09 September 2009

vitreous humor

This has been my favorite yarn for a long time. I felt like the spinner must've had me in mind when she created it, but given that I wasn't the first, and that she regularly sells out of it, and that there are several projects made with it on ravelry (rav link), I guess I'm not the only one who would love and cherish such a yarn. In fact, I know this is true, because I place the origin of my penchant for eyeballs squarely on my dad. He knows why.

And, no sooner did I say that I can't do a whole knitting project in a single sitting in my last post, than do I do exactly that. Last night, I sat down with my favorite yarn (which I had previously been content to simply display in a wad in my bookcase) and a pair of borrowed size 35 needles (for the non-knitter, that's the same diameter as your average broomstick), and Kathleen Rogers' Vitreous Humor Scarf pattern (rav). It was the first (and as yet, only) pattern I'd seen for this yarn that allows the yarn to retain it's gutsy, sinewy character instead of just knitting it into a dense, pink fabric.

And even a little early for halloween, no less!

01 September 2009

oh no, not another one

I have recently discovered needle felting. As if knitting, quilting, sewing, beading and occassional card making and embroidery weren't enough crafts to have in my life, I now have needle felting. And of course, I love it. I love that you can sit down with a little idea and go from roving and needle to finished product in one sitting. Quilting and knitting are not like that -- at least, not for me.
Here's a little felted embellishment I made for Chinchilla's broach...

and here's a flower....

anyone who knows about my facination with eyeballs will know where I'm going with this one....

25 August 2009

photos from helicopter

our chariot of the sky...

Smith Tower, Seattle

I can see my house from here!

helicopter photos

Lake Union, Seattle, August 2009

Seattle Skyline, or We're All Monkeys at Typewriters, August 2009

even more photos

Forum Room, Parrington Hall, UW, Seattle, July 2009

Parrington Hall, UW, Seattle, July 2009

Museum of Flight, Seattle, July 2009

Sculpture at UW, Seattle, July 2009

Abandoned Building, Seattle, August 2009

29 July 2009

102 degrees

all-time high temperature record for Seattle was set today.

posted at 10:43pm, when it's 95 degrees IN MY HOUSE.

28 July 2009

The temperature hit 97 degrees today, so what did I do? I finished a quilt! I'll be giving it to baby Maja this weekend.

specs: 50 x 50", the colorful fabrics are from the Noveau line by Moda. Orange and yellow flannel backing.

26 July 2009

more photos

settling back in after two weeks of dog/housesitting. tiring, but I'd do it again for these folks in a flash.

catching up on some of my architectural prints:

Transmission tower base, near Blythe, California, July 2009

Boarded up building near Snohomish, Washington, July 2009

Fire alarm, Seattle, Washington, July 2009

Dillon wind farm, near Palm Springs, California, July 2009

Desert twig, near Blythe, California, July 2009

Desert Center gas station, California, July 2009

11 July 2009

my charges

I've got my hands full for the next several days with some dog friends. I'm taking care of these three gents, who alternately sleep, play, argue, sleep and eat.

03 July 2009

working in the garden

it's hard to believe I was drinking coffee and wearing a fleece this morning (around 7)... it ended up a scorcher in the afternoon.... 86 degrees! yikes!

28 June 2009

my first prints

Architectural Detail, lamp base in front of Suzzallo Library, University of Washington. Copyright Andrea Slusser, 2009.


Architectural Detail, windows of Gerberding Hall, University of Washington. Copyright Andrea Slusser, 2009.

22 June 2009

alpaca shearing

I was generously invited to the annual alpaca shearing event at Vashon Island Alpaca, which took place yesterday. I helped with fleece gathering and bagging, as well as animal handling.


The shearing itself is done by a three-man team of shearers: one man using the clippers, while the other two held the animal. Kind of like different cuts of beef, there are different parts of the fleece: "one" is the back, "two" is the neck and the upper parts of the legs, and "three" is the belly, the topknot and lower parts of the legs, if it's not very dirty. We who collected the fleece and bag it (one large plastic bag for each type) would scamper around the feet of the shearing team, pulling shorn fleece off and picking locks of it up off the floor, working as quickly as possible to keep it tidy, out from underfoot, and organized into the three types.

