Saturday was Maine Fiber Frolic

And frolic I did!  As I have the past few years, I went with some of the ladies from Whorls and Purls, and we met up with even more of the group once there.

A gave me cash for my early birthday, and I had been saving up quite a bit of cash for the event, so I felt quite flush this year!

I am going to try the link thing again to all of my goodies, please let me know in the comments if it doesn’t work.

I was not as organized as I like to be when I go there, with patterns and ideas in mind.  I was thinking I wanted some fairly solid DK weight yarn for a couple of sweaters (suddenly all the patterns I like call for DK, and I have none!) and I knew I would be on the lookout for some yarn and matching beads for the Biophilia  shawl I will be starting soon.

I also knew that Bartlett Yarns would be a vendor, and I wanted a sweater quantity (SQ) of their yarn.  If it could be DK, so much the better, but I knew what color it would be.  I had a sweater in this color out of their yarn years ago, and I wore it until it could be worn no more.  I miss it and want another.

So, Bartlett was the first stop.  Even knowing exactly what I wanted, I had a hard time choosing! They have so many lovely colors. I chose what I went in for, though, a lovely shade of soft aqua blue and I am going to love the sweater.  It is sport weight, so a little lighter than DK, I will survive, and see what a swatch tells me.  I knit loosely, so it might work. If not, I will find something.

After that, it was to my favorite Pine Star Studio, where I got this and this.  The redder one is a contender for the Biophilia, but when I found the beads that worked best, I realized I had some at home already, so I didn’t buy more. The cranberry one, though, I found those gorgeous beads to match.  I have no idea what the pattern will be, the yardage is crazy high on that one, so I will not do the Biophilia with it, but choose something that will make more use of the whole skein.

Then there is the fiber.  I have bought a few large lots of blended merino silk over the years, and thought about combining them to have enough to make a sweater, but I really needed more to make the project work.  I knew I would never match the colors exactly, so I wanted to get some with all the colors, and I will spin it as a combo spin.  Maybe I will hit DK weight on that? So when I saw this, from the same vendor, I knew it was coming home.  I love all the blues and greens, and the fiber I already have is also blues and greens, though darker and grayer, so it will get toned down.

Lastly, I wanted to get something I have been eyeing since I learned to spin.  Every year I want it, every year I don’t buy it in fear of not being a good enough spinner.  This year I decided I could do it.

Camel and silk, undyed.  It glows in the sunshine.

All that plus a couple of ice creams (Stone Fox Creamery – oh my!) and some pizza for lunch, plus fudge to bring home to A, and I had five dollars left in my pocket.  Truthfully, it was not in the same pocket the rest of my cash was, I found it as we were leaving.  Had I known, I would have gotten more beads, for sure.  🙂  I think I did pretty well, and will have enough to keep me busy for a while.  And I will start saving my pennies again, because Knit East is in October, and I will want to shop there as well!

 

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Writing with links instead of photos

We can see how it goes, right?

I decided that if I can’t post photos here, I can post links to my Ravelry project pages.  Please let me know in the comments if that got you to the photos. So far, Ravelry hasn’t put any limits on the photos we can post there!

 

I finished the Liverpool socks for my BIL, they are so bright and fun!  I am sure he will hate them, but he will appreciate them for what they are.  and maybe appreciate them even more on a cold morning.

I have been cranking away on my Hankshaw pullover.  I am loving how these colors look!  Of course, I have loads of each of the 6 colors left, not sure how much of the natural I will have left, but there maybe some hat knitting in my future with the leftovers.  Twice leftover, as they come originally from a shawl…

Durrow continues to plod along, but I have a motivating plan now.  First off, when I finished the previous square, I got a reward of casting on a sweater.  Now one of my Whorls and Purls friends gives me assignments each week.  So far so good, I do about 6-7 rows a week. At that pace, it will take several more weeks to finish the square.  But I know when the rows get shorter, I can do more in a week.  And so I am plotting and planning my next cast on reward. I am thinking of June, in either white and light blue, or light blue and navy. Yes, I know it isn’t a two colored sweater, but don;t you think it would be pretty with the lace in a different color? Of course, it might not be that at all.  there is no telling, and I have a few weeks to go before I need to know.  I think I will make a rule that Hankshaw has to be done also, if my next reward is a sweater.  I don’t want too many of them on the needles.

Then there is Biophilia. I plan to cast it on no later than July 1, joining in a knit along, which many of my Whorls and Purls friends are doing also.  But I think this wont; be tied to any reward system.  I have wanted to knit it for quite a while, so the time is right.  I have the yarn and beads, but Fiber Frolic is in a few weeks, so that whole thought might change.  They have yarn and beads there.  🙂

I also finished Droplet, it is drying now.  Hopefully it will dry and I can get a nice pretty photo of it before too long, but the weather is so awful, endless gray.

