Saturday, July 23, 2011

MS23, Puffs, and more knitting

When my desktop becomes photo heaven I know it's time to tell ya'll what all I've been playing with of late.  So here's a photolog just for YOU!
 Bit of a miracle on the left there... I actually DROVE the car to the little shops here on the hill and purchased this card.  Isn't it lovely!  I'm probably going to frame it.  Can you believe the envelop?  They are so pretty and so very me.  I know Anick,,, I'm sorry, I was close but too tired to hit your place.
 Say hello to the puffs!  Aren't they adorastinkingble!  Took all of a couple of hours, perhaps not even that.  The purple is made to the pattern and the other two are my evolutions of said pattern.  I'm so glad I have all the stuff here in my home to make things like this.  I had all the eyes, noses and pellets.  Nice to have such a large stash with such variety.

DH found out that when he grocery shops after work down in LA that they are now charging a fee for bags.  Plastic is no longer an option (thankfully!) and they charge for brown bags.  They really want us all to have our own market bags.  So I whipped this one up for him last night.  It's made from hemp yarn on a size H hook and it will hold a lot.  I know that the handles don't look like much but this stuff's sturdy.  I bought this yarn specifically for the market bags, just needed the incentive to get them cranking off of the hooks.
 Here's a bit of spinning I have been doing.  The various colored ply is a 100% wool I dyed and the 2nd ply is a 100% mohair which I worked up from a plain, raw fleece!  :-)  It's so soft and there's NO itch to it so I'm always surprised when I touch the stuff from the market place as it's always itchy.  YUCK.  So happy to be able to make my own yarn.
 Say hello to MS23 of course I deviated from the pattern, when haven't I?  Terrible!  It's supposed to be in lace weight on a smaller needle but I wanted it larger so I dove into my sock ends stash.  I found a lot of different shades of lime from light to dark and the same with the purple so I started with the light lime and the dark purple and I will stripe every 18 rows or so throughout the entire shawl.  Fun... and I can always use another winter (warmer) shawl.
 Yet ANOTHER pair of vanilla socks!  I have been side tracked making the Puffs, the market bag and spending a day working on my book so they didn't get done in their normal 2 day period... BUT  SHAZAM! They will be done shortly.  I need to do the K2P2 cuff which will be heavily beaded with 6/0's, larger drops and leafs!  Fun eh?

 DD has done a fantastic job on the garden.  Last night she picked two large, UFO shaped, pale lime colored squash and made a lovely ground beef, onion, green pepper, garlic thing which went over brown rice and man o man!  Can this girl cook.  It's so nice to know that she's all mine.  Well, clue 2 is out and I have a fun day of stripe knitting ahead.  Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 18, 2011

A day like the old days SMS11

Before I got sick years ago I used to be able to run circles around myself.  Today was one of those days.  I really needed it as ailing this long makes you feel useless!  It's been so long since I have been able to do anything that to do all of these things was wonderful.  Some of you know how ill I am and so I'm just going to list what all we got done for the fun of it. 
All I really want to do is wash the glass table out in the front yard and enjoy the day - all day long out there in the sun and shade and knitting and listening to podcasts BUT
We have re-weeded the entire front yard minus the roses, 
DD washed the bay window. 
DS cooked pancakes and they washed all the dished.  
DS took out the trash and sprayed down the roses with poison for white flies and aphids, hopefully that will help them.  
DD and me  -  WOWSERS did we ever do a number in the garage!  I had to more the car half way out cause we tore into the dryer, unscrewed all the stuff to get into the screen and got the long long loooong brush out and the vacuum and we got so much lint outta that thing from the inside trap.  You know me and thinking that the dryer will cause the house to be burned down so I pulled off the elbow in the back out and I put a pantyhose back on it AFTER cleaning out the accordion silver thing. From the elbow it's supposed to go up 4' and then across the entire garage, down 5' and finally out.  Seems like a fire waiting to happen.  We scrubbed the top, side, bottom (hasn't been cleaned in YEARS cause it's in the garage) and put everything away that was on the top of the both of them (totally overloaded) so they are clean and cleared of clutter it all went onto the book case.  I just put a load into the dryer and I'm hoping what with the pantyhose on the thing that it will dry in less time.  We got all the goop off of the screen and inside of the vent so hopefully all of this will be helpful, conserve energy and use less money.
We now have a book case/shelving thing in the garage for all the cleaning products so now we can get organized in there too, which is really nice.  Eventually, not today.
DD banged the rugs in our bath, 
washed all the towels with good stuff so they smell nice 
scrubbed my "OH don't slip and fall your break your neck" rug for the shower.  Finally it's back in there, I have been really scared to take a shower these last few times.  
She also scrubbed the oriel bird feeders, 
filled the seed feeders, 
we replanted one of moms pots that was way too small at the end of the path. 
DS took the trash out round the house too.  
I wiped down the baseboards, nooks and crannies on the bathroom floor 
and cleaned the trash cans inside and out.  
THEN the very best thing of all that I did was I got this really keen metal bucket from moms' old junk.  I went through the basket of tools and found a lovely brand new trowel (which Kev probably bought), rose pruning sheers, a pair of scissors now all I need is my gloves and my cultivator in there... then to keep it with my stool and WOWSERS!!! I'm so excited to be able to have my old bucket back for weeding.  The buckets for the weeds and the tools will go into a belty thing I'm going to make. 
The children went into the attic and got down two totes.  I can't tell you how many times I've wanted some fabric to futz around with and didn't want to ask cause it's such a bother for them what with them doing so much work already.  So they pulled down one tote of skirts and one of quilting type stuff.  We figure I can make tool belt type of thing to go round my metal pail and tie round the handles to keep it on.  Then make buttoned pockets all round it and put elastic and ties to keep all the tools from falling out.  I got this black fabric with bugs on it!  Cute eh?
One of the things I had them get for me is the blue lace fabric and trim that I dyed for the wedding.  So I whipped up a large mantilla in no time at all.  I blocked a hand painted turquoise and pink hand crocheted hankie today as well.  The pink matches the wedding color and well turquoise seems to be the color de jour for me anyway.  Still need to hem my skirt. One of these days.

