Monday, January 31, 2011

Walking on Thin Ice

“If you're walking on thin ice, you might was well dance”

While walking and riding around the area, ice can be found everywhere. Forty-four of the last 62 days have been below normal so nobody is surprised by that.  And since you have to deal with it you might as well enjoy it.  That is not hard when you stop to admire the beauty of ice.

The ice crystals that form on the brush and trees.  When the sun hits them the yard and trees look like there are diamonds everywhere. 

...the ice forming on the river....

...the shape of some icicles.  This one looks like a snow cone hanging....

When he drips down he is starting to form ice stalagmites...

I should have taken the picture from the side so you could see the height, instead he looks like he is laying down.

But moving on to a wells overflow making ice sculptures....

And the force of water in either it's liquid or frozen form is amazing.  Here it has frozen in the gutters and pushed the gutters away from the building.  There are icicles on both sides of the gutter.  I am sure it will lead to interior damage if it hasn't already. 

There is also the force of it to the land.  Each year we have a "falling rock zone" from the water freezing between the layers of rock, separating the stone and then when it thaws the stone rolls down into the roads.

Oddly enough my knitting is like that ice.  A "force" if you will makes me want to knit certain things at certain times.  I can not concentrate on another project until I do what needs to be done.  Recently it has been hats.  Plain boring knitting, ear flaps (two but #2 daughter claimed one), cupcake and a Mohawk.

I have another cupcake on the needles which I will finish today and then I think that faze will be over.  I feel the urge toward something more challenging like lace....and in wool.  While the recent knitting has consumed some of the stash of acrylic I want to feel wool running between my fingers.  I also want a pair of mittens so maybe I will combine the two.  That sounds like a trip to Ravelry.  And the search is on!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Snowflakes to Sunshine

Snowflakes are kisses from heaven. ~Author Unknown

The man and kids have left for the day so it’s very quiet. Snow is falling outside, one of those lazy snows where you can pick out a flake and watch it slowly float to the ground. It really is mesmerizing. I had to pull myself away because it has been a very trying week. I felt bi-polar, happy one moment and upset the next, a regular emotional rollercoaster. I am exhausted; I want to crawl back into bed and go to sleep for a couple of more hours. Watching those flakes was only intensifying those thoughts.

Instead I get up and make oatmeal.

Move over Quakers, steel cut is so much better, fills you up, warms you up and gets you going. Just what I need today. When I am done here I will clean up a little, do a whole lotta filing, laundry, getting something out for dinner. The seed order is complete except for the actual ordering which I have to do today also. Lots of little chores to keep me busy.

This weekend the man bought me flowers to remind me that the cold (I love the snow but hate the cold) only lasts for so long and soon it will be spring.

 Luckily each day more and more of the buds open so I am enjoying them immensely. And while the flowers didn’t motivate me to do the seed order, I did do the taxes.

I have been busy learning more about the knitting machine.

I am still working on stockinette and have finished two baby blankets with stash yarn.

I also have a toddlers sweater and a cupcake hat on the regular needles, all in stash yarn. And I have been spinning a little.  I have a stash of roving too to work through so I should give it equal time!  Which reminds me to contact the mill since I want to send a couple of fleece their way....another little task to keep me busy!  I will work this lethargy out of my system.

And now it is time to get moving. The kettle is whistling that my tea water is done and the washing machine just finished spinning. It is suppose to hit 30 today which after the below zero temps is going to feel like a tropical heat wave.  I will have to find my bathing suit!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Have you hit the point yet?

“There’s a point where you can give up on winter–when temptation can enter your soul, prying its way in like cold air through the cracks in your cabin–around January sixteenth or so, and this can make you realize that February’s coming, and beyond February, March." Rick Bass ~Winter: Notes from Montana

The kids are home again today.  They had snow days on Tuesday and Wednesday because of an ice storm that made walking difficult. 

Today we have several inches of snow covering the ice.  It is now 16 degrees and it is only going to go down from here as an "Arctic blast" is getting ready to blanket the area for the next few days....high temps of 12 and lows of -minus-. 

