Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Birthday to me...

Yep, today is my birthday. Though it feels like we've been celebrating all week. On Monday and Tuesday, dh installed a new utility sink and base cabinet in the laundry room. (We all know how important a well fitted laundry tub is to the fiber obsessed.)

Wednesday we moved my new worktable into the small bedroom that is like a suite to my sewing room (there's a bathroom between them). This way some of the paperwork stuff can move out of the sewing room, allowing more space for fiber sorting and sewing.

Thursday we drove over to Kalamazoo to see the Chihuly Exhibit. This one wasn't quite as good as the one at Meijer Gardens two years ago. KIA didn't have quite enough space to allow viewing from a distance. Also their main exhibit room is painted a medium value gray, which wasn't enough contrast for the glass. Stark white or black would have been better...or even a saturated value in a complimentary color.

Having finished with the Chihuly Exhibit in plenty of time, we 'zigged' up to Grand Rapids and did the holiday tour at Meijer Gardens (this is the best I can do for a link right now) before 'zagging' home.

Today, my real birthday...I spent part of the day threading heddles on the loom. I have high hopes of beginning '06 by sleying the reed, tying on, and (drum roll!) weaving.

And more gifts: a couple of books, a marvelous hand made card from Carol, a couple of bracelet holders (to help putting on bracelets w/ tricky catches, a yarn meter, and lots of love from dh and ds.

Pictures tomorrow..I promise...

Saturday, December 24, 2005


is the number of miles between last Saturday morning and this one. We picked up ds from Purdue, returned home, put up a tree and sent some of the cards, then packed up the car and headed off on the Pa. family trip.

We saw only my sister and most of her sons while were in western Pa. Saw none of my brothers...I'm sure that they grumble that we don't come to see them. However, it seems to me if we can put on the majority of the miles, they can travel 30 or so miles to meet us somewhere? Whatever.

Did Christmas with the inlaws, who are noticeably older. Well, we all are, even the "kids" are young adults. Time passes, things change. One niece, a junior in college, is the livewire of the bunch. She goes around the table, interviewing each family member about current events in their lives. She adds an under the breath commentary on their replies, which is pretty hilarious. She had great fun with her boy cousins, who are also in college at various campuses.

I'd try to give you an example of Megan's running interview/commentary, but it's a "you had to be there" kind of thing.

Additional trip accomplishments: A finished knitted vest for dh and we listened to Elizabeth Kostova's novel, The Historian. This book reminded me of The DaVinci Code except they are chasing down dracula. It was interesting to listen to...I think I would have become impatient reading it. Also read most of Old School by Tobias Wolff, our January book-group book which I highly recommend.

That's it! Still have presents to wrap and cards to write. Then I can settle down for a long winter's nap, or knit, or weave, or spin.

Friday, December 16, 2005

You know, I couldn't make this stuff up....
This has been the most trying week I can remember in a long time. You already know about the first flat tire on Sunday.

Well, on Wednesday morning, while driving to my PiYo class, the low fuel alarm chiming, and thinking I needed to stop and pick up 2 birthday cards that were going to be late, I was pulled over by one of Plymouth's finest. He cited me for doing 30 in a 25 mph school zone. Busted...meanwhile, I'm praying that the car doesn't run out of gas while he's back in his car checking me out in his computer. I mean would he be inclined to take me for a can of gas after writing a citation? Not to fear, I did make it to the gas station on fumes.

So, Wednesday evening rolled around. I'm an elder at our church, so there's mail for me to attend to. I decided to wait, attend the evening Advent service, and do mail then. Since I was only going to be gone a short while, I put supper in the oven and didn't put it on "timed bake" since I would be home by 7:00. Upon walking out of church at 6:40 PM, I discoverd another flat tire, this time the driver's side rear...flat to the ground. Did I drive on it like that?

Called dh at work, who was just getting ready to leave. Explained the situation to him and he agreed to come home first, turn off the oven, then come to my rescue. He tried filling the tire from a scuba tank, but the tire wasn't holding air at all...I must have driven on it all the way to church. ARGH!! So the weird little spare tire went on and we drove home as the snow was beginning to come down.

Thursday brought heavy snow warnings, with snow coming down hard at 7:00 AM. Getting the tire fixed was Job 1, since I had a dr. appt. at 1:45 PM that had already been rescheduled once. Drove the vehicle in, the tire could not be repaired, hence waited an extra 45 minutes for them to get a new tire from another store. Finally at 10:30 AM, they tell me I'm good to go. I start driving down the road and it sounds like I'm driving a bucket of nuts & bolts. Hmmm...drove to the next gas station and checked....the tire people threw the spare and the jack-set in the back of the vehicle rather than putting it back into the little well designed to hold it. After I spent a nice long time in the driving snow pulling that out and putting it together right, I figured it would be good to double check the tire pressures. I mean, why would I assume that having had one tire repaired and one replaced in the past 48 hours, they would have put in the right amount of air? Guess what...4 tires, 4 different PSI's...none of them correct. More fun in the slushy snow, letting air out of over inflated tires and pumping it into under inflated ones. GRRR...lesson learned, when you buy a brand new tire, that's all you get. Am not sure what it takes to also get service.

Today, Friday, arrived. Christmas is breathing down my neck and there's much to be done. As part of my errands, I threw two bags of clothing in the car to put in one of those drop-boxes that sits at the local BP station (my feeble attempt at FlyLady clutter control). The opening was high as I tried to push the bag into the receptacle. So I reached up with my other hand, which was holding my keys, to give it a push. You've already car keys, house keys, remote entry fob, and all of the little ID cards from the library through the grocery stores went into this very tall locked metal bin.

I went into the gas station to ask the attendant if they have a key to the box. Nope...they know nothing. I called both of the numbers on the answer at one and discontinued service on the other (who ARE these people?!)

So I did the only other thing I knew to do: call the police (yet one more encounter with Plymouth's finest!) Fortunately, I know the police dispatch number by heart...our residential phone number for the past 27 years is only one digit different and one year (about 16 years ago), they published our number rather than the correct number on one of those little community service magnets for the refrigerator. (Yes, that was a year of very interesting phone calls...)

The policeman (Not MY policeman from Wed.) arrived in his patrol car. All of a sudden the gas station owner is interested in my plight. (Again...who ARE these people?!) He was not happy that I called the police, but he wasn't interested in helping me either. The kind policeman called a locksmith and asked him to help me out. The one hitch, the locksmith wanted me to call him myself. So, I called the locksmith and after telling me that I'd have to wait around 2 hours, he wanted to know who was going to be liable for any possible damage to the collection box as a result of this escapade. By this time, I am a quivering bowl of jelly. I will pay, pay, and pay to retrieve those keys. I'm sure my desperation came through, I won't say loud and clear because by this time I was weak and trembling. He said..."I'll come myself, see you in few minutes."

