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.

Labor Day is NOT the end of summer!

Especially for those of us without kids! It’s just a nice long weekend.

And it was the last of my 4 day weekends this summer. This week is my last 4 day week… to until October. 😉

I had a nice weekend, too. Friday A had to work in Bath, so I tagged along. Mom, sister C, and niece E met me for an excursion to Halcyon Yarn, followed by lunch at Mae’s Bakehouse. I was able to explore the weaving yarns, but I didn’t get any. I can always order them if I need some. I answered 1000 questions E had about everything she saw as she followed my around. Together we chose some basic gray Bartlett yarn for a sweater for me, and she showed me colors she likes and colors she doesn’t. And we talked about her sewing projects, which was fun. She makes flags, seeing by hand with embroidery floss. She chooses the flag based on colors she has and likes. Last year we all got a Peru 🇵🇪 for Christmas. Who knows what we will get this year?

When they left, I parked down by the river and knit and enjoyed the gorgeous breeze while I waited for A to get done for the day.

Saturday was a usual day, chores in the morning and knitting group in the afternoon. I was able to share my Durrow shawl with them, and also another FO, these baby leggings.

I have cast on to replace these, of course, so have started Odyssey shawl, by Joji Locatelli, in some of my handspun; and a baby blanket. My friend B is going to be a grandmother again this fall, both of her children are expecting daughters, where there have only been boys. So she has ordered a few things. I have one dress and one blanket to get done by the end of October.

Sunday and Monday we chilled at home. A hasn’t had two days in a row off all summer. She was nearing exhausted, so slow days were good for her. I did a tiny amount of pool vacuuming and warped the loom for more experiments. And finally redid the bind off on my Hankshaw pullover. I was so worried about it being not tight that it resembled a ruffle. It’s better now. And did lots of knitting on the blanket and my Japanese stitch scarf. I am far behind on the August clue, I hope to get caught up by October 1.

I also did a tiny bit of dyeing yarn, over-dyeing some gray Briggs and Little yarn that might work in concert with the new gray yarn. I had hoped they would work well as they were, but the grays were too close. So dark reddish pink it is!

And I committed to doing my one craft fair again this fall, so there will be lots of knitting of small things like hats and cowls and ornaments.

I think that’s it for how the weekend went… now it’s Tuesday and a work day and so I should get going. Sigh.

I finished something!

It was just last night, so no photos yet, but I bound off the Hankshaw sweater. That is exciting as I have been wanting to cast on a new project, but I made myself finish something first. So now I will cast on Biophilia. I am using yarn and beads I got at last year’s Fiber Frolic, even though this year I got some yarn that would look great. I will get to it…

This month has just flown by, it has been hectic and busy! My birthday weekend was lovely, in celebration AND weather. Mom had a party for me, just siblings and some of their spouses and children. It was the right size for actually visiting, so that was fun.

After that it’s been straight out work, even on weekends. I manage about ten minutes of gardening some evenings before I get swarmed with mosquitoes, so the yard looks awful, mostly. Except that the front garden that had so much work done on it the past two years is at its lovely stage, if one zooms in and blocks everything around it…

And I have been spinning a little and knitting like mad, in spare moments. These socks got finished, and these started, this month.

But the big news, beyond the finished Hankshaw is that I finally finished the mosaic cabled squares of Durrow!!! I am on the easy stockinette part now. I decided to knit it as a gradient, not the stripes as the pattern calls for. We shall see if I like that. I can’t believe it took me 18 months to get this section done!! You can see the progress here.

Still plugging away on the Japanese MKAL, I am part way through the June clue, and anticipate no trouble finishing this clue before the August one drops. Awfully glad they aren’t monthly, though!

The pool filter I got for my birthday is WONDERFUL! The pool is ready to be vacuumed, something I have never been able to do before, exciting! However, it is a bit of a jerry rig to get it hooked up, and I haven’t had time to really focus on it, so I keep stirring and running the filter, and it is making a difference. I hope to swim by July 4. Luckily it has been so cold and wet I haven’t felt the urgent need to get in the pool. I can just stands in the yard and get cool and wet.

 

Last Saturday we had a major fundraising event at work,  (it went well but nearly crippled me, more in a minute) and this Saturday we had a work-related picnic to attend, so weekends have not been relaxing at all, and the work weeks have also been long.  Yesterday, though, I was happy to visit with an old coworker and long time friend who now lives in Iowa.  She is around for a couple of weeks, so she came to visit, and we sat on the porch catching up.  It was so nice and relaxing, and I so appreciated that she came over to see me, as driving a couple of hours to her place would have not been as relaxing after a long week!

