Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Twas the day after Christmas

We had a very nice Christmas. Friends and family, good food, and gifts to give and receive. That was Christmas eve. Christmas day was spent quietly at home, knitting and spinning. I did manage to fit in a walk outside in the cold but sunny weather. That felt good. As usual I did not receive any knitting or spinning gifts. The men in my life just don't seem to be able to handle that. Last year I even provided a website and the exact item I wanted. No luck. Sigh.

I worked today, then attended "chemo class" where we received a book if information about chemo, side effects and how to deal with them. It's scary business, scary drugs, though they are necessary. They caution you to remember that most people don't get all of the side effects and many only get a few or not a serious level of side effects. We'll see how I fare. My thought is that I am going to hate the next 4 months.

Tomorrow is my sentinel lymph node biopsy. They will inject a blue dye and tracer, they excise the lymph nodes that turn blue (the color of the dye). I don't know how much manipulation is required to do that so I have no idea how uncomfortable I will be on Friday and Saturday. I am hoping to drive up to NY to visit Mom over the weekend.

My Christmas knitting involved alternating between Atelier and Bob's sleeve. This is the second sleeve and I don't know why I can't just power through it and get it done. It's very frustrating.
My spinning activity for the day was black welsh mountain. I spun 1.5 bobbins, so have 1 more bobbin to go before I can ply. Once this batch is spun I will take a break from it and spin for another project.

The Spinners Study group on Ravelry is having a spin and knit (or crochet) along. We selected either a lace or a cable project and will spin the yarn appropriate for that project, then knit it. I chose cables and plan to spin a 3 ply for a cowl. With working and chemo I may not be able to get it all done in the time allowed but the spinning itself will be good therapy for me, I think, to relax. I will spin either a dyed wool blend or some BFL roving in a soft brown. Sampling to come (with photos).

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish everyone a very happy, safe and peaceful holiday season. Worldwide peace is out of my hands but peace within your household is worthwhile, too. ;-)

I am trying very hard to resist the temptation of casting on and of buying yarn to knit a sweater that I just bought the pattern for. It's a real struggle despite all the yarn I have in my stash. Sigh.

We are looking forward to spending the evening with family and close friends, the same group we have every year. I am so glad that I decided to go ahead with those plans.

 Enjoy your holiday and be safe if you are driving to get somewhere.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Life goes on

I have lots to be thankful for. I have a wonderful family, great friends and a roof over my head. I canno believe how many people have offered sympathy, support, meals, rides and, in the case of my relatively new co-workers, even their own sick time to help me get through this.wow.

We are going ahead with our Christmas plans, slightly modified because we had Christmas prep on hold for 3 weeks. I plan to do my best to ignore cancer until the 26th when I attend chemo class to learn all about how tough these drugs are on my cancer (and at the same time, tough on the rest of me, but we'll deal).

I have been knitting and even spinning a bit. I wore the finished Swirl sweater to knit night last night and it got rave reviews. I am very happy with it. I just finished a neck warmer for Rob. The never ending sweater sleeve for Bob is getting longer .....
My carry along socks have been growing since I have been spending a lot of time waiting for doctors, tests and other things. Sigh.
I placed an order for a Navaho Churro fleece at the beginning of December and it arrived. I scoured it and sat down to sample last week. I combed a bit of the fleece, separating the longer fibers from the shorter ones. This is a double coated sheep breed. I spun both the longer fibers and the shorter fluff. The longer fibers were so soft and easy to spin! I loved it. The shorter fluff was perfect to spin long draw but I am not good at that so I didn't do well, but the resulting yarn was very nice, I could not wear this against my neck but I could at my wrists. I also carded some and spun that. Again, I don't do well with woolen prep and spinning and I am not much excited about the result but I enjoyed this spinning and this yarn, too, was wearable close to the body if not directly against it. It was a bit more prickly. I can't wait to spin the rest!

Before I can spin the rest, I have to spin more Black Welsh Mountain and clear those bobbins. On new years eve I plan to start an "along" with a Ravelry group. We are spinning fiber and knitting or crocheting a project that we have chosen. In my case that's the Mariposa cowl. I plan to spin a 3 ply of something soft. The fiber has not yet been selected.

Well, that's it for now. Be safe, everyone, in the craziness before the holiday.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We have a plan

At least we have a start. There are some decisions that have not been made because they depend on how the treatments go.

I will have a lymph node biopsy just after Christmas and begin chemotherapy right after the new year. I have 2 months of every other week chemo with 2 drugs given together, then 2 additional months getting a 3rd drug every 2 weeks. The response of the tumor will be monitored by ultrasound. At the end of the chemo additional testing will be done on the size and placement of the tumor. The lymph nodes will also be evaluated again and a decision will be made regarding surgery - either lumpectomy with breast and lymph node radiation or mastectomy with lymph node radiation. 6 weeks of radiation and I will be finished with this nasty stuff.

It's not the kind of thing to look forward to but I am anxious for treatment to get started. It won't be a fun year but I can do it. I have a wonderful family and lots of support from friends.

I debated about posting about my cancer here, but it and fighting it will be so much a part of my life for almost a year that I couldn't see leaving it out. I plan to have lots of knitting and spinning input here as well so don't be worried that this blog will be all about illness. It won't be. Knitting and spinning may well save what sanity I have.  ;-)

Happy holidays to all.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Knitting for sanity

I've been knitting away to keep my brains and everything else from running away. I have cancer.

I have breast cancer and its an aggressive cancer that requires chemo and surgery, possibly radiation too. I had no clue, was not expecting this at all. One morning I found a lump and then my life as I knew it ended.

I've been doing lots of waiting - for appointments, tests and information and I've been knitting my through that. I'll be doing more waiting and then lots of sitting through chemo infusions.

My friends have been wonderful. Coworkers, knitting friends, other friends, everyone has been so supportive. I feel so lucky in that way. I've had offers of rides and meals and even help washing a new fleece that just arrived! I get funny text messages, emails with cute or funny pictures and jokes. I can't put into words how much that stuff means to me. Just making me smile once during a bad morning is so wonderful!

My family - my husband and both sons have been great. I just told Mom and my brothers and they have also been supportive and offered to come down (from NY), help out, listen when I need to  cry or vent. I am so lucky to have family and friends like this. Thank you all.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mystery Cowl, AKA Sartorial Cowl, finished

It's finished and blocking. The now named Sartorial Cowl is complete and I like it alot. I used just a bit over 1 skein of this yummy yarn so I decided to cast on right away for another one, in the next smaller size. I should be able to finish the smaller size with what's left of the second skein, which was most of it.




What do you think of these button options? The top one is a really pretty blue, the middle is black (even though it looks brown in the photo) and the bottom one looks sorta like wood with a bit of twig etching on it. I am toying with the idea of using the brown and black together (alternating) on this cowl and using the blue buttons on the second, smaller cowl.


So, I finished one project last night and immediately added another (the second, smaller cowl). That seems weirdly unfair but since I am at the halfway point already, I expect to have this cowl finished before the weekend. Besides, I needed the distraction. I have a potential health issue on the horizon and I am afraid the get too far into anything that involves detail or counting. More tomorrow on that.

