Archive for the ‘what I am thinking about making’ Category

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.

 

 

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Fiber plans for 2018   32 comments

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!

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   33 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!

A quick update   27 comments

First off – so many thanks to those of you who bought a mug cozy pattern to support Sam  of Bumble Bee Fiber Farm’s insulin pump.  You blog readers and knitters are amazing people.

I am sort of amazed that I DID get everything made last week that had to be made.  Christmas cards and presents were delivered on Saturday, hat order was delivered on time, though damp.  🙂  I realized I would see the coworker who had ordered it the day after I finished knitting it, so I soaked it and blocked it and delivered it to her in a towel.  I figured it could dry at her house as well as at mine, and then she would have it all ready to ship when it suited her.

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The carol sing was so much fun – very different this year – the weather had an impact, but not the one we expected!  Snow was predicted (and arrived exactly when they said it would) so there was talk of postponing the event.  But the farthest flung among us were willing to come, so they did.  The family that lives closer (maybe an hour and a half to three hours away) decided not to come, as they could not stay over night, and would thus be driving home in a snow storm in the dark.  So the folks from Connecticut and Vermont got on the road early, ahead of the storm, and the folks from south of Boston came half way the night before.  And the folks from North Carolina came a few days before.

It was very nice to have a smaller than usual crowd, for visiting purposes, but when it came to singing we quickly realized that we had a sorrowful lack of high voices.  Luckily, Cousin C brought her flute, and when those high notes came, she played them beautifully.  And if it sounded like the page in Good King Wenceslas had a bit of a cold, well, maybe he did.  🙂

Mom will host another similar gathering on our alternate snow date, December 30, and while the far away relatives likely won’t come, I think it will be fun to hear how the music sounds with all the high voices and not so many low ones.

The other piece that turned out oddly was that the three lovely ladies who did not come were bringing the lunch entrees to our potluck gathering.  So the food was snacks and desserts, and we did just fine with that!

Driving home in the snow in the dark was truly not fun, and I completely understand why people opted not to do that, but I am glad that I did it, and that all who travelled made it home safely.

Sunday I played “middle man”, and connected a woman I know who is moving into a new home following a divorce with a friend who is going to be downsizing.  We used A’s truck to move lots of chairs into a new house that needed them, from an comfortable place that didn’t need them any more.  So nice to have a truck when it is needed!  Don’t let on to A that I said that, though.

So now my crafting feels less frenetic, though there is still lots to do.  The cards that seem such a simple design take a long time to piece together – I will have to work on them every evening.  Last night I finished all the parts for 7 cards, and part of 7 more.  A is picking up some more red paper – I seriously did not have enough – duh! And I expect to finish this batch of 14 by tomorrow night.  Slow going!  But if I keep doing batches of them each evening, then I think I can make it.

Knitting right now is the test knit hat, which should get done today or maybe tonight – I am on the decreases.

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I went down a needle size, but it still feels huge – I will measure it and get the glamor shots  for the designer when it is done, but then I think I will rip it out and knit the medium size. The yarn is too nice to make into a hat that I can’t wear!  And I do like the pattern – it is simple yet not boring.

The leg warmers.  Well, I got the yarn out and caked, and I wrote to my sister to ask for some measurements, but nothing back yet. If she doesn’t answer by the time I finish the hat, I will wing it.   I think I can make it by Christmas if I want to.

This cold dreary snowy rainy weather is making me want to curl up in front of the fire and knit, but that doesn’t seem to be possible.  Still haven’t won the lottery.  Have to head to work.  I will catch up with you later!

 

 

Well into the mad dash to Christmas   19 comments

This weekend I realized that I have a lot of things to get done before the big day.  Until now, I have thought “Oh, December 9th.  Next month.”  and “Christmas – weeks away”

But December 9th is next weekend.

That is when we have our family carol sing party at Mom’s – aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, all in-laws, and offspring gather together for food and singing.  For a giver with her act together, it is a chance to save a great deal on postage.  🙂  So, I am feverishly working on a my present for my aunt and uncle, and have gotten a start on the Christmas cards… need to have at least a dozen done and ready to deliver.  I think I can do it. Not sure how or when I will get the other 50-60 done, but I will.  Hope no one minds a good holiday card coming after 12/25, lol.

I also got all the November birthday cards and presents together to deliver next week – crazy late on those!

December 9th is also the mailing deadline for a fiber swap I am doing with a  friend over on Ravelry.  I have gathered such a  nice bundle of things together for her, it is going to be hard to part with them!  I packed the box up this weekend, just a have a few more things to add to it and it will be ready to go.

And knitting.  In order to avoid the legwarmers I promised myself I would knit for the youngest niece this year, I agreed to test knit a hat (and the yarn is SO SOFT and wonderful!) and I am knitting another hat that someone ordered.  And I would like to finish the chain mail shawl, it looks reproachfully at me all the time.  It is soft and lovely and sparkly, but other things have deadlines.

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So, things will be happening fast at my house, and all pleasure knitting and spinning must wait until the other things are done.  Because it is the mad dash to Christmas now. I think I can make it.

 

Just a note   15 comments

To say hello and catch up.  I did have such a  nice Thanksgiving break and was quite lazy on Friday and Sunday.

Got lots of knitting and spinning done, and some photographs of things I have finished recently.  I really had to do that because I wanted to get some of them listed for sale on the Etsy shop.

I took these hats to work and some sold, but some have made it over to the shop.

So slowly I am restocking the shop, and of course, as always my timing could be way off.  Need to get the ornaments on there so that they have time to sell this season!

I did finish spinning my October Challenge yarn, and will share it with you when I can, again, in January.  It turned out to be more of a challenge than I thought, and did not come out as I expected it to, but it came out as yarn and I will use it, so that is good!  All I can show you is how it started.  Which is pretty!

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For knitting, I worked out the pattern on some custom ornaments that a friend ordered, and got started on knitting them.  She ordered two, and I am halfway through the second one.  She also ordered a hat, and I will pick up the yarn for that this weekend, and see if I can’t knock that out.

It is also time to think about making the Christmas cards!  Especially as some are going overseas.  I have a vague idea what they will be, but need to settle into that project. I was hoping to do some of that this past week, but it just didn’t happen.

 

A is really busy with her new venture.  She has a deadline to hit, and it is turning out to be a longer process than she originally thought, so she is working hard each and every day.  She works in the living room on Sundays so that we can spend time together, but it isn’t; the same as being able to do things together.  Still she is getting paid by the piece, so the harder and faster she goes, the more she earns.  And this project will be done in a month or so.  Then I am sure she will find another one to launch into.  At least, I hope so, since she is now self employed.  But I hope that she can figure out a schedule and pricing that let her have a day off each week!

 

That’s about it from here –  hope you are having a good week!

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