Vacation update

You know, except for the part where I have to keep checking in with work and taking care of things, this has been a really good vacation.

A is away, which is a bummer on one hand, but on the other – I can make a big freaking mess and not have to clean it right up.  I can leave the dishes in the sink for a few days (excuse?  we ran out of dish soap.)

So what have I been doing?  Well, puttering mostly, with lots of down time.  I finished a little pebble landing area at the base of the screen porch step – a spin off from the pool project.  I am always tracking sand into the house, even with two mats between inside and out.  So I figured if there were some pebbles at the bottom of the step, that could really help.  And I have all these pebbles I am getting from sifting dirt in the pool area, so why not add one more thing to the project?

It turns out pretty well – there weren’t too many pebbles in the sand by the step, so I got an extra load of sand for the pool area, and I used lots of little rocks that I would have just piled in the woods.  It didn’t add too much to the pool project, just head in a different direction with the wheel barrow full of stone. I can see that I will some day want to do a whole path like this, but not yet.  

Pool progress doesn’t show in the short term – kind of like a stockinette blanket that way – work fr hours, no difference.  But then when you look at the whole project, suddenly, you can see progress.  I still have a long way to go, but I think I am almost through a slow bad section and I hope the work will speed up a bit.

this morning I finished emptying out the guest room and giving it a thorough cleaning – like window washing and curtain washing kind of cleaning.  It is amazing to me just how much stuff we had stashed away in there that has nothing to do with guests.  It was OK when people were just passing through for a night or two, but if someone not feeling well is coming for a few weeks or more, the room should be calm and welcoming, right?

So, by 10 am, I had already got it emptied and cleaned, and now comes the hard part.  What to put back, what to do with what doesn’t go back?  This is where it is good A isn’t home yet as the living room is now a mess.  That’s how I know we have too much stuff that doesn’t have a true “home” – when cleaning one room completely messes up another.  A is a good one for everything looking neat, but she is one who puts things away out of sight, instead of where they belong.  Especially if it is something that we don’t know where it belongs! I am much more likely to put up with clutter than to put something where it doesn’t belong, but when I clean, I rip things apart and really clean.   And some things that DO belong in there, in general, can’t go in there now.  Like, the vacuum cleaners (one regular, one for the pellet stove)  They live in that closet, because nothing hangs there.  But, we need to allow for the fact that L might want to unpack – so I cleaned off a little set of shelves in the craft room, and put them in the closet, and that leaves a nice amount of space for some hanging things, should she want it.  But who wants a dirty old vacuum cleaner or two in there with your clean clothes?  I know I wouldn’t.  So, I will have to find a temporary home for those two things. Somehow we muddle along OK, but I still say it is good she isn’t here right now.  🙂 

I have also been knitting a lot. How’s the Hitchhiker coming along, you ask?  and the newest socks?  Well, I can say i have stuck to the rules of the Sock KAL and have done at least a row each day, but that might be all.  And hte hitchhiker has been abandoned for a brief moment.  I broke all my rules, but for a good reason, really.  I have made 4 hats in two days, and cast on another.  I have had this yarn kicking around fr a while, intended for hats for the craft fair in November.  And it suddenly occurred to me that it is September.  When, exactly will I be making these hats?  So, I went through my whole stash, sorted it out into hat projects, filled a big bag and brought that down into the linen closet (again,, good A wasn’t home to see that) and dug out the box of Lamb’s Pride I bought just for this purpose, and set to work. I had hoped to finish up all the lamb’s pride before A got home, but that wont; happen.  Still, I should be bale to make two more hats today, and that will put a good dent in it.  I am mostly making two patterns with this batch of yarn – Kaleidoscope’s Super Bulky Button Hat and Halcyon Yarn’s Alpine Topper.  The Button hat calls for bulky yarn held double, so it knits up REALLY fast.  The Alpine Topper is slower to knit, as it has color work, but it uses bulky yarn held single – good for all the leftovers from the button hat.  I haven’t added these as Ravelry projects, but I will get photos when I am done.  I made several of the button hats with leftovers from the stripey yarn CAL I did last summer, and so have some of those to add to my craft fair pile as well.

