Mid-November

Is it just me or is this month being extra dreary? We are having all the weather, from snow to record-breaking warmth. But it still gets dark at 4 o’clock and light at almost 7. I think the lack of light is bothering me more than normal this year. And we won’t even talk about the election that seems to never end. Someone needs some big boy pants… (Well, except to relate this story. A friend of mine at work and I are polar opposites when it comes to politics. We don’t understand how the other one could be so nice but so wrong. ๐Ÿ™‚ A few days after the election, I popped into her office to say hi and make lunch plans. Another coworker said “How do you two do it? How can you be friends?” that surprised us, and we told him that there is more to life than politics. We agree on so many other things, we long ago made the decision that we would not let politics interfere. S0metimes it is hard, but we keep on trying. He said we should go on the road and teach people how to do it. We don’t think it can be taught, but only demonstrated. I wish more people would give it a shot.)

I did finish all three of the major projects on time; that felt really good. Two state grants, coordinating election day signature gathering, and helping to put together a staff appreciation event, all with deadlines in the same week. I can’t believe I still have hair on my head and coworkers who speak to me. I (almost) don’t even care if the grants get funded, they got out the door on time.

One highlight was spending the day on Wednesday with my SIL D. I think it has been many years since we had a quiet time together, with no big family event happening, and I really enjoyed it. I think she did, too. We met at Popham Fort in Phippsburg, a couple of hours drive for me. It was a nice enough day, though the wind picked up and it got chilly after lunch. But we were outside for abotu three hours, just chatting and catching up. I realized that we have known each other 40 years. It does not seem possible, but I confirmed it with her – she arrived at UCONN’s Storrs campus in the fall of 1980. I graduated in the spring of 81… seems like yesterday or a century ago. Anyway…

We did remember to do some knitting, though we got in the car (with masks) for that, after eating our lunches and watching our lettuce blow off the forks, we thought it would work better in a car. We were able to get her really comfortable with one color brioche, and when she is an expert at that, we will work on two color. ๐Ÿ™‚ It turns out that someone who knits Eastern European by rote has a really hard time doing brioche. But we concentrated on doing her yarn overs in the opposite direction from what she was used to, and I showed her how to tell if a stitch is twisted or not. She really would prefer not to learn to knit western, so my task is to decipher it and see how to make it work.

Other than that, things are not very exciting here. That is good for the knitting, though!

One mitten is done, the second one is in good shape for getting done before Christmas, the lining is approaching the thumb split.

The baby blanket is done and blocked. The second dumpster is done.

I have knit a few inches on the Ocean Currents. But the big news is that I have finished the sweater! The sleeves are a little big/long, but I am fine with that. I have lost some weight since I started it and did all the math, so it is to be expected. But I think it is comfortable and works just fine.

I have refrained from casting anything much on, I want to finish the Estonian Lace scarf, and the last clue is out. I am about a third of the way through that, on track to finish by the end of the month, and get it blocked. I want to make more progress on Ocean Currents before I cast on something to distract me from it. When I get bored with it, I work on dumpster flames. I also got an order for a hat that technically is a charity hat. I donated one to a local fundraiser, and the coordinator asked me if I would knit another to donate, as she wanted to buy one. I said sure, so have cast that one on. But let me tell you, the yarn is loaded and ready to go for the Steel Creek sweater, and I am casting it on as soon as the hat and Estonian lace are done. Maybe even before that? I will try not to, but… And as soon as Ocean Currents is done, I am casting on that Nightshift.

I also got my yarn for the Gnome Advent MKAL, and that will start December 1. I was a little nervous choosing the Christmas colorway, but it is very pretty! Very like what I would have put together myself, if I had been in a store full of mini skeins. ๐Ÿ™‚ I will not wait to finish something before casting that on, because it is a little project. I think. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am very impressed by the service at Loopy Ewe, and the quality of the yarn in this kit. I will be checking them out when I need other yarns in the future.

Thatโ€™s about it from here. I hope to have more finishes and cast ones to share with you soon!

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… ๐Ÿ™‚

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…

Iโ€™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. ๐Ÿ˜‰. 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!