Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Apparently, the staff at Google decided I'm not a spammer, and now I have my blog back! That's the good news.

The bad news is that my ex-mother-in-law (oh, yes, I still stay in touch with my ex-relatives) is in a nursing home nearby. Apparently, she was very near dying--this may be why I've been seeing 3:33 on my clock for the last several days--however, she's pulled through the storm, and is now doing quite well. I'm going to visit her tonight before I go home. I will take a picture and post it here. I always loved her, and want to remember her for the rest of my life, so I will memorialize her here in my blog. Perhaps I will give her this shawl I've been knitting on as a gift--she had to give up her favorite cat and everything, and I'm sure she's quite lonesome! The shawl is a poor replacement, but it's fuzzy and hairy like a cat. I hope she likes it. Somehow, things always turn out that someone needs what I've been knitting on...this seems like a good gift to give.

I was terrified that I was going to ruin our visit alltogether, and I cried a bunch of crocodile tears on the way. The way her son left me was pretty brutal--his betrayal was quite significant in my life--in fact, it resulted in my staying single for nearly 10 years afterward. For whatever reason, I cannot bring myself to tell her what her son did to me. I would like her to understand all the many years of sad and lonely silence when I didn't contact her at all, and why the sudden, "EGAD, I really have to see her now!" feeling I get whenever she's in town.

I understand that she died on the table twice at the hospital this last time. She's in a nursing home now, and worried that this is the last home she will ever know. She and I had a good time, until she started to talk about her son. Clearly, we know two different people.

I suppose I will tell her here, how I have felt for the last 20 years.

I love you. I have always loved you. I always will love you. Ever since the day you and Chuck took me into your home when I reconciled with your son and decided finally to go ahead and marry him, I have cared about your welfare, inquired into your lives and basically followed from a distance, hoping not to disturb any feathers. I only wish that I could share the truth with you about how your son behaved with me and my son...there have only been a few that I've been able to be up front and honest about my feelings with that regard, and most of those have been in the psychological profession! I've never been able to get past it, and I doubt I ever will. Perhaps the day you are finally gone from this world, you will look down on my heart and see exactly what is bourne there. I will stand beside your casket and cry more crocodile tears because in life, you did not really know the truth of the matter, and it kept us from being as close as we could have been. In the meantime, I have to satisfy myself with your friendship. I only wish that it could have been more than it is and what it was. Please forgive my sorrow, my fear of showing you my sorrow, and my proud nature because I hate for anyone to see me cry, but even though I cannot voice these things inside my heart, I hope that somehow, you can still hear them, unspoken, when I visit with you in the hospital and bring you little treats. It's my way, I hope you understand.

And now, having had my tissue issue...

I’ve been knitting like crazy on my shawl, and I’m nearly out of OutBack Mohair. So you know it’s nearly picture time.

I have decided on my next pair of socks—but first, a pic of my John Anderson Kilt Hose. The pic here doesn't do them justice.

These were not a difficult knit, but they are sized for a man’s foot, so I had to make some adjustments to make them smaller. Even then, it’s a fairly easy pattern, and the fit is really good! I’m making another pair for a friend of mine, who also has a smaller foot, but slightly larger than mine, so I am adjusting the pattern for his foot, too.

My next sock will be a convoluted fair isle…using some yellow, black and red self striping yarn and some white as my MC—I plan to wear these with my Ancient McLeod Kilt—

Now technically, I should only wear Scottish Hose with a kilt, but I do like fair isle, and I think that the socks will go well with the kilt, even if they aren’t argyle! Beyond that, I’m not sure that I could handle argyle with those colors, beyond this, I will need extra yarn to make the socks into “knee height”. So have to add the solid color to bring out the fair isle. It’s going to be a stretch of my skills, to be sure, but I’m a bit excited about it.

Today’s tarot card is the Two of Pentacles. This card indicates that you’re trying to juggle money, borrow from Peter to pay Paul—sort of like that. The card shows a picture of a juggler, who is juggling the coins while unicycling across a tightrope. It can also mean frazzled nerves, feeling at the end of your rope and running around in circles. Well, I suppose that’s how I’ve been feeling at the office, for absolute sure!
Golly! It's good to be back!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Disturbed Sleep...or just ordinarily disturbed

I'm not normally a morbid or superstitious person, but have you ever had occasion to glance at the clock, and the time is 3:33 (AM or PM)? This happens to me when someone I know is close to dying. It never used to happen to me before. But when I started getting older...about 48...I started seeing it, not just occasionally, but nearly EVERY DAY. Then, after about a month of this, my husband's best friend died.

