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April 2008

March 2008

Sargasso Sea

 

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..with its circles of warm water, that portion of the cold, quiet, immovable ocean called the Sargasso Sea, a perfect lake in the open Atlantic:  it takes no less than three years for the great current to pass round it. Such was the region the Nautilus was now visiting, a perfect meadow, a close carpet of seaweed, .. so thick and so compact that the stem of a vessel could hardly tear its way through it. And Captain Nemo, not wishing to entangle his screw in this herbaceous mass, kept some yards beneath the surface of the waves.

 
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea

- by Jules Verne

                                                                                  

In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, where two powerful currents come together like partners joining hands to dance and whirl round and around, there is a place shrouded in mystery. It is a sea within a sea. This place of calm, clear water and floating seaweed islands has been said to becalm ships forever and to harbor mermaids. It is the Sargasso  Sea.

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My friend Cindy, of Cindyknits, used the Sargasso Sea colorway and the image of seaweed floats adrift in the ocean currents, as her inspiration for a new sock pattern. Ball and Skein will be offering this as the Sargasso Sea Sock Kit, available April 1st. Included are the pattern, with written and charted instructions, a skein of our machine washable sock yarn in the Sargasso Sea colorway, and a little seashell stitch marker. 


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The Diamond Fantasy Shawl is done!  The weather was so beautiful, that I took the time to do outdoors things.  So many things to fit into two days, like putting the rugs out on the deck to air, doing load after load of laundry and actually hanging (a very small portion, not much) of it outdoors.  Saturday, there was a monthly spin in with friends I've missed.  I walked.  I played with my spindle... it was a good weekend!

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lace

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I can't resist, Beth.   I know that you are right when you tell me that everyone else is tired of winter pictures, of anything having to do with winter.  I know people want to see flowers and pictures of green grass.  Even in the Kingdom, there are signs of the changing seasons.  You have to look closer, spring starts slowly.  The temps drop into the single digits (and below) at night, but the days are heated by the growing strength of the sun.  The ground underneath the snow isn't frozen.  Four feet of snow is a good insulator, and now, the melt has begun from below.  I can hear it.  The streams are racing under their winter blanket.  This is the best time of year for walking in the woods.   I wear my smallest snow shoes, the layer cake of winter supports my weight.  I stay on top, my point of view changed, like a child  riding high on his parent's shoulders, watching the parade of the season passing by.  I am a winter person.  This is my time.  The woods are pristine, bare bones.  I can see through the trees to skylines that will soon enough disappear. 

There is lace.

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the other lace..
This post would have been pictures of the Diamond Fantasy herself, blocking.  However,  I ran out of my first skein as I was doing the I-cord bind of.  There are 37 more stitches to go.  I've set up a new skein on the swift.  When I finish this post, I will begin to join the yarn together, using my favorite sewn Russian join.  Then, working with the yarn still on the swift, I will finish.  She is beautiful.   


spring arrives in the Kingdom

Just ahead of the first storm of the spring, a flock of redpolls flew in. 

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Birds were everywhere at once.  I walked through a cloud of wings on my way into the house.  They flew up into the spruce and immediately back to the feeders.

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Sammy and I were pretty excited.  The light was poor, it was dusk and the snow had started. 

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Spring.. in the Kingdom we celebrated with 12 hours of sleet and ice. By morning there should be nearly a foot of new snow! 
That's what is predicted.  We're into hour 24 of a 48 hour storm warning and it hasn't slowed down.  I think I'll go have a snooze on the floor in front of the wood stove.  There is something about radiant heat..



walk with me wednesday

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It is still winter.  Here in the Kingdom we want to eek out every minute of winter we can before spring magically arrives tomorrow.  And so we shall....it should snow most of tonight, giving us an additional 5 inches before it calls it quits.  Lately there have been lots of days above freezing.  At night, the temps plummet.  The snow crusts on the top, a bit more falls and the result is fantastic snow shoe conditions!  Yesterday, I spent about four hours on top of the snow, not exactly relaxing but beautiful.  The boundaries had to be marked, clearly and with red tape.  Remember the logging issue?  The logger needs some reminders, a bit of gentle direction, a whack if he gets any closer.  There isn't a better time to do this kind of work.  No bugs, no tangled undergrowth (it is buried  under all the snow) and no leaves to hide previous markers.  As long as you don't have to dig for pins, it is easy going.  I wasn't the only one out.  Everybody in the woods is waking up.  They've got the calendar marked.  It is weird and it is wonderful, how everything knows.  Tracks are everywhere, beginning at my front door.

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There were a lot of visitors checking to see if the otters were in town.  I think they ate themselves out of house and home last year. I've only seen one, and he was passing through.

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The fisher was here, I saw his prints in a few locations, mostly near the hemlocks.

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There are always coyotes.  They were after something I didn't find. 

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The streams are barely visible. 

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Spring is still... Undercover...

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the folly

Last week I dyed two colorways of a new (to me) yarn.  I often do that when I want to see if I'm interested in offering it for sale.  I play with it; checking to see how it takes color and how it knits up.  This yarn is a tencel / merino blend.  I love the clothing I have of tencel, and I love merino.  So far, I am liking this yarn, too.  It has a lot of shine.   Not a good or bad thing, just something that needs to be considered when planning a project. 

