Monday, October 18, 2010

I feel the need to organize myself.

I need that organization in my house and in my mind. I worked on the house part this weekend since I didn’t need to zip up to NY to be with Mom. She felt like she needed more rest than she would get if I was there, so I stayed home. I really wanted to see her (when I last left NY she was still in the hospital) but I had to respect her wish for rest and quiet and I also appreciated the weekend at home.

Regarding my fiber pursuits, here’s a list of what’s going on:

Knitting – projects on the needles. (There may be more, but this is what I can remember):

Vampire Boyfriend socks (one almost complete)

Rob’s afghan (5/8 complete)

Slinky Ribs top (One sleeve and neck edging to go)

Grey striped vest (2/3 complete, I think. It's been a while. blush)

Cotton/rayon shawl (a little bit of stockinette and the edging to go)

Purple shawl (from Victorian Lace today) (no idea, but a lot to go)

Laminaria shawl (frogging before re-knitting to go)

Cardi Cozy from the Mason Dixon book (lots to go)

Blue cotton cardigan (only an edging, I think)

Things I want to knit but that are not on the needles

Wrap/lap blanket with my handspun

Hat and scarf with handspun (blues)

Hat for DH with handspun in black, red and tan

Sweater/coat with Cascade Pastazza also form the 2nd Mason Dixon book

More linen face cloths for Mom

Market bag

Spinning on the wheel/spindle

Need to spin more black wool to ply with the 2 remaining bobbins from the Tour de Fleece so that will be finished.

Wensleydale on spindle. I changed my mind and plan to un-ply what I’ve plied. I will ply colorway with colorway and then semi solid with semi solid.

Silk on spindle – have to decide whether to ply it or use as a single for knitting

Blue merino/silk blend on a spindle – it’s been there for years. Shame on me.

Silk hankies that I am not enjoying spinning but hate to waste, so they might get done.

What I want to spin

Blended fiber from the recent spinning retreat

Icelandic fiber on a spindle (6 oz. all together)

Get back into the Knitters Book of Wool (Rav. Group) fiber sampling. They are doing Dorset this month. I've never spun Dorset.

Get back into the spinners study group to learn more about other fibers.

Sweater’s worth of yarn (if it’s not enough, then at least a vest worth. LOL)

Do you think that if it is in print in public (on my blog), it will happen? The chances are improved, I think. If I just write a list on paper, I’ll probably loose it. : ( On the blog, it’s there and I’d have to take positive action to remove it.

Fall and spring – I get the nesting/cleaning/de-cluttering bug. It has hit me hard right now and that’s not a bad thing. When I clean things out, lots of useful stuff goes to the Goodwill store or some other charity place, and maybe someone will get use from it. I go through all of the clothes bins, put away summer stuff and take out the cold weather stuff. That’s when I make decisions about what stays and what goes. Some of it is just worn out and goes into the trash or rag bin.

The gardens need to be cleaned out, too. The vegetable garden was mostly cleaned out (by DH) and I think I want to put straw over it all for the winter to cut down on weeds. That can then be tilled into the soil in the spring.

I wrote most of this post earlier in the weekend, and now I can update some things. I pulled out the Slinky Ribs top, knitted on a sleeve for a while and tried it on. DH offered his opinion when asked, and I will knit long sleeves. I worked on one sleeve during the Raven’s game yesterday (it was a close game but they lost in OT) and knitted it to just above wrist length. I left it on a holder and have picked up the other sleeve knitting, which was still above the elbow. I plan to knit on that sleeve as much as possible this week. I am apparently in finishing mode and want to get this top wearable.

The Vampire Boyfriend sock (1st one) is at the toe decreases!

The Perfect Storm Wensleydale looks much better plied on itself, though I am now wishing that I had thought to chain ply it. Hmmm… We’ll see how the un-plying of the first skein goes before I decide anything else. Meanwhile, I spun a little more of it yesterday.

That’s it – I think I am all caught up. I really hope that I can follow through on spinning 20 minutes each day. I also want to get the sweater and the Vampire boyfriend socks complete in the next month.

Mom feels tired but good today. That's a good thing.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Finished socks and Mom's BD gift

Signs of Fall - Montauk Daisies blooming in our back yard.

I finished knitting Mom's BD present before her birthday, but it wasn't blocked and I couldn't spend the time or energy doing that so she didn't get it. Not that she had any energy - mental or physical - for worrying about a birthday present .... I finally got around to blocking yesterday.
It is the Falling Leaves pattern from Lavish Lace by Carol Rasmussen Noble and Cheryl Potter. The yarn is something I picked up at MD Sheep and Wool. I can't wear the orange myself but Mom can, and with the little bit of sparkle in it (not sure if you can see it in these photos, but it's there) , I thought it would be a warm, comfy but jazzed up neck warmer for her.

It is 51 inches across the long edge and 21 inches from the point up to the top edge. She'll have several different options for wearing it. I hope she likes it as much as I do. (BTW, that leave posed itself there. I just couldn't resist capturing it)

Another FO is my Mata Hari socks made with Tofutsies yarn in teal. I finished the knitting two days ago and wove in the ends (then proceeded to wear them) yesterday. It's hard to see but I made a picot edge on the top. Maybe once they are washed that will be more visible.

