Thursday, November 3, 2011

..fits and starts we are in November and I seem to be backpedalling of late.

Case in point, Snelle Annabelle has been frogged and re-cast on no less than 3 times, the last of which was this morning...why, you ask?...because my stitch count is off, again, ....and it only has 26 to begin with. The pattern has a double-decrease which is what has been messing me up -- originally thought it was not working so frogged and did a regular single decrease, with the first leaf working but not the second, so frogpond once again with a double decrease for the first one and single decreases afterwards....swimming in the frogpond again. I think I have been trying to work this at night when I am brain-frazzled so it had not been making sense. This morning on frogging it, I decided to write some cheat notes on my chart with stitch counts....and realized that the chart itself should not be looked at other than for stitch counts because in expecting it to line up, it was not, hence the head muddle. So, tonight I start it again and keep a careful count.

The silk graduation shawl that I have been trying to work on....cannot seem to get past the cast-on row, i.e., it looks crappy/the needle size is all wrong/mixing up a couple of patterns so stitch count is not working....yup, frogpond

On the other hand, do have a few finishes:

The first is a turkey illusion cloth....don't know about this one, think I should have left the light and dark as stipulated in the pattern because I can only see the image on the back side, though now that I put it on top of a skein I can see it. However, that being said, in looking at the cloth, I believe I either missed a row or repeated a row because the body seems to have disappeared. And no, this one is not taking a trip to the frogpond, it is done and will stay as it is. Let it be a lesson to me to pay better attention to what I am

The second are my Alaine socks. I did change up the pattern a tad, and decided that I needed to finish them. Since the stumbling block had been the heel treatment, I frogged what had been knit on the heels and changed it to my new favorite heel treatment, Cat Bordhi's Sweet Tomato heel. Now that's what I call done! They are now awaiting washing/blocking along with another pair finished earlier this summer that got misplaced before they could be blocked. I actually have several other items awaiting blocking, so need to get all of them together.

Next up is a new project I cast on for, my "..A Jigging and and a Jagging" Jigsaw afghan. As this will be made with sock yarns, any leftover bits of Regia, Opal, Socka, OnLine, Bernat, et cetera, as well as any full skeins of color/prints that I have decided NOT to turn into socks, will get worked into this. Time-frame to completion is unknown at this time as I am still working out color arrangments.

So, there you have update to YoPP that is actually picture-heavy. Now back to finishing up another batch of dried fruit (apples, cranberries) to put up for the holidays.....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

..closing out the month of October...already ?!

So, where were we…oh, yeah, trying to stay on top of posting updates on YoP (Year of Projects)…..
? still working on some of the itemized list…yup
? added new items…..yup
? changed/adapted features of itemized….yup
? finished anything…..yup
? posted picture(s) of finished…..not completely but working on it…..

And…to help keep me in a line since I am concurrently working on:
-Graduation present/shawl (due for January 2012)
-Christmas gifties
-Stash reduction (and stash meaning yarn/fiber/fabric/SIP’s/WIP’s/queue’d items)
I have signed onto another group called Stashdown A-to-Z where each month will be the next letter of the alphabet, goal being to work on/complete projects beginning with that letter in order to whittle down the perpetually enlarging queue (and also to complete any WIP’s with that letter designation, since they after all were queue’d at one point)….from now through Nov.30th is “A” – that is not to say we cannot work on anything but items beginning with “A”, because you can…..the hope being that with focusing on items beginning with a specific letter, you hopefully will actually complete them.

So, with checking my queue’d items, as well as what I had listed for my YoP, and yes even digging in my in-the-works bin(s), pulled several items beginning with “A” to the front of the list – the Alaine socks are now top of the heap, with (Snelle) Annabelle a close second. The rest of the list got re-shuffled as well, with several small gifties being mixed in, as well as the addition of several more such as the Slinky socks (football and hockey projects), as well as one that will take a bit more time than a month so will get worked on as I decide on color placement – Jigsaw Afghan, for which I am using leftover bits of sock yarns as well as some skeins that have fallen into the ‘What Was I Thinking’ category…….