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I like to think that I make decisions, that I choose the projects that I move onto.  I like to dream, too.  Most of the time, my decisions are based on what is at hand; convenience and chance.  I figured that this yarn would be great with beads.  When I went shopping, I came home empty handed.  Nothing that I found matched with what I had in my head.  Sometimes it happens that way.  No beads.  I looked for patterns and finally decided on Rosemary Hill's Muir.  I would use the darker purple. I went online and downloaded the pattern.  I looked in my knitting bag for the skein that I'd been carrying around with me while I was looking for the beads, and it wasn't there.  I'd need to go to the barn to get another.  It was cold, -12 or so, and it was dark, around 9:30 pm and blowing.  I had no interest in getting bundled up to walk through the snow to get yarn.  There was, however, a ball of the periwinkle on my desk.  Not for Muir.  That's when I remembered that I had a copy of Sivia Harding's Diamond Fantasy Shawl in my briefcase.  (I carry around a few very special patterns in my briefcase, in case, for times like this.)   It has been there for more than a year waiting for the right time.  Waiting for a cold night when it would become "perfect".   

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Just so you understand... this is what it STILL looks like on a bright and sunny day.  A day in the 20's, a day when I want to be outside. 

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My deck.  In the front it is 4 1/2 ft. above the ground. 


at this rate my cats will be addicts

Everyday, the cats go to the door and ask to go out.  I oblige them by opening the door and standing just inside and at the ready as they head down the porch to the back yard.  Everyday, their attempts to enjoy the day outdoors lessens.  Maybe they make it to the end of the deck, maybe not.  They are stir crazy and they know it.  Even with the sun, it is just too cold. the snow too deep (although I know that they can walk on top of all but the last 6").  I open the catnip; they cheer up.  Everybody's happy.  Or cross eyed.. or....

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Yesterday, I headed south to the capitol to meet Norma and Ruby for lunch.   Norma has lots of pictures.  Go see them, she isn't posting on dial up. Good food, good company, the terribly sweet and cute waiter, playing with Ruby's wonder woven scarves (like jewels) and a trip outside the Kingdom.  Better than catnip.

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You can see a sampling of Ruby's work at the Vermont Crafts Council site here.

 


again.. or still!

Most of my neighbors lost not only their electricity last weekend but also the internet.  As of last evening, the local providers, dial up and wireless were still scrambling to get everyone back on line. Tuesday evening is $2 beer night at the same pizza place (the only one, pizza place, that is) that has a "fast" computer for patrons to use.  Mrs. Paul and I waited our turn.  She showed me this: The Crochet Coral Reef.  A friend of hers, had emailed her earlier in the day (at work) about it.  Seems she had attended one of the meetups in NYC last weekend.  Fun stuff! I know, to most of you this may be old news.  Not to me.  The site links to installation photos, instructions for crocheting these wonderful forms and places that have meet ups to make more.  Knocked me right out of the doldrums!    Good thing too, 'cause today looks like this...

again or still...

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No matter, I'm meeting some fun fiber friends for lunch and...!


no mojo

What with all the activity in the house the past week or so, it was easy to ignore.  There was cooking, eating, and playing games with my niece.  There were origami birds, and frogs, there were walks to the mail box, and trip to a local potter.  Saturday they left and the storm barreled in, more than 56 hrs. of rain, ice, sleet, snow, shoveling, blowing, raking the barn roof, plowing, more and then more of the same.  We spent hours in the rain and  sleet, pulling as much ice bound snow from the valleys of the barn roof as we could.  By the time we called it quits, the trees limbs around us were snapping under the new 1/2" coating of ice that we'd hardly noticed.  I ran up to the house to pump water.  It seemed nearly impossible that we wouldn't lose power.   When I sat down that evening, I was tired, ready to do nothing. So it went.  Everytime I began to think about it, I had plenty of other things to keep me busy.  Until this morning.  There it was, pushing at me, taunting me while I sipped my first cup of coffee.  Two weeks had passed since I had finished knitting something I enjoyed.  There wasn't anything on my list that I couldn't wait to start.  I had NO MoJo.   

There has been plenty to do.   I've had orders to dye.  My sister had me dye a couple pairs of socks (she'd bought 7 pairs of the same green socks "on sale").  And, she'd brought along two halves of a lovely lace scarf for me to overdye for a friend who had inadvertently knitted them from two very different dye lots.  I've been playing with a "new" yarn.  Trying to find out how it takes the dye, and trying a couple colorways.

I'd been thinking about a new wood shop project for Chris.  I wanted a swift that turned on two sets of ball bearings, one that turned smoothly and without friction.  He got to work and we've got our prototype.  I've used it all day.  Changes and refinements are in the works.

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I think this little swift will make my days of rewinding go a lot more smoothly.


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But knitting.  I can't find the right project.  I can't find the right combination of yarn and pattern.  I can't find my mojo.   I'll finish the first "Ember Sock".  It has been waiting in the wings.  Maybe, while I knit, an idea will begin to form.  Stitch by stitch..


The woods are lovely.  The ice washed away in the rain. The birches stood straight again and it snowed.  That's got inspiration written all over it.

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walk with me wednesday

March already and it feels like sugaring season. The days are longer, nights are cold, days are in the 20s, 30s and 40s. The back of winter has broken... yeah, right.  My family rolled in last Saturday to what they say is the most snow they have ever seen.  Probably is. 

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That picture of the barn was taken two days ago, before the last weather trifecta (snow, sleet, and freezing rain) hit.   We've taken to plowing around the backside of the barn as there isn't anymore room for the roof to shed.  While those who ski, ski, those of use who remain behind go walking. 

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Breaking through into the hip deep snow presents challenges.  It is hard to get back up onto your shoes, a helping hand makes a big difference.

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I don't usually have company on my show shoe walks.  What a pleasure, extra feet pack  tomorrow's trails easily.  When we cross into the field, I spotted an existing trail, someone had come through here recently.  Great news for us, no break through.  We walked on top.  The fence lines have long disappeared.  We found this one  as we stepped onto a wire.

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walking up the drive to the house.