Archive for the ‘What’s on my needles’ Category

Plodding pays off!   38 comments

(whistles as she strolls along) Well, look at that, some things are finished!  How did that happen?

First up spinning –

This lovely blue yarn (not exciting, I know) is all done and the perfect yarn for A’s mittens.  It is a three ply, traditionally plied, and comes in at a heavy sport weight or light DK weight. I got 180 yards, just over 3 ounces. It is tightly spun, and so should be durable and warm, if the mittens ever get knit. 🙂

There were some leftovers, as always with traditional plying, and so I made a small skein of two ply, which is about 65 yards of fingering weight. There was still more left over, so I added that to my 2018 franken-bobbin.

I finished the first third of the yak/merino spin.  My plan is to divide both braids into thirds, spin one third of each and ply them together, then spin the other two thirds and ply them on themselves.  Essentially making a gradient set.  I have finished the combo part of the spin, and gotten about 100 yards of aran weight yarn that is SO PRETTY!  It is a warm chocolate color with lots of pink and gray in it. I am not deciding what to make with it until I see the whole thing together.  I had vaguely been thinking shawl, but I doubt I will get the yardage for that, so maybe a cowl and hat? This yarn is so soft, it deserves to be touching skin.

Of course, I already have a cowl knit from this same blend, because one of the knitting group ladies gifted one to me that she knit from the yarn she made, so I don’t need it to be for ME.  I am thinking I will pass this forward, but I will decide on that later as well.

Knitting – I have sleeves! Well, one sleeve completely done.  Just need to do the three needle bind off for the other one, as soon as I finish picking up 10,000 stitches from the provisional cast on.

I am so thrilled to be moving past this portion of the knit, though it isn’t hard, the rows are long and there is nothing going on during them.  Next up is some ribbing, which I hate, but which doesn’t last long, and then there will be some thinking as I work on the skirt.

I have one finished square of Durrow, and need to cast on the next one.  Truthfully, this one has been done for a few days, but I decided to focus on finishing up the spinning bits, and get past the sleeves of the Hitofude.  But I don’t want to lose the momentum on Durrow, either, so I will get on that ASAP.

Work has been draining, lots of taxes, unexpectedly in some cases, and regular work as well.   It was a long week, working all day Saturday really made a very short weekend! I took Sunday completely off from everything, A even gave me control of the remote!  WOW!  That meant that I got caught up on Victoria – though now of course, I am behind again as it recorded Sunday night.  And I found Create TV and went through the whole schedule to record anything remotely fiber oriented on that.  Won’t A be surprised when she sees the new shows pop up in the list?

This week feels long, but I am close to getting into my tax season groove, fielding random questions all over the place!  And still getting work done that needs to be done.  But having this weekend be a long one feels like a GOOD thing!  So glad Abe and George had birthdays in February so we get a holiday weekend.

A and I celebrated Valentine’s Day in a very low key way.  Cards, and small treats, and she made her special lasagna dinner for me.  I made her a coffee cake for breakfast, so we ate well (if not healthily!).  It was a bright spot in this long week.

Hope you are all plodding along getting things done and enjoying Valentine’s treats.

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Plodding along   49 comments

I haven’t posted in a while, because it feels like there is nothing new to share.  Work is plodding along, tax season started Monday, so I have to get in the groove of that, but it isn’t what I would call noteworthy.  🙂

A and I have been spending our weekends quietly – Saturday we do chores and errands and I go to Purple Fleece for knitting group, and she either does something with her sister or the cats, or works on organizing the big closet.

Sundays we putter together.  This Sunday we watched the kitten bowl.  Cute but too long.  She fixed snacks for the big game, which we don’t watch, but do have a bet on.  We tape it, speed through the game, watch the ads (LOVED the Giants ad spoofing Dirty Dancing!) and eat snacks.  We go to bed before the half time show.

I had the Patriots, A had the Eagles.  We are both very happy that they won, because I do love an underdog.  🙂 Even if their win means I lose a bet or two!

Knitting and spinning updates:

Still working on

the socks

the Hitofude

the Durrow

the scrap blanket

the blue spin

As you see, they are all slowly growing but look the same.  Nothing exciting!  The spin should get done this weekend.  I hoped to finish it sooner, but I got caught up crocheting (it’s hard to stop doing that) and so it is a little behind.