So back out into the garage we went, we were supposed to look for this really great quilt top it's all different modes of transportation for my soon to be g-baby as I now had the backing from the attic foray. Instead we forgot why we were out there and we ended up finding yarn to crochet market bags for mom and some fun fur to make cute critters from.  Didn't even THINK about the quilt so I still don't have that part of the equation.  I'm FAR too exhausted to think about it now so I just can't bear to go out there again and I so CANT ask for them to go look as we all have been working non-stop since about 8am today :-( and :-)  Mom insists I will be in bed tomorrow, we shall see, I didn't make it that long, I'm there already!  Gee, now I'm too tired to work on my book or do much of anything but lay down!  Since it's 6pm I guess that's ok.
I will leave you with shots of SMS!! which is finished.  Finally I have the exactly right shawl for the wedding.  It's PERFECT and I love it!  Exactly the right size, shape, weight, everything, perfect.  I hope you have a wonderful day or night wherever you are.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sheep to yarn

As promised here is what happened to our Banky boy.

First and obviously,,, he was humiliated beyond belief!  MAAAAA Unfortunately the children had to help hold him so they weren't free to take photos... but as you can see from those eye's he's degraded and wanted to run off and hide.  So that's just what he did.  As soon as he was released he ran to his spot in the barn.  Poor dear boy.  I know he's happy to be without that massive winter coat though even if it was only 6 months worth.  Turns out he's got this growth thing,,,, you can see his old owner in the striped shirt there... she nicked it... and then came the flood GROSSNESS!!!!  You probably don't want to hear but she just pinched and this massive snake of lanolin (least that's what she said it was, doesn't smell like lanolin to me!) came out and kept coming out GROSS!  YUCKO!  It was so disgusting.  The good news is she talked with the children the entire time and taught them a thing or three about what all Banky needs as far as care goes.  The sheering took all of one hour!  It went really fast.
     Then the fleece came inside... here I am plucking the nasties and the second cut.  There was a lot of fox tails, beetles and what we call OClocks... the little weed that has an arrow that splits into 6 and then each of the 6 curls independently with a very sharp point on the end.  DS and I sat there and plucked for about 1 hour with the object of getting it into the sink.  This is only 6 months of fleece so I figure it's about 3 pounds.
I'm pretty lax about this process and know that my health will only allow a few hours of work so I have to work fast.  In went the Dawn out came the dirt... loads of dirt.  WOW so much dirt.  The fleece gets whiter and goes into the dye pot (on the left) which then goes onto the stovetop.
 Here are two examples of the dye pots.  I just add dye, vinegar, bring it to a boil, turn it down, cover and heat for about 30 minutes.
    These are dyed by just putting more and more dye into the pot
until I'm happy with the results.
The black also the green on the right was several different types of greens put into the pot.

