Monday, March 29, 2010

Less than awesome

The weekend could have been better. Much better. Of course, the source of the trouble was my own fault. I thought I knew better. I thought things had changed.

Ordinarily, I start my triple allergy treatment in March - early March - as instructed several years ago to get ahead of the allergens. If the allergens don't have a change to rev up before starting treatment, they aren't as bad. I decided over this last winter that my allergies were not as bad as they have been in years past and so I thought I could get buy with just the single treatment that I'm on all of the time (flonase) with an occasional, as needed boost with a pill. Wrong. Big time. Allergies hit me so hard last week, I was really knocked on my butt. I've been on the triple treatment now since last Thursday and I think things might be improving some. There is a tissue box in every room of the house, along with a trash bag to deal with the ... results. My nose is so very sore, my head is clogged and I've done more mouth breathing (as much as I hate it, there is no alternative) in the last few days than I have in years past. Ugh. Talk about dry mouth!

During one of my more clear moments over the weekend I was able to graft the pieces of the lace scarf together and got the tension right the first time around! A few more ends to weave in and it will be blocking time.

The first Log Cabin sock was finished and the second one started. I am about 2/3 down the leg and still loving this yarn. I won't go so far as to say that I can't wait for next winter - the last one is still vivid in my mind - but I will enjoy wearing these socks.

Bob's sweater sleeve is the same - actually, it's longer but looks the same.

I allowed myself to play with a little bit of lace knitting last night. With the Lily of the Valley scarf complete, I had no lace in my life. I played around with a pattern from Victorian Lace Today called a Curved Shawl and some beautiful Cinnamon's Dye Pot lace weight silk/wool blend in shades of purples and deep pinks. I don't know yet whether this combo will work - I have to get further along. I changed the cast on - I hope that doesn't cause a problem later. I didn't do well with the backwards loop cast on, which was the recommended cast on. I have to use my Addi lace turbos - that are a lot of K3tog in this pattern!


I started this post on Monday but didn't get a chance to finish it. Since then I have decided that the lace yarn and patten combo does indeed do the trick and have completed many more K3togs. Thank goodness for pointy needles! The sleeve is also longer but not long enough. D**m it. The purple alpaca shawl is a tiny bit longer also, but I fear that this project will one that I will be working on next winter just because the rows are endless and I am not a fan of knitting ribbing.

The allergies have come under control and I can actually breathe and do not have a constant need to have a tissue in my hand.

We've had dreary grey weather with rain off and on - thatnk goodness not the torrentila downours that they had further norht - but by tomorrow or Frid ay we should have summer weather. Am I confused or is it Mother Nature?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spiral stole workings

On Ravelry, as soon as I posted the project, I received a couple of messages about the spiral stole project. The issues seem to be the corners and the center. You do a provisional cast on and leave the waste yarn in place as you knit. Here my square is complete except for the center and weaving in the ends. You can see the black waste yarn in the center.
In this photo I have started to put the needle (with the working yarn in the eye of the needle) through the center of the loops of the working yarn

As you pick up the loops, you carefully pull out the waste yarn.

I went through the loops several times and pulled it tight.

Weaving in the center end on the back of the work.

Finished center.

For the bind off to work, you really have to use a huge needle for the bind off. I knitted with a size 8 then did the bind off with a size 13 or 15. Do Not Forget to include the yo's in the bind off at the corners. It will make a big difference. I plan to experiment with adding 2 yo's in each corner to see if that will allow more of a square shape when blocking.

I finished the first of the Log Cabin socks! It is soft and warm and will be great next winter for keeping my feet warm in the house.

The cashmere scarf edging has been knitted. I have to weave the two parts together next. That will probably happen later today. I have either a cold or a bad allergy attach and my head is not working very well right now.

The sleeve of DH's sweater is very close to being finished. I plan to go to the store this weekend to get some white elastic to knit into the ribbing. Since the sweater is cotton, the ribbing itself is not very elastic. I had used green elastic before because I made the edge of the cuff green, but DH wants just green stripes on a white cuff. I'll go get some white elastic.