Any-who…need to get going, as my Alaine’s need a partial frogging as I am not thrilled with the heel treatment, so am changing it to suite me (and re-picking up stitches works much better in the broad light of day than in the evening…). Here’s to getting a little more done, a little more blogging posted, catch up on reading a few more blogs, a little more writing accomplished, a few more recipes tried before the holidays are here, and a few directions to turn my attention towards so that I am not so sad when my children leave again (this in particular as one son and his wife are being stationed in Europe, leaving shortly and I won’t get to see them before they fly)……

..until the next time, I remain, that very busy frog hiding out in the wilds of Maine…..

Monday, October 10, 2011

...just because

...not an update, just a little on-the-side post of goings-on...

For the month of October, we are having some kind of jumbled up weather....torential rains at the beginning of the month, frosty overnight temps, and high 70/low 80s during the day ! Frost means I can harvest the grapes (we have wild grape vines growing outside the house), so have picked enough to make a batch of wine -- need to pick these early in the day while it is still cool, otherwise you are competing with the bees and the yellow jacks are not too keen on sharing the fruit with you. Any-who, did pick enough (need 15 pounds of fruit at a minimum, eventual yield is 5 gallons of wine), have left the rest of the grapes for the birds and yes, the bees too!....good thing, because I noticed that some of the vines (that we thought we have trimmed all of the "escapees" from the arbor) were growing at the top of the lilac bushes -- ten feet up in the air and what do I see...deep purple mini globes in assorted bunches....nope, not going after with all the grapes that have ripened and fallen off the vines, it smells very wine-y in that corner of the yard.

So, what else is new....hmmmm....the Dempsey Challenge was this past weekend, with the bicycle tour passing within a mile up the hill from my house, into the midst of which I had to pass thruough in order to pick up my daughter from her Girl Scout camping trip that returned Sunday morning. And if you are wondering, yes, Patrick Dempsey did ride, and from what I heard got mobbed by fans whenever he stopped at any of the rest areas (the Challenge had a 10-mile, 25-mile, 50-mile, and 100-mile routes) -- no, I did not stop to see him, despite being a fan. Maine is home to (and by home, I am not distinguishing between permanent home/vacation home/family member's home) a number of celebrities (actors/actresses, artists, writers, former Presidents), all of whom value their privacy, and who can find it here if they choose to retreat into anonymity....

And, with it being Columbus Weekend, the last big push of tourists (at least until the snow flies) is for what we call "Leaf Peeper" Season when you are quite apt to find yourself driving behind someone driving either erratically side-to-side or slower than the posted speed limit as they point out to their companions the myriad colors on the hillside or reflected in the streams. I am fortunate in that I live so close to a wooded area that I can go walking thru the woods to enjoy the colors up-close-and-personal, if you will.

Other than that...I leave you with a bit of eye of the little surprises that I found one morning as the frost was melting away.....

Monday, October 3, 2011

updating the update

...yeah, I know, that sounds a bit odd but I suppose it is no worse than saying a round circle.... In any case, do have a few pictures for you, though I will warn you color representation via my cellphone is not accurate.

First off, these started out as the Water-to-Sky anklets, but then because I found myself just too tired to concentrate on directions and/or chart, got changed to a very basic/plain summer anklet (there is maybe three rounds of the charted pattern, which because of the color changes in the yarn, just do not show up and I was not interested in frogging a mohair-based yarn to remove them...and yeah, even though I was a bit more with it by the second sock, repeated the "error" in order to keep them consistent)....they are wonderful in my hiking sandles, coming up just high enough so that the back strap does not rub into the back of my ankle.

As well with being too tired to think straight and wanting just really not thought-heavy things to work on, managed to finish these two little washcloths -- this is actually supposed to be a bright apple green. The leaf one was a real quick knit, started it one evening and bound off the next. The other is trying for a quilt block effect.

And finally, while reading some of my Yahoo group mail a few weeks back, had come across someone talking about Cat Bordhi's new take on heels, including a YouTube link to see it in action. In essence, it is a variation of a short-row heel that uses NO wraps (something I mess up on consistently).....Welll, after watching the video, said "I can do that", and immediately cast on for a new pair of socks in order to do so (all my other socks-in-progress are past the Afterthought heel stage, so could not use them). Have been dragging this pair with me for the past week-and-a-half everywhere I went where I had knitting time -- as of last night, I have about 1-1.5 inches left of ribbing on sock-B remaining to be done. And if I have not said so yet, absolutely LOVE the looks of this heel as well as the fit (and this is un-blocked worsted weight wool socks) -- these have 4 wedges, so will be interested to see how well they hold up.

