Plodding along

I haven’t posted in a while, because it feels like there is nothing new to share.ย  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.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

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

I had the Patriots, A had the Eagles.ย  We are both very happy that they won, because I do love an underdog.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.ย  Nothing exciting!ย  The spin should get done this weekend.ย  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 thatย I am amazed that anyone ever thought it could be done.ย  I am near the end of the first square, and it is slow going now.ย  There are four sides to the squares, and right now I have to alternate between two charts to complete a row.ย  IE chart one for one side, chart two for the next side, chart one for the third side, chart two for the fourth side.ย  SO MUCH CONCENTRATION NEEDED.ย  But it is so worth it, and it isn’t HARD, it’s just slow going and not TV knitting.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Hitofude is easy knitting, but long rows, so I can’t pick it up and drop it easily.ย  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!

last weekend in review

I think I have lots of last Friday’s list left for this weekend… but some things got done, and some fun was had.

I did get my eyes checked and ordered new lenses for my glasses. I also ordered a single vision pair, with the reading prescription – a new necessity for me. I have always been able to read without my glasses, but one eye is getting bad enough that it has become impossible. And with progressive lenses, it is tough to read lying down. So, special bedtime reading glasses. I feel sort of old…

I did a little work on the pool prep, I am thinking I may not finish it. Ever. I may rethink my process and just buy sand to put down. Hate to do that, we have so much sandy gravel here, everywhere we look.

I did get the shrub planted, and a few small plants, but still no potatoes. I might not get a big harvest this year if I don’t get cracking.

No cards made yet, but I don’t need those until Saturday, so I have time, right?

I did manage to finish altering and putting together the new cart from IKEA. It is a light turquoise color. It wasn’t bad, but there was too much of it, so I sprayed the framework a teal color, in a satin finish. It tones down all the high gloss brightness. The cart had to be thoroughly inspected of course, and now resides beside the sofa with all manner of knitting things in its three levels. Coffee table now actually has room for a dish or a glass or a laptop, simply amazing.

ikea cart

ikea cart cat scan 2

ikea cart cat scan 1

Sunday, Mom and I took step-brother J to Monhegan for the day. It was a gorgeous day, and we had a good time. Except for the part of the hike where the easy path merged with the difficult path. That was a short rough patch, but Mom and I survived it, although we were then hot and sweaty and maybe a little cranky. ๐Ÿ™‚ Ice cream and a rest fixed that, and we enjoyed the sunshine on the island that for me has usually provided plenty of rain. It was tough to get up the next day for work, but I wasn’t as sore as I had expected – I just wanted more days off!

monhegan june 2014

Last thing to update you on is sock knitting – pair number 15 is cruising along. This is the yarn I won in the Socks With Sarah giveaway in May – “under the mistletoe” is the name of the color. It is bright and cheery, and is knitting up very differently than I expected! I think I will use the Hermione sock stitch pattern on the leg to break up the stripes a bit. I love the colors, these socks are going to make some winter days more cheerful, without a doubt.

sws #15 yarn

sws #15

That’s about it – done a bit of scarf knitting and square crocheting, but not much progress to show on that front.

See you Friday with a rainy day list!

what I was up to last week (includes an unsolicited store review)

http://www.cascobayfibers.com/

 

I actually did most of the Friday list on Friday, can you believe it?  Of course, I didn’t make it a tough list. ๐Ÿ™‚

Saturday is when things got fun, though.  A, L and I went off early to Freeport, and as planned, A dropped me and L off at Casco Bay Fibers, around 10:30. Although this isn’t local to me (a couple of hours away), it is a wonderful LYS.  L and I headed in, and A went off to Portland.

Casco Bay Fibers is located in a large, well-lit space, and was staffed by the owner.  She was just the right amount of interested and chatty and helpful without being in our faces or sullen that we interrupted her day. Although she stocks lots of beads and some fabric, it is primarily a yarn store, and it is a super one, at that!  lots of really nice quality, gorgeous stuff, including, I was happy to see, Madeline Tosh (yes, I managed to get a skein of sock yarn!) In addition to the stuff I wish I could afford to make into sweaters, she had some very nice quality acrylic blends, and some lower priced Turkish made wool.  Also, Cascade in many varieties.  I wound up with some dark blue slightly tweedy (with deep blue-green accents) for that sweater I really do need.  How can it be that I don’t own a navy cardigan?)

I also found some beads to make another ribband necklace, so this store was a GREAT find!

It took us just over an hour there, and truthfully, I could have stayed longer, but I was conscious of L wanting to go clothes shopping, and I know A has no patience for that, so we needed to get a head start!

For those of yo who have never been to (or heard of) Freeport, it is a small town that converted itself into an outlet shopping mecca.  It has the flagship LL BEan complex, and all the buildings in town have been converted to stores of one variety or another.  I like that they did not allow much in the way of new building, so Main Street looks like a bustling New England town, but it is all facade.

