Friday, December 28, 2007

Last Sweater of 2007

This is the last sweater of 2007. I finished it just before we left for New Years in Redlands. I love the way it turned out and I especially love the way it fits. I grew a little after I washed it, which I didn't expect since it's already been a sweater once before.

I tried taking a picture without me in it to see if I could get any of the details to show. You can see the buttons and lapels here at least. You'll just have to take my word for it that it really looks good. I have at least two more archived sweaters that are going to get recycled. I haven't decided who gets to go first.

Happy New Year to all and to all a good night.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Year's Favors

This is the stack of favors I'll be taking when we fly down to Redlands to celebrate the holiday with our California family. They are actually origami boxes that I made from previous Nevada Magazine calendars, with a bar of my Nevada Bar soap inside. This is the only origami I know and I only know it because my friend Mary and I followed the instructions on one boring work day years ago. It was Christmas Eve day and not a creature was stirring, not even a library patron - so we tore out magazine inserts and made them into origami boxes and gave them to the few who actually ventured in. If you want to make boxes, tops and bottoms, allow for a half inch difference, like a 10" square for the top, and 9.5" square for the bottom. Calendars make awesome boxes.

The boxes are really pretty cool, but I'm blogging about them because I can. The power is totally out in our valley. Last year Ian decided that we needed a generator and an electrician-wired transfer box as hedge against future power outages. We got home tonight, hungry, tired and the only food left, since we're leaving on vacation, was the to-be-baked pizza that Ian bought on his way home. I'm sure we could have gotten by on a more primitive level, but then I wouldn't be able to read email then, would I. I'm feeling like the cat's pajamas right now~

I'm sorry to say but I've had to put word encryption back on because just in the last post alone, I had to delete "comments" from two web-crawlers.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

First Recital

Last night was Alexia's first recital. The lessons are through the Reno Rec Depart-
ment and it's one of my favorite uses of tax dollars. The whole program lasted a half hour, Ali's part of the program was 2 1/2 minutes long and I drove for 3/4 of an hour to get there, as did most of the parents and grandparents.

The expression "like herding cats" came to my mind as these toddlers paid some attention to their teachers and then more attention to each other. The facility was jammed with fully half of us were on the floor, but we were united in our joy at watching these children earnestly perform their routines. The sounds of laughter and applause filled the room. I smiled all the way home.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Reigning Cats and Dogs, Pt 2

I hadn't been home fifteen minutes tonight when there was the thundering noise of Charlie on a rampage though the house. I heard Ian in the living room say - good grief - and then into the back of house zips Charlie. I see that he's managed to stick his head through the handle of a gift bag that I had put on the dining room table. In trying to back out, he had pulled the entire bag over his head. He was terrified and racing through the house trying to rid himself of this menace.

I found Charlie, crouched under the Christmas tree, with the handle still over his neck along with part of the bag. He is not declawed so I expected some battle wounds, but he was just happy for Mom to make things better.
And then there's Eddie. He figured out how to use the raw outside edge of his cone to scratch his rear leg and tore it all to pieces and ripped out one of his drains. This required yet another trip to our vet, i.e., a two-hour round trip drive to town. Michelle, count your blessings. They suggested pipe insulation. It's slit on one side and the super adhesive keeps it in place. Ian cut one foot lengths and put them on Eddie's cone so now he has a crown. We take his halo off for outside outings and walks, and when we come back inside, he stands patiently while we re-attach this monster to his head. He's such a good dog. It astounds me how much he loves us, and in spite of not understanding what has happened, accepts that he has to wear this gear.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Reigning Cats and Dogs

Oddly, this is Buster's favorite place on winter evenings. He loves to put his head on his brick pillow.

This winter Charlie decided that he wanted to sleep in front of the wood-

Buster tried sleeping "almost" in front of the wood-

Buster tried pouting.

Buster has learned the value of "plays well with others."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Spinning Plans

The Great Balls of Fiber, 70/30 Colonial Wool/Silk, that I bought at Oregon Flock and Fiber in 2005 is almost all spun into yarn. I was trying to think why I have so little to show for this year's spinning and finally realized that I threw everything into getting a lap blanket spun and woven for my brother.

The name for this color pathway is Desert Sunset and I think it certainly is. The last SpinOff had a question-
naire asking how you plan your spinning projects. Only 5% said they plan from fiber to finish. I wish I would have planned that way, because I would have plied this onto black instead of itself. I have 12 ounces of this, but plied with black, I could have knit a pullover. Now I have to spin the black and figure out how to cobble a sweater together out of the two.
In the last two days, six more of my bags have sold, all by word of mouth. I am stunned. These are all that I have left and the one on the right is so ugly, I'm going to put in our guild White Elephant sale this summer and hope someone places a bid.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Charlie in the Christmas Tree

This is Charlie.

