Friday, January 30, 2009

Art of Alzheimer's

A spoon stuck into the overflow drainage hole in the bathroom sink. She cracks me up!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Detective work

I've finally figured something out. It only took me three years.

Mom likes to carry things around while she is doing her wandering. I try to put anything terribly important, or unsafe things, in a drawer or cabinet. As you can imagine, I only have so much drawer/cabinet space. As a result, I spend a good amount of time looking for things.

Last night, I looked in the place where I try to keep the television remote. Instead, there was a toy that Mom likes to play with. I looked to see what Mom was currently carrying. A potato. Looked to the shelf where the potatoes are stored, there is a building block. Looked to the table where most of the building blocks stay, and there is the remote. She usually will leave one thing when she picks up another to carry around. I just have to follow the trail.

We had hoarfrost a few days ago. By the time I got out there, every little puff of wind would blow a little more from the trees.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Research and Development

I've been doing some experimenting. I found a mill that has a machine that wraps fiber around a yarn or jute core, making what they call rug rope. This is a photo they sent of what it looks like.

Intrigued, I asked for a short sample, which they sent. It is about two feet long.

Here it is close up.

You can sort of see the fiber wrapping around.

I have bags and bags of coarser fiber, what is called 2nds and 3rds. Fiber from the lower belly, neck, and lower legs. Rugs would be the perfect use for it. The cost is only slightly more than what I pay to have my good stuff carded into roving.

Imagine this a lot wider and longer. This is just the small sample I had wrapped around the loom. This would create a very long lasting, hard wearing rug. Or chair pad, or dog bed, or cat bed, or butt pad for sitting at the outdoor football game. Or ice fishing.

I am experimenting now with dyeing the sample they sent. My suspicion is it would be better to send the fiber already dyed, than to dye the rope. We'll see.

P.S. Cindy guessed correctly. My new glasses are blue metal rim on the top, no rim on the bottom, and the whatever you call part that goes behind your ear (bows? arms? legs?)are dark blue on the outside and light blue on the inside. The only sunglasses clip-on that would fit are blue/purple mirrored, so they totally match the glasses. I'll be so hip and modern. Hahahaha.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I did some roving dyeing on my weekend off. As usual, I ran them through the spin cycle of the washing machine, then hung them on a peg on the shelf over my living room windows to finish drying. As I was about to take them down when they were dry, I noticed something.

The things I normally have hanging on the pegs (although I do put the snowman away once spring rolls around) rather matched their respective rovings. I may have done it subconsciously, but I thought I just hung em up to dry.

Here they are wound into skeins. I am very pleased with the yellow/orange/raspberry one, not thrilled with the green/blue (too limey)and eh about the lavender/blue one.

I also got to the eye doctor on Saturday. My eyes have actually improved,(no bifocals needed yet!) so my current glasses are a little too strong, which is probably causing the headaches. The new glasses are due in on the 2nd, and guess what color they are.

The view from my front porch a few days ago.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I grew up a block from the Mississippi River, where it widens to form a lake. Mom would take us agate hunting nearly every day, weather permitting. We couldn't wait for the snow to melt and the ice and flood waters to recede in the spring. We'd walk down to the lake, climb down to the small strip of sandy beach, and walk along the water's edge, peering intently into the water. Agates could be found out of the water too, of course, but they seemed to be easier to spot if they were wet.

It was like a daily treasure hunt, with much squealing and let me see, let me see whenever one was found. Of course, the bigger the better. Most of the ones we found were the size of a quarter or smaller, but occasionally we'd find one bigger, maybe the size of a half-dollar. My oldest brother was the best at finding those. He could walk down to the water, look in and pick one up, just like that. Grrr!

The red ones were my favorite. It seemed I could get lost staring into the translucent stone, with the rings that went deep inside. So pretty.

I bring this up because I have had this recurring dream for years, and had it last night. I am always with a group of people, near the water's edge. I look down and find beautifully ringed, softball- sized agates, three or four of them together. I take a couple of more steps, and there are more. I am nearly beside myself, hauling these agates out of the water, jumping up and down with glee, and none of the people I am with understand what the fuss is about. To me, I have found the greatest treasure there is, and to them, eh, it's just a rock!