The weather here is pretty nasty. I hope yours is better. Have a good day

Thursday, March 25, 2010

No photos again

Sorry this has been a photo-less blog for a while. There is light much later in the evening now, I know. Somehow, by the time I ride my bike, eat dinner, wash the dishes and generally clean up in the kitchen, it's dark out. I go to bed at 9:30, so I don't have much evening, and I prefer to knit in what time I have after chores are done. Maybe over the weekend .....

The Log Cabin Sock is almost at the toe decreases. Again. DH's sweater sleeve has about 1.5 inches of ribbing knit. The lace scarf hasn't grown at all. I have to have time and an alert brain to do the set up for the edging so that, too, will probably wait until the weekend.

The stakes have been pounded in to the ground to outline the planned garden in the back yard. I drew out a plan for planting last night - actually two plans, and DH plans to rent a rototiller either this weekend or next to get the ground turned over and ready. I can actually plant some cool weather things already. I'm planning to get seeds for a lot of things (lettuce, radishes, carrots) so I can do several plantings and spread out the harvest time. I'm planning to buy plants to start things like tomatoes, green peppers because I don't need 50 or 100 of those plants. I'm ambitious, not stupid.

Work has been busy with old and new projects lately. There aren't enough hours in the week to get done what has to be done until I get caught up on the new projects. Once those are submitted for review, there's a waiting period of several weeks before anything more happens. I am trying to get all of that done so that I can then concentrate on the data collection for ongoing projects.

Bike riding has been going pretty well. I still ride the same distance as I did last week but I am a little less winded when I get back. Once that 'little less winded' changes a bit more for the better, I will add another loop around a block or something to gradually increase my distance. DH rides every day, too.

I'm not feeling well today. I don't know whether it's a sudden onset of allergies (I have not been taking allergy medicine over the winter) or the beginnings of a cold. I think I'd prefer the allergies, although the cold would get better and go away. Maybe I'll be knitting at the Needle Exchange tonight or maybe I'll be home nursing myself. Only time will tell.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


The Log Cabin socks were at the point of toe decreases. I had actually done a few decrease rows. I could no longer ignore my feelings, though and tried the sock on (again) and ripped it back to the heel. I followed the directions correctly, I think, but the heel flap was too long and the gusset correspondingly too big so the whole foot part of the sock was baggy.

I am not sure what might result from or be worse that a baggy foot on a sock, but I don't want one. giggle. I ripped back to the heel flap, shortened it and the gusset will be smaller also. I think this will be much better. Depending on how long I have to wait for my hair cut appointment, maybe I can make it half way down the foot while I wait. It's funny how waiting for appointments doesn't annoy me like it used to. To a point, anyway. A little delay doesn't bother me but there comes a point when it becomes rudeness. I've been to the doctor's office several times in the past year, taken the 1st or 2nd appointment of the day and still she's been 45 minutes late. That's rudeness. I am in the process of looking for another PCP.

No bike riding yesterday - I don't exercise in the rain. Maybe tonight, though the evening is supposed to include showers at least.

The infamous "forever in the works" white sweater has a longer sleeve. I have to measure again tonight but I think it's about time to start the ribbing!

The daffodils was blooming like crazy in the front of our house. They are so welcome in the spring. The bright yellow flowers are a cheerful sight at any time but especially after the long , cold winter (this year in particular) they bring a smile to my face each time I see them. There's a bunch right near the front door that are the first to bloom every year. They are protected from the wind, the concrete from the steps absorbs heat and shares it with the bulbs and they get the afternoon sun which, at this time of year, is the strongest. The leaves had actually started to erupt from the ground before the blizzard and I was afraid that they might not bloom this year. I was wrong. ; ))

The mums are starting to grow leaves, there were a few crocus flowers open over the weekend (I think the squirrels eat those bulbs a lot, so there weren't as many as last year) and the Montauk Daisies are getting new growth on the old stalks. The dogwoods and blueberry bushes are getting tiny little buds on their branches. I love all of these signs of spring.

Some of our evergreens were damaged from the snow fall this past winter and we are waiting to see what will come through and what we have to cut down. A lot of the branches were pulled down by the heavy snow and since we then had another big snow fall on top of it, they were held down for weeks. I did get out there one day and try to pull the branches out of the snow but they were buried by so much snow that I couldn't do it. Now these bushes that are supposed to be this shape /\ are now this shape _\ /_ .
\/ \/

Other, low growing bushes that should be rounded are now open in the center like a flower petal, with some broken branches. We hope they will rebound.

