Monday, March 24, 2014

Mother Nature Wins Every Time

This is a blog about yarns.  Some of the yarns are fiber related.  Some of the yarns are a good story.  I try not to get too preachy, but every now and again my natural tendency takes over.

This is our new pet, Brazen Squirrel.  Brazen (notice how we don't call the creature BS) earned the name. 

Our Westside condo is in an area edging (or right on top of, depending on your political persuasion) a wetland.  I'm all about nature and protecting species and not leaving trash and etc, etc, etc.  After all I did grow up in Louisiana where the swamp primeval still exists in all of its glory.   Also in Louisiana is False River.  It got that name because it once was the Mississippi River until Mother Nature had her way with the land and cut a new river channel leaving False River as a separate body of fresh water.  Sometimes, even with the intervention of humanity, nature can not be controlled.

So, Brazen Squirrel lives in the urbanized modernized fancy-ized edge of a wetland and is doing just fine.  There is a whole hoard of 'em running around and staying fat and sassy.  I think that our Brazen is always the same little varmint, but perhaps they take turns showing up on the balcony, standing on the arm of the wicker chair and begging for tidbits. 

I know enough not to get started feeding the critters and I don't even leave water out for them.  But now Brazen hides stolen treats in the pot plants.  One of the landscape plants on the north of the balcony has been producing tasty spring treats, which, might have started this cycle of cuteness  brazen begging.  Toss in a near by pine tree springing into new growth and I live in squirrel heaven.  It can't be that I (not being always in my right thinking mind) pick up the rug that sits under Bert's cage and therefore catches left over macaw seeds and shake it out over the edge of the balcony.  Surely not!

PS  I've learned my lesson - - no more rug shaking outside.  Mother Nature Wins Every Time.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Round To It

Plastic shopping bags are a thing of the past in my area.  There is a charge for paper bags.  Many people are now saying, "no thanks," tucking their purchases under their arm or in a pocket and walking out of the store.  My approach is different. 

The trunk of my car is loaded with no less than 6 - 7 shopping bags.  Different shapes, different sizes and even a few of the insulated types.  Add in that I frequent a Farmer's Market weekly and shopping bags are always coming into the house and returning to the car trunk. 

The ones that I use for fresh veggies and fruit (especially at the Market) are all washable.  The ones that I use for meats can be wiped out with anti-everything wipes.  Now that we are expected to reuse over and over, I don't want the germs and bacteria to re-touch over and over.  I'm not overly weird about it.  It is just that in the past, we could toss out the unseen and now we are expected to reuse. 

 I got around to making a new market bag.  It is made from this free pattern which is so wonderful that it gives the option for a small or slightly larger size and two different handle options.  The designer even gives two suggestions for the side stitches. 

The bottom starts out just like a top down hat, which is not my favorite thing to knit. 

The bag itself works up rather quickly if your have a few evenings in front of the telly.  I decided to make the smaller size which still holds a lot of veggies because it is so stretchy.

The cotton sides and acrylic bottom/rim/strap can be washed in cold water without harm.  If I have to reuse it, I will re-clean it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Invited To Secret Action

With some delight, an offer came my way.  A simple sheet of folded paper, passed to under a table held the invitation and a set of instructions.  A nod of the affirmative and my mind was off and racing.

This is all that I can share.  I know it is not much and it only gets you to wondering what deed is afoot.  Lets just say that the final item will include contributions from many people.  Each one invited to participate has unique artistic skills that will all merge together.

The instructions are simple: 
  • Square 
  • Twelve inches per side  
  • A due date that allows for artistic dithering. 
The opportunity to join others and bring a moment happiness to some good people has brought on the zen.  I'm relaxed, working at a mellow pace and smiling.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Said It Before, Say It Again

If you read the last post about my Destin summer top, you know that the plan was to wet wash that cotton/llama rather than just steam it into a state of relaxation.  Many of you have never wet washed and depend wholly on steam to open lace and make pointy shawls.  And some of you have never blocked by any method at all.