With the stash yarn, I will play about a bit more as none if it is really bulky.  I expect I will make some cable hats, and swirly hats and probably some plain old roll brim caps. I notice that all my yarns are in the same colors – mostly blues and purples and sea-foam type colors.  The Lamb’s Pride I ordered is several shades of gray and some red.  So I think I need to get my sister to choose some colors for me to work with , to broaden my array of hats – I never ever choose earth tones, but I expect that some people who might want to buy a hat would want to buy those colors, right?

And wait until you see the buttons I have for the button hat – Oh, I found such great ones at a local store – a young couple who owns a quarry makes stone buttons!  Just slices of beautiful granite.  Photos of those to come eventually as well.  🙂

Well enough about what i have been doing, I have hats to knit and rooms to put back together – A is coming home tonight!

I’ll catch up with you later, and maybe have photos as well!

While the cat is away….

A is off to the County for the week. That leaves me home alone. I’ve been making the most of it.

The red sweater is on the guest room bed drying, having relaxed a lot in the blocking process. I think it will fit a lot better. The neck is a lot less loose this year than when I made it last year – not sure what I did differently this time, but I like it. It will roll a bit when I wear it, as it is stockinette at the edges.

red sweater complete

red sweater neck complete

Here’s the light blue necklace I made – color is paler than it shows in this shot, hard (as always) to get the light to reflect the sparkly beads without distorting the rest. So, no flash, just lots of lights on. (Sun would be nice, wouldn’t it?)

blue rippled

Then I strung beads for a couple more of the same – the beads are more gold than red, on the beige. Again, a lighting issue, I guess. I can’t wait to get these done and see how they come out. I do love the Laura Nelkin designs for knitted jewelry. And I love how the silk works up.

all set to go!

After that – swatches for a knit vest I have had in the queue for a long time. I have some really old Reynolds Lopi that I want to use, but I could not tell from the label nor the directions how heavy the yarn was. The pattern (Oat Couture’s Oregon vest) gives directions for three weights, and I checked them all. It seems that it hits gauge at the heaviest one, but I don’t like the fabric then, it feels too loose. So, I’m making the middle one and adjusting the size to account for the difference. Have it all cast on already. A will be surprised to see me knitting in periwinkle when she left me in red. 🙂 She would be more surprised to find blocked swatches drying on the counters over night. 🙂


I have to say, it feels GOOD to be able to cast on something different – that red sweater has been my WIP for what feels like ages. 🙂

Also, I have decided to amend my 2 WIP rule during the sock KAL. I think I need to have three. One is always socks, the others will probably follow my usual pattern – something large and something small. Right now, that is a necklace and a sweater vest. I do love casting on… Not alone in that, am I? The socks are coming along, I have a couple more inches of leg to go. Working on them some every day is really making amazing things happen. How many pairs will I have at the end of the year???

Meanwhile, life goes on. It snows. Today we are to get 7-13 inches. Unfortunately, it was not snowing early enough this morning, so I had to go to work. We were dismissed at noon, so then got to drive home in a raging snowstorm. Sigh. Better, I guess than doing the same thing after dark. So, I shoveled my way into the house and here I will stay until morning when I get to go back to work. And it won’t snow again for a couple of days – amazing. They think the next storm will be a big one – I hope it goes south of us, I am so sick of winter…sometimes I think I will never be warm again. It must be time to start looking at the seed catalogs. Spring has to come, right?

Off the camera

Good morning! Back home again, living in comfort if not luxury. 🙂

I tackled the camera this morning and I managed to get photos out of its clutches – so here are some photos of things I have mentioned in recent posts – yarn from webs, yarn from Halcyon, progress on socks and red sweater. Enjoy!

yarn from Webs

yarn from halcyon

wip red sweater 2

socks with sarah #1

socks with sarah #1 in process

quick update

yesterday was stormy, icy even. But Mom and I braved the nasty weather, and headed off to Halcyon Yarn in Bath. We got there around 11, and pulled into an empty parking lot! We were horrified, thinking that perhaps heaven was closed for the day! But no, we were just the only people so desperate for fiber that we would brave the weather. By the time we left a couple of hours later, there were more people out. We headed over to Mae’s Bakehouse for lunch, pulled into the parking area – same thing – no cars! But we knew what it meant this time, and so were pleased to find it open, warm, with some delicious hot soup on the menu.