Progress on the Swirl Sweater, Shades of Grey, is good. I am on welt 50 of 59! Each welt is 5 rows and the rows are getting shorter! I can see this being finished (sewn and all) within 2 weeks! Yippeee!

I've gotten in some good knitting time while waiting for tests and doctors (see above paragraph) and expect to have more time tomorrow so the vanilla socks are getting longer. DH and I have been really feeling the cold this year so this progress will be very much appreciated by DH since those socks are going to be his.

I thought I would share a view of our Thanksgiving sunset. Have a good day, all.





 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Swirl Sweater

I was trying to stick to knitting Bob's sweater first and getting it finished, but I needed simpler knitting for the boating trip and also just recently in the evening, as I am not thinking as clearly as I should. I have a cold and find myself distracted. The Swirl Sweater has therefore been the recipient of a lot of attention. I am on welt (5 rows to a welt) 50 of 59!!!!! I am nearing the end of the knitting! I have to say that I have enjoyed knitting on this sweater and didn't get bored the way I thought I would. Of course I didn't knit on it at all over the summer (due to the heat) but still had no problems picking it up and knitting a few welts at a time.

I have managed to finish one sleeve of Bob's sweater, so I haven't totally deserted that project. I just haven't felt like starting the ribbing and then figuring out how I did the increases on the other sleeve. My first attempt at the sleeve following the formula given in Ann Budd's book yielded sleeves that were a bit too narrow so I changed the frequency of the sleeve increases but didn't write it down. Of course. that would have been the smart thing to do. Sigh.

I am almost at the end of the Mystery cowl knitting. I like the cowl pattern a lot - I can see knitting a few more for gifts. I have to knit the button band on one edge of the cowl and decide on buttons, then sew them on. This one will be finished before the weekend.

The KAL mystery shawl was shoved aside when I picked up the swirl sweater.  I am not sure, but I think I will finish Call me Cordelia before I finish the mystery shawl since I am behind on the KAL anyway.

So, current projects are Swirl sweater, Bob's sleeve, Mystery cowl that should be finished soon, Call me Cordelia and a pair of socks. (the socks vary, depending on whether I need distraction or just knitting).  Knitting, knitting, knitting. ; )

Oh, and I blocked the double knit scarf I finished a while ago and a cowl I knitted with some handspun. I hope to get photos of those this weekend, and I hope to get Juneberry and the new cowl blocked this weekend also.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holding Hands Blanket Finished!

That's right. I have finished another project! I bound off the last stitches and wove in the ends this afternoon and it's washing right now. I hope to present the gift on Monday. Holding hands.

I allowed myself to knit the next clue in the mystery cowl KAL as a reward. Tomorrow we will be fishing on the boat and I will bring the yarn to start the second sleeve of Bobs sweater.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Plan

I cleaned out the yarn closet (well, most of it, anyway) yesterday. I went through all of my inside yarn (I don't have room to store it all inside, so it's mostly just sock yarn inside) and my WIPs. I finally got brave enough to count and list them. Gulp. I have decided to take the bull (almost 25 WIPs) by the horns and get these things  finished or frogged. Most of them will be finished. I am a bit heavy in the shawl area because I went through a period of many months where I didn't want to touch lace. I have Laminaria, Rock Island, Eliina, the Swirl shawl, a Curved Shawl with Diamond Edging from Victorian Lace Today  Call Me Cordelia and the mystery shawl KAL that I just started. Whew!

In sweaters I have Bob's sweater, my Swirl Sweater, Shell Seekers and the Cardi Cozy. I love them all and will finish them all.

There is the Holding Hands baby blanket, due in a month. That's almost finished. I started Topiary in the spring, put it aside over the summer and now I can't find it. Must search. That's another WIP.

I have 3 pairs of socks on the needles, 3 cowls on the needles plus one more I need to knit but that hasn't been started yet. There is one scarf, one pair of gloves and some beaded sachets and some wash cloths to be finished. I also have a shrug on the needles but I am seriously thinking that I will frog that and make more of the mystery cowls. I like the look of it. I ripped Penumbra last night (it was finished but I didn't like it) and I have a sweater that was finished that I need to rip because it doesn't fit after blocking.

I plan to finish these projects, deciding on the order of knitting by how close they are to being finished, with those closest going first to build some momentum and enthusiasm. I am trying to knit on just 3-4 projects at a time so that I can see progress on each but don't get too bored. A few new projects will be built into the schedule to avoid feeling trapped by the WIPs. ; )

I need a full day to go through my stash, log and photograph it so that I can plan some new projects using yarn on hand. I think that might be a good snowy day project. I could "shop" in my stash for quite a while and not run short .....

I plan a similar evaluation and planning for my spinning projects soon. I did a lot of photographing over the weekend and will add it to my  Ravelry stash for tracking purposes. I need to find out what I have and come up with plans for spinning it. I want to take at least the first 6 months of the new year, though, to spend time learning new techniques. Those fibers will be the first to be sorted.

The next knitting type of review/evaluation will be to go through my handspun stash, sort it into colors that might blend and find knitting projects to make with the handspun that I have been making for a few years. That's another day and another post.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Another FO!

It's not blocked yet, but the knitting is finished on the cowl I was knitting for the Ravelry group swap. I used a provisional cast on and slipped all of the stitches on waste yarn at the end so it can be easily grafted around the other cowl (the point of the exercise). YIPPEE! another project off the needles! Today is the day that the mystery cowl initial clue will be released, so I really feel good about finishing one before starting another. Of course, I still have to knit a second cowl just like the one I finished, this one for myself, to be grafted around the one my swap partner knitted and is sending to me.

I am doing pretty well finishing projects due to limiting my self to working on no more that 4 at a time. I still switch projects around to get variety, but the variety is limited enough that things actually get finished! I started that mystery shawl the other night but have now put it aside in order to work on the baby blanket. The due date is coming up soon and the mother mentioned the other day that she might have to stop working sooner than planned. I would love to give this to her in person rather than ship it, so I am pushing big time to finish it.

I have just about 2 inches to knit on the sleeve cap for Bob's sweater and then it will be time to start knitting the second sleeve. Close. So close to the finish.

I am going to try to get my husband to help with the Juneberry blocking this weekend. If he can do the basic pinning out (I can put the wires in without hurting my shoulder) then I can go back, I think, and fine tune the shaping. With any luck I will feel better when it's time to block Call me Cordelia, which I hope to get back to knitting soon.

I really need to get in a photo session so I can show off my progress. Maybe Friday ....

I had a horrible time getting to work today - accidents all over the roads, causing major traffic slow downs, which then led to more accidents. The the hail started to come down! What is normally about an hour drive was over 2 hours today. Ugh.

Have a good day



Monday, November 12, 2012

Let there be light!

Finally, late Friday night, my mother and her neighbors had power restored! They are all recuperating  now from their almost 2 weeks of struggling to eat and stay warm with no power. The neighbors are returning home and/or getting back to normal. The people who were working on her block were from Washington state and the mid-west!

I started the vanilla socks for my men. I want to knit these as fast as possible so that there are enough socks to go all week without washing them. You can see that I have both socks started. I will feel better finishing the pair together. I don't like to knit them at the same time on 2 circs - I did that once and it didn't work well. I just used 2 sets of DPNs and will work them alternately.





