A Weekend

I haven’t blogged since Tuesday. And I can tell you that’s entirely due to the legends of the fall sweater. I just felt as if I didn’t have much to say, and it was moving along so very slowly, that I said nothing at all.

I’ll be honest, I’ve really struggled to complete the legends of the fall sweater. The turtleneck came close to doing me in, and each night I’d come home, knit a few rows on it during knitting time, and then go do something else completely. It was GREAT for getting stuff done around the house. It was terrible for completing the sweater.

I even took the On the Beach sweater to work and left it there so I wouldn’t be tempted to work on it at home.

Thankfully, by Saturday I was setting in the sleeves. Now, this pattern calls for seaming the sleeves onto the sweater with a single crochet edging. I set in the first sleeve and fought with it terribly. SO MUCH FIGHTING! The trouble seemed to be that I bound off too tightly when I finished the sleeves so I was trying to make the sleeves fit the armhole opening. I got one sleeve set in and tried the sweater on. I was trying to ignore the puckering. But it was there. I set it aside and worked on On the Beach for awhile.

Then I realized that the problem maybe could be fixed? So, despite the fact I used size 3 needles for this sweater, I grabbed a pair of size 6 needles, ripped out the sleeve cast off, then cast off again using size 6 needles AND that nice stretchy lace shawl bind off. I figured one of two things would happen. Either it would be perfect, or I’d have gone completely in the other direction and now the sleeves would pucker. I set in the newly bound off sleeve. And it was SO MUCH EASIER! Everything was lining up nicely. On Sunday morning, I ripped out the too tight sleeve, and started on that one. Pretty soon, this is what I was left with:

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A gajillion ends. Thankfully the only ends left were those around the armhole, as I’d resolved every other end on the thing prior to starting the seaming of the sleeves. So it ended up going fairly quickly.

I found myself to be way too lazy on Sunday to get motivated to get a shower and show off the sweater though, so it’ll have to wait. I am wearing it today!

We can talk about other stuff until the great reveal. On Saturday, in a continued effort to avoid the sweater, I took Miss Butterfly shopping. Here’s the thing, I may not like shopping but it’s a thing we are doing so often right now because it seems to be a thing that we can do together which gets her off her phone and talking to me. I also made a nice big list of chores around the house and we rattled those off too. One of our stops was at the Lindt chocolate outlet store:

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There was Lizzie time:

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These two had their heads together under my chair for so long I really did wonder what they were up to. No one knows.

There was knitting, in fact I was able to divide the sleeves of my On the Beach sweater, which was totally exciting. Take a look!

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How much faster a sweater on size 8 needles goes than one on size 3 needles! It’s really amazing.

And finally, a Lizzie story. Now, ever since we got her 5 months ago, she’s been playing with this cute plush pineapple. It’s got a tug rope, a squeaker, and some crispy paper in it to keep her entertained. This is by far her favorite toy. So much so that when the first pineapple showed signs of dying, Mr. Ink went out and bought two more. We went through the second pineapple and 2 days ago we called it done and threw it out. I figured we wouldn’t pull out pineapple 3 for awhile, allowing her to use some of her other toys first. She quickly destroyed one toy we’d picked up, played a bit with a few others, and then yesterday I noticed that she was kind of oddly depressed seeming. She was laying around and sighing. Or she was acting weird, staring at me and bumping her butt on the floor repeatedly for attention, but nothing we did alleviated her angst. She had a number of walks yesterday so I knew it was not a problem of no exercise. Then I realized she hadn’t played in a day. So I pulled out a toy and initiated play. She played fetch for a bit, but it was clear she wanted to tug. I used the toy I had chosen for this purpose but it was really killing my hands. So, I grabbed the third pineapple toy out of the closet. And Lizzie went crazy. I mean….completely insane. Running up and down the hall, squeaking the squeaker, shaking the toy all around, throwing it in the air and catching it. It was so loud and so over the top that both Mr. Ink and Miss Butterfly came out of their respective rooms to see what the commotion was all about! I guess I finally figured out what that goofy dog really wanted….

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And doesn’t she look thrilled?

There goes that day

I had a blog post thought out yesterday, but got to work, was down to myself and one other team member due to the storm, and had a very busy day. So, no post got written.

So, now I have a blog post and this one also has a photo.

Miss Butterfly woke up Monday morning at 5:30 and hopped in the shower. I woke up just before 6, and while waiting on my shower took a look at my emails, which informed me that her school was closed. I didn’t get a phone call, or a text, or a voice message. Just the email. So I poked my head in the bathroom and informed the poor gal she didn’t have school. She was none too pleased, as after a shower, she would not be able to go back to bed. To be quite honest, I was pleased that she had the day off, as she’s got a cold and could use the extra day of rest.

I headed out to work in absolutely pouring freezing rain. It didn’t stay that way long, about 1/3 of my drive in it turned to a blizzard. I made it to work ok, the temps still being high enough to keep the roads reasonably clear. It then switched on and off between blizzard and freezing rain and rain all day long. We were let go from work early, and I headed home. That’s when the wind picked up and the blizzard portion of the storm stuck around. Got home, got in my driveway, and was quite relieved to be able to get out of work clothes and put my hair up.

