I finished something!

It was just last night, so no photos yet, but I bound off the Hankshaw sweater. That is exciting as I have been wanting to cast on a new project, but I made myself finish something first. So now I will cast on Biophilia. I am using yarn and beads I got at last year’s Fiber Frolic, even though this year I got some yarn that would look great. I will get to it…

This month has just flown by, it has been hectic and busy! My birthday weekend was lovely, in celebration AND weather. Mom had a party for me, just siblings and some of their spouses and children. It was the right size for actually visiting, so that was fun.

After that it’s been straight out work, even on weekends. I manage about ten minutes of gardening some evenings before I get swarmed with mosquitoes, so the yard looks awful, mostly. Except that the front garden that had so much work done on it the past two years is at its lovely stage, if one zooms in and blocks everything around it…

And I have been spinning a little and knitting like mad, in spare moments. These socks got finished, and these started, this month.

But the big news, beyond the finished Hankshaw is that I finally finished the mosaic cabled squares of Durrow!!! I am on the easy stockinette part now. I decided to knit it as a gradient, not the stripes as the pattern calls for. We shall see if I like that. I can’t believe it took me 18 months to get this section done!! You can see the progress here.

Still plugging away on the Japanese MKAL, I am part way through the June clue, and anticipate no trouble finishing this clue before the August one drops. Awfully glad they aren’t monthly, though!

The pool filter I got for my birthday is WONDERFUL! The pool is ready to be vacuumed, something I have never been able to do before, exciting! However, it is a bit of a jerry rig to get it hooked up, and I haven’t had time to really focus on it, so I keep stirring and running the filter, and it is making a difference. I hope to swim by July 4. Luckily it has been so cold and wet I haven’t felt the urgent need to get in the pool. I can just stands in the yard and get cool and wet.

 

Last Saturday we had a major fundraising event at work,  (it went well but nearly crippled me, more in a minute) and this Saturday we had a work-related picnic to attend, so weekends have not been relaxing at all, and the work weeks have also been long.  Yesterday, though, I was happy to visit with an old coworker and long time friend who now lives in Iowa.  She is around for a couple of weeks, so she came to visit, and we sat on the porch catching up.  It was so nice and relaxing, and I so appreciated that she came over to see me, as driving a couple of hours to her place would have not been as relaxing after a long week!

For the last few weeks, my feet have been really hurting.  It started out as a bit stiff when I stood up from my desk or in the morning.  I made sure to do all the stretches, and rotating, etc, but it just seemed to get worse and worse, and then my knee started bothering me, from walking stiffly, I presume.  I paid attention to what shoes did to me, and so now I am just wearing birks, as the arch support seems to really help, also nothing touches the back of my heel.  I suspect plantar fasciitis, but something else, too, the back of my heel can not be touched.  Standing in sneakers all day at the fundraiser was so awful that I could not walk to the car.  I don’t think A believed me when I told her she had to go get the car and come to me, but I wasn’t fooling.  I could barely move from the car to the house.  I laid low the next day, as much as I could, and was a little bit better by Monday.  But then one night I put on some different shoes ( which I had worn all winter, I might add) and did about fifteen minutes of gardening, and everything was awful again. So, yes, I know I need to call the doctor and get to a PT person, but for now, I have worn only birks for about ten days, and I keep my feet really elevated when I am home – not quite toes above nose, but on a pile of cushions on the couch.  The swelling seems to be going down, and things are better, but still not good.  I could not walk a mile, I don’t think.  But, my knee is feeling better.

I won’t tell you about the arthritis in my finger and thumb and how I just kept knitting anyway.

This getting old really stinks.

It’s the photo thing

I haven’t written because I haven’t had time to sort out the photo thing and describing what I am doing seems so boring.  BUT I just have to bite the bullet and use up the rest of my available space and sort it out later.  You all have been so patient with me.

Here’s what I have been up to – so much fiber crafting happening!

I finished the Alaska hat a few weeks ago, but just got photos of it this weekend:

 

I am halfway through a pair of socks that I just LOVE.  This yarn is custom dyed for me to knit socks for my BIL.  He is a huge Liverpool football fan (soccer to those of us heathens in the USA) the team colors are red, with aqua and gold.  I asked magic Debbie at the Purple Fleece to dye me some yarn, and this is what she came up with!  I love it!  I love the little bits of other colors created in the transitions, and I think these socks are lots of fun.  Even more so, because BIL is a gray and black kind of dresser, and these are so far out of his comfort zone that he will think the package was meant for his daughter.  I know they might wind up on her feet, but he will have fan socks if he wants them.

