2 down, 5 to go

The second Durrow square (very thankfully) mirrors the first. Next up, we join them and knit a square from outside in to join them. Should take another month or two. 😂

And in spinning FO’s, I give you Flamenco Eggs.

I started with these two 4 ounce braids of cheviot, dyed by Debbie at the Purple Fleece.

Flamenco Dancer on the left, Easter Eggs on the right.

I divided each braid into thirds. And then each third into a millions short little strips.

I spun two thirds of each braid and made it into two ply yarns, one of each colorway. Then I spun the remaining thirds and plied them together.

What I got:

2.5 ounces and 261 yards of Flamenco Dancer on the left; 2.25 ounces and 290 yards of Easter Eggs on the left; and in the middle, 2.5 ounces and 239 yards of Eggs Flamenco in the middle.

Playing with color is so much fun!

Now, what to make…

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Back in control

I am feeling like I am back in control of my life.  Amazing what getting through a busy patch intact can do for one!

Our weekend was busier than normal – second weekend in a row where we did not stay home hibernating on Sunday!  We did travel to see my sister and her family in their brand new-to-them home.  They had just finished emptying and cleaning the old apartment a few days before, so the new home is decorated in beautiful brown corrugated boxes.  But it is possible to see that the place is lovely, and a good space for them.  There is a music room and a dining room and a play room and a craft room and a TV room and an office.  None of them are huge, but there are designated spaces for the things that are important to them.  And a glorious barn, and some not so glorious sheds between it and the house.  And a fabulous back yard with a pool!

We had a nice time visiting them and seeing the whole place and hearing about their plans and dreams for it.  It will take a bit of work but I think it will be a show place when they are finished.  Which, we warned them, might not be for 20 years. We are ten years in our house and still have some boxes stowed away.

Before we did this visiting, though, I went to Whorls and Purls on Saturday, which was good.  I missed it, not going the week before.  I did a whole lot of knitting while chatting with the ladies and eating delicious rhubarb dump, but haven’t much to show for it.

Still plugging away on Durrow (an old photo I happened to have of the first square at the same point I am at with the second square.)

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and Hitofude (This is a picture from last week, I have a few more inches done… but many more to go! But perhaps all of these old photos tell the tale of why I feel like I am not getting anywhere – progress is infinitesimal! )

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and socks.  Actually, the socks got a lot of love on the drive to my sister’s, and so I am on the home stretch – just over 5 pattern repeats to go before the ribbing.  So almost done, in my book. (new photo!)

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I also got the yarn for a scarf for my coworker who is good enough to keep asking me to knit for her, and I cast that on.  It is a pattern she found on pinterest, and is named “quick and easy scarf” or some such.  I wasn’t believing it, but now I am.  It is bulky yarn on size 9 needles, and it zips right along.  I’ll get you a photo of that the next time.

I did some spinning on Saturday and Monday evening. This fiber is cheviot, and it is really easy to spin.  I have a lot more to go, but I feel like I am making progress on it, which helps me get over the blah feeling I had last week that nothing was moving forward in spite of lots of attention. (Another older photo, but you know, with big spinning projects, each bobbin looks like the last!  I am currently working on more of the blue and yellow one.)

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Also, picked up my roving of the month on Saturday – my mind is already turning over ideas on how to spin these fun colors! (The option I choose is the multi-colored one at the top left.  Though I am always tempted to also pick up the solid as well when I see them together – and what Debbie at the Purple Fleece uses for inspiration!  Where does she find these things?) The fiber is quite wooly, a blend of churro and Scottish Blackface.  It will make something fun, but not something to wear next to my neck or face. What should it be?

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Big snow storm is imminent, but not big enough to get a day off from work, I don’t think… just big enough to mean that commuting is terrifying and tedious all at once.  And to mean that though we are in the office, and the tax volunteers are here, lots of clients will not show up and that makes a slow and boring day for everyone.  But it’s almost Friday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plodding pays off!

(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.

Plodding along

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

 

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!

Endless week!

Even though I just had a nice long vacation – or perhaps because of it – I am really struggling to want to be at work these days.  Sigh.  There is so much change going on, and unexpected fallout from our merger last autumn.  Some things I expected, but others just keep hitting me upside the head.

It makes me want to stay home and spin and knit.  I do that in the evenings, and for a little bit each morning.  I have two big knitting projects happening, so even though I work on things faithfully, there isn’t much to show for it.  But the spinning is seeming to move fast! This whole 4 ounces divided across three bobbins thing is really working for me right now, lol.  I am halfway through the singles already, and I have only been spinning this for 6 days.  I might finish it this weekend.  At least the singles, anyway.  I am eager to see how this yarn comes out, so far it looks NOTHING like I expected.  Here I thought I picked a braid that was outside of my comfort zone… so far it seems to have loads of soft greens and some blue.  There is yellow and orange but they are not as dominant as the braid led me to believe they would be.  So far, anyway.  Who knows what the yarn will look like?