Mr. Ink got home not long after, also being released from work early. His drive was a bit more eventful. He was driving my little honda, and between that and the quickly deteriorating roads, he had some excitement. He’d been driving along when the car in front of him hit a patch of black ice and began to spin. His quick brain said “Hit this car, or drive in the field” and he chose drive in the field. Thankfully there wasn’t a ditch, and he had enough momentum to drive in the field around the spinning car and then back up on the road. I am EXTREMELY grateful that no wreck happened. He waited on the road to make sure the spinning car was able to right itself, and then they both took off. Both likely grateful it wasn’t worse.

Today the roads were icy but I’ve got a fully staffed office, which is so nice. Last evening I took the pieces of legends of the fall sweater that had been blocking and began the task of assembly. I sewed the shoulder seams, and then decided that I should knit the turtleneck onto the sweater before adding the sleeves, since I kind of hate dragging sleeves around in circles while knitting the finish of an object. So, I got started on the turtleneck, but I am not gonna lie, I have hit the proverbial wall with this sweater and am struggling to keep working on it.

On Sunday when I washed and blocked the pieces, I realized I needed something new to knit on. And I started another sweater. I know, nutty, right? But, it’s a stash buster. I have a sweater amount of this aqua colored yarn I’ve never particularly liked. I mean, it’s nice but when I try to knit it into a sweater, I call it boring and rip the sweater start out. I wasn’t sure what to do about this yarn until I noticed Isabell Kraemer’s On the Beach sweater. (Bonus free pattern!) I decided what I really needed was another casual comfortable sweater. And I could pair the boring aqua with some 3 ply handspun of Miss Marja’s that I’ve had in stash for awhile. The colors on the handspun are turquoise, teal, aqua, coral, and peach.

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So now I’ve got the beginning of a sweater that’s interesting, and I couldn’t be happier. I brought it to work with me today it’s so interesting! But I think I also may leave it at work so that I’ll be forced to work on that turtleneck. Or spin.

And that’s it from me today. Just trying to keep caught up, but this week is going far better than last!

Sidetracked

Last week was rough. Especially the second part of the week. I have absolutely no crafting photos, only Lizzie photos. And I am going to share those photos in the manner most resembling how she makes our lives better. We go about our business, even in stressful moments, and she just makes goofy faces for us, or does goofy stuff, just to make us smile, easing the stressful moments.

So, on Thursday morning at work, I found out that in addition to all the grants we were working on, we had two more needing to be submitted, with the due date of Monday. We immediately got started on them, but as is the case so often, we have to wait for additional information that cannot be gathered by us, nor can we really push the process along. All I can say is that trying to pull together a grant in less than 3 business days is just not acceptable, and very stressful. And more stressful still on my staff, two of whom are still very new to this process. One of my new team members was already working on two of her own, so I split the two new ones between me and the newest team member, figuring I’d train her as we go along. By 11:30 on Thursday, I got a call from the school nurse saying that Miss Butterfly was sick and wanted to go home. So, my grant work came to a halt, and I got Miss Butterfly from school. I stayed home with her because I didn’t really trust that she was that sick and I didn’t want her to have the afternoon with her devices.

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Now, Miss Butterfly had a show choir performance on Friday directly after school. And naturally, she didn’t feel bad enough to miss that. Show choir hair requires that we straighten it, tease it, spray it, and get it up into a poof. And all that needed to be done before I went to work on Friday morning. I leave at 7. So, on Thursday night, I asked her to please get a shower so that we could dry and straighten her hair on Thursday night, making Friday morning less stressful.

And now is where I need to tell you a bit about our plumbing. We are in a raised ranch. The main drain is below the main floors of our home. Our basement/garage is under that. So, when in our garage, you look up and can see our main drain pipes. Because of this, we have an ejector pump in the basement. This is similar to the concept of a sump pump but it’s fully enclosed, and collects grey water from the washer, the dehumidifying part of the furnace, and the creepy basement shower when we use it. The ejector pump runs when the pit fills, pushing all that water up through a one way flap, the flap closes again, and that water heads out of the home in the main drain. Sometimes the pump can run two or three times in quick succession if we are doing laundry.

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Well, on Thursday night, Miss Butterfly was taking her shower, and the ejector pump ran at the same time. What we didn’t know is that we had a clog in the main line heading out to the street. With the lines already full from the shower, and everything else that we’d put down the drain that couldn’t make it past the clog and out, and then the ejector pump pressing more water into the system, what happened next was rather epic and awful. All the drains upstairs blew up. We had waste water in the sink, we had what had just been in the toilet come up the shower drain. Both toilets flooded over. And then we went to the garage. All that pressure had blown through the wax seals of the toilets, pushing water all over the garage as well. Right on top of our motorbikes and Mr. Ink’s toolbox.

Let me just get another Lizzie picture in here, since I know your stress level is rising just reading all that.

