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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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And here’s the yellow after spinning:

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

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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. 😉

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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.

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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.

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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? …

 

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and then this special braid –

 

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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!

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And this!

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And this!

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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. 😀

a medley and all the Bs and Cs

We have had all the weather this week – cool and dry, hot and muggy, and now cooler and muggy WITH RAIN!!!  Hallelujah!

Sadly our rainiest day was the day my cousin B married his beloved C.  Outdoors. Rain held off for the actual ceremony, and the food was in an open sided barn.  It all went perfectly, of course. A few showers did not deter merrymaking.

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Aren’t they cute???

We didn’t stay very long really, a couple of hours following the service maybe.  We drove with Mom and she wanted to get home to let her dog out before it got too late.  We did stop for supper along the way, so that was pleasant. It was really nice to see aunts and cousins and siblings and all the giants of the next generation – all the “kids” are getting so big!

Other than that, it has been a quiet week. I have been knitting away diligently on the four shawls.  My plan for them is to get through the stockinette portion before I start any lace. Which means that some will get put on hold while others catch up.  I think the cloud dweller biophilia will get there first, but it will be a close race with the Oaklet in Tern.  It got lots of love in the car yesterday.

 

You can see I got a few more of my favorite project bags – open canvas totes in the smallest size.  I love these bags.  Not fancy, no pockets, no zips. But durable, sturdy yet soft, they work well for me.

I have been spinning, I finished up the Summer Bouquet yarn, haven’t got finished pictures of it – it is hanging outside drying now.  I had to hold off soaking it because the weather was so damp.  But I could wait no longer, I want to see finished yarn! I’ll be sure to share it with you when it is dry and worthy of photographs.

Once that was finished, I started prepping the next spin – Color Tag, also from Three Waters Farm.  I am going slowly with this one, really working on my drafting, I want to get my thinnest yarn yet with this.

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So far, so good.

And on the way to the wedding, I convinced A to stop for 2 minutes so I could pick up this treasure that Deb at Purple fleece was holding for me –

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It’s a 4 ounce braid of Falkland, called Life’s a Beach.  Love the colors!

Later this week, nieces B and C-the-younger will be arriving from PA via CT!! They will only be here a couple of days, but I am very excited that this visit is happening. They arrive Thursday evening, and will leave Sunday.  On Saturday, their cousins, my niece C-the-elder and nephew B will come over to play games and visit and hang out for the day. Niece N sadly will be off vacationing in Mexico, but we will manage to have fun without her.  This is fun for me, to have all the B and C nieces and nephew together, it has been a long time since they all came over to just hang out.  Like in probably 6 years – because we live at the end of the trail, so we usually meet somewhere in the middle for family events.   These kids are all roughly the same age – 20-26, and have so much fun when they get together. I am glad that it will be happening here at our house.

And that means that this week we will be cleaning and prepping for visitors.

And of course, spinning, and knitting.  And swimming.  Because there ARE enough hours in a day.

 

 

What a week!

It’s hot.  I know, I know, compared to the rest of entire country, it isn’t. But it’s humid.  And hot. High 80’s and low 90s is hot. And however well prepared we are for winter with all our heat sources and blankets and coats and hats, when it comes to summer, we are woefully unprepared for heat.  SO MANY places don’t have AC, I am so lucky we have it at work!

Even the pool isn’t cool anymore, it was 85 degrees last night.  Cooler than the air, but not cool.

After our weekend of “partying” we were pretty tired.  I spent most of Sunday in Mom’s pool (which gets more shade than mine does, so was 73 degrees) with niece E the younger and various other family members who came and went.  I am the aunt who stays in the pool as long as the kids want, as I recall being little and having to stop swimming when the last grownup stopped.  But even I had to tell her it was time to get out after about 4 hours.

Monday night I had a little medical emergency, and woke dear old A up to take me to the ER.  They got me sorted out and I guess I am fine, although Benadryl was involved, so I was sleepy for a day or two.  I was really worried that I was imagining that I was sick, so it felt good to hear the doctor say “if it happens again, come right in, don’t wait.”  And there is no reason to think that it will.  Of course now I have follow up tests and appointments and instructions and blah blah blah. All I can say to you all is that if you think you might be having a heart attack, don’t worry about waking up your partner or spouse or friend – DO IT and get it taken care of.  I wasn’t, but it was something else, and life goes on, thankfully.

