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.

Getting ready

Hello!  I went AWOL again, so sorry!

I have been totally focused on getting things done,and dealing with deadlines, in work, home, and knitting.

The work pressure is never ending… but right now it is a big state grant that needs writing, to continue providing a great service that we do.  I don’t like writing state grants because the format feels very choppy to me.  Have to do it exactly as they say, and they are repetitious.  I never know if I can trust them to realize I already covered something, or if they want me to be equally repetitious. I go with repeating myself in case the thing is broken up into parts and the reviewers don’t have access to the prior info.  But i feel for them if they get the whole thing. This one got a lot more stress filled when the boss said to me that he learned there is at least one other organization bidding on our region.  Mind you, they are located 100 miles away, and that will go over like a lead balloon in teh region, but it might make sense to the state reviewers.  So it is on me to make a strong case.  UGH.  And never mind that they just released the answers to all teh questions we asked at the reviewers conference two months ago.  and that the whole things is due a week from tomorrow.  Do they not realize grant writers like holidays too?

So, I canceled vacation days scheduled for the early part of this week, but kept Friday off. I have big plans for Friday and Saturday, and I was not willing to let people down on account of work.  I will figure it out.

That leads me to the deadlines at home – Thursday we are hosting A’s family as always – there will be 7 of us we think.  I do the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, they bring whatever else they think we need, and it is always interesting to see what turns out to be. I think there will be dessert, if past years are anything to go by. so there is the cleaning and cooking and cleaning that are involved there.  

Then, niece E the younger is coming to stay on Friday, until Saturday morning.  She has been asking for this visit, because she wants me to teach her how to spin and weave and dye yarn. She has never been for a solo visit before, for a variety of reasons, and so this is a big deal! She is the only one of my nieces and nephew who has NOT been here for an overnight visit, and I am really looking forward to it.  I warned her that 24 hours is not long enough to learn all of that, but we will give it a shot.  As a result, we have to get the whole house cleaner, as opposed to just the downstairs for Thursday.   That is what the vacation days were for.  Luckily A is a good sport, and owes me for doing the household chores all summer while she worked… now she can do them while I work!

the knitting and crafting deadlines are almost all gone!  I knit a bzillion hats for the craft fair last week, as well as some ornaments.  Luckily a friend of mine is knitting gnomes like mad and I offered to sell them for her at the table, along with my SIL’s hand sewn teddy bears.  They both filled my table and made it look abundant, without me knitting a million more things.  And their things sold VERY well! I think we sold more than 30 gnomes and ten bears.  I sold one ornament, one pair of baby booties, and 4 hats.  So I am glad I didn’t make more than I did.

I also finished all the baby knitting for my friend, in just the nick of time.  I delivered the last thing – cactus blanket the day before she hopped on her flight to await the baby.  I was thrilled to be done with the pressure knitting.

Now I am working on three things – two knit alongs that I am behind on, and one pair of mitts that is a gift with no deadline. One KAL is the Japanese scarf one that i have been doing all year.  I am about halfway done with the last clue and the next and final one is due out this weekend. I will finish on time.  The other is a Patty Lyons knit along, the Volition sweater KAL.  I am pretty far behind on that, I can’t finish by the deadline looming in early December, but I will get the sweater done shortly after that, I am looking forward to having it this winter.  And I have other sweaters I want to cast on! Luckily, Patty has prizes for WIPs… 🙂

If you notice, I have no shawls on the needles!  I have them going in my head, though, and they will be my reward for finishing any of these things.  🙂

I also managed to clear off my bobbins and not start spinning anything else, in prep for E’s visit.  I have SO MUCH new fiber since i last spun, and I am tempted, but have resisted thus far.  I can spin after Saturday.

I also need to weave – I have a project on the loom that isn’t quite done, and I need to get that cleared off as well, so E can choose and execute her own project this weekend… I am sort of thinking I will get her spinning, the I will weave and get it finished.

