Monday, October 27, 2014

A sad day ...

It's been a difficult 4 days. Had to bury Pumpkin today. I found her on the floor of the bird room last Thursday morning, having gone during the night.

She was an inspiration, and like all other birds I've ever known, sweet sweet sweet. For the last several years she was blind in one eye. I believe her injury was the result of a fight with another bird, but I'm not sure. Found her bloody and injured one night after work. She healed slowly but surely and pulled through. Her flight was not as strong after the injury as before it, but she managed quite well within the confines of the bird rooms, both here and in NY. And she held her ground well.

I will miss her. Her 'home' was one corner of the seed platform, a place she found more comfortable than a perch, most assuredly attributable to her previous injury. There she has been every day for the last 5 years (maybe more, I've lost track) as I enter to change the seed and bring fresh water. Never one to let on that she may be a little weaker, she'd feign ruffled feathers and fly over to the window perch while I replenished their food.

Sweet Pumpkin.

Death is hard. The day I lost Pumpkin I was scheduled for a day long class at the quilt shop and almost didn't go. It took me the whole hour of changing the bird's food and doing dishes and getting ready, to decide that my best bet was to go, and if it became too much I could gracefully leave early. It was good that I went. ...

There was a dear woman working at the shop when I first arrived last year. She was always a pleasure to greet when I went in, helpful and congenial. A sweet soul. I saw her last this summer after she had had a heart attack and by all appearances was on the mend. Only last month I went into the shop to learn that she had passed away, having suffered a series of grave health problems. She wasn't very old. It seemed that one moment she was with us, and then she was gone, so suddenly and unexpectedly.

I discovered her portrait hanging on the wall of the workroom last Thursday morning as I walked in for the class, along with some of her quilting work. It was a memorial and tribute. As soon as I saw it I knew, and asked her to greet Pumpkin as she arrived. It brought some deep sadness, but a bit of peace.

Pumpkin is buried up near the trees by the stone wall.

A hard week.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Estonian Lace ...

The Estonian lace crescent shawl is done. Blocked it yesterday. It was my first crescent shawl and the first time I've ever done nupps. They were a source of frustration for a while but eventually the technique evened out. Not until I was over half way through did I think to confer with YouTube for some videos showing how they may be accomplished. It appears to me they are probably easier when executed using the Continental knitting style. I usually knit English style and found it difficult to knit the nupps loose enough--and they do need to be loose--to manage purling all 7 stitches together on the return row. I resorted to using a small crochet hook, yet that look a while to master as well. What can I say? It was worth it:

The pattern is called "Minarets and Lace" by Mary-Anne Mace, available on Ravelry: Minarets and Lace

In spite of the nupp learning curve--and other than the nupps--the shawl is not terribly difficult and I managed it in 2 weeks, start to finish.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Vermont Sheep & Wool ...

Last weekend was the Sheep and Wool festival of Vermont, held in Tunbridge. I almost didn't go because the car hasn't been up to snuff, but the mechanic told me it should hold up ok so I decided to go for it on Sunday. We made it over and back, but it was apparently a close call. The following day I drove the car into the garage and it was discovered that my radiator had a leak. So a new radiator, plus a new block sensor, and new A/C pulley and gas cap adjustment and tire stud has left my wallet blowin' in the wind. But it needs to pass inspection next month, so there it is.

It was a brilliant day, very much a contrast to the downpours of Saturday. The festival was lovely, not quite a large as NH, but lovely, and well run. It's a wholesome feeling to attend one of these festivals, and just thrilling to do so in the autumn months. The animals, farmers, country folk, hand crafts, beautiful yarns and wool, fleeces, crispy air and earthiness. Oh, I do love it.

My stash enhancement:

Mosaic shawl... an FO

The mosaic shawl (it's the New Caesar - Triangular Shawl by Stitchnerd Designs) was finished last Saturday. It had been a most enjoyable knit. There is something about mosaic technique that really appeals to me, not to mention the fabulous results one can achieve with it. I think it's the fact that there's so much slipping of stitches; it makes the work seem to go fast.

It turned out 61" across the long edge and 34" down the center of the triangle. I just barely ran out of the green yarn and substituted a different one for casting off, which gives it just a hint of glimmer along that edge. I like it that way.

My new project is another shawl: An Estonian lace and I'm very excited. Can't wait to show it.