Thursday, March 05, 2015

It's Snowing.

It's cold and snowing. again. still. I am so ready for spring weather. I decided not to risk the drive to and from work today. It's a short distance but my car really does not do well on snowy and slippery roads and I can't afford to risk and accident. So I am home and plan to make the most of an extra day at home. I will do some chores and spin and knit my way through the day.

Knitting progress - I sent off the Low tide Cardigan in the pretty pink sparkly yarn to my friend, along with the sweaters for her twins.

The Low Tide was, as I suspected, too small. She sent it back at my request - I plan to sent it to my brother in the hopes that it will fit his daughter. I started right away on a new, bigger Low Tide
in a deep purple yarn (from stash!!! Yippee!!). The new Low Tide is almost finished. You can see the lace bodice (the stitches for the sleeves are still on holders in this photo) at the top and the stockinette body, which, due to increases at the front edge and decreases at the sides, curves towards the front. It looks very cute on but not so great in photos. This color is not true. It's a deep purple that I just could not capture correctly.

My Canadian Crazy Train socks are all finished. I have purple Iron Bridge socks (top picture) and purple Sole Train (lower picture) socks, knitted half by me and half by my train car mates. It was an enjoyable trip and I  hope to repeat it next year.

Capall Dubh Cardigan is getting a lot of time in my hands now that the low tide 2 is just about complete. I have completed the waist decreases and will begin the increases soon. I love the way this sweater looks so far and alternating skeins was the right way to go.

You can see here the stockinette front, the patterned back and a close up of the unblocked stitch pattern on the back and shoulders. 

Here you can see my 7th pair of Easy fingerless Mitts. They are belated holiday gifts for my co-workers. I was on a good roll with these before the holidays but when my brother became more ill and then died, I lost momentum. I have this pair and 1 more to knit, then a coffee cozy for the lone male in our department. 

The Escalator socks have been pulled from the depths of the UFO bin and are back in the line up. This is a close up of the stitch pattern. I have one sock finished and the cuff and one pattern repeat (about 20 rows) finished on the second sock. This color is not true either. It's a bit deeper, sort of like the deep red bricks you see some buildings made of. 

Another resurrected project has surfaced - out of need for a simple project to work on while I had a migraine. These are vanilla socks that were started and ripped out 3 times because I didn't like the pattern I selected. I am happy with the vanilla and it fills a knitting need. These will be worked on only when I need a simple knitting project. No counting or stitch manipulation except when it comes to the heels. Migraine project, while in a meeting or other situation where I want the knitting to be background and the conversation to be front and center. 

And just because it's snowing and I love feeding the birds on our deck, I thought I would share these photos. We have 2 Christmas trees on our deck just outside the kitchen door. We have red lights on them and keep them until the snow is over for the year. when snow comes (and in between, too) we feed the birds here. We put seeds in and under the trees and under the patio table so they have a dry, safe place to eat. They eat a bit, fly into the trees, eat more. It's a lot of fun to watch. Mostly we have cardinals, dark eyed juncos, wrens and sparrows. There are doves, an occasional black capped chickadee and probably some I just don't recognize. Oh, and the inevitable crows/ravens. 

Be safe and warm, have a happy day. 

PS the Love the yarn I own part of my 2015 goals is going pretty well. The knit on UFOs part is getting old. I can feel the craving to start a new project rising ......

Saturday, February 14, 2015


We had only about 3 inches but it came down hard and fast! It was very beautiful! The winds have picked up now so it's getting hard to see but the snow fall has stopped. :-(

I  hope we get at least one good snow fall this year - 6-12 inches.

I have another FO! I finished my Sole Train socks! I am very excited to be able to wear them and to have another project off the needles.

I have now picked up an old UFO, another pair of socks that I started quite some time ago. They are called the North Sea Socks and I started them for the last Olympics. I now have the legs and heels completed on both and am working my way through the gusset decreases. 

Happy Valentine's Day! Bob and I got each other some Wockenfuss candy (it's great candy made here in Maryland) and I bought him a nook book by JD Robb - the newest In Death series book for the I Pad. (it's double good because I get to read it also). ;-)

That's all for tonight. I just had to announce the FO and the snow. 
Be safe.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Cleaning up and out

Apparently this time of year (this year) is going to include a lot of cleaning out, eliminating and reorganizing. DH was ready to put the Chrsitmas stuff (decorations, dishes, linens, etc) away under the steps this weekend. He came up with the idea to get rid of the old cardboard boxes and get all rubbermaid tubs to put the dishes in, so last night we bought a half dozen of the 8 gallon size and today we repacked  all of the holiday dishes  into the storage tubs and were also able to put another set of dishes into 2 more tubs. We are labeled, cleaned out and organized. Woohoo!

