Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Tour de Sock 2014

Yes, I am alive and knitting. ;-)

Since MDSW I have been knitting away on WIPs, trying to clear some of them out of the fiber closet and into the clothes closet. The Whipporwill Shawl is finished but not yet blocked. The ends are woven in but it needs a good soak and pinning out. Maybe this weekend.
Other things finished - The Little Deschutes second sock is complete! The Maze socks are also complete! That finishes all of the 2013 Tour de Sock UFOs that were hanging around. The Escalator sock I was working on is also finished, though that is only the first of the pair. The cardigan is still on the needles and has been getting some attention off and on.

Tour de Sock 2014 has started and I cast on these wonderful cabled socks on Sunday. I am using Cascade Heritage Paints in a beautiful blue/purple colorway and loving it.
I hope to get this pair finished by June 10, which is when the next pattern is released. I chose to work this pair at the same time on separate needles. We'll see how that goes. I find it harder to estimate my progress that way but it does avoid second sock syndrome. :-)

I have to plan out what I want to do over each weekend, and set priorities. I have lots of ideas but I am not yet where I need to be with my stamina to do everything I want to do. I found out about a month ago that my thyroid gland was damaged by the radiation treatments, so I have to take supplements. That alone is not that big a deal - it's 1 little pill once per day. The emotional blow was a bit tougher. I just didn't want to hear that I had another thing wrong with me. Sigh. I am used to the idea now and really do seem to be getting stronger on the medication.

I have started walking again. This time I hope it stick. I started walking a few weeks ago but didn't get far ....
I think I will do better since I am expecting to continue to get stronger with activity rather than weaker due to the thyroid supplement. We walked 1 mile the first night, 1.5 miles the next 2 nights. Then it was the weekend and nothing happened. I did as much as I could around the house and had no energy left for walking in the evening. This week so far we have walked a little over 2 miles/night and that feels good. I think I would like to stick with that distance for this week so that I don't over-do. The doctor says a little pushing is OK but not too much.

That's all for now. Have a great week.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

MDSW 2014

It was a great weekend. The weather was great - no rain, enough sun to warm and dry things (from the rain earlier in the week) but not so much that you couldn't stand being in the barns and buildings. It was very crowded on Saturday - there was traffic and a wait to get in at 8:30 in the morning - but there were lots of goodies left on Sunday.

On Saturday Angela and I drove together. She wanted a Jenny the Potter mug so we went to the main building first and waited on that line. Success! We each bought a Spanish Peacock spindle. Mine is a low whorl, hers is a support spindle and we are both trying to learn to use them properly this week.

I bought some sock knitting circulars (Chiaogoo red cable size 1.5) and a skein of Marigold Jen BFL sock weight yarn in a beautiful brick red color. I can't wear that color near my face but for socks, why not! We made it a short day because Angela had homework to do and I have not yet built my stamina to the point of being able to go thee for 2 full days. We headed home by 2:30.

On Sunday I went back with Angela, Melanie and her 4 year old daughter. We met up with several friends through out the day (both days, in fact) and had a great time shopping and being entertained by Melanie's daughter. ;-)
I came home with a skein of Miss Babbs in the Fearsome colorway, a skein of Wollmeise! in Campari piccolo (a beautiful deep orange), a wood darning egg (yes, I have been darning my hand knit socks) and 2 skeins of STR. One is Woobu. 60% merino/40% bamboo in Manly, Yes, but I Like it Too and 1 skein of BFL sport in Smoke on the Water. There are over 600 yards in each of these STR skeins. I purchased them originally to knit the Axis shawl with Melanie. I have had second thoughts, though about knitting another shawl. I really don't need another shawl and love knitting sweaters. I went searching and found that I could knit the On the Beach sweater with the yarn. That might be a better use for me. We'll see. I plan to wind them up and swatch to see which pattern I like more with the yarn.