Since we were up all night, A and I both stayed home from work Tuesday and that has just thrown my week out of whack, let me tell you!  What day is it?  We did NOTHING on Tuesday.  I mean, I slept until 10, stayed in PJ’s until 5 when I put on my swim suit and went in the pool to cool off (it was HOT, remember?)  A didn’t even do that, she was not able to sleep much after we got home.  They gave me the benadryl, not her! She lay awake trying to hear me breathing, but the fan drowned me out, so she just worried all night.

Wednesday we returned to work, and all was as if it never happened.  A worked late, so I went for a swim as soon as I got home, and then quick as I could, messed about with dyes and fleece and yarn, and almost had the mess cleaned up by the time she arrived home. I can’t wait to spin this and see if it looks like I think it will.  I want to spin the blue green as one single, and the blue green red as the other, then ply them together.  I hope it will be mostly blue/green with occasional pops of red/purple for interest. It isn’t much, so I won’t really get enough to do anything with, but it is all about experimenting.  If I like it, I can do the same thing with a bigger hunk of fleece.

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The yarn is some baby ull I wanted to make green for the stems and leaves of a blueberry hat, so that came out just fine. It is about ten to fifteen yards, and again, I can make more of that if I want it.

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I like this – I don’t need a whole skein of a color if I only need a few yards of it.  Makes me want to dig out a color work baby hat pattern I have that uses 4-5 different colors. I have never made it because of that, but now I might be able to handle it.  🙂 It’s a good excuse to play with dyes!

Which is what I did with these scraps…

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I am knitting away on my shawls, still in the easy shorter rows section of the bodies, but am quickly working my way to where the lace begins.  I can’t tell you how thin the gray yarn really is – it is thinner than lace weight, how can that be?  But look at the difference between it and the cloud dweller. These are two different shawls that start out the same – and I am in the same place on the pattern with them.  Let me tell you, counting stitches on the gray one is a challenge in low light, so this one might slow down when I get to the trickier parts.  It might be a daylight-only knit.

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The Oaklet in Quince and Co. Tern is the one that travels to work with me, so it isn’t getting the same love the others are, but as it is the biggest yarn, it moves along quickly.

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I didn’t cast on the 4th one yet – need to scare up another size 6 circular, first.  I think I have one somewhere…

I am loving all these knitting WIPs.  🙂

Then spinning – I finished one bobbin of Purple Fleece’s Salpiglossis in Coopworth.  I am going for a DK or worsted weight yarn to use for a hat.  I wasn’t sure if I would love this as it has lots of orangey gold (not my favorite color) in it, but of course, it is balanced well with purple and periwinkle, making the most lovely pinkish shades in the transition area, and I do love it!

But the best news is that I got a nice fat check from the pop-up shop this week – I sold a couple of baby hats and a baby sweater as well as some jewelry from the week before that she combined with this week’s sales.  So naturally I hopped right online and ordered three beautiful braids from Three Waters Farm (on a tip from theKnittingSarah I have been following that group on Ravelry, and love the colors) and I ordered  a three month “roving of the month” club from Purple Fleece. It starts in August.  So that is SIX beautiful colored braids coming my way to spin, I just have to be patient until they arrive.  And it isn’t like I will run out, I have plenty to spin this week. and I have more plain fiber that I can dye if there is a spinning emergency.

This week we are both working on Friday, and have NO plans for the weekend – unlike last week.  Not sure exactly what I will do, but I hope to be able to go to the knitting/spinning group that meets over at the Purple Fleece on Saturdays, and I am pretty sure there will be some pool time, especially if it doesn’t cool off, which I guess it never will again. And laundry.  There is always laundry, grocery shopping, etc that has to happen. Until we win the Powerball, we will have to do it ourselves.

