We survived!

My niece and I had fun and no struggles! Yea! There was lots of cooking and dishes, but also, spinning (by E) and sewing (by E) and knitting (by me) and swimming (by both of us.) She made masks for seven dolls and one for me, and spun this yarn

She did really well for only her second time spinning, and her first time was last November.

I didn’t realize it, but this was the longest she had ever been away from her parents. All three of them did really well!

While she was here, I finished knitting my shawl, and yesterday after she left, I blocked it. I love it! It is so soft and drapes so nicely.

Today I was pretty tired! I lay low, did a bit of spinning and knitting. Just got back in the rhythm of being home.

Tomorrow will be busier, I have to take the truck in for servicing, do the grocery shopping, and get home in time for knitting by zoom at 1. Back to normal activities! Vacation toon is almost over. 😢 The week just flew!

No apologies or excuses

Who knows why I haven’t been on WordPress lately? I intend to, and then don’t. But I am here now.

Life is going on – we seem to keep ourselves occupied. We are both still fully employed, which is lovely. Except for the occasional bout of what I call pandemic envy, wondering what it is like to have endless hours at home with no outside demands, I am pretty satisfied with things as they have evolved. We do the errands that need doing, occasionally have a socially distant family gathering (one coming up on Sunday), and the crazy hours spent zooming are also spent knitting.

I have decided to focus on spinning this summer. It doesn’t mean I am spinning tons or every day, but that I am making sure that I spin at least once a week. There are some projects I want to spin the yarn for, and it won’t happen if I don’t sit at the wheel. So far I am more than halfway through 15 ounces of merino silk blend, and I love the yarn it is making! I hope to get enough for a sweater – maybe a short sleeved one? but am sure there will be enough for a vest.

That doesn’t mean I am not knitting – I am – holy cow, I am knitting all the time! I have 7 WIPs, which is about 4 too many, but I am rotating through them, and I know that suddenly I will have a bunch of finishes. My job will be to resist casting on 1:1 for finishes… 🙂

I have only one cast on that I am dreaming about, so that is good. If When I finish three things, then I think I will allow myself to cast on Steel Creek, with the yarn from my frogged Volition. I really do want a red pullover, so I am motivated to make it work.

The yard is looking as straggly as usual, given that we have no lawn and never mow, I should not be surprised, right? The pool is in really good shape, so much better than last year, thankfully. I will be needing it later this week when suddenly it will be summer. I have planted more veggies than normal, and have some seeds I really need to get in this weekend. And a few flowers to make it pretty. But I have not really been motivated to do a lot of yard work this spring. This is when I have the pandemic envy. If I was home all day, I could spend a few minutes here and there, and it would look amazing, right? But spending half an hour once a week does not have the same affect.

We intended to rip off the front deck and redo it in a smaller foot print, with a terrace at the foot of it, but that is a job where I am the yeoman, and the foreman isn’t in to it, it seems. I will keep bringing it up gently as in “Do you want to start on deck demo this weekend?” and eventually it will happen.

We have been spending time each weekend dealing with next winter’s pellets. We got 5 tons, and put one ton a weekend into the cellar. It has been lovely weather for this, cool and clear, unlike our usual MO which is to get the darned things in August and September and have to stow them in the hottest days of the year. We have one ton to go, and it is supposed to be hot this weekend, so we might not do it until the following weekend. We have time, thankfully.

Other than that, life is pretty boring around here – no bread baking or fancy cooking, just spending time with sticks and string and wheel and fluff. With the occasional few minutes at the sewing machine (that is all I can stand) working on a skirt and some masks.

Now I will go and read to see what you all have been up to.

End of vacation…and how I did on that list!

  • The weekend is over, and it went pretty much as planned. My knitting group meets via Zoom every Saturday for a couple of hours… and every few weeks my mom, sister, cousins, and aunts meet on Zoom. That was this week, too, so lots of time sitting in front of the computer!
  • And it took two days to wrap up that Friday list…

    • hook up the pool filter so the rain we get stays in the pool.

    Well, I worked at it but clearly something isn’t tight enough, because the water level is unchanged, and it rained! Hard! I will double check it all again on later today.

      Also, call the pool store, hoping that we can figure out how to get the water tested and chemicals bought.