Nancy gave me a mug for my birthday that she purchased at the festival. It is made with beautiful blues and grays and have a picture with two sheep knitting with opposite ends of the same ball of yarn. Said ball of yarn has 2 eyes peeking out from the middle. It's very cute and I can't wait to sip some hot chocolate or soup from it.

I wanted to avoid buying fiber and I was successful. I wanted to get sock yarn in solids and/or tonals for the Tour de Sock competition and I was successful. I wanted needles for sock knitting - partially successful. I was hoping to find hiya hiya steel needles but didn't see any in the sizes I was looking for. I did get the Chiaogoo circs. Over all it was a great weekend.

Friday, April 25, 2014

I think I have a plan

A Tour de Fleece plan, that is. The Age of Brass and Steam shawl has interested me for quite a while. I am not sure what it is exactly that makes me want to knit it, but I do. I am going to spin an as yet unknown fiber and make that shawl for my TdF project. It will be a challenge to spin intentionally, I might include dyeing in the project, and i will have a use for the yarn right away, possibly eliminating both yarn and fiber from stash in the process of making a pretty shawl. Even with work I think it's a doable goal for me. Yippee!! I have a plan!

It's Friday and I am so glad!. I am very tired after being sick on Monday and then having a busy week at work after a stressful week previously. I need some family time and some down time. DH and I are going our for dinner tomorrow to celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary! We will do chores around and in the house on Saturday and I plan to take it easy on Sunday. Spinning and knitting is all that is in the plans for that day. :-)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring things

Knitting, knitting, knitting. That's all I want to do! I have so many projects going and I want to knit on all of them. There just aren't enough hours in the day! I know. We all feel that way, at least sometimes. I am feeling it very strongly right now.

My Chic Knits hoodie has a completed body and part of one sleeve. I am taking it to knit night with me, so I hope to get more sleeve knitted tonight. I *really* want to finish socks, though, so I might be adjusting my priority list so that socks are highest on the list. Last night I knit on Bob's Escalator sock. I have only about an inch and a toe to go - so close to being finished that I can't resist pushing on to finish that 1 sock. I picked up the gusset stitches on the Maze sock and have started those decreases. It will be tight to finish that before the end of the month but I am trying so hard .....

Sunday is my 60th birthday. I thought I would be more stressed about it than I feel. Maybe it's because I battled cancer last year and so everything is more valuable to me now. Maybe I have changed my outlook on things in general and numbers don't really mean much in the big picture. I like birthdays in general. I love a cake and cards and gifts. I don't feel that this birthday, significant number though it might be, is any more special or any worse than any other, so we aren't doing anything special. I have surprised everyone by asking for a strawberry shortcake rather than my usual chocolate but other than that I just want sunny weather and some time to knit and spin. (I hope to get pretty far down the foot of that Maze sock on Sunday). I hope to get some shetland flicked and maybe spin a basket of it, too. I enjoy doing it, plus I want to empty those bobbins in preparation for the Tour de Fleece.

I have yarn coming. I know that I said that I wasn't casting on for anything new but ..... The crackerjack scarf/cowl idea caught my interest. The idea is that you choose 4 colors for your baseball team. Each color represents home wins, home losses, away wins and away losses. You knit a row (or 2) of the appropriate color after each game, illustrating your teams win/loss record for the season in color. I have to say that I don't really care that much for baseball but my son and several of my friends do, so I have gotten caught up in cheering for the Baltimore Orioles. The scarf, however, will be for my son. The yarn is on the way. :-)
Each night I will knit 2 rows of the appropriate color on the scarf depending on the previous days game results and then move on to sock knitting.

