A Friday list for May Day

Strange as it might seem, I am on vacation this week. We booked several vacation weeks at the beginning of the year, thinking it would be, ya know, another year like all the previous ones… taxes would wind up in April, I would be exhausted. A would be about to launch into her busy season, but still able to break away for a few days of time off.

Who knew?

Who knew AARP would shut the tax program down literally overnight? And that the rest of my job would be deemed essential? I am thankful for that, but March was very confusing and stressful. I suspect I am not alone in that feeling! A’s town offices reacted to March differently, some were happy to have her come in on her usual schedule, others wouldn’t let her in the parking lot. So there was a bit of scrambling to figure out how she could work remotely (yea, TeamViewer!) and a bit of anxious planning on our part as we figured out budgets for different scenarios.

But we were so lucky, so very lucky, that both of us were able to keep working. And she was able to keep working safely, no public interaction, socially distant while at work.

I had to work harder at being socially distant for those first few weeks of everything shutting down. I put a line of tape down in my office and asked people not to cross it. They thought I was nuts. I made cloth masks and wore them to the office. They told me I inly needed to wear them “in public.” Hello! What are all you people if not public? And I chafed at my boss saying he needed me to be in the office every day. Really, I do grantwriting and communications. I get that our industry is essential, but not that it was essential for me to physically be present.

Then the governor issued stay at home orders for April, and I was able to convince him. So for the month, I worked at home 4 days a week and went in the office one day a week.

A works at home a few days a week, and we quickly discovered that our lovely open floor plan is not particularly conducive to two of us working from home! Let’s just say that it is good that we have closets. Many a phone call has been taken in ours.

So when this week arrived, I was ready for a break. A had filled most of the week with consulting; back in March when things were uncertain, it seemed prudent to maximize income. That means I have been home alone. How sad! 😜

I have been puttering and doing lots of knitting and spinning, and a little sewing and weaving. I have tackled a seasonal chore a day, but not anything too time consuming. One day it was cleaning the bathroom fan, another it was washing the bedroom windows. I have enjoyed my staycation, but the new reality is creeping in, and I want to go to work Monday. Even though I love being home, something is seeping in…anxiety because of all the people who gave no choice? An awareness of the need for human interaction? I am not sure what it is. So here it is Friday, and I have a bunch of things I want to get done. I thought I would share the list with you!

  • The seasonal chore for today is to hook up the pool filter so the rain we get stays in the pool.
    Also, call the pool store, hoping that we can figure out how to get the water tested and chemicals bought.
  • If that means I have to go out, I will do the week’s shopping while I am out.
  • And drive through Dunkin for a free donut.
  • And go to the PO.
  • Spin for half an hour. I did that yesterday and liked seeing the progress.
  • Pick up the last weekly clue for the Romi Hill MKAL shawl. It usually releases mid-day. I am totally loving this knit, but not the online group. I won’t do an MKAL with that group again, though I will knit more of her patterns, they are lovely… and have charts as well as written directions. It takes time to do that, I really appreciate it.
  • Give all my other knitting WIPs some love… the latest monthly clue for the Estonian Lace scarf came out this week, I started that as soon as it did. A few rows a day keeps me up to date on that clue. There is also a lace wrap I am knitting for a customer, I do a few repeats a day on that. And a sweater I started for myself that I try to work on each day. Then there is another lace and beaded scarf I have going. Thankfully that one is at a stage where I have the pattern memorized, so it is the one I work in when only mindless knitting will do. And then there are some mittens for A for Christmas. I am about a quarter of the way through the first one, but I have time. 🙄
  • Lastly on this list is sewing masks for us. Restrictions are easing, but with the freedom to move comes the need for more masks. I hope to bang out several today.

By the time I get through all of this, A should be home from work and the weekend can begin! Weekends are so different now, aren’t they? We kind of like the freedom from social activities, but miss seeing the people. Still, we are grateful to both be introverts with hobbies…

Well, I had better get up and moving, that list won’t do itself.

Feeling neglectful!

I feel a bit guilty for not writing more and sharing what I have been up to.  I have sat down to write several times, but clearly, that hasn’t amounted to an actual post.

Things have been kind of chugging along in fits and starts, lots of work, lots of knitting, lots of spinning, lots of weather.

The biggest news is that a couple of weeks ago – on the MLK holiday weekend, A industriously went to work the day after the snow storm, and on her way home, she hit a deer.  She was going slowly to start with, due to the bad roads, and she saw the deer, and braked, but the road was icy, and she slowly slid into the deer. Deer and A were both fine (apparently – the deer rolled into the ditch, hopped up, and ran away) but the truck – ! Scotty needs a face lift.  So now we are in the whole insurance company, adjuster, body shop dance.  At least it runs, and everyone is fine.  It’s just one more THING, you know?

Last week was a good fiber week – it actually started the week before, when word went out that our local salvage store, Marden’s had truckloads of Classic Elite yarns at half off retail! I checked it out after work Friday. There was a LOT but not a wide variety of colors and not their very best fibers. Still, I found a few balls of Liberty that made it worth the trip!