And did I show you what FINALLY came off my loom last week?  Fabric!  Not perfect, but usable.  It was intended for place mats, but still not sure it won’t be dish towels…

That’s it in knitting world…

 

In real life, today is one of our anniversaries.  We have two, because we had a lovely commitment ceremony ten years ago, not ever suspecting that we could ever legally wed.  But just a few years later, we could, so our other anniversary is on the 19th, 4 years later.

And I will say that BOTH of those days were sunny and bright and warm!  Imagine, in May, not needing winter clothes.  Glad we aren’t having a big outdoor party this year – we would freeze.  I think that flowering things are about a week or so behind this year, because the cherry trees were almost gone by for our ceremony in 2013, and they haven’t even begun to bloom yet.  Everything is slowly coming along though, I know they will bloom eventually.  It is an exceptionally good forsythia year, though!  It must have just been a slightly warmer winter this year.  Also, lilacs that have never before bloomed are covered in buds.  So maybe Spring will happen eventually?

I think that is all that I know right now –  thanks for your patience while I sort out how to share photos!  And do let me know if you were able to navigate to them.

 

 

 

It’s the photo thing

I haven’t written because I haven’t had time to sort out the photo thing and describing what I am doing seems so boring.  BUT I just have to bite the bullet and use up the rest of my available space and sort it out later.  You all have been so patient with me.

Here’s what I have been up to – so much fiber crafting happening!

I finished the Alaska hat a few weeks ago, but just got photos of it this weekend:

 

I am halfway through a pair of socks that I just LOVE.  This yarn is custom dyed for me to knit socks for my BIL.  He is a huge Liverpool football fan (soccer to those of us heathens in the USA) the team colors are red, with aqua and gold.  I asked magic Debbie at the Purple Fleece to dye me some yarn, and this is what she came up with!  I love it!  I love the little bits of other colors created in the transitions, and I think these socks are lots of fun.  Even more so, because BIL is a gray and black kind of dresser, and these are so far out of his comfort zone that he will think the package was meant for his daughter.  I know they might wind up on her feet, but he will have fan socks if he wants them.

 

I am plugging away on Durrow, which grows tedious.  I have one more square to do, and then there will be different sections to work on.  These squares have been on my needles since January 2018.  It is embarrassing to admit.

 

So I set myself a goal and gave myself a reward.  I could cast on a sweater for me when I finished the 6th square (maybe this is why it has taken me more than a year to get this far…)  I finished the square in the middle of last week.  Whew!  And I had long ago swatched the yarn I want to use, but had never picked out a pattern.  So  I went pattern diving and found Hankshaw pullover.  It was perfect for what I wanted.  Right weight yarn, a simple yoke pattern that I could modify as needed, and it would be easy to incorporate the 6 shades of blue and green that I wanted in the yoke. I had vacation from Wednesday through the weekend, so this happened.  I did have to fiddle a bit with the size, as my row gauge was off, and my arms are larger than miss average’s.  But I am going to divide for the sleeves tonight when I get home, and then it should be math-free knitting.

I wonder what i will do as a reward for the next square?  I have  enough gray sport weight yarn for a sweater… perhaps that will be next.

I have also been working away on my Japanese mystery knit along scarf, I am nearly done with the second clue.  And my Droplet hack is getting close to done.  I will show you those another day.

I did do some weaving this month, and I think I am pretty close to finishing this fabric. It was originally going to be place mats and napkins, I think it might be place mats and dishtowels now. Not quite sure… I like the colors, but I want to do more experimenting with stitches, so I need this to be done.

And spinning – still spinning!  I am working on an 8 ounce spin with two different colored braids, creating a three ply, 4 skein gradient.  So far 1/4 is done and plied, and the second 1/4 is about halfway done.  Slow going, I am spinning sewing thread again…

My brain is always looking at what I am doing and imaging the next project.  I could use 5 days weekends every week!

 

In other news – the snow has melted!  At last!  I have begin scooping leaves out of the pool, as much as I can reach from the edges, no getting in it yet! And if we get a non-pouring rain weekend, I will begin raking the yard and looking about for outside chores.  the screen doors need some attention.  We plan to dismantle most of the front deck this spring/summer, and rebuild it smaller, then add a patio/terrace thing.  I want big raised beds in the transition area, which means carpenter world.  So lots going on.  In my head.

Tax season is really over, we had our celebratory luncheon last week.  My weekends are my own until June when fundraisers and picnics kick in. So I think I can say that the sweater will get finished in short order.  🙂

I will keep you posted.  Promise!

 

 

How did I not share this with you?

After I posted that quick shot of my morning spinning, I realized I never shared with you the last skein I finished.  I really love it!  It spun up nice and fast (finn) and the colors are so pretty (Purple Fleece) and I can’t wait to knit something with it.

