A bit of an update

I haven’t written in a while, I see. I was busy reading and commenting and deleting old or redundant photos. So I have room for a few more.

First news, Mom loved the sweater and it fit as is – yea! No photos as it still needs buttons, etc. I will try to get one someday.

Last weekend was spent with Mom and her two sisters and all of their daughters. That made 8 of us. My aunt found an air bnb that was midway between her house and mine, so it was way down in southern Maine, in Biddeford Pool. The house was perfect for what we wanted, enough beds and bathrooms, good gathering space, and a great kitchen. And near the beach, so we went for walks, and sat around gabbing and knitting a lot, too. And eating. There was plenty of food on hand, I will be eating leftovers for a month!

I started my Alaska hat as a reward for finishing big brown. 😉

And I finished a pair of socks

So it was a very good weekend!

Seriously though, it was nice to spend enough time with my family to get to talk to people and hear how they are. It’s been ages since we had time like that.

What did you do last weekend?

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Feeling neglectful!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finished the Aegean on wensleydale…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

She’s fine!

A little sore and tired, but all went well. She even drove me around to do the errands yesterday, and came in the grocery store with me. Though, that might have been too much, she was pretty tired when we got home.

I skipped knitting group yesterday to do the chores, but still found plenty of time to sit and knit. Nothing I have pictures of, but A’s Christmas mittens just need thumbs. They feel a little snug on me, I am worried they will shrink too much. I did them two at a time and I know that fighting all those needles and yarn ends affected gauge. So, I am prepared to redo them if necessary after Christmas.

I worked on mom’s sweater, too. Almost to the sleeve divide. Won’t finish it by Christmas, but she won’t mind opening a wip on Christmas morning.

And I worked on the rhinebeck hat. I’ll get pictures of that today if I can. I am about 1/3 done on that. It’s going much better now that I drew vertical lines on the chart to help me count.

And a few little presents got finished today as well. Still more to do but I am getting there!

Today I have to clean the pellet stove, then hit the craft room. I have some Christmas sewing to do, and I want to do some more weaving. Haven’t done any of that all week, with all the commotion. Nor have I spun! I’d like to find time for both of those things.

So a busy day, but with fun things. Once I clean that stove, that is!

Glad this week is over!

This was a long week! Tuesday was our annual meeting, and due to staffing changes it fell to me to plan and execute. That meant a couple of crazy days leading up to the afternoon meeting. One of my former helpers is still around, though in a different capacity; she organized the presentation, and did a beautiful job. Although it was a bitterly cold and windy day, we had a nice turnout, and I think everyone enjoyed it.

Wednesday morning when the alarm went off, A told me that she needed to go to the ER! She had been up all night in pain, and thought maybe it was a heart attack. That woke me up! We were dressed and at the ER by 4:30, we even remembered the health directive. There was a small bit of conversation about not waiting so long if this ever happened again. She didn’t want to wake me.

Sigh.

They fairly quickly determined it was likely not a heart attack… ekg and blood work normal. A bit of poking gave us the likely culprit, the gallbladder. Then we had to wait 6 hours to have an ultrasound to confirm. (That was because they had to wait until 8 hours after she ate, not due to hospital issues.) So there we sat. She got some lovely drugs for the pain, and went to sleep. I knit. And froze. It was really chilly there! They gave A nice warm blankets, but I wound up wearing all the outdoor clothes I had with me.

The drugs did the trick, and she felt much better when she woke up. Ultrasound confirmed the diagnosis, and we were sent home with a prescription and an appointment with a surgeon. That afternoon was all about naps and warm soup. She felt almost back to normal by evening.

So, back to work Thursday with a million things to do to catch up, and make up some of the hours from Wednesday. I had hoped that the long days Monday and Tuesday would mean a short day Friday, but no such luck. Friday was also a full day, with a trip to the Macias office thrown in for fun.

I am so glad that this week is finally over!!!

There was lots of knitting, a hat order is nearly complete, a sock is more than halfway done, another hat that really was giving me grief is sorted out, and Mom’s reknit sweater is almost to the arm divide. I don’t have pictures of any of it.

I do have photos of a test knit I did recently, though. The pattern was released this week so I can share it. This is Jenjoyce Designs’ Golden Fields Lace. She wrote it for three pieces, in four sizes each! A stole shape, a square shawl shape, and this cowl. It is lace weight yarn, and a pleasant lace pattern, easy to memorize. It only took me a week to knit, and it was not monogamous knitting. I used some of my early handspun, the first yarn I spun consistently thin, and I have enough for another, so this might be a Christmas gift.

