Long weekend

I am tired and ready for bed, but just wanted to write you a quick note.

We went to Wilkes-barre PA on Saturday, niece C the younger graduated from Kings College on Sunday, and we drove home today. We are just exhausted, as you might imagine! But it was worth it! Another beautiful niece all grown up.

I knit a lot, finished a secret project, got the toe of a sock done, and knit an inch or so on my sleeves. Not as much done on the sweater as I had hoped, but the secret project got done!

And, of course, this:

Brother C and niece C the younger on a happy day.

So happy we made the long trip!

(I actually fell asleep before I finished writing this, I guess I was tired!)

Advertisements

April Friday list!

Due to some long hours earlier this week, and my new-found willingness to use a little PTO to top off the timesheet, I have today off. I do love a Friday off. And A will be off visiting a client today, so I have been lying here in bed at my normal wake up time, thinking about what I will do today.

  • I plan on putting up A’s office curtain rod so that I can finish her curtains.
  • Finish said curtains, which just need their rod pocket and then hem.
  • Since we did very little to celebrate her birthday on Tuesday, I thought I would bake her favorite cake while she is gone – angel food cake. There is a special family frosting she likes, not sure I will attempt that one, but certainly I will get some strawberries.
  • That means a trip to the grocery store, so might as well get a few groceries for the week.
  • And stop at the PO while I am out.
  • Head over to the pool supply store and get my spring time chemicals, and also see if they have a replacement hose for the filter. If not, I need to order that online.
  • Spend some time fishing leaves out of the pool. There are fewer than in other years, but still lots.
  • Do a little spinning. After my push to finish hitofude, and then a few hectic weeks, my spinning has been neglected. I have been trying to spin a few minutes a day this week, and this weekend, maybe I can do a little more. I have been contemplating a goal of spinning more fiber than comes in on a monthly basis so I gain on the stash. Since I get one braid a month in the roving of the month club, I think that is feasible, if I pay attention. So I am trying to pay attention before I decide on the goal.
  • I plan to knit on Durrow today. I have been trying to do at least two rows a day and I am finally feeling and seeing movement on this square. As I move closer to the center, it is easier to remember the sequence of stitches in each row, and the rows are shorter so they go faster. Not predicting when I will finish this one, but I think I will finish it, lol. It’s not feeling as endless as the first two.
  • Fine Sand is whizzing right along, and is almost plain stockinette now. Just have to count rows for some shaping. Easy peasy TV knitting, it will surely get some love.

That’s the list! Not sure it will all happen, or if I will get distracted along the way. I’ll let you know! I guess I had better get up and moving.

Hope you all have a good Friday!

some works in progress and some finishes

 

First, the WIPs.  Durrow is moving along.  It is slow, but enjoyable.  Just need to pay lots of attention and follow the row by row instructions.  Really, the stitch by stitch instructions, as it is not intuitive, but amazingly elegantly designed.  This square is about halfway done.  There are 6 more, plus two triangles before the simple stockinette body.

IMG_2449[1]

Then there is the Hitofude sweater.  That pattern is easy to memorize, and I am chugging along on it.  But the rows are very long and the yarn is thin, so I could knit all evening, and maybe have an inch of progress done!

IMG_2445[1] It’s a little farther along than this shot shows, but not half way through this section yet.  It will get there. No hurry.

 

The big finish since we last talked is the spinning.  I really had fun with this spin, and it really flew, for me.  Less than two weeks from first fuzz to finished skein! I bought this braid when I was in Wisconsin last fall, and I purposely chose colors that were outside my comfort zone, wanting to see how this whole spinning color thing works.  I also wanted to see what all those white chunks did to the color.  I have told you before how I divided it up, planning on spinning three roughly equal sections that would then be plied together.

img_2406

I did everything according to plan.

Before too long, I had three bobbins full, ready to ply.

I thought the colors were interesting as I spun them, they blended, and the way the fiber was dyed lent itself to lots of marling and shifting colors.  The three bobbins look very different, and the one that I thought would have long color runs, looked really different from the other two.  (It’s the one on the left in the photo on the left.)  Look at all those yellows and browns!  I could not wait to see the skein of finished yarn

Here it is on the bobbin after plying.

IMG_2431[1]

The colors are really mixed up now, and so pretty!

 

Then I wound it off and skeined it, and washed it and I was astounded to find that I had made

IMG_2443[1]

Green yarn.

This was totally unexpected, by me at least!  There are pops of other colors in there, for sure, and a healthy amount of blue, but very little yellow or brown.

