No apologies or excuses

Who knows why I haven’t been on WordPress lately? I intend to, and then don’t. But I am here now.

Life is going on – we seem to keep ourselves occupied. We are both still fully employed, which is lovely. Except for the occasional bout of what I call pandemic envy, wondering what it is like to have endless hours at home with no outside demands, I am pretty satisfied with things as they have evolved. We do the errands that need doing, occasionally have a socially distant family gathering (one coming up on Sunday), and the crazy hours spent zooming are also spent knitting.

I have decided to focus on spinning this summer. It doesn’t mean I am spinning tons or every day, but that I am making sure that I spin at least once a week. There are some projects I want to spin the yarn for, and it won’t happen if I don’t sit at the wheel. So far I am more than halfway through 15 ounces of merino silk blend, and I love the yarn it is making! I hope to get enough for a sweater – maybe a short sleeved one? but am sure there will be enough for a vest.

That doesn’t mean I am not knitting – I am – holy cow, I am knitting all the time! I have 7 WIPs, which is about 4 too many, but I am rotating through them, and I know that suddenly I will have a bunch of finishes. My job will be to resist casting on 1:1 for finishes… 🙂

I have only one cast on that I am dreaming about, so that is good. If When I finish three things, then I think I will allow myself to cast on Steel Creek, with the yarn from my frogged Volition. I really do want a red pullover, so I am motivated to make it work.

The yard is looking as straggly as usual, given that we have no lawn and never mow, I should not be surprised, right? The pool is in really good shape, so much better than last year, thankfully. I will be needing it later this week when suddenly it will be summer. I have planted more veggies than normal, and have some seeds I really need to get in this weekend. And a few flowers to make it pretty. But I have not really been motivated to do a lot of yard work this spring. This is when I have the pandemic envy. If I was home all day, I could spend a few minutes here and there, and it would look amazing, right? But spending half an hour once a week does not have the same affect.

We intended to rip off the front deck and redo it in a smaller foot print, with a terrace at the foot of it, but that is a job where I am the yeoman, and the foreman isn’t in to it, it seems. I will keep bringing it up gently as in “Do you want to start on deck demo this weekend?” and eventually it will happen.

We have been spending time each weekend dealing with next winter’s pellets. We got 5 tons, and put one ton a weekend into the cellar. It has been lovely weather for this, cool and clear, unlike our usual MO which is to get the darned things in August and September and have to stow them in the hottest days of the year. We have one ton to go, and it is supposed to be hot this weekend, so we might not do it until the following weekend. We have time, thankfully.

Other than that, life is pretty boring around here – no bread baking or fancy cooking, just spending time with sticks and string and wheel and fluff. With the occasional few minutes at the sewing machine (that is all I can stand) working on a skirt and some masks.

Now I will go and read to see what you all have been up to.

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…

I’m back!

At least for the moment. It’s been a wild ride so far in 2020. Lots of major health issues in the family on top of the usual pre tax season mad crush of training and tech issues. I don’t know if I am coming or going!

There has been a little knitting but no finishes to show, though I am one long picot bind off row away from a finished shawl so I will share that soon.

Meanwhile, I am off to get caught up on all your posts these last few weeks!

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.

End of a decade

It is hard for me to believe that it is nearly 2020 when I think it was just 2000…

When I look back on the teens, I think my theme was stability. Not very exciting, I know, but ever so gratifying! We have settled into our home and ourselves, we were able to legally marry and end all sorts of uncertainty. I settled into a role at work that, while not perfect, is pretty stable. A. figured out a way to be steadily, gainfully employed while totally controlling what she does, where, when, and for whom she does it. Our lives are pretty good right now.

Crafting-wise it has been a decade of growth for me. I have really dug into my knitting and feel confident that I can do anything with two sticks and yarn. There are things I choose not to do yet (brioche!) but I know I could if I wanted to. I have learned to spin! Oh, I love being able to make my own yarn! And I am learning to weave, which is something I never dreamt I would be able to do. I give thanks every day for youtube and Ravelry!

Speaking of Ravelry, that has become a big part of my life, online friends have become friends in real life. Though we seldom see each other, we are truly connected through the fibers of our craft. (Pun intended).

And I feel the same way about my friends here on WordPress. While some may not understand it, you are my friends, my cheering squad, my peeps! I feel so lucky to have found you all.

It’s been a good decade!

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?