I was about sick and tired of mopping up snow from the kids coming in but the wood stove put me in my place.  He gave me a lecture of how every time he heats the place up the kids open the door and let his hard work go out.   He gets hungry and has to wait on people to feed him while they have the audacity to say he is not doing his job and fiddle with his knobs.  I think we both need a break from the below average temperatures that have been the norm for the past two months.  I can count on my hands the number of days with average or above average temperatures.  Depressing!

The man went out and bought me a new toy to play with to lift my spirits.  AC Moore was having a 50% off sale and he knew I had once said I would like to buy a knit machine so he got me a Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine.  It will make using up some of the totes of yarn easier.  So far I have made three six foot scarves on it, two which are double thickness.  It is very easy but I am only doing stockinette and haven't traversed into cables or lace yet.  I have found that some yarns are better suited for it than others. 

While this new toy is a great diversion it enforces the whole "winter" need to get warm theme.  I need a break from it.  I know it will be weeks or more honestly months before it is warm again but I need a "warm" diversion.  Enter stage left the seed catalogs!  Today while the temps plummet and the kids make the inside thermostat go up and down  like a pogo stick, while the wind blows the snow back on the roads and paths that I have shoveled I will be oblivious as I indulge in delusions of the first spears of asparagus, a salad that moments before was still in the garden, tomato sandwiches with tomatoes still warm from the sun and blackberries rinsed and covered with a little homemade whipped cream. 

Yeah, I know I will eventually have to wake up and come back to the reality of carrying firewood and the constant dusting that goes along with the stove, frozen water buckets and eggs if you don't find them in time but then ...."you realize that February’s coming, and beyond February, March."   I am not ready for all the backbreaking work the Spring/Summer months entail I just wanted to borrow some of the warmth.  Once my soul has been warmed I can deal with my frozen fingertips. And when the seed orders are placed I can wrap my frozen fingertips around my Nook and read the latest downloaded gardening book while curled up next to the overworked/underappreciated stove.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Inspect every piece of pseudoscience and you will find a security blanket, a thumb to suck, a skirt to hold. What does the scientist have to offer in exchange? Uncertainty! Insecurity! — Isaac Asimov

Friday evening my friend and her children came to visit.  Her oldest daughter saw the little pink doll blanket mentioned in the previous post and said she "That would be perfect for Precious".  When #2 and her went upstairs to #2's room, I asked who Precious was and her mom told me it was her baby doll that had been bought as a Christmas present for her before she was born.  She sleeps with her every night and hides her under her pillow so other people won't know.

We were invited to this girls 12th birthday party on Saturday.  In some ways she is trying to turn 16+.  She wants to wear makeup all the time.  Every penny she gets she uses to buy stick on french manicure nails.  She wants to be able to go on the computer whenever and with whomever she choses.  She wants clothes, jewlery and toys and which are too old for her. She wants to be able to go to her friends whenever and have friends over all the time. 

In her defense she was daddy's little girl and grandpa's baby.  She had been Grandma's baby but Grandma was moved to a nursing home with alzheimers and didn't remember her.  Four years ago her mom and dad got a divorce and she hasn't seen her dad in over three years. Since the divorce her grandfather died, her grandmother died and her only aunt commited suicide.  So the past few years have been rough on her and in a rush to put it all behind her she is trying to race into adulthood.  She goes to counseling through her school but the counselor has been changed five times already!

To find out she had a "softer" side, a side where she relaxed, let down her guard and allowed herself to be the child she is, was amazing to me.  So after she left Friday evening, I started to knit her "Precious" a dress

and a blanket. 
I ended up switching to crochet as I can do that faster.  I got them done just in time for the party.  I stuffed them in a bag and off we went. 

She had friends over so I told her to take the bag to her room and open it.  She ran up the stairs while her friends were occupied and opened the bag.  She came downstairs, pulled her mother aside and with tears in her eyes showed her mother what I had made.  Before I left Precious was dressed and wrapped in the blanket.  I need to make another dress...Precious is closer to being a Flat Stanley from years of hiding under the pillow so the flatness makes the dress slightly big on her.  I have promised her another outifit.

