Quick update

Thanks so much for all your kind comments, hugs, prayers, words of wisdom. They mean a lot.

We are hanging in there as best we can. Things in Connecticut are progressing slowly but steadily toward an outcome. What that outcome will be is yet unknown. But we will get there. Advice for you all: keep your things in order. Make sure you have your health directives and POAs up to date and that someone else knows how to find them. Don’t rely on just one person for everything. Getting old can really suck, but it doesn’t have to be a 💩storm.

That being said, the siblings are all still getting along and supporting each other. Silver lining!

I am finishing a sweater today, I do believe. I promise to share pictures when I do. And my little gnome is keeping me occupied. I might cast on some stars or a tree today, too. I need some little cast ons.

Thank goodness November is over

Guys, this was a really dark month for me. Not just because the time changed, though that is part of the trouble. Every time I felt like I was recovering my equilibrium, more bad news came down the pike. And on top of that – or perhaps underlying it – there was a pandemic.

Look at me cross-eyed, I will cry. Be nice to me, I will cry. If that is hard for you, think how it feels to be me? Ugh. I don’t like it.

Something good happened? Very exciting! But then multiple bad things happened to match it. I won’t give you the litany of things that happened this month, just know that loved ones were lost or soon will be, and people are sick in hospitals out of state. Hospitals which allow no visitors, even if I could figure out how to do the logistics of the COVID test, the quarantine, sort out safe lodging and eating, the hospital still won’t let me in. So here I sit, making phone calls and trying not to bother the wonderful, wonderful nurses too much.

And yes, I have been knitting, a little bit. And spinning, a little bit. But I have not been as productive as normal, or as I would like to be. Everything just feels like a whole lot of work.

One good thing has come of all of this – I have had closer contact, and better communication, with all of my siblings than I have in ages. We are not all on the same page yet, though I think we will be, but we are talking and listening to each other, and reaching consensus on the things that must be decided now, and consciously deciding what to hold off on deciding, with a plan for taking things up later. It is amazingly good. I hope it lasts. We are sharing the work of communicating with out of state family and the hospital. So glad we can do it.

Anyway…

Thanksgiving – how was yours? Ours was quiet. I cooked a turkey and stuffing and potatoes for us, and made bread for the inevitable (anticipated, actually) turkey sandwiches. We saw one of A’s sisters on the screened porch early that morning, and we saw the other in her backyard on Friday, on our way to a picnic at Mom’s house. My sister and her family also came to the picnic, and we sat out in the chilly wet yard for a couple of hours. Mom provided blankets and chairs, we all brought our own food and sat in our own pods. It was so good to see everyone, even if there were no hugs. My niece E the younger brought her brand new spindle, and a grocery bag overflowing with brightly colored fiber that she got for her birthday a few weeks ago. She happily spun away, and is making loads of interesting yarn.

Now it is December and we are back at work after a week of vacation. Hunkering down and waiting for everything to come around right again. Wondering about Christmas picnics… ? will Mother Nature allow?

Mid-November

Is it just me or is this month being extra dreary? We are having all the weather, from snow to record-breaking warmth. But it still gets dark at 4 o’clock and light at almost 7. I think the lack of light is bothering me more than normal this year. And we won’t even talk about the election that seems to never end. Someone needs some big boy pants… (Well, except to relate this story. A friend of mine at work and I are polar opposites when it comes to politics. We don’t understand how the other one could be so nice but so wrong. 🙂 A few days after the election, I popped into her office to say hi and make lunch plans. Another coworker said “How do you two do it? How can you be friends?” that surprised us, and we told him that there is more to life than politics. We agree on so many other things, we long ago made the decision that we would not let politics interfere. S0metimes it is hard, but we keep on trying. He said we should go on the road and teach people how to do it. We don’t think it can be taught, but only demonstrated. I wish more people would give it a shot.)

I did finish all three of the major projects on time; that felt really good. Two state grants, coordinating election day signature gathering, and helping to put together a staff appreciation event, all with deadlines in the same week. I can’t believe I still have hair on my head and coworkers who speak to me. I (almost) don’t even care if the grants get funded, they got out the door on time.

