Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Extra Absorbant

Damn it. Rassles says so much of the shit I want to say. Or, I would say it if my fingers could keep up with my brain and I had more talent at writing.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Because Wool.

I used to weave. I once had several looms. I also had tendonitis, and eventually, I had no looms anymore. But I have wanted to weave a little bit, do something with my hand spun besides knit, and so I bought this.

I warped a short cotton warp and I wove some samples using cotton, mohair, wool and chenille as weft and I was well and truly pleased, especially at how gentle it was on my body and how nice the selvedges were. (Someday, I may make a warp weighted loom. Because weaving.

Not smart enough to leave well enough alone, and use commercial warp, I spun 700 yards of a Lincoln cross. It has no give. I am now naturally dyeing it with summer leftover dye and I have washed the brown fleece, double coated and I can't remember the breed, which shall be the weft. The soft undercoat part. I hope to weave 9 feet of fabric, 18" wide, and then felt it, and then make something with it.

It's a happy thing to be doing in December, especially as today brings rain and then snow tonight.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Irony for fun and profit.

The sweater is complete, save for blocking. And maybe some tidying of ends. I am pleased with it and it looks pretty good on me. I have some leftover yarn - actually, a good bit of yarn - so I have cast on for some sort of hat to go with.

I have recently been cleaning my studio and today I have begun preparations for the Ugly Fabric Challenge for the local quilt group. I think I will go with something square and triangley; something traditional. My goal is to get back to Leslie and my art.

I want to spin more, too. I just ordered the Kromski Harp, 22" rigid heddle loom. I'm hoping to weave some scarves from handspun and I'm hoping that this loom won't aggravate my tendonitis. That is what put an end to my past weaving efforts.

Anyway. All is good. I am well. Thanksgiving was swell. Ding dong derry in the dell.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

One two three.

How to count sheep.

Photo that would't load yesterday, showing the purple I got from my last pokeberry dye session of the year. Maroon to purple! I was delighted, yes mystified. The berries were from later in the year, and they fermented longer, (three weeks,) in maybe a more acidic solution - but is that what shifted the color?

I asked Carol Leigh about it earlier this month, and she said her last batch this year did the same, and she could not explain it either. She said that pokeberry has a mind of its own.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bending minds with my spoon.

By request, a photo. I have a couple more but Blogger is being recalcitrant about loading them. 

This is the three-quarters finished sweater I am knitting from the natural dyed wool seen here earlier. Using EZ's proportional method, this will be a bottom up raglan to fit me. The cat tail is purely for titilational purposes. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sheep's Clothing

Heliotaxis designed by Renata Brenner

Handspun shetland wool, from one fleece.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Well, this site is just too cool. It feeds my longing for comfort and happy illusions of the past.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

poke poke poke

Above is the pokeberry on wool. At left is the first bath, middle is second and last is a half-half mix of pokeberry and onion skins. I found and added more pokeberries to the water and vinegar jug today.

Cottons and wools. For both, from left, onion skins, wild grape leaves, and sassafras leaves. The onion and sassafras dye baths are not exhausted yet, but I tossed the grape leaves - not interesting enough.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Today's Special

I have been dyeing, naturally. What makes this different to previous sessions is that I am using cotton cloth as well as wool yarn. Most of the material have been gathered within a few miles of home. The leaves of the smooth sumac served as the tannin mordant for the cloth, along with iron oxide made from a hot dog sized piece of iron I found by the railroad tracks and copper from Carol Leigh. I could have made my own, but I already has these crystal chunks. I also mordanted the tannin and copper fabrics in alum and cream of tarter. The yarn, white and tan Fisherman's wool from Lion Brand, was mordanted in alum or copper. After dye modifiers will be iron, copper, and ammonia. I have 22 fat quarters of cotton and 30 hanks of wool, each about 40 yards.

Dye stuffs so far: wild grape leaves, sassafras leaves, elm bark, onion skins, and goldenrod. Dyestuff hopefuls: walnut hulls, birch leaves, blackberry stems, curly dock root, ivy leaves, carolina creeper leaves, and sunflower heads.

Pokeberry is a special case and requires a whole 'nuther method. I use what is called Rita Buchanan's Pokeberry recipe, and it makes a deep crimson/pinky red/pink color depending on the strength of the dye bath. A friend gave me a small bag of berries, which I didn't think would do much, but the first 1.5 ounces of white wool took the color deeply, so I wound off another ounce, which is turning out a little lighter. I intend to exhaust the dye bath - I have another 5.5 ounces of wool I can use. I do have a volunteer poke plant in my back yard, and I am getting 6-10 ripe berries every day, so into the pot they go.