We went to the Gap, Banana Republic, Clark’s, Bass, before we got tired and hit Starbucks for a cooling drink while we waited for A to returns.  Once she did, we went on to Old Navy, Van Heusen, and Talbot’s before lunch.  L found a nice silk shirt along the way, and some great shorts at Talbot’s – much more selection there than in the Bangor store, so she was thrilled.  Not sure she found anything to wear to the wedding, but she will. I fell in love with many things, but had blown my cash on yarn, go figure!

We had lunch at the Broad Arrow Tavern, located at the Harraseeket Inn.  It was a splurge, but as this was MY birthday excursion, I chose it over the chain restaurants and lobster roll places in the center of town. I like to frequent the Harraseeket because it is SO environmentally friendly – much of the food is locally source,d the pool is a salt water system, they have electric car charging stations, and much more green stuff that goes on behind the scenes.  Anyway, we had a  nice lunch on the terrace (I sat in the shade of the umbrella, trying to be good.)

 

Then we wandered out of town in the car, and found a pet store that carries grain and chicken free cat food, so we got several flavors and varieties (good news, all cats are happy to eat it).  We also found the local chocolate shop and managed to get a few treats there.

By then we were all hot and sick of shopping, so A drove us home the long way, with a stop in Randolph at Deb’s for homemade ice cream – yum!

 

Now it all makes sense

I woke up in the night with that harbinger of doom – a horribly scratchy throat. I thought I would just get up, get a drink and sit in the living room and knit until A got up. But then I looked at the clock – 11:30. So I spent the night trying to sleep without swallowing. This does change the Friday list a bit – no game night tonight. No rushing about – I’ll get done what I get done.

That being said, I have already refilled all the bird feeders, including hummingbird. The chipmunk was noshing immediately, so I did a really mean thing.

squirrel-proof

I let Tigger out. She caught him immediately. He survived, but she let him and his brother know they are not welcome. I left her out for about an hour, until she started stalking birds, then I brought her in. She is eager to go out again, but I won’t be letting her out regularly, we really do want the cats to be indoor cats. Doesn’t she look sweet and innocent here? No, she is a fierce hunting cat.

screened porch and tigger

I already took the photos I wanted to get of works in progress and off the needles – here you go! Basic toe up socks with a lace panel on outside of ankle (well, maybe inside, if you switch feet. But I will try not to. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

sws #12 lace close up

sws #12 complete

Next pair is with this Tosh Sock in ginger colorway. I am doing the business casual pattern again – this time, one at a time – I hope it goes more easily! But I really do like the pattern, and I think it will look well with this nice golden yarn. I have already cast them on, check THAT off the list!

ginger 1

I also made a big decision – what to do with all the left over sock yarn! I am going to crochet up granny squares on a fairly small hook, and at the end of the year, when the sock making slows down, I will make an afghan. So in between socks, I will be working on the little squares.

Now I am off to sort the laundry and make the grocery list… then a nap.

The power of you internet knitters

You constantly amaze me, not just with your creativity, your excellent workmanship, but your generosity!ย  OMG.

In today’s mail at work I got ANOTHER big box of hats, this time from a woman in North Carolina who saw a post about our winter wear project over at She Makes Hats. These contributions really do make a difference in people’s lives, we get them out and onto heads in schools, in churches, in homeless shelters, wherever we hear of the need.ย  We tuck them into our Christmas packages.ย  We just can’t give away enough hats to keep everyone warm, but we try our best!

And you all help so much, thank you so much.

Odds and Ends

Getting my brain back on track this week! Yesterday was the first day back in the office in 2 weeks, and in some ways, it felt like I never left. Got a big pile of work to get through, surprise, surprise. Got the unofficial word that we got another grant I wrote, though. Pretty amazing if it is true, as it was a tough one, very competitive. So that was super news.

So. WIP update. Haven’t done any crocheting on the little baby blanket, as I have been focused on the PI shawl. This is why I try not to have more than one project on the hook/needles at once! I also have a mobile project, a scarf that I actually can’t wait to finish and show you, it is a fun story, but I will wait until the end to show you. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Pi shawl – I made excellent progress last week in Phoenix. And I don’t have enough yarn. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I thought I did, and that I had figured it rightly. I went with only 30 rows in the last section, and the garter stitch edge. I would have done better to keep knitting around and then done the crochet edge that EZ said was adequate. But, since I didn’t, I will have to ask my sister to go get me one more skein. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ If you want to do Pi with Quince and Co Finch, I suggest at least seven skeins. Using US size 8 needles, I started with 5, and will need 6 to complete it, and I know it would be a bit nicer if it was a bit wider. That being said – I highly recommend this yarn for this project – it is just yummy. Spun tightly and round, very stretchy (which may save this project in the blocking) all wool but far from scratchy. Nice body to it. I can’t wait to wrap it around me.