By the time we finished lunch, the ice was gone, it was just foggy and rainy for the ride home.
So, what did I get?

4 cones of their gemstone silk for necklaces
one skein of Heritage sock yarn in soft blues
one toe up sock pattern
one Elizabeth Zimmerman surprise jacket pattern.

And it occurs to me that joining the sock Kal over at KnittingSarah was not supposed to mean that I buy lots more sock yarn, but after investigating my stash it just had to be done. 🙂 The KAL will help keep me from just adding them to the bins in the closet. 🙂

My Webs order arrived this week as well, and oh my, I LOVE the yarns I bought. As soon as the camera and I are speaking to each other again, I will share. But let it be said, I wound 4 balls of sock yarn today, and I cannot wait to start work on the Madelinetosh. So, because I have the annoying rule about number of WIPs, I worked on my boyfriend sock today, and finished the first one. Time to go cast on the second!

Friday list

Dear Mother Nature:

STOP IT! You have completely messed up my great Friday.

Thank you.

Revised Friday List:
wash floors
Grocery store
make niece B’s very late birthday card
Order the skein of yarn I can’t live without online.

Here’s what my list USED to look like:
Go get Mom
Head off to Bath to Halcyon Yarn for some yummy silk yarn and a few skeins of bulky Lamb’s Pride
continue on to Portland to visit with the knitting family members.

You see how it used to be fun and now it isn’t so much?

Well, the house will be happy to get some long needed attention. And I will be home to keep feeding the fires. Just learned this week that Maine is experiencing a propane shortage. We heat, cook, and dry clothes with propane, so this was a bit of a shock to us. It means we will try to reduce our use, but really, the only way we can put a dent in it is to heat more with alternative sources. We already do our hot water on demand, and do our laundry all at once, so the heat from the dryer is as conserved as possible.

Heating more without propane means we need to acquire more wood for the wood stove and more pellets in the next few weeks. But not today, it is too cold and snowy to even think about dealing with those deliveries. 🙂

Just a little quick confession

I was reading over at Mollie and Claire about how Claire resisted buying yarn because of herself imposed rule to not buy yarn for 6 months.

And I thought I would share with you a (slightly) sneaky thing I do to get yarn.

A and I don’t do a lot of unplanned purchases with our joint account. And all of our money goes in there. So it is tough to go on the occasional yarn binge, right? Oh sure, we plan trips to yarn stores, and we talk about how much I can spend, and I have a budget. That really takes all the fun out of a yarn binge, let me tell you. Well, almost all the fun.

But I have yarn stash cash that is beyond her control. 🙂

Here’s how I fund it.

Each week, we get a cash allotment from the joint account. It’s for the little things that come up each week.

Well, I use the debit card any time I can, thus not spending the allowance if I can avoid it. Lunch out? Debit card. Cup of coffee – allowance. A keeps the checkbook tidy, and hates when I do the $2 debit thing.

If we go out together, I let her pay. It’s all out of the joint account, right? Hee hee.

At the end of the week, when we get our next allowance, I take whatever cash is in my wallet and tuck it away. In a really good week, I have all the money left.

A is a good woman. She keeps her leftovers in her wallet, and uses them as she would the new allowance. You know, to buy me a cup of coffee. 🙂

When, after a few months, I mention that I am heading off to Halcyon with Mom to buy yarn, she is amazed that I have managed to secrete a whole lot of money. 🙂 One year I did it for nine months, and had a couple hundred dollars to spend at the Common Ground Fair on lovely handspun/dyed local yarn. I haven’t been that motivated since then, but I know I can do it. Right now I have about $50 in the cash stash, and I am already plotting my next trip for yummy fiber… is it Halcyon for silk? KnitWit for Quince and Co.? What will I make? I just don’t know, but I think I have a ten in my wallet, and only a couple of days to go in the week….

Presents in the mail!

Check out this post – This is what Diane got in the mail from me to celebrate my 100 followers. The scarf is two strands – one silk, one silk mohair – got it from Halcyon Yarn on Bath (Maine) and LOVED working with it. I’ll get more. I also sent her some handmade cards, unsure if they would be something she would like – turns out, she does, so I am feeling good about the things I chose to make for her.