One highlight was spending the day on Wednesday with my SIL D. I think it has been many years since we had a quiet time together, with no big family event happening, and I really enjoyed it. I think she did, too. We met at Popham Fort in Phippsburg, a couple of hours drive for me. It was a nice enough day, though the wind picked up and it got chilly after lunch. But we were outside for abotu three hours, just chatting and catching up. I realized that we have known each other 40 years. It does not seem possible, but I confirmed it with her – she arrived at UCONN’s Storrs campus in the fall of 1980. I graduated in the spring of 81… seems like yesterday or a century ago. Anyway…

We did remember to do some knitting, though we got in the car (with masks) for that, after eating our lunches and watching our lettuce blow off the forks, we thought it would work better in a car. We were able to get her really comfortable with one color brioche, and when she is an expert at that, we will work on two color. 🙂 It turns out that someone who knits Eastern European by rote has a really hard time doing brioche. But we concentrated on doing her yarn overs in the opposite direction from what she was used to, and I showed her how to tell if a stitch is twisted or not. She really would prefer not to learn to knit western, so my task is to decipher it and see how to make it work.

Other than that, things are not very exciting here. That is good for the knitting, though!

One mitten is done, the second one is in good shape for getting done before Christmas, the lining is approaching the thumb split.

The baby blanket is done and blocked. The second dumpster is done.

I have knit a few inches on the Ocean Currents. But the big news is that I have finished the sweater! The sleeves are a little big/long, but I am fine with that. I have lost some weight since I started it and did all the math, so it is to be expected. But I think it is comfortable and works just fine.

I have refrained from casting anything much on, I want to finish the Estonian Lace scarf, and the last clue is out. I am about a third of the way through that, on track to finish by the end of the month, and get it blocked. I want to make more progress on Ocean Currents before I cast on something to distract me from it. When I get bored with it, I work on dumpster flames. I also got an order for a hat that technically is a charity hat. I donated one to a local fundraiser, and the coordinator asked me if I would knit another to donate, as she wanted to buy one. I said sure, so have cast that one on. But let me tell you, the yarn is loaded and ready to go for the Steel Creek sweater, and I am casting it on as soon as the hat and Estonian lace are done. Maybe even before that? I will try not to, but… And as soon as Ocean Currents is done, I am casting on that Nightshift.

I also got my yarn for the Gnome Advent MKAL, and that will start December 1. I was a little nervous choosing the Christmas colorway, but it is very pretty! Very like what I would have put together myself, if I had been in a store full of mini skeins. 🙂 I will not wait to finish something before casting that on, because it is a little project. I think. 🙂 I am very impressed by the service at Loopy Ewe, and the quality of the yarn in this kit. I will be checking them out when I need other yarns in the future.

That’s about it from here. I hope to have more finishes and cast ones to share with you soon!

Not November yet!

So this will count as a second post this month, kind of amazing.

Nothing much is really new, we are just plodding along. I have managed to not help A remove deck boards yet and she is nearly done. 🙂 My step brother has helped a few times, they work well together. I have not yet dyed the yarn, I keep saying maybe tomorrow. It never happens. My SIL D and I did not meet to work on brioche, it was way to cold for outside knitting. We have a sort of plan to meet on 11/11, since I don’t have to work, so we can get started earlier in the day. But I know it will also be cold. Might have to bite the bullet and go inside for this.

I have been knitting hard on the sweater, moving down the body, and I am all up to date on the Estonian Lace MKAL. I have not done a lot on Ocean Currents. I pick up the brioche hat once in a while, but I don’t want to finish it before I meet with D, because then I would just have to start something else.

I did agree to knit a baby blanket for my cousin’s baby to be. My aunt called, and went through this whole long story about choosing this winter to learn to knit, and the neighbor lady is teaching her. The whole time she was talking I was thinking “please don’t ask me to teach you, please don’t ask me to teach you” because 1.) she is nearly 80 and I do not want to get that close to her and possibly give her covid, and 2.) I don’t hold anything properly, and I never like to teach people to knit. I would rather they learn how, and then I will teach them how to do various tricky things. Like brioche. 🙂 So by the time she wound through the long involved story of her neighbor, who now has a sick husband and visiting grandchildren, and the needles, and the yarn, and the deadline (February) I was HAPPY to say “Of course I will knit the blanket for you!” which normally I would dread doing. I was weakened by the build up. As intended, I think. However, it is really easy – Plymouth Galway held double, size 13 needles, 71 stitches. I started it Sunday night and I am 1/4 of the way through it. No photo yet, but I will get one for you.

