A project goes like gangbusters. And that is precisely how this vest is going. On Wednesday evening I finished the back. Thursday morning I was starting the first side. Thursday lunchtime I’d cast on all the additional stitches to make it a full side, and Thursday night I just knit and knit. If this keeps up, I might even have the second side started this weekend!
So, this spindle thing? It is a bit of an obsession. I know, I know, I should be able to control my hobbies a bit better, but I cannot. So I finished up the Sid Fishious colorway, plyed up some of the undyed corriedale on the wheel, and then immediately decided to find something new for my spindle. What I chose was some of my own hand dyed fiber in a superwash merino. It is one of the nicer fibers I’ve dyed, it stayed lofty, silky, and wonderful. Now, I was a bit worried about this because I thought it might be a little too slick for me to spin well on a spindle. However, I’ve noticed that right from the start I’ve had better luck with the slicker fibers, and it has been the same for spindle spinning, I can tell already! And even better? With a splatter dyed fiber like this, I don’t even remotely have to worry about color progression. I love that!
Despite having a nasty case of startitis and a desire to knit All The Things, my knitting time has been dedicated almost exclusively to the Cloud Chaser vest. I had this odd moment this morning where I wanted to bring the project to work, but also knew I’d need my completed vest to measure against and I didn’t want to haul that around too. Then I remembered that I could just…you know…wear my vest to work? Yeah, I am that thick from time to time. So, despite the fact that it was quite warm today, I wore a handknit.
So, in addition to the spindle spun yarn I finished over the weekend, I also did a bit of wheel spinning. I needed more yarn for my featherweight cardigan and stat. So I spent a bit of time spinning more yesterday afternoon, plyed it up, washed it, and it was dry by this morning. 291 yards of 2 ply, and this one is slightly less felted than the last batch, but still has a fantastic bloom to it. If I wasn’t so busy with a vest or two, I’d be working on my featherweight! Oh, and of note is that I did indeed start yet another 4 oz. of superwash merino on the trindle!
I managed to make yarn on my spindle. I did it!
350 yards of 2 ply fEnglish wool. The wool is the sid fishious colorway by dyeablical yarns. I didn’t do a whole lot of planning on how I wanted to colors to work, I just wanted to spin. So, once I had full spindles, I’d ball them up together and get on with the plying.
Saturday evening I had 2 more balls of yarn.
I then could not resist finishing them both. I just couldn’t. Stayed up a bit later than usual in order to finish, washed those two skeins this morning, and now I’ve got 3 not at all matching skeins of yarn. Because I didn’t worry about the colors, I ended up with one skein that is particularly halloween colored. It gave me the idea of knitting a wingspan for halloween. We shall see if I have time for that!
So, awhile back I committed to a trade, a yarn bowl for a cloud chaser vest. The yarn for it is blue moon fiber arts socks that rock heavyweight. Because of this, the order took awhile to receive and in the meantime I was short on projects so I began another vest. The meadowlark vest. Of course, once the yarn came for the cloud chaser came in I wanted to start that too, leaving me with, for the first time, two vests on the needles at once.
It has been more than a year in the making, but the sweater I knit from the yarn I spun from my first fleece is complete. The pattern is Aeneas by Norah Gaughan. I had hoped that the cropped sweater would block out a bit longer, but it really didn’t. But it is soft and lovely and I think I’ll wear it anyhow. (And looking at these pictures makes me realize just how much I need a hair cut!)
So, I finished a shawl on vacation remember? It seemed a little silly to try to block it without my equipment so I threw it in my suitcase instead. I didn’t even think of it the day I returned, so before work on Monday morning I put it in for a good long soak, and blocked it last evening. I really like this shawl’s odd shape. It actually made blocking it quite easy. I had anticipated being able to add a repeat or so to this shawl to make it slightly larger, but I am glad I did not. I ended up with a very small ball of yarn, a few yards, and would most certainly have run out in a big way had I tried to expand it. This is my first finished 2 toned shawl, and I am not displeased. Though I do seem to have a very large amount of black left over. Maybe another two toned shawl?
The color affection shawl that I was so very excited about? Turns out it is only the most boring knit ever. This makes me sad. I am hoping that the short row section adds some interest, because there isn’t much of interest right now. Except the colors. The colors are indeed beautiful. The yarn is Madeline Tosh Merino Light. I’ve never worked with this yarn before but the dyes are scrumptious.