I was hoping to finish warping the loom this week, but I think that will happen this morning. A helped me be holding the ends firmly while I wound it onto the back rail, very much easier than the last time without her!

Last week I told you we were heading to a little craft fair. It was quite small, but we found some nice things to buy. A even ASKED ME TO BUY YARN!! A woman she knows was selling some, and so we got three skeins, and A requested mittens.

I found this suncatcher, and am so glad I made the impulse purchase!

It sure brightens our dreary landscape! I love how it makes the candle glow even in the daytime.

Even in a hard week, there are little moments of peace and beauty if we take time to notice them.

Glad I looked at this before I scraped the windshield. Jack Frost is a brilliant artist.

How was your week?

Thanksgiving thoughts

We had 9 for dinner yesterday. Not our biggest crowd ever, but a good size party.

Lots of conversation and fun.

I also enjoyed the quiet visits I had while I was getting ready.

I thought of my friend Jeff who gave us the magical extending table that seats us all – it has 5 leaves! We used to work together, and we had so much fun! When he got a new table, he gave us his old one. We love it, and are so glad to have it.

The dishes we used were from my grandmother, “Ma”, and the glasses were from the other grandmother, “Gram”. They had such different ideas about how one should live a life and entertain. I think I learned a lot from each of them and blended it all with what Mom taught me until I came up with how I live my life and entertain.

“Pa” (married to Ma, of course) stands with me as I sharpen the carving knife. I remember him with his sharpening steel and the big carving knife every year, those long smooth strokes, then perfectly carving the big birds Ma cooked. I am pretty sure he would have cringed if he saw what I did with the knife I sharpened on my little knife sharpening gizmo! I can get the meat off the bird, but it isn’t pretty!

Then there is my ex SIL, L, mother of nieces B and C the younger. Potato peeling is what brings her to mind. I always make too many mashed potatoes (except the year I baked them, and the reaction was so bad that I won’t do that again!) but I can’t beat L in the too much department. One year, early in their marriage, she and brother C hosted Thanksgiving in a cold, drafty-but-beautiful farmhouse in the middle of nowhere that they were renting. There were 5 of us for dinner. She made 20 pounds of potatoes!! She wanted to have enough. She nailed that! She also wanted to keep the stove going because it kept the house warm. I don’t remember being cold, but only how much fun we had, and how we all laughed at those potatoes. And still do.

My 1st stepmother,P, helps me get the gravy right. Stir, stir, stir forever. Longer than you want. Longer than your arm can stand. Just stand by the stove and stir while people move about you, move you to this side and that, while the meal gets itself ready to be eaten. When the gravy is ready, it’s time to eat!

It got quite crowded in the kitchen at times with all the present people and the past people, but that’s what makes it a good holiday celebration, isn’t it?

What I love about Fall

Lots of long weekends!

This one was really needed – the time change has knocked me down. I think I am transitioned now, but I have been really tired all week.

Still managed to get lots of knitting done, though!

Finished a pair of socks, long on the needles, and a shawl that just flew off of them.

The shawl isn’t dry yet, but here are some in action blocking shots.

So naturally I cast on a few new things. One is a hat that a young woman ordered. She wanted black,white, and gray. I am knitting a couple of them and will let her choose among them. That will give me an idea what appeals to the younger set. She gets at least one hat a year, and looks gorgeous in anything, so I am looking forward to seeing her in one of these.

I got a slight reprieve on the blue scarf, as J won’t be here for Thanksgiving. I am still aiming to finish it ASAP so I can ship it in plenty of time. I should finish it this week. Also need to knit some ornaments before next week. Hmmm I wonder what they will be?

Big news though, I ordered my first loom! It is an Ashford rigid heddle and I know it is the first step down a rabbit hole. 😉. I should get it next Saturday. Can’t wait!

Yesterday we met up with Mom and B for lunch in Belfast. Always fun! We ate at Bell the Cat, which just has yummy soups and sandwiches.

So today I am off and wondering what I will do. Likely putter and knit, and if the shawl is dry, I will reclaim the table and do some sewing. I have a Christmas present to sew up for A , and I want to get the dress finished, too.

Not sure that will all happen.