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While Mr. Ink cleaned off the motorbikes and got them moved, I tried to get in touch with a plumber that could come out that evening. I was unsuccessful. We had to wait until the morning. We cleaned up as best we could without using the drains, thank goodness I replaced all our towels recently and put the old ratty towels in the rag bin. We used them all.

The next morning I did Miss Butterfly’s hair, and then went into work to  see what I could get done with my grants before I had to leave again to meet the plumbers. That was when I discovered that those grants were not due Monday, they were due that very day. I got as much possible done on mine. I double checked the work of my newest team member. I then let my most senior team member know exactly where I was with the grants so that she could take over. I emailed all those involved in the transition of the grant to senior team member. I delegated the rest of my work for the day to other team members. And then I was prepared to rush home with the plumber called. I got two hours of work in.

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The plumbers arrived, and were extremely nice guys. They quickly got to work and I saved us quite a lot of money because I knew exactly where the outdoor access point was hidden, and where our lines connect with the city, and could show them. They tell me that sometimes just trying to find hidden outdoor access points can be the part that takes the longest. Of course, one of them said “How on earth did you figure out this access point was under this particular rock?” And I said “Because we discovered it fully covered in lawn when we put this garden in, and we figured it was important so we covered it with this particular easy to spot rock.”

Thankfully the clog was the only real problem. The garage disaster was just something that happened because the water was under so much pressure and had to go somewhere. We probably will need to consider taking a look at and possibly replacing that portion of ceiling in the garage but it can probably wait a bit. After the plumbers were done, I considered going back in to work. However, I’d given over my tasks so carefully that I feared that going back in would just be even more disrupting. So, I decided to allow what I’ve trained that team for to happen. Let them fly without me. I was worried about this decision. On the other hand, this disastrous week was precisely why I am training them so carefully. This could happen to any of us, at any time. There will always be situations which come up that take priority over what is going on at work, no matter how important work is. I want my team to be able to seamlessly (even if sometimes grumpily) take over for each other in times of need. And you know what? Plumbing disaster is one of those things that’s pretty much universally understood. My team didn’t actually seem to be too grumpy to take over, they were more “GO HOME, we got this, it’s ok, we understand.” And you know what? They do “got this.” I am positive. I think I just saw the super hard work I’ve been putting in for a very long time even before transitioning to our current team, and the work I’ve been putting in on training since October pay off.

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So I stayed home and got to work on cleaning, scrubbing, and sterilizing all the areas which were hit by this disaster. Then running loads of rags in the laundry, getting a load of dishes run through the dishwasher as they’d totally piled up, and generally trying to put our home back in order. I am telling you, there’s nothing so fantastic as the sound of WORKING plumbing if you’ve been without it even for a short time. Mr. Ink came home from work at lunchtime and made me lunch so I could just keep after the clean up. And as is his nature, took the time to notice my work without being asked, and thank me for handling it. (I swear this is one of his most precious qualities.)

It was an extremely exhausting week. Extremely. But, it ended on a very high note! The weather yesterday was 50F. And it just so happens that our biking group was gathering for a cold weather ride. Even though it wasn’t so cold. Mr. Ink and I were wishy washy on if we’d go all week, but in the end decided that a bike ride and time to reconnect with our friends was going to be valuable for us. IT WAS. We rode from our home to the ride, spent time with friends riding and goofing off and having late lunch at a bar, and then we rode all the way back home. Once home, Lizzie Bean who had missed us greeted us with her usually exuberance and sweetness. So we ran around in the yard playing with her for a time before settling in to a quiet evening.

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A perfect ending to a stressful week.

(Though we also got the plot twist of finding out that some of Mr. Ink’s family will be moving back to our city in May, and that sent us on a bit of a tailspin trying to figure things out as they aren’t the most reliable people. It’s sort of like the “next time on Life of Shells” ending to this blog post, as this situation is bound to add some interesting stress and drama to our lives in the upcoming months.)

 

Dangerous

The kids are off school today due to cold. It’s in the negative numbers again and feels like -20 so it was the right decision for the schools. Tomorrow we begin to see a serious upswing in temps again, and it looks like “normal” cold will prevail through the foreseeable future. (The foreseeable future being the 10 day forecast.)

So, today? It’s a sweater feature day. Here’s what I am wearing:

We go back to 2014 for this one, a boxy and buttony sweater featuring dyeabolical yarn and Czech glass buttons. This is perhaps one of my all time favorite sweaters and I wear it quite frequently. It’s made an appearance at work regularly this winter.  It’s so wearable, and the yarn I chose for it also feels fine to wear even without layering. Not at all itchy. So it makes for a great everyday sweater in the winter, not being too warm. On a day like today I can still layer it for extra warmth without feeling bulky at all.

In my sweater clean out and rearrange, I realize that I have sweaters I could be wearing if I’d just…do a little work on them first. I am considering making a pile of the handknits I don’t wear because they need work and then trying to fix the problems they have if possible in order to make them something I actually want to wear. Maybe I’ll make a month of it. A month of repairing handknits. (I’ve got at least a pair of socks to do this with as well.)