Jake, a farm regular, and I made a good fleece collecting team

most of the animals stood throughout the shearing, but not all of them.

Knitters: you know that baby alpaca yarn we all oooh and aaahh over? This is it.... baby.


After several rounds of that job, I helped fix some jagged wires in a fence of the holding pen, and then I helped prepare the animals for shearing. Each animal was identified by serial number and name, then rounded up by one person (basically by grabbing their head and neck--I let the pros do this bit), and then holding them--this is where I came in--for a blowdown with a high-powered hairdryer, and some fleece-picking, if necessary. And yes, I jumped right in when asked to pick twigs, lichen bits and.... other bits... out of the critters' fleece.

a little alpaca ass-grabin'

a good mix of befores and afters, for reference


I tell you though, there is just no end to how funny these guys look after they've been shorn....

this guy insisted that they leave his sideburns

...and they sure can bend!

I had an incredibly good time, and I sincerely hope I can come back and do it again next year.

Thanks to Bill and Lee for having me, to Nathan and Harlan for allowing me to help, and to Cohni and Josh, for inviting me, and for taking pictures!

18 June 2009

gettin' my garden on

Things are growing in the garden -- some losses already, but some successes. I had to pull the broccoli raab when it bolted (I never even saw the part I was supposed to eat), and the chard is touch-and-go. But the tomatoes are going well, as is the basil -- now I just need to learn how to make fresh mozarella. The cilantro is still alive, and the potatoes need no encouragement at all. The winter squashes look about ready to burst with flowers (pleasepleaseplease), and the blueberry bushes are heavy with green fruit. I've had a few strawberries (yum!) and the onions are doing well (how did I end up with three types of onions?). The asparagus is wild and still putting up shoots, but the star of the beauty pagent is probably the hops. These plants are just lovely, leafy and green, and I'm sure I could hear them grow if I just listened closely.

11 June 2009

morning photo

With increasing frequency, color combinations are catching my eye, and when my camera is around, I try to capture them. This morning, it was the strawberries on my oatmeal in a turquoise colored bowl that did the trick. I'll try to capture more of these colors/combinations and show them to you.

07 June 2009

I still got it

I haven't done much jewelry making lately, so when a colleague was telling me how she wanted some gaudy orange earrings to go with a teal dress she planned to wear at an upcoming wedding, I jumped at the opportunity to pull out the needlenosed jewelery pliers. Ellen helped me select the beads, and I came up with these lovelies:

specs: about two inches long overall, mostly Swarovski Crystal (multiple colors), cloisonne and metal beads, golden wire, golden earwires (unsure of specific precious metal content).

come and gone

Eric was here all last week, and we had a great time together. We celebrated our eighth anniversary a little late by taking a three day trip to San Juan Island, where neither of us had been before. We stayed at a bed & breakfast on the western side of the island -- a working ranch, tended to by very friendly innkeepers. After the orcas, alpacas seem to be the island's mascot, and while we didn't see any of the former (they were out in open ocean), we saw plenty of the latter, and got to feed the ones at our B&B. As you might guess, I left the island with some lovely alpaca yarn. We brought with us lunch fixins and picniced every day, we brought dinner foodstuffs and had a bbq at San Juan County Park before settling down with some brie and wine for the sunset. We saw harbor porpoises, seals and sea lions, bald eagles, deer and foxes. We criss-crossed the island a few times, saw American and British Camps, lingered on beaches and generally had a lovely, relaxing time.
the shoreline at Lime Kiln State Park

a picturesque fence at American Camp

more picturesqueness near American Camp
We also managed to squeeze in a trip to Portland to see Heather & Stephen and their lovely new home, paint the sun room, bunches of gardening, dinner with Cohni & Josh, and I think I even went to work for a little bit.

02 June 2009

can't talk now....

... having entirely too good a time on San Juan Island with Eric. More later.

