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…

Odds and ends

Nothing much exciting happening here. This week is tax training, so the days are long and the off hours are short. But no chance of being bored! So many changes! Yikes. Plenty of jokes about the “postcard” which has a bzillion new pages attached to it.

I have been keeping up with spinning 15 minutes a day, which is good for that spin I started in October and only half finished by the end of the year!! It’s being plied now, should be done this week.

Knitting has been slower. Finished a sock in class Monday, started the second sock, but nothing else has budged much this week. I finished the knitting on the cowl for my sister, but haven’t grafted it together yet.

And nothing else has moved enough to warrant a photo.

That’s all the news from here – hoping that tomorrow’s storm closes Bangor Public Schools, our training follows the school closures… my brain needs a break!

While the cat’s away…

Well, it is A who is away, not the cats… however, this mouse is still playing.  🙂

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This morning I blocked the shawl.  It was a major piece of work, but I think it is going to be worth every minute, and every pin! Which was most of the pins in the house.every-pin

The directions say that I might want to pin out the picots after pinning and blocking all the rest.

unpinned picots:

or-not-to-pin

pinned picots:

to-pin

I decided to pin.  Those picots made binding off take several evenings, as you add many stitches in the process – about doubling the number. Since I knit them all, I think it was worth the extra time to pin them out so they can be seen, don’t you?  I think they are a wonderful finishing touch on this shawl, but I would think about replacing them with beads another time. That might get heavy, I suppose, but it sure would be easier and faster, and still pretty, I think.

So here it is – all blocked and pinned and drying.  You will still get one more post of this shawl, when it is dry and I can take it out side so you can see the real color:

shawl-pinned-1

It pinned out to just about 6 feet wide and 21 inches deep.

A few close ups of the lace and beads:

close-up-1

 

 

close-up-3

close-up-4

And that’s not all!

Last night I planned some necklaces and strung the beads so I can cast these on sometime this week – using the beautiful silk I got for Christmas:

bling-planning

This is 6, which is far more than I will be able to do this week, but they keep very well.  🙂

And on my needles right now is this shawl for me. (keeping 1+1+1 project in mind, my goal is four shawls this year – two for me, two for sale.  I am on target so far!)

hap-1

This is Kate Davies Hap for Harriet.  I have loved it since she first released it, and it is as perfect a pattern as I had hoped.  The pattern is easily learned, and it is fun to watch it grow.  This lace is much less complicated than the Pease Blossom – I won’t need the instructions for every stitch!  The yarn is String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn in the Tinker Island Fingering weight, the color is called Ruby Slippers, and for once, this picture is fairly accurate, it is a dark rose color with a definite tinge of purple.  The fabric is coming out a tiny bit stiff, but as it is garter stitch, I know it will loosen up and be soft and stretchy when I finish and block it.

A busy morning today for sure!

Actually, it has been a kind of whacky few days.  Friday we had a real snow storm – and although it didn’t start as early as I prefer, my boss closed the office!  HURRAH!  A and I scooted up to Bangor for a car appointment.  Her car needed a going over before her trip, and she had the appointment set, so we were glad the driving was easy in the morning.  the worst of the snow came in the afternoon.

 

Saturday we had to take the car back, as they were waiting for a part, and it was Super Saturday Free Tax Prep day, so we got up early to shovel, then drove to Bangor, dropped off her car, she dropped me at the tax site and came home.  I did taxes all day, hitched a ride with a coworker and picked her car up at the end of the day.  So, my day started like this:

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And ended like this:

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and I understand it was a beautiful day in between that sunrise and sunset.  🙂

While I was gone, A and her electrician friend replaced the non-working bathroom fan/light!  Very nice to get that working again.

Today we were up early, and I made her breakfast before she set off for Texas.  Well, Pennsylvania tonight, to stay over night with her nephew, then Tennessee tomorrow night, then Louisiana the next night, and finally, Texas on Wednesday, for a work training session Thursday.  Friday early she will hit the road, and come home.  She is going to try to do it in two days, so get home sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning.  Crazy to make people go to Texas for one day of training, but I am glad she was able to get permission to drive instead of flying. She enjoys it so much more, and plans to make stops along the way.  She also took her golf clubs with her, so she can go to the driving range when she gets where there is no snow.  🙂

This means I have a week that I can fill with things that she doesn’t like to do – as she said, I can make all the messes I want.  As long as I get them cleaned up by Saturday night!