  I cast on the Mystery shawl over the weekend. I love the way the cables show with this yarn. I can't decide whether I like the YOs the way I did them or if I should rip and make them smaller. I think I will leave them, though, since they are at least consistent in size. The yarn is Domy Heather in a pretty, light gray.







The Mystery cowl KAL starts tomorrow. Here is my yarn. It's the wrong gauge but I liked it and will adjust.





  One of the Ravelry groups I belong to has sponsored a bff cowl swap. Two people each knit a cowl twice. They send on to their swap buddy and keep one. The two different cowls are then grafted together. Here is mine.
And a close up of the stitch pattern. The photo above is closer in color.


My bff swap partner is using the same yarn but in a colorway in shades of gray and we agreed to use stitch patterns that would be horizontal when worn. Her pattern is Frostlight and I think they will look very nice together.

I plied my Black Welsh Mountain singles over the weekend. I did not have an even amount on each bobbin, though, so I didn't clear bobbins as planned. That's OK. It helps to make me more monogamous and get this fiber spun up.

I still haven't been spindle spinning.  My shoulder is still fairly painful and I don't know until the activity is over whether I have irritated the injury. I am unwilling to do that for spindle spinning. I can use the wheel without increasing the pain so that is what I will do. Maybe I'll finish the BWM faster?

My spinning plans for the next year are taking shape. I want to make 2013, at least the first few months, the year of learning new techniques and getting better at the older ones. I want to sample more art yarns, I want to make a nice corespun yarn. I want to spin an even bulky yarn. There's more, but I'll just say that I want to work at learning this coming year.

My knitting will be more planned and less spontaneous next year, too. I want to find projects for my handspun yarns. I plan to go through my handspun and sort the yarns together into groups that might be knitted together. I don't like the patch work look, so those types of projects are out. I will try to find some shawls or cowls that will be enhanced by the use of several different yarns together. For those yarns that won't go with others, I will find mitts or something smaller to make with them. In the future (for the next year, at least)  I plan to shop for yarn in my stash and find a pattern to make rather than finding the pattern and then looking for yarn.

I worked on the sleeve for Bob's sweater over the weekend. I am nearing the top of the sleeve - most of the sleeve shaping has been done. I have to measure the sleeve against the opening to see if I have to adjust the length, then bind off and sew. One more sleeve to go after that!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Still. No. Power!

That's right, folks. My mother and her neighbors still have no power. My mother, fortunately, has a generator hooked up to her heating system and a son to fetch and pour gas (after waiting on line for hours) but the others on her block are not so lucky. What is taking LIPA so bleeping long?!

I knew it couldn't go on. I resisted casting on for a while and now I have succumbed. My DH commented a couple of days ago that he would be wearing wool socks daily due to the cold weather. I brought to mind how many pairs of wools socks he has, thought about the fact that I do laundry once a week and hit the LYS. I picked up sale (40% off) sock yarn and cast on. I will knit toe up, plain vanilla or ribbed socks as fast as I can. Right now I plan one pair for DH and one for eldest son, who works outdoors or in unheated houses most days. DH might get both of these, though. I think perhaps commercial socks will hold up to construction work better. We'll see.

Today the Mystery Shawl KAL that I signed up for (why? I don't know.) released the first clue. I might start that this weekend or I might wait until I have the first sleeve of Bob's sweater finished. Next Tuesday the first clue for the mystery cowl KAL will be released, and since I am knitting that with a few local knitting friends, I will cast that on in real time so to speak. A cowl should be pretty quick knitting.

I managed a couple of rows on the baby blanket last night and hope to get a lot of that knitted during the football games over the weekend. Tonight I will spend some time concentrating on how to knit the arm shaping of the sleeve and getting that started. Christmas. That's my new goal for the sweater.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Juneberry is complete!!

That's right! I finished another WIP! I really love Juneberry. I have to weave in ends and block (if my shoulder allows blocking) but I love it already. It's pretty and warm and cuddly. I won't bother uploading an unblocked photo because you really can't see the pattern, especially on a brown yarn but I will get photos as soon as possible.

Next up lace wise is Call me Cordelia. I think I can finish it by Thanksgiving.

I also finished my ravens/holiday scarf yesterday. Yippee!


Non-lace knitting still consists of the baby blanket, Bobs sleeve and the cowl for the swap.  I should make better progress on those now that I am not pushing to finish Juneberry.

Mom still has no power. It's time, for sure. I don't know what is taking so long and I am starting to get impatient for her. There are a lot of elderly people living on her street and while my mother has my brother to handle the generator and waiting on line to get gas for it, many of the others do not have those "luxuries". They have been sitting in cold, dark homes for over a week now.
I have offered to drive up to get her, though with the gas limitations, that's a sketchy idea but she says no.

We looked at photos on the web of the areas on Long Island where we grew up and recreated. It's so sad to see some of the places we knew totally gone. Keep everyone affected by Sandy in your thoughts for a long time. It will be well over a year before life comes near normal for some of those people, if ever.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Penumbra

Penumbra is finished, probably for good. I completed the knitting and was less than thrilled. I have been less than thrilled since I first saw the pattern, but hoped it would grow on me. It hasn't and I can't bring myself to block it because I don't want to waste the time. I am pretty sure that I will rip the whole thing and knit something else with the yarn and beads. I love the yarn, I love the beads, I love the combo but I don't love the project. Sigh. The next pattern is so much prettier (IMHO) and I will knit that, though not until I finish up some other WIPs. Maybe I'll knit a couple of "Pretty Thing" cowls and add beads. I think that will look wonderful and planning where to put the beads should not be hard.

I have been good about not casting on, I am proud to report. My current projects are (1) the cowl for the Natchwoolie groups swap, (2) the baby blanket (baby is due 12/25 so I really can't put that off), (3) Bob's sweater and (4) the Call me Cordelia shawl. This shawl is the one thing I will change in my current line up of projects. I am closer to the finish of Juneberry than I am on Cordelia. That means that I can finish Juneberry faster. Finishing is what I am trying to do. Besides, Juneberry is bigger and warmer so will be more useful in this suddenly much colder weather.

I have, therefore, made the decision to switch  out Cordelia for Juneberry in my current project priority list. I will finish Juneberry, then go back to Cordelia. I still think I can finish by Christmas and be ready to start either the new Sivia Harding club shawl that is due out about the end of December or knit the current one, called Oaken Dreams. It's beautiful!

My mother and brothers, on Long Island, are all still without power but all doing pretty well. Generators are in use. ; )

DH is chomping at the bit to get out on the water. He knows that soon he will be closing the boat up for the winter and doesn't really want that to happen. Thank goodness knitting and spinning don't have off seasons. I am not sure what I would do, so I have much sympathy for DH. Enough that even on days when I would much rather stay home, I will go on the boat with him and be a good sport about it. We have to wait another few days, though. The debris in the Chesapeake from the flooding is amazing and dangerous to someone on a boat, assuming that they want to stay on the top of the water, not in it! 

