Thursday, May 7, 2015

2 Down.....12 To Go......

Yes, it's that season again.  Spring.  Cleaning, re-organizing, repairing, etc.

So one job on my list (it's been on the list for 2 yrs now, actually), was to replace the screens on the 5...count them, 5....dining room windows.  And get rid of the sun filter film that the previous owner had on the 2 windows on the west side of the house.  It had been peeling off since....forever.....a little more every time I washed the windows. 

Well, once I got into the swing of things, the screening went pretty well.  It's an old mobile home; screens were attached to the wall....behind the window moulding.  Geesh.  So it really took some ingenuity to figure out a way to put up new screens.  I won't go into the gorey details.

The window film was, let's just say....a bitch to get off.  Maybe the fact that it's probably been on the windows for 30 + years.  And each window has 3 glass panels; you know, like louvers.  Well, after hours and hours....and's done.  They are clean and bright and we can see out of them!

Curtains and shades were washed, ironed, and put back.  Now just wash the furniture with Murphy's Oil Soap, and this room is done.

Moving on.  The kitchen, hallway, spare bedroom and bathroom are next.  Family room then.  Our bedroom will be done or put on hold till Fall.  Oh....and washing the siding, repainting the skirting.  Those jobs have been on the list for 2 years also.

Then comes the fun part.   Unpacking the 20-some boxes that were packed when we anticipated moving.  Yep.  All to be undone, things placed back where they were.  Most importantly, all the crafts books, the spinning and knitting books and all the quilt patterns.  Because I've really gotta get started on quilting some time this summer.  Christmas gifts are being planned.  You can never have enough time to plan for the following Christmas.  Never.

Next week I'm hoping to get the yard work done.  Flower beds cleaned, fences up, decorations set out, weed-whacking done, seeds planted in the flower planters.  Going with marigolds this year.  Because I saved a gazillion seeds last year.

Of course, because of all this planning, there is rain in the forecast.  Today and every other day (a lot of thunderstorms predicted) for the rest of the month, it looks like.  Boy, if there was ever a time for the weather forecast to be wrong......

So with any luck, all will be accomplished and we can really enjoy the summer!  Finally.

BH suggested last night that he take me out for dinner on Mother's Day.  I've never been out for dinner on Mother's Day.  Who is this man sitting on the deck with me???   I told him I invited our daughter to come for dinner, so we would have to take her to the restaurant with us.  AND....he'll need to make reservations, I'm sure.   Well....this plan is still up in the air.  I'm really not crazy about spending the money for dinner when there's soooo many other things it would be better spent on.  Like all the gardening supplies.

Wishing you all a very Happy Mother's Day!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I'm Dyeing Here.......

So...I joined a few FB groups.  Onc is fiber dyeing.  After a month of perusing everyone's beautiful, beautiful dyeing jobs, the bug finally hit.

Hey, I've got plenty of white least 8#s I can play with.  And we're off......

I spent the last week dyeing.  Thinking of a color....and dyeing.  Hey, what if I did......and dyeing.  This would really make a great complimentary color for.....and dyeing.

Meals were prepared; dishes done every day; laundry kept up; bathroom cleaned; bed made; a little dusting, a little vacuuming.  That is all.  No time for heavy cleaning. 

Well, I think I'm dyed out for now.  But not for long.  Anywho, the heavy housework got done; plans are being made for some Spring fix-ups and yardwork.  The website and email gets checked every day to see if there's another BIG sale on white fiber.

And spinning....oh yes.  There's like 3 different spinning projects that were started before the "sweater from hell" took over.  And now they must be finished up.  Still knitting on the vest; the back is almost done; one more side to do.

But I'm still dreaming and planning colors for the next go-round.

This pink/green/lilac/blue roving is the first set of balls pictured below.  The color was off down there for some reason.

