Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunshine and fishing in December

I had a wonderful weekend. There was lots of knitting, spending time with DH and sunshine - lots of sunshine, at least on some days.

DH, as you might have gathered from other posts, is a fisherman. He fishes like I knit. That puts it into perspective. Every time I find myself thinking that he's crazy, I think of my knitting and how he doesn't even flinch when he sees how many knitting bags I pack to go away, or that I pack my knitting before my clothes. On Christmas Day, while preparing the holiday roast (how can you not love a man who cooks for you?) he was bemoaning the fact that it was supposed to be warm - in the 50's or possibly 60's on Friday and Saturday but he wasn't going fishing. We discussed the ins and outs of that situation for a while and came up with a plan. I am not crazy enough to be willing to be on the water all day in December but I am willing to drive for a few hours so he can do that. We agreed that I would get up (on my day off) at 5:15 AM on Saturday and drive him (he can still drive but not in the dark) to southern Maryland so he could spend the day freezing, trying to catch an elusive striped predator, better known as a striped bass. I did my research and found a yarn store in the near vicinity, printed up directions, packed my knitting and reading for the day and was ready to go.

I had a wonderful day. I dropped off son and husband at the launch ramp with the boat and went off in search of a yarn store. I found my way to Crazy for Ewe.

Ellen, the owner, was very gracious, and we had a nice conversation while I browsed. And yes, I did make a purchase. I always purchase something when I visit a new store. I passed a delightful hour and a half browsing in the store and then knitting on a bench on the square in town, basking in the sun. I left when I began to feel chilly sitting still (the shade had reached me) and headed back to Point Lookout State Park.

I stopped to enjoy the Prisoners of War Monument

There are many beautiful flags flying from those flag poles but the wind would not cooperate with my photographic efforts.

This is the Point Lookout Lighthouse.

I played with my camera.

I knitted on my Lace Ribbon Scarf and I started my Honka scarf - double knitting !! I have never successfully done any double knitting, but I persevered and this worked! I am using one skein of cascade 220 in black and two balls of Noro silk garden. I haven't knitted very far so I can't really tell how the color changes will look with this colorway, but I will be entertained as I wait. It definitely requires concentration so this will not be knit with anyone around me.

I met the guys as they came back to the dock with - yes, a striped bass! 39.5 inches (I don't want to you to think that size matters at all. LOL) We took pictures,

unloaded the boat,pulled it out of the water and off we went. We were tired by the time we got home (actually, I was tired - each of the guys had plenty of time for napping since I drove) but it was a great day and I didn't mind at all.

Sunday was a sleep in day, followed by some cleaning up of leftover Christmas stuff and some laundry, then football! The last of the regular season. There were some excellent games to watch, the best being (IMHO) the Ravens game. GO RAVENS!!!! Off to the playoffs!

Today is Monday and back to work. It was so hard to leave the house this morning, but I had an appointment, so I had to come in. Two days (possibly 2.5) and I will be off for a long weekend again. I plan to savor it. Enjoy, and have a safe New Year

ETA I wrote this post on Monday but it took me until Wednesday evening to get the photos uploaded. I worked from home today for a few hours. We kept having computer connectivity problems due to the high winds. After my info was lost once and the lights kept flickering, I decided to wait until another day to get that work done.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas to all

Santa visited our house and was very generous. We were all healthy, spent the evening with good friends, good food and had many gifts to to open. There are things to hope for next year - like my eldest son having a job. He's been out of work for a month now. It's tough. My husband is on disability from work, and we hope he gets the approval to get SS disability soon so we can stop wondering and get on with life. Our friend Steve has some health issues that need to be taken care of and I hope that there are no complications while he waits for the inner strength to do what he needs to do. Those are my wishes for next year.

On Christmas morning we opened the gifts we had saved from the night before, and then just took it easy all day. DH was cooking the roast for dinner but had time to relax and read. Reading is, aside from fishing, his favorite recreational activity. It will be so hard on him when he can't read anymore. His vision continues to deteriorate and normal vision aids depend on voice and hearing. He is mostly deaf and wears hearing aids on both sides that are somewhat helpful but just not enough.

