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?

    Some finishes and other activity

    There have been loads of finishes since I last posted!

    The long picot row is done and the shawl is blocked. It’s been worn, even, and goes well the intended skirt.

    Also finished, some interminable black fingerless gloves, and a couple of hats.

    Another finish I didn’t get a photo of is a pair of knitted knockers, plus another hat.

    All the hats and the knockers are for A’s niece who is in for a wild ride. She has been diagnosed with Stage IIIB cancer, has had a mastectomy, and is now undergoing a zillion scans to determine if the cancer has spread, and what the treatment will be.

    So while we wait, I knit. She said the knitted knockers are better than anything else she has tried, so I will keep knitting those. And soft washable hats.

    Meanwhile, Mom recovered amazingly fast from her attempt to give us all heart attacks emergency surgery, even to the point of being able to attend Pies On Parade, which benefits her local food pantry. She is on their board, and is one of the organizers of the big, complicated event. Normally she is tearing about town checking on volunteers at all the venues for the afternoon. This year, she was boss and I was her driver and her legs. We both were tired at the end of the day, but it was a great event again this year. Mom says it is her last one of organizing it. Next year, we will go and eat pie, instead. That will be more fun.

    And all the tax training is done, it is time to start preparing returns. Today is the first day, and I will be in a new venue, working with a different volunteer from my normal crew. But we all know what we are doing, so I am pretty sure it will feel familiar in about two minutes. I will be doing this every other Saturday. It will really cut into my knitting time! Also, it means I will miss Whorls and Purls every other week, which is a drag. But spring will come, and things will return to normal!

    I have to run and get ready, but I will be back…

    There has been knitting, around the edges

    Lots of it, in fact, but no finished objects, sad to say.  There will be some within a week or so, but that’s another post. Meanwhile I am plugging away on my Volition sweater, and my Japanese MKAL scarf.  Fingerless mitts  for a friend are my traveling project.

    Do you notice the small number of WIPS?  Once that craft fair was over, I settled down to normal.  I did knit a bracelet for a special order yesterday – once the closure is on and the ends woven in, that will also be an FO. But as  it is already off the needles, I don’t really count it as a WIP any more.

    I do have a scarf on the loom, and I have to say, I am loving that – it is from some hand spun, and it is a polwarth silk blend – so soft! –   in blues and greens with a bit of brown – kind of moody.  I have just over a foot done, so it is also just a WIP.

    And I have a skirt that is just a WIP as well, it needs ironing, then the elastic waist band made, and then the hem.  Not too much work, just need to do it.

    We have been busy with other things, though.  My youngest niece, E the younger, came to stay for 24 hours over Thanksgiving weekend, and we had such fun!  She wanted to learn to spin and weave and I thought dye yarn, but she tells me no, I imagined that.  Just as well, since we had to eat and sleep, too.  We did get her spinning – not drafting, but she did make some lovely two ply art yarn.  It’s a bit twisty, as she is better at treadling than drafting and feeding the yarn through the orifice. Sadly, she hasn’t got access to a wheel at home, so she won’t get to improve until next time she comes to visit.  I think she did like her yarn, though, because she has on her Christmas list “yarn with different colors that isn’t twisty”

    We also tried some weaving, and she was much better than that – her selvages were better than mine, but she found it very boring.  So, she went back to spinning, and finished off the 4 ounces of corriedale that she had started the day before.

    She also discovered the books (hard not to, as she was sleeping in the loft where all the books are kept) so she spent a lot of time reading.

    On the whole, it was a very nice visit, she said we were “good people” and she wants to come back, maybe for two or three nights. that would be fine with us!

    We then had  a couple of weeks of normal business – working a lot, some Christmas shopping, errands, etc.  We got our tree and put it up a week or so ago, but as yet it has no lights nor ornaments.  It will happen soon, I think.  Or not at all!

    This past Saturday was my family carol sing, which, if you have been around here very long, you know happens every year.  My mom and her two sisters, and as many of their offspring as can come, do.  this year we were missing two cousins and a whole host of the next generation, but we still had a nice crowd. It’s at my sister’s in Portland, which is as close to the middle as we can get.  She has a lovely house for entertaining – and a music room, so the non-singers can enjoy conversation elsewhere and not interrupt the singers.  We go through the whole carol book (assembled by my sister many years ago) and just have fun reveling in the sound of the season.  We also get to visit people we see too seldom, which is nice. A had to work, so I rode down with Mom and B and my aunt G.  That was nice as I had lots of car knitting time.  You know me, I can knit better than I can sing, so my Volition sweater got lots of love that day.