 

I am plugging away on Durrow, which grows tedious.  I have one more square to do, and then there will be different sections to work on.  These squares have been on my needles since January 2018.  It is embarrassing to admit.

 

So I set myself a goal and gave myself a reward.  I could cast on a sweater for me when I finished the 6th square (maybe this is why it has taken me more than a year to get this far…)  I finished the square in the middle of last week.  Whew!  And I had long ago swatched the yarn I want to use, but had never picked out a pattern.  So  I went pattern diving and found Hankshaw pullover.  It was perfect for what I wanted.  Right weight yarn, a simple yoke pattern that I could modify as needed, and it would be easy to incorporate the 6 shades of blue and green that I wanted in the yoke. I had vacation from Wednesday through the weekend, so this happened.  I did have to fiddle a bit with the size, as my row gauge was off, and my arms are larger than miss average’s.  But I am going to divide for the sleeves tonight when I get home, and then it should be math-free knitting.

I wonder what i will do as a reward for the next square?  I have  enough gray sport weight yarn for a sweater… perhaps that will be next.

I have also been working away on my Japanese mystery knit along scarf, I am nearly done with the second clue.  And my Droplet hack is getting close to done.  I will show you those another day.

I did do some weaving this month, and I think I am pretty close to finishing this fabric. It was originally going to be place mats and napkins, I think it might be place mats and dishtowels now. Not quite sure… I like the colors, but I want to do more experimenting with stitches, so I need this to be done.

And spinning – still spinning!  I am working on an 8 ounce spin with two different colored braids, creating a three ply, 4 skein gradient.  So far 1/4 is done and plied, and the second 1/4 is about halfway done.  Slow going, I am spinning sewing thread again…

My brain is always looking at what I am doing and imaging the next project.  I could use 5 days weekends every week!

 

In other news – the snow has melted!  At last!  I have begin scooping leaves out of the pool, as much as I can reach from the edges, no getting in it yet! And if we get a non-pouring rain weekend, I will begin raking the yard and looking about for outside chores.  the screen doors need some attention.  We plan to dismantle most of the front deck this spring/summer, and rebuild it smaller, then add a patio/terrace thing.  I want big raised beds in the transition area, which means carpenter world.  So lots going on.  In my head.

Tax season is really over, we had our celebratory luncheon last week.  My weekends are my own until June when fundraisers and picnics kick in. So I think I can say that the sweater will get finished in short order.  🙂

I will keep you posted.  Promise!

 

 

Morning, Glory!

A bit late, I planted several different kinds of morning glories at the base of two trellises on either side of the screen porch. The seeds to the west have been growing gangbusters, but no sign of flowers until after Labor Day. Now they bloom more each day! I love the bright colors and am pleasantly surprised each day when something new blooms!

Today was twin day, apparently!

The ones to the east have not done so well. The soil I added is the same, but there is likely less of it there. Water is the same. Less light, though not by much in the summer, they get full light until the sun crosses over head. The west side doesn’t get any until then.

But today, that struggling little fellow showed that he has some gumption after all!

And then there is this valiant soul. This garden bed hasn’t been tended in at least two, but more likely three, years. Every year a volunteer comes along to make me glad I didn’t weed the bed!

I spotted a few more plants in there, if I remember, I will collect some seeds later on and put them where I want them next year.

And it seems I might gave to rethink my east side trellis… I could put it on the west side and grow more there. Or give the sweet peas their own space, they are really struggling to grow among all the glory. But they are also persevering, and may yet bloom! Then my Instagram feed will be full of them i stead of these cheerful glories. 🤗

3…2…1… and we’re back!

Here we are looking at another weekend already!  I love how the weeks fly when I only work 4 days.  This will be hard to get over when five day weeks return next week, but it is worth it.

This week I took Friday off so that the bugman could come and eliminate the ants.  Rememberr I called him last Friday?  Well, this week he is coming between 9-11.  I decided to just take the day off.  So glad I have lots of vacation time stored up so I can do this kind of thing.