One of my gifts was a tripod for my camera, so I played around with that for a while. I knitted and read through my new knitting books, and played with the knitting notions I received from Brian's SO. Brian LOVED his new vest, BTW. He purposely wore a shirt that he hoped would "look good under a grey vest if someone should happen to give me one". Someone did, and there were compliments all around. Compliments that included that good/bad phrase "It looks like you bought it in a store" that I never know how to respond to. LOL.

I knitted on my lace ribbon scarf mostly, because I wanted to knit on a project that I enjoyed, not one that I had to knit on to get it finished. We had a yummy beef rib roast for dinner. Bob made green beans, and we were looking for something to put in them to add to the taste in place of sliced almonds. I suggested red peppers. Bob was doubtful, but tried it and they were so good! A nice, fresh, crisp bit of flavor added to the green beans. We were so full from the roast and side dishes that we didn't even make the apple pie for dessert!

Tomorrow morning we will be headed to Southern Maryland for - you guessed it - some fishing. It is supposed to be near 60 and Bob really wants one last try. We will drive together, but I will wait for him on shore once he launches the boat. I am not interested in spending my day on the water, getting so cold that I can't even knit. We'll have the several hours each way of driving time together and that will have to be enough. I plan to bring several knitting projects with me to stay busy while waiting, and an audio book to listen to. Now that I have Brian's vest completed, I feel free to start something new, so I might be swatching tomorrow.

I purchased a Philips MP3 player the other day so I could download audiobooks through my library's free loan system, but the one I got is not compatible with the system, so I will return it and try to find an inexpensive one that is compatible. That was a disappointment, I'll tell you. I am tired of borrowing audiobooks from the library and missing entire sections of the story because the CD is scratched or the tape is mutilated. I really want this download system to work.

I woke this morning with pretty severe muscle spasms in my back. I am off now to do more stretching and maybe get another application of Icy Hot to the area. this hurts and makes it painful to do anything. Have a great day, all.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas and peace to all

Have a wonderful holiday and may you find peace in your heart if not in the world.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


This is what we woke up to this morning.

It is actually very pretty if you don't have to go anywhere in it. I didn't, thank goodness.

I did go walking with Karen in the afternoon, though. The ice had melted and the sun came out. Then it was football and knitting for the rest of the day.

Football Saturday night was AWESOME!!! Go Ravens!!!!!

The vest for Brian was finished and blocked on Sunday. The Fetching Mitts that were knitted for Christmas gifts were blocked (and dried over the heat vents to help with timely drying). The I-cord edging on my vest was ripped out (partially - it wasn't cooperative and I needed to watch the game) in preparation for re-knitting. The Wavy scarf was worked on, as was the Ribbon scarf. All in all, a pretty good day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

How many days until Christmas?

Well, I haven't been here lately but I have been busy.

Most of our holiday shopping is done but there are still a few things to pick up and I am not quite sure when that is going to happen. We host Christmas Eve at our house and have food shopping and prep to do, though our friends, as always, have offered to help. I got the gifts that we have purchased wrapped tonight. I enjoy doing that, but by the time I finish my back is usually aching. Well, it's only once a year.

We visited my Mom last weekend in NY. We also visited with my brother after he had surgery on his cervical spine to replace some discs and fuse a couple of vertebrae. Another brother had a holiday party and the timing worked out for us to be able to attend that as well. He played Santa for the kids that were there.

We exchanged gifts with Mom and she seemed happy with her gifts. She got me a pair of gold earrings, which was just what I wanted. We toned down the buying this year and I personally am very happy about it. I am not religious at all anymore (despite 12 years of Catholic education) but I do try to make this a season of thinking of others and giving. It just doesn't all have to be giving things. Time is very often more important. I plan to make more time for my Mom - she seems to be missing me more these days. It's a 4 hour drive each way and I can manage that once every 6 weeks or so I think.

I have been knitting, also. I have just one thumb to knit on my last pair of Fetching mitts. I have about 3/4 of a pair of ribbed fingerless mitts (another gift) to finish up. Those were started last weekend and I completed one in less than a day but then worked on other things. I am making Wavy with the same yarn that I used for my hat. (photo over the weekend, I hope). I am very happy with how my lace ribbon scarf is progressing.