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This was a fractal two ply – 1:4 ratio, which means that there will be a few bands of solid colors in it, but mostly the yarn will have two colors twisted together.  I happen to have  some solid yarn of the same golden hue in stash, and the spin I am currently doing looks like it will match nicely with the red color.  So I might create some epic knitting project with it all.  But for now, I am just enjoying looking at this warm sunny yarn.

Feeling neglectful!

I feel a bit guilty for not writing more and sharing what I have been up to.  I have sat down to write several times, but clearly, that hasn’t amounted to an actual post.

Things have been kind of chugging along in fits and starts, lots of work, lots of knitting, lots of spinning, lots of weather.

The biggest news is that a couple of weeks ago – on the MLK holiday weekend, A industriously went to work the day after the snow storm, and on her way home, she hit a deer.  She was going slowly to start with, due to the bad roads, and she saw the deer, and braked, but the road was icy, and she slowly slid into the deer. Deer and A were both fine (apparently – the deer rolled into the ditch, hopped up, and ran away) but the truck – ! Scotty needs a face lift.  So now we are in the whole insurance company, adjuster, body shop dance.  At least it runs, and everyone is fine.  It’s just one more THING, you know?

Last week was a good fiber week – it actually started the week before, when word went out that our local salvage store, Marden’s had truckloads of Classic Elite yarns at half off retail! I checked it out after work Friday. There was a LOT but not a wide variety of colors and not their very best fibers. Still, I found a few balls of Liberty that made it worth the trip!

I really only wanted to get the purple one, but the others called to me and I couldn’t leave them behind. 😉

Thursday I took the day off and spent it at Mom’s knitting and chatting with her and my sister.  Mom tried on the sweater, and I am glad she did – it needs some adjustments, so I had to rip it back to the waist.  Easy to do now, before trims and button bands and what not are added. So I did that ripping, and will add some darts front and back to fix the fit issues. Also, I gave my sister her pretty cowl and she loved it.  Whew!  I also brought my dye book over to have her show me what colors she likes and what colors she doesn’t like.  The girl who had her entire room – walls, curtains, bedspread – in purple is gone.  The grown woman likes no kind of purple now.  Glad I asked.  🙂

It was a nasty stormy (rainy) day with lots of road flooding, so going home was an adventure, but I made it with vehicle intact!

Saturday was our annual potluck party with the Whorls and Purls gang.  We added two things to the event this year – a yarn swap, where we each brought a nice skein of yarn in a brown paper sack, and played Yankee Swap.  But then we also all brought yarn and fiber that we would be happy to have out of our stashes, and piled it all on the dining room table of our hostess.  We drew numbers, and took turns choosing something.  We thought it would take forever, but it went quite quickly!  I brought home slightly less than I took there, which is a plus, and even more of a plus is that I brought home things I love and will be happy to use, and that was not the case with the things I took.    I managed to stick to the Whole 30 (day 22) in spite of all the delicious looking soups and desserts.  Thankfully, I brought salad, and someone else brought fruit, so I was able to eat just fine.

Sunday, A and I went over to Rockland and volunteered for the annual Pies on Parade event, held to support the local food pantry.  Mom is on the board there,  and is always looking for volunteers to help at this amazing event.  They had 27 venues, all serving pie in some form, and sold 700 tickets.  We were stationed at one spot and spent the afternoon greeting people, checking tickets, answering questions. It was fun, but exhausting!  Still, we both agreed, we would do it again next year if we are needed.  And if we aren’t needed, we think we will buy tickets and join the eating frenzy.  And for those of you keeping track, that was day 23 of Whole 30, and I had not one smidgen of a bite.  A brought some nuts and things, I picked out the cashews from her stash at the end of the day, when I was ravenous.  Instead of eating, I knit.  It was interesting, as always, to knit in public like that.  Most people paid me no mind, but several ladies commented that they were glad to see me knitting, and a pie vendor told me she was sorry she hadn’t brought her own knitting.  But you know me, have knitting, will travel!  I almost finished my second blue sock. I should have it done this week.  Not sure what sock will be next… but I have some ideas. I need to design and knit a Liverpool football team themed pair for my BIL… that might not be my NEXT pair,though.  I have to get just the right colors and pattern.

So that is what I have been up to –  still spinning 15 minutes most days, knitting, most days, though the work days last week were long, because of all that time off, I still managed to touch fiber a bit.

Finished the Aegean on wensleydale…

 

and began it’s solid complement, Oliver Twist, also on wensleydale.

 

I am spinning both of these “backwards” to see if I notice a difference when knitting. Instead of spinning the singles “Z” and plying “S” I am spinning  the singles “S” and plying “Z”. We will see if I can tell the difference when working it.

