Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wicked storms

The news is good regarding the Capall Dubh cardigan. After blocking, the button bands seem fine, so I will be weaving in the few ends that remain, buying buttons and sewing them on. Yippee! I can soon be wearing this sweater at work!

We had a tornado warning tonight! We don't get those often. The storms got closer and more intense but we were lucky here and just had high winds and heavy rain, no hail or significant damage. The umbrella over the barbecue blew inside out and the covers over the chairs blew off so the cushions got wet but that was all.

I knitted on my Forest Park Cowl tonight and did my best to resist the urge to buy the Shleeves pattern that I want very much to buy. I made a commitment to avoid fiber related purchases and if I buy the pattern I will cast on which will side track me from knitting on my current projects. I really want to get this pattern and cast on. I even have 2 choices for yarn from my stash. Sigh. We'll see how long I can last.

We are getting ready to foam in the gas tank on the boat. This is just about the last step before attaching the hoses and closing the hatch so it's very exciting! We did a test run with the foam tonight. You measure 2 liquids, mix them together and within a minute the stuff starts to bubble and grow. It gets hot, then sets and holds whatever is in its clutches pretty firmly. We are going to use it at the corners of the gas tank to hold it in place. Foam day is Thursday morning before work.

Try to stay cool and enjoy your day.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


i am sure that most of you have given up on me updating the blog. I plan to try to be better about that starting now.

I finished 2 projects last night. That is, I finished the knitting part of those 2 projects. I completed the knitting part of Capall Dubh, my green cardigan that started out as a KAL project. I bound off the last button band last night, but I might have to go back and re-knit the button bands. Maybe I made the sweater longer than specified on the pattern. I am not sure, but the number of stitches that I picked up, per pattern, looks right but the button bands don't seem to be long enough. I plan to block the sweater and see how things look. I will rip both out if I need to and add more stitches if they don't look right. I will need to select buttons and sew them on also before I can wear the sweater.

I finished the scarf I was knitting with the Malabrgio Rasta. It's so super chunky that I didn't know what else to do with it, other than a scarf, and I love it now that it's finished. It's soft and lofty and will be nice to snuggle into next winter. The color is wonderful, too. Teal feather.

My plan for current knitting projects now is to work on Driftwood, cast on the second Pamplemousse sock, keep on working on the Tour de Sock pattern and to pick up Call Me Cordelia. I have been feeling the urge to knit lace.  That shawl is pretty and I would like to finish and wear it. I also have my take along sock project.

On the spinning front - I haven't been doing any but plan on changing that with the Tour de Fleece starting shortly. I have a few spindle spinning projects I would like to finish up as well as doing some wheel spinning. I think I'll spend part of my evenings flicking some of my Shetland fleece so that I'm ready to spin that fiber. I also want to spin some of the smaller amounts of fibers I have into fingering weight yarn, planning to use them in some sort of color work project to be decided. I purchased a special fiber for this tour, Ile de France fiber dyed in one of 4 color ways that were specific to the tour. The one I selected is call Le Harve and I bought 8 oz. instead of the 4 I had intended. I just don't get enough yardage from 4 oz. to do much of anything. I have to read up about this breed but if it will work I would like to make some socks with it. If that's not a good idea then I'll go with something else, depending on yardage.

On the job front, I like my job and my coworkers, the commute is wonderful and over all I am happy there. This is a good thing.

Home stuff - we (read mostly Bob here) have been working on replacing the gas tank in the boat (and lots of rotted wood along with it) so we haven't been out on the boat yet. I have been trying to keep up with yard work but find I don't tolerate the heat and humidity well at all. My energy level and endurance is not good either. I'm working on changing the endurance part and we'll see what else gets better with that.

We have the house to ourselves for the first time in a lot of years. Eldest son's stuff is still downstairs (some of it, at least) but as he gets more moved out I plan a major cleaning job to get rid of the stink of cigarette smoke. Once that is finished, though, we don't have plans for the space. We don't need the space really, so I'm not sure what we will do down there. Sigh.

Mom was here for a visit recently and I think it went well. I was able to take off a few days while she was here. We head up to NY in a few weeks to have a beach memorial for Steven. He loved sitting on the beach, watching the world go by and making some awesome sand castles more than anything else, I think, so that what we will do on a day near his birthday.

That's it for today. I hope to get more pictures on this blog by using DH's iPad to take and post the pictures. We'll see if that works.

