Thursday, August 2, 2007

We're all okay*, and actually knitting

I have almost finished clue 2 from the mystery stole, just in time for number 5 (and I wasn't even reading that book).

This is what I have been doing instead ~

Above the rail is painted a linen color, and the wallpaper is a dark green stripe, with a bit of fabric texture to it. We used a color palette book where you find a picture you like, and then pull out the colors (or you can do it sort of backwards). I ended up going backwards and forwards, first narrowing down the possible palettes to colors that would be appropriate on walls (not the comic book palette) and then looked at the photographs to see how the colors harmonize.

I picked a palette based on a medival tapestry, done with naturally dyed wool on linen - you can imagine how well the colors work together. They also happen to be just right on the walls in a cozy bungalow.

I did do some knitting, and haven't gotten any paint in it. This is the stole after the first chart in clue 1. I have to figure out how to photograph it now so it would look like something more than a black pile of string. I am using straights, rather than a circular needle, because I have some really nice wooden ones, but it means I can't really stretch it out.

Also, we did find time to take a little one-day vacation up to northern Wisconsin, and we stayed at a little cabin on the Brule. We also saw Robert Clay at the Big Top Chautauqua. It was great music, a gorgeous night, and it smelled so good up there! I kept saying how good it smelled and taking deep breaths of the piney, damp soil, fresh water, and sunshine-on-grass. I got picked on a little.

You would, too, if this was outside of your cabin.

(We went with my in-laws, and there was a screened in spinning porch for my mother-in-law - I think it was part of the deal in exchange for the fly fishing).

*The update is due to the I-35 bridge that collapsed here in Minneapolis. I don't live near it, and hardly ever drive over the bridge. It seems like a freak accident, and we are lucky that everything is turning out as well as it is. It is horrible and will continue to impact us for quite a long time, but I also keep thinking about how many places in the world have more devastating disasters or violence causing worse catastrophes. We're all okay.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Relay for Life

I have finished the 1st clue from the Mystery Stole, but pictures of that have to wait a little longer, because I have other intentions today.

I am on a team for this year's Relay for Life in my town, and I would really appreciate it if you are able to support our group and the American Cancer Society.

I am walking (all night long) for my mother, grandmother, grandfather, mother-in-law, uncle-in-law, aunt-in-law, grandfather-in-law, and a number of friends. If you can help and make a donation, please go to my donation page. The suggested donation is $10, but the change in your sock drawer adds up when everyone gives a little bit.

I would be happy to light a lumiary to honor or remember people special to you. The candles will light a path around the track where we will keep a vigil, with someone from our team always walking.

As an added incentive, if you contribute to my team, leave me a comment with your guess of how many miles I will walk and the person with the closest guess will win a knitter's prize.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Why to use a lifeline

I had nearly finished Clue 1 of the Mystery Stole, and I was stretching it out a bit to see the pattern developing, when I noticed that I had gone off center about half-way through. My lace looked nice at the edges (lovely border) but entirely fucked in the middle. I started over. With a lifeline.

At least I was near the beginning.


I have a remarkable neighbor child. He can do the LOUDEST screach that sounds EXACTLY like a police siren. It seems to be the signal he uses from his end of the block to get the attention of the friend at the other end. The other child has an obnoxious electronic bike bell, but I saw siren-kid's mouth moving as he went past, and no bike bell. They are busy shooting off fireworks in the street - Think they will lose an eye or get run over?

I really do like the neighborhood, there are just some characters. I guess they are happy we moved in because the last few people here have been awful, from the stories they tell

Friday, July 6, 2007

Moved in, and almost up and running

We have moved into our new house, and after a lot of cleaning and work, are getting everything unpacked. Things are slowly getting back to normal after quite a bit of "camping." The floors had to be refinished or carpeted right away because the carpet that was here was absolutely disgusting - it looks great now that we have clean floors and have scrubbed the walls. If you are ever looking for a good "no-smoking campaign" idea - consider cleaning the walls of a smoker's home.

Without internet, we don't know what to do with ourselves. We haven't had TV in two weeks, and couldn't care less, but we are lost without our internet. It's back, and we can function again. Between being connected and being able to actually be IN our house now that the floors are done - we are golden.

I joined the Mystery Stole, and have been working on it when I can, but I have only finished about half of the first clue, and the second came out today. I knew it would be bad timing for me when the first clue came out on the day we were moving in. I am really impressed with the thoughtfulness of the details in the design, and the beads are cute accents. It only looks like scrunched up, tangled threads unless it is stretched out, and you know what lace looks like on the needles. Anyway, even if it made for a good picture, my camera is packed in one of the boxes we still have to unpack.