Do you see any resem-
blance? I found two ornaments on eBay and am thrilled that they are the only Charlie on our tree.

That's probably because he'd rather eat the wrapping paper - yum.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Merry Christmas to Me

Eddie doesn't under-
stand what has happened to him and he's looking unhappy, because he is. Ian took him in to have his dressings removed this morning, and Dr. Dose told him that Eddie was very lucky. Had I not been home, he would have bled to death. That would have made for a very sad Christmas.

It looks like he's gotten his head caught in something, but it's just Eddie eating his dinner. There's nothing wrong with his appetite. Ian says he looks like a lampshade. You can see that his back leg is shaved and if you care to click for big, you can see his drain - yuck.

The spindle I ordered from Greensleeves came today. It's canarywood with a yellowheart shaft. It's rather plain in contrast to the Hatchtown spindle behind it that Amy loaned me, but it just spins and spins and spins. So now I own both the Greensleeves Fox and Hound spindles. Good news - Amy got an email from the Ledbetters. They are going to exchange my broken spindle for a whole one. They'll just be getting back to Tucson the day before Amy leaves it, so that worked out well for me. I'm glad because I like the Ledbetter better.

I'm going back through my old SpinOffs because I realized there are articles on spindling that I just skipped over. The one that's probably going to get me in trouble is in the Spring 2007 issue and features the spindles of Tom Forrester. I think I want one. And then there are the Goldings...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Crazy Storm Pattern

This last storm was bizarre. Snow fell in a capricious patchwork throughout our area. We watched the storm track on the NOAA website and kept saying that it appeared there was a hole in the storm right over our valley. So this is the south end of our valley, as shot from our deck.
And this is the north end of the valley, as shot from our deck at the same time. The roads were snow/icy going south and clear to the north - so very weird.

There is almost no snow at work. Since most of our staff live within a few miles of our facility, this is their experience of our storm. You can see the inversion in the valley in the background. It's one of the reasons I don't mind my monster commute. It's my choice to live out and drive in, snow or no.

I arrive at work with aching eyes. The temps in the morning are below 20 and the daytime temps aren't above freezing, so nothing is melting. The drive to work is blinding at times, so I took this to show my co-workers what I'm talking about - somebody got snow and ice. It's the ice I respect, oh yeah. Do I want to move back to San Diego where I grew up. Nope - big time.
So how's Lucky, I mean Eddie? Lucky Eddie has ears up and gets stitches out tomorrow. The drains go on Tuesday, which means four hours of driving on top of my eight hours of work, nine including lunch. But, who's counting. I'm so happy to see those up ears. Will he continue to chase cars? Oh, probably he'd like to. He also still wants to kill coyotes and he's tangled with them too. Our vet reminds us that it's our responsibility to make sure our dogs are safe. Making them safe out here isn't as easy as it was in town, but the options are pretty narrow. We can't have inside dogs, but we are trying to make them as safe as if they were.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dog Crisis

My poor, poor Eddie is trying to focus his drugged eyes on me. I just got home from work. He gave a heroic effort at an anemic tail wag too. We have had quite a day. It started just after I poured my second cup of coffee. I could see him at the back door, wanting in, but the moment he stepped into the house, I knew we were in crisis. Every step he took, he was squishing blood.

He has always been very stupid around cars, and long story short, he had been hit by our neighbor's car. Well, he wasn't actually hit - he ran into their car while romping with Buster - ran into their passenger door and then got caught by the rear tire. He loves our neighbor and will actually dig out to go visit their dog. But this morning, we had left the gate open so he didn't have to dig out. They drove down down to tell me what happened and to see what they could do. We were so lucky - it could have been so much worse, and I have expected it would be one day. Jen was driving and is devastated.

I applied compression until the bleeding slowed and called Ian who was en route to work. He drove back toward home and I drove toward town. Where we met is where I parked my car. I held Eddie, Ian drove and I called our vets as soon as I had a cell signal. I ended soaked with his blood - as were leaving our vets', the ladies in the waiting room asked - "You folks going to be all right?

Nothing was broken though he had some pretty significant tears and a severed vein. He has two drains and a cone that he's too drugged to hold up. Years ago when Allison called and asked if we would consider adopting him, she said his name was Lucky and he was a great dog. He's still a great dog but we renamed him Eddie, for Edward Weston, the photographer of black and white. More than once, I think we shouldn't have changed his name, because more than once, he's been lucky. I think we've been lucky too.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas Guild Meeting

Huffaker Schoolhouse
Originally uploaded by Purple Fuzzy Mittens

This is the historic Huffaker School, now a part of Bartley Ranch, one of our county parks. It is also the new part-time home for the Carson Sierra and Weavers Guild, thanks to some connections made by Heidi, our president. It seems that our mission statement fits into that of the park's and they have given us use of this facility without charge. If you belong to a guild, you know this is huge.