On the left you see my sweater... the green didn't show well in the photo it's the one up on the right... and a more true representation of it.  I had thought to go with a lighter more subdued blue but I just can't see to be anything but a drama queen.  The entire thing from sheep to the photos you see took all of 2 more hours!  I can hardly believe it but there you are.
    The next day after the fleece was a bit drier we would have started sooner had I not wanted to ruin the dryer with all the smell of lanolin.... so then we started the clean up process.  I'm sure you can see a bit of VM here and there.  The only way to deal with it is with either hand or machine... I did try the hand carders but ended up with the children running it through the drum carder a few times.  We started with the pink and green.  I want it for a hat as it's still got a great deal of lanolin in it and so any article made from this fiber will be water proof!
Here we have the batts fresh from the drum carder and on the right you can see a bit of it on the bobbin... below the finished product... it's more subdued then the photos show but I couldn't get an exact replica.  Soon there will be a hat from it.  I decided to spin lofty and make a 2ply that resembled a DK or sport weight... deciding and doing are two different things.  I was very slow and methodical on the greener one but come to the pink I ended up thinner and tighter with the level of tension in the house.  It's difficult to spin lofty and thicker once you are used to spinning lace weight!   It's just another skill set so I shall acquire it.


Lastly I promised you photos of my silk outfit.  Here they be.  I didn't like the photos of me so here you have the top on me and the skirt on DD.  It's got a drawstring so it worked.  She's REALLY tall now so you can see this is definitely a floor length number.  It was very simple and I'm sure you can make one yourself.  Just make a gauge swatch, measure, multiply and cast on then just TRY to stop knitting,,, I challenge you.  Have fun.

 DS took a close up photo of me... I hated it as my face is wracked with pain... the only part I liked was the smile so here you have my smile of great enjoyment from playing with Bankys donation.  What fun we will have spinning up all this lovely numminess!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wedding Ensemble, OTN and some weirdness

My outfits done.  Well it's not all done but I found the cutest top and it actually looks good on me and it's just unbelievable!  With a very low price of $15 which I got lowered with an online coupon  I'm thankful.  The tops see through so I have a turquoise tank that I dyed that's perfect underneath.  That white blouse sooooooo didn't cut the mustard.
The skirt still needs elastic and a hem.   Been waiting cause I didn't know what I wanted to do with the hem line... add lace or a ruffle or just hem it.  Then the waist keeps coming in so I have been putting that off.  The purse is finished being decorated just needs a lining.  I don't have a bra,,, need to hit Fredericks for that as they have the best bras.... but they are soo expensive.  I have one that's too large and one that's too small... go figure... perhaps if I loose another 20 I could fit into the small one but shesh... there's only a few weeks left. 
The last clue for the shawl comes out tomorrow.  DH just told me it's Friday and I flipped... lost about 3 days this week.  I made 2 extra repeats of the pattern.  It's 100% merino in LA in July! But I find it works somehow as I wore a heavy fingering shawl to Dad's funeral which was in August.  At least this ones done in lace.  I hand dyed this too it's dark turquoise... matches the satin in the skirt identical.  Gee,,, need a slip don't I sigh.... think I might have some if I re-elastic it.

My nails have this terrible problem with breaking so I normally keep them really short.  I'm letting them grow and coating them with this stuff to help make them strong.  Best they have looked in FOREVER!  Can't decide if I want the perfect red with luminescent purple or the light luminescent pink.

So then there's the shoes... I have these white Birkie strappy cute sandals which I haven't been out of the house to wear but a few times.  DD wore them for the short while that she was in a size 7 (she's Gigantor these days towers over me!!) so they are broken in already.  I decided a few days ago that I wanted the option of socks so I found the perfect yarn in my stash... light turquoise... Maizy which is 82% corn flower by CPY.  The fabric is so wonderful, soft and light in a size 0 needle.  I'm making Wedding Waves!  :-)  Just a simple lace wave pattern from the feather and fan stitch with a few rows of purls to make the waves between.  I decided to make it a free pattern.  Not that anyone needs or wants yet another feather and fan right.  I'm all about the freebies of late though.  Still need to finish that other free sock pattern for you.  
But getting back to the wedding ensemble... through the years I have accumulated an entire set of lovely aquamarine jewelry so that's all I will be wearing.  There's a lovely necklace DH bought me with a large drop and two smaller circles and another drop separate.  I have a pair of post earrings... actually two.  Then the bracelets x and o with the o being the gems.   I'm so glad it's all complete... or at least it's all here now so that I can complete it all and stop thinking about it.

My knittings been a bit boring, plain st. st in the round as I can knit and read at the same time if it's simple stuff.  So I have finished a plain skirt that I designed... added a bit of lace at the bottom just because.  I have the matching top... had it forever!  So it's nice to get this old project Off TN and on the old bones.

Thinking about pulling out the other skirt that's been OTN since what? 07?  Guess I didn't have the skill set back then to do it anyway so I'm glad it didn't get completed.  Then too it was supposed to be tiers that aren't hooked and I think if I recall correctly that the 2nd got hooked to the first and that was a bummer.  I believe that's why I put it aside anyway.  It's made from 2 old t-shirts!  I can't wait to get back to it now that I finished this one... on a skirt jag.  :-)  I will get you photos as soon as I finish weaving in the ends.

