Endless week!   30 comments

Even though I just had a nice long vacation – or perhaps because of it – I am really struggling to want to be at work these days.  Sigh.  There is so much change going on, and unexpected fallout from our merger last autumn.  Some things I expected, but others just keep hitting me upside the head.

It makes me want to stay home and spin and knit.  I do that in the evenings, and for a little bit each morning.  I have two big knitting projects happening, so even though I work on things faithfully, there isn’t much to show for it.  But the spinning is seeming to move fast! This whole 4 ounces divided across three bobbins thing is really working for me right now, lol.  I am halfway through the singles already, and I have only been spinning this for 6 days.  I might finish it this weekend.  At least the singles, anyway.  I am eager to see how this yarn comes out, so far it looks NOTHING like I expected.  Here I thought I picked a braid that was outside of my comfort zone… so far it seems to have loads of soft greens and some blue.  There is yellow and orange but they are not as dominant as the braid led me to believe they would be.  So far, anyway.  Who knows what the yarn will look like?

The full bobbin

The second (partial) bobbin

We got more snow this week, but it was the soft pretty kind – not a storm like the rest of the country got, no wind, temps cold but not crazy. It just quietly fell from the sky and covered the brown muck that was left after last weeks rain.  It is light and fluffy and very pretty.  I wish I had a camera on my dashboard, this morning my commute to work was just LOVELY – the sky was all pink and that reflected off all the new snow.

It’s almost enough to make me want to get up and go to work each morning.

But not quite.

This too shall pass.

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In Theory   35 comments

Hi everyone!  Sorry to be so silent lately, but it is that time of year when I feel like I disappear – tax season!  We are in training mode this month.  Last week we had our big regional training.   In theory, after 11 years of this, some of it should get easier.  But it doesn’t seem to, and I quake at the thought of all there will be to learn and teach next year. But that is next year, not to be worried about until the fall.  Glad I am not a programmer for the tax software companies!

Normally during tax training, I get to do lots of knitting.  Before I was tapped to do some teaching, I could count on getting a hat (or more) done each day.  Now that I am responsible for the afternoon sessions, I don’t get as much done on my knitting, lol.  this year I got this much done:

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This is my NOVEMBER sock, and the toe had already been completed before Monday.  In fact, I think I had done a couple of repeats of the pattern on the foot.    Sigh.  At least I got something done.  🙂

This year was also different because I had more new volunteers in the group, so I had less time to work on my own tax training (working problems, taking the test) than usual, which meant more time at home in the evenings working on things like that.

But I still found time for some spinning, and I did it – I finished the big spin I started back in July!

I now have MORE than enough to do a sweater in this lovely stuff (2590 yards, to be exact):

You have seen it before, of course, but perhaps you don’t remember.  Here are some close ups for you.  😉

I enjoyed finishing that so much that I immediately dug about in my stash to see what was next.  I needed to spin something light and easy and DIFFERENT COLORS.  It is hard to keep spinning and spinning and having it always look the same. You start to feel like you will never finish.

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This is next.  It is superwash merino, dyed by Fiber Optic Yarn.   I got it last September at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, when I remember making a conscious effort to get some different colors.  I am so glad I did, as I need a break from my favorite deep blues, purples, greens, and pink.  This has enough blue in it that I can live with the colors I don’t care for as much (that would be you, orange.)

I divided the braid into three chunks, totally unscientifically, no weighing involved.  I just folded it into thirds and pulled it apart.  I then left one third as is, and divided another third in half the long way.  Also unscientifically, just started pulling and let it go how it wanted to.  Which was pretty evenly, actually.  The third section, I divided in half, and then each piece in half again.  So it is a fractal spin, but I didn’t worry too much about dividing things perfectly.  I am going to spin the divided pieces end to end, and see how the colors come together when plyed in a traditional three ply.

I started with the four section third, and I am surprised at how it is spinning up.  Much more green than I expected.  And more light, as all the white spaces are pulled into the colors.  But I love how the colors come together as I draft, making a marled singles.  It should be very interesting when it is all done.

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Yesterday was stormy and nasty, so Whorls and Purls annual non-holiday party got shifted to today.  That meant that A and I were home together on a Saturday which rarely happens.  We puttered about, put more Christmas away. There is always something lingering after you think you got it all. In our case, it was the tree.  🙂  It just had it’s lights on, because we never did finish decorating it, and we were both sad to see it go, but it was time.  So we got rid of that, and cleaned up the ensuing mess.  A tossed it over the bank near the bird feeders, so the birds will have some cover while feeding.  In the spring, I will cart it farther into the woods.

I did some cleaning and puttering in the craft room, putting away Christmas card mess, etc. I did get to do some knitting eventually, and my hitofude sweater appreciated the time.