Last weekend Whorls and Purls had a potluck and destash party, it is making me want to knit and spin and weave all the things!  The deal is this – gather up all your yarn and fleece, and fabric that you have and are ready to part with, and bring it to one location.  Dump it out on the table.  Everyone draws a number and we go around in order over and over until we can’t do it any more or there is nothing left that you want.  On your turn, you choose something from the table that you want.  I kept my word to A that I would not come home with more than I brought, in fact I came home with way less!  I also felt good that there was hardly anything left that I had brought when it all ended.  One of the group offered to gather up the unwanted things and take them to Good Will, so none of us brought home anything we didn’t want.  It was so much fun, and cleared things out AND gave me a bag full of new goodies to play with at some future date.  🙂

hmmmm… what else have I been doing and not telling you about?  A little sewing – I am making a skirt for myself.  I could have it done by now but for all that came before this… a little gardening – I got the garlic in at last.  Had to bust through an inch or so of frozen soil, but I am hopeful that it won;t matter too much in the end.

 

Had a knitting day with mom and my SIL D a few weeks ago, that was lots of fun, as always.

I think that is about it. Now I am off to read about what all of you have been up to!

 

 

 

 

Uninspired

Or maybe that title should be uninspiring?

I know I have not written in a while, though I have been good about reading everyone else’s posts, I haven’t been inspired to write one of my own.  Not sure what that’s about, because I have been busy!

Busy at work as always, I don’t see that ending any time before spring.  It is good to be needed, and better to be busy at work than bored.  Or so I tell myself.

Busy at home, though it is obvious that I haven’t been busy cleaning!  So what have I been doing?

Well, I did get the pool put to bed a couple of weeks ago – though that turned out to be a pretty easy chore, it was a sad one. I still stand and skim leaves from the edges, hoping to keep it pretty clear while I can.

The gardens are still there, kind of in shock that we haven’t yet had a killing frost.  the tomato plants are still blooming, and it makes me feel sorry for them.  I have picked what few tomatoes there were, they are on the window sill, I hope thinking about turning red. I need to plant the garlic, but it is going in where the tomatoes are now…

 

But mostly, I have been knitting.  I am cranking out hats for a craft fair in November.  I have done several plain beanies with some fun variegated yarn I got when Classic Elite closed shop, and some helix striped ones with scraps and bits left over.   I have a few more I want to make with more interesting stitches, and some ornaments, etc, for the fair.

I also have finished, at last, the green cactus baby blanket that was a custom order from a  friend, and I still have to knit her a little pink dress,  Her son had a baby girl a few weeks ago and her daughter will have one in a few weeks, so she has kept my needles very busy!

I did finish a shawl, Odyssey, by Joji Locatelli.  It was an easy, fun knit.  I did it with some handspun I had, not the correct weight called for in the pattern, but it was easy to modify the pattern to suit the yarn.  It is bright and colorful and I look forward to wearing it this winter. Here it is blocked and drying, I will try to remember to get a truly finished photo for you someday.

I have put the Japanese Scarf aside since mid-August, and just recently started working on it again, so I am quite behind.  Still working on the clue that came out in August, and of course, the October clue was released  I would like to get back on track with that before the December clue drops.  that’s the last one, and then this very long, intricate scarf will be done.  I am glad I did it, it has been fun learning the new twists and the way things can work, but I am not sure I want to do a year long KAL again.  I like to get things done!

I also cast on a sweater, Patty Lyons’ Volition.  It is really a video class on knitting the sweater, she has all sorts of video tutorials and worksheets to hep teach how to make a sweater fit, and the construction on this one is quite interesting.  I am making a dark red one.  I was pretty sure it was a pullover, but I keep wondering if I shouldn’t make the cardigan version.  I don’t have to decide for many inches on tiny needles, so I will give it more thought. I think the KAL ends early in December, I am unlikely to meet that deadline, but I will try.

Other crafting is also happening, very slowly.  I am working on some weaving – more mysterious rectangles and squares that I hope will be napkins but might be dish towels or dust rags.  They are pretty, anyway, soft dark blue and periwinkle blue.  This time I am playing with color interaction between the warp and weft.  I warped the loom with alternating colors (that was a darned chore!  If it doesn’t turn out STUNNINGLY, I won’t be doing that again!) and for the weft, I did wide stripes of each color, and now am doing a section where I alternate colors on each pass.   It is amazing how different the two sections look.  I haven;t worked on that in a while, as it is upstairs, and knitting happens downstairs.

