Saturday, July 12, 2008


It's been quite a week. I've been catsitting for our friends Jennifer & Jim who've been on vacation. Here you see mug shots of the little darlings I've been entrusted with. First is Nala. My buddy, sweet and affectionate. Also a bedbug, meaning when I come to feed and check on the kitties in the mornings, she is in bed and stays there, along with Mittens whom you'll meet in a moment.
Next we have Ginger. The Hostess. Nearly always at the door to greet me when I arrive and anxious to make sure that food and water bowls and litter boxes are tended to in due fashion. Always the first to check the litter box after it's been cleaned, no doubt to make sure it's up to her standards! A very sociable kitty who enjoys a good body rub.
Mittens is the character of this bunch. She truly believes that if she works on me long enough that I'll relent and open the door to let her OUTDOORS! She climbs on me, rubs against me, licks me, purrs, and miaows ever so plaintively in hopes of getting to go OUTDOORS. She is a sweet kitty, but the cabin fever is getting rough on her, poor thing!
And the matriarch, the ever-so-above-all-this-outdoor-nonsense Killian. I'll just stay curled up here and nap, if you don't mind. You may pet me and rub behind my ears if you wish. I'll purr gently, but don't expect any rash displays of affection. The sweet, little-old-lady kitty.

And there you have "The Girls," as I've come to think of them. I do enjoy cats, and these four are special treasures. Their Humans will be home tonight, so my duties will end and Mittens will get to go OUTDOORS at last, along with Nala & Ginger.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Green Yarn, Knitting & the Fourth

I finished spinning the rest of my dyed roving.As predicted, it was a lot greener than the first. Or maybe because it's got a lot less yellow and practically no brown. About 160 yards, just over 2 oz.

It's okay, but I'm not wild about it.
I have reached the point of over-saturation with lace knitting, or even knitting in general. I mess up everything I pick up! I finally got extremely pissed off at the whole mess and decided to have a knitting moratorium until this phase passes. I think I was on overload or something with trying to knit two lace projects at once plus the Jaywalkers and wanting to finish them all. So we'll let it rest for a few days.
We went to Busch Gardens for the Fourth. Took in a couple of shows and enjoyed the aviary where the lorikeets tried to steal John's sunglasses and my earring.

Later we rode the train around the park and ended up having dinner in Italy.
Canneloni! YUM!
We experienced a few showers, but had brought our rain gear (poncho for him & 'brolly for me). The skies grew continually more ominous, and we feared the fireworks show might be in jeapordy. We went to the Festhaus for the eight o'clock show. It began to thunder on the way there, and we had enough time to find good seats when the weather got serious and the place filled up! We did enjoy the show, though, and by the time it was over the rain had slowed to a light drizzle. We joined the folks headed to the "fireworks viewing area" behind the Festhaus and waited for the display.
Busch Gardens has always had a really nice fireworks presentation, and this year was no exception. I was mildly disappointed that some of the fireworks were below our line of sight, and also partly obscured by a tree. I surmise this was due to there being several more viewing areas around the park than in the past, and an attempt to make the display able to be seen by everyone. Nonetheless, the spectacular finale made up for the few we couldn't see. I had hoped to get a little video to post, but didn't want to risk getting the camera wet.
We waited out the departing crowd with ice cream cones in France.
It was a good day.

Fergus says "Hello!"

I couldn't resist snapping a photo of one of our resident pond frogs, Fergus. (Okay, I know I'm a little off the deep end when it comes to animals, but doesn't he just look like a Fergus?) Fiona, the shy one, hit the water with a splash as soon as she saw me headed for the pond. The pair of them were on this rock, a favorite morning hangout. She's a bit larger than Fergus and has quite a bit more green.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 5, 2008

NOW what's she up to???

I've been messing with this fibery stuff a while now, and keep getting in deeper! The thought of dyeing fiber to spin has been picking in the back of my mind siince I started to spin and saw all the yummy colors of fiber that people were creating.

A couple weeks ago, I got inpired to try dying some domestic wool roving I've had around for that very purpose. (It often takes me awhile to get around to trying something new -- on my own -- because I talk myself into its being harder than it actually turns out to be. Know what I mean?) I used some Wilton icing colors with white vinegar as a mordant. Here are the results:

The wool at the top of the photo was spread out on plastic wrap along the countertop. I poured dye in what seemed an "artsy" fashion, folded the sides of the plastic wrap across the middle to make a long worm-shaped packet, then rolled from one end to make a bun. I microwaved the bun (in a bowl), flipped it and nuked some more. All the dye was taken up except for a bit that leaked into the bowl when I flipped the package.
The bottom roving in the picture was done in a 2 1/2 quart pyrex bowl with a lid. I poured some warm water into the bowl, added the wool and then poured globs of dye over the roving, keeping the colors pretty much in separate areas (Wilton Sky Blue, Lemon Yellow and Brown) and purposely leaving one place without dye. I microwaved this one as well.
I actually managed to emerge from the ordeal without dyeing myself or my kitchen, thanks to plastic gloves and lots of newspaper and old towels. The color all ended up where it was supposed to.
I was somewhat less than impressed by the outcome of my efforts; parts of the roving were okay, parts were garishly blue or yellow, and overall the effect wasn't what I had in mind. BUT . . . what about THIS???

Sorry for the sloppy skein -- it's a personal shortcoming -- but ain't it purdy??? It's very nice in real life. 2 ounces, 140 yards.
Haven't decided its final fate yet; it's likely I will just have it around to look at awhile.
That was the bottom roving pictured. I am currently spinning the top one, which has decidedly more green; I'm not sure I like it as much. The colors bled together more when they were compressed in the plastic wrap and when I flipped the 'bun' .
Now I have the dyeing bug, and lots more fiber!
I see blended batts. . . .