24 May 2009

first hike of 2009

Finn and I hiked to Lake 22 (near Mount Pilchuck) today. We arrived early and were the first ones on the trail, which was lovely. The first two-thirds of the 2.7 mile hike in were snow free (some mud), and last third as well as the entirety of the lake, was still very much snowed in. I let Finn romp off-leash in the snow (both for his enjoyment and for our safety -- I needed all of the balance I could get on the slippery, actively melting snow).

from the trail

nearly to the lake (where's Finn?)

panoramic of Lake 22, with one of the cirques that makes up the backside of Mount Pilchuck.

29 April 2009

knit one, fly too

Writing from over Nevada again…

I just finished the Liesl scarf. This was easily the most complicated knitting I’ve ever done, which meant reading a pattern for every row from what is now a softened and dog-eared piece of paper, but never while conversing, listening to music or while watching a movie. It was not knit on at either of my knitting groups, though I would show it off at said groups after sufficient progress had been made. When I’m crafting at home, I usually fall into one of two situations, either I’m listening to the radio and sewing or quilting, or I’m knitting while I have a movie on, so no knitting on this scarf then either. Working, eating and sleeping take up a goodly chunk of the rest of my time, which left one time group for complicated knitting: airplane time. I cast the project on while we were at Steamboat Springs in January (which is of meaningful coincidence, since the scarf recipient was born in Colorado). I’ve worked on it in the airspace of Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Utah and Colorado. To round it all out, the yarn is by Mountain Colors of Wyoming.

Specs: Pattern is Liesl, by Mary Joy Gumayagay at Yummy Yarn. Yarn is Mountain Colors, Mountain Goat (name of the yarn, not the source of the fiber), in the Firestorm colorway.
never mind the woman modelling the wool scarf when it's 73 degrees F outside. she's crazy.

28 April 2009

loss karma

Some people I've known are perennial misplacers. Sometimes it's important stuff like their keys or wallet, or maybe it's just their shopping list or a book. I've never been one of these people. I don't mean that I've never ever misplaced anything, but I do it so rarely that when I do lose something, I get a little wigged out about it. Which is why today, when I lost two things before I even got off the plane, I was rather put out about it, and began to believe that my entire trip was doomed. First, I lost my spork, which I carry in my bag to avoid using disposable cutlery. I used it to eat up my breakfast at SeaTac, then tucked it into a pocket so I would remember to wash it, and when I went to retrieve it (still at SeaTac), it was gone. I retraced my steps, but to no avail. I have another spork or two at home, so it's not a huge loss, but still. Dang! And then I managed to leave my handkerchief on the plane! (stop making that "ew" face -- it's not as gross as all that) I reached for it later and realized that I must've left it on my seat, where I had put it under my leg rather than wiggling about to get it back into my pocket whilst seated with my seat belt securely fastened. Dang, again! So there I am in Phoenix, sans spork and one handkerchief (turns out I had stashed a spare subconsciously in my bag), when I turn my attention to the radio in my rental car. I start cruising the stations when I notice that the display says "CD IN". What? The previous renter left their CD? That's something I've often been afraid of doing, so my initial feeling was that of sympathy. But then I got down to business to see what sort of CD I had just inherited. Assuming it was going to be something like MC Hammer's 1988 Christmas album I set my hopes low, which probably wasn't a bad idea. It's U2's new album, No Line on the Horizon. U2 has traditionally been my favorite band, but this particular album received pretty dismal reviews, so I hadn't lifted a finger in an attempt to procure it. I listened to it today when the radio stations petered out (I agree with the reviews: meh), and I'll probably listen again when I head back tomorrow, until the radio stations start to pick up again.
Whether or not I keep it though, will probably depend on how I am feeling about the loss of my spork and handkerchief.

catching up

Writing from somewhere over Nevada – on my way to Phoenix for a super quick field office visit.

I spent last weekend working, so I don’t feel bad for missing Sunday’s confessional. Working the weekend made Sunday feel like Tuesday, which makes today (Tuesday) feel like Thursday. I’ll get back to Seattle on a Wednesday that will feel like a Friday, take Thursday off (since that’ll be Saturday), then work on Friday (which will then feel like working on Sunday again). Then it’ll be the weekend again, at which point a little bit of my brain will melt and ooze out of my right ear, but I won’t complain because I’ll have the day off. Incidentally, I think this is how Finn gets so smart – he laps up my oozed brain bits while I’m asleep.

