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Startitis – the muse at play in my brain.

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I’ve got a seriously bad – or maybe it’s good – case of startitis going on. It’s hard for me to start new projects in the middle of autumn madness. From the first weekend in September through the rest of autumn we’re on the road going to festivals and shows. It’s best to have a few projects already on the needles and all the supplies gathered before we leave the farm. Or so I tell myself – it’s a convenient excuse I like to use.

The Burlesque Socks are going well. These are knit with the new Sock Yarn (which I hope to photograph and upload in the online shop this week). They’re dare I say “business in front – party in back” style socks. The front is plain stockinette but the back center is a * yo, slip one – knit2together – pass slipped stitch over, yo* on every third row. The increases and decreases occur on every third row as well. Primarily I’m doing that to avoid the need of a row counter because sometimes I’m lazy that way.

The “business” part is obvious – the “party” can be simply the eyelet created as a back seam – or – a nice satin ribbon laced through the eyelet to fake a corset type closure with the ribbon tied in a bow below the twisted rib cuff. I bought two widths of ribbon but think the half inch satin is going to look best. If I wanted extra pizzazz I can switch out for a wider ribbon though. I’m nearly at the heel already and am pretty jazzed.

Last week I had a strange little vision of something natural – organic – practically unplanned using larger needles. I pulled out some sport weight llama, size 15US wooden needles (kind of surprised I had those aren’t you?), some handspun and a multitude of miscellaneous other llama yarns. All of the yarns are natural and undyed. All are soft and drape beautifully. Part of this was inspired by the incredible horn beads I bought last week at the Bead Merchant in Tulsa. I like what I’m getting so far. Vastly different than my usual knitting it feeds me in a raw kind of way. There will be fringe – there will be jumbo sized beads – there will be…I don’t know what!

Today we drove into town for a late breakfast at Blue Dome Diner. I needed a mom fix with my girl. After french toast (I love a place that heats up the syrup just like I do at home) and black coffee we drove to the bookstore for a little browsing. I picked up a copy of the new Vogue Knitting. Dang if there weren’t several patterns that I’d like to knit. This issue is dedicated to mohair but since I have an allergy and have to avoid mohair I’m thinking a nice skein of fine lace weight llama would do well for the Lace Vest (page 65) or for the Lace Jacket (page 67).

Lace Vest photo stolen from VK
Lace Jacket – photo stolen from VK

And wouldn’t Hillarey look great in either of the two mohair dresses in the Magical Mohair contest? (pages 50 & 54 respectively) Of course they’d have to be in something other than mohair and absolutely not in white. Maybe dark gray?

Winner of Magical Mohair Contest photo stolen from VK
Runner up of Magical Mohair Contest photo stolen from VK

While the designer of the second dress above is besotted with love of the bobble – I think the tunic style would be better without them. I wonder if a little shibori style of blocking the fabric over small rubber balls would give it a less fussy look? Hillarey is not of the fussy persuasion. Perhaps it’d look nice over black tights if knit in gray with shibori texture and the bow was nixed. Hmmm

I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoy these runs of the creative muse through my thoughts. It’s a sure sign that the summer drought of inspiration is about over.

Where do you see creativity taking you this fall?

I want to give a great big thank you to Elizabeth and the knitters who showed up at Stringtown in Ft Smith yesterday who made Chris and I feel so welcome and appreciated. I think a good time was had by all. 
We’ll be back to Arkansas before long at both the War Eagle Fair and the Arkansas Fiber Extravaganza. See you then!

Paul, Hannah, Sam and Bill

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Four bright young people had a tremendous impact on our lives a few weeks ago. Near the halfway point on their adventure they arrived at our farm on bicycles just moments before a storm. When they left the next morning we knew our lives had been enriched by spending just a few hours with them.

On May 16 on a stretch of highway near Searcy, Arkansas Bill was struck and killed by a car.

Our hearts go out to Paul, Hannah and Sam, and to the friends and family of Bill.

Three Blacktops and a Dirt Road

Rereading a book a decade after the first reading can put you in a totally different mindset. Your personal politics may have changed, your living conditions may have changed, your health, maturation, and a multitude of other contributing factors to your thought process may have changed. Thus – the book while the words have lain on the page unchanged, may have a little twist or new meaning for you.

Recently when we altered our (never firm in the first place) vacation plans from a road trip to Savannah to a (possible) camping trip at Arches National Park I pulled Desert Solitaire off the bookshelf for a reread. When I first read Edward Abbey’s account of his time as a ranger at Arches I lived in a mid-sized city, Tulsa, and spent weekends here at the farm with the man I’d recently fallen in love with. I was in my early forties and had started my life over and had discovered that I just didn’t fit in the little box of mainstream life that I had been leading for most of my life. That box was never me, but I’d never had the gumption to find the true me.

