Home on a Tuesday   4 comments

This week will be busy, but today and tomorrow are days at home. Which means I got to watch the season finale of Downton Abbey this morning – WOW!  No spoilers here, in case, like me, you tape and watch at a more convenient time, but it had a whole lot that was interesting.  :-) All set up for next season.  I heard on the news this morning that Maggie Smith says next season is her final one.  I hope they don’t try to replace her – just kill her off (dramatically, with some deathbed straightening out of her granddaughters, of course) Because Maggie Smith is just the perfect Dowager Countess, I can’t imagine anyone else doing it.

I also finished another black and white hat.  I might have it out of my system.  :-)  I like this one, it is very textured and to me, at least, IS the Maine woods in winter, which was my goal.  I think I will keep this one, though, not sell it or send it away.  I haven’t made myself a new hat in a while, and we all need more hats, right?

snow in woods hat version 2

snow in woods hat version 2 in window

Me, looking out at those cold Maine woods, in my warm cozy hat.

snow in woods hat version 2 top

I will remember how cool the top came out next time I am making a hat, I really like the dark lines the decreases made.

Now, back to my tinier knitting.  Only three WIPS on the needles right now, which is still one more than my rule allows, but I am OK with that.

We have slow slippery blue linen with beads.

blue linen 3 3

We have a green and cream necklace, for when I just have a minute.

green necklace 3 3.

Here’s a close up of it.

green necklace close up 3 3

We have the fabulous baby sweater which is cruising right along now.

Charleston 3 3

I took it to book group last night, and it grew a couple of inches.  Amazing what dedicated time can do for a project. (By the way, I was wearing my red business casual socks and received some sincere compliments, which I much appreciate.  I do have the best sock wardrobe in town, I have to say.  :-) )

We read the Orphan Train, and the reviews were mixed.  All of us agreed it was a good, fast read, and that we had no clue the orphan trains existed.  And how we might not ship kids off on trains any more, but we still need to work to figure out good systems to protect them. Not everyone liked the writing, however, or how some things felt contrived and abrupt.

Next up – Bill Bryson’s One Summer.  Which I need to go see if the Library can get for me…in time to read it before the end of the month.  :-)

Sometimes I think that I should resign from book group – it is far away (an hour or more, on a clear night) and I often don’t get to finish the books, so feel sort of dull.  But then we have a night like last night – interesting women gathered around a fire with good treats, having fun conversations, brining our own experience to bear on the conversation.  It is worth the drive.

Today I have a few errands to run and a grant to work on, between bouts of knitting.

Life, as they say, is good.

Just a bit more about the weather, then I will stop   7 comments

*By the way, we did it! It is officially the coldest month in recorded history in Bangor. As of the 27th (still waiting on the data from today, the 28th) our average temp was 6.1°. The next coldest was a temp of 8.4° back in January of 1991. In fact, all of the other top 5 coldest months have been Januarys. The next coldest February was in 1993 with an average temp of 11.3°. And don’t even get me started on the snowfall totals. So exciting (unless you hate snow/have to pay for plowing/have nothing else to complain about)! We’re number 4 right now, with 117.1″. We’ll make it into the number 2 spot soon I think which is currently 119.7″. The all time record is 181.9″ and Lord help me if we get there.*

Jessica Conley Meteorologist WABI TV 5 & The CW

See?  Not crazy.  This weather has sucked.  BTW – that snowfall – all in 5 weeks. Not in a  whole winter like those other years.

OK, maybe crazy, but I blame it on cabin fever.

IT’S MARCH!!!!  So we are only getting 3-5 inches of snow tonight, and there is a chance of snow/sleet/rain on Tuesday night.  I guess we have to endure ice before it all goes away and we see spring flowers  mud.

Posted March 1, 2015 by salpal1 in what I am thinking about

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Last Friday in February – THANK GOODNESS!   18 comments

Here in eastern Maine, we have experienced not just the snowiest month on record, but the coldest February ever recorded.  And not just February- the coldest month recorded here. It got above freezing for one half hour this month.  That is just ridiculous. All I can say is “thank heavens this month is over!

Yesterday I went to Portland With Mom to knit with sister C.  We stopped in Bath for a quick bit of yarn shopping.  Actually, C asked us to stop and get a few bags of the knit loops used to make those fabulous potholders.  Niece E was very excited to see them when she got home from school!  I got out of the store with only one planned purchase – a cone of the silk yarn I used to make jewelry – Mom wants me to make a custom pair for a gift, and I didn’t have anything right for that person.  Now I have sunny gold, which she wants to have some green beads. Not sure how I will like that, I might recommend some rust in there as well, we will see.  I have to go to the bead store next week, see what they have that inspires me.

