I finished something!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

This getting old really stinks.

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It’s the photo thing

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

I will keep you posted.  Promise!

 

 

Weekend plans in June

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I did finish a hat this week

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

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

About that list…

I am happy to report that I touched on everything on my Friday list. But I did not complete the things I intended to.

The curtain rods and I had a major argument, and I did not have the tools available to win. Tools are A’s domain, so she will provide me with a drill bit in the proper size and drill with a charged battery today. Then I will hang it. Then I will finish the curtains. I did press them to open up the last bit of sewing I had done, and finished the raw edge at the top. All ready for the rod pocket.

I did get the hose for the pool, hope to get the filter installed today, now that it has stopped raining. 😢

I did go to the grocery store and did bake the cake. And remembered that I meant to buy a cheap bottle of wine and why… we don’t drink wine and thus have no tall glass bottles on which to hang the angel food cake to cool. I fussed a bit, then wrapped a paper towel around a wooden spoon and stuck it in a pitcher, with water to weight it. Not perfect but it worked.

I did fix the berries and make the second most favorite frosting for the cake.

I did get to spin a tiny bit, and knit, but most of the day turned out to be spent in the kitchen.

Made some delicious chicken with potatoes and asparagus, as first read about on Nothingbutknit’s post Monday Minutiae a few weeks ago (can’t seem to link from the phone), and it was so yummy! Will make it again, as soon as our asparagus pops from the ground.

Forgot to stop at the PO while I was out. Who needs more bills anyway?

Here are some knitting progress photos for you so you know you are in the right place!

I am not posting this until I have photos

So who knows how old this news will be by the time I hit “publish”!

I have not been doing anything new or dramatic, but I do feel like small amounts of consistent attention is resulting in progress that shows.

In the yard, I have the back bed all ready to settle in and await some fall and spring planting. I want to put in some sweet peas next spring to offer a bit of shade on the porch, and some oriental poppies for their amazing color.  And I think I still want a dwarf lilac in this bed, but I don’t think I want to move the one I have, which means I should get another one, right?

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In front, I have been working on it a bit at a time, and I worked last night until I ran out of mulch.  Tonight I will get another ten bags, which MIGHT be enough for what is left. Not sure I have enough newspaper, but I can always buy a few weekend papers, right?  I have figured out what I want in this bed, but it might not get it this year.  I want some delphiniums, daylilies of different colors, hollyhocks near the porch, and maybe some oriental poppies.  I am not sure how I will do this, as in where to put the things that go dormant so the garden doesn’t look awful when they go by… maybe just have the day lilies interspersed among everything? The hollyhocks I can grow from seed, the rest I will purchase plants, so it might take a few years before I have everything I need.

The pile of dirt still looms, even though I have taken many wagon loads of it to other places.  Need to get it all used up and covered before that darned crabgrass takes it over and makes it impossible to move.

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It might mean that I actually work on the far future plan of turning this

into a garden space. My plan was to cut it way back this fall, cover with heavy plastic or really thick paper, and mulch, and let it sit for a LONG time – like maybe a year.  I don’t trust blackberries and sweet ferns to not come right back. So maybe I will put this soil down under the paper and mulch before I cover it up.  It can’t hurt, and it will get the mountain out of the front of the house.  Of course, it will be a lot of work… seems like a fall job.  Which means actually weeding the pile of dirt this summer.  Ye gods.

In the house things are moving along.  I spin at least a little, and often a lot, every day.

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I aim to be ready to ply my second set of bobbins for the big spin no later than Saturday, and when I do that, I will be more than 1/3 of the way through this project.  I thought I would be farther along by now, but I am not, and so what? It won’t go bad.  I just have to persevere and it will happen.  Then I can knit myself a sweater with this lovely stuff. That keeps me spinning away.  It helps that each bobbin is so different from the others.  I think if I was doing this much of all one colorway, it would be hard to stay interested.

Knitting – I decided that doing a little on all my projects was not working for the part of me that likes to see things complete, so I am focusing on one thing at a time.

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First up is the handspun vest, I think I mentioned it in an earlier post.  Even though some days I might only do a row, I try to more than that, and so I am quite close to done.  I have a couple more inches up to the shoulders, then it is finished!  I am thinking this will be done this weekend, since I will take it to Whorls and Purls on Saturday.

