Another knit-heavy post/Today on my needles/What I am up to this bright Monday

On my needles – the photo was taken this morning, but it is what was on the needles all day yesterday.mitten and sweater jan 18

Yesterday I conceded that the cold was winning and did the only thing I know of to beat it – I stayed put on the couch with knitting and Gray’s Anatomy reruns.  All those doctors did the trick, I feel much better today!

The mitten is coming long, although I did rip it back to the cuff when I realized I was carrying the yarn too tightly between needles.  That problem is solved, I have made up all that ground and then some.  I think they will be too long on me, but I will wait and see.  Meanwhile, I am learning about thumbs.  Elizabeth Zimmerman uses something she calls a thumb trick so I am trying it, as she is, after all, a certified knitting genius. I am loving these beauties, I knew I was ready for some red and white mittens!  Because of all the nice carried yarn, they are thick and warm, too.  Can’t wait to get then done and on my hands.

The sweater – sigh.  I love blue, you know I do.  And I do need a blue cardigan, I truly do.  But this “very easy” lace is killing me, I can’t get in the flow of it,so it simply isn’t becoming instinctive and mindless.  However, I made a real push this weekend, and finally got up to the armholes!  Now, the directions have me supposedly knitting first the left front, then the right front (with opposite shaping to the left, of course) and then the back.  And it all says “working in pattern.”  I was in a dilemma, as I can’t read the knitting! How do I know where the heck I am or left off in the pattern? So, I joined two more balls of yarn, and am knitting both fronts and back at the same time.  That way I at least know which row I am on.  I THINK I have figured out where each section begins in the pattern, but time will soon tell.  The good news is that there are now 72 fewer stitches in a row, so it should go faster.  As long as I keep those three balls untangled.  And I will definitely be knitting the two sleeves at the same time so that they stand a chance of matching.

But what else have I been up to?

Well, reading blogs, of course, and uploading hats to Etsy – thanks to all of you who have looked at my shop, and don’t forget to let me know what you think if you haven’t already. I think there will be some cards and things posted soon, in the next few days, at least.

Since it was the weekend, A was home with me the past few days, and she was such a sweetie, doing lots of laundry and table clearing, and being generally a good sport about being married to a slug.  🙂  She even drove me to Ellsworth on Saturday so I could pick up a book the library had gotten for me.  Since it is the book club book, and the meeting is tonight, it was sort of important.  🙂 (My Brilliant Friend – more on that when I finish it) we did a few other errands, then had breakfast at Martha’s Cafe, which we love.  I like to go out for breakfast, because the food is so yummy, and it doesn’t cost the earth. I like Martha’s because she makes delicious everything. I had a veggie and ham stuffed omelet, and stole some of A’s raspberry muffin.  mmmmmm

Today, besides finishing the book and not getting sucked into red and white knitting, I plan to do the housework I did not do Friday (start deep cleaning the bedroom) and get into the craft room to make some cards for the Etsy shop – I am thinking Valentine’s and birthday cards, but I am open to ideas, so please, offer them up!

And I have to go check the mouse traps I have outside, they are no longer buried under a pile of snow – with all that rain yesterday and balmy (is it really 40 degrees F out there today???) air, we have almost no snow left – so I  can find the traps.

Other than that, I will putter, putter, putter.  🙂

Friday list and lots of other things, too!

First off – MANY thanks to Maryanne at slipped stitches who gave me a good tip when I asked why I can not get the “add a new post page” to load. In case you are experiencing similar difficuly, she suggested I try getting there from my dashboard, the menu on the left, not the cute little “add a new post icon” found on each page, not the “add a new post” button on the “manage my blog” page. IT WORKED! As perhaps you can see. So, now, there will be lots of reading and photos for you as I get you caught up on what I’ve been doing this week.

