Monthly Archives: May 2015

For the birds

I found this in the yard.

yarn litter

It isn’t mine.

[Sniffs and tilts head upwards] I don’t do acrylic.

But in all seriousness, don’t leave this shit out for the birds.

Yes, I know you feel like you are helping your little feathered friends (even though your cat might be killing them too) and seeing a nest with brightly colored bits brings a little puff of joy to make your earnest heartstrings quiver and sing, but really you are polluting our fine earth.

Yes, creatures feathered and furred like to help themselves to our freshly washed fleeces and fluff drying in the yard, but there are millions of us knitting and crocheting and weaving away, and millions more children overseen by overly smug adults providing hands-on enriching [cheap-ass] “craft” projects, that there’s just too much of this stuff knocking about out there now.

Birds have happily had sex and hatched eggs for millennium without our plastic scraps lining their nests – in fact, they are some of the oldest beings on this planet and no doubt preferred life without our smokestack shenanigans and DDT dirt.

This bit of blindingly colored yarn will not break down, biodegrade or otherwise become safe and tolerable in our lifetimes – not to mention it’s already been rejected by the neighborhood birds here and would likely wash down the sewer into the river which drains into the ocean.

If you really feel the need to contribute something to nest building and you are in an area starved for plant diversity, consider the following instead:

Clip your dog’s (as long as it isn’t treated with pesticides, or your own if it’s also chemical-free) hair outdoors.

Leave a few puffs of undyed fleece behind on wash day.

Leave the spiderwebs under the eaves for a few days.

Let a few of the weeds stay and go to seed – hell, I’d like a milkweed bed myself…

And if you must, only very occasionally leave behind a snippet of yarn, make sure it is 100% wool.

And keep in mind too, rodents love the soft stuff just as much, if not more, so you are really contributing to the nesting behavior of rats and mice – do you want rats and mice in your home? Or Squirrels in your attic? Chewing on wires, pissing in the walls, and leaving potentially disease-ridden poops in your precious darling’s cereal bowl?

Otherwise stuff those scraps in toys and pillows and draft snakes and pincushions and pet beds (or give them to someone who will).

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Filed under gardening, home, knitting, recycling, spinning, weaving

Tarnation

The Magnolia did its big showoff thing, and has packed it in for another year…

I wish we had more than just a week or so with the bombastic blooms.

magnolia vs gazelle

However, I also wish that we didn’t have evil everlasting Japanese Knotweed!

No more knotweed

I can’t keep up with those petal-pink phallic fuckers…

I swear it grows at least a foot overnight.

I finally found the pliers I’ve been looking for for nearly a year.

pliers, once

I’ve no idea how they came to rest in the middle of the backyard, but that was where they wintered.

It’s a  shame too – I’ve had those for decades…

I’m also back to waging a dark horrid war on poison ivy

I got rid of so much of it last year – carefully pulling up every bit of brittle buried vine – but it seems that there is even more this year.

The days at home have been busy and tiring and we’ve been on the road often again, so I haven’t been making fibery things much…

But I cut up three of N’s old t-shirts to make some tarn for a tiny clog rug.

tarn rug

It isn’t all that, but it is the perfect size to make up the difference from the less than perfect sized rug by the door where I kick off my muddy clogs.

tarn rug for shoes

I’m not a fan of knitting with cotton and things on big needles and tarn sheds a maddening fine clingy fuzz, but I’m itching to make some large basket/bowl things…

but I’d need a helluva lot more t-shirts…

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Filed under collecting, gardening, home, home decor, knitting, recycling

The [once] ubiquitous roll neck sweater

I found my old XL charcoal roll neck sweater about a month ago.*

rollneck-neck

I got it for Christmas in the very late 1980s or early 1990s and wore it and wore it and wore it.

I wore it with leggings, I wore it with baggy army surplus pants, I wore it with the 1990s version of skinny jeans but the waists were still too high so they were really tight black mom jeans, and I wore it with long skirts and Docs.

A college boyfriend “borrowed” it for awhile until I had to “steal” it back.

I was pissed when I smeared a bit of PC-17 on it in a sculpture class (a bit of crust of it still remains, though I’ve no idea of what happened to that sculpture).

It was the only sweater I packed to study in Italy.

