Sunday, November 22, 2009

Feels like winter!

Sometimes I do wonder just what it is I love about living in the South. (Hint: it's the geography.)

Today is a few degrees warmer that it would be in dead winter, but it feels like a winter's day. It's cold and rainy. These cold, rainy days can be so bonechilling. It makes me really glad that this isn't medieval England, and I'm not in some stony home wearing 15 layers of clothing and still not being able to warm my hands.

I've been doing all sorts of research online today. Business names, suppliers, etc. Emailing the accountant. I'm going to stop being a lazy bum (although it's really fun) and start dyeing yarns. I do have ideas of colorways I want to make up. I'll give it a go and see what happens. Worst comes to worst, I'll know I'm really awful at it and need to go back to bookkeeping. Best case scenario, I become the next Wollmeise! :) (If you believe that, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Great price.) I guess I shouldn't be self-deprecating as who knows what the universe has in store for us. I could really be the next Wollmeise, watching knitters swarm my shop like ...hmm, all analogies going that way aren't perhaps the ones I should be using. I tell you, I'm a little warped.

There has still been knitting on the February Lady Sweater. I'd take a picture, but it doesn't look much different from last week. Just a little longer. I'll be getting to the lacy part pretty soon, and then it should be good picture fodder again.

I suppose I'd better go figure out what we're having for dinner tonight. I'd planned to make something in the crockpot, but we napped, and now it's too late for that. I'll make it on Tuesday, when hopefully the leftovers from whatever I make tonight are all gone.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Arborist number 2

The second arborist has come and gone, and he told me almost the exact same things arborist number 1 did. I still can't describe the relief. Sure, who wouldn't be thrilled to not have to spend thousands of dollars to have trees removed, but to me, it's more than the money. I really like having trees in the backyard. In the summer time, when it's hot, and I'm trudging up to the composter, I can feel the difference in temperature the instant I get under the trees. Hmm, I'd better remember to check for ticks though. Ticks are a small price to pay to keep my cats, squirrels, woodpeckers, owls and all the other birds who visit happy.

I do have a small something to share. I had ordered some Feliway, the cat pheromone that helps to calm kitties. Keith knew I had ordered it as I mentioned it to him. The box arrived, and I left it unopened on the cedar trunk near the door. When Keith noticed it, he asked, "What's in the box? Yarn?" I think I may be getting a little predictable!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy news from an arborist

Several months ago, you may remember, we had to dig up most of our backyard to have a new drain field installed.

Some of the trees had a lot of their roots damaged and dug up during the installation, and I've been worried about them. I had called the county extension service and spoken to a master gardener volunteer who told me that the roots wouldn't regrow, and I should just have all the trees removed.

I called a tree company that we had used before and been quite happy with what I'd been told at the time, but this time when I got an estimate, it was from one of the salesmen, and he wants to take down nine (9!) trees from the backyard.

Ok, they're not the best trees. They are pine trees and sweet gums, but they form part of the squirrel superhighway from the far reaches of the backyard and all the neighbors' yards to our roof, from which a squirrel can easily reach the birdfeeders via the large ligustrum with only a few feet of cat gauntlet to run. Yeah, I doubt that sentence is grammatically correct, but I'm leaving it as is.

I've been dreading taking down all the trees. Sure, it's expensive. As in OMG! You want me to pay what?! More importantly though, I have memories in those trees. The redheaded woodpeckers that hollowed out a nest cavity in the old dead tree, and finally left after the tree fell. They lived there for several years. It was so cool. We both loved to watch them.

There was the night I knew we'd have to put our husky Ripper to sleep. He was so uncomfortable. He had lost so much weight that I could carry him from outside to his bed inside and back again several times that night. I sat outside with him, listening to him breathing and trying to comfort him while an owl hooted in the trees above us. It was such a sad, difficult night, but there was also the wonder of hearing that owl keeping watch with me.

Then there was one night when we heard an owl very close by making the strangest sounds we'd ever heard an owl make. It sounded like a very happy owl trying to hoot around a mouthful of rodent, and it was almost just outside the window.

I've procrastinated calling other tree services since I was afraid what they would say, but I forced myself to call 2 more yesterday.

The first arborist came today and tramped around my hellishly messy backyard (we've not done anything to it since the drainfield was installed as we've been waiting for any treework to be completed and for the weather to cooperate for longer than 24 hours. It's rained so much that the red clay sticks like crazy to your shoes. But, I digress.) After looking around, quizzing me about when the work was done, he said, none of them look like they need to come down right now. If they were in danger of coming down, we would have seen some dieback, and he didn't see any evidence of that. A couple need to be trimmed, and several need to be checked again in the spring when they start to leaf out again.

That was the best news I've heard in some time. I do have 1 more arborist/tree service coming to take a look, but now I'm actually ready to go do some work in my backyard. It won't be all torn up again, and I'll be able to make some headway back there. It will be a very Zen experience as I go pick up all those rocks that now litter the surface. (Or it may just be utterly maddening.)

To keep this a little fibery, I did ply my singles the other night. The yarn is balanced now, but I don't think it's plied that well. Gale suggested I run it through the wheel again and add more twist to the plying. I'm thinking about it while the yarn rests. I've got to take pictures and post them soon.

As for now, it feels like midnight since it's been dark for hours already. I think bed and a book are calling to me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sorry that I misinformed you

I really and truly thought I'd be back to blogging more regularly this past week, and before I knew it, a whole week had gone by.

At least I've got some pictures for you today.