 

 

Eternity is this bind off

I knew I had a lot of stitches in the needle. I didn’t count them because it would make me put it in time out, and what this really calls for is dogged determination.

This morning I gave it a good chunk of time, maybe more than an hour.

Here is my progress.

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I did 5 pattern repeats. Each one is 29 stitches. Sort of. Thing is that it is a picot edge, so most of it is cast on 3 bind off 6. Yup, double the stitches.

Been working on it every evening this week and this morning and I can see the end but am not there yet.

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7.5 repeats to go. You can do the math but please don’t tell me the answer.

 

It is awfully pretty, isn’t it? Worth every minute of blinding, finger cramping, bead dropping knitting. 😀

Posting from the phone

yikes, this is a challenge, but it is Sunday and I am feeling too lazy to fire up the laptop and deal with cables, etc.

This was an uneventful week around here. Lots of time working! I did finish and block  the golden waves scarf shawl thing- it came it so much prettier than I thought it would!  I will try to get you a good photo of that today.

I ripped out the Hap and started over. I was in denial that my needles were too small for the yarn, and was just going to soldier on and let a good blocking make it better. But then I lost count of the rows by not paying attention. I could see the error, so decided to rip and start over on slightly bigger needles. It was a good choice! I think I will do 20 points in the first third, and I am halfway there already. 😀  It really is a nice pattern.

I also have been working on a pink necklace in between times. It’s easy to pick up and put down.

Niece B arrived Friday night in time for Chinese for supper. It is good having her here, and though we haven’t done anything fun (grocery shopping sure doesn’t count) I think she is glad to be here. We are sad though that after a flurry of emails and phone calls we could not arrange for her sister C to also be here. It would have been fun to have the two of them for the week.

Today is our caucus day, I wonder how that will turn out and how long it will take? I’ll bring the knitting OF COURSE! This election cycle leaves me nearly speechless.

i hope to take a day off this week while B is here, maybe take her shopping or do something fun! It is March in Maine so the usual fun things are out. Even Acadia is closed to vehicle traffic, and the carriage roads are completely closed. Not that that appeals to B but it just goes to show how little there is to do in mud season. Just shopping and knitting!

I’ll try to get some photos for you before I post again.  Have a lovely Sunday!

This weekend’s knitting

Hap-2-for-webHap for Harriet is coming along, more slowly now as the rows grow longer.  I am loving it, though, and glad I am keeping this one.

 

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This necklace is taupe silk with matte black beads, and I think it is for me to keep, I made one a  while ago and gifted it, but think of it often, so I made another.  After blocking, it will relax a lot and just drape beautifully.

 

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This is a swatch that looks more violently orange than it is – it is a bit more peachy in real life.

I am swatching because I have started three different hats with this yarn this weekend.  None worked how I wanted, so I decided to swatch it and choose a pattern that really will work.  The resulting hat will be for sale, and will likely have matching mittens someday.

I did a bit more than knitting this weekend – cleaned and rearranged the guest room, it is now a lovely sitting room.  There is space to move in it! The cats love to explore, they think everything is new and interesting.

I also did our tax return, and that is a thankless task that I can forget about for another year.  We get a refund because we seriously over-withhold.  The money is for our property taxes and insurance payments, so nothing too exciting in the whole process, but it needs to get done. Now it is.  I’ll print it out tomorrow and review it, then send it off.  Whew!

Other than that, it was just the normal stuff this weekend – laundry, cleaning, etc.

As an off shoot of the taxes, I updated my spreadsheet of knitting items that are for sale, and took photos of lots of hats to put on Etsy.  That’s my next chore.  I guess I should go do that…check SalpalCrafts on Etsy and see if I got the job done!

 

While the cat’s away…

Well, it is A who is away, not the cats… however, this mouse is still playing.  🙂

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This morning I blocked the shawl.  It was a major piece of work, but I think it is going to be worth every minute, and every pin! Which was most of the pins in the house.every-pin

The directions say that I might want to pin out the picots after pinning and blocking all the rest.

unpinned picots:

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pinned picots:

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I decided to pin.  Those picots made binding off take several evenings, as you add many stitches in the process – about doubling the number. Since I knit them all, I think it was worth the extra time to pin them out so they can be seen, don’t you?  I think they are a wonderful finishing touch on this shawl, but I would think about replacing them with beads another time. That might get heavy, I suppose, but it sure would be easier and faster, and still pretty, I think.