Despite the fact that the kids were off school yesterday and today, Miss Butterfly had show choir rehearsal as they’ve another performance on Friday. Despite living less than a block from school it was so cold that I wimped out and drove her there, and drove to pick her up. I usually walk her and take the dog. But, I just couldn’t manage it in the cold, despite feeling like a wimp. I realized last evening that Friday’s performance means taking off work to get her there as it’s pretty darn early. When I picked Miss Butterfly up she said “It’s ok mom, I already made arrangements with M’s mom, I can ride with M that day and you can get me after performance is over.” Well, that’s that! I may complain about teenishness sometimes, but they do seem to be nicely balanced with these moments.

In crafting news, the sleeves of my sweater should be done this week. I divided the sweater body and am now working the back armholes. It feels like it’s moving pretty fast at the moment. And I am still very much enjoying the knit! I don’t know why, I think stockinette should be boring, but it’s not for me right now. It’s perfect. I think it’s the colors. As soon as the second sleeve is finished, I intend to block the sleeves. I have a feeling this is a sweater that will do best blocked prior to assembly.

AND, that’s it from here. I am out. Despite the cold I am having a pretty pleasant week. I love that. I hope your week is looking pleasant too.

 

Starting Again

First of all, I must tell you about my love for my new instant pot. Oh my goodness, yesterday it really shone. Mr. Ink headed to the store and I asked him to pick up extra eggs so I could make hard boiled eggs for my week. They are so great to have around for snacking, for egg salad, and Miss Butterfly actually eats them sometimes too.

When Mr. Ink arrived home, I grabbed a container of eggs and got them started in the instant pot. Then he handed me some potatoes and asked me to make mashed potatoes for dinner. So, I figured I could do those in the pot too. While the eggs were cooking, I peeled potatoes. When the eggs were done, I put them in ice water and got the potatoes into the pot. While the potatoes were cooking I peeled the eggs and got them in the fridge. Mashed the potatoes and we ate dinner. Then I put the remainder of the potatoes in a container for Miss Butterfly to enjoy throughout the week, cleaned the pot, and poured a gallon of milk in there for Miss Butterfly’s yogurt for the week, which was done this morning. Prior to this I would never have attempted all these items in one evening, but that pot makes life so easy.

When I woke up this morning, Mr. Ink got up too and made breakfast. I said to him “Does this signal the beginning of our low carb diet again?” And he said yes. So, I brought the extra loaf of bread in to work to give to my coworker, I think she’ll appreciate it. And I got my brain prepared for low carbing again. To be honest, I wanted to start on Friday but Mr. Ink said he wasn’t done with carbs yet. Now we are starting on a Monday morning and I get to enjoy the associated brain fog that ALWAYS happens for me a few days in. (I guess it’s better than the leg cramps that Mr. Ink gets while he adjusts?) In any case, we’ll try to stay better hydrated this go ’round.

It’s cold here again. 3 when I walked in to work. So, I am wearing a handknit sweater again. Here’s what I am wearing:

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That’s the sweater that was on the needles for years with unfinished sleeves. The one I also ended up ripping the ribbing out and adding a significant amount of length to the body. The too long arms may look a bit ridiculous but they are SOOOO comfortable at work and my hands stay nice and warm. This was also the sweater that started me back on the path to garment knitting after 3 years off. So it’s kind of a big deal. I think what I love the most about this sweater is the handspun details. I mean, sometimes it’s really hard to find a way to use handspun yarn in a garment without spinning large amounts. This was just a 4 oz. skein of 2 ply fingering weight yarn. The main color was two different colored skeins of laceweight yarn held double so it was also a fantastic stash buster.

We have one more day of the super cold weather so I’ll have to pull out another option from the sweater stash.

In other news, Lizzie got to experience chasing a fox out of our yard! That was quite a surprise. I told Mr. Ink about it and wondered what the heck it was doing in the city. I said “Maybe it’s just that cold and it thinks it can find food?” And Mr. Ink said “Do the neighbors still have chickens?”  Why yes, yes they do. This would be a good reason for a fox to find our yard appealing. It also explains why I keep feeling like I am picking up about double the amount of dog waste for the amount Lizzie produces. In any case, the fox can stay as far as I am concerned, maybe he’ll pick off a few of the irritating rabbits while he’s scoping out the hens next door.

That’s all from here! Have a great week!

Will I Ever Learn?

Two “Will I ever learn?” situations for this weekend.

The first, will I ever learn that I miscount when baking bread, always, and that erring on the side of caution is the wisest choice? Yesterday I decided to bake some bread. Mr. Ink had another super hard work day, I think the job is slowly killing his soul and it’s really hard to watch someone go through that and not be able to help. So, I decided to bake his favorite bread. Because comfort food. I KNEW I’d miscounted the amount of flour I was putting in there, but somehow just kept going, gaslighting MYSELF into thinking I really hadn’t miscounted. Naturally, I ended up with extremely dense bread, as it had probably a cup and a half more flour than it needed. Ugh. When will I learn? I do this ALL the time.