In my little neighborhood, full of older homes and mature trees, I have identified these;

  1. elm
  2. paper birch
  3. sassafrass
  4. white ash
  5. sycamore
  6. sweet gum
  7. mimosa
  8. yellow poplar
  9. bass wood
  10. catawpa
  11. willow
  12. bald cypress
  13. numerous oaks
  14. numerous maples
And no Bradford Pears. How cool is that?

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Minced Oaths

From Sentence First: (If The National Lampoon and linguistics had a baby.)

I was glad to see some old favourites reappear, like the mytholingual encyclopedia boasting such fantastic beasts as Fryggyn’, the Norse goddess of minced oaths; Quetzlnhlxtzlchctlcoātl, the Mesoamerican god of difficult-to-pronounce consonant clusters; and the Abominable Synonym, a creature from Nepal and Tibet which makes people “pathologically doubt their ability to choose the right word”.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Here there be Dragons

I hear that blogging is dead. I know I haven't been doing my part. I miss Laurie at Crazy Aunt Purl. I miss Rabbitch, who went missing some time ago.  I really miss One Whipped Mother, if only for the name. (Dotted Yellow Line, on the other hand, is back after a short hiatus. Happy!)
However, The Bloggess actually blogs once or twice or more every week, come hell or gall bladder. She makes me literally laugh out loud, or at the very least, she makes me happy. What's not to love about a woman who owns several taxidermy rodents?
As for me, I have been well. The summer weather was excellent until about two weeks ago, when it got all hot and dry on us. I have worn jeans almost exclusively since April or May, whenever it was that Leslie introduced me to the lower rise fit. I haven't gained back any of the 60 pounds I lost last year, and it is 11 months since I quit drinking. Me? Happy.
I don't visit my therapist anymore, but I know where she is if I need her again. I still try to get to Columbia once a week anyway. Leslie and I rent a little booth at the flea market Itchy's (in Columbia,) and the booth needs to be fluffed and restocked on some sort of regular basis. We are making a little bit of money at it, which is great, but I think of it more as a hobby. I like to think of myself as a very selective picker, focussing on small items from the 60s and 70s. That is the style in which I have furnished the downstairs of the house. All of that makes me happy.
I have been knitting and spinning and just recently, locker hooking. I saw a friend doing it and it seemed easy enough and I thought it might be a way to use up some yarn but I am sticking to the traditional fabric strips for the time being. After my first little floor mat, I am halfway done with a front porch rug that says, amongst pretty vines and flowers, GO AWAY. It makes me happy. 
I am sewing only a bit. I volunteered to be secretary of The Piecemakers, my little town's quilt group of about 20 regulars.They make a lot of Linus quilts (over 200 this year) and that makes me happy.
Looks as though I will have a job soon, part-time and close by. No details until I know them. And yes, that makes me happy, too, to have a little job and my own income.
Brownie, Reece's and Boo Boo

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vermont's Original

 The most recent shawl being blocked. The pattern is from Traditional Lace Knitted Shawls by Martha Waterman. A very easy knit but it took me awhile to memorize the 12-row repeat. I spun the yarn from a shetland fleece I bought at the All-Missouri Spin-In in May. You can see some of the color variation in the border; I hand carded rolags for the spinning and couldn't see the variation well enough at the time. With what wool that was left, I drum carded four nice batts which should be enough for another shawl. If not, there are some shorter bits in a deeper brown. Working on socks now - it's been awhile and I seem to need something easy on the needles.

My friend Leslie found this cookie jar for me. Silly rabbit! 

I painted the kitchen, again, this time an aqua. The below photo shows the true color better. I like it and it makes me happy, as does this linen towel I found one of my antique/resale shop/flea market jaunts. It's handing from a rod beneath the shelf shown above.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Mmm mmm good!

The cover is lurid and the food? Well, folks are still making green bean casserole using a can of Cream of Mushroom soup. How about Tuna Potato Chowder, or my favorite - Flaming Bean Soup, made with a quarter cup bourbon.

Friday, June 07, 2013

I sense a theme

The latest find - a fabulous cattail lamp.

These I have had for more than a year. 

An absurdly ornate plastic clock that my mother would have loved. She's have had two gold plaster angels on either side of it, I am sure.

Monday, May 27, 2013

We're Just Friends.

I've been almost busy, but I am looking swell.

I even have, for maybe the first time in my life, 4 pair of jeans that fit, in my closet, all at one time. Leslie has taken it upon herself to be my personal shopper and so I have spent dozens of dollars on clothing recently.

