Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Other Woman... Revisited

Do you see her? Do you see that ghostly apparition floating around in the front seat. I saw it.
It's probably the young woman who waited for her love to come back from the war 66 years ago. I wrote about it over a year ago and yes, she is still here.
For those of you who didn't know me then. I will direct you to this post and this one so you can understand my dilemma.  Because her beautiful body is back in the Prospector's head...
and she's calling his name.
I've had her locked away... kind of like being sent to Redemption Island on the TV show Survivor. But she never loses. She's always there. Waiting to return and be resurrected. This beautiful woman has survived many  years and she is not going down quietly.
Wednesday the Prospector (out of the blue) says, " I'm going down to the storage place. I need to get the battery out of the Chevy. "We" need to get the car started again... be sure she's OK."
"We"? I asked.
"I may need some help rolling her out of the shed and back in if I can't get to the battery."
 I knew that she was calling his name. He hadn't mentioned her all summer. He had been busy with other  projects. I guess the "honey do" list wasn't long enough.
 So we drove down to the storage place, punched in the 6 digit code for the iron gate, and drove up to our rented garage. I thought I heard a voice from the inside of our space calling my husband's name.
The Prospector jumped out and unlocked the door, then he stood there for a moment and just looked at the car.
Why does he have to be so open about this affair of the heart? It's way too obvious.
I got out of the car and walked into the space to take a look at my things in the back. I have a few pieces of furniture and my mother's living room rug piled in behind Miss America. Everything was there.
Then I turned around and opened the driver's side door and looked in.
She hadn't changed. She still smelled "old" and her windows were still glazed and cracked. I just don't see what the Prospector sees. He has vision.
Then I looked at the back seat.
I don't know how many young folks "used" this seat back in the day, but there is nothing like it in any of today's cars. It's big and it's comfortable.... and it has a pillow. A pillow that  says someone was indulging in comfort back here. I'll bet it could tell some stories.
Anyway, I looked back toward the steering wheel and that's when I saw this foggy stuff.
It was just there...hovering around the steering wheel. It wasn't reflected sun, or fog, on my lens.  I took this photo and look... you can see what I saw.
Yes, Farmlady...  maybe you've been spending too much time alone on the mountain talking to the goats and the deer. Maybe you are seeing things.
The Prospector opened the passenger door and when he did this, the fog disappeared instantly. He spent about 10 minutes getting the battery out from under the floor board. It was in an awkward place  and was strapped down.
We finally got the battery out without having to roll the car out of the storage space.
Then the Prospector looked under her hood... right in front of me.
He has no sense of allegiance to our relationship when he is around this floozy and he has started talking again about fixing her up. He wants to take her back to her original, young, beautiful self.
No wonder she's calling his name.
She better not call mine. She's trouble I tell you.
She will cost him a lot of money and take him places he may not want to go.
I don't know how to fight this woman. She's beautiful in a classic sort of way. She has huge headlights, a lot of chrome and white wall tires.
The Prospector did build me a potting shed this summer. I know he loves me.
We're like good felted fabric... strong, almost waterproof and connected forever, but this other woman is a powerful object of his affection.
I will have to engage in some clever subterfuge.
I will find her weaknesses.
I will let this relationship continue...
for a while.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

From Yarn to Felted Scarf...

