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.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2015 goals

It's hard to put this in writing this year, with my grief so fresh, and yet I want to get myself together . There are things changing in my life, things happening to me/us and I want to make the best of what's coming.

My job as a research nurse in Radiation Oncology in Baltimore is transitioning to Bel Air at Upper Chesapeake Hospital. I will have more hours per day to use for myself (instead of commuting). I want to make good use of that time. Those hours will hopefully be spent either doing something with Bob (fun or chore doesn't matter. Just doing more things together matters) or in exercise. I want to get back to almost daily walking. It will help physically and emotionally and those are 2 good areas to improve in.

I want us to be more frugal in some areas so we can afford to go out on the boat more often this year.

I am organizing my stash and UFOs and plan to knit from stash a lot this year. That will accomplish 2 things - more funds will be available for Rhinebeck spending and I will have room to store the purchases when I get home. ;-)

Rhinebeck is another event happening this year. I am very excited to be going with Melanie and Angela. I think we'll have a great time together. I want to have specific goals in mind for that trip. I want to, most importantly, have a great time. I want to buy larger amounts of yarn for sweaters or hat/cowl/mitt sets. I want to have a specific purpose in mind for what I buy but I will allow 1 total impulse purchase.

In addition to shopping from stash this year I plan, in the first half of the year at least, to finish UFOs or frog them. I have a lot of UFOs and it's time that they were completed or removed from the line up. To that end, today is dedicated to reviewing UFOs, making those decisions and arranging the remaining projects in a way and a place that I have easy access to them. 

ETA I spent a good part of the day yesterday reviewing UFOs and stash. I have 30!!!!!! UFOs!!!
No new projects for me for quite a while!

Edited again to add that I just read about a program to knit or crochet blankets for people with Alzheimer's and I like that idea. I will plan to buy some washable wool to knit at least 1 blanket for that cause this year. 

I want to become comfortable with double knitting this year. I bought a pattern book and there are plenty of videos on line. I will make at least 2 patterns using the double knitting method.

That's it for goals for this year. I will be amazed if I can really clear out UFOS, even with frogging some of them. However, if I can get the number cut in half and then continue to work at them slowly, that will be great. And I have to stop joining KALs! They are truly a weak point for me. ;-)

Happy knitting to all.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

My brother is gone

Steven died at the age of  56. He had cancer but he died because of pain and malnutrition. I will miss him in so many ways but he will always be a part of me.

2015 started with a lot of anxiety and urgency, trying to get my brother cared for. He died being well taken care of in a wonderfully hospice facility and with friends and family around him. Now he can spend all of his time on a sunny beach, music playing and cold drink in hand.

2015 has to get better, doesn't it?


Friday, January 02, 2015

Happy 2015. I hope it's a better year

Well. It's been over a month since I last posted. Lots has happened.

Mom came to visit for Christmas. It was great having her and the visit went pretty well. The complicating factor was my brother's cancer diagnosis. He has metastatic cancer in several places and just after Christmas he decided to go with hospice care rather than treatment. He can change his mind but I don't think he will. So, within a few weeks to months my 56 year old brother will die. It made for a very sad Christmas for all of us.

My younger son had a seizure (no history of seizures in his life or the family) on Christmas morning and he fell and dislocated his shoulder.

I disappointed my husband by not wanting to go fishing the last several weeks and now the season is over for the Chesapeake Bay (striped bass fishing). I just can't make myself go out on the water when it's in the 40's.

I keep casting on more things and not finishing. I managed a few pairs of fingerless mitts that will be gifts for co-workers but I have soooo many UFOs.

I hope to post a list of goals for 2015 in the next few days. Realistic goals and ones that are important to me for one reason or another.

Try to stay warm. It's supposed to get very cold over the next week or so. It's a good thing I have woollies to wear. :-)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Frogging away

The knitting has not been going well lately. I seem to be making miscalculations or mistakes or some other problem and I feel like I will never ever finish anything again. Unless you count frogging everything finishing ...

Courtney's mitts are not going well and will not be done for another few weeks at least. I ripped the second one back to the cuff, added stitches for the circumference and did the thumb gusset differently. I plan to start the flap/ inside section seperation as soon as the thumb gusset is finished and make the whole mitten wider. When this one is done I will rip the first one back and re-work it. Sigh. I should have chosen a pattern instead of mixing 2 to get what I wanted.

Bob's Escalator socks get frogged also. I should say the second one was frogged. It kept coming out too wide despite needle size changes. It turns out that I neglected to record using fewer stitches in the leg. 56 stitches instead of 72 makes a huge difference. :-(. Another deep sigh. At least now it will go faster.

