Friday, August 29, 2008

Tiger Swallowtail

What's summer without gratuitous butterfly pics?

There are three of these working over the butterfly bush in our yard right now.

I saw a hummingbird earlier out there this morning, too. We haven't had many of those this summer.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Owen's Quilt: Quilted!

I picked up Owen's quilt from Franco's yesterday. I'd say $60 was a bargain to jump past all the hours of quilting (even by machine) and move right to putting on the edging. I'll probably get to that after the school year starts, when I hope life settles down a bit around here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mixed Berries Yarn!

After a recent frustration with some alpaca, I wanted to spin something fast, easy, and fun.

One ply came from this:

I took some white wool and mohair from the giant Brown Sheep mill ends batch I bought a while back and blended with some red and blue generic wool I got at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool last year, plus a bit of red silk thread from sari-silk ends.

The other singles came from this batch I bought last winter at The Sow's Ear.

All in all a very fast fun fiber to spin: wooly and smooshy. I don't have any specs on the finished skein, but it seems like a good fingering weight to me and feels light as air.

I have enough of all the parts to make a whole lot more of this.

In Other News
I saw the Wiener Mobile again last night, parked in the same place as last time, on a side street about a block from my house. Either someone takes the work car home or has a honey on the side. Hmmm.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Project Updates

Taking my cue from Bezzie (whose rant here on the so-called "green" reusable grocery bags got me thinking), I made these two cloth bags yesterday. I had bought a small stack of the green pseudo-cloth bags from my supermarket last winter, at 75 cents each. Although they stand up to more use than a paper bag, they have started to self-destruct. Rather than replace them with more of the same, I decided to put some stashed fabric to use. I bought the fabric at a thrift shop in Quincy IL over a year ago, thinking it would be nice for something. I just didn't know what. I have enough fabric to make at least 4 more bags this size, which is a bit smaller than a standard paper grocery bag. I need to buy more nylon webbing, though.

I've been working on turning a few older projects into patterns for the fall Knitcircus. We plan to have it available for purchase by Oct 1. I'm also working on a new project for that, but might not finish in time. That's ok. We can use it in Winter, and we've had great submissions, so we have enough good material for fall.

In Other News
We're counting down to the beginning of the school year. The little guy starts second grade on Tuesday, Sept 2, and Owen starts 8th grade on Wednesday the 3rd. We're having all kinds of behavioral issues with the little guy, but I have to say, Owen has suddenly crossed into a new mature, mellow version of himself. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this isn't just a phase for him. I never would have believed that there would be a time when I would call Owen "mellow".

I did send Owen's quilt out to be machine quilted at the local place. I have no idea what I'll get back, but it should be coming soon. They charge about $65 for a twin size, and have stock patterns that their machine does. I'll still need to put edging on when I get it back, I think. For local folks, this is a funny little building on Regent Street, probably a survivor of the great Greenbush Urban Renewal of the 1960s.

We're still in limbo on Mr. SABLE's job front. He had a chat with a VP at a small start-up last week. He felt very positive about that and it could lead to a job offer soon. He's also encouraged that if he has to do free-lance stuff for a while, there are a lot of people in town who can throw him some work. The downside to that plan is health insurance, but it would be income. Time will tell. Stay tuned.

I hope to see all my local buddies at Last Saturday Knitting on the 30th!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Late Summer Blahs

I'm just slogging along here, feeling a bit groggy and sinus-y. The kids' school registration days are tomorrow and Thursday. The little guy is systematically working his way through all the Star Wars movies on DVD and I'm just letting him. It gives me a bit of peace and time to put two thoughts together.

I tried to spin a bit of some alpaca roving I bought at the Alpaca Festival in the spring. It was a disappointment, because there's a lot of very short sections, like second cuts, in this roving. Very frustrating and leading to a lot of bad spinning. I might need to just put it aside and work on something fun.