The Town Locksmith (yep, that's the name on the big 350 Econoline Van) arrived almost instantly and out jumped the person most likely to pass for a garden gnome. I'm not his thick navy sweater, knit stocking cap, and his cute little jeans. His face was buried in a steel gray beard and mustache, with a perfectly round, upturned nose. Meanwhile, the gas station owner is still kind of agitated. The Locksmith gnome worked his magic on the gas station owner (it was like he sprinkled fairy dust!). Then he got his toolbox/stepstool (don't you love when an item serves dual purposes?), pulled out his lock pick set, and sprung the lock in seconds. My keys never looked so good to me!! I happily wrote the locksmith a check. The gas station owner wanted to know where he could get a lock pick set...(once again...who ARE these people?!) And we all departed the scene.

So: 1 traffic citation: $100
1 destroyed tire replaced: $116
1 emergency locksmith visit: $65
1 quiet Friday night at home with Dove Dark Chocolate Promises and some mindless knitting: Priceless!

If you are reading this and think you should be getting a Christmas card from me this year....consider this your card.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Woe is me....

I just finished ripping out a little more than one whole pattern repeat on the alpaca lacy cardigan. That's two whole evenings worth of knitting. (sniff) Last night I noticed that the motif below the one I was working on didn't look right. So I counted the eyelets....and yep, I skipped a row. It was tempting to keep's on the back, near the bottom, who would notice? I would, over and over and over again. Better to rip today than repent tomorrow, right?

Also last night I noticed that my right rear tire was very low. This morning it was flat, sporting a bright shiny nail in the tread. None of the tire places are open on Sunday. This vehicle is not quite a month old...(sigh)

Now, if I didn't have Christmas cards to do, I could knit back to where I was.... This must be how Scrooge got started on his scroogieness.....

Friday, December 09, 2005

Parallel Universe...

I don't usually read particular reason other than life is short, I'd rather work with fiber than be online (which you can tell by the inactivity on the blog lately.) So this morning I clicked on a link to Knitty and here is this article: Ravellings on the knitted sleeve: set-in sleves

Which is pretty much what I did with Fulmar after my last blog entry. I went about it in a little different fashion, but there it is. When Margaret Stove was in town a few years ago, I bought a huge flip pad of 1"x1" graph paper for her to chart lace for the class. That pad has been invaluable in figuring out pattern adjustments.

So, the calculations are all done, but I've been lured off to knit in greener (well, maybe blue-green) pastures:

This is the lace cardigan from INknitters, Summer '04 (see below). The yarn is alpaca laceweight on size 1 needles. The beginning was slow going, but the pace has picked up now that I've been through the 20 row pattern repeat 5 times. 6 more repeats to go for the back of the sweater. I really like the little lacy sweaters that I see in the stores, but they are all acrylic, poorly made, and not very flattering. So, I must knit.

Meanwhile there are presents to finish, shopping to do, cards to write, and a couple of bereavement visits to make. So, I'll blog when I can....and when I can't, I'll look for you on bloglines.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Lack of blog posts does not indicate a lack of fiber pursuits....

Despite the holiday and ds being home from college, the knitting and spinning have continued here in Fiberewetopia. However, there have been days when the 'ewetopia' idea was a joke.

Take spinning as an example. Since I last posted we had a huge dip in temperatures, meaning that the central heat kicked on. There are two spinning projects going: the fine cormo on the Schacht and the blue wool blend on the Dundas. If you've spun for any length of time, you know that a traditional wooden spinning wheel needs TLC when the outdoor temperatures change. Attempts at spinning yarn consistent with what was done previously was impossible. So instead of actually continuing with the spinning projects, I tore down both wheels to lubricate and adjust them for winter household conditions.

Then the knitting. If you've followed this blog for awhile, you know that I started AS's Fulmar quite sometime ago...(January '04 maybe?...I'll have to check the archives....yep, Jan. 18, '04 gasp!.) I reworked the pattern to knit from the top down and for set-in sleeves. I've worked on this project in fits and starts. Now that the cold weather is back, it's moved back to the front burner. The body of the sweater is complete (except for neck ribbing) and the first sleeve, knit from the top down, is almost complete.

I tried the sweater on Wed. night and have been wrestling with the design ever since. I love the way the body of the sweater fits. I do not love the way the underarm of the sleeve fits. This has generated much thought on my part.

There are a number of factors at work here. The first being that most of the old AS patterns are made with drop shoulders and minimal upper body shaping. That worked well in the late 80's and early 90's because that was the style...big tops with big shoulder pads was the fashion silhouette. The silhouette now is much closer to the body and fitted (I still think most of the models look like 7th graders returning to school after a growth spurt!)

I did work out the body measurements carefully in re-designing the fit of my Fulmar, however when I worked the set-in sleeve I kept the original number of upper arm stitches. It appears I could get by with at least 28 less stitches, possibly 32. In addition, the armhole opening is larger than current fashion dictates.

Here's what I've decided: I'm going to leave the first sleeve as is for now as a record of what was done. On the second sleeve, I'm going to do something like a gusset to reduce the size of the armhole. (Picture a knitted crescent using short rows to raise the curve of the lower armhole.) Then I will again knit the sleeve from the top down, using short row sleeve cap shaping as described by Barbara Walker in Knitting from the Top, only this time there will be around 32 fewer stitches in the upper arm.

I've been keeping scrupulous notes on this sweater. I do like AS designs, and own a number of the books, but if I knit any more of the designs they need serious reworking in the upper body area.

The other thing I've been working on is moving my old blog files over to a new blogger address before closing the old site. Click on the link if you want to see short row sleeve cap tutorial It seems the photo's from the old blog appear over exposed here. Oh well...

If you're still reading're a champ. Most of the knitting books on the store shelves these days don't go into this kind of analytical thinking about fit and design. Too bad.

Friday, November 18, 2005


This is a 4"x4" swatch of alpaca lace yarn to make the Handspun Lace Cardigan in the summer '04 issue of Inknitters. My apologies for the overexposure of the picture. The yarn was the major purchase of our Wednesday road trip to Heritage Spinning & Weaving. I don't get there often since it's 47 miles across the Detroit metro area. This was the first that I've been there since Joan expanded the shop. She's done a great job of designing a store that's appealling to spinners, knitters, & weavers. My other purchases include the two Gossamer Webs books.

Dh has been away this week for deer hunting. Of course the high windstorm on Tuesday night tore some flashing off the garage roof and started rolling back the roofing material like a sardine can. So before heading off to PiYo class Wed. AM, I was lugging bricks up onto the garage roof to anchor down the corners.

