Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sad Sunday

The Olympics will be over tonight. It has become a big part of my daily life for the last 2 weeks and I am not quite sure what I will do about the empty space. I have been so impressed by the talents and skills showcased in these Olympics. True dedication to each sport is obviously necessary and having a strong will is vital. Grace under pressure is necessary as is accepting defeat with style and grace. I am humbled.

The leak in the kitchen sink has been temporarily fixed. We have a new sink on order and that will complete the fix.

I've marked up the pages in the seed catalogue with stars and question marks near things I want to try to grow. I will have to make some choices soon. I know that some vegetables are cool weather plants that need to get in the ground early. We have to turn the ground before most thing scan be planted, though, and there is still about 18 -22 inches of snow on the ground in the back yard. That's gonna slow things down some.

I need to do some research on the web concerning preserving of tomatoes, green beans and possibly pickling cucumbers. DH is considering whether he can build a not too expensive cold frame for me so we can get a head start on putting things outside. And the snow has to melt.

I finished knitting the copy of the Olympic hat the other night and today I blocked it. It's still drying. I am not pleased with the tensioning across the middle where the reindeer are. I can do better and I am not sure why this was a problem in this hat. It looks OK but it's not my best work.

The cashmere scarf, though, is looking awesome. I won't be finished with it tonight - circumstance such as the leak and work requirements got in my way. There are priorities in real life that supersede even a knitting event. ; )) That's OK. I will have a beautiful scarf in the end. I think it would have taken me much longer to get the nerve to try a pattern in this book because of the nupps and now I know that I can handle that. I will chose a yarn to make one of the shawls with soon, I think.

The KAL Mondo Cable Pulli has been chugging along slowly because I want to be knitting on it during the KAL. I knitted a few rounds just last night, though and I still love knitting with that yarn. I am very happy that the KAL starts this Tuesday. I can finally get that sweater finished and start wearing it.

I did some spinning yesterday! I'll be doing more of that as soon as I get off the computer, with knitting planned for during the closing ceremony. Roast lamb for dinner - yum! Have a great evening.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We have a leak

I had planned to get in about 30 minutes of knitting on my lace scarf last night before bed. I will fail my Olympic knitting test for certain this year. I only have 2 repeats done on the scarf. Despite it being my late home day, I had hoped to get some knitting in so as to not fail totally. However, in the process of cleaning up after dinner last night, eldest son discovered a leak from the sink.

It took some detective work to find what we thought was the source, and then we were still not sure. We could see a slow seepage but not a true dripping leak. The whole faucet will be replaced just to be on the safe side. (at least it's not the sink - that's a lot more expensive and bigger project) There was no time left to knit by the time we were finished. I am one of those who needs lots of sleep to function well and sometimes even to get out of bed in the morning. The lights were turned off at 9:45. The alarm went off at 5:15.

We are having a wet, cold, week. I think everyone except maybe the smallest children are relieved that it's rain falling instead of snow. The dirty snow piles are slowly going away, and assuming that our sump pump keeps working, (to avoid flooding near the foundation) that is a good thing. I love snow but I do not like dirty snow piles at all. The kids still have to stand on piles of snow sometimes waist high at the corners while waiting for the buses.

This icicle brings to mind a figure skater. What do you think? It hung outside my living room window for 4 days before it melted.

This is what my neighbor's mail box looked like about two weeks ago. I thought I would remind myself of how improved things are now, even though it doesn't look nice out. That mailbox is mounted so that from the truck, the mail can be inserted into the box. I think it stands about 3.5 feet off the ground.

The birds have been partaking of the buffet we provide for them. I filled the feeders (we have 2 all purpose feeders and one finch feeder) on Saturday and on Sunday I had to refill the 2 regular feeders! I think the birds are gathering strength for the spring mating season or something. They've never been that ravenous before.