Second – I continue to worry about niece B who landed back in the hospital again this week, and still no conclusive results. One issue may be Crohn’s disease, and she had to swallow a blue-tooth pill camera to determine just how serious that is, but the pancreas is still not functioning properly, and no one seems to know why. She comes back to Maine for school in a couple of weeks, I told her and her mom not to forget that we are here if she needs ANYTHING or winds up back in the hospital, she needs to let us know. She has to keep intensive food journals and learn her triggers, which will be an adjustment to her, but not impossible, and she has to get on a med regime and tweak it until it works, which all is doable, but somewhat disconcerting when you are 19. I think the Crohn’s bothers me less than the pancreas at this point, but for her it is the other way around. Constant nagging worry.

Third – more nagging worry – still no sign of Tigger. It is clear to me she is NOT just out enjoying hunting in a neighbor’s field or the acres of woods around us. She is either locked up in someone’s shed or garage, and so we hope will come home again this weekend; been kidnapped by a neighbor with no thought of our heartbreak (more on that); or she has helped some wild animal survive by being a meal. Obviously, our preference is not the last, although the first two aren’t great as time goes on. If she is locked up someplace without water, that isn’t good. And if the long shot, the thoughtless neighbor has her, then all we can hope is that someday she will let her out and Tigger will come home.

It turns out our neighbor across the street has boundary issues with pets. She loves animals and is very focused on their welfare. As a result, she once took in a neighbor’s dog that had gotten loose. She took it with her to a family picnic half an hour’s drive away. When the family was going crazy looking for their dog, another neighbor suggested they call her, that she probably had the dog. Sure enough, she did. But then she told them if they wanted it back, they would drive over to get it! They did, but have not really gotten over it.

I spoke to this same neighbor about Tigger, and she told me she had seen a cat hunting mice in her field on Monday. I spent hours in her field, calling and calling, sitting quietly with a can of tuna fish, never saw a cat, Tigger or otherwise.

So we still call Tig when we get up in the morning and before we go to bed, and we still try to catch neighbors when they are home to ask about her, but if she doesn’t come home this weekend when the sheds and garages get opened up again, I doubt she ever will.

Less important but still a big part of my day has been knitting and stitching. This week it has been very hot and humid, so I do yard work early, then come inside out of the sun, then go out for a short bit in the afternoon before the thunderstorms and downpours roll through. So, lots of progress!

I took these photos Wednesday evening, so had to use the flash – which means sock colors are a bit distorted, but otherwise, they show how things are going along.

sws #18 and book

The book, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, is a book group read. Set in NYC in the late 1930s, it is the story of the haves and the have-nots and trying to fit where you weren’t raised to be. It is very good, and while some bits are predictable, there is enough of the unexpected to make it interesting reading. It also was a reasonably quick read, taking about a week of monogamous reading to get through.

The socks are based on the Poseidon pattern, found on Ravelry, designed by Elinor Brown. I definitely modified the pattern a bit – if you care how/why, you can read about it on my Ravelry page. If you don’t – well then, don’t! They are knitting up very nicely, I like the pattern. It took me quite a while to memorize it and be able to read what row I am on, but now that is easy, and so they are flying off the needles. Yesterday I had to go to a meeting a couple of hours away, and it is a meeting during which I knit , so I got LOTS done. I am on the leg of the second sock.

The cross stitching moves more slowly, but I did focus on it Wednesday, and so am DONE with the sand, sky and water. Now onto the surrounding shells. (Actually, I have one more stitch to make in the sky area, it is part of a gull, and I haven’t used that color yet, so the one stitch remains undone so far.) I’ll focus on it again this weekend, I really want to complete this by the end of the month so I can give it away. Otherwise, it will hang around with no deadlines.

cross stitch 4

Wednesday was a fun day – I met Mom in Camden at the Cashmere Goat. It is a VERY nice yarn store that has been open 4 years and I never knew it existed! I love that it is spacious and not jammed with product, and yet it has a huge selection of high end yarns. The store layout is airy and open, the ladies are nice and helpful but not in your face annoying. Because we went early, we even got street parking nearby, which is VERY DIFFICULT in Camden in the summer. When we left we told them we would be back after Labor Day. 🙂 We love to see the tourists come in the summer, but we love to see them go in the fall even more.