Nan, whose husband is scheduled for surgery for colon cancer Dec. 2, went along. Two ladies in sore need of some retail therapy!!

I've also been rummaging around my stash more. Knitting guild's "garage sale" is in March, the the weaving guild's "Moth Market" is in I think I'll hold off on the ebay thing and see if I can de-stash a little at these events.

The looms are calling to me this week. The blue roving that I'm spinning would make a great stole combined with this Cherry Tree Hill yarn (my focusing abilities are really off today!...sorry):
Perhaps I can finish the spinning and warp the loom w/ the Cherry Tree Hill yarn before hubby gets home.

It's pretty clear I'm into the color blue right now...and lace knitting. There just seem to be phases we go through...I'm not sure there's an explanation beyond "one thing leads to another."
Meanwhile, I'm still spinning the mini-combed cormo and working on a couple of unfinished knitting projects (Fulmar and dh's brioche vest). Both of these projects have aged for a long time. (Well...they're not blue and they're not lace...duh!)

No pithy thoughts from here right now. Just slogging from thing to thing. Am helping with a Grief Workshop at our church tomorrow. Right before the holidays seemed like a good time to sponsor this event. Ds gets home from school on Tues. and has a repeat CAT scan on the spot on his lung the next day. Then I have a routine colonoscopy the Wed. after Thanksgiving. IMO, keeping busy is the best way to get through these two weeks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Will's Gansey..

At last the toddler's gansey is finished and just needs to be mailed out. His second birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks.

I've established a pattern of knitting sweaters for my great nieces and nephews. Somehow, I just wasn't in the mood when Will was born, so his is arriving a bit late in his little life. Hope it fits.

I'm thinking of destashing via ebay. This comes about because the sheer volume of my stash is crippling me. There are a couple of sweater kits, that I know I wouldn't wear if I did knit them. Then there's the Jacob and some Columbia rovings...They would make great felted clogs and purses, but those just aren't my kind of spinning and knitting. These things were purchased when I wanted to try EVERYTHING in spinning and knitting. Now I'm a bit more centered and focused and these things just aren't in my zone.

I went through the wool closet last night and mentally ticked off the things to part with. Any thoughts on selling on ebay are appreciated. Thanks!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Share the Bounty Raffle Update...

Remember the lavender Peace Shawl and the blue Estonian scarf? They were raffled off last night at the church Share the Bounty Event. We earned enough $$ to provide 17 families in western Wayne County with a nice Christmas!!

The blue Estonian scarf went to Carol, a mother with 3 sons from 9th grade down to 3rd grade. I think she really deserves a little handknit lace in her life and am glad she got it.'s the one that makes me chuckle: This is who won the Peace Shawl...

To be fair, this is not a flattering picture of Russ. And I know that the Peace Shawl is going to his wife, who organizes the quilt program for the graduating high school seniors. He told me that the fact that I made the shawl made it extra special (aw..shucks...). So although I had hoped to win the shawl back for my friend, Mary (of the Fortune Moment message), it's going to a good home with another fiber lover. That's all that counts.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Picture(s) of Procrastination:

There is much to be done which I do not feel like doing. Some has to do with housework. Other of it has to do with yardwork and flower gardens. And still more has to do with doing a 2006 budget for church when pledge amounts are on decline (matching the local economy) and we did not make the 2005 budget receipts.

When faced with this sort of thing, I find the best thing to do is bury my head in a cloud of least for a little while.

The following pictures are to show you how this yarn came to be. The fiber is Cormo from Sue Reuser.

I washed the wool in individual locks using the Fine Fleece Crockpot Wash method outlined on my old blog. The locks were washed sometime ago and have been patiently waiting while lined up and stuffed into a 2 gallon ziplock bag.

When I feel a bad case of "I don't wanna" coming on, I quickly grab the Forsythe mini-combs, a spray bottle of water, the bag of Cormo locks, a diz and a tiny crochet hook.

Next I grab a lock and check to find the tip end by holding the lock between my thumb and forefinger and rubbing them together. The lock will automatically "walk" between your fingers to the tip.

Then I load the butt end of the lock onto the comb and spritz it with water.

Taking the other comb into hand, I begin to swing through the mounted lock. First I swing straight down through the lock, until the wool stops transfering to the swinging comb. Then I start swinging the comb from side to side to transfer the wool back to the stationery comb.
When the wool has stopped transferring back to the stationery comb, I set aside the waste on the moving comb for a later felting project.

Then I take my diz (in this case the corner of a plastic milk jug w/ a hole pierced by a hot nail)and place the concave side toward the wool. I pull the wool into a point, and use a fine steel crochet hook to pull the point of wool through the hole in the diz. Then I begin to gently pull the wool from the comb to form a nice uniform top for spinning.
Once the diz gets near the stationery comb, and the resistance is high, I finish off the top and wind it into a little 'bird nest', winding from the butt end to the tip end. When I'm ready to spin, I pick up a 'bird nest' top and begin to spin from the tip.

By the time I have a basketful like this, I'm either ready to get to work. Or, I find a new way to writing a blog entry.
Happy weekend!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Kindness of Strangers....

This morning a friend called to tell me about a young family she visited on Wednesday. She began the story with her personal connection to this family. About 3 years ago she had some work done on her home including some carpeting. Of all the people who came in and worked on their home, there was this one young man who stood out to her. He paid meticulous attention to detail, took special care with his work, and there was just something about him that drew her attention.

As she continued with the details, the story began to sound familiar. I had read this story in the newspaper. I invite you to read the story of this young family here: Duane's story

This is a family who needs a miracle. If you would like to be part of their miracle, there's contact information in the article on how you can do that. I called his Mom this AM, and my check is in the mail.

On a lighter note:
Look who's hanging around our house today:

It looks like Halloween must have done this little guy in!! Just look at those cute little feet!! He's hanging right above the door that goes into our garage.
We took down the bat house when the Ash trees were removed about 2 months ago. Looks like the bat house needs to go back up again.

Fiber content: Last night I spun a few of the minicombed rovings of the Cormo last night. I have a project in mind, but must wait until the bobbin is filled and some sampling is done before revealing the details. And I almost finished the first sleeve of the toddler gansey last night while watching CSI.

For the record: I've been asked to share details of a copyrighted pattern in the comments. The pattern is not my own, therefore it is not mine to share. From time to time, I create a pattern of my own which I'm glad to share via my blog. But I will not violate copyright law.

Happy weekend!!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Thought for the day:
Sometimes, just sometimes, we all need that reminder. The reminder that life is too short to waste, and too precious to leave to routine.
I don't know the origins of this statement...but it sure makes me feel better about wanting to do nothing but go out and play for the past 2 weeks!


Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

This is the completed Flower Basket Shawl. The pattern is by Evelyn Clark (publ. by Fiber Trends & Interweave Knits Fall '04.) The yarn is Alpaca With A Twist - Fino: 70% baby alpaca, 30% silk. (Nice stuff at a fair price, I would use it again.)

Note how the breeze catches a plays with the shawl. This, my pretty, is why we prefer shawls to poncho's.

A lace shawl moves with you, catches the subtleties of movement and enhances the form with grace and style.

A poncho, on the otherhand, is like a sandwich board. It makes one look like an immutable force and immoveable object. The poncho says: "Frumpy!"

I am at an age where Frumpy waits right outside my door, ready to pounce at the slightest fashion infraction. I don't need poncho's.

However...I do need more lace....scarves, shawls, stoles...sigh....

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I think I've used that heading before, however it is happening again. Yesterday and today it feels like I'm back in my own skin. For the last year, it's been extremely difficult to find some sort of equilibrium with my use of time and accomplishing what I want to do as well as what must be done.

A large part of it is/was my attitude.....finding tons of ways to procrastinate on doing the things that had to be done, and which I just dreaded starting. The computer is a great tool for procrastination (as if you didn't're probably procrastinating by reading this right now, aren't you?)

There are more details in the circumstances to my attitude, but taking the time to write them here is simply more procrastination. prove that I'm resurfacing: The Flower Basket Shawl is completed and is blocked and drying as I type. Then I spent last evening combing Cormo locks with the Forsythe minicombs in preparation for returning to the laceweight Cormo spinning. That half filled bobbin has been sitting on the Schacht way too long. It felt so good to be back in the "spinning saddle".

In addition to finishing the shawl, I found some inexpensive substitutes for stainless steel blocking wires. First I found 36" long 1/8" diameter brass rods at Home Depot ($2.15 @)which I brought home and polished for the top edge of the shawl. Then dh provided 16" long Simpson Strong Tie Insulation Supports which are made of a coated "springy" (their term) steel. These worked great for the angled edges of the shawl: much easier than T-pins for every point and cheap too!! (Cheap because dh had a box of 100 in his stash....there are definite advantages to having a mate where there are reciprocal rights on one another's stash!) Perhaps a picture of that tomorrow...
Meanwhile I leave you to gaze up at the wonderful autumn colors...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

3rd Grade Wisdom...

The following is shared with permission from my good friend, Mary, a third grade teacher. As you will see, she is a very good third grade teacher:

I need a fortune moment with one of my boys, and I think engaging him in the lessons will be a good thing. (Fortune moment after one of my boys last year. When I asked what a fortune was, he said, "That's when you go out on your own, get a nice house, a nice place to rest; get a lot of good food, invite your friends over, and listen to music."

"Jeffrey," I said, "That's the best definition of a fortune that I've ever heard!"

That particular child, who had been a problem, started to really participate in class. It was an effect that lasted most of the year. So now I call any moment when I can reach a particular child, a "fortune moment.")

I love that story so's hard to know whether to wish for Jeffrey's definition of fortune or for a "fortune moment"!

However, I've been fortunate enough to recently have both. We spent last week on California's Monterey Peninsula for my nephew's wedding. It was a wonderful, intimate celebration of a marriage and the blending of two great families.

Saturday and Sunday were spent much like Jeffrey's definition of fortune with a party scheduled about every 3 hours: 2:30 PM bridal shower at tea room; 5:30 PM rehearsal dinner (almost as large as the 80 person wedding and with as many toasts!); 8:00 PM bonfire on the beach with beer, wine, and s'mores (got that Jeffrey?); 4:00 PM wedding then party on into the night.

Here's a picture of the happy couple...a union of Navy & Airforce.

It's not a wedding picture...he wore dress whites, she wore a (definitely out of uniform) gown.

But back to fortunes...
The rest of the week was more like a collection of "fortune moments": Enjoyable time spent with my brother's family, my sister and her gentleman friend, and most importantly with the dh. Lot's of fun hiking, biking, eating, and zooming up and down the Pacific Coast Highway in a '06 Mustang.

And I'm not sorry to say, I was having way too much fun to knit.

I wish you all such fortune (and a "fortune moment" or two)!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Just some thoughts...

There are about a half dozen of these blooms on the rosebush by the front door. It always amazes me to have roses in October. That was a topic in one of my earliest blog entries on the old blog October '02 Archives. That reminds me: this months marks 3 years of blogging for me. That's the longest I have ever kept any kind of diary or journal, even though it did move from Geocities, to Blogger, to PeoplePC, and now back to Blogger.

October always brings a certain kind of mood with it. It's the mood that sends me to the poetry books, online poetry sites, and reading Thomas Hardy novels. In other words, not a particularly light mood. It's a mood in which there is a straining to have words duplicate the depth of color and atmostphere of this time of year in the upper midwest. Bright autumn leaves; gunmetal skies; cold,turgid, rushing water; morning mists of water vapor and evening mists of woodsmoke; the scent of decaying leaves; amplified traffic sounds as the insulation of leaves fall from the trees. October is a sensory blanket that envelopes us.

For those that were wondering...the Saturday weaving demo at church function went well. Several women from our church brought in rag rugs woven by their Finnish relatives as an additional "show of support". The Finns in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Upper Wisconsin, and Northern Minnesota were formidable rag rug weavers. The one woman who had been so "prickly" to Laura was very gracious. She came over to talk with me and said she didn't know that one could weave with such fine threads (8/2 cotton?!). I guess there's a lot of things we all don't know....

The title of the conference was "In the Hands of the Master Weaver". Five different break out sessions were available. The one I attended was Adults Saving Kids. I always jump back and forth between: being sad that kids are exposed to so much so early in life, to being glad that we live in a time where kids are encouraged to talk openly about what they are going through. Deep thoughts...

Blogging about fiber pursuits feel pretty banal by comparison. This blog might suggest that my world revolves around threadplay. It does not. I feel that through this blog I've been tugging and tugging at a single thread in my personal tapestry. The result is a distorted picture...a cartoon if you will..that isn't very representative of me. That's okay for a blog. But it's not very healthy for me. I'll be crawling under my October blanket for a little while.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Poetry Thread...

If you've read me since my old blog, you know that I like poetry. Every now and then some poems cross my path that speak to me of thread, needle, and all things fiber.

For example, William Blake's


How sweet is the shepherd's sweet lot!
From the morn to the evening he strays;
He shall follow his sheep all the day,
And his tongue shall be filled with praise.

For he hears the lambs' innocent call,
And he hears the ewes' tender reply;
He is watchful while they are in peace,
For they know when their shepherd is nigh.

What spinner can resist a poem like that...though it does sound almost like a psalm, doesn't it?