I have no FOs to chat about today though this weekend did see progress on both the Capall Dubh cardigan and the Sole Train sock. The sock is at the gusset decreases point and the sweater has been joined together and now each row takes a while. :-) in another inch the shaping will start. I feel like it's actually a sweater now that I can see clear fronts, back and arm holes. :-). The lacy back is going to look awesome. I considered altering the neckline to make it higher but this is going to be a "nice" sweater, not an everyday, snuggle in and get warm sweater so I decided to knit it as written.

In the spinning arena, I took my yarn off the bobbin and skeined it, then started to spin my sunrise rolags. I was going to ply that with a light blue but have since decided to spin finer and just ply it with itself. I think it will be great for colorwork.   The sunset yarn that I skeined needed up to be about 120 yards. That's more than I had anticipated. 

I have a whole bag of handspun yarns in the shed. Once I get my UFOs down in number I would like to come up with a plan for some of the colorful handspun I have already made. Some can be hats or mitts but I would like to settle on something else to do with them. Maybe get a commercial yarn and knit a sweater but with stripes of handspun? I am not sure but since I have so many UFOs. I am not in a rush. :-)

I have been successful so far in not signing up for KALs or test knits. I can seem to resist reading about them but so far have stuck to my plan and not started anything new. I have been tempted, though .....

Back to sweater knitting. I have to work in Baltimore tomorrow so knitting time will be limited. 

Stay warm and safe.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Goal Review

I thought I could track my progress (or lack thereof) as far as goals for this year better if I did a monthly review.

I have not purchased yarn! Yippee!! I received one skein as a gift but that doesn't count. I didn't buy it. and I put it away rather than cast on right away.

I have not cast on a new project! OOPS. That's not true. I did cast on Sunday Drive (the Alzheimers blanket). But that's for a good cause and is intended to be a longer term project. 2 rows per day is the plan and I have been very successful there.

I have finished 3 WIPs (the cowl, the Low tide Cardigan and the Iron Bridge sock) and am working away on 2 others (the Sole Train sock and the Capall Dubh cardigan).

I have resisted email offers and other temptations of yarny goodness so far. ;-)

I have spun almost every day.

I have taken photos and listed my stash on paper but I have not yet uploaded it to Ravelry. So, partial progress there.

I am not doing well at all with walking. The cold has just really gotten to me as have the increasingly frequent and severe migraines I have been dealing with. :-(

Over all I am pleased, especially with the working on UFOs without starting new projects or getting caught up in another KAL.

It's a new month

Time is flying! I can't believe it's February already! I am rather disappointed in the lack of snow so far this winter and the cold temperatures are wearing on me. I have not gotten out much to walk due to the cold weather and/or high winds.

On the knitting front, I blocked the shawl collared cowl and it feels wonderful against the skin.

 I still need to select buttons and sew them on, though. I finished the Iron Bridge sock and wore the pair the other day. :-). Perfect fit and lovely yarn and pattern. I am now working on the mate to the Sole Train. I have 4 of 6 pattern repeats for the leg knitted. Both of my fellow passengers on the Canadian Crazy Train ride chose purple for my socks but such different shades of purple! I like them a lot and I am getting to knit with new to me yarns. I am very glad I signed up for this KAL/swap. :-)

I thought I would add a couple of photos of the Low Tide Cardigan that I knitted for my friend's little girl. I have no idea why one photo is upside down ...

I have resumed knitting on my Capall Dubh cardigan. Angela and I will be knitting this together. I love the yarn and really hope that my swatch didn't lie to me and that the sweater will fit properly. The sweater, Sole Train and the Alzheimer's blanket are my current WIPs.

Spinning news - I finished spinning some sunset rolags made for me in a swap last year. I spent some time spinning some black merino top to ply with the rolag singles and hope to start a stash of fingering weight yarns to use for a color work project. I plan to buy a commercial yarn to use for the main yarn and then various hand spun yarns for the contrasting colors. I intend to include stripes and an actual colorwork pattern but haven't chosen the specific pattern yet. This will be a hat or mitts.

I am accomplishing my goal of spinning nearly every day for at least 15 minutes per day. Karen is also spinning and we share spinning news/progress by email. Melanie has gotten in on the spinning again, too, so I have lots of company and encouragement. I am enjoying spinning again and I feel good that I am using some of my huge fiber stash.

Work is going well. I am transitioning to the local hospital which cuts down on driving time and expense. This month I will be working more days per week locally than in Baltimore. I have more hours per day to spend on my own plans rather than commuting and that alone is a huge benefit.

When we had some snow the other day I snapped some photos of the birds enjoying the buffet we put out for them.  :-)

Happy Friday all.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Snowy disappointment

I am so bummed that the forecast for lots of snow in the Baltimore area has now changed to not much of anything. It looks like the weather will be just enough to totally mess up rush hour but not do anything else. No pretty mounds of snow, no time off, just a PIA. :-(

On a more positive note, I have a completed Shawl Collared Cowl. I have to block it and buy buttons but the knitting is complete. Yippee! One less UFO! And one more pretty knitted thing to wear.
Now my focus is on the Iron Bridge sock (no, I didn't have enough knitting time to complete that) and I can resume knitting on my Capall Dubh cardigan. :-).

