End of vacation…and how I did on that list!

  • The weekend is over, and it went pretty much as planned. My knitting group meets via Zoom every Saturday for a couple of hours… and every few weeks my mom, sister, cousins, and aunts meet on Zoom. That was this week, too, so lots of time sitting in front of the computer!
  • And it took two days to wrap up that Friday list…

    • hook up the pool filter so the rain we get stays in the pool.

    Well, I worked at it but clearly something isn’t tight enough, because the water level is unchanged, and it rained! Hard! I will double check it all again on later today.

      Also, call the pool store, hoping that we can figure out how to get the water tested and chemicals bought.

    I did this, they were open, so I masked up and got it done.

    • If that means I have to go out, I will do the week’s shopping while I am out.

    It did, and I did. Wondering why so many people think that they don’t need masks, and the one way aisles aren’t for them?

    • And drive through Dunkin for a free donut.

    And it was a good treat!

    • And go to the PO.

    No squishy packages this week. 🥴

    • Spin for half an hour.

    I spun for at least that long every day this weekend, and my bobbin is getting full. Soon I will be plying!

    • Pick up the last weekly clue for the Romi Hill MKAL shawl.

    It came out around 1, and I worked on it steadily all weekend. Finished the bind off Sunday night at bedtime. I will block it this week and share FO photos eventually.

    • Give all my other knitting WIPs some love…
  • I managed this! Icy Shores got lots of love while I zoomed, I passed the halfway mark.
  • The mittens got some love, the thumb gusset is on waste yarn, and it all fits back on my tiniest circs (8 inches).
  • The sweater got a few rows of neck edging done, and the Estonian Lace MKAL got a few rows done. Even the Ocean Current wrap for my customer got some attention between Romi MKAL rows.
    • Lastly on this list is sewing masks for us.

    I did make half a dozen on Saturday morning while A was out of the house getting her remote starter installed in her new truck. Did I mention we bought a new truck this week? She loves her truck, but pounds on the miles. So when the stars aligned, that Toyota is offering 0 percent financing, and the trade in value was about double what we owed, we went for it. The “old” truck had under 100,000 miles but wouldn’t for long, so it was now or never. Payments are the same, truck had only 25 miles, interest rate is now zero. Her birthday was last week, she is quite pleased with her present!

    So that is pretty much how the weekend went… lots and lots of shawl knitting and a few other crafty things.

    Now I am headed upstairs to go back to work. How was your weekend? And what are you doing today?

    A Friday list for May Day

    Strange as it might seem, I am on vacation this week. We booked several vacation weeks at the beginning of the year, thinking it would be, ya know, another year like all the previous ones… taxes would wind up in April, I would be exhausted. A would be about to launch into her busy season, but still able to break away for a few days of time off.

    Who knew?

    Who knew AARP would shut the tax program down literally overnight? And that the rest of my job would be deemed essential? I am thankful for that, but March was very confusing and stressful. I suspect I am not alone in that feeling! A’s town offices reacted to March differently, some were happy to have her come in on her usual schedule, others wouldn’t let her in the parking lot. So there was a bit of scrambling to figure out how she could work remotely (yea, TeamViewer!) and a bit of anxious planning on our part as we figured out budgets for different scenarios.

    But we were so lucky, so very lucky, that both of us were able to keep working. And she was able to keep working safely, no public interaction, socially distant while at work.

    I had to work harder at being socially distant for those first few weeks of everything shutting down. I put a line of tape down in my office and asked people not to cross it. They thought I was nuts. I made cloth masks and wore them to the office. They told me I inly needed to wear them “in public.” Hello! What are all you people if not public? And I chafed at my boss saying he needed me to be in the office every day. Really, I do grantwriting and communications. I get that our industry is essential, but not that it was essential for me to physically be present.

    Then the governor issued stay at home orders for April, and I was able to convince him. So for the month, I worked at home 4 days a week and went in the office one day a week.

    A works at home a few days a week, and we quickly discovered that our lovely open floor plan is not particularly conducive to two of us working from home! Let’s just say that it is good that we have closets. Many a phone call has been taken in ours.

    So when this week arrived, I was ready for a break. A had filled most of the week with consulting; back in March when things were uncertain, it seemed prudent to maximize income. That means I have been home alone. How sad! 😜

    I have been puttering and doing lots of knitting and spinning, and a little sewing and weaving. I have tackled a seasonal chore a day, but not anything too time consuming. One day it was cleaning the bathroom fan, another it was washing the bedroom windows. I have enjoyed my staycation, but the new reality is creeping in, and I want to go to work Monday. Even though I love being home, something is seeping in…anxiety because of all the people who gave no choice? An awareness of the need for human interaction? I am not sure what it is. So here it is Friday, and I have a bunch of things I want to get done. I thought I would share the list with you!

    • The seasonal chore for today is to hook up the pool filter so the rain we get stays in the pool.
      Also, call the pool store, hoping that we can figure out how to get the water tested and chemicals bought.
    • If that means I have to go out, I will do the week’s shopping while I am out.
    • And drive through Dunkin for a free donut.
    • And go to the PO.
    • Spin for half an hour. I did that yesterday and liked seeing the progress.
    • Pick up the last weekly clue for the Romi Hill MKAL shawl. It usually releases mid-day. I am totally loving this knit, but not the online group. I won’t do an MKAL with that group again, though I will knit more of her patterns, they are lovely… and have charts as well as written directions. It takes time to do that, I really appreciate it.
    • Give all my other knitting WIPs some love… the latest monthly clue for the Estonian Lace scarf came out this week, I started that as soon as it did. A few rows a day keeps me up to date on that clue. There is also a lace wrap I am knitting for a customer, I do a few repeats a day on that. And a sweater I started for myself that I try to work on each day. Then there is another lace and beaded scarf I have going. Thankfully that one is at a stage where I have the pattern memorized, so it is the one I work in when only mindless knitting will do. And then there are some mittens for A for Christmas. I am about a quarter of the way through the first one, but I have time. 🙄
    • Lastly on this list is sewing masks for us. Restrictions are easing, but with the freedom to move comes the need for more masks. I hope to bang out several today.

    By the time I get through all of this, A should be home from work and the weekend can begin! Weekends are so different now, aren’t they? We kind of like the freedom from social activities, but miss seeing the people. Still, we are grateful to both be introverts with hobbies…

    Well, I had better get up and moving, that list won’t do itself.

    Just my cup of tea

    I finished my second Milky Oolong shawl today. Blocked, ends woven in, truly finished. I love the finished shawl, but probably shouldn’t have done two in a row, it got really boring toward the end.

    But it was worth it.

    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…

    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!

    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?