I received a new seed and plant catalogue in the mail yesterday. Spring really is getting closer! I hope to make some selections for the garden and place my order in a couple of weeks. We hope to grow potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, green beans, corn (depending on space) and possibly some lettuce. Our area is too hot and humid to grow much lettuce, but if I can get the seeds in early enough, we should get some. It's not likely that I can plant some in the fall since we go on vacation in September. I wouldn't be around to tend to it or harvest it. Spring is my only chance.

I would like to (but don't know if I'll follow through on) freezing some of these veggies for use in the winter. I've never done that before but I would like to. I'd like to freeze green beans and preserve in some form some of the tomatoes for sauce. The potatoes can be stored for a while - we have an unheated space in the house, under the stairs that should work well as storage for potatoes. As for the rest - we'll eat fast and share with the neighbors. LOL

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How could I forget?!

I have FO photos of the He Gansey! I will try to get some outdoor photos when he wears it the next time, but I think you can still see the patterning on the chest and the anchor that we inserted on the back. (Click to big) It fits well, though it's a construction he hasn't worn before. He is not use to the arm gusset nor is he used to the vents on the side. His sweaters all have ribbing at the bottom edge, and in the future I will probably adjust his sweaters to that since it is his preference. It is nice for a change, I think. I like it, but he has to wear the sweater, so it's his choice.

For Valentine's Day, I received chocolate candy, my favorite, from both DH and Eldest son. At the time I was ill and couldn't even sample it, but I have since, and it is wonderful. Younger son gave me flowers.Aren't they pretty?

Sunny Sunday

On Friday I started a post about my illness and my problems with my Olympic project, but I dumped it all in favor of good spirits. The weather is sunny and warm (for this time of year), I feel well and it’s just been too great of a weekend to complain.

My Olympic project turned out to be a scarf from Knitted Lace of Estonia, knitted with a wonderful deep blue cashmere gifted to me by Nancy. I think the Olympic effort will be required to make all of those nupps. Giggle. Actually, I did battle with them for a while despite having taken a class on nupps and bobbles last fall. The problem, though, was the needle I was using. Once I switched to an Addi lace needle I was fine. I love the way it looks and I think it will feel wonderful against my neck. I'll have to knit fast to finish this in time, but I'll try. Of course the lace is not nearly as impressive until blocked, so use your imagination, please.

I allowed myself to get sidetracked with another Olympic project. There are athletes who participate in more than one event, right? I found a pattern for the hats the American Olympic athletes were wearing at I had ooohed over it during the Opening ceremony and when I saw the pattern I couldn’t help but buy the yarn and cast on. Most of it is done. I have knitted the bottom border and the reindeer, have just started on the top charts. I love it. I am not sure who will wear it but I had to make it.

My Mondo Cable summer shell is almost complete. I have to figure out the neck and weave in ends. That will be done by next weekend. When the first warm day arrives, I'll be ready for a change.

The KAL sweater has been mostly placed on the back burner due to the Olympics. I thought that I should be knitting some on the KAL sweater during the KAL. ; ) When I need something simple to knit on, I do pick it up and knit a few rows on the sleeve. It’s so nice to knit with that yarn, and the colors are great so it’s very satisfying knitting. Here (on the right) you can see where I changed the bottom of the sweater from the pattern since the 5 rounds of K5 P1 ribbing did not stop rolling.

DH needs more wool socks, so when I completed my last socks, I started on a pair for him. I am using the sidestream architecture (you can see the gusset in the photo on the right) to knit this pair. We’ll see how they fit and he likes them. He chose the yarn but he was a little surprised to see the stripes. He thought that there would be little bits of color through out, but he says he is OK with it so I am forging on.

