Monday, April 26, 2010

It's my time of year

It's my time of year because, not only do I very much enjoy spring, this is also the time of year when I celebrate personal holidays (3) in a short period of time. April 23 is my wedding anniversary. This past Friday my husband and I celebrated our 33rd anniversary! It's hard to believe that it's been that many years. When we got married, we both felt that we had committed for life, but had no idea how long that would be. We were in our early 20's and had not even lived as long as we've been married now! We've had some hard times, we've lost things and people that were important to us, but we dealt with all that, and the happy times, together. We are strong together. We are happy together, and enjoy spending time together. Thank goodness, and thank you, Bob, for everything.

We celebrated out anniversary with a great steak dinner on the day, followed by an ice cream treat (Cold Stone Creamery) bought and delivered by our eldest son. The next day we joined our friends Steve and Cheryl at their house where they treated us to a wonderful day of great food, laughs and time to relax and enjoy each other. Lobster, crab cakes, corn on the cob, chocolate cherry cake with champagne and strawberry liqueur ... We weren't very interested in food the next day. ; )

A few days after our anniversary I celebrate my birthday (tomorrow). I don't hide my age (56) and I do enjoy a celebration of some sort. I'm hoping for chocolate cake .....

In a couple of weeks Mother's Day will come upon us. Normally Bob and I go shopping for the plants that I will plant that year. I enjoy outdoor plants and look forward to choosing the combinations for each box and pot. This year we will head up to NY to spend the weekend with my mother. We'll spend at least part of the time cleaning out her pond (9 feet x 17 ft) for her - it's work but with the three of us working on it, we'll have a good time and probably laugh a lot. Especially if one of us falls in, which, given who we are, is pretty likely. I hope it's warm weather.

I have been concentrating more on spinning than on knitting lately in preparation for the MD Sheep and Wool festival classes. Two bobbins are clear and I'm working on the other two. I've been drop spindling lately, since the bobbins for the wheel were full. I cleared one spindle (putting the soft, silver grey singles onto a paper towel roll) and started on the second batch. That may come with me to S & W for my sitting and resting project.

If you remember, I am participating in the Woolalong that is part of the "Knitters Book of Wool" Ravelry group. Last month's breed was BFL and I knitted the Log Cabin Socks with Rowan Purelife BFL. This month's breed is targhee. My Targhee fiber came in the mail a few days ago. It is a pretty mixture of soft blues and I am anxious to start spinning it. I have to decide, though, what I want to make with it first. Drop spindling will take longer but I'll work on it more often. It will be less evenly spun since I am not as good with the drop spindle as I am with the wheel, but that might be OK, too. Do I want a fine yarn for a scarf or shawl or a DK weight for mittens or a hat? Decisions, decisions .....
Obviously, since I am just starting on the April breed, I will be behind on the May breed. Oh, well.

I did some knitting over the weekend. I needed a brainless project to knit on while visiting with Steve and Cheryl - no counting or following a pattern when you are visiting and drinking. LOL. I searched in my stash for something small, found a sock blank that I had dyed a few years ago and thought that would work. There is enough variation in colors that I would not want to knit a pattern into these socks - I want stockinette. I cast on and did the toes before leaving so that I could just knit round and round. Because the sock blank is knitted with two strands together, I decided to knit both socks at once. I selected 2 sets of DPNs in the right size and I just alternate the socks every few rounds. Perfect! I really like the colors I chose for the dyeing, too. If the stockinette becomes boring later, I can always try adding a stitch pattern on the legs.

I have 8 spiral squares completed! 12 to go for the stole!

I have baby tomato plants, baby green bean plants and baby cucumber plants growing in little peat pots that I hope to get into the ground soon (if the rain ever stops). The rest of the seeds are ready and waiting to go. I think we're supposed to have good weather on Wednesday. Maybe I can get out of work early. ; ))

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let the planting begin

The garden has been tilled! DH decided to go for it and hope that the ground was dry enough and it worked. The garden is ready for raking and seed sewing. I hope to get out of work early enough today to clear some of the rocks from the yard (that were "discovered" by DH while tilling) and rake the dirt into rows and mounds. I will probably plant some seeds even though the frost free date is in May. Seeds are inexpensive.