When will I learn situation 2. I have a dog now. WHEN will I learn to put my knitting up when I get up from my chair? I consistently set my knitting on my ottoman, despite having a perfectly nice out of the way knitting basket, where Lizzie then, in her excitement and play, runs into it, dragging the knitting and yarn all over the house and getting herself well trussed up in the process. Today I had to chase her down while hollering “SIT LIZZIE!! SIT!  SIT LIZZIE!” and she’s not a very still dog, so she’s still squirming while she’s sitting. I extracted yarn from over her eyes, her muzzle, two hind feet, if she’d gotten any more tangled she’d not have been able to run anymore!

Thankfully no harm done to the knitting itself on it’s fast drag through the house, which was sleeves of the legends of the fall sweater again. I finished the increases today and now I am putting the project away to take to work. I need to knit in 4 more colors and then the sleeves are done. It’ll be a great mindless work lunch project so I am saving it for that and will begin working on the main body of the sweater at home again.

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As you may begin to notice, it snowed here again. I spent a good portion of the morning shoveling with Mr. Ink. While he doesn’t ever request my help, I decided I needed a little out of the house time, and it’s 20 instead of 9, so it feels far more mild today.

I guess that’s about it for me, the weekend has been so quiet that I am venturing into “too quiet” territory and will require a walk myself, much to the happiness of Lizzie I am sure. I am caught up on podcasts, I was reading a book but it’s long and expansive and I haven’t ever been sure I liked it even though I’ve pushed through and am nearing the end. I hold out hope that it could redeem itself. The TV mini series Mr. Ink is turning on from time to time I don’t care for even though it seems like one I should like. I don’t think any of the characters are particularly likable, and though sometimes I love that in a show, this one I do not. I guess if one is not particularly pleased with any entertainments indoors, the solution is to get outdoors!

My Morning

I told Mr. Ink on Thursday “Are you ready for a quiet weekend? Because after show choir, Miss Butterfly will be at her dad’s and we’ll have a quiet weekend.” After my week, and his week which was much much worse than mine, it was needed. Except there were a few wrenches thrown in. First was that he informed me that he had to work. So much for a quiet weekend for him. Then, midday Friday Miss Butterfly’s dad informed us that he had to be out of town for work this weekend. Missing his weekend with her and her first show choir performance.

Well, we did show choir, 5 choirs from our schools performed. I honestly thought it might be tiresome, but it was fantastic! TRULY fantastic. Such great fun. I am so glad my kid is a show choir kid, and watching the high schoolers perform made me thinking “I hope she sticks to this.” She has try outs already for high school show choir at the end of this month.

Miss Butterfly’s stepmom came to her performance too in hopes to record it for her father. After it was over, Miss Butterfly informed me that she had every intention of having a weekend at dad’s even though dad wasn’t home. This surprised both me AND her step mother, who may also been looking forward to a quiet weekend. In the end, the compromise was made that she’d spend until this afternoon with her stepmother. I truly couldn’t be more grateful for her relationship with her stepmom, but I was also surprised at the decision.

So, what does that mean? That means that Lizzie and I are doing Saturday like:

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For real, it’s so quiet in this house right now with no one else in it! It’s super cold outside so it’s not tempting to go out right now, I’ll extra walk Lizzie tomorrow when it’s up to 32F. Right now it’s 9F and my breath catches when I try to breathe. I’ll run her in the house, we’ll play when she starts to feel up for it and that’ll help.

Yesterday morning I realized that to survive all the show choir waiting (Seriously, I have to have her there an hour ahead of time for make up and dress, and then there’s getting decent seats so no time to go home in between but better be sitting in the auditorium seats to save them!) I was going to need a new sock on the needles. I don’t know how I forgot this fact until early Friday morning. It didn’t give me a lot of time. So, I didn’t want to waste time trying to wind a skein into a ball. This meant that I chose the yarn Kathy at Compassionknit sent me in our trade this fall. Conveniently already in proper yarn balls, and with my needles still out from the last set of socks, I set about casting on and getting the ribbing knit prior to the performance. I finished up the ribbing while waiting for the girls to get dressed, chatting with another choir mom the whole time. Then was working on the leg while saving seats for Miss Butterfly’s stepmom and Mr. Ink. By the time the performance was over, I already had 5 inches of sock leg.

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It’s been SUCH a long time since I’ve knit a sock that fast! Now, these little skeins of wonderful workhorse sock yarn are generous. 230 yards each. I think I’ll just knit a real nice long leg on these, maybe even as long as Mr. Ink prefers, to see if I can make the yarn stretch of a Mr. Ink pair of socks. If I cannot, they’ll work just fine as a pair for me or anyone else with slightly smaller feet. If I put the heel in last, I can always use a different yarn for it.