Also...phoned my sister the other day and Flylady led her to her button box. Of course 15 minutes had passed, then another 15 minutes...and you know how it goes. I don't think I could even begin to go through my button box!

Today I found Ted Kooser's website with 3 poems online. One of them is:

A Jar of Buttons

This is a core sample
from the floor of the Sea of Mending,

a cylinder packed with shells
that over many years

sank through fathoms of shirts —
pearl buttons, blue buttons —

and settled together
beneath waves of perseverance,

an ocean upon which
generations of women set forth,

under the sails of gingham curtains,
and, seated side by side

on decks sometimes salted by tears,
made small but important repairs.

Doesn't that capture the image of a jar of buttons?
Ted is our current Poet Laureate....I like his poetry almost as much as Billy Collins

I hope you'll go and check out more of Billy and Ted's poems. Perhaps even pick up and browse (buy?) one of their books on your next bookstore trip.

And if you are into children's poetry, check out: A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes

Meanwhile I will treadle the wheel and ply my needles in iambic pentameter.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Next week is National Spinning & Weaving Week

This has been going on for years (about 25, perhaps more), and I've always thought I should do something and never did. So, this year, the women's organization for our church is hosting an area conference titled "In the Hands of the Master Weaver" at our church. A series of events, including overhearing a snarky comment from someone from the East Side to an older woman from our church (in a snippy tone:"If you would have asked me in time I could've gotten an actual weaver to come demonstrate").

Later I pulled Laura aside and said, "Laura, you've got yourself an actual weaver right here. Do you want me to bring a loom on Saturday?"

So, tomorrow I will be loading the Mountain Loom into the van, hauling it into the church and demonstrating "actual weaving". HA! I get to demonstrate close to National Spinning & Weaving Week and politely rub someone's nose in it at the same time. ( I going at this with the right attitude?)

Meanwhile....the weather is cold and I need clothes. I'm tempted to run up to Novi for the American Sewing Expo. But the truth is, I have everything I need right here in the house. Just need to get at it and sew. I leave you with some jacket fabric to go with a little black dress:

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What's all pink, wrinkly and lying on the floor?

It is the previously alluded to Flower Basket Shawl from the Fall 2004 issue of Interweave Knits, designed by Evelyn Clark. I think Fiber Trends also sells this as a separate pattern. A number of other bloggers have knit this.

However, true to my nature, I'm knitting it with a single strand of laceweight yarn on #5 needles. The pattern calls for the yarn to be doubled using #7 needles and 10 repeats of the main pattern. I'm going for more pattern repeats as well. What the heck, it's my shawl! The yarn is Alpaca With A Twist Fino, 70% baby alpaca and 30% silk in a mulberry color. So I haven't strayed very far from this blue - purple flower thing I've had going for the past while.

The Peace Shawl and the Estonian Gardens scarf are going up for silent auction at a church function to raise money for a needy family project. Since I'm not inclined to do much of the usual sorts of charity knitting, and since most homeless people really aren't looking for knitted lace made of silk & wool, the charity auction thing is a good fit for me and the kind of knitting that I like to do. But the Flower Basket shawl will be staying with me.

Yes, I know: Still no helmet liner, Valerie? Blame Fly Lady. I've been dutifully attacking my hotspots and now all of my regular knitting spots are COLD!!! Can't find my Beth Brown-Reinsel Gansey Book to finish the child's Gansey. Can't find the helmet liner pattern that was with the designated yarn. They were all caught up in a decluttering maelstrom and have yet to resurface. The Flower basket was spared because I've been carrying it around in the car.

To the non-fiber person, my house looks pretty good right now...except for those "machines" (aka looms and spinning wheels) in the dining room, which are BTW dust free. But to me, things are looking rather stark, spare, and cold. So, I'll be dragging out some knitting to warm up some of those cold spots!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Forever Autumn....

Yes...I am a child of the 60's. This track came up on my MP3 shuffle during this morning's walk. Talk about being transported back 35 years (yikes!)..

Forever Autumn
The summer sun is fading as the year grows old
And darker days are drawing near.
The winter winds will be much colder
Now you're not here.

I watch the birds fly south across the autumn sky
And one by one they disappear.
I wish that I was flying with them
Now you're not here.

Like the sun through the trees you came to love me.
Like a leaf on a breeze you blew away.

Through autumn's golden gown we used to kick our way,
You always loved this time of year.
Those fallen leaves lie undisturbed now
'Cause you're not here.
'Cause you're not here.
'Cause you're not here.

Like the sun through the trees you came to love me,
Like a leaf on a breeze you blew away.

A gentle rain falls softly on my weary eyes
As if to hide a lonely tear,
My life will be forever autumn
'Cause you're not here.
'Cause you're not here.
'Cause you're not here.

Jeff Wayne, Paul Vigrass, Jerry Osborne. Released as a single in the UK. Performed by Justin Hayward.

The song fit the day perfectly and it keeps playing in my head...(oh wait, maybe I forgot to take out the earphones!)

Also on my play list are Van Morrison; Crosby, Stills, & Nash; Fleetwood Mac; The Who; & Boston. Oh yeah....let's not forget James Taylor & Judy Collins. There's newer stuff too....but the old stuff is the soundtrack of my life.

One of the things that has bumped me back to the early 70's. My dh has become the engineering recruiter from his company (which will remain nameless..but think big 3 auto) to our Alma Mater: The University of Pittsburgh. Friday evening he brought home a big Hershey bar in a Pitt wrapper with the words to the Alma Mater printed on the wrapper. This prompted a sing through of the tune. Wow, it's been a long time.

We donate and get the newsletters, magazines, and all that. Somehow we kid ourselves into thinking we've never left. Then we sent ds to a completely different school (however, it does have the same intials: U P, P U...what's the diff..right?) We visit ds at school and note that observations from our senior year hold true: freshmen get younger every year.

Suddenly, there's no more hiding from the truth. We are fast heading toward the end of the careers and professions that we launched after completing that college education back in the '70's. We are indeed facing "Forever Autumn".

And you know what...I am so thankful we don't have to do all that over again!

So there...I'm old. Get over it! (I have!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Completion of the Four Seasons....

This photo of a wild aster completes my mission. I want to put together a "Four Seasons on Beck Rd." photo display of flowers in the powder room that we painted this summer. When I pulled out my photo's there were plenty of spring and summer flowers and one great winter picture of a milkweed pod covered w/ snow. But there were no autumn flowers. My criteria for this display is that they must be wildflowers. So I've been waiting for the asters to come forward. Now here she is!

Judith in her blog yesterday mentioned finding dead bumble bees in the arms of a flower as a sign of autumn approaching. I must thank her for calling that to my attention or I wouldn't have noticed this:

I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo, but it almost looked like the aster had folded it's petals over the bumble bee in an embrace. I know I anthromorphize a lot...but, sometimes one just can't help it.