Diane's lace, knitting and other crafts

Today I got some presents in the mail. I started following the blog whatimuptotoday and she held a drawing for a giveaway amongst the followers of her blog. Sarah contacted me and asked me a few questions and today I got a sweet little package in the mail. I got a red knitted scarf! Red is my favorite color 🙂

It’s silk and mohair and lightweight and warm and luscious!

I also got some handmade cards.  The funny thing is, Ted and I have been talking about the horrible selection of greeting cards we find in the stores and have made a pact to try and use or find handmade cards whenever we can.  These will be put to very good use.


So, Sarah, thank you for your lovely and generous gift.  It makes me smile every time I see it.  You made my day.  Everyone, please check out Sarah’s…

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It’s in the bag

scarf in a bag

I have been wanting to try Halcyon’s silk for a long time, and every time I get in there, I am overwhelmed by the colors, and of course, the price, and I don’t know what I would make. Then, this time – there it was – my perfect red. Not a whisper of orange in it, really really bluey red. And they had it bagged in this cute little package with my other favorite silk mohair blend, enough to make a scarf. So, I did not resist – after all, I had my birthday gift certificate, so it was really free. 🙂

in the bag

I also got a book on toe up sock knitting, and some more navy yarn for my CAL blanket. I really like how the navy looks with the teal, but I only had two skeins of it, so now I can use more of it.

Mom and I had a fun day doing all of this – we took the back way to Bath, to avoid the hideous bottle neck that is Rte 1 in Wiscasset, it was so pretty. I had never been in all that back country, through Sheepscot village, so that was fun. We had lunch before shopping so that we could concentrate. We always have lunch at Mae’s cafe and bakery when in Bath, always good food. This was no exception. Then it was down the hill to Halcyon, and we just dove in and reveled in the colors and fibers. They were not busy, so we could wander around and call back and forth without disturbing people. Mom got a whole bunch of different yarns, but all blue! We got so silly when we were leaving, because she and I almost always buy either blue or red. And yesterday was no exception!

We took the same scenic way home, but managed to get ourselves back on Rte 1 in time to swing into Damariscotta for some delicious Round Top ice cream before heading home.

Visited with B on their lovely porch when I dropped her off, then headed home. I wasn’t driving 5 minutes when A called to see where I was. It turns out she was also on her way home,a nd thought we should stop for dinner where our paths met – in dear old Belfast. We had a nice supper on the dock at the Weathervane. Good way to start a holiday!

Other things I did yesterday – before I left, I managed to make a batch of strawberry jam and one of raspberry jelly, and I stopped at the dump on the way to Mom’s = before you tink “will this woman never stop doing chores?” let me tell you that yes, I will. It’s just that the darned jelly needs to be made, the fruit is all prepped and taking up the fridge space. And it needs to be done before it is too hot to stand in front of the stove. I think we have only one more batch to go.

sweet Friday!

Oh, I had plans for today, when I got up – it’s mid-day, and I have already revised the list. Here’s the original:

Post office
EBS to order dirt for raised beds
Grocery store

Change bed
Start spring cleaning

Compile end of season tax stats
Complete report
Check email

Finish the darned leg warmers!
Finish red hat that’s been on the needles way too long
Start baby blanket (really crochet, but whatever)

Here’s the revised list:

Post office – ooh, yarn winder delivered, AND first ever Webs order.
Wind new yarn
Resist winding all yarn in house, because it is so fun to do.
EBS dirt order placed. To be delivered Monday or Tuesday

Change bed
Laundry – there is no escaping this one

All those same things

Knit and knit and knit

Notice the groceries, the dump and the spring cleaning are gone.
I should have remembered that since this is the first Friday at home, I would be really slow to get going, with little or no energy, in spite of the really long list of things that are calling me. I think knitting will get the rest of my afternoon. Maybe I will clean the bathroom so that tomorrow is a more pleasant day. But maybe not, too.

