And Then

Happy Halloween everyone. I thought I was getting out of trick or treating this year, after all, my kid is 13 and I am kind of over it now. I thought I’d let her father take that on. But, he has to work late, and she’s already arranged to meet up with friends from the old neighborhood. So, I guess I get to do the job. I’ll bring sock knitting but with the weather hovering around freezing, I suspect glove wearing will be more important than sock knitting.

Last night was very cold, and we saw the first snowflakes of the season. Nothing that reached/covered the ground by any means but they were there, flying around! I had plenty of time to look at them since the evening commute was absolutely miserable. Much stopping and sitting. Wish I’d had my knitting then! When I got home, I immediately took the dog for a walk to get that over with, it was so cold. Then put on warm, comfy pajamas and got started on the loads of laundry. It was a tiring evening but a good evening, all cozy in a warm home with my family all there. I worked on the bottom of the in progress sweater. I am not completely done yet, but I am pretty close. Then we’ll see if I can manage the sleeves.

Let’s discuss another upcoming project. I follow “theshitiknit” on instagram, and she’s running a knit along for a shawl called Rikaart Shawl. The pattern is released in weekly installments, on instagram, for free. However, it can also be purchased inexpensively on Ravelry if one prefers a proper pdf, which I do. The shawl asks for 3 colors of yarn, so I chose these out of stash:

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The orange is handspun from Miss Marja, the other two are my own handspun yarns. There’s enough orange tones in the brown to make it a very good pairing, I think. And the off white is something I’d never find use for. A 2 ply yarn that is wool/silk/hemp/cotton blend. It’s got bits of brown cotton in it, and it’s quite interesting but not so well spun to be honest, because cotton is a learning curve. Anyhow, I have way more yardage of each than the pattern calls for, so I am not too worried about running out of yarn. But, I did want to see what my stitches would look like, and was eager to pair the yarn together. So I knit a swatch.

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I like my chosen needle size and I think that’s what I’ll stick with. It’s such a nice harvesty color combo, it’ll be a great November knit! So, that project is lined up and ready to go.

I’ve got one other new project on the needles, which made it to work as a work project. It’s the venemous tentacula out of some of my handspun yarn. I am not doing a triangle shaped shawl, rather I quit increasing around 10 increases and will do a nice long scarf shaped thing before decreasing again. This one has been great fun! And I adore the colors of the handspun.

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I am keeping this project at work because it’s a bit of a pain in the butt to work. There’s some type of casting off or casting on or knitting into backwards loop cast on stitches to do almost every row, and it grates on the nerves after awhile. So, about 1 hour per day during the week is about all I can handle. Plus, I want to keep working on that sweater!

One more thing for today, and then I am kind of out of blog photos for the time being. A few weeks ago during the most insane of my October work, I ended up arranging a yarn trade with Kathy over at Compassionknit.  When I’d remarked on the blog that I was proud of getting my sock yarn stash under control, down to 10 skeins, she offered to send me sock yarn! Which a little bit defeats the purpose and yet I am also quite grateful, as new yarn in stash is so exciting. So I agreed to this, only if I could send some handspun her way, keeping with the yarn in, yarn out of stash rules. It was agreed! And I received some lovely sock yarn in the mail, at the right time for a needed pick me up during a tough few weeks.

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So there you have it. I think I am now all caught up on photos and news for this week. All of these were taken over the weekend, so now I can catch up on photos for this week, if there are any.

 

This Week Oct. 30-Nov. 5

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a weekly list, but I think this week is the point at which I begin again.

The last few months have been quite nutty, as I’ve mentioned. For a couple of years now, we’ve had a coworker that wasn’t a particularly good fit. After time, this coworker came to realize this and decided to give notice, which was a welcome event overall. During this time we also had been looking for an additional team member, as our job duties have grown beyond our ability to keep up. So, rather than hiring one new person, I had to hire two. And get them trained, during a time of transition, and one that is already quite busy. The first new coworker began at the beginning of the month and is doing very well. She’s able to handle much of her workload already, and is quick to ask for more training when she needs it.