So here it is – all blocked and pinned and drying.  You will still get one more post of this shawl, when it is dry and I can take it out side so you can see the real color:

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It pinned out to just about 6 feet wide and 21 inches deep.

A few close ups of the lace and beads:

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And that’s not all!

Last night I planned some necklaces and strung the beads so I can cast these on sometime this week – using the beautiful silk I got for Christmas:

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This is 6, which is far more than I will be able to do this week, but they keep very well.  🙂

And on my needles right now is this shawl for me. (keeping 1+1+1 project in mind, my goal is four shawls this year – two for me, two for sale.  I am on target so far!)

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This is Kate Davies Hap for Harriet.  I have loved it since she first released it, and it is as perfect a pattern as I had hoped.  The pattern is easily learned, and it is fun to watch it grow.  This lace is much less complicated than the Pease Blossom – I won’t need the instructions for every stitch!  The yarn is String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn in the Tinker Island Fingering weight, the color is called Ruby Slippers, and for once, this picture is fairly accurate, it is a dark rose color with a definite tinge of purple.  The fabric is coming out a tiny bit stiff, but as it is garter stitch, I know it will loosen up and be soft and stretchy when I finish and block it.

A busy morning today for sure!

Actually, it has been a kind of whacky few days.  Friday we had a real snow storm – and although it didn’t start as early as I prefer, my boss closed the office!  HURRAH!  A and I scooted up to Bangor for a car appointment.  Her car needed a going over before her trip, and she had the appointment set, so we were glad the driving was easy in the morning.  the worst of the snow came in the afternoon.

 

Saturday we had to take the car back, as they were waiting for a part, and it was Super Saturday Free Tax Prep day, so we got up early to shovel, then drove to Bangor, dropped off her car, she dropped me at the tax site and came home.  I did taxes all day, hitched a ride with a coworker and picked her car up at the end of the day.  So, my day started like this:

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And ended like this:

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and I understand it was a beautiful day in between that sunrise and sunset.  🙂

While I was gone, A and her electrician friend replaced the non-working bathroom fan/light!  Very nice to get that working again.

Today we were up early, and I made her breakfast before she set off for Texas.  Well, Pennsylvania tonight, to stay over night with her nephew, then Tennessee tomorrow night, then Louisiana the next night, and finally, Texas on Wednesday, for a work training session Thursday.  Friday early she will hit the road, and come home.  She is going to try to do it in two days, so get home sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning.  Crazy to make people go to Texas for one day of training, but I am glad she was able to get permission to drive instead of flying. She enjoys it so much more, and plans to make stops along the way.  She also took her golf clubs with her, so she can go to the driving range when she gets where there is no snow.  🙂

This means I have a week that I can fill with things that she doesn’t like to do – as she said, I can make all the messes I want.  As long as I get them cleaned up by Saturday night!

I have plans for food she doesn’t like to eat, plans for watching you tube spinning videos on the big TV, plans for making valentines at the dining room table…I might even put the smooth cotton sheets on the bed for a flannel-free week.  Such ambition!

If I get really crazy, I might paint the loft.

 

Yea, probably not.

 

A Sunday update, with some photos!

Why hello there!  I thought I would stop by today with an update of the random variety.  🙂

It seems that I have not had the computer on in a long time – I think it has to do with the winter furniture arrangement – the couch is across the room from the wall with the internet connection – which means a cable across the room when I want to be online.  Such a small thing, right?

Anyway, I’m here now.