The second of the Goddess Knits shawls fell behind.  I'm starting clue 5 of the first tomorrow and it's still at the beginning of clue 3.  I really don't like that Kidd Silk stuff YUCK!  WOWSERS glad I don't have more in the stash.  Since my mohair - the stuff I have in the raw - is so nice and non itchy I have been spinning that.  I have one bobbin of turquoise (of course!) and another of a wool that's tri color... my favorites purple, blue and green of course with a touch of yellow here and there.  I will ply them together and if it's fine enough will make a shawl from it eventually.
Spanky's getting his winter fleece off today.  We all can't wait,,, him mostly as it's been sweltering! It's been in the high 80-90's here... poor dear boy.  I think she just forgot, it's his first owner who's coming to take care of it.  I so can't wait!!!!  Regardless how I feel physically, about 2 pounds will be wash, and dyed right away.  I'm wanting a wedge wood blue a tealish green, perhaps a bit of emerald? and a bit of tan or bronze or I dunno but he's going to be a sweater, right away!  I will be wearing the little man come winters all I know.  I will take ya'll through the process from sheep to sweater.  DS is going to take the photos and DD is going to make sure there's no second cut stuff or "clean them up trims" in the fleece.  That way half the battle will be won on the front end of things.  He's relatively clean or at least looks that way from here with these old eyes.  I can't wait!!!! So excited to get dyeing and spinning and knitting!  I'm just going to plop all the colors into the drum carder in various ways and spin.

The books coming along.  Alot of the knitters are about to finish up their first projects but I have so NOT been feeling well enough to write up the patterns for the other items, so I am a slacker.  Catch 22 as I'm in pain and have to take meds but they keep my "artsy girl" tamped down .... so not good.  She needs to come out so I'm hoping for some natural pain relief here so that I can get back to work.  I did finish up a pair of socks myself for the book, they are so cute!  Took me all of a week I think,,, even with a lot of stops and starts.  I did these as I knew I was going to need to mess with the charts and sure enough I did.  Fortunately they are all the same pattern so the TKers are perfecting the written and the charts are interchangeable... so it's not like they needed to be worked by a TKer.  

Ok you guys the weirdest thing happened night before last.  I couldn't sleep and was up LITERALLY ALL night long!  Weird but it happens now and again.  I stayed in bed with my reading light and plowed through an entire book cover to cover.  So Boo my little Yorkie was here as always and he got up an growled out the window.  I understood that as there were coyotes out there working over a little critter.  Totally normal and a reason to growl, right?  So then about 30 minutes after that he got up again... this time he was looking down the hall and GROWLING ferociously!  He was really protective and mean like, very alert.  I thought perhaps someone had got into the house but couldn't figure why he was still on the bed.  If there were someone in another part of the he should have flown off the bed like normal.  I couldn't hear anything, everyone was in bed and there were no noises at all.  Not even a snore or a whistle... silence.  When I looked at the opening to the door it was empty but when I looked 5" to either side and looked out the corner of my eye... there was something there!!!!  It looked white, see through and about the size of a human sort of with like a veil on now that I think of it.  That's about all there is to report... nothing but a vague impression of a person just standing in the door.  STRANGE right!  I wouldn't have thought anything about it but Boo growled at this door for like 15 minutes straight.  Now that's weird!  He didn't get off of the bed so it had to be right there in the door, right?  Finally I grabbed Boo and talked him down, he calmed down but kept looking at the open doorway.   Then the following day, yesterday, he stayed with me all day long.  Normally that would be standard but lately he's been with my Mom out in the front room... not yesterday, he needed his mummy and she was here for him.  Funny though right?  Strange but true.  :-)
Spent the day in bed yesterday, read another entire book cover to cover, again!  Thought it would help but it seems to have made me worse as the pains really high today.   I might just need some sun, it's been too hot to go outside so I've been stuck inside for a few weeks. sigh... such is my lot in life.  Been eating vegan again and I've lost 20 pounds so far, keep it coming off please says I.
OHHHHHHHHH before I forget someone on Twitter today put me in with like 6 other knit places and people.  They were HUMUNGOUS!  It was like Yarn Harlot, Norah Gaughn, Twist Collective, Knitty, Shannon Oakey, Berroco and another I was the only "nobody" in the list.  How cool is that?  I have no idea what the thing was or anything but got the e-mail and was pretty jazzed.

What else?  Seems like there's more but this is entirely TOO LONG and I have to try and work so I will let you go with a HAVE A TERRIFIC day... do something nice for yourself... something special today.  Paint your nails if you can.  LOL course you don't have to be female to do that, clear works too.  ;-)
A baby bun that the dogs tried to get DD rescued it.