DH went out on the boat yesterday, the first trip this year. No luck with fishing but he had a beautiful day.

Last night was errand running night, so the only knitting that happened was 2 rows on the circular shawl. Traffic was not (for a change) heavy enough for me to knit on the Mara shawl on my commute.

This weekend we are going to see our best friends to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We will have been happily married for 33 years as of Friday.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I am off sleeve island

It's true! The white sleeves are complete! And they fit! They are (close to ) the same length! The stitches have been picked up for the collar (crew neck) and about 4 rounds were knit. I plan to decrease some stitches in the next round to pull the collar in (it's a bit too wide right now, but I expected that) and knit about 6 more rounds before binding off. That's the plan, anyway.

The Log Cabin socks re-knit was finished on Thursday and those socks have been safely tucked away for next year.

6 spiral squares are complete. 14 to go. Angela got a late start but is catching up. She's on # 4. It's a good thing that other projects are winding down.

I've been spinning on my drop spindle and really enjoying that, but I have to get my spinning butt in gear and ply my singles so I can free up some bobbins for my classes at MD Sheep and Wool. At least one pair of bobbins should be cleared before class. The other pair might wait - it is a plying class, after all.

Indoor cleaning happened this week. The weather was nice and then cold and then nice and then chilly .... I just stayed inside, tending to things that needed doing anyway. Soon (in a few weeks) the seeds and plants will be in the ground. I'll be spending lots of time outdoors after that.

DH had a disappointing weekend. It was the official opening of the trophy striped bass season. The wind gods didn't know that (or maybe they did!) and created a mess on the bay. DH stayed home, safe and sound. He'll be out there tomorrow, though ...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Knitting photos. finally.

The pattern is the Curved Shawl from Victorian Lace Today. I'm calling this one Sunspots. I love the circles in the pattern and the color is just wonderful - so deep, shifting and warm. It looks like a blob when just lying there, but when it's stretched out (as it will be when blocked), it really looks good, I think. The yarn is rather dark (at least in spots) and fine, so I pretty much knit on this in the daylight and avoid night time knitting. The yarn, Cinnamon's Dye Pot, is nice to work with.

This is a very poor picture of DH's almost complete sweater. I didn't realize until it was too late that the photo was so dark. This is actually a white sweater. One sleeve is complete and the other is nearly so. I haven't had much knitting time this week for various reasons. I think I can finish it this weekend, though.

This is my purple alpaca garter stitch shawl. The pattern is Mara and the yarn is Plymouth Indiecita Alpaca sport, gifted to me several years ago my my MIL. I think it will be a cozy, comfy wrap. I have enough yarn to knit about 5 more rows (the rows last forever at this point. I am afraid to count the stitches because that might deter me from knitting on it. LOL) and then it will be time to bind off and block.

This sock is intended for DH. It is one of Cat Bordhi's constructions - sidestream. I had some trouble figuring out the placement of the gusset and heel flap. Right now it is languishing because he's not going to wear wool socks for a while but he will wear the white sweater. That has a higher priority.

This is one of 20 squares to be knit for the spiral stole in Knitters magazine. I am on # 5 of 20.

Two unblocked squares.

The Lily of the Valley scarf, complete but still unblocked. I love it and have no excuse for not having it blocked yet.

Log Cabin Socks, both complete except for weaving in the ends on the second sock. As I looked at the two socks lying next to each other, I realized that the second is longer than the first. At the subsequent fitting session I verified that I do, indeed have two feet the same length and two socks of different lengths. I frogged about 4 inches of knitting and am ready to start the toe earlier. As soon as I have time to knit. They are very cozy, warm socks, though and I will love having them next winter. This is Rowan Purelife BFL yarn.

The garden has not yet been tilled for planting. We've had rain every few days for a while and the ground has not dried out enough for tilling. My tomato seeds that I planted inside have sprouted. We'll see whether I am able to keep them alive until I can put them outside. I plan to start some green bean and cucumber seeds inside this weekend.

I have to go buy 2 new tires today. When I got to my car last night I noticed a glint from the tire. Glint? Tire? They are rubber - they shouldn't glint. Metal showing through is not a good sign. The metal support for the tire is showing through the rubber because it is worn down too far in that area. DH put the spare tire on last night (at 9 PM, poor guy) and I have to go today to get the new tires. There goes another several hundred dollars, darn it. If only there was adequate mass transpo here, I'd leave the driving to "them".

