the weekend has gotten away

I feel like weekends are so short when I have to work on Fridays. You know, like the rest of the world.

This weekend was no exception. Friday I was in SW Harbor again doing taxes, we had a full slate, and everyone showed up. By the end of the day, I was tired, but it felt good to help everyone. Friday night we went over to House of Pizza for supper – it is always surprisingly good (don’t judge a restaurant by its uninspiring architecture!) It was a good low-key choice for the end of the week.

Saturday sister-in-law L joined us in a trip to Mom and B’s to take them out to lunch to celebrate Mom’s birthday. We visited with Mom while she opened her presents, and then went out to lunch. She chose Cafe Miranda in Rockland – the food was really good, I had a to die for lamb patty. Very simply done with yogurt and cukes on focaccia. Delicious! After lunch we did a quick tour of the garden – daffies and crocus are poking their heads out of the ground, snow drops are blooming, it is looking like early spring in her yard!

On the way home, we stopped at Over the Rainbow, L had not been there yet (good excuse!!!!!!) and everything was on sale, 20% off! I picked up some more Lamb’s Pride for various projects I might make… or because I could not resist the colors???

Today I FINALLY finished the blue sweater for my coworker. If it fit me, I would model it for you, but it doesn’t. If she lets me, I will get a photo of her in it for you all. Suffice to say, I am glad it is done. I almost immediately started the next project – leg warmers for oldest niece, C. Not sure how they will turn out as I am totally guessing on everything except the length (she wants 28 inches) and the color( she wants a fade from dark blue to light blue) but I will take photos of them for you as I go. I am using Cascade 220 superwash sport weight, in three shades of blue (I got 2 skeins of each, I think it will be more than enough.) So far, so good, I wound all the balls, and cast on the stitches. Simple pattern, tubes of 2×2 ribbing until 28 inches or I run out of yarn. πŸ™‚ I’ll get bored before they get done, but so far I have been really good at sticking to my rule to reduce UFOs. No starting the next project until this one is done. I have modified it somewhat to allow hats to go on simultaneously with bigger projects, simply because of the mobility of the hats. I am never without my knitting!

One thing I should have started on but did not is Easter cards. I don’t have much time, but I also don’t feel inspired. Guess I had better get over that. And I also was supposed to get ready to paint upstairs, but as A didn’t work on the bookshelves, I have more time than I thought to paint the loft. Instead, today she worked on the insulation in the closet, and balanced the checkbook. Two major chores!

She did tell Mom that by the end of her vacation, the bookshelves will be built, installed and filled with all of our books. That is a bit frightening, as that vacation is in a few weeks… Glad I am working most of that week! But it does mean I have to get the room painted and the bookshelves painted before then. Legwarmers might not get done as fast as I would like.

Nancy knits

I can’t remember if I have told you about Nancy. If I have, skim ahead. If not, settle back, there’s a story here.

My mom had two cousins on her dad’s side, Nancy and her sister. They were both older than Mom and her sisters, so of course, she looked up to them as lovely, cool, very grown up, when she was growing up. She tells me that as a girl, she used to wish she would grow up to be as pretty as Nancy. (side story: one day many years ago, I stopped by unannounced at my grandparents. My grandmother opened the door to let me in, and I could see into the living room where someone was sitting on the sofa. I remember saying to my grandmother “I didn’t know Mom was down!” which made her chuckle. It wasn’t Mom, it was Nancy. Wishes do come true.) anyway…

Nancy married and had a family and lived half way across the country, was in about the same financial condition that we were, so I never met her until that day at Gram’s when I was in my 20’s. But I heard lots about Nancy. My grandfather was very proud of this niece. She had her own business knitting. She actually made money knitting, and not in some sweat shop. She designed her own things and sold’em and people paid her for it. It was an amazing concept.
nancy 2
So, after that meeting at Gram’s, I emailed Nancy to ask her for advice on how to price things. That’s when I found out the secret: there is no way to price hand-made original designs so that you truly make money, unless you are either knitting for the wealthy or find a market for your patterns. You can receive some money for your garments, for sure. And it might very well cover your costs, but it will probably NEVER cover your time in designing and knitting. Nancy did inspire me to keep knitting, and to think about ways to use my skill and love of fiber to make ME happy, and maybe someday make some money.
nancy 3
I kept in touch, pretty loosely with her over the next several years. we only met one more time in person, at her mother’s funeral, where I also met Nancy’s daughter. She also lived far away, and we kept in touch by email, better than Nancy and I did.