We had a good day, just sitting and talking and knitting – and lunching, of course.  That sister of mine can make the simplest meal so delicious.  All with ordinary ingredients, but they taste better when she puts them out than when I do.  :-)  Plus, she serves it in the cups and bowls she has made. That makes it even more special.

The bad news is that I don’t think E’s knee socks will fit her, but I think she likes them, so I will get some more of that yarn and try again.  Luckily, it is readily available and not horribly expensive.  They were long enough, but the legs were too skinny.  That means more purple and pink knee socks in my future. :-)

So, what’s on for today?

Nothing too exciting.  I did the laundry earlier this week, so it can wait until later in the weekend.  I already did a bit of work, and will do a bit more, then turn in my time sheet.  I am finally feeling like I am getting the break I craved – I only worked a total of about 15 hours over the last two weeks!  YEAH!  The next two weeks will be much busier, but I feel better able to cope.  Of course, I have not gotten the things done around the house that I had hoped to, but I feel like that will change. The days are getting longer, I am feeling more distance from the stress of work, so I will get moving and productive soon.  Meanwhile, I knit…

Today I hope to finish the double knit cowl.  It is thicker and heavier than I could have imagined, so I am just doing one pattern repeat, or it will be a muff for my head!  However, I feel ready to try my design idea now with this technique.\

I plan to write up my notes on the angora hat and see if there is a pattern there.  Then figure out if I want to sell the thing.  I mean, I do, but there is work to be done ahead of that – that is what I want to figure out if I can do.  :-)  Lots of blog reading to do on the subject.

I already called EBS and asked them to yes please, deliver a ton of pellets today.  That is our 5th ton for this winter.  Unbelievable how we have gone through them.  (See first paragraph!) Hopefully, it will start to warm up, at least during the days so that consumption slows down.  And we are so thankful that we have this stove and that it works and keeps our house cozy and warm.

I emailed my boss and asked for a meeting to talk about grants to write – not sure if he will have time for that today or if that meeting will be next week.  There are a couple of opportunities that are due in April, so I will see if he wants to pay me to work on them.  :-)

I’ll go to the PO and see if any of my recent Etsy purchases have arrived. Do you know there are the most interesting buttons there?   :-)

A slow easy day.

On running out of yarn   6 comments

I know I filled you all in on the fact that I can’t do math when it comes to yardage (I am good on number of skeins, but had a brain cramp when it came to realizing all skeins are not the same), and I think I told you I spent a bit of time searching Ravelry for a match.

In all of that process, I came up with an alternative, and ordered some yarn that I thought would look nice with my yarn of choice.  I also reached out to a Ravelry user – the ONLY ONE with the right lot of yarn in her stash.

The paler yarn came in the mail today.

charleston one option

But I am not going to immediately cast on, because the wonderful Raveler emailed to say that she (I assume it is a she, I don’t actually know the name yet) would ship me the yarn in her stash.  And she doesn’t want anything in return, it is just leftover from a past project!

So, I will wait for it to arrive, and if it is all as perfect as I suspect it will be, I will save this peachy-coral yarn for a future project.  Note that I got three skeins, even though I think I only need two.  I am learning.  Of course, if I try to do this project in that color alone, I will need 4… So I guess I WON’T do that.  :-)

Now, I won’t let her generosity go unpunished unthanked, of course.   I need to start thinking of ways to show my appreciation.  If this was you, what would make YOU feel that your gesture was very much appreciated?

Posted February 25, 2015 by salpal1 in what I am making

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Let’s not talk about the weather, OK?   10 comments

Here’s what I am working on today.  It is going to be hugely warm as I am using Lamb’s Pride Bulky.  Not what the pattern calls for, but what i had near at hand in a generous quantity.  I had to seriously adjust the number of stitches, making the rows are nice and short, and the end product will be warm as can be. We won’t talk about why that is a good thing.

I have never done double knitting before, but when I saw this cowl by Lisa Myers in Interweave Knits,  I decided to give it a try.

double knit cowl 2 25

And I have been playing with black and white the past few days, coming up with an idea for a hat based on what I see out my windows – trees and that which we will not talk about.  This just fell right into place with those thoughts and after I master this type of knitting, I plan to invent a hat and maybe cowl pattern.  I already have a name for it, but no pattern yet.  Creativity knows no order.

Maine woods in winter is what it will be called, and it will be beautiful and warm, unlike Maine woods in winter. (Winter is not weather, so it is OK to say that much. However, when you put winter and weather together, you come up with something I definitely do not want to talk about.)

