Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Sometimes it does mean a lot!

I knit a simple shawl out of some lovely grey alpaca yarn years ago. Little did I know how much the shawl would come to mean to me. 

I was never able to get a picture that did it justice. It is such a soft warm yarn that pictures cannot convey. I loved the pattern (Multnomah) so much I made it three times, at least. But none of the others match this one. It is just the right weight and warmth. Easy to wear and it just makes you feel better, wrapped in soft warmth. 

When Gus was old and sick the shawl gained more significance. He came home with a shaved belly from an ultrasound. It took so long for that fur to grow back. The weather grew colder and so did Gus. Enter what became known as The Shawl of Healing.

Gus was tucked in under more than once. He agreed it was just right, not too heavy and not too warm. Each time he fought his way back.
He was one Big Tough Kitty.

Last year I put Gus's bed under the Christmas tree with the shawl in it. Orange fuzzy Burt asked Gus if he could give it a test. 

Now Burt is not yet old or sick so he lets me keep The Shawl of Healing with me. You know, since I need it more.

I even wrapped D in it while he was in the hospital. He looked like an old babushka, even with the beard. Sadly those pictures will remain private. They do make me smile.

Two weeks ago it flew with us back to South Dakota. My Dad was not doing well. It was a source of comfort and warmth for me.

A few days ago I thought I lost it. It was with me then it was not?! I searched frantically, thinking not now, I still need you. I had resigned myself to "it was just a shawl" and I could always knit another one but my heart was breaking. Till I turned around and someone had hung it where I never do. I had dropped it, it was found and placed safely.

Now it travels with me to be a continuing source of comfort at my Dad's funeral.

Also meaning a lot on this voyage are the socks I'm wearing. I was wearing them on the day D had is his accident that was bad, but could have been so much worse. I am still struck by how awful it could have been and how well he has healed. I like to think of them as good luck socks.

Tomorrow, I will be wearing my Adriene socks. The yarn was a  gift from a knitting friend and a source of comfort too. My very first pen pal. I'm still amazed that we hit it off so well after reading a random blog post. Who knew yarn cakes could be as much of a bonding point as real cake. It is the stuff great friendships are based on. Well we do love tea too.

They may just be knit items but sometimes they can mean so much more.

Today wrap yourselves in all the comfort you need. And say a prayer for my dad and my family if you can.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

My Dad

You know when you really frustrate your parents and they say that one phrase...I hope you have a child just like you when you grow up.

Me? I am that curse from both sets of grandparents. I am 50% like my dad and 50% like my mom. I drove them both a little crazy and managed to make them both love me because of it too.

So my dad is not doing well. Today I was asked to "tell me about your dad." Not so easy as you would think. (I also have a hard time in interviews when asked to tell me about yourself too.)

My dad is a tough South Dakota farmer, who lost his farm. My dad always wants to know how everyone's crops are doing and where you are from. He can ask a thousand questions before you even get the chance to start answering the first.

He could always talk to anyone. A fact I hated at the time but find myself admiring all the more now.

My dad has one Hell of a temper, that he passed on to me and my nephew. He also lectured us in how not controlling that temper could get us in lots of trouble too. When I am mad, I am furious and you will most likely know it. But I also know not to let get the better of me.

I got my love of reading from my dad. I've read The Little House on the Prairie books several times. I still have the urge to pull two books out when I want to read one because of my dad. You would be happily reading along and set the book down to go do something, only to come back and find Dad had picked it up and started reading just where you left off. So we learned to leave out another book from the series as a decoy. Yep you read that right we left decoy books out.

I got my procrastination gene from Dad too. Along with my inability to send a card on time. If it can be done tomorrow why do it today?

Dad took me out on the back roads and made me practice driving home. It almost broke my heart to break the rules like that. But when the time came for me to get my license, I got my license and not my permit. Mom told me years later she thought I would fail and was ready to give me a good pep talk.

It was from both of them that I received the confidence to face a bully. I never had to fight but I knew if the fight happened I was going to hurt them more than they hurt me. I knew they would back me whatever the consequence. I still can remember them telling me I was tough and strong.

I received my strength and put your head down and get through it from them. I also received my joy and happy outlook from them. The ability to see beauty in everyday things, even rusting old farm equipment.