Nancy was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. Her daughter kept the family up to date on how she was doing, and near the end of Nancy’s life, her daughter went to stay with her. She emailed that one thing that Nancy was very worried about was her stash. What would happen to all her lovely yarn when she was gone? I emailed that if it would set her mind at ease, tell her I would welcome the stash and appreciate it. She settled down and I forgot all about it. Months later, my cousin emailed me that the stash was on its way. Her mom had been so appreciative that I was interested, that she would hear of nothing else.

Well, when it arrived, it was an immense amount of yarn, I can’t even begin to tell you. More yarn than I could ever use. really beautiful stuff. 4 large boxes of it, vacuum packed.

I went through it all, every little skein and ball. I sorted out what I loved from what I didn’t, what I thought I would use from what I knew I wouldn’t. then, I called my sister. Did she want it? We finally lit on the idea of having a party with all the women in the family, to dig through Nancy’s stash and divvy it up. After all, why should I be the only one to benefit from this wonderful gift? We were all Nancy’s cousins. So we did that, I took the yarn down in large trash bags, I can’t remember how many, but the car was full.

My mom and her two sisters, my sister, my cousins all had a great day, and they all went home with bags of yarn. I came back with two trash bags that I shared with my sisters in law, and we all moved on.

nancy 4

But upstairs in the craft room, I have a few totes of yarn from Nancy. And I also have a bag with some WIPs. I pull them out and look at them, wish I could do forensic knitting so I could finish them. today as I was cleaning up the craft room, I came upon that bag again, and took it out. I held that knitting and wondered when Nancy had started the things. Was she feeling good one day, and thought she would be able to finish? Did she get bored with the pattern and put it aside, in favor of some new yarn or pattern? I have no way to know.

Today I unraveled two of the WIPs, winding the yarn, and thinking about her, and how creative she was, what an accomplished knitter. I thought about what I would make with the yarn I was wrapping into balls. It might not be as original in design, but I am also a competent knitter, so I know it will be well made. I think one of the projects will turn itself into hats, but the other, a wonderful rayon chenille, begs to be made into something special and luxurious. I don’t know yet what it is. Or who it is for. But I know, as I knit it, Nancy will be there beside me, her needles clicking away.

nancy 1

I often think of Nancy as I knit, whether or not I am using her yarn. I wonder what she would think of the hats I make, much more basic and less fancy than the ones she used to sell. But they keep heads warm, and they are well made, from good yarn. I wonder why she didn’t write down her patterns, so I could finish her WIPs. I wonder at her optimism, buying so much yarn at the end of her life, but I am very grateful that she did! I am glad she joins me in my craft room and on the couch, at meetings when I work on the endless hats.

weekend update

As you may have guessed – no Friday list – it was tax day. I was in Milbridge, and had a busy day – all good!

Friday night I went to a fundraiser for a local non-profit. It was a GREAT way for an introvert like me to help out. For two $20 tickets, we each got a handmade pottery bowl and a take out cup of homemade soup. I basically bought the tickets, chose the bowls from those available from local potters, and picked out two to go containers of soup. I chatted for a few minutes with a few ladies I know, and came home, heated up the soup and had supper. It accomplished a few good things – supported a local non-profit, did a bit of networking, got a yummy supper AND we now have two pretty blue bowls from one of my favorite local potters.

Saturday was a funny kind of day – we had to stop at the bank and sign a few papers for our refinance – YEAH!!!, then we went over to EBS so I could show A the tiles I would like to use for our backsplash, and we puttered around the store looking at things. I got a few seed packets, always optimistic that spring will arrive.

We went to Martha’s cafe for brunch, and then to Home Depot for more aisle wandering. Still looking for the perfect lights for our headboard which exists only in my head. A found something she has wanted for a while – battery operated skill saw, and some kind of sealer for the table saw deck. From there, we went to Marden’s, and wandered a bit. I found a few spools of ribbon, but not much else. I really have a hard time with salvage style stores. It just all looks like junk to me sometimes. Other times, I am full of creativity about what I can do with these things in the wrong colors and shapes. Saturday was not one of those days.

