Monday, June 27, 2005

Must read...

I have nothing special to say today. But I'd like to encourage you to go over to Keri Smith's Wish Jar Journal and read her June 27th 'A Conversation in Two Parts' entry.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Hey, remember me....

It's been a long hot week. The trip to Pa. went fine. The funeral was at 1:30 PM. Music was provided by a bluegrass duet, which was different and very enjoyable (for a funeral). The surprise party was at 6:00 PM. I don't think the surprise part really sunk in w/ my FIL. It was more like he was in "go to a meal after a funeral" mode. Everyone at the party had been to the funeral. So it's true: all's well that ends well. One way or another.

Fiber: I have been knitting on the oatmeal toddler gansey. It was all the way to the shoulders and joined with a 3 needle bind off, when I decided that the bottom needed a tad more ribbing. So I ripped at the base of the garter rounds and am knitting down to make it longer.

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

This picture makes it look more grey than oatmeal.

Other fiber news: The J.C. Penney fall/winter catalogue arrived this week to shame me into sewing the summer clothes that were abandoned a few weeks ago. I'm in the middle of sewing a top and skirt. Photo's on that when it's finished. And I plan on sewing the linen jacket that I posted about awhile ago (shortly after a Land's End catalogue showed up w/ linen jackets on the cover). I think we can identify a pattern here: catalogues arrive, Valerie sews.

And now for something completely different: If you haven't guessed by now, I love photographing and identifying wildflowers. I started this years ago, before ds was born. This year I've come upon a few species that I don't recognize (either I've forgotten them, or haven't looked them up before). The photo below is a new arrival near my back gate.

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

I'm thinking of just starting a wildflower album at Flicker and not boring all of you with my wildflowers. Besides it seems that most of the fiber bloggers are jumping on the flower photo bandwagon. What d'ya think?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

For the heart....

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

I give you foxgloves, also known as digitalis: a drug that strengthens the contraction of the heart muscle.

That's appropriate for this week. Yesterday my husband's cousin died after a five year struggle with colon cancer. Ron lost his mother to cancer when he was 9 yrs. then his father succumbed to colon cancer when Ron was a teen. So he was raised with my husband's family and is like an older brother to them.

As it turns out, the funeral will be on Saturday at 1:30 PM. On that same day we have been planning a surprise 80th birthday party for my father in law at 6:00 PM. (My husband's family relishes endurance tests!)

I should note that it's against my better judgement that this be a surprise party....I mean, do you really think it's good idea to be yelling surprise at 80 year olds? Let alone the fact that he's been arguing with everyone that he will not be 80 this year, he thinks this will be the 79th. (What do you get when you subtract 1925 from 2005?) I suspect that the schedule for the day will necessitate that someone spill the beans to my FIL....but as the outlaw (er..inlaw) it won't be me.

More heart aches: Another funeral tomorrow. My friend, Dianna's 23 y.o. son was killed in a motorcycle accident on Sunday.

The weather is cooler and I'll be spending about 20 hours in the car this weekend. Perhaps next week you will see some knitting photo's rather than these never-ending flower photo's.

But still, I can't resist giving you a good look inside a foxglove.

foxglove close up
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Fruit & Oatmeal

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Rainy Monday's are a good opportunity to post a 'progress to date' photo. This is the toddler sweater that I wrote about a week or two ago. The yarn is oatmeal colored Encore worsted weight. Since my favorite breakfast is fruit and get the setting for this photo.

Encore is not my favorite of yarns. It begins pilling way too soon for my tastes. But it is easy to launder and will meet the needs of a toddler boy.

I am ready to put the underarm gussets on stitch holders and begin working the bodice front and back in back and forth fashion. It's encouraging to work something that will be completed so fast. Perhaps it will get me back to the Fulmar that has been languishing on the needles for the past couple months.

I will leave you with this photo the represents today's weather. Consider yourself lucky that you can't feel the humidity through the picture.

drip, drip, drip
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Happy Anniversary...

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Today is our 28th anniversary. Wow, where does the time go? I thought this iris a good symbol for wedding/anniversary kinds of things.

Hmmm I just googled the symbols for the 28th anniversary. Apparently the symbols hop from the 25th to the 30th. However, the flower for the 25th is the iris. So the white iris photo wasn't such a bad choice after all

It is hot, hot, hot here with that last 3 days in the 90's. It was too hot & humid to complete my walk this AM. So I'm headed to the basement for a session with the Total Yoga tape. After that I want to cut out a couple of garments to sew this week.

