Knitting year in review

Thankfully Ravelry does all the bookkeeping for me!

I thought I would complete 18 projects this year. I remember thinking that would be 6 pairs of sox, three sweaters and an assortment of hats and shawls.

I actually finished 27 knit projects!

The sweaters

Really did three! Of course, I thought it would be three for me, but babies need sweaters, too.

(I am sure I have a photo of the last one somewhere, but can’t find it now!)

Socks:

Socks were not flying off the needles as they have in the past.

Again with the baby booties. 😉

Then shawls – there some epic ones finished!

And an amazing one a year in progress… maybe I will finish it in 2019!

Lots of scarves. I dislike knitting scarves, they go on forever! But I did several this year.

And cowls… lots of them! Don’t have photos of them all, even!

Hats are another category that I did lots of but didn’t get photos of them all:

And what do I dislike making even more than scarves? Mittens! So you know these were a work of love!

And a pair of mitts – not so disliked, but only made one pair this year.

Then there were a few special projects:

A group project, a blanket for a dear woman going through a rough time. I knit a few squares, but was especially proud of this one.

It’s sideways, don’t know why!

And some ornaments for Christmas this year:

That pretty well covers the projects.

Now, for the part that surprises me. Of these, only ten remain in my possession. So many knits have gone out into the world, finding new homes with people I love.

Next year’s challenge is set at 25, but I might up it to 30 to give myself a stretch. I still want to do three sweaters… one is on the needles, another is in my head. And socks are always on the needles, but who knows what else will happen?

I’ll do a spinning update in another post. I think it will surprise you!

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Another weekend has come and gone

I do wish they would hang around longer.  🙂

It was mostly a nice one, as weekends go.

A and I ventured out despite the nasty weather forecast to visit her last aunt at a nursing home in Augusta.  It was our first time there, and bittersweet.

The staff seems nice, and fun and attentive, but there were so many people just parked in their wheelchairs… and the smell when we walked in? Ugh.

Aunt N didn’t have a clue who we were, but she was so glad to have visitors.  We chatted endlessly about the same three things “Is it nice out, dear?”  “What’s the date to day?  October 27? Almost November!” “We used to skate all winter long.  They flooded the athletic field at the high school. My parents gave us memberships each Christmas so we could skate as much as we wanted.  We loved to skate.  We were all quite good.  My parents would get us skates when we were good enough, it was a real treat to get new skates.”

We took her to a quieter room and broke out the coloring books and crayons. We used to bring them with us to visit her sister, A’s mom, when she was in the memory unit.  Where A’s Mom would color with us for hours, Aunt N was having none of it.  She looked very confused at the thought and finally said her hands were too cold today.  We checked, they were warm and toasty.  So, no coloring.  She seemed unhappy to be in the quieter room, so we went back to the crowded hallway. After an hour or so, we left so she could have her regular lunch and schedule back.  We are pretty sure she had no clue that we left.

She did still show a glimmer of herself, as we were approached by a wandering woman in a wheelchair who told us “MOVE!”, Aunt N said “I think she just does it for the A-T-T-E-N-T-I-O-N, dear.  In fact, I am sure of it.”

So while we were so sad to see her there in that stage of life, we were very glad we went, and that she is still herself, she is still a fun loving woman with a twinkle in her eye.  We know she was told that her three remaining siblings died this year, but we could also tell that she did not remember that.  When she spoke of them, it was about times long past.  And now that the ice is broken, I think A will stop by there when she is traveling through Augusta, as she used to pop in to visit her at her house when she was in the area. Aunt N is the last of 10, and was the one who was closest to A’s mom.  When we lose her, it will be a very hard day for A.

After we left there, we also had lunch, at Red Robin in Augusta, before heading home.  We had planned to stop at the big grocery store on the way home, but the weather was being nasty by then: snow, sleet, and rain, depending on how high the hill was, so we just went to the usual smaller grocery store in Bucksport.  I got lots of sock knitting done before we got home, finished the heel and started up the leg.