So, there you have update that is actually fiber-related in it's Until the next time.....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September ramblin's

….well, it has now been a month since I last posted – where has the time gone ? So, you ask, what have I been doing with myself since last I surfaced? paraphrase a line from Fiddler on the Roof, “…..a little bit of this, a little bit of that…” – the woodshed has not only been completed being built, it is now completely full of stacked and split wood. The Hubster figures that with it being stacked 7 feet high (…um, yeah, arms got real sore trying to lift and stack above my head…also contributing to the too tired/sore to be able to knit for any length of time…), and given the inside dimensions of said woodshed (which began life as an existing concrete bunker/box when we originally bought the property), we probably have close to 15 cords of wood – this includes what we still had left of last year’s split firewood. Normally we go through about 5-to-6 cords per winter – but, last fall we replaced the shingled roof with a metal roof which because of how it went on, resulted in some “air pockets” to help insulate the roof….we figure it may not take as much wood to heat this big ole house…but we will see where it stands come next spring. Hubby is super pleased that we do NOT HAVE to go out to get any trees this winter – if we in our travels over the property need to clean up any broken or wind-blown or otherwise damaged (i.e., beaver) trees, we will just stack the logs behind the shed resulting in well dryed and seasoned wood for future burning… for me…lol.

Now, as to the knitting and spinning front…..still working on spinning up my summer dye-pot adventure socks (see post from July for colors), will no doubt get to actually cast on for these during the winter.

The birthday surprise made for some giggles, especially as the story that went with it had to do with cakes sometimes falling flat, and without the appropriate item inside of it, the teapot cozy did look rather flattened.

The first baby giftee (a boy is expected) got a pair of longies, which I paired with a purchased onesie and stuffed with tissue paper. This was also well received.
Baby giftee #2 (a girl is expected) is still being worked on so cannot provide any pix of at this time.

And…, because I really just wanted an excuse to use this phrase…”…..are you ready for some football ?!...”, lol, my sidelines knitting has commenced. My 13yo DD is playing middle school soccer, so the hands stay busy while Maman watches the game (Home games, I can’t get to the Away ones)…and just so you don’t think I have lost it, soccer in Europe is known as football, so, yeah, I am not only watching the kids playing football, I am watching my fave NFL team play FOOTBALL – Go Pats! And, will be adding hockey knitting to the lineup sometime in November as well.

….doing a quick run-down of the projects I have been working wound up being a little more than just a quick one, with all of the above, have been working on finishing up some little projects that have been hanging around for ages: small hand towels, face cloths, some quilting, and several pairs of socks (which I have not been able to round up all of in order to provide a photo, but will leave that to a later date).

So, for now will bid you all a good evening 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

...update...sort of, anyway

I really haven’t fallen off the face of the earth tho it seems to be so since I have not updated anything in several weeks. Yes, I have still been spinning, and yes to knitting as well tho precious little of either one.

Allow me to back you up a bit to catch you up (…hmmm…that almost sounds like a Doctor Who and River Song episode…lol). First off, DH just finished building the woodshed considerably later in the season than he wanted it done. Now that it is complete, 13yo and myself have been switching off working with him running the log splitter and once the trailer was full, we would be stacking wood (over 95% of our winter heat is done via woodstove). The benefit of a “covered” storage area for the wood is that we will no longer have to shovel it out and off in order to bring wood into the house (which usually resulted in some thawing and wet floors). Any-who, since we are further behind in the filling of said shed than originally anticipated, any-and-all free time is being used for this purpose.

What does this mean for me? Quite simply, once I get a chance to sit down in the evening I may get a few rows done or spin for maybe 15 minutes before I am nodding off in my chair….to say that not much has been done would be pretty accurate as really the only knitting I have managed is the “work even” and even casting on for two different projects still required more than an evening apiece (too tired to count straight, too tight, etc)…sheesh.

In any case, need to get busy – birthday surprise did get finished in time, and have 2 baby gifties that need to be made real soon…so, for now, will just say that will soon be back on track and should get some pictures up once I do. TTFN …

Friday, August 12, 2011's inevitable...

