Getting ready

Hello!  I went AWOL again, so sorry!

I have been totally focused on getting things done,and dealing with deadlines, in work, home, and knitting.

The work pressure is never ending… but right now it is a big state grant that needs writing, to continue providing a great service that we do.  I don’t like writing state grants because the format feels very choppy to me.  Have to do it exactly as they say, and they are repetitious.  I never know if I can trust them to realize I already covered something, or if they want me to be equally repetitious. I go with repeating myself in case the thing is broken up into parts and the reviewers don’t have access to the prior info.  But i feel for them if they get the whole thing. This one got a lot more stress filled when the boss said to me that he learned there is at least one other organization bidding on our region.  Mind you, they are located 100 miles away, and that will go over like a lead balloon in teh region, but it might make sense to the state reviewers.  So it is on me to make a strong case.  UGH.  And never mind that they just released the answers to all teh questions we asked at the reviewers conference two months ago.  and that the whole things is due a week from tomorrow.  Do they not realize grant writers like holidays too?

So, I canceled vacation days scheduled for the early part of this week, but kept Friday off. I have big plans for Friday and Saturday, and I was not willing to let people down on account of work.  I will figure it out.

That leads me to the deadlines at home – Thursday we are hosting A’s family as always – there will be 7 of us we think.  I do the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, they bring whatever else they think we need, and it is always interesting to see what turns out to be. I think there will be dessert, if past years are anything to go by. so there is the cleaning and cooking and cleaning that are involved there.  

Then, niece E the younger is coming to stay on Friday, until Saturday morning.  She has been asking for this visit, because she wants me to teach her how to spin and weave and dye yarn. She has never been for a solo visit before, for a variety of reasons, and so this is a big deal! She is the only one of my nieces and nephew who has NOT been here for an overnight visit, and I am really looking forward to it.  I warned her that 24 hours is not long enough to learn all of that, but we will give it a shot.  As a result, we have to get the whole house cleaner, as opposed to just the downstairs for Thursday.   That is what the vacation days were for.  Luckily A is a good sport, and owes me for doing the household chores all summer while she worked… now she can do them while I work!

the knitting and crafting deadlines are almost all gone!  I knit a bzillion hats for the craft fair last week, as well as some ornaments.  Luckily a friend of mine is knitting gnomes like mad and I offered to sell them for her at the table, along with my SIL’s hand sewn teddy bears.  They both filled my table and made it look abundant, without me knitting a million more things.  And their things sold VERY well! I think we sold more than 30 gnomes and ten bears.  I sold one ornament, one pair of baby booties, and 4 hats.  So I am glad I didn’t make more than I did.

I also finished all the baby knitting for my friend, in just the nick of time.  I delivered the last thing – cactus blanket the day before she hopped on her flight to await the baby.  I was thrilled to be done with the pressure knitting.

Now I am working on three things – two knit alongs that I am behind on, and one pair of mitts that is a gift with no deadline. One KAL is the Japanese scarf one that i have been doing all year.  I am about halfway done with the last clue and the next and final one is due out this weekend. I will finish on time.  The other is a Patty Lyons knit along, the Volition sweater KAL.  I am pretty far behind on that, I can’t finish by the deadline looming in early December, but I will get the sweater done shortly after that, I am looking forward to having it this winter.  And I have other sweaters I want to cast on! Luckily, Patty has prizes for WIPs… 🙂

If you notice, I have no shawls on the needles!  I have them going in my head, though, and they will be my reward for finishing any of these things.  🙂

I also managed to clear off my bobbins and not start spinning anything else, in prep for E’s visit.  I have SO MUCH new fiber since i last spun, and I am tempted, but have resisted thus far.  I can spin after Saturday.

I also need to weave – I have a project on the loom that isn’t quite done, and I need to get that cleared off as well, so E can choose and execute her own project this weekend… I am sort of thinking I will get her spinning, the I will weave and get it finished.

Last weekend Whorls and Purls had a potluck and destash party, it is making me want to knit and spin and weave all the things!  The deal is this – gather up all your yarn and fleece, and fabric that you have and are ready to part with, and bring it to one location.  Dump it out on the table.  Everyone draws a number and we go around in order over and over until we can’t do it any more or there is nothing left that you want.  On your turn, you choose something from the table that you want.  I kept my word to A that I would not come home with more than I brought, in fact I came home with way less!  I also felt good that there was hardly anything left that I had brought when it all ended.  One of the group offered to gather up the unwanted things and take them to Good Will, so none of us brought home anything we didn’t want.  It was so much fun, and cleared things out AND gave me a bag full of new goodies to play with at some future date.  🙂

hmmmm… what else have I been doing and not telling you about?  A little sewing – I am making a skirt for myself.  I could have it done by now but for all that came before this… a little gardening – I got the garlic in at last.  Had to bust through an inch or so of frozen soil, but I am hopeful that it won;t matter too much in the end.