Once home, we puttered a bit and settled down to watch a little TV while I knit.  That’s pretty much how Sunday went, too.  I did work on my sewing in the craft room – the skirt just needs a hem!  I think it will be too short for me, but it fits – yippee!  That means I can make more from this pattern.  It is bias cut, and I want to make it longer – help – geometry!  How wide does the fabric have to be to get the triangle wide enough for the skirt and long enough for the length? And how many yards do I need?  Heavens.  On the dress, I didn’t make much headway, but I did get started making my bias tape – I cut up a fat quarter, and sewed all the strips together.  It made a huge length!  I am going to love using this stuff.  🙂 It just needs ironing.  I need to insert the sleeves on the dress and see what happens then.  I think they will be too snug, but that’s what this is all about, getting the pattern just right.

I did lots of knitting, too –

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This is J’s scarf – finished the first skein, which is the smaller of the two.  It is just about 30 inches long now, so I think it will be long enough when done.  He said he wanted a long one. I will use all the yarn and hope it is long enough.  This yarn is a dream to use, I am loving it!  It looks and feels soft as velvet!  It is blue-faced Leicester and silk blend.  I have another braid of the same blend in my stash (different color) and am really looking forward to making something lovely with it.

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My Durrow square looks like all the other squares did at this point – but it is growing, I did several rows on it this weekend. I am back in love with this project.

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And Dangling Conversation is growing like a weed – it is going to be a large shawl when done, because I am not stopping until I am pretty well out of yarn – unless I decide to do a matching hat and mitts. I would only do that if the shawl grew way too big.  Which it might.  But I love the way the colors are playing and the little bits of lace between the color changes looks so nice!  Not sure what I will do with this one, so NOT my colors.  I might see if my sister wants it, she looks prettier in these colors than I do.

That was my weekend!

 

Morning, Glory!

A bit late, I planted several different kinds of morning glories at the base of two trellises on either side of the screen porch. The seeds to the west have been growing gangbusters, but no sign of flowers until after Labor Day. Now they bloom more each day! I love the bright colors and am pleasantly surprised each day when something new blooms!

Today was twin day, apparently!

The ones to the east have not done so well. The soil I added is the same, but there is likely less of it there. Water is the same. Less light, though not by much in the summer, they get full light until the sun crosses over head. The west side doesn’t get any until then.

But today, that struggling little fellow showed that he has some gumption after all!

And then there is this valiant soul. This garden bed hasn’t been tended in at least two, but more likely three, years. Every year a volunteer comes along to make me glad I didn’t weed the bed!

I spotted a few more plants in there, if I remember, I will collect some seeds later on and put them where I want them next year.

And it seems I might gave to rethink my east side trellis… I could put it on the west side and grow more there. Or give the sweet peas their own space, they are really struggling to grow among all the glory. But they are also persevering, and may yet bloom! Then my Instagram feed will be full of them i stead of these cheerful glories. 🤗

The big vacation!

I know I have been absent for a while – but this should make it up to you!

As you know, A and I were working hard to prepare for the visit from three Ravelry friends.  Well, that visit has come and gone, and what fun we had!  The ladies arrived last week, and we got down to business right away!  I took the first two to arrive on a quick tour of some things they wanted to see in Bangor, specifically, the Duck of Justice a the Bangor Police Department

(you have to follow Bangor PD on face Book to understand why this is even a thing) and to see Stephen King’s house, with it’s fabulous gates.  We managed both of those things, and they back to the airport to pick up the third person.  By the time we were all together, they were checked into their motel for the night and back at our house for supper, it was way past my bedtime!  But I managed to stay awake, and we did a little bit of knitting, casting on our Friends of Knitting Sarah KAL shawl – the second annual such KAL.  This year we are knitting Down the Road and Back Again.  As usual, the colors we all chose vary widely.  Mine is fairly subdued compared to theirs, but that is what makes it fun!

The next morning we were off to Deer Isle, to Haystack for the long weekend.  We attended the Knit Maine 2018 retreat, put on by Knitting and Yoga Adventures.  The lineup of teachers was pretty incredible! I wound up taking 4 classes from Patty Lyons and 2 from Norah Gaughan.  Not that the other teachers weren’t great, but these were offering things I wanted to learn more about.They each are amazing, the things they know how to do!  I picked up lots of tips and new techniques, and learned more about how to design and alter sweater patterns so that sweaters will actually fit.  Always a good thing.