My sewing has slowed, I have a jumper cut out and the seam binding cut out and sewed, ready for ironing, but I haven’t had time to get in the room to work on it. Work has been really busy, with three major projects/events happening this week and next. Late work hours and sewing don’t get along.

I did finish a Dumpster Fire 2020 ornament, though. Not loving the dumpster part of it, I think my yarn was a bit lighter weight than the yarn I used for the flames, so it is a bit wonky. I will do it again, though, with a better choice of yarn. And I will get you a picture of that, too. Look for it in November. It is a kind of fun pattern, and it is so appropriate! It is by Kino Knits, if you want to check it out.

That’s about it, I guess. Pretty much the same every day around here…

Oh, except later this week, we are having the remnants of Hurricane Zeta, which will bring – snow! Just showers, btu who ever heard of a hurricane bringing snow?

I tell you, 2020 is cursed.

Well, that was ambitious!

I took a look at my last post this morning, and it made me chuckle. Here’s how I did with it.

  • Sleep late! At least until sunup. Check! I call this a win, we slept past sun up every one of the three mornings!
  • Spin a bit. Fail! I did look at the wheel, and once or twice I intended to sit and spin, but got distracted and never came back to it. Thankfully, it isn’t going anywhere and it doesn’t spoil from lack of attention.
  • Knit on my sweater. Check! I actually knit on this a lot this weekend. I finished both sleeves, ripped out the trim on the neck and started redoing it with a larger needle.
  • Knit on the Estonian lace scarf . Check! I haven’t done a lot, but I did do a few rows on Friday.
  • Knit some on the Ocean Currents wrap. Fail on Friday, but I did knit a little bit on this over the weekend. It is lovely and oh so very boring. I need to power through it and get rid of it.
  • Go to the lumberyard with A to select the new decking. Check! We went, we talked to a guy who didn’t know much and wasn’t impressed at two older ladies doing their own decking; we took the books home, and OF COURSE we do not agree on a color. But we will get there eventually.
  • Help her remove more of the deck boards that we so securely screwed in place ten years ago that they are hard to remove! Fail! A was too sore and tired from her Thursday adventures with the deck to want to do more last weekend, but she is planning on doing some this weekend, so if we can’t con someone else into helping her, then I will do it.
  • If I have the energy, dye the rest of the Plymouth Galway. Fail! lol what was I thinking? That I would want to stand in front of a hot stove for hours? Yet, I really need to do it while I remember how I did the first batch. I want to knit it up this winter, so it gets moved to a list for this weekend.

I did do a bunch of other things this weekend, it wasn’t all sitting and knitting! Saturday I had a meeting in the late morning, starting our tax prep planning already., We have to figure out how to offer the service while never being with the client for more than 15 minutes, and how to work with volunteers in a way that everyone feels safe, but we are still efficient and build a team. With everyone having different levels of discomfort and when the voice from on high has not yet spoken about what we will be allowed to do, the meeting was hard to keep on track. But we started the conversation, and I managed to escape by 11:30.

Which left me with just enough time to get to Belfast to meet up with A and her sister L for a picnic in the park. We haven’t seen L since late spring when we did a driveway visit with her. She works in a grocery store, and has been really careful to isolate herself when not at work. But we realized that the good outdoor weather is nearly gone, so we got together, and A picked up sandwiches for us all. We visited for a couple of hours, until we got really cold. It was so nice to see her! The Whorls and Purls zoom knitting group had to meet without me, but I expect that they managed OK.

