Totally buffaloed
Saturday July 20th 2019, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit

Buffalo Wool Co is moving to a new mill and dyer and cleaning out old stock. They held a mystery offer: for $20 you would get…yarn. What color or blend or how big a skein would be random and unrefundable, but given the warmth and rarity (not to mention natural machine-washability) of bison fiber that $20 was going to be well spent no matter what you got.

My husband has some of their socks and admitted that he didn’t want to wear any other kind anymore, only theirs, preferably their bison/silk ones.

I splurged and he has six new pair of the bison/silks, despite my knowing that “Mom got me socks for Father’s Day” was a line that could live in infamy–except that he really did want them. And he really did appreciate them.

So here I am, I’m seeing that mystery yarn thing, I passed on the chance so that other people could have what few skeins those might be at this point because hey, I have more than my share of good things.

And then, closer to moving time, my friends Ron and Theresa from Stitches and whom I adore ran that offer again.

This time my greed got the better of me before the day was over.

The package came.

It seemed…dense.

You guys!!!!!

It’s the bison silk. Nearly two thirds of a pound in laceweight.

I feel like I just won the yarn lottery.



And Shaun jammies too
Friday July 19th 2019, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

A lot of companies won’t ship to Alaska. But they’ll ship to me. If I ship it in my own box it’ll cost a small fortune, but if I go to the post office and use one of their all-you-can-fit-in Priority boxes it’s the same cost as to anywhere else.

We have a two year old devotee of all things Shaun the Sheep, the show spun off from the Wallace and Gromit movies.

Guess what he got today.



Graph-feat-y
Thursday July 18th 2019, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

Sherry found on Etsy what I didn’t on Ravelry, and thank you, Sherry!

It’s not lace but it’s definitely a moose. Done from the vantage point of looking not quite straight on, and I want a side view, so, another three stitches’ worth separating the front legs from the back stretching that belly out, and likewise on another stitch’s worth lengthening the muzzle.

So far, that’s what I’m going with but I’m not up to there yet.

It is amazing how much faster it is to knit a 182 stitch per row afghan than a 279-stitch one.



Unless you know of one?
Wednesday July 17th 2019, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Knit

Does yarn ever leap out at you and jump on your needles and ignore you telling it no?

Yarn is secretly cats.

Yes the baby needs something soft and small enough to drag around behind her.

I was afraid the single-ply baby alpaca might shed a few fibers.

I was wrong. It sheds like a Maine Coon in summer . The silk percentage does not anchor it in there.

But oh mannnnn. That stuff is SO soft. And SO pretty.

So since everything there goes through the laundry the fibers will just felt in place, and, bonus, it’ll even cover over the yarnover holes to keep the baby warmer. Knitting this is fine to do because it claims that it is as it races ahead. It’ll be great.

Right? Right?

Now I just need a pattern of a moose. There are lots of patterns of moose.

Just not in lace.



I cobbled this post together from bites and pieces
Tuesday July 16th 2019, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Food

Grocery-store Rainier cherries to supplement (while trying not to insult) the last of (I knew I should have bought more) Andy’s Black Republican ones.

It’s a good thing I couldn’t find my cherry pitter last week. I still haven’t found it, which makes no sense except for the fact that now I’m really glad I didn’t.

Because it made me go looking for a better version–there had to be a better version out there than what I had.

Let me tell you how much better Sur La Table’s $11.99-on-sale version was than the $10 cheapo from Amazon: I pitted all those cherries in almost no time WHILE (stupidly) WEARING A SILK BLOUSE. Pardon me while I shout. I was daring myself to stop being so lazy and just go change my clothes and I continued anyway and it was fine. No cherry juice squirting all over the kitchen, no having to place each one just exactly so, no worrying about which size cherry went where: roll’em in, make sure they’re all in an indentation, cover and stab seven at one go, repeat to about 70 pits before you have to empty them out of the bottom part–and they do not get in the way underneath, unlike my old gadget.

Roll cover push roll cover push roll cover push look up that Washington Post cobbler recipe, done!