DH is adjusting the size of the veggie garden down. Not only is the blue spruce tree growing into the garden space but the garden is also large and an odd shape. It will be smaller and rectangular, with an actual gate to open instead of having to step over the fence (which is just a bit too high for me to do comfortably). We have to change some of what we usually grow for this year - we had problems with lots of beetles on the green beans last year and some sort of mildew on the cucumbers. It might have just been the weather last year but the master gardeners told us to change the location of what we plant and to avoid some things some years. So the plan is to grow corn, tomatoes, green peppers for sure and possibly green beans, cukes and lettuce in another location this year. I hope it's dry enough to till the garden soon so I can get seeds started. Last year, despite my warning that I would not be able to keep up with the gardening, DH planted a full load. Sure enough, I couldn't keep up and he finally gave in and did the weeding. ;-) This year will be different.

Maryland Sheep and Wool festival is coming up shortly! I can't wait to spend a weekend immersed in fiber! I have no great plans to purchase anything major, though I have no intentions of saying that I won't buy anything. Maybe a skein or two of sock yarn for the Tour de Sock ..... I want to look at samples, feel yarn and be inspired by other people's knits. I want to see sheep and other fiber animals and just experience.

Well, that's all for now. Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

It's Friday!!!!

It's Friday and I am looking forward to the weekend so much!

Spring weather has finally arrived (for the most part, anyway). We are no longer bundling up in many layers just to run to the store. The crocus and daffodils are poking their heads further out of the ground. The fish in the pond are coming up to beg food more often and the birds are singing and chirping like crazy! I love it!

Karen and Nancy came to visit on Wednesday as planned. I really did learn how to use my cards properly and to make rolags. ;-) Now I have a way to prep fiber that is not appropriate for flicking or combing or just because I want to. The Lebowski socks have been dissected and repairs will commence shortly. We chatted and I showed off several of my knitting projects and got some advice on what to do with my Cattails sweater to fix the collar. We were entertained by the cat and Nancy, who had endless patience for playing with him. None of us got a whole lot of knitting done but that's OK. It was more of a visit than a knitting event.

So, my excitement for fibery things is increasing. I find that I need a plan in order to get any significant progress done on anything. If I don't, I get sidetracked too much. I still get sidetracked sometimes, but not as much. ;-)
Projects on the needles are many. I want to finish, finish, finish. No new casting on for me for a while. I am trying to set reasonable goals, by month at this point, to get things finished. It's the right season to wear Cattails, so that front edging re-knit is high on the list. I'd like to have most of the body, at least, of the hoodie finished before the summer. I really want to have both leftover socks from last years Tour de Sock finished. I will finish the beaded Maze socks in April and the Chicane sock in May, ready for a fresh start on the TdS on June 1. I think those projects are enough to keep me busy but I want to start spinning again.

The Tour de Fleece is always a good jump starter for my spinning. There are so many options for TdF spinning that I can't settle on a plan. I could continue to spin my Shetland fleece. I probably should, but I am craving color spinning. I could, then, clear bobbins and plan on spinning as much color (braids, bumps, batts and dyed locks) as I can manage. I am afraid that I won't put as much thought into a use for them that way, though, and I don't want to spin without at least a general plan for the fiber. I need to spend a day with my fiber stash, looking for good combinations and potential projects or at least uses for the fiber (such as mittens or hat or part of a sweater) before I spin it. That leads me to thinking that my best plan might be to finish up the Shetland bobbin I am spinning now, wind it and the other full bobbin into a plying ball and then play with color for a little while as "training" for TdF. I could then concentrate on Shetland spinning during the tour and/ or spin another bobbin of a very nice wool blend in a soft green color that I started ages ago and ply those, clearing off another bobbin. Sigh. So much fiber, so little time. :-)

I didn't get this post finished on Friday as planned so it's Saturday now and I will be helping Bob to replace a thermostat on the Expedition today. It's windy but sunny outside so it should actually be nice to be outside. I will also be hanging clean clothes on the line to dry. I love the scent of line dried clothing. Knitting and/or spinning will be reserved for tonight. Oh, and I am due for a 2 mile walk today. It feels good to be back to walking.

Have a great weekend, all.

