Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What's in your tornado bunker?

Would anyone be surprised that mohair was in mine? Normally tornado weather doesn't worry me, watches, warnings, sirens and the like? They usually don't get my pulse racing at all. I grew up in Kansas, for cripes sake. No biggie. Until Joplin. Watching that kind of destruction in such a short amount of time really got to me. I'm proud of the community and the fact that our kids are even getting involved gathering water, soap, necessities, toys, clothes, etc to send as well as money donations through the red cross & heart to heart.

The Wednesday after that horrible tornado came through was a bit overcast in the morning. I watched the news, the meteorologist said with the colder temperatures, there was almost no risk of dangerous weather. I gave a big sigh of relief and headed out to run errands. A little before 11am I heard sirens. It actually pissed me off. I thought, what kind of crappy ass idiots were running a tornado siren test TODAY? (KC tests its sirens on some Wed's) With the skies all cloudy and dark? Just 3 days after Joplin's devastation? What kind of jackasses would DO that? Then I looked at the sky again. Huh. It WAS pretty damn dark out. Huh. Mayyyybe this wasn't a test. Huh. Those sure look like wall clouds as far as I can see. Maybe I should get myself back home and check the news. Just to make sure.

Yup. Tornadoes. Just very small ones and thank goodness no damage for us. BUT not only are sirens going off and my kids are in the basements of their schools (gotta love texts nowadays--keeps you in touch), BUT there are multiple tornadoes spotted. VERY close. SO after hauling the bug-out bag (emergency supplies in a backpack), the small safe with our family papers, the laptop & ipad down to the basement back closet, I grabbed a knitting bag on the way down. Somehow the one I chose? Lovely, soft, comforting, MAHVOLOUS MOHAIR! I didn't do any actual knitting until later.

I actually had a knitting friend driving through that crap to come & knit with me. I pretty much told her I was leaving the front door unlocked, there was a tornado spotted 2 blocks away, for her to either run the heck away or get the heck into the basement as soon as she got here! I admit I did freak out a bit, When I heard the news call out another tornado 3 blocks away on the other side of my house, I grabbed a twin mattress and shoved it into the closet as well to huddle beneath.

Needless to say, we didn't blow away. My friend and I sat & knitted after the danger had passed us by. I was very shaken up by the close calls (one tornado did touch down right near our oldest kids' school, but no damage other than blowing trash around). It was comforting to just sit and knit good old garter stitch in this lovely blue mohair 2 ply yarn. We watched the news until the storms passed by and were very thankful for no loss of life or property.

This heavenly mohair was a gift from my friend Tanya (blogless) in a Christmas swap a few years back. It's been waiting patiently and somehow I don't have it in ravelry, so until I find the tag, will remain nameless. I'll do some digging and find it soon! I'll also have a free pattern up shortly to share. It's very VERY simple, just start with twice the stitches you want, knit every row (garter stitch) for as long as you want your ruffle to be, then knit 2 together across, then continue on knitting every row until you have just enough left to knit the ruffle on the other end. Knit one in the front & back of each stitch across (or Knit one, Make one across), knit the same amount of rows you knit in the first ruffle, then bind off knit wise.

Heaven, pure heaven. Somehow out of a laceweight merino cardigan in process, socks on the needles, handspun wool/alpaca/silk cowl in progress, the stressed out woman in me grabbed just what I needed for a calming project to take along, mohair. I was surprised when I looked to see what I'd grabbed as my mind didn't even register that I'd grabbed a knitting bag in the process. :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Do over

So, even though I was pushing the envelope, out of my comfort zone, and trying new things....sometimes it just doesn't work. While I'm now in love with the odd combo of the orangish pink & green sock yarn I dyed last week, the greens just have NOT grown on me. It's jarring. It's odd. It's not right.

SO, that means it's time for a do-over. While dying a crap ton of fiber yesterday, I threw those two skeins in a pot of green dye & lots of vinegar and VOILA! I love them.

Having extra dye bath left over that needed using made me wander about the stash. I found 6 skeins of malabrigo-like yarn in colors from the 80's, hunter green & dusty rose. *shudder* I see country blue and geese every time I think of those colors. *shudder* ok the yarn wasn't bad, just the NAMES of the hunter green & dusty rose? HORRID!

After a bath in a large pot on the stove full of brick red dyes, it's transformed into gorgeousness!

My last little do-over was when I ran out of yarn & fiber but still felt the need to dye.... The new 'do!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Get out of your comfort zone

I used to HATE hearing that from my girl scout leader way back in the 80's. It meant she had an activity that was GOOD FOR US and would MAKE US GROW and all that crap. I've found myself pushing that comfort zone quite a bit lately. I'm no longer in the corporate grind, I am building a little career out of fiber, yarn and friendship. I'm learning to cook. I MAKE BREAD for cripes sake. I never, ever thought I would type those words. STILL freaks me out, actually. I've taken care of chickens, when I used to be terrified of the things.

I'm like June freaking Cleaver (if June Cleaver occasionally went out with one orange hand and one turquoise hand in public).

