Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Fibering (and other news)

The daffodils I got for the American Cancer Society Daffodil Days fundraiser produced some natural yellow wool again. Fifty daffs and about 250 frozen dandelion flower heads on very soft merino.

I am so miffed that the pretty lemony-yellow just doesn't come out right on this camera. I can see it already in the view finder that the color just isn't right. I love this camera, but I wish it did a better job on the true colors.

I also spun the rosemary-dyed corriedale from last year.

Again the color isn't right -- it's a tinge more green.

I spun some more possum - merino blend on my spindle while we were at the little league game. It surprised me just how many people came by to see what I was doing. Kids were interested in it too; there was a boy in the game who seemed almost more interested in spinning than the baseball.

The spring issue of Spin-off just came out, and it's the best one I've ever read. It has inspired me to spend some time on my wheel. While I was looking for the rosemary-dyed fiber in my stash bins, I made a horrific discovery; I HAVE TOO MUCH FIBER. I declare; I will never buy any fiber for the rest of the year! Oh, I know -- you've heard that before.

Last week, I stepped out to my backyard and heard unfamiliar birds -- lots of them. There they were in the neighbor's birch trees; I counted around one hundred. Bohemian Waxwings -- wish I had a better picture to show you, but here it is.

There were many more just flying in and out. I'd never seen waxwings before. Now I've seen one hundred!

Mimint-san, one of the Japanese bloggers I visit posted gorgeous cherry blossom photos for me! She lives near Asakusa, Tokyo, where I was born, and often posts photos from Asakusa Temple. Every year I miss seeing the cherry blossoms in Japan; next year for sure, I said that last spring. I wonder if I'd ever get see the flowers again in my hometown.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ways to Decompress

It's been stressful at work. Just way too much to do, and this is going to get worse until the release date in May. Yick.

Gardening is one way to decompress. I've been watching the new veggie patch every day, and now I see tiny sprouts -- they are carrots (lots), Japanese indigo (just a couple) and pumpkins (that I didn't plant). Pumpkins a good surprise whenever I use the soil from the compost.
Oh, by the way, would anyone like to try sowing some J. indigo? I have quite a lot of seeds still left, but not much land left to grow. It's annual, and non-invasive.

Spinning is another way to decompress. Can you guess what this fiber is?

I just read a post about spinning cotton on one of my Japanese daily reads, and -- call me crazy! -- when I opened the new bottle of kids' vitamins for my son, I couldn't resist to try with that wad of cotton balls that came out. I had great fun. It wasn't as difficult as I had thought. The spun cotton smells like grape jelly!

And little critters. We lost our cat over a year ago, and aside some walking stick bugs, we remained pet-less. Mitch had been asking for "sumping (something) furry", and we landed on little mice. As we started announcing our new family additions, I realized that many people are squirmish about mice (which I don't really get; to me little mice are cuter than hamsters!), so I hope I don't scare you away, but here they are;

This is Harry Potter. Mitch named him of course.

And here's Algernon Flowers. I bribed Mitch for the naming right for this little cute guy. They are just a little bigger than the length of my thumb, and they are actually female, but Mitch doesn't know that. Algernon is quite fuzzy and his fur is a bit longer than Harry's. When I commented on it, Charlie said; "no, you may not spin Algernon."

I used to have a little mouse when I was a little older than Mitch, and I really enjoyed having him, so I hope that he'll remember fondly of these critters.

And of course, Knit Night Friday.

The boys enjoyed playing together, as we knit and chatted. I finally went past the first three rows of Citrus York! Yeah for that, but I am not sure this is going to be wearable -- this is a top-down sweater, but the neck opening looks a bit small for my big head. I will try that out when I progress a bit more on the york.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Because We Have So Little Time

I was working and watching TV peripherally, as usual, last night -- instead of knitting. I don't remember the name of the program, but I think it was on ABC -- "What would you do?" was the theme; a young actor is sitting on the ground in a park, uncontrollably sobbing. Several "test subjects" will walk by him on a path. Some just walk on, and some stop to offer help.