On the way home I stopped to do the dreaded grocery shopping in the “big” store. I have been boycotting our smaller store because of their unwillingness to enforce the COVID-19 rules. They have them, arrows on the floor, signs up. But shoppers and staff alike ignore the one way arrows, no one is required to wear a mask, and after complaining to the manager and filling out countless surveys, I decided I just was not going back until the tourists leave. The manager actually told me that they could not force people to wear masks. I said he could, the governor gave him that authority. He said “we aren’t going to tell people that they can’t get groceries if they don’t wear a mask.” I gave up on him, but wish I had thought of this at the time – if I went in with no shoes or no shirt, they would tell me I could not get groceries. How, exactly, is it different? It’s all about public health. So anyway, I now go 20-30 miles away to go to a larger store, with more room to pass safely if someone can’t go the right way in an aisle. (I do wonder how all of these people drive, don’t you? Do they not see one way signs?) I notice that there are a lot more masks in the other stores – all part of the same chain, so I think my store is just a rebel store.

Anyway… Sunday was a pajama day, I think we did dishes and laundry and that is it. That is how I got so much done on the sweater.

This week I am meeting my SIL D (outside, after work, I think we might freeze!) to try to teach her brioche. She knits eastern European, holds her needles and yarn continental. I knit combo, and I throw my yarn, so it should be an adventure. She has taken a class, but she and the teacher could not figure out how to alter things to accommodate the eastern European bit. I hope I can. However, it meant I first had to learn how to knit brioche! I did that with the help of a couple of you tube videos (I like Sweet Georgia’s the best, as she explains what it is she is doing, instead of just treating the whole thing like one big mystery. Just yarn over and slip and K2together. Magic.)

So that is another bit of knitting I did on Sunday – taught myself Brioche and cast on a hat. I haven’t raced through it, but I am enjoying it now and then.

We have a three day weekend again this week, always nice! I work on Friday, so you don’t get a Friday list, but you can have a weekend list!

  • Plant the new mock orange I got two weeks ago. Mom helped me choose a good spot for it where it is out of the way, with room to grow, but we will be able to smell it on the porch and in our bedroom.
  • Plant the garlic for next year.
  • Help A with some decking removal.
  • Knit on all the things.
  • Dye that yarn!
  • Do the grocery shopping.
  • Do the laundry.
  • Clean something. Anything. 🙂

What are your plans for the rest of the week and this fine fall weekend?

August 2020 update

I think I can commit to at least one post a month. I hope for more, but it doesn’t seem to be realistic.

After niece E left us, we had a quiet few weeks of same old/same old. I finished up three projects – very happy to have the projects off my needles, because my needles are overburdened, and because I really like the garments.

Icy Shores is a pretty lace and bead scarf that took me longer than it should have, because… too many WIPS! It calls for some contrast nupps, but I didn’t have any stash yarn that looked good with the yarn I was using, so I did them all the same. I think the designer knew what she was talking about. Still, I love it.

I also finished this hat, the second I have made with this pattern. I love it, and will hang onto this one. I might add a bright pink pompom. Or not.

Lastly, I finished up these socks (yes, I have woven in the ends!) which are a lovely bfl/nylon blend, dyed by a local dyer. They will match my Harriet’s Hap that I knit out of her yarn a few years ago.

This week I finished spinning the giant pile (15 ounces) of “festival” merino/silk. I love it and it was easy to spin, but it was TOO MUCH. I am grateful to the Two Ewes Fiber Podcast for hosting a summer spin in, or I might never have finished it.

I wound up with about 1640 yards of three ply, weight ranges between heavy fingering and sport, I think. I have not yet decided what to make with it, but it will likely be some type of sweater, since I got such good yardage.

Last week I was on vacation again, this time the niece visiting was C the younger. She lives in PA now, and so we seldom see her. I was so pleased when she texted last January to ask if she could come. Of course! Then there was a pandemic. Plans were iffy for a long time, but it worked out that she was able to come when she had originally planned to. She was a brave soul, and brought her boyfriend (K) to meet her Maine family, and they FLEW! Who knew you didn’t have to do a grueling 10 hour drive? Yes, she is one of the smart ones. Only her second time on a plane, K’s first, so it was quite an adventure for them. Their first foray into airline logic, where one goes to Charlotte, NC on the way from Scranton to Bangor. But they made it, and felt like everyone was as careful and socially distant as possible, wore masks the whole time, washed and sanitized at every opportunity.