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I do like this yarn and pattern, and so far it is pretty easy. I am making this from yarn I also got in Wisconsin (see, I am being good using up what I got last summer!) and alternating skeins as the dye lots are off the tiniest bit.  It is working well, and I think I will get a lot of wear out of this lightweight sweater.

I haven’t gotten to knit on the Durrow, but I plan to this weekend.  After all, there is a whole extra day, right? In theory, I should be able to get a lot done tomorrow!

The other big exciting thing that happened this week is that A and I decided that it is feasible financially for me to go to Knit Maine 2018 in September.  I had been half planning a trip back to Wisconsin sometime in September, but some of the people I would see there are coming to Maine instead!  I was very excited about that, though I will miss the ones who don’t come.  So instead of driving for days, I will be the hostess at the end of the summer.  I hope we have beautiful weather, so that they can see and enjoy some of what Maine has to offer after Labor Day. In theory, it should still be summery.

In theory.

 

 

Sunday Sunday   24 comments

No news here on the weather front – it’s cold.  There is a load of snow out there that needs cleaning up.  We are holding out for tomorrow when it might be warmer.  And of course, it will snow tomorrow, but not much.  Not like the foot plus we got last week. On top of the Christmas foot we got. On top of the messy icy thing we got before Christmas.

Where there is news – exciting time at work last week – we had a small fire – got to evacuate and eventually go home.  Lovely!  I used the time to knit. A little bit of damage to the building, especially where they had to chop a hole in the side to be sure the fire wasn’t spreading in the wall.  It was out. No panic, all our fire drills worked well.  I did leave my car keys in the building as I wasn’t in my office when the alarm was sounded, but that worked out well.

Between that and a half day off for snow, it was a very short work week last week.  I used my home time wisely, and got some spinning done, started Durrow, and my Friends of Knitting Sarah KAL, a Hitofude sweater.  That’s two big projects on my needles, but the sweater should go fairly fast.  The Durrow will be slow going, I can tell, but it will be worth doing.  And the spinning – I am so close to done on that spinning project, I can taste it.  I thought I was on my last bobbins, but I think I will have a small amount left over to do, but that should go very fast, too.

Today I am supposed to be working on my test for taxes, but I can’t seem to log into the practice lab, so can’t work the problems.  UGH.  I will assume it is because I tried too many times with an error in the password, and so got locked out.  I’ll try again in a little while. Very frustrating!

There really is not much else new around here this week – but I will leave you with some photos so you feel like it was worth the stop over.  🙂

Here are the last two finishes of 2017 – a test hat and a Chain Mail shawl from my beaded handspun:

Spinning in progress:

New Year Cast ons:

Durrow on the left, Hitofude on the right.

and lastly, some special New Years visitors. And a big snow pile where the garden is.

Happy New Year!

Fiber plans for 2018   32 comments

So many things to jump on board with at this time of year, and they all seem interesting. There’s 9 in 2018, and spin 15 minutes a day and all sorts of fun things to build community and skills and productivity.

It’s almost overwhelming, all the things that sound interesting and fun. But if I try them all it will become definitely overwhelming and a chore.

So, here’s what I plan to do this year, only joining what I have already committed to, unless something comes along that perfectly hits what I am already planning.:

  • Knit Hitofude as part of a KAL we are doing with the Friends of Knitting Sarah. It starts today and I am ready to roll! I am using some yarn I got in Wisconsin.
  • Knit Dhurrow, a challenging shawl project, in yarn Debbie at the Purple Fleece dyed just for me.
  • Finish the big purple spin and knit a sweater from it. I am thinking something simple in design as the yarn is busy.
  • Knit ornaments and hats throughout the year so that getting ready for that one craft fair isn’t so crazy. And to help keep the community caring pile of hats in Stockton Springs busy and active.
  • Knit a shawl using the lovely black and gray yarn from Wisconsin
  • Knit a sock a month ON AVERAGE. I almost did that this year and the speed was about right. I have enough sock yarn in stash to do this.
  • Knit something using my October challenge yarn to finish out the “makers gonna make” challenge at the Purple Fleece, I know what it will be, but it is a secret until reveal day, in April or May.
  • Work on a plan for the lovely Shetland lace-weight yarn Mom brought me from her trip this fall.
  • Keep spinning! I have a small mountain of fiber from which to choose, and a year of roving of the month coming my way!

It seems I have plenty to do without joining in much. And I also seem to have most of the yarn I need to do it. The only yarn I would need to buy for this plan might be more basic white for the ornaments. All else is in house already.

Can I really knit from stash all year and not buy more yarn? Highly unlikely, but I can try!

2017 Review – as it relates to fiber   25 comments

Lately it seems many of the bloggers I follow are having a reflective look back at what they have and haven’t accomplished. It made me stop and think and wonder what I did this year.

It seems I knit a lot.

