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.

Knit East 2019

Last weekend Mom and I headed east to St Andrews by the Sea, NB, CA. There is something that feels adventurous when you need your passport to go away for the weekend. On one hand, you are just crossing a river, not far from home. On the other, once you do that, time changes, the dollars look like play money, all spelling rules change, French is on all signs, and people speak with a distinctly different accent. Oh, and all speed and distance road signs are in kilometers. The landscape is the same, but everything feels different. Adventurous!

We traveled very uneventfully the 2.5 hours from home to hotel on Friday, arriving in mid-afternoon at the beautiful Algonquin Hotel. We have seen it on past trips to St Andrews, but never stayed there before. It really is as elegant and comfortable as one would expect, definitely lives up to its reputation. Our room was at the end of a wing on the top floor, and except for the hike to everything, was perfect. Two comfortable beds, two comfortable chairs, plenty of room. The bathroom was small but so well arranged, better than most in that it wasn’t dominated by a giant marble counter. On the whole, we were quite happy with the place.

After we got settled we checked out the marketplace. I was kind of amazed at how they fit everything in. There weren’t a huge lot of vendors, but there was an abundance of yarn and fiber and knitting related things. As nearly as I could tell, most of the vendors were independent businesses from eastern Canada. The end of the room was turned over to Cricket Cove, the yarn store hosting the event. They had set up an entire yarn shop! Not all of that yarn was local, but it was all good.

My plan was to just scope it out and shop later, but I couldn’t resist a few skeins for a shawl. 😉

Then Mom and I headed back to the room for a nap before supper. It turns out that knitters had invaded the place, and we couldn’t get in to the pub for supper , so we ordered room service. Probably the wait was the same, but it was quieter in our room!

Saturday morning brought our first class, lecture style with Stephanie Pearl-McFee. She was as wonderful as everyone says, smart and humorous. I can’t remember the name of the class, but she walked us through selecting yarn, understanding different yarn characteristics and fibers, right through choosing a pattern, swatching, knitting a sweater, making it up and blocking it. All in three hours. As she said, once you get the knitting out of the way, you can get through a lot more material. We already know how to knit!

I did pick up some useful tips, and never will skimp on swatching again. 😉. Mom took lots of notes, and now understands why I always make her swatch and wash it before I will do the math on her patterns for her. So that was good!

After class we went to town for lunch, and to the grocery store for snacks for supper. And while there we found a treasure. A big display of Briggs and Little yarn, at half the price of the marketplace version! Naturally, I got a sweater’s quantity. They didn’t have the color I wanted, but they had natural, and I can dye it. I never thought I would get a sweater’s quantity of wool for $45 Canadian (I think about $35 US) but I did! I should have done what my friend A did and cleaned out their natural. But I was remembering the marketplace and wanted to save some cash for that.

Mom dropped me there on the return trip and it was much less crowded this time. I managed to buy a couple of amazing skeins of sock yarn. The dyer uses song birds for inspiration on her colors. It was very hard to choose just two! I eventually settled down to think about what colors I needed, and got a skein each of cardinal and ruby throated hummingbird.

I was tempted by so many things, but really was trying to behave, since I have a lot of yarn and plans already.

That’s all the yarn I bought, plus the swag. Not bad!

Saturday night they held a fashion show, which normally we would have skipped, but friend A had told us it was fun and there were valuable door prizes. She wasn’t kidding! There must have been 100, everything from darning eggs to Lucy Neatby videos to sweater quantities of yarn to complete sets of Addi and knitters pride needles! Naturally, we won nothing, but A’s friend did win a sweater’s quantity of yarn!

The fashion part was interesting. I liked seeing things knit up, and there was one shawl that I added to my favorites, for someday. Marianas is a lovely thing, I nearly went back to the marketplace for a kit, then realized I probably have yarn for it in stash. Such restraint!

It was fun, but a little overwhelming for these introverts, and it kept us up way past bedtime.

Sunday morning we had another class with Stephanie, this one on color theory. Oh, my, I learned a lot! How to use the color wheel, and be able to tell what goes with what. Again, she made it loads of fun to learn about analogous and contiguous colors, primary, secondary, tertiary, etc. The time flew!

Mom and I got ourselves checked out and loaded up, had one last lunch in town, and then headed back across the river, to a place where we know what time it is, the money is all one color, there is an “h” in “schoodic”, and the speed limit makes sense. It felt good to be in more familiar territory, but sad that such a wonderful weekend had to end.

Writing with links instead of photos

We can see how it goes, right?