 

I told you how the brown sweater  and blue socks progress, and the Nymphalidae is coming right along as well. I am almost done with the increasing section.

 

And Durrow.  Durrow. Oh, it is going to be so lovely, but it moves so slowly!  It least I am done with all the squares that start inside and work out.  Now I have two to knit from the outside in. I have started the first and an slowly working on it.   I had made a good start on it,but somehow got it twisted.  Sigh. That meant ripping out and starting that square again. I am loving how the two colors of purple are blending together as i join the squares to form this one.  I can’t wait, because once these two are done, I introduce the third purple, a pale one, for the two end triangles.  And THEN I am done with the tricky parts!  There will still be a whole body to knit, but plain stockinette!  Yeah! And a lace border… not sure, I have to see it, but I am thinking of using the lightest color for that and the i-cord bind off.  We will see.  You know, in 6 or 8 months when I finish this thing! And when I do, this thing will be worn a LOT to show the world that I finished it! 

As I work my way through it, I am in awe of Lucy Hague’s ability to conceive and write the instructions for this beautiful, complex shawl.  Her directions are very clear, though involved.  The ONLY thing I wish she had done differently is combine some of the row instructions (and presumably charts, I am not using them for this project) differently.  I fear losing my place as I flip back and forth.  But that is it, the only thing I would change.  Well, one other thing.  I think I need a reader.  But that is not on Lucy.  Unless she wants to make an audio pattern, and read the row by row instructions to me.  That is what I need though.  Someone to say “knit one, ssk, knit three, cable 4 right, cable 4 left, knit 3, ” etc. slowly, as I knit.  Any volunteers?

The other knitting thing happening is that I joined a Japanese Lace Sampler Scarf MKAL.  It starts on 2/1, and I can’t wait.  I have my yarn (Swan’s Island natural colors fingering) and have swatched.  Now I just need the first clue!  Clues come out every two months, and there are 6, I believe, so this will be a long term project, over the course of a year. I have a Japanese Stitch bible, the patterns are so lovely!  I need to start incorporating them into more things.

This is my swatch, using a variety of needle sizes. I am going to start off with the top one, a US size 3. And I am in love with this yarn!

 

That is about it at this point –  life moves on, snow comes and goes, work seems ever present.  Thank goodness for knitting and fiber!

 

 

It’s been so long

I haven’t written in so long that I don’t think I will even try to catch you up.

On the whole life has been boring, when it comes to blogging.  Work is stressful and overwhelming at times, but not unmanageable, given enough time.  Home is fine and restorative,as always.

And fall is upon us!

The colors were so muted for such a long time, then we had a gray week and they all popped out.

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The morning glories are struggling to bloom now, the sun is so low they are in shade most of the day. But late in the afternoon, the sun makes it past the house and they seem to glow.

I have been making lots of apple crisp the past few weeks, which I love, and it is so easy to make, yum!

Still need to do the fall yard work – dig up the carrots and plant the garlic, spread a little cow manure and straw about… but the cosmos and zinnias are still blooming, so I can’t bother them, can I?

There was ice on the windshield this morning.  Not frost, but real ice, from the heavy dew and very cold temps.  So this fall is clearly not going to last, and winter will be here before we know it.

So, we ordered our pellets for the winter – 4 tons.  With help from our BIL, we loaded two tons into the cellar yesterday, and will work on them each weekend until they are done.  Left to our own devices, we do about a ton a day, but with help, we were able to double that.  We both notice that this time of year, a bag of pellets seems so heavy (40 pounds) but by spring we think nothing of hauling a couple of bags up the stairs to fill the stove.

I have been knitting and spinning – knitting very focused on two things – the Down the Road and Back Again shawl, which SHOULD get finished this week, and is already sold!  Yea!

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And of course, socks. One of the things going on at work this time of year is health fairs.  I knit a lot at them, in between chatting with people about the organization.  One of them was so crowded (free flu shots!) that no one could move, and so I sat knitting and chatting with people – it turns out the knitting was drawing folks to the table. I might start keeping on knitting when people approach, instead of tucking it away.  So I finished one sock and have made a good start on the second.

Spinning has also been happening –

I made this yarn which will join some scraps and leftovers to become a shawl.  It is a two ply, one ply is Tasman Comeback, the other ply is Finn.

Then this yarn flew off the wheel!  It will likely be a hat, as there isn’t much yardage. It’s a bulky 4 ply, in Falkland.

Next up is some yarn that I hope will be for some socks – I haven’t spun for socks in quite a while. This is merino, bamboo, and nylon.

One last photo – leaving Whorls and Purls on Saturday, I looked up and thought that it looked like someone had floated a piece of roving across the sky.

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That’s it from around these parts – I hope you have been having a good month so far! What does fall look like in your part of the world?