They stayed with us a few days, then went to my brother’s for a few more, then returned to us for the last night of the trip. As is so often the case, it was a flying trip, and they saw the people they wanted to, mostly, but not a thing of what is around us, so I hope that they will come again, and stay a few more days. No Acadia National Park, nor day trips to Deer Isle or Stonington or Blue Hill, all of which are things C liked to do when she used to come for weeks each summer. But it was so good to see her, and get to know her as a grown up. She is very mature and focused about her career, and has goals for her life too. It was impressive to see.

Now that they are gone, I am back at work, but with a COVID19 twist. Because C is from PA, and that is not one of the “allowable” states under our governor’s rules, my workplace has a strict policy that I have to be out of the office for two weeks. I am just lucky that I can work from home. I am not lucky that it has been blazingly hot and extremely humid and we only have fans in most of the house; and that our bedroom, which has AC, is not ideal for working in. I would probably be napping. 🙂

A is still going to work, but being careful and wearing her mask until the two weeks are up and we can assume that if we have the virus we did not get it from C or K.

On the crafting front, since they left, I haven’t been knitting much, a row here and there on my 4 remaining WIPs. I did start spinning for one of my next knitting projects – I am spinning yarn that I hope will be for the shawl Nightshift. It needs a lot of different colors, but the good news is – heavier weight than I usually spin, so I think that it will go pretty fast. I am already halfway done with the first one, and I just started spinning Sunday. These are the braids I am going to spin, and hope that the yarns work as well together as I think that they will.

I have continued my sewing streak this summer, finished one skirt and most of another last week while I was on vacation, and will plug away at the second one in the evenings this week. Masks to match them , of course. What is the point of sewing clothes if not to make matching masks for each outfit? I have fabric for several more skirts all washed, ironed, and waiting to be cut out. I hope to do more sewing when the weather cools off, it is too hot to iron, really, and you can’t get very far before you have to press a seam open or something.

That is about all that is up so far since last I wrote. I will try to get some new project photos to share with you next time, so you can see how I am doing on my remaining WIPS – a scarf, a wrap, a sweater, and a pair of mittens. nothing too difficult, if one would knit on them. 🙂

We survived!

My niece and I had fun and no struggles! Yea! There was lots of cooking and dishes, but also, spinning (by E) and sewing (by E) and knitting (by me) and swimming (by both of us.) She made masks for seven dolls and one for me, and spun this yarn

She did really well for only her second time spinning, and her first time was last November.

I didn’t realize it, but this was the longest she had ever been away from her parents. All three of them did really well!

While she was here, I finished knitting my shawl, and yesterday after she left, I blocked it. I love it! It is so soft and drapes so nicely.

Today I was pretty tired! I lay low, did a bit of spinning and knitting. Just got back in the rhythm of being home.

Tomorrow will be busier, I have to take the truck in for servicing, do the grocery shopping, and get home in time for knitting by zoom at 1. Back to normal activities! Vacation toon is almost over. 😢 The week just flew!

Vacation is on its way!

And I hope that means more time to blog, but time will tell.

I think I am going to have to give up on getting caught up on reading blogs, and just start with now. But I know that means I will have missed so much! So who knows, I might go back and forth.

Niece E the younger is coming to visit this week for three nights! This is so exciting for everyone involved. She has not left her house or yard since March when school closed. We have, but very limited contact, always socially distant, masked, etc, and there is currently very little virus in our county, so my sister feels safe letting this visit happen. When she gets here, we will go no where and do nothing special. It will be bliss for both of us. I have some fiber she can spin, we might do a little dyeing, there will definitely be knitting and reading, and in my case, sewing and spinning. A has to work, summer is her busy season, even in a pandemic, tax assessment goes on. So E and I will have all sorts of freedom to while away hours with fiber. I asked her to bring her violin as well, I want to hear some good fiddle music, and she is getting really good at it now.