…something I got to talking about with my mom and sisters recently – got to thinking about this because my ‘baby sister’ just turned 5-0.

Why is it, we look in the mirror and still despite the image it actually shows, we still see ourselves as the invincible-I-can-do-anything 20-to-30-year-old ? know the one that has no wrinkles (excuse me…laugh lines ! ), no belly bulge or ‘gravity’ affecting various body parts….How did we miss the change of going from BEING the fun-loving-young-adults to BECOMING The PARENTS OF fun-loving-young-adults ?

Any one else hearing the lyrics to some older popular songs about the seasons turning, or that we would miss this and want it back…?

I look back in time and wonder when did that crown of grey and white begin to rest on my head? I find myself wanting to hold things as they are, to stop that forward momentum of change….

Time is inevitable, it marches on, and with it, so do we march on as well -- perhaps still to the beat of the same drummer we have always marched to, …though perhaps he too drums a little slower….or perhaps it just seems to be moving slower because life continues to go on around us at breakneck speed….

In any case…the first 50 were pretty good years. We learned a lot about ourselves and our place in the world. Here’s to the next 50 little sister, or to use your words, “…onto the next Chapter…..”

Friday, July 22, 2011

....a bump in the road ???

So...anybody think it has been w-a-ay-y too hot lately ? It certainly makes the ambition non-existent.....have tried to get some things done (I really want to make some fresh bread, however, in this heat kneading a batch of dough does not even get considered). About all I have managed to do beyond setting out some washbuckets for cleaning fleece, is getting my dyepot going.

The first dye-bath used the purple tablets and the blue ones (easter-egg dye tablets, I stocked up after the holiday). As always happens, depending on how much lanolin may still have been present on the fleece, the fiber does not take up the dye at the same rate...and sometimes too, the dye "breaks" so you find yourself with surprises once it is rinsed and dried. Well, no surprise here then because it did 'break' resulting in a deep pinkish-purple edging into royal purple and aqua going to a bright turqoise.....see:

And, since the dye had not exhausted, figured I could go ahead and dye another batch, so put in another 12-16 ounces of fiber in the crock (no new tablets)...this time I got the aqua shades.

And the dye is still not exhausted, so mixed in red tablets. Now I have a lovely shade of deep pinkish purple.

Still working this one….added green tablets, hoping to come up with a nice shade of brown. Ummm, no…but did get a lovely deep olive green/bronze out of it.

Ok…still seems to be some life left, so threw in the rest of the tablets (yellow and orange, I believe)…..This time I got what resembled dry grass (?hay) yellow/green. And with that, I considered this experiment DONE. Here is a pix of my lineup:

So, now the job will be to get enough of each color spun to do what I need….and at the moment, the old brain cells are working their way around possibly plying the white with either the grass or the aqua, and using a two-ply of the brighter tones for the entrelac bands (and since I like my socks on the shorter side, 3 bands will be sufficient). But, that will need to wait a bit, but in the meanwhile, only the Shadow knows…

Other than the above, have gotten some done on the Special Birthday surprise (I need to finish it as it will be presented next week). Have also been working my way thru the TestKnitting shawl (Cirque); have fallen woefully behind in my Scarf o’Year project, cast on for yet another pair of socks (yes, I know, still several in the works, but they are at a stage that evening/end-of-day-tiredness is not the best of time to be working on them so they are temporarily in a holding pattern).

..until the next time !

Monday, July 18, 2011

…and so…what have I been up to of late? On first glance, it appears to be not much of anything. With that being said, the summer muggies arrived and with it, ambition/energy to do much of anything at all went by the wayside. This has resulted in only a few buckets of fleece being put to soak in soapy water and rinsed, then leaving the rack sitting on the monkey-bars to dry – this morning only marked the second such batch that was brought into the house. Yes, it is dry; no, it is not quite spin-ready yet. The monkey-bars sits at the back end of the yard, under a pine tree – handles of fiber get shaken and pulled apart to lose their accumulations of dust granules, pine needles, and the occasional beetle that wandered in to check it out and got stuck in the fiber. So, AC has been running quite a bit, and once I sit down to watch TV at night, I am either working on something that does not require a lot of thought/counting of stitches/anything more than simple stitch patterning, or, after placing the old newspaper sheet at my feet to catch all the bits, I start in on picking the fleece apart/loose, a few handfuls at a time. Then pick up the spindle and spin away. Repeat from ‘picking…”