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

I got my classes! Woot! I will be taking a half day class on plying with Maggie Casey and a full day of spinning with Judith McCuin. By the time Sunday afternoon comes, I will be exhausted but I will have so much fun and will, I hope, have learned a lot.

My classes are on Thursday and Friday, so I will have the entire festival time to browse the booths. My basic plan is to scan for patterns, samples, whatever, that inspire me. I plan to buy lots of stitch markers. I have three notions kits set up (wouldn't mind a forth) and I need more stitch markers to fill up those kits. This should be a great chance to buy some cute, practical stitch markers. I might get another drop spindle. If I find a sweaters worth of yarn that I just can't live without or a totally unique yarn, I might make a yarn purchase. Otherwise I will try to resist that temptation. I'm going to try to resist buying fiber, too. I have a lot. We'll see how that goes.

I am planning to stay for at least some of the spinning time on Saturday evening. It's a nice, relaxed time to spin, play with new purchases, check out other spinning wheels, spindles and methods of spinning. They do a few games and contests, too, with prizes. Not that I usually win anything ....

Bike riding happened again yesterday. I swallowed a bug! UGH big time. It was near the end of my ride, I was hot and short of breath (that's what exercise is supposed to do, right?) so my mouth was open. In flew a bug, practically down my throat, and I swallowed reflexively. I was grossed out for hours. I should be happy that it wasn't a bee, but I'm not all that grateful. : (

I didn't quite manage to finish my spiral square last night. I was tired and turned out the lights for sleep with about 8 rounds to go. I am only about 3 rows from toe decreases on the Log Cabin socks, though. Thank goodness for meeting knitting. ; )

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Bike riding

I hate bike riding, always have. I need exercise, though, and this seemed a relatively inexpensive way to get it done. I started about 3 weeks ago, lost a week (between allergy attacks and rainy weather ) and have done a pretty good job of riding at least 5 times/week. Mondays and Thursdays are not likely to be bike riding days due to my schedule, but the rest are expected (by me) to be. I've increased the distance I ride (admittedly not far at first) twice already. At the first sign that I am not struggling to make it back to the house I increase the distance. I am actually proud of my self for that. I hope to remember to use the car today when I go home to see how far I am currently riding. It makes me feel better to know numbers. Whatever works, right?

I got about 2/3 of a spiral square knitted last night, and knitted about 4 rounds on the sock. I hope to do better tonight, and maybe get a photo or two of the new shawl.

Enjoy the day.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy ....

I had a great and productive weekend. The sunshine did indeed shine on my shoulders for most of the weekend and I loved every minute of it.

Angela has her yarn for the spiral stole so we can both get serious. (grin) Because I had a bit of a head start, I completed my 3 squares for last week. She picked up her yarn on Thursday night but had another project to finish, so I am not sure whether she knitted any squares over the holiday weekend or not. The squares are a bit fussy to get started, but once the first 4 rounds are knit, it gets better and the rest of the square goes pretty quickly.

I finally got out to buy the white elastic for the sleeve of DH's sweater and finished one cuff. The other sleeve needs only about one inch of stockinette and then the 3 inches of ribbing. The collar (simple ribbed crew) comes next (and hopefully will only have to be knitted once) and then it will be wearable. Finally.

The Curved Shawl with Diamond Edging from Victorian Lace Today acutally looks like the start of a shawl! There is enough of the pattern there now to see the over all effect. The colors are rather intense - this shawl will have to be worn with black or white or other neutral tones, but I love it. This project will be a while in the works. It requires concentration to knit correctly - no knitting while chatting with this one! LOL.

The Log Cabin sock is past the heel flap and about halfway through the gusset decreases.

In other areas, DH rented a rototiller this weekend to till up my new veggie garden. It was too early - the ground was still too wet and the tiller kept getting clogged, not able to dig in deeply enough. We'll have to go through that another weekend, after it's been dry all week.

The gardens are cleaned up from winter and spring bulbs are up all over. Some of the summer blooming stuff is poking heads out of the ground, too. It's hard to believe that it's early April, but I am appreciating every second of this nice weather.

I hope to have photos soon of the status of my projects. Enjoy spring.