That means I will get up and dressed at the usual time.  A has to go see a client, so she will be out of the house most of the day.  That gives me loads of time to putter about and play with fiber.

My list is pretty standard, I think, this week.

  • SPIN! It is still TDF (Tour de Fleece), and I have been spinning as much as I can each day.  Somedays that is not much, but I think I can finish off the second bobbin of this spin and start plying. It is foggy fall morning from Three Waters Farm, and is destined to be knit up with the tree bark colorway I finished spinning last week.  This one is BFL /silk.  My next spin will be half Three Water Farm and half Purple Fleece.  And will be kind of amazing.  But I will share that with you when I finish this one!  NO getting ahead of myself. Though this photo shows only one bobbin full, I am about halfway to filling the second one.

IMG_3036[1]

  • Knit.  Although I am focused on spinning, I have been making progress in small bits on my frieze cowl.  It is definitely potato chip knitting, hard to put down.  I already have yarn for another one.  This is Plymouth Galway, by the way.IMG_3035[1]
  • Garden.  Though the pathway is complete, I want to put a few pavers down at the start of it, to hopefully kep the nice pea gravel away from the glacial messy gravel that is the driveway.  I also wan tto start creating the beds on the ouside of the path.  Don’t have anything much to put in them, but I think it will look nicer with the pile of dirt and old blue tarp gone.  And if I am going to do that, I might as well clear out the junky volunteers and put down the good dirt and mulch.  Then next year I can move things into it and expand it.
  • Pool.  The pool guys came, and said I can upgrade the filter, yeah!  But not this year, as there is no pool budget at the moment.  So this year I have to keep on stirring it up and letting the filter run, and changing it when it clogs, as it does quickly with all the sediment I stir up. That means getting in it, which it makes sense to do AFTER the gardening, right?
  • Change the bed, change out the towels, start the weekend laundry.
  • Clean the bathrooms.
  • Not sure if I will go out, but if I do, I will go to the PO, and possibly the grocery store while i am out.
  • Oh, and I will let the bug man in when he arrives and follow him around.  And ask him how we get what ever is bowling with acorns in our bedroom ceiling all night OUT once and for all.

I think that this will fill up my day, and I will wind up in the afternoon in front of the spinning wheel catching up with season one of Victoria. It’s a little bit anticlimatic, as I watched season two already.  And spoiler alert – I knew before the show ever started that she would, in fact, marry Albert.  But I still like watching it.  Learning a lot about early Victorian times in England.  Afghanistan was an issue even then.  What kind of people can survive in a place where there is near constant war for more than  200 years? Yikes.

What are you doing this fine Friday?

 

How I did with the list and the rest of the weekend, too

Here’s the original list:

  • Get the weekly laundry going.
  • Plant the lemon lilies Mom brought over from her garden last week.
  • Start plying the tree bark polwarth silk.
  • Call the bug man.
  • See if A is willing to take some photos of me in the completed handspun Fine Sand sweater.
  • I suppose I should do a little house cleaning, too. Sigh.

Here’s how I did:

  • A was home and offered to do the laundry, since I did it all the past several weeks.  I graciously accepted her offer, and
  • went right out tot he garden while it was still cool, I thought, and moved a stell d’oro daylily out of the way to plant the lemon lilies.  then replanted the lStelle d’oro and watered everything.  By then I was dripping wet. It was cool but humid.  So, I went inside and
  • started plying the tree bark.  Later in the day I finished it.IMG_3021[1]

About 460 yards after it had it’s bath.  A lovely two ply, light fingering.

  • I called the bug man.  He comes sometime Friday, so I will have another list for you this week.  After I called, we saw no ants for two days, but they are back.  Now also the tiny ones are around, so glad I made the call.
  • A did.  She is getting better about telling me if my clothes are on straight, but not that my hair is a wild hot mess.  thus, these are headless shots.  I love my new sweater!
  • I did no housework.  I call that a win.