Brian's vest is bound off at the bottom ribbing, and one sleeve opening has been edged. One more and the neck, a few ends to weave in (I have been doing a few at a time) and it will be ready to block and wear. Yippee!

I am going to sign off now and knit a few more rows. DH has been down in southern Maryland fishing (yes, in December) and I hope he will be home soon. I will try to stay awake until then. I seem to not be able to get enough sleep lately.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Can we ban perfume from places of business?

I have allergies. They are not severe. I do not, for instance, have an anaphylactic reaction to anything or break out in hives. But many scents bother me. My eyes itch, get dry (the dryness happens just from the heat being on), my nasal passages get all clogged and I sometimes get a headache. There is just enough to really annoy me but not be life threatening.

I work in an office in a health care facility. Even though I am in the office area and not providing patient care, I still feel that there should be more concern in this type of place for others. Why do people need to wear perfume at all (never mind some pretty strong stuff) to the workplace? I suppose I am just being overly sensitive but I am tired of feeling this way every day at work.

Enough bi***ing. Sorry.

Last night I worked on Brian's vest. The ribbing at the bottom has about an inch of the dark grey (the color of the vest), 3 rows of light grey, 2 rows of the blue and one of the green that is in the stripe across the chest and 3 more rows of the light grey. I will have to knit a little more of the dark grey ribbing to finish it off and then it will be time for neck and arm hole edging. Yippee! I can taste this FO.

I resurrected the hat that I made with yarn that I dyed last year, took out the bind off and decreases and I am adding more length to the hat. It was short enough that it didn't stay down over my ears comfortably. Once the hat is finished (again) I will start on the matching scarf. I haven't decided yet whether to do a reversible cable pattern or just ribbing. I think the colors will hide the cabling, but I won't know until I try. No photos of the hat.

I was able to get some good photos while the sun was shining.

Here are the Fetching Fingerless Mitts I have been working on.

The Lace Ribbon Scarf.

Bob's sweater

Here is the seed stitch vest

and a close up of the I-cord edging

I was able to get my stash in from the shed and do my inventory/clean out that I have been hoping to get to for a while now. I had so many partial balls or even some single balls that weren't enough to do anything with or fibers that I won't use. I am sure that someone would take those various yarns and combine them to make something beautiful, but I have finally accepted that I won't. I probably held onto more than I should have for a real purge but I was able to get rid of more than I thought. A lot went into the trash but a good amount will go to some one or place that can put it to good use. It's sorted differently now, too. I never used to sort by weight, only by "summer" or "winter". Now I have a bin of cotton yarn, a bin of worsted weight (non-cotton) a bin of blankets in the works (there are only 2 but they take up space) combined with some novelty yarns I didn't want to part with. Those will go back out to the shed. The 2 inside storage containers now contain 1) my sock yarn and 2) my lace weight with one or two other things thrown in.

Something I learned last night - I DO NOT need to purchase any more sock yarn. Not that I don't want more, but that is not where my limited (and shrinking) yarn budget should go. I also have a bit of lace weight, though not nearly as much. I really need to concentrate my purchases on sweater quantities.

I did enjoy myself last night, going through all of that loverly yarn. I thought some (not too much or I would not have finished the job and the cats would have had a field day today) about what I would like each thing to become. Potential is a wonderful thing.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

SNOW!!!! We have snow!!!!

It's not much and probably wouldn't even be noticed by many of you living in other areas, but I love snow so much that any amount is exciting. This is the snow last night on our waterfall to the water garden in our front yard. Just a dusting, but more than they had predicted and, as I said, I don't need much to be excited and want to go out and "play".

I took a lot more pictures but I don't have a tripod so most of them didn't come out well. during the day today we had more snow and more importantly, daylight, so I took more photos. This is some snow settled on the ice and leaves in the water garden.

Leaves against the snow. On the ground below the leaves you can see the tracks left by the leaves and twigs that are scuttling all over, blown by the wind that is very strong today.

More tracks left by leaves and twigs in the snow. Pretty, aren't they?

