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Archive for March, 2011

Ahh… spring in the south, flowers, light breezes, going without a coat for the first time in months… then…  after a few pleasantly warm days the trees burst out and spewed pollen on everything.  But Nature is sneaky.  It’s going to rain all weekend.  Which means I may not have to wash all the green dust off my car just yet.

Then again, it’s not just a little spring rain.  No, this is the full fledged, gully washer, take no prisoners rain.  The monsoons are here, head for higher ground.   Last night the water rushing along the curb outside was up to the axle of my car.  I worked 2 hours longer than I intended to yesterday because I didn’t want to drive home until there was a chance I could make it all the way without having to pull over until:

A.  I could see the road

B. The other drivers could see me.

C.  I wasn’t likely to encounter water too deep to drive through-  like the bridge near the golf course where no matter how many times they “improve” things it is still underwater when it rains.

Later, as I lay sleeping, I was jolted awake by a crack of thunder and a flash of lightning that was so loud and so bright I thought it had hit the building.  The cat next to me jumped straight up in to the air and made a noise as if she had been struck.  The other cat came running into the bedroom, full speed, jumped on the bed and huddled next to me shaking.  I spent the rest of the night with a cat pushing against me on either side.

It’s touching to know they have such faith in me- even if it is a bit misplaced.  Really, girls, what do think I can do about the lightning?  It’s not likely I could save myself.

I finished my beret and it is a lovely thing.  I found the pattern to be very well written and easy to follow as well as being interesting enough to hold my interest.

Not so much my next project:  Adia.   There isn’t a chart, just written instructions.  I cast on and started it 3 times last night.  I kept having the same problem.  Not enough stitches at the end of row 1, too many at the end of row 2.  I, of course, assumed the problem was knitter error so I decided to make my own chart in an effort to see what I was doing wrong.  I got 4 rows along and behold,  there seems to be a error in the 1st 2 rows of the pattern.  I’m going to chart out the entire repeat and see if I can fix it before I start again.

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At the ground that is.  Flowers growing thru cracks in the sidewalk are so hopeful.  These are growing out of a bit of broken curb in front of my apartment.  Which is really bold of this little plant-  cars park up over that curb regularly.  Not really a shrinking violet now is it?

I could use some hope this week.  I would like to think I could be as reasonable and polite as the Japanese seem to be about having to live in a shelter or worse, without one.  Just waiting, not knowing if any family members are alive and knowing they have no home to return to.  Since there are days when  I can’t go to the grocery store  without wanting to thrash everyone there, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t  be able to face disaster with any degree of equanimity.  It is however something I can hope for.

I promised to post pictures of my Rose Window Beret:

I really like the pattern it is just complicated enough to keep me interested without being so challenging it makes me want to swear and throw it.  I think it will be very pretty when it’s finished and blocked.

I do hope if I ever get caught in a disaster that I have some knitting with me.

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What, you may ask, is behind the door?

It is St. Patrick’s Day after all and my father and grandparents and long forgotten ancestors would all haunt me into my grave and beyond if I didn’t acknowledge it in some way.

So it is a leprechaun?   A shamrock?  A marathon showing of  “The Quiet Man”?

Wait, wait, don’t tell me…  The door will open and horde of Celtic dancers in green kilts and knee socks will come prancing out.

The observant among you will have noticed the sheep silhouette next to the door.

This year I am not indulging in green beer, wearing a shamrock on my lapel, or a button that says “Kiss Me I’m Irish.

No, this year in honor of the Blessed Saint, I give you:

Big green machines.  Specifically machines for turning fleece into yarn.  Because last weekend I went with a few friends to visit a small indie fiber mill in North Georgia.  This particular machine  is a carder.  It does pretty much what a hand carder would do but faster.

The fleece is washed first, then it goes thru a smaller, also green machine to draw in out into what will feed thru the carder.  A small set of rollers on one side of the carder turns it into roving.  Then It goes to the pin drafter, another green machine that makes a lot of really irritating noise.  The roving falls from here into a big canister and is ready to spin.

This is the one that actually spins the roving into yarn.  This is the tricky part.  Some fibers, especially blends,  are more prone to separate and cause breaks.  The owner, here, had just shown us some really beautiful soft suri/silk blend she had been working on which was not playing nicely at all.  It was a bit like trying to spin the undercoat from a Golden Retriever.

The other side of this machine is used for plying the yarn.

