Tuesday, March 28, 2006

V is for variegated!

30 Letter V People are off to school this morning, along with an African Violet with variegated leaves, a ball of variegated yarn & baby socks knit from variegated yarn.

Plant pictured is named Nancy Reagan; plants that went to school are Honeysuckle Rose & Baby Tears. They were just starting to bud...was hoping to get them to open a few blossoms by the time letter V arrived but no luck!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sunday, so to speak!

Happy Day After Birthday, Steph!

Traditional Sunday dinner started off with a bit of a shocker. A moment we've been waiting for with hopeful certainty, surely this day would come. Uncle Kevin said he had to say something; not trying to start something, in fact it would make my day. "George Bush is an idiot."
And then something about being "done drinking the Kool-Aid" but I was giddy with the joy of the moment, so exact quotes escape me!

There was no gloating, no joyful celebration, as we are stuck with these fools intent on ruining our country for 3 freaking more years. Just a relieved and thankful little, "well it took you long enough."

But he still thinks it's okay for the government to be spying on people without oversight or a court order. There's work to be done getting him to cough up a little more of that fruit juice he's been drinking.

Knitting News

Not that Tom has been infected by the knitting craze going on in this house, but we're planning a road trip during April vacation to Harmony. I've discovered there's a century old yarn mill here in Maine and they have a factory outlet. I also mentioned the Maine (quilt) Shop Hop going on during April and pointed out other possible stops along our route. In reality it's still too early for trout fishing, so he may just be humoring me into thinking we'll actually stop at shops generally veiwed with my nose pressed to the window at 50+ mph.

Other signs of knitting infection:
While watching DVD on Saturday (Bend it like Beckham), just as movie was ending Tom shouts, "She's Knitting a SOCK!"

On Sunday he came home with a bag of yarn that's been up on the back of the stage since he started working at 14th Street School. "Anything you can use, here?"

Thursday, March 16, 2006

In a FABRIC postcard mood!

I've agreed to be postcard pals with 2 little girls in Pennsylvania just learning the Art of Fabric Postcards! Here are 2 of my newest creations off to the post office this morning.

There's Garden Fabric, fussy cut >4x6< and then fused with 2 sided fusible web to stiff facing. The butterfly stickers didn't scan too well, but they're in a clear window with shaker confetti - evolved from the snow globe concept. I added some star buttons for balance.

Bird or butterfly buttons would have worked wonderfully . . . must go shopping?!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Well, this means WAR

I filled my coat pockets with trash bags, hooked Jasmine to her leash and decided to spend Monday's spring-like weather outside, picking up after Nasty Litterbugs. What trait in a person causes them to roll down a window of their fast moving auto and fling whatever they will to the ditch and drive off oblivious of their pigginess? How can they drive back by the next day (assuming this is not someone from away driving by, one time only?) and not notice the mounting trash heaps on the side of the road . . . knowing they contributed to the mess . . . and NOT feel guilt?

I don't understand it. I'm not willing to ignore it. Especially the stuff on OUR property. Since we live on a corner, 20+ acres gives us quite a bit of road frontage to clean up. It used to be I could convince the kids, both mine and the babysitting variety, that picking up trash was an Earth Day Event and I had willing helpers. Today it's just me and the dog!

Starting at the mailbox, we headed down to the corner. By the time we reached the stop sign Jazz was giving me the "This is NOT fun" look and I had decided it was too much effort to try picking up all of the mess and still keep her safely leashed. After filling one bag, dragging a broken trash barrel in our ditch back to the neighbors side of the road, so the trash truck would collect it on Tuesday, Jasmine got put inside and I continued up the other road by myself.

In an hour and a half and just a few 10th's of a mile, I filled 4 bags. FOUR HEAPING BAGS. Every driver of every passing car was glared at and if they could read lips at 50+ mph they know I was curious if any of this crap was theirs. It occurred to me as the last bag was filled, right at our farthest boundary and turned to trek home: I needed to rethink future plans to do this ONLY on trash day. I could drop off bags at driveways already boasting: it's trash day. I faced the folly of my plan as I realized I would be lugging 4 full bags of trash 5 miles back home. (Yeah, well a few 10th's seems like 5 miles when 4 bags of disgusting trash are being dragged back to my mailbox!) The found Walmart bag now holding about 75 cents worth of returnables did not seem payment enough. I'm hoping the spotless landscape next time I drive to town will be as satisfying as I remember it in years past.

And WAR? That's now on with our neighbor in the trailer behind our house. By the time I got all of the bags of trash down to the road, where it will be picked up and hauled away, the broken trash barrel was thrown back into the ditch on MY side of the road.

I dragged it out, spouting several loud expletive deletives and dragged it to the pile of roadside crap I had built. CURSE THEM! When I looked out later to see they had brought out their trash for tomorrow's pick up, it had tipped over. I swear . . . not me who tipped it over!
Some neighbors SUCK.

KNITTING is one of the 12 Steps!

