August 2020 update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We survived!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

    Just my cup of tea

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

    But it was worth it.

    Not so productive after all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    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…

    Happy New Year!

    Not one for resolutions, but goals, I have been giving it thought again this year, as many of us do. Let’s talk about my fiber goals, as that’s probably what is of interest to most of you!

    Last year I surpassed my Ravelry project goal, finishing 34 projects, far past the 25 I set for myself. So that’s an easy one for me to set this year, 35.

    I completely missed my spinning goal, which was to spin more fiber than I acquired. Not even close because I simply stopped spinning during the summer – some big custom knitting orders came in. So my goal remains the same this year, try again!

    Weaving goals are more about practicing and improving my skills. And exploring color – it behaves quite differently with weaving than with spinning and knitting. I am constantly amazed!

    Sewing- I am slowly working on a few things, and I like this pace. Last year I made a skirt and most of another. In 2020, I would like to finish it and perhaps make a jumper for which I have the fabric… a lovely dark blue corduroy with a tiny paisley print that I have owned since the late 80’s. It seems time to do something with it! But let’s go with this realistic goal – finish the skirt and start the jumper. 😉. I have fabric for several other skirts, so I might also make up a few of them, now that I have the pattern and alterations sorted out.

    Non-fiber goals that you may or may not be interested in, but that writing down will help to keep me honest:

    • Continue working on decluttering the craft room, knitting from stash wherever possible, donating supplies that I will never use;
    • Sticking to a healthier eating plan (she writes as she pops a Christmas chocolate into her mouth);
    • Work on outside projects this summer, maybe finishing something? These include replacing the front deck, installing a terrace in the back, getting the pool open early, building permanent raised beds at the edge of decks and terraces. But who knows, it might just mean weeding the garden.

    I think this is enough for one year.

    A Finished object!

    As promised, an actual photo of something done!

    This is the finished Japanese Sampler Scarf MKAL (pattern here) that I participated in this year. A new section of the pattern was released every other month. It was a challenging pleasure to knit. The yarn is Swan’s Island natural dyed fingering weight merino. The stitch definition of this yarn was perfect for this pattern. But the color differences between skeins of the same dye lot were very disappointing. I didn’t notice it until way too late in the project. On the advice of my friend Debbie, the magician behind the Purple Fleece, I over-dyed the finished project, aiming for a nice light blue. While it didn’t completely eradicate the difference between the two ends, it certainly reduced it to almost nothing.

    I gifted this to my new SIL, and the look on her face when she opened it made it all worthwhile.

    If you think this sounds like an interesting project, I encourage you to pick up the pattern, and check out all the FO’s on Ravelry. And they are doing another scarf this year, this one using Estonian lace designs. You can check this one out here. Join the fun!

    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!

    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.