Mom was up at 1 am, then I thought I heard her again at 3:30, so I got up, but she was still in bed. Then at 5 am, she fell out of bed. I managed to get her up and back in bed, none the worse for wear. Then at 6:30 ish, a cat started meowing outside of my window. I rolled over to look at the clock, then fell into one of those weird, half sleep/half awake, fitful dreaming states. In the space of fifteen minutes, I had three different dreams, each with a different scenario, but they all involved me trying to keep Mom or another Alzheimer's patient safe( like Genevieve,) and me just sobbing. It seemed like I would "rescue" her from one thing, I would cry, then another scenario would start, and I'd have to "rescue" her again. The last two involved her getting close to the edge of a giant hole created by road construction. (Falling out of bed-like) The last one I was screaming at Paula Deen (WTF?) for getting between Mom and I, with Mom close to the edge of the hole. When I finally woke up for real, I was sobbing. I hate waking up like that. Think the pressure/constant anxiety is getting to me?

I am taking a break. I will take Mom to the Alz Unit this afternoon, and my sister will bring her back here Sunday afternoon. I have an eye appointment tomorrow morning, the headache continues. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gratuitous dog photos

I've had a nagging headache for 4 or 5 days. It has been almost 9 years since I've had my eyes checked. Maybe I need new glasses. Now trying to figure out how I can get to an eye doctor while still taking care of Mom. Right.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Earflap hat

Last week when we were having brutally cold temps, I was having a hard time keeping the bottoms of my ears covered. It has actually been an ongoing problem, I just noticed it more in -45 weather I guess. If I had the hat on low enough to cover the ears, then it was too low on the forehead and I couldn't see. So I whipped up a hat with earflaps.(Photo is pre-blocking.)

It sits about mid-forehead but completely covers the ears. Perfect.

The yarn was from my early days of dyeing. I was experimenting with dyeing techniques in the crockpot, and felted the heck out of the dark part of the roving. Parts of it wouldn't draft at all, so I just made a really thick/thin yarn. Those ties aren't I-cord, they're just the thick parts of the yarn. It really worked out well, the thick part of the yarn on the bottom making very thick ear flaps, and the yarn grew thinner as I knit up, forming a natural decrease. I decreased until I had six stitches left, then did a couple of inches of a six stitch I-cord, ending in a tassel.

Yep, that's a gigantic tassel. It went against my frugal nature to make it, since it seems like a waste of yarn. But you know what? Being frugal all the time can be a gigantic pain in the ass. The feel of that gigantic tassel bopping me in the head as I navigate the drifts makes me smile. Well worth a few yards of yarn.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Woven Scarf

This is the finished scarf from yesterday. It is about 3 inches wide, and almost 8 feet long. I think I need to make the roving even thinner. I am having a lot of fun experimenting!

Mom's babydoll Judy has been incognito for a while, but I found her yesterday under the pile of throws on the chair. I handed her to Mom, and you should have seen the reunion. Huge smile on Mom's face, she hugged Judy to her, then rubbed noses with her, and caressed the back of her head. So sweet.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Peg Loom

Have you ever learned about something, and then not be able to get it out of your head? You're in bed, but have ideas running through your head so you can't sleep. I do some of my best work in bed.

I learned about peg looms the other day, including a site describing how to make your own. How to use one here. I wanted one immediately. I needed dowels to make the pegs, but didn't have any, and no way to get any. It has been crazy cold here, and I can't take Mom out in that. Foiled by the weather again! I kept thinking about it though.,

One night, I remembered. Several years ago, (six, seven?) I ended up with a box of chair parts at an auction, because I wanted the beautiful wood box the chair parts were in. Spindles, there were a lot of spindles in that box. Spindles, dowels, same thing, right? I scrounged around in the garage, found a 19" piece of 2x2, and several smooth spindles of approximately the same size. A couple of hours later, I had this.

The spindles are wonky because they were slightly different sizes. The lighter, bigger ones are 3/4 inch. The smaller, darker ones must be 5/8 inch. The biggest drill bit I have is 1/2 inch. I also had a 1/2 inch and a 3/4 inch wood boring bit. The 3/4 inch wood boring bit made wonderful holes for the bigger spindles, but I had to improvise for the smaller spindles. I am not a woodworker. It isn't pretty, but I can't beat the price! It is functional, too.

This is some domestic wool roving that I had dyed. When I ran out of roving though, I didn't know what to do with it. It was about a foot wide, and 1 1/2 feet long, and 1 1/2 inches thick. I decided to frog it.

It will become a very long scarf. I split each piece of roving in half again, so it wouldn't be quite as thick.

When I can get to a store,(high winds and blowing snow today, I had to cancel my plans again!) I will probably buy some 1/2 inch dowels to make another loom, 2-3 feet wide. I see roving rugs in my future.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Color Week: Stripes and Plaids

I knew this was going to be difficult. I walked around the house with the camera, muttering stripes? plaids? WTF? These are the best I could do.

The granary.

I had to include a textile of some sort, being this is a fiber blog, right? No, I didn't make this.