And just so you don’t think I am slacking…the fiber is from 6 sheep that average anywhere 6-12 pounds of raw fiber apiece – my wash buckets will only hold about 1 to 1.5 pounds each (depends how grubby the raw stuff is), and with only doing three of these at a time…..yeah, it takes a while to wash all of this, so expect to find notations on ‘washing’ – this will continue until the weather makes it not a good idea to be outside doing so any more (of course, this will also mean that the balance of this year’s fleece that doesn’t get washed before getting stored in the garage for the winter, will be in some of the early spring/summer wash buckets).

So, you may ask….what did I get accomplished, if anything, this week? In looking over my notes of what I have worked on (I have a notebook that I list how much time I spend on any fiber projects)….this week as previously noted, was not an overly ambitious one. Yes, fiber got washed. Yes, spinning did take place (the PinkLavender roving is completely spun). Yes, knitting did take place (working on a Test knitting project). On top of that, I have founds lots more, make that LOTS MORE, projects of various kinds that I would like to make (socks, shawls, and sweaters too!), so only time will tell which of the many will actually transfer from my queue to actual WIP…

…gotta run….lunchtime ends far too quickly for my usual verbosity…… So, will just leave you with a close-up shot of some of the spinning that I have been working on...just a little something to pass the time away while dreaming about all the wonderful items in my queue....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

...such a week it has been....

...So, now comes the time of updating my progress, such as it has been. First, let me preface this by saying it has been rather hot, or "HHH" (hot/hazy/humid) here for the past week -- the last thing I want in my lap when I am feeling sticky is sticky raw fleece...for that matter, a lap-full of a knitting project isn't always that desirable either, but it is either I have something to keep my hands and brain focused, or the heat just frazzles me and I end up catnapping in my chair....hmmm...not very restful nap or hot/sweaty palms......

That being said, have been busy when I wasn't working/cooking/cleaning. With the Tour de Fleece running concurrent to the Tour de France, have been trying to get as much spinning time in as I could (including time spent prepping fleece in wash buckets, etc).

The assorted small batts/rovings are being worked on in between washing and spindling of Dorset fiber (which will eventually have some in a dye pot....I have visions of perhaps an entrelac cuff in assorted colors later this year). I have also completely spun the bag of "Mystery Roving" (a mix of alpaca, suffolk, angora rabbit, and mohair), with yardage that I believe will do for a pair of socks

Have been plugging away at the Sky Scarf (apologies, no pix yet), as well as the SecretSurprise pressie. And, I went and added another project to my list, is where I stand as of Sunday morning, 07102011:

...and there you have it....the coffee bucket only holds a portion of the Dorset (I have at least a case-of-paper sized box full of freshly washed fiber (with at least ten times that amount stored in the attic from previous years), so have plenty to keep me busy Oh, and before I forget.....the previously mentioned projects that were is my Robin (still unblocked)

and my green alpaca socks:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lights !!

....and just so you know I am still here.....while waiting for the show to begin, sat on the hillside watching this

(while spinning of course), and once it got too dark to see what I was working on, the main event commenced


Hope that those who celebrate it, had a very safe and happy Fourth of July

Friday, July 1, 2011

...on Your Mark....get Set.... and....G-O-!!!!

I knew it would happen --
…go on record and say “I will do A_, B_ and C_” and the next thing you know, something happens that throws a monkeywrench in the works, usually because:
I really have no interest in working on _B_ again, or
I have now found “IT” that must now be done, or
circumstances change such that I no longer NEED to do a certain project, etc, etc……

Case in point #1: When we first started talking about doing this, there had been a wedding afghan in the lineup which now is not happening and thus the afghan is on hold indefinitely (it will be made some-day, just not anywhere in the forseeable future). So, it was not posted on the list previously posted.
Case in point #2: In order to work on one shawl that had been spun for, I needed to finish a long-languishing shawl in order to use that set of needles. Well, with watching the Stanley Cup hockey playoff (lots of knitting time), I was able to get to that point of completion (it is not blocked, but Robin is DONE !)
Case in point #3: In terms of the rotating socks, the ones I said I would do first weren’t even touched – when I reached into the bin and grabbed a sock kit, it was a different pair (green Frog Tree alpaca), which was also some of my hockey knitting, and this pair is now DONE.
Case in point #4: Was just reminded that the Tour de Fleece begins shortly (July 2-24), so need to figure in spinning time as well as determine WHAT to spin (and determine end product for such spinning).
Case in point #5: Have added (and already CO for) a project that will take 365 days to complete (you only do 2 rows/day), and even though it is listed as a scarf, have already decided to ‘widen’ it a tad so that I may actually be a skinny shawl when complete.