According to my Ravelry page, these were all finished in 2017.  And I happen to know there were a few more ornaments knit.  And hats.  🙂

Then there was spinning:

And I am still working on that last of that big purple spin on the bottom!  Was hoping to have it done in 2017, but time is running out!  I also spun 4 ounces of secret challenge yarn that I can’t share until mid-January.

I did some traveling and met some amazing ladies in Wisconsin. Yes this is fiber related, as I am sure they will tell you! We all connected through Ravelry and built the trip around the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. Except Mom. I already knew Mom.

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and saw some amazing sights along the way (OK, maybe not so fiber related, but there was knitting!)

and did some yarn dying

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It was a pretty busy year and loads of fun!

Posted December 31, 2017 by salpal1 in how I spent my day, how it came out

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Holiday wrap up   35 comments

Well, that was fun!

I haven’t written a post about Christmas yet, because I was SO tired after the crazy lead up to it, and then the big day,  I took a few days to rest and relax and digest.

I managed to get all the knitting done, and lots of cards (but not all – I have a half dozen or so still to send out, just waiting for the glitter to dry).

We got all the presents wrapped and delivered.  It was the delivery bit that was more complicated than expected!

But before we get to that…

 

I have been on vacation since last Wednesday at close of day.  Thank goodness – I don’t know how I would have found the time to work!

Thursday I drove down t Boston to meet up with a Raveler friend from the Knitting Sarah group.  Bonnie had been hoping to go to our in person gathering in September, but for a variety of reasons, was not able to make it.  However!  She had a long vacation planned to visit her sister in the Boston area.  When I heard that, I thought “I can go to Boston…” so I asked her how she felt about it, and she was willing.  So nice and early Thursday I hopped in my trusty Prius and headed south.  I got to her sister’s house easily, and immediately felt at home, like I was visiting an old friend.  Which of course, I was, right?  We chatted a bit and she showed me IN PERSON the things she was working on – how nice to really see and touch, not wonder if the monitor was showing the right colors.  🙂 Then we went off to a yarn store in Natick, the Iron Horse.  It is a small shop, but had a nice selection of yarns and needles and the like.  I was trying VERY hard to be good, but did have to buy a braid of malabrigo nube that had my name on it.  they had lots of other yarn I could easily have walked out with if I weren’t trying so hard to not spend money.  Why is money always an issue?

When we finished there, we asked some of the ladies about where they recommended for lunch.  They pointed us across the street to a very nice sandwich place.  We sat and ate lunch and chatted and chatted for what seemed like 2 minutes but of course was much longer.  Then I dropped her back at her sisters and headed north again.  With the he exception of some traffic going northbound, it was a painless road trip, and a whole lot of fun in between long bouts of driving.  I made it there and back in 13 hours!

Friday began the Christmas prep in earnest cards going out late, packages being mailed late, knitting happening at a furious pace. And a trip to Bangor to get the cars serviced, which included a meal at Ruby Tuesday while we waited for them.

The weather was lousy, rainy, and snowy, and icy, but I skated over to Whorls and Purls on Saturday afternoon.  I was going to be knitting, I might as well be with fellow knitters, right?  One other hardy soul showed up, so the three of us (Deb just has to slide across her yard to open up) had a nice visit and more knitting on the dreaded legwarmers happened.

Sunday I had planned to stay inside and just knit like a fiend, but sister-in-law L called up and invited us over to see her and her “boys” who were home for the holidays.  D from Denver and Z and his wife, EY, from Copenhagen.  We could NOT miss this, so I brought my knitting along,  and A brought a big selection of cookies she has been stockpiling for them, and off we went.  We had such a nice visit – ate a great lunch, played many hands of Rummikube and caught up on what everyone is up to.  And I knit.  those leg warmers passed ten inches!

Old Man Winter wasn’t through with us yet – as predicted, we got a lovely nor’easter on Christmas Day.  A knew there was no point in suggesting we stay home.  Christmas means mom’s house, come hell, high water, or big snow storm.  We got up earlier than we would have preferred, opened our presents to each other, and hit the road.  It was snowing, but hadn’t been for long, so we had no trouble getting there.  My sister had come over the night before, as she has a longer trip.  Apparently, she left a note for Santa, and he was able to find niece E at Gram’s house instead of at home. Brother C and his girl D arrived late morning, but Brother N and his family opted to stay home.  We missed them, but having five fewer people meant there was much less chaos and more capacity for meaningful conversation.  Mom made a delicious meal, and we all got presents galore.  (Mom dragged yarn and a book all the way home from Scotland for me!  Wow!)  We had a fun time with the Yankee Swap – A wound up with a submersion blender, and I got a set of 8 antique blue glasses. I kept knitting on those legwarmers, and around 2, I was able to cast them off and hand them over to the eagerly waiting niece.  No photos of them, I am sorry, but trust me they were long, sparkly, and brightly colored. It was a lovely day all around, and for the most part we ignored the weather happening outside.  But by 3 A was getting antsy to head for home while there was a little daylight.  We shoveled off the car, thinking it wasn’t much snow – maybe three or four inches, and headed up and around Penobscot Bay.  A couple of hours of slow driving later, we drove up our lane, to discover that our driveway was not yet plowed.  A put that Prius into low gear and blasted up the rise into the snow covered driveway.  She made it about halfway, before the Prius informed us she is not a snow plow.  We gave it a couple of tries, but no good, so we walked the last hundred feet up to the house.  And that is when we discovered that we got a whole lot more snow than Mom did.  No wonder the Prius couldn’t plow through it.  It was a good 8 or 10 inches deep!