Obligatory Fiber Content: Spinner's Flock sale was this past Sunday. I wasn't going to go because I don't need a thing in the realm of fiber. However, after a trying few days of working with the church council, I left an ad hoc meeting after church at 1:30 PM Sunday and headed straight for Chelsea.

These are two 6 oz. balls of combed top. It contains Border Liecester Lamb, Alpaca, Yearling Mohair, and Silk. I haven't been spinning much lately. Thought maybe having a ready to spin preparation might help me get back to the wheels. What will I do w/ 12 oz.? I'm not sure. I haven't sampled yet. Love the color...I must be in my "Blue Period".

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Completed Estonian Lace Scarf:

Ha! You thought I was lying about this last week, didn't you? Well here it is, cast off and blocked. I ended up buying myself a Rowenta Professional steam iron to finish the blocking job. I had a coupon plus gift cards that we purchased at 20% discount, so I didn't pay the obscene price they ask for those things. The super shot of steam worked just fine for blocking this thing.

This past weekend was also family weekend at Purdue. Nothing like a college football game on a 91 degree Saturday afternoon! We were lucky enough to be in the third row from the top of the stadium which provided a nice breeze along with convection currents. We felt almost cool watching the band in their wool uniforms and the team in full football gear!

Since I waited too long to make motel reservations, we stayed at a dive of a place on Saturday night. You know it's bad when your kid looks at the place and says he's glad he has the dorm to go back to. It was just a notch above a flophouse, IMO. Note to self...if we have to go next year we will make reservations earlier.

Not only have I been experiencing blogger's malaise, but also have a case of blog reading malaise. After the weekend, I'd click on my Bloglines feeds and see that everybody and their uncle had posted at least 2-3 times while I was away. That was enough to make me close the tab and go hide. Today I bit the bullet and clicked that little "mark all read" button at the top of my feeds list. Whew! Instant relief. Wish I could click away the rest of the unfinished business in my life. Imagine....walk into your studio and flick the switch that disposes of all the unfinished projects and ill-conceived ideas. What a concept!

A new knitting project got underway in the 10 hour round trip to W. Lafayette, IN. You'll have to wait to see what it is. A hint: more lace....and not a helmet liner. Give me some rain and temps. below 80 degrees and I'll start that helmet liner...promise!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Helmet liners.....(a little blogger antidepressant)

Here we are at the end of a busy week and the beginning of a very busy weekend. For starters, my engineer dh tends to take things very literally. A perfect example of this is Labor Day. Where most of us understand that this day was set aside to rest from our labors, not dh. We spent most of the long weekend working on outdoor projects including construction of the east and south walls of our basement walkout. This project has been going on for the past 3 summers and looks like it will continue into next year. It will henceforth be known as "The Big Dig"....Boston has nothing on us!

Once Labor Day was over, every activity that was suspended for the summer is back into full swing. This generated a week of meetings, planning, construction of roster bulletin boards, writing newsletter articles, and so on and so forth. It's fair to say that every weekday for the rest of September has something pencilled in.

However there has been a little knitting time left in the evenings. The Estonian Garden scarf is done and half blocked. Yes, literally half blocked. It's +60" long and beyond my patience to do the whole long, skinny thing at one time without blocking wires. I'll block the other half and post a picture next week. Not saying what day...just next week.

Fortunately, my sister and her guild have saved the day (blog) by giving permission to post their picture with completed helmet liners

These are members of the Roof Garden Knitting Guild in Somerset, Pa. They were the inspiration for my Aug. 17 post about the helmet liners. At the time of this photo, they had 25 completed helmet liners to ship to troops in Afghanistan. My sister is the one in green. I don't know most of the other ladies, and those I do know, I'm not sure if it's okay for me to name them. So I will shout out to them to comment if they want to be named. (Hint...don't make the comment anonymous if you want to be named!)

Thank you Roof Garden Knitters for giving me something to blog about. You've inspired more than me. Marilyn had an almost completed helmet liner at book group today.

I'm embarrassed. Time for me to go cast on a helmet liner.....

Saturday, September 03, 2005

There IS help!

I can so relate to THIS right now.

Maria kindly had the link on her blog.

Not much knitting going on. Much gardening to catch up with now that plants are no longer cooking in the soil. Much sewing to be done if I am not to run around naked this fall. More fiber later....

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Not about me or what I think.....

Yesterday was World Blog Day. I missed it...but surfing through the other fiber blogs that I read, I was not alone. Of course, Katrina was a part of that. But enough about our own personal emotional responses. Let's take a look outside the box that we usually live in and look around the world.

Start with Rebecca MacKinnnon's Blog for some international flavor.

Then go to Katrina Aftermath to read and participate in a public forum.

For a "geek's" perspective on providing help go read Tech pros ask: how can we help with Katrina's recovery? There are also satellite pictures of the storm if you go to later entries on Boing Boing.

Another place to poke around is Global Voices Online. If you look in the bar on the righthand side, there's a link to a bloglines account with feeds from all over the world.

For the past two decades, we've been watching the increasing social stratification of the US. For thoughts on this as it relates to Katrina, go read David Brooks' op ed piece in today's New York Times.

If nothing else, I hope this entry urges you to think. Think deeply. Think not just about yourself, but your relationship to community, state, country, and the world. And once your thoughts begin to form....ACT.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Men in trees...

These guys were out here on Thursday and Friday to take down about 12 mature Ash & Elm trees. I don't know how much national play the Emeral Ash Borer has recieved, but southeastern MI has been devastated by this little stow-away from China. It's really sad. The only official attempts we see at stopping the spread is to not carry firewood out of the area. From what I've seen, this little insect has no trouble travelling on it's own! So, I'm sure that it will spread over the northern part of the continent in due time.

The lot around our home looks quite a bit different without our old tree friends. Thank God we still have oaks, maples, lindens, cottonwoods (not my favorite..but), and a couple of beeches, not to mention the pines.

The one good thing to come out of this is that we have more songbirds this summer because the brushy undergrowth is fuller. Songbirds love to hide in the brush. We have one neighbor who would love for us to clear all of our land and turn our 1.3 acres into grassland so she could gaze over the land from her front deck. Of course she's also the lady who doped the little pond on our shared corner of land, so there are no more spring peepers. I say, "Fat chance lady!" Oh, yeah...I also caught her making a foray into our "forest" to snitch wild trillium a couple springs ago.

Knitting: I'm ready to start the lily of the valley pattern on the first border of the Estonian scarf. I have weaving ideas and plans in my head. Fixing and cleaning up are a big part of recent activities...just like Sara, Judi, & Margene.