I have been spinning and even attended the All-Missouri Spin-In a few weeks ago. Tuesday past I visited the Columbia Weavers and Spinners Guild with my new friend Julie. Julie is a new spinner to whom I gave a spindling lesson last month. She just bought a Louet S10, used, and is already spinning and plying on it. Some people. Sheesh.

Raining lots around here, but no flooding or tornados. More due here shortly.

Have you seen anyone actually wearing these boots?  Oh. My.When I first saw them, I thought of those shoes from the middle ages whose points were so long that they were tied to the leg. Then I thought of the Leningrad Cowboys.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Helps Fight Gum Disease

Everything has suddenly begun the shift towards Spring. The willow trees were first, as always, to show leaf green, then the flowering trees bloomed, and now many other trees are leafing. Grass has been mowed, and the fields look so healthy when compared to the miserable crops of last year's drought.

My allergies are causing trouble, so I have begun taking generic Zyrtec and that is helping. Saw my allergist yesterday, and took the pulmonary breathing test. The results, when compared to last year's in January, show a marked improvement in capacity and flow. So maybe those shots are helping after all.

I have found a tiny knitting/crochet group here in town that meets twice monthly. There were four of us on Sunday afternoon. There is interest there in a spindling lesson, and I am more than willing to oblige.

I am going to the All Missouri Spin-In this Saturday in Boonville, MO. I won't know a soul there, but when I go in carrying my wheel, I know I will be among friends. Really am looking forward to it. The following week brings the Lake of the Ozarks Fiber Fest and I hope to attend. What I really want to get is a sheep fleece, as I have this desire to touch and smell the real and raw thing then turn it into a sweater.

I have been preparing and spinning and dyeing and knitting mohair. I sent this stole to my sister-in-law in Georgia, and am working on another in shades of black and gray. It is essentially the reliable dishcloth pattern, expanded.

I am feeling very well; walking the dogs daily, eating right for the most part, and keeping the weight off. Mental health is also very good. Heart seems okay.

I got a playmate for Bunny Boo Boo. Baby is still nameless, although I like both Happy Happy and Cocoa.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Order Now!

Flat Rat Pack

I'd name them Frank, Dino, Joey, Sammy, and - who was that English fellow?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

You make me feel like dancin'

Watch the interview with The Bloggess.  Read her blog.

Click here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

No yodeling on premises.

The Frankensox, the ones I cut the tops off of and reknit the heels and feet. Not exactly what I had planned, but still nice and certainly wearable. That is the new cat, Sluggo. She is a stray that we fed all last summer, outside, until one bitterly cold night in December, when she insisted on being an inside cat.

I made four drop spindles, each a little different as I was trying out techniques. The whorls are Fimo, 3" across mounted on 1/4" dowel rods. I used an earring hook on one, twisted wire on another, and largish jump rings on the other two. I took each for a test drive and they spin well, and although they're not perfectly balanced, they are purty darn close. 

Otherwise, I have been indulging in preparing and spinning mohair, then dyeing and knitting. Pictures of that later.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Out of State

¡Hola, Conchitas! I now have my own hipster hat, courtesy of the selfsame Leslie who is the subject of my art quilt, Leslie.

I spent today picking out and restitching Leslie. It's like ripping out and reknitting, only quicker. My machine is a Bernina, and I just figured out that the markings on the throat plate are in millimeters, not inches, and so some of my seams are incorrect. Not all of them, but enough. I blame having surgery and sickness. I mean, I am a professional stitcher, right? I could not have possibly been wrong. 

This 'little' matter has been niggling at the back of my brain for awhile, and because of that, work had slowed down. Like a little mistake in knitting, I could have made it work, fiddled and fudged, but I would have known that it wasn't my best, and so it had to be fixed, and fixed right. Another session tomorrow should get me back up to speed, because the sewing isn't what takes so much time, it's the choosing the best square of fabric for each particular spot of the quilt. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Between cat/dog/bunny tending, I have been knitting. Finished the socks with the Strong Heel, seen here at  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/basic-strong-heel-socks.

They fit me really well, and were a cinch to knit. No picking up of stitches and no yarn overs to hide a gap in the short rows. Princess thinks they smell great, after being worn a day.