 

Friday we also did all the little errands for the weekend, together!  We don’t usually do that, but it was nice.  We also had lunch at a new restaurant.  It opened a few weeks ago, we waited to give them time to settle in.  It was good, service was good, but it was a bit pricey, we thought.  Still, it is a year round venture, which is exciting to us.  Another errand we did was go to the pool place and talk about my pool.  turns out I am not doing anything wrong.  The pool filter that came with the pool is simply inadequate to handle the volume of water. There is a larger one for a couple hundred dollars, or a REALLY BIG ONE for $500.  They came over this morning to see which one will work on my pool, and amazingly, they think I will be happy with the smaller one.  Not sure if I will get it this summer, but definitely in the spring if not next month.

Saturday we were up early and off to help niece T move, with what was the last of it.  A had helped her the week before, and thought she was nearly done, but there is always more, right? We made a few trips with car and truck, then we rented a carpet cleaner and I cleaned the one room downstairs with carpet while T and A moved heavy furniture.  Again, it was hot and muggy.  Ugh.  I had intended to go straight to Whorls and Purls, but by the time I was done, it was a good idea to go home and wash up and change my shirt.  🙂  So I was late to W and P but I made it.  Sitting and knitting was a nice relief!

Sunday, Mom and B came over and we finished up the walkway.  I still have tidying to do, and more gardens to dig out on the outside of the path, but I think their work is done.  Mom and I also dug daylilies out of the bank and put them in the garden.  Most of these are minis which I have never seen bloom, they had gotten swallowed up by sweet fern and black berries almost as soon as they were planted originally. I decided to let the sweet fern and black berries have the bank, and put the flowers someplace where they could thrive.  I hope we found it.  We also dug up buckets of sweet ferns for my sister, who wants them on her own bank.  And who PAID MONEY for one this spring.  I hope she never does that again.  We have enough to fill her entire yard.

By Sunday afternoon, we were completely wiped out, and promising each other that next weekend would be relatively quiet.

Time will tell.

Sunday reward

Today was so different from yesterday! First off, I slept hard, until after 8!! Then A made french toast, yummy! I knit for a bit on my socks, until my friend Crimson Crow came over, and we went off to a wonderful gathering at Fernwood Nursery and Shade Garden. Denise put out an open invitation on her blog to come sit and knit or spin or read a book this afternoon, and so we went over. It was a lovely afternoon with a dozen or more ladies sitting around crafting and chatting and munching on delicious things. I saw all kinds of spinning wheels and drafting styles. One woman was spinning flax she grew, on an antique wheel that was a family heirloom. (She owns, and regularly uses, TWENTY THREE wheels! I want to hear no more about two wheels being an issue. 😜)

Crimson Crow neither spins nor knits, but she brought along some crafting supplies and created her index card of the day. And as we were sitting, the birds were singing their hearts out. She was able to identify them as they sang, so that was fun.

Denise invited everyone back next week, but we won’t be able to go then. However, we both had fun and would gladly go again. It is so beautiful there, and Denise is so warm and welcoming.

On the way home this time we went the other way and found the good ice cream place, John’s, and had a little ice cream to top off the day!

It was a very nice, calm day, very restful. Just the thing for a Sunday in June.

How I did with that list

It nearly killed me, but I got it all, I think.

The hardest one was the pool. I really didn’t want to get in it and stir up all the muck, but it had to be done. The water was quite warm, which was pleasant. That was the only pleasant part.

The only thing I didn’t get back to was the shelf painting. But I can start that evenings this week. Then A can install them next weekend.

So. What J did. We talked about several things, but what he wanted most to do was keep working in the front. So his dad did some more edging, and he cleared and leveled for a walk way. It was a lot of work, but he was right, clearing that out and fixing it up really does make a difference. We are going to keep the loose stone edging the rest of the way around, as it gets mangled by the plow every winter.

His dad also cut down some small trees to open up the front, and to make it easier for me to clear the side by the cars. Hard for you to see a difference, but the maple tree is thrilled that the cherries are out of its way. We left the big cherries near the deck to shade it.

While they were doing that, I planted this birch tree. For our commitment ceremony back in 2009, we gave out tree seed starter kits as favors. At some point after that, we asked Mom, who has a very green thumb, to start us a white birch. She did, and it has been living in its container in the backyard for a few years. We weren’t sure in the grand scheme of things where we wanted it. But the roots were growing out the drainage hole, so I had to take action.

It turned out to be a major project. Digging a hole is hard in our yard with all the rocks. But cutting the pot away from around the root was the hardest part. By the time I did that, hauling dirt from the pile in the front yard was easy!

