Monday, March 30, 2009

The Weekend Becomes the Week.

Rue came to visit on Friday evening, and in order to prevent potential damage to work projects (there was a wee bit of rum going around) I cast on a sweater for Kristie's baby who's coming in April (Because, as I told Rue, "Babies don't really care if their sweaters are drunk!")For the record let's remember that drunk is a relative term. I think being able to cast on and knit cables until past midnight without error will give you an idea of the relative state of my inebriation. Anyway, the pattern is exceptionally well written, easy to follow, and I am enjoying it immensely. It is the Aran Pullover from Knitting for Baby by Kristin Nicholas and Melanie Falick. This is one of my all time favorite go-to baby books. I did modify it a bit - in the round instead of flat, but that's me. This pattern also appears in a Leisure Arts pamphlet titled Time for Baby along with 5 other garments. I love the book though which has 30 projects in all, including some adorable bootees, felted bags, a sweater for mom, and the cutest teddy bears.
Saturday evening we relaxed on the deck with dogsI don't look relaxed. There is a camera (I don't love them), I am wearing my Rhinebeck hoodie under which I could house a small family (which means I look a bit Beluga), but I am, trust me, very happy. I love my deck. It's over a brook, and there's chickens and my garden in front of me. Gene grills supper and sits beside me, and life is good and at peace.
We celebrated Earth Hour Saturday night by shutting off the power at 8:30. We did leave the pellet stove running, since it was cold and it is our primary heat source right now. But no lights, no computers. Just an oil lamp with chairs pulled close.In the end we celebrated Earth-Two-Hours a bit by accident. We were so happy sitting and being quiet that we forgot to turn lights on. We're discussing making it a regular thing, once a week; no lights, just peace.
A decision was made to invest in a macro lens so that I can take better pictures of socks and things for patterns. As a result of this purchase my brain fell out in the direction of the camera again, and it is only with great restraint that I have kept my hands off of it since my noon-time walk. Only 85 pictures today. Not all 85 are here, I promise. But we've got a few. Surveyor's TransitBricks. Or mortar, really.
Girl's African Violet which I still have not killed, miraculously.
This is my doorbell. It has a leather string and a clapper, and you have to ring it fairly vigorously, but I love it for that.
It is topped with a flying pig, but I like the rusty bell part better.
A lilac bud with a drop of water.
A tree trunk in the yard.
This should be a daffodil in a few days.
Columbine, which I adore and have a ton of. There was some here and I brought other colors from our old house.
Fungus. I do love fungi, you'll remember!
An old slate path block.
Garlic, heralding the production of scapes and eventually fresh garlic bulbs, and I cannot wait! We can thank Cirilia for this. If she hadn't been willing to bring me seed garlic from Garlic and Arts, this bed would not be doing what it's doing now.
One curly kale, which survived the winter.
Rhubarb bursting forth. It's reminiscent of babies crowning to me.
Boo, just because I love his face.
An old and very decrepit birdhouse on a very old and decrepit tree.
And a bit of bark, to finish things off.

I am sure I'll get over the new obsession given sufficient time. I hope. Or maybe, deep down, I don't hope at all.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Join me on Saturday...

not in person, you can join me from wherever you are. On Saturday March 28, 8:30pm your local time, just shut it all off and spend one hour without that buzzing juice we all rely on so heavily. One hour to draw awareness - our own included - to the earth.
For some ideas about what to do with your hour, asuming you are not a knitter, or are a knitter who does not own a candle, look here.
C'mon. It's just an hour!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Many Pictures, Few Words.

Just things I love, or that are making me happy right now.
Sad small dogs in need of baths after a long long walk in the mud.
My labeler, even if some of the old ones won't come off...because it's so handy for labeling any and everything so beautifully, even Gene's sweetners.Gail's colors. This one is called Claypot, and it feels like a clay pot.Potholders and hotpads. "My First Swap". I am so nervous. But I forgot how much I love the hook, and this is reminding me.Boo-Boo, who thinks any fallen tree is a stick, regardless of size.
and who has the most beautiful face. I love this dog.Rooster tails.The wood pile. I love the texture and the color and the geometry of it.Eleanor. The oldest chicken I have ever had, having outlived Napoleon by a year, and she was older than he was when we brought them all home. But you'd never know it. I am not sure how she managed to avoid the coyote when many younger and more spry birds went down like so many bowling pins. She's something else entirely.Freshet. Or any water, really.If there is one thing I would deeply miss were we to move...
it would be the brooks.

