Popping in

Just to say hey! I am hanging in. The horror slowed down for a bit, to low grade stress. It will ramp up again when Dad’s situation changes, but for the very moment it is not a cyclone.

And I finished something! A’s Christmas mittens are done, blocked and wrapped. Under the tree, even.

They should be nice and warm, the lining is two strands, held double, one is cashmere merino, the other angora merino. I hope they will felt into a soft warm hug for her hands.

I have been knitting tiny stars as well, no really good shots of them, but you get the idea here. They keep me sane, and distract me from Ocean currents which slowly progresses. I am thinking of adding beads to tonight’s star…

I started this on the 16th… that was a while ago!

Dad is at home. There is home health for the moment, and he really needs it, so here’s hoping no one changes his/her mind about allowing them in the home. Whew!

There has been lots of knitting on tiny things. The gnome is done, but as the MKAL is not, you will have to go over to my ravelry project page to see the completed object. I apologize if you aren’t able to do that. I will try to remember to post a photo here after it ends and everything isn’t so secret.

I also have had fun knitting little stars – the pattern is Scintillation by Hunter Hammersen. I tried adding beads, but things didn’t go as planned. I wanted to add them so they radiated out, but the beads I chose were of the cheap variety, and they would not cooperate. So instead I added them at the cast on, thinking that they would sparkle around the edge of the star. They did. But what an incredible chore that was! So I think I will retry my original plan someday with better quality beads. But not today. the one off by itself has beads, but of course, in artificial light the clear beads are nearly invisible. There were several more stars made, but they went off in packages. I still do want to make enough for a garland of stars. It might take me a few years.

I cast on Steel Creek at last on Dec 21, at the start of the Yarniacs Self-indulgent Knit Along (SIKAL). I have been wanting to knit this thing for at least 9 months, but wouldn’t let myself cast on until some needles got cleared off. As I am down to only Ocean Currents as a long term WIP, and a pair of socks as a travel project, I felt like I could. I started Steel Creek with the sleeves, so that I could use them as a confirmation swatch, and also to avoid sleeve island at the end of the project. I used a provisional cast on, and didn’t do any of the pretty cuff. I will wait and see how long they need to be, then knit the cuff downward.

I also want to cast on Nightshift, which I spun all that yarn for, but I am making myself wait until Ocean Currents is done. It may never happen! I have about 54 inches done on that, and at a minimum it is supposed to be 70, but I think it may need to go longer, so she can use it as a stole, not a scarf, if she wants to.

I haven’t been spinning lately, but I hope to do some in the next few weeks – my planned vacation was to start today and run all next week, but a big RFP came out on November 27 (that’s right, the day after Thanksgiving) that is due December 29th! Yesterday we got word that the due date got changed to Dec 30, but that is pretty immaterial at this point. Only the government would do this to people. So my vacation has been shifted from the middle of this week to the middle of next week. I will make sure to spin and sew during it. And if civil servants could be voted from office, I would definitely do some clearing down there in Augusta. This is the second year in a row that they have released major program RFPs due in December. Clearly, they have no consideration for the lives of the grant writers of Maine! That, or no clue how arduous it is to comply with their RFPs. Either way, they are on my naughty list again this year.

That’s about it – pandemic rages on, we work and stay home. Despite this, the numbers climb. I suspect that the minute Christmas is over, Governor Mills will shut us down again. I hope she does. As hard as that is, it is harder to deal with the results if she doesn’t.

Quick update

Thanks so much for all your kind comments, hugs, prayers, words of wisdom. They mean a lot.

We are hanging in there as best we can. Things in Connecticut are progressing slowly but steadily toward an outcome. What that outcome will be is yet unknown. But we will get there. Advice for you all: keep your things in order. Make sure you have your health directives and POAs up to date and that someone else knows how to find them. Don’t rely on just one person for everything. Getting old can really suck, but it doesn’t have to be a 💩storm.

That being said, the siblings are all still getting along and supporting each other. Silver lining!

I am finishing a sweater today, I do believe. I promise to share pictures when I do. And my little gnome is keeping me occupied. I might cast on some stars or a tree today, too. I need some little cast ons.

Mid-November

Is it just me or is this month being extra dreary? We are having all the weather, from snow to record-breaking warmth. But it still gets dark at 4 o’clock and light at almost 7. I think the lack of light is bothering me more than normal this year. And we won’t even talk about the election that seems to never end. Someone needs some big boy pants… (Well, except to relate this story. A friend of mine at work and I are polar opposites when it comes to politics. We don’t understand how the other one could be so nice but so wrong. 🙂 A few days after the election, I popped into her office to say hi and make lunch plans. Another coworker said “How do you two do it? How can you be friends?” that surprised us, and we told him that there is more to life than politics. We agree on so many other things, we long ago made the decision that we would not let politics interfere. S0metimes it is hard, but we keep on trying. He said we should go on the road and teach people how to do it. We don’t think it can be taught, but only demonstrated. I wish more people would give it a shot.)