I bought a couple of patterns for shawls, one that I keep seeing all over the internet on needles and think looks interesting to make and wear is Leftie by Marina Behm. They had a sample knit up in the shop, and I knew I would have to try it. If I wasn’t committed to the sock scrap crocheted blanket, I would probably use some of my sock scraps for this. But I have another idea for it as well, which I will share if it ever seems like it will happen.

While I was getting that, I figured I would get Hitchhiker by the same designer as well – after all, Claire at Mollie&Claire is making one that looks so pretty (see hers here), and they had the pattern right there for me to just pick up.

And yes, I know this was a yarn store. You didn’t think I would leave it without a bit of lusciousness did you? Sock yarn – a whole section of it. Tosh Sock. A complete wall. It took me a very long time to choose one skein. And here is the amazing thing – with all the Tosh Sock I have knit this year, and a whole wall full of colors, they only had ONE color I had already used. That made it very difficult for me, I really was hoping they would only have one I hadn’t used. 🙂 I finally chose white wash, which has lovely soft faded teal tones with a creamy natural color.

I also got a couple of skeins of Malabrigo Lace to make myself a lace scarf/shawl thing. I just loved the soft blue-teal color, and the price was right.

cashmere goat haul

The yarn all looks pretty together, it is clear to me that when I wear the shawl, I will pair it with these socks.

Mom and I were commenting that we can look at a whole wall of every color imaginable, and really love them all, but when it comes time to actually pick one out to buy, we almost always choose blue, and if we don’t, it is because we chose red. We have to really force ourselves away from those two colors. Mom did better at that than I did, getting herself a soft white/gray.black variegated to make a scarf. She loves making scarves for us all, but this one is for herself, to go with her black dress coat.

By the time we finished there, it was lunch time, so we found a little place with three restaurants to choose from and two parking spaces. Our first choice of restaurant, Peter Ott’s said it opened at 11, but it was way past 11 and the door was lovked, so we went to the seafood place across the parking lot. they didn;t serve lunch. Glad there were three choices! The last place we tried, Fresh! Was interesting – it was a bit pricey, but that clearly was because they used locally sourced exceptional ingredients, and the menu was unusual. The good news? Lots of gluten-free choices. It just was hard to wrap our heads around what these things would all taste like together because we don’t usually run to gourmet eating. However, Mom located the burger, and I tried a gluten-free chicken pot pie with root vegetables (apparently, peas are root vegetables?) Both were delicious, but we decided we would not head back there soon – it was just too pricey for lunch, and we both knew our better halves would NOT appreciate the place.

Then it was off to Rockland for an ice cream, then back home to Mom’s for a short time before we headed over to her summer commitment at the historical society. She does a couple of Wednesdays a summer sitting at the “Homestead” and telling visitors about the place. So far this summer she has only seen two visitors and me, so I guess some Wednesdays are slow. The house is an old one, built no later than 1777, and needs major repairs, but they have stopped the decay and done a bit of restoration on it. It looks like a sad version of my little house in Cherryfield, same layout, which was pretty standard for a cape in those days. But the ladies clearly love the place and always are working to get the next repair done.

Wednesday evening, A and I went into Blue Hill to meet sister-in-law L at a presentation by a couple who traveled to Madagascar last fall. It was a couple of hours long, slde show and talk, and it was very interesting. They were birding, but had a lot of other things included in the photos and talk. Since nephew D and his wife A are living there just now, it was very interesting to us to learn more about it. It didn’t take too many photos of snakes, spiders, millipedes and lizardy things for me to decide I would NOT be going there anytime soon. The culture bits with the people, and the stories they shared about the towns they were in were much more interesting than the creepy bits, to me. And the last place they stayed, quite a nice resort with fabulous beaches did tempt me… but then I remembered I can’t go out in the sun. So, I’ll choose a less exotic place for a vacation, I guess. 🙂 The Lemurs were very cute, and the birds were lovely, though.