 

Had a knitting day with mom and my SIL D a few weeks ago, that was lots of fun, as always.

I think that is about it. Now I am off to read about what all of you have been up to!

 

 

 

 

Holiday wrap up

Well, that was fun!

I haven’t written a post about Christmas yet, because I was SO tired after the crazy lead up to it, and then the big day,  I took a few days to rest and relax and digest.

I managed to get all the knitting done, and lots of cards (but not all – I have a half dozen or so still to send out, just waiting for the glitter to dry).

We got all the presents wrapped and delivered.  It was the delivery bit that was more complicated than expected!

But before we get to that…

 

I have been on vacation since last Wednesday at close of day.  Thank goodness – I don’t know how I would have found the time to work!

Thursday I drove down t Boston to meet up with a Raveler friend from the Knitting Sarah group.  Bonnie had been hoping to go to our in person gathering in September, but for a variety of reasons, was not able to make it.  However!  She had a long vacation planned to visit her sister in the Boston area.  When I heard that, I thought “I can go to Boston…” so I asked her how she felt about it, and she was willing.  So nice and early Thursday I hopped in my trusty Prius and headed south.  I got to her sister’s house easily, and immediately felt at home, like I was visiting an old friend.  Which of course, I was, right?  We chatted a bit and she showed me IN PERSON the things she was working on – how nice to really see and touch, not wonder if the monitor was showing the right colors.  🙂 Then we went off to a yarn store in Natick, the Iron Horse.  It is a small shop, but had a nice selection of yarns and needles and the like.  I was trying VERY hard to be good, but did have to buy a braid of malabrigo nube that had my name on it.  they had lots of other yarn I could easily have walked out with if I weren’t trying so hard to not spend money.  Why is money always an issue?

When we finished there, we asked some of the ladies about where they recommended for lunch.  They pointed us across the street to a very nice sandwich place.  We sat and ate lunch and chatted and chatted for what seemed like 2 minutes but of course was much longer.  Then I dropped her back at her sisters and headed north again.  With the he exception of some traffic going northbound, it was a painless road trip, and a whole lot of fun in between long bouts of driving.  I made it there and back in 13 hours!

Friday began the Christmas prep in earnest cards going out late, packages being mailed late, knitting happening at a furious pace. And a trip to Bangor to get the cars serviced, which included a meal at Ruby Tuesday while we waited for them.

The weather was lousy, rainy, and snowy, and icy, but I skated over to Whorls and Purls on Saturday afternoon.  I was going to be knitting, I might as well be with fellow knitters, right?  One other hardy soul showed up, so the three of us (Deb just has to slide across her yard to open up) had a nice visit and more knitting on the dreaded legwarmers happened.

Sunday I had planned to stay inside and just knit like a fiend, but sister-in-law L called up and invited us over to see her and her “boys” who were home for the holidays.  D from Denver and Z and his wife, EY, from Copenhagen.  We could NOT miss this, so I brought my knitting along,  and A brought a big selection of cookies she has been stockpiling for them, and off we went.  We had such a nice visit – ate a great lunch, played many hands of Rummikube and caught up on what everyone is up to.  And I knit.  those leg warmers passed ten inches!