I hope to send out my seed order this weekend for the veggie garden. I can almost taste those fresh tomatoes ....

Monday, March 22, 2010

A sunny spring weekend

It was wonderful. The sun was shining, the temperatures were high enough for shorts and t shirts but not high enough to make working uncomfortable.

Clean clothes were dried on the line in record time.

Most of the shed trim was painted. I stopped due to the limitations of my body, not due to weather.

Garden clean up was done - not all of it, but a lot of the trimming that the bushes needed (mostly they belong to my neighbor but they grow over the fence to our side) was done. DH made a trip to the landfill today to get rid of the cuttings. We don't have a chipper. We are working on a yard renovation that hopefully won't cost too much money but will rearrange and make the yard more usable and easier to take care of.

Knitting was done, and a little spinning. The cashmere lace scarf body is complete. I have the edging to go. Yippee! It's almost there! DH's white sweater sleeve needs about 2 more inches of stockinette and then it's ribbing time. Next I will attack the second sleeve. I am sticking to my guns. Both the scarf and the sweater will be done in less than 2 weeks.

I knitted one square of the spiral stole in my new yarn color and like it. Now I have to wait for Angela to make her choice of yarn so we can knit this together. I knitted on the cabled socks from Handknit Holidays and am almost at the toe decreases. Boy, these socks are flying! Heavy worsted/chunky yarn knits up fast!

Have a great day.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2 days in a row

I rode the bike again last night and went a little further this time. My legs still tremble pretty badly when I get back from my ride (I lean heavily on the rail going up the stairs) but I did it. This getting back into shape is rough!

There's sunshine again to day but I'm stuck in work all day today. : (
I won't even get off in time to ride tonight - I'll get off just in time to go straight to the Needle Exchange at my LYS. I hope to work from home tomorrow - at least I can have the sun shine in the windows, there. I have no windows in my office at work.

I worked on the socks from Handknit Holidays last night. This BFL yarn is so wonderful to work with and the gauge is making the socks go fast - I am at the heel flap already! It's pleasurable knitting and a nice cabled pattern. I'm going to have toasty toes next winter. ; )

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My wish was granted

We had sunshine yesterday! It was out all day instead of just the afternoon clearing that the weather people had predicted - awesome! I got home from work and planted the pansies in the pots on the front step. I cleaned out some dead stalks from the last of the fall flowers and found some crocus poking their heads out of the dirt, as well as daffodils. Spring - it's really spring!

When I finished the gardening I went for a bike ride. As usual, I didn't get far before my legs started trembling and I had to return home, but it is something. I plan to pursue this exercise and I have to start somewhere. Right?

The KAL was quiet - no new people came. Nancy and I chatted and knit on our projects, then we browsed around the shop for a while before going home. I decided to make the Spiral Stole in the Desert Flower yarn before I blocked the bambool - I just like the yarn too much to not use it.

I am knitting a pair of socks from the Handknit Holidays book with the Rowan Purelife BFL yarn I purchased to participate in the Ravelry group Woolalong (see the 3/5 post). I had knitted a hat but wasn't happy with what I had made. The socks are cabled, thick and so soft. They will be house socks, not for wearing inside shoes. It's a fast project due to the gauge of the yarn. I worked on those last night and then put in some time on DH's white cotton sweater sleeves.

When my work day is over today, I hope to stop by the marina to test fit a mock up of a motor cover I hope to have sewn within a couple of weeks. Then I'd like to get home and go for another bike ride (torture for a purpose), then relax over dinner - the ribs DH has slow cooking right now. I'll check on my plants and then settle down for some knitting (unless DH takes me out for the ice cream treat I won when we bet on the date of the snow pile melt). Yum. ; ))

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Morning Blues

It was a wet, dreary morning and Monday to boot. UGH. I had such a hard time getting out of bed. Ideally, I would have slept a bit longer, gotten up long enough to eat and have a DDP and then returned to bed to knit and listen to audio books. It is not an ideal day, however, so I went to work.