Now that I am back from vacation and life is falling back into a routine, I’ve got so much left to finish! I have a shawl to block and a sweater that is so near completion I can taste it. I can also feel fall in the air (sort of, it may be wishful thinking) which just makes me want to knit even more.
In spinning, I’ve got to finish the spindle yarn, and then keep working on my corriedale fleece so I can finish the featherweight cardigan. I am half tempted to ply what I have on the bobbins right now, just so that I can have some yarn to knit with.
I must say, I am eager to see what September brings in the way of my craft!
I finally have my first spindle spun yarn. I worked pretty hard on it once I had no more knitting, and ended up with two spindles full.
Once I had that, I watched my copy of Respect the Spindle again, and made my two spindles into a 2 ply ball of yarn, and then plied it together on the spindle.
I still have a bit more fiber to spin, but if all goes well it won’t be terribly long before I have another hank of yarn. I have not yet counted yardage on the one I have, figuring to wait until I am finished before I do so. There is a little bit of thickness at one end of this yarn due to being a beginner spindle spinner, but the remainder isn’t bad at all.
I went to the local yarn shop today to get needles for my sock skein. Unfortunately, the needles they had were about double the price I wanted to pay and also a brand I don’t particularly care for. So, instead, I picked up some Mad Tosh for a Color Affection shawl. I have the appropriate needles for that here, and I can get started before I get back on the plane to come home. I will have to call this my Jewel Affection, as the tones are lovely jewel tones that should really pop when combined.
How can this be? I am officially all out of knitting while on vacation. Now, that happened quite unexpectedly, quite frankly. Let me explain. The brown fleece, I was supposed to have enough yarn to finish the sweater. I did not. I had the end of a shawl to finish, but I knew I didn’t have much to knit on that. I threw in an emergency sock, figuring I could work on that if all else failed. However, I didn’t like the sock. So rather than purchasing more yarn, I figured I’d rip out the sock I didn’t like, and then I’d have a full skein for socks, plus any spinning I wanted to do.
This plan failed because when I ripped out the sock, I noticed one set of needles was broken. Now I have to go to the yarn store not to purchase more yarn, but to purchase another set of needles!
In the meantime, I am pretty sure that once I get home and get the shawl blocked, it is going to look great! I love the look of the handspun along with the commercial solid color yarn.
I am on vacation. This means actual knitting time. But my plan to knit the brown fleece sweater has come to a halt. A halt that is rather frustrating and depressing. You see, that huge ball of yarn I brought with me is just not enough! I’ve got about half a side left to knit a collar on, and so an attempt at finishing is just not going to happen while on vacation. I guess I’ll weave in some ends.
I’ve had this brown fleece handspun sweater in time out for awhile now. I kept having trouble with the collar and I finally just gave up completely. After all, it was prior to my bike tour and I wasn’t getting much knitting done. If the knitting I did manage to find time for went poorly, I really didn’t deal with it well! But, now the ride is over and I’ve got vacation. Seems like the perfect time to get such a project done right? Except I was not in the least inspired to do so. So, rather than bring a bunch of fun knitting along on my trip, I brought the brown sweater. I mean, if my option is either knitting on the brown sweater or not knitting at all, I’ll probably knit the brown sweater.
Well, today was a car travel day. What better time than today to begin the collar yet again?
I did, and it is going fairly well. I bet with a day or two of vacation I could actually get it done. That leaves me with a totally different dilema, one I have discussed before. I truly, honestly, might run out of yarn!
I really didn’t think I could finish this second stocking in time to give it to the intended recipients. But, yesterday I spent the day at the beach rather than sailing. This gave me extra time to knit and I knit like it was my job. Or rather I knit like I was on vacation.
It felt great! I spent the entire day knitting and enjoying every moment of it. It has been a long time since I’ve just enjoyed knocking out a project like this. And before I knew it, I realized I actually was going to finish in time. I am very pleased, and also suddenly worried I didn’t bring enough knitting on this trip!
So much fun!
Well ok, where I am going to start wasn’t much fun at all. I had a 2.5 hour layover in Newark which turned into a 3.5 hour late plane. We ended up on the third plane that we attempted to board, as mechanical issues plagues the other two. I did knit for awhile but eventually got quite sick of it all and lost myself in a book instead.