My son's cat wanted very much to go explore. Actually, he always wants to go out. It's an ongoing battle with him. Today I decided to let him out to see what he thought of the snow. He ran out the door and slid on the deck, not expecting it to be so slippery. He needs snow paws, I think. But once he was in the yard on the grass and snow, he had better traction. He's still not sure what he thinks of this white stuff, though.

Our outdoor decorations at night

The dear look nice in the daylight, too, I think, with the bright red bows.

The weather today is very windy, with occasional snow squalls that pass through and make being outside truly uncomfortable with the wind and snow blowing in your face. Karen and I postponed our walk from 9 AM. We'll talk later and decide whether to brave the weather this afternoon. Meanwhile, I am putting the time to good use - washing clothes and cleaning. The sheets were just about frozen by the time I got them on the line but I hope that they will dry eventually. I won't even try drying the jeans that way today.

The Ravens play Sunday night football tonight and I am very excited. I will be knitting away all afternoon while watching the games. The next post will include photos of FO and WIPs taken in the daylight. Enjoy.

Friday, December 05, 2008

I had a lot to show

Last night was the Needle Exchange at my LYS. I had a lot of FO to show and it was great fun. I brought in the 5 pairs of Fetching mitts (one more is still on the needles). I showed Brian's vest (nearing the length needed before ribbing starts, I think). I got several suggestions for accent colors in the ribbing. I brought Bob's sweater and worked on the short row sleeve cap for a while. I showed my lace scarf that is complete but not blocked. I brought my seed stitch vest, also complete but not blocked. I worked on the lace ribbon scarf for a while, too.

There was a small group at the Needle Exchange but we had a nice chat and caught up on events. We skipped last week due to the holiday, so there were 2 weeks of events to talk about. It sounds like every one had a good Thanksgiving.

I hope to get some good photos of my knitting projects over the weekend. I have taken several with the flash but they just don't look right. Have a good day, stay warm and stay out of Walmart.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Have I told you how much I love to knit?

My day does not feel complete until I have sat down each day and knitted. I have different knitting needs for each day, sometimes even for different times of day, but I have to knit. When I have been ill, knitting is the first thing I resume as I begin to feel better. When I am stressed, I knit. When I feel good, I knit. When I want to relax and enjoy myself, I knit (and have a glass of wine or some chocolate).

One of the reasons (I have several) for having multiple projects on the needles at once is that I have different needs at different times. I can absorb myself in a lace pattern, completely blocking out the world. I can keep my hands busy but still converse or watch TV with a simple project. If I am conversing with knitters, I have a little more leeway - I can work on a somewhat complicated pattern because I know that every one will understand if I drop out of the conversation for a few minutes to count, or cross cables or some other tricky maneuver. I have a travel project to go with me every place I go, making waiting almost pleasant. Then there are the knit in the dark projects (must be stockinette or garter stitch or ribbing on at least sport weight yarn so I can feel it in the dark) and the knit on the boat projects (which I have discovered the hard way need to be worsted weight yarn if at all possible with a simple pattern). This type of simple project is very useful when I am too tired to think. I can just knit away, daydreaming or not thinking at all.
I can read (or listen to audio books) while knitting. With all of those different situations, it's no wonder that I usually have 6-8 projects going at once. I think one of the reasons that I have not had pain from knitting is that I change needle sizes and fibers fairly often, so that's a bonus.

I admit to being an impulsive person, so another reason for multiple projects is that I just get an idea, see a photo or something and have to start whatever that is right away. I am better at some times than others at controlling myself. I just love knitting and as long as I don't stop going to work, the house doesn't fall down around our ears and we have clean clothes to wear in a reasonably clean house, I seee no need to curb that impulse. My husband doesn't even try to stop me. He's actually quite proud of my knitting and supports me. He's been known to brag a little, too. I don't think my mother understands me. I thought that was supposed to end when I got out of my teenage years ....

Last night I worked on Brian's vest

and my lace scarf.