Other than that, I put a few things in the raised beds, planted the third planting of mom’s pink poppy seeds in the raised bed (third time is a charm, right?) and did some watering of everything (thus ensuring monsoon rains overnight). I did not put up the trellises.

One of the things I put in the raised bed was this volunteer that was growing in the dirt pile. I am not sure what it is, I hope it survives and then thrives, it is so pretty!

Lest you think she was a slacker, A vacuumed the whole house before they arrived, then made a couple of trips to the dump with truckloads of junk from the yard and her workshop.

They wouldn’t let us take them out to supper, so after they left we showered off and settled in for naps. A slept until morning! I slept until supper time, ate, watched one show and knit a row before going back to bed. No doubt we were exhausted!

And he is coming back next weekend to finish the walkway and a swathe of garden on the other side of it. At least the house is pretty clean…

And there WILL be knitting today.

Friday list partway done

This week had some hellishly long days and meetings, and as a result, by using 2 hours of vacation time, I get the whole day off today!

Off is a relative term. I have LOADS of chore like things to do.

I finished priming the shelves this morning. I should be able to start the pretty color painting tonight.

Laundry is in process.

Have to stop at the PO to mail of a swap package today, as well as some yarn bits to a friend.

Then it’s a haircut, the grocery store, the pop up veggie stand for some strawberries.

Home again to clean bathrooms and bake a cake.

If I am up to it and feeling brave enough I need to get into the pool and scrub it. While it is looking much better, it isn’t swimmable yet. This is the only time I hate getting into the pool – when all the sides and bottom need scrubbing and then the water will be murky and nasty. But it’s the only way to get that stuff into the filter and out of the water.

Tomorrow J comes to do his back breaking magic on the yard. So much work to be done out there, just to keep up with what we did last year.

But this did happen yesterday!

Not a great photo, taken from the porch, but it is in the bed I made last year while J cleared in front. I planted two oriental poppies last fall. They both survived but only this one will bloom this year. That is OK, I can be patient. I did plant some sweet pea and morning glories in the bed to climb up and shade the porch a bit. They popped up, so I meed to add a trellis…

Anyway…

Tomorrow will be taken up with yard work and keeping him busy until it is time to clean up and take him out for supper to thank him.

Sunday Crimson Crow and I are off on another adventure… I will share more about that later.

In case you are just here for the knitting, a hellish lot of meetings means that socks get worked on.

These look nearly finished but one isn’t. I need to redo the cuff, but that won’t take long. Trouble is I right away started another pair, so the needle isn’t free. Duh.

The sweater continues and doesn’t seem to change, but I do think it is almost long enough. A few more weeks?

No spinning yet this week. Perhaps Sunday…

Weekend plans in June

This weekend has far fewer plans than the last two did, and that’s a good thing. A has been working on finishing the bookcases for my birthday. The last one is ready to be painted, so I will work on that. It will take longer than the weekend for me to prime and put two coats of paint on.

Tomorrow I get out of work a bit early, and have to run to Bangor in the afternoon. A has to be there too, so we will connect and go to the “big” grocery store before heading home.

I have a plant I need to get in the ground, and I haven’t been sure where I want it, but I think I know now, so will try to get it planted in the afternoon.

I also need to get the pool water tested and the chemicals to put in, so I can get it really clean. If I don’t get that done tomorrow, I will do it on Saturday.

Saturday is Whorls and Purls in the afternoon, that is my only commitment for the whole weekend! Not bad.

Sunday is Dad’s birthday AND Father’s Day so I will try to reach Dad to say hello. That is more difficult than it used to be. But I’ll give it a shot!

I think step brother J arrives in Maine tomorrow for his summer holiday. Not sure when he will be able to help garden, but I need to get ready for lots to happen! I am a little bit anxious about it this year, the projects I really want to focus on are big and maybe nasty…

I hope to find a little spinning time, almost done with bobbin one of tree bark. And knitting! Plugging away on the sweater, but I can’t just knit at W and P, I need to knit on it other times or it will never happen.

I did finish a hat this week

Not sure what I will do with it (sell or gift) but it is ready to go.

That’s about all she wrote. Just anticipating a weekend filled with meaningful chores and fun crafting and DIY.

