Vacation is on its way!

And I hope that means more time to blog, but time will tell.

I think I am going to have to give up on getting caught up on reading blogs, and just start with now. But I know that means I will have missed so much! So who knows, I might go back and forth.

Niece E the younger is coming to visit this week for three nights! This is so exciting for everyone involved. She has not left her house or yard since March when school closed. We have, but very limited contact, always socially distant, masked, etc, and there is currently very little virus in our county, so my sister feels safe letting this visit happen. When she gets here, we will go no where and do nothing special. It will be bliss for both of us. I have some fiber she can spin, we might do a little dyeing, there will definitely be knitting and reading, and in my case, sewing and spinning. A has to work, summer is her busy season, even in a pandemic, tax assessment goes on. So E and I will have all sorts of freedom to while away hours with fiber. I asked her to bring her violin as well, I want to hear some good fiddle music, and she is getting really good at it now.

I have been only working, knitting, spinning, and sewing. Yes, the sewing is a surprise to me, too. I am suddenly very into making some clothes. I have finished a skirt, and have another that just needs someone to check the hem before I sew it. A third one cut out. I am not sure I will like it, I was short on fabric, so the skirt will be shorter than I normally wear, but I thought I would try it. I can wear shorts under it, right?

The pattern is Donovan from Helen’s Closet

Spinning goes slowly, as always. I have about 5-6 more ounces of a big spin left, I have a bobbin nearly full. I want to fill it before E gets here so she can dominate the wheel, but I am not sure that I will make that goal, there is a lot of housework to do before company can come. When this spin is done, I am hoping to spin for a Nightshift shawl. I had all my fiber picked out, but realized I did more of a fade than will work for this, so I went back to the drawing board. This might be my line up. We will see. It is clearly a lot of spinning, but as the pattern calls for worsted weight, I think the spinning will go pretty fast. Or faster than my usual light fingering weight.

Knitting has been pretty monogamous, my Wheels of Time MKAL shawl is due to be done by July 21, I think I will make it, possibly even with time to block it, that has been my focus.

I did stop to churn out a pair of baby booties for my doctor, who is having a baby and moving to NYC. I have been working in small bits on the Ocena Currents wrap for a friend of mine, and letting other things languish. I am at the stage where I really want some of these big projects off my needles. So, I am working hard on them and resisting cast ons… like Steel Creek and a new gnome MKAL. Get thee behind me, satan!

The yard looks awful, the pool looks great, and that is all OK with me. 🙂

Yes, I will be glad when the pandemic is over and I can move about freely, but truly we are doing OK. I am not yet out of yarn or fiber or fabric, so all is well. How are you doing? I promise to read and respond to the comments. 😉

There has been knitting, around the edges

Lots of it, in fact, but no finished objects, sad to say.  There will be some within a week or so, but that’s another post. Meanwhile I am plugging away on my Volition sweater, and my Japanese MKAL scarf.  Fingerless mitts  for a friend are my traveling project.

Do you notice the small number of WIPS?  Once that craft fair was over, I settled down to normal.  I did knit a bracelet for a special order yesterday – once the closure is on and the ends woven in, that will also be an FO. But as  it is already off the needles, I don’t really count it as a WIP any more.

I do have a scarf on the loom, and I have to say, I am loving that – it is from some hand spun, and it is a polwarth silk blend – so soft! –   in blues and greens with a bit of brown – kind of moody.  I have just over a foot done, so it is also just a WIP.

And I have a skirt that is just a WIP as well, it needs ironing, then the elastic waist band made, and then the hem.  Not too much work, just need to do it.

We have been busy with other things, though.  My youngest niece, E the younger, came to stay for 24 hours over Thanksgiving weekend, and we had such fun!  She wanted to learn to spin and weave and I thought dye yarn, but she tells me no, I imagined that.  Just as well, since we had to eat and sleep, too.  We did get her spinning – not drafting, but she did make some lovely two ply art yarn.  It’s a bit twisty, as she is better at treadling than drafting and feeding the yarn through the orifice. Sadly, she hasn’t got access to a wheel at home, so she won’t get to improve until next time she comes to visit.  I think she did like her yarn, though, because she has on her Christmas list “yarn with different colors that isn’t twisty”

We also tried some weaving, and she was much better than that – her selvages were better than mine, but she found it very boring.  So, she went back to spinning, and finished off the 4 ounces of corriedale that she had started the day before.