Blogging: Lately it seems I've been drawn more to the blogs where fiber people talk about the other interests in their lives. Check out: Goldfinches & Fiber, Knitagarden, & Greenberry House

And for a laugh at the blogworld, check out Rachael's entry for August 25.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Thousand Dollar Weekend....

We took ds back to Purdue this past weekend, once again experiencing sticker shock. First there is the motel room for Mom & Dad on this trip. In a college town they adjust the rates for any event that will bring the parents to town...and I don't mean they discount them.

Then you help the kid move into the new digs. As with any moving process, the absence of certain necessities (?) becomes very evident. So you head out to Target and Meijers to exercise Mom & Dad's plastic. (There's a wonderful Super Target in Lafayette....metro-Detroit's pale in comparison.)

Last summer, ds became obsessed with having his room 'lofted' and spent hours with dh building the perfect loft for the dorm he was in last year. Now that he is in his second year, more housing opportunities are available. So the loft had to be redesigned and built on the spot in the new dorm room. (The loft was stored in a storage shed down there...we didn't lug it home to store for the summer.) Did I mention that it was 97 degrees in W. Lafayette on Friday?

So, the loft was rebuilt and the room was (re)furnished. Next stop: the book store. One semester: $700. So...there you have it, the thousand dollar weekend.

I decided to start some more lace for the car trip which is 5 hours each way. With 97 degree temps, the helmet liners had to get in line behind some cooler knitting.

The yarn is Artisan Lace Weight. The pattern is Fibertrends Estonian Garden Lace Stole & Scarf The stole is shown in this picture from the pattern.

I'm about 2/3's of the way done with the body of the shawl (little flowers pattern) Then I get to start the Lily of the Valley Borders. It's fun to be knitting something with 8 row repeats, much easier to set mini-goals that way. For me, mini-goals are the only way to accomplish larger projects. More about that in a later post.

It's cooler here now and I have work to do my own 'Not-Estonian' Garden. But first, I have to pack up and send the book that ds thought he wouldn't need this semester.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A worthy application of "charity knitting"
An anonymous commenter noted that they are knitting helmet liners for our soldiers in Afghanistan. That prompted me to google and find this: knitting helmet liners

I thought perhaps the comment was from my friend, Mary, whose son returned home from Afghanistan a few months ago. But it wasn't her.

Anyway...we do know Rob and we've seen his pictures from Afghanistan. We know that the weather conditions there are harsh and the dust is beyond anything southeast Michigan can imagine.

Therefore, I will jump on the bandwagon and dedicate these orphan skeins of Kid 'n Ewe from my stash to knitting a helmet liner or two. If you want the pattern, click on the link above. If you care to join in, let me know.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

'Tis Finished:

'T ain't Finished:

And that about sums up life right now. I'm grateful to have something (anything!) finished. But there's plenty of unfinished business ready to be picked up.

The lower level bathroom is fully primed. It turns out that you need a grey or tinted primer when painting with a dark color. So once the primer is dry, I can mask the walls and paint the ceiling. After that's done and dry, I can mask and paint the walls. I've been warned that it will take about 3 coats to cover.

As I said, " 'tis finished....'tain't finished..."

Monday, August 08, 2005

Come with me on a trip up north....

Door to Old Presque Isle Light House Tower
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

This the door to the tower on the Old Presque Isle Light House. We spent this past weekend in this area. Dh went scuba diving in the Thunder Bay Underwater Preserve. Ds & I went photographing.

This is a special area for us. We own undeveloped property right on the shore of Lake Huron that looks right out onto the point where the Presque Isle lights are located. It was a fluke of an investment 27 years ago. Ds has memories of visiting the old Presque Isle lighthouse when George and his wife were docents. George was a crusty old guy who allowed ds to operate the pump foghorn one year. The next year we went back and George had passed on to his reward, but his wife was still there. She told ds that after George died, the light in the tower would inexplicably come on any evening she was out after dark. She said George was leaving the light on for her until she was safely home. She hasn't been there in a number of years and I assume that she too is now safely home. Of course, ds has never forgotten that story.

Old Presque Isle Light House circa 1840's
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

This is the old light house. Inside the home are artifacts from the mid 19th century. Things that the light house keepers may have owned and used and other bric-a-brac. One rather disturbing piece is a 11" x 14" shadow box with a wreath worked in hairwork. This may not be a mourning piece...but it's my understanding that hairwork was typically done in the 1800's as a means of mourning.
The gardens have some old fashioned plants such as the yarrow, that this monarch was enjoying:
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

This new lighthouse was built in the 1890's and is about a half mile up the point from the old light.
New Presque Isle Light House
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

On Sunday, ds and I were hungry for pasties, so we decided to take a road trip up to Mackinaw City and the Mackinaw Pastie & Cookie Co. They make the best pasties that we've found anyhwere. While munching our lunch we noticed that they don't ship pasties anymore, so we bought a cooler, some ice, and a bakers dozen of frozen pasties to bring home with us. YUM!

On the way back to Thunder Bay we discovered another light we had never seen:

40 Mile Point Light House
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

It's unusual because the house is a duplex and the tower is integral to the house. The Fresnel lens is intact and they still operate the light with a halogen bulb. The name 40 Mile Point Light House comes from the fact that it is located 40 miles from Thunder Bay and 40 miles from Mackinaw.

With all this driving, photograhing, and light house tower climbing, I did get some knitting time in. The Bergamot Peace Shawl needs 25 more of these:

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Then the I-cord across the top and it's done except for the blocking. With the 90 degree temps this summer, lace and shawls have been the perfect knitting project.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Valuable Yarn Guide...

On my bookshelves is a 15 year old copy of Your Valuable Yarn Guide, a rather rough looking publication with an orange paper cover containing vital statistics of most of the commercial knitting yarns in production at that time. Now it is sadly out of date. Not just because it doesn't contain all of the (crappy) novelty yarns we've been deluged with...but the put-ups and other specs. on some of the old standard yarns have changed (like Cascade 220, Galway, etc.)

However we now have: Yarndex - the Yarn Directory!

I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else, so I thought to toss that bit of info out into blogdom. That is all....for now.


Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

So, Echinacea
doesn't do anything for colds.

(click on the word to see the NEJM report.)

I can say that echinacea, if ingested will give me a good case of the hives along with an asthma attack. Ditto for chamomile. Knowing that I can have such reactions to plant materials has kept me away from natural dyeing. However, I am enjoying reading about the history of cochineal in A Perfect Red. I think I learned about this book from Cassie's blog.

Speaking of the perfect red:

wool crepe
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

This is a photo of some wool crepe fabric that I found on sale yesterday for $6.99/yd. I love the color and the hand of this fabric is lucious. It will be made into this suit. The pattern calls for a commercial lace collar and cuffs. I think I feel a trip to Haberman's coming on.