My life now is vastly different than it was, and I’d assume quite different than the lives most people lead. According to the US Census there has a been a drastic reversal of urban versus rural living since 1900. Looking at Oklahoma specifically, in 1900 7.4% of the population was urban versus 1990 when 67.7% of the population were city dwellers. The 1950 statistics showed a nearly equal percentage urban/rural population in Oklahoma (Country wide this occurred in the 1920’s, not in the 1930’s as I would have guessed.). Nationally speaking, comparing the 1900‘s to the 1990’s show 39.6% to 75.2% urban, a less dramatic rise but still quite a turnaround. Although the census no longer tracks urban/rural population in quite the same way the statistics from 1995-2000 show that migration from large cities to medium cities is up, and non-movers in nonmetropolitan areas is highest. (An answer to the simple question of what % of Americans lived in rural versus urban areas in 2000 was not located by your humble rural blogger.)

The lane to our farm

This morning at breakfast I read Abbey’s tirade in the fifth chapter about Industrial Tourism and its effect on the National Parks. His concern primarily was for road building, taken to a deeper level – road paving. I don’t recall much of this tirade from my previous reading but this time around I was set to pondering.

When we turn off the highway, we take three blacktops before getting to our dirt and gravel road. Our double mailbox (one for the old farmhouse, one for our house) stands on that road. We call three of our four dogs “dirt road dogs” because they either wandered down the dirt road to our house looking for food and affection after being dumped by some scumbag, or in the case of Tess, because we found her lost on a dirt road – again with the looking for food and affection after being dumped by some scumbag.


Our vehicles are usually covered by enough dirt and dust that you could write a decent poem on them without much effort if you’ve got one memorized or proclaim a penchant for the art, although goofball sayings are usually all that is written on dirty vehicles in these parts. According to our mechanic at Dobson’s in Hulbert, cars that travel dirt roads in rural counties tend to need more attention. Our checkbook can attest to that.

But – do I want our road paved? Blacktopped? The answer comes swift and certain – no.

Except for a few of the attendees to Mass at the monastery next door (by next door I mean I can hear the bells but have to drive two miles to see the actual monastery) who ricochet at high speeds down our road because they are either late to the service or late to lunch following the service (I assume), people drive slower on dirt roads. They may be lost, or taking the time to see the foliage in bloom (or blowing as it is on this windy day). Or maybe they are worried about the deer or other critters that dart out of tall roadside grass. Or maybe – just maybe – they are amblers, people like me whose shoulders drop with a settling of ease when they leave civilization behind.

Our dirt road – the way we like it.

Now admittedly there are people, mostly newcomers or visitors I’d guess, who would like to see our dirt road paved. I think I know what Edward Abbey would have to say to them. Stop whizzing by and consuming the miles, you’re missing important parts of our country. Why do you drive or move to the country and expect or want it be just like the city you left behind?

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Going the extra mile (or trek across the farm) is worth every bit of effort.

Going the extra mile (or trek across the farm) is worth every bit of effort.

For days I’ve done nothing but work in the studio, not that working in the studio is a bad thing, actually it’s a wonderful thing. But tonight I had a harebrained notion to cast on a wee little diversion with the lovely handspun silk that I bought in Winfield. It’s only 160 yards over two itty bitty skeins. Really, that’s just a little bit of yarn right?

I’ve decided on the Morning Snack Scarf pattern, which is really just a bit of faggoting. I think it’ll show off the lovely teal and green silk.

But I’m in for the night and walking across the farm to the studio to wind the yarn just seemed – excessive. It’s only 160 yards. Did I mention that? It’s silk. I mentioned that right?

Uh huh. Yeah, you know what happened. Never think you can wind silk by hand. It’s worth the steps to get the swift.

always use a swift - always

Good Mail!

 I love when knitting goodies show up in the mail and last week two of the prizes I won on Seasons of Lace arrived.

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First up is the book Knitting Lace by Barbara Abbey. It’s wonderful little book from Schoolhouse Press and has some border stitch patterns that I’ve never seen before. You’ll notice that wee bit of yellow sticking out? It’s already getting marked with things I want to swatch for future projects. And see that fabulous bookmark beside the book? How cool is that?  That is bobbin lace! Teri from Knits by Teri donated the book and included the bookmark that she made! Thanks Teri!

Knitting Lace

Now you know I love the skinny yarn right? I also won four skeins of Panda Silk from Crystal Palace Yarns. They let me choose the colors so I thought two different colors would be fun and two is enough to make a scarf. Something for Spring I think.

Panda Silk!


Never get cocky when you’re half a repeat away from finishing a lace project. That’s when you’ll drop a stitch. var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”)); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-xxxxxx-x”);pageTracker._trackPageview();