I have been only working, knitting, spinning, and sewing. Yes, the sewing is a surprise to me, too. I am suddenly very into making some clothes. I have finished a skirt, and have another that just needs someone to check the hem before I sew it. A third one cut out. I am not sure I will like it, I was short on fabric, so the skirt will be shorter than I normally wear, but I thought I would try it. I can wear shorts under it, right?

The pattern is Donovan from Helen’s Closet

Spinning goes slowly, as always. I have about 5-6 more ounces of a big spin left, I have a bobbin nearly full. I want to fill it before E gets here so she can dominate the wheel, but I am not sure that I will make that goal, there is a lot of housework to do before company can come. When this spin is done, I am hoping to spin for a Nightshift shawl. I had all my fiber picked out, but realized I did more of a fade than will work for this, so I went back to the drawing board. This might be my line up. We will see. It is clearly a lot of spinning, but as the pattern calls for worsted weight, I think the spinning will go pretty fast. Or faster than my usual light fingering weight.

Knitting has been pretty monogamous, my Wheels of Time MKAL shawl is due to be done by July 21, I think I will make it, possibly even with time to block it, that has been my focus.

I did stop to churn out a pair of baby booties for my doctor, who is having a baby and moving to NYC. I have been working in small bits on the Ocena Currents wrap for a friend of mine, and letting other things languish. I am at the stage where I really want some of these big projects off my needles. So, I am working hard on them and resisting cast ons… like Steel Creek and a new gnome MKAL. Get thee behind me, satan!

The yard looks awful, the pool looks great, and that is all OK with me. 🙂

Yes, I will be glad when the pandemic is over and I can move about freely, but truly we are doing OK. I am not yet out of yarn or fiber or fabric, so all is well. How are you doing? I promise to read and respond to the comments. 😉

Some finishes and other activity

There have been loads of finishes since I last posted!

The long picot row is done and the shawl is blocked. It’s been worn, even, and goes well the intended skirt.

Also finished, some interminable black fingerless gloves, and a couple of hats.

Another finish I didn’t get a photo of is a pair of knitted knockers, plus another hat.

All the hats and the knockers are for A’s niece who is in for a wild ride. She has been diagnosed with Stage IIIB cancer, has had a mastectomy, and is now undergoing a zillion scans to determine if the cancer has spread, and what the treatment will be.

So while we wait, I knit. She said the knitted knockers are better than anything else she has tried, so I will keep knitting those. And soft washable hats.

Meanwhile, Mom recovered amazingly fast from her attempt to give us all heart attacks emergency surgery, even to the point of being able to attend Pies On Parade, which benefits her local food pantry. She is on their board, and is one of the organizers of the big, complicated event. Normally she is tearing about town checking on volunteers at all the venues for the afternoon. This year, she was boss and I was her driver and her legs. We both were tired at the end of the day, but it was a great event again this year. Mom says it is her last one of organizing it. Next year, we will go and eat pie, instead. That will be more fun.

And all the tax training is done, it is time to start preparing returns. Today is the first day, and I will be in a new venue, working with a different volunteer from my normal crew. But we all know what we are doing, so I am pretty sure it will feel familiar in about two minutes. I will be doing this every other Saturday. It will really cut into my knitting time! Also, it means I will miss Whorls and Purls every other week, which is a drag. But spring will come, and things will return to normal!

I have to run and get ready, but I will be back…

A Finished object!

As promised, an actual photo of something done!

This is the finished Japanese Sampler Scarf MKAL (pattern here) that I participated in this year. A new section of the pattern was released every other month. It was a challenging pleasure to knit. The yarn is Swan’s Island natural dyed fingering weight merino. The stitch definition of this yarn was perfect for this pattern. But the color differences between skeins of the same dye lot were very disappointing. I didn’t notice it until way too late in the project. On the advice of my friend Debbie, the magician behind the Purple Fleece, I over-dyed the finished project, aiming for a nice light blue. While it didn’t completely eradicate the difference between the two ends, it certainly reduced it to almost nothing.

I gifted this to my new SIL, and the look on her face when she opened it made it all worthwhile.

If you think this sounds like an interesting project, I encourage you to pick up the pattern, and check out all the FO’s on Ravelry. And they are doing another scarf this year, this one using Estonian lace designs. You can check this one out here. Join the fun!