Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Back again

So, here we are again. I haven't posted in awhile, mostly because I couldn't get myself to 'want' to post again. I think I was just about prepared for blog abandonment, but in the last couple of weeks, I've really felt like logging in and posting about some of the stuff I've been up to.

I think I will. In my next blog post, I'll prepare some pictures of some of the things I've been up to. Some of them are already on my Ravelry/FB page, but not here.

In the meantime, I've been really digging the idea of designing a pink knitted robot. I've searched Ravelry a couple of times looking for a suitable pattern to make for baby c but haven't really found anything that I like. I seem to like the big, square-headed ones with rectangular bodies. I think that I'll make a panel for the front separately so that it will be easier to add buttons, applicae, etc.

I can't wait!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Time to feed the blog!

So, I've been a busy knitter lately, really busy. Somehow I found my knitting mojo again and for the last two months, I've been marathon knitting like crazy. So now I have two knitting projects to show you. One I'll do today, the other later.

Today: Ishbel

Specs: Knit the larger version, out of a handspun rambouillet/silk blend from Crystal Creek Fibers. This project took about 5 oz of fiber and 510 yards of yarn.

This was a way easy knit that really showcased the variations in the handspun yarn. I need to take some better pictures of it, but I'm not seeing that as a problem as I'm really looking forward to wearing it. Ishbel will make a lovely Fall shawl.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Anti-Yarn Year

So I realized today as I was cruising knitpicks website for some sock yarn that I haven't bought much yarn for myself this year. I only have made one yarn purchase for my Aunt Lanada's hat (which I have yet to start, but is next on my project list, I promise!) and then yarn purchases for yarn to dye and sell.

That's a big change for me, and makes this the Anti-Yarn Year. Honestly, the cause of most of this is baby c's birth. I neither have the mode of transportation to take me to the yarn store, nor the funds to buy yarn with should I be able to get there. Anything that I have knit this year, which hasn't been much, besides this most recent, un-blogged about burst, has been from stash yarn. I just haven't been able to justify a purchase for myself. I have bought and bartered some fiber at Rendezvous, but that was about it.

You know, though, I'm mostly ok with that. Not because I'm going through withdrawls by any means-I have enough stash built up that I'm comfortably knitting away with plenty of choices and am nowhere near the bottom. Even if I was, I have plenty of fiber to spin up that satisfies two needs, the spinning and then the resulting yarn.

I know a lot of the lull in most dyer's sales has been because of the economy. That's affected some of my sales at SWAK, but since I mostly sell to have a bit of extra cash, I'm ok with that for now.

Even though the reasons are different, I've noticed people talking about this on Ravelry. Anybody else glad that they have enough stash built up to support their habit through tough economic times?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Knitting Rut

So here I am, sitting, again. I think that when springtime comes I get so distracted by flowers and gardening that I feel uninspired to do anything else. Sure, I've been looking at this Zephyr, looking back to me, wanting to be turned into Laminaria, but I just keep looking back at it, thinking, 'maybe tomorrow'.

My wheel keeps calling to me from the craft room, saying, 'I have this wonderful bamboo that you started! Why don't you come and spin a whorl or two?' Instead, I watch baby c play with her toys on the floor and look out at the cardinals on the bird-feeder we recently put up out in the yard. It's like I don't even hear my trusty wheel, or perhaps I hear it but am ignoring it since I can't think of a good enough excuse to give it.

I keep watching baby c grow and grow and change and look back thinking 'where did all that time go?' I don't have an answer. I certainly don't have much knitting to show for it. I look at some of her pictures from when she was born, or even this time last year when I was pregnant. Time is so deceiving, altering the way we live and replacing each day with the one after and the next one and sweeping the snippets of what's left under the rug.

Each day in my garden a new flower is blooming and another is dropping it's petals in the breeze. I go outside and see the old flower gone and wonder if I appreciated the bloom while it was still there.

I hope so.

Perhaps I keep coming back and looking at Laminaria is because I want it to read 'Luminaria'. Instead of kelp, a bit more light on dim thoughts.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

So we Rendevous-ed.

