Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Free Plants

Stopping in at my local feed store (got chickens to feed, y'know and they let you know about it), I noticed a sign stating that ALL plants were free and take as much as desired. Okay. Nothing actually 'looked' good, but as my grandmother used to say: There's still a bit of green! I grabbed flats of hardy creepers ~ some cinquefoil, bell flower, stonecrop and wooly thyme. There was also a couple of geraniums and an aster. I passed a few of the FREE plants on to my mother on the way home to hungry chickens. It's unnerving to think one could plant anything in November. Technically, gardens are supposed to be put to bed by now, but I got the okay to plant from my mother with simple logic: The ground isn't frozen yet. This works for one, such as I, who has been gardening-impaired for too long. I've been waiting years to plant anything without worrying where an excavator will be digging. I've found that large rocks and heavily treed areas seem to be safe from bulldozers, backhoes and trenchdiggers. So I'm planting in the woods which seems rather redundant. It satisifies my Inner Gardner. (I must sound positively loopy when referring to these other personalities.) And the beauty of FREE plants is that if they don't appear to be producing any green, it's no big loss. These are fairly hardy though; we've got a fighting chance.

In the meantime, Ian's sock is hanging out on the rock. I'm a little nervous about the amount of red I've got left. We may end up with Dobby socks . . . I should have gone to teal sooner. 20/20 hindsight is just too glaringly obvious with knitting faux pas.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Knitting Chair

Some projects completed and in the making . . . Tom's socks, the heel-turn and instep gusseting of Ian's red sock, the Construction throw with ends woven in and a raglan beanie knitted up from a quick knit-in-the-round instructional for a friend. Sadly, the beanie won't fit anyone under this roof, so I need to find it a home. Tragic, really.

Here is the throw in repose on my messy couch.

Here is the weave up close. Careful, don't get lost in the Twill-lite Zone.

This is what I've gotten done with the Rambouillet/mohair mix. The all-white wool spindle is before I added the mohair. I intend to ply all this on the Millie at a later date.

Oh yeah. And finished kitchen cabinets with knobs and handles in the appropriate places.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

No Time to Talk

These are kitchen cabinets. Enough said. Need to get handles . . . NOW!

Flower continues the weighty responsibility by holding down the finished construction throw until I can weave in the ends. A cat's work is never done.

Friday, November 17, 2006

At the End of My Warp

Flower is helping me with the hem stitching on this throw by weighing down the work-free zone. As you can see, having been out of the weaving loop for so long (6 years, at least), I've got Deborah Chandler's Learning to Weave opened to the appropriate lesson page to get me through the finishing of this project. Rather annoying to realize far too late that I should have hem stitched the beginning of the throw whilst still under tension on the beam, but we'll manage. At least I have the waste weft holding those first few throws in.

I like twill. The foot lever combo keeps my interest without confounding me ~ one, two, two, three, three, four, four, one and so on. It's an easy rhythm and the weave is simple, but filled with interest as eyes glide along the diagonal. Jeans are twill woven, but get caught staring too long at your pants and people question your mental capacity and sanity. So check out the twill on your jeans behind locked doors or start a Jean Twill Gazing club. At least you'll be in good company and can act like you've got full control of all your faculties after the meeting.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Invasion of the Oversized Boxes

These boxes lying about represent kitchen cabinets. Did I just say 'kitchen cabinets?' Yes, I did ~ kitchen cabinets. Rolls off the tongue like a skateboard on asphalt. They were delivered today. It's more exciting than getting the windows a year ago because this represents
some semblence of truly finished housing, some marked step toward civilization. We are no longer an overgrown tree fort with glass; we've grown up. (Well, some of us have, but we won't go into that now. I'm basking in the glow of cherry wood and all-plywood construction.) As a result, we are afraid to open the boxes. Well, we peeked at one, but then quickly closed the box lest the construction dust contaminate the surfaces too soon. That is the inherent fear in opening the boxes which contain said cabinets ~ they'll have to be cleaned once released . . . for the rest of my life or the duration of a 40-year mortgage, whichever comes first. (Ever notice how the word 'morte,' which means 'death' is in the word 'mortgage.' Perhaps the closing attorneys should chant, "Dead man walking" instead of "Sign here . . . and . . . here . . ." ~ you're pretty much in it for life, otherwise.)