And most importantly, April.

"We" were watching a documentary dvd of the Grand Canyon and Mel came over to visit.
That's all! I am working like a canine person, and don't have time for words, so I went with pictures instead. What do you love?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Once Upon a Time

(yeah, I think the title is recycled, but it'll work)
Anyway. Once upon a time I had a baby. It was a very pink baby, not in the stereotypical gender way, although it was a Girl baby, just generally a very pink person with a shock of very dark hair on it's head and huge dark eyes that gazed intently at you, like they could see through you really.She had an angry face that only softened when presented with the sounds and smells of mommy.
She loved to nurse. She loved eye contact. And I loved her. Deeply, madly, truly adored that infant with that face and those huge brown eyes.
Today that infant is 21 years old, and I still love her, truly, madly deeply. But now she's a voting, drinking, fully legal citizen of the country I birthed her in.
Lately around here there's been a lot of new people. Aidan, April, Emily, and another one on the way. Babies, new life, new lives. And there's been not-so-young people; my mother, needing my attention in a very new way and needing my time in ways I didn't really expect.
In the middle of all of this, Megan, this Girl, MY baby has suddenly turned Twenty-One. (This is where I say "when I was 21...")Well, when I turned 21 I walked into a package store to buy a bottle of wine. They didn't card me, and I was horribly insulted by this because I know I didn't look 21. I also wasn't really going to drink the wine. I wasn't going to drink the wine because I was pregnant. Very pregnant. With...Girl. Girl who is today 21, not pregnant, and away at college on an important day.
So, Happy Birthday Girl. Don't do anything I wouldn't do. Although since by 21 I was married with a toddler and't do anything I don't want you to do. But have fun.(Girl's Second Birthday)
I love you.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Poor Little King.

Once upon a time in the Land of Faraway, there lived a Poor Little King.
He rarely complained about his poor little state, which made him all the more pitiful. Silently he toiled in earnest at the direction of the Gentle if Easily Distracted and Often Clueless/Self-absorbed Queen. He fetched and carried large loads of heavy wood with which to heat the castle. He took away the evil white death when it fell from the sky so that the Queen could more effectively feed her small flock of chickens, or walk her dogs, or get to her car. In the summer he weeded and hoed and picked cotton until...(Oh wait. Wrong story. No cotton. But yes on weeding and hoeing.) He built fences to keep out the Antlered Rats. He prepared gourmet meals for the Queen as she sat nearby engaging in an activity she insisted was "work". He was, in general, the perfect King. Sometimes unappreciated, always uncompensated, but deeply loved and for some strange reason deeply committed to the nutty little Queen he'd attached himself to.

The Queen had an unusual job. She wrote knitting patterns, and books about this crazy technique called 2-at-a-Time Socks. This meant that she devoted a lot of her time to yarn and needles in the pursuit of (relative) fame and (even more relative) fortune. Items fell from her needles like raindrops from the sky, one after the other, all useful things like hats and sweaters and mittens and very often socks.

Lots of people reaped the benefits of her skills. Magazine buyers. Book buyers. And Knitters. But the Poor Little King got nothing, or so it often seemed. Neglected and forgotten was he. Not his infamous Norwegian pullover (Dale of Norway #121 Finnskogen, in progress since 2005), nor his hastily designed and knitted up zip front cardigan (circa 2007 or so, still lacking the zip), not even socks for the soles of his poor little feet (except the four or five pair in the drawer upstairs, or maybe they were in the washer...but I digress).