We made it home safely and were glad to get into our warm home and play with our cats.  🙂

The next day, with the help of our great plow guy, we were able to get the car free and the driveway cleared.

Off we went to Ellsworth to the bank and out for a pizza “lupper” before stopping into exchange presents with some neighbors on the way back home.

Wednesday was the first day in a week that I did not budge from the house.  It was a good choice, because it was the first day of several below zero days!  A good one to sit before the fire and knit and plan knitting!  I swatched some of my Wisconsin yarn for a sweater – hitofude – that I will cast on 1/1/18 for a Knitting Sarah KAL.  Thrilled to find that the yarn works fine for it, as long as I do my usual, down one needle size.  I also worked on the test knit hat I am still working on.  I think I have found a needle size that will work just fine with that.  Hope so!  I don’t really want to knit it again.

I knit up the last ornament of 2017 for my Yankee Swap with A’s family, sometime this weekend.  I think I cleared the decks enough that I can spin!!

Today I also did not budge, but I was more of a puttering person today than a sit in front of the fire and knit person.  Tomorrow I might be warm and rested enough to actually go outside.  The temps will still be below zero, but the wind is supposed to abate, so it might not feel like a suicide mission to go out to the car.  🙂

 

So how was your week?

A lovely pre-holiday weekend behind us and a busy fun week ahead   33 comments

A and I are trying to do a lower key Christmas this year, since our finances are different. Not bad, just not as reliable in a steady stream as previously.  But what that means?  We aren’t really sure.  A wanted a monitor and keyboard, which are for her business, so are tax deductible.  Not a Christmas gift, but she knows they took a chunk out of the Christmas budget, so she won’t tell me what else she wants.  I asked for an ott light, and she got it, then saw me struggling to make cards in the dimness, and gave it to me then.  So Christmas morning will have little under the tree, I think!

Both of our families do Yankee Swaps, and we are making things for those, so that is easy.

The end result is NOT MUCH SHOPPING!

LOTS OF CRAFTING AND BAKING!

More focus on visiting with people!

This weekend was all of that – Saturday morning we got our tree and wreath, and then A took them home while I went over to Whorls and Purls for knitting.  I was working on the legwarmers, which are not as awful as I had dreaded. Knitting with two fingering weight yarns held together goes ever so much faster than one fingering weight.  And makes a fun garment, too. You can’t see it here, but the lighter yarn has sparkles in it. Ooh la la!

I even worked on my chain mail shawl – probably about half way done with that.  And I wound the yarn for a sweater I will start in January.  It was productive, but it also was fun to sit and knit with the ladies again.

When I got home we got the tree up and into it’s stand.  We will decorate it sometime.  Maybe.  There have been years where all we did was put on the lights, then add any ornaments we were given.  This year, though, A has asked if we could really decorate it.  So, we will.

Sunday we had brunch out with A’s nephew and family from PA, and her niece and two “children” who are more local.  It was so much fun!  All the great nephews and niece are in college now, and growing up so nicely! The niece and nephew (who are close in age to us) are fun and interesting people, so it was a great meal.  From there we went grocery shopping since the big store was right in the same parking lot, and then home again to make cards, bake cookies, and knit.

I will get the holiday knitting done on  time, but maybe not the cards, unless I change up how I am doing them. But I really like how they are coming out, so I am just not sure about this.

A made three different kinds of cookies this weekend.  Some to keep and some to give, and she plans more before the week is through.  WOW!  We diet for sure on the first of the year.  But in the meantime, we are enjoying it all very much!

This week is a short one for me – I am off after work on Wednesday.  I have a lot to do, and a training to give on Wednesday afternoon, but then I am off until 1/2/18.  Another WOW! Wednesday is also our holiday potluck, for which I will bake some more cookies, but which I will have to miss most of for the training.  😦

Thursday I am planning to drive down to the Boston area to meet up with a fellow Raveller who could not make the trip to Wisconsin last summer.  That should be loads of fun! Friday is about recovering from the trip and doing housework while A works. And making cards.  Lots of cards!

So, a different kind of busy week this week!

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