Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Afternoon

excerpt from Joy in the Woods

By Claude McKay
There is joy in the woods just now,
       The leaves are whispers of song,
And the birds make mirth on the bough
       And music the whole day long

Remember that album - "Nights in White Satin"? Right - The Moody Blues. I think they still play, but mostly for public television fundraisers.

Into the second week of summer vacation now. I have been surprisingly disciplined in my handling of all this free time: I have a daily schedule. And I stick to it. Actually, the schedule is only for the morning, but it helps me make sure to exercise and complete at least one chore on our (much too long) to-do list. Washing windows, painting the deck, cleaning out Stu's room, etc.

Bears are still about, all too frequently. The two juvenile males were around for much of the day Saturday, probably because Abe was cooking short ribs for much of the day, and the aroma is simply too delicious to resist.

Pimpelliese Shawlette knit is Malabrigo Sock "Carine"
I finished something today! That's two things since my last posting. Here they are:
  The shawlette is for a good friend at work, but the tunic is for ME. It's shown with a blank tank top underneath, as the knitting is loose and purposely full of holes.

No spinning for almost two weeks. Not in the mood.

I'm reading the second in the "Fifty Shades" trilogy. Horrible writing but mysteriously compelling - obviously, since I bought book #2.
DeGraw Tunic knit in Tahki "Ripple"

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I Promised Photos - Here They Are

Spunky Eclectic "Birds n' Berries" Targhee - January 2012 shipment

Barely-begun Elm Socks made with String Theory Caper Sock in "Lichen"
Very-boring-but-will-be-lovely DeGraw Tank in black Ripple yarn
Completed String Bag made with Knitpicks Cotlin in "Clementine"

Pimpelliese Scarf made with Malabrigo Sock in "Carine"










 Early June Meditation at Lakeside

By Colette Inez
Fire alarms, a far off wail.
fireflies twitch in the grass.
At summer’s doorsill we stand,
a seasoned couple in good weather.
It seems no great matter a comet hurtles
towards the sun, that a child’s
charred bones will slip into earth.

In the city the firemen
have put out the fire.
We are here and not there.
Look at the dream
we have: a field of mullein, a lake,
two flies trapped in a hub of silk.

This night belongs to an interpreter
of wasps, aphids
in the mouth of a ladybird beetle
carrying red spots
on the dark ground of her back.
We count her years by them,
we who have learned
to eye seconds on a watch,
to burn old calendars, accounts.

And this night belongs to the author
of fire in the arsonist’s heart,
to comet tails and summer births
where frogs, and bugs
claim their brief patch of dark.

No one cares if we swim naked
in a lake whose fish gulp shadows
and trembling stars.

The child’s mother will buy a casket
with money from the firemen.
Our thoughts are dry when we think
in summers to come
we will be red cinders
rising from a burning house.

Ilene String Bag made with KnitPicks CotLin in "Sprout"


I'm not sure what it is that, every once in awhile, causes me to cast on multiple projects within minutes of each other, but that "it" hit hard on Wednesday. I cast on, in no particular order, the following projects:
  1. Elm Socks, designed by Cookie A., found in Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Socks;
  2. Pimpelliese Shawlette, designed by Christine Ebers, a free Ravelry download;
  3. Ilene String Bag, designed by Hannah Ingalls, a free Ravelry download;
I must confess that I already had one project on the needles - the DeGraw Tank, which will be lovely when finished but is currently mind-numbingly boring to knit. So that's four (4) projects in simultaneously alive and humming along.  So far, I've been pretty fair about switching between projects, but the string bag is the furthest along, because I can knit on that anywhere/anytime, without having to refer much to the pattern. I'm too short for time to go photograph the projects, but I will post pics soon.

Good news in the bear department - have not seen a bear since Thursday, June 7th. Yes, it's only June 9th, but for us that a significant length of time. We suspect that there may be as many as FIVE bears in the immediate neighborhood - 3 juveniles (2 tagged, one untagged), an adult female, and an adult male. Knock on wood, they've not gotten into our trash, nor do they seem particularly interested in it. The grill and the birdfeeder are the main attractions.

Speaking of birdfeeders, we are awestruck at the amount of activity there. We have male and female goldfinches, rose-breasted grosbeaks, nuthatches, house finches, chickadees, juncos, bluejays, and even a very messy and rude red-headed woodpecker coming to the feeder constantly, from dawn to dusk. I've had to fill the feeder (and this is a 6-quart cylinder) twice this week, and will need to again today. The ground underneath is busy with squirrels, chipmunks, and mourning doves, panning for gold through the empty sunflower seed shells. The feeder is suspended on a wire cable between two trees, too high above the ground for bears to paw at or squirrels to jump for.

