Well, wasn’t that something?

The storm that was supposed to graze us with an inch or three of snow and some wind drifted a little to the west, and we were slammed with lots of snow, and wicked winds.  I don’t know for sure, but I swear the windchills were below zero yesterday.

A good day to sit in front of the fire and knit.

Too bad it was a Tuesday.

I went to work.  No early dismissal. Lots of work errands to run, so I had to keep going out in it.

Does anyone know how many more days until spring?

On another note, today is the day my sister and her husband close on their new home.  The first house she has ever bought.  It is very exciting for all concerned.  It is something like three times the size of the apartment they have lived in for ten years or more.  It is old (like 1700s) and well maintained and lovely and has a YARD and a barn and in ground SWIMMING POOL and room for fruit trees and chickens and a girl to play in. It seems like it was worth waiting for.  Worth the cramped fingers they will get from signing here and initialing here for an hour or two today.  🙂

Good times.

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some works in progress and some finishes

 

First, the WIPs.  Durrow is moving along.  It is slow, but enjoyable.  Just need to pay lots of attention and follow the row by row instructions.  Really, the stitch by stitch instructions, as it is not intuitive, but amazingly elegantly designed.  This square is about halfway done.  There are 6 more, plus two triangles before the simple stockinette body.

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Then there is the Hitofude sweater.  That pattern is easy to memorize, and I am chugging along on it.  But the rows are very long and the yarn is thin, so I could knit all evening, and maybe have an inch of progress done!

IMG_2445[1] It’s a little farther along than this shot shows, but not half way through this section yet.  It will get there. No hurry.

 

The big finish since we last talked is the spinning.  I really had fun with this spin, and it really flew, for me.  Less than two weeks from first fuzz to finished skein! I bought this braid when I was in Wisconsin last fall, and I purposely chose colors that were outside my comfort zone, wanting to see how this whole spinning color thing works.  I also wanted to see what all those white chunks did to the color.  I have told you before how I divided it up, planning on spinning three roughly equal sections that would then be plied together.

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I did everything according to plan.

Before too long, I had three bobbins full, ready to ply.

I thought the colors were interesting as I spun them, they blended, and the way the fiber was dyed lent itself to lots of marling and shifting colors.  The three bobbins look very different, and the one that I thought would have long color runs, looked really different from the other two.  (It’s the one on the left in the photo on the left.)  Look at all those yellows and browns!  I could not wait to see the skein of finished yarn

Here it is on the bobbin after plying.

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The colors are really mixed up now, and so pretty!

 

Then I wound it off and skeined it, and washed it and I was astounded to find that I had made

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Green yarn.

This was totally unexpected, by me at least!  There are pops of other colors in there, for sure, and a healthy amount of blue, but very little yellow or brown.

Color me befuddled.  I never expected this result.  I am happy with it, and will experiment with colors again, but it is clear to me that I have a WHOLE LOT to learn about colors and drafting and spinning.

Take another look.  It’s still hard for me to believe.

I can’t wait to see what happens when I knit it!

Endless week!

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.

In Theory

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

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

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!