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?

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Made it through THAT week!

Like a good chunk of North America, the weather here this week was abominable. Normally I would look forward to work and the AC, but it was a bad week at work, and I dreaded going in. My merry band of coworker friends was reduced by one a week ago and it is sad and unsettling.

Saw a great t shirt the other day, on a fellow being interviewed on the news. “Sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come.” That pretty much describes it.

I know things will settle down there a bit, but not yet.

Anyway. At home it was too hot to do anything BUT sit in front of and under a fan and knit, so that’s what I did.

I fixed the cuff on the last pair of socks, and wove in the ends, so they are officially finished.

I finished sock #1 of my current pair, and wove those ends in while I was at it.

Cast on the second sock, so that is going.

They don’t look like a pair, do they? The yarn is a from Knit Circus in Wisconsin, two small balls packaged as a chromatic pair. This one starts as navy and gets gradually lighter, similar to the shading on the first one.

Cast on and knit a few rows of the next Durrow square. Sure looks like a blob right now! But those cable will begin to show soon. Loving using the medium color, can’t wait to see this one in place

And then while in the throes of all that casting on, I cast on the frieze cowl that I have been it hing to do since I saw it come to life on the needles of Nothingbutknit quite some time ago.

Which I already am addicted to! It’s so fun to watch the design evolve.

And this morning it was so much drier that I finally put my cardigan in to soak! It should be able to dry over the next few days.

But knitting must take second fiddle, because today starts the Tour de Fleece (TDF). I have no great ambitions this year, unlike last year when I started my epic sweater spin. This year I just want to try to spin as much as I can each day. So knitting will happen at lunch and on Saturday afternoons and otherwise just here and there.

This is what my bobbin looked like this morning, let’s see what it looks like at the end of the month!

And tomorrow J and his crew of parents return for finishing up the walkway. So not much fiber will be touched then.

Hope your week was better than mine! What are you doing this weekend?

Quick weekend report

The weekend went much as planned. The weather was absolutely perfect for all the things I had on my plate.

Saturday was sunny and very breezy, so I was able to work in the yard in the early morning without being tortured by black flies and mosquitoes. I got lots of weeding done, and planted the last of the seeds I wanted to. Likely too late to be really effective, but better to try than not! I also planted a six pack of zinnias that one of A’s co-workers gave me. She has a green house and is growing flowers to sell. I was hoping she had some tomato plants for sale but she doesn’t. She did suggest where I could get some, though. Maybe this weekend I will track some down. Need to get them in the ground if I am going to. Last year I didn’t even try. The previous year, for the first time here, we had those big ugly caterpillars. I am hoping by not growing them any food last year they went away again. So I am willing to try again.

Anyway, after standing on my head in the yard for a couple of hours, I cleaned up and went off to Whorls and Purls, which was fun and productive as always. Still plugging away on the body of my sweater, and did a few rounds on my sock.

Sunday morning I was back over at the Purple Fleece before 8 to meet a couple of the ladies to head off to Fiber Frolic. We gathered up another along the way, and got there a little after 9.

It was an absolutely perfect day again! Less windy, but sunny and very dry and cool. And the crowds were very small compared to Saturdays in the past, so we were able to walk around and talk to vendors without being crushed. It did feel like there were fewer vendors there, but there were plenty of them, and most of my favorites were there. I only noticed I was missing one in particular.

My budget was just the right size, letting me get a few things here and there, but not going wild and dreaming crazy dreams of future projects.

I got (from the top) some sock yarn from String Theory Hand Dyed on the bluestocking base, which is BFL with a touch of nylon. I usually get her merino cashmere base, but I thought I would branch out. And I need more dark blue socks.

Then some lace weight yarn from PineStar Studio. I love her colors and can never resist a skein of her lace yarn. She also packages up gorgeous kits of yarn for patterns that don’t require full skeins of a few colors, like a linen stitch scarf or a fade style cowl. And this year she had mini skein bundles as well. I could literally spend thousands in her booth. I still haven’t knit up last year’s purchase (a skein of a silk blend destined to be a Reyna shawl) but that didn’t stop me from adding to the collection.

Next is a ball of blended colors on a silk and merino base. Last year I missed a super deal on this stuff by running out of cash before I found her. This year I went there first. 😊 She didn’t have quite the same super deals, but I got 5 ounces of this. It is very similar to some I got in Wisconsin, so I think I will spin them all together, someday, and have enough for something fun like a vest or something.

Last up are some pretty little handmade brass buttons. Not sure what they will go one, but I will think of something. The booth that had these is one I visit every year to drool. It is an LYS shop in the Portland area that I haven’t visited yet, but intend to someday. She always has this lovely camel and silk, yak and silk, merino and silk, blended fiber for sale. It is all gorgeous! I love touching and ogling it. But my wallet has kept me from trying it out. One day I will. I found the button rack and had a hard time choosing among the selections, they were all so beautiful.

So with these purchases, the gate fee, lunch, lemonade, and an ice cream, I came home with 18 cents to get me through the week! Luckily I have a full tank of gas and a pot of chili for lunches. 😉

We finished the day at the festival by watching some sheep shearing before heading for home.

When we dropped of one of the ladies, we got out for a visit at her wonderful house. She has a perfectly sized house on a lake, so it was fun to see the place she is always talking about , and see her fiber den. It is very cozy and lovely, complete with a friendly cat.

On the whole it was an excellent fibery weekend!

