Friday, February 25, 2011

Stash Busting Meets Startitis But Finished Stuff Too

Wow! For a second I thought I was done with this long post. Then I remembered this other thing I finished that I wanted to show off. As if this post wasn't confusing enough.

So here is 270 yards of Pygora that I spun on my wheel. After this photo I set the twist and hung it out to dry on a sunny day, then got the ol' ball winder out and finished it up. Then after a really bad day Charlotte took it off the mantel and set too enjoying my ball of yarn. To say I was unhappy is an understatement. Yes, the dog still lives. Darryl had pity on me and took the whole mess and carefully rewound it into a ball by hand. I just love that man to pieces.

I decided to add the pictures of the stuff I finished so nothing is in the right order. This is the ruffle scarf mentioned later in the blog.

This is seacell/merino top that I've pick out to try to spin with my drop spindle. I'm determined to become accomplished with this tool. It's time I quit practicing and started spinning something I will use.

And this is the roving I'm spinning next on my wheel. The colors aren't nearly right in this photo. They are very deep and rich colors. I have enough that I may give three ply a chance. I'm thinking it will turn out a bit more subtle when plied like that. The color runs are too short for Navajo ply to do much good.

This is my finished bowl that I talk about in the following picture. Yeah, I know a pretty confusing post but at least it has lots of pictures!

Here is the little basket I'm making out of the leftover paper yarn. I didn't want to waste the yarn and I thought this was a good idea. I turns out that scratchy stuff seems scratchier when you crochet. But the good news is that I have finished the bowl. I'll show it off in another post.

And this is the shawl I cast on for a Christmas gift. But it's work lengthwise and I'm a rookie lace knitter so I ripped the whole thing out, note the hard to rip out mohair/silk blend, and cast on for a simpler lace shawl worked width wise. But lace patterns take a lot of concentration so I'm only a half dozen rows into the new shawl. It's about as warm and soft as it can get. It's a lovely yarn. Even if it's slippery as all get out and about as heavy as sewing thread.

The military sock is moving along. It's a basic sock so I pretty much knit on it on the go or if I don't feel like messing with a more complex pattern. I think by now I can knit a sock in my sleep. It's possible that I have actually done a few stitches while asleep. Maybe.

This is some more strange yarn I bought on sale in a craft store. If you put this stuff in the sun or under a lamp, when you turn off all the lights it glows for about five minutes. But it's also soft. This is just a simple ruffled scarf. And I've finished this one too. Darryl says it's too skinny. But he doesn't get fashion or fun in wearing scarves.

I haven't actually cast on for this Dipped Infinity Scarf yet. You can find the pattern on Ravelry. But I had purchased a sock yarn sampler some time ago. They send you a ball of many colors but a ball makes only one sock. Since this pattern calls for sock weight yarn I just dug out eight colors and I'll be casting on for this one soon. I think that if I like this pattern it may be one that will be good for using up those bits of sock yarn. It's worked with two yarns together and then switching out one yarn every few rows.

And I had joined a sock club a few years back. Not the Blue Moon Fibers one. This one is the one that the Tsock Tsarina has. Anyway, all the patterns are pretty darn complex so I haven't finished many of them. But here is one I've started. Those of you who know I'm not matchy matchy about my hand knitted socks but that I embrace the individuality of each sock can see why I chose this one.

I didn't buy any yarn at Stitches West and hope to do a post on interchangeable needles next time. At least with my experience with them. And the ones I've fallen in love with.


Okay, in a nutshell, Mom has been in and out of the hospital a time or two recently. She has been fighting a urinary tract infection, confusion, pneumonia, trouble breathing, and a lower intestinal tract infection. I took her back to Manteca Care and Rehab a few days ago. I don't think she will be be there long because she is doing much better. Some of the confusion she is experiencing will probable be there from now on but she's much better. I want to thank you all for your good wishes. I am never alone in dealing with Mom and her problems. I have incredible sisters at my disposal anytime I need them. They help me a great deal, each in their own way. I couldn't be luckier.

Horses Laying Down

Darryl has been training the horses to lay down. He sent a video to several people who seem to think he is being cruel and see no reason why anyone would do this training. It bonds Darryl to the horses even more, if that is possible, and makes the horse more respectful of all humans. I'm not certain why horses seem to like us, after all we haven't been all that good to them historically. They are intellegent, affectionate animals. But they are prey animals and we are preditors. We want them to trust us and work as a team with us. Laying down helps them to develop trust in us. They are not forced to lay down. As if Darryl could force a 1300 pound animal to do anything it didn't want to do. They are made to be uncomfortable standing on three legs but laying down is their choice.