(Edit: Having run to try it out after posting this, it works for the bigger pluerries (plum/cherry crosses) too, although it’s harder work.)



Round two
Monday July 15th 2019, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Garden

The pomegranate tree, making a comeback from losing all but the one fruit–to the 113F heat wave last month, the wind storm, or the critters, I’m not sure.

Nine buds. Two flowers. And the one big green fruit forging ahead, showing them how it’s done.

The neighbor’s pomegranate tree has fruit ripening every winter, so I know we’re good however long these take.



Got that one right
Sunday July 14th 2019, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

I’d been thinking…but I hadn’t quite convinced myself that that was the right choice for her and she wasn’t there anyway, so, never mind.

Church was over and the navy cowl was still in my purse as people were standing around chatting, the crowd gradually fading.

I still don’t know a lot of the new people but at least their faces and personalities have started to become familiar.

Then I saw the woman I’d given the most recent cowl to and she was talking to one of her friends from back before the ward boundary changes; I walked up to them saying, I was looking for someone wearing blue!

The first one laughed, the second had no idea, the first started to tell her what she was about to be in for (man, she caught on to me fast!), and then there was the “are you allergic to wool?” out of me.

Handknit wool and silk. In a perfect match to her outfit.

She went home thrilled.

I need to start the next one, because that was just way too much fun to miss out on next week.



27 months
Saturday July 13th 2019, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

FaceTime.

Again!

We sang ABCDEFG again.

A delighted, Again! (I noted that he no longer sternly pouts No No No at the inclusion of TUV.)

He was loving this. Again!

Umpteen more rounds.

Then Wheels On The Bus. Shaun the plush Sheep went round and round, up and down, and moved on back.

Again! He giggled at how fast Shaun wiggled his ears at the up and then plunged out of sight from the camera so fast on the down.

Again!

As many rounds as you want, honey, for as long as you want during this brief time in your life in which you do. That’s what grandparents are for.



It’ll wrap around someone just a bit smaller
Friday July 12th 2019, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

Every knitter needs a UFO stash.

No, seriously.

So: about three, four years ago? While visiting with a cousin of mine, she clearly had something on her mind but couldn’t quite say it. She almost–but no.

We were about to leave for the airport. She knew this was her last chance and she could only ask such a thing in person, if even then, where she could see my reaction and back off fast and apologize.

I could see those wheels turning and grinned. Out with it!

There was suddenly an even more tortured look in her face mixed with such fervent wishing.

Knowing who she was and how much I adored her I added, Of course I’ll knit it, before she’d even answered.

Which is exactly what she was hoping for while knowing it was too much to ever ask so she wasn’t going to. But she was about to move to England and she didn’t have anything really against all the cold rain she anticipated there….

A scarf and a hat? Sure! Color? Purple? What kind of purple?

Oh I like all purples!

(Well, that doesn’t exactly nail it down…)

So I found some purple yarn, and it was Malabrigo, which I love, so, I bought it.

And it was Arroyo, which I quickly found I didn’t love when I was going to have to do a whole long wrap around your neck it’s cold here and it might not be warm enough and then I’d have to do a hat, too, and then worry the same things about it. I wasn’t the least bit sure that that hand-dyed aspect was her thing. Solid was a safer bet. So I found a thicker, worsted-weight very soft plain-purple yarn with some cashmere added to the wool that I wouldn’t have known about nor found had it not been for her request and she got a lovely set that she adores.

And a bunch of other people got nice things made out of that yarn before it was discontinued.

I still had the beginnings of that Arroyo.

Many times I thought about ripping it out so I could use the needles for something else but that would have meant my hours spent making something perfectly nice but not yet useful were worth less than a $7 pair of cheap ones. So, lacking some better immediate use for that yarn, it stayed.

Until today.

I picked up a few dresses I’d bought for the baby to get an idea on pattern sizing, which answered my question as to whether I needed to continue the lace part further: no.