    I did this, they were open, so I masked up and got it done.

    • If that means I have to go out, I will do the week’s shopping while I am out.

    It did, and I did. Wondering why so many people think that they don’t need masks, and the one way aisles aren’t for them?

    • And drive through Dunkin for a free donut.

    And it was a good treat!

    • And go to the PO.

    No squishy packages this week. 🥴

    • Spin for half an hour.

    I spun for at least that long every day this weekend, and my bobbin is getting full. Soon I will be plying!

    • Pick up the last weekly clue for the Romi Hill MKAL shawl.

    It came out around 1, and I worked on it steadily all weekend. Finished the bind off Sunday night at bedtime. I will block it this week and share FO photos eventually.

    • Give all my other knitting WIPs some love…
  • I managed this! Icy Shores got lots of love while I zoomed, I passed the halfway mark.
  • The mittens got some love, the thumb gusset is on waste yarn, and it all fits back on my tiniest circs (8 inches).
  • The sweater got a few rows of neck edging done, and the Estonian Lace MKAL got a few rows done. Even the Ocean Current wrap for my customer got some attention between Romi MKAL rows.
    • Lastly on this list is sewing masks for us.

    I did make half a dozen on Saturday morning while A was out of the house getting her remote starter installed in her new truck. Did I mention we bought a new truck this week? She loves her truck, but pounds on the miles. So when the stars aligned, that Toyota is offering 0 percent financing, and the trade in value was about double what we owed, we went for it. The “old” truck had under 100,000 miles but wouldn’t for long, so it was now or never. Payments are the same, truck had only 25 miles, interest rate is now zero. Her birthday was last week, she is quite pleased with her present!

    So that is pretty much how the weekend went… lots and lots of shawl knitting and a few other crafty things.

    Now I am headed upstairs to go back to work. How was your weekend? And what are you doing today?

    A Friday list for May Day

    Strange as it might seem, I am on vacation this week. We booked several vacation weeks at the beginning of the year, thinking it would be, ya know, another year like all the previous ones… taxes would wind up in April, I would be exhausted. A would be about to launch into her busy season, but still able to break away for a few days of time off.

    Who knew?

    Who knew AARP would shut the tax program down literally overnight? And that the rest of my job would be deemed essential? I am thankful for that, but March was very confusing and stressful. I suspect I am not alone in that feeling! A’s town offices reacted to March differently, some were happy to have her come in on her usual schedule, others wouldn’t let her in the parking lot. So there was a bit of scrambling to figure out how she could work remotely (yea, TeamViewer!) and a bit of anxious planning on our part as we figured out budgets for different scenarios.

    But we were so lucky, so very lucky, that both of us were able to keep working. And she was able to keep working safely, no public interaction, socially distant while at work.

    I had to work harder at being socially distant for those first few weeks of everything shutting down. I put a line of tape down in my office and asked people not to cross it. They thought I was nuts. I made cloth masks and wore them to the office. They told me I inly needed to wear them “in public.” Hello! What are all you people if not public? And I chafed at my boss saying he needed me to be in the office every day. Really, I do grantwriting and communications. I get that our industry is essential, but not that it was essential for me to physically be present.

    Then the governor issued stay at home orders for April, and I was able to convince him. So for the month, I worked at home 4 days a week and went in the office one day a week.

    A works at home a few days a week, and we quickly discovered that our lovely open floor plan is not particularly conducive to two of us working from home! Let’s just say that it is good that we have closets. Many a phone call has been taken in ours.

    So when this week arrived, I was ready for a break. A had filled most of the week with consulting; back in March when things were uncertain, it seemed prudent to maximize income. That means I have been home alone. How sad! 😜

    I have been puttering and doing lots of knitting and spinning, and a little sewing and weaving. I have tackled a seasonal chore a day, but not anything too time consuming. One day it was cleaning the bathroom fan, another it was washing the bedroom windows. I have enjoyed my staycation, but the new reality is creeping in, and I want to go to work Monday. Even though I love being home, something is seeping in…anxiety because of all the people who gave no choice? An awareness of the need for human interaction? I am not sure what it is. So here it is Friday, and I have a bunch of things I want to get done. I thought I would share the list with you!