The 4 of us shared one small cabin, which basically was beds and a bathroom, so we weren’t in it too much.  Haystack is a pretty amazing place, but not exactly accessible!

And there aren’t too many common areas to gather and just knit… unless you don’t mind sitting on the floor.  Which we did mind.  So that part wasn’t great.  But as the schedule was packed full and our brains were tired, we survived that.

The food, from my view point, was FANTASTIC! There was lots of locally sourced food, it was all well prepared and there was plenty of it.

I thought that the weekend delivered all that it promised, but I relearned something about myself that will likely keep me from attending future events that are set up like this.  I need down time, to absorb what I have learned, and just unwind.  This weekend was full speed ahead at all times.  After a full day of classes, there was an evening program.  I only went to one, preferring to just have some peace and quiet after the long day.  the only time I knit was early in the morning, as I am an early riser, and my cabin mates were not, I headed up to the dining hall early every morning and sat with the other early risers and had coffee and knit.  This was way less knitting time than I am used to in a day, which sure felt funny at a knitting retreat!

Sunday afternoon we left there and got the ladies settled into their Air Bnb in Penobscot.  That house is quite adorable, an felt even luxurious after the spartan quarters at Haystack!

We had supper in Castine, and then in the morning I picked them up and took them shopping for the day.  We started at the Purple Fleece – OF COURSE!  Deb so nicely opened up on her day off for us.  From there we went to Belfast to Heavenly Yarns, which was fun as she stocks lots of Maine dyed and Maine raised yarns and fibers. After that it was lunch at Nautilus, then a bit more Main Street shopping before we headed down Route 1 toward Rockland, with a nice stop at Swan’s Island Blanket.  I have driven by it literally hundreds of times, but never stopped before.  It is a lovely place, and has wonderful products.  Yarn and blankets were purchased, and then we went on to Mom’s house for an hour or so  of knitting and chatting before heading home.  We were all tired so we stopped at the grocery store and got some simple food for supper at home.

Tuesday we were treated to heavy rain from “Gordon” though at that point everyone was only talking about “Florence” (Maine is really off the weather map as far as forecasters are concerned) so our plan to go to Acadia and Bar Harbor was delayed and truncated.  We did go in the afternoon to take a spin around park loop and get photos of rain, fog, rocks, and trees.

On the way back we stopped to visit with one of the women who went with us to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool last year, and who now lives in Maine, so she is a Whorler and Purler also.  Then out for our “last supper” at Glenn’s Place in Bucksport.

Wednesday they had to clear out of their house by 11, and I invited the Whorls and Purls ladies over for a knitting party, so the last day was fun and festive and had knitting in it, as it should.

A’s sisters and brother in law also came over, as sadly, they all attended a family funeral that morning.  So we had a houseful!

Then it was off to the airport, and they all got out safely ahead of “Florence.”  A and I came home, had party snacks for supper and fell into bed.  I slept a solid 12 hours!

I had so much fun with these ladies, and loved having them visit me here in Maine.

I hope that they also had a good time.  I do wish they could have stayed longer, there is so much more to see – and we could have done it at a slower pace, so we weren’t; all exhausted at the end of it.  But I think we made good use of the time that we had together.

Now I have one day off, maybe two, depending on how much work I can get done remotely here today.  Saturday I have to attend a big fundraising event that we hold each year, but then Sunday is completely free of obligations – might be a pajama day!

After the weekend

Did everyone else dream of lemon ice last night?  It is the coolest, most refreshing thing I know… and I really wanted to swim in some this weekend!

It was a pretty good weekend, actually, except for the heat and oppressive humidity.  After all my big chores (lol) on Friday, I tried to get things done early the rest of the days.

Saturday I went to Whorls and Purls without my sweater.  How odd it felt to have that off the needles! The knitting is DONE, the blocking and weaving in of ends will happen when it isn’t so humid.  Perhaps this coming weekend.  Instead, I worked on my sock and my Durrow shawl.  That seems more interesting and easy now, I guess it just needed a break. I worked on it both days, and finally closed up the center of the center square watching Victoria Monday night. Now only 4 more to go and two triangles before I get a spell of nice easy stockinette!

After Whorls and Purls we went out to the Angler for our annual supper gathering, which is always fun.  That group is always up for a nice meal and a party.  We were missing a few members, but those who were able to make it had fun.