Now "the grim" is back. And right after a nightmare, too! So I am awake, and blogging, trying to clear my head and shake the fear. It's all compounded by the fact that my mother is ill with a deep chest cold. Obviously, I can't call her at 4AM--so I have to wait until a more appropriate time. My son lives with her, and they take care of each other, but he is still young enough that "nobody dies". He's going to have a really rude awakening one of these days--my mother is in her 70's.

The picture above is my stash of woolen roving. I have all sorts of wool to spin into yarn--Shetland, Border Leister, Romney, Jacob, Tunis, and some beast (which is mixtures of goodness knows what). I also have some Alpaca, and of course the chiengora that I'm working on now. So you see, I am not some "fly by night" spinner.

Recently, our spin group had a class about braided shepard rugs. The teacher taught us how to make them, and sold us her book. (I looked for it on Amazon, in case one of my readers might like to review it, but Alas, it's not there! I'll take a pic in the daylight and post it later...in the meantime...) This is one of the projects I plan to make out of some of my wool roving to help pare it down. I have a great supply of roving, as you can see, but this is only the most organized bunch of roving. Anyway, I digress. The teacher, Ann Brown, had some beautiful wares, and nice throw rugs of braided, felted wool. Some she had used commercial acid dyes to give the rug a little more color, some she used natural dyes, and some she left just grey and white, but all of them were just works of art. In the class, we each made a small chair cushion, and it turned out well, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, I had to put my chair cushion on the "back burner" so to speak, so it's waiting for me in the closet to be finished into a rug. It's a project that you can stop and go on, and not have to worry that things don't quite match up--it's a project that you can literally "take with you", because you can braid a batch of roving almost anywhere. It was an interesting class, and the teacher was quite knowledgable about her craft. It was a lovely day. If you have the chance to take the class at a fiber festival, I recommend it.

Yesterday, at band practice, I started to learn a song on my bagpipe chanter. I'm getting better at reading music, too. Then, we all rounded up to play instruments and prepare for a performance on Sunday next week. On Saturday, I'll be at the Detroit Highland Games. So my weekend next week is another busy one. After practice, it was a long ride home. It seems like I did nothing after that, but I think I read email most of the evening, and then more spinning, and then early to bed, only to have my sleep disturbed. It's going to be a long day at the office.

Tarot card for the day is Justice. This card is one you pull when the world is in harmony with life--perhaps not fairly so in YOUR estimation, but at the very least, JUST. It usually means that things will go according to HOYLE, you'll be treated justly in a court case (for instance, if you're being tried for murder, and you really are the murderer, you'll get life, no question about it). Justice means the world spins and the sun comes up in the morning, and life goes on, even if someone dies in the mix. So this card was a good card for me to pull this morning. It means that everything is going to keep on keepin' on, just as it should. Yes, quite a calming card. Perhaps I can go back to sleep now.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Daily Grind

I woke up this morning, feeling pretty great! I got some new pictures on my camera, and I'm prepping them for entry here. I've got a big day ahead, with lots to do. First, though, I thought I might spin some of this 10 pounds of chiengora. Here's a pic of my favorite wheel. It's a Kromski Minstrel, hand made from Poland. It looks old, but really, it's only five this year. I updated it this last Christmas with a Woolie Winder. It draws the spun yarn onto the bobbin very consistently, and I don't have to switch hooks anymore.

Kromski makes great, all natural wood wheels. I have two made by the family. My other is a Symphony, which I use when I want to spin a LOT of wool very fast.

I also have a Roberta Electric wheel, which is currently being used to spin jumperweight shetland for a Fair Isle sweater I plan to knit one day. Ah, so many projects, so little time.