The second new coworker begins sometime in November so I haven’t begun that training yet. However, she already works here, she’ll just be taking a position with our team so her training will be lighter on me than someone completely new. I keep hearing from her frequently, and she seems as eager as I am to get settled into her new position. I keep saying I am really looking forward to us all settling in to our new reality. I think my staff feels that way as well, and I’ve seen a huge difference in inspiration, ideas, and ownership of projects. While I know we’ll still have very busy times, I am hoping that they’ll be the good kind of busy mostly, rather than the frenetic kind that upsets everyone.

I do believe this will turn over a new leaf in general for me. The past two years have left me often feeling like there’s something wrong with ME specifically, like why can’t I get it together? Why can’t I manage people effectively? Why have I lost interest in almost everything I loved to do? Why have I no desire whatsoever to be social and develop/maintain my relationships? Why do I fall into bed after work for a nap and then don’t want anyone talking to me the rest of the evening most days?

Then I look back on the past couple years and realize that all of these questions began at the same time my work situation changed, and likely once we get to a new normal I’ll be able to work on all those things that have been missing, bit by bit, in my personal life. So, I guess you could say I am looking forward to my new normal at home too. I bet Mr. Ink and Miss Butterfly are too! Though they keep saying that they will miss all the funny but frustrating for me work stories I bring home.

Well, that got a bit longer than I expected. Suffice it to say, the last couple years sometimes I’ve felt like I am hanging on by a thread, if I am being completely honest. Everything has been a huge juggling act, and a very frustrating and difficult one at that. Add a generous dose of “What should I DO!?!?!” inertia about my job, and the desire to stick with something I used to love even though it is NOT what I want it to be currently. I am hoping it will be again, in fact last week a project landed on my plate that is EXACTLY the type of work I want to be doing. So, I really am hoping for the best moving forward. Or at least, something a whole lot better than it has been.

Now shall we look at some yarn?

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There’s some handspun. It’s 337 yards of 3 ply. I plied it in a gradient, so it goes from green to tan. It’s sloppy. So sloppy. Because I was working on it while adjusting to, and adjusting my new wheel. The fun part about this? It’s fiber sent from Introverted Knitter, plied on the wheel I got from Introverted Knitter, and in there, somewhere, is a small bit that was spun by her as well. So it’s kind of special yarn, even though it’s pretty sloppy on my part.

I made a few more adjustments to the wheel and began spinning another batt.

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It had gorgeous colors, and with the wheel adjustments, the spinning was going very well. I am about halfway through this batt now, the first bobbin complete.

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I do have a few more things to try with this wheel, but some of them will need Mr. Ink’s help I think, and I didn’t want to bother him about it yesterday. Everyone needs time to putter around with their favorite hobby before going back to work on a Monday.

Mr. Ink arrived home a little before noon yesterday, and I was very happy to see him. Miss Butterfly arrived home around 7 p.m.  I was pretty happy to see her as well. She retains a very nasty cough after last week’s illness, but other than that she seems well. Her appetite is back, she’s energetic, and she’s trying to get out of doing homework. So basically, back to normal.

We didn’t do much yesterday, Mr. Ink was eager to putter around his gardens since we’d had a hard freeze while he was away. Also, while he was away he purchased an evergreen tree for his sister in law, and planted it for her for her birthday. He said “I think I was more excited about it than she was, but I think she’ll enjoy it for many years to come.” And I suspect he’s correct, knowing her, it’s one of those acts of love she’ll talk about every time she looks at that tree.

Now on to my list for the week:

  • Disconnect sink drain and clean out hair in the drain so it drains nicely again.
  • Deep cleaning of bathroom. (It got a pretty good cleaning this weekend, but because of the sink drain issue, I didn’t complete the job.)
  • Clean microwave. What an uninspiring job that is, right?
  • Ride bikes this weekend.
  • Finish body of current in progress sweater.
  • Finish the singles on at least one of the 3 current spins.
  • Go look for either a rug or a plant stand for the living room this weekend.