The full bobbin

The second (partial) bobbin

We got more snow this week, but it was the soft pretty kind – not a storm like the rest of the country got, no wind, temps cold but not crazy. It just quietly fell from the sky and covered the brown muck that was left after last weeks rain.  It is light and fluffy and very pretty.  I wish I had a camera on my dashboard, this morning my commute to work was just LOVELY – the sky was all pink and that reflected off all the new snow.

It’s almost enough to make me want to get up and go to work each morning.

But not quite.

This too shall pass.

In Theory

Hi everyone!  Sorry to be so silent lately, but it is that time of year when I feel like I disappear – tax season!  We are in training mode this month.  Last week we had our big regional training.   In theory, after 11 years of this, some of it should get easier.  But it doesn’t seem to, and I quake at the thought of all there will be to learn and teach next year. But that is next year, not to be worried about until the fall.  Glad I am not a programmer for the tax software companies!

Normally during tax training, I get to do lots of knitting.  Before I was tapped to do some teaching, I could count on getting a hat (or more) done each day.  Now that I am responsible for the afternoon sessions, I don’t get as much done on my knitting, lol.  this year I got this much done:

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This is my NOVEMBER sock, and the toe had already been completed before Monday.  In fact, I think I had done a couple of repeats of the pattern on the foot.    Sigh.  At least I got something done.  🙂

This year was also different because I had more new volunteers in the group, so I had less time to work on my own tax training (working problems, taking the test) than usual, which meant more time at home in the evenings working on things like that.

But I still found time for some spinning, and I did it – I finished the big spin I started back in July!

I now have MORE than enough to do a sweater in this lovely stuff (2590 yards, to be exact):

You have seen it before, of course, but perhaps you don’t remember.  Here are some close ups for you.  😉

I enjoyed finishing that so much that I immediately dug about in my stash to see what was next.  I needed to spin something light and easy and DIFFERENT COLORS.  It is hard to keep spinning and spinning and having it always look the same. You start to feel like you will never finish.

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This is next.  It is superwash merino, dyed by Fiber Optic Yarn.   I got it last September at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, when I remember making a conscious effort to get some different colors.  I am so glad I did, as I need a break from my favorite deep blues, purples, greens, and pink.  This has enough blue in it that I can live with the colors I don’t care for as much (that would be you, orange.)

I divided the braid into three chunks, totally unscientifically, no weighing involved.  I just folded it into thirds and pulled it apart.  I then left one third as is, and divided another third in half the long way.  Also unscientifically, just started pulling and let it go how it wanted to.  Which was pretty evenly, actually.  The third section, I divided in half, and then each piece in half again.  So it is a fractal spin, but I didn’t worry too much about dividing things perfectly.  I am going to spin the divided pieces end to end, and see how the colors come together when plyed in a traditional three ply.

I started with the four section third, and I am surprised at how it is spinning up.  Much more green than I expected.  And more light, as all the white spaces are pulled into the colors.  But I love how the colors come together as I draft, making a marled singles.  It should be very interesting when it is all done.

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Yesterday was stormy and nasty, so Whorls and Purls annual non-holiday party got shifted to today.  That meant that A and I were home together on a Saturday which rarely happens.  We puttered about, put more Christmas away. There is always something lingering after you think you got it all. In our case, it was the tree.  🙂  It just had it’s lights on, because we never did finish decorating it, and we were both sad to see it go, but it was time.  So we got rid of that, and cleaned up the ensuing mess.  A tossed it over the bank near the bird feeders, so the birds will have some cover while feeding.  In the spring, I will cart it farther into the woods.

I did some cleaning and puttering in the craft room, putting away Christmas card mess, etc. I did get to do some knitting eventually, and my hitofude sweater appreciated the time.

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I do like this yarn and pattern, and so far it is pretty easy. I am making this from yarn I also got in Wisconsin (see, I am being good using up what I got last summer!) and alternating skeins as the dye lots are off the tiniest bit.  It is working well, and I think I will get a lot of wear out of this lightweight sweater.

I haven’t gotten to knit on the Durrow, but I plan to this weekend.  After all, there is a whole extra day, right? In theory, I should be able to get a lot done tomorrow!

The other big exciting thing that happened this week is that A and I decided that it is feasible financially for me to go to Knit Maine 2018 in September.  I had been half planning a trip back to Wisconsin sometime in September, but some of the people I would see there are coming to Maine instead!  I was very excited about that, though I will miss the ones who don’t come.  So instead of driving for days, I will be the hostess at the end of the summer.  I hope we have beautiful weather, so that they can see and enjoy some of what Maine has to offer after Labor Day. In theory, it should still be summery.

In theory.