Pheww !! So, all-righty-then…you know what this means, don’t you ?

....yup, "adjustments" had to be made, and here we go (again!):
- Tour de Fleece spinning (lots of washed Dorset fleece), eventual game plan on this fiber is a trip thru the dye-crock and then onto socks
- TdF spinning of lots of amall bits of assorted rovings I keep finding stashed all over the place
- Sky Scarf (Lea of Leafcutter Designs)
- Special Birthday (in progress)
- Grad.Silk shawl (spinning is complete, not CO yet)
- Baby gift #1: Emil’s Peababe
- Baby gift #2: longies (have washable yarn ready to CO)
- Wendy’s Summer Shawlette (ready to CO)
- Make Your Own Ending shawl KAL
- Wagon Wheel shawl (in progress)
- Saroyan (in progress)
- Cedar Wrap (in progress)
- Stitching of patches onto DD’s Girl Scout vest
- Socks #1: Alaine (in progress)
- Socks #2: Tabi sox (in progress)
- Socks ####, rotating between other in progress: CoffeeBean, Tardis, Fishing, Wensleydale, HospSox
- New Socks: Spiral eyelets for DD; Circle sox for me, and several more that I found I really want to do

….and I think this is all I want to commit myself to at the moment, because you know that even tho it l-o-o-k-s like I have totally lost my mind…maybe, just maybe, I haven’t….

….Change is good…Change is necessary…Change means there is re-evaluation going on….Change means growth…(..of course, it could also mean that my filing system is so bad I have to change in order to get anything done at )

Until the next time ...when hopefully I get add a few pix of completions and/or in-progress !

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

...In the beginning.....

…always wanted to start something with these words…this kind of fits the bill. In the beginning, there were only words and pictures on a page, with stacks of assorted yarns and fibers and needle-paraphernalia as well as patterns galore! The paper, how it flies and floats when tossed to the side…the scattered mumblings of ‘no’ and ‘maybe’ and ‘what in the world was I thinking of?’ are punctuated with exultant “Yes!” and ‘perfect opportunity to try this technique’ and ‘who am I kidding? I am not ready to tackle this one yet!

So the choosing process has commenced, with several definite’s now waiting in the bin, each pattern matched with it’s yarn/spun fiber and assorted post-it notes with the giftee name(if applicable)/needle size needed/buttons or beads. The bin also contains a carry-bag so that at a moment’s notice a Kit can be grabbed. The remaining necessities for the carrybag is the “essentials” kit that will remain – you know the one, it’s the bottomless purse for needlecrafters that contains the space crochet hook for catching drops (though a bobby pin will do in a pinch), the tape measure, the extra short pieces of yarn for provisional cast-on’s and/or stitch holders, an extra small caliber double-point (or cable needle, or in a pinch a paper clip), an assortment of stitch markers (an unopened Dollar Store special of 500-pack mini hair elastics) that double as row markers, a small pair of scissors, a mini notepad and pen (an extra Post-It pad is always good too, mark and move about on your pattern without ruining the pattern copy), a travel pack of Kleenex, and of course there must be something chocolate! I am sure that other bits and pieces will eventually find their way into the bag over time, but for now, these are my essentials. Each pattern is enclosed in its own page protector, and any books have their pages appropriately tagged with multicolored post-it’s.

Now, as to the order of the patterns….I have always been one to flit from one project to another unless a deadline loomed large – that way, I did not have time to get bored or frustrated with any one pattern, and I got to enjoy a number of different fibers/techniques concurrently. So to, there was always something new that would demand to be added to the list. And if the mojo to work on those projects just wasn’t there, there is always the assorted cottons for making cloths/towels/scrubbers or small amounts of wools for wristers (both my projects of choice for random brainless knitting). But, for this particular Year of Projects, I find myself starting before July 1st for a special surprise pressie due within a few weeks. I also have a few baby presents to be made for this summer and fall, and a graduation present that may be needed for January instead of June……So, I will list my YoP-Book items but not in any given order…I will leave that to the individual postings of what I worked on….