Old Man Winter wasn’t through with us yet – as predicted, we got a lovely nor’easter on Christmas Day.  A knew there was no point in suggesting we stay home.  Christmas means mom’s house, come hell, high water, or big snow storm.  We got up earlier than we would have preferred, opened our presents to each other, and hit the road.  It was snowing, but hadn’t been for long, so we had no trouble getting there.  My sister had come over the night before, as she has a longer trip.  Apparently, she left a note for Santa, and he was able to find niece E at Gram’s house instead of at home. Brother C and his girl D arrived late morning, but Brother N and his family opted to stay home.  We missed them, but having five fewer people meant there was much less chaos and more capacity for meaningful conversation.  Mom made a delicious meal, and we all got presents galore.  (Mom dragged yarn and a book all the way home from Scotland for me!  Wow!)  We had a fun time with the Yankee Swap – A wound up with a submersion blender, and I got a set of 8 antique blue glasses. I kept knitting on those legwarmers, and around 2, I was able to cast them off and hand them over to the eagerly waiting niece.  No photos of them, I am sorry, but trust me they were long, sparkly, and brightly colored. It was a lovely day all around, and for the most part we ignored the weather happening outside.  But by 3 A was getting antsy to head for home while there was a little daylight.  We shoveled off the car, thinking it wasn’t much snow – maybe three or four inches, and headed up and around Penobscot Bay.  A couple of hours of slow driving later, we drove up our lane, to discover that our driveway was not yet plowed.  A put that Prius into low gear and blasted up the rise into the snow covered driveway.  She made it about halfway, before the Prius informed us she is not a snow plow.  We gave it a couple of tries, but no good, so we walked the last hundred feet up to the house.  And that is when we discovered that we got a whole lot more snow than Mom did.  No wonder the Prius couldn’t plow through it.  It was a good 8 or 10 inches deep!

We made it home safely and were glad to get into our warm home and play with our cats.  🙂

The next day, with the help of our great plow guy, we were able to get the car free and the driveway cleared.

Off we went to Ellsworth to the bank and out for a pizza “lupper” before stopping into exchange presents with some neighbors on the way back home.

Wednesday was the first day in a week that I did not budge from the house.  It was a good choice, because it was the first day of several below zero days!  A good one to sit before the fire and knit and plan knitting!  I swatched some of my Wisconsin yarn for a sweater – hitofude – that I will cast on 1/1/18 for a Knitting Sarah KAL.  Thrilled to find that the yarn works fine for it, as long as I do my usual, down one needle size.  I also worked on the test knit hat I am still working on.  I think I have found a needle size that will work just fine with that.  Hope so!  I don’t really want to knit it again.

I knit up the last ornament of 2017 for my Yankee Swap with A’s family, sometime this weekend.  I think I cleared the decks enough that I can spin!!

Today I also did not budge, but I was more of a puttering person today than a sit in front of the fire and knit person.  Tomorrow I might be warm and rested enough to actually go outside.  The temps will still be below zero, but the wind is supposed to abate, so it might not feel like a suicide mission to go out to the car.  🙂

 

So how was your week?

A quick update

First off – so many thanks to those of you who bought a mug cozy pattern to support Sam  of Bumble Bee Fiber Farm’s insulin pump.  You blog readers and knitters are amazing people.

I am sort of amazed that I DID get everything made last week that had to be made.  Christmas cards and presents were delivered on Saturday, hat order was delivered on time, though damp.  🙂  I realized I would see the coworker who had ordered it the day after I finished knitting it, so I soaked it and blocked it and delivered it to her in a towel.  I figured it could dry at her house as well as at mine, and then she would have it all ready to ship when it suited her.

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The carol sing was so much fun – very different this year – the weather had an impact, but not the one we expected!  Snow was predicted (and arrived exactly when they said it would) so there was talk of postponing the event.  But the farthest flung among us were willing to come, so they did.  The family that lives closer (maybe an hour and a half to three hours away) decided not to come, as they could not stay over night, and would thus be driving home in a snow storm in the dark.  So the folks from Connecticut and Vermont got on the road early, ahead of the storm, and the folks from south of Boston came half way the night before.  And the folks from North Carolina came a few days before.

It was very nice to have a smaller than usual crowd, for visiting purposes, but when it came to singing we quickly realized that we had a sorrowful lack of high voices.  Luckily, Cousin C brought her flute, and when those high notes came, she played them beautifully.  And if it sounded like the page in Good King Wenceslas had a bit of a cold, well, maybe he did.  🙂

Mom will host another similar gathering on our alternate snow date, December 30, and while the far away relatives likely won’t come, I think it will be fun to hear how the music sounds with all the high voices and not so many low ones.

The other piece that turned out oddly was that the three lovely ladies who did not come were bringing the lunch entrees to our potluck gathering.  So the food was snacks and desserts, and we did just fine with that!

Driving home in the snow in the dark was truly not fun, and I completely understand why people opted not to do that, but I am glad that I did it, and that all who travelled made it home safely.

Sunday I played “middle man”, and connected a woman I know who is moving into a new home following a divorce with a friend who is going to be downsizing.  We used A’s truck to move lots of chairs into a new house that needed them, from an comfortable place that didn’t need them any more.  So nice to have a truck when it is needed!  Don’t let on to A that I said that, though.