I did finish all three of the major projects on time; that felt really good. Two state grants, coordinating election day signature gathering, and helping to put together a staff appreciation event, all with deadlines in the same week. I can’t believe I still have hair on my head and coworkers who speak to me. I (almost) don’t even care if the grants get funded, they got out the door on time.

One highlight was spending the day on Wednesday with my SIL D. I think it has been many years since we had a quiet time together, with no big family event happening, and I really enjoyed it. I think she did, too. We met at Popham Fort in Phippsburg, a couple of hours drive for me. It was a nice enough day, though the wind picked up and it got chilly after lunch. But we were outside for abotu three hours, just chatting and catching up. I realized that we have known each other 40 years. It does not seem possible, but I confirmed it with her – she arrived at UCONN’s Storrs campus in the fall of 1980. I graduated in the spring of 81… seems like yesterday or a century ago. Anyway…

We did remember to do some knitting, though we got in the car (with masks) for that, after eating our lunches and watching our lettuce blow off the forks, we thought it would work better in a car. We were able to get her really comfortable with one color brioche, and when she is an expert at that, we will work on two color. 🙂 It turns out that someone who knits Eastern European by rote has a really hard time doing brioche. But we concentrated on doing her yarn overs in the opposite direction from what she was used to, and I showed her how to tell if a stitch is twisted or not. She really would prefer not to learn to knit western, so my task is to decipher it and see how to make it work.

Other than that, things are not very exciting here. That is good for the knitting, though!

One mitten is done, the second one is in good shape for getting done before Christmas, the lining is approaching the thumb split.

The baby blanket is done and blocked. The second dumpster is done.

I have knit a few inches on the Ocean Currents. But the big news is that I have finished the sweater! The sleeves are a little big/long, but I am fine with that. I have lost some weight since I started it and did all the math, so it is to be expected. But I think it is comfortable and works just fine.

I have refrained from casting anything much on, I want to finish the Estonian Lace scarf, and the last clue is out. I am about a third of the way through that, on track to finish by the end of the month, and get it blocked. I want to make more progress on Ocean Currents before I cast on something to distract me from it. When I get bored with it, I work on dumpster flames. I also got an order for a hat that technically is a charity hat. I donated one to a local fundraiser, and the coordinator asked me if I would knit another to donate, as she wanted to buy one. I said sure, so have cast that one on. But let me tell you, the yarn is loaded and ready to go for the Steel Creek sweater, and I am casting it on as soon as the hat and Estonian lace are done. Maybe even before that? I will try not to, but… And as soon as Ocean Currents is done, I am casting on that Nightshift.

I also got my yarn for the Gnome Advent MKAL, and that will start December 1. I was a little nervous choosing the Christmas colorway, but it is very pretty! Very like what I would have put together myself, if I had been in a store full of mini skeins. 🙂 I will not wait to finish something before casting that on, because it is a little project. I think. 🙂 I am very impressed by the service at Loopy Ewe, and the quality of the yarn in this kit. I will be checking them out when I need other yarns in the future.

That’s about it from here. I hope to have more finishes and cast ones to share with you soon!

Not November yet!

So this will count as a second post this month, kind of amazing.

Nothing much is really new, we are just plodding along. I have managed to not help A remove deck boards yet and she is nearly done. 🙂 My step brother has helped a few times, they work well together. I have not yet dyed the yarn, I keep saying maybe tomorrow. It never happens. My SIL D and I did not meet to work on brioche, it was way to cold for outside knitting. We have a sort of plan to meet on 11/11, since I don’t have to work, so we can get started earlier in the day. But I know it will also be cold. Might have to bite the bullet and go inside for this.

I have been knitting hard on the sweater, moving down the body, and I am all up to date on the Estonian Lace MKAL. I have not done a lot on Ocean Currents. I pick up the brioche hat once in a while, but I don’t want to finish it before I meet with D, because then I would just have to start something else.

I did agree to knit a baby blanket for my cousin’s baby to be. My aunt called, and went through this whole long story about choosing this winter to learn to knit, and the neighbor lady is teaching her. The whole time she was talking I was thinking “please don’t ask me to teach you, please don’t ask me to teach you” because 1.) she is nearly 80 and I do not want to get that close to her and possibly give her covid, and 2.) I don’t hold anything properly, and I never like to teach people to knit. I would rather they learn how, and then I will teach them how to do various tricky things. Like brioche. 🙂 So by the time she wound through the long involved story of her neighbor, who now has a sick husband and visiting grandchildren, and the needles, and the yarn, and the deadline (February) I was HAPPY to say “Of course I will knit the blanket for you!” which normally I would dread doing. I was weakened by the build up. As intended, I think. However, it is really easy – Plymouth Galway held double, size 13 needles, 71 stitches. I started it Sunday night and I am 1/4 of the way through it. No photo yet, but I will get one for you.

