August 2020 update

I think I can commit to at least one post a month. I hope for more, but it doesn’t seem to be realistic.

After niece E left us, we had a quiet few weeks of same old/same old. I finished up three projects – very happy to have the projects off my needles, because my needles are overburdened, and because I really like the garments.

Icy Shores is a pretty lace and bead scarf that took me longer than it should have, because… too many WIPS! It calls for some contrast nupps, but I didn’t have any stash yarn that looked good with the yarn I was using, so I did them all the same. I think the designer knew what she was talking about. Still, I love it.

I also finished this hat, the second I have made with this pattern. I love it, and will hang onto this one. I might add a bright pink pompom. Or not.

Lastly, I finished up these socks (yes, I have woven in the ends!) which are a lovely bfl/nylon blend, dyed by a local dyer. They will match my Harriet’s Hap that I knit out of her yarn a few years ago.

This week I finished spinning the giant pile (15 ounces) of “festival” merino/silk. I love it and it was easy to spin, but it was TOO MUCH. I am grateful to the Two Ewes Fiber Podcast for hosting a summer spin in, or I might never have finished it.

I wound up with about 1640 yards of three ply, weight ranges between heavy fingering and sport, I think. I have not yet decided what to make with it, but it will likely be some type of sweater, since I got such good yardage.

Last week I was on vacation again, this time the niece visiting was C the younger. She lives in PA now, and so we seldom see her. I was so pleased when she texted last January to ask if she could come. Of course! Then there was a pandemic. Plans were iffy for a long time, but it worked out that she was able to come when she had originally planned to. She was a brave soul, and brought her boyfriend (K) to meet her Maine family, and they FLEW! Who knew you didn’t have to do a grueling 10 hour drive? Yes, she is one of the smart ones. Only her second time on a plane, K’s first, so it was quite an adventure for them. Their first foray into airline logic, where one goes to Charlotte, NC on the way from Scranton to Bangor. But they made it, and felt like everyone was as careful and socially distant as possible, wore masks the whole time, washed and sanitized at every opportunity.

They stayed with us a few days, then went to my brother’s for a few more, then returned to us for the last night of the trip. As is so often the case, it was a flying trip, and they saw the people they wanted to, mostly, but not a thing of what is around us, so I hope that they will come again, and stay a few more days. No Acadia National Park, nor day trips to Deer Isle or Stonington or Blue Hill, all of which are things C liked to do when she used to come for weeks each summer. But it was so good to see her, and get to know her as a grown up. She is very mature and focused about her career, and has goals for her life too. It was impressive to see.

Now that they are gone, I am back at work, but with a COVID19 twist. Because C is from PA, and that is not one of the “allowable” states under our governor’s rules, my workplace has a strict policy that I have to be out of the office for two weeks. I am just lucky that I can work from home. I am not lucky that it has been blazingly hot and extremely humid and we only have fans in most of the house; and that our bedroom, which has AC, is not ideal for working in. I would probably be napping. 🙂

A is still going to work, but being careful and wearing her mask until the two weeks are up and we can assume that if we have the virus we did not get it from C or K.

On the crafting front, since they left, I haven’t been knitting much, a row here and there on my 4 remaining WIPs. I did start spinning for one of my next knitting projects – I am spinning yarn that I hope will be for the shawl Nightshift. It needs a lot of different colors, but the good news is – heavier weight than I usually spin, so I think that it will go pretty fast. I am already halfway done with the first one, and I just started spinning Sunday. These are the braids I am going to spin, and hope that the yarns work as well together as I think that they will.

I have continued my sewing streak this summer, finished one skirt and most of another last week while I was on vacation, and will plug away at the second one in the evenings this week. Masks to match them , of course. What is the point of sewing clothes if not to make matching masks for each outfit? I have fabric for several more skirts all washed, ironed, and waiting to be cut out. I hope to do more sewing when the weather cools off, it is too hot to iron, really, and you can’t get very far before you have to press a seam open or something.