When we first got the draft horses they were kind but not respectful. They were dangerous for anyone to be around because of this. When you went out in the field they did not respect your space and crowded in on you all at once. This is very dangerous. Even our smallest horse at 700 pounds is much bigger than us and needs to respect our space. I feel confident that if a child wandered into the arena with our horses they would not be harmed even if they poked, poked, prodded and pulled. This is a direct result of training.

Laying down your horse is also a preface to other training. Darryl has bad knees and I have arthritis in most of my joints. Darryl will teach Sarah and Stormy to sit so that we can get on them easily. We aren't getting any younger and, I don't know about you, but we would like to stay active and continue to ride our horses into our 70's. That requires lots and lots of training.

So I hope that explanation is helpful. Neither Darryl or I would intentionally train an animal in a cruel way.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New & Old Stuff

So I finished up the projects I had going and it was time to start new ones. So I cast on for a lace shawl. That project isn't going so well but it doesn't need to be finished until Christmas so I have plenty of time to fiddle with it or rip it out. Then I picked out a sock kit I had never done. It is very fiddly and a little bit strange to me in the beginning. I've gotten past the toe and am now into the patterning of the foot but it will be slow going. So I looked around for a simple carry along sock to do. Some time ago Kelly gave me replica kit for WWII servicemen socks. I never knit it up because it came in a nice tin and had old time style print. It was just too cool to actually do. It comes with yarn, needles, yarn needle, and instructions for a pair of socks. Anyway, I opened the kit and cast on for the socks. I did make a couple changes to the pattern, which is a simple basic sock pattern, I added elastic to the ribbing and the leg of the sock will be slightly shorter. Since they are men's socks I'm giving them to my man. The pattern calls for 3" of ribbing and 8" of leg for a total of 11" of sock before you begin the heel. D decided that was fine if you are in the army and wearing tall boots but a mite tall for him. So I did 3" of ribbing and 6" of leg and am ready to start the heel flap next time I'm out and about.

I am posting pictures of the kit so you can see just how cool it is. I'm not sure how much you can actually read but the pattern is dated 1942. It's a simple, basic, sock pattern, the same kind I use when making any basic sock.

Darryl has been teaching the horses to lay down and doing trail training with them. Even though Stormy isn't broke to ride yet it's a good idea to be able to get her into the trailer so we can take her to the vet or transport her if necessary. You can see that Sarah is already in the trailer. Sarah is getting so good that Darryl can point at the trailer, with Sarah 20' away, and tell her to "get in the trailer" and she just goes. Niiiiice. It's a real pain when your horse won't go in the trailer if you need them too. Trailers are dark caves to horses and they don't like them. So the idea is to work them outside the trailer and they only rest inside the trailer. Pretty soon the inside of that trailer looks pretty good to them because they can just stand there and do nothing. The idea is to get the trailer so desirable to them that if your horse gets loose all you have to do is look in all the trailers to find your horse. I'll believe that when I see it.

So when all this latest round of stuff with Mom's health started I had all my file drawers on the table in the dining room with file folders and labels and all kinds of junk around. I was cleaning out my files. Then Mom's stuff came up and that mess sat there for two weeks. I finished it all up on Sunday and all the files are clean and current. So when we were moving Mom we piled up all her paperwork in one spot and I brought it all home. She is no longer capable of doing her own finances. So now I have all her stuff to go through and organize. She hasn't been keeping good records or paying her bills so now that job falls to me. So now I have all this stuff, which I put in the guest room, to go through. We found papers everywhere. Magazine racks, drawers, just all over. So I need to get this sorted so I can do her taxes. I will tackle this next week.

Here is her finished room. She asked me to find her a bookcase headboard but I was unable to do so in the time we had to move her. I would like to thank Tommy and Marley for the bed. We didn't know when she was coming back to her apartment and needed to be ready. At the conference for her yesterday we were told she is going home on the 21st. Sue and I will go get her and take her to her new apartment. Although she now has a studio apartment, she has the same kitchen but no living room and she has a small patio. Darryl and I added a couple chairs from our place and a table so she can go out there and sit if she likes. These chairs are light weight and roomy and do not tip easily so should work well for her.

So we had our meeting yesterday and were told she's good to go. She's still not right in her head but that doesn't seem to concern them. And since she'll be in assisted living now she'll be safe. The criteria for Kaiser to release her to go home seems to be how far she can walk. We has a discussion about whether or not she'd need oxygen at home and they said no. But when Colleen got to the rehab place Mom couldn't breathe and Colleen had to get help and they put the oxygen back on her. So that part is supposed to be re-evaluated. At the meeting yesterday afternoon they hadn't got the results of her latest x-ray. At 10pm last night they called and told me she still has pneumonia. So I asked if she was still scheduled to be released on Monday. My question was met with silence. They are supposed to get back to me today. Also, I requested a test to determine if her urinary tract infection was gone. They couldn't tell us if it was or wasn't. So I'm supposed to have those results today. But as far as I know they are planning for us to take her home on Monday. After all she can walk 100 feet.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm Still Here

I was hoping to post a couple times a week but I've been so darn busy with unexpected events that I just didn't get to it. For that I apologize. I did actually turn my computer on there for a couple days.