Durrow is very well designed and well written, but so intricate that I am amazed that anyone ever thought it could be done.  I am near the end of the first square, and it is slow going now.  There are four sides to the squares, and right now I have to alternate between two charts to complete a row.  IE chart one for one side, chart two for the next side, chart one for the third side, chart two for the fourth side.  SO MUCH CONCENTRATION NEEDED.  But it is so worth it, and it isn’t HARD, it’s just slow going and not TV knitting.  🙂

Hitofude is easy knitting, but long rows, so I can’t pick it up and drop it easily.  This is why the crocheting has gotten so much love!

And that is all I have! Getting ready for another snowstorm immediately followed by a couple of tax days. Sunday will be LOW KEY!

some works in progress and some finishes   45 comments

 

First, the WIPs.  Durrow is moving along.  It is slow, but enjoyable.  Just need to pay lots of attention and follow the row by row instructions.  Really, the stitch by stitch instructions, as it is not intuitive, but amazingly elegantly designed.  This square is about halfway done.  There are 6 more, plus two triangles before the simple stockinette body.

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Then there is the Hitofude sweater.  That pattern is easy to memorize, and I am chugging along on it.  But the rows are very long and the yarn is thin, so I could knit all evening, and maybe have an inch of progress done!

IMG_2445[1] It’s a little farther along than this shot shows, but not half way through this section yet.  It will get there. No hurry.

 

The big finish since we last talked is the spinning.  I really had fun with this spin, and it really flew, for me.  Less than two weeks from first fuzz to finished skein! I bought this braid when I was in Wisconsin last fall, and I purposely chose colors that were outside my comfort zone, wanting to see how this whole spinning color thing works.  I also wanted to see what all those white chunks did to the color.  I have told you before how I divided it up, planning on spinning three roughly equal sections that would then be plied together.

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I did everything according to plan.

Before too long, I had three bobbins full, ready to ply.

I thought the colors were interesting as I spun them, they blended, and the way the fiber was dyed lent itself to lots of marling and shifting colors.  The three bobbins look very different, and the one that I thought would have long color runs, looked really different from the other two.  (It’s the one on the left in the photo on the left.)  Look at all those yellows and browns!  I could not wait to see the skein of finished yarn

Here it is on the bobbin after plying.

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The colors are really mixed up now, and so pretty!

 

Then I wound it off and skeined it, and washed it and I was astounded to find that I had made

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Green yarn.

This was totally unexpected, by me at least!  There are pops of other colors in there, for sure, and a healthy amount of blue, but very little yellow or brown.

Color me befuddled.  I never expected this result.  I am happy with it, and will experiment with colors again, but it is clear to me that I have a WHOLE LOT to learn about colors and drafting and spinning.

Take another look.  It’s still hard for me to believe.

I can’t wait to see what happens when I knit it!

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.

 

 

Sunday Sunday   24 comments

No news here on the weather front – it’s cold.  There is a load of snow out there that needs cleaning up.  We are holding out for tomorrow when it might be warmer.  And of course, it will snow tomorrow, but not much.  Not like the foot plus we got last week. On top of the Christmas foot we got. On top of the messy icy thing we got before Christmas.

Where there is news – exciting time at work last week – we had a small fire – got to evacuate and eventually go home.  Lovely!  I used the time to knit. A little bit of damage to the building, especially where they had to chop a hole in the side to be sure the fire wasn’t spreading in the wall.  It was out. No panic, all our fire drills worked well.  I did leave my car keys in the building as I wasn’t in my office when the alarm was sounded, but that worked out well.

Between that and a half day off for snow, it was a very short work week last week.  I used my home time wisely, and got some spinning done, started Durrow, and my Friends of Knitting Sarah KAL, a Hitofude sweater.  That’s two big projects on my needles, but the sweater should go fairly fast.  The Durrow will be slow going, I can tell, but it will be worth doing.  And the spinning – I am so close to done on that spinning project, I can taste it.  I thought I was on my last bobbins, but I think I will have a small amount left over to do, but that should go very fast, too.

Today I am supposed to be working on my test for taxes, but I can’t seem to log into the practice lab, so can’t work the problems.  UGH.  I will assume it is because I tried too many times with an error in the password, and so got locked out.  I’ll try again in a little while. Very frustrating!

There really is not much else new around here this week – but I will leave you with some photos so you feel like it was worth the stop over.  🙂

Here are the last two finishes of 2017 – a test hat and a Chain Mail shawl from my beaded handspun:

Spinning in progress:

New Year Cast ons:

Durrow on the left, Hitofude on the right.

and lastly, some special New Years visitors. And a big snow pile where the garden is.

Happy New Year!

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.

 

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