Another Cowl

Sometimes I wind handspun into a ball with the intention of using it immediately, and then it sits for ages as I wander off to another project. Does anyone else have that experience? It annoys me, quite frankly, to have full skeins in caked form hanging around. They don’t fit nicely into my stash that way, and end up falling on the floor or being housed elsewhere in the house looking sloppy.

I had three of those hanging around recently. The first was the cowl I posted yesterday, and the second ball of yarn is the cowl I have to show off today.

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Pattern is Ziyal cowl, and this is the first time I’ve done a smocked stitch. It was great fun, and far easier than I imagined. The yarn is handspun from dyeabolical’s flower shop inferno colorway. The base had a high amount of firestar in it, so it’s quite sparkly on top of the rich saturated colors. This project absolutely flew off the needles, it only took a couple of days and even then, I was knitting quite a bit on other projects.

My weekend alone is drawing to a close, I go pick up Mr. Ink in a couple hours. It was quite pleasant, but he’s right, I don’t do a very good job with my eating when he’s gone. I sort of just ignore the whole concept until it’s late, I’ve a headache, and I am grumpy. At which point making something makes me full of rage. It really is better when he’s home to keep us on schedule. I did also get a little bit bored by the end of the night, even though I’d kept myself well occupied. I used to be so good at being alone!

Miss Lizzie has enjoyed her time though, specifically taking up Mr. Ink’s side of the bed. She may be a little perturbed to lose her new spot. But, each evening from 5:15 to 6:30 she’s spent laying at the door waiting for him to come home at his usual hour, so maybe not too perturbed.

That’s about it from here. Tomorrow I am going to try to remember to start posting weekly lists again, in order to get organized at home and settled into a new routine now that the most insane part of my work insanity seems to be over.

Work Project

I believe I showed a handspun cowl I was working on awhile back. The pattern was Thorny, and I was looking for something easy during one of my larger projects. I ended up bringing that project to work to knit on during lunch time, and it got finished fairly quickly.

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This pattern has lace knitting on all rows, not just knit rows. It makes the pattern very dramatic I think. The pattern wasn’t too hard, though I am not so good at reading my knitting from the wrong side so I did really have to pay attention.

Miss Butterfly was sick all week, she came down with the flu. Fever, coughing, and uncomfortable digestive symptoms. We ended up with her out of school for an entire week. Thankfully by Friday she was beginning to feel better. I picked up all her missed work from school and sent it with her to her dad’s house, so she’s got the weekend to attempt to get caught up.

That means….house to myself! With Mr. Ink in Boston, it’s just me and Lizzie here, with no one to temper my spoiling of the dog. It’s great! The kitchen is perfectly clean and will stay that way. The bathroom has gotten some attention, and again, will stay that way. And despite the fact that Mr. Ink thought I wouldn’t have anything to eat while he’s gone, I seem to be fending for myself in that capacity as well. Hah.

That’s it for me. I’ve got a plan for a day of crafting, errand running, cleaning, and a walk around the lake with the Lizzie Bean. Should be good! Hope yours is as well.

Introducing…

A fun little surprise happened around here this week. I knew about it, but wanted it to be a blog surprise. Another wheel joined my home.

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Isn’t she pretty? This is a kromski prelude, and it came from Introverted knitter’s wheel family. I feel so fortunate to have been able to add it to mine!

I had put all those singles on spindles in anticipation of this wheel arriving, I wanted to have something to practice plying with. The wheel arrived in parts in a large box, so I had to figure out how to put it back together. It took me a bit of time, but there’s youtube videos out there to help. I am hoping I did it correctly! I only needed Mr. Ink’s help with one thing.

Now, everyone (surely?) who has gotten used to one wheel and then purchased a new one, or added to their collection has had the experience of wondering if they’d made the right decision. I’ve been 10 years almost exclusive with my rose now, and so even just plying, I had a bit of a struggle with the prelude initially. I think that was twofold. New wheel, and also just needing to make adjustments to it until it was ready to run really smoothly.

I finished plying the yarn on Wednesday evening, shot this photo Thursday evening, and then made a couple more adjustments. I grabbed a batt out of stash and decided to try for some singles. And, wonder of wonders, it went beautifully! The wheel was running quietly, I was making nice, appropriate, mostly even singles. (even, for a batt.)