Miss Grey has been a velcro kitty today. A quick word about Grey, a.k.a. Princess Plumeria. She is a large kitty. Not fat, but large. She's larger than either of her parents were. Her mama was a somewhat petite, but fierce, stray kitty that we named Fluffy Meow.
Her daddy was a feral male we named Howler as he was always running around yowling. This was back in the days before I'd ever heard of TNR, and while I fed Howler, I didn't know what to do about getting him neutered. Unfortunately, the life of a feral can be harsh, and he disappeared one day. I did find a home with my cousins for Fluffy and one of her kittens, and Grey and Monster stayed with us.
Anyway, Grey is a large, nicely proportioned kitty, who still thinks that she's the tiny thing that would fit so nicely in my lap. My legs usually fall asleep, and I'm wondering if the hip pain I experience has less to do with my age and more to do with Grey and Scooter sitting on me so much over the years. In his prime, Scooter was a fat kitty, weighing in around 13 pounds. I'm not sure I want to know what Grey weighs.

Truthfully, I'm surprised I've been at the computer this long without Grey trying to sneak her way into my lap.

Without further ado, knitting from these past few weeks. This week I did finish the first sock from my Miss Babs Yummy sock yarn. I started it months ago. It was my sitting at traffic lights, waiting in long lines sock. I took it out as I was getting panicky about some knitting math I'd done on the next object, the February Lady Sweater. Sometimes it really is better just to trust the pattern and not do the math that might freak you out.
The February Lady Sweater is the orangy thing you see somewhere on the page. I've learned no amount of my editing will convice blogger to format the page in the same layout as I see whilst typing it.
Next is a skirt for a bear for the Atlanta Knitting Guild. This is a challenge bear that I accepted with some donated yarn in coordinating colors. Ugh! The yarn is so gross. Kind of a scratchy acrylic. I'm doing my best with it. I did the skirt with no pattern, just adapting it from hat construction. I was a little dismayed to put it on her to find the waistband was under her armpits, so I've included a picture of the undressed bear. She doesn't have the easiest figure to dress. I'm still debating about what to knit next. Last night I cast on for a cardigan (no pattern again), but my half assed math was off. I also tried a poncho that I ripped out. I'm taking the lazy way out and searching the AKG website for a pattern to use.

Finally, I spent part of Tuesday looking all over for a bobbin of yarn so that I could ply the two bobbins together. After much searching, I realized that I had never actually spun the second bobbin. D'oh! Tuesday night I sat and spun that second bobbin, and I'll ply them together in the next few days. I forgot to take pictures this morning while taking the knitting pictures, so I'll take them and add them later in their own entry.
Hurricane Ida wasn't too terribly bad here in my immediate area, but other parts of metro Atlanta flooded again. The ground is still pretty saturated, and it didn't take too long for water to start backing up again. Our sump pump was going almost constantly starting sometime Tuesday during the day, and we are still hearing it sporadically even today.
I must go now. Keith thinks Mr. Chubbers has a tick, and my beloved isn't very good at removing them. I suppose I'm a jack of odd trades, master of few.

Monday, November 9, 2009

More regular blogging to start again

I was looking through my entries for the past few months. Wow! I've really been sliding in the blogging department.

Part of it is was travelling with Gale for the shows in Wisconsin and Rhinebeck. Shows and travel are tiring, and while Gale was wonderful and let me use her computer, I felt a little funny about monopolizing it. If and when I do that again, I hope to have my own netbook so I can download pictures and blog from the road.

As for pictures, believe it or not, I don't think I took a one at Rhinebeck, so I wouldn't have had any to share anyway.

When I got back home, I had a couple of weeks to clean house before the Artist's Way Group met here yesterday.

A couple of weeks for cleaning, you ask. Well, if you have looked at my blog description, which includes generally avoiding housework, you may get the idea. Ever since all the rain in September, the ground is still pretty saturated around here. White kitchen floor, red Georgia clay, and pets, as well as humans, doesn't add up to anything good. Also, I had to dust. I will confess, I'm horribly lazy when it comes to housework. Why should I waste time dusting when I could be knitting? Thus, there was dust. Fine, powdery, Georgia red clay dust mostly brought in on Sassy, who likes to dig out wallows in the back yard. Actually, every dog we've had enjoys digging a nice wallow in the dirt. You get a dirt covered dog running around inside, and I guess you see my point. Anyway, it's all clean now, and all I have to do is maintain it. Or win the lottery and get a cleaning service to go with the larger house.

We've got a late season hurricane headed our way, complete with flood watches and torrential rain. I'll get outside today and snap a couple of knitting in progress pictures before the rains start again. We just had the wettest October on record (or was it the second wettest?). This fall we've had is also a record maker. While the fall colors have been just gorgeous, I'm not ready for another round of rain.

Well, I must be off to do something actually blog-worthy. My spinning wheel started whispering my name yesterday. It also said "resistance is futile". Apparently, I must obey. (Boy, Keith sure wishes I would obey his whispers to do more housework.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A few pictures

A baby surprise jacket knitted from Gale's Art sock yarn. It's a sample for Gale to take with her to shows. This is the jacket before it was seamed. I'll take another picture of it today.

Next you see Miss Grey inspecting the beginning of my February Lady Sweater. I'm using Malabrigo, and the gauge is slightly off. Luckily, I've been knitting long enough to make some adjustments (or just not give a damn since it's so close).

The final picture is another Mochi Plus Tam/Beret. I made one, maybe back in September for the store, but this one is for me. I do like a fun hat, and this one is very fun to knit. I am using Mochi Plus yarn, but I'm thinking this hat would be a great way to use handspun yarn too.

I've got an exciting day planned with the hubby. Sassy is getting a bath. I've got comforters to wash that won't fit in our washer, so I get to spend some quality time at a laundromat. Isn't my life exciting? I will have some more knitting photos soon. The ones I posted today are from Sunday, and the BSJ has been seamed while the FLS has many more rows completed.