All but the yellow were dyed with food color pastes.  The yellow was dyed with turmeric.  I never used a spice before.  Love the color!  They were all kettle dyed, each was a planned color that came out something totally different.  But such varigation in the rovings!  Not a bad one in the bunch.  There is approximately 1# of every color.  Oh man!  I can't wait to start spinning these.  And dyeing some more!

There's about 2#s of white left.  I sure hope there's a sale very soon.
I'm hooked...and I got it bad.....real bad.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I'm Too Young for This....and She's Not Old Enough! (sob sob)

Saturday our granddaughter posted some pics.  Here's the most revelant:

Yep...they're engaged!!  Her first serious boyfriend, now her fiancĂ©.  She'll be 20 yrs old the beginning of June.  She's also in the MN. National Guard.....and being deployed to Kuwait the first week of June.  She'll be over there from 7 months to a year.

It's the sweet with the bitter.  As I guess most things are in life.

I'm very happy for them both.  He is a great guy and they seem very happy together.  She deserves everything good life can give her.

Excuse me now.  I need to go sit and cry.  Tears of happiness; tears of worry; tears of memories from years gone by.  My cup of love over-floweth.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Finished!! Happy Dance !!

Here it is....the sweater from Hell.  Sorry.  It was done last week, except for stitching down the collar and sewing on the buttons.  But I just couldn't bring myself to touch it one more time.  Then I had the bright idea to make pockets.  I love pockets on sweaters.  So...pockets were knitted and stitched on.  Again, it took me days to accomplish that task.

Anywho,  I guess it turned out ok.  I still don't think it's going to fit my SIL, but it's getting sent out just the same.  If it comes back, I've got another Aran sweater.  It's a "win-win" situation.

The yarn is a 3ply sportweight....2 tea and coffee dyed, 1 white; all Border Leichester.  I tried for a close-up of the buttons, but they came out all fuzzy.  The pictures, not the buttons.  The buttons were ordered on line.  They're a bronze color with the Celtic Eternity Knot symbol stamped into the metal.  Very nice, but smaller than I thought they would be.  Oh well.

It is a nice lightweight sweater.  I like it.

Now there's about a pound of Cheviot in the dyepot.  It'll be a beautiful aqua to compliment the pound of aqua/ grey/green/magenta that was dyed last week.  I was trying for grey; used black gel food coloring.  It "broke"......but I love the colors anyway!   A real nice surprise afterall.  This is why I prefer to dye in colorways instead of a solid color.  Many more options with the surprises.

Well, back to spinning.  Finishing up some BL blended with iridescent Firestar.  Then there's the vest to finish knitting.  And more roving to finish spinning.  Thank goodness our weather is going to be on the cool side next week.  At least the outside work can be put off a little longer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Am I Crazy???......or...."There's a Sucker Born Every Minute".....

Caution:   This is a Rant!!

So...I belong to a few fiber groups on FB.  This morning I get a notice from one that someone posted something.  Hmmm....I haven't read anything from that group in a long time....think I'll check it out.

Whoaaaa.....Nellie!!!  I just about fell off the chair.  And here's why:

This happens to be a page where you can advertise your fibers, yarns and knitted items for sale.  Well....this person is advertising 5# of Cormo roving for.....wait for it........$83.00 a # !!  WHAT????  Am I crazy or has the whole world (read: fiber community)  gone NUTS?????  $83.00 a #  for Cormo???? didn't matter if you bought a few ounces or the 5#s....the price was the same, roughly $5.50 and ounce.  AN OUNCE, people.

Cormo is a very common sheep, right there with Corriedale , BFL and others.   This was not dyed....not blended with silk or cashmere.  Yeah, it was roving; yeah, it was commercially processed; yeah, she said it was free of vm and very soft (21 microns).....but.....COME ON !

Now there happened to be about 40 comments.  One responded...."what, is it... gold??"  But surprisingly, most of them were very interested in the fiber and thought it was a great was "market" price, and not out of line in any way, so they commented.