My only regret? You know how when using a striped sock yarn you kind of want to knit and enjoy the color changes? I never got that opportunity here. There was no point at which I was looking at the sock overly much and enjoying it because it was all knit while chatting animatedly with other show choir moms or knit in the dark during the performance. On the other hand, there are a ton more performances coming up, so the opportunity to keep knitting on this, perhaps even finishing it pretty quickly, will be great. And even better? This small oval shaped single sock ball fits perfectly into my smallest purse, so no need at all for a special project bag or anything else. Just shove it into the main purse pocket and I am out the door with entertainment to boot. I am sure Kathy had no clue how perfect this sock yarn would be for this season when she sent it to me, but it really is absolutely perfect.

As for the rest of my knitting, I finished one sleeve of the legends of the fall sweater. I am working on the second one. And it’s nice because I did already begin the second one, giving me the illusion that the sleeve is knit faster than the first. I am not going to lie, I am a bit tired of sleeves right now and am reminding myself that at any point I am welcome to put them down and start a new project or go back to working on the body of the sweater. So far, just reminding myself of this fact is working well enough to keep me after it in between chores. We’ll see how things progress.

In spinning, nothing at all. I am just trying to stay with my goal of doubling my stash knit over stash created, and so far I am way behind. The sweater will help immensely but it’s not done yet, so it doesn’t count yet. This is also the time of year I find that my desire to spin wanes a bit, so I am just working with that.

Stay warm my friends! It’s cold here, and I am having trouble imagining it is warm anywhere else.

First Finished

First finished object of 2018.

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A pair of socks that have been on the needles since July 2017. They are knit too large for my feet so that I can give them away. The yarn is dyeabolical’s we’re all mad here colorway. I did these on 9 inch circs, and just saved them for every time I wanted to knit but couldn’t look at my knitting. Obviously that wasn’t very often since they’ve been sitting around since July, but whatever, they served their purpose.

I’ll cast on the next pair very shortly.

I did finally get the day I was hoping for last evening. I got home, it was 51F out! No sign yet of the impending snowstorm. I took Lizzie on an extra long walk since clearly that was the only thing to do, knowing that the weather was going to be awful today. I don’t know what was going on out there, but she wanted to stop and sniff all the things, and the walk became very long. I did notice tons of other dogs out being walked, and they were acting similarly. So there was clearly something in the air that was making every scent amplified for them. We stayed out in the yard a bit upon my return puttering around it was so nice out.

Miss Butterfly was with her dad and Mr. Ink worked late so despite having quite a few chores, I still had the house to myself and that was extremely pleasant. I did work on the sleeve of my sweater, all the increases are now complete and I am just knitting around and around until 21 inches of sleeve knitting has been achieved.

Due to that storm which was impending, Miss Butterfly has off school today but I am stuck at work. She’s got one million chores to keep her busy. She also decided that because she was off today, she wanted Lizzie to sleep with her last night. She promised to be responsible and get up if Lizzie needed to go out, which she did at 5 am. I didn’t like the idea of not having my dog around, but I’ve stopped thinking in that direction now that I have experienced such a great night’s sleep!

Anyhow, getting a relaxing evening and a good nights rest has gone a very long way in improving my attitude today. I had a sketchy stormy drive in to work, but all the other drivers were being just as careful and logical as I was so even that wasn’t as bad as it could be. No clue when the storm will quit but it would be great if that happened well before I leave today.

The true bonus of today? Due to the storm, our boss said “Yep, wear jeans to work” and so we all did and we are all happy warm and comfortable.

Crazy Little Thing Called…Life

Yesterday I kept telling myself during the work day that all I had to do was hold out and I’d have a nice free evening to decompress, with no problems on my plate. Just home, decompression, some knitting.

I went out at lunchtime to walk Max, Miss Marja’s dog. It’s always such a lovely time with him, he’s happy to see me and I get a break from the work day. But as I left her neighborhood, I heard an awful sound. I knew immediately I’d need to check my tire. Turned back off the main road and found a place to park where I found this:

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Yep, that’s like…the worlds largest bolt in my tire. It made quite the racket when driving. But, the tire seemed to be holding air at that time, so I gave up on the idea of driving to find lunch somewhere, simply hoping to get back on campus and then find out what Mr. Ink wanted me to do about this.

Now, Mr. Ink has been so very busy all year at work. The extreme cold temperatures we experienced brought out every car problem all over the city. He’s working extra hours daily and so is everyone else in that garage. So, it’s not like he could drop everything and come get the car. He was worried that the tire would lose air pressure over the course of the afternoon and I didn’t really like the idea of trying to drive it home with all the racket of that tire anyhow, so I decided best course of action was to see if someone in my area could patch the tire. Well, I called a garage that’s just on the corner of campus, within walking distance, to ask them if they’d be able to fit me in. I was told to bring the car down immediately, which I did. And they had it patched by the end of my work day, and refused to even take my money! I couldn’t believe it!

So, while I really didn’t need the extra headache of this problem, it turned out pretty well in the end, and I did get home not too long after I normally would. It’s just…I am in that place where my brain just doesn’t want to handle anything extra right now, and this was SO EXTRA.

Anyhow, once home I still had enough light to grab a photo of the legends of the fall sweater in progress.

