It’s the photo thing

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

I will keep you posted.  Promise!

 

 

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My least favorite weekend is over

Or:

WHY do we keep changing time?  It accomplishes nothing and creates havoc with mind and spirit.

I hate this weekend, the shortest of the year.  It was made shorter still by a complete change to my regular schedule – I missed knitting group on Saturday, because as yet I haven’t been able to figure out how to be in more than one place at a time.  There were three places I should have been on Saturday at 3.  I decided (and thankfully my boss agreed) that the most important one was at a memorial “reception” for one of my wonderful tax volunteers.  He had been sick a long time, and finally passed away in February.  His personality was SO big and kind and funny that it feels like an empty world without him in it.  The place was packed with people eating and drinking and telling stories, which is just exactly how he would have liked it.  He loved food and people and stories, and he dedicated his life to service in one form or another.

And I will admit that going to that event got me out of one of my least favorite things, attending a town meeting to ask for money.  Technically, I ask for lots of money from towns, it is my job, but that final appearance at the meeting, not knowing WHAT is going to be asked is the toughest part. There were two meetings on Saturday at three that needed coverage, and my boss kindly took one, and recruited someone else to take the other so I could be free to attend the reception.

In other words, no matter what, there was no way I would have been able to go to knitting on Saturday.

So instead, I spent the morning doing a few chores around the house, and I also managed to get my hair cut.  What a chore!  My normal place shut down unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago and me over due for a cut!  I knew there was another shop in town, so I headed there a week ago.  It was mobbed, and I had a time crunch.  He said he was open until 6 Monday and Thursday, so I did other things, and went there Monday.

He was closed. Something about a snow storm?  I don’t blame him but I was still disappointed.

I went there Thursday after work.  He was full up and not taking any more clients that day.

I was there by 8:45 on Saturday, and I was the first one in the door.  He cut my hair.  I realized it has been close to 15 years since I had to tell someone how I like to wear my hair.  By the time I sat in that chair, it was so shaggy that there was no way he could tell by looking. Together we worked it out, and though it is quite a bit shorter than I prefer, I know it will grow, and it is a very good haircut.  There was some sticker shock, though.  No more $8 haircuts, I guess.

While I was waiting for him I discovered that there is a salon down the hall from him.  She doesn’t take walk ins, but I got her card.  I think my next haircut will be an appointment with her.  She said it would be a little bit cheaper than what he will charge.  That is great, especially if she is good.

That event over with, I went home and did some spinning and watched Victoria.  Do you watch it? No spoilers from me, but I have been waiting for the event that happened at the end to happen, knowing it was coming eventually.  Now what will the show be like?  I can’t wait for next season! 🙂

Sunday morning saw us up at a fairly late hour, thanks to the above mentioned stupid time change, and I headed off to the grocery store before the predicted snow storm started.  See?  Messed up schedule – the groceries are fetched on the way home from knitting.  Always.  I don’t go to knitting, there is no food in the house.  Actually, the store was nice and quiet – if I didn’t hate leaving home so much, I might shift my regular shopping day to Sunday.

When I got home, A was almost done doing the last of the laundry, and we both headed upstairs – she to work in her office and me to work in the craft room.  I finally finished untangling the threads and warping the loom. A helped me wind the warp onto the loom, and I actually got settled in and did some weaving!  At this point, it is all experimental, I am not sure if this will work out as planned, but I think I am weaving placemats and perhaps napkins, too.  They might be plaid.  They definitely are royal blue, white, periwinkle, and teal cotton.

After having such a nightmare with the warp this time, I decided not to do anything fancy with my pickup sticks.  I will practice with those on a smaller project. I am not enjoying being a novice at this, but know I have to put in my time to get the results I dream of.

When I had done all that my back could stand, I worked on a jigsaw puzzle until supper time.  Which seemed to come in mid-afternoon!  Have I mentioned I hate the time change?

Bed time arrived too early as well, and so did the alarm this morning.  I am so glad that this weekend is behind us.

And yes, it snowed, it did not rain as originally predicted, though it might have rained on top of the snow.  Certainly, it is a heavy wet snow.  And we got enough that the driveway got plowed. Again.  Just a few more weeks…

Spinning to start the day

Purple Fleece’s Amaranth, on finn.

This will be a 2 ply 1:4 fractal, and I am nearly done with this bobbin, the 4 piece of that ratio.

I expect to wind up with a lovely variegated, barber pole yarn that will knit up into amazing stripes.

Frosted Daybreak

The perfect name for this fiber, it has all the colors of a winter sunrise. This is from Three Waters Farm, the fiber is merino, tussah silk, and bamboo blend.

