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.

Four day weekend!

I am already loving my August plan, four day weeks for the rest of the month and two four day weekends. One down, one to go.

It was a good crafting weekend, for sure. Plus there was lots of social time. I usually get exhausted by that, but I had enough down time, so I am fine!

I got through most of the Friday list, amazingly! Just didn’t warp the loom. But I did hem some squares and rectangles from my handwoven fabric. They could be placemats and napkins, or maybe dish towels, or maybe dust rags. Who knows. But they are hemmed, and I learned about working with the fabric, and how patterns affect what I will always think of as “gauge”.

The sock yarn blank dyeing was harder than I expected. Debbie at the Purple Fleece suspects I had too much water in my dyes. I will do this again someday.

They sure do change when unraveled, don’t they? I wonder what the socks will look like.

Other sewing included adding a solid band of fabric to the bottom of a printed skirt that I made several months ago. It just needs hemming now. I should have it ready for next summer, lol. Allie was very helpful with the sewing.

Knitting also happened. The black and white baby pants are nearly done. Check the link to my ravelry project to see the progress on these amazing pants! And Durrow progresses on slowly. I hoped to have it done by the end of the weekend, but it isn’t.

I did cake the yarn for my next shawl cast on. It will be a handspun odyssey shawl. Looking forward to that. And my next baby project is a cactus blanket and hat.

Other than the Friday craft list, what did I do? Well, Saturday had some chores and the afternoon spent at Whorls and Purls, as usual. Sunday we did lots of cleaning and frosting making. A’s sisters and niece came over in the afternoon, bearing cupcakes and ice cream for a birthday party for SIL L. That was nice, as always, and the different frostings made the cake taste so different!

Monday I had two knitting friends over for lunch and the afternoon. One of them LOVES gardening, so I turned her loose for an hour in the back yard. She got so much weeding done! My two minutes here and there just isn’t good enough. The other one and I sat on the porch knitting and chatting. Then I gave them a yummy lunch and we all sat and knit the afternoon away.

Back to work today. Bummer! But only for four days! I am liking this schedule.

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.