I have signed on for a new sock race/swap on Ravelry. No, I haven't finished my Tour de Sock socks yet. Why do you ask? I just couldn't help myself. The plan is that you have 4 team members. There will be at least 6 patterns to choose from. You are encouraged to discuss and select sock patterns/colors that your team mates like. You knit 1 sock, send it and the yarn to the next person in line. Then you knit 1 sock of the next pair (all different patterns) and send that sock and yarn to the next person. Same thing with a third sock. Then you go back to the first sock you were sent by a team mate and knit the match for it. The second follows, as does the third. There are prizes along the way and it sounds doable and fun. So I will be in sock knitting mode starting on January 1.

Later in January I will be resuming my KAL with Angela. We were going to knit Capall Dubh togehter and along with the Carol Feller group. School was too much for her this semester so we will do our own KAL in the new year. I am looking forward to that. The sweater is sooooo pretty!

I have a gazillion things on the needles and a gazillion things more that I want to knit. Every time I think I have a plan figured out for my knitting projects, I get side tracked and do something else! I'm not even going to throw a p,an out there at this point. It will just be blown away. I guess I'll just say that I hope to finish some things between now and the end of the year.

I placed  an order with Knit Picks today. I have been trying to yarn diet and have been pretty successful. This yarn, though is for a Christmes gift, a sweater for Bob and, yes, a sweater for me. It's a good knit picks sale, though, so the prices were great and most of it is not for me. :-)

ETA On November 29. The Knit Picks order has arrived and I love everything! I also went to my LYS today to support small business. I picked up Cascade 220 superwash in navy and white to make a hat for my brother, 3 skeins of Mirasol Miski (shade 150, which is a teal color) to knit the Shawl collared Cowl and one ball of Lima to knit fingerless mitts. They had a sample of the mitts (Calypso Knits Easy Fingerless Mitts) on the table and they felt wonderful!!!

I started another pair of Mountain Man socks. This time they are for my brother. He has had a recurrence/metastasis of cancer and will be having to go to treatments in the winter this time. He is always cold anyway, so I am knitting the socks and plan the hat (listed above) for him. The hat will be knitted with Cascade superwash (since I know how he will wash it) in the closest thing I could get to NY giants colors - navy and white.

We had a good Thanksgiving though I missed visiting with younger son due to a trip to Target that lasted longer than I thought. We wanted to get an I pad Air for DH since that is the best way for him to read given his vision problems. We got a good deal but I still wish we had not been gone. We don't normally shop on Thanksgiving day and I don't plan to repeat that any time soon. :-(

Tomorrow we plan to buy our tree. I hope to get it set up in the house within a week. I baked cookies yesterday (they came out good for a change) and tonight we are having lobster! It was on sale at the store and we can't resist.

I hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

It's fall!

The weather out there has been rather chilly lately! Leaves are all over the ground, though in some areas, like our street, there are still leaves in beautiful fall colors clinging to the branches. I need a jacket or warm sweater to walk the half block from my new office to the hospital to see patients. I spent part of the afternoon yesterday pulling annuals and cutting back perennials for the year. That's always a sad time for me. I love fall but I hate to loose the pretty blooms and foliage

My castonitits seems to have eased a bit. I still want to cast on but not as urgently and I have been enjoying finishing things this week. Regarding those cast on items, I finished the socks I cast on for Bob. They are sleep socks, knitted with worsted weight wool, so it's not really miraculous that I finished them in less than a week. :-) I followed the mountainman sock pattern and it worked well.
I also started a pair of slippers, and I finished the first one and have started the second. I have made
progress on Courtney's convertible mitt (the second) and have completed the ribbing, established the cable pattern and started the thumb gusset. Those were things I concentrated on knitting this past week and I feel good about my progress.

I made a repair to a pair of my wool socks and put them back in action, repaired a hat belonging to eldest son and, the big accomplishment - I grafted the Lebowski socks back together!!!!!
 I had knitted a pair of Lebowski socks for eldest son last year and discovered after I finished them that I left out a whole colorwork section and the corresponding stripes so that sock was about 1.5 inches shorter than the other. I wanted to fix that but did not want to reknit the sock. I consulted my knitting expert Karen and she advised me on how to do surgery on the sock. Actually, she visited here (she lives in California now) and made the actual snip that started the unraveling after I placed the needles in the stitches. It took me all this time to get up the nerve to try the re-attachment but I did it in 2 sittings and now they are a matched pair. :-))

This weeks plan for knitting is to continue to work on Courtney's mitt, finish the slipper I started,  and work on another WIP - maybe socks, maybe the Coast Starlight shawl, maybe the Leaves hat. I'm not sure which. If I feel the need to cast on something, it will be either a hat to be knitted with my Cascade Lana Bambu or the Derica Kane sweater, to be knitted with silky wool from my stash (a previous sweater that didn't work out was frogged).

I spoke with Mom yesterday. She is feeling good, doing pretty well in her new apartment. I think she did very well adjusting to moving from her own, individual house to a downstairs apartment. I am not sure I would have done as well after more than 50 years in the same place.

I thought I would leave you with a few photos that I took while in Montauk. I had a great time taking photos and have a few taken in the same place but in different weather. I'll have those ready for the next time. Have a great week.