So, without further ado (other than explanation/rationale for the choices), the following is AnDy’s Amble through the Fiber Patch……as it has been quite a challenge to winnow this list of “Must Do/Should Make/Already Begun/Asked For” down to a workable sized list. With over 30 items (more, if I dig further), something had to give. So, beginning with the gift items that figure prominently:

- A special birthday (details to be revealed afterwards to prevent the secret from getting out)
- An upcoming graduation (see Spinning section below)
- Several babies: (1) Emil’s PeaBabe, and (2) a pair of longies
- Christmas items (not determined yet)

Add to this several of the SIP’s currently being rotated through -- I am going to pick 2 pairs to finish:
- Alaine
- Tabi socks
If time allows, rotate another pair or 2 – these sox are on top of a pair on my To-Do list for my DD
- Spiral Eyelets

Spinning has been completed for Wendy’s Mystery Summer Shawlette and knitting will be worked on as soon as I complete a SheKnits mystery from a previous year, Robin, that has been languishing on the needles (I need the circulars, hence Robin must be completed in order to cast on!). Add to this, the silk roving is almost completely spun, and will shortly thereafter be knit into a shawl as graduation gift for a niece (beads will add just the right touch of bling).

I have several other shawls to be added to the mix (including at least one new SheKnits Mystery-8, and one to make in cotton thread Autumn Sun) but these are going to wait to be listed until I finish a few older ones (Cedar Wrap is over half done; Saroyan has been started; and Wagon Wheel is over ¾ done).

…And if I find I don’t have enough to do (ha ha), there are always washcloths/towels, wristers, or`naments, mindless-hockey-socks, etc…

Friday, May 27, 2011

Luna !

I am on a roll here.... I either go for months on end without a single post, or I am finding inspiration and beauty every where I go. Take for instance yesterday when I went to see how the building of the woodshed was going. Hubby is in the process of building walls on top of a concrete box base -- on an inside wall, I found this little guy (?gal)

Hubby said he had not seen that one but had almost stepped on another that he moved outside the shed, and upon looking where he told me he had placed it, yup, still there, and a third one attached to the outside of the building. Now, around here, we may see 2 or 3 over the entire summer, so to see that many all in one place was very kewl. This morning hubby needed my help to hold a beam he was nailing in place so I looked around to see if they were still there -- they were, along with 2 more !

After I was done helping, I headed back to the house ...among other things to get to work, and also to find some info on the moths, or Actias luna. Apparently, these moths developed from caterpillars hatched from last fall's eggs (which over-wintered somewhere nearby). The adult moths only live for about a week, they do not eat (no mouth), their only purpose is to mate. Once they do that, they will die. The eggs will hatch, and the caterpillars will eat their way through several stages of development before finally spinning themselves into a cocoon (this silk is spinnable by people, I am given to understand, though it is not the strongest of silks to use for this purpose). These cocoons will hatch and the new moths begin their life cycle again, with this batch of eggs waiting until the spring to hatch.

I suppose I will need to look around the area a little closer this weekend...maybe I might get lucky enough to see one emerge -- now that would be way-kewl !

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Confirmed !

A month or so ago while on one of my rambles through the woods & trails, I spotted a gnarly-looking tree with the immediate thought being "hey! that's an apple tree!".....of course, with it being early spring full of mud and assorted snow covering much of the ground beneath the trees including any water-filled ditches, it was not possible to get closer to check it out. So I made a mental note to myself to come back when the landscape started to bud out. We had already found one old apple tree beside the trail several years back, and knew the deer frequented that spot as well -- for that matter, it is not unusual to see deer tracks through much of this trail, and several spots seem to be the main "runs" if you will. In any case, the rain finally let up long enough for the sun to emerge and dry things up a bit, so off I went down the trail....yes, I can still see a little ways into the woods, but not for much longer. The understory of the forest has come to life in a big way, such that a stream I could see from my kitchen window has already disappeared from view, and seeing much on the ground level is not easy either, so the eyes go up and see what the canopy and under-canopy have in them. My gnarly tree is all decked out in its white/pink glory of blossoms...yes! it is an apple tree !