I dropped Finn off at Great Dog for some overnight play care while I'm away. He was there on Monday for day care so this will be an unusual three days straight of day care for him, which will certainly wear him out for the next several days. He’s no spring puppy anymore – he used to come home from day care and still be bounding with energy. Now he comes home, has a lagging burst that consists mostly of barking at passers by, then zonks out on the couch or bed until it’s… bedtime. Yesterday he slept even longer and deeper than usual – I think he’s going to be one exhausted pup when I get home.

The garden is nearly ready to be planted. I’ve turned the soil and amended it with four bags of Farmyard Blend compost. This Thursday (aforementioned day off), I’m volunteering at the Seattle Tilth Edible Plant Sale (sale is actually on Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be on a plant set-up crew), which comes with the benefit of getting first dibs on the plants I want, so now I have to think about what and how much I want to plant. One of the only benefits of living alone is that this year, I get to plant whatever I want.

Tomatoes – a no-brainer. Last year we had nine plants, I think I’ll do about the same this year, but I might try some different varieties.
Peppers – I’m thinking about trying a mini plastic hoop setup to grow peppers. So far, our attempts at peppers have been lackluster, but at the same time, seemingly promising, if I could just get it right. Not sure if I’d want to try sweet or hot. Both?
Broccoli – these have worked very well in the past
Beans – sugar snap, green and yellow
Spinach and lettuce – but only if I get to these soon… if I wait too long they bolt
Eggplant –I think I’ll try that instead of zucchini
Onions – especially since I didn’t get any garlic going this year
Potatoes – they’re already reestablishing themselves from last year, but they’re good all through the winter
Winter squash – of some variety, which makes me want to consider trying
Parsnips and/or beets – since I’ve enjoyed those over the winter

I think I will skip trying artichokes this year – the few I’ve grown have been the best artichokes I’ve ever had, but I’m just not sure they’re worth it. Same for carrots – these are a favorite of Eric’s, but we get tons from our CSA box, and they’re pretty demanding for such a basic plant.

As for herbs, Last year I swore off trying to grow cilantro and basil, but now I am waffling. Maybe this would be the year I get it right! I also have in mind a little lavender garden, with three or four different varieties. And if anyone knows the secret for getting thyme to thrive, I’m all ears.

What am I missing?

18 April 2009


These pics are mostly for Eric's benefit -- so he can see what's going on in the garden, as the crocuses have come and gone, the daffodils are waning, and the tulips are beginning to show up....

I love these split-corona daffodils, but I don't know what this variety is called. They have a lovely smell, unlike most daffodils, and they remind me of fried eggs (apparently I have a thing for fried egg flowers, because I just brought one of these home for the garden, and I adore the tiny little daisies that pop up in lawns around this time of year). If you know the name of these daffodils, please leave me a comment and let me know!

a different specimen, elegantly posed against the chimney.


In the back yard, we have:

Grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum)

Bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis)

the dogwood (Cornus sp.) patch

the large Japanese maple
On to the veggies....

The camera refused to focus on something so skinny, but that there is an asparagus spear! It's about 12 inches tall, and did I mention that it's skinny? I'm on the lookout for more spears, but so far as I can tell, there's only one other, and it's about 1 inch tall.

We had another volunteer violet in the veggie space again, so I transplanted it to a pot where it will thrive until it gets hot, and then it will fry.

All three blueberry bushes are getting ready for the bees....

and the apple tree is finally joining the party.
Out the gate and around the corner to the front yard....
The front yard Dicentra, behind our new vine maple (Acer circinatum). This "heart" came with the house, and has faithfully bloomed spectacularly for the last three years. For the first two years, we had to crawl between the Rhododendron you can see in the background and the camelia that was where the maple is now to see it, but it was there, blooming up a storm. It does even better now that it's not so cramped.

Eric, do you remember the name of this guy? I don't, except that I think it has "clark" somewhere in it. And look! It has a baby off to the right. I had to lift another plant off of it to see it -- we may have to do something about that.

Witch hazel (Hamamelis sp.)

More Muscari.

The lilacs are coming, the lilacs are coming!