That's when I decided it was time to introduce you to PeeWee and Princess. Here they are in calmer times. Princess seems to have a little bit of a cold, so I'm going to go out and give her some medicine as soon as I'm finished here. (Later, after the medicine.) You really missed a good action shot, too. While using Mandy to corner the sheep in order to give Princess her medicine, Mandy chased Princess around my knees, and when I tried to snag Mandy with the leash, Princess literally tackled me from behind--WHAT A LINEBACKER! I bet she plays for the (pardon the pun) RAMS! I went down like a rock, landing on the back of my left hip. In the meanwhile, PeeWee ran over my foot. Did somebody get the number of that truck? Another Kodak moment missed. Mandy and I both got an impromptu BATH afterward, and Mandy is now out on the deck air-drying. After while, I realized that I couldn't leave her out there while I went to band practice...what if she jumped over the railing and hung herself. Well, I'd never forgive myself. So now, she's in the bathroom on a rug, drying and crying, because she can't come out and chase the cats. Just wait until she's dry. She will come out of the door like a thoroughbred and spin out on all fours on the wood floor we lay down in the hall, but once she hits carpet, she'll be off like a shot. Cats BeWare!

Since I was at the barn, I thought "why not"...so I took a picture of Minkie too. Not a great shot, but she wouldn't stop running up my arm. And the shot is taken inside the barn in very low light.

Then, I realized that I needed to get a picture of the chiengora, so you could see what 10 pounds looks like. Yes, I have to spin up all that. The owner wants his aunt to knit him a blanket out of the yarn, and he's giving me drumming lessons in exchange. The dog hair came from the brushings over 10 years of life that the dog had. She was a white Samoyed. They are lovely dogs, I admit, just from handling the soft roving while I spin; however, they must shed an impossible amount of dog hair.
While retrieving the bag of chiengora, I saw these lonely socks on top of my bureau. So here they are as well. These are the Jeane Townsend Lilac Socks done in Cherry Tree Hill Sock Yarn, in the (what else) purple colorway. Jeane has a group on Yahoo, and many of her own designs for socks are in the files section. The group is GREAT--especially if you like to knit socks.

In a few hours, I will be heading over to Grand Rapids, Michigan to go to band practice. I am a drummer in a Scottish Bagpipe Band. I'm learning to play the bagpipes, too. I don't have any current pictures of me in band regalia, but I've got an older one. This is me, approximately 20 years ago, in a band called the 42nd Highlanders. At that time I was playing snare and tenor drum. They needed a small "bass" sound, so that day, I played tenor ("tenor or eleven miles away"). You can you can check out my current band at http://www.gr-districtpb.org/Home.htm.
In the meantime, while I wait for the pictures to upload, I'm going to spin some. I've demonstrated at various fairs and Scottish games on my wheel, and it's unusual, but the young boys seem much more interested in how it works than the young girls. I'm told it's because they are more mechanically minded--but I'm not sure that's so true.
Today's tarot card is Knight of Swords...well that suits Princess to a tee! This is generally a young man who is dashing, daring, and runs off to slay the dragon without a moment's thought. Also a "bull in the chinashop" type, who charges in to save the day, only to find out that the princess doesn't need saving at all.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

LYS is poorer...Tenna is Richer!

Well, at least in yarn, anyway...money? Who counts their lives in money? She who dies with the most yarn wins. At least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Got some groovy sock yarn. I really go for brights, as they speak to my inner child. So I took a pick on our new kitchen counter...Too bad the lighting didn't do the picture justice. We are looking at lime green, banana yellow and fire-truck red...on a blue mottled countertop.

Then decided to take pics of the dog and cats. I had no idea they were so camera shy. I had to take several before I got ANYTHING close to useable. I even had to take a picture of Mandy in the bathroom, she likes to sleep beside the WC (short for Water Closet, the only proper English version that I can use in public venue....), but didn't think you'd be interested in viewing my naked bathroom...although the floor tiles are quite nice! Hubby and I pulled an all nighter to get those floor tiles down just right, so that we didn't have to pay another $20 for the tile saw. I won't be doing that again...just so you know.

The cats were less obvious about their dislike of having their images put to the camera, but you know how animals just love to turn their head, blink their eyes, or move at just the last second before the flash goes off. Otherwise, they give you this last minute look---oi, I just came back from the bar...I got several "I've had too much to drink" type photos of Chat. That's when Mandy decided she wanted to be in the picture, and about the time I snapped the final shot of Smokey, she turned and slapped the dog. Kodak moment missed.

I found some older pics of the snakes...they're slightly larger now, but not too big to take pics of. I just thought I'd show you how nice they really can be...no pics yet of the mice.

We've been doing quite a bit of renovation on this old farm house--you know about the tile floor, but we also updated the kitchen and the living room. It's really very lovely. Last year, we put on a new deck (50' x 12') taking out some stock in treated lumber. This year, we're staining it.