I really only wanted to get the purple one, but the others called to me and I couldn’t leave them behind. 😉

Thursday I took the day off and spent it at Mom’s knitting and chatting with her and my sister.  Mom tried on the sweater, and I am glad she did – it needs some adjustments, so I had to rip it back to the waist.  Easy to do now, before trims and button bands and what not are added. So I did that ripping, and will add some darts front and back to fix the fit issues. Also, I gave my sister her pretty cowl and she loved it.  Whew!  I also brought my dye book over to have her show me what colors she likes and what colors she doesn’t like.  The girl who had her entire room – walls, curtains, bedspread – in purple is gone.  The grown woman likes no kind of purple now.  Glad I asked.  🙂

It was a nasty stormy (rainy) day with lots of road flooding, so going home was an adventure, but I made it with vehicle intact!

Saturday was our annual potluck party with the Whorls and Purls gang.  We added two things to the event this year – a yarn swap, where we each brought a nice skein of yarn in a brown paper sack, and played Yankee Swap.  But then we also all brought yarn and fiber that we would be happy to have out of our stashes, and piled it all on the dining room table of our hostess.  We drew numbers, and took turns choosing something.  We thought it would take forever, but it went quite quickly!  I brought home slightly less than I took there, which is a plus, and even more of a plus is that I brought home things I love and will be happy to use, and that was not the case with the things I took.    I managed to stick to the Whole 30 (day 22) in spite of all the delicious looking soups and desserts.  Thankfully, I brought salad, and someone else brought fruit, so I was able to eat just fine.

Sunday, A and I went over to Rockland and volunteered for the annual Pies on Parade event, held to support the local food pantry.  Mom is on the board there,  and is always looking for volunteers to help at this amazing event.  They had 27 venues, all serving pie in some form, and sold 700 tickets.  We were stationed at one spot and spent the afternoon greeting people, checking tickets, answering questions. It was fun, but exhausting!  Still, we both agreed, we would do it again next year if we are needed.  And if we aren’t needed, we think we will buy tickets and join the eating frenzy.  And for those of you keeping track, that was day 23 of Whole 30, and I had not one smidgen of a bite.  A brought some nuts and things, I picked out the cashews from her stash at the end of the day, when I was ravenous.  Instead of eating, I knit.  It was interesting, as always, to knit in public like that.  Most people paid me no mind, but several ladies commented that they were glad to see me knitting, and a pie vendor told me she was sorry she hadn’t brought her own knitting.  But you know me, have knitting, will travel!  I almost finished my second blue sock. I should have it done this week.  Not sure what sock will be next… but I have some ideas. I need to design and knit a Liverpool football team themed pair for my BIL… that might not be my NEXT pair,though.  I have to get just the right colors and pattern.

So that is what I have been up to –  still spinning 15 minutes most days, knitting, most days, though the work days last week were long, because of all that time off, I still managed to touch fiber a bit.

Finished the Aegean on wensleydale…

 

and began it’s solid complement, Oliver Twist, also on wensleydale.

 

I am spinning both of these “backwards” to see if I notice a difference when knitting. Instead of spinning the singles “Z” and plying “S” I am spinning  the singles “S” and plying “Z”. We will see if I can tell the difference when working it.

 

I told you how the brown sweater  and blue socks progress, and the Nymphalidae is coming right along as well. I am almost done with the increasing section.

 

And Durrow.  Durrow. Oh, it is going to be so lovely, but it moves so slowly!  It least I am done with all the squares that start inside and work out.  Now I have two to knit from the outside in. I have started the first and an slowly working on it.   I had made a good start on it,but somehow got it twisted.  Sigh. That meant ripping out and starting that square again. I am loving how the two colors of purple are blending together as i join the squares to form this one.  I can’t wait, because once these two are done, I introduce the third purple, a pale one, for the two end triangles.  And THEN I am done with the tricky parts!  There will still be a whole body to knit, but plain stockinette!  Yeah! And a lace border… not sure, I have to see it, but I am thinking of using the lightest color for that and the i-cord bind off.  We will see.  You know, in 6 or 8 months when I finish this thing! And when I do, this thing will be worn a LOT to show the world that I finished it! 

As I work my way through it, I am in awe of Lucy Hague’s ability to conceive and write the instructions for this beautiful, complex shawl.  Her directions are very clear, though involved.  The ONLY thing I wish she had done differently is combine some of the row instructions (and presumably charts, I am not using them for this project) differently.  I fear losing my place as I flip back and forth.  But that is it, the only thing I would change.  Well, one other thing.  I think I need a reader.  But that is not on Lucy.  Unless she wants to make an audio pattern, and read the row by row instructions to me.  That is what I need though.  Someone to say “knit one, ssk, knit three, cable 4 right, cable 4 left, knit 3, ” etc. slowly, as I knit.  Any volunteers?