Life has been sort of ordinary – plodding along on long term projects and working. We were THRILLED to be missed by the big blizzard! We know our luck won’t hold forever, but that makes it all the sweeter.  And the days are getting longer – take a look – sunrise coming when we head out the door to work.  🙂

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Can’t wait for the day the sun is up when we get up. I think that happens n May…

Last weekend we braved the bitter cold to attend a fundraising concert in Ellsworth at the Grand Auditorium.  It benefitted one of my work programs, so it had a mandatory tenor to it, but it still felt good to get out!  We stayed for the first two acts, both local.  The first was a  singer/songwriter named Bobbie Lane and the second a Celtic band named Friends of MacLir.  Both were really good, and I loved the music, though I was disappointed that they each played only one set.  We left after that, missing the rock and roll band.  But we got home and back into our warm house before it got too late, which felt really good on that January night.

This weekend’s “entertainment” had to do with visiting relatives.  A headed off to see her sister S yesterday. S had eye surgery on Friday that requires that she keep her face down (but above her heart) at least until Monday.  She has sitting and sleeping contraptions, but as you might imagine, is uncomfortable and doesn’t sleep well, so tired. A brought her up some comfort food and they had a nice visit.

Meanwhile, I headed down to Mom’s, gathered her up and we headed off to visit my cousin B and uncle V.  I think I mentioned that my uncle had a stroke just before Christmas.  It was pretty darned scary for a while there, but he is working hard at rehab, and is able to live with B and his fiancée C.  Everyone hopes this is temporary, but no one really knows for sure.  B built his house himself, with help from his dad, and it is a great house.  Not tiny, but small and efficient, filled with warmth and light.  It wasn’t designed with an invalid in mind, but they make do.  We had a nice visit, V did really well.  I was surprised at how mobile he is – he had just come back from a  walk outside with C when we arrived.  He dozed a bit during our visit, but seemed sharp and clear minded when he was awake.  Sadly, he has a hard time getting the word he means to come out when he wants it to, so he struggles to make his usual puns and jokes, and gets frustrated. B and C both seem really good at picking up on what he meant to say and helping him out.  My aunt G stopped by – the family is a bit complicated, but she is Mom’s sister, V’s ex-wife and B’s Mom.  She and her husband live down the road from B, they all get along now days, so it is a good set up for caring for V. It was nice to catch up with her as well, and there was a huge bonus surprise for me that I will share with you at the end of this post.  🙂

Mom and I headed home, and I must note here that we DID NOT STOP AT ANY OF THE YARN STORES ALONG THE WAY.

I think we deserve extra points for that.

Mom had to go to a fundraiser auction thing, so I went along home.

Today A and I are just hanging about working on household chores and our projects.  I am determined to get through the Pease Blossom shawl today.  Maybe not the bind off row, but at least the ninth chart.

I haven’t shown you my progress since chart three, I don’t think –

here we are at the end of chart 4 (I think):

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And Chart 5:

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And chart 6:

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Look at how the color changes in those photographs!  Yikes.  The first one is the closest, and it isn’t perfect.  It is warm soft browns and tans with rose highlights.  The beads are clear with a copper lining.  There are almost 700 stitches on this short needle now, so it is hard to get a shot that shows the pattern and beads accurately.  This is very clearly a project where blocking will make it shine.  🙂

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Shine like these beads – aren’t they wonderfully sparkly?

 

 

 

 

So, on to the big surprise.  We were conversing about our fiber related projects (my aunt is a wonderful weaver) and my aunt asked me if I knew how to spin.  I told her I intend to learn, and had tried drop spindle spinning but hadn’t given it enough practice.  She asked if I had a wheel.  No…  did I want one?  yes, duh!  Turns out she has one, it is in the attic gathering dust, she never really got into spinning.  I could have it on a long term lend if I was interested.  No doubt about that!!!!  So, we stopped by her house, she went up in the attic and returned with this!

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I am so thrilled!!!! I will be hopping over to Youtube to look for instructional videos, and I will be saving pennies to take the lessons I have craved over at the Purple Fleece this summer.

When we talked about “payment” nothing was set concretely, but I suspect I will be knitting her something fabulous.  Not promising her any spinning yet, but someday, maybe.

You can imagine the look on A’s face when I walked in the door… she sees money flying out the door and the house filling with fleeces.  She might be right.  But first I have to learn how to use it. 🙂