I have a knitting project in progress, but it's slated to appear in fall Knitcircus if I finish in time, winter if not. Stay tuned for photos on that. The project is a solid grey one, though, and I think I need a shot of color to liven me up when I finish it.

I guess we're all just in the post-vacation recovery mode. Couple that with the underlying anxiety about Mr. SABLE's future employment, plus a big car repair bill, I can say that our house is in a bit of a funk.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Vacation Wrap-Up

August 2: We set out from home. We began looking for lodging on the far western fringes of the greater Cleveland area. No lodging. We tried at least 15 hotels over 4 major intersections. Eventually were told there was a Twins Convention in Twinsburg OH and that there was no lodging until Pennsylvania. So we pressed on to the Pittsburgh Area. We were thrilled to get a room at a Comfort Inn near the airport at about 1 a.m. While I was booking the room a young woman, looking exhausted, came in and wondered, barely daring to hope, if there were rooms. I asked her if she, too, had been traveling across Ohio. Yes indeed.

The next night we stayed with my sister and her family in their funky old house in Pittsburgh.

We had a hard time getting the Little Emperor to sit for a family picture. Kate's husband was the most consistently photogenic of all of us.

From there, we drove on to Treman State Park near Ithaca NY. The kids loved swimming in a natural pool and under the waterfall.

Owen and I hiked down the gorge, which was still a bit strenuous because sometimes you have to go up to go down. We showed Owen the house we lived in when he was born. It was a short stay and went pretty well. Our second night was rainy, so we had to pack up wet camping stuff to drive to NH.

On to New Hampshire where we saw my folks and swam at our favorite top-secret pond. My mom and I went to the League of NH Craftsmen annual fair. There were a few truly remarkable artists, a lot of work that looks like all the others, and a few real duds. But fun to look.

August 10: on to Quebec.
Not long after we crossed the border, a seagull committed suicide on our windshield. It was a terrifying moment, but neither humans nor van suffered any damage.

We stayed at Chateau de la Terrasse, the middle building in this image:

The structure to the right is the US Consulate.

A ship on the St. Lawrence at dusk.

Benches on the boardwalk

Petit Champlain, as viewed from the Terrasse Dufferin.

On our way to the Old Port area

Near the Old Port, we explored the Ephemeral Gardens, an interesting sort of art space constructed for the 400th anniversary. This mirrored graffiti house was one part of it:

Then we went to the farmers market to buy some veggies and cheese. While there, we had crepes, prepared by a nice woman and her two daughters.

Cannons are just play equipment in Quebec nowadays.

I just really liked this house.

During a light rain, I was knitting on the little front balcony of the hotel. Two different American tourists stopped to take my picture! And then, a wild looking older man stopped and stared for several long moments. Eventually, he told me that I reminded him of his mother knitting back in Ireland. Hmm.

We had some very dramatic clouds in Quebec. Indeed, there was a tornado someplace in the province that day! It rained on and off, and we watched the lightening over the evening sky in Levis across the St. Lawrence.

Long Drive Home

Near Ottawa, we saw this Really Big Thing on the highway.
We stayed in Pembroke Ontario.

Upper Peninsula, Manistique MI

Manistique in da Moonlight

Somewhere between Manistique MI and Green Bay WI, we took a little break at a wayside park. The Little Emperor dove right into the sand.

Finally, on August 15th, Home Sweet Home.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Far From Home

We've suffered through a dearth of lodging in eastern Ohio, stayed with my sister and her family in Pittsburgh, camped a couple nights in Ithaca NY, stayed with my folks four nights in NH, and now, we're in Quebec City for three nights. It's the four hundredth anniversary of the founding, so the city is a mad-house. But beautiful as ever. Then we high-tail it back across Canada, through Sault Ste. Marie, and home.

More details and photos to follow when we're home.

Oh, and we saw the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile again! Didn't get a pic, but it was in easter NY state. Maybe it's stalking us?