The other knitting thing happening is that I joined a Japanese Lace Sampler Scarf MKAL.  It starts on 2/1, and I can’t wait.  I have my yarn (Swan’s Island natural colors fingering) and have swatched.  Now I just need the first clue!  Clues come out every two months, and there are 6, I believe, so this will be a long term project, over the course of a year. I have a Japanese Stitch bible, the patterns are so lovely!  I need to start incorporating them into more things.

This is my swatch, using a variety of needle sizes. I am going to start off with the top one, a US size 3. And I am in love with this yarn!

 

That is about it at this point –  life moves on, snow comes and goes, work seems ever present.  Thank goodness for knitting and fiber!

 

 

She’s fine!

A little sore and tired, but all went well. She even drove me around to do the errands yesterday, and came in the grocery store with me. Though, that might have been too much, she was pretty tired when we got home.

I skipped knitting group yesterday to do the chores, but still found plenty of time to sit and knit. Nothing I have pictures of, but A’s Christmas mittens just need thumbs. They feel a little snug on me, I am worried they will shrink too much. I did them two at a time and I know that fighting all those needles and yarn ends affected gauge. So, I am prepared to redo them if necessary after Christmas.

I worked on mom’s sweater, too. Almost to the sleeve divide. Won’t finish it by Christmas, but she won’t mind opening a wip on Christmas morning.

And I worked on the rhinebeck hat. I’ll get pictures of that today if I can. I am about 1/3 done on that. It’s going much better now that I drew vertical lines on the chart to help me count.

And a few little presents got finished today as well. Still more to do but I am getting there!

Today I have to clean the pellet stove, then hit the craft room. I have some Christmas sewing to do, and I want to do some more weaving. Haven’t done any of that all week, with all the commotion. Nor have I spun! I’d like to find time for both of those things.

So a busy day, but with fun things. Once I clean that stove, that is!

She’s fine!

A little sore and tired, but all went well. She even drove me around to do the errands yesterday, and came in the grocery store with me. Though, that might have been too much, she was pretty tired when we got home.

I skipped knitting group yesterday to do the chores, but still found plenty of time to sit and knit. Nothing I have pictures of, but A’s Christmas mittens just need thumbs. They feel a little snug on me, I am worried they will shrink too much. I did them two at a time and I know that fighting all those needles and yarn ends affected gauge. So, I am prepared to redo them if necessary after Christmas.

I worked on mom’s sweater, too. Almost to the sleeve divide. Won’t finish it by Christmas, but she won’t mind opening a wip on Christmas morning.

And I worked on the rhinebeck hat. I’ll get pictures of that today if I can. I am about 1/3 done on that. It’s going much better now that I drew vertical lines on the chart to help me count.

And a few little presents got finished today as well. Still more to do but I am getting there!

Today I have to clean the pellet stove, then hit the craft room. I have some Christmas sewing to do, and I want to do some more weaving. Haven’t done any of that all week, with all the commotion. Nor have I spun! I’d like to find time for both of those things.

So a busy day, but with fun things. Once I clean that stove, that is!

Made it through THAT week!

Like a good chunk of North America, the weather here this week was abominable. Normally I would look forward to work and the AC, but it was a bad week at work, and I dreaded going in. My merry band of coworker friends was reduced by one a week ago and it is sad and unsettling.

Saw a great t shirt the other day, on a fellow being interviewed on the news. “Sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come.” That pretty much describes it.

I know things will settle down there a bit, but not yet.

Anyway. At home it was too hot to do anything BUT sit in front of and under a fan and knit, so that’s what I did.

I fixed the cuff on the last pair of socks, and wove in the ends, so they are officially finished.

I finished sock #1 of my current pair, and wove those ends in while I was at it.

Cast on the second sock, so that is going.

They don’t look like a pair, do they? The yarn is a from Knit Circus in Wisconsin, two small balls packaged as a chromatic pair. This one starts as navy and gets gradually lighter, similar to the shading on the first one.

Cast on and knit a few rows of the next Durrow square. Sure looks like a blob right now! But those cable will begin to show soon. Loving using the medium color, can’t wait to see this one in place

And then while in the throes of all that casting on, I cast on the frieze cowl that I have been it hing to do since I saw it come to life on the needles of Nothingbutknit quite some time ago.

Which I already am addicted to! It’s so fun to watch the design evolve.

And this morning it was so much drier that I finally put my cardigan in to soak! It should be able to dry over the next few days.

But knitting must take second fiddle, because today starts the Tour de Fleece (TDF). I have no great ambitions this year, unlike last year when I started my epic sweater spin. This year I just want to try to spin as much as I can each day. So knitting will happen at lunch and on Saturday afternoons and otherwise just here and there.

This is what my bobbin looked like this morning, let’s see what it looks like at the end of the month!

And tomorrow J and his crew of parents return for finishing up the walkway. So not much fiber will be touched then.

Hope your week was better than mine! What are you doing this weekend?

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!)

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!