In fact, I like them so much that I am using the technique to replace the heels on three pair that have been waiting patiently for mending. I thought I saw how to do this on  http://techknitting.blogspot.com/, but after looking, I don't see it there. Maybe Fleegle? Anyway, I whacked each sock in two, right above where the heel flap began. Once the heel is reknit, I will, with luck, kitchener it to the sock foot, after cutting off the gusset and holey heel. It's a bit fiddly, but quicker than knitting a whole nuther sock. I am not worried about matching the yarn; this will be a way to use up those leftover bits I have squirreled away. And I didn't want to throw the socks away; in fact, one pair is almost ten years old, but I wore through the heel the first day. The yarn was mostly pure wool, with no nylon. I don't use that for socks anymore. The ones I have with nylon wear like iron.

I've also done a bit more work on 'Leslie,' shown here in b&w. The hair and background I am not worried about, but I want the nose and mouth area to be perfect - or as near to perfect as I can make it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Do you need a vacation?

Boo Boo is in time out. Behind bars even!

Sunday, Sweetie and I herded all of the electrical wires to safety, and allowed Bunny Boo free run of the office. Until she discovered an old plug and wire last night. Not knowing if it was hot or not, I put a box in front of it, but she nudged the box out of the way. I ran her off numerous times, but she waited until I went to the kitchen, moved the box and began gnawing. She did it two more times and received time out two more times - until I put Tabasco Sauce on the wire and adjacent floor. (Should have done that first thing. Le sigh.) 

Then she found the old plumbing tube for an ice making refrigerator, behind our non-ice making fridge. Tug tug tug, chew chew chew. Time out for the rest of the night.

Today, she discovered the mystery of the cat door, which goes to the garage. Sweetie got her back inside and into her cage; she bit him twice she was so mad!

That wrascally wrabbit  is smart and fearless. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Accept no substitute

It's cold. 

Yes, I know it is January in Missouri and it should be cold, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Yesterday, as I bundled up to go out, I wondered which I disliked more - bundling up for the cold or self-basting in the heat. Today should reach 38º. Yay! Above freezing. My studio has been too cold to work on 'Leslie,' and on Monday and Tuesday, I didn't feel well. Mostly just cuddled on the couch with sudoku puzzles. 

Going to Columbia today for therapy and an allergy shot. Also Goodwill, as I can always use more clothes that fit. My appetite has returned, and I worry that I will gain weight. Especially since I am being a slug here lately. At least I eat mostly good stuff, and Diet Coke is now back in my life. I once lived on cigarettes and Diet Coke. Healthy! 

I really am pleased with 'Leslie.' The piece is turning out just as I hoped. And planned. Looking at it makes me happy.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Safe and Reliable

It took two whole days for Bunny Boo to feel confident to enter the open door to the office. Now? She's right at home, marking every little thing as her own.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Bind Off Loosely

I've moved 'Leslie' back into my studio, since having her in the office was making anything advances. The studio is warm and sunny. In January, the sun is a wonderful thing.

Nothing is set in stone yet, which is good because I see a few spots that need tweaking, but mostly I am happy.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Made to Last

What I made yesterday - four new potholders. 

Corky and Snoopy are more interested in crumbs on the floor than looking at the camera.

Monday, January 07, 2013

I'll be your server

The other day, Sweetie called me to the back door, the one looking out to the screened-in back porch. "Look at Boo Boo," he said.

She was running and performing binkies, having a generally good time. Then she stopped and looked out through the screen.

Out in the yard, I saw a squirrel and when Boo Boo quieted down, Squirrel began to gambol and binky. Bunny watched intently, and when Squirrel sat down, she began her dance again. 

This went on for several minutes.
aHow cool was that?

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Now with Cocoa Butter!


Another year; let's hope it's a good one. 

There is still snow on the ground from over a week ago; just enough to be pretty but not enough to be annoying. We may get a title dusting later today. 

I am doing well, mentally and physically. I am not suffering from SAD, beyond sleeping more than normal. I mean, really, when it gets dark by 5:30, I am ready for bed. I'm not crying on the couch depressed, but it almost takes a fork lift to get me out of the house. Yet, I go, even if only a little bit. I credit my meds, which I think are spot on. Therapy is part of it, too.

The wound on my neck is healed, but there is still an angry looking red scar which I enjoy touching. My brain is less foggy and my memory has improved. I'm walking the dogs again. I feel good. I am even exploring a couple of teaching opportunities, in Columbia, and I plan to attend a meeting of the Weavers and Spinners Guild there this Tuesday. For me, that is really stepping out and to the edge. 

Knitting? Why, yes I am. A pair of mostly plain socks save for the 'Strong Heel.' It's a pattern from Knitter's Fall 2003 by Gerdine Crawford-Strong. I am down to the ankles on both.