A little leftover yarn meant more than the money in the card.  It allowed me to see a side of her that she doesn't share with the rest of the world.  Precious keeps her tied to a happier past and knitting/crocheting does the same for me.  It reminded me of all the Christmases where we would put our naked dolls under the tree and wake to find them dressed in new outfits.  I think we all have and need some little "Precious" something that brings us comfort and soothes our soul.

Friday, January 07, 2011


I never have known a man of ordinary common-sense who did not urge upon his sons, from earliest childhood, doctrines of economy and the practice of accumulation. ~ William Graham Sumner

I have been very fortunate to have been given a lot of my crafting supplies.  My family has spoiled me but I have also received crochet hooks from a boy scout leader, knitting needles that belonged to a friends mother, and lots and lots of yarn from various sources. 

The accumulation of yarn was all over, boxes and bags with full or partial skeins falling out.  I would have to dig through each and every box/bag until I found what I was looking for.  I decided now that I don't have to store small bits and pieces all over that I would properly organize the stash. I ran to town and bought some 64 qt. clear totes and started organizing.  

Skeins by Lion Brand, Wintuk, Woolworth, Malina, Phentex Angorel,  Super Soft by lana Moro, Red heart, Caron Simply Soft and DazzleAire, Natura from Jamesway for 88 cents!, Herrschners, Prestige, Reynolds.  It was a virtual time machine of yarn.  Some colors/dyelots had multiple skeins so you wonder if they were making a sweater or an afghan. Who were they making it for?  Why, the birth of a child, a wedding gift, a child's sweater, a teachers gift?

I pondered on that as I sorted, reds/pinks in one tote, blue/purples in another, yellow/green, tans/browns/blacks, a variegated one and the largest tote of white in it's various forms.  And last but not least, is one tote of baby/sport/dk yarn in solid pastels colors and variegated mixed.

In amongst all the sandwich bags of small rolled up balls were some tools of the trade and some finished/unfinished projects....a dolls quilt,

a baby set that just needs to be sewn,

a stack of granny squares with coordinating yarn which I guess was to sew them together,

a baby bonnet that needs the ribbons,

 a lone bootie. (Oddly enough I think the match is in my mothers Bingo bag!)

and a lone afghan square.

I would like to finish the granny square and the baby items. The kids have a snow day today so #2 is rolling up all the little pieces into balls.  I foresee a scrap afghan of some sort in the future with all those balls.

Until then I started using up some of the larger partial skeins.  I made two hats,

and the Spring Butterfly toddlers sweater.  I changed the bottom to a hemmed bottom. 

Love this quick pattern and because the top part is two strands held together, it can use up lots of the partial skeins so I know I am making more.

And in the spirit of passing it on, my brother's MIL will soon be the recipient of some of this yarn.  And soon I will have an accumulation of finished projects...I hope.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Year of the Sock?

“One can never have enough socks.” ~ Albus Dumbledore
It started with an attempt to finish old projects.  Languishing in a project bag all alone except for some yarn and a set of needles was a sock.  I had started it months ago and was struck by the SSS disease.  I felt bad and who can't use another pair of wool socks in the winter, especially one where below normal temps are the new normal.

Needless to say I finished them and made my feet happy.  Paton's Kroy Socks in Clover colors on size 2 dpns, basic sock pattern.

Since I had overcome the disease I started on another pair hoping I didn't relapse.  I didn't and my feet were doing the happy dance.  Aisling Yarns in Casablanca on size 0 dpns, short row heel pattern by SR Kertzer that came with a Mary Maxim order years ago.

And my momma always told me "moss won't grow on a rolling stone" (aka a rolling stone gathers no moss) so while I was feeling so sock friendly I cast on for another pair.  I finished one sock and the other is on the needles already.  Red Heart Heart and Sole in Razzle Dazzle, short row heel on size 2 dpsn's.

I was told 2011 was the year of the Rabbit but I am thinking it is the year of the sock.   My feet are not complaining and neither is the man since it is all stash!  Win Win Win situation.  Off to finish the second sock