Then the yarn  has to be wound into skeins on this:

A giant mechanized niddy noddy.  Then you get to take home some lovely yarn.

I learned that most small mills like this one use second hand equipment that has to be kept running with duct tape, prayer, and a network of people who understand this machinery.  It also doesn’t hurt to make friends with a machinist or engineer in case irreplaceable parts have to be replaced.

I was very impressed by how much thought and research and knowledge went into the entire process.  I won’t ever  look at the fleeces at  SAFF quite the same way.   I confess, I want to buy one  and have the mill make me some yarn.  Seems like it would be worth it.

May you have a Grand St Paddy’s Day and all.

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7:30 am, Sunday morning, formerly 6:30 am.

!@#$%^&  Time change.  Who the !@#$ is responsible for this and where are they so I can give them a piece of my mind.

Get up, get up, get up.  Time to go play with friends.

I spent the day with friends visiting a fiber mill in North Georgia.  Pictures sometime next week when I can can tear myself away from my latest project.

After 3 days of indecision and waffling between 4 yarns and 2 projects because all of the yarns were suited to both of the patterns, I tossed everything back into the basket and started the Rose Window Beret from  the Spring 2010 Interweave Knits.  I am using some Knitting Notions Sport in a very pretty soft blue.  The pattern is really clever and intricate but it’s a small project so it’s pretty quick going.  I expect to finish it this week, or at least next weekend.  No picture because it really doesn’t look like much yet.

Meanwhile I’m hoping to get a little perspective on the what to knit after this.

But the Maple Creek Farms is soooo lovely and it wants to be something so bad.  But the Issager is would be so pretty in that… but would it be nicer in something varigated?  How about the Smooshy?  The shawl would be perfect in Smooshy… but it’s orange… what would you wear it with?  You really should be knitting a sweater with the yarn you bought 3 yrs ago, or was it 4?  Then there’s the….

 

 

 

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Friday when I got home from my knitting group there was a message from the mattress company informing me that the window for my mattress delivery was 7-10am Saturday.

7 am.  Great.

That means  big burly men will be arriving to take away my old bed while I am, more than likely, still in it.

Maybe they could just roll me over onto the new one and slide the old one away?

What about the stuff stored under the bed?

Would meeting them at the door in my Pj’s be so bad?  It would make it so much easier-  I could just get right into the new one and pick up where I left off when I was  cruelly awakened…

When will you be taking the headboard off the old frame then?  Please don’t tell me you actually think it’s safe to use a drill before you have had coffee?   or put your contacts in?

When was the last time you cleaned under the bed?  Aren’t you ashamed to let anyone see those mammoth sized dust balls?  Do you think they are going to stand by patiently, holding the new mattress, while you sweep where the old one was?

I can just get up really early and do all of that.

Because you’ve recently revised your opinion that the alarm is just a suggestion of a good time to get up?

I did not spend the rest of my Friday evening wallowing on the sofa in front of the TV.   I did not work on  the pair of mitts that just needed a few thumb rows to finish.  I did not get on Facebook or Ravelry.

I went into action.  I pulled the stuff out from under the bed, dusted it off and found new homes for it.  I moved the bed and gathered up an entire warren of dust bunnies and swept them into the netherworld.  I flipped the mattress and box springs off, got out the drill and removed the headboard.  I moved furniture and works of art and junk out of the way so the delivery guys would have a straight shot into the bed room.  I was on a roll.  I was focused, driven, nothing could stop me.

Then it became clear that I had completely panicked the cats. Imp was dashing around the room in mad circles, jumping from the top of the armoire to the dresser, knocking things over, clawing whatever she could.  She was prepared to bite off her own tail if the need should arise.  Because in their world when the furniture starts shifting about then the apocalypse must be at hand.  Lilith, whose emotional needs center around food, headed for the kitchen and began to search for something to eat.  She sniffed every dish on the counter.  She investigated the sink.  She stuck her head in the trash. She sniffed over every inch of the floor searching for crumbs.  When she couldn’t find anything she paced the floor and tangled herself between my legs, crying.

The rest of my evening was spent nestled on the couch with two nervous kitties and the can of Feelaway.

The actual delivery, scary men and all wasn’t as bad.  Lilith isn’t speaking to me right now because she had planned to hide under the bed when the guys came in and then they took her refuge away but other than that we are now all calm and settled.  At least, I am.   Imp and Lilith aren’t so sure.

This might be where I usually nap, but it just doesn’t feel right.

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