Oh and my love of rain definitely came from being a farmer's daughter.

And ice cream love that came from Dad too. Tea, the tea thing started with Dad.

Yeah I was the curse from both grandparents. It is good to be a curse.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

OFFF 2017

Fiber festivals I really love them. I usually text Hubby when I arrive and say something like "I'm with my Peeps!" This year I may have even said "My Sheeps!" There is nothing like walking fairgrounds and seeing yarn and knitwear every where. Nothing like it. Ok fine I will admit to missing the gear up to Rhinebeck. All the excitement and chatter. Attending a knitter's mecca. It was fun while it lasted. 

I missed Black Sheep Gathering this year due to 100+ degree weather giving me the urge to strip off every piece of clothing not the urge to wrap up in woolie goodness.

But September in Oregon I got a taste of the fun again. Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is held in Canby OR, close enough and cool enough for me to take myself off to join my peeps. After a lovely leisurely breakfast of scones and tea with my adorable family, I set off. No early morning wake up for this festival. It is not cut throat like Rhinebeck, something that I can like quite a bit.

I tend to do a walk through making note of who I'd like to come back and buy from at less hectic festivals like these. This time I walked up to a booth selling counting bracelets and decided I had found something I'd been looking for a while. It works like an abacus, two rows of beads. Nine beads on one and ten on the other. To mark where you are in a pattern you move one of the nine to the side with the sheep charm, on the tenth row you move one of the ten towards the sheep, and move the nine back to restart. So that little bracelet keeps track of up to 100 rows. Nifty huh?

I rarely wear jewelry so I felt elegant as all sheep with my shiny blue beads and sheep charm dangling. I really should pull out some of my favorite pieces. Now that I don't have to answer a phone at work I could get back in the habit.

I wandered out to the sheep and llama barns. I texted D saying I could bring home a couple of alpacas for only $1000, I'm sure Burt would like some sisters. Cat bed? Shmat bed I'll just go curl up with (on) my sisters.

In the llama barn I'm sure I was cursed. I foiled a llama escape plan. The lady went in to clean the stall and the gate popped back open while her back was turned both made a quick exit. I swear one of them had a little cartoon balloon above its head saying Ffrreeeeddoomm!!!

You know me I'm a farm girl at heart, I threw up my arms and said Whoa repeatedly. What? Whoa works on horses why not llamas? I did not want to grab for the halter, I don't like stranger's hands near my face why would a llama, so got to touch llama neck hair. Ever so soft! Honey if I'm a great wife, maybe next year I can pop the trunk and bring back some wool on the hoof???

I meet up with a fellow Raveler and had a lovely chat about our felines. We wandered into the stalls where I enabled/encouraged her to buy more fiber because a sweater is better than a vest. Oh don't act like it is not true, sweaters are awesome. Vests are of course awesome...without sleeves, which makes them less awesome. (Yeah, that one got away from me a bit.)

As I was petting and fondling all the lovely fiber, commenting oh this breed, oh that breed a plan formulated in her mind. She took me to another booth she's been to and showed me a 30 breed fiber sample pack. One ounce of 30 different breeds of sheep, all clearly labeled just ready for the sampling. What a nifty idea! But alas I am in my heart a product knitter, what would I do with 30 little skeins of yarn? I'm all for experimenting for experimenting's sake, but 30 little skeins of experiments without an end product to enjoy? That is just not me.

Then we walked around the corner and saw a garland of mini mittens and socks. Ding ding ding we have a winner!! A mini knit item garland for Christmas or anytime? Sign me up!!

I came home a happy little knitter. And promptly found my spindle full of wool from the last time I spun. So a sweater for Hubby, that I have still not pulled out of the bag for measuring, is not the only thing that has to get done around here before I can start some new fun. Don't worry, just like the sweater I am more than halfway there. Burt will attest to my spinning lately.

This post was written in October but I'm back dating it so I will be able to find it before I go back to OFFF next year. What things get busy but we can always write down the details and change the dates as needed.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A year ago

A year ago this little furry face came home with me.

He tucked himself in the closet and decided he needed a bit of adjusting time. 

Less than an hour later he decided he could most definitely call this place home. 

You know how they say home is where your heart is? We all know where Burt's heart is.

