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July 2007

Monkey'in around

It's summertime.  Knitting projects (and the new Harry Potter) take up the after dark parts of the evenings, if I have enough energy left after the long days.  It is still early enough in the season to be light by 5:30am.  Cats want to go out and explore, I love seeing the day come in.  The coffee pot is set to brew for 6:00.  That way I can laze in bed, listening to the creatures around the pond while gazing out the window at the changing light, and wait for the smell of fresh hot coffee to tell me (all of us) that it is time to open the door and greet the day.  What it means is that progress on the MS3 and Monkey socks has slowed.  I'm good with that.  It is choice.  High summer is force. 

As my usual sock alterations go, changing the patterning down the top of the foot is the one that I take the most time considering.  I want smooth and I need a nice transition.  For the Monkeys. I tried a couple ways.  If I were to do them again, I might change again.  The first thought was to continue the center pattern down to a point.  It looked good while I knitted it.  When I tried it on my foot, it was too contrived, something didn't work for me. 

P1030898 P1040005

I eliminated the side patterns and did one more repeat of the center pattern, then just switched into the stockinette.  Nothing fancy, probably the most obvious.  It works for me.  If I were to knit these again, I might carry the two lines of yo's down the foot.  I could drop the stitches back and work my way up again to check it out, but that takes up knitting time.  They are socks after all, and this part will be in my shoe.  Enough Monkey'in around.

A note for all of you who asked to be put on an email list for the sock yarns.  I think I've answered all of you. The yarn is done, most of you have replied and it has been mailed out.  I've got a couple more colors to put up, probably a bit later today. 

walk with me wednesday Mr. Muskrats home.

Much earlier this week I set out to do my "Walk with me Wednesday".  This time, again setting out by kayak across the pond, to find the home of the Muskrats.  Lately, they have been more active than usual.  I don't know how big this family has become or even if it is a family.  It is impossible for me to tell if I am seeing one, two or many.  Always the one, swimming to or from the biggest island then back to one side of the pond or the other.  Often, I see a green plume of grasses waving high above the water as the muskrat returns, swimming from the bank nearest the spillway.  It could be nesting material, dinner, or food for the larder.  Maybe a little Muskrat Love?

There are three islands in my pond.  The big island, the small island and the long island.  Original, huh?  Today, I'm off to the big island.


I bank the kayak and step out.  I've brought water shoes knowing I must watch were I step and onto whom.



When the kids were young, they camped on the island.  After dark, they would paddle over to the camp.  We'd cheer them on and light the way with the largest spotlight we had. 


On the point my foot kicks what remains of the stone campfire ring.  The island needs to be cut. 
Out of sight of the house and just where I expect it, is the muskrat's front door.


Pretty nice place, I'd say.  Beautiful view, the waterfront. 


It seems the muskrat isn't the only one who likes this view.  On the bank above the doorway, I find that the otter have also made their home.  As it was a snow cave, all that remains are, well...remains.  Piles of scales and bones.


Lots of piles.


Lots of scales.  This location looks directly across to the other location that I monitor all winter on snowshoes.  Now I know.  Next winter I have two spots to check.

Someone is watching me, time to leave. 


my week, in review

It has been such a cock-eyed summer. Everything is out of whack.

I've been on the computer so much in the past week or so that I had forgotten that I hadn't posted until my Dad wrote and asked if I'd dropped off the face of the earth.  It has become increasingly apparent to me that I need to have a better online store.  Using Typepad together with the ballandskein website works well enough but has limitations when it come to inventory control.  Now, when orders come in, I must manually remove them from the number of skeins available.  It works fine until two people want the same item and I'm not on the spot to update the count.  I've searched around looking for an affordable shopping cart program.  Zencart looked like a choice I might be able to manage.  Yeah, right. Not so far.  I've set about trying to learn a bit about CSS.  I didn't even know that CSS existed until last week.  If I learn enough of it to get Zencart up and running I'll be happy.  So far, I'm pulling my hair out. 

The temps and the rain have kept the garden from doing anything.  Look at the temperature swings during the last 10 days. 

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The only thing growing is the squash.  The animals are taking what little manages to grow.  We're hopeless when it comes to vermin control.  The not so little ground hog, and maybe his / her family is so unafraid that we were charmed when we should have been wary.  The broccoli is disappearing nightly.  In spite of 5 lines of solar electric, which due to the total lack of sun until yesterday (when I found I could grab it comfortably), has had no effect.  Apparently the ground hog understands photovoltaics and the effect of the sun.   I think  we've had 8-9 inches of rain.  The field is squishy, like it is in May after the snow melt and the fire pit has over a foot of water in it.  I have terracotta planters that have a green "patina", the kind that sometimes take years to establish.  If we depended on what we grew to survive, I'd already be too weak to post.

Sammy, in a sweet cat / bad cat effort , brought me a present.  A gift of something I cherish.  A hummingbird, left dead on the floor.  I cried.  I tried to explain it to him, again.. no birds, never NEVER, and especially NOT a hummer.  Bad Sammy, I love Sammy, BAD.   

The MS3 continues.  Clue 3 is nearly finished.  I'm already slipping behind.  It could have been done by Friday.  It wasn't a hard clue. Evenings were so busy.  Tuesday Night Knitting group, Wednesday night, the new Harry Potter movie, Thursday night traveling.... Friday.. Doctor WHO. Time and the summer are flying by.


I've got a new item on the menu.  I'm working on a spindle plying box.  Here's the first prototype.  It will take two spindles or sleeve holders to slip my spindle sleeves onto if I don't want to keep tying my spindles up waiting to ply.  The more I play with the spindle sleeves, the more I like them.


BTW.. Today is just right!