So finally, we get to Friday, and the list. 🙂

I have to run and pick up the drycleaning, and get gas in the car, check the mail, all good exciting Friday things, right? I also want to get outside, once the trees stop dripping to do more yard work. The tomatoes are starting to come along, especially the cherry tomatoes, and I want to make shish kabobs tonight, so I need to pick some of them. Peas are still coming along, how cool our summer has really been! And the sweet peas are just starting. Squash does it’s usual thing – bloooms nicely, all male blossoms, no female, so no squash. I simply do not get it and may someday give up.

When the sand dries out a bit, I will do some more clearing for the pool, it comes along, I hit a slow tough spot, but am alost through it, and HOPE that the next section goes a bit more quickly. This patch was so full of small stones that I used them to replenish the small area at the bottom of the back steps, so we won’t track so much muck in the house. Beats hauling them all off to the rock pile in the woods.

I also need to contact Dish and get them to give us the national CBS feed, I tried email, they gave me a credit for the lack of the local station, but no national feed. I expressed my dissatisfaction, and they simply said “use our online chat.” Big help. Zero for customer service.

That’s it, besides stitching and knitting breaks, it will be a day of work. I had better get a wiggle on!

A different kind of Friday list

Good morning!

It is FINALLY Friday, and the weather has delivered a beautiful, dry day. Sounds like we might get a whole weekend like this! Of course, it has become more difficult to tell as our satellite company and our favorite local station have decided to call it quits. Now we get pseudo-local news and weather. Kind of like Congress, they each want what they want and will not compromise. Never mind that we, the consumer, who actually pay for the service, want them to reach an agreement. Whatever.

So, what will I be up to today? You know, I really am not sure how the day will unfold. A is off today, and still snuggled under the comforter enjoying a rare lazy morning. Cats and I are up at normal time, so I did a little shawl knitting, and likely will do some more crafting this morning. I should be out digging, but the mosquitoes are also out enjoying this beautiful morning. So I think I will sit with coffee and crafting on the screened porch for a bit. After all that rain the last few days, it will feel nice not to be muggy.

But, I can’t do that all day (I guess) so I likely will do some laundry and run some errands – which will include mailing off the craftroom giveaway prize to littleblackdogsa in South Africa; and picking up the package of yarn I hope hope hope has arrived at the PO.

This evening we are going to a gathering at one of A’s co-workers, to say good-bye to another co-worker who is leaving the company. Neither of us are much fr parties, but we will make an appearance. Then, since we will be in Bangor, we will do a few things – maybe go to Staples and recycle some printer cartridges, do the grocery shopping int he great big supermarket, instead of our smaller market. And who knows what else will get done?

I have finished my third full week of gluten-free living, and I have to say that as a weight loss plan, it isn’t so great. Not sure how, but I actually gained weight last week. I hope for a different result this week. I am eating so much better now, nice veggie salads for lunch, with some protein like chicken or tuna in them, and supper is simple lean meat and a veggie or another salad. I am not using lots of processed foods to replace breads(although A did make me g-f crepes last Sunday, I only had two, and filled them with strawberries) so I guess I will not worry about the weight, but focus instead on just being healthier.

Other things to fill my time – make a birthday card for niece C the younger, who will be 18 in a couple of weeks. Meant to do that last week but never got to it.

Worry about niece B, elder sister of C the younger, who is in the hospital undergoing all sort of gruesome tests to determine why her pancreas has stopped working. I try not to focus on all the things I foolishly read on the internet about pancreatic trouble, and just go with sending her positive thoughts. She has been there all week, and today has a colonoscopy. This is when I hate that they are so far away. Well, I always hate it, but this is when I REALLY hate it.

Also, I did start the cross stitch piece, which will likely take forever – it is on 18 count cloth, and while not big (5 inches by 7 inches) it is quite detailed, with 30 colors of thread. I did a good bit last night, but did not put a dent in it. So, it is a longer term project than I thought, but I will work away at it, and it really is a lovely thing, so I am glad I am making it.