I've started dyeing yarns & fibers in colors and combinations that don't immediately appeal to me. I thought these colors (above) were hideous. As I combined these intense pinks & greens & ornangish bits, I pretty much knew they'd be going into a dye pot for an overdye to hide the hideousness. Even as they were drying, they still gave me the heebie jeebies. They've started to grow on me. As I reskeined them, handled them, squooshed them, these skeins seem to have become something different. I like them. I really do. I think I may even have to save one of them for myself.

These are more my usual mode. Semi-solid yarns or yarns that stay within a general color family. Somehow all this new age hippie love thinking has changed me a bit. After a lifetime of being told that redheads CAN NOT wear red. Can not even THINK of wearing red, I've found that I LOVE LOVE LOVE bright, intense reds with just a hint of orange. I LOVE THEM!

I've got two full skeins of this gorgeous BRIGHT red/orange stuff plus a couple extra bits that were wound off the cone between yarn knots. I wonder if I have enough for a little cardigan? Some form of a summer sweatery thing?

Yarns were dyed when a little group of friends got together for a very cool dye night. Fun, fiber & friends. What else could you want for a Friday night?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Snakes & Chickens in the suburbs

Any of you with averse reactions to snakes should click away now. I'll have happy yarny things drying and will have those photos soon. :)

We had a bit of excitement yesterday.

THIS 6 foot long thing

Tried to eat THESE

Until Outdoorsman did his usual amazing snake wrangling and then THIS CHILD disposed of the offending snake.

Outdoorsman was on a phone call with a client (he's a salesman by day, super-outdoorsman by the rest of the time) when he heard a mighty squawking coming from the "chicken coop" aka under the back porch. He sees this BIG ARSE black snake coming out from there. While STILL ON THE PHONE he goes out, picks up two logs from the wood pile and pins the snake. After hanging up from the sales call, he goes out and while it's hissing and rattling its tail and coiled and royally PISSED OFF, he manages to grab the thing by the back of the head. This snake is 5-6 feet long, coils part of itself around his arm until Outdoorsman does his traditional snake wrangling--aka stands there and whips the snake in a big circle above his head like a lasso...whoop whoop whoop whoop whoop and then lets it fly. It usually is dizzy and confused enough that it slithers off in a new direction. This one didn't get to slither off, but got its head removed.

I KNOW black snakes aren't poisonous and I KNOW they're good for your garden as they eat bugs and rodents and such. But they also eat SMALL CHICKENS which still happen to live in our suburban back yard. This big momma also has been laying hundreds of eggs and Jeff's been pulling out quite a few baby snakes from the creek at the end of our yard as our kids and all the neighborhood kids spend a LOT of time in those waters.

I come home from running errands and missed all the excitement. Before going into the house, I walk back in my espadrille wedge heeled shoes and was getting ready to open the door to see what had my chickies all freaking out and THERE WAS THE SNAKE STILL SLITHERING IN A PILE!!! Jeff thought the kids would want to see it, and left it there till after school. Apparently snakes are like chickens and still boogie around for a while without their heads. ICK ICK ICK. Let's just say I set a world record for high wedge heels up uneven turf and let out a mighty HOLY CRAP MOTHER FUXXER...... stream of cursing that would've made olympic history should it have been a sport.

My daughter who can't possibly be related to me (even though she does look pretty damn identical to me at that age) thought it was VERY COOL and even protested having to put on gloves to carry it out of the yard after school. Who the hell IS she?

Let's end this post on something happy. Something yarny. Something that doesn't try to eat my chickens or move independently of its head.

AAAHHHHHhhhhhhh that's better. Deep Teals worsted weight wool yarn hand dyed by moi. Isn't that better?

Monday, May 02, 2011

April Ennea Collective issue is live!

Ennea Collective

New issue of the Ennea Collective is up! It's a pretty issue, theme is Naturally Celtic. It's got some sweet knitting patterns in it plus some spinning articles too. I'm thinking those celtic knot fingerless mitts may be calling my name.....

Still knitting away on my Whispy Cardigan. It's got a LOT of stockinette, in laceweight yarn. You really get your money's worth when knitting with lace yarn.

When good yarns go bad.....
Anyone remember my Elizabeth Zimmermann's Pie Shawl? The one with the unfortunate appendage? That yarn was just doomed. While I HAD TO HAVE IT NOW NOW NOW when I saw it at a Knitting in the Heartland vendor market a few years back, once I knit it up, it was just not meant to be. I actually thought it was hideously ugly (even without the appendage).

Well, when life (or your totally unstoppable urge to BUY YARN NOW) gives you ugly yarn, make it beautiful!!! I frogged the shawl, reskeined the yarn, soaked it, then put it in timeout for a few years. The other day I stumbled upon it in the stash. It's lovely merino wool, soft, fluffy and squooshy. It shouldn't be stuck in the back of the stash. I overdyed it with a deep forest green and VOILA! I'm now enjoying knitting this into a cardigan that will be worn all summer long!

If you find yourself with some ugly yarn, think of a way to give it new life. Either find someone that thinks it's beautiful and make a lovely gift of it or overdye it into another color that you love! If you've not got a dye lab on your back porch, find a friend that does. OR mix up some kool aid dyes. Have some fun. Enjoy your yarn!

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