I can almost feel spring. I know that I'll get a rude awakening in a couple of days when we get more cold/icy stuff falling from the sky, but the MD Home and Garden show is nearing and I am ready to start ordering from the seed catalogs. We plan to try a big garden this year, to try to grow more of our own veggies and I have a tentative plan for it. It will be hard work over the summer keeping up with weeding and pest control, but we will give it a shot. Fresh veggies from your garden taste sooo good.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


The snow is over (for now). The sun is shining, and if you can get out of the wind, it's a nice day. The wind is terrible. Our street was plowed very well. It was actually clear enough last night that we went to 7-11 for Bob's fountain drink and had no problems. I used 4WD to be on the safe side. I did not want to be one of those people who had to be rescued. There were few vehicles on the road. I think everyone heeded the warnings and stayed in. In Baltimore city the enacted/enforced Phase 3 restrictions - no one other than emergency vehicles allowed on the roads, and the visibility was so bad at times during the day in the city and elsewhere that they actually suspended snow plowing!

The University of MD campus is closed again today. I don't know about tomorrow yet. When I went into work on Tuesday (the previous snow had stopped on Sat) the roads in the city were terrible. If I go in tomorrow, with the snow only having stopped 1.5 days earlier, will I be able to get into and out of the parking garage? They should be working hard to keep them clear so that patient care staff can get in and out, but it didn't appear that they were doing very well earlier in the week. I would hate to drive all the way into the city (it's a 35 mile trip one way) and then not be able to get into work. I'll watch the news tonight and decide, I guess.

I worked on my summer Mondo Cable top yesterday and on the new socks for Bob. I am using an old yarn that I picked up more than 10 years ago. I can't even remember where I bought it. It's called Swizzle, by Reynolds. It's a charcoal grey with thin stripes (when knitted) of pink, yellow and green. I will be following the Sidestream architecture in Cat Bordhi's book and attempting to fit Bob's skinny ankles with some customizing of the fit. Straight stockinette, since he seems to be bothered by any texture on the foot. I might get creative on the leg, but probably not. He wears boots a lot (especially this winter!) and texture on the legs bothers him, too. Yes, he's fussy. If I chose to knit for him, it only makes sense to knit what he wants, right? At least they should go fast with no patterning. ; )

My Olympic challenge is still up in the air. I can't access the silk hankies that I was thinking of spinning. They must be in the new shed, which is blocked by several feet of snow drifts. I do not have the nerve to ask DH or eldest son to dig that out. I may drop spindle spin some fiber that I dyed over the summer in a soft, silvery grey. I had planned a shawl with it at the time, but am now considering challenging myself to spin spin a sport or worsted weight yarn for mittens or a hat (depending on yardage). I have not spun anything heavier (on purpose) than a sock weight on a drop spindle before. I am still considering my options. My LYS might be open tomorrow and I could be able to get the yarn for the double knit hat in the round. I might have trouble with my back and not be able to spin at all, so I want to have a back up plan. Even Olympians have injuries that interfere with performance and sometimes prevent them from competing. Not that I am comparing myself to an Olympian, mind you. I am not even close. So if I can't get the yarn I need for the hat and if I can't spin, what will I do?

I am happy that I have heat and a roof over my head to think about this. DH is happy that he dug out his vehicle and went for a ride. All in all, it's a good day. Enjoy yours.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Horizontal snow

The winds are so high that the snow is blowing horizontally and taking the long way down. It's getting to the ground, though - there's a lot of shoveling to be done in MD again. I doubt I'll be going to work tomorrow - the city streets (Baltimore) are much worse than Harford county, which is where I live.

I did some purging of files and piles and washed dirty clothes. Now I plan to settle into the recliner and knit for a while. So far we still have electricity. Thank goodness and knock on wood. ; ))

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

snow is falling .... again

We are expecting another 10-20 inches of snow. This is unbelievable for this part of the country. We just don't deal well with this amount of snow. Bob and I grew up on Long Island during a time when there were, if not frequent, then at least not rare, heavy snowfalls. We are older now, I admit, and different responsibilities but I don't think that the world abruptly stopped due to a snow storm. It's hard to go on with life as you know it when all around you people are grabbing up all of the food at the grocery store and risking accidents to beat someone to the gas pump. It's crazy here!