How was your weekend? Did it go as planned, or were there surprises?

Here it is Friday again…where does the time go?

Last weekend was lost to the couch, and this week is not a whole lot better – work and home, a bit of spinning or knitting and then early to bed.

But this weekend promises to be better!

Tomorrow I will go to Whorls and Purls, first time in a few weeks.  I can’t wait to see the ladies! Lots has happened to us all, and we need to catch up.

Sunday, some of those same ladies and I are going to Maine Fiber Frolic. I was feeling badly about this on a few levels – not really having spare money… not spending the time at home with A.  I was thinking of skipping W and P this week, but A said I should go to both things.  It seems that she remembered that I asked for the bookcases in the loft to be finished for my birthday.  She is running short on time, and thinks it would be good to have me out of the house two days in a row.

To the point that she even came up with a modest budget for me for the Frolic.

You don’t need to tell me twice!

This week I worked on the handspun sweater and have at last gotten back to where I was before I ripped it all out.  The sleeves are essentially done, though I saved the actual finishing of them until I can try it all on and see how long I really want them.  I think longer than the pattern calls for. So now I am working on the body, and I figure though it will be pretty easy, it is a lot of stockinette, and it will take a while to finish.

I also worked a bit at a few meetings on the sock I started at Niece C the younger’s graduation – I like how it is coming out, though I was thinking it would be striped… my feet are too wide, and so stripes turn into spirals.

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Especially if I keep stopping to spin!  I spun this Romney up this week – in just a couple of hours! It is this month’s roving of the month from Purple Fleece, Mandala. I will ply it tonight or tomorrow morning.  It is much thicker than I usually spin, but I wanted a thick yarn from this colorway so I can make a warm hat.  This one will be a traditional two ply.

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Then I started this spin – the color looks nothing like this shot, it is a browninsh gray.  Polwarth/silk blend, I am going for skinny as I can, also two ply, and I have a complementary bfl silk blend that I want to spin the same way, so I get some seriously good yardage, possibly for a shawl, but maybe, it there is enough, a vest?

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That is it on the crafting front.  Can’t get much done when I was in bed by 7 more than one night this week!

Still here!

In case you thought I was lost, I am here to tell you I am not!

We had a nice weekend – the usual activities like chores and Whorls and Purls. Plus we went up to Bangor Saturday evening to take A’s niece out to supper for her birthday. Nothing fancy, we took her, her daughter, and niece to Elevation Burger for some delicious burgers. We followed that with a trip to the grocery store after we dropped them off. Very exciting!

I have been really concentrating on getting the hitofude done. I am on the ribbing and expect to get it done this week. I also did some swatching for the next sweater. I am not getting gauge, so I have to decide about how much math I want to do, and what kind of fabric I am looking for.

The top one is 44 stitches on size 4 needles, the bottom one is 44 stitches on size 3 needles. The bottom one is closest to gauge, but a little small. The fabric is pleasantly firm, not tight and stiff. The upper one is way big on gauge, and makes a looser, almost drapey fabric. So I just need to decide which fabric I really want and how much math I want to do!

This yarn is the yarn I made in my big combo spin last year. Been thinking about what sweater it will be for a year now! As soon as hitofude is done, I will cast on.

Durrow has been largely ignored this week, but a bit of spinning did happen Saturday morning.

At work life is improving. Last week was a killer with me being sick and the last week of our busiest tax site. But I got through that and am feeling better. Yesterday was our very last tax day, and now it is all about wrapping up loose ends and gathering data for reports. On to the next big project! There are a few in the pipeline but nothing like tax season!

See? I am still kicking!

In Theory

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.

 

 

Fiber plans for 2018

So many things to jump on board with at this time of year, and they all seem interesting. There’s 9 in 2018, and spin 15 minutes a day and all sorts of fun things to build community and skills and productivity.

It’s almost overwhelming, all the things that sound interesting and fun. But if I try them all it will become definitely overwhelming and a chore.

So, here’s what I plan to do this year, only joining what I have already committed to, unless something comes along that perfectly hits what I am already planning.:

  • Knit Hitofude as part of a KAL we are doing with the Friends of Knitting Sarah. It starts today and I am ready to roll! I am using some yarn I got in Wisconsin.
  • Knit Dhurrow, a challenging shawl project, in yarn Debbie at the Purple Fleece dyed just for me.
  • Finish the big purple spin and knit a sweater from it. I am thinking something simple in design as the yarn is busy.
  • Knit ornaments and hats throughout the year so that getting ready for that one craft fair isn’t so crazy. And to help keep the community caring pile of hats in Stockton Springs busy and active.
  • Knit a shawl using the lovely black and gray yarn from Wisconsin
  • Knit a sock a month ON AVERAGE. I almost did that this year and the speed was about right. I have enough sock yarn in stash to do this.
  • Knit something using my October challenge yarn to finish out the “makers gonna make” challenge at the Purple Fleece, I know what it will be, but it is a secret until reveal day, in April or May.
  • Work on a plan for the lovely Shetland lace-weight yarn Mom brought me from her trip this fall.
  • Keep spinning! I have a small mountain of fiber from which to choose, and a year of roving of the month coming my way!

It seems I have plenty to do without joining in much. And I also seem to have most of the yarn I need to do it. The only yarn I would need to buy for this plan might be more basic white for the ornaments. All else is in house already.

Can I really knit from stash all year and not buy more yarn? Highly unlikely, but I can try!