Tonight we go out to dinner to Paesano's in Ann Arbor. Am hoping they have some good fish on the menu tonight.

Now I'll leave you with a peek inside the iris.

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Daisies don't tell

daisies don't tell
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

But it didn't take a rocket scientist to solve the crime depicted below.

The Crime
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

This is the Sheep Shawl, Evelyn Clark's pattern published through Fibertrends. You're looking at some holes that are not a part of the original lace pattern.

I bought the fine corriedale fleece from Dick Regenery a couple years ago. I washed the fleece then combed it with Louet minicombs before spinning the yarn. After plying, the yarn was knit into this shawl.

the perpetrator
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Yesterday, for whatever reason, Jazzy got on the rocking chair, pulled down the shawl and proceeded to wrestle and chew her way through it. She was wrapped in it on the floor when I found her. GRRRR....I was not of a mind to grab the camera at that point.

This is the second time she's chewed through some handknit wool. The fact that a cat jumped on a rocking chair for this is inexplicable to me.

I haven't decided whether I'm going to put the time and effort into mending this mess or just give it up. I guess I'll just take time to mull it over.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Summer At Last

Summer At Last
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Summer has arrived. In typical Michigan fashion, we have gone from 50 degrees to 90 degrees. Fiber stuff has taken a back seat to home maintenance and gardening. This is on the rose bush right outside my front door. I wish you could smell it!

I still have a few bedding plants to put in the ground. Then there are some houseplants that need repotting. Maybe then I'll settle down in the AC for some fiber things.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Response to Leslie's Interview:

I've enjoyed reading the interviews on the various fiber blogs. These are my replies to Leslie's interview questions. To learn more about Leslie, click on the link above and read her interview. If you wish to be interviewed by me, the first two people to ask will be interviewed. See the "rules" at the end of this post.

1. Are you normally a planner or is this a new idea for you?

I'm an incorrigible planner....but notorious for either not initiating, or not completing plans as originally set out. Somewhere between the idea and the completion, things get stalled, derailed, or just totally changed.

I do finish things....just not in the time frame or in the sequence originally imagined.

Hmmm...maybe a lot of my plans are just day dreams?

2. How did you get interested in fiber pursuits and what is your favorite?

I guess I've always been a thread/textile junky. I can remember clothes that I had as a very little kid...though it's the look and the feel of the fabric I remember, not the style of the garment.

I remember the fascination with some seersucker shorts....rubbing my finger over the stripes and texture in one fabric! Wow! And studying the intersection of colored threads in those Dan River plaid dresses we all wore to school back in the late 50's, early 60's. Don't know if you're old enough to remember those dresses: the kind with the half belt in the back that the girls always played "horsey" with on the playground, so that the belts were perennially half torn out of the side seam.

And I definitely remember my utter disgust when I first noticed that there were fabrics that had the design "painted" on them rather than woven in. Seemed like the ultimate in cheating to me...give me interesecting threads any day!

The first textile skill I learned was embroidery, which my Mom taught me. She started me embroidering baby bibs with the patttern stamped on them, purchased at the "Five & Dime" store. This was the summer between first and second grade. I vividly remember working so hard on embroidering a robin onto a bib...only to try to put the work aside and discover that the bib was embroidered to my red cotton shorts!! (I've had the same feeling when I couldn't get a shed on the loom and dicovered that I forgot to take the warp over the back beam. Also, after casting 360 stitches on a size 1 circular needle then tediously knitting an inch of length before discovering that there was a twist in the cast on stitches. I guess these are the things that keep fiber people humble.)

Somewhere between embroidery and knitting was the little loom where you weave potholders from the cotton loopers. And let's not forget spool knitting...making Barbie clothes by wrapping her in yards of spool knitted pieces.

Then came knitting, taught by my fourth grade teacher, Eleanor Rigby (about 3 years before the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby). Learning to knit from this lady is a blog post all by itself. I thought I had posted one already, but just went through my old blog and didn't find it, so I'll save that for another day.