We tried to get to the marina on Monday to check on the boat and do some snow removal. This is what we saw.

It's beautiful, isn't it?

We had to get down this road. It had not been plowed. Even with 4WD, with the snow almost 2 feet deep, we didn't risk getting stuck.

For perspective: that's a regular height stop sign.

Some little creature was getting around ....

These socks are actually finished and on my feet as I sit here typing.

I called these my plum sunshine socks. That's Cookie A's Sunshine pattern in the color plum. The yarn is Dragon's Stash sock yarn, knitted on size 1 Addi lace turbos (2). I love them.

This is my Mondo Cable Pulli in daylight. The yarn is Angels Kiss yarn in Ocean, being knitted on size 7 needles. I love the yarn and am thinking about what else I might make with it.

On days like today, it's hard to believe that we will have summer, but when it arrives, I will be ready. This is the Mondo Cable shell/tank top, being knitted in a discontinued Wool in the Woods Dunluce (cotton/rayon blend).

You can't really see this project very well, but it's the garter stitch shawl in a luscious alpaca yarn that I started this winter. I have completed about 2 of the 4 inches of K1P1 ribbing necessary for the edging. Isn't that color great?

My KAL tonight was cancelled due to weather. I am not sure when we will get started, but soon, I hope. Meanwhile I will work on the summer shell and on finishing up other projects. I've been trying to think of an Olympic challenge for myself and haven't settled on anything yet. That has to happen soon. The opening ceremony is just a few days away. I want to do something that is truly a challenge for me and yet a realistic goal. Hmmmm.....

Saturday, February 06, 2010


We had SNOW! I don't have an official total but nearly 2 feet. That's a heck of a lot of snow for Maryland. It's probably more like a flurry for some parts of the country/world, but for us, it's a lot. Bob was out clearing snow with the shovel and snow blower for hours and isn't finished yet. He did get the driveway clear enough for us to get out tonight with the 4WD vehicle so that he could get his fountain drink. He loves fountain drinks rather than canned soda but he also loves getting out. Period. Going anywhere. He's one of those people who can't stand not being able to go somewhere, even if there's not place or reason to go. We went. It is so pretty out there.

Here is a view of our back deck. You can see the barbecue cover and the 30 something inch railing and how close to that the snow is.

The birds came to eat under the table on the deck. You can see how oddly the snow drifted in that area. The birds had a bowl to eat out of.

There are drifts of snow everywhere, making sculptures in unexpected places. This is the edge of the roof of the new deck with an overhang of snow. How does that stay there?

This overhang is on the house roof.

Our house. You can see the overhang (from the previous picture) just over the window to the left of the front door

There are 2 cars under all that snow

DH hard at work

There are huge piles of snow everywhere. There are a lot of people making a lot of money this weekend. We'd be lost without them, but I wish they would get comp time instead of over time. Maybe the rest of us (state employees) wouldn't have to get more furlough days in that case.

Lots of knitting happened today. The summer shell version of the Mondo Cable pattern grew by leaps and bounds this weekend. There are no sleeves, so that fact that I am almost half way down the body means that I am almost halfway finished!

The KAL sweater is longer, too.

The purple sunshine sock is only about an inch of pattern and toe decreases from being finished. I'd like to finish that sock tomorrow and cast on for the next pair (for DH).

Tomorrow is Superbowl Sunday. I normally look forward to that game but this year I have no team to cheer for. I suppose I'll watch it, but I think I will be paying more attention to my knitting than to the game. DH will be recovering form spending more hours clearing snow. I am still limited in my activities and so won't be able to help, though I wish I could.