Besides knitting…

A, L and I did the AIDS walk in Bar Harbor Saturday – I was exhausted, so we did not hang around for the festivities, but it was a beautiful day for a stroll around Bar Harbor. Only the “newlywed and nearly dead” left for tourists, much more manageable! We finished the license plate game for the 3rd time this summer, when we spotted a Louisiana plate down by the harbor. We even have a spare Hawaii to start next year. That means that we have set a record – between Memorial Day and Columbus Day, we have seen cars from every state at least three times. Usually it is a struggle to get this done twice. A sign of a better economy?

Sunday was a lay-low day for me – I worked on putting the pool away and did laundry and knit. The pool is a SAD TALE. When I popped open the plug to let the air out of the rim, the plug pulled out in my hand. That finishes off the pool. So instead of clearing it up and putting it away, we will haul it to the dump next weekend when we have the truck again. Next spring we will get a new one, slightly different style, I think. I’d like one I don’t have to work so hard to set up and take down. But still small. I don’t need a big family sized one, just something to get in and cool down, relax. So I will be doing some research this winter.

Last night, I went to Bangor and met A. We had planned a trip to Hobby Lobby and then supper at the Olive Garden, but Hobby Lobby still isn’t open. It should open on the 27th, so we will go next month. I look forward to seeing what it is all about. Supper at Olive Garden was good as always, and the leftovers will be good tonight.

I think that is it, for what I have been doing since I got home.

Working on a fun Friday list for you, since last week’s was so boring. ๐Ÿ™‚

Wednesday

Today was such a nice day! A little quiet, but that is good!

First off, it stopped raining very early, and cleared off, dry and lovely. Second off, I did not have to work. ๐Ÿ™‚

A and I slept late, then headed downtown. She dropped me on Main St and went off to the grocery store. I checked out a little thrift shop I have never been into (as it is only open 3 hours a day) and found that it had nothing much for me. Then I wandered over to the bookstore to get my book for this month – Sotomayor’s “My Beloved World” which I have about two weeks to read. It looks like it will be interesting, so I am looking forward to it. I was browsing the knitting books when A returned. ๐Ÿ™‚ Dang, I didn’t get to choose one.

Once home, we puttered around, and I started on putting some chicken wire around my beach plums, but it was too hot and sunny out. So, I came in and puttered inside instead. A puttered downstairs until L arrived to help. L and I harvested our potatoes from the grow bags – like a treasure hunt, but not as many potatoes as last year. Not sure why not, unless it was too wet this summer? Then she went downstairs to help with the great cellar project.

I did some crocheting on the blue and brown baby blanket – no photos yet, but I will take some soon so you can see it in its star stitch loveliness.

Spent some time on WordPress, (Diane got her box!, I’ll post a link to her post and photos as soon as I figure out how. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) then when the sun went down a bit, I finished putting the chicken wire around the beach plums. Hopefully, it will repel the deer, and the bushes will thrive.

Fixed A and myself burgers on the grill, some roasted freshly dug potatoes, some yellow summer squash from the garden, and a grilled peach. Never tried that before – I thought they were good and juicy, A didn’t think they were worth the trouble. Sigh. They weren’t much trouble, if you can split a peach and brush some oil on it!

Now, back to my yarn… ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is our whole crop of potatoes – red and white. Fun to do but not really cost-effective and it won’t feed us for the winter. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

red potatoes

white potatoes

Sunny Sunday

Ya know, this whole stay out of the sun thing is going to bring me down. It is a beautiful day for floating in the pool reading my book, and I can’t do it. I could cover my elf from head to toe and get in and scoop out the leaves, which is nice and relaxing, but I can’t really go swimming yet,until I get the stitches out, and I sure can’t float around in the sun anymore. At least until I hear that the big thing on my back is harmless. And I haven’t heard that yet, so I am a little cranky.

I called (twice) on Friday, and the office finally got back to me to say the results weren’t in. that sounds kind of fishy to me, and so I will follow up Monday morning. She said it would take a week, L, our ex-lab tech, said they would have results in a couple of days. So I am frustrated and growing more nervous.

Which means I should sit and do crafts. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been doing that today. I worked on making a couple of cards, and I hung up the collage I made when C was here, and I started my next craft project, which is a tray. It might get a tiled bottom, or it might just be a painting project, not sure yet. Depends if I can find the tile i want. In Martha Stewart Living quite a while ago, I saw a tray she made where she popped out some tiles and replaced them with sea glass. As I have BUCKET loads of the stuff, I have always wanted to do it. I was left alone at AC Moore on Friday (he he he ) and they had some small wooden trays, so I thought now is a good time to try it.