By the time I got in, the gang was all there. And while I haven’t knit much, I’ve certainly been up to quite a bit. Day one was sailing which is my all time favorite past time up here. It was one of the better days for a sail I’ve ever had. Good wind for a good ride. Though not quite the windy wonderful rude of 2 yrs ago. We had a pretty full boat and we even took time to swim, though once my brother broke the ladder, getting back in the boat was a bit of a challenge.
The evening was full of good food, good desserts, and family time. Bug had decided she needed a fire to roast marshmallows, and bugged everyone enough that she got her way. These were then enjoyed by all.
This is the longest vacation I’ve ever taken. A fact which both terrifies me and thrills me. Yesterday before leaving work I had already decided that it needed to start with a bang.
Now, I am not much of a cook but I’ve really enjoyed cooking lately. Both the cooking and the planning of meals, and even the leftovers. It helps to have someone willing to deal with the cutting of the meat. This is truly what puts me off cooking overall. That and having a willing partner in the kitchen inspires me to cook more often.
We grew up eating chicken and peanuts, an oriental flavored dish that I quite loved. My tastes have expanded quite a bit since then, and in working to also accommodate the tastes of another person we changed it up a bit. The dish I started vacation with was chicken and peanuts amplified. Two cayenne peppers, a Serrano pepper, and sriracha sauce took the dish to a new level of heat. I also doubled the sauce and added green beans. Growing up we’d have green beans on the side but it seems logical to add it right in the mix. This was the first time I tried extra veggies and it went very well.
I paired it with a wheat beer (my favorite kind) and it really hit the spot!
With the additional veggies there was quite a bit in the way of leftovers. But, I wasn’t done yet! You see, I’d dreamed of a buffet of cakes the night before, so I just had to have cake for dessert.
It was a very good evening for food. Not so much for knitting though, as between packing and cooking and enjoying, the evening got away from me. So this morning I began the first of two Christmas stockings that need to be done by Sunday.
I was asked to help with a little project recently. A project that seemed right up my alley. It was most certainly not entirely done by myself, there were a few helpers. There were knit and crochet fairies working on strips, and then there was additional installers. Most notably, my good friend Sparkeespud helped me out with this. She’s awfully quick with a whip stitch! And she didn’t even hesitate when asked to help out with the installation, despite late nights and potential negative feedback.
This project combined my two favorite hobbies, knitting and cycling. We figure our installation is better for bikes.
And our finished objects looked something like this:
So, if you happen to be in Benson, check them out while they last!
So I’ve been knitting on this featherweight cardi on and off for quite awhile. It is such an easy project that it was also easy to not pay one bit of attention to where I was in the project. I straightened it out today to take a look and realized I am a lot farther along than I thought. Sadly, I am also almost out of yarn. I have no opportunity to finish spinning and plying another skein for at least two weeks. So here my project will sit for a time, again neglected.
Pretty soon I am right back into knitting Christmas stockings. I’ve got two needing completion before mid August and another that needs to be done by Christmas. ( my own!) I can’t say I am overly eager to knit them but it is more than time. I’ve also got quite a few projects nearing completion now, so I’d say knitting season is in full swing.
Let’s take a look at a finished object, shall we? It has been entirely too long!
I bought a skein of Noro Sekku last year when we had a road trip to KCMO. I didn’t buy much yarn that day, but the odd color combinations and the fact that it was Noro, in laceweight, won me over and I purchased a skein. And there it sat in my stash simply because I was having trouble deciding what pattern might look ok with such an oddly colored yarn. Well, at some point toward the end of May of this year I was wandering through one of my knitting books, A Fine Fleece, and noticed the A Road Not Taken scarf. It caught my eye and I realized that it would even be ok with the colors on the Noro Sekku skein. So there you have it. It was a simple pattern, one which I was able to shove the project in my handbag and knit on it anywhere. The resulting scarf was pretty long and thin, it really did need the blocking in order to make it scarf like. I am guessing that the stitch pattern may mean that it needs to be reblocked often, but I haven’t had it up off the floor long enough to really know. The one thing I’d say about Noro Sekku is that it doesn’t take to a hard blocking. It is gently spun and a hard blocking will cause breaks in the yarn. I know this from personal experience.
You do realize that I couldn’t have gone on that bike tour without knitting right? I took a few things, but ended up starting a Pierrette shawl. The solid color is a skein of Violet Green Solemate I won a few years back in the Sock Knitters Anonymous group. The colored yarn is a perendale wool I spun and navajo plyed last October. The bulk of my knitting was done in the truck on the way to the start point and on the way back home. However, on Friday, where there were so few miles, I did actually pull out my knitting and work on it at our campsite. It felt great to just relax in the cooler weather that evening. And knitting just feels like it goes hand in hand with relaxing.