I've had a change of plans regarding my Wensleydale fiber that I've been spindle spinning. I plied the semi solid (special order from Spunky Eclectic) that I had spun to date last weekend with the main colorway. I am less than pleased. It looks too barber pole-ish.

I sampled plying the colorway with itself last night and like it much better. I am going to try to un-ply last weekends efforts and ply same with same. I might even be able to use the semi solid as an edging for a pattern made with the colorway. I have 8 oz of the main colorway and 4 oz of the semi solid dark color. We'll see how the un-plying goes. I will have to enlist help for sure.

Mom is doing better, BTW. Her appointment with the neurosurgeon was Friday and he says that the head CT scan shows the fluid collection in her head getting smaller. She goes back in two weeks for another. She can now gently wash her hair (since the staples have been removed) and she's allowed to climb stairs. No driving, though. Yippee! Progress at last in a truly important and actually life altering area.

Other signs of fall:

Friday, October 15, 2010

I wasn’t sure if I would make it ….

ETA photos on Sunday and a couple of random comments.

This past weekend was the annual spinning retreat for a local spinning group. I can’t make it to most of their gatherings, but for most of the last 4 or 5 years I have made it to the annual retreat. I missed last year and feared that I would miss this one, too, what with Mom’s problems. I made it, though, and had a wonderful time.

There is no planned program. There is a theme, though, and fiber is provided. You are welcome to spin the fiber relating to the theme but not required. This year’s theme was color blending. We were provided with white BFL, black BFL/Shetland cross and alpaca in 3 colors as a base. This is alpaca plus cranberry locks.
We were also provided with BFL and mohair locks, each dyed in 6 or 7 different colors. It was easy to see how differently the BFL and mohair took up the colors side by side.

There were combs and carders and people willing to show the inexperienced (like me) how to use them, and lots of time to play. I am sorry that I didn’t think to take out my camera and document some of the efforts. Maybe I can remember to do that with mine once I am ready to spin them.

I made use of the combs and carders since I have not access to that type of equipment at home.

I did not spin any of the fiber I prepared there. My bobbins were full from my spinning efforts during the Tour de Fleece. I had completed the spinning but not they plying. I spent most of Friday night and Sat. morning spinning up the black singles I needed to complete my planned 3 ply. I then spent hours and hours and hours ….. plying my yarn. I hate to ply.

I am pleased with the end result. I haven't yet figured out the yardage. It's a lot less than I thought I would have after spinning 12 oz. of fiber, but it is 3 ply and feels good. ; ) It's a little over plied I think but will do just fine.

I will probably cave into temptation and spin some of what I brought home from the retreat (see above new and fluffy toys) , then go back and spin more black singles because I need that to ply the other singles that I spun up – more in the earth tones area. I have no specific plans for the yarn yet, but suspect that they will end up as hats/mittens, cold winter wear. I might actually make a pair of slippers for eldest son if he promises to wear them inside only. ; ) I hope to get some photos during the day over the weekend.

I went for a walk – the grounds of Wilson College are very pretty – and ate a lot. We have a snack table and it was groaning with the goodies brought to share. There were some healthy things, too, like veggie platters, apples and oranges. I ate salads at every meal, hoping to counteract some of the snack foods. LOL.

We spun and blended and knitted and were inspired by each other’s projects. I think we all learned something and all in a friendly, informal setting, no pressure on anyone. I might want to get a loom. It was a great weekend. I left a bit early so I could get home to watch most of the Raven’s game. They won! Go Ravens!!!!!

Mom seems to be doing OK – I spoke with her each day I was away. Let’s hope that this is the last surgery and that she heals well and completely this time.

I need a vacation

F***ing Fall. There is a disturbing trend in my family for bad things to happen in the fall. We made another emergency trip to NY on Friday, 10/1. Mom had re-accumulated fluid/blood in her brain and it needed to be removed. She went to the ER expecting to be evaluated and then sit there for several hours waiting for her surgeon to have time to take her to the OR (he was already scheduled for several other cases). Instead, as soon as she got there they repeated her head CT scan and rushed her to the OR. She had fresh blood in her head, not just the older accumulation that was seen on Wednesdays CT scan. Whew! That was a close call.

We have spent a lot of time with Mom since then and came home on Tuesday, 10/5, which is also eldest son's birthday. I returned to work on Wednesday. It’s more stressful than I would have imagined, being here working, trying to support Mom and my brother (who lives with her), worrying about here and trying to stay on top of things and also trying to get back into my own life – house, husband, family.

I had hopes of rejuvenating this past weekend, and I did. I attended a spinning retreat at Wilson College in PA. Friday afternoon through Sunday morning, devoted to spinning and other fibery activities. I'll post about that tomorrow.

Knitting has not been progressing much. I just didn’t have time to knit while in NY – there was too much going on and at the end of long days I was too tired to knit much. I did get in some spindle spinning one night (at about 3 AM). Silk is soothing. ; )

Rob’s afghan is a little bit bigger. 5 stripes of 8 are complete and the 6th has been cast on. The Eliina shawl is still in the stockinette section but only needs one more repeat before the lace begins. I think (I haven’t looked in the bag in a while) that the Slinky Ribs sweater needs a neck edging and a bit more sleeve. I wore the V neck cardigan several times while in NY. There’s so much I want to knit …..

There’s so much fiber I want to spin and ply …..

All I want for Christmas is lots of fiber time. ; ))