Yesterday was Rendezvous, the annual meet-and-greet/fiber festival for our spinning group the Log Cabin Spinners. This was my first year vending there although I'd attended for the past 4 years. It's always a good time and I enjoy seeing people that I haven't seen in awhile on the craft scene.

I shared a table with Fae (who has another account of Rendezvous), and this was my part of the setup. It got cold next to that window since it was in the 50's yesterday morning!

Here are some folks who attended:

I really didn't pick up a lot for myself. I traded some sock yarn for some alpaca with one of our local alpaca ladies, Terry. I also picked up some angelina for carding, and this from Gwen:

Mmmm....bamboo-ey goodness.

The rest of my merino/cashmere/nylon sock yarn will be travelling up to SWAK for sale and will be available by this weekend. I think I'm sending a couple of the merino tops up there, too.

Also, I joined an online daily photo blog. It should be fun, and I'll enjoy getting back to my camera at least once a day.

One last thing: Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there! Enjoy your cards or chocolate or flowers or nice meal or whatever your s/o or children did for you today!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day or An Oklahoman Garden

So I know in the past for Earth Day I've posted environmental activism poems that I've written, but this year, perhaps a little something different. Long-winded, I'm sure, but different.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about how we treat the bits of Earth that we live on, whether it be an apartment or a house.

As I listed in my previous post, Rick and I have been doing a fair bit of gardening this year. When we moved in we had a total of 27 bushes around our house and yard. None of these bushes were native to Oklahoma and the most that they gave back (because not all of them were pretty) were a place for mocking birds to live in. And live in they did, chasing off any other song birds or finches, even a scissor-tail or two that we've seen stop by. Shortly after moving in, I made it my mission to remove these bushes and work on making our yard more beautiful.

Right after we moved in, I (with the help of my Dad and also Rick) had torn out 5 bushes in the front yard and planted an annual garden with a bulb garden that followed that winter. I posted a lot of pictures of some of the flowers from that garden on this blog for 'Nature Mondays'.

While I was pregnant I planted a little bit underneath a pecan tree in the back yard but didn't really get to do much gardening. I just planned. and planned. and planned.

This winter we tore out 5 more bushes (and one crepe myrtle died in the backyard under mysterious circumstances) so that I could plant a hardy perennial garden and also so Rick could grow some vegetables.

It had occurred to me that it was more eco-conscious to plant perennials that would come back as opposed to pour money year after year on the same plants that I wanted. After all, it takes energy and clean water to grow the plants in greenhouses for people to take home and enjoy, even if but briefly. I know it seems common-sense to see it that way, but it took me a bit to come around to seeing it that way. It's so easy to get caught up in how beautiful a thing is without seeing the footprint it left behind. It's arguable that it becomes offset as the plant creates more oxygen and whatnot, but doesn't a perennial, too?

That lead me to my next idea. It was no longer enough that my yard be pretty, but I wanted it to give back, too. Unfortunately, I had already blown my gardening budget for the year, so I set about planning a garden for next year. I wanted to plant an Oklahoman garden.

I have three requirements for plants that will go in this garden:
1. It must be a plant that is native to Oklahoma
2. It must feed native species of butterfly or their larva
3. It must feed native bird species such as the ruby-throated hummingbird that migrates through here every year.

I also wanted to do this in the most economical way possible. This week we are preparing our vermicompost bin for worms that will be coming to us from our friends, Tommy and Larissa, who also vermicompost. I am also trading seeds on for seeds that are native Oklahoman plants. I will be winter-sowing most of these, and then planting them in the spring next year.

So far I have:
Two different forms of prairie grass that feed Oklahoman birds in the winter, several types of coneflowers which our butterflies love, some digitalis or foxglove which has some forms also native here, and seeds for our Eastern Redbud tree which is our state tree.

I am hoping that next year my perennial garden will be taking off and that I will have divisions to trade or to give away (I have an aunt that trades perennials, too) and that I'll be able to encourage some of our native bird and butterfly species to come to our backyard. We'll also have hopefully eliminated the mocking-bird harboring bushes from our yard so that more different kinds of birds feel more welcome here. We've already noticed a difference just from what we've removed this year.