It is going to be a very hot weekend, and I am home alone, so I get to take plenty of breaks from unpacking to rehydrate and knit a few rows.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

12.2 cubic feet

Car top storage boxes are 12 cubic feet.
Freezers are 12 cubic feet.
Hydraulic mortar mixers are 12 cubic feet.*

I have 12.2 cubic feet of yarn.

When you put it all in one place with known dimensions, it seems like a lot more than when it is in baskets and on shelves, in closets and hidden away in all the little places. The things you realize when you pack up everything to move.

And I need more. I don't have any laceweight. I joined the Mystery Shawl Knit-a-long, and don't have any lace yarn. I need 1200 yards.

Think I can sneak it in?

And of course the first clue comes out the day after we close, on moving weekend, so I will have my hands full for a while. I promise to keep paint, spackle, and all-around dust off the lace knitting.

*Of course, these could also be bigger or smaller, but that is what I found when I googled "12 cubic feet." Don't even start to think about it in terms of gallons of milk or boxes of cereal, or other comparisons.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Moving, soon

We are getting ready to move at the end of the month. We like where we are, but the landlord is just too difficult. She is a nice person, but really loud (she lives upstairs), opened a salon upstairs (illegal?), and we want to be able to have our own place. Our yard is pretty gross, too, from her feeding so much seed to the birds and squirrels, corn to the ducks, and letting weeds (and corn) take over. I used to take care of the gardens, but am not so motivated if I won't be here.

After a lot of looking, we found a house. We weren't sure for a while where we would end up. One of the homes we looked at had had the pipes freeze and burst (didn't even go in there), another had an addition that I swear was done with pink insulation board and a hot glue gun, one had bags of garbage in the living room, one that we really liked had terrible smoke damage. We put in an offer on that house, but they had already had an offer. We put in an offer on one that had been foreclosed, but the bank would not negotiate, even though we offered the asking price. It happened to be two doors down from where my grandpa grew up.

The one that we will be closing on soon is a whole different adventure. We had to give 24-hour notice to see it because it is currently being rented. That was fine, but then the people were still there! They haven't had any advantages in life, so I feel a little bad, but they drove us nuts. The woman gave us a tour of the place, after she got her nasty dog to calm down. The best job she has had was removing asbestos, and as a result had part of a lung removed. The conversation was awkward, but someone had to hang back and chat so the other could see the place - I got stuck with most of that. She asked what I did, and I just said 'biology,' figuring it was a concept that should be at least familiar to most people; she though about that for a while, and then asked, "Like farmers?" They were also there for the inspection. The house is solid, but there was so much stuff, we still didn't get a look at everything.

They have signed papers saying they will move, the financing is done, so now we just need to close!

It has been so gorgeous outside that I haven't been knitting much, but will probably get some time in while watching bike racing today. I packed up yarn today, but kept quite a few projects out because we aren't that close to moving.

This is the house -

It has a great porch, which was required, great woodwork and built-in bookcases. When we get to work on it, I'll show more.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Spring gets so busy!

The class on natural dyes was great. There were some frustrating bits, but I met someone else my age - who has a similar job to me, and lives in my neighborhood.

We made a vat of indigo, and pots of logwood for purple, osage orange for yellow, madder for red, cochineal for rose, and pomegranate for tan. We dyed two skeins in each dye and then overdyed one from each in indigo. We also did different numbers of dips in the idigo vat to get different colors. I brought some extra white wool to dye in the indigo, too.

From left to right: logwood dipped in indigo (deep blue), logwood (greyish purple), pomegranate in indigo (teal), pomegranate (tan, surprising for the color of the fruit), cochineal (rose), osage orange (yellow), osage orange dipped briefly in indigo (amazing bright green), madder and indigo (deep burgundy), madder (red), three variations of indigo.

We were all surprised at the range of colors, the intensity and brightness of the colors, and also how each group, using the same dyes, yarns, all had different variations. Some madder turned much more orangey, some of the overdyes were much darker, some of the yellows and tans were paler.

I bought some logwood and indigo so I can do this again. The indigo was really fun - it comes out yellow and when it hits the air turns blue. I will try to do a step-by-step photo guide later this summer.

I have been knitting, too. Cranking away on my sweater, and I finished a sock I started a year ago. Started the second right away and it has been traveling around with me. I want to get all of these single socks done! There is another waiting for a match that has been around even longer!

Cat played in the mud the other day and had to get a bath - she clung to the faucet for dear life but was otherwise well behaved for being so ticked off.