All of this shopping was a way to kill some time, until I met up with one of my coworkers, to go to the local farmers market annual meeting. They had asked us to come and talk about ways to raise funds to support their “double SNAP” program. We were glad to do that, as we have worked with them for years to offer the program with grant funding. That funding is nearly through, and we want the program to go on. So, we did that, and then she dropped me back of to meet up with A, who, although I thought she would be shopping without me, actually was taking a nap in the sun in the parking lot. Not a bad way to spend a beautiful late winter afternoon.

Today is a low-key home day. A did some work up in that big closet of hers, getting the insulation in right. I finished reading a suspense novel – a Lisa Gardner, titled Catch Me – that I could NOT put down, even though, it turns out, I had figured out who did it, and even why, before the end. It still was really good. This afternoon, after I get offline heeheehee I will head up to clean up the craft room. Two reasons. I do need to start making the easter cards for the family, and think about the April birthday cards. But also, next weekend, I want to get painting the loft, and so there needs to be a place to put the things that are there. I think that will be the craft room. I am getting excited about getting that room done – and the books unpacked. I will get to see my old favorites, and maybe some I have forgotten I have… it’s weeks away, but in the foreseeable future.
new pattern idea
Somewhere in there, I finished another hat. I have a vision of a new hat in my head. This isn’t it, although it has some of the elements I want in it. Same basic shape I always do, but I want to figure a way to make it a little more feminine, without going overboard. So the roll brim is supposed to be more like a ruffle – I will work on that – and the cable cuff is supposed to show more. That it doesn’t is my fault, I didn’t worry too much about what yarn I used, and the tweedy combination made by a thread each of gray and green wools makes details hard to see. I plan to work on this pattern again in some plainer yarn, and see how it comes out. I’ll keep you posted, and if it ever is worth sharing, you will be the first to know.

I am almost done with the sweater I am working on for a coworker. I will need her to try it on to make sure I have the lengths of things right, but I might get it done, other than that, today, which would be great! After that, it is on to leg warmers for niece C. Then, I think socks for me, or maybe back to the big red sweater. Also for me. With hats in between. Not for me. And somewhere in there is the blue-green cowl with last weeks yarn. For me. πŸ™‚

So. Tomorrow is Monday, start of another long work week. Next Friday it’s taxes in SW Harbor again – so no fun Friday list. But I hope to remember to get before and after pictures of the painting project to share with you.

March fools!

This weather has been SO dreary – snow, rain, snow, rain, gray, gray, gray. For weeks. And so we do our morning exercise on the treadmill and bike in the cellar. Doubly dreary.

Sunday we were headed out to run a few errands, and A said, looking down the road “Wow, we could have walked outside today!” The road was wet, but clear. So we eagerly agreed that we would walk outside the next day.

Monday morning, early (but before bright!) we got up, ready to walk outside for a big change. We bundled up in sweat pants, warm sox, shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, mittens, lights. opened the door to head out

SURPRISE!

Not just snow on the ground, but still snowing, and snowing hard.

This pair of March fools peeled off all the extra layers and headed downstairs to the dreaded machines.

What a glum way to start the week.

PS. The snow melted, of course, by noon. And we try to remember and be thankful for the strange winter that has let us walk outside before dawn MANY mornings when we normally would not be able to. I remember that one of them was at the beginning of February, so we should not complain that March is behaving like… well, like March. Fickle.

birthdays

Saturday the kittens turned one year old. We had an impromptu party for them – A’s sisters and brother-in-law came over for waffles. Zumba was very social, but Allie hid under the bed covers. Afterwards, she apparently felt like that gave her some special rights.
it's my birthday

She was wrong, and immediately after this photo was taken, she was chased off the counter, and the drying mat went off to the laundry. Really, it did!

Today I spent some time in the craft room – besides the kittens, we have three important March birthdays, so I had some cards to make. Assuming that the recipients don’t read this, I’ll share them here with you.