So, after like 24 hours with the wheel I am already getting accustomed to it, and I am really glad I have it! It’s been a lot of fun to put it together and see if I am a capable enough spinner to make the appropriate adjustments to a new wheel to keep myself spinning on it, rather than heading right back for the comfort of the rose.

One of the things I like the best about it is how light it is! It’s quite amazing, I may never take the rose out of the house again. (That’s probably a lie.) But, it really is wee, and light, and easy to carry around.

And one of the things I like the least? The treadle could be larger. My feet are not that small, and it has rather hard edges, and I desperately want to use both feet on one small treadle with sharp edges, so it’s not that comfortable. But I can overlook it. And am considering what options I could use to alleviate that.

One of the reasons I was so pleased to put the wheel together by myself was that Mr. Ink had a project he was hoping to complete before he left for Boston Thursday morning.

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This little rock wall is in! It needs a bit more dirt, but we’ve been discussing this one for a year or more. This was just a sloped area of grass, and it was losing ground which made me worry we’d put the cement area in danger of tipping. Plus, the gas and electric lines to the shop were pretty unsightly, and we figured building up around them, then putting a plant in front of them would really help cover them appropriately. This little wall matches the one behind it, and there’s another across the sidewalk from it, so it’s now a nicely matching section of yard. The problem? That the place we were getting these stones from had very few left, and so we had to take out the edging stones from elsewhere in the yard to match them over here. It made me sad that Mr. Ink had to dig up his hard work elsewhere, but we also were in agreement that we’d prefer to have everything match nicely over here, and then we could choose something else for the other portions of the gardens.

That’s your update from me. I have a couple finished small knitting projects to post in the upcoming days, and a skein of poorly plied handspun that’s drying in the bathroom right now. So, I should have pretty good blog photos for the upcoming week. Have a great weekend, happy Friday!

The Weekend

Guys, it turned out to be such a nice weekend! By Sunday I was Actually Feeling Better. Like, quite a lot better. This was good, because we had Lizzie’s most energetic day ever. Mr. Ink asked me “Have you been feeding her something new?!” because she was just a complete and active nut the entire day. Jumping in the air, spinning around in circles while in the air, playing all day, just a nut!

After multiple walks trying to ease some of her high activity levels, Mr. Ink and I decided to take things one step further. We dressed her up and took her to a state park for some hiking.

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Even getting in the car was a high adventure and she almost fell down the basement steps because she was so excited about going for a ride.

We got to the state park, and that turned out to be so nice because once down in the trails we could take her off leash. She’s such a good dog, never running off, and always happy to catch up if she gets behind and we call her. She really enjoyed going on more complicated trails, she’d watch carefully where Mr. Ink would step, and then attempt to use those same spots. Mr. Ink would repeatedly say “I don’t think she’s going to be able to make this one.” And then she just would. She’s a better hiker than I am, I think.

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Soon after I took this picture, she climbed right down that section with no problem.

We wanted to use the creek stepping stones to cross the creek repeatedly. She didn’t bother. We found out that she’s a perfectly happy dog wading in the creek.

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And apparently getting a drink when she needs. Thank goodness for the peace of mind the lepto vaccine affords me.

We wore her, and me, out quite completely. Once home I ended up needing a nap, as Miss Butterfly had woken me up quite early via text! (ugh) Lizzie decided to nap with me, and never moved a muscle. But once I got up, she was right back to the super active dog ways, running around the house and playing and bouncing. I was quite grateful when Miss Butterfly arrived home to take over play duty. I don’t know what got into that dog yesterday, but it was by far her most active day in our household yet. That being said, we really enjoyed that she keeps adding to her interest in our household. We’d have no trouble at all going on a pretty complicated hike with her, she’s really good at it. I have always wanted to have a dog that would go on a run with me, and yesterday she really acted like she could be that type of dog. So I might try that at some point as well. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to enjoy seeing new sides of this goofy dog that has joined our lives.