Have a great weekend if you can in between raindrops.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter

Hello and happy Easter to all who celebrate. We are having our typical Easter Sunday here - chores around the house, baskets of candy and a delicious dinner. Lamb this year, cooked on the rotisserie outside. Yum!

We plan to go to NY next weekend to visit with Mom. I'm looking forward to that. I also plan a trip up there in another month or so for just a girls visit. Bob we stay home. I think Mom will enjoy that, too.

Work has been good. I really enjoy my job and I enjoy working so close to home. An 8 minute commute makes such a difference in my daily life when compared to at least an hour each way!

Knitting is going well. I am nearing the finish line on the I Want That Wrap poncho for Courtney. I think I might be able to bind off later today or tomorrow at the latest. I won't weave in the end. I'll block and try the length. If Courtney feels like we need to add more length it will be easy to pull out the bind off and add more but it will have to be a different color yarn. I'll dye it so that we have shades of a color rather than cream and champagne yarn. But I really think it will be long enough. It is almost as long as my queen sized bed.

The knitting plan this month is to work hard on WIPs. I have 3 I particular that I want to finish this month. The poncho is 1. The Wye socks from last years Tour de Sock is another. The third is the Capall Dubh cardigan. I have sleeves and button bands to go.

My birthday falls near the end of the month. I plan to celebrate by casting on a new project that day. I plan to use my new interchangeable knitting needles. For my birthday gift I asked for a new set of interchangeable needles. I have a set plus some extras of the Knitpicks needles. I like the pointiness of them but the cables are unreliable and I wanted a "better" set. I love pointy needles, as I said, for lace, cables  and just general knitting. I don't care much whether the material is wood, laminate or metal. I do love my fixed circulars ChiaoGoo red lace needles so when I found a good price for the set, I bought it.

I received them about a week ago and immediately checked out the join and the tips and found those to be good. The cables themselves are a bit sticky. with a bit of research I discovered that the stickiness is a problem they have had and that wiping the cables with alcohol usually fixes the problem. I did that and I think that one more god wiping down will take care of the issue so the set is a keeper. I reluctantly gave them back to DH to give to me on my birthday. ;-)

Future gifts will include extra cables and tips in the sizes I use most often so this gift will be added to for quite a while. I am happy. I think I'll cast on Infuscate from the Curls book with the Dragonfly Fibers yarn in "reluctant dragon" color way that I purchased at the yarn party last month but I might choose something else. We'll see what has my attention that week.

Have a happy day.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I'm free!

I had my port for the chemo removed last Monday! It feels good to have "graduated" and gotten rid of that thing. It wasn't unpleasant and only mildly inconvenient but it was a symbol of cancer and I'm glad it's gone.

It was more painful than I expected getting it out.  I was sore but the discomfort gets less every day.  I will say that it is very strange hearing and smelling the cautery being used on my body .....

Somehow, I am not sure how or why, I contracted cellulitis in my elbow area of my left arm.
I first noticed pain and swelling there the day after the port removal. I didn't even look at it - just assumed I had banged my elbow in a stretcher or the OR table and it was bruised. By Wednesday, however, I was in a lot of pain. I looked at it and it was swollen, red and hot. The first thing they did was to get an ultrasound of the veins in my arm to be sure I didn't have a clot. Good news there. No colt. Next I saw my PCP who diagnosed/confirmed cellulitis, which is an infection in the skin and tissue, usually in an extremity. I am on antibiotics and it is finally improving, though Friday was a bad day. I was really sick.

I have an FO!  The Escalator Socks for DH are finished. This particular pair of socks has been on the needles for over 4 years so it really is a great accomplishment to finish. :-)

In my current WIP rotation is the I Want that Wrap poncho for Courtney (just over halfway) and Capall Dubh. The body is finished on the cardigan and the stitches for the sleeves have been picked up. I am now waiting for Angela to catch up and then we will zip down the stockinette sleeves.

I cast on in Fyberspates Vivacious 4 ply yarn in color 605 (greens and some browns) for the Axis fingerless mitts. I love this yarn I garter stitch but I am not sure this project will be finished. The gauge given in the pattern is 22 rows in 4 inches, so about 5.5 rows per inch. The increases are supposed to be every 8 rows for 5 repeats. That adds up to almost 8 inches. These are fingerless mitts! 8 inches before the thumb is separated? Something is wrong here, though no one else mentioned it in their project notes. I am already adjusting the pattern because I am using a different weight yarn but this is weird. I may frog this project. I hate to do that because I love the look of the mitts. Maybe I'll just make up my own thumb gusset positioning .... I hate to have to do that on a paid for pattern .....