In any case, I’ve worked on this a bit at home too but the bulk of it was done on my trip. I love the way the colored handspun pairs with the black commercial yarn. But I must admit, I am already looking forward to getting to the lace part of this shawl!
519 miles in 7 days. Isn’t that incredible? I had no idea at all I could achieve such a thing. It was hot. Ridiculously hot for the first 4 days. The highest handlebar temp recorded was on Monday, 127F.
Our truck set out around 11:00 on Saturday morning. Once loaded, we were quite full. We had a total of 5 people in our truck, which was just about the limit without pulling a trailer along with us.
We began in Sioux Center Iowa, at Dordt College. Beautiful campus and plenty of space to set up a tent. Did I mention it was hot? Well, the fan I brought for my tent didn’t seem to be working. Turns out it just needed a penny cut in thirds at the contact points in order to run properly. And thankfully I had friends to help figure that out. I probably wouldn’t have managed that on my own. And I truly did need that fan!
Each day had quite a few miles attached to them, and each day had a meet town about halfway through. We’d all gather at the meet town to regroup and relax and get a little lunch.
On Monday morning we met Aunt Betty, who had kindly made us some chocolate chip cookie bars. These were warm and fresh out of the oven, and well appreciated as we’d already been riding without breakfast and we were hungry!
Monday was also a day in which I spent a ton of time with 3 friends riding at a slower pace and stopping to dump water over our heads to keep cool enough to finish the day. Toward the end of the day we stopped at a very small bowling alley and had a late lunch. Then cheers were in order. We finished out a tough day in a headwind, but had a good time getting there.
On Tuesday I embarked on my first ever Century ride. Over 100 miles. I did this with 2 other riders on my team. We left at 6 am and decided to take it easy all day. We set up a bucket list of stuff we’d like to do, see, and eat. On my list was Mr. Pork Chop.
I snapped a quick photo of the biggest pork chop I’ve ever eaten, got back on the road, and 4 miles later was hungry enough to gnaw off my arm. So I decided a smoothie and a slice of homemade rhubarb strawberry pie was in order. It really did hit the spot!
At some point during the day we broke off for the loop to make this a century ride, and snapped a photo once we got to the halfway point on the loop. The loop meant that we got the opportunity to descend and then climb back out of a river valley 4 times in one ride. And it was hot! The descent was great fun, but the climbing was quite a challenge in the heat. Persistence and an easy pace were my key.
This day was successful, but I do not think it would have been attainable without the help from my friends. The day was super hot and very windy. We spent the bulk of the day riding straight into a headwind, and without those guys to block that wind, I may have given up. They are also much stronger riders than I am, and were kind enough to slow down and make this an achievable goal for me. On the other hand, my need to keep the pace slower did make it so they didn’t waste all their energy early in the day, making it an attainable goal for them as well. In the end, I had 105 miles on Tuesday under my belt. Never once did my determination to finish my first century ride wane. Not even for an instant.
Thankfully that evening we had a host home, with a lovely spread of food. I just loved staying in the host homes, the AC was a fantastic bonus, and meeting the people opening their homes to us was lovely.
Wednesday was another tougher day. Again with the heat, again with the headwinds. I was really suffering quite a bit from riding so many miles on Tuesday but still bound and determined to ride every single mile. I stopped in Clemons at the fire department to regroup and took a shot of one of my favorite parts of all the tour. All the water! It was so miserably hot that I’d ride through any water I could find, be it lawn sprinklers, water hoses, children with rather high powered squirt guns, or something like this fire department set up. At this point in the day I had about 15 miles left. The first 5 were tough, pretty steep hill climbs into headwinds, but the reward was great. about 10 miles of rollers just as I like them. The kind where I can stay in my top gear and roll right up the other side and over the top for miles and miles. Some of my favorite miles of the week. I rode Wednesday alone, quietly riding along and enjoying an introverted day. It was very satisfying. It also gave me the opportunity to meet some other teams and ride with some other people. I very much enjoyed it.
Wednesday evening we stayed in a conference center. We were fortunate there, because a huge storm rolled through that evening. 70 mph winds, a bunch of rain, even hail. While we were worried about the camping contingent of the tour, I must say I couldn’t have been happier to see a storm in all my life, as it meant we’d finally get a bit of a break in the heat. And that was, thankfully, the case.