That is about all that is up so far since last I wrote. I will try to get some new project photos to share with you next time, so you can see how I am doing on my remaining WIPS – a scarf, a wrap, a sweater, and a pair of mittens. nothing too difficult, if one would knit on them. 🙂

We survived!

My niece and I had fun and no struggles! Yea! There was lots of cooking and dishes, but also, spinning (by E) and sewing (by E) and knitting (by me) and swimming (by both of us.) She made masks for seven dolls and one for me, and spun this yarn

She did really well for only her second time spinning, and her first time was last November.

I didn’t realize it, but this was the longest she had ever been away from her parents. All three of them did really well!

While she was here, I finished knitting my shawl, and yesterday after she left, I blocked it. I love it! It is so soft and drapes so nicely.

Today I was pretty tired! I lay low, did a bit of spinning and knitting. Just got back in the rhythm of being home.

Tomorrow will be busier, I have to take the truck in for servicing, do the grocery shopping, and get home in time for knitting by zoom at 1. Back to normal activities! Vacation toon is almost over. 😢 The week just flew!

Vacation is on its way!

And I hope that means more time to blog, but time will tell.

I think I am going to have to give up on getting caught up on reading blogs, and just start with now. But I know that means I will have missed so much! So who knows, I might go back and forth.

Niece E the younger is coming to visit this week for three nights! This is so exciting for everyone involved. She has not left her house or yard since March when school closed. We have, but very limited contact, always socially distant, masked, etc, and there is currently very little virus in our county, so my sister feels safe letting this visit happen. When she gets here, we will go no where and do nothing special. It will be bliss for both of us. I have some fiber she can spin, we might do a little dyeing, there will definitely be knitting and reading, and in my case, sewing and spinning. A has to work, summer is her busy season, even in a pandemic, tax assessment goes on. So E and I will have all sorts of freedom to while away hours with fiber. I asked her to bring her violin as well, I want to hear some good fiddle music, and she is getting really good at it now.

I have been only working, knitting, spinning, and sewing. Yes, the sewing is a surprise to me, too. I am suddenly very into making some clothes. I have finished a skirt, and have another that just needs someone to check the hem before I sew it. A third one cut out. I am not sure I will like it, I was short on fabric, so the skirt will be shorter than I normally wear, but I thought I would try it. I can wear shorts under it, right?

The pattern is Donovan from Helen’s Closet

Spinning goes slowly, as always. I have about 5-6 more ounces of a big spin left, I have a bobbin nearly full. I want to fill it before E gets here so she can dominate the wheel, but I am not sure that I will make that goal, there is a lot of housework to do before company can come. When this spin is done, I am hoping to spin for a Nightshift shawl. I had all my fiber picked out, but realized I did more of a fade than will work for this, so I went back to the drawing board. This might be my line up. We will see. It is clearly a lot of spinning, but as the pattern calls for worsted weight, I think the spinning will go pretty fast. Or faster than my usual light fingering weight.

Knitting has been pretty monogamous, my Wheels of Time MKAL shawl is due to be done by July 21, I think I will make it, possibly even with time to block it, that has been my focus.

I did stop to churn out a pair of baby booties for my doctor, who is having a baby and moving to NYC. I have been working in small bits on the Ocena Currents wrap for a friend of mine, and letting other things languish. I am at the stage where I really want some of these big projects off my needles. So, I am working hard on them and resisting cast ons… like Steel Creek and a new gnome MKAL. Get thee behind me, satan!

The yard looks awful, the pool looks great, and that is all OK with me. 🙂

Yes, I will be glad when the pandemic is over and I can move about freely, but truly we are doing OK. I am not yet out of yarn or fiber or fabric, so all is well. How are you doing? I promise to read and respond to the comments. 😉

No apologies or excuses

Who knows why I haven’t been on WordPress lately? I intend to, and then don’t. But I am here now.