I hope you have enjoyed Color Week as much as I have. It really opens your eyes to your world. I have found many new interesting and beautiful blogs too. Click the link and discover a few for yourself. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Color Week: Pink

Today is pink.

My good girl Simba.

Pink combs. The cream-colored pullet(young female chicken) on the right is yesterday's chick getting all grown up.

This proud cockerel (young male chicken) is her brood brother.


This is alpaca(Peach Boy) and Cormo wool in a 50/50 blend, with a few kid mohair locks thrown in. I cannot describe how soft this is.

Check out more pink.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Color Week: Yellow

I've edited yesterday's purple post to add a photo. AD has claimed another. I have no words.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Color week: Purple

Edited to add this. The Alzheimer's bracelet I've had on since my sister did a memory walk in August 07. I don't know if I'll ever take it off.

Color week continues with purple. At first I thought I had nothing to show. I was wrong.

My Turtle Fur hat sticking out of the mitten/hat basket in the kitchen entry.

I walked into the kitchen and found a purple block floating in Mom's glass of chocolate milk. (If you're just stopping by for color week, and don't know what I'm talking about, Mom makes art out of common household objects. Click the art label on the sidebar for some examples.) I left to grab the camera, and by the time I got back, it was out of the glass. Another photo opportunity missed. It made me look for the other purple blocks though. I found one on the kitchen table.

It looks like the dancing duck and the milk glass chicken have become friends.

Chives on my bedroom wall, which itself is blueish purple.

My current spinning. Would you believe this came out of the same dyepot as the purplish/pink/Fred yarn from the post a couple of days ago? This started out a gray/blue llama/wool/silk/mohair blend that I overdyed in the same dyepot with the white llama that turned into the Fred yarn. To make it easy, here is that yarn.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Color Week: Blue

I am participating in Curious Bird's Color Week, where you feature the set color of the day. Today is Blue.

This sits atop a window in the kitchen.

Snow sharks. I love the blue shadows.

Of course I had to include fiber of some sort. This is the alpaca/merino/silk/nylon sock blend.

My plans for the day have been foiled by a blizzard watch for this afternoon. It is snowing now, and the wind is supposed to pick up this afternoon to 40 mph. I am certainly not taking Mom out in that.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Wrist warmers

A good friend of mine asked me for a pair of wrist warmers to help ease the joint pain of arthritis. I was happy to oblige. Hopped on the Ravelry pattern browser, ( I love the Ravelry pattern browser!) and found this. Ravelry link here. I modified the pattern to suit me. I omitted the diamond on one end, and just did k1p1 ribbing in the round with 5 dpns until I thought it was long enough (5 inches, in this case), then started the decreases for the diamond at the beginning and end of each row, now working back and forth, but still with the dpns.

I love this because it leaves your hand free, but still covers the top of the wrist and hand for warmth. If it bugs, you just fold it back for another look, and double the warmth. I had no way to model these on an actual wrist, so check out the link to see what I mean.

These took just 1.4 oz of handspun alpaca. Perfect for that little batt you couldn't resist buying but don't know what to do with. Or, in my case, I was experimenting with overdyeing a natural rose gray roving, so just did small amounts of roving.

During an unusually long (for me, anyway) bout of TV watching last night(Ugly Betty, Gray's Anatomy, Private Practice, all in a row), I spun this up.

This is more Ollie de Llama roving, dyed with a combination of three or four colors ( I know there was Cornflower, Orchid and Silver Birch, and maybe a little Cyclamen? These are all Gaywool colors, in case you care. Also, why don't I write this stuff down so I can duplicate it? That would probably require measuring though too.) I love the color, but what is it? What would you call this? It is too pink for lavender or lilac, yet too blue for pink, too pink for rose, too pink for thistle, too blue for orchid. Maybe I'll just call it Fred. I suck at colorway names.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


When you accept delivery of a box that looks like this, look the UPS guy straight in the eyes as you are thanking him.

A friend traveled to Japan for vacation over Thanksgiving. He called (from Japan) to tell me of this great innovation he found there, the warmed toilet seat! Apparently they are very common in the toilets he visited.

The bathroom that Mom uses is in the northwest corner of the house, with two exterior walls. The room is difficult to keep warm, so she sort of jumps/exclaims every time she sits down. When my friend called to tell me of this great thing he had found in Japan, I jokingly (I thought)said "Man, I need one of those for poor Mom!" and told him why.

You do not need to explain to the UPS guy that you have considerate (but slightly crazy) friends who will send you a heated toilet seat when you need one.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Art of Alzheimer's

Mom loves Circus Peanuts. So she put it in a bowl.

OK, she put it on a picture of a bowl in a magazine.