ETA I did frog that pattern. I may try again in the called for weight of yarn but I don't know …. The gauge of yarn had nothing to do with the math being weird.

I am now using that yarn to knit Mulnomah. I love this yarn in garter stitch.

I joined another KAL. I know, I said I had to stay away from KALs but this one works well for me. It's a choose your own monthly challenge and for April I chose working on WIPs. I figure out how much yardage I have left on a project, then knit as much as I can on that project or projects through the month. At the end of the month I get points for yardage, weight of yarn knitted and other stuff. In May I choose another challenge and, since there are 15 to choose from, I think I can make the challenge fit in with my other goals for that month or quarter. Since I have to wait for April 1 to start that, I put aside my current WIPs for the weekend and cast on 2 projects - the Multnomah and the Nautilus Scarf .
both are smaller projects that should move pretty quickly but are very enjoyable right now.

We have daffodils coming up in the garden and yesterday we had snow off and on all day. But spring really is here. I was outside hanging clothes on the line to dry and my fingers weren't frozen when I came in. The clothes didn't freeze, either. (I have brought in sheets that were frozen stiff from being out there. We had to defrost them before we could finish drying them). I can feel the spring itch - I want to be gardening and I want to clean out closets and start knitting new things.

Enjoy your spring.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring has Sprung!

It's been above freezing for quite a few days now, so I can actually believe that spring is here. That doesn't mean we don't have some cold weather still to come but it's significant and welcome progress.

I have been progressing with my knitting, too. The repeat Low Tide cardigan is coming along nicely. I am working on one cap sleeve and I think I'll finish it tonight. I hope to pick up the stitches for the second sleeve tomorrow or Thursday.

Capall Dubh has a completed body! The stitches have been picked up for both sleeves and now I am waiting for Angela to catch up so we can work on those sleeves together. The sleeves are stockinette so should go pretty fast.

The I want that Wrap poncho is over a foot long. I pick it up whenever I want some simple knitting or need a change from much smaller needles for a while.

The Escaltor socks for DH have a heel flap and gusset. Things should move quickly  from here. I hope to have this sock finished within 2 weeks.

I am thinking about quarter 2 goals. I want to finish Capall Dubh, at least 2 sock UFOs (the Escaltor socks and Low Tide cardigan should be finished before the 2nd quarter so won't count),  and at least 2 other UFOs. I might cast on something new and that's OK as long as I am still working mostly on the UFOs. I might try to figure out which projects have been on the needles the longest and choose one of those to finish next quarter.

I am still working on the "Love the yarn you own" plan and I have a few challenges coming up. On Tuesday Angela and I will be going to Vulcans Rest, a yarn shop near here but that I haven't been to yet. They are having a 40% off sale on green yarn. I love green. :-)

On Sunday Angela, Melanie and I are going to the Savage Mill Yarn Party. I do plan to buy yarn but I want to have a plan in mind to shop for 1 or 2 particular projects so that I don't fall into impulse purchases without a plan. I would love to find yarn to knit the Architexture Shawl and maybe get a gradient or self striping sock yarn. I don't have either one of those in my stash. There is a vendor at the yarn party who sells wood buttons and I'd like a few of those also.

In May we have the Maryland Sheep amd Wool festival. I usually go both days but think I might limit it to one day this year since I am going to Rhinebeck in the fall. We'll see.

Eldest son is planning to move out in a month or two. He has been living with us (again) for over 5 years. It will be strange to not have him coming and going. I am going to miss having him here. It's good for him, though, that he is moving out. He has been wanting to get into his own place for a while.

Mom seems to be doing OK in her apartment. She was really struggling with the cold, icy weather and her grief over the death of my brother. I have had my own bad days but I have work to go to and people around me. She is much more isolated and I think it's harder for her to deal with his death. Sigh. I wish she lived closer.

I am loving working close to home. I like the people I work with and still work closely with the people in my old office downtown. Things are good right now as far as work goes.

I saw daffodils poking their stems out of the ground! Spring is here! Enjoy.

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.