Once the vest is done, I will attack the Moon and Sky shawl, as I want to wear it and I want to cast on my next shawl.  In fact, I want to cast on two of them, but I only let myself do one at a time.  This rule does not keep me from swatching for and planning for the shawl after that, just doesn’t let me cast it on. So I will be swatching and planning soon, lol.

The blue striped socks also come along.  I finished up the first sock (except the heel) on Saturday, and cast on the second sock this week.

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Not much lunch time knitting this week, so progress is slow.  But I have until the end of August to finish this pair, and still stay on track for the year.  I don’t see a problem with that.

The pool has been a godsend this week, it is so hot and muggy!

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I have a funny little after work routine now – when I get home, I change into my bathing suit, add sneakers and a hat, do as much gardening as I can stand, water the garden, rinse myself off, shed sneakers and hop in the pool.  Luckily, it hasn’t been buggy!  I am glad neighbors can’t see this crazy lady gardening in her swimsuit, lol.

That means I don’t get in the house to think about knitting or spinning or supper until close to seven , which is not normal for me!  I like to be settled in and knitting or spinning by then, not just wondering what is for supper.  🙂  But summer is a short season, and I am motivated to do this yard work, so as long as I am motivated, I will do this routine.  I hope it pays off with a pretty garden next summer!

A has had a busy several weeks now, with no let up in sight.  This week she actually is away overnight for two nights, which makes everything feel sort of off for both of us.  I will be glad when she gets home! Maybe she will remind me to come in the house sooner so I am not up so late at night knitting and spinning.  🙂

Here’s a pretty daylily I didn’t remember I had, I thought the tall ones were all orange!

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Not Spring yet!

I took this photo this morning, and of course, posted over on Instagram immediately.

Isn’t it interesting?

It’s the pool.

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The beloved swimming pool.

Frozen.

Solid.

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I reached in and pulled a leaf off the surface, and found this great outline of it left behind.

Hard to believe that in a couple of months I will be in the pool scooping leaves out of it.

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Or that a month or so after that, I will be swimming in it for fun.

Right now it is a 20 foot diameter, 3 foot deep block of ice.

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Hard to believe.

But isn’t it pretty?

Oops! Time flew again…

A week slips by…

There was knitting:

seabreeze-seathwaite-finished

Cut that yarn chicken game pretty close – what you see is what was left of the big skein.  I do have a mini skein I am saving for another project, so it would not have been the end of the earth if I needed a bit more, but I am glad I didn’t.  This is the merino/cashmere I spun up a few weeks ago. The pattern is Seathwaite from the Fringe Association, and I love it.  The variegated colors don’t hide the cables as much in real life as they do in this photo, and it fits me perfectly.  The yarn softened up with knitting, who knew?  And I am sure it will even more with washing and wearing.

And spinning:

broad-bill-finished

I finished the Broadbill plied with black, got two skeins, total weight about 5.75 ounces, yardage is just over 350.  The second skein seems to be a bit more like fingering weight than the first, but what amazed me was how much black I had left over!  I first spun two ounces, and plied it with the first two ounces of Broadbill.  I had a lot of black left over (according to my scale the first skein weight 2.625 ounces, which means I only used .625 of the black!) so I just joined the next ounce or so with the leftovers until I filled a bobbin, and plied the second two ounces of Broadbill.  I had a decent amount left on the bobbin (this time, the finished yarn weight about 3.125 ounces, which means I used 1.125 ounces of the black), and I had about an ounce unspun, so I changed my mind about chain plying the leftovers, and just started spinning the remaining ounce on a new bobbin.  I plied those together last night, and got about 70 yards of a nice THIN yarn.  I also chain plied the last bit and got about 15 yards of that. I plied this black stuff a lot tighter than any I have done yet, because I think I am under-plying, in general.  This was almost kinky, but when I washed it, it settle down a  bit. The end result is that I have a nice amount of the broadbill yarn with which to make a hat and hopefully some mitts, and I have a good amount of black to use with it, or with which to do something else entirely.  I am building a collection of mini-skeins, unintentionally – I can’t quite fit 4 oz of plied yarn onto a bobbin, no matter how hard I work at it.  So, I am collecting mini-skeins for a future project – odd scarf?  Crazy quilt afghan?  Who knows.