Life is going on – we seem to keep ourselves occupied. We are both still fully employed, which is lovely. Except for the occasional bout of what I call pandemic envy, wondering what it is like to have endless hours at home with no outside demands, I am pretty satisfied with things as they have evolved. We do the errands that need doing, occasionally have a socially distant family gathering (one coming up on Sunday), and the crazy hours spent zooming are also spent knitting.

I have decided to focus on spinning this summer. It doesn’t mean I am spinning tons or every day, but that I am making sure that I spin at least once a week. There are some projects I want to spin the yarn for, and it won’t happen if I don’t sit at the wheel. So far I am more than halfway through 15 ounces of merino silk blend, and I love the yarn it is making! I hope to get enough for a sweater – maybe a short sleeved one? but am sure there will be enough for a vest.

That doesn’t mean I am not knitting – I am – holy cow, I am knitting all the time! I have 7 WIPs, which is about 4 too many, but I am rotating through them, and I know that suddenly I will have a bunch of finishes. My job will be to resist casting on 1:1 for finishes… 🙂

I have only one cast on that I am dreaming about, so that is good. If When I finish three things, then I think I will allow myself to cast on Steel Creek, with the yarn from my frogged Volition. I really do want a red pullover, so I am motivated to make it work.

The yard is looking as straggly as usual, given that we have no lawn and never mow, I should not be surprised, right? The pool is in really good shape, so much better than last year, thankfully. I will be needing it later this week when suddenly it will be summer. I have planted more veggies than normal, and have some seeds I really need to get in this weekend. And a few flowers to make it pretty. But I have not really been motivated to do a lot of yard work this spring. This is when I have the pandemic envy. If I was home all day, I could spend a few minutes here and there, and it would look amazing, right? But spending half an hour once a week does not have the same affect.

We intended to rip off the front deck and redo it in a smaller foot print, with a terrace at the foot of it, but that is a job where I am the yeoman, and the foreman isn’t in to it, it seems. I will keep bringing it up gently as in “Do you want to start on deck demo this weekend?” and eventually it will happen.

We have been spending time each weekend dealing with next winter’s pellets. We got 5 tons, and put one ton a weekend into the cellar. It has been lovely weather for this, cool and clear, unlike our usual MO which is to get the darned things in August and September and have to stow them in the hottest days of the year. We have one ton to go, and it is supposed to be hot this weekend, so we might not do it until the following weekend. We have time, thankfully.

Other than that, life is pretty boring around here – no bread baking or fancy cooking, just spending time with sticks and string and wheel and fluff. With the occasional few minutes at the sewing machine (that is all I can stand) working on a skirt and some masks.

Now I will go and read to see what you all have been up to.

End of vacation…and how I did on that list!

  • The weekend is over, and it went pretty much as planned. My knitting group meets via Zoom every Saturday for a couple of hours… and every few weeks my mom, sister, cousins, and aunts meet on Zoom. That was this week, too, so lots of time sitting in front of the computer!
  • And it took two days to wrap up that Friday list…

    • hook up the pool filter so the rain we get stays in the pool.

    Well, I worked at it but clearly something isn’t tight enough, because the water level is unchanged, and it rained! Hard! I will double check it all again on later today.

      Also, call the pool store, hoping that we can figure out how to get the water tested and chemicals bought.

    I did this, they were open, so I masked up and got it done.

    • If that means I have to go out, I will do the week’s shopping while I am out.

    It did, and I did. Wondering why so many people think that they don’t need masks, and the one way aisles aren’t for them?

    • And drive through Dunkin for a free donut.

    And it was a good treat!

    • And go to the PO.

    No squishy packages this week. 🥴

    • Spin for half an hour.

    I spun for at least that long every day this weekend, and my bobbin is getting full. Soon I will be plying!

    • Pick up the last weekly clue for the Romi Hill MKAL shawl.

    It came out around 1, and I worked on it steadily all weekend. Finished the bind off Sunday night at bedtime. I will block it this week and share FO photos eventually.

