Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Datsany's Sweater - Finished!

The sweater is drying on my bed now. I'm really pleased with the way it came out. Also, I really loved working with the Pagewood Farm yarn. It has a wonderful hand, and the colors are fabulous!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Moonwood Farm Roving Report!

So, I succumbed to the temptations of yet another Phat Phiber participant's store. This is 3 ounces of "Disturbia" batts from Roo at Moonwood Farm. I think I got it in the mail on Thursday -- verrrrrrrry fast shipping! -- and began spinning it yesterday afternoon.
I spun about 2-1/2 oz of singles at my friend's spin-in today, then plied it all together to make this beautiful 2-ply laceweight yarn.
I just skeined this and found out I have 331 yards. People, this is 3 ounces' worth of fiber! Pretty durn good yield, if you ask me! I will probably make myself something nice and lacy. Maybe a Morning Surf scarf? And maybe I'll get frisky and add some clear, sparkly beads?
The fiber blend is 75% alpaca, 25% soy silk, plus some "Night" firestar and Silver Angelina for sparkle. I am so pleased with it!

Thank you, Roo! I'll be back....

Friday, March 27, 2009

Datsany's Sweater

My sister and I have been working to design a sweater for her grand-daughter/my grand-niece since the beginning of January. Originally, I was to do the design work, using stitch motifs my sister liked, but as I got into it, I realized we'd never get anywhere if I didn't just knit it myself, to make sure I hadn't made any mistakes in the pattern. I figured, since my sister is not as fast a knitter, that I would hit the mistakes long before she did, and be able to fix them. So, of course there were a few, but now I am very close to done.

The yarn is "Golden," and you can learn more about it and the other fabulous colorways by visiting Pagewood Farm.
My pattern calls for my own hand-dyed DK weight yarn, and that's what my sister is using. However, when I began working on this project over New Year's in St. Paul, I did not have ready access to my stash. So, what's a yarnaholic with a mission to do? I thought you'd agree. Yes, indeed, the solution was to BUY MORE YARN!!!! The color was perfect, and I couldn't resist, although it was a laceweight, which necessiated the purchase of two humungous skeins, so I could knit with a double strand and also be guaranteed to have enough yarn to finish what I started. All I have left to do now is one sleeve, and a crocheted picot edging on all the Feather & Fan parts.There will be a LOT of this yarn leftover, and I'm reasonably certain it is going to become something gorgeous and lacy for moi. Oooh!

The Cat Came Back

This is Steve. He's possibly a Himalayan mix, with what the vet called "flame points," and he was a stray. My daughter found him wandering the streets around Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, MA. He followed her from the parking lot to the library, where she left him, expecting he'd be gone a couple of hours later when she went back out to the parking lot.

Not only was he not gone, but he miaowed at her continually, and followed her up a very long flight of stairs to the parking lot, and all the way to her car. So, she felt sorry for him, felt he had chosen her, and brought him home, and tried to hide him in her room.

Well, that didn't work out, because he is quite vocal in that Siamese-ish sort of way, and around Thanksgiving, Keith, Daphne, and I were introduced to Lord Steven Catsby.

Did I mention that I have a horrible allergy to cats? As in, full-blown asthma attacks?

Or at least, that's the way it has been all my life, up 'til now. Perhaps breathing filtered air through my CPAP machine is what's helping, or maybe this is an allergy I have finally outgrown, or asthma meds are just so darn much better than they used to be, or....?

I did not react at all to my sister's three cats when I spent a long weekend at her house in January. This is a first. Of course, I medicated the way I always do, but in the past the meds have only just taken the edge off.

So, I have been rather fearlessly spending time with Steve, patting him and holding him, and always being sure to wash my hands well with soap afterwards. So far, so good.

Until Last Tuesday night, when Steve snuck out the door, unbeknownst to my husband. We were up half the night, calling for him out in the woods behind our house, and fearing the worst, as we do have coyotes around here.

We left food out for him twice a day, and the food disappeared, and we knew Steve was the recipient, because we kept seeing him at the dish at odd times of the day and night. However, he would not allow himself to be caught, and if any of us went near, he turned into a hissing Halloween cat. We would have worried about possible disease, if not for the fact that Steve got all his shots on Balls-Away Day back in December. This was definitely a case of him being Ornery, probably due to the fact that it's Spring.