And, I have to get a hold of the book I am supposed to be reading for book group, called the Rules of Etiquette, and that is all I know about it! I’ll stop at the bookstore today, see if they have it, and if not, I know they will order it for me, and it will be here in time to give me about a week to read it. Which may or may not be long enough.

And knit a bit on socks as well. Because more yarn is arriving today!

An up and down sort of day, I guess.

Friday list

This week, writing the list on Thursday night for publication Friday is a bad idea. This has been a really long week (for a short one) and I am exhausted.

But, I will make a stab at it. And tomorrow morning, I might edit it or create a part two or something. As it is now, I am pretty low energy. It is not 7 pm and I am tucked up in bed already…

so on the Friday list this week –

laundry, always.
PO, as usual.
grocery store – and come up with something good and creative to take to game night, not just the regular things
dig in yard to set up pool. It is clear to me now that I will be working on this for many weeks. I thought of hiring some strong teenagers to help me, but I don’t know any. And I am basically cheap.
read some more of my book club book. I still have a few weeks, but it is going slowly, even though I really like it. Appropriate, as it is entitled “Slow Travel” great story of two ladies of a certain age who sell their house, invest the money and travel each winter off the proceeds. Author is a friend of a woman in book group, and will actually be attending our next meeting!
photos of the socks I finished tonight, and post them.
cast on a new pair – #13!
do some research about how to keep suet and squirrels separate – check out tip slipped stitches gave me….
make, write, and send card to coworker who has been out for months with serious health issues.
maybe take a nap so I am awake and lucid for game night?
go to game night and win!

Jeesh I had better not add anything much to this list tomorrow, I don’t see how I will get all this done.

Not really listable, but still likely to happen – morning coffee on screened porch with at least one cat. This might be when I cast on new socks. Or not. 🙂

Charleston, SC

I’ll try to keep it short. 🙂

Lots of uneventful (yea!) hours in the car heading south, and we arrived in Charleston Sunday afternoon, after all the heavy rains and flooding left. Easily found our hotel (the King Charles) on Meeting street, and unloaded, stretched, went for a short walk to work the kinks out. Then had a fabulous dinner at Jestine’s Kitchen, right down the street. I have never had fried chicken like this – OMG, it was delicious! A had a pecan crusted chicken, and we had their fabulous cola cake for dessert. Perfect end to a weekend in the car!

Yesterday (Monday) we took a bus tour around the city to get oriented and see all the things we should see. It was interesting, and did get us very well oriented. This part of the city is not very big, but has so many nooks and crannies to explore. We went for a walk in the afternoon and explored the upper part of King Street, also went to eh Charleston film at the Visitor center. While there I asked about local yarn stores. Turns out, there are none in the city proper. there is one about 30 miles away. Can you believe it? A city with a population (including suburbs) equal to half the population of my whole state, and there are no yarn stores? Very odd. A said maybe they don’t knit here because it is so warm? I can’t answer it, just am disappointed.

There is a huge bead store I will check out on Thursday, though.

Today we took the ferry ride over to Fort Sumter and explored that. Not much there, really, just a fort that is being restored, a museum and a gift shop.. but it was nice to be on the water (as we think it is hot) and it was interesting to see the fort and learn more about it’s history, beyond it’s place in history at the start of the Civil War.

after lunch, we rested a bit, and I went for a swim. I thought the water was on the cool side, but easily bearable, but a nice southern lady said she knew right away I was from the north, because apparently the water is too cold to get into. Ha! I was cool for the rest of the afternoon.

I conned A into taking a short walk with me after that, we walked all the way down East Bay to the Battery, and back up Meeting Street – lots of beautiful things to see, but we were both hot again and tired when we returned. So now we are just resting and cooling off before we have our delicious supper in our room. I think tonight it will be peanut brittle, Krispy Kreme donuts and a little praline. And of course, left over fried Chicken from Jestine’s Healthy diet!