    • Give all my other knitting WIPs some love…
  • I managed this! Icy Shores got lots of love while I zoomed, I passed the halfway mark.
  • The mittens got some love, the thumb gusset is on waste yarn, and it all fits back on my tiniest circs (8 inches).
  • The sweater got a few rows of neck edging done, and the Estonian Lace MKAL got a few rows done. Even the Ocean Current wrap for my customer got some attention between Romi MKAL rows.
    • Lastly on this list is sewing masks for us.

    I did make half a dozen on Saturday morning while A was out of the house getting her remote starter installed in her new truck. Did I mention we bought a new truck this week? She loves her truck, but pounds on the miles. So when the stars aligned, that Toyota is offering 0 percent financing, and the trade in value was about double what we owed, we went for it. The “old” truck had under 100,000 miles but wouldn’t for long, so it was now or never. Payments are the same, truck had only 25 miles, interest rate is now zero. Her birthday was last week, she is quite pleased with her present!

    So that is pretty much how the weekend went… lots and lots of shawl knitting and a few other crafty things.

    Now I am headed upstairs to go back to work. How was your weekend? And what are you doing today?

    A Friday list for May Day

    Strange as it might seem, I am on vacation this week. We booked several vacation weeks at the beginning of the year, thinking it would be, ya know, another year like all the previous ones… taxes would wind up in April, I would be exhausted. A would be about to launch into her busy season, but still able to break away for a few days of time off.

    Who knew?

    Who knew AARP would shut the tax program down literally overnight? And that the rest of my job would be deemed essential? I am thankful for that, but March was very confusing and stressful. I suspect I am not alone in that feeling! A’s town offices reacted to March differently, some were happy to have her come in on her usual schedule, others wouldn’t let her in the parking lot. So there was a bit of scrambling to figure out how she could work remotely (yea, TeamViewer!) and a bit of anxious planning on our part as we figured out budgets for different scenarios.

    But we were so lucky, so very lucky, that both of us were able to keep working. And she was able to keep working safely, no public interaction, socially distant while at work.

    I had to work harder at being socially distant for those first few weeks of everything shutting down. I put a line of tape down in my office and asked people not to cross it. They thought I was nuts. I made cloth masks and wore them to the office. They told me I inly needed to wear them “in public.” Hello! What are all you people if not public? And I chafed at my boss saying he needed me to be in the office every day. Really, I do grantwriting and communications. I get that our industry is essential, but not that it was essential for me to physically be present.

    Then the governor issued stay at home orders for April, and I was able to convince him. So for the month, I worked at home 4 days a week and went in the office one day a week.

    A works at home a few days a week, and we quickly discovered that our lovely open floor plan is not particularly conducive to two of us working from home! Let’s just say that it is good that we have closets. Many a phone call has been taken in ours.

    So when this week arrived, I was ready for a break. A had filled most of the week with consulting; back in March when things were uncertain, it seemed prudent to maximize income. That means I have been home alone. How sad! 😜

    I have been puttering and doing lots of knitting and spinning, and a little sewing and weaving. I have tackled a seasonal chore a day, but not anything too time consuming. One day it was cleaning the bathroom fan, another it was washing the bedroom windows. I have enjoyed my staycation, but the new reality is creeping in, and I want to go to work Monday. Even though I love being home, something is seeping in…anxiety because of all the people who gave no choice? An awareness of the need for human interaction? I am not sure what it is. So here it is Friday, and I have a bunch of things I want to get done. I thought I would share the list with you!