I have completed one full pattern repeat and I think it will look good. My hands are itching to get back to it ...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Lace Ribbon Scarf

Last night I ripped out the scarf with the french trellis border and went back to the first pattern - the lace ribbon scarf. The color changes in the yarn obscured the pattern in the trellis lace too much for my liking. I cast on fewer stitches so I will have a narrower scarf. I allowed myself 6 rows so that I could do some knitting on the alpaca vest. I don't want the new project to stop all forward momentum on the rest of my projects. I am really enjoying the lace work, though.

I didn't have much knitting time last night. It was my late night at work, and on the way home I stopped in at Talbots for some work clothes (they had 30% off everything!). It was a worthwhile shopping trip.

That's all for today.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I am still stuffed!

I ate that much turkey and everything that goes with it. LOL I hope you all had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. We missed DH's parents, who usually spent this holiday at our house (even when we had to drive up to NY to get them). It was a little lonely because they were not there to offer help/advice/guidance in everything from gravy making to the latest project around the house, but they were there in our hearts.

My mother went to her youngest son's house and spent the day with her "boys". The youngest is now 45. We still refer to them (Mom and I) as "the boys". LOL. Some things just never change.

Bob and I enjoyed some beautiful weather and put up a few of the out door Christmas decorations. Robert and Bob cooked a wonderful holiday dinner, and Brian joined us. I think that is the first meal we've had together since last year!

Football was watched (that was a waste of time!), dishes were washed and plans were made for the morning. Then I sat and knitted until midnight. ; ))

On Friday I made a liar of myself. I shopped. I just couldn't ignore the money saving opportunities. I did not go out at those dawn hours, though. I left the house at 10 AM and shopped for about 4 hours, then went home. I did get some good deals, and I refused to allow myself to get upset over traffic or lines or whatever. I had decided that I would try to shop and if it got too bad, I would go home. It really wasn't as bad as I thought, at least not at that hour. I am very glad that I don't live on Long Island, though. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior. No electronic doodad, toy, phone or whatever is worth someone dying.

On Saturday we went together (DH and I) to another mall to try to finish up the big items on the list. We didn't have much luck and we spent too much of the day trying. : ( I got in some spindle spinning and wheel spinning on Saturday, in addition to a little knitting, but in the evening I succumbed to a bad headache and went to bed.

Sunday I had some residual headache and did not feel well in the morning. I actually went back to bed, which is very rare for me. Later I was able to do some knitting. I finished the I cord edging around my vest. I didn't put it around the arms - I like it the way it is now, and I can always add it if I feel that the vest looks unfinished. I have to block it, then I can wear it. I finished the leaf lace scarf, ends woven in and all. It needs to be blocked, though. Hopefully I can get some pictures over the next couple of days to show you what I've completed.

I cast on !!!! for a lace scarf with the shades of teal yarn I purchased at Stitches. First I cast on for the lace ribbon scarf I knitted on that for a while, and I liked it, but still I wondered? Is this the best pattern for this yarn? Is this the best yarn for this pattern? I have some beautiful silky denim blue yarn in my stash that might be better for this pattern ... I decided to rip it out (if I do decide to knit that scarf, I will make it with fewer repeats across) and I am now working on the edging for the scarf with french trellis border in Victorian Lace Today. This is not my work in this link, but it's beautiful, isn't it? I plan to weigh the yarn used for the border and knit the scarf pattern until I the remaining yarn is close to the amount I need for the final border, and stop there, hopefully leaving the critical amount of yarn for that second border, but not too much more. (I do not have the 450 yds specified in the pattern.) That is if I decide that the yarn works in this pattern. There are color changes in my yarn and they might obscure the stitch pattern. In that case I will go back to the lace ribbon pattern. Oh, and I finished the fingerless mitts for DH and he wore them to go fishing on Friday.

I picked up the stitches for the second sleeve on DH's sweater. Finally. I am on short row duty for the sleeve cap. I got a lot of ends woven in, too. Brian's alpaca vest is getting longer every day ..... that yarn is so yummy to knit with. Sunday night came way too soon.

Today it was back to work. It's my late day, so dinner is on the run. I ususally walk after work, but Karen is still on her way home from visiting, so there will be no walking tonight. One more day of reprieve and then we will be back to our regular walking/torture. LOL.