The Pro Bowl is on tonight but I just can't wrap my mind around cheering for teams that aren't teams. I'll wait for next weekend and cheer those Seahawks on to victory. :-)

Something exciting happened today. My friend Melanie bought a present for me - a cheering up gift. She brought it by the house today. I have a beautiful blue skein of Wollemeise DK! I'll try to get a photo of it in daylight in the next day or 2. Thanks, Melanie. It most certainly brightened my day.

Take care, everyone, especially if you are in the path of the snow and wind.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Knitting Along

I think KALs  (Knit Along) might just be the downfall of my UFO completion drive. No, I haven't joined any new ones but they tempt me daily.  There are several versions of self indulgent KALs on podcasters' threads, sock KALs, sweater KALs, blanket and charity KALs ..... you get the idea. You can join a KAL for just about anything! Some times I join them because what I am knitting fits the category on a thread that I follow. That's OK, although it still has the potential for shifting my main focus from one WIP to another. The ones that cause the problem are the KALs for a sweater, sock, cowl or something that I had in my queue maybe or I just like the look of. So, a new project sometimes gets cast on and frequently, because it wasn't in my plans, it gets pushed aside for something else. So, part of my goals for 2015 is to avoid - strictly - KALs for projects not already on my needles. I can join but only if it helps me to finish something already in the works.

In family stuff, my Mom is doing OK after my brothers death. Better than I had expected, actually. I am also doing OK, though I still have a hard time if something reminds me of my brother and how he isn't there to share with any longer. My DH has to have a procedure next week to fetch a kidney stone that is partially blocking his kidney. He is *so* not looking forward to this, especially since he doesn't feel any symptoms.
We are dreading the coming weather (because it will be ice rather than snow) but we are prepared. I certainly have enough yarn and knitting to get me through! LOL!

In knitting news, I am still knitting on my Iron Bridge sock. I have reached the heel turn point so I have to knit that section when I can concentrate. I finished one sleeve on Parmida's Low Tide sweater and will pick up the stitches for the second sleeve tonight. I plan to finish this sweater over the weekend and mail it and the twins sweaters (finished quite a while ago) out next week. I'd like to finish the sock, too, but I am not sure about that. I would love to have 2 WIPs finished.

I have to confess that I bought yarn last night and cast on a new project. I have no shame about this, though. I decided to knit a lap blanket or 2 for a group called Alice's Embrace. It's a group who knits and crochets lap blankets and shawls for people with Alzheimer's. I liked the idea of knitting for someone else and this struck a cord with me. So, I purchased a few balls of Encore in red to add to what I already own (red, black and cream) so knit a few lap blankets. I cast on last night and knit just a few rows and I hope to do that (knit a few rows) a few times a week. The yarn is held double and I am knitting on size 15 needles so it should be a fairly quick knit. The website provides patterns and I will follow one of their patterns for the first blanket. I may do something different for the next one, though.They also provide guidance on yarn selection and pointed out some things I didn't know so that was awesome. Check it out and if you have some time and some superwash yarn, consider making something yourself.

The weather sounds yucky to dangerous for tonight and tomorrow so I am planning my indoor projects. Since my yarn and projects are all out of the closet they live in for my review, I think a general rearrangement of the whole closet is in order. A full emptying, vacuuming and reordering is in order. I cleaned the oven last Monday so I think I will do more kitchen cleaning - wipe down cabinets and clean out fridge. Knitting, of course, as listed above. A few rows on the blanket (I am knitting Sunday Drive, BTW) and a few rows on my Shawl Collared Cowl should fill the blanks in my schedule. Haha!

Walking - I didn't do very well this week, once work started again. I hope the weather holds off long enough tonight for me to fit in a walk. Maybe by Saturday late afternoon and again on Sunday is my plan. I may have bad weeks but I will keep on trying to incorporate walking back into my regular routine. I need it and feel much better when I do it, so I plan to be persistent.

DH has a project that he's been working on. We have a leak somewhere in the fuel system on the boat. The boat is more than 30 years old (therefore so is the fuel tank). He decided to take on the project of removing and replacing it. He has been doing a lot of research and asking for advice on boating and fishing forums, taking it one step at a time. Its a big project for him to do, especially with his eyesight but we really want to keep boating and we can't afford to pay someone to do it.  Right now he is stuck on actually removing the tank from the boat (after very carefully emptying the gas tank and removing - by hand so as to not make a spark - all of the screws, nails etc. that he could find holding the tank in). It doesn't want to budge. Sigh. Is anything easy? Ever?

I think that's all for today. I may have more to talk about or even some photos over the weekend. Have a good day and if you are in the bad weather, please be careful.