D came back from the feed store and brought me a present. My very own spurs! These are bumper spurs. Our horses don't really need anything more than that. And then only occasionally. I need to get some spur straps to attach them to my boots but that will be fun to shop for. Later.

Here is a photo of the highlighter tape in it's dispenser. I haven't thought to look at an office supply store but maybe that would be a good place to try to find some. It's nice stuff But I think this roll was about $7. It ain't cheap.

I finished my market bag. It's made from paper yarn. I did rinse it in the sink to see if it would soften some. It didn't. D pointed out that it is made of paper and maybe soft paper isn't such a good idea. He might have a point there. In any case I'm going to pack this in D's backpack for Stitches West on the 18th. Extra toting power is always a good idea when you are headed there.

I grabbed a pair of socks out of my drawer to put on my feet and to my horror this is what greeted me on my foot. I have no idea what happened here. I can't see that this is a place a sock would wear out. But I may patch it up as best I can. I don't think I can let these socks go. Not for just one little old hole.

And I had to model to flame socks on my feet. They are delightful, even if I do say so myself. I've dug out a sock yarn kit I haven't done to start next. I also cast on for a lace shawl. I've already started over on the shawl and ripped out. I have an error on it now and have to rip back a row. It's mohair/silk yarn and is fuzzy. It's worked lengthwise so I have about 300 stitches to rip out. Lucky it doesn't need to be finished until Christmas. And I have a little of the paper yarn left and am fooling around with crocheting a small basket out of the remainder.

And everyone wants to know how Mom is. She's not doing well. She now has pneumonia. I went to see her day before yesterday and almost walked past her. I didn't recognize her. She was a little old lady snoozing in a wheel chair in the hall. She knew me and got mad when I told her I put new blankets and other bedding on her new bed. She couldn't remember why she had a twin bed now but did remember we were moving her into assisted living from independent living. Then she started telling me about how people were stealing the chairs from the hall at the con home. Shortly thereafter she fell asleep again. So, it doesn't look like she's any better to me. It's a game of wait and see what happens next.

Just before all this stuff with Mom came down I had started cleaning out my file drawers. They are on the kitchen table. Then all Mom's stuff happened and I now have my unfinished file drawers and all of Mom's paperwork that I could find covering the bed in the guest room. I think Mom's stuff is more containers with a piece of paper here and there in it so it looks like a bigger job than it is. But I feel like I'm drowning in paper these days. I know I'll get it all done and that it won't take all that long once I put my energy into it. But the piles are daunting. I expect to finish one more of my drawers today and the last one tomorrow. With rain on the horizon for next week I think I'll get through Mom's and get it organized. Then it's tax time. I'm sorting for that as I go.

In the meantime. I've spent some time running around doing Mom's stuff and I feel so bad for my dogs. They are either outside or crated. I have had a few days home and thought I'd get Charlotte and me out for daily walks. Until I hurt my back. I have no idea what I did but it was bothering me like a pulled muscle or something in my lower back. I got up to head to the bathroom, night before last, and could barely stand up. I made it. I think I scared the heck out of D though. I felt better in the morning but could not sit or stand for any length of time. I didn't get a lot done yesterday. Darryl was off work for a couple days and came in from his horse training periodically to rub some magic potion of some kind on me. Probably horse liniment. All I can say is I feel much better today and am still moving carefully if a little faster.

So it's a good day for those files. A good day for answering email. A good day for blogging. Lucky for me, it's sunny and nice today so I will be able to open windows and blow out the winter stale air. I hate it when the house gets a stale smell. Sometimes in the winter I'll just shut off the pellet stove, put on a jacket, and open all the doors and windows. This works very well if it's windy. Clears everything out in an hour or so. Including the winter blues. Don't try this if it's pouring rain although it works well when it sprinkles and you get that fresh rain smell.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Okay, it's been a while but it's been a little crazy around here. But I finished my flame socks. I love, love, love, them. I don't care that they are acrylic. They are soft. Probably not nearly as insulating as wool but I love them. I haven't cast on for another pair of socks yet but I'll be using up some scrap yarn and the black sparkly acrylic. It's difficult to see the sparkles in the photo but both the red and black are sparkling. I'm still working with the paper yarn on the market bag. I think I'll have at least one ball left over and will crochet it up into one of those small baskets. So I may do that before I cast on for a Christmas present.