On the knitting front: I'm slowly making my way along the lower border of the Peace shawl. This could mean that the shawl would be completed in less than a month!

Thank you to all who provided kind and supportive comments regarding my son. He seems to be fine. The staples come out of his head on Monday. Meanwhile, we can effectively threaten him by saying we're going to hold a magnet next to his head ...(just kidding...)

Tomorrow ds and I are scheduled to take a "Driving Awareness & Vehicle Dynamics" class at Michigan Proving Ground. This should be interesting....

Sunday, July 24, 2005

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sister Dagger of Quiet Reflection.

Get yours.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Glad to see the back side of this week!

Hours after my post with the rose and little poem, we had another event in our household.

Around 4:30 PM yesterday, my son took a header from a 32 foot extension ladder and landed on his head on asphalt. We spent the subsequent 24 hours at U of M hospitals...first in the emergency/trauma unit then on the 5th floor.

He apparently landed on his head, since that is the only outward trauma to be found. He has 15 staples on the upper right side of the back of his head....a Harry Potter looking wound. Since it's on the back of his head, we've decided that he looks more like Harry Potter going than coming.

We got to University of Michigan hospitals about 2 hours after him. He had already had cranial and spinal CT scans and they were waiting for results. He was alert but disoriented. Very scary to go through the "Where am I? What happened?" conversation every 10 minutes during those first hours.

So we stood at ds's side and tried to think of ways to bait his memory without suggesting thoughts and details that were not his own. A few times I told him the facts that we knew: who he was with and where he had been at the time of the accident. After the third time through that he said, "Mom, Wow! deja vu! About 3 months ago I had a dream where you told me the exact same thing and we were in a place just like this!" My husband said...."Uh, that was about 30 minutes ago and it wasn't a dream."

Meanwhile, the reports from the cervical spine scans were clear so they could close the wound on the back of his head, but they still couldn't move him off his back. Two young residents were assigned this daunting task....God bless them, they couldn't have been more than 6-7 yrs. older than ds. And they had to figure out how to get to the back of ds's head while he had to remain immobilized on his back without anesthesia.

Ds has this thing about needles so I decided to distract him and bait his memory at the same time. Knowing that he and his friends could recite most of the script from all of the Monty Python movies I asked him what he remembered from Monty Python.

Just as the one resident was ready to clip in the first staple, ds recites in his best cockney accent: "Tis only a flesh wound!" The residents cracked up, then took the reigns. "What was the name of the castle where the women were...?" Ds: "Castle Anthrax!"

A few more quips were exchanged before I remembered ds's favorite scene was the plague scene: "Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!" "I'm not dead yet!" BAM! "You are now!" I didn't think it was such a good idea to go there since we were in an open bay in the trauma section of the emergency room in Ann Arbor on a Friday night. Other emergencies were we redirected the conversation.

With his(our) overnight stay in the hospital, the fog began to clear. The reports from all the cranial and spinal CT scans came back negative and we brought him home almost exactly 24 hours after the accident.

His memory is pretty clear this morning and we seem to be getting back to normal. It's kind of like playing with one of those hand held toys where you try and get the silver balls in the holes......he's still getting some of the "balls to drop in the holes" as to what actually happened.

And I am thankful for the excellent care that he recieved and his wonderful sense of humor. Am also praying that there are no residuals to his head injury. You are welcome to join me in that.

Friday, July 22, 2005


Are we tired of roses yet?

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

I certainly am not...and was very gratified to see this, the first of the second round of blooms, from the rose bush at my front door. The rose and following poem should provide some evidence that I'm creeping out from under my rock. In fact, I've spent much of the day on the patio engrossed in Marilynn Robinson's Gilead. What a beautiful book!

I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the Apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand---
So what could I do but laugh and go?

- Richard Le Gallienne -

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

This is where I was headed yesterday....a photo of chicory. This one is stilllighter in color than the "cornflower blue" that I love.

The walk this morning was rather abbreviated by carrying camera and tripod. I think a UV filter will be my next photographic purchase.

Continuing on the color theme: I'm really pleased with the color that came through from this cardinal flower. Reds are often tricky with digital cameras...especially when it's red yarn. There was a beautiful butterfly hanging around while I was taking these, but it never lighted for a good shot.

Cardinal Flower
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

While the chicory & cardinal flower provide color inspiration, let's move onto structure:

Nature's Lace
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Isn't this an exquisite little inspiration for lace? The 8 pointed star-like pattern really lends itself to knitted lace. Perhaps a shawl or a doily?

More thoughts about the park:

Foot in Mouth
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

This is another view from the same park. Around 17 years ago, a sculptor was hired to create items for the children's play area at the park. The plan was to center these in a sandy area where kids could climb and play on them. There are about 7 of these very disturbing looking, phallic shaped items. They were never a hit with the kids.

Around the time my son was in first grade(about 5 years later), a group of parents started a campaign to build a real play area for the children. The result is a huge, timbered structure with slides, gongs, ring other words, something a little more practical where kids would actually play. Two years ago, a spray scape was added. A very cool idea for a community with no public swimming facilities other than the school pools.

Meanwhile, these sculptures have become unsafe and are cordonned off with orange mesh so they don't topple on a kiddo.

Perhaps the sculptor was using the foot in the mouth image to communicate he knew it was a bad idea?
Off to clean house, then sit down at the spinning wheel with some mini-combed cormo locks!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Park path

Park path
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

This is part of the path that I walk at the township park on most mornings. Every spring, they do a controlled burn along this section of the path to simulate what used to be normal prairie conditions.

There are so many wildflowers in here. From the earliest part of spring on through fall, each week there are new species to see. It's always a treat on a morning walk.

Summer is speeding by quickly this year, particularly since it got such a late start. Soon I won't be able to walk this path in the mornings until late in September. Because of this:

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Ragweed and grasses are one of my worst asthma triggers. For the past 3 years I have been in the emergency room during the week after Labor Day because of asthma. During the rest of the year it's very well controlled with a minimum of medication. This year I am determined to avoid the emergency room. So, now that I've noticed that this stuff is about to bloom I have begun to execute the asthma management plan that I worked out with the dr.

Looks like I'll be walking in town, or on the treadmill for awhile.

BTW...the Bergamot Shawl photo was also taken at the park this afternoon.


Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Thought you might like to see the Peace Shawl in progress. I intended to take the photo beside some chicory to help with color identification. I forgot, chicory closes up when it's so darn, stinking, hot outside. Actually the Bergamot color is much closer to the yarn color anyway.

Now doesn't this make you want to go have a cup of Earl Grey tea? Well...maybe as iced tea!