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It’s looking pretty good! I didn’t actually knit on it though, as I wanted to finish a pair of socks. I’ll get a photo of those tomorrow.

After the socks were done, Mr. Ink was trying to get some grocery shopping done after his busy day, and I wandered into Miss Butterfly’s room to check on her. I ended up sitting down and working on her puzzle with her. It’s HARD! She doesn’t love doing puzzles that are that many pieces, I think this one is 750. But she’s making good progress and I helped. Once Mr. Ink came home we took a break to help him put away groceries. Then she actually asked me to work on it with her again until dinner time. Well, when your 13 year old actually wants your company, you comply. So I sat in there until dinner time getting a few more pieces placed. It was not the evening I imagined, but it was a good evening.

Tonight I am again hoping for a good evening. An evening in which there isn’t much going on except walking the dog. An evening where downtime rules. I feel good about it, it could happen this time.

It’s That Season

It’s that season. You know the one. Or many. Where you are so busy. Or, rather, WE are so busy.

It’s grant season. I am training team members, and I am training new submitters. And I am doing my own work. It’s so busy.

It’s show choir season. First performance Friday, many performances to come, and then competitions. I’ve got pics of rehearsal later.

It’s sick season. Not us, not our family thankfully, since we seem to have done ALL that between October and December. But, this does often mean light staff, missed meetings, missed training sessions, and additional work for those who can actually stay healthy. And TONS of disinfectants.

It’s the season where I forget EVERYTHING. Keeping just what I need in my brain and dumping the rest. What does that mean for you? No knitting photo. I meant to take one of the sleeve I am working on. That’s right, one sleeve. Because after I showed off the cuffs the other day, I realized that I much preferred working with the tiny circs, and decided to proceed on just one sleeve at a time. I don’t yet have two size 3 tiny circs in my needle stash. Anyhow, point being, I forgot repeatedly to get a photo. I also forgot to bring the sleeve to work to knit on during lunch break. Twice. Ugh.

It’s that season.

Yesterday was full dress show choir rehearsal. I had exactly 10 minutes at home to grab a snack and change after work before we left for rehearsal at the high school. Thankfully Miss Butterfly was mature and helpful, making sure she walked the dog and did some chores so that I didn’t fall completely behind in my evening. And so that Lizzie didn’t suffer too much from her extended kennel stay. (Poor girl!) Off we went to rehearsal, the one and ONLY rehearsal they’ll get in full dress and on stage before Friday’s performance. I got to stay and knit during rehearsal. There was a gal in front of me recording the performance and knitting too. Maybe that’s how many people get started knitting. There’s this thought that grandmas knit. But maybe they started when they had to do SOMETHING while waiting on their kids during activities. And then it stuck.

Photos from rehearsal. I’ll be honest, when they were blocking and doing run throughs  of problematic parts, I was a little worried about them. But then when they ran through the entire performance? Well, that was a different story entirely. They had it together, they were reasonably good, they NEED to sing out more. The last soloist was such a surprising young woman, she got up there and belted it out and it sent shivers right down my spine. Nice job girl. I’ll tell her for real next time I see her, but apparently Miss Butterfly has already expressed to the soloist that this is the part of the performance that really shines. Miss Butterfly left the stage and got changed, arriving at the car a hot sweaty mess.

We got home, where we had….exactly 10 minutes to prepare for heading out for pub trivia night. We’d made a team of 6, some friends and I. But one canceled last minute, and Miss Butterfly was then invited. At halftime we were in 3rd place tied with 2 other teams, there were 3 teams tied for 2nd, and two teams tied for 1st. We were content to accept the idea that we weren’t going to win this one. UNTIL WE DID! We must have made a serious comeback in that second half, because we tied for first and then won the tie breaker. Miss Butterfly said “CAN WE COME BACK NEXT WEEK?!?!” And really, she was quite helpful, knowing all the pop culture a 13 year old knows. We really kicked butt in the song portion of the night, thanks to her.

We went out to dinner as a family after trivia, not arriving home until 10. We were all extremely exhausted. Just absolutely DONE. And poor Lizzie became a nut as soon as she got out of her kennel. We all ended up going outdoors (she likes everyone to be in one place) and stood there while she ran all over the yard, never stopping unless it was to bound up to one of us and jump repeatedly. Then back to tearing around the yard like a maniac. Once we went in she did everything in her power to get us all playing with her, including making up new games on the spot. Miss Butterfly went to bed, then I tried to fall in bed only to have a dog prancing back and forth on my bed. Then trying to settle down as she normally would but then panting so hard the entire bed shook. Finally Mr. Ink took her out of the room and gave her another walk, and made sure she stayed up with him for a few more hours. And there’s the price we pay for having a dog. (Since this is the first time we’ve had an evening like that since we got her 6 months ago, I think we can assume it’s a rarity.)

During trivia I got smart and grabbed my in progress sock to work on while thinking of answers. It was perfect. After all, these socks have been on the needles since July now, and I’d like to be done with them. I had pulled them out for the latest star wars movie and gotten well down the body of the foot so I knew they were nearing the end. Let’s just say next time I’ll make sure I’ve got more to work on during trivia! After all, I finished the body of the foot completely during trivia and had to put it down. This morning I knit the toe. Tonight? I’ll get that heel done and have a new pair of socks ready to be sent out.