She also discovered the books (hard not to, as she was sleeping in the loft where all the books are kept) so she spent a lot of time reading.

On the whole, it was a very nice visit, she said we were “good people” and she wants to come back, maybe for two or three nights. that would be fine with us!

We then had  a couple of weeks of normal business – working a lot, some Christmas shopping, errands, etc.  We got our tree and put it up a week or so ago, but as yet it has no lights nor ornaments.  It will happen soon, I think.  Or not at all!

This past Saturday was my family carol sing, which, if you have been around here very long, you know happens every year.  My mom and her two sisters, and as many of their offspring as can come, do.  this year we were missing two cousins and a whole host of the next generation, but we still had a nice crowd. It’s at my sister’s in Portland, which is as close to the middle as we can get.  She has a lovely house for entertaining – and a music room, so the non-singers can enjoy conversation elsewhere and not interrupt the singers.  We go through the whole carol book (assembled by my sister many years ago) and just have fun reveling in the sound of the season.  We also get to visit people we see too seldom, which is nice. A had to work, so I rode down with Mom and B and my aunt G.  That was nice as I had lots of car knitting time.  You know me, I can knit better than I can sing, so my Volition sweater got lots of love that day.

Yesterday we were going to do the  tree, but had so many other chores to do that we pooped out before it got done. I did do a bit of weaving and a lot of knitting, though.  I also got out my American Girl dolls and all of their things.  Niece E the Younger read all of the many of those books I have while she was here, so I decided to give her a doll and all of her clothes for Christmas.  I asked her which girl she would like if she could have one, and she said Molly, so Molly it is.  I need to replace some elastic in a few outfits – I realized that these dolls are probably 30 years old, so no wonder the drawers are droopy!

It was kind of fun to have them out, and get them dressed in their Christmas finery.  After Molly leaves, I will still have 5, just waiting for the other nieces to get settled and have kids, I guess.  None of them are interested in having the dolls now, I don’t think.

Other stuff going on – A’s niece T was diagnosed with breast cancer, and has a mastectomy coming up very shortly.  We are so hopeful that it will take care of the problem. Not a great way to spend Christmas, though.  A did her usual thing, and we got enough toys, books, chocolate, and other goodies to wrap up so she has a package to open every day while she is home recovering.  They say 14 days.  I can’t imagine that would be long enough, but I guess “they” know these things.  We will postpone Christmas with A’s family until she is well enough to participate.  She doesn’t want to do it ahead of time because she is too nervous and stressed with everything she has to do ahead of the surgery.  Luckily, her children are grown, and her daughter still lives at home, so she doesn’t have to worry about small kids nor being home alone with no one to care for her.

And that is what I have been up to the past few weeks.  What have you been up to?

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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!

How did I not share this with you?

After I posted that quick shot of my morning spinning, I realized I never shared with you the last skein I finished.  I really love it!  It spun up nice and fast (finn) and the colors are so pretty (Purple Fleece) and I can’t wait to knit something with it.

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This was a fractal two ply – 1:4 ratio, which means that there will be a few bands of solid colors in it, but mostly the yarn will have two colors twisted together.  I happen to have  some solid yarn of the same golden hue in stash, and the spin I am currently doing looks like it will match nicely with the red color.  So I might create some epic knitting project with it all.  But for now, I am just enjoying looking at this warm sunny yarn.

Spinning to start the day

Purple Fleece’s Amaranth, on finn.

This will be a 2 ply 1:4 fractal, and I am nearly done with this bobbin, the 4 piece of that ratio.

I expect to wind up with a lovely variegated, barber pole yarn that will knit up into amazing stripes.

Spin a Tale

I loved this little spin! The fiber was soft and fluffy, with fun bits of aqua and deep pink.

I remembered that I had some old silk sewing thread in a pink I thought would work as half of the two ply. I was pleasantly surprised to find I also had some pale green. I got these at least 30 years ago, don’t remember what I was going to do with them, but very glad I saved them! Each spool was 100 yards.

Then I got thinking that beads would be good, too! I spent a long time sorting out the choices, and finally settled on a little tube of mixed greens and purples to go with the pink, and some pretty iridescent clear glass beads to go with the green. I really love how they came out!

I decided it was time to master chain ply, so with what was left, I did a three ply. It is a little bit over twisted, but the best I have done to date. In other words, I can use it!

I loved this spin and how fast it went and how pretty it is.

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?