I have been spinning again. I spent a good part of Tuesday on my wheel, spinning all of the Black Welsh Mountain that I had prepped (I am on the third of 3 bobbins needed to ply). I have to prep more but my shoulder is not happy with that particular activity so it might be a while. I then moved on to spinning some lovely chocolate brown Shetland that we were given during the spinning retreat I attended a couple of weeks ago. I am trying to spin it very thin and plan to ply it with other fiber that we got at the retreat. Pictures will be added later.

I'd love to do some spindle spinning but that is another activity that is not advised due to my shoulder injury. It might be a partial rotator cuff tear, it might be tendinitis but either way over the shoulder positioning of the arm on the right is not good. I can do it but I'll be in pain the next day. Seems silly, doesn't it? I'll be good, at least for another few weeks.

Have a wonderful weekend, all.

Judith MacKenzie Mc Cuin

If you are a spinner, weaver or in any way interested in the fiber arts, you have probably heard of Judith. She is an amazing woman and teacher. She has inspired me and many others and she has just suffered a tragedy. Her entire studio and everything in it has burned. If you know anything about her and her work, you know that this is indeed a tragedy. Some of her things are not replaceable, but many are. Please, if you can manage it at all, go to one of the sites that is collecting money and/or equipment and contribute.
The Yarn Harlot has written about it and has included links to ways to help. There are other groups helping, too. Please help.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Safe and sound

Hurricane or perfect storm, we made it through with little trouble. We are in northern Maryland and the storm passed north of us, thankfully. We had high winds and lots of rain but not to the severity that we would have suffered if the storm had passed closer or to the south of us. We lost power for about 8 hours, though there are many in the area who still are in the dark and cold.

We had no damage to house or boat. It was quite cozy the first night, even with the power off because we had borrowed a generator from Rob's boss. We had some lights, freezer and fridge hooked up to it as well as the all important sump pump. The pump keeps the house from flooding with water. It was getting chilly in the house but we are all healthy adults and could deal with that. I even had Internet access, though it was very slow. All in all a very good experience as hurricanes go.

Mom and my brother are still in the dark and cold, as are my other brothers, all of whom live on Long Island. No one had damage to the house, though and were not flooded.

My heart goes out to all of those who lost lives, belongings and homes. It will be a long haul for those in the hard hit areas.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Quaker Ridge Shawl

It's finished! I like it a lot and would consider doing another one, with slight modification. I like my shawls to wrap around my body and this one is just a bit short, so if I do knit it again, I will add increases at each end.




Next up is finishing the Penumbra shawl. This is a club pattern from the Mezzoluna shawl club. I have been knitting on it since I finished the QRS and have only 6 rows to go. This is another beaded shawl and I am really enjoying the process. I hope to have it finished within a week or so.



I am also knitting the baby blanket for my coworker. That one has a deadline, so I can't put it off too much.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

QRS

The beaded bind off is happening!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quaker Ridge Shawl

I am about 750 stitches from the beaded bind off. Gotta go.

Fiber summary

After the TdF, during which I concentrated on spinning, I reverted to knitting most of the time. Unfortunately for my WIP pile, I did a lot of casting on and not much finishing. Currently I find myself very frustrated with my lack of finishing and being able to wear what I've knitted. I don't especially care about how many projects are on the needles, I just want to wear some of them. ; )

I have come up with a plan and Will. Not. Get side tracked. I am pushing to finish my Quaker Ridge Shawl. I chose that one first just because there was a reasonable deadline and I might win a prize if I get it finished in time. I have completed the pattern repeats and the ruffle. I have 3 garter ridges to knit and then comes the beaded bind off. The beaded bind off (one bead for each of the 500 stitches) will take a while, so this will be close on the timing.

The next thing to work on will be my Penumbra Shawlette, the Sivia Harding club project.
I have only about 10 rows to go and that's why that one goes next. The next project to be finished will be Bob's textured sweater. I still have only 1.5 sleeves and a neck edging to go. I may alternate this with the Penumbra in case there is knitting time that does not allow for lace knitting. I am trying hard to be monogamous. I am not 100% successful but pretty close.

After Bob's sweater and the Penumbra will come my Swirl sweater alternating with the Call me Cordelia shawl (again so that I have lace and non-lace knitting). That will likely take me to Christmas and I might allow myself to cast on something new. We'll see.

I plan to start my fall clean up/out of the house this week. It will take a while, but part of that clean up is to go through my WIPs and stash to see if I have changed my mind about  something and it's time to get rid of it. That also refreshes the projects in my mind and I may choose something form the bin to work on next. I have LOTS to choose from.

Ah, yes. Let's not forget the baby blanket I am knitting - that does have a deadline. I would also love to finish Topiary before  the winter is too far gone. It's lovely. And Juneberry. Sigh. I wonder how many hours of sleep I really need.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Montauk Vacation 2012

We camped this year, rather than stay in a hotel. No tent for us, though. We've decided that we are too old for that kind of thing. My brother bought a used pop up camper last year and cleaned and fixed it up. He used it himself and made it available for anyone in the family to borrow. We took him up on it. I am glad we did. It was so nice to get back in the campground again. 

This is the view of the beach from the path that cuts through the dunes at the camp site. Yes, we are that close to the Ocean. 




It rained most days, some times a light drizzle other times more, but the really heavy rains came only at night while we were snuggled in bed.  ; )

Here is my view of the Montauk Lighthouse from the beach that we go to for surf fishing. Bob mostly fishes and I mostly watch and knit. 


Here is Bob, trying hard to catch a striped bass or bluefish from the surf. In the water you can see one of the increasing number of guys who fish from a kayak just off shore.


This is what the rest of that shoreline looks like. It can get pretty crowded out there when the fish are in the surf.

Just because I like them photos:



And on the other side of the 4 wheel drive trail to the beach:



I've been doing some spinning again. These skeins are my first two attempts at an intentional 
 thick and thin yarn. The one on the left was the first and the twist is too high in the thin sections. I fulled it and the dyes leached out, dimming the nice bright colors of the original yarn. the skein on the right is the second attempt, which has much better, though not perfect twist. I have not washed that skein because I love the colors the way they are and I'm nervous about dulling the colors on that one, too. I might try adding vinegar to the water and just using cold, not fulling that skein. The flowers that the skeins are posing in are Montauk Daisies that we liked enough to bring home with us a few years ago and plant in the garden.

The fiber above was from Spunky Eclectic (club shipment), 100% corriedale in "Rosebud". 

Below you will see the Icelandic, also from Spunky Eclectic club, called "Snow Squall". I spun it into a singles and fulled it. I like this yarn. I'm not sure what I will do with it yet but the colors are nice and deep and I love them. 

I am home and back at work. The re-entry to real life was much less stressful than in recent years due to the new job.  ; ))
I'll post about my knitting efforts next time. I am off to spin and knit the weekend away at a spinning retreat in Chambersburg, PA. The weather will be perfect for it and the scenery is gorgeous there. 

Go O's !!!!! Beat the pants off those Yankees!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Three was jot the magic number

I had to rip back on the baby blanket I am knitting, also. Grrrr. I don't know what is wrong with me. Apparently I can't read instructions, count, or do a gauge swatch properly. Maybe I'll spin for a while.