That is right Momma, I'm in this for the long haul! 
I don't want to rush into anything so I'll just take a nap or seven.

P.S. I love you too Momma!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

I don't know

So I knit a swatch, I know I am shocked too! Planning a sweater I'm so excited. And this was with another heat wave hitting us, also smoke and ashes falling from the sky. Yeah it has been a bit of a weird week here in Oregon. Guess I want to talk about wool for a while as an escape.

How do we feel about a thistle yoke?

Hey guess what? Scale matters in knitting my cute 1 1/2 tall thistle bloomed to 3 1/2 inches in worsted weight yarn. Kinda big if you ask me. I do like it in the photo though. I was looking at it before the picture and thought the thistle was hard to see. In the picture it does look thistle-ish at least to me it does.

I am of course undecided. I may just have to swatch a few more motifs. How weird would purple or red sheep or kitty faces be? Maybe I should just choose something more geometric? You guys will intervene if I get too crazy...right?

Just to prove my sanity I'll show that I do indeed have a sock on the needles. I have not gone off the deep end yet.

Burt and Daddy are monitoring my condition closely.

Burt thinks kitty faces are cute, maybe try a red kitty face, but he won't say why. 
Duh Momma?!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Gearing up

Even though the weather has been getting warmer/stinking hot, I've been fighting my knitting mojo. Well, fighting is an awfully strong word. Let's just say my knitting mojo has been activated and I'm thinking about knitting sweaters. Yes you read that right sweaters as in plural as in crazy talk when it is above 90 degrees.

Yes I know I've given myself a very stern talking to about finishing D's sweater first. What do you mean you did not know I was knitting a sweater for Hubby? Just because I dropped it like the hot potato/wool that it was last spring...

The term knitting is thrown around pretty loosely in this house. Don't you remember those socks that I was "knitting" for over a year? *cough* more like two years *cough* The second sock took me no time once I pulled them out from under the pile. You know "the things I'm playing with or thinking about" pile. 

D's sweater is its own pile, a mostly completed pile. I abandoned it last spring when it was mostly finished, but needs to be tried on stage. Hey it was too hot by that stage anyways, plus why finish something that you won't dare to wear for at least 3 to 6 months. 

I picked out some sock yarn and started knitting smaller lighter items. But now I'm back to thinking about sweaters. Hubby will get his once the weather cools down, but now is the time to dream about my next one.

I was thinking about what color yarn I would buy when I was struck by the knowledge of two unknit sweater's yarn sitting in the stash. One a plum color for me and the other some left over colors from previous Rhinebeck sweaters and some lovely gray yarn, I could knit into a nice colorwork sweater. Hmmm what to do?

Well since I had bought a nice sized basket I intended to use for knitting I carefully extracted two half balls of green, three skeins of purple, nine skeins of grey and one partially knit ball of grey complete with ribbed swatch still attached. I had at least removed the needles for the move. I picked up the red skein I had brought home from the Rose City Yarn Crawl and consolidated it all in the basket.

I even found Gus' old ball of yarn that he loved so much. I tucked that one back in the stash. He would have loved this sweater I'm going to knit. He did so love rustic wools.

The ribbing on the grey was promptly frogged and a purple and red skein each were wound up. I mercilessly ripped needles from another dreaming about/knitting project and started tracking down colorwork motifs I could try out. Yep you read that right I'm knitting a swatch! Right now I'm knitting a small tube of garter stitch that will turn into a swatch. Unless I find something else to distract me till the heat passes.

Hey Honey want to go to the beach???

PS: Anyone have any thoughts on what motif I should choose for my colorwork yoke? I've found a geometric cat face, Scottish thistle and some sheep that I like. Right now they are theoretically going in the swatch. Sort of like survivor for knitting motifs. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse 2017

 Burt was very busy this morning preparing for all the excitement. He could barely hold it in!

Burt do you like the mini pink alpaca blankie that Momma bought for you? I see you're busy prepping for the eclipse, I'll let you get back to your important work.   ZZZZZZzzzzzz

Burt how did you like the eclipse?

I didn't look at the sun once Momma! Aren't you proud of me for not ruining my vision?

Oh yeah Burt Momma is very proud of you sleeping through the eclipse. You're so brave!