Color me befuddled.  I never expected this result.  I am happy with it, and will experiment with colors again, but it is clear to me that I have a WHOLE LOT to learn about colors and drafting and spinning.

Take another look.  It’s still hard for me to believe.

I can’t wait to see what happens when I knit it!

No finishes, no photos (well, maybe one or two photos…)

Just a post to catch you up on my week.

It felt really long, as it always does after vacation.  🙂 This was not helped by a meeting on Thursday afternoon that meant I didn’t get home until 7:30 (12 hour day.) Thankfully it was the last such meeting for a while.  And it meant I only had to work half a day on Friday.

Which in turn meant that I was able to get to the Purple Fleece to pick up my NEW SPINNING WHEEL after work.

IMG_1654

It obviously is not ready for spinning, but I have it and now can work on finishing it and putting it together.  The oil/ax I need will be in next week, and then you will see changes.

Meanwhile, I am still working on my copper and gold spin on the old wheel.  I want to finish it up before I start spinning on the new wheel (or I know what will happen!) so in a way, the delay is a good thing.

IMG_1650

I have been knitting away on things all week – cast on my red socks on Monday.  They are my May-June socks, and as soon as I finish my 1898 hat, they will be my mobile project. The 1898 hat should have been done ages ago, but it isn’t.  I was almost done with the band when I ran out of yarn.  So, I ripped it out and started again, only thins time I made the band 4 stitches narrower.  I think it will work fine if I adjust the height on the cap portion, which will be in a contrasting yarn.  So I am almost done with the band again.

Shawl, vest, and sweater are all progressing nicely.  No photos, but someday I will have some for you.

IMG_1664

Saturday was Niece B’s Husson University graduation.  It was scheduled for 10:30, but it was open admission, so we knew we wanted to get there early.  We left home at around 8:30, were there before 9:30 and were able to easily park and get great seats, and save enough for all the family traveling in from all over New England.  In that regard it was a really nice day – got to see her maternal grandparents from CT, her mom from PA, as well as my sister-in-law and nephew B from a couple of hours away in Maine.  And of course, mom, and proud dad, brother C and his SO, D.  The ceremony was pretty traditional, dull speeches, a big long march of graduates, all piped in by a drum and bag pipes corps, which of course got me teary.  Those pipe bands were made for marches. (literally, I guess!)  Afterwards, we all met up for lunch at a local gas station.  Yup, only in Maine is the best place in town at a gas station.  🙂  Well, really a truck stop restaurant well known for it’s great food, and they did not fail us.  Then the work began – emptying out the dorm room and fitting it all in the van.  C was a HUGE help in the hauling, and Grandpa was aces at loading the van.  It was the easiest it has been in the 5 years of moving her in and out that we have been through.  It was still too many stairs, and this is a tip for you if you are looking at schools with your offspring – ask if the dorms have elevators.  Don’t go to a school that doesn’t say yes.  I don’t care how good a school it is, your feet and back will thank you.  We got through all of that and were on the way home by 5.  It was so sad to think it was the last time. I know we will see her again, but I also know there will be no more weekends of her coming over for a good meal, a lot of laundry, and a few games of cribbage.  Now we will have to wait until she finds a job, gets some vacation, and decides she wants to come spend it here.  I expect it will be years.  I know we will see her next year at this time, in PA, when her sister graduates.  Then I can only hope that they move a little bit closer…

Today is so very low key.  We slept late, did some errands, went out for breakfast, and now are home being slugs, and loving it.  Trying not to think about the beautiful sunny day outside and all the yard work that needs doing… just focused on the knitting and spinning.  🙂

 

 

Catching up

Whoa, time is flying by!  And I seem to have little to show for it. Oh, I have a sock and a half, for sure – this hand knit yarn is so much fun to knit with that my socks are flying off the needles (it helps that it is also a tiny bit thicker than traditional sock yarn so inches happen faster.)

IMG_1546

And the sweater lengthens. But of course, because I am knitting both fronts and the back at once, it feels like progress is slow.  I expect to finish these three pieces this week, and then I will block and seam them and make sure it is all fitting before I launch into sleeves.

IMG_1545

I did a little maintenance around my chair this week, and discovered found dug out excavated was reminded that I have a half finished shawl from the great shawl cast on last summer (if you recall, I cast on 4 in a day.)