This coming Thursday, June 14th, is the last day for students at school, with 8th grade graduation happening that evening. I was asked to speak to the class - an honor that I don't deserve. Now I am off to write a speech that will be worthy of the recognition. I must sequester myself whilst I search for inspiration.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


How could I forget to add a poem? Here's an appropriate one. Just substitute the word "black" for "grizzly" and you'll know how I feel right now.

If you ever, ever, ever meet a grizzly bear,
You must never, never, never,
Ask him where he is going,
Or what he is doing,
For if you ever, ever, ever, dare,
To stop a grizzly bear,
You will never, never, never,
Meet another grizzly bear.

My Favorite Month

Yes! It's June! How I love this month - the month when Zig and I got married (30 years ago this year), the month when school lets out for the summer, the month when the sun and the birds are up delightfully early.

Lest you think I've forgotten entirely about my blog, please know that I think of posting every day; I just don't have enough time to set myself down in front of the laptop and create a post. But, here I am, better late than never.

Foot Model Abe wearing Turbo Toes
Lots of knitting and spinning going on. I finished Turbo Toes, from Clara Parkes The Knitter's Book of Socks, and gave them to Abe. I'm still undecided on whether I like toe-up sock design, and also whether I prefer knitting socks on two circulars, the Magic Loop method of sock knitting, or good old double pointed needles. On this particular pair, I exhibited wishy-washy behaviors - casting on with dpns, then switching to two circulars, then using Magic Loop for awhile, then reverting (on the second sock) to dpns.

Hold on. I was just sitting on the deck, blithely typing, when I heard some noises near me. Turned and saw a cute gray squirrel approaching me - he had no idea I was there. I shooed him away, and returned to typing, but not long after I heard more noises. Bigger, crunching-branches-type noises. I thought our little bear, who visited us four times yesterday, was back. I stood up to get a look, and saw, not the little bear, but two full-grown bears ambling down the hil towards our driveway. One was HUGE. It might be the largest one I've seen. They both knew I was there - they looked right at me. I grabbed the camera, which, fortunately, was sitting right near me, and snapped away. The big one snuffled up some birdseed from the freshly-filled feeder. The smaller one had not only eartags, but a radio collar. Here's some pics:
I don't think the one on the right has been tagged...

Speaking of the little bear, here's the juvenile who pestered us for about 4 hours on Saturday. Abe was making pulled pork tacos, which required roasting a large piece of pork loin for six hours, which had been marinated in spices for hours before cooking. Needless to say, the aroma wafting out our open windows and doors was...tantalizing, to say the least. This little guy sure wanted him some tacos. He even went so far as to walk up onto the deck and try to get in the screen door by standing up and pushing, but we managed to scare him off. He wasn't very intimidated by us, though, and we're worried that his lack of fear is going to lead him to a bad place.
Yes, he looks like a wood carving, but he's real.
I have to say, I'm a wee bit nervous sitting out here now. Zig and Abe are off at a driving range, so it's just me and the baseball bat Zig dug out yesterday. Maybe I should go get it...

Okay, back to knitting and spinning. Since finishing the socks, I suppressed the noble tendency to go back and finish up the string bag (which is rapidly morphing into a UFO - UnFinished Object), or to make more headway on the DeGraw tank I started last weekend, and, yes, cast on The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief, using the mauve Fonty Gueret I picked up in Paris. This is going to be a birthday gift for my dear friend Pam. So far, it's a quick, fun knit. The yarn is a soft, sproingy merino.
Fonty Gueret Merino for The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief
This is turning into a long post. Knitting and spinning and BEARS, oh my! On (at long last) to spinning. I finished up four ounces of Spunky Eclectic's "Peace on Earth" South African Fine fiber. I ended up with 318 yards of 2 ply, in what I suspect will be a fingering weight. This was a fun spin.
Spunky Eclectic's "Peace on Earth" South African Fine 2-ply

Of course, as I was working on this fiber, the May 2012 shipment arrived, which means I'm STILL 5 months behind on the fiber club. It could be worse - I AM gaining ground.

Spunky Eclectic's "Big Bang" Blue-Faced Leicester Top
"Birds n' Berries" Targhee
Now I'm just starting to spin for a fingering weight 2-ply, using SE's "Birds n' Berries", the January 2012 shipment of Targhee. I divided the bump vertically, hoping for some striping, but that never quite seems to work out the way I want it to. As usual, what seemed like a lackluster colorway is becoming breathtaking gorgeous on the wheel. I've fallen in love with this. Here's a photo of the un-predrafted bump:

Well, I guess that about wraps up my fiber life. And wild life.

Yes, I've been exercising regularly, too, but I am still far from being described as "lean", "angular", "slender", and the like. Still, I do feel good!