I worked pretty hard to get a full bump of fiber into singles on support spindles. It was good to pull out my spindles and give them a whirl, they were dusty!

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These will get plied later this week when I get the chance. I have tons more support spindles though, and was tempted to grab another fiber bump to see what I could do with the rest of the spindles! I didn’t though. I got back to work on my pullover.

Speaking of the pullover, it’s ALL boring stockinette in the round now. It’s moving along pretty fast, but that much stockinette does wear on the nerves after awhile. I got a nice chunk done Saturday night when Mr. Ink suggested watching The Magnificent Seven. It was great, nice and tense, great for rounds of stockinette that I didn’t even have to look at. Loved it!

That’s it from here! Hope everyone has a great week!

The Reveal

I finished my mystery shawl. Saturday morning I kitchenered the last of the icord then soaked and blocked. I left it in place until this morning in order to make sure I was getting just as much length as possible out of this project.

I’ve got one million complaints about this mystery shawl. They may not be popular opinions, and I’ll follow up my complaints with final thoughts and pictures. I don’t feel that this pattern had quite as much attention to detail as it could have, and these generally do. The icord bind off really should have been written to be done from a wrong side row. Not only does this make the icord look nicer, it would have helped maintain the directionality of the brioche stitches. Probably details that only a knitter would notice while knitting, but that’s part of the joy of knitting, making sure those details are in place.

The final shawl is odd, the jagged edges I find extremely jarring. Now, I understand that I am going to end up with something odd during one of his mystery knits, and I am generally on board, but I seriously considered frogging the thing once clue 4 came out and I began seeing the finished objects. But I also felt that I was too far in at that point, having kept up with the clues pretty well. I’d knit SO MUCH on it already! So I soldiered on.

The yarn amounts are not, I believe, particularly accurate. I had accurate yarn amounts. I had a proper swatch. I even went down in needle size in order to be absolutely certain I would have enough yarn. I ran out of main color 1 and 3 before even completing clue 3. So much for extra pattern repeats! And of main color 2? I’ve half a skein left over. I don’t mind the leftovers at all. I do mind the running out part, quite a lot. In the end, I was able to finish a row using leftover main color 2, when I ran out of 3, and it’s not noticeable, but I didn’t like it.

I also feel like it wasn’t as large a shawl as one usually gets with these knit alongs, and especially for a shawl that was supposed to use that much yarn!

Toward the end I made a few changes. I didn’t do the changing icord color pops. I just bound off with the reddish color I’d started and finished clue 1 icord with. I guess by that point I wasn’t enthused anymore about the color pops. I didn’t bother with the color pop crochet edging on the large holes either. I like it as is, it’ll do. And if I were to go back and fill those in at some point, I’d just use the red again anyhow, keeping things consistent.

Anyhow, that’s a LOT of talk this morning to get to the basic point, which is to show off the finished object. Here it is in it’s entirety.

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My color choices, I believe, were completely on point. And they blended really well. I love the turquoise, absolutely love it. Now, here’s where I tell you how many of my irritations and concerns were mitigated in the end. I felt the shawl was too small for all the knitting, but with a severe blocking, it ended up being very proper shawl size. I forget how much garter stitch can open up with a good hard pin blocking. My too small shawl fears were not realized.

I guess that sort of mitigates the yarn amounts thing too? I mean, I have a proper size shawl even without having finished all the repeats on the pattern.

I also feel that with careful blocking and pinning, I was able to ease some of the jarring nature of the jagged edges. I mean, when I now hold it up, fingers holding the very tips of the top “U” I have something that falls into a shawl, those jagged edges don’t really show up when worn.

Over all, I like the thing. I bet I’ll wear it, probably even more than I wear doodler. I’ll still knit these crazy mystery knit alongs as well, because they are a fun process and I think that the mind bending nature of them is actually good for the brain. It’s also good to be forced out of the box in thinking. So, I am not put off completely, but I had more irritation over this particular mystery knit than I ever have before over one of his shawls.

Here’s a final photo, an up close of the brioche section.

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It’s pretty. It’s got many lovely elements to it. In the end, I am glad I participated.