I wore it on an overnight train to Oktoberfest (a dumbass American move on my part – I got confused with the 24-hour time table and missed my original train with my fellow students) but I partied with a fun group of newly-made Italian friends in my compartment, drinking most of the night, and shoving the sweater under my head for an hour of sleep after watching the Alps at dawn.

I wore it when I worked in a doomed-to-fail gallery during long hours hovering in the drafty front entrance in wintertime. (It closed after I quit).

I wore it wandering in the woods near the former family home.

And I occasionally wore in grad school during night classes.

I mostly stopped wearing it in public by the end of the century, but still threw it on at home.  It’s got a few crudely patched spots and a few more that need to be sewn up – victims, I think, of a long ago moth attack, and some encounters with brambles and rusty nails.

One spring in the mid to late oughts, I packed it away with other non-public woolens, and never unpacked its particular bag until now.  It also has a brown sibling – one I was slightly wiser in ordering a large instead of XL, and I wore it fairly often, but mostly saved it for “good” – but I couldn’t tuck my knees under it as comfortably, so it never gained household status.

rollneck

When I was triumphantly lounging about in it again, N thought that it was his – party because I always sneak his wooly discards out of the charity bin – and he’s still eyeing it with skepticism and perhaps a little jealousy, but I can identify every mark on its wooly corpse and prove without a doubt – and with the help of many photographs – that it is, in fact, mine.

I look for them in thrift stores to unravel since I know the yarn is sturdy stuff (with the exception of a newer lighter grey one my mom had that shed great clumps of darker dingleberries and felted a  bit) but I recently saw the “vintage” ones going for a decent amount on ebay.  It’s odd to think of things I owned as an adult, or near-adult now deemed vintage, but it had to happen sooner or later…

My first sweater knitting project was almost a roll neck, but the years since the 1990s were then too few, and I abandoned it.  But now I’m seeing a few recent patterns with the neck and the bagginess and they feel familiar and friendly.  I’m also always attracted to simple top-down stockinette patterns that show off handspun and don’t have much fuss with construction or shaping, so I may knit one in the near future, just not one with armpits that hit my waist and a body large enough in which to tuck all of my body.

So now I’ll see if my decent old brown one will fetch a decent amount of some much-needed cash, as well as any older thrifted ones I have or will find, and save only the holiest of the old ones to unravel.

My baggy, poorly patched, crusty, old charcoal sweater isn’t going anywhere though – you hear that N?

*Need I say it’s the brand with the oarsman?

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Plotting my dinner…

We’re a little late with the garden this year, but that’s because we have a brand new big one!

It went from this pathetic thing:

garden-before

To this glorious piece of productive real estate:

garden after-leftgarden after-right

(Too big for my lens)

Still lots more digging  and other random fence finishing tasks to do, and only a few herbs planted at the moment, but hopefully we won’t have to contend as much with the local feral cats and this lovely lady and her buddies:

deer2 003 - Copy

And just playing and planning with seeds makes me hungry…

garden-planning

And when I get hungry, I can get just a teeny bit bitchy…

The whole Whole30 craze is making me really sad, and social media has made fad diets so exceptionally annoying. Back in the ’90s you could just walk away from the Atkins conversations and stink of your co-worker’s daily half chicken from Boston Fartet, but now you can’t putter about the internet without seeing images of plates and shopping baskets and bizarre exclamations of “gee, ghee in my coffee is really awesome!” And many of those shopping basket pics are full of things that aren’t really that healthy or good for the environment – factory farm meats and heavily packaged veg aren’t really food in my book. I get that people struggle to loose weight, have frustrating undiscovered food sensitivities or massive allergies, and have a hard time adopting a healthier lifestyle when they weren’t raised with one. But I don’t get the fad part. I don’t get that the message of eat whatever moderately as long as it is organic or nearly organic as possible, and as local/fresh as possible, and cut out processed shit isn’t good enough? Or experiment with an elimination diet to see what truly does mess you up rather than flatly demonizing certain foods (foods, by the way that populations of entire continents eat daily, so it’s downright offensive to deem something poisonous just because you are privileged enough to not have to eat it or it isn’t a part of your culture).

So I’ll be here sipping my delicious butterless coffee and licking my plate after an occasional small almond pastry while I watch the plants grow (and dig-weary fingers and arms heal enough to start knitting again…)

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