Upon inspecting one cabinet, I noticed, not only how lovely cherry wood can be, but also that the holes for knobs and pulls weren't drilled. What this means, my dear Watson, is that if one wants to install knobs and pulls one will have to reach for the nearest appropriate power tool (cordless, if possible) and create one's own holes in the presently unmarred, perfect satin surface of the cabinet or drawer. Suddenly, we were vastly unqualified to install our own cabinets. That realization alone had Dirk on the phone with credit card in hand ready to sell more soul for someone holding a doctorate in Cabinet Installation to come Monday and begin work.

We can handle creating our own countertops though. This is where Dirk excels ~ ceramic tile. No worries there, mate. I just have to muddle through the astounding array of ceramic or glass tile choices. Lighting was pretty much the same muddle; but I'm just about through that. There is the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel for lighting. But tile . . . that's another matter. Another day, another tunnel; and probably lined with exotic tile as well.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Remember the Loom

Fanny made comment this morning over tea about how she hadn't been blogged about in a really long time and so what was my problem?
I gave lame construction excuses, she pouted, I broke out the camera. The same throw I started early spring (?) is still on the loom. (That I'd have to refer to my own blog to remember when I started this particular project is nigh on pathetic.) I spent yesterday and a bit of today dusting Fanny off again; she was rife with construction dust. Thanks to the newly purchased industrial wet/dry vac, a goodly amount of dust was easily disposed of without raising too much of it. The warp is not the greatest. As mentioned oh so long ago, I wasn't seeking perfection, only throwing the shuttle and getting back into the weaving groove ~ again, an exercise in process. So I tossed together a warp of two different fibers, wool and cotton, and both have different tensions. The warp doesn't give me a great shed as a result, but we're limping along.

After a thorough dusting (alright, not really so thorough ~ good enough maybe), I finished off the two lousy bobbins of wool I had left since spring(?). Now the shuttle is empty and waiting for refills. Really, the easy part of weaving is throwing the shuttle. It's a quick way to go through stash yarn and handspun single-plys that possess no discernable purpose. I will be using as much of this warp as I can before removing it. I want it clear for a huge amount of linen ~ it's my mini-goal to weave linsey-woolsy. Another goal would be to work with Meek's Lithuanian weaving book and weave up some Baltic patterns.

There, you can almost see Fanny smiling.

Since I had the camera out, I figured I'd haul out all the fiber projects in progress. Here's 1 1/2 pair of Tom's socks. (I'll be working the heel flap and turn while at the dentist's office this morning.)

And on spindles is the marriage, not of Figaro, but of mohair and Rambouillet. I've been carding these fibers together with some fun results. To ply or not to ply? That is the question.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

On Good Penmanship and Dodging Squirrels

Just a quick note on things. We've found that our chickens like to cross the road. Why? Because our neighbor's deck is just ducky for hanging out and sunning on. While my neighbor has been gracious about chickens visiting his yard I don't think he appreciates them hanging feathery butts over the rails and crapping on his deck. He has kindly warned me that his Husky mix does like to tear things apart once she gets her maw on them. So I've been herding errant chickens back to my yard as often as I see them in his. Monday was the last straw. (Is it turkey in the hay and chicken in the straw? Is that how that silly song goes?) I decided to run deer mesh across as much of the top of the pen as I possibly could until running out ~ which wasn't much. The chickens don't so much fly over the fence as climb it, flapping to the top and then tipping over. I figured the deer mesh would be a deterrent.

Then it rained all day yesterday. The deer mesh got weighed down by wet leaves. Deer mesh doesn't work well in the woods. Well at least most of the chickens are in the pen and seem to be hanging 'round the property.

In the meantime, the squirrels are going, literally, nutty. It's crazy how I have to veer wildly around, not only potholes, but dazed and confused squirrels. I saw two on the road the other day that didn't quite make it. A moment's indecision on the road can cost lives. No nuts for those squirrel's families this winter.

Also in the meantime, I'm enjoying Anne Barclay Priest's book. It's a pleasure reading little anecdotes about people in Nova Scotia.

And Tom's first sock is done. It fits. Success.

Now time for flipping paperwork and drudgery.