The biggest contributor in deciding whether to stop or press on was the time. Some were told to hurry to get to a meeting at point A; some didn't get that time pressure. Many in the "Group Rushed" didn't stop to help. Many who weren't pressed on time stopped.

It made me think. We are always so rush-rush. We have early morning meetings. We have deadlines. We got appointments. Bath. Bedtime. Business trips. What am I going to pack for lunch tomorrow?

Our son's morning dilly-dallyness is helpless. I'm sure what he hears every morning from us have become such an annoyance for him. And by rushing him so much every morning, are we making him not see what's important or what's right? And what about us?

I think that's one of the reasons why I love knitting and spinning. Rushing doesn't work. I take the time and repeat it over and over. Stop and admire what I have accomplished. Don't you just wish that's the way we lived our lives?

I tell myself that we should take a deep breath and slow down. What's another five minutes of Mitch stirring the yogurt cup. What's another frogging on my I-can-never-get-this-right Citrus York. Wait -- what's for the lunch tomorrow??

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Weekend Accomplishments

We had a beautiful weather over the weekend, and naturally we spent a lot of time outside. We accomplished a lot around the house;

A few weeks ago just before the storm, we had the big yucca tree (or plant, more correctly) removed from our backyard. It was growing fast, and every strong wind had knocked down a big limb or two, giving me a constant worry.

The persimmon tree that was knocked down by one of the fallen yucca limbs in the New Year's storm, is budding now. I thought it was dead, so the sign that this is still well and alive makes me happy.

Since we were using the yucca to hang the bird feeder, we had to find a replacement.

The birds seem to love the new set-up, and they come by numbers. I've been filling the feeder every other day. I'm going to have to keep working just to keep the birds fed!

And we've finally made the water fountain in the backyard. I've been wanting this for a long time. And the most important thing is that it's solar!

I've also moved my vegetable patch from the shady spot to the front yard, where it will get more sun. Hopefully we'll have more tomatoes this summer than last year. I've also sown Japanese indigo seeds here -- hoping to try some indigo dye in the summer.

We visited the Novato History Museum here in town (first time in our ten years of living in Novato). We went out for lunch, Mitch and Charlie went for a bike ride, Mitch and I went to Josh's baseball game -- Mitch got to spend a few hours with Erin's boys while I enjoyed chatting with Erin. Charlie went flying. Boy that's a lot of activities.

I even had a few minutes to myself sitting under my cherry tree and admired the blossoms and petals coming down like snow. It does make me sad a bit. I'd love it if someone bred a cherry tree whose blossoms last a month.

On the knitting side, I cast on the Citrus York Sweater with the blue pima cotton/silk blend I got at Stitches, but realized that I already made an error. Just a simple misunderstanding of the pattern that's supposed to be simple -- so I have to rip it. Oh well -- it's OK. It was a nice weekend. The only problem is that it was too short.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Ribwarmer Done and it's Spring

It took so long for me to finish this. Now it's too warm for me to wear the Elizabeth Zimmermann's Ribwarmer.

Knitted in my Corriedale handspun. I used the I-cord edging for the whole thing. It was fun and I like how it looks. But I wish I made the whole thing a bit smaller for a better fit. This was the first time for me to knit a piece entirely in garter stitches, but boy it was tiring... Come to think of it I love purling so I probably shouldn't be choosing garter stitch patterns.

I have not decided on a button -- the one in the picture on the top is a brooch.

This is the biggest piece I knitted using my handspun yarn. It wasn't easy to have enough yarn that has the same twist, ply and weight... It was harder than I thought it would be!

Yes, the spring is here in Northern California.
It's time for a little break and sunshine. It would be good for you and me.

I'm thinking about taking a couple hours off tomorrow and sit under my cherry tree and admire it like a fool. I wonder if I had any sake in the kitchen?