Ladies and gentlemen, I purchase my fiber from wool festivals, 1 or 2 small dealers, but mostly from a wholesale provider in Washington state.  In recent months, I have bought 15#s total of beautiful white Corriedale and Cheviot top.  It spins like butter and takes dye fantastically.  I bought it on sale....$14.00 per #.  The more you buy, the cheaper the price. One pound started at $18.00.  I've been a customer for many years and purchased many different wools, including Merino top....never paid $5.50 an ounce.

See, this happened years ago when I started canning our home grown veggies and fruits out of necessity to feed our family.  We moved from the suburbs of an Eastern state to a very rural area in mid-country. 

Nobody canned since 1950, except maybe those who lived on farms with 8 - 10 children.  But not surburban-raised homemakers.  Within a few years, the price of canning jars, canners, and all the paraphernalia  went through the roof!!  Why?   Because there was a big movement going on, "Back to basics" and all those nouveau riche, upandcoming, drinking the "Kool-Aid" urbanites, who thought it would be a kick, got into canning.  It blew my mind, as well as my budget.

The same thing happened when I started quilting.  Fabric, thread, patterns, and all were very affordable.  Then the quilting craze started know who....and BAM....prices hit the ceiling again.  $8.00 for a yard of fabric??  $3.00 for a spool of thread??  $30.00 for a cutting mat or rotary cutter or rulers or patterns???

When I started spinning some 18 years ago, my first wheel cost $175.00.  It was an Ashford.  I just about choked, but knew it was a good investment.  You can't hardly touch a wheel for under $400.00 these days...and that's  a cheap one.   Why??  Spinning fiber and making yarn is all the rage now.  People boast about their $700 - $800 - $1,000 wheels. I now own 3 wheels, purchased over these many years.  And all on sale.  The total for all 3 would be about $1,000.  I use them constantly.  I cherish each one.  I keep them in fine working order.  I know their value and I value them.

What is going on today?  Is everyone on the "Greed Train" or are people becoming totally brainwashed as to the increasing price of things; how much they can charge for something; how much money they can make.

I've sold handmade crafts and my hand spun, hand dyed, hand knitted items for year.  The comment I hear most often is "you don't charge enough for your items".   Well, you know what?  If I make a small profit, if I love what I do, if my prices are something just about everyone can afford, if you love and appreciate what you purchased from me, then it's all good.  I'm happy.  You're happy.

I think it's time to stop all the craziness. Money. Money. Money.  When are we going to regain our common sense?  Where does it end?

I'll keep doing my part. I shop around for the best prices and supplies; buy when on sale; in bulk when necessary.  If I sell knitwear, it's a price I've never had anyone quibble about.  And people are happy.

That's it.  Just had to get it out.  But I'm still flabbergasted.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

"No More Commiting to Knitting!"

This is my new slogan.....for ever.  I need to go somewhere and scream as loud as I can.

"I will never commit to knitting again."   Repeat:  "I will never commit to knitting again".  Repeat often.

The body of the sweater for SIL is done.  The sleeves are set and stitched in place; underseam sewn.  However, upon laying out, measuring and re-measuring, it occurs to me that this sweater is never going to fit said SIL!  I'm not sure; I wasn't given a definite size number, just measurements.  But little "hmm's"  and "ummm's" when questioning my brother of the size, indicates to me that she may be a bit larger than me.  And I wear and X-Lrg.

The measurements he gave me are right on.  But something just doesn't seem right.  It just seems too SMALL!

I haven't seen her in almost 5 years; I know she's taller and bigger than me.  I assume she's put on some weight.  Or is it just a man trying to figure out what size his wife is??  Men!

Anywho,  being that the sweater was knit all-in-one, there is no way to add, let's say, panels to the sides.  So?  Why not make the buttonbands a couple inches wider?  Yeah.  That'll work.  That's the ticket.

I'm in the process of crocheting the buttonbands now.  But I have my doubts this is the end of it.  There's the problem of the already placed button holes.   What to do.....what to do.....