IMG_1547

This is High Country Crescent by Mary-Anne Mace.  I won the pattern in a blog giveaway, and love it. Not sure why I stopped working on it – Christmas maybe?  Anyway, it is back in the rotation, and so gets a row or two or three an evening, depending how exciting the basketball is.  The shawl is only mindless every other row, the sweater and socks are completely mindless. Some of the basketball is also mindless, other games require my complete attention.  🙂  And what of the other shawls, you ask?  Well, one was Mirno, and one was Oaklet, and those are both finished and worn regularly.

The fourth was Biophilia, also by Mary-Anne Mace.  I wasn’t loving it in the yarn I was using, so I frogged it, and will use that yarn in my next shawl.  That will be Moon and Sky by Jem Arrowsmith, which I received as a surprise gift not too long ago (thank you, Saffronk!) I think the yarn will work well for that one. And so will the pretty beads I was going to use.  And I have a lovely lace weight silk I could use for Biophilia… or not.  There is always some more yarn to try a pattern with, right?  I also am dreaming of creating a beaded silk yarn to knit a shawl – I have the pattern already for that one, too (Chain Mail, in case you are wondering).  And the fiber.  And the beads.  Just haven’t made the yarn yet, lol. Still working on the big combo spin. S-L-O-W-L-Y.

What else is happening?  Oh, just some work.  It is the crazy busy time of year – town meetings all over the map, tax clinics in the opposite direction, important but not exciting meetings, and the regular work as well. So last week, I was in Machias – an hour and a half THAT way – for a meeting in the late afternoon, making a twelve hour day. Tuesday it stormed, so I rescheduled Wednesday’s tax day in Stonington – on hour in the OTHER direction – which meant I spent the morning on the phone lining up all the appointments for the same time, a day later. Because Stonington is on an island.  To get there, you go over a huge high bridge and then a low serpentine causeway.  I don’t want to drive over either in a storm or even on a nice day following a storm if there are high winds, which there were. Thursday I did go to Stonington for a ten hour day.  Friday was a tax day in Milbridge, an hour back in the first direction, and an eleven hour day.

LUCKILY I reviewed my time sheet Wednesday morning, and even with leaving early for the storm Tuesday, I knew I would go into OT if I didn’t adjust, so I went home a couple of hours early on Wednesday, too.  That quiet time mid-week was much appreciated. Even if I did spend a chunk of that time shoveling.  I might have made this for the cats.

IMG_1544

They are indoor cats who are really missing their screened porch this time of year.  So I made them a  track, and let them out on it one at a time.  They really loved it – Allie bustled about looking at everything.  Zumba emulated Ferdinand, and just sat smelling the smells. And for most of the time, they acted like they knew they should not go over the snowy walls. When they stopped acting like that, in the house they went.

Saturday I did some household chores and went to Whorls and Purls and we had a rollicking good time!  There was so much laughing it was hard to knit.  And there was pizza – very unusual but a fun change.

Sunday we took my sister-in-law S out for breakfast to celebrate her retirement last Friday!! We let her choose the place – Denny’s was her choice, and we had a huge meal before going to her second requested stop – AC Moore.  She received bountiful gifts from her coworkers, including some AC Moore gift cards.  It was so much fun to watch her shop without having to worry about the cost.  She makes delightful crocheted and embellished gift bags, and so she spent a lot of time in the yarn aisle, tossing in some of every color when she found a yarn she liked. All of her life she has had to be frugal, and she looked so happy filling that cart.  We carried several large bags out to the truck, and the look on A’s face when she realized it was all yarn was priceless.  Even better was the look on her face when she found out it wasn’t mine.   I told A I was really looking forward to retirement if it meant I could go yarn shopping and get everything I wanted.

Apparently that isn’t going to happen.

I’ll let her think that for the next few years.  🙂

That’s about it – another crazy work week this week, and a good chance I have to go to a town meeting on Saturday, sigh.  I will knit there, but it won’t be like going to Whorls and Purls.  No pizza, no laughing. No fiber to drool over.  Next time I will share with you the latest fibery goodness I have acquired – I don’t think I have shared with you the past few months of Roving of the Month club.  They are yummy.

 

 

 

 

 

I promised

I told you I would finish something last weekend, and I did!  In fact, this has been a week of finishes, it is pretty amazing!  Gone is my feeling of tediously making no progress. Having a whole extra day off due to the ice storm was great for finishes. I declared it a pajama day and sat knitting and spinning ALL DAY.  It was great!