I have plans for food she doesn’t like to eat, plans for watching you tube spinning videos on the big TV, plans for making valentines at the dining room table…I might even put the smooth cotton sheets on the bed for a flannel-free week.  Such ambition!

If I get really crazy, I might paint the loft.

 

Yea, probably not.

 

It’s official – I am certified!

No! Not crazy, why would you say that?

I passed my test so that I am a certified tax preparer through the AARP Tax-Aide program.  Now the fun will begin!

Training went pretty well, given all the stuff we had to cram into one week – I think this is my 9th or 10th year, and it does grow easier each year to recall all the little rules, but I wonder how a new volunteer feels as things are blasted at them in such a short time?  Thankfully, they are not left alone to do taxes, we all help each other and check each other’s work. Next year it will all feel new, though, as the IRS is changing their tax prep software program.  Across the board. Every bit of it. So this year is the last year of feeling some comfort that I know what the heck I am doing.  Next year, I will just know how it is supposed to come out, not how to make it happen.  But that is a long way away.  🙂

I didn’t get as much knitting done as I would have normally in training.  For one thing, I opted against a circular needle hat, and went with a WIP I have had around for a while  – is scarf.  I made really good progress on it, though, several inches, so I feel good about that.  But I was a small group leader every afternoon, and small group leaders teaching computer skills don’t have much time for knitting, lol.  However, it seems, after all these years, I have a reputation, and many volunteers, male and female stopped to ask me what I was working on, to share tales of their own knitting experience or fond memories of a family member knitting.  Also, since it is January in Maine, and we are in what I hope is the coldest room at Husson University for our training, I wore many knitted things that week – socks, sweaters, shawls, even necklaces and bracelets.  I got many compliments, and “you MADE that?” comments during the week.  So it was a good week, fiber-wise.  🙂

The other thing I love about tax training week is lunch break. I haven’t changed a bit since kindergarten, right?  More specifically, it is lunch that I like.  We eat in the student community room, and get our food at the lunch bar, named Cressy’s.  They have the best freshly made sandwiches, burgers, etc.  The ladies are fun to chat with, and invent delicious daily specials.  It is a highlight of the week.  Actually, whenever I can get organized to get there a bit early, I go there for breakfast, too.  Niece B, a student there, turned me on to their omelets – delicious.  And everything is very affordable… I look forward to it all year long.  And no, I never seem to go there any other time of the year, even though it is open and I could. It is a special tax training thing.

But now it is behind us, I passed the test and am good to go forth and prepare taxes in my spare time.

Yes, I guess I might be crazy after all.

last Friday of tax season!

This season seems really long, could it be the weather? Today I am filling in at the Edith Dyer Library , if you are in the neighborhood, come on down and say hello.  🙂

This week was LOOOONG, I did taxes 4 days.  Yesterday was the last day at the old office, it was hectic but we made it fun – had lunch brought it, did over thirty tax returns.  Whew!

So the real fun is tomorrow – Mom is coming over, we are heading to Bangor to pick up niece B at college – to go back to the bead store.  Any excuse!  B likes to make earrings, Mom needs buttons, so we will probably go to JoAnn’s as well to see what we can find.  Then lunch, and who knows what shopping we will do after that?

Nothing much else new right now – that’s what happens when I do taxes all week.  But next week we are through, and then things can get back to normal, and I might have things to share on the employment front.  Also the medical.  Some good some bad, or at least, not good.  More later.

Here’s what’s not new – SNOW.  Three days this week the school delays crawled along the bottom of the TV. Today is an icy mix.  But we might get a gorgeous weekend, who knows?

I WANT MY DAFFODILS!

April Friday!

I’ll be doing taxes – bet you are surprised!

It’s our last day doing them Down East in Milbridge – I’ll be there with three intrepid volunteers, all willing to get up early and drive far to help me.  They are the best!