    • The seasonal chore for today is to hook up the pool filter so the rain we get stays in the pool.
      Also, call the pool store, hoping that we can figure out how to get the water tested and chemicals bought.
    • If that means I have to go out, I will do the week’s shopping while I am out.
    • And drive through Dunkin for a free donut.
    • And go to the PO.
    • Spin for half an hour. I did that yesterday and liked seeing the progress.
    • Pick up the last weekly clue for the Romi Hill MKAL shawl. It usually releases mid-day. I am totally loving this knit, but not the online group. I won’t do an MKAL with that group again, though I will knit more of her patterns, they are lovely… and have charts as well as written directions. It takes time to do that, I really appreciate it.
    • Give all my other knitting WIPs some love… the latest monthly clue for the Estonian Lace scarf came out this week, I started that as soon as it did. A few rows a day keeps me up to date on that clue. There is also a lace wrap I am knitting for a customer, I do a few repeats a day on that. And a sweater I started for myself that I try to work on each day. Then there is another lace and beaded scarf I have going. Thankfully that one is at a stage where I have the pattern memorized, so it is the one I work in when only mindless knitting will do. And then there are some mittens for A for Christmas. I am about a quarter of the way through the first one, but I have time. 🙄
    • Lastly on this list is sewing masks for us. Restrictions are easing, but with the freedom to move comes the need for more masks. I hope to bang out several today.

    By the time I get through all of this, A should be home from work and the weekend can begin! Weekends are so different now, aren’t they? We kind of like the freedom from social activities, but miss seeing the people. Still, we are grateful to both be introverts with hobbies…

    Well, I had better get up and moving, that list won’t do itself.

    Just my cup of tea

    I finished my second Milky Oolong shawl today. Blocked, ends woven in, truly finished. I love the finished shawl, but probably shouldn’t have done two in a row, it got really boring toward the end.

    But it was worth it.

    Not so productive after all!

    I just reviewed my last post with knitting, back at the beginning of February. I wanted to see what was the last knitting project I showed you, so I could catch you up.

    Well, now, two months later, tons of knitting hours later, here are the FOs

    Two chemo hats and a gnome. Seriously, that is all I finished all year? Ye gods.

    I do have a few long term projects that I am working on, one that is near to do. That is a second Milky Oolong shawl, this one in a soft pink. Not as dramatic as the purple and orange one, and the larger size. I am on the endless picot edge. I hope to finish it in a week or so. I do a bit on it every night. It is pinker than this.

    I also have a year long mystery knit along scarf going on. So far I have kept up with the monthly clues. Lace weight with beads, Estonian lace. It is fun and I think will be pretty. This isn’t a great shot of the first three clues, sorry! April is out now, so I will be working on it this weekend.

    I don’t have a current picture of the sweater on the needles, it is one I am making up the pattern for, changing a basic worsted weight raglan to a sport neck raglan with a deep v-neck, a la Volition. It is taking forever because the rows are sooooo loooong. I am near the sleeve divide, perhaps I will get a photo of it after that.

    And I am working on a lace scarf from a pattern called icy shores. I went with larger beads,and opted out of contrasting nupps, but I think it is going well despite the design changes. I am quite a bit farther than this, but you can see the color and the beads in this one.

    So, as if that isn’t enough, I signed up for Romi Hill’s Mystery knit along shawl. That starts a Friday and will be intense, a clue a week. I anticipate falling behind.

    And oh, yeah, I have a pair of snow fling mitts on the needles for A for Christmas.

    That’s all the knitting, for real. At the moment.

    There has been some spinning, too. I started spinning some silk/merino I got at a couple of fiber festivals. I have about 15 ounces, I am going to make a traditional 3 ply. I have one bobbin full and one bobbin half full, and at least a dozen ounces to go!

    It is surprising to me how the fiber turns out when spun, the colors mostly disappear, leaving a blue gray. That is ok with me, I like blue gray, but I was still surprised.

    There also was sewing, but I will leave that for another day. Nothing is finished there, either, so no rush!

    It seems I am just plugging away at things,and I know, I will suddenly one day have everything done as if by magic. I will be sure to let you know when that happens.

    Hello, my name is Sarah

    No, I am not new here, just haven’t been hanging out here lately. I got busy… the world got crazy… and while everything looks the same, somehow it is different around here. Who messed with my editor?

    So, let me just jump in. We are healthy and as isolated as we can be. Still able to go to work, though work is closed to the public. Other than that, we stay hone ALL the tine. It’s great for getting knitting done. How are you doing?