I am thinking I may have to go a bit further afield and see if I can find any more such surprises...we know the house we live in has been here for quite some time -- my neighbor gave us a picture of it when it was a farmhouse at the turn of the century (1900), and with all the various moss-covered stone walls that are to be found in the middle of the woods it is easy to see how much things have changed. It would not have been an uncommon thing for a farm to have fruit trees, or for that matter that people or birds and or have probably done their share of dropping seeds over the years as well. So, my mission, should I choose to accept it, is to follow some of these stone wall boundaries and see if there are more apple trees to be found.......and, no, this will not self-destruct in 5 the next time, when this intrepid wanderer will say.............

Monday, May 16, 2011

Well hello ......seems I have been very remiss of late, too busy being too busy that I have forgotten to stop and smell the roses...well, a little early yet up here for roses, though my rose bushes are starting to leaf out so I will have some. Instead of roses though, this little beauty was found in the woods.

We almost didn't see them because it really wasn't the purpose of being near that stream, but still a nice surprise. Walking through the woods here is a never-ending treat -- depending on the time of year (time of day and/or weather conditions), you could easily miss something today that you are sure you saw the week before. I especially enjoy the early spring, late afternoons....looking through the wooods, you can see so far into the shadows where the old moss-covered stumps almost disappear....A month from now, it will be almost impossible to see so far into the wood as the small shrubby stuff will have come in and will get progressively fuller and will soon "hear" the skitterings through the undergrowth but not see it.

I have signed on to a new group with Ravelry, so expect to see some of my needlework projects in the coming months. Still have to decide what to do, where the patterns are from, what fibers to use, etc., so have some work to do on that list yet, but suffice to say they will be tagged...look for a YoPP designation, for Year of Projects Post.

Friday, February 4, 2011

...should have listened to the bees....

.”…picture-perfect memories…..” -- memories are like little windows-in-time -- when you open one up, you never know what you are going to find, that glimpse into who or what or where or when….happenings that you have forgotten or get to laugh out loud at again because of, or just think about in a different way ……

Looking out my office window I see the small tree atop the snow…. No, wait, that’s not a small tree, that is the Top of the tree sitting above the pile of snow. We have had so much snow of late that what we plow gets shoved up when it can go no further back…. That tree sits in the center of a flower bed, one where my daughter ran over a hornet’s nest this fall while mowing the lawn… a nest that had not been there the previous week…and a very active nest it was too, with lots of yellow jack’s going in and quickly exiting carrying sand bit in their excavation of the nest. I remember my father telling us years ago when I was a kid, that you could tell what kind of a winter it was going to be by watching the bees – how high did they build a hive in the tree, or how deep in the ground or protected wall did they go…the flower bed is a raised bed built into the side of the slope on the lawn, in full sun the greater part of the day…..and this is where they chose to stay for the winter. This was not acceptable to us so close to the house, especially as there is a fair amount of traffic (us and the dogs and cat, on our way down to the garage) going beside it, so out came the bee spray late in the day when the majority if not all were back. Hubby sprayed all the way around the raised bed so that the bees would not decide to simply move the nest elsewhere in the flower bed (I usually am the one to putter and pluck weeds in this one)…..Yup, missed a few bees, cause a week later daughter almost ran over a nest some 20 feet away by a rock edging the property line…think we got them all this time…we’ll see come the spring if we didn’t….

Don’t get me wrong…I don’t mind bees in general, so long as they stay where they should. Had it been a nest of bumble bees, they could have stayed – yellow jack’s have a tendency to be downright ornery, mean, and nasty, and short-tempered…not a good neighbor (or houseguest if they find a hole in your foundation)….

I have heard that bees are supposed to be good luck, but not if you killed the bee…. hmmmm….some bee lore I found online: “if a bee enters your home, it’s a sign that you soon will have a visitor. If you kill the bee, you will have bad luck or the visitor will be unpleasant” – hmmm, don’t know if this holds true when the bee in question, the yellow jack, enters the house in daughter’s pants leg after stinging her……not good luck for daughter I am thinking, but there you go……