My sewing has slowed, I have a jumper cut out and the seam binding cut out and sewed, ready for ironing, but I haven’t had time to get in the room to work on it. Work has been really busy, with three major projects/events happening this week and next. Late work hours and sewing don’t get along.

I did finish a Dumpster Fire 2020 ornament, though. Not loving the dumpster part of it, I think my yarn was a bit lighter weight than the yarn I used for the flames, so it is a bit wonky. I will do it again, though, with a better choice of yarn. And I will get you a picture of that, too. Look for it in November. It is a kind of fun pattern, and it is so appropriate! It is by Kino Knits, if you want to check it out.

That’s about it, I guess. Pretty much the same every day around here…

Oh, except later this week, we are having the remnants of Hurricane Zeta, which will bring – snow! Just showers, btu who ever heard of a hurricane bringing snow?

I tell you, 2020 is cursed.

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.

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.

 

 

 

Here it is Friday again…where does the time go?

Last weekend was lost to the couch, and this week is not a whole lot better – work and home, a bit of spinning or knitting and then early to bed.

But this weekend promises to be better!

Tomorrow I will go to Whorls and Purls, first time in a few weeks.  I can’t wait to see the ladies! Lots has happened to us all, and we need to catch up.

Sunday, some of those same ladies and I are going to Maine Fiber Frolic. I was feeling badly about this on a few levels – not really having spare money… not spending the time at home with A.  I was thinking of skipping W and P this week, but A said I should go to both things.  It seems that she remembered that I asked for the bookcases in the loft to be finished for my birthday.  She is running short on time, and thinks it would be good to have me out of the house two days in a row.

To the point that she even came up with a modest budget for me for the Frolic.

You don’t need to tell me twice!

This week I worked on the handspun sweater and have at last gotten back to where I was before I ripped it all out.  The sleeves are essentially done, though I saved the actual finishing of them until I can try it all on and see how long I really want them.  I think longer than the pattern calls for. So now I am working on the body, and I figure though it will be pretty easy, it is a lot of stockinette, and it will take a while to finish.

I also worked a bit at a few meetings on the sock I started at Niece C the younger’s graduation – I like how it is coming out, though I was thinking it would be striped… my feet are too wide, and so stripes turn into spirals.

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Especially if I keep stopping to spin!  I spun this Romney up this week – in just a couple of hours! It is this month’s roving of the month from Purple Fleece, Mandala. I will ply it tonight or tomorrow morning.  It is much thicker than I usually spin, but I wanted a thick yarn from this colorway so I can make a warm hat.  This one will be a traditional two ply.

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Then I started this spin – the color looks nothing like this shot, it is a browninsh gray.  Polwarth/silk blend, I am going for skinny as I can, also two ply, and I have a complementary bfl silk blend that I want to spin the same way, so I get some seriously good yardage, possibly for a shawl, but maybe, it there is enough, a vest?

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That is it on the crafting front.  Can’t get much done when I was in bed by 7 more than one night this week!

Power is ON, Cars are dug OUT

So things are theoretically back to normal today.

Still some cleanup to do around the edges.  Normally, we wouldn’t worry too much about the edges this time of year – in January, it is important to clean up after a storm so that you are ready for the next one.  In March, it’s not usually a problem, because the snow melts pretty fast.  But this March is not normal.  Over 3 feet of snow in a week, and guess what?  Another storm is predicted for next week.  I am hoping and praying that it is warm enough to be rain, but no one is talking about that.  I’ll bring it up when I speak to Ma Nature.

Yesterday I declared a snow day and did not go to work, though it was open (and 194 others didn’t go to work.  We have just over 200 employees.  There’s a message there somewhere) but it wasn’t a calm and lazy day like last week.  We shoveled snow almost all day, with plenty of breaks for resting, of course.  It took all day to get those two cars free.

I did not much else.  A bit of spinning and few rows of Durrow,  I was just too tired.

The good news was, the power came back on mid-morning!  A true miracle.  Our wonderful plow guy told us he saw no trees or lines down.  And he lives around the corner, and had power.  So I think it was just a case of a branch touching a wire, or something.  Anyway, we were super thrilled it wasn’t out for days.  I got as far as bringing the cooler upstairs, but had not started to fill it when we got power again.  Yippee!