I went down two needle sizes and started ribbing, because babies grow and ribbing stretches. I decreased for the armhole edges, then eventually at the neck, on up to the shoulders, and there you go: the front of one baby sweater, about six months size. Easiest fastest start to a project ever.



Give it a new life
Thursday July 11th 2019, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Life,Politics

I’m a one project at a time person, but huge projects beg for a little puppy of a one in the purse wagging its tail end and begging for attention and the occasional treat of a few stitches here and there. You can’t lug the Pyrenean Mastiff of wool everywhere.

This one had been ongoing for over three weeks and it was bugging me: I wanted both the longterms done now. No cowl of mine should take nearly a month. I wanted to be able to start something new.

So I sat down this afternoon and worked for four hours straight to the end of the ball. I’m reluctant to name the source of the merino/silk yarn because their politics have become known and what I would consider indefensible–some of the very peoples that they denigrate help work in the mills that make this stuff.

But the yarn was in my stash, it’s quite soft, and it was pretty. Such a lovely drape to it, too.

And now it will make someone else pretty, somewhere where it will only be about the love in its making.

It was time for it to go.



Let there be purple!
Wednesday July 10th 2019, 7:45 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Hear ye, hear ye: be it known, that at 5:44 pm Pacific the two alternating strands were cast asunder from yonder baby afghan and the US 7s put aside with the knitting pronounced Finished, on this the day of my sister’s having finished her 58th year on this beautiful planet Earth, blessed be its wool.

The afghan shall hereafter be known by her name in her honor. (Well, for today, anyway, I’ll let the kids do whatever they want with it. Let me just go run in those 32 skein ends first.)

Happy Birthday, Anne!



Sundown
Tuesday July 09th 2019, 10:12 pm
Filed under: Life,Wildlife

Suddenly realized that not only was it the night we’re supposed to get the bins out to the curb for the morning pick-up, if we didn’t get moving we would run right into skunk o’clock.

Bam. Instant procrastination cure.



How to deal with gophers
Monday July 08th 2019, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knit,Wildlife

Ten more rows and it’s done, ten more rows and after a hundred+ hours of work it’s done and that’s my excuse for not fixing this silly sideways picture tonight… Seed stitch rows, but there are only ten of them and you can do anything if it stops at ten rows. Ten more rows and it’s done…

Meantime, Bill’s (the guy in yesterday’s post) late dad is the person who, twenty-five years ago, told me about gopher plants and where to find the seeds. So I went to the little ’60’s-hippie-holdover Uncommon Ground place (now a high-rise) and bought some from a man who was serious about gardens in a way that I in no way was at the time. It was a little intimidating, though I’m sure he only meant to be helpful.

They’re biennials, which means they do all their flowering and seeding the second year. And boy do they. Their roots give the gophers the equivalent of poison ivy and they stay away, so, two years for the price of one.

I planted a few. I got one particularly big one and then some more joined it.

This is after having followed another neighbor’s advice and having stuck my hose in the ground to flush them out to get them to move on. The only thing that did was make my Californian water bill jump by a hundred dollars that month. Yow.

So, the gopher plants.

They seemed to work. Cool.

And then they got determined to take over everything, which would not do. One must take them out carefully. They’re not overly friendly above ground to people, either–wear gloves, you don’t want to find out you’re one of the allergic ones.

So I spent a few years discouraging them from coming back and eventually all that ran its course and was over. (With the exception of one plant nine years ago.)

I did, however, see evidence of a gopher again near my fruit trees in 2016 and fought them with the newly-Internet-approved cinnamon sprinkled down every hole and cinnamon sticks on top to be emphatic about it, and that seemed to work, too. This year’s new peach got planted in a gopher-proof wire cage (bought there along with the tree) to be on the safe side.

I haven’t seen any sign of them since the mountain lion came through the neighborhood. Although, truthfully, a hungry raccoon would probably go after them, too.

Look what I just found popped up behind my Fuji apple.

It’s late and it’s small but it is standing guard and I know if I let it, it will soon command an army.

Um, let’s not this time.

On a side note, just for fun and so that I can find the link again: an Alexandra Petri column on state flags that made me laugh.