I decided that if I can’t post photos here, I can post links to my Ravelry project pages.  Please let me know in the comments if that got you to the photos. So far, Ravelry hasn’t put any limits on the photos we can post there!

 

I finished the Liverpool socks for my BIL, they are so bright and fun!  I am sure he will hate them, but he will appreciate them for what they are.  and maybe appreciate them even more on a cold morning.

I have been cranking away on my Hankshaw pullover.  I am loving how these colors look!  Of course, I have loads of each of the 6 colors left, not sure how much of the natural I will have left, but there maybe some hat knitting in my future with the leftovers.  Twice leftover, as they come originally from a shawl…

Durrow continues to plod along, but I have a motivating plan now.  First off, when I finished the previous square, I got a reward of casting on a sweater.  Now one of my Whorls and Purls friends gives me assignments each week.  So far so good, I do about 6-7 rows a week. At that pace, it will take several more weeks to finish the square.  But I know when the rows get shorter, I can do more in a week.  And so I am plotting and planning my next cast on reward. I am thinking of June, in either white and light blue, or light blue and navy. Yes, I know it isn’t a two colored sweater, but don;t you think it would be pretty with the lace in a different color? Of course, it might not be that at all.  there is no telling, and I have a few weeks to go before I need to know.  I think I will make a rule that Hankshaw has to be done also, if my next reward is a sweater.  I don’t want too many of them on the needles.

Then there is Biophilia. I plan to cast it on no later than July 1, joining in a knit along, which many of my Whorls and Purls friends are doing also.  But I think this wont; be tied to any reward system.  I have wanted to knit it for quite a while, so the time is right.  I have the yarn and beads, but Fiber Frolic is in a few weeks, so that whole thought might change.  They have yarn and beads there.  🙂

I also finished Droplet, it is drying now.  Hopefully it will dry and I can get a nice pretty photo of it before too long, but the weather is so awful, endless gray.

And did I show you what FINALLY came off my loom last week?  Fabric!  Not perfect, but usable.  It was intended for place mats, but still not sure it won’t be dish towels…

That’s it in knitting world…

 

In real life, today is one of our anniversaries.  We have two, because we had a lovely commitment ceremony ten years ago, not ever suspecting that we could ever legally wed.  But just a few years later, we could, so our other anniversary is on the 19th, 4 years later.

And I will say that BOTH of those days were sunny and bright and warm!  Imagine, in May, not needing winter clothes.  Glad we aren’t having a big outdoor party this year – we would freeze.  I think that flowering things are about a week or so behind this year, because the cherry trees were almost gone by for our ceremony in 2013, and they haven’t even begun to bloom yet.  Everything is slowly coming along though, I know they will bloom eventually.  It is an exceptionally good forsythia year, though!  It must have just been a slightly warmer winter this year.  Also, lilacs that have never before bloomed are covered in buds.  So maybe Spring will happen eventually?

I think that is all that I know right now –  thanks for your patience while I sort out how to share photos!  And do let me know if you were able to navigate to them.

 

 

 

Knitting year in review

Thankfully Ravelry does all the bookkeeping for me!

I thought I would complete 18 projects this year. I remember thinking that would be 6 pairs of sox, three sweaters and an assortment of hats and shawls.

I actually finished 27 knit projects!

The sweaters

Really did three! Of course, I thought it would be three for me, but babies need sweaters, too.

(I am sure I have a photo of the last one somewhere, but can’t find it now!)

Socks:

Socks were not flying off the needles as they have in the past.

Again with the baby booties. 😉

Then shawls – there some epic ones finished!

And an amazing one a year in progress… maybe I will finish it in 2019!

Lots of scarves. I dislike knitting scarves, they go on forever! But I did several this year.

And cowls… lots of them! Don’t have photos of them all, even!

Hats are another category that I did lots of but didn’t get photos of them all:

And what do I dislike making even more than scarves? Mittens! So you know these were a work of love!

And a pair of mitts – not so disliked, but only made one pair this year.

Then there were a few special projects:

A group project, a blanket for a dear woman going through a rough time. I knit a few squares, but was especially proud of this one.

It’s sideways, don’t know why!

And some ornaments for Christmas this year:

That pretty well covers the projects.

Now, for the part that surprises me. Of these, only ten remain in my possession. So many knits have gone out into the world, finding new homes with people I love.

Next year’s challenge is set at 25, but I might up it to 30 to give myself a stretch. I still want to do three sweaters… one is on the needles, another is in my head. And socks are always on the needles, but who knows what else will happen?