Diane
This one is for my sister-in-law, who has a birthday on Tuesday. It looks harder than it is to make this one – the hardest part was finding colors of double-sided paper that I liked. BoBunny came through for me with this nice paper, striped on one side, and softly shaded colors on the reverse. Then I used my Cuttlebug and a set of Spellbinders dies to make the medallion.

Richard

Then comes my brother-in-law, who will be 50 on the tenth (the inside says “Welcome to the your 50’s!”) It was the easiest card I have ever made, as it is just a fun sheet of word paper and a sticker. But I think it says it all. πŸ™‚

mom

The last one is for mom, who has her birthday on the 12th. It’s hard to get a good photo of iridescent chalk, but trust me, it looks soft and shimmery. The background paper is from K and Company, and has a nice embossed texture to it. The oval is once again cut with a Spellbinder die (remember, A got me a bunch of them? I love them!) the stamp is from Hero Arts. I used a glue pad, so that the chalk would stick to the image, then I brushed the whole thing with a soft gray shimmer chalk, and highlighted the scallops with the same blue as the stamped image. It looks a whole lot different without the glue to hold the chalk. Sealed the whole thing with fixative, then used foam squares to stick it to the card base.

And now all there is to do is remember to mail them off in a timely fashion! And of course, start planning for Easter cards and the April birthdays.

How I did with the Friday list

Oh, Mom and I had some good shopping time! Can’t speak for her but I had a really good time.

I did as many of the errands as I could in the morning, including the library (closed!) and the bookstore. I was pleased to find the book club book I was looking for – Light Between Oceans, and a few magazines I did not know I was looking for. πŸ™‚

I met Mom as planned, at Reny’s parking lot, where we left a car.

First off, we went and found Good Karma farm. That was fun, we got a tour of the barns, met the alpacas, the icelandic sheep, the chicken, the cat. Then we learned all about the process the fiber goes through to become the most soft delicious yarn ever – and they do it all there on site, which makes me like it even more. Lastly, we went into the little store area, and drooled all over beautiful yarn. Finally, Mom selected some to make a sweater vest, and I selected some to make a cowl. I had a really hard time deciding between that and a stuffed mitten kit. I might go back soon for the stuffed mittens….
good karma yarn
When we were done there, we headed downtown, and I showed Mom where Heavenly Socks yarn store is – it is right on Main Street, but very easy to miss as it is in the basement of its building. While there, we managed to get more yarn, and I got some needles I need for the sweater I am working on. AND I found a color of Lamb’s Pride that i have not seen before – periwinkle frost, or something. A color I will definitely get more of, although this skein is for hats, I think I will need to have more of its lusciousness in my life.

After that, we went to Darby’s for lunch. It was delicious and perfect for the day – I had a cup of chili and a half a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato and the BEST french fries. Yum. I was too full for dessert (of my own), but I managed a few bites of Mom’s toffee sundae. πŸ™‚

Following lunch, we were recharged, and went down the street to Fiddlehead Artisan supplies. It is a wonderful store – huge supply of fabric, mostly cottons, but some woolens and silks as well. The prints are just lovely, not the usual calicoes, but really innovative and interesting prints. I managed to choose 4 silk fat quarters for pillows for the living room sofa. I love a store that sells fat quarters of everything they have, not just the quilting fabrics. Sometime you just need a fat quarter. πŸ™‚ They also have water-color pencils and crayons, acrylic paints, handmade papers, all sorts of bits and pieces of art supplies, and also, that thing that is IMPOSSIBLE to find in big box stores – WOOL felt. πŸ™‚ I had fun in there, and I think mom did, too. She bought a jacket pattern, which I love – and might borrow. πŸ™‚
silk quarters 5
Then it was back to Reny’s, and I got a few treats for A as well as the ginger oil I went for. Mom wanted a lampshade, but they don’t sell them, except on lamps. Still, she managed to get a few things. Can’t go to Reny’s without getting something!

We parted company, and I headed over to the beautiful big Hannaford for the groceries. Realized I forgot my list, but did it from memory, which meant lots of wandering up and down the aisles. It’s all exercise, right? (Only forgot one thing!)

Looking back, I can see that I was in a blue/green mood – maybe because it ahs been so GRAY lately? Or maybe because there is no shade of blue I won’t fall for…