DH tried his sweater on last night (the one I started ages ago). I marked and measured and then ripped the sleeves. I have recalculated stitch counts at various points and am back on track (I hope) to finish this sweater within a month.

I'll be knitting on those sleeves at the KAL on Tuesday night, since I finished the KAL sweater. It's just stockinette with decreases, so if someone new comes to join us, I will be easily able to assist them to get started and not loose my place in my own knitting.

I re-potted my few indoor plants yesterday, and put the new plants in new pots. Fingers crossed that they live. The pansies will be planted outside this week since they can take the chillier weather. At least I know that they will live ....

Sunshine .... please, I need sunshine. Soon.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Maryland Home and Garden show

Nancy and I spent a good part of yesterday enjoying the displays and shopping opportunities at the Home and Garden show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. We toured the large landscaping/garden/pond displays first- truly impressive and beautiful. There's a reason those people get paid the bucks they do. I don't have the imagination or plant knowledge to plan out a gorgeous landscape such as we saw yesterday. We then shopped - garden ornaments, instruments, plants, flower, trees, lighting, you name it. There were also the usual (at most fairs) booths selling mops, shoe inserts, back massagers, pots, etc but we stayed away from those. We both came home with pansies. These are mine.

Nancy bought a hanging plant that has beautiful white petals with a purple center.

I bought two pretty little plants with tiny blue flowers and I'm going to attempt to keep them alive in my house. That's a tough one for me - I seem to be deadly to indoor plants. I'll put them out as soon as the weather allows. Does anyone know the name of this little cutie? I thought I remembered but when I looked up the name I thought it was, the plant was different.

I also bought a Geranium. I love geraniums and this one has such a pretty flower ... it's called Imperial.

I bought some ornaments for the deck - these will go on the upright supports for the shade cloth frame.

For future gifts I purchased dip mixes with beautifully decorated serving utensils. They are dishwasher safe and oh so cute. Nancy bought a few, also.

There were a few other little doodads purchased and a gift for my mother. Nancy and I ate lunch, chatted and in general had a great time despite the rain.

On the knitting front, I wore my completed but unblocked Mondo Cable Pulli to the Needle Exchange on Thursday night, but it's blocking now.

I am very pleased with the resulting sweater - fit, pattern and yarn.

The summer shell version is also blocking.

When I saw the new Knitters magazine, I was attracted to the Spiral Stole. A few of us (regulars at the Needle Exchange on thursday night) will be doing an unofficial KAL, urging each other to complete the squares (20 in all) in a timely manner and helping each other out with trouble spots (like the cast on and first row or two). I swatched with two different yarns. The first is Nashua Desert Flower color 3566, which is a linen/cotton/nylon blend. I think it looks great and is probably the yarn I will use. This is my wet swatch, drying.

The other yarn that I am trying out is Bambool. It is very soft and drapey, and in the color I would choose (either sapphire or violet) to knit the stole in would be beautiful, I think. I'll have to see how the blocked swatches look and feel, but right now I prefer the slight variegation of the Desert Flower. I haven't blocked the Bambool swatch yet since I haven't removed the waste yarn in the center and pulled the center together yet.

The lace scarf is progressing nicely and I am still entertained by the pattern. I hope to finish it in the next two weeks or so. It's won't be my only project to knit on - if it were, I could have it completed in just a week, I think. I have to knit 2 more complete pattern repeats, then the edging on the second end. I want to start back on Bob's white cotton sweater and get those sleeves correctly knitted so he can wear it this spring and summer.

It's a rainy Sunday afternoon and I'm having trouble motivating myself to get housework done. I'd rather go spin and knit. But, I had a fun day yesterday and now have to get the chores done.

Happy Birthday to you, Nancy.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday update and another FO

The Mondo Cable Shell is complete! Only the blocking remains. (That's two sweaters completed in a week and 3 in less than a month!)

I was just about crippled by the time I got home from work yesterday - hauling, packaging and shipping blood samples - so I did not go for my daily bike ride or block the sweater that was waiting. What I did do was take a pain pill, eat dinner, do the dishes, do my back exercises and then lie down with the heating pad. Flat on my back. Knitting was tough in that position, but I hauled out the purple alpaca shawl I had started the last time I needed simple knitting and worked a few rows of 2 x 2 ribbing for the edging. 4 inches of ribbing are needed and only about 1.5 inches are knitted, so there's plenty more work to be done on that.