the new yarn winder distracted me. I have read blogs and reviews from people who just couldn’t stop talking about how great this tool is. I have been knitting for more than 40 years, winding balls by hand, and really thought they were all a bit overboard. But I won that basketball bracket bet, and so got my own winder, and now I know – they were all understating how great this thing is. My word, in MINUTES I can wind a whole skein of yarn! It is neat, tight, the pull out yarn is easy to find. WOW. I love it. I already had a swift, and thought that was all the help I would need to wind great skeins. Was happy with it for many years, but now I know, it was only half the solution.

ps the cats love it too, they were fascinated, sat and watched the whole process. Which is good – better than them helping. 🙂

last free weekend for a long time to come

This weekend I did not have to work (much) and so got to do some fun things. Next weekend I have to work – the fifth annual Maine Farmers Market Convention at Point Lookout, in Northport Maine. It will be fun, but work. Then tax season begins, with lots of Fridays to work, and the occasional Saturday as well. So this weekend is a treasure.

What did I do with my treasure? Well, Friday was a knitting day in Portland, with mom and sister C. Cousin A was able to come up from Massachusetts, so it was extra special. We had a nice afternoon of knitting, eating, and chatting. We waited until C picked E up from school, so we could visit with her. That was fun, she was pretty wound up but basically well-behaved. She showed us the castle she has – her dad the architect made it out of a big cardboard box, and it is really cool, with windows and skylights, that she fits through, so she can stand up in her castle. It was very cute.

Anyway, it was a good afternoon. On the way there, Mom and I stopped in Bath at Halcyon Yarn, and that was wonderful, of course. I had a gift certificate, and my yarn stash money. So I was able to get enough Lamb’s Pride Bulky to make a sweater I saw in Vogue Knitting last month, and some yarn for socks, and some Addi turbo needles – one for the sweater and a set of lace turbo needles for all the Estonian lace I can’t stop making… I’ll let you know how I like them. They are nice and slippery, that is for sure.

I managed to spend almost every cent I had, but did NOT go over budget. I think I got home with 15 cents. Not bad. 🙂

Saturday we had to go to Bangor to get the car serviced, so that was an opportunity to use the gift card to JoAnn. (they FINALLY sent me a new one after my online ordering fiasco. I will be sticking to the store only from now on.) A went with me, which is usually not good, but this time, it was. We managed to find some fabric she likes to make her curtains for her office – I am glad she was there, I never in a million years would have chosen what she did! It was on sale, so we got that. I’ll get the liner and thread, etc some other time, she had no more patience for that store. I also got a bunch of Spectrum Noir pens – I have been wanting Copics, but they are impossible to find in Bangor, and they are what JoAnn messed up with so royally in my online order, so I thought I would try these. They sure are cheaper than the others, plus I had lots of coupons for 50% off items. We managed to spend about $50 cash in that trip, but it wasn’t ALL for me. 🙂 And if I don’t like the markers, at least it wasn’t a huge amount of money.

We also stopped at the jewelers’ to see if they could fix my slow watch. It isn’t the battery, so they of course can fix it, but it is $20 just to see what’s wrong. Grrr. I am pretty sure it will be cheaper to buy a new watch, and I hate that, as it seems so wasteful. But we will see, maybe they can clean it and all will be well.

Then the big grocery store. Not a good plan on a Saturday mid-day, but we survived it and stuck pretty close to our list. Once we got home, there were lots of chores to do, even though we had totally cleaned the house THursday night, we still had beds to make in preparation for a visit from our DEAN’S LIST college freshman, returning for her second semester at Husson University. Also, I made her some cookies to take up with her. A did chores up in her closet renovation project, and then we chilled in front of the TV – lots of shows to clean out of the DVR – good winter evening activity.

Sunday was so WARM! I went off to the Farmers Market in Ellsworth, at the Woodlawn, and watched the sledding on the hill for a while. We had a work family event – sledding on the hill, but no one came. That is the second such event, with the same results, discouraging. I did see a friend of mine there, and so chatted with him for a while. Got the ingredients for a good beef stew at the market, then came home. I worked on figuring out the Vogue sweater pattern, and A baked lasagna for supper. L and B arrived around 6:30 – long drive up from CT, so we didn’t have a long visit – supper and a bit of chat before bed. The end of the weekend – so fast! But I feel rested and relaxed and like I had a break. Ready for the week ahead? No quite sure, time will tell. It is a cold one, and a busy one, we will see how I do.

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