcloths are like zucchinis. Lots of fun to grow but then what do you do with them?

*How can you tell that a guy has no friends at all? In August, you'll see him in the grocery store, buying a zucchini.*

Yesterday, I spent hours with the bamboo yarn and my Barbara Walker pattern books, trying simpler and simpler forms of lace. For starters, I just don't love multi-colored lace. It's too busy. You go to all that work to create a fabulous, intricate fabric, and the colors play a dissonant counter-pattern. And in the second place, I'm lazy, and lace needs you to pay attention. How do you remember where you stop on a multi-row repeat? I couldn't read the fabric. Stitch markers between every repeat helped keep the count right, but is this a purl side of the chart or a knit? I wound up with good old feather and fan, and it's making quite a lovely scarf!! Pictures when I have a few more repeats done.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A few F Os

About ten years ago, a friend mentioned that he had a friend who raised sheep just to get the agricultural discount for her property tax. Would I be interested in some free wool? Naievely, I said, "Oh, yes!" We came home from a fourth of July vacation to find twenty five (25!) garbage bags full of fleece. It was what happens to wool when the shepherd doesn't give a rat's rump about it. It was full of poop and sticks and mud. I spent three days with a long table set up in the driveway, just skirting the stuff and throwing away garage bags full of useless matted fiber. About a third of each fleece was dreck.

The owner had economized by doing the shearing herself. There's an art to shearing, and she didn't have it. For starters, she sheared out in the field, so the wool picked up grass and dirt on the inside as well as the outside. (Real shearers, make sure the shearing floor is swept clean every time they start another sheep.) And she was careful not to nick the sheep, so sometimes she had to run the clippers over a spot twice, producing lots of short-cuts and half-length fibers.

I washed wool all that summer long and still didn't get it all clean, so I wound up taking the whole mass of it (A Honda Civic full!)to a comercial processor (Fantasy Fibers in Canby, Oregon. Wonderful service!) and wound up with pounds and pounds and pounds of roving. After years of dilligent spinning (and gifting) yesterday, I finally finished spinning the last of it! Yayyyy! Now I can buy nice, interesting roving with a clear conscience.

So to celebrate, I pulled out the tube socks and put in the final couple of inches while watching Survivor.

Next, an idiotically simple lace scarf in bamboo, and a stash-busting flurry of washcloths for zombie knitting.

And the weatherman says it might get up to 72 today. Yayyyyy!!!! (Roxie running around the back yard with her tongue lolling like a labrador puppy mad with joy.) I do love sunshine and warmth!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The wages offriendship

I offered to knit a swatch for my friend Teresa who dyes yarn for a living. She sells mostly to weavers, but this tencell/bamboo combo is so lovely that the knitters have been asking how it works up. So I started just a basic swatch, but the the bustier insisted on becoming reality, so you saw the results in the post before last. I turned it over to her yesterday and she gave me two (!) skeins of my choice. I picked the mermaid blue.

And then, she asked if I would consider knittine an all bamboo swatch for her, and gave me this frabjous skein. Do you think it would work for a lace scarf? Simple, simple lace. It's worth a try. I have my Barbara Walker books out.

Teresa will be making kits to sell her yarn with my pattern. Cool! And good luck to her! She does all her sales at artisan's shows around the west. No etsy account yet. But if you see anything you adore, I'll let her know.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

we have snowballs

That's the only name I know for this bush. A snowball bush. DH whacked this bush back to knee high last year. It was over the house and covering six feet of lawn at the time. It is now springing up and blooming again, but not anywhere near as obtrusively. No fragrance, and not much vase life, but I do love bringing boquets of snowballs into the house in May.

Last night's knitting. It's cotton. It's soft. It's a mindless stash-buster, using up some weaving yarn multi-plied. It took 90 casual minutes from start to finish. Instant gratification!!

(It's a washcloth, silly!)