    Yesterday we were going to do the  tree, but had so many other chores to do that we pooped out before it got done. I did do a bit of weaving and a lot of knitting, though.  I also got out my American Girl dolls and all of their things.  Niece E the Younger read all of the many of those books I have while she was here, so I decided to give her a doll and all of her clothes for Christmas.  I asked her which girl she would like if she could have one, and she said Molly, so Molly it is.  I need to replace some elastic in a few outfits – I realized that these dolls are probably 30 years old, so no wonder the drawers are droopy!

    It was kind of fun to have them out, and get them dressed in their Christmas finery.  After Molly leaves, I will still have 5, just waiting for the other nieces to get settled and have kids, I guess.  None of them are interested in having the dolls now, I don’t think.

    Other stuff going on – A’s niece T was diagnosed with breast cancer, and has a mastectomy coming up very shortly.  We are so hopeful that it will take care of the problem. Not a great way to spend Christmas, though.  A did her usual thing, and we got enough toys, books, chocolate, and other goodies to wrap up so she has a package to open every day while she is home recovering.  They say 14 days.  I can’t imagine that would be long enough, but I guess “they” know these things.  We will postpone Christmas with A’s family until she is well enough to participate.  She doesn’t want to do it ahead of time because she is too nervous and stressed with everything she has to do ahead of the surgery.  Luckily, her children are grown, and her daughter still lives at home, so she doesn’t have to worry about small kids nor being home alone with no one to care for her.

    And that is what I have been up to the past few weeks.  What have you been up to?

     

    You can cook a frozen turkey

    Or: I still learn something new every day.

    Yesterday went as planned, we had a delicious meal, everyone seemed happy to be there and together.

    I planned to cook two turkeys and I did. The first one went like clockwork, in the oven at 4:30 am, out a little after 8.

    The second one was still frozen solid! Both had been in the fridge since Friday. I guess I should have checked them the night before.

    A quick check of the internet said it was OK to cook, just would take a lot longer, which it did. All day. Didn’t come out until after everyone had left!

    So, we have leftovers!

    But truthfully, it was better than the first, so tender it almost fell off the bones. Maybe next year I will get one large turkey instead of 2 small ones, and cook it from frozen… but maybe not, too.

    And the first turkey provided plenty for the meal and some leftovers to send home with the family, too. Just not as much going out the door as we had hoped.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Getting ready

    Hello!  I went AWOL again, so sorry!

    I have been totally focused on getting things done,and dealing with deadlines, in work, home, and knitting.

    The work pressure is never ending… but right now it is a big state grant that needs writing, to continue providing a great service that we do.  I don’t like writing state grants because the format feels very choppy to me.  Have to do it exactly as they say, and they are repetitious.  I never know if I can trust them to realize I already covered something, or if they want me to be equally repetitious. I go with repeating myself in case the thing is broken up into parts and the reviewers don’t have access to the prior info.  But i feel for them if they get the whole thing. This one got a lot more stress filled when the boss said to me that he learned there is at least one other organization bidding on our region.  Mind you, they are located 100 miles away, and that will go over like a lead balloon in teh region, but it might make sense to the state reviewers.  So it is on me to make a strong case.  UGH.  And never mind that they just released the answers to all teh questions we asked at the reviewers conference two months ago.  and that the whole things is due a week from tomorrow.  Do they not realize grant writers like holidays too?

    So, I canceled vacation days scheduled for the early part of this week, but kept Friday off. I have big plans for Friday and Saturday, and I was not willing to let people down on account of work.  I will figure it out.

    That leads me to the deadlines at home – Thursday we are hosting A’s family as always – there will be 7 of us we think.  I do the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, they bring whatever else they think we need, and it is always interesting to see what turns out to be. I think there will be dessert, if past years are anything to go by. so there is the cleaning and cooking and cleaning that are involved there.  

    Then, niece E the younger is coming to stay on Friday, until Saturday morning.  She has been asking for this visit, because she wants me to teach her how to spin and weave and dye yarn. She has never been for a solo visit before, for a variety of reasons, and so this is a big deal! She is the only one of my nieces and nephew who has NOT been here for an overnight visit, and I am really looking forward to it.  I warned her that 24 hours is not long enough to learn all of that, but we will give it a shot.  As a result, we have to get the whole house cleaner, as opposed to just the downstairs for Thursday.   That is what the vacation days were for.  Luckily A is a good sport, and owes me for doing the household chores all summer while she worked… now she can do them while I work!

    the knitting and crafting deadlines are almost all gone!  I knit a bzillion hats for the craft fair last week, as well as some ornaments.  Luckily a friend of mine is knitting gnomes like mad and I offered to sell them for her at the table, along with my SIL’s hand sewn teddy bears.  They both filled my table and made it look abundant, without me knitting a million more things.  And their things sold VERY well! I think we sold more than 30 gnomes and ten bears.  I sold one ornament, one pair of baby booties, and 4 hats.  So I am glad I didn’t make more than I did.