Anyhow, that’s it from my crazy corner of the world! I’ll probably get that sleeve photo tonight as well, so stay tuned! I plan to spend the evening in my chair with a throw or something, ideally moving as little as possible after chores are done. I am TOO exhausted, and most of it’s people exhaustion. The kind an introvert feels so acutely. Tonight a recharge is in order.

We Did It!

After months of searching and also putting off searching, we found an area rug for our living room.

Mr. Ink said “How about we go find a rug today?” and so it was. We went to the same flooring store that sold us our kitchen/dining room floor a few years back. I think that when it comes to flooring, that’s where I am going from here on out. The salespeople are helpful but not overwhelming. And the best part? When we found a rug we liked, they said “How about you take it home for 3 days and see if you like it?

So, we did. We took it home, rolled up the purple shedder, rolled out the new rug, sat down, looked at it for less than 5 minutes, got up and went back to the store to buy a pad and pay for the rug. It was too perfect.

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The damask pattern on the rug matches the pattern on the pillows. It’s a bit hard to tell, but the background is lower than the pattern, so it also looks embossed. It’s tones of grey with tones of yellow added in. The yellow matches Mr. Ink’s recliner beautifully. It couldn’t be more perfect. So, as usual, waiting until we find what is perfect for us really was the best option. When we saw this rug, Mr. Ink said “I want to hang it on a wall, not step on it! It’s that beautiful.

Now he says “Every time I walk into this living room I smile!” I think creative types really benefit from an aesthetically pleasing space. Every time *I* walk in the living room I say “And now I need a couple throws that match, rather than primary red and primary blue!” So, that may be something I do today.

Because of our area rug adventure, I didn’t get a ton of knitting done. I did however finish up the cuffs on the sleeves of my legends of the fall sweater. Since there’s a lot of yarn switching going on, I am trying to knit these at the same time. Finish a color on one cuff, knit it into the second cuff too. img_6350

Since sleeves are where my motivation really seems to fall away, I figured I should work on these prior to finishing the body of the sweater. I really do not want to stall out.

I was able to count up the yardage obtained from my second set of the 3 braid combo, a whopping 1200 yards. That’s 2200 yards to play with for a sweater. Or, in this case, basically a sweater and something else, That’s a nice amount of yarn! I didn’t take a photo, it just looks like everything else.

If Miss Butterfly ever wakes up, we’ll do some errand running today. I swear that kid is full on teen, with the sleep in power to boot.

That’s about it from here, it’s been a pretty decent weekend, which is great for the busy week ahead.

 

Updates

I finished a skein of the next 3 braid combo.

The new skein is on the left, the old on the right. Colorwise, there are some differences. The new skein is a bit bluer, and certainly has more greens, specifically light greens. The yarn weight is fine though, matches well. I didn’t count the yardage yet, I figured I’d just wait until the final skein was complete. I am ALMOST done. So, if these skeins are combined into one garment I’ll have to be careful to switch them out regularly in order that the colors get blended well.

Next up? My legends of the fall sweater. I love this! I started on a sleeve yesterday to keep at work, but as fast as I am going through the sweater (and the yarn quite frankly) those sleeves are going to have to be knit at home. Here’s where I am with the body of the sweater.

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Aren’t those colors so weird together? So interesting? I want to knit on it FOREVER! I want to knit ANOTHER ONE! And I haven’t even worn this one yet. I am sure that my passion for this project will hit an eventual wall, but I am just not there yet. I’ve got a couple more inches on the body before dividing for the front and back. I did take a break to work on that plying project.

And what am I wearing today? Another sweater that really got into my brain and I adored knitting.

Just back to August 2014 for this one. I loved knitting this sweater, it was extremely interesting. It was also a fantastic stash buster, as that brown yarn is laceweight I’d had in stash for years, held double for the sweater. It’s actually really soft so it was a great choice. The other color is handspun 3 ply yarn. I’d spun it on spindles and wheel, and had 8 ounces of it. Let’s see if I can find that photo as well.

There we go, the handspun used, finished and in progress, as well as the Trillian shawl I made out of the leftovers. Oh that was a very good time in my knitting life. Great memories of this project!

This has certainly been a craft heavy post. I am SOOOO looking forward to the weekend. We plan to start it by taking Lizzie in to get her claws trimmed. It’s time. With the cold, she’s not out walking quite as much and so they are actually growing. Not being worn down as they should. The place that trims them on Friday nights donates back to her rescue organization so I feel like that’s a great reason to go pay someone and not try to do it ourselves.

I’ve also made myself quite a list for Saturday, we’ve got tons of errands to run. I did try to get a head start on the weekend by getting some extra chores done last evening. I am not sure if it worked or not, but the house looked nice when I left this morning!

Anyhow, that’s it from around here, hope your week went well! Do enjoy your weekend!

A