Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Birthday

Actually Happy Birthday to myself. Another year older. Oh well. I did take the day off of work which gave me a four-day weekend and allowed me to get a lot of stuff done.

First, I started and finished a basket made from Tibet recycled silk and wool yarn I purchased at the Golden Knitting Gallery while I was in Naples, Florida last Thanksgiving. I had designed this basket and cut all the yarn about two months ago and just haven't gotten around to starting it. I made it in the same way that a pine needle basket is made using groups of short lengths of yarn instead of pine needles. It's definitely different from what I usually make. Gwen seems totally bored by it and is instead picking her toenails.

We also got Gwen her new cage last week. It has been in the kitchen near her old cage. At first she treated the new stainless steel cage from the Bird Toy Outlet as though it was an alien space ship that had landed while she was away. But over the weekend, as we started moving her toys and perches over to it, she started to climb on it. I guess she figured it wasn't so bad. We really bribed her into the cage for the first time by giving her a rubber sandal to chew on which she couldn't resist. We then closed the cage door and left the house and went to Lowe's. We have completed moving everything over today so tonight will be her first night in the new cage. I know this time it will go better than last time we got her a new cage. Last time we instantly put up her new cage and that night forced her into it, covered her up and left the room. For the next 20 minutes all she did was scream. We knew though that if we went and got her out, she would think that all she had to do was scream and we would come running. So we let her scream. It was painful to hear her be in such agony and I felt so bad. This time I just know it is going to go better. We have left the house three times today and all three times she was in the new cage as though she has lived in it forever. I just know that tonight will go great.

I have also done some Logwood dying. The wool yarn and linen are still in the dye pots but the color is definitely a purple. I used an alum mordant on the wool and a tannic acid on the linen. I dumped the logwood right into the alum mordant then added the wool yarn. However, after soaking the linen, I dumped the tannic acid and rinsed the linen before adding it to the dye bath. The white linen was turned yellow by the tannic acid but it looks like it is going to be a nice red-purple.

Both materials are now in separate dye baths each containing 1/2 oz of logwood extract that I purchased from Claude Moore Colonial Farm during one of their Market Fairs. They charge only $7.00 an ounce for the extract. I will post pictures of the completed material when I get them out of the dye bath tomorrow or later this week. I am in no rush to get them out. I am hoping that one of those stupid squirrels in my back yard decide try to get a drink from the vats, falls in, and ends up taking a purple bath - that will show them. I will also know which of them did it - he will be purple - lol. Just kidding of course. Damn squirrels.
I just planted three tomato plants this weekend. Last year the squirrels ate every one of my tomatoes before I even had a chance to pick them. This year I think I am going to put a fence around them. I doubt that will work either but I am going to try. I tried the pepper spray on the tomatoes but that only slowed them downed - it didn't stop them from eating.
I am also working on Over-the-Knee Socks, a pattern from Handknit Holidays, Knitting Year-Round for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice by Melanie Falick. I am finding the pattern for the cable really difficult to follow and I know that I am not doing them perfect. The burgundy baby alpaca yarn I am using is one that a friend gave me many years ago (7 or more years) either for Christmas or for a birthday from Aurora Yarns. It is so soft and fine. It is almost a cashmere.

My husband and I are doing a 100 mile bicycle ride next weekend (2 June 2007) for charity - the American Lung Association of Maryland. Neither of us have reached our goals so I guess we will have to start asking all of our friends and co-workers for money. I am close with only about $150 more to go to reach my $600 goal. My husband has about $400 to go.