    I also finished all the baby knitting for my friend, in just the nick of time.  I delivered the last thing – cactus blanket the day before she hopped on her flight to await the baby.  I was thrilled to be done with the pressure knitting.

    Now I am working on three things – two knit alongs that I am behind on, and one pair of mitts that is a gift with no deadline. One KAL is the Japanese scarf one that i have been doing all year.  I am about halfway done with the last clue and the next and final one is due out this weekend. I will finish on time.  The other is a Patty Lyons knit along, the Volition sweater KAL.  I am pretty far behind on that, I can’t finish by the deadline looming in early December, but I will get the sweater done shortly after that, I am looking forward to having it this winter.  And I have other sweaters I want to cast on! Luckily, Patty has prizes for WIPs… 🙂

    If you notice, I have no shawls on the needles!  I have them going in my head, though, and they will be my reward for finishing any of these things.  🙂

    I also managed to clear off my bobbins and not start spinning anything else, in prep for E’s visit.  I have SO MUCH new fiber since i last spun, and I am tempted, but have resisted thus far.  I can spin after Saturday.

    I also need to weave – I have a project on the loom that isn’t quite done, and I need to get that cleared off as well, so E can choose and execute her own project this weekend… I am sort of thinking I will get her spinning, the I will weave and get it finished.

    Last weekend Whorls and Purls had a potluck and destash party, it is making me want to knit and spin and weave all the things!  The deal is this – gather up all your yarn and fleece, and fabric that you have and are ready to part with, and bring it to one location.  Dump it out on the table.  Everyone draws a number and we go around in order over and over until we can’t do it any more or there is nothing left that you want.  On your turn, you choose something from the table that you want.  I kept my word to A that I would not come home with more than I brought, in fact I came home with way less!  I also felt good that there was hardly anything left that I had brought when it all ended.  One of the group offered to gather up the unwanted things and take them to Good Will, so none of us brought home anything we didn’t want.  It was so much fun, and cleared things out AND gave me a bag full of new goodies to play with at some future date.  🙂

    hmmmm… what else have I been doing and not telling you about?  A little sewing – I am making a skirt for myself.  I could have it done by now but for all that came before this… a little gardening – I got the garlic in at last.  Had to bust through an inch or so of frozen soil, but I am hopeful that it won;t matter too much in the end.

     

    Had a knitting day with mom and my SIL D a few weeks ago, that was lots of fun, as always.

    I think that is about it. Now I am off to read about what all of you have been up to!

     

     

     

     

    Uninspired

    Or maybe that title should be uninspiring?

    I know I have not written in a while, though I have been good about reading everyone else’s posts, I haven’t been inspired to write one of my own.  Not sure what that’s about, because I have been busy!

    Busy at work as always, I don’t see that ending any time before spring.  It is good to be needed, and better to be busy at work than bored.  Or so I tell myself.

    Busy at home, though it is obvious that I haven’t been busy cleaning!  So what have I been doing?

    Well, I did get the pool put to bed a couple of weeks ago – though that turned out to be a pretty easy chore, it was a sad one. I still stand and skim leaves from the edges, hoping to keep it pretty clear while I can.

    The gardens are still there, kind of in shock that we haven’t yet had a killing frost.  the tomato plants are still blooming, and it makes me feel sorry for them.  I have picked what few tomatoes there were, they are on the window sill, I hope thinking about turning red. I need to plant the garlic, but it is going in where the tomatoes are now…

     

    But mostly, I have been knitting.  I am cranking out hats for a craft fair in November.  I have done several plain beanies with some fun variegated yarn I got when Classic Elite closed shop, and some helix striped ones with scraps and bits left over.   I have a few more I want to make with more interesting stitches, and some ornaments, etc, for the fair.

    I also have finished, at last, the green cactus baby blanket that was a custom order from a  friend, and I still have to knit her a little pink dress,  Her son had a baby girl a few weeks ago and her daughter will have one in a few weeks, so she has kept my needles very busy!

    I did finish a shawl, Odyssey, by Joji Locatelli.  It was an easy, fun knit.  I did it with some handspun I had, not the correct weight called for in the pattern, but it was easy to modify the pattern to suit the yarn.  It is bright and colorful and I look forward to wearing it this winter. Here it is blocked and drying, I will try to remember to get a truly finished photo for you someday.