I'd like to knit a full pattern repeat on the cashmere scarf tonight but I suspect that I will not be able to sit that long (due to the back issue) so my knitting likely consist of a few rows of lace and then more alpaca shawl ribbing while stretched out in bed.

DH is enjoying having more temperate weather - he's finally getting to complete the shed work that was put on hold with the blizzards and more than 2 feet of snow in the back yard. (It's a good thing he's back at it, too. One of the doors fell off the old shed yesterday.) Speaking of that snow, I won the bet about when the big pile of snow will melt - you can see grass now. Maybe I'll collect my ice cream treat over the weekend. ; ))

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival classes are posted on the website. I'd like to take 2 of them but money may limit me to one .... I'm still agonizing over whether to have more spending money at the festival or take 2 classes. I'd like to take Warm Woolies and need to take Plying hints and tricks. I detest plying and I'm sure that I could do something differently that would make me enjoy it more and possibly even improve the end result. The plying class will be a definite request (there's no guarantee you get the classes you request). The spinning class is the one I am debating over.

We "spring ahead" this weekend. How many of you will be late to something on Sunday morning? I forgot once - I was an hour late for my shift in the ICU in Texas. I was rather red-faced and apologetic to the person who had to wait for me. : (

Happy knitting.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Good things

Most importantly, Joan's son is well and home from the hospital.

Daffodils are springing taller.

I went for another bike ride on Sunday and was able to go further than I had on Saturday. BTW, did I mention that my bike is a beautiful, bright purple? DH is wonderful. ; )

The new sink is in and looks great.

I finished my Mondo Cable Pulli last night! Ends woven in and all. : )) just the blocking remains to be done.

The sun shined all weekend.

We put line dried sheets on the bed last night. They smell soooo good.

My physical therapist knows how to (and did) fix my back problems and make me feel better.

It's supposed to be in the 50s all week.

I'm going with Nancy to the Home and Garden show this coming weekend.

Maryland Sheep and Wool festival is less than 8 weeks away.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Spring IS near

I saw daffodils starting to poke up the green stems through the dirt. Yippee!

This is my Jojoland Cashmere scarf.

I succumbed to the temptation to sample this month's breed in the Ravelry group that I mentioned. I bought 2 balls of Rowan Purelife BFL and because I thought I might want some contrasting color, I purchased one ball of Black Welsh, also. I'm working on a hat .....

This is the finished Olympic Reindeer hat. You can see that my tension was not great - you can see the blue through the white. I thought I had it right while knitting, but obviously not. I am not happy with that, but the hat looks OK and will get worn. I will say that it was fun to knit and I might make another.

Spinning happened here today. I thought I would include a photo just so you don't think I am making it up. ; )

I took my new bike out for a spin today. I didn't go far - my legs are in bad shape after all this time without exercise, but I'll get there. DH knows me well - the bike is purple. ; ))

Friday, March 05, 2010

Spring is in the air

It was windy but otherwise nice today when I left work. I search for signs that spring is near as I walk past the garden each day. I want spring to be here. I did see some green leaves forming near the old stems from the fall in the most sheltered area, but no crocus yet, or daffodils, so I guess we aren't there yet. Still, the wind was not as icy as it has been.

The KAL on Tuesday was quiet - just Nancy and I. I don't know if anyone else will join us in 2 weeks when we meet again but we'll get together and finish our sweaters. I have just about 2/3 of a sleeve and the neck to go. Actually I have to rip back on the first sleeve - I held off on doing the ribbing because I wanted to try it on. I usually like my sleeves longer than patterns call for. In this case I have to rip back so that I can knit the ribbing and not have the sleeves some to my fingertips. It's only about 1.5 inches - that's not bad, and the sleeve is narrow enough at that point that it will take very little time to complete it.