Also upstairs is the sewing machine.  I cut out a simple a-line skirt (100 Acts of Sewing pattern) and knit the side seams together.  then it needed ironing, so there it sits on the ironing board.  I will get to it soon, though I want to wear it, it is a pretty dark teal color, in a wool/poly blend crepe fabric.  I think part of what is stopping me from doing the easy finishing on it is the realization that it frays easily, and I should do more to finish the seams than I already have done (zigzag stitched, and pinked.) I should really finish them with some bias tape.  I know how to make it, and have some that will work, but it just isn’t calling my name.

One reason nothing is calling my name right now is that I cane down with a wicked cold on Saturday morning.  I tried to listen to my body, and rested a lot this weekend, drank fluids.  Took Monday off.  Went to work Tuesday but came home by noontime, exhausted.  Today I did a work at home day, and I hope that is all it needed to get the message that the germ is unwelcome.  I really have to go to work tomorrow and Friday, we have a lot going on over the next two weeks that I am not prepared for, completely.

One of the things that happened this weekend that was hindered by the cold was that we had three tons of pellets delivered, and they had to be brought inside.  We did one ton the week before, but still had more to do.  A was determined that we get all three tons inside and be one with it.  When I tell you she was determined, I am not kidding.  Our normal method is to bring a half a ton inside (that’s 25 40-pound bags), rest for half an hour or so, then get those bags stacked down cellar, using a slide she made to make it easier to get them downstairs.  then another rest, then bring in the other half of the ton, rest, load in the cellar. Doing this by ourselves, we are usually comfortable doing a ton a day, two if we really push.

She got all three tons in on Saturday, practically single handed.  I helped with the first round, but it was clearly too much, after our rest, my muscles were still shaking.  So I helped get them in the cellar, and I helped outside by picking them up and handing them to her, which helped her a lot, but she carried them all in.  We still have one ton that needs to get downstairs, but they are all in the house and that feels darned good. I did try to get her to stop after the first ton, because I felt so guilty, but so sick, too.  I thought they could wait another week, but she didn’t want them looming over us any longer. So they aren’t.  They might be tripping us at every turn, but they are in the house, and we will be warm enough this winter.

Other “exciting” news is that my niece E the younger is coming for an overnight on Thanksgiving weekend!  She will be 13, and has asked for years.  But for a variety of reasons, it never really worked out.  I hope nothing messes it up this time, either.  We drive to get her on the day after Thanksgiving, and her parents will pick her up the following day.  Here is what she wants to do while she is here:  Learn to spin.  Weave.  Dye yarn.  All I can say is that her parents had better come late in the day!  But if it works out and she has fun, I feel pretty sure that we can repeat the experiment someday.  She has lots of sports and music and school things, so it is hard to find a time when she can come, and we can make the whole transfer thing work logistically.  But I know it can be done, because I made it work with her cousins for many years, driving round trips to Connecticut to fetch and deliver them.  So driving to Portland should be workable.  🙂

That’s about it – sorry to ramble on so – thanks for hanging in there so patiently! And sorry for the lack of photos of things, I am trying to stretch my WordPress storage space.  Avoiding sorting out if I want to pay them for this space, and if so what plan?  Sigh.

Labor Day is NOT the end of summer!

Especially for those of us without kids! It’s just a nice long weekend.

And it was the last of my 4 day weekends this summer. This week is my last 4 day week… to until October. 😉

I had a nice weekend, too. Friday A had to work in Bath, so I tagged along. Mom, sister C, and niece E met me for an excursion to Halcyon Yarn, followed by lunch at Mae’s Bakehouse. I was able to explore the weaving yarns, but I didn’t get any. I can always order them if I need some. I answered 1000 questions E had about everything she saw as she followed my around. Together we chose some basic gray Bartlett yarn for a sweater for me, and she showed me colors she likes and colors she doesn’t. And we talked about her sewing projects, which was fun. She makes flags, seeing by hand with embroidery floss. She chooses the flag based on colors she has and likes. Last year we all got a Peru 🇵🇪 for Christmas. Who knows what we will get this year?

When they left, I parked down by the river and knit and enjoyed the gorgeous breeze while I waited for A to get done for the day.