    I have put the Japanese Scarf aside since mid-August, and just recently started working on it again, so I am quite behind.  Still working on the clue that came out in August, and of course, the October clue was released  I would like to get back on track with that before the December clue drops.  that’s the last one, and then this very long, intricate scarf will be done.  I am glad I did it, it has been fun learning the new twists and the way things can work, but I am not sure I want to do a year long KAL again.  I like to get things done!

    I also cast on a sweater, Patty Lyons’ Volition.  It is really a video class on knitting the sweater, she has all sorts of video tutorials and worksheets to hep teach how to make a sweater fit, and the construction on this one is quite interesting.  I am making a dark red one.  I was pretty sure it was a pullover, but I keep wondering if I shouldn’t make the cardigan version.  I don’t have to decide for many inches on tiny needles, so I will give it more thought. I think the KAL ends early in December, I am unlikely to meet that deadline, but I will try.

    Other crafting is also happening, very slowly.  I am working on some weaving – more mysterious rectangles and squares that I hope will be napkins but might be dish towels or dust rags.  They are pretty, anyway, soft dark blue and periwinkle blue.  This time I am playing with color interaction between the warp and weft.  I warped the loom with alternating colors (that was a darned chore!  If it doesn’t turn out STUNNINGLY, I won’t be doing that again!) and for the weft, I did wide stripes of each color, and now am doing a section where I alternate colors on each pass.   It is amazing how different the two sections look.  I haven;t worked on that in a while, as it is upstairs, and knitting happens downstairs.

    Also upstairs is the sewing machine.  I cut out a simple a-line skirt (100 Acts of Sewing pattern) and knit the side seams together.  then it needed ironing, so there it sits on the ironing board.  I will get to it soon, though I want to wear it, it is a pretty dark teal color, in a wool/poly blend crepe fabric.  I think part of what is stopping me from doing the easy finishing on it is the realization that it frays easily, and I should do more to finish the seams than I already have done (zigzag stitched, and pinked.) I should really finish them with some bias tape.  I know how to make it, and have some that will work, but it just isn’t calling my name.

    One reason nothing is calling my name right now is that I cane down with a wicked cold on Saturday morning.  I tried to listen to my body, and rested a lot this weekend, drank fluids.  Took Monday off.  Went to work Tuesday but came home by noontime, exhausted.  Today I did a work at home day, and I hope that is all it needed to get the message that the germ is unwelcome.  I really have to go to work tomorrow and Friday, we have a lot going on over the next two weeks that I am not prepared for, completely.

    One of the things that happened this weekend that was hindered by the cold was that we had three tons of pellets delivered, and they had to be brought inside.  We did one ton the week before, but still had more to do.  A was determined that we get all three tons inside and be one with it.  When I tell you she was determined, I am not kidding.  Our normal method is to bring a half a ton inside (that’s 25 40-pound bags), rest for half an hour or so, then get those bags stacked down cellar, using a slide she made to make it easier to get them downstairs.  then another rest, then bring in the other half of the ton, rest, load in the cellar. Doing this by ourselves, we are usually comfortable doing a ton a day, two if we really push.

    She got all three tons in on Saturday, practically single handed.  I helped with the first round, but it was clearly too much, after our rest, my muscles were still shaking.  So I helped get them in the cellar, and I helped outside by picking them up and handing them to her, which helped her a lot, but she carried them all in.  We still have one ton that needs to get downstairs, but they are all in the house and that feels darned good. I did try to get her to stop after the first ton, because I felt so guilty, but so sick, too.  I thought they could wait another week, but she didn’t want them looming over us any longer. So they aren’t.  They might be tripping us at every turn, but they are in the house, and we will be warm enough this winter.

    Other “exciting” news is that my niece E the younger is coming for an overnight on Thanksgiving weekend!  She will be 13, and has asked for years.  But for a variety of reasons, it never really worked out.  I hope nothing messes it up this time, either.  We drive to get her on the day after Thanksgiving, and her parents will pick her up the following day.  Here is what she wants to do while she is here:  Learn to spin.  Weave.  Dye yarn.  All I can say is that her parents had better come late in the day!  But if it works out and she has fun, I feel pretty sure that we can repeat the experiment someday.  She has lots of sports and music and school things, so it is hard to find a time when she can come, and we can make the whole transfer thing work logistically.  But I know it can be done, because I made it work with her cousins for many years, driving round trips to Connecticut to fetch and deliver them.  So driving to Portland should be workable.  🙂

    That’s about it – sorry to ramble on so – thanks for hanging in there so patiently! And sorry for the lack of photos of things, I am trying to stretch my WordPress storage space.  Avoiding sorting out if I want to pay them for this space, and if so what plan?  Sigh.