Tomorrow we head off to explore Middleton Plantation. Maybe I will find a yarn store over that way. Certainly I will work on the dark gray socks.

PS one thing I did do this week is read Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, and I loved it. I would have loved it even if we weren’t here, but nice that it is set in Charleston. We have kept our eyes peeled for the Grimke House, and finally I looked it up. We have walked around it three different ways, but never actually past it. When we have the car out tomorrow, I hope we will remember to drive by so I can snap a photo….

WIPS and what I am reading

This month for book group, we are reading David McCullough’s The Great Bridge. It is thick. And having read his John Adams, I knew it would be dense reading – lots of material. But I also knew it would be well written. I am right on both counts! (Don’t you just love when that happens?) I am about a third of the way through the book and they have just started digging. 🙂

What I like about it is that it is less about the bridge (so far) than the father/son team who made it happen. they are fascinating characters so far, and I can’t wait to read how they pull it off. McCullough is doing a good job of making this non fiction work read like a novel. I have a couple more weeks to finish it, so I read a bit every night before I go to sleep. It is due back at the library a few days before book group, I hope I remember to renew it.

But Salpal, why did you take it out of the library, when you usually buy your book group books at your local bookstore?

Well, because I am stubborn. I bought this book for my father for Christmas one year, and I refuse to buy it again. 🙂 Yes, even though I will probably never see Dad’s copy again. And also, I wasn’t sure I wanted to own this one, and I know for a fact that the people I pass my book group books onto would not be interested in this one.

I love reading it because my grandmother and her father’s family lived in Brooklyn. Her father used to cross this bridge to go to work every day, so that is kind of cool. The Brooklyn described in the book is much more like the Brooklyn she knew than any Brooklyn you could find now. So I enjoy reading it and thinking about her growing up there.

So anyway… not totally unrelated is a WIP I am working on. One of the book group ladies is having a rotten miserable year healthy wise. She is currently recovering from back surgery and from a chemo round for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I haven’t seen her in a few months, but I have to think that she is cold and tired and not enjoying life at the moment. So I am knitting her a little hat, which, if she loses her hair will keep her head warm. And if she doesn’t lose her hair, it will keep her head warm. 🙂

It is a soft purple and white combo made from a cashmere/alpaca and wool mix – not itchy at all. And the amazing part is that I got this wool at a local thrift store for only a dollar a ball! Sadly, they only had the three balls, but I am loving working with it. It is tiny, so there are lots of stitches, and it takes many rows to get anywhere, ut it will be a fine hat when I finish. I want to get it done before next book group meets, in case we see her or one of the members who lives near her can drop it off.

I also have put aside the blue beaded scarf for a bit of Christmas knitting – blue leg warmers for my niece. the pair I made her last winter didn’t really work for her, so I am trying again. This time I am using a pattern, which I should have done before but thought it could not be that hard. It could be. So, trying again. They are going lots faster than the last pair, since they have half the stitches!

Instead of knitting at night though, I have been working on Christmas card assembly. I have figured out the production line, and make them in batches of four, as I can get four cards out of one 12 x 12 and one 8.5 and 11 sheet of paper. I spent some time making the cuts for about 24 cards the other night, and then brought the bits downstairs for gluing. I got about 14 done in one evening, then last night I glittered them. Almost done, last step is to put the hallmark on the backside. So tonight, I will do some more cutting and then a bit of gluing, tomorrow night I will be gluing a lot of them, followed by an evening of glittering.

How will the Christmas knitting, as limited as it is, get done? Just not sure about that one!

Last year I knit the teenaged nieces necklaces, and at Thanksgiving, I heard that two of the girls loved them, one to the point that hers wore out!!! I told her return it for mending or replacement. The other said she wears hers a lot and gets many compliments on it, so that is encouragement to make more – but I won’t promise those in time for Christmas. Often we don’t see the girls again until January – reprieve! But then there are the other two girls whose packages have to be mailed… soon… what will I put in those???

Never mind, I will just go read my book while I think about it….