I was right

I did have a frogging party. Shellseeker was no more, then it was again. Two sizes smaller, and hopefully the right size.

The Call me Cordelia shawl is smaller than it was, too. It was entered into the frog pond because I had stupidly mis read the increase row instructions in the pattern and so didn't have nearly enough stitches for the snow blossom pattern. I do now, though, after ripping about 40 rows of lace.

The last - I really hope it's the last player in the frog pond is the sleeve for Bobs sweater. It was just a bit too snug for his comfort so rather than regret I just went ahead and ripped back about 3/4 of what I had knitted (thankfully only yo the elbow) and am now doing increases more frequently for a while before I return to the specified pattern.

At this rate it will be next year before I finish anything but the anythings will fit.

We are frantically doing chores to prep for vacation. Somehow there is never time to do it all, though one big holdup was the very necessary work on the roof. Unfortunately, it still leaks. Not nearly as much but it still leaks. I would add curses here but I'd probably be arrested and that would totally ruin vacation.

Have a good day.

Friday, September 07, 2012

I think I have to have a frogging party

The Shellseeker sweater is looking so good! I attached the pocket to the body last night and decided to add a bit of length before I knitted the ribbed edge. I knitted a few more rounds and then slipped it onto a 60 inch cable to try it on. The length is great but I believe the body is too wide. It feels right in the shoulders but I think I have to either accept a very loose fit or rip most of it back. Sigh. I made no commitment last night and will put it on again today to make a final decision.

The Penumbra shawl from the Sivia Harding shawl club is growing steadily and that won't be too big. Call me Cordelia will get some attention this weekend, also. Shawls and sweaters are what I am knitting right now.

Spinning this past week included starting to spin my Phat  Fiber samplers. I will spin them one after the other into one singles which will be plied with the bamboo that I have already spun. I sorted the samples in the order I plan to spin them. I am recording the name and fiber content of each, along with notes about my impressions so that I can get more of my favs. I am also saving the cards from each so I can find the vendors. Smart, right?

The Spinners Study group is studying angora and Dorset this month. I have some of each and will most likely play with at least one of those fibers on a spindle this weekend. Bob has me scheduled for boat work (getting ready for vacation) and he and eldest son will do some roof work. We have a leak and have not yet been successful in stopping it. This weekend will involve more radical work. I will not be helping. I believe that I will be the tool fetcher and nothing more. I will have a spindle and a knitting project close at hand for the times between fetching.  ; )

The new job is good so far. We are in a slow period and that's just right for learning new procedures, protocols and routines. I am sure we will be very busy in a few months so I am appreciating this break. Vacation starts in a couple of weeks and it's a nice long one. Yippee!

Have a great weekend. If I can get some photos of my WIPs I will post them.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Change of Heart

The sleeves will be knitted from the cuff upwards. I thought about doing short rows for the sleeve cap in pattern and chickened out.

Shellseeker is moving along. I have about 8 more rows to knit before I join the body and the pocket. Call Me Cordelia has another pattern repeat. Even the sock I am knitting on as a travel project has gotten some attention!

This is the start of a 5 day weekend for me. Courtesy of the Baltimore Grand Prix (I am not sure who thought it was a good idea to close streets near a large hospital) I am on "liberal leave" and since I am very new and therefore not all that useful yet in my new department, I am not considered an essential person and can therefore take vacation time. I am happy to do so. ; )

There will be chores around the house being tended to and spinning and knitting happening. We finally received the first pattern from the Mezzaluna Shawl club. I have 2 yarns in mind and plan to get input tonight at the knit night at my LYS to choose the best yarn for the beads I want to use. I don't love the pattern but it is interesting and it might grow on me. It's one of those short row shaping shawls that start with garter stitch but there is a patterned center section to interrupt the potential boredom. I won't be able to resist casting on but since it will take a different attention level than my other main projects, I don't think there will be too much competition. The main issue will be Cordelia time and I think I can work around that by alternating. One is beaded, the other not, so that will help decide which one I work on at any given time also. Some locations are just not bead friendly.

I picked a bunch of Roma tomatoes last night so I am off now to make another batch of tomato sauce, then get my hair cut. Have a great day.  




Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Job

Yesterday was the first day at my new job. Boy, do I have a lot to learn. It's interesting, if a bit frustrating. The frustrating part is the logistical set up in the new place, not the job itself. I am glad I made this move.

Knitting has been mostly the Shellseeker Sweater and my Cordelia Shawl. I have 5 of 9 pattern repeats completed on the apple blossom part of the shawl, then the edging. On the sweater I have completed the front pocket and am now knitting the body of the sweater. I have decided to knit Bob's sweater sleeves from the top down so that knitting will resume soon. It makes for a bulkier, less portable knitting project but I think I will be happier with the sleeves.

I have been spinning a bit again now that the Olympics are over. I spun another bobbin of BWM and switched to spinning the bamboo from the Phat Fiber box I won (actually, Melanie won it for me) in July. The theme is seaside cottage and I love the colors. I bought more of the bamboo fiber that was included in the samples and intend to spin one ply of that, then spin all of the other fibers together sequentially for the other singles and then ply those together. Bamboo is tricky to spin.

Have a good day, all.

 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Few Pictures


Just because I love them, here is a photo of one of the water lillies we have blooming in the water garden right now. I love the delicacy of the petals and stamen, the color shifts as you look along the length of the petals. Can you see the water drops on the petals? I love it.





Last weekend I noticed a hawk (or vulture or something. I am ignorant as to how to tell the difference when they are way up there and I am way down here) in the sky overhead. Then I noticed another, and they were making quite a bit of noise. Then I noticed another!






I didn't get a photo with all 3 in it, but you can see two of them and they circled for quite a while, making a kind of mewing sound the whole time. Very interesting.




This is a basket of Black Welsh Mountain fiber carded and/or flicked and waiting for me to spin it.



This is my first skein of 3 ply BWM, pre-wash. You can see the hairs sticking out in all directions.




And a close up view. I washed it and thwacked it pretty vigorously. It bloomed nicely and is a bit softer but still very hairy. The color is a darker black than this appears.


This is a bad photo of my Wensleydale singles on the spindle



and the singles plied into a beautiful lace yarn. I have to comb more of the locks before I can spin more and I can't wait! It's so glossy and soft, with a bit of halo.



I haven't washed this yet to see what that will do to the halo.

I finished the body of Bob's sweater last night! He tried it on and other than saying that it felt a bit snug in the chest area (it doesn't look snug) it fits well. I believe in my gauge so I am going to leave it as is. I measured a sweater that he loves and this matches in measurements after blocking. Fingers crossed. Next step - the sleeves. I have to decide whether to knit up from the cuff (more portable but assembly required) or pick up stitches and knit down the sleeve.

My Shellseeker sweater is doing well. I am on the body now, with the sleeves on waste yarn. If we go on the boat today, Shellseeker, the baby blanket and the circular shrug will be my projects. If not (due to rain in the forecast) I will spin.

I made tomato sauce with home grown roma tomatoes last night. I hope it tastes good. I know the fresh tomatoes from the garden have tasted yummy in our salads. We had home grown green pepper, cucumber and tomatoes in our salad last night. Only the lettuce was store bought.  ; )

Well, I am off to wake the husband to see what the plan is. Have a good day, all.