I finished the Noro yarn scarf.
I started with this beautiful "Oh my. I think I'm in love." yarn.
Rolled it into a beautiful ball of amazing color that changes magically as you knit or crochet.
 I crocheted the yarn, starting with a granny square, and then I triple crocheted half of the length of the scarf. I made two of these pieces and attached them to form one whole piece.
 This is how the scarf looked before felting...
Pretty but very open and loose. I chose crochet because I wanted to keep the pattern from disappearing when I felted it. As it turned out, I could have made a much shorter scarf because I didn't get the shrinkage in the length that I expected.
 I threw the scarf into a mesh bag. Set the washing machine on the lowest water setting and the hottest water. Tossed the bag in with a pair of jeans and an old towel. Added some liquid hand soap and agitated everything for just 5 minutes.
The scarf softened up but nothing happened.
Another 5 minutes... nothing.
At 15 minutes I started to see the wool tightening up.
Another 5 minutes. and the pattern was really pulling together.
It's fun to watch this happen and it was happening very fast.
(Again I didn't take photos. I'm always so involved in the process I forget to do this... and I was fixing dinner at the same time. Too much multi-tasking for this old lady.)
Finally at 25 minutes I pulled the bag out and checked the scarf for the last time.
It was done, baked... finished.
If I had continued for another 5 or 10 minutes the scarf would have tightened up to the point where the scarf would have been this skinny piece of wool that wouldn't look like the crocheted scarf that I worked so hard on. You have to be very careful not to over felt. You will lose all your hard work and all the colors. The pattern will blend together and disappear.
I took the scarf out of the bag and rinsed it in cool water. Then gently squeeze to get the water out. I rolled it up into a towel, laid it on the floor and stood on it to get as much moisture out as possible.
The whole scarf was very fuzzy and needed to be "cleaned up".
This is done with very sharp scissors and a steady hand. Because this is now a felted fabric, you can trim the edges and cut the fuzz off and it will not unravel. You have to be very careful though. You want to rid the scarf of the fuzz, not cut through it. I have used a razor for this on solid pieces of felting. It works well and is faster than scissors. I also have a lint shaver that I bought online at knitpicks.com This is a nifty little battery run, hand held defuzzer that can be used for anything that needs to be cleaned up or an old sweater that has pilled and looks awful. It's only $3.99 and well worth the price. I still like scissors for edges.
So, here is the finished felted scarf...
The scarf is very long. I really thought that it would shrink up, lengthwise, more than it did, so it's a very long scarf. It's an Isadora Duncan scarf, not silk of course, and not long enough to get caught in the wheels of a convertible car.
It's safe... and warm.
I'm very pleased with it. I stretched it out, pulling and shaping it as it dried, to show off the pattern.
Love the colors. Loved using a granny square on the ends.
Now... what do you think?
Two matching buttons in the middle of the granny squares?
Four buttons.. one on each corner?
Big and gaudy?
One big, one small?
Or no buttons at all.
Tell me what you think.
Maybe this scarf doesn't need buttons.
Maybe it's wonderful just the way it is.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Yarn Wonderland and Fiber Lust

This unassuming little store is call The Yarn Boutique. It's in Lafayette, California. They still called this area La Fiesta Square. If you have ever been to Lafayette you will remember that this is one of the older shopping areas.The store is in the back of the parking lot near a creek.There is ample parking nearby.
This yarn store is like falling into the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland.
I was Alice and I fell into a wonderland of yarn and fiber.
Oh my! You can hardly walk around the aisles. The place is filled to the brim with every yarn that you can imagine... and equipment... and books.. and needles.. and spinning stuff... and ... more yarn.
It is an over-abundant haven ("heaven")... for the obsessed.

And BUTTONS... thousands of buttons.

Samples of completed yarn patterns are everywhere, so you can see what the yarn looks like knitted into a child's sweater or socks..
... or a scarf.
... and baskets of roving sold by the ounce.
But then, as a White Rabbit ran between my legs (It might have been a cat.), I saw the yarn of my dreams.
It's called NORO yarn.
I'm sorry, truly I am.  I bought something that was not Made In America, but there is nothing like this made here in the states. If you know of a good local alternative... comment.... I'm all ears.
I don't think that the sheep care whether they are in Japan or California as long as they are feed everyday.
I know, I know... that's not the point.
I will try harder. I will have more restraint when I'm not so in love with all of this.

Each hank was $10. for... oops, I can't read the wrapper. I think it's a 50 gram ball. Which means (if my calculations are even close) that you have about one hundred nine yards of yarn to knit with.
I bought two balls of this. Noro is 100% wool. The description says Kureyon. I don't see a color name on the tag but there are specific blends in different shades and they are all unbelievably beautiful.

Since I've been home I have taken some photos of the yarn and some of the roving that I bought.

This is the Noro yarn, above. This weekend I finished crocheting  a scarf using the yarn and tomorrow I will felt it.
I will do a post, with photos, on the methods to my madness Tuesday.

I also bought some Merino Hand Dyed Spinning Fiber. for my Nuno felting .
The store had so many lovely blends of colors, but I loved this one.
It's called FOREST.
It goes with my livingroom.
I may just leave it on the side table until I use it.
It's like a magical gift waiting to be opened.
This is called Anzula fiber. Please, look at this up close...
 I know that I get kind of goofy about this stuff but... LOOK AT IT. It's SO beautiful!

Anyway, I have just finished crocheting a medium length scarf with the Noro yarn and, if my shrinkage calculations are good, I will have a really nice felted  neck scarf for... a Christmas present.
Stay tuned...

The Yarn Boutique is at 963 -C, Moraga Rd. Laffayette, CA.
 The customer service is great and the prices are reasonable.  They wind your yarn for you and the owner's are helpful and very nice.