Archive for the ‘what I am making’ Category

Plodding pays off!   38 comments

(whistles as she strolls along) Well, look at that, some things are finished!  How did that happen?

First up spinning –

This lovely blue yarn (not exciting, I know) is all done and the perfect yarn for A’s mittens.  It is a three ply, traditionally plied, and comes in at a heavy sport weight or light DK weight. I got 180 yards, just over 3 ounces. It is tightly spun, and so should be durable and warm, if the mittens ever get knit. 🙂

There were some leftovers, as always with traditional plying, and so I made a small skein of two ply, which is about 65 yards of fingering weight. There was still more left over, so I added that to my 2018 franken-bobbin.

I finished the first third of the yak/merino spin.  My plan is to divide both braids into thirds, spin one third of each and ply them together, then spin the other two thirds and ply them on themselves.  Essentially making a gradient set.  I have finished the combo part of the spin, and gotten about 100 yards of aran weight yarn that is SO PRETTY!  It is a warm chocolate color with lots of pink and gray in it. I am not deciding what to make with it until I see the whole thing together.  I had vaguely been thinking shawl, but I doubt I will get the yardage for that, so maybe a cowl and hat? This yarn is so soft, it deserves to be touching skin.

Of course, I already have a cowl knit from this same blend, because one of the knitting group ladies gifted one to me that she knit from the yarn she made, so I don’t need it to be for ME.  I am thinking I will pass this forward, but I will decide on that later as well.

Knitting – I have sleeves! Well, one sleeve completely done.  Just need to do the three needle bind off for the other one, as soon as I finish picking up 10,000 stitches from the provisional cast on.

I am so thrilled to be moving past this portion of the knit, though it isn’t hard, the rows are long and there is nothing going on during them.  Next up is some ribbing, which I hate, but which doesn’t last long, and then there will be some thinking as I work on the skirt.

I have one finished square of Durrow, and need to cast on the next one.  Truthfully, this one has been done for a few days, but I decided to focus on finishing up the spinning bits, and get past the sleeves of the Hitofude.  But I don’t want to lose the momentum on Durrow, either, so I will get on that ASAP.

Work has been draining, lots of taxes, unexpectedly in some cases, and regular work as well.   It was a long week, working all day Saturday really made a very short weekend! I took Sunday completely off from everything, A even gave me control of the remote!  WOW!  That meant that I got caught up on Victoria – though now of course, I am behind again as it recorded Sunday night.  And I found Create TV and went through the whole schedule to record anything remotely fiber oriented on that.  Won’t A be surprised when she sees the new shows pop up in the list?

This week feels long, but I am close to getting into my tax season groove, fielding random questions all over the place!  And still getting work done that needs to be done.  But having this weekend be a long one feels like a GOOD thing!  So glad Abe and George had birthdays in February so we get a holiday weekend.

A and I celebrated Valentine’s Day in a very low key way.  Cards, and small treats, and she made her special lasagna dinner for me.  I made her a coffee cake for breakfast, so we ate well (if not healthily!).  It was a bright spot in this long week.

Hope you are all plodding along getting things done and enjoying Valentine’s treats.

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Plodding along   49 comments

I haven’t posted in a while, because it feels like there is nothing new to share.  Work is plodding along, tax season started Monday, so I have to get in the groove of that, but it isn’t what I would call noteworthy.  🙂

A and I have been spending our weekends quietly – Saturday we do chores and errands and I go to Purple Fleece for knitting group, and she either does something with her sister or the cats, or works on organizing the big closet.

Sundays we putter together.  This Sunday we watched the kitten bowl.  Cute but too long.  She fixed snacks for the big game, which we don’t watch, but do have a bet on.  We tape it, speed through the game, watch the ads (LOVED the Giants ad spoofing Dirty Dancing!) and eat snacks.  We go to bed before the half time show.

I had the Patriots, A had the Eagles.  We are both very happy that they won, because I do love an underdog.  🙂 Even if their win means I lose a bet or two!

Knitting and spinning updates:

Still working on

the socks

the Hitofude

the Durrow

the scrap blanket

the blue spin

As you see, they are all slowly growing but look the same.  Nothing exciting!  The spin should get done this weekend.  I hoped to finish it sooner, but I got caught up crocheting (it’s hard to stop doing that) and so it is a little behind.