Last night I started spinning the 1 ounce of BFL roving I dyed a few weeks ago – I love the colors, reminds me of Monet’s paintings.  And I love how differently it is coming out, compared to skeins of yarn I dyed at the same time.  It is really teaching my what I can do with colors and spinning, and how to tell how things will come out.  Colors blend more when they are dyed before spinning.  There is purple on this bobbin that was NOT there on the roving.  🙂 It is also letting me spin VERY skinny!!! And pretty evenly!!!

So, my week!

Friday, A had the day off and I took a half day off. It was hideously hot – close to 90 at our house! Rarely does it get that hot there, thanks to ocean breezes wafting up the river.  And about 110 percent humidity.  We need scuba gear to breathe. So naturally, we did all errands. First up was PO, bottle return, dump, and we stopped for take-out “lupper”.  We made the mistake of going home to eat, and neither of us had the oomph to go back out to the grocery store.  🙂  I went for a swim, and floated around until I felt quite human.  After that, we decided we WOULD go to the grocery store, and were pleasantly surprised at how few people were there – need to remember supper time on Friday is the time to go in summer!  It was annoying, however, that I nearly froze in the store, having gotten quite cool in the pool, adding AC to that had me shivering before we left. A was not, and so wanted to stay in the coolness as long as possible.  She thought I was crazy.  🙂

Saturday I spent 8 hours at the shop in Bucksport.  It was a hot and humid day, and the “AC” there is a window that opens onto the water, a door that opens to the street and several fans.  It was inadequate.  But I didn’t have to move very often, so that was good.  Customers were steady in the morning, and sparse in the afternoon, but I still had 19 sales, and that was a good thing!  Sonja took lots of things to the Celtic Festival, hers, mine and others, and I think had a decent day. Sunday was the second day for her at the festival, though I didn’t cover the shop, her daughters did.  It POURED rain all morning, I haven’t heard yet how everyone did.

I do know that on Saturday she sold one of my bracelets, so that was nice to hear.

Sunday A and I spent inside puttering and looking out side thinking and often saying “Really? Still pouring?” There were things I wanted to do outside like grass clipping and gardening and clearing the tangle of large things where the lilacs are trying to grow swim as much as I wanted as often as I wanted that just didn’t happen.

I got some pool time in after work Saturday, and late Sunday when it stopped storming and the sun went behind the trees.  This whole avoid-the-sun thing tends to drive me nuts. When it is hot out, I either can’t use the pool or yard, or go out so covered up I might as well stay inside.

Since then, I have been working.  Very sad way to spend time (still remembering that I am lucky to have the job, yes.)

Oh, Monday, I got a hot tip from WEBS that my yarn was at the PO, so I stopped and picked it up.  Not too terribly exciting, the Baby Ull is for baby hats to sell.  The blue is for Maine Blueberry hats (sold the blueberry baby hat this weekend!), the red is for red and white striped hats and booties (we have a famous red and white striped lighthouse) but I got a lot of white so I could do some dying to get the colors I wanted that they didn’t have.  Or to mess about with colors.  You choose.

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I finally decided I needed to buy more lace weight yarn to knit the High Country Crescent shawl.(Or maybe the Biophilia?)  High Country has been on my list since I won the pattern, and I have loved Biophilia since I saw it the first time.  I felt like I needed some thing different than what I had in my lace weight stash.  I perused the Tosh selection for hours, thinking about what colors I wear, what color shawls I already have.  I decided I needed something fairly neutral, maybe a tonal gray?  Definitely not blue, aqua, teal.  I already have quite a few shawls, as well as a substantial stash ready to be knit in those colors. I finally chose Madeline Tosh Prairie in Cloud Dweller, which I recall is a soft, tonal gray, just like I planned. I resisted Worn Denim, and Spectrum, which I LOVE (I have socks in that one, how cool to have socks and shawl match?) and all the other luscious blues and greens.  Cousteau anyone?  Oh my.

So you can imagine my surprise when I opened the package to find this:

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Just can’t stop buying those pretty blues.  🙂

One thing we did NOT do this weekend was watch the news.  Monday morning listening to the radio on the way to work was like getting sucker punched in the stomach over and over. Is the whole world going to hell?  Listening to the news all week as not changed my mind on this front. CAN NOT WAIT UNTIL NOVEMBER 9 when it is over and done with.