One thing that will is that I will try a new casserole recipe – chicken, cheese, artichokes and spinach with pasta. Mmmmm. Meant to make it yesterday but the day got away from me.

So a quiet kind of homebody day is ahead.

Do you have the day off? What will you do with it?

Another weekend has come and gone

I do wish they would hang around longer.  🙂

It was mostly a nice one, as weekends go.

A and I ventured out despite the nasty weather forecast to visit her last aunt at a nursing home in Augusta.  It was our first time there, and bittersweet.

The staff seems nice, and fun and attentive, but there were so many people just parked in their wheelchairs… and the smell when we walked in? Ugh.

Aunt N didn’t have a clue who we were, but she was so glad to have visitors.  We chatted endlessly about the same three things “Is it nice out, dear?”  “What’s the date to day?  October 27? Almost November!” “We used to skate all winter long.  They flooded the athletic field at the high school. My parents gave us memberships each Christmas so we could skate as much as we wanted.  We loved to skate.  We were all quite good.  My parents would get us skates when we were good enough, it was a real treat to get new skates.”

We took her to a quieter room and broke out the coloring books and crayons. We used to bring them with us to visit her sister, A’s mom, when she was in the memory unit.  Where A’s Mom would color with us for hours, Aunt N was having none of it.  She looked very confused at the thought and finally said her hands were too cold today.  We checked, they were warm and toasty.  So, no coloring.  She seemed unhappy to be in the quieter room, so we went back to the crowded hallway. After an hour or so, we left so she could have her regular lunch and schedule back.  We are pretty sure she had no clue that we left.

She did still show a glimmer of herself, as we were approached by a wandering woman in a wheelchair who told us “MOVE!”, Aunt N said “I think she just does it for the A-T-T-E-N-T-I-O-N, dear.  In fact, I am sure of it.”

So while we were so sad to see her there in that stage of life, we were very glad we went, and that she is still herself, she is still a fun loving woman with a twinkle in her eye.  We know she was told that her three remaining siblings died this year, but we could also tell that she did not remember that.  When she spoke of them, it was about times long past.  And now that the ice is broken, I think A will stop by there when she is traveling through Augusta, as she used to pop in to visit her at her house when she was in the area. Aunt N is the last of 10, and was the one who was closest to A’s mom.  When we lose her, it will be a very hard day for A.

After we left there, we also had lunch, at Red Robin in Augusta, before heading home.  We had planned to stop at the big grocery store on the way home, but the weather was being nasty by then: snow, sleet, and rain, depending on how high the hill was, so we just went to the usual smaller grocery store in Bucksport.  I got lots of sock knitting done before we got home, finished the heel and started up the leg.

Once home, we puttered a bit and settled down to watch a little TV while I knit.  That’s pretty much how Sunday went, too.  I did work on my sewing in the craft room – the skirt just needs a hem!  I think it will be too short for me, but it fits – yippee!  That means I can make more from this pattern.  It is bias cut, and I want to make it longer – help – geometry!  How wide does the fabric have to be to get the triangle wide enough for the skirt and long enough for the length? And how many yards do I need?  Heavens.  On the dress, I didn’t make much headway, but I did get started making my bias tape – I cut up a fat quarter, and sewed all the strips together.  It made a huge length!  I am going to love using this stuff.  🙂 It just needs ironing.  I need to insert the sleeves on the dress and see what happens then.  I think they will be too snug, but that’s what this is all about, getting the pattern just right.

I did lots of knitting, too –

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This is J’s scarf – finished the first skein, which is the smaller of the two.  It is just about 30 inches long now, so I think it will be long enough when done.  He said he wanted a long one. I will use all the yarn and hope it is long enough.  This yarn is a dream to use, I am loving it!  It looks and feels soft as velvet!  It is blue-faced Leicester and silk blend.  I have another braid of the same blend in my stash (different color) and am really looking forward to making something lovely with it.

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My Durrow square looks like all the other squares did at this point – but it is growing, I did several rows on it this weekend. I am back in love with this project.

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And Dangling Conversation is growing like a weed – it is going to be a large shawl when done, because I am not stopping until I am pretty well out of yarn – unless I decide to do a matching hat and mitts. I would only do that if the shawl grew way too big.  Which it might.  But I love the way the colors are playing and the little bits of lace between the color changes looks so nice!  Not sure what I will do with this one, so NOT my colors.  I might see if my sister wants it, she looks prettier in these colors than I do.

That was my weekend!