ETA I finally clicked on submit on Wednesay of the following week. The htermostat is in and we had a reat day on Sunday doing some spring cleaning in the garden.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The holiday stuff is away

Finally, the last of the Christmas stuff (dishes, decorations, etc.) is gone from the guest room. It's almost Easter! Mom is coming for a visit soon and we needed the room. The work that had to be done in the storage area is complete so the storage bins are gone. yippee!

Terraform is now my travel project. I decided to get back to working on WIPs, so the convertible mitts, the hoodie, a sock and a shawl will all be in the rotation. Once two of those are completed, I will add another WIP to finish. I would really like to finish the socks from last years Tour de Sock before this years episode starts. That means that the Maze socks will be first up, and hopefully finished by the end of April. The Chicane socks will be finished by the end of May. I never did start the last sock of that season so I feel no need to start and finish it before the tour starts again. I bought yarn for it, but no rush.

The hoodie is going well. I have knitted about 2-3 inches of body below the arm scye and it seems to fit well. I would knit on just that if I could. I like knitting with the cascade Pastazza.

It's raining. It is supposed to rain all weekend. Ugh. At least the temps are higher. It's actually good knitting weather. Unfortunately, there are other things to do. My spinning stuff - fiber, tools, etc - was all pushed into the guest room for the holiday. Now that Mom is coming for a visit, I have to decide what to do with it. I really don't want to just push it all out to the living room in messy piles like it was before. I have to think of a storage solution.

I have a mid week weekend coming up this week. I am taking Wednesday off to spent time with friends. Karen used to live here and we spent quite a bit of time together knitting and also walked 4 miles together 4 days/ week or so. She moved to California several years ago and I haven't seen her since. She is coming for a visit, staying with Nancy and they are both coming to spend the day on Wednesday! We have plans to knit and/or spin, I am going to try to learn to make rolags and I will also attempt surgery on Rob's Lebowski sock with Karens support. (I left out several rows of the pattern on the leg so one leg is shorter than the other). It will be great spending time together.

Have a great Sunday.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Starting and Finishing

Cattails is finished! I hope to get photos once it is finished drying after a blocking that I hope will relax the front edging enough that it lays flat on my neck. Fingers crossed. I don't really want to rip out the front edge and have to knit it differently.

I did start the Chic Knits Hoodie, lace version. I just divided for the body last night. The pattern requires some adjustment for fit due to my yarn not being the same weight as the pattern calls for. So far, so good. I will have fewer stitches in each row now that the sleeve stitches are on holders so the body should grow fast and I like the lace panel. I'll try to get some photos tonight and post them.

I went to the Savage Mill yarn party on Sunday with Angela. I had never been before. They squeeze a lot of vendors into a small space which makes shopping a little difficult, but most people seemed to be considerate. I bought a snap bag for notions (I fell in love with the fabric and the opening) and a set of 4 buttons made with zebrawood. I have no idea where I will use them but they were too pretty to leave behind. My 1 yarn purchase was a skein of Dragonfly Fibers Djinni sock yarn. My colorway was Eastern Bluebird. I love it! Even though I kept picking up skeins of tonal or solid colors, trying to convince myself to stick with the plan, I couldn't put this one down and came home with it. Angela bought the same colorway but in a different yarn. :-)

I worried the whole way home that I wouldn't find anything to make with it due to the color variation and it would be forever just a skein of yarn. We made a pact to find a project and cast on that night so it wouldn't just be pretty yarn and would actually be kit into something. We both succeeded. I am knitting Terraform and Angela is knitting futur simple.

The convertible mitts for eldest son's girlfriend have gone by the wayside for a while. I just can't keep my hands off the new stuff! I will finish them, but apparently not soon. :-(

It's snowing right now. It looks like a blizzard out there until you get close enough to look down on the ground and realize that it is not (thank goodness!) sticking. Everything is getting wet but that's all. Big smile! Enjoy your day.

PS I have found the crocus and tulips. Yippee!!