All I have to say about the two other camps (steam & nothing) is "to each their own."  I have a reason from most everything that I do yarn wise.  I've said it before and I'll say it again and again.  I wet block (by hand) most everything.  Some very specific acrylic goes in the wash.  Linen gets washed and then tumbled with with balls to work that linen into softness.  I even wet wash silk.  Getting a little preachy, so I'll get back to the point.  

 Look at what washed out in the cold water!  Can you imagine what would have happened had I not soaked the yarn and just wore it on a cloudy day when suddenly a downpour of Biblical proportions occurred and I was also wearing my favorite cream colored linen pants?

I'll tell you what would have happened.  A tragedy of Biblical proportions!  That's what would happen.

And that's why I wet wash most everything I put to hook and stick.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Destined For Sunny Days

Finally, the new summer top is done.  The endless rounds of boredom have ended and I still have a modicum of sanity.

The pattern worked well, but I did a few modifications.  My waist shaping was modest.  Had I been thinking with wisdom, I'd have considered that more severe shaping would have been better due to the tendencies of cotton.

The length was my own choosing, so naturally I love the length.  Hopefully the llama in the blend will prevent the cotton from shrinking up too much.

The pattern suggested that after satisfying a certain number of stitches on the sleeves, that 20 - 30 more rounds be worked prior to ribbing.  I did not do any additional rounds and jumped straight from the underarm increases to the ribbing.  And it is perfect for me.

I'm going to soak this before wearing.  Red always seems to run a bit and steam might not be enough to put my mind at ease.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tangled Mess

If you read the post from last week, you know I was stash diving for purple.  That search was fruitless.

Look what I did find! A wad of cotton and a ball of black.  Yippie for me.  

As it turns out, I need to knit up a sample for a Knit-A-Long.  Cotton will work great.  And since the cotton has a twist of orange & black, the solid will ground the whole thing.

Don't go asking what the KAL is.  I can't divulge that just yet.  Samples must be finished.  Words must be written.  Options and suggestions need documentation.  And then, in a few months all will be revealed to those who need to know.

PS - and it only took 15 minutes to untangle what turned out to be three balls of the twisty cotton.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Pure practicality - that's my new iBag.  There are times when all I need is my phone, a key and a card.  Carrying a lady purse seems like too much for just a few minutes.  Toss in the travel schedule and I find that often all I need is a little bag that crosses over the body much like a large messenger bag.

Enter a rectangle, a few side stitches and a long cord.


The specifics:
ShiBui Heichi in the Canal color. 
One skein left over from a long vest that was knit about four years ago. 
Crochet Hook size G

There is no pattern.  With this yarn/hook combination all I needed was fifteen stitches to make the width that fit my phone.  Work a rectangle in esc - extended single crochet.  When the rectangle was long enough, I just folded it into shape.  The first side was closed up with slip stitches which extended via a chain to make the long strap and then the other side was slip stitched.  A simple turn and slip stitch in every ss & chain makes the sides quite sturdy and strengthens the strap.

That's it.  A patternless bag of practicality that works up before the movie ends.

Friday, March 7, 2014


It can not be March.  Not already.  What happened to February?  Oh, well.  I shall just look at the daily calendar and pretend that I am up-to-date and on task.

Speaking of tasks, last week offered a block of time to work on the second blanket of 2014.  I doubt that March will provide such luxury, so part deux might not see much hook time for a while.

The FPDC stitches really stand out against the plain single crochet background.  And I love that the raised stripes run at 90 degrees to the bands of color. 

A rather thorough stash dive (and a bit of organizing - it is Spring, don't ya know) proved that my supply of purple is greatly diminished.  I did find one bag filled with about 1100 yards of light lilac cotton.  That's enough for a nice tank, tee or even skirt so it will remain "off limits" for the acrylic blanket.  Other than that one find, there was nothing. 

The upcoming LA Yarn Crawl has me excited about hunting for just the right purple to use and the final edging of this afghan.  It is all about the hunt! So watch out Los Angeles yarn stores.  Miss Lenora is on a mission!