    • The seasonal chore for today is to hook up the pool filter so the rain we get stays in the pool.
      Also, call the pool store, hoping that we can figure out how to get the water tested and chemicals bought.
    • If that means I have to go out, I will do the week’s shopping while I am out.
    • And drive through Dunkin for a free donut.
    • And go to the PO.
    • Spin for half an hour. I did that yesterday and liked seeing the progress.
    • Pick up the last weekly clue for the Romi Hill MKAL shawl. It usually releases mid-day. I am totally loving this knit, but not the online group. I won’t do an MKAL with that group again, though I will knit more of her patterns, they are lovely… and have charts as well as written directions. It takes time to do that, I really appreciate it.
    • Give all my other knitting WIPs some love… the latest monthly clue for the Estonian Lace scarf came out this week, I started that as soon as it did. A few rows a day keeps me up to date on that clue. There is also a lace wrap I am knitting for a customer, I do a few repeats a day on that. And a sweater I started for myself that I try to work on each day. Then there is another lace and beaded scarf I have going. Thankfully that one is at a stage where I have the pattern memorized, so it is the one I work in when only mindless knitting will do. And then there are some mittens for A for Christmas. I am about a quarter of the way through the first one, but I have time. 🙄
    • Lastly on this list is sewing masks for us. Restrictions are easing, but with the freedom to move comes the need for more masks. I hope to bang out several today.

    By the time I get through all of this, A should be home from work and the weekend can begin! Weekends are so different now, aren’t they? We kind of like the freedom from social activities, but miss seeing the people. Still, we are grateful to both be introverts with hobbies…

    Well, I had better get up and moving, that list won’t do itself.

    Just my cup of tea

    I finished my second Milky Oolong shawl today. Blocked, ends woven in, truly finished. I love the finished shawl, but probably shouldn’t have done two in a row, it got really boring toward the end.

    But it was worth it.

    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…

    A Finished object!

    As promised, an actual photo of something done!

    This is the finished Japanese Sampler Scarf MKAL (pattern here) that I participated in this year. A new section of the pattern was released every other month. It was a challenging pleasure to knit. The yarn is Swan’s Island natural dyed fingering weight merino. The stitch definition of this yarn was perfect for this pattern. But the color differences between skeins of the same dye lot were very disappointing. I didn’t notice it until way too late in the project. On the advice of my friend Debbie, the magician behind the Purple Fleece, I over-dyed the finished project, aiming for a nice light blue. While it didn’t completely eradicate the difference between the two ends, it certainly reduced it to almost nothing.

    I gifted this to my new SIL, and the look on her face when she opened it made it all worthwhile.

    If you think this sounds like an interesting project, I encourage you to pick up the pattern, and check out all the FO’s on Ravelry. And they are doing another scarf this year, this one using Estonian lace designs. You can check this one out here. Join the fun!

    Uninspired

    Or maybe that title should be uninspiring?

    I know I have not written in a while, though I have been good about reading everyone else’s posts, I haven’t been inspired to write one of my own.  Not sure what that’s about, because I have been busy!

    Busy at work as always, I don’t see that ending any time before spring.  It is good to be needed, and better to be busy at work than bored.  Or so I tell myself.

    Busy at home, though it is obvious that I haven’t been busy cleaning!  So what have I been doing?

    Well, I did get the pool put to bed a couple of weeks ago – though that turned out to be a pretty easy chore, it was a sad one. I still stand and skim leaves from the edges, hoping to keep it pretty clear while I can.

    The gardens are still there, kind of in shock that we haven’t yet had a killing frost.  the tomato plants are still blooming, and it makes me feel sorry for them.  I have picked what few tomatoes there were, they are on the window sill, I hope thinking about turning red. I need to plant the garlic, but it is going in where the tomatoes are now…

     

    But mostly, I have been knitting.  I am cranking out hats for a craft fair in November.  I have done several plain beanies with some fun variegated yarn I got when Classic Elite closed shop, and some helix striped ones with scraps and bits left over.   I have a few more I want to make with more interesting stitches, and some ornaments, etc, for the fair.