Durrow is very well designed and well written, but so intricate that I am amazed that anyone ever thought it could be done.  I am near the end of the first square, and it is slow going now.  There are four sides to the squares, and right now I have to alternate between two charts to complete a row.  IE chart one for one side, chart two for the next side, chart one for the third side, chart two for the fourth side.  SO MUCH CONCENTRATION NEEDED.  But it is so worth it, and it isn’t HARD, it’s just slow going and not TV knitting.  🙂

Hitofude is easy knitting, but long rows, so I can’t pick it up and drop it easily.  This is why the crocheting has gotten so much love!

And that is all I have! Getting ready for another snowstorm immediately followed by a couple of tax days. Sunday will be LOW KEY!

some works in progress and some finishes   45 comments

 

First, the WIPs.  Durrow is moving along.  It is slow, but enjoyable.  Just need to pay lots of attention and follow the row by row instructions.  Really, the stitch by stitch instructions, as it is not intuitive, but amazingly elegantly designed.  This square is about halfway done.  There are 6 more, plus two triangles before the simple stockinette body.

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Then there is the Hitofude sweater.  That pattern is easy to memorize, and I am chugging along on it.  But the rows are very long and the yarn is thin, so I could knit all evening, and maybe have an inch of progress done!

IMG_2445[1] It’s a little farther along than this shot shows, but not half way through this section yet.  It will get there. No hurry.

 

The big finish since we last talked is the spinning.  I really had fun with this spin, and it really flew, for me.  Less than two weeks from first fuzz to finished skein! I bought this braid when I was in Wisconsin last fall, and I purposely chose colors that were outside my comfort zone, wanting to see how this whole spinning color thing works.  I also wanted to see what all those white chunks did to the color.  I have told you before how I divided it up, planning on spinning three roughly equal sections that would then be plied together.

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I did everything according to plan.

Before too long, I had three bobbins full, ready to ply.

I thought the colors were interesting as I spun them, they blended, and the way the fiber was dyed lent itself to lots of marling and shifting colors.  The three bobbins look very different, and the one that I thought would have long color runs, looked really different from the other two.  (It’s the one on the left in the photo on the left.)  Look at all those yellows and browns!  I could not wait to see the skein of finished yarn

Here it is on the bobbin after plying.

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The colors are really mixed up now, and so pretty!

 

Then I wound it off and skeined it, and washed it and I was astounded to find that I had made

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Green yarn.

This was totally unexpected, by me at least!  There are pops of other colors in there, for sure, and a healthy amount of blue, but very little yellow or brown.

Color me befuddled.  I never expected this result.  I am happy with it, and will experiment with colors again, but it is clear to me that I have a WHOLE LOT to learn about colors and drafting and spinning.

Take another look.  It’s still hard for me to believe.

I can’t wait to see what happens when I knit it!

Endless week!   35 comments

Even though I just had a nice long vacation – or perhaps because of it – I am really struggling to want to be at work these days.  Sigh.  There is so much change going on, and unexpected fallout from our merger last autumn.  Some things I expected, but others just keep hitting me upside the head.

It makes me want to stay home and spin and knit.  I do that in the evenings, and for a little bit each morning.  I have two big knitting projects happening, so even though I work on things faithfully, there isn’t much to show for it.  But the spinning is seeming to move fast! This whole 4 ounces divided across three bobbins thing is really working for me right now, lol.  I am halfway through the singles already, and I have only been spinning this for 6 days.  I might finish it this weekend.  At least the singles, anyway.  I am eager to see how this yarn comes out, so far it looks NOTHING like I expected.  Here I thought I picked a braid that was outside of my comfort zone… so far it seems to have loads of soft greens and some blue.  There is yellow and orange but they are not as dominant as the braid led me to believe they would be.  So far, anyway.  Who knows what the yarn will look like?

The full bobbin

The second (partial) bobbin

We got more snow this week, but it was the soft pretty kind – not a storm like the rest of the country got, no wind, temps cold but not crazy. It just quietly fell from the sky and covered the brown muck that was left after last weeks rain.  It is light and fluffy and very pretty.  I wish I had a camera on my dashboard, this morning my commute to work was just LOVELY – the sky was all pink and that reflected off all the new snow.

It’s almost enough to make me want to get up and go to work each morning.

But not quite.

This too shall pass.