Sunday I got up early and put a coat of paint on the bookshelves.  I discovered one benefit to hot and humid weather.  When painting, you don’t have to hurry to keep a wet edge.  It isn’t going to dry any time soon, take your time laying on the paint carefully! I will likely give it all a second coat on Wednesday, since we will be home and I can do it early.

Then we hung about trying to keep cool before I left to go to Belfast for a blogger meet up.  I have followed Paige at Paige Makes Stuff  for a long time.  Last week she wrote in her blog about her daughter being at camp in Maine and she would stay for the week, rather than spend an extra weekend on the highway between here and home.  I immediately got in touch and said if you want to get together, email me.  Well, she did, and we did.  We met on Sunday afternoon in Belfast at Heavenly Socks.  I was early and the owner, Helen, nicely provided me with a chair at the table of filled with local knitters while I waited.  Somehow the table was situated where there was a cool breeze, and the ladies were so friendly that when Paige arrived, she just sat down and we stayed there for our whole visit. (We did manage to get up long enough to do a tiny bit of shopping.  I got some gray sock yarn that I plan to fiddle about with in my dye pots before I knit socks with it.  Paige got some Quince and Company Owl to make a sweater.)  So, we had a lovely, mostly cool, afternoon knitting and chatting away.  One of the ladies has a friend who is looking for sweet fern to harvest for some soaps she makes.  I have an overabundance of the stuff everywhere, so I hope to hear from them soon about coming over to help themselves.  And Paige told us about a business endeavor she is a part of – OMG.  Trips for Knitters.  You have to check it out.  They put together some really wonderful looking trips to places I want to go.  I need to win the lottery!  I am so glad that Paige said something about her trip on her blog BEFORE she went, so we could meet up.  So often you lovely readers tell about a trip to Maine that you just got home from, and what help is that in having real life get-togethers? Paige, if you are reading this, I hope you have a lovely week by yourself being creative and relaxing before you pick your daughter up and make the long, hot ride home again!

When I got home, I climbed in the pool to scrub and stir, and there was no complaining from me that it was murky and green when I finished (it was) because I was wet and cooler.  A shower had me less murky and green, and we had an early night of it after that.  We both find that this heat really saps our energy… or perhaps it is the lack of oxygen in the air?  Not sure, but it is hateful.

That is it for the weekend, though.  Lots of knitting between small chores, as befits a very hot few days.

This week continues to be hot, and of course there is a holiday in the middle.  Not my favorite structure for a week, but I am not turning down the holiday!  We have no big plans for it, but are open to invitations if anyone in the family comes up with something fun.  Which hopefully will involve swimming in a CLEAN pool!  🙂

Friday list rebooted and a swap!

Mom called. J has the flu and she isn’t feeling just right – again! She has been well for two days in 5 weeks. She is quite unhappy about it.

So they aren’t coming today, but a week from Sunday. Can we keep the house tidy for that long? Not sure.

So my amended list includes:

Hardware store for twine and bird seed

PO for swap package

(These two are already done!)

Put up trellises and string to guide plants

Tie up weigela that wants to lean due to snow.

Hop off deck to get those little trees. This is still on the list. But I was looking out there today, and I think I can get around the deck where Mom cleared last summer. No hopping needed.

Scrub the pool.

Knit! I am on the bottom border of the sweater. Two long rows to purl, then bind off. Then pick up and knit the front borders, then lengthen sleeves. That’s it! Can she do it by the time Tour de Fleece starts? It will be close but I think so.

Other odd housekeeping things like laundry. If I must.

So. The swap!!! I participated in a swap run by Kathy of the Compassionate knitter blog. I knew my package was waiting at the po yesterday, but I couldn’t get there in time. As soon as they opened, I was there this morning.

We were to send a skein of sock yarn not from stash, one button, and something red white and blue. Vera from the Threaded Lane blog was my swap partner.

So excited!

A fun bag, a pretty red button, and some new to me sock yarn that is so soft! And has such a nice color range, it will match everything! Diamond Luxury, Soxy Lady. It is superwash wool and alpaca with some nylon.

What a lovely package of squishy mail, thank you, Vera!