Saturday was a usual day, chores in the morning and knitting group in the afternoon. I was able to share my Durrow shawl with them, and also another FO, these baby leggings.

I have cast on to replace these, of course, so have started Odyssey shawl, by Joji Locatelli, in some of my handspun; and a baby blanket. My friend B is going to be a grandmother again this fall, both of her children are expecting daughters, where there have only been boys. So she has ordered a few things. I have one dress and one blanket to get done by the end of October.

Sunday and Monday we chilled at home. A hasn’t had two days in a row off all summer. She was nearing exhausted, so slow days were good for her. I did a tiny amount of pool vacuuming and warped the loom for more experiments. And finally redid the bind off on my Hankshaw pullover. I was so worried about it being not tight that it resembled a ruffle. It’s better now. And did lots of knitting on the blanket and my Japanese stitch scarf. I am far behind on the August clue, I hope to get caught up by October 1.

I also did a tiny bit of dyeing yarn, over-dyeing some gray Briggs and Little yarn that might work in concert with the new gray yarn. I had hoped they would work well as they were, but the grays were too close. So dark reddish pink it is!

And I committed to doing my one craft fair again this fall, so there will be lots of knitting of small things like hats and cowls and ornaments.

I think that’s it for how the weekend went… now it’s Tuesday and a work day and so I should get going. Sigh.

Four day weekend!

I am already loving my August plan, four day weeks for the rest of the month and two four day weekends. One down, one to go.

It was a good crafting weekend, for sure. Plus there was lots of social time. I usually get exhausted by that, but I had enough down time, so I am fine!

I got through most of the Friday list, amazingly! Just didn’t warp the loom. But I did hem some squares and rectangles from my handwoven fabric. They could be placemats and napkins, or maybe dish towels, or maybe dust rags. Who knows. But they are hemmed, and I learned about working with the fabric, and how patterns affect what I will always think of as “gauge”.

The sock yarn blank dyeing was harder than I expected. Debbie at the Purple Fleece suspects I had too much water in my dyes. I will do this again someday.

They sure do change when unraveled, don’t they? I wonder what the socks will look like.

Other sewing included adding a solid band of fabric to the bottom of a printed skirt that I made several months ago. It just needs hemming now. I should have it ready for next summer, lol. Allie was very helpful with the sewing.

Knitting also happened. The black and white baby pants are nearly done. Check the link to my ravelry project to see the progress on these amazing pants! And Durrow progresses on slowly. I hoped to have it done by the end of the weekend, but it isn’t.

I did cake the yarn for my next shawl cast on. It will be a handspun odyssey shawl. Looking forward to that. And my next baby project is a cactus blanket and hat.

Other than the Friday craft list, what did I do? Well, Saturday had some chores and the afternoon spent at Whorls and Purls, as usual. Sunday we did lots of cleaning and frosting making. A’s sisters and niece came over in the afternoon, bearing cupcakes and ice cream for a birthday party for SIL L. That was nice, as always, and the different frostings made the cake taste so different!

Monday I had two knitting friends over for lunch and the afternoon. One of them LOVES gardening, so I turned her loose for an hour in the back yard. She got so much weeding done! My two minutes here and there just isn’t good enough. The other one and I sat on the porch knitting and chatting. Then I gave them a yummy lunch and we all sat and knit the afternoon away.

Back to work today. Bummer! But only for four days! I am liking this schedule.

A Friday crafting list!

It’s been a while since I had a whole day free of obligations and work, but I scheduled three days off in August such that I have two four day weekends, and four four-day weeks! Ahhhhh!

This is the first of the long weekends, and while it is not as clear of obligations as I would like, I did keep Friday free for ALL THE THINGS.

As soon as my coffee is made, I am heading to the craft room, where I will

  • unpin biophilia and get photos for you
  • Gather my dye equipment to bring downstairs
  • prep some handwoven cloth for hemming into placemats and napkins
  • Cut a strip of fabric to use to finish a skirt I started last year
  • Maybe sew some of those things.
  • Maybe start warping the loom for the next project.

Then downstairs today, I will have fun with sock blanks and dyes.

I can’t wait to see what exactly I get done on this ridiculously long list!

And I also will vacuum the pool, maybe while the dyes are setting.

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!