The Olympics start next week. Are any of you planning to do a Knitting Olympics Challenge? I haven't settled on a plan yet. I am thinking about it, though. Hopefully I will come up with an idea soon.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

About 5 inches

We had, depending on where you measure, about 5 inches of snow last night. It was a true winter wonderland view outside my windows today. The trees are all bowed with the weight of the snow. It was not so much that it was dangerous to the trees or people walking underneath, so I didn't feel bad about enjoying the view. The roads were clear and the sun was out, so by the time things re-freeze tonight, the roads should be pretty dry.

The birds came visiting this morning and were fun to watch as I ate breakfast. The cardinals, with their bright color a contrast to the white and black of snow on tree branches, were beautiful. A blue jay come to visit, too. I love the dark eyed juncos though - they are so cute, hopping around in the snow.

The owner of Angel Kiss yarn contacted me and is sending another skein of yarn to me after having read about my trouble with the darker skein. She explained that some yarn, at the bottom of the dye pot, might be darker than the rest. I know, even from my own limited experience, that this can be true and I really appreciate her efforts on my behalf. If this had been a sweater with an edging or a shawl or even a hat with a brim, I could have used the darker skein for that edging, and might have even appreciated the difference in the depth of the color. With this pattern, however, I had no similar option and she could see that. So, I have another skein of yarn coming. Thank you, Darcy.

The camera could not get the color correct - sorry about that. With flash or without, it just doesn't look the same as in real life. You can see, though, that there is no more striping effect. Maybe in daylight I can get a better color representation. I'll try that over the weekend, assuming that we are not buried under either ice or snow.
The no flash photo is on the right.

Meanwhile, since I have enough yarn right now to keep knitting, I am doing just that. I am half way down the body of the piece. It is indeed zen zone knitting - yummy yarn with lots of knitting around, but that cable removes the boredom from the knitting for me.

Today I went with DH for his audiology appointment (his appointment is 2 blocks from where I work). I treated it like a test to see if I could handle the driving to and from work. Yesterday was a bad day and I don't want to repeat that. (The more scared I am about doing things, though, the less I do and that's not good either. I have apparently not yet mastered the art of finding middle ground. ) I did OK on the drive - I was uncomfortable only for the last 10 minutes or so of the drive. I stood a lot of the time that I was at the 2 hour appointment with him, and that's not a good omen for accomplishing much in front of the computer. I have a patient to see tomorrow, though, so I can do that much, at least.
; )

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

still home

I woke up this morning with muscle spasms in the back again. I over did my cleaning up yesterday, I think. Today I will behave and really hope to get back to work tomorrow.

The frogging has been done, the sweater looks much better and I will worry about what to do with the darker skein of yarn at another time. ; )

The He Gansey is finished, ends are woven in and I hope to get it blocking within the next few days. I don't dare do that today since my back hurts already.

Snow has begun. They say 2-4 inches. I wonder how close they'll be this time.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Back to work soon

I hope to return to work tomorrow. Yup. That's how much I enjoy having a hurt back - I actually want to go back to work because it means that I don't hurt all the time. I still have to limit what I do and for how long, but I am better.

The Mondo Cable Pulli is moving along at a nice pace. I have done 2 cable crossings on the body and the sleeve stitches have been set aside and I am knitting on the body stitches only. One of the skeins of yarn is significantly darker than the rest, but it's wound into a ball, so I want to use it. I am alternating skeins, which I find to be mildly annoying, but it works well enough.

{ETA I just took some photos of the front to show and realized that alternating the skeins is not going to work. I will have to think about this and rip what I have knitted with the darker skein. Some of the difference in the appearance is due to going from knitting back and forth to knitting in the round, but not all of it }

I have a few increases coming up and otherwise I am in the zone part of the pattern. I just enjoy knitting with this yarn around most of the sweater with one cable to keep me alert and not bored. ; )

The snow is melting, which is nice - no dirty snow hanging around for days. It still looks pretty outside and the streets are clear, so it's not dangerous for driving or walking. Best of both worlds.