Monday night, we almost had him. He had been coming into the porch twice a day to eat, as we had left the door open for him, in hopes of trapping him whilst he porked down the cat food. Too bad he heard the dogs barking, and Daphne's feet in the leaves as she tried to sneak up to the door and shut it. He was off like a streak, hissing with a vengeance, and Daphne had to back off.

Tuesday, we were out for the evening, and though I left food for Steve, I did not refill his dish until 6:30 AM on Wednesday. As I opened the door, a little white streak dashed away around the corner. So I put food out, and figured he'd be on the run yet another day, and toyed with the idea of buying a Havahart trap.

Then Daphne spotted something white on the stone wall behind the house, while she was waiting for the bus. I didn't hear her say it, as I was at my computer, trying to whip my Etsy shop into shape. So, when Keith yelled, "We got him!" it didn't quite register in my mind for a few seconds, who was "we" and whom had "we" got.

Then, as I went into the living room, there was Phoebe coming in through the porch door with Steve in her arms! Well!

He had gotten in a scrap with another cat, judging from all the scabs on his neck and body, and he had some ticks, which he did NOT enjoy having picked off, but he was back, safe in the house, purring his head off. He is acting now, as if he never left, and we are so happy to have him back!

I gave him two full cans of salmon Fancy Feast to celebrate, and also bought him a new feathers-on-a-stick toy, and a big jar of Pounce salmon treats. His first night back in the house, he slept on the bed between me and Keith. I have never heard a cat purr so loud!

Right now he is sitting on top of my printer, looking up wistfully at my mother-in-law's canary. (I'm only babysitting the bird, and hopefully he'll go back home soon, when my MIL is well enough to take care of him again.)

I feel like I cannot get enough of this kitty! I didn't realize how attached I'd gotten to him, until he was gone and I feared he would come to harm.

Picture above was snapped yesterday, while he napped on my kitchen counter, in between the microwave, the Kitchen Aid mixer, and a bunch of bananas.

Did I mention that I'm thrilled beyond belief that he came back?

Oh, yeah, I guess I did...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I Got Phat!

I participated in the March Phat Fiber sampler box and sent in enough Mad Angel Creations goodies to receive my own box of goodies from Jessie. There's some really great stuff in this little box, and I know I'll be visiting the shops of my fellow Phatties in future, when finances permit. I got a good mix of spinning fibers and yarn samples, and will have a lot of fun playing with them. The spinning samples will be spun on one of my spindles, I think, so I can get maximum yardage out of them.

The March theme was, of course, Celtic, so how could I resist?

New stuff in my store as of today -- some cool, kettle-dyed sock yarns, and better pics of some of my current inventory. I finally figured out I should do my photographs using a tripod, a neutral -- NOT bright white -- background, and an Ott light, strategically placed. It's not perfect, but it's way better than what I was getting before. My spinning batts, in particular, have really benefited from this treatment. Check it out, if you feel like it, and if you do, thanks as always for looking.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What is Paula Wearing?

I am not trying to copycat my friend, James, but couldn't resist saying What Is Paula Wearing, because this is the closest thing you'll ever see to designer fashion on this body.
I bought this suit in Galway in 2005. It's a silk/polyester blend, heavy on the silk. I probably paid more for this outfit than any other garment I own, except my wedding dress. I did not want to come home from Ireland with yet another Aran sweater, when I am perfectly capable not only of knitting, but designing, my own, and doing it with no-name quality yarns on the cheap.Anyway, I haven't worn this too often in the last five years, though it is made of a very "forgiving" fabric. (I.e., it stretches to accomodate my arse, even when said arse is larger than it is now.) But before I lost weight, this outfit made me look "matronly." At 47, I might be of the proper age to be considered "matronly," and I have had two kids, but...

"Matronly." Sheesh! I refuse to go there yet. I'm still painting the gray away, too. I like being a redhead a bit too much. Some of my roots were coming in WHITE. Eventually, I'll let it happen, I guess, but not yet. Not yet...

Anyway, I'm thrilled to death that it feels so good to wear this outfit again. My daughter Phoebe has one in spring green, which she has never worn and probably never will, and I am about to commandeer that one as well. It will make a fine Easter outfit.