I finished the shawl for Purple Fleece, and delivered it Saturday at Whorls and Purls. The wind was whipping when we took these photos! Brrrr.

img_1369

I finished the Derry Cowl to go with the sweater.  It might be too tall.  I made it according to pattern, but with different yarn.  My yarn isn’t as drapey, it seems. It’s been blocked, and still has loads of body – maybe it will soften a bit with wear? In this photo I folded it down, which works. And I am wearing it with the Derry sweater which I don’t think you have seen yet. You can’t see the pretty lace pattern on the sleeve , but it is there, and matches the cowl.

img_1376

I finished the purple THING – second try at a scarf – for niece B’s Christmas (well, it turns out, birthday, still late) and delivered that today.

img_1390

I finished these two skeins of yarn – yes, two!  I dyed the fleece a while ago, and spun these both up in a few days.  They are only about an ounce each, and came in between 90-100 yards.  They will go with the two other similar weight skeins I dyed and become some kind of scarf or cowl.  I am thinking linen stitch scarf, though I hate knitting scarves and I get bored with linen stitch.  But they look so pretty when they are done… so who knows.  I did one skein that was supposed to be predominantly yellow, one that is red, one blue, and then one that was supposed to be blue and green but when I spun it, it came out teal, which is actually really pretty.  Still sorting out this whole dyeing/spinning/ what the heck will it look like thing.

Here’s the yellow and red before spinning.

img_1283

And here’s the yellow after spinning:

img_1349

And the red (with a  tiny skein of red plied with yellow):

img_1363

I worked on socks and mittens at Whorls and Purls yesterday – came home and finished the mittens. These are the most luxurious mittens! Love the cashmere blend lining. The ladies at knitting threatened to snitch them if I bring back the completed pair. 😉

img_1386

I am working away on my socks, as I will all year – trying REALLY hard to only do a pair every couple of months, it is amazing the fortitude that takes, to not whizz through them and start the next pair.  🙂 Especially because the next pair will be made with my handspun yarn.  🙂  This pair is in Caper Sock, colorway Stella Blue and I love the softness of the yarn and color.  I’ll be happy to be wearing them. The leg is much farther along than this, only about an inch left to go.

img_1353

 

As for spinning – I have several pretty braids to choose from for my next spin.  I have been contemplating a BIG SPIN, for me anyway, using three braids of finn, dyed in different colorways by Three Water Farm.  Two I got intending to ply them together, but as I was looking over my stash, I realized that the third one held enough of the same colors that they would look great together.  So, I am thinking spin them all and ply them together.  But then what to make with the pile of yarn?  It won’t be enough for a sweater, but I don’t need a kazillion hats.  Then I had an idea, and I went stash diving.  Sure enough – I have an ancient pile of a solid teal yarn that matches it beautifully (if it comes out the color that I think it will, that is.  🙂 ) and I have about 950 yards of that.  If I can spin this to roughly that same weight, I WILL have enough for a sweater.

img_1364

 

But I also have a few individual pretty braids that I love – one a silk merino that I JUST LOVE but have no idea what I will do with – might ply it with some pure silk lace weight yarn I have, I am even thinking I could use one of my new books for inspiration and add beads to the yarn, but then what? …

 

img_1366

and then this special braid –

 

img_1393

This is the latest from the Purple Fleece Roving of the month club – and Debbie used one of my photos as her inspiration for the variegated one, so named it after me! Check it out!  I love it and ordered a braid of the compliment so that I will have 6 ounces of merino blended with YAK of all things – OMG, it is so soft!  I have no idea what I will make with this, but I am itching to spin it. Maybe a nice soft cowl?

It is so hard to decide – I prepped the combo spin and the gold and copper silk merino, let them sit in sight for a few days… this morning I decided, and started the big combo spin. It should keep me busy for a few months. 😀

 

 

 

 

Finally!

I knit and knit and knit and spin and spin and spin and for so long, seemed to have nothing to show for the effort.  My fingers made the fiber go round and round for days, weeks even, with little progress made.  I stopped taking progress photos because they looked the same, day after day.

Or so it seemed.

Then suddenly one day, I had this!

img_1322

And this!

img_1323

And this!

img_1324

Progress is being made after all. But I am re-learning a lesson I learned long ago and then let go by the wayside.  Try to keep to two, or at the most, three WIPs.  More than that, and even though I knit diligently on all, progress is slow.  I need the gratification of a finished object now and then.

Right now I have a mitten and a half, half a sock, half a shawl, and half a scarf on the needles.

So I won’t be casting on anything new until I get my WIPs under control.  Which should not be too long now – look at the progress I am making!

And of course I WILL start a new spin. I’m looking through my fiber stash in my mind to see what will be next. But I am knitting on that mitten while I ponder it. 😀