I’ll do a spinning update in another post. I think it will surprise you!

It’s been a long time!

Sorry to be away so long, I have no excuse.  Just lazy!

Last week I wound up the TDF (tour de fleece, for you non-spinners).  I was pretty sure I was done on Friday, finished all the Three Waters Farm fiber I had, and as I was on their team, what we spun was to be at least 50% their fiber.  But I was having such fun spinning that I just kept going and spun one more braid, not TWF, so not in my official count, but still fun and pretty. I tried a traditional 4 ply.  Never did that before. It is an interesting yarn, quite firm and dense.

So here is all my spinning.  I figured up the yardage, and it is about .9 miles spun in just about three weeks.

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And the blue that I finished up on Sunday – sorry for the poorly lit photo – not sure what the phone was doing with colors…the blues are brighter than that, and the counter is gray. Go figure.

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I picked out a few more braids to spin up, but haven’t started them, time to get back to knitting.  Durrow has been sadly neglected, so I am plugging away at it.  I love how the medium purple is looking with the navy.  Can’t wait to link it to the squares done with the darker purple.

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That is really is for crafting since I have seen you last.  finished but haven’t blocked the frieze cowl.  I missed my window of dry days this week, we are back to the muggies now.

I have been trying to work in the yard a bit here and there, but the weather has been so awful to work with, I just do five minutes some times and can’t see for the sweat pouring off my head.  I did manage to get this to happen, with very little effort on my part – put the plant on the porch and water it now and then, and voila – a bright summery miracle!

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I planted sweet peas and morning glories beneath the trellis that you can see, and one on the other side of the porch.  On this side, that gets morning and mid day sun, they are literally 2 inches high and haven’t budged in weeks.  I water them, truly I do.

On the other side of the porch they did the same thing until about a week ago, now they are growing like mad, and have started climbing the trellis.  That side gets afternoon sun.  I am hopeful for some pretty, sweet smelling flowers there soon.

In front, I am working on clearing weeds and putting down soil and mulch along the outside of the new path.  I have literally gotten about 4 feet done. Many more feet to go.  Sigh.

The pool effort comes along.  I feel like I am finally making progress, though there is still al lot of sediment in the bottom that stirs up when ever it is touched, I think the amount is being reduced each time I get in and stir it up, them run the filter. I do that about twice a week, though with the weather so awful and hot again, I might do it more this week. It should be clean by September!  I am definitely getting the bigger, more powerful filter and vacuum for next year.

Other than that, I have been working. A lot again this week, enough that with only 2 hours of vacation time, I have Friday completely off.  I love when that happens, as you know! A is taking classes all week, culminating with a certification test Friday, so she is studying all of her waking hours.  We are not very exciting!

Last weekend we had a visit from nephew D and his wife A, they have recently relocated from Colorado to Vermont, and are taking advantage of the summer good weather to come to Maine fairly often to visit family while the traveling is easy. He is a teacher, so has been enjoying his summer vacation. It was great to see them and hear more about their lives and work.

This weekend looks to be a nice one – Whorls and Purls on Saturday, and then we are meeting Mom and B for supper on Saturday night.  We will go to a local seafood place and they will all have lobster.  I am not sure if I will have crabs or scallops, but I won’t have lobster, that is for sure.  🙂

And with Friday off, you know you get a bit of a list!

  • Laundry  – I will get it rolling, I am sure A will wind up finishing it Sunday.
  • Bathrooms – the darned things need cleaning every week and it is annoying.
  • Grocery shopping – I usually go on Saturday after knitting, but it has been really awful there the past few weeks, so I am hoping that Friday will be better. Maybe the morning?
  • Hair cut if there is no line.
  • Post office – while I am out, what is one more stop?
  • As much front yard gardening as I can get done before the sun is overhead and too hot.

That should be enough chores to get me hot and cranky, so I will jump in the pool to cool off, then come inside for knitting and spinning on the porch for the rest of the day. I want to make good progress on the Durrow square, and then start spinning the next thing. I should go upstairs and start cleaning and organizing in the craft room, but not sure I will have the energy.  Between work and the heat, I find that we are both just drained and don’t have a lot of energy for anything that doesn’t absolutely have to be done.  But maybe I will do as my friend Deb suggests and tackle one small section at a time.

Also, I have to think of something fun and celebratory to do for A after her test. She will be tired, it is 8 hours long, so the celebration can’t require expending energy.  Maybe I will bake her a cake or something.  Got any good ideas?

What are you guys doing to celebrate summer this weekend?

 

 

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.

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  • 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?