Look what I made!   9 comments

Without flash, you can see the design better.

blue angora hat 1

With flash, you can see the color better.

blue angora hat 2

I used a whole skein of my precious wool/angora blend from Hidden Brook Fibers, in Stow Maine.  It is sport weight, I held it double, and used every last inch of it.

The chevron pattern is in seed stitch, over 90 stitches.  I would be happy to share notes on how I did it if anyone else wants to recreate it. Just pop me a note and I will send you details.

Don’t you just love how soft it is?  Look at that halo!

Posted February 24, 2015 by salpal1 in how it came out

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cleaning off the camera and weekend thoughts   6 comments

Oh, look, it snowed!  How %^&*^(*&)*^^$%^$%#%$#  pretty!

It actually IS pretty, and it is the kind of snow (wet) that sticks to things so you can see interesting shapes.  And it gave me an idea for a hat design, which I might get to someday.

snow in woods 1

snowy morning

snowy morning 3

I wish I could climb out there to give you a sense of scale. The little tree sticking out of the snow bank  is probably 10-12 feet tall, maybe more.  And it is on the edge of the drop off, so that pile of snow beyond it is many, many feet deep.  Yards, even.

snowy morning 2

I just wish we didn’t have to shovel it. But we do, and we worked on it all day so it is done.  At least it was only 6 inches give or take, not a foot.  No wind. And they got the prediction mostly right.  No mix, no rain, but today is a much warmer day – I actually shoveled the small deck without a jacket!

I poked my head out while A was finishing up the path to the vent, and saw this in the tree.  It let me go right out on the deck to take a photograph.  I wish I had a better zoom lens, but I think it is a barred owl.  Is it normal for them to be out and about in full daylight?  It was about 3 o’clock.  Oh, the things you can see when it snows.


The treat we get for shoveling – homemade Chex mix and a rest in front of the fire.  A did the lion’s share of the lifting kind of shoveling, so she also gets a hot soak in the jet tub.  I mostly scooped and shoved snow around so she could throw it (nice of me, huh?) so I am not as sore.

chex mix

On the knitting front, I have done a couple of hats – this one and a green with gray that is still drying.  I took this one out on the snow before we shoveled yesterday (yes, we seem to do it every day, don’t get me started)   I took one with flash and one without.  I think without the flash is more accurate on the colors.  I really like this hat, and as soon as it is dry and ready to ship, I will list it on Etsy.  But I might make another one that fits me and keep it.  I can see that I will never make any money if every other thing I make is for me.  lol…

blue and gray hat 2                 blue and gray hat

Now I am working on one in a soft angora/wool blend.  it is a pattern I am making up, with a chevron design made from seed and stockinette stitches. I may add a gray stripe in the middle, not sure.  It partly depends on how the yarn holds out.  Speaking of which…

Other knitting news – I finished the back of the Charleston sweater, and found I won’t have enough yarn – argh!  I thought I had one more skein, and even that would be cutting it close.  So, I am stopped on that project for a bit, but I have come up with two solutions.  I spent a healthy chunk of time (read all evening) on Ravelry, sorting through all the stashes to see if anyone has any in the right dye lot.  One person does, and although she doesn’t list it as “for sale or trade” I wrote to her  just to see if there is any way…then I hopped on the Halcyon site to see what colors they have that will look nice with it.  Interestingly enough, they show a hat using this color and a soft peach. Next step – try to find it somewhere cheaper than Halcyon.  That was pretty easy, in the end, and I ordered three skeins of the peach for about $7 a skein (it is 8.50 at Halcyon).  I would have gotten it at WEBS, but they didn’t have the color. So, if the unknown Ravelry person can’t come through for me, then I will make quite a different sweater than I had planned – I will make all the border lacy bits and the two fronts in the dark reddish orange, but I will make the sleeves and the edging in the peach. Then, I hope I will have enough of the darker color to do the edge of the hat, but if not, I will do the hat in peach and search (high and low) for a ribbon the color of the darker orange to run through it.

If that still doesn’t work, then, sigh, I will do what the Sweaty Knitter actually just posted about here and (sob) cut off the bottom of the back, knit the edge in peach and graft it in place.  Yes, I could rip out the whole thing, but by then I would really be sick of the orange, and not loving the sweater like I am now.

So you see, I will either get a bright orange sweater, or a color block sweater in peach and orange – two very different projects, but both would look nice, I think.  Stay posted, and see what happens!

And take my advice, always buy enough of the darned yarn before you start.

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