Archive for April, 2010


Hola from down south!  I haven’t disappeared-far from it- but I’ve been busy doing, oh, I don’t really know what.  Since the big cactus-planting adventure (and they’re all thriving, as far as I can tell.  Even the Monty Python cactus has had the decency to stay alive.) I’ve seen a Chuckwalla

(and can die happy) (at least the lizard-spotting part of me can die happy),  I entertained my BFF for five days (and only tried to poison her once),  played around with my waterproof camera

(and isn’t that an attractive look) and even did a little knitting.  I finished the beaded lace

but I’m not going to block it until I get home to all my high-tech blocking equipment.  I’ve started a little something for the house down here, and if it’s not done before I leave, I shall leave it here and finish it when I come back in the fall.

I’m almost half done; just yer basic couch potato afghan in yer basic feather and fan with yer basic Lion Brand Homespun.   Uncharacteristically, the colours in the picture are pretty accurate, and they match what’s going on in the room pretty well.  I never would have associated that green with the desert, but to my surprise (and delight) there are many many shades of green happening here right now.  Here’s one we saw at the Botanical Gardens:

and we oohed and aahhed until we got up close and read the sign about the glass artist that had created them.  Still a lovely green, though.

The UPS guy just left.  This is what he brought:

I wonder what’s in the box?

Packing paper?  Hmmm.  Let’s look a little closer.

Hey- could that be a cone of cotton warp thread?

An a-frame stand for a tapestry loom?  Really?

Yes!  A Schacht Tapestry Loom!  I ordered it on Saturday from Marsha at the Village Spinning and Weaving Shop after meeting her other half John at Fibres Through Time last Friday.   I am showing remarkable restraint here, people.  I really want to set it up and get going, but Mike’s flight comes in in a couple of hours, and I know I’m not going to have time to spend on selfish pursuits for the rest of my time down here (Mike’s been feeling a little abandoned; I have no idea why), so I have decided to wait until I get back to Saskatoon before unpacking and assembling it.  Oh, the agony…I did break it to Mike yesterday that I am going to S&B on Saturday and that he’ll have to amuse himself for a couple of hours before he picks me up to go to the baseball game.

It has occurred to me that rarely do I have a punchline at the end of my blog posts.  I just sort of wander off.


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You’d think after this many years of knitting I would know better than to take a beaded lace project to S&B, especially when suffering the aftereffects of the night before.  If you’ll excuse me, I have to go now and tink several hundred stitches.

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There were a couple of empty spaces in the backyard that needed a little something, so I thought, Hey! Why not plant a cactus?  This is the desert after all.  So it was off to the tree nursery to find the least lethal-looking specimen.  I present:

This is the Red Bunny Ear cactus.

Up close:

Kinda cute, eh?   Neat little polka dots, little cactus babies ready to grow out the extremities, low maintenance…

Red Bunny Ear cactus is a terrible misnomer.  I have renamed it the Monty Python cactus.

Those of you who haven’t seen Monty Python in Search of the Holy Grail will likely not get the connection, and I am not going to try and explain it here.  Know that I spared you the graphic picture that followed the scene in this picture. Go and watch the movie.  It’s a classic.  But I digress.  The cute little polka dots are clusters of teensy weensy spines that can penetrate even heavy leather gloves.  In large numbers.  Hundreds.  Maybe thousands.  I know this because the trick for planting without touching the cactus only works if the pot is not made out of Titanium or Kevlar or whatever is impervious to a sharp cutting instrument.  The cactus looks kind of cute (in a deadly sort of way), but I promise you, if it dies, it will not be replaced with another one just like it.

As an aside, digging in the ground here is hard work.  Rocks, sand, rocks, the ever-present threat of nicking the irrigation line, rocks, sunburn; you get the idea.  There is only one thing keeping me from jumping into the pool to cool off, and that is

Yup, construction next door.   I don’t want to scare them off by appearing in a bathing suit (and topless is completely out of the question, for a variety of reasons).   Boy, will I be glad when they’re done.  There are 7 houses in various stages on construction within a hundred and fifty feet here, and these guys start early.  6:00 this morning, with music and hammering and noise.  The upside is that they’re gone by 4:01 pm, and the building will be done and completed when we come back in the fall.  In the meantime though, the backyard isn’t as private as you might think.  I am spending time inside trying to amuse myself with sticks and string.

This is Elizabeth Freeman’s  Aeolian Shawl from Knitty.  I am naming it the Ironic Aeolian, since the pattern is inspired by desert plants, and I am knitting it in an obviously watery colour.  I’m using the pricey-but-oh-so-nice Ella Rae Merino Lace and some really cheap beads from a chain craft store.   Lace is uninspiring before it’s blocked, but this is a pretty fun knit (although the beginning was threatening to kick my ass.  Oh, and failure to apply the stitch chart at one point also threatened to kick my ass, but that was after happy hour and I may have had a libation that was clouding my faculties.).    The wrong-side rows are all purled which is proving to be somewhat tedious, but I am using that to practice the Peruvian purl technique that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee  taught last year at Knitting Camp.  (The only tension on the yarn is from around your neck, and the yarn is on the floor.  Terribly quick and easy, or at least it should be by the time I get to the end of the shawl.)

I’ve been invited to dinner tonight up the street- meeting some new neighbors.  I have to take a salad.  I hate making salad.  I love to eat it, but I hate to make it.  Terri- if you read this in time, send me an email with a salad recipe.  (Is that pathetic, needing a recipe for a salad?)  And now, I must go and pick miniscule cactus spines out of my hand.  Everyone needs a hobby.

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In case you thought that I was the only challenged Canadian solo navigating the waters of the United States, and if you have a minute  or two to be entertained, check out the last few postings of Rabbitch.

This whole independant-woman-thing reminded me of my first solo road trip (well, I was the only driver in the car) where I drove from Saskatoon all the way to Vancouver accompanied by Andy, who was thirteen at the time.  By the time we reached the Pacific coast, Andy was well trained.  Every time I made a wrong turn slight course deviation, I’d look at Andy and say “and what is this?”  He would roll his eyes as only a teenager can when confronted by the inescapable evidence that his mother is stupid, and say “It’s just part of the Big Adventure.”  Isn’t travelling grand.

After visiting Tempe Yarn and Fibre last Saturday, my knitting mojo got a little nudge kick in the ass, and I have been busy with some beads and some Ella Rae Lace Merino (and some new Addi Turbo Lace needles).  I have no pictures yet, as there is nothing as uninspiring as unblocked lace.  A little bit of weaving has occurred, but not as much as I thought.  I came down here to Arizona fully intending to acquire a wider loom, but I’ve been a little sidetracked, and was introduced to a nifty gadget called the Baby Wolf.    Hey, a girl can dream.  I was invited to take a class, but I think I will wait until the fall or maybe next spring.  In the meantime, I’ll be the one picking bottles in the ditch and putting the money towards my hobby fund.  I’m still thinking that I’d like to get a tapestry loom.  No reason, just sounds like fun.  I’ve ordered this book because I forgot my copy at home; I’d like to get started and it was cheaper to order a new copy for down here than to have Mike ship it down.  (Or so he said; I think he just was afraid to have to look for it in my office.  Kinda yella, that one.)

So, no pictures today, but tomorrow I promise a tale of transformation, commerce, misplaced bravado, a movie reference, glistening skin under the Buckeye sun and some subsequent libations.  All with an illustration or two.

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