Next year, we'll be working on the basement, which has been a wreck (literally) for almost 5 years. I'll have to move out all of my craft stuff to another area of the house, and then move it back...it's going to take a long time, because I have a lot of stuff, and I don't want to not know where it's all at!

Starting to feel like working on my shawl again. I wish that I could get a good picture of it. The mohair is VERY hairy, and the pattern doesn't "pop" out at you like I wish it did, especially since I've not blocked it yet. As hairy as it is, I still don't want to lay it out on the floor, pinned down for blocking...hair is one thing...cat hair is quite another.

Tarot card for the day is the Page of Wands. Wands are generally associated with some sort of effort or work, and the Page is a messenger. Since Hubby will be home in a few minutes, I suppose that it means I should get started on his dinner!

My Very First Blog Entry!

Well, this is quite daunting! My first blog post. What should I write about? What should I say?

Well, Introducing Tenna Draper.

General Stats: Married, one child (grown), 1 dog (Border Collie - very rambunctious), 2 cats, 2 snakes (you read right...2 snakes), 2 sheep (one black, one white), with a love for animals, crafts and getting about town in my red sports car! (okay, no red sports car, but a girl can dream, right?)

Husband-great guy, works hard, doesn't play much, puts up with my addictions (which are many--fabric and yarn to name a few), hates that I spend money (what husband doesn't), and cries when I bend the credit card...you know...the normal husband stuff.

Currently knitting: One pair of white kilt hose (John Anderson's Kilt Hose) on one circular needle and a mohair triangle shawl, adapted from the New Style of Heirloom Knitting book from Japan (isbn: 4-529-03992-7).

Currently spinning: 10 pounds of chiengora (that's wool and dog hair for those uninitiated out there). It's taking me forever...of course, I've been working on knitting socks lately....

Finished recently: Jeanie Townsend's Lilac Socks, Knitty.com's Breeze (a sort of slipper), and a pair of John Anderson Kilt Hose (for me, the ones on the needles now are for a friend). And yes, that's my foot, resting on the kitchen table, so I can get a good pic. Ouch! OW! Cramp!
(putting foot back down now)

How I came up with the name for my blog: Well, that in itself was "oh, Tenna, did you draw a blank?" sort of thing. So, I asked my handy/dandy tarot cards..."What should I call my blog?"

I drew the 9 of swords. OH NO! I can't name my blog the 9 of Swords! (To those uninitiated, the 9 of swords often indicates lack of sleep and nightmares.) So I re-shuffled and drew the 8 of swords--which is "tied up with seemingly no way out"--another bust. So I re-shuffled and drew the 9 of cups...that's when it came to me...HA! To The Nines! Well, I can't get any better than that, and since I sew, knit, weave, quilt and various other fiber/clothing arts, I thought "To the Nines" rather appropriate, except for one thing. I am most comfortable in T-Shirt, jeans and tennis shoes...But on we go! Forward HO!

As soon as I figure out how to post a picture, I'll post some of my finished objects, put in some picks of my animals. Perhaps I won't show you my snakes, though. Many people are afraid of snakes, and some with good cause. Mine are not poisonous. That's a GOOD thing! However, they are constrictors, and so they eat rodents. This doesn't sound very palatable, but they are great for the snake. Now, you can buy them frozen! Imagine that! Frozen mice in the freezer! Unfortunately, my snakes are mouse snobs, and will only eat live prey. So I keep a large aquarium tank full of, well, rodents in our barn.

Rodents are very cute sometimes, but they destroy everything by chewing and well, never mind. We won't go into that thought process. I have some very cute mice. Not all mice are grey or brown. I have some that are black and white, tan, white, brown and white, cream colored, I even have one that is a seal-point, like a siamese cat. She's one of my favorites, and is the only one with a name--it's Minkie.

In addition to all my hobbies, which you will come to know if you follow my blog regularly, I also work outside the home. It's a serious inhibitor to my hobbies, and I don't enjoy it at all. Nuff said.

In addition to working outside the home, I also work inside the home (AKA housework). It's a job I deal with on a VERY part time basis. Hence, there is cat hair and dog hair...which is impossible to keep up with, always on my floors. It's very like dirty dishes. Once you finish washing a sinkful, somehow, more dirty dishes take their place. And as soon as I figure out how that happens, I will take steps to remove that capability!

Husband! Take me out to dinner!

Well, off to the LYS (that's Local Yarn Store) to do some "window shopping". Husband will be glad that I don't come back with the whole window.