For the last few weeks, my feet have been really hurting.  It started out as a bit stiff when I stood up from my desk or in the morning.  I made sure to do all the stretches, and rotating, etc, but it just seemed to get worse and worse, and then my knee started bothering me, from walking stiffly, I presume.  I paid attention to what shoes did to me, and so now I am just wearing birks, as the arch support seems to really help, also nothing touches the back of my heel.  I suspect plantar fasciitis, but something else, too, the back of my heel can not be touched.  Standing in sneakers all day at the fundraiser was so awful that I could not walk to the car.  I don’t think A believed me when I told her she had to go get the car and come to me, but I wasn’t fooling.  I could barely move from the car to the house.  I laid low the next day, as much as I could, and was a little bit better by Monday.  But then one night I put on some different shoes ( which I had worn all winter, I might add) and did about fifteen minutes of gardening, and everything was awful again. So, yes, I know I need to call the doctor and get to a PT person, but for now, I have worn only birks for about ten days, and I keep my feet really elevated when I am home – not quite toes above nose, but on a pile of cushions on the couch.  The swelling seems to be going down, and things are better, but still not good.  I could not walk a mile, I don’t think.  But, my knee is feeling better.

I won’t tell you about the arthritis in my finger and thumb and how I just kept knitting anyway.

This getting old really stinks.

Saturday was Maine Fiber Frolic

And frolic I did!  As I have the past few years, I went with some of the ladies from Whorls and Purls, and we met up with even more of the group once there.

A gave me cash for my early birthday, and I had been saving up quite a bit of cash for the event, so I felt quite flush this year!

I am going to try the link thing again to all of my goodies, please let me know in the comments if it doesn’t work.

I was not as organized as I like to be when I go there, with patterns and ideas in mind.  I was thinking I wanted some fairly solid DK weight yarn for a couple of sweaters (suddenly all the patterns I like call for DK, and I have none!) and I knew I would be on the lookout for some yarn and matching beads for the Biophilia  shawl I will be starting soon.

I also knew that Bartlett Yarns would be a vendor, and I wanted a sweater quantity (SQ) of their yarn.  If it could be DK, so much the better, but I knew what color it would be.  I had a sweater in this color out of their yarn years ago, and I wore it until it could be worn no more.  I miss it and want another.

So, Bartlett was the first stop.  Even knowing exactly what I wanted, I had a hard time choosing! They have so many lovely colors. I chose what I went in for, though, a lovely shade of soft aqua blue and I am going to love the sweater.  It is sport weight, so a little lighter than DK, I will survive, and see what a swatch tells me.  I knit loosely, so it might work. If not, I will find something.

After that, it was to my favorite Pine Star Studio, where I got this and this.  The redder one is a contender for the Biophilia, but when I found the beads that worked best, I realized I had some at home already, so I didn’t buy more. The cranberry one, though, I found those gorgeous beads to match.  I have no idea what the pattern will be, the yardage is crazy high on that one, so I will not do the Biophilia with it, but choose something that will make more use of the whole skein.

Then there is the fiber.  I have bought a few large lots of blended merino silk over the years, and thought about combining them to have enough to make a sweater, but I really needed more to make the project work.  I knew I would never match the colors exactly, so I wanted to get some with all the colors, and I will spin it as a combo spin.  Maybe I will hit DK weight on that? So when I saw this, from the same vendor, I knew it was coming home.  I love all the blues and greens, and the fiber I already have is also blues and greens, though darker and grayer, so it will get toned down.

Lastly, I wanted to get something I have been eyeing since I learned to spin.  Every year I want it, every year I don’t buy it in fear of not being a good enough spinner.  This year I decided I could do it.

Camel and silk, undyed.  It glows in the sunshine.

All that plus a couple of ice creams (Stone Fox Creamery – oh my!) and some pizza for lunch, plus fudge to bring home to A, and I had five dollars left in my pocket.  Truthfully, it was not in the same pocket the rest of my cash was, I found it as we were leaving.  Had I known, I would have gotten more beads, for sure.  🙂  I think I did pretty well, and will have enough to keep me busy for a while.  And I will start saving my pennies again, because Knit East is in October, and I will want to shop there as well!