Ok.  So the thing was started just after Christmas; spinning the yarn was still going on while the knitting commenced. It was  supposed to be done by Valentine's Day.  But my brother gave me some leaway when he said..."Easter, but no later than Mother's Day".    I'm shooting for Mother's Day.   Hopefully.....this year.

BH told me ("suggested") that I never commit to knitting for anyone again.  Well....yeah.....but I'll just tell the next person it'll be done in a year.   And then keep my fingers crossed.

It hasn't bode well that I haven't felt anything for this sweater from the beginning.  Not a lot of interest.  Haven't felt the urge to just sit all day knitting, nor the excitement of seeing it grow, anticipating the beautiful finished garment.  I have NO love for this sweater.  Never have.   And that's really strange for me.  Even after the beautiful buttons with the stamped Celtic design came in the mail.....nada.

Well, it won't be all bad.  If nothing else, I'll have another Aran sweater......that I will just love!

Pictures will be coming.

Monday, March 16, 2015

And the Beat Goes On.......

Remember that song by Sonny and Cher?  An oldie but a goodie.  And so true.

After almost 2 weeks, daughter is finally settled in her apartment.  Every box unpacked, everything arranged, all decorations up.  And she LOVES it!!  We took a shopping trip on Saturday to a different end of town.  She's never been there, but we have.  It was just her and I.  We shopped, stopped for lunch and shopped some more.  She commented a few times  "this is fun!"  "I'm having a lot of fun, aren't you?" (why yes, I am!)  "this is so much fun!"   I think she really enjoyed the day!

The sweater I'm knitting for SIL.....just about finished with the raglan arm decrease on the last panel.  When I notice something's. just. not. right.  I'm running out of stitches to decrease before the top of the front panel is finished.  Lay it out.  Measure.  Count the pattern repeats.  Look at where the stitch panels begin to decrease.  Ahhh......yes.  Just as I suspected.....I do believe I was doing a double decrease - wrong side and right side - instead of just the right side only. it back to the beginning decreasing stitches.  Start over.  It's only a month behind from my appointed delivery date.  Oh well......perfection knows no time limits......right?   LOL !

Went to granddaughter's information meeting by the Army for their deployment in June.  It was an all day affair.  They had several different classes for the soldiers and family with all kinds of help in many different catagories.  Very enlightening.  She leaves the first week in June for the Middle East.  Her deployment will be anywhere from 7 months to a year.   This makes me so very sad.  But she is one tough cookie and smart as all get-out.

We've had some beautiful weather this past week.  The snow is G.O.N.E. !  And except for the pools of "quick sand" all the way up our dirt road, it's been great.  Yeah....our car looks like we've been "off-road" 4-wheeling it.  Covered in mud.  No point in going to the car wash until the road dries out.  Which may take quite a while.  Rain today.

My brother (one of 5.....a twin), who just turned 60 in December, called Friday night.  He's been diagnosed with tongue cancer.  He doesn't smoke or chew.  Did love his beer....quite a bit....until recently.  Doctor said if you don't do one, then it's probably caused by the other.  I do know the past few years have put him through the "fires of hell" and created an awful lot of stress on him.  And I'm sure that didn't help any.  He went in for a PET scan on Saturday to the University hospital.  I haven't heard how that went.  Today is the appointment with the oncologist.  I hope my brother calls tonight with an update.  He did say surgery is going to be done.

And so our own mortality slaps us in the face.  Memories of our parents, grand parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends near and far, come flooding back.  Growing up.  It's inconceivable that 30 - 40 - 50 years have gone by.  Yes, most of our elders are gone now; we made it through the loss and the sadness.  And now we've become the "elder generation".  Now it's our turn.  Our time is running short.  Who knows what the cards hold for us.  One by one, my siblings and I will leave this earth and all those we hold dear behind.  The next generation will be stepping up to the plate.

So hard to believe.  And...the....beat....goes....on.