I didn’t get any photos on Thursday, but it was a pretty good ride! Another day of rollers and cooler weather. The mileage for the day was supposed to be 85. We then had a host home off route, so we all gathered together to head out there. We were told it was about 5 miles off route. Well, with my sore tired muscles, I just couldn’t keep up with the team. I got a bit behind, and everyone thought I was still there. I rode a bit over 5 miles and didn’t see anyone waiting at a turn off, and ended up quite distressed. This was my low point in the week. I pulled up my navigation system, but didn’t think it was correct. Finally the team realized I was no longer behind them, and sent someone back to collect me. Turns out the host home was another 10-12 miles away, making that ride my second century ride of the week. A completely unexpected and accidental century. By the time we got to the host home I was so tired, so worn out, so sore, and so over extended socially that I just needed some quiet time. I found myself a quiet space and managed to have some quiet time away from the group which did help.
Friday dawned even cooler than Thursday and mileage was short. My body sure did need a break so I wasn’t too upset about that. It was yet another day of severe headwinds, as the wind had switched to blowing in from the north, and we rode north all day. Our first stop was Mt. Vernon, home of Cornell College.
Because the day was cool and the mileage short, I do believe we had more riders on the road that day than any other day. It was full! I saw yarn bombing in Mt. Vernon, as well as sheep sculptures. I was too lazy to snap a shot of these however. It was also hilly there, very beautiful It felt like a tiny piece of New England in the middle of Iowa. But upon leaving this beautiful town, I set out to battle headwinds. I buckled down and rode, and at some point an older retired machinist began to talk to me. He was a pleasant gentleman who’d had a heart attack last year. He chattered on to me and told me his stories and he just made the time fly. We blew through 2 towns without me even noticing, until I saw a sign that my end town was only 3 miles away. Where did that day go? It was early and all my teammates were far behind in various towns enjoying themselves, and here I was at the end town already. What ever am I supposed to do with myself before finding camp? Luckily I saw a sign for a winery, so I rolled into town determined to find the winery and treat myself to a nice meal. It was packed when I got there, but no one wanted to sit on the patio. So I took a spot on the patio and ordered dinner.
I had a pasta meal with salad, and a lemon tart. It was quite a wonderful treat and I spent more than an hour enjoying it. Knowing it was my last night in the area, and knowing that after 70 miles I’d be done with my adventure, I decided to organize well for the next morning and get an early rest in order to get an early start on Saturday.
Saturday dawned very cool. I packed up early and hit the road early. Being 70 miles from my goal made me even more focused than usual. I had also at that point ridden through the pain and come out on the other side. It was one of my best riding days. Beautiful hills, beautiful views, I just couldn’t wait to get to the river! I stopped for my final typical Iowa meal,
and then the 4 of us left headed all the way to the river took off.
Once we got there, we got a snapshot of the 4 of us.
And then I made it to the river for my tire dip!
519 miles in 7 days, far more than I even imagined I’d achieve. I’ve never been in so much pain in all my life. I’ve never tried anything quite this physically epic. I was fortunate to have the support of my friends, of the people in our truck, allowing me to take the time to put in that many miles. Technically I should have driven the truck one day, but they allowed me to shrug off my duties and go for my personal gold. What I lack in skill I made up for in perseverance. I just refused to quit no matter how bad it got. And meanwhile, through the pain, continued to enjoy my time in the saddle.
We then packed up the truck, found a super secret shower spot, and had some dinner on the river. That too felt well deserved no matter how eager I was to get on the road.
If there is one lesson I learned from all this, even if I knew it before, it solidified, it would be that the toughest hills show me the best rewards. Literally and metaphorically.
Sunday was a day of eating, sleeping, laundry (serious biohazard!) and more sleeping. The equipment is now packed away, the tent has been aired out, and life is back to the normal summer routine. I have to work, and clean Bug’s room while she is gone, and make dinner, and do all the stuff I’d normally do. It feels kind of strange to have had such a significant event and then for it all to be over so quickly.
And yet, already, my focus is beginning to shift. I feel myself calming quite a bit. Preparing for a relaxing vacation, and getting more inspired about knitting again. As significant as last week was for me, it wasn’t the most significant life event, and it won’t be the last physically epic activity I attempt. But now it is time for a little break.