How apropos. I do feel as if I'm rising from the dead, after all. By this time next year, I hope, literally, to be half the woman I used to be!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Before and After

The pictures speak for themselves, I think!Sometimes it's hard for me to see progress until I put the images side by side. Granted, I still have a long way to go -- 60 pounds' worth -- but this gives me reassurance that I'll get there in time. The scale tells a good tale, too, as does the change in clothing sizes.

Those Levis I bought about a month ago? One pair, which sits a bit below the waistline, feels like it's going to fall down. The other pair, which thankfully has some spandex in it and falls at the natural waistline, will adjust and fit for a while yet. When they first arrived in the mail, neither pair fit. They were way too tight, and I considered returning them and buying a larger size. Instead, I took a leap of faith and hung them up in the closet for couple of weeks. They weren't comfortable when I first started wearing them, but now?

I can sit, stand, move, and breathe while wearing them, without thinking about it or feeling the least bit uncomfortable. That's progress!

I tried my first yoga workout today, using a video I ordered from Gaiam, which is supposed to focus on weight loss. There are a number of different levels to choose from, but I couldn't figure out how to do that and inadvertently chose the hardest one of all. Duh! Of course, I found out after the fact, but was pleased to find I was able to do the workout, anyway, though I wasn't able to stretch as far as the instructor did. Oh, well, live and learn. Tomorrow I'll figure out how to go back to the paddy-ass version and start slow.

For something that looks so simple when you watch others do it, this workout was surprisingly challenging. I also felt pretty good when I was done, physically and mentally, though I had a touch of nausea at the end. Wonder why? But that feeling passed in time and I was able to eat lunch as usual. It might have had something to do with waiting too long after breakfast to take my vitamins. (If there isn't enough food in my stomach, vitamins will make me feel ill. I found this out years ago, while pregnant. Ended up puking behind a dumpster in a hotel parking lot. Blecch. And it was the vitamins that set me off. I was fine until I took them. Go figure!)

I need to accomplish some spinning today, but it's so gloomy and nasty out, I feel gray and lazy. Perhaps it's time for another episode of Bleak House. I can watch while I spin, or else continue listening to Charles Aznavour and settle down on the chaise with Inishmaan. I finished the front over the weekend, and have started the back. Photos another time, when we have sun again and I can take some out on the deck. Otherwise, why bother? If I did it now, you wouldn't see any of the cable work.

I am so ready for winter to be over, and to have a nice, long spring. None of this instant sumer nonsense, thank you very much!

Soon it will be time to evaluate what plantings from last spring survived our "black thumbs" and the hard winter, and to decide what other cheap, no-maintenance flowers we can plant this year. I'm thinking, nasturtiums again, and marigolds, and zinnias, all of which did well last year despite our gardening ineptitude!This was our last nasturtium, as photographed by Daphne sometime around the 13th or 14th of November. A few days later, the frost finally got to it, and it gave up clinging to the downspout. We were amazed that it hung on as long as it did, considering how its less sheltered brethren had withered away bit by bit in previous weeks as the frosts came.

I love nasturtiums. Can't wait to have a riot of them growing wildly by the back door again!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

I Found an Old Friend Again!

As often happens with so many of us, I had a good friend in my last year of high school, with whom I shared a locker and spent hours working beside in Crafts class, and once I graduated, I think we saw each other once, a year or two later. Time went by, and I found him again, thanks to Classmates.com, and we corresponded briefly. As usual, life intervened, and I never did have a chance to keep up any kind of regular correspondence, though I thought of him often.

Life takes funny twists and turns sometimes, and I happened to run into his sister yesterday. One of those friend of a friend of a friend scenarios, and we got to chatting, and she told me about her brother's blog.

Well! Needless to say, I googled for it promptly when I got home, and was delighted to find my old friend, who had always had a great sense of aesthetics and style, has an even greater sense of it now, as well as a grand sense of humor, and he certainly seems nowhere near as shy and quiet as he was so many years ago. I am delighted, and looking forward to staying in touch better this time around. My kids are older, and I have a little more time on my hands than I did a few years ago.

Please enjoy his blog, What Is James Wearing? He really looks fabulous -- and happy -- and I'm happy for him!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Day Early...

Loved, missed, and never to be forgotten.
Happy birthday, Rory.

Everyone please enjoy a few of his finest moments, and raise a toast to The Wee Man.

It's the Same Thing

Don't Know Where I'm Going

Do You Read Me?