I wasn’t going to buy it, I have enough to spin this year. And a goal to spin more than I acquire, thereby reducing stash. But As I saw the finished skeins being posted on Ravelry, I knew I wanted to spin this fiber, and I knew just how I wanted to spin it.

I wanted to spin a gradient. I wanted to spin a dk weight; I want to be able to use this yarn with some dk weight I got at the Whorls and Purls destash gathering to knit

Alaska . I wanted to do a two ply for a few reasons, mainly because I wanted to control the color runs and because I haven’t mastered chain ply yet.

So how did I do?

All split up by color.

Going on the bobbin, one color at a time.

Soaking after plying:

And completed:

It’s a trifle lighter weight than I intended, but I think it will work just fine.

Spin a Tale

I loved this little spin! The fiber was soft and fluffy, with fun bits of aqua and deep pink.

I remembered that I had some old silk sewing thread in a pink I thought would work as half of the two ply. I was pleasantly surprised to find I also had some pale green. I got these at least 30 years ago, don’t remember what I was going to do with them, but very glad I saved them! Each spool was 100 yards.

Then I got thinking that beads would be good, too! I spent a long time sorting out the choices, and finally settled on a little tube of mixed greens and purples to go with the pink, and some pretty iridescent clear glass beads to go with the green. I really love how they came out!

I decided it was time to master chain ply, so with what was left, I did a three ply. It is a little bit over twisted, but the best I have done to date. In other words, I can use it!

I loved this spin and how fast it went and how pretty it is.

Snow Day!

The best part of winter is a storm that times itself perfectly for a day off.  This one did all it could.  5-10 inches, followed by sleet and freezing rain, started last evening and lasting all day long today.

Now, technically, it isn’t a snow day – we only delayed opening.  But I have to work on Saturday, so instead of leaving early on Friday to make up those hours, i am staying home today.  I did about an hour’s worth of work, and am calling it a day.  I think that will fill my week’s hours.

Which is good, because work has just been overwhelmingly crazy the past few weeks. so busy that I haven’t been able to face getting on the computer to write to you.  I hope it changes soon.  I think it will, because we are going to be hiring someone to work with me!  Ad goes in the paper in a week or two.  That will mean a bit more work at first, but then it should all be easier.

So even though work has kept me busy and tired, I have managed to spin most days for a few minutes.  I was able to finish the Oliver Twist yarn, and am happy with the result.

Though it isn’t my favorite color, it goes so beautifully with the Aegean I spun earlier that I know I am going to love working with it.

Plus, I had this amazing win with it!  I have never before split my fiber so perfectly and spun it so evenly that the two bobbins came out this close.  I was pretty happy.  Almost excited, even.

Of course, that means I have nothing on the frankenbobbin yet for this year.  I did cast on a cowl with last year’s frankenyarn, and I think I will be able to make something like mitts with the thinner second skein of yarn from that experiment.

Finished knitting the Nymphalidae, but that is soaking so I can’t show that to you yet.  Maybe next month when I post again.  🙂  Hopefully it won’t be that long.

The Japanese Sampler Scarf MKAL started, and I am about halfway through the first clue.  I really love the yarn, the pattern and the resulting scarf.  The next clue comes out in April, so I have time to finish this one.

Still working on Durrow, but the progress is almost imperceptible, so I will spare you et another photo of a half done square.

 

And Mom’s brown cardigan continues to move slowly along.  Almost to the body ribbing, then there will be sleeves and button bands to do. I don’t give it the love it deserves, because well, it’s brown.  It doesn’t excite me.  But she does love brown, and I love her, so I keep plugging away at it.

I did finish my blue socks!  Yea, I finished something!  And immediately cast on the next pair, so there are still socks on the needles.  No photo yet of the new ones, but the foot of the first one is almost done.  I have worn the new blues a few times, and they are really soft and warm, I love them.  They are a new to me yarn, in BFL wool and nylon.  I think they will wear well.

The only other new thing is what’s on the wheel now.  It is a bag of polwarth and “soffsilk” that I got at the Whorls and Purls party destash.  I have never spun fiber with colored bits in it before, it is quite fun.

In other news, the truck is in the shop getting a face lift, and they gave A a beautiful BLUE 2018 Tacoma.  Just like her red one, but no snow tires.  EEK.  So she is home today, too.  We are having a quiet day in front of the fire.  Later I will go upstairs and block that shawl, work on warping the loom.  The day will fly.

 

Feeling neglectful!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finished the Aegean on wensleydale…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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