They had a whole lot of other stuff, too, so I got some Halloween ribbon (can you believe it is almost Halloween? It must, be the stores are full of goblins and candies. What happened to September?) and a cute rubber stamp of a row of houses, and a bunch of other things I “needed” which I am sure you will be seeing signs of eventually.

What I did not find, and maybe all of you savvy crafters can help me with is the yarn I can visualise but not find. It has to be washable, and it should feel nice, but other than that, I don’t care what it is made of. It should be Dk or worsted weight. Here’s the hard part. I want three colorways that look nice together – a burgundy, a navy, and a hunter green. Then, I want at least one variegated yarn that also goes with these colors. Ideally, I want three variegated yarns, one with greens, one with blues, one with burgundies. Then, I want a neutral that goes with all – either a gray or a cream, I think. Apparently, this is hard to find in Bangor, ME. I can find the solids, but the variegateds I find don’t match, and I haven’t yet found the two-colored variegated I want. All of this is to make A a CAL blanket. I don’t want to do it with less than 7 colors, and she is fussy and wants those particular colors. I might have to cave and not let her have all three, if I can’t find a variegated that will work with them all. I suspect I could find it all in dear old Lamb’s Pride, but keeping it clean and cat free is going to mean lots of washing, which would felt the Lamb’s Pride very quickly. So I will keep searching. If any of you have tips, please let me know!

So. I did manage the whole Friday list on Friday – and we had a really nice time visiting A’s Aunt N. she’s a hoot, and we heard some new stories about people in A’s family. Met two fo her great grandsons, who live in her basement apartment. They are cute little boys, and very fun. We are so glad that they live there, and so Aunt N is not alone, as she is getting a bit befuddled.

I have almost finished the bundle of things for Diane, the winner of my 100 followers giveaway. Some of it is taking longer than I thought,a ndshe probably thinks it was all a hoax, but it isn’t! Really! ๐Ÿ™‚

I suppose I had better get upstairs and finish things up so I can mail them soon, huh? Take advantage of A going into the office for a few hours.

But first – I finished my book group book, the Burgess Boys. I really enjoyed it, even though some of it was hard to read, it definitely is making me think about what it would be like to be a refuge in a country where I did not speak the language nor understand the customs. She really captured what some parts of life in Maine are like, although I don’t live near Lewiston/Auburn where the large Somali refugee population is, so I don’t know if that is right, but it felt genuine. I’ll be interested to hear wha the other book group ladies think of it.

Now, I am going to do a bit of crocheting or something, then head upstairs.

Here are a few photos of things going on around here lately. Sorry they are blurry/crooked – blame the screen and old hands.

But you can see why I rarely need to prune anything in the yard!

collage

collage 1

The collage installed.

deer

fawn

deer in woods

Cute little creatures, as long as they stay out of the garden!

Cal week 12 – I’m Done!

a mere twelve weeks ago, this was my CAL blanket:

Foundation and row 1 - here we go!

And today, here it is! (Sorry about the sunbeam in the middle, didn’t realize it was there until just now.)

complete at last

I didn’t actually do the week 12 rows, just added a couple of HDC rows before starting my border. It obviously needs blocking, one border is a little wavy, a good block would fix that if I were so inclined.but as far as I am concerned, I think it is done! How I did the border – I didn’t have enough yarn on most of the colors to do a whole round, so I did a row of single crochet in the gray all around, spacing the stitches as best I could, then I started with the colors, and just used what I had – if I ran out in mid-row, I just changed colors. I did that and used up all the navy, the periwinkle, the variegated, and the turquoise. I then did a complete round of the teal that started it all.

I love this blanket, it is so warm and cozy – really it is big enough for a twin bed, certainly, it covers the whole couch, so a couple of people can sit and watch tv under it. I (almost) can’t wait for winter. ๐Ÿ™‚

A is looking like she really wants one. Although I joke about making her one that is the same colors as the cats, it seems she has other ideas, and would like one that incorporates burgundy, green and navy, her favorite colors. So, I will see what I can find – I want more than 3-4 colors to work with, it was hard, even with 7, to mix it up enough to look random. It will also be washable, since I know cats will sit on her lap this winter. So I guess I have to go yarn shopping!

CAL Week 11

Not a very exciting post – I was so busy last week, I forgot to take row by row photos, which I KNOW make it much more exciting, lol.
week 11 complete

I am farther along on this project than I thought – the blanket is now as long as the couch. I’ll do this week’s rows, and then start figuring out a border. It will be plenty long enough to snuggle under while inspecting the insides of my eyelids this winter.

When it is done, I will have no reason not to get yarn to make another one, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ But first, I have to crochet a baby blanket. For that, I will be using the star stitch, which I am so happy to have learned – I have a blanket pattern that is all star, with lousy instructions, so I thought it was hard to do. Now I know how to do it, it is NOT hard, and I will be using it!