 

It’s the photo thing

I haven’t written because I haven’t had time to sort out the photo thing and describing what I am doing seems so boring.  BUT I just have to bite the bullet and use up the rest of my available space and sort it out later.  You all have been so patient with me.

Here’s what I have been up to – so much fiber crafting happening!

I finished the Alaska hat a few weeks ago, but just got photos of it this weekend:

 

I am halfway through a pair of socks that I just LOVE.  This yarn is custom dyed for me to knit socks for my BIL.  He is a huge Liverpool football fan (soccer to those of us heathens in the USA) the team colors are red, with aqua and gold.  I asked magic Debbie at the Purple Fleece to dye me some yarn, and this is what she came up with!  I love it!  I love the little bits of other colors created in the transitions, and I think these socks are lots of fun.  Even more so, because BIL is a gray and black kind of dresser, and these are so far out of his comfort zone that he will think the package was meant for his daughter.  I know they might wind up on her feet, but he will have fan socks if he wants them.

 

I am plugging away on Durrow, which grows tedious.  I have one more square to do, and then there will be different sections to work on.  These squares have been on my needles since January 2018.  It is embarrassing to admit.

 

So I set myself a goal and gave myself a reward.  I could cast on a sweater for me when I finished the 6th square (maybe this is why it has taken me more than a year to get this far…)  I finished the square in the middle of last week.  Whew!  And I had long ago swatched the yarn I want to use, but had never picked out a pattern.  So  I went pattern diving and found Hankshaw pullover.  It was perfect for what I wanted.  Right weight yarn, a simple yoke pattern that I could modify as needed, and it would be easy to incorporate the 6 shades of blue and green that I wanted in the yoke. I had vacation from Wednesday through the weekend, so this happened.  I did have to fiddle a bit with the size, as my row gauge was off, and my arms are larger than miss average’s.  But I am going to divide for the sleeves tonight when I get home, and then it should be math-free knitting.

I wonder what i will do as a reward for the next square?  I have  enough gray sport weight yarn for a sweater… perhaps that will be next.

I have also been working away on my Japanese mystery knit along scarf, I am nearly done with the second clue.  And my Droplet hack is getting close to done.  I will show you those another day.

I did do some weaving this month, and I think I am pretty close to finishing this fabric. It was originally going to be place mats and napkins, I think it might be place mats and dishtowels now. Not quite sure… I like the colors, but I want to do more experimenting with stitches, so I need this to be done.

And spinning – still spinning!  I am working on an 8 ounce spin with two different colored braids, creating a three ply, 4 skein gradient.  So far 1/4 is done and plied, and the second 1/4 is about halfway done.  Slow going, I am spinning sewing thread again…

My brain is always looking at what I am doing and imaging the next project.  I could use 5 days weekends every week!

 

In other news – the snow has melted!  At last!  I have begin scooping leaves out of the pool, as much as I can reach from the edges, no getting in it yet! And if we get a non-pouring rain weekend, I will begin raking the yard and looking about for outside chores.  the screen doors need some attention.  We plan to dismantle most of the front deck this spring/summer, and rebuild it smaller, then add a patio/terrace thing.  I want big raised beds in the transition area, which means carpenter world.  So lots going on.  In my head.

Tax season is really over, we had our celebratory luncheon last week.  My weekends are my own until June when fundraisers and picnics kick in. So I think I can say that the sweater will get finished in short order.  🙂

I will keep you posted.  Promise!

 

 

A bit of an update

I haven’t written in a while, I see. I was busy reading and commenting and deleting old or redundant photos. So I have room for a few more.

First news, Mom loved the sweater and it fit as is – yea! No photos as it still needs buttons, etc. I will try to get one someday.

Last weekend was spent with Mom and her two sisters and all of their daughters. That made 8 of us. My aunt found an air bnb that was midway between her house and mine, so it was way down in southern Maine, in Biddeford Pool. The house was perfect for what we wanted, enough beds and bathrooms, good gathering space, and a great kitchen. And near the beach, so we went for walks, and sat around gabbing and knitting a lot, too. And eating. There was plenty of food on hand, I will be eating leftovers for a month!

I started my Alaska hat as a reward for finishing big brown. 😉

And I finished a pair of socks

So it was a very good weekend!

Seriously though, it was nice to spend enough time with my family to get to talk to people and hear how they are. It’s been ages since we had time like that.

What did you do last weekend?