PS tomorrow begins my last week in my old job. September should be a very good month.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Not much to say

But I do want to brag that despite having a migraine today, I did the dinner dishes and went out for a walk. It was only about 10 minutes and much slower than normal, but I did it. Three days in a row. Pat, pat, pat.

I hope to post pictures tomorrow that I took over the weekend. The head hurts too much to do that now. I am off to do a bit of knitting, then sleep.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I did it!

I took the first step in getting myself back in shape. I have been feeling very flabby and out of shape lately, but I find it very hard to do much of anything outdoors in the heat of the summer. Now that the weather is cooling off I think I can get back to my walking. I started last night.  The first one is always hard, and I was a sticky mess when I got back (I HATE to sweater and while not very warm, it was humid).   I hurried into the shower but I did it! 20 minutes of fast walking. I'll stay at that amount for a couple of days, walking every day, and then gradually increase the time/distance. On days when I really can't walk, I'll do some work with small weights and try to get my upper body and core muscles toned up.

I knitted on Bob's sweater last night, and during the day I knitted on my Shellseeker sweater. Over the weekend I did some spindle spinning (on the boat and at home) and I plied my Black Welsh Mountain and my spindle spun Wensleydale. The Wensleydale is beautiful - shiny and slightly fuzzy. I can't wait to be able to knit with that yarn. The BWM is, as expected, very hairy and prickly. I cannot imaging wearing anything knitted with it even over a layer, so I guess it will be a mat or rug or something like that. That's a disappointment. I really thought it would make a vest for outdoor use. Sigh.

We had a wonderful day on the boat on Sunday. The weather was perfect - warm but with just the right amount of breeze. The water was calm and the sunset gorgeous. I knitted on my shellseeker sweater and my new project - the Circular Shrug.  I needed something besides cotton to knit with on the boat, but it had to be small enough to not cover me in wool. I am using 1 skein of mushishi that was intended for another project. I didn't like what I was knitting so I frogged it and will give this shrug a try. If I don't like myself in a shrug, I'll give it to someone else.

It's rainy Tuesday and I don't really mind. The plants and trees need water and I have to work anyway .... I just wish I could have spent the day at home knitting and spinning. Have a good day, whatever you are doing today.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Wine and rain

Bob and I did something unusual today. We went out, not on the boat! Boordy winery has summer concerts on Saturday nights, and the husband do a knitting buddy of mine plays in one of the bands that performs there. I missed the first chance to go but we went tonight. The weather forecast had the potential for some storms, but the likelihood decreased through the day so we went. (The concerts are outside.)

We got wine, had our dinner, watched the people and listened to the music. I kept checking the radar, but I apparently was not correct in my thoughts about where on the map we were ....... There was a downpour! Everyone got drenched, though we escaped. We had just gone into the building to look around when the torrential rain started. We hung around for a while and eventually made our way back to where we had left the chairs and food. The chairs had huge puddles of water in them-no more sitting for us. We chatted for a while with other friends but finally left. As we started to our cars, the rain started up again, so leaving (the band had resumed playing) was a good choice. Sigh. So much for our night out. 
The laundry and gardening are done, so we will most likely head out on the boat on Sunday. Cotton sweater knitting, because it is the least smothering in the heat, will happen. I wish I could knit socks while on the boat. They are small and so take up little room when packing as well as not hanging all over the lap adding to the heat. I find that I can't knit lighter weight yarn on the boat without watching my knitting, which will make me I'll after a while. So, heavier weight yarn in simple stitch patterns is what I work with. 

I have been enjoying watching the Olympics so much! Closing ceremony is tonight - these last 2 weeks have gone by fast. Team USA did a wonderful job. Go USA!!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday!

I am working a half day from home today and, since I had a few long days this week, will take a half day off.  That makes this Friday an especially good one.

Good news on the family front. Ed, my SIL's husband, is doing well today. He will get out of the ICU today and may be home by Sunday. Hopefully my SIL can arrange a ride to get him home, and then they have a bit of time to make arrangements to get rides for groceries, etc. I am hopeful that maybe social work or some community group can help.

The knitting is moving along - another inch was added to Bob's sweater last night and I got in a few rows on my shellseeker also. I miss spinning and am looking forward to getting back to that this coming week.

It's rainy here today but I don't mind. So far it's been a slow, gentle rain that the ground appreciates. I do hope that it clears up for some outside time tomorrow, though.

Well, back to work. I want to get my hours in so I can knit as much as possible today. I love knitting.
 ; ))

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Startitis. I have it again

ETA pictures!

I have so many projects on the needles (spinning projects, too) that I probably don't remember them all. I am on a push to finish some projects, though, so things will get better.

My Ravelympics project ( yes, I am aware that the name changed. I hate Ravelenics) was to finish Bobs sweater. That isn't going to happen, but I will finish the body by the closing ceremony and plan to get the sleeves done by the time we go on vacation in September.



My LYS had the annual Coolest Customer sale in July and I bought Cascade Sierra in steel blue and a light khaki color to make Shellseeker. I am going to love this sweater, fashioned like a sweatshirt.

The stitch markers you see there are from winemakerssister and I love them. They are beautiful and sturdy and make me smile every time I look at them. I love the beach and the sea.

Juneberry is on hold but will be resumed after the Olympics. Topiary will get picked up next.

I started a baby blanket that will be a gift for a co-worker, due in December. It will be ideal vacation knitting, so while I have started it, I have only gone as far as establishing the stitch pattern and will put it on hold until September.



I have several other projects that will be picked up and finished, one at a time. I plan to avoid starting anything else new for a while with the exception of the shawl pattern from the Sivia Harding Mezzoluna Shawl Club that Angela and I signed up for. Beaded, semi- circular shawl patterns one every other month. I hope it will help me use up my lace weight yarn stash.

Spinning projects include finishing the third bobbin of Black Welsh Mountain singles, so that I can ply. Then I'd like to spin some Ryeland that I have carded and finish up other smaller projects in the works. Then I'll go back to another 3 bobbins of BWM and ply that.

My SIL called yesterday and told us that her husband had a heart attack and was having heart bypass surgery. He had it today at Emory and is doing OK. He was having some bleeding problems but they were hopeful that he could avoid another surgery. This is stressful alone but add to that the fact that my SIL is blind and her husband's hospital is 60 miles from home, you can see that it' s even worse. Even once he gets home, he won't be able to drive for 6 weeks so they have a problem. They live in rural Georgia so they can't just walk to the store down the street. We are hoping that they can work something out with neighbors.

My brother is finally gaining weight after his cancer treatments. He is looking forward to vacationing in September at the beach.

I start a new job in a couple of weeks. I will still be doing research, but in a different area of the hospital, working in several ICUs and shock trauma. I am very anxious to have a new start and learn new things.

That's it for now. I hope to add photos of my projects in a day or so. Have a good day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer!

It's summer and I've been busy. Mostly good busy, though I've been putting in some extra time at work.