Monday, November 06, 2006

On Defacating Dolls and Swatches

Generally, our TV is tuned to the Kid Channels; Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, or Disney Channel. I don't care much what's on. The children/youth enjoy the shows and there's rarely anything offensive. Off-hand adult humor is occasionally injected to prevent parental boredom. I even have a few of my favorites ~ Spongebob Squarepants, Camp Lazlo, Billy and Mandy (I miss the Angry Beavers). But there are a couple of commercials which have come to my attention that I find misogynisitc and offensive.

The first is for a Baby Alive doll. With this doll our lucky little girl would get to cradle it lovingly in her arms, feed it (here we will skirt the Breastfed Over Bottle-fed issue), dress it and . . . get this . . . change it if it produces an "Uh-oh!" All three of my children/youth responded to the ad with a grand chorus of "Eeeewwww!" At first, I thought ~ Okay. It's repugnant to me now. I've been through the Diaper Changing phases of my life three times and I don't miss the task. But I had the Tender Loving Care doll in my childhood hey-day; so I've been there doll-wise. I resumed ignoring the commercial.

Then we see a commercial featuring Barbie walking her Golden Lab (could have been a Yellow Lab, I get those confused). She and her pup are strolling along when . . . Oh my! The dog takes a plastic crap! Barbie dutifully picks it up with her pink pooper-scooper and resumes her walk. Another resounding choral "Aauugh!" rang through the family room.

That was it. That was the last straw. Nevermind the Subliminal Message theory. This isn't subliminal in any way. It is a clear declaration that the female species is here to clean up other people's shit. I don't want Bennie growing up with that Crap Clearing Declaration. The cleaning up of someone else's physical crap becomes cleaning up their emotional/mental/spiritual crap. Under no circumstances will I purchase these toys or any like it for my daughter.

In closing, I ask you: Where are the Pooping Godzillas? I've never seen an action figure or their animal counterpart needing any Defacation Clearing Squad. Why aren't there any diapers for GI Joe? At least an outhouse or underwear replete with skid marks ~ something!

I haven't had time to knit this weekend, but I did get to read my latest Knits. At the end of the magazine, in Ravelings, Clara Parkes wrote a sweet essay on swatching as a therapy. This little article spoke to my soul. Much how I enjoy spinning just to spin, sometimes I like to get lost in a knit swatch. Parkes made suggestions regarding mood and color; knitting simple swatches when times seem too complex, or losing one's self in a myriad of cables to puzzle out a problem, using bright colors when feeling drab. In these times, it's not the product, but the process that matters.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Great Light Cliche

As in, let there be some. We got some.

Or, as I had blasphemed with a friend sometime ago: "Lowes and behold! Let there be light!" Light is nice ~ it allows me to see when it's dark.

That's enough about that . . . what's Magic Looping on the needles is the first of a pair of socks for Tom. Some of this wool is from last year's Sheep and Wool shop-fest, but it came from the same vendor, Jamie Harmon. She also had that lovely angora again, but I had to focus on socks for kids. Bennie already has a pair of angora from last year; this year, she chose a screaming orange wool. (Trust me, orange can scream. Green tends to whimper on rainy days though.)

As you can see, Darth is in my knitting chair. He generally refuses to move until he's gotten his 16 hours of beauty sleep so I won't be able to knit until about midnight. That's fine. I don't think I had anything else to do.

In the meantime, I'm sort of straightening up around the Plantation. I'm unpacking things I shouldn't and attempting to keep up with the construction dust. It's a losing battle. I think I'd prefer having the Dust Bunnies move in, but they don't want any part of this action. They like finished hardwood floors and furniture that hasn't been moved in 20 years. At present, I have neither. While the flooring is by no means soft or cuddly, it hardly qualifies as finished flooring and the furniture seems to move of its own accord when I'm not looking. Well, at least the cats are comfortable.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Samhain 2006

This is Parrot Street; another dimension (or dementia) in a portal of time. People spend time transforming houses and yards into . . . well . . . this.

Or this . . .

My guy was there gabbing with all passers-by and trick or treaters . . .

He was accompanied by Smokin' Joe from up the way . . .

Dirk Vader made it out that night . . .

And there was Wolfman Frank . . .

The tree looked on through the fog machine haze . . .

Dirk and the Dread Pirate Bennie on the Beat . . .

It may be a night of spirits and loose souls, but we all know it's about the candy.

I'll try to post something more fibery tomorrow.