Middle age? You too?
Sunday July 07th 2019, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Bill was twelve when we moved here. His oldest kid is now in college.

Marcus was a teenager at the time. He took a job back in this area after grad school, and with the recent changes in the ward boundaries now lives in our ward again for the first time since high school.

He did not know Bill and his family were here from out of state for a reunion celebrating Bill’s widowed mom.

Which means that just like the shopper at the grocery store yesterday whose face lit up for us all as Ginny and Michelle and I first laid eyes on each other, I got to see the moment Marcus looked up, saw the middle-aged man looking expectantly and happily at him, just waiting for him to notice: that sudden stunned wide-eyed double-take and recognition as he leaped out of his seat, that arms-thrown-around-each-other moment of pure joy.

Thinking about it happily all day, I realized that what it did was make me want to always, always treat everybody in such a way that they would feel like that years later when they randomly run into me like that. And I so want them to know I feel that way about them. I want that to be for everybody. No exclusions.

The somebodies we’re used to seeing in our day-to-day life and taking for granted.

We love more deeply than we ever really know.



Blessed were the five year olds
Saturday July 06th 2019, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Garden,Life

We lost the earlier pomegranates to, as far as I could tell, the serious windstorm we had in the spring, so it was nice to see some new ones starting out.

And then I found this big one hiding.

Looks like something straight out of New Orleans, doesn’t it?

But the story of the day is that Michelle stopped by and, wanting an ingredient she can no longer buy at the much-missed Milk Pail, asked if I’d like to go to the little boutique grocer in the other direction with her?

Sure! Haven’t been in there in ages!

But then I found myself needing to do just one thing before we left, and then another, and oh that, too, while she waited patiently. It’s not like we were going to be gone a long time, she could have pushed me. But instead, it was a happy, No hurry.

We compared notes afterwards and turns out that as I dithered, both of us began quietly wondering if we would run into someone. There was something of a sense of anticipation.

We were almost done in there when there was this sudden three-way exclamation of surprise and recognition and arm-throwing-hugging and joy, pure joy.

Ginny, retired now, is a master teacher and all four of my kids were extremely fortunate to have her. Me, too, for that matter. For just one example, I learned from my oldest the visual rule of three in a composition. She mentioned it to me as an oh everybody knows that as she pointed out its elements in her drawing.

Now, I’m the daughter of an art dealer, I spent several summers of my childhood museum-hopping across the country with my family, and I had somewhat intuited it but had never had it explicitly spelled out in my life. The moment was a revelation to me.

Ginny taught my five-year-old who taught it to me: the eye is pleased with images it can divide into threes subconsciously. This is why a photo that is split straight in half looks off, somehow. Why two-button polo shirts always feel wrong. You need an odd number. Starting with three.

Which is why I tried to fix the pomegranate photos above because hey, Ginny’s probably going to see those, but the program burped. Never mind.

She wanted to catch up on each of the kids, and me, and I wanted to on her and her twins-plus-twins grandkids. I told Michelle the story of going to the fifth grade teacher’s funeral and afterward, a tall man who was carrying an easel with a flower arrangement to help put it away started approaching us and Ginny gave me a heads-up that we needed to get out of the guy’s way.

I said, Ginny. That’s my son.

The shock and exclamation of delight and at 6’9″ he wasn’t a kindergartner anymore, wow!

Michelle grinned.

Turns out Ginny recently lost one of the great friends of her life, and we grieved with her. I wish now I had asked her a whole bunch of questions about her friend and I certainly should have, but I was trying not to take up all of her time in the middle of a narrow aisle in a store when she surely had other things to do.

I think of all the children, and all their parents, to whom she has made all the difference in the world. The classroom where, when a child needed to calm down, they got sent to the little curtained off enclosure she’d made where they raised butterflies, where a Monarch they had helped sustain from its earliest stages could land on their shoulders and another on their outstretched hands when they just needed a moment alone like that.

I wonder how many adults out there now are looking back on those days and planting milkweed. To befriend life back. She taught us so well.