It's still Tour de fleece time and I've been spinning. I had a few goals and while I won't make them all, I'll make good progress towards them. In the Spinner's Study group there were 3 challenges: 1. spin a breed not yet studied in the group. check. I received in a trade some Xalda fiber

 from Spain and spun a skein of that, then passed on the rest of the fiber in another trade to someone else. 2. Spin a longwool. check, though not finished yet. I am spinning some Wensleydale locks that I purchased at MDSW. They are very soft and lustrous, have a nice shine to them and I am enjoying spinning them on my spindle. I am working on the second spindle now and hope to ply them by the end of the tour.


 3. Spin a blend. Check, but again not finished. I am spinning a blend of mohair, wool and angelina in pretty blues. I really don't think I'll get this finished in time. I hurt my shoulder/back and have been having problems with muscle spasms that are irritated by spindle spinning, so my time is limited. For the Support spindle group and natchwoolie I am spinning Yak on my new purple support spindle.

 I love using the spindle and am getting better at it, but this will be a thick and thin skein of probably mostly fingering weight yarn. I was not good at long draw before and while I am learning, I am still not that good at it. My general challenge was to spin as much of my Black Welsh Mountain fleece as I could. I got a bunch of it prepped - a combination of carding and just flicking - and I've spun about 1.75 bobbins worth so far. Unless I get a lot spun this weekend (unlikely due to gardening and boating and housework) I won't have enough to ply by the end of the tour. I feel good, though, that the tour gave me the impetus to get started on it. Now that it's started, I'll push on and get it done. I am anxious to see how much yardage I get so I can start planning a project. I will also feel free to start prepping my BFL fleece for spinning.

Due to my stash volume I wasn't going to buy any more fiber ..... I just received 1 ounce of raw angora fluff and 2 ounces of angora/merino roving for the September study group fibers and I have 4 ounces of horned Dorset fiber on the way. sigh. I really have to stop buying and spin and knit this stuff.

Knitting - I have a couple of FOs to brag about but no photos yet. Maybe this weekend I can get the camera out. I finished a blue cotton sweater that's been on the needles for about 5 years. The ends are woven in, it needs a bath and shaping and it will be wearable. I like it. I designed it myself and while it's not overly intricate, it still looks nice and isn't just garter or stockinette all over.

I made a pair of heavy socks for my brother a while ago for him to wear in his fishing boots. They didn't fit despite him trying them on at the halfway point, so I ripped to the toes and re-knit them. They are finished and delivered. I also made a cowl for him for winter using the stitch pattern from the Wurm hat.


I made a pair of mittens by knitting with unspun silk hankies and they are finished. I love the feel of them. I finished knitting a small shawlette/scarf called Wingspan, too. I like it, though it's a bit smaller than I thought it would be.

On the needles right now, well, what am I not knitting is more to the point. ; )
I started to knit Melanie's Call Me Cordelia shawl with my handspun. I wish I could work on it full time. I think that even though my handspun is thicker than the suggested yarn, it will look fine once blocked.

I am still knitting on my Swirl Sweater. I am at the sleeves but since it is such an unusual construction I have no idea how much more knitting I have to do yet. ; )  Bob's textured sweater is still on the needles. The bulk of the body has been knitted but I have a bit more to knit before I split at the arms for front and back. It's been really too warm to knit on something like that recently. Same thing with the Swirl sweater. They are relegated to in the house in the evening when it cools off knitting. I have a second Wurm hat on the needles that hasn't made any headway at all - I got sidetracked by other things. The Jeweled Cowl is in the same situation, though both are small enough that I might get back to them now, in the worst of the heat. Juneberry is moving along nicely. I am knitting the edging and I've passed the halfway point. I like the edging pattern so I enjoy knitting on that. It's a lap full of alpaca though, so it's also evening in the house knitting.

I have 2 socks on the needles but I have to follow a chart for both so they haven't been getting as much play as they should. One, the Riff sock, is for Rob and is the second of the pair. The other, Crocodile Rock is for Bob and that's just the first of the pair on the needles. I haven't gotten all that far on that one but I think I can get the pattern into my head and follow my knitting without looking at the chart all of the time which will speed things up.

Topiary is sitting untouched because I picked up Juneberry to knit with Melanie so once I complete Juneberry, Topiary will be back in the active roster. I really like it.

Way back, about a year ago, I joined a KAL to knit the Linen Stitch Scarf. I started it, knit on it and hated it. I hated knitting it and I hated the way it looked. I frogged it. I have found the perfect pattern to knit with that yarn, though, and have been working on that as my take along project. It's called the Creekbed scarf. I am using only the two colors I purchased for the other scarf but it looks nice.

It is DHs birthday tomorrow. We have a planned celebration but it's a boat trip and we won't do that overnight trip in this heat, so that's postponed. We will, I think, go on the boat this weekend, though, to Sandy Point and fish the mid-Chesapeake Bay rather that the upper bay, which is where we usually do our boating. I am heading to Boston for a meeting on Friday, no overnight, and I hope to get some good knitting time in on the plane and at the meeting. I don't think I'll try to bring a spindle. ; )

On the family front, Mom is doing pretty well. The heat gets to her and she is slower doing almost everything but hanging in there. My brother is finished with his chemo and radiation therapy, though he didn't complete the full course. He has more energy and feels better in general, but he is still loosing weight and can't afford it. He's gotten the lecture from me about how he's the only one who can provide the nutrition to himself and he needs to do a better job if it. We'll see.

The garden is producing cucumbers like crazy already and I picked corn to eat. We are getting cherry tomatoes and hope to have regular tomatoes soon. We've been getting green beans for a few weeks already and some leaf lettuce, too. I think I'll pull the lettuce now - it's too hot, and the broccoli too. We didn't plant potatoes this year. Last year's harvest was not impressive.

Rob is doing well at his construction job and Brian has moved to pest control from cooking. Kind of weird, right? But it's working for now. It's good that everyone who can work is employed.

Well, I think that's everything. I hope that the few of you who read this blog have not given up on me. I'll try to be better.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Spiral Shawl test knit complete!

Blocking!


The color in the photo above is the most accurate.



I love the way this shawl wraps around the neck and stays on the shoulders with no effort at all.




The increase lines in the body line up with the edging. 





I've been spinning. This is a full bobbin of the wool/silk blend I have been loving spinning. I hope to make this a 3 ply for a vest or sweater.



I also finished up a spinning WIP. These three colorways were spun up and plied together. 


I hope to get a photo of the finished yarn in the next couple of days. I have 160 yards of a worsted weight to knit. It feels nice and soft and fluffy.


The garden is doing well. We didn't get out on the boat again this weekend due to windy weather. That helped with the spinning. Next post will include info on my next project spinway work. 


Friday, June 01, 2012

Safe and Sound

There were some very severe storms around here today. I was, apparently, on the way home from work when a particularly bad one went through our area and caused a lot of roads to be closed. 4 detours! Two hours after I left work, I arrived home. Safe and sound. ; ))

I think maybe the migraines have left me for a while. Fingers crossed.

The roof is still leaking near the chimney with rain and wind. I don't think there is anything left uncaulked, so I have no idea what comes next.

My brother has not been re-admitted to the hospital!