More to come. How many ways can I knit a washcloth? This is a mitered square. Cast on 20, place marker, cast on 20 more. K2tog after you slip the marker on every row. And like magic, in 40 rows, it's done!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

An itsy bitsy bamboo bustier

The tencel and bamboo top is finished! Tah dah! Yes, I did go over to the dark side and finished it off with crochet. I expect it to be worn over a t-shirt or a tank top, but a daring (and firm) young lady could just lace it up over her bare skin if she wanted. The wenches in Victoria's secret do it all the time.
It's about a size 2. One skein of yarn goes only so far. Spaghetti straps. Lovely colors. Next, I think I'll hammer out some washcloths.
As you can see, we have more sunshine. I may even get out the sling chair and swing eneath the walnut tree this afternoon. Swinging induces very dreamy, dizzy, delightful sensations in my head. I feel it is good for my alpha rhythms and actually a needful thing to do. The sling chair is nice, but I miss my hammock.
Things to do, things to do. Must address twenty invitations to knitting before I hit the sling.

Monday, May 07, 2007

At least thte knitting works

Happily knitting away at the bamboo and tencel swatch / tank-top. Loving it more as it grows (though the two strands of yarn sometimes go their seperate ways and I need to tink back to re-unite them. couples counseling for fibers.)

Weight Watchers was a bit of a disapointment, though. I thought I had been good all week long. I really did. And I gained six tenths of a pound. I may need to eat more than I have since I have been running just at the bottom limit of my allowance, and my metabolism may be slowing to compensate. I'm what farmers call, "an easy keeper." I put on weight quickly on just about any kind of feed, and lose it very slowly. That which is good in a cow is not fashionable or even healthy in a matron.

But I have been GOOD! so I took myself to Joanne's to buy a fat quarter of fabric to cheer myself up. Only one, right? Maybe three dollars, max. Well, they're on sale for 99 cents each. So I got six. And I had to get a frame and a mat for a picture to send my MIL before Sunday. And some big bright buttons jumped into my bag (6 for only $2. That's a mere fifty cents a button!) And a magazine and some stickers slipped past my defenses as well. I have no self-control at all! (But it was fun!)

It's sunny today. Yeeeha! Here is my favorite viewL looking up through the leaves. I love the varied layers of greens. If I get enough chores done, I think I'll take the wheel outside for a spin in the shade this afternoon.

And I'll have weight loss next week. If I have to stand there stark nekkid, I will.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

designing again

Yesterday, DH was amazingly patient and went to the guilds show with me. The handweavers' guild, the pottery guild, the metal-workers' guild, and the fine woodworkers' guild all took over the convention center and displayed their wares. It was hog-heaven! I didn't buy anything, but I got inspired seven ways from sunday, and I grabbed fistfulls of cards for future purchases.
My friend, Teresa, who is a dyer and weaver, has dyed and skeined up some bamboo/tencel yarn and gave me a skein to knit up a sample for her. Isn't it gorgeous? I think it will be a little tank top - knit side to side since I like vertical stripes. It has a nice soft hand and a lovely sheen. I have to find a skinny model for this, though, since one skein won't make a top for a luxury model like me. "I have everything a man could need. I'm built for comfort, not for speed."
The pottery show always blows me away. there are som many things you can do with clay! bowls, boxes, cups, teapots(there were some happy blue and yellow chicken teapots that, if I were going to collect teapots, I would have collected. And a glorious set of mugs in that great blue/lavender/garnet colored glaze with dragons curling around the side and serving as handles.) There were flat slabs of clay with wonderfully painterly pictures incised and glazed on them. There were matt glazes and shiny glazes and earthy glazes and metallic glazes and the thinnest, translucent porcelain vases shaped and tinted like calla lillies . . .
The metal workers had mostly jewelry. I mostly didn't look too close. Why attract the attention of the magpie? And the fine woodworkers - sigh. Which of us doesn't need another beautiful box to hold all the possibilities of our lives? I especially love the boxes with odd shapes and hidden drawers.
When I finish the sample for Teresa, we may collaborate on some kits. It's a treat to play with her fun yarns, and she will pay me off in yarns of my choice. Like some black silk for that tuxedo vest for DH.
Ladies' knitting will meet here on the 19th. It's a blue and white theme this month. shall I set a virtual place for you?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Using up the leftovers

Here's another baby surprise sweater done in a much cheerier color scheme. If the other sweater was depressed, this one is decidedly manic. These surprise sweaters are fun to knit!

On the way back from breakfast this morning, we saw a couple of families enjoying some watersports.

When I ran over with my camera, one family bustled the kids off to safety, but the father of the other family stood his ground and hissed at me. "My kids aren't ready to get in that damn cold-ass water yet so just back away!"

"Do ya feel ducky, punk? Well, do ya?"

Happy signs of spring to one and all!

Oh, and felize cinquo de Maio!