I learned to sew in junior high from Home Ec. Teacher, Martha Poli. She taught us to think and analyze what was going on with a pattern and gave us the rudiments of fitting. Mrs. Haberlin taught a tailoring class in high school. So, I sewed most of my own wardrobe my junior and senior years which was mostly wool gabardine skirts and corduroy cullotes, and vests. You couldn't wear slacks to school until after I graduated. When I went off to college, the "uniform" was T-shirts and jeans, so much for wardrobe sewing for quite a few years.

Also in high school, I crocheted a red, white and blue granny square afghan. That was enough to cure me of crochet. Though I love to look at and handle other people's crocheted items, in my practice it is reserved for the finishing of knitted items.

Finally in 1980, I came to weaving after a brief stint at wheel thrown pottery. Then in 1986 came the spinnning, learned from Elise Kulick at Greenfield Village. Most of the wheels at "The Village" were vintage, if not antique. As a result, I have no desire to own an antique wheel....give me a well designed, well maintained contemporary wheel any day!

So the thread thing went kind of counter clockwise for me: It began with embellishment and wound itself back through the creation of fabric ending up at the making of a thread (or a yarn, if you will).

3. What do you like about the area where you live? What do you dislike?
Hmmm.....I live in SE Michigan about half way between Detroit and Ann Arbor. (BTW...I grew up and went to college in SW Pa. not very far from Jan. I moved up here when I married dh, 28 years ago next Saturday.) What I like most about the general location is that we are within minutes of 3-5 excellent public libraries. There ae also 5 different Home Depots and 4 different Jo Ann's (three of them the Etc. stores)within short driving distances. What I like least about this location is that the population density supports that kind of commercial density.

We live on a little over an acre (wooded) in a 30 yr. old house. When we first moved here, 15 yrs. ago the main road, which is our address, was a dirt road. Now it is one of the main arteries through the west side of the township, tho' they've kept it to 2 lanes and a 40 mph speed limit. I dislike that most of what used to be vacant property around us has been built up with "monster homes" home isn't small by anyone's measure, but these homes are freakin' huge!

I'm pretty sure we won't stay in this house after retirement..say 8-10 years from now....but can't imagine where we will ultimately end up. Hopefully in a place with less dense population, an excellent library, and good health care. Any suggestions?

4. Do any animals share your life? If so, who are they? If not, why not?

Yesirree!!......We live with Jasmine, AKA Jazzy, a 14 month old tortoise shell cat who 'speaks' somewhat like Scooby Doo. She came to us from Animal Rescue League after 14 months of catless-ness when our 14 yr. old grey cat, Cloudy had to be put down for health problems. Pictures of Cloudy are on my old blog. Pictures of Jazzy are hard to come by because:
1. She is seldom still.
2. She is all black and white markings on this she doesn't show up in photographs very well.

Perhaps I'll give another try to photographing her.

There are also fish in a 20 gallon tank. I'm not sure what they are but I gave them all names when I became the "fish and game warden" when my son went off to college last year. Let's see, there's Al the algae eater, Sharkie the orange tailed shark, and Stripey and Sherbert of questionable parentage. They show up when I feed them in the AM and seem to be happy with whatever I call them. Ds shows no signs of wanting to reclaim the if/when I set up that little study alcove in the small bedroom, the tank may get an overhaul and perhaps some new residents of my choosing. My biggest worry is that ds might take that as precedent for any offspring he might I really want to watch the message I'm sending on this. (just joking!)

5. What do you find more enjoyable about blogging? Most challenging?

Most enjoyable: I like the accountability of documenting my intentions...then somehow having to report back on the results. I also like writing and photography. Blogging is a rather cheap excuse to foist my feeble talents on the public. I've done a couple tutorials that are located on my old blog. My hope is that what I put on the blog might be helpful or inspiring to others. My suspicion is that my blog is more of warning....a sort of "lookout, this could happen to you!"

Most Challenging: I'm not as comfortable writing what I think or posting photo's on Blogger as I was on my old blog. I'm not sure if it's the blog format...or if I'm at a kind of "dry spell" in my blogger life. I do know that I need to explore other means of posting photo's on blogger. These dinky Heilo pictures just don't do it for me.

Well..there's more than most people would care to read through, I guess.

Here are the rules..

The Rules of The Interview

1. Leave me a comment saying “interview me.”

2. I will respond by asking you five questions here. They will be different questions than the ones above.

3. You will update YOUR blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions

The first 2 people to ask will be interviewed!