I've been spinning the past few days. I want to clear some bobbins Before TdF so I am spinning another bobbin of singles to go with 2 other bobbins and will 3 ply them, hopefully this weekend. I hope the colors don't look muddy when plied.
Next I'll work on the California red (finish spinning, then ply) and I think there is one more bobbin with fiber on it. Must figure out what it is and what to do with it.

I was carding my BWM the other night and decided to try spinning it from the flicked lock to see if I can get a less hairy yarn. It's very prickly but maybe if I spin from a more smooth and aligned fiber I can tone that down a bit. I like my 3 ply sample and so that's what I plan for the yarn. What I can't flick I will card, but will do something else with that yarn.

Time for bed. It's been a long week. Stay safe.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

What a weekend!

I thought a lot about the people who are and have been protecting our country and our freedoms in general and i thought in particular about my father and FIL who served many years ago. Thank you to all of you for helping to preserve our rights and protect our country.

I had a lot of time to think those thoughts as I suffered with migraines all weekend and did little else. I tried. I relaly did. I did gardening in the morning, and laundry, then Bob and I went on the boat Saturday. We had trouble getting the motor started, it was much more windy (causing higher waves) than they predicted and I didn't feel well. I thought it was nausea from sinus drainage and a sinus headache but nothing I took worked. Finally I told Bob that I wasn't happy about being bounced around on the bay the way I was feeling so we went back in. On the way I decided to try my last ditch effort and took my migraine cocktail - compazine, imitrex and percocet. It worked! It makes me miserable for about an hour but it did work.

The next day we did more gardening, laundry and stuff around the house but I already knew I didn't feel well enough to go out. I had another headache and finally gave in and took the strong stuff. It helped, but the headache didn't really go away. Later that night the headache returned, with a vengeance. I was really miserable until about 1 PM when the 3rd dose of meds finally worked. UGH.

I managed to get in some spinning and some knitting between headaches. I completed one bobbin of the wool/silk blend I've been working on. I had carded some of my Black Welsh Mountain (BWM) fleece and I spun 2 short sample skeins of that. I've been spinning some merino that I scoured my self with the support spindle and I'm getting better at it. ; )  I finished the test knit shawl!!! and I just have to block it at this point. I stayed home with yet another migraine today but since it is better I might try to do that in a bit.

I saw a neurologist about my migraines yesterday. He says that since I was unable to tolerate one of the preventative meds and the other didn't do anything, I am not likely to respond to any others because they are all in the same classes of medications as the ones I tried. so, no migraine prevention for me. I have to just treat them with the meds I have. UGH.

My brother was in the hospital over the weekend. he got very dehydrated again and had to get IV fluids. He stayed for a few days and is home again now. He could be doing more to help himself - like giving himself fluids through the feeding tube he has, but he complains that he's too full. He could do better but I think he's just too tired from the chemo and radiation treatments to work at it. On a good note, I was able to get an uncle and another brother to help more with the driving so Steven and Mom don't get so tired and stressed.

I am getting ready for the Tour de Fleece - it's just short of a month away. I have to card more of the BWM so I can spin that during the tour, and I've been gathering and selecting the other fibers I will spindle spin. I am trying to plan out projects for the Ravelympics, too. I think that might consist of finishing one of the sweaters on my needles. Now there's a good goal!

I am off now to finish up a few work things, then maybe block that shawl. It's knit night at the LYS but I'm not sure I'll go. Migraines wear me out, and since knitting is a purely voluntary thing I feel no need to "make" myself go.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Flowers!


My mother sent some peony bulbs (or roots or whatever) home with me a couple of years ago. They have been thriving. I love the look and the scent of these. 



I am hoping for some white and a darker pink to add in the fall (also from Mom's garden).




I planted carnation plants also a few years ago and they seem very happy this year also.





I planted a ground cover in the front bed a while ago and I was very pleasantly surprised to see that there is also a flower on that in the spring. 





Project spinway is a spinning challenge. The Natchwoolie group on Ravelry runs this challenge and it's fun, sometimes stressful and a great impetus to learn new things. This most recent challenge involved choosing a technique new to you and spinning a yarn with it. The technique didn't have to be especially difficult, just something you hadn't done before. I chose a tornado wrap. I have been reading rave reviews about Jacey Boggs book on spinning art yarn and had asked for a copy for my birthday.

The tornado wrap was so cool to spin!

I needed a few more arms but it was fun. A tornado wrap involves spinning a core yarn while (at the same time) allowing 3 or more other singles or threads to free wrap around the core yarn. I had spindle spun dyed mohair locks

 into singles, allowing them to be a bit textured and I used a thread with sequins to be the third wrap. One of my mohair wraps had long color sections 

while the other had short runs of wild colors.

 I learned that it is best to have the wrap singles coming to the core fiber from several different directions so that they don't wrap around each other, then the core fiber.


I also learned that when one wrap gets in front of the wheel, it wraps around the orifice rather than the core yarn and that's not good. It was so much fun watching this develop!


 I can see potential for lots of color and fiber combinations and lots of fun spinning but I have no idea what to do with the yarn. If I could come up with some good ideas, I'd love to make more of this. It was overspun but after soaking and being thwacked it looks fine.

The second challenge was to choose another new technique and sample at least twice.


 I chose spinning with the support (bowl) spindle that I purchased at MDSW this year.


My practice skeins were pretty bad.

The final skein was much improved, though I still need practice. 
I surprised myself, liking the support spindle spinning much more than I thought. Once the drafting clicked, it was like magic!




I surprised myself, too, actually getting the challenge completed on time (due to the time spent in NY and other stressors).

I spent time Friday doing fiber work. I flicked and carded some black welsh mountain from the fleece I bought last year. I really wanted to comb it because I like smoother yarns. I spoke with Deb Robson at the walk about at MDSW and she reccomended carding, so I decided to do what the expert said and card. maybe I'll finally get over my aversion to woolen style yarns. I hope to get a vest or sweater for rugged outdoor wear from this fiber. It is NOT next to the skin fiber. I plan to card this while my spinning project is to spin more of the wool/silk blend. I think that alternating spinning and prep work should be a good thing. I'll finish the wool/silk blend, have that available for knitting and more on to spinning the BWM. I think my next prep project will be the BFL fleece I bought last year, and I'll work on that while spinning the BWM.  I need to have multiple phases of fiber work going at one time. I am sometimes in the mood for prepping and other times in the mood for spinning or knitting. having a plan and having ongoing work in each phase will allow me to make progress, prevent side trips and still have variety.

I scoured some of my Romeldale x fleece today ( it had been cold soaked a couple of weeks ago) and cold soaked another section. I really enjoy that whole process and that's a surprise to me, too. I also washed the Kerry hill x border Leicester locks that Melanie and I shared from  MDSW. It has a soft, wide crimp, nice long staple length and some nice luster. I hope to get more scouring done on Sunday. Tomorrow we plan to go out on the boat.

My brother has had a set back with his cancer treatment/nutrition situation and had to be admitted to the hospital again. He'll be out tomorrow I think and maybe this time he'll listen to his big sister when she tells him to take water in. He got seriously dehydrated. We also have additional transportation lined up for him since that has been a problem from the start. Halfway there!