    I also have finished, at last, the green cactus baby blanket that was a custom order from a  friend, and I still have to knit her a little pink dress,  Her son had a baby girl a few weeks ago and her daughter will have one in a few weeks, so she has kept my needles very busy!

    I did finish a shawl, Odyssey, by Joji Locatelli.  It was an easy, fun knit.  I did it with some handspun I had, not the correct weight called for in the pattern, but it was easy to modify the pattern to suit the yarn.  It is bright and colorful and I look forward to wearing it this winter. Here it is blocked and drying, I will try to remember to get a truly finished photo for you someday.

    I have put the Japanese Scarf aside since mid-August, and just recently started working on it again, so I am quite behind.  Still working on the clue that came out in August, and of course, the October clue was released  I would like to get back on track with that before the December clue drops.  that’s the last one, and then this very long, intricate scarf will be done.  I am glad I did it, it has been fun learning the new twists and the way things can work, but I am not sure I want to do a year long KAL again.  I like to get things done!

    I also cast on a sweater, Patty Lyons’ Volition.  It is really a video class on knitting the sweater, she has all sorts of video tutorials and worksheets to hep teach how to make a sweater fit, and the construction on this one is quite interesting.  I am making a dark red one.  I was pretty sure it was a pullover, but I keep wondering if I shouldn’t make the cardigan version.  I don’t have to decide for many inches on tiny needles, so I will give it more thought. I think the KAL ends early in December, I am unlikely to meet that deadline, but I will try.

    Other crafting is also happening, very slowly.  I am working on some weaving – more mysterious rectangles and squares that I hope will be napkins but might be dish towels or dust rags.  They are pretty, anyway, soft dark blue and periwinkle blue.  This time I am playing with color interaction between the warp and weft.  I warped the loom with alternating colors (that was a darned chore!  If it doesn’t turn out STUNNINGLY, I won’t be doing that again!) and for the weft, I did wide stripes of each color, and now am doing a section where I alternate colors on each pass.   It is amazing how different the two sections look.  I haven;t worked on that in a while, as it is upstairs, and knitting happens downstairs.

    Also upstairs is the sewing machine.  I cut out a simple a-line skirt (100 Acts of Sewing pattern) and knit the side seams together.  then it needed ironing, so there it sits on the ironing board.  I will get to it soon, though I want to wear it, it is a pretty dark teal color, in a wool/poly blend crepe fabric.  I think part of what is stopping me from doing the easy finishing on it is the realization that it frays easily, and I should do more to finish the seams than I already have done (zigzag stitched, and pinked.) I should really finish them with some bias tape.  I know how to make it, and have some that will work, but it just isn’t calling my name.

    One reason nothing is calling my name right now is that I cane down with a wicked cold on Saturday morning.  I tried to listen to my body, and rested a lot this weekend, drank fluids.  Took Monday off.  Went to work Tuesday but came home by noontime, exhausted.  Today I did a work at home day, and I hope that is all it needed to get the message that the germ is unwelcome.  I really have to go to work tomorrow and Friday, we have a lot going on over the next two weeks that I am not prepared for, completely.

    One of the things that happened this weekend that was hindered by the cold was that we had three tons of pellets delivered, and they had to be brought inside.  We did one ton the week before, but still had more to do.  A was determined that we get all three tons inside and be one with it.  When I tell you she was determined, I am not kidding.  Our normal method is to bring a half a ton inside (that’s 25 40-pound bags), rest for half an hour or so, then get those bags stacked down cellar, using a slide she made to make it easier to get them downstairs.  then another rest, then bring in the other half of the ton, rest, load in the cellar. Doing this by ourselves, we are usually comfortable doing a ton a day, two if we really push.

    She got all three tons in on Saturday, practically single handed.  I helped with the first round, but it was clearly too much, after our rest, my muscles were still shaking.  So I helped get them in the cellar, and I helped outside by picking them up and handing them to her, which helped her a lot, but she carried them all in.  We still have one ton that needs to get downstairs, but they are all in the house and that feels darned good. I did try to get her to stop after the first ton, because I felt so guilty, but so sick, too.  I thought they could wait another week, but she didn’t want them looming over us any longer. So they aren’t.  They might be tripping us at every turn, but they are in the house, and we will be warm enough this winter.

