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September 14, 2010

Latest ramblings of a knitter

My kitchen towel weaving is in the delayed stage. The first towel is sitting there, with the waste yarn rows that will separate it from the second towel, and the loom is waiting for me to get on with it. The left-hand side of the warp threads hang a little loose near the edge, and I think I have figured out my solution.

Originally, I was going to somehow sew the warp threads into the waste rows between first towel and second towel, but my little dilemma was how to keep it from unraveling, stretching, or forming knots where I sewed it? A little sleep, and quite a few weeks later, I think I have a slightly better solution. Unwrap the woven section a little, and carefully wrap under the left edge a little bit of rag or other fabric (maybe an old washcloth) until the warp threads are evenly tensioned when the woven part is tightened back up onto the front beam. Hmm. Need to try it out very soon!

We have hummingbirds visiting us. I just happened to be looking out the front door at the roses blooming in the garden, and noticed, hey! Hummingbird! Buzzing and sipping nectar from the pink roses! Look! I called my mother's attention, and now we have a hummingbird feeder set up between two rosebushes, with daily visits from two different hummingbirds. Sometimes I see them in the early morning vising the crepe myrtle bush in the back yard, but from dawn to dusk they buzz in, buzz out, perch on rose trellises, taste the roses, but there are definitely hummingbirds in our yard!

We also have a juvenile red tail hawk in our neighborhood. He's been scoping out our trees and yard off and on all summer. Sometimes we don't see him for days (assuming it is a male) and then we see him cruising overhead, and then hear his calls. I wonder if he'll have a mate next year?

Twilight and dusk are getting earlier and earlier. Sigh. What happened to our summer days? I'm now seeing my bat friends closer to 7:50 p.m. as they swoop and fly around, eating the early evening insects. It's still comforting to see them as the sky tinges and shades to indigo before full dark comes upon us.

One of our outside cats, one that was never properly named, has the monicker of Noname. Yes, pronounced “no name” for real. And every year, she has at least one litter of kittens. Sometimes they don't all make it beyond a certain age of a few weeks, sometimes at least one kitten makes it to maturity before disappearing. Disappearing as in I assume someone takes a liking to that kitten/grown into cat, since most of her kittens grow up into friendly, people-loving cats. The latest one to reach maturing was called Rosey, an orange tabby male. He really liked people, and I describe him as having pussycat OCD. He kept pulling his fur out until only the tan colored undercoat was left. Solution: put a flea collar on him. Honestly, it worked, his fur grew back out, and he was back to his pretty redish orange stripes. About the time it had all grown back in, poof! He disappeared, there one night, completely gone before breakfast the next morning. My only explanation is that he was picked up by someone who liked him.

Well, this spring, Noname had a litter of kittens, and for no known reason, only one black male survived to about a month old. She moved him from under a bucket (where he was born) to under the back porch steps where he would wobble and toddle about and explore. Then one morning, no kitten. We weren't sure if we'd heard a cat fight the night before he disappeared, but a few nights later I spied a possum drinking from the cat water station. Brash thing, it wasn't afraid of me, which I found unusual.

Eventually, possum did move onto a new neighborhood, and I haven't seen it in months. But poor Noname was looking for the ghost of her kitten for most of the summer, until about a month ago, when she had a new litter of kittens. Three pretty babies, two black and tabby marbled females, and one pink male. They were born under the same bucket, and last week moved under the steps again. I watched them wobble and explore and start to get their sea legs until Friday morning. Horror of horrors, I found the lifeless remains of two marbled kittens, and no sign of the pink kitten at all. Worst case, a dog or pair of dogs came around early that morning, found the kittens, dragged out and killed the two females, left their little corpses for me to find, and I thought had dragged off the pink male to oblivion.

To my complete surprise, the next morning, my brother found the pink male kitten. He had crawled into a tight little spot, and hid there all day the previous day, terrified by whatever nasty creature that had invaded his “home” and only hunger drove him out. Thankfully, he likes people, and comes readily to my voice to explore and get people-attention. I encouraged his mother to re-bond with him, and he currently resides in what I've dubbed the kitten kondo; it's a small plastic animal carrier with a metal door, sitting on the back porch just behind the back door, with a soft rag for him to sleep on, and the metal door braced open so he can toddle in and out as he pleases. This makes his momma Noname happy, it's near her people, near her, and not back under the porch where it apparently still smells like kitten-death to her.

My wedding gift for my cousin is not as complete as I really want it to be. I need to hustle and practice production knitting to get it done soon! Her wedding is October 10, here it is mid September, and barely past halfway knitted. I need 21 points on the lace edge on the sides and the top lace edge knitted on; right now I have 12 points on the sides, which means in the very near future I have to push to knit 9 more points plus the top edge. Yikes! Which also means I can't justify picking up and knitting something else. Like socks. Or designing anything new to knit. Bleh. Phooey.

However, I am still planning what I now call the quest for the perfect black sweater. My work dress code shifts in early October to white or black tops, which means I can't wear the gray sweater I loved to wear the last two winters when I would get cold. White gets very dirty on me very quickly as I work at Job1, so what I really need is a black sweater that will wash often, wash well, wear well, and be comfortable. And not cost an arm and a leg. I could probably and still might check out the men's sweaters in the stores for a cheap quick fix, but I really would prefer something I knit myself. I'd be guaranteed that it's the exact style of neckline, sleeves not too long/short, and that it would fit me. I'm still dithering over yarn type, leaning towards either sock, heavy sock, sport, or double knitting weight.

I'm dithering over the type of yarn, whether to use synthetic yarn, synthetic and cotton blend, synthetic and wool blend, wool blend, or superwash wool. Anything that keeps the black, won't bleed, won't pill heavily, and wears well as I wash it over and over. A new favorite winter work sweater. So, my hunting for a perfect yarn for a perfect sweater continues.

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