    Knit East 2019

    Last weekend Mom and I headed east to St Andrews by the Sea, NB, CA. There is something that feels adventurous when you need your passport to go away for the weekend. On one hand, you are just crossing a river, not far from home. On the other, once you do that, time changes, the dollars look like play money, all spelling rules change, French is on all signs, and people speak with a distinctly different accent. Oh, and all speed and distance road signs are in kilometers. The landscape is the same, but everything feels different. Adventurous!

    We traveled very uneventfully the 2.5 hours from home to hotel on Friday, arriving in mid-afternoon at the beautiful Algonquin Hotel. We have seen it on past trips to St Andrews, but never stayed there before. It really is as elegant and comfortable as one would expect, definitely lives up to its reputation. Our room was at the end of a wing on the top floor, and except for the hike to everything, was perfect. Two comfortable beds, two comfortable chairs, plenty of room. The bathroom was small but so well arranged, better than most in that it wasn’t dominated by a giant marble counter. On the whole, we were quite happy with the place.

    After we got settled we checked out the marketplace. I was kind of amazed at how they fit everything in. There weren’t a huge lot of vendors, but there was an abundance of yarn and fiber and knitting related things. As nearly as I could tell, most of the vendors were independent businesses from eastern Canada. The end of the room was turned over to Cricket Cove, the yarn store hosting the event. They had set up an entire yarn shop! Not all of that yarn was local, but it was all good.

    My plan was to just scope it out and shop later, but I couldn’t resist a few skeins for a shawl. 😉

    Then Mom and I headed back to the room for a nap before supper. It turns out that knitters had invaded the place, and we couldn’t get in to the pub for supper , so we ordered room service. Probably the wait was the same, but it was quieter in our room!

    Saturday morning brought our first class, lecture style with Stephanie Pearl-McFee. She was as wonderful as everyone says, smart and humorous. I can’t remember the name of the class, but she walked us through selecting yarn, understanding different yarn characteristics and fibers, right through choosing a pattern, swatching, knitting a sweater, making it up and blocking it. All in three hours. As she said, once you get the knitting out of the way, you can get through a lot more material. We already know how to knit!

    I did pick up some useful tips, and never will skimp on swatching again. 😉. Mom took lots of notes, and now understands why I always make her swatch and wash it before I will do the math on her patterns for her. So that was good!

    After class we went to town for lunch, and to the grocery store for snacks for supper. And while there we found a treasure. A big display of Briggs and Little yarn, at half the price of the marketplace version! Naturally, I got a sweater’s quantity. They didn’t have the color I wanted, but they had natural, and I can dye it. I never thought I would get a sweater’s quantity of wool for $45 Canadian (I think about $35 US) but I did! I should have done what my friend A did and cleaned out their natural. But I was remembering the marketplace and wanted to save some cash for that.

    Mom dropped me there on the return trip and it was much less crowded this time. I managed to buy a couple of amazing skeins of sock yarn. The dyer uses song birds for inspiration on her colors. It was very hard to choose just two! I eventually settled down to think about what colors I needed, and got a skein each of cardinal and ruby throated hummingbird.

    I was tempted by so many things, but really was trying to behave, since I have a lot of yarn and plans already.

    That’s all the yarn I bought, plus the swag. Not bad!

    Saturday night they held a fashion show, which normally we would have skipped, but friend A had told us it was fun and there were valuable door prizes. She wasn’t kidding! There must have been 100, everything from darning eggs to Lucy Neatby videos to sweater quantities of yarn to complete sets of Addi and knitters pride needles! Naturally, we won nothing, but A’s friend did win a sweater’s quantity of yarn!

    The fashion part was interesting. I liked seeing things knit up, and there was one shawl that I added to my favorites, for someday. Marianas is a lovely thing, I nearly went back to the marketplace for a kit, then realized I probably have yarn for it in stash. Such restraint!

    It was fun, but a little overwhelming for these introverts, and it kept us up way past bedtime.

    Sunday morning we had another class with Stephanie, this one on color theory. Oh, my, I learned a lot! How to use the color wheel, and be able to tell what goes with what. Again, she made it loads of fun to learn about analogous and contiguous colors, primary, secondary, tertiary, etc. The time flew!

    Mom and I got ourselves checked out and loaded up, had one last lunch in town, and then headed back across the river, to a place where we know what time it is, the money is all one color, there is an “h” in “schoodic”, and the speed limit makes sense. It felt good to be in more familiar territory, but sad that such a wonderful weekend had to end.