This is a picture of tape. Knitters or anyone who follows a pattern, I'm thinking this would be nice for cross stitchers and crocheters. If you find this tape grab it! I always copy my pattern and put it in a protective sleeve. Then I can make notes on it but the paper will hold up until I'm done with the pattern. Darryl snagged this tape at By Hand Yarn in Sonora. It's like a post it. A little bit stickier though. So there's my pattern in it's plastic sleeve, when I'm following a pattern or chart I can just lift the tape and reposition it on the row I'm working. The flame pattern I just finished was something like 60 rows and I repositioned the tape twice (once for each sock) on each row. It's still plenty sticky to use again on another pattern. This stuff isn't cheap but worth every dime. It works much better than the Post It notes we all use. It comes in several colors. This just happens to be the one Darryl chose. Next time I see a roll of this I'm going to snag it for myself so I don't have to bother Darryl for it. But I suspect this piece will last me a while.

Kelly, I didn't cut off the light blue chaps. I thought I'd see how I liked them and since I had a small weight loss they went right on. I taped up the hem six inches with packing tape. That's actually a little bit short but I didn't want them to drag on the ground when I walked and rub a nasty spot in them. But they are plenty long for now. They also are plenty light. I haven't made up my mind if I will keep them. The matching coat has a zip out liner in it. It's more versitile than I remembered it.

And of course here is a picture of Charlotte. Not a good one but what I wanted you to notice is her back feet are not on the ground. She backs up to the sofa and plops her rear down then watches out the front window. It's the funniest thing to see. Maybe I posted that already but it's been busy and I forget where I left off.

And yesterday I saw a sheriff's car zoom down the street then appear to stop near our house. I went outside to see what was going on because it seemed like he stopped in the driveway. I went out the front door and ran into the garage because he was out there behind his car door with a gun pointed at a pickup that was stopped in the street at the end of our driveway. Three other cars joined him shortly. Anyway, a gang banger stole some gravel from somewhere nearby and someone saw him and reported it. Since he was a known gang member the lone cop wasn't taking any chances until he got backup. There were four passengers in the truck. I think one was a woman and one a kid. I don't know about the other two. I had barking dogs to deal with. They hauled people off to jail and I saw the truck drive off so I'm guessing at least one person didn't go to jail. I did see a woman and a man put in two different police cars. But as I said I didn't see the whole thing. The picture is fuzzy because I took it from the sewing room window and there is a screen there.

Okay, the reason I haven't posted is I've been dealing with Mom. She's in the hospital. She's having trouble breathing and is retaining about 15 pounds of fluid. She doesn't always know what's going on either. Her oxygen levels are somewhat low and I think it's affecting her brain. Kaiser says her heart isn't any worse, according to her tests. They also said she shows no sign of having had a stroke. Of course they said the same about my Dad and my sister Patricia and I actually witnessed him having a stroke. And three of us us have seen signs that Mom has had at least one stroke recently. So I asked, if her heart is no worse why is all this stuff happening to her. The doctor said her heart is worn out. He compared it to a leg muscle in a marathon runner at the end of a race. So I'm not sure what his definition of worse is. If less activity makes her breathe harder and there is no chance of the heart muscle getting stronger, doesn't that make the heart muscle worse? Apparently if the clogging in her veins isn't worse or there at all, she's not worse.

In any case she can not live independently any longer. She hasn't been taking care of her personal business either. So I've had to run around with my legal papers and take over dealing with her finances and figure out where to put her for care. She can't live with any of us because she requires so much care much of it physical for the care giver. Right now I am the only one not working full time. So there's that. I cannot have her here with the dogs, it's too dangerous for her. A couple weeks ago she was here for me to nurse back to health and I had to keep Charlotte outside or in a crate much of the time. Not to mention I couldn't get groceries or do anything until Darryl got home.

Kaiser keeps saying rehab for a couple weeks then find a place for her. Then they say no rehab because shes walking more than 75 feet with a walker. Last night they are saying a week or two of rehab again, maybe. And by the way she might be released today. So I was on the phone with Kaiser about 10 times yesterday. They are not very helpful most of the time. But it looks like I can get her from independent living to assisted living in the place where she is now. I don't see that I have any choice for now.

So today I'm off to Merrill Gardens to see what a studio apartment on the first floor is like, whether or not I can apply February's rent to the new place if we get her moved Saturday. Get her hearing aids and glasses, go to the hospital and tell her she's not moving in with any of us. Figure out what the hell Kaiser is doing with her. And probably scare up some bodies to move her furniture on Saturday. Then I can attack her paperwork again when I get home. For now I'm just having all her mail forwarded to me but she's going to want her magazines and catalogs to thumb through.

One more day my poor dogs get ignored. And I stress eat. I'm trying to make that fruit or whole wheat products. Not too hard because who has time to go to the grocery store for junk food! Hopefully all will be settled by Monday and I can finish up cleaning out my file drawers that are on my kitchen table and get my house back in some kind of order. CRAZY!