    Other “exciting” news is that my niece E the younger is coming for an overnight on Thanksgiving weekend!  She will be 13, and has asked for years.  But for a variety of reasons, it never really worked out.  I hope nothing messes it up this time, either.  We drive to get her on the day after Thanksgiving, and her parents will pick her up the following day.  Here is what she wants to do while she is here:  Learn to spin.  Weave.  Dye yarn.  All I can say is that her parents had better come late in the day!  But if it works out and she has fun, I feel pretty sure that we can repeat the experiment someday.  She has lots of sports and music and school things, so it is hard to find a time when she can come, and we can make the whole transfer thing work logistically.  But I know it can be done, because I made it work with her cousins for many years, driving round trips to Connecticut to fetch and deliver them.  So driving to Portland should be workable.  🙂

    That’s about it – sorry to ramble on so – thanks for hanging in there so patiently! And sorry for the lack of photos of things, I am trying to stretch my WordPress storage space.  Avoiding sorting out if I want to pay them for this space, and if so what plan?  Sigh.

    Just plodding along here, nothing to see!

    I feel like a bad blogger, but there isn’t really anything to blog ABOUT.

    The knitting in progress moves along slowly (one baby blanket in a cactus design, knit in dull green, one Odyssey shawl from brightly colored hand spun, one Japanese MKAL scarf in a soft and lovely blue, one pair of self striping socks) all very boring at the moment.

    The weaving is also a little boring at the moment. I warped it so all the slots are blue and the holes are purple. Now I am experimenting with weft to see how it all looks. Kind of interesting to me, but to you it will just look like half woven cloth at the moment.

    The spinning is duller than boring as I haven’t spun much all summer. Sigh.

    And nothing else exciting happening at the moment, we are both working a lot.

    But in a few weeks Mom and I go to Knit East, and I am looking forward to that. 😊

    I hope your lives are more interesting!

    Labor Day is NOT the end of summer!

    Especially for those of us without kids! It’s just a nice long weekend.

    And it was the last of my 4 day weekends this summer. This week is my last 4 day week… to until October. 😉

    I had a nice weekend, too. Friday A had to work in Bath, so I tagged along. Mom, sister C, and niece E met me for an excursion to Halcyon Yarn, followed by lunch at Mae’s Bakehouse. I was able to explore the weaving yarns, but I didn’t get any. I can always order them if I need some. I answered 1000 questions E had about everything she saw as she followed my around. Together we chose some basic gray Bartlett yarn for a sweater for me, and she showed me colors she likes and colors she doesn’t. And we talked about her sewing projects, which was fun. She makes flags, seeing by hand with embroidery floss. She chooses the flag based on colors she has and likes. Last year we all got a Peru 🇵🇪 for Christmas. Who knows what we will get this year?

    When they left, I parked down by the river and knit and enjoyed the gorgeous breeze while I waited for A to get done for the day.

    Saturday was a usual day, chores in the morning and knitting group in the afternoon. I was able to share my Durrow shawl with them, and also another FO, these baby leggings.

    I have cast on to replace these, of course, so have started Odyssey shawl, by Joji Locatelli, in some of my handspun; and a baby blanket. My friend B is going to be a grandmother again this fall, both of her children are expecting daughters, where there have only been boys. So she has ordered a few things. I have one dress and one blanket to get done by the end of October.

    Sunday and Monday we chilled at home. A hasn’t had two days in a row off all summer. She was nearing exhausted, so slow days were good for her. I did a tiny amount of pool vacuuming and warped the loom for more experiments. And finally redid the bind off on my Hankshaw pullover. I was so worried about it being not tight that it resembled a ruffle. It’s better now. And did lots of knitting on the blanket and my Japanese stitch scarf. I am far behind on the August clue, I hope to get caught up by October 1.

    I also did a tiny bit of dyeing yarn, over-dyeing some gray Briggs and Little yarn that might work in concert with the new gray yarn. I had hoped they would work well as they were, but the grays were too close. So dark reddish pink it is!

    And I committed to doing my one craft fair again this fall, so there will be lots of knitting of small things like hats and cowls and ornaments.

    I think that’s it for how the weekend went… now it’s Tuesday and a work day and so I should get going. Sigh.