In Theory   35 comments

Hi everyone!  Sorry to be so silent lately, but it is that time of year when I feel like I disappear – tax season!  We are in training mode this month.  Last week we had our big regional training.   In theory, after 11 years of this, some of it should get easier.  But it doesn’t seem to, and I quake at the thought of all there will be to learn and teach next year. But that is next year, not to be worried about until the fall.  Glad I am not a programmer for the tax software companies!

Normally during tax training, I get to do lots of knitting.  Before I was tapped to do some teaching, I could count on getting a hat (or more) done each day.  Now that I am responsible for the afternoon sessions, I don’t get as much done on my knitting, lol.  this year I got this much done:

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This is my NOVEMBER sock, and the toe had already been completed before Monday.  In fact, I think I had done a couple of repeats of the pattern on the foot.    Sigh.  At least I got something done.  🙂

This year was also different because I had more new volunteers in the group, so I had less time to work on my own tax training (working problems, taking the test) than usual, which meant more time at home in the evenings working on things like that.

But I still found time for some spinning, and I did it – I finished the big spin I started back in July!

I now have MORE than enough to do a sweater in this lovely stuff (2590 yards, to be exact):

You have seen it before, of course, but perhaps you don’t remember.  Here are some close ups for you.  😉

I enjoyed finishing that so much that I immediately dug about in my stash to see what was next.  I needed to spin something light and easy and DIFFERENT COLORS.  It is hard to keep spinning and spinning and having it always look the same. You start to feel like you will never finish.

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This is next.  It is superwash merino, dyed by Fiber Optic Yarn.   I got it last September at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, when I remember making a conscious effort to get some different colors.  I am so glad I did, as I need a break from my favorite deep blues, purples, greens, and pink.  This has enough blue in it that I can live with the colors I don’t care for as much (that would be you, orange.)

I divided the braid into three chunks, totally unscientifically, no weighing involved.  I just folded it into thirds and pulled it apart.  I then left one third as is, and divided another third in half the long way.  Also unscientifically, just started pulling and let it go how it wanted to.  Which was pretty evenly, actually.  The third section, I divided in half, and then each piece in half again.  So it is a fractal spin, but I didn’t worry too much about dividing things perfectly.  I am going to spin the divided pieces end to end, and see how the colors come together when plyed in a traditional three ply.

I started with the four section third, and I am surprised at how it is spinning up.  Much more green than I expected.  And more light, as all the white spaces are pulled into the colors.  But I love how the colors come together as I draft, making a marled singles.  It should be very interesting when it is all done.

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Yesterday was stormy and nasty, so Whorls and Purls annual non-holiday party got shifted to today.  That meant that A and I were home together on a Saturday which rarely happens.  We puttered about, put more Christmas away. There is always something lingering after you think you got it all. In our case, it was the tree.  🙂  It just had it’s lights on, because we never did finish decorating it, and we were both sad to see it go, but it was time.  So we got rid of that, and cleaned up the ensuing mess.  A tossed it over the bank near the bird feeders, so the birds will have some cover while feeding.  In the spring, I will cart it farther into the woods.

I did some cleaning and puttering in the craft room, putting away Christmas card mess, etc. I did get to do some knitting eventually, and my hitofude sweater appreciated the time.

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I do like this yarn and pattern, and so far it is pretty easy. I am making this from yarn I also got in Wisconsin (see, I am being good using up what I got last summer!) and alternating skeins as the dye lots are off the tiniest bit.  It is working well, and I think I will get a lot of wear out of this lightweight sweater.

I haven’t gotten to knit on the Durrow, but I plan to this weekend.  After all, there is a whole extra day, right? In theory, I should be able to get a lot done tomorrow!

The other big exciting thing that happened this week is that A and I decided that it is feasible financially for me to go to Knit Maine 2018 in September.  I had been half planning a trip back to Wisconsin sometime in September, but some of the people I would see there are coming to Maine instead!  I was very excited about that, though I will miss the ones who don’t come.  So instead of driving for days, I will be the hostess at the end of the summer.  I hope we have beautiful weather, so that they can see and enjoy some of what Maine has to offer after Labor Day. In theory, it should still be summery.

In theory.

 

 

Holiday wrap up   35 comments

Well, that was fun!

I haven’t written a post about Christmas yet, because I was SO tired after the crazy lead up to it, and then the big day,  I took a few days to rest and relax and digest.