Anyway, it will be a long day, so likely I will just come home, eat supper on the couch, do a wee bit of knitting before I fall asleep.

Saturday will be more fun – we are off to the big city to get the tires switched over to summer tires on A’s car.  And in anticipation, I made a list of supplies I need from the bead store. YES I SAID NEED and I meant it. Things like jump rings and clasps.  Not too many beads on the list. What’s the point of having all this yarn and beads if I have no clasps?

I hope the Beaded Moose has what I need, but if not, I will check out AC Moore or JoAnn’s.  Still no luck?  I guess I will go online – I doubt I will be getting to Augusta any time soon to go to the other small local bead store.

We also will go to the big grocery store – woot woot – unscented products!  Wider selection!  More sizes of the products we love! How pathetic that this is a big deal in our day.

Then home to some relaxing, some housework, some knitting and card making – I am in the midst of making lots of thank you notes for those volunteers mentioned at the start of the post. Which has really turned into a Saturday list post, hasn’t it?  Well, take heart, tax season is nearly over, then things will return to what passes for normal around here.

Thursday at the BPL

Today is not one of my normal tax days, but I was called to help out at the Bangor Public Library today, so I got my act together, (thankfully) packed up the knitting, and headed to the big city, where we actually have to PAY TO PARK!

The server went down as I was finishing up my first client, they will give us an update at 1.  Hopefully, it will be to say they are back online.

So, I sit with my knitting and gaze at the periodical covers, wondering why they don’t have any knitting magazines.  I read the craft and bead ones, there is a crochet one I will look at this afternoon if the system doesn’t come up.  This is a lovely reading room, I never got to enjoy it before.

They asked me to come up the next three Wednesdays to help out, I said I would.  I hope this doesn’t happen each time. I could sit at home and knit and look at magazines.

And park for free.

Another Friday the 13th?

Friday this week is another tax day.  I am helping out in a site I don’t usually work at, in Hampden.  I expect it will be all day, BUT on the off-chance I get out early, I will bring the list of materials I need at the bead store in Bangor.  🙂

That’s right, need.  Mom ordered some earrings,  I have the silk but not the right beads.  So, I just need to pick up a couple of tubes. ROTFL.  It’s true, it really is and I will try to restrain myself from getting anything not on that list.

If I don’t get them tomorrow, I will do so on Saturday – another tax day in the Bangor area, that is supposed to get done earlier. Of course, it may be “snow/mixed precip”-ing by then, but I hope not.

Not a very exciting Friday list, I know, but it is tax season after all.  It will all be over soon.

Southwest Harbor Library

I am sitting here in the sweet library (award winning, according to the news paper story framed downstairs!) reading the blogs between tax appointments, and I realized it is Friday.  And I never gave you a list!

Here it is –

Taxes, Southwest Harbor (big surprise, right?)

Check weather  dot com and any other source I can think of, hoping that one of them will change the forecast for Saturday night and Sunday so we don’t get another blizzard.  Haven’t found it yet.  My co-volunteer is looking at activities in the Grand Caymans. He did not win the Powerball, so not sure how he thinks this is possible, but it helps him deal with the winter, I guess.

Knit occasionally on the baby sweater I brought along.  I am slowly making progress on the back.  Tiny yarn and needles mean slow progress.  I am still loving the pattern and keep thinking about how to make it large human sized…

Go home, chill in front of the fire.

Tomorrow we will run around like crazy people, doing errands, getting the last of the shoveling done before the next onslaught. I hope we will find time to go have a nice lunch for Valentine’s Day – we decided not to go out for dinner, given the forecast.  Which, just to keep you in the loop is now calling for 20-26 inches of snow in a 24 hour period, WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS.  Why do they have to add insult to injury with a statement like that?  2 feet of snow isn’t enough, they have to give some of us the threat of even more?

I am almost done with my blue sweater sleeves, and only have a few more pattern repeats on the Estonian lace  before I start the border.  Since next week I have very little work I have to do, I am setting a goal of finishing them both up soon.  A big Sunday blizzard will help with that effort.  That’s the silver lining, right?

Gotta run and do another tax return.  I hope these people had health insurance last year….