Is it spring?

It kind of feels like it.  The days are quite warm, well into the 50’s, even 60… the nights are cooler, but not bitter. It could be a prank and we could be back in the single digits with snow blowing around us next week.  Or it could keep on like this and things could thaw out and it could be an early spring.  Only time will tell, but I am itching to plant flowers and start seeds.

I won’t do it yet. I don’t have a pick ax.

I keep knitting and spinning.  Both are creeping along, as you might expect from big projects, lots of time spent, not a lot of noticeable progress.  My fingers are itching to cast on a new project, anything bright and cheerful and fast. I won’t let them do it, I know that road.  That road leads to projects dragging on for years, even being forgotten.

Instead I just go to my queue on Ravelry and look at all the patterns I plan to make, and the yarn I plan to make them with and I rearrange the order of the queue, maybe add a pair of socks.  But I don’t wind yarn and cast on.  Not yet.

The next few weeks of work are tediously long, BUT I think I did the math properly and I might get a day off mid-week next week.  Here’s hoping.  Sunday we have a fundraising event in the morning, Monday is a tax day, Tuesday I have to take minutes at our board meeting, and pick up the sandwiches, etc for that.  The coworkers who usually do those two chores are going to a conference.  So that will be a late evening home.  And Friday is another tax day.  I certainly feel like I will need a day off to make up for all the extra hours! I wish it could be Friday or Monday, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

There really isn’t anything else new here, and no pictures of knitting that looks the same as it did last week…but maybe next week there will be progress to show?  I am almost to the heel of my sock – woot woot!  Good times.  Exciting times.

How about you?  Are you ready for spring and a change in your daily routine?

 

 

Plodding pays off!

(whistles as she strolls along) Well, look at that, some things are finished!  How did that happen?

First up spinning –

This lovely blue yarn (not exciting, I know) is all done and the perfect yarn for A’s mittens.  It is a three ply, traditionally plied, and comes in at a heavy sport weight or light DK weight. I got 180 yards, just over 3 ounces. It is tightly spun, and so should be durable and warm, if the mittens ever get knit. 🙂

There were some leftovers, as always with traditional plying, and so I made a small skein of two ply, which is about 65 yards of fingering weight. There was still more left over, so I added that to my 2018 franken-bobbin.

I finished the first third of the yak/merino spin.  My plan is to divide both braids into thirds, spin one third of each and ply them together, then spin the other two thirds and ply them on themselves.  Essentially making a gradient set.  I have finished the combo part of the spin, and gotten about 100 yards of aran weight yarn that is SO PRETTY!  It is a warm chocolate color with lots of pink and gray in it. I am not deciding what to make with it until I see the whole thing together.  I had vaguely been thinking shawl, but I doubt I will get the yardage for that, so maybe a cowl and hat? This yarn is so soft, it deserves to be touching skin.

Of course, I already have a cowl knit from this same blend, because one of the knitting group ladies gifted one to me that she knit from the yarn she made, so I don’t need it to be for ME.  I am thinking I will pass this forward, but I will decide on that later as well.

Knitting – I have sleeves! Well, one sleeve completely done.  Just need to do the three needle bind off for the other one, as soon as I finish picking up 10,000 stitches from the provisional cast on.

I am so thrilled to be moving past this portion of the knit, though it isn’t hard, the rows are long and there is nothing going on during them.  Next up is some ribbing, which I hate, but which doesn’t last long, and then there will be some thinking as I work on the skirt.

I have one finished square of Durrow, and need to cast on the next one.  Truthfully, this one has been done for a few days, but I decided to focus on finishing up the spinning bits, and get past the sleeves of the Hitofude.  But I don’t want to lose the momentum on Durrow, either, so I will get on that ASAP.

Work has been draining, lots of taxes, unexpectedly in some cases, and regular work as well.   It was a long week, working all day Saturday really made a very short weekend! I took Sunday completely off from everything, A even gave me control of the remote!  WOW!  That meant that I got caught up on Victoria – though now of course, I am behind again as it recorded Sunday night.  And I found Create TV and went through the whole schedule to record anything remotely fiber oriented on that.  Won’t A be surprised when she sees the new shows pop up in the list?

This week feels long, but I am close to getting into my tax season groove, fielding random questions all over the place!  And still getting work done that needs to be done.  But having this weekend be a long one feels like a GOOD thing!  So glad Abe and George had birthdays in February so we get a holiday weekend.

A and I celebrated Valentine’s Day in a very low key way.  Cards, and small treats, and she made her special lasagna dinner for me.  I made her a coffee cake for breakfast, so we ate well (if not healthily!).  It was a bright spot in this long week.

Hope you are all plodding along getting things done and enjoying Valentine’s treats.