In addition, baby c will be nearly two by the time that the next planting season comes around, and it's important to me that as she 'helps' me out in the yard that I'm able to explain to her what different plants are and what they do. I know she may not remember as she gets older, but these are the seeds that we sow and hope grow to bear fruit.

Please take some time out today to think about how what you do effects even the small plot of Earth that you've staked as yours and to remember that you can work with it to make it do so much more.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chicken with my Head Cut Off!

So. I have been crazy busy lately, but some of it is the cause of good news that I come baring.

I'm vending at Rendezvous! Whoot! (For those not in the know, Rendezvous is our little fiber festival that our local spinning group puts on every year.) I'll have both my sock yarn (60% superwash merino/20% cashmere/20% nylon) and 7 lbs. of merino 64s!!! Of course, I don't have any pictures because I've been too busy dyeing it all!

Speaking of which, I had a wonderful blast with Fae (and daughter D) dyeing up some yarn this past Saturday. I also got to see J, whom I haven't seen in a good long while, and his son.

Also, baby c has cut her first two teeth, and the two next to them are visible in her gums. They're driving her mad and she's chewing (let's not forget drooling, too) on EVERYTHING! Rick insists she learned the drooling behavior from Miss Penny.

Boy, we're working on a full alphabet, aren't we? So far we have baby c, D, and J all in one post!

Ah, Rick and I have also been working on digging out two beds in the backyard for various purposes. We removed some bushes earlier in the year so that I could have a flower bed that wrapped around the porch. Rick wanted a vegetable garden this year, so he removed some bushes that were around the storm cellar and is working on getting that running. Hopefully I'll have some nice gladiolus, crocosmia, columbine and dahlias later in the year!

I have been working on some additional things for the yard as well. Some plant trades are in the works to get clematis multiblue after a two-year search and passiflora incarnata for one of our side fences. Hopefully I'll have some morning glory vines as well, but those I'm starting for seed and as of today have a total of 4 that have germinated!

Enough garden ramblings! I'm off to feed a baby, eat some pizza and watch Ghost Hunters!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I wish....I wish I was a fish....

So recently something's been very fishy in our house. I found Mr. Limpet at Walmart awhile back and made Rick watch it with me. I have fond memories of this movie growing up-my Dad really liked this movie, too. For those who have never had the pleasure of watching Don Knotts in this movie, it is about a man who loves fish and then turns into one. He goes on to help the US find U-boats in true patriot style.

Also, Rick and I decided to buy a larger fishtank. Our aquarium was a small, 10 gallon tank, but we have a plecostomus that was given to us and was quite large then, and we thought he deserved a larger tank to swim about in. We thought we just wanted a 27 or 30 gallon tank, but when we went to PetSmart, we ended up getting a 47 gallon tank! We wanted a tank that was taller rather than longer, since our pleco seems to like swimming up and down, and that was the tank that fit our needs and price-range.

Once we got it set up, we realized that the bunch of cords behind it are really unsightly, so I found an Etsy seller (WilsonGraphics) who is making a custom vinyl aquarium background from one of the pictures I've taken. Apparently nobody'd ever requested that from him before, but he was really excited about the idea. I'll take a picture of the tank when it gets here.

We only had 3 other fish to fill the tank with, so we went in search of more fish to keep them company. So we went to a pet shop on the south side of town (which I will not publicly name for reasons about to become obvious) in search of some different kinds of freshwater fish. The owner had a sign on their door that said they'd be back in 5 minutes, so we waited. While we were there, an older-looking fellow who was rather on the skinny side and another gentleman with numerous tattoos and a shaved head pulled up and waited, too. Neither of these sirs looked like they were interested in pets. When the owner finally pulled up on his squeeky new motorcycle, reeking of a particular, sweet smelling herb, he let us into the store. Rick and I went to the side of the store with the freshwater fishtanks that were covered in algae, with prices scribbled on the tanks that looked like they'd been there years. On top of that, the entire store reeked like it hadn't been cleaned in aeons. I tried not to notice as the owner pulled two brown baggies out from underneath the counter and gave them to the other 'customers'. They then pulled out their cash and handed it to the storekeeper, who put it into his pocket, not the register.