While knitting at the Needle Exchange on Thursday, I pointed out to Angela that there is a spiral shawl pattern in the new Knitters magazine. She and I were both attracted to the original Swirl shawl. She is still working on hers but I aborted mine because I didn't like the way the yarn I chose was working with it. I like this spiral wrap because you knit each spiral square separately and they are 8 x 8 inch squares. It should make a good take along project and I am sure that before long the pattern will be memorized. Angela and I are thinking of doing our own unofficial KAL and encouraging each other to complete the squares at a good pace so we finish it in a timely manner. The next phase will be to choose a yarn. We'll give it a few more weeks, checking each time we go to the LYS to see what summer yarns have come in that might work. We need worsted weight yarn and I'd rather not use 100% wool for a summer wrap.

Our new sink has come in! DH will pick it up tomorrow and we'll install it over the weekend. I also plan to check out the new bike and go for a ride each day if possible. The snow is melting at a rapid pace (I told you spring is in the air) and I think I will win the bet with DH over when the snow pile will melt. : )

My other major goal this weekend is to work on the neck of the Mondo Cable Pulli.

On Ravelry, I found a group led by Clara Parkes of Knitters Review fame and author of The Knitters Book of Wool and The Knitters Book of Yarn. The group centers around the book of wool and Clara has started a monthly breed of sheep sampling. In March, those who choose to participate will "play with" Blue Faced Leicester, which is the breed of the month. You can buy BFL wool and knit with it (which is what most of the group is doing) or buy fiber and spin with it and also knit if you have the time. February's breed was Cormo. The group gives information on sources of the wool and talks about their experience with it. Due to my schedule in February, I didn't take part but I love BFL and happen to have some of that fiber in the house ....
I think it will be great to read about the breeds and use the fiber at the same time. Reading about other people's experiences with the same fiber should be enlightening, considering the wide range of preferences and experiences we all have. I hope to hurry up and finish my purple wool/silk blend and get to "work" on the BFL. I'd love to spin up some yarn and knit a pair of mittens with it so I can get the whole experience, but if time gets short I will buy a couple of skeins of the Rowan Purelife BFL to make my mittens.

I am heading off to knit on my cashmere scarf for an hour before bed. Hopefully I will be able to get some photos over the weekend of the scarf and my completed Olympic hat.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Life after the Olympics

So far I haven't had much time to miss watching. Yesterday was my usual late day so by the time I finished dinner and dishes, I had 1 hour before lights out. DH is making a trip to the landfill so I roamed the house looking for things to get rid of (we are deep into clean out mode here), got changed and washed up and had time to knit about 1/2 pattern repeat on the cashmere scarf before sleep.

Tonight is the first night (due to snow) of the Mondo Cable KAL that I am leading at my LYS. There are no sign up sheets, so I hope that someone shows up! Nancy plans to be there - she's knitting another Mondo Cable sweater ( her Mondo Cable Pulli was her Olympic knitting project) as a gift for a friend, so I should have her company at least. If no one else comes, we'll have some quality chatting time. ; )

My next project will be to finish up the white cotton sweater for DH. I have struggled with the sleeves - too wide, too narrow, taper too fast, you name it, I did it wrong. I've had enough of a break at this point that I think I can rip back what I need to and fix the sleeves so they look nice instead of settling because I'm tired of knitting it.

Once that is done, I am not sure what will come next. I want to continue to knit sweaters. The question will be should I knit one more winter sweater or move on to summer fabrics? I'd like to get one more wool sweater in before the hot weather. OH, that's right. I started the Cardi Cozy several months ago and put it aside to finish other things. That might be a good transition project. Another option would be Yank. I have the yarn for that sitting out in the shed .....
If I go the summer route, the Handkerchief Tee might be a good choice. I really like the lace pattern used there and layering in the office in A/C season is good.
I have some yarn that might work. Lots of options and I am keeping them all open. There's no telling what might feel just right at the time.

Work is busy and I am tired. It's a good busy but that doesn't change the fact that I'm pooped when I get home. I hope I get used to this busier pace soon. ; )) I need some regular exercise to help with endurance and energy level in general. I had purchased a used bike last year at the Goodwill store but only rode it once or twice. I had problems with my foot (from surgery) and it just sat. Now I'd like to get back to it and apparently the tires, tubes and brake pads need to be replaced. The cost of all that adds up to almost a new bike so that what I have. DH picked it up for me and I will do my best to ride at least 4 times/week. The days are getting longer (so that I can ride after work) and I think that's a reasonable goal. It's mine for now, anyway.