Monkey socks = fun knitting


I had no idea that knitting the Monkey socks would be so much fun.  They're the perfect counterpoint to the MS3.  I don't know which to pick up first.  When I need a bit of simple, I pick up Monkey, and when I want to concentrate, MS3 is right there.  Monkey gets shoved into my backpack to be pulled out whenever, MS3 stays at home. 


I am changing a few things, like the heel flap.  I like the density of the slip st. version.  Those little stripes, what a lot of pleasure they give me.  Easily entertained. 


Lace, more lace, and lace wt. yarn

Everything on the needles is lace.  I'm pretty stuck on it. There is the MS3 (clue 2 is finished, it has been a lot of fun so far), The Spring Things Shawl (this was my easy knit until I realized I'd dropped a stitch and it ran backwards a few rows, time to tink), and I think I can include the Monkey Socks (couldn't you?).  Wings of the Swan is waiting in a bag next to my chair, partly finished.  And for once, all of the things I am knitting are using my own hand dyed yarn.  Two of the projects are beaded.  None of these are social, let's talk and knit projects.  I've been using spindling for that.  Everything is very portable.  Perfect summer projects. 

And... I've been dyeing.  This time it is Alpaca & Silk Lace Wt. I used this for my Shetland Shawl last autumn and now for The Spring Things Shawl.  So soft.  Lovely bloom.

Here is what's been cooking.

Atlantic_as_2 atlantic

Moutain_ice_2 mountain ice

Woodland_shade woodland shade

Silver_vase silver vase

Watermelon watermelon

Purple_finch purple finch

Lt_berry_2 light berry

Buttercup seems to be missing.  I'll get it posted with the next batch.  If this cooler weather is here to stay, I'll continue with some of the Merino & Silk 2 ply that Indigo Moon spun for me before they closed their shop this spring.

This gorgeous weather has me sitting outdoors with my laptop, posting.  Today, I love technology.. tomorrow, who knows.

more socks

There is more than MS3 going on around here. 

P1030828_3 The second Embossed Leaves sock is done.  Check that off the list.  I had a great time with this pattern.  Not much remains of the original.  I added the picot edge top, used an Eye of the Partridge heel flap and discontinued the pattern for the foot.  A smoother sock fits and feels better in many of my winter shoes.  With temps and humidity into the 90's, putting a wool sock onto my feet wasn't something I wanted to do for long.  I need some sock stretchers. 

Pattern: inspired by Embossed Leaves, IK
Yarn: Ball and Skein Sock Yarn
         hand dyed in Mountain Spring
Needles: Knit Picks #1 & #2 circs. ( I love these needles)


With my morning coffee, I went through my sock yarn and picked out Dream


Next up: Monkey!

walk with me wednesday

better late than never..

The "little family" isn't so little anymore.  The goslings are about the same size as a full grown duck.  Mama and Papa are large.  Canadian geese are big.  They spend their time grazing, much of it in my yard.  I'd chase them away, as dirty as they are, but I have enjoyed watcning them far too much to cause the good parents any additional anxiety.  The kids still mind, without fuss, and quickly.  I've learned that communicatin is quiet, wordless.  A flick or twist of the neck, much like that of a belly dancer, sends a message to move this way or that, quickly or get ready, be aware.  A quiet hurrauk means "move now".  They are teaching, I'm learning too.  The little family floats in and away.  I watch as they round a small point of land we call the peninsula.  I decide to find their destination.  Where do they live?  On the pond, of course, the goslings don't fly yet.  But, where is it that they go when they leave the grassy area.   Do they have a nest?  I know so little about geese.

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P1030819 oops, the muskrat lives here.

P1030820  here? or there?

P1030821_2  no feathers to be seen

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I don't find it. I pass the painted turtle who visits my yard to lay her eggs.  She is resting on a log.  I paddle onward.  Wood Ducks scatter and fly out of the pond, frogs jump from the lily pads.  No nest. 


Clue 1, the first 100 rows

Clue #2 was posted this morning.  During the past few days, as I jogged around the blogiverse (crawling or maybe limping slowly as I'm back on dial up), I came across mention of how very quickly some of the participants finished the first 100 rows aka Clue #1.  Maybe they had more or larger blocks of quiet time.  It took me three days of a bit here and a bit there and not a small amount of tinking back.  Three rows were tinked three times, accounting for one of the three days.  Well worth it, the pattern is beautiful.  I'm hooked.  While knitting this, all other projects are on the side line waiting their turn, waiting for the Clue to be finshed.  At 7:30 am this morning, with two cups of the elixer of life already ingested,  I was online downloading Clue #2.  I'd finished Clue #1 in time to post on Tuesday, never managing to do so.  I don't know where the week went.  I did meet Kim for lunch and more.  It is summer..  gardens, dyeing, new ideas playing out in the shop.  Before you go looking at the picture, know that I changed my mind on the beads.  Not really "changed" because I did say that I had TWO choices... instead of the silver lined clear glass beads that most of you favored, I went with the multi colored irridescent beads.  As always, time will tell.  Instead of using the crochet hook method, I prestrung the 275 beads, interspersed along the first skein.  I was thinking portability.  After downloading the pattern, it became obvious that this was not one of those portable, take to the knit group and chat kind of projects.  Not for me.  This takes concentration.  For those of you who haven't joined, MS3 has become a force of nature.  With nearly 4000 participants  worldwide, all knitting this project at once, we must be one of the largest single knitalongs ever.  EVER!  That's a whole lot of energy being expended. While I knit, I am aware that at the same moment, someone else, somewhere, is knitting the pattern with me, counting the stitches, placing a bead.  I love that. 


I've gotten so far behind on my posting that Walk with Me Wednesday will probably be Saturday and on and on and on....