In December of 2005, when I asked mom to teach me to knit Grammie Socks, there may have been a moment of fear hidden in there somewhere that morning. A grain of truth recognizing that if her art of socks, her knowledge of knitting was to be passed on, time was an issue.

We were headed to the eye doctor for a check up of the laser surgery done on both eyes in the past year or so and unfortunately it left her vision worse off than before the surgery. Before she could at least read. It was the damnedest thing to have a nearly legally blind parent with an inherited eye disease, most frighteningly passed on to women in our family, lift her glasses off and read better without them. Now she doesn't even have that. It takes a book held in one hand, fairly close to the face and a magnifying glass in the other. After an hour or two, her joy of reading has been replaced by a headache of gigantic proportion and arthritic hands now aching from the effort of holding both magnifier & book aloft.

I'm nearly finished reading Yarn Harlot's book, The Secret Life of a Knitter. It has been one of the funniest, laugh-out-loud reads I've enjoyed in a long time. I've been reading it slowly. . . savoring! A chapter here or there, in between knitting a sock or making letter people or fabric postcards. Sometimes housework. So when I got to the chapter What her Hands Won't Do I wasn't expecting the light hearted fuzzy feeling of my new found step towards inner peace to be replaced by sadness and fear. A knitter who can no longer knit. A knitter who gives away her beloved stash to friends who will cherish it because knitting physically hurts too much. As a quilter - or perhaps as a confessed packrat - the Stash concept for knitter's is a familiar one. But I was not ready to admit this truth likely awaits my mom. Some distant time, far too soon, knitting will hurt too much.

I put down the book and picked up the baby sock I'm working on instead. There was no way I was ready for the next chapter entitled Freaking Birds. It was clearly going to be funny and lighthearted once more. Perhaps a sad chapter needs to be savored as much a funny one?

Knitting seems to have woven itself into my daily routine without my really being aware it was happening. Maybe I've stumbled onto one of the true steps to finding my inner peace. How do I suddenly have more online bookmarks for items in a knitting folder than any other category? It remains a bit of a mystery!

As a new fan of Yarn Harlot's blog & books (also the founder of 2006 Knitting Olympics ;) I went to Amazon.com and read book reviews of her books, thinking it would help me decide if I wanted to read her books. Most of the reviewers were obviously true fans of both blog & books already. I've decided several mean reviews were either posted by Knitting Snobs or knitting book/blog writer rivals with an axe to grind. I will give the one mad about a chapter disbelieving wool allergies might be real the benefit of doubt, since Uncle Elbow once ended up in ICU and they blamed wool.

This copy of The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is borrowed through the library interloan program. I'm reading the Portland Public library's copy from four hours away! I requested her other book at the same time but Bangor Library decided to buy it, so it's going to take longer to get my hands on! I hope the publishers will/consider publishing them in large print. Having told mom of several antidotes from the book, she wants to read Secret Life next. It will take determination as this copy is very fine, small print.

Final story shared with mom before she declared she wanted to read it also:

Harlot approved method for darning socks: Hold above trash can and exclaim "Darn it!" as you deposit sock with holes into bin. I would suggest pairs go in together for this treatment, except my mismatched sock bag, overflowing in oneness, proves I have issues with letting lonely socks go.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Knitting has become my newest obsession. That and trying to learn Hardanger. This stitch work either requires natural light in front of the brightest window in the house, a trip to town for a light bulb that gives off better glow than anything currently installed or visit with an eye doctor confessing, "I can't see!" So far I'm sticking to the sunshine spot in the living room.

I'm finally "getting" the Hardanger buttonhole stitch. Though not perfect (yet) and at times wondering why on earth I think I need to persist in learning something THIS difficult to see . . . counting threads of fabric? OMG! But it's pretty and a Needle Art with history, worth my best effort. Plus it may be that I'm just too stubborn to quit? And now I have all these supplies, thanks to several trips to ACMoore with 40% coupons in hand!

I'm waiting for delivery of my newest Ebay purchase: Hardanger, Basics & Beyond by Janice Love. (Book seller notes it's even autographed ;) My starting bid of $4 won, which feels a bit like theft as the book sells for $15 at all the shops plus outrageous S/H fees. That elusive handling cost some feel compelled to charge really ticks me off! I gave up on the first copy of the book I bid on, it at $9 something. It went for nearly $18 plus S/H - a bidding war gone nutz!! Feeling quite smug with my win actually . . . that fool, HA!

But KNITTING? That can be done in just about any light; it's relaxing to do and a few mintues of channel surfing to see what's happening in the world convinces me more often than not lately to turn the crap onTV off and just knit! Frankly, I'm as surprised as anyone about it.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

"Another Weasley!"

They're FINISHED! And another (slightly wonky) W showed up on the other heel. The socks match better than I thought they ever could!

(Also finished Letter People W this week and sent them off to be with the 14th Street Cabbage Patch Kids, in between socks ;)