We had our first Christmas meeting here and what a wonderful place it is. A spinning guild just seems to fit right in with all the museum displays. Nancy is showing some of her family's weaving history. The carpet was handspun and woven at 10 epi by her grandmother, the red being madder. We always have high energy Christmas meetings, but I think we really connected with the vibe of the building. Very special to me in this picture are the two wheels, both brand new and at their first guild meeting, acquired by the two friends who have become spinners, and are now my new friends. I have nothing to compare with the energy of a group of passionate spinners and weavers.
I thought the potbellied stove added to the great atmo-
sphere, especially when we were being warmed by central heat and the stove was for looks only. It is the one meeting that all members try hard to attend. We sell stuff, we buy stuff, we eat stuff, and we celebrate our friendships. We even celebrated a birthday, but my camera battery failed at that point.
Soap sales were good for me, so I splurged and bought these bumps from my neighbor, Mim. She called me a while back after she had dyed up a bunch of stuff, so I drove over to see and these are the two that caught my eye. On the drive home she told me that she was disappointed these didn't sell at the last meeting, one I couldn't attend, and figured she'd probably spin them up herself. Simple answer - they were mine. She sold most of her bumps and I sold most of my soap. We were happy from the meeting and happy from our successes.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Flying Cat

I just happened to look out the bedroom window and noticed a very large red bird atop our spruce tree, looking rather like a Christmas tree topper. I ran for the camera, field glasses and Petersen's Guide and finally determined that we were being visited by an American Kestrel. I was very excited to learn more about this "new bird" and when I couldn't find much about their habit and behaviors in the guide or online, I went upstairs for our other three bird books. The Aububon Backyard Birdwatcher told me that "Kestrels eat mainly large insects, rodents, small reptiles, and frogs, but they also take small birds." It's when I read in the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, Western Region, that it "has adapted to humans and nests even in our largest cities, where it preys chiefly on house sparrows" that I realized that this was no social call.
It's a flying cat! Happily, our songbirds had flown the coop, so to speak, and after a couple of hours, the Kestrel did as well.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Charlie seems to have adopted the scanner. I'm not sure why. He and I have spent a lot of time together this week. I missed work because of a virus, and when I went to my doc on Monday for a return to work release, he told me that I was still sick and still contagious. So it's been a lot of me and Charlie these days. The dogs? In or out - whatever. So am I cat or a dog person?? I'm thinking , if I have to let you in or out multiple times in an hour - wait until Ian gets home from work.

So, joy of joys, my new Greensleeves Fox spindle arrived today, thanks to the miracles of shippage. Can you see how much smaller the Fox looks to the Louet? It spins like a much lighter spindle should. I'm pretty happy, I must say.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Will You Look at This!

Will you look at this morning sky! I never tire of the Big Sky County skies.

And will take a look at this guy, Charlie. He thinks he's outside, the king of the forest.

"But, I am~"

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Chosing Buttons

I reached the point in my sweater jacket that I needed buttons - could go no further without them. Foiled again, Batman. A run into town is a two-hour proposition. Then I remembered some buttons I had purchased at CNCH (Conference of Northern California Handweavers) that I attended at Asilomar a couple of years ago. There were few vendors, so I ended up buying oddments, like these natural-dyed tagua-nut buttons from Earth Hues. The "right" side, or the top row, just didn't seem right, but when I turned them over, I liked them much better. I'm sure I could find even better buttons, should I make it to Jimmy Beans any time soon, but I kind of like the story and I certainly enjoyed the experience of pouring over the button selection and choosing these.

I laid them out and decided that they definitely are my buttons. They are now sewn on and I am able to "try" them to keep my buttonholes true. This is my first experience with lapels so I'm expecting that to be an upcoming crisis. I have a ways to go before I find out - at least two sleeves worth of time.

With the able assistance of my step-daughter, Little Sharon (I'm Big Sharon and it's far better than Old Sharon - Young Sharon, Fat Sharon - Thin Sharon, you get my point), I was finally able to get images from my Etsy store to show up on my blog. I spent the better part of this evening getting soap sales listed. Etsy sales are for one item, so I'm not quite sure how to go from selling one bar of soap to selling the hundreds of bars that I have curing. But for today, I've had enough Etsy.