I managed to get all the knitting done, and lots of cards (but not all – I have a half dozen or so still to send out, just waiting for the glitter to dry).

We got all the presents wrapped and delivered.  It was the delivery bit that was more complicated than expected!

But before we get to that…

 

I have been on vacation since last Wednesday at close of day.  Thank goodness – I don’t know how I would have found the time to work!

Thursday I drove down t Boston to meet up with a Raveler friend from the Knitting Sarah group.  Bonnie had been hoping to go to our in person gathering in September, but for a variety of reasons, was not able to make it.  However!  She had a long vacation planned to visit her sister in the Boston area.  When I heard that, I thought “I can go to Boston…” so I asked her how she felt about it, and she was willing.  So nice and early Thursday I hopped in my trusty Prius and headed south.  I got to her sister’s house easily, and immediately felt at home, like I was visiting an old friend.  Which of course, I was, right?  We chatted a bit and she showed me IN PERSON the things she was working on – how nice to really see and touch, not wonder if the monitor was showing the right colors.  🙂 Then we went off to a yarn store in Natick, the Iron Horse.  It is a small shop, but had a nice selection of yarns and needles and the like.  I was trying VERY hard to be good, but did have to buy a braid of malabrigo nube that had my name on it.  they had lots of other yarn I could easily have walked out with if I weren’t trying so hard to not spend money.  Why is money always an issue?

When we finished there, we asked some of the ladies about where they recommended for lunch.  They pointed us across the street to a very nice sandwich place.  We sat and ate lunch and chatted and chatted for what seemed like 2 minutes but of course was much longer.  Then I dropped her back at her sisters and headed north again.  With the he exception of some traffic going northbound, it was a painless road trip, and a whole lot of fun in between long bouts of driving.  I made it there and back in 13 hours!

Friday began the Christmas prep in earnest cards going out late, packages being mailed late, knitting happening at a furious pace. And a trip to Bangor to get the cars serviced, which included a meal at Ruby Tuesday while we waited for them.

The weather was lousy, rainy, and snowy, and icy, but I skated over to Whorls and Purls on Saturday afternoon.  I was going to be knitting, I might as well be with fellow knitters, right?  One other hardy soul showed up, so the three of us (Deb just has to slide across her yard to open up) had a nice visit and more knitting on the dreaded legwarmers happened.

Sunday I had planned to stay inside and just knit like a fiend, but sister-in-law L called up and invited us over to see her and her “boys” who were home for the holidays.  D from Denver and Z and his wife, EY, from Copenhagen.  We could NOT miss this, so I brought my knitting along,  and A brought a big selection of cookies she has been stockpiling for them, and off we went.  We had such a nice visit – ate a great lunch, played many hands of Rummikube and caught up on what everyone is up to.  And I knit.  those leg warmers passed ten inches!

Old Man Winter wasn’t through with us yet – as predicted, we got a lovely nor’easter on Christmas Day.  A knew there was no point in suggesting we stay home.  Christmas means mom’s house, come hell, high water, or big snow storm.  We got up earlier than we would have preferred, opened our presents to each other, and hit the road.  It was snowing, but hadn’t been for long, so we had no trouble getting there.  My sister had come over the night before, as she has a longer trip.  Apparently, she left a note for Santa, and he was able to find niece E at Gram’s house instead of at home. Brother C and his girl D arrived late morning, but Brother N and his family opted to stay home.  We missed them, but having five fewer people meant there was much less chaos and more capacity for meaningful conversation.  Mom made a delicious meal, and we all got presents galore.  (Mom dragged yarn and a book all the way home from Scotland for me!  Wow!)  We had a fun time with the Yankee Swap – A wound up with a submersion blender, and I got a set of 8 antique blue glasses. I kept knitting on those legwarmers, and around 2, I was able to cast them off and hand them over to the eagerly waiting niece.  No photos of them, I am sorry, but trust me they were long, sparkly, and brightly colored. It was a lovely day all around, and for the most part we ignored the weather happening outside.  But by 3 A was getting antsy to head for home while there was a little daylight.  We shoveled off the car, thinking it wasn’t much snow – maybe three or four inches, and headed up and around Penobscot Bay.  A couple of hours of slow driving later, we drove up our lane, to discover that our driveway was not yet plowed.  A put that Prius into low gear and blasted up the rise into the snow covered driveway.  She made it about halfway, before the Prius informed us she is not a snow plow.  We gave it a couple of tries, but no good, so we walked the last hundred feet up to the house.  And that is when we discovered that we got a whole lot more snow than Mom did.  No wonder the Prius couldn’t plow through it.  It was a good 8 or 10 inches deep!