A wide array of updates

Life has been busy lately, what with taxes and shoveling and more taxes and more shoveling.

Not as much knitting time as I would like, but still some progress to show.

But first…

My sister has these really cool business cards.  The finish, colors, paper, etc are all simply elegant.  She told me where she got them, and I checked it out.  I wanted some cards to give to people when they asked about how to reach me, where my Etsy shop is, etc.  I also wanted to give them to my cousin’s wife, who requested them so she can spread the word about where she got her fabulous hat.  🙂  I was pleased that they let me order a very small order (50 cards) at a reasonable price. So, I ordered the cards and they came very fast and are just fabulous.  Even better – they gave me a URL to use to refer friends.  Full disclosure – if you use it and place an order, I do get a credit against future orders (which I will definitely have!) and you get a discount on this order. So, check it out and get yourself some fabulous cards or other printed material – whatever you ever dreamed of.  Click here for the discount or just go check out Moo.com yourself.  But you won’t get the 10% discount unless you click through the link.  🙂

What else?

Well, we missed a storm this week!  Very exciting for us – it did snow for what felt like a trillion days in a row, but it didn’t add up to much more than 6-8 inches – yeah!  Condolences to my Massachusetts cousins, however, who were not so lucky.  It seems that Boston passed us on total snow fall – by about a foot this week.  Another chance for the race to continue as two more storms are in the forecast for the weekend.  Really? As it is, they announced this morning that the 53 inches on the ground at the Bangor Airport is a record of some sort.  Which means poor Eastport with their seven feet of snow must hold some kind of bigger record.   I’ll be shoveling later today, we are still working on clearing the backyard so we can get to the vent more easily.

Tax season started last Monday – it snowed, we got out early.  Next tax day was Thursday, it snowed, we did not get out early, but I was able to send three volunteers home due to cancellations.  Friday was tax day in Milbridge, and it did NOT snow!  We were there all day.  Saturday, tax day in Bangor, no snow again! We got in a  full day.  Monday, we were back at the Ellsworth Library, and it snowed again.  But this time, just steady, not a true storm, so we were able to stay all day and crank through some returns.  It has been intense, with all the changes, and so many people not understanding that the Affordable Care Act was serious when it said health insurance is required.  We, the lucky tax volunteers, get to tell them that the penalty is not always 95 dollars, sometimes it is 1% of income.  Oops!  The fine print.  Makes it hard to feel like you really help people when they leave so angry.  But then you help someone who is not expecting anything good to happen and  you lead them to a sweet credit that changes everything.  So the week was really draining, it also was really good.  I have great volunteers and they make it fun to do this work.

We were busy at the tax sites, though, so I did not get as much knitting done as I will in March when things settle down.  Thus, today, a day off, I worked on everything.  I finished the third necklace for my friend and her daughters, they are all blocked and just drying nicely.

necklaces complete 2 10

I did another repeat on the lace scarf, only three or four more to go!  And a pattern repeat on the sleeves of the blue sweater, I am at about 13 inches now, unblocked, so I have a few more inches to go on that.  And, I knit a few rows on the baby sweater.

on my needles 2 10

Working my way up the back, it is my mobile project, so hasn’t seen much attention lately.  I want to get the blue sweater done before I start the linen scarf, because I know I will get distracted, and have 3/4 of a blue sweater for months if I set it aside. I have so many fun projects in my little IKEA cart beside the couch.  They are all calling my name, and I am resisting a case of cast-on-itis.  🙂

Even though we haven’t gotten a lot of snow in a few days, we are still digging out the path to the back yard vent (and by chance the satellite dish) which is incredibly slow going and hard work. A did a lot of it on Saturday while I was doing taxes,  and I will do a bit of it today.

I also will head up to the craft room today and make the rest of the Valentines so I can mail them tomorrow on my way to Ellsworth.  I am having lunch with a coworker, and so will be in the “big city” with no work to do, for a change.  I like it! (PS I sold another Valentine on Etsy!!  Small sales, but very exciting to me.)

So that is what I am up to today – nothing earth shattering or exciting, just more of the same.  Slow progress on everything. A couple of days off to get caught up on things around the house.