Rick and I were out of there a.s.a.p. What kind of world is this that we live in where you can't even take your family out to what should be a family-oriented petshop without running into negative element? All we wanted were some fish, and instead we got an eyefull of more than we'd bargained for.

For those curious, we went back to PetSmart and bought 4 guppies, two gold-skirted tetras (to school with our black-skirted tetra), 4 raspburas, and 3 bleeding heart tetras. We already had two zebra danyos and the black skirt tetra as well as the plecostomus, so that makes 14 fish (most of them small) in our gigantic fish tank.

Hmm...maybe we should get some more fish.

Friday, January 30, 2009

15 Random thoughts

(Handspun yarn details at bottom-click for big)

1. It occurred to me the other day that I think that as we search for and ultimately utilize alternative fuels that it may be likely that we will end up living in a world where wood becomes more valuable than gold. Right now I wonder if we don't value oil more than gold in terms of importance, which seems odd since as long as we have been roaming the planet we have weighed cost against gold.

2. I think that perhaps the only way that we will return to a barter-trade society is if we are forced into smaller, more isolated communities again. I don't really see that happening in our lifetime.

3. I am curious as to what Obama intends to do about the immediate issues with the economy, since 33% of his stimulus plan will not go into effect until next year as tax cuts. How disappointing.

4. If zombies were to start taking over the planet today, I think that perhaps I would not be as prepared as I'd like to be, although I am somewhat certain I could last until the zombies ran out of food to eat and expired (this is assuming that we are dealing with the type of zombies animated by virus, not by magic).

5. St. Bernards really do love the cold. I was surprised to see Penny outside eating the ice in the middle of winter. It's not like she was hot in 20 degree weather.

6. I think that Rod Blagojevich deserves to spend a long, long time in federal prison. If there is an embodiment to why people do not trust politicians, he is it. A snake. Absolutely a snake.

7. It's really strange to me that news anchors can talk about such horrible things happening and still smile while saying it. Do they even actually read what the teleprompter says, or do they just skim and say it?

8. I never thought that it would be so amusing to watch a baby figure out that backwards is in fact a valid direction of transportation.

9. People do not appreciate each other often enough sometimes. Even if the other person is doing something very small for you, say 'thank you'. Especially if that person is your elder.

10. There should be a drinking game where every time on CNN they say 'new development' you take a drink. Believe it or not, I think that it would increase awareness in current events.

11. People should be more aware of what they are putting on their bodies. I don't know how many times that I've looked on the back of a bottle of lotion or shampoo and read an ingredient such as 'tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate' and wondered what on earth that was and how they make it. For all we know (unless you really do know what that ingredient is) it could be a fancy name for pig hoof clippings.

12. Along the same line, why do we need color-change Kool-Aid? What makes the color change? What was wrong with the regular old Kool-Aid? I understand, perhaps, the need for color-less Kool-Aid, since kids are really messy sometimes, but why color-changing Kool-Aid?

13. I was watching Ghost Hunters International this week, and they covered a place in Sweden. The part of the episode was the 'Haunted House of Priests'. When they started covering the basis of the ghost story, I realized that I already knew the story. I read it years ago in grade school when I was into reading big books of ghost stories. Go figure. It was neat to see them actually cover the location I had read about.

14. I don't understand where the name for rap music comes from. It seems to me that they should call it 'rhyming poetry to music', since that's essentially what it is. Also, I think that French rap sounds humorous.

15. More people should learn how to take care of plants. Even if they don't actually own them or harvest them or whatnot, the knowledge may come in handy some day. Perhaps if more people knew how to garden, they might care more about taking care of our planet.

(1. Lorna's Laces wool, navajo-plied, 409 yds, 27 wpi, fingering weight
2&3. Pastel bamboo single, Fiberclouds, 297 yds, 25-33 wpi)