We made it home safely and were glad to get into our warm home and play with our cats.  🙂

The next day, with the help of our great plow guy, we were able to get the car free and the driveway cleared.

Off we went to Ellsworth to the bank and out for a pizza “lupper” before stopping into exchange presents with some neighbors on the way back home.

Wednesday was the first day in a week that I did not budge from the house.  It was a good choice, because it was the first day of several below zero days!  A good one to sit before the fire and knit and plan knitting!  I swatched some of my Wisconsin yarn for a sweater – hitofude – that I will cast on 1/1/18 for a Knitting Sarah KAL.  Thrilled to find that the yarn works fine for it, as long as I do my usual, down one needle size.  I also worked on the test knit hat I am still working on.  I think I have found a needle size that will work just fine with that.  Hope so!  I don’t really want to knit it again.

I knit up the last ornament of 2017 for my Yankee Swap with A’s family, sometime this weekend.  I think I cleared the decks enough that I can spin!!

Today I also did not budge, but I was more of a puttering person today than a sit in front of the fire and knit person.  Tomorrow I might be warm and rested enough to actually go outside.  The temps will still be below zero, but the wind is supposed to abate, so it might not feel like a suicide mission to go out to the car.  🙂

 

So how was your week?

A lovely pre-holiday weekend behind us and a busy fun week ahead   35 comments

A and I are trying to do a lower key Christmas this year, since our finances are different. Not bad, just not as reliable in a steady stream as previously.  But what that means?  We aren’t really sure.  A wanted a monitor and keyboard, which are for her business, so are tax deductible.  Not a Christmas gift, but she knows they took a chunk out of the Christmas budget, so she won’t tell me what else she wants.  I asked for an ott light, and she got it, then saw me struggling to make cards in the dimness, and gave it to me then.  So Christmas morning will have little under the tree, I think!

Both of our families do Yankee Swaps, and we are making things for those, so that is easy.

The end result is NOT MUCH SHOPPING!

LOTS OF CRAFTING AND BAKING!

More focus on visiting with people!

This weekend was all of that – Saturday morning we got our tree and wreath, and then A took them home while I went over to Whorls and Purls for knitting.  I was working on the legwarmers, which are not as awful as I had dreaded. Knitting with two fingering weight yarns held together goes ever so much faster than one fingering weight.  And makes a fun garment, too. You can’t see it here, but the lighter yarn has sparkles in it. Ooh la la!

I even worked on my chain mail shawl – probably about half way done with that.  And I wound the yarn for a sweater I will start in January.  It was productive, but it also was fun to sit and knit with the ladies again.

When I got home we got the tree up and into it’s stand.  We will decorate it sometime.  Maybe.  There have been years where all we did was put on the lights, then add any ornaments we were given.  This year, though, A has asked if we could really decorate it.  So, we will.

Sunday we had brunch out with A’s nephew and family from PA, and her niece and two “children” who are more local.  It was so much fun!  All the great nephews and niece are in college now, and growing up so nicely! The niece and nephew (who are close in age to us) are fun and interesting people, so it was a great meal.  From there we went grocery shopping since the big store was right in the same parking lot, and then home again to make cards, bake cookies, and knit.

I will get the holiday knitting done on  time, but maybe not the cards, unless I change up how I am doing them. But I really like how they are coming out, so I am just not sure about this.

A made three different kinds of cookies this weekend.  Some to keep and some to give, and she plans more before the week is through.  WOW!  We diet for sure on the first of the year.  But in the meantime, we are enjoying it all very much!

This week is a short one for me – I am off after work on Wednesday.  I have a lot to do, and a training to give on Wednesday afternoon, but then I am off until 1/2/18.  Another WOW! Wednesday is also our holiday potluck, for which I will bake some more cookies, but which I will have to miss most of for the training.  😦

Thursday I am planning to drive down to the Boston area to meet up with a fellow Raveller who could not make the trip to Wisconsin last summer.  That should be loads of fun! Friday is about recovering from the trip and doing housework while A works. And making cards.  Lots of cards!

So, a different kind of busy week this week!

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