So now my crafting feels less frenetic, though there is still lots to do.  The cards that seem such a simple design take a long time to piece together – I will have to work on them every evening.  Last night I finished all the parts for 7 cards, and part of 7 more.  A is picking up some more red paper – I seriously did not have enough – duh! And I expect to finish this batch of 14 by tomorrow night.  Slow going!  But if I keep doing batches of them each evening, then I think I can make it.

Knitting right now is the test knit hat, which should get done today or maybe tonight – I am on the decreases.

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I went down a needle size, but it still feels huge – I will measure it and get the glamor shots  for the designer when it is done, but then I think I will rip it out and knit the medium size. The yarn is too nice to make into a hat that I can’t wear!  And I do like the pattern – it is simple yet not boring.

The leg warmers.  Well, I got the yarn out and caked, and I wrote to my sister to ask for some measurements, but nothing back yet. If she doesn’t answer by the time I finish the hat, I will wing it.   I think I can make it by Christmas if I want to.

This cold dreary snowy rainy weather is making me want to curl up in front of the fire and knit, but that doesn’t seem to be possible.  Still haven’t won the lottery.  Have to head to work.  I will catch up with you later!

 

 

Friday list late!

Sorry! With all the holiday eating I forgot to give you my Friday list!

It’s pretty short.

Hang out and knit

Hang out and spin

Eat leftovers for lunch

Make turkey broth

Probably nap after that, making broth is so taxing!

Hang out and play on Ravelry

Create listings on Etsy for craft fair leftovers.

Hang out and veg.

Get cleaned and dressed to meet mom and B for dinner with step brother J, remember him from amazing yard work this summer? He is visiting again for the holidays. No yard work but he is putting up Mom’s tree and putting the lights on for her. The guy is a rockstar!!!

Anyway, as you can tell it is a pretty low key day. The last few were crazy as we went from chaos in a fairly grubby house to holiday ready.

From this

To this

(Although it looks like no one is speaking, they actually were lining up nicely for food. 😉)

To this by the time went to bed:

No point in wasting all that “clean”!

Here’s another great shot from Wednesday night –

Yup, Allie Cat was watching TV. She loves Hallmark’s Happy Yule Log, watches the kittens and puppies very carefully in case they escape the TV and come into her house. Like watches them intently like that for hours. Pretty funny. We taped it in case she needs entertaining later this week.

Well, as much fun as it is visiting with you, I have to go stir the turkey broth and go hang out and knit. I already did some spinning today so I can cross that off, too.

Today is the day I STOP being productive!

So far today I have:

played with the cats
scooped the pool and then – drum roll –
swam in the pool
floated in the pool reading the poor magazine I keep hauling out there
gone blog crawling
done a bit of crocheting
watched NCIS reruns

and here’s what I plan to do with the rest of the day
cook dinner on the grill
float in the pool
sit on the deck
knit
crochet
sew

I love holidays.

Happy 2013!

I don’t usually like holidays in the middle of the week – but I have to say this extra “Sunday” is quite nice. Of course, I won’t like the extra “Monday” tomorrow. The price, I know.

We started the morning with no crying kittens! It is like they finally figured out that if the alarm doesn’t go off, the moms don’t have to get up at 4:30. I sure hope they really learned this, that it is not just a fluke.

A’s back has recovered from all the shoveling on Friday, so she celebrated by doing some more – but the easy stuff. She shoveled off the two decks while I went back to work on the driveway. The snow is still light and fluffy, so it is easier than it could be, but still amazingly tiring. I got a good part of the door yard cleaned out, enough that one of our cars can easily get closer to the house. Still cursing the snowblower that won’t start, I cleaned up a lot of the edges from where we had snow piled from shoveling and plowing. More to do, but I figure I will hack away at it. Of course, it is about to get bitter cold and I will regret not going back out this afternoon to finish it. Except that…

I went to the craft room! Oh, what joy to have really free time up here.

I worked on a patchwork quilt table runner I started this past week, and found I had enough left overs to also make two placemats. I do need to go get batting and backing material, but otherwise, I am in good shape. The runner is all put together, and the strips are sorted out for the place mats. They need ironing and seaming, that won’t take long this weekend.

I also played with the cricut cartridges A got me for Christmas, and made a thank you note to send off to Mom.

All in all it was fun. Now I think I will head into the living room to watch a movie with A and work on my knitting. maybe take a few photos of the works in progress.

I love winter days. Especially the ones where I don’t have to go anywhere!

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