Now it happened that one evening while resting in the Room of Living and watching a DVD with the Queen, the Poor Little King slipped off his shoes in order to enhance the R&R experience. He'd spent yet another long day toiling on behalf of her highness while she was off galavanting with knitters; he'd replaced a broken faucet, swept her side of the garage (the one with the door that opens at the touch of a button - he has to open his by hand, poor thing), filled the dogs' water bowl, took steak out of the freezer for dinner, that sort of thing. As the cat, the dreaded Mel (aka Mervin the Destroyer, Dr. Drool and AARRG! You Miserable Animal Would You Just Shut Up), jumped into the Poor Little King's lap, the queen turned her head and saw...
It is, perhaps, too painful to relate. Too horrible for words. I cannot speak it without a tremble:HOLES. Not one. Not two. But a million holes. And not in a nice hand knit sock either (which is good for the little king, because if he gets a hole in those and fails to report it, well, there could be trouble). In hideous orlon, nylon, acrylic, some gross plastic MACHINE knit socks!
The Queen hung her head in shame. Sorrow filled her little self-absorbed heart when she saw the ragged holes in the crappy store-bought socks, and she swore that in the future she would do better by her beloved Poor Little King who sacrificed Wait a second.

Does anyone else feel like maybe I've been set up here? On reviewing pictures I see holey socks not one evening but two evenings, in a row. Two evenings in which the "poor" little king "accidentally" placed a foot covered in a holey sock directly within my line of vision then did something with the cat that caught my attention and caused me to raise my camera. Regardless. Obviously someone around here needs new socks. And since it isn't me, my guess is it's him. Back to the tale.

The Queen ran to her office/yarn room and dug out a huge pile of potentially appropriate sock yarn in colors that she'd specially selected so as not to offend the sensibilities of the king who, when it came to color, could be (and I am putting it mildly) a bit of a snot. The King chose two from the giant stack (Two!? From a whole stack. Two.); Socks That Rock in Ravenscroft that he thinks " too dark but might do" (Knitters, if you want to explain to him about STR, feel free. I don't care if it's neon pink with puce and fuchsia spots. Wear it and be happy, foolish man) and Misty Mountain Farm Jubilee Sandy Foam. (If you know how many skeins, hanks and balls of yarn I have brought home truly believing he would like them only to be rejected, it would make your head swim. Favorite colorways include and are pretty limited to: Schaefer Dian Fossey and Lorna's Laces Camouflage. The yarn can be made out of anything as long as it's those colors)

The Queen made the hanks into balls ready to knit socks for the Poor Little King, 2-at-a-Time, of course. Just as soon as she finishes the rug for Kathy. Oh and a sweater for Barb and socks for Rue and socks for Schaefer and socks for Kathy and...well. Eventually, you know. Like that Norwegian pullover.

After the crisis of the socks was resolved, Mel decided he wanted to be yarn. And not just any yarn, mind you. He wants to be Berkshire Bulky.A new colorway he'd like called "Mervin the Destroyer", although he'll settle for "Mel". When I told him I did not think Kathy was going to name yarn after "a dumb cat", he swore, and pulled off his ball band in disgust.Maybe I could have chosen my words better. But really. Who names yarn after a cat? Good thing he's an indoor cat, or we'd have to warn Kathy to keep her doors and windows locked extra tight.

Poor Little King Sock Saga to be continued...stay tuned!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Highly Confidential Messages in My Breakfast

This post began on 3/12 and it's now 3/14. So the secret message in my breakfast was actually on Thursday. The internets ate my post. Evil, evil internets.
I've been working on these little sockies, for Schaefer, with lovely beads. The yarn is their new Nichole which I am enamored of.
I also love this pattern, maybe because of the sparkly bits?

In a continuing effort to stick to Elizabeth's year, I started a chainmail swatch hat based on the March "Difficult but not Really Sweater". That's as far as we're going with March this time around. I am considering backing up to January and making the Aran instead.It will take more than a year to do this. Work interferes.
I'm also making a Nantucket rug in a hurry for Kathy who's currently at the happiest place on earth. I dove into my Berkshire Bulky stash for this
and pulled out colors that I liked, and worked well together. It is more than half done now, and more to knit this evening. I must say that I feel compelled now to knit one for myself. I was thinking that if I fold it in half, knit some i-cord about the edges, and felt it down and we're talking supremo portable sub-standard sized canine sleep surface.
Here there was this sarcastic bit about the secret message on my plate at breakfast, but since the internet ate it and the moment has passed, I no longer feel compelled to be pithy or charming about it. There it is, a message on my plate. Yawn.
Whatever it says, it came off with a little scrub.
I think I don't love satellite internet, but I think it's faster than dial-up. Rain, snow, fog, mist, and haze all mean no internet.
Oh hey! Coolest gadget ever for natural peanut butter people? Ready for this? I found a mixer!