In which I tell you all the fun things I did for my birthday

This year my birthday fell on a Saturday, hurrah!

And of course I managed to start the celebration early. A little spending money last week at Fiber Frolic, then Friday evening A took me to see Book Club at Reel Pizza in Bar Harbor. Even though I have lived here for more than 20 years, I have never been to this quaint little movie theater/pizza place before. A definite bucket list item. The pizza was quite expensive but delicious.

The movie was good if you didn’t expect Oscar-worthy. It was fun and a little bit predictable. The four main characters seemed to play themselves, but it worked. There were some laugh out loud moments.

I will say that apparently, based on who was in the theater, you have to be female and a certain age to enjoy it, but as I am both, I did!

We stopped for ice cream and still were home by 9! I do love an early movie!

Saturday started with delicious crepes for breakfast, and then my friend Crimson Crow came over so we could go off gallivanting. A wanted to stay home to bake a cake and work on the bookcases. That, and we were going places she didn’t care about.

Our first stop was at Fernwood Nursery and Gardens  in Montville, about 45 minutes away. It’s one of those places like Reel Pizza. Drive by the turn off all the time, but never when we have time to stop. And I read their blog faithfully, love it!!! So this was a definite birthday trip stop.

OMG it was gorgeous! I never knew shade plants could be so colorful and fragrant.

I took a few photos.

 

They do not do the place justice!

I tried to buy a hollyhock for our front garden, but Denise insisted I take it as a birthday gift! Crimson Crow had let on why were out and about. I will definitely visit there again when we need plants, everything looked so lovely and healthy. maybe after Step brother J comes and spends a few days with my pile of gravel and blackberries?

From there we headed back toward Belfast, and stopped in at a local yarn shop, Heavenly Socks, in the new location. It is a much bigger space and it is SO NICE. I never cared for its little basement location, it was too small and crowded to move or see the yarn. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the new shop is, and how much locally produced or dyed yarn there is.

And I would like it noted that I bought NOTHING there. This time. Not how to support an LYS, but a good way to support my checkbook!

Then we ambled over to Bell the Cat for lunch, also in its new location, and delicious as always.

Our last planned stop was a junk shop in Stockton Springs. I drive past it twice every Saturday on my way to and from Whorls and Purls, and I always wanted to stop and check it out. It was a whole lot of junk and a few treasures. We didn’t get into pricing with the owner, but the few things that were tagged were quite pricey. If I go back to check out any of the things that caught my eye, I will be doing some haggling, for sure.

From there we decided to stop at the grocery store for supper makings and ice cream, and then headed home.

A was done making the cake (no photo but delicious! Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting 🙂 ) so we had that, then visited until supper time.

A lot of eating on my birthday!

Sunday morning my SIL came over for cake and coffee, and gave me one of her adorable handmade bears! She retired last winter, and has been “living the dream,” sewing and crafting to her hearts delight. She has been making great quantities of stuffed bears. Mine is the cutest one.  🙂

After that, life became more mundane. I did some laundry, some weeding, some spinning. I cleaned the porch furniture and moved the plants out of the guest room and out there where they belong. Went to the grocery store for the week’s shopping, and got takeout for supper (more eating!)

I love how the porch looks with the plants on it. Please excuse the wipes , and just focus on the pretty porch and cute cat! Vacuuming is the next thing I need to do out there, and string the lights we got and never put up last summer.  Those things that would be shelves in any one else’s house (wouldn’t they look pretty with candles or plants on them?) are cat perches.  The cats can climb up into the rafters, and they can hop on those and watch the world (chipmunks) go by.  They do that quite often, when they aren’t out there sleeping on the chairs, that is.

And here’s my spinning so far. Nearly done with this bobbin, then need one more just like it. Color has blue tones here that the real thing doesn’t.  It is a gray and brownish gray color, really.

And here’s some knitting to show you, just because. A sock and a hat. Winter is coming, after all! I’d show you the sweater, but I have no recent shots of it.

The sock is actually done now, and its mate is well under way.

So, now I am officially the age that matches my birth year, and that is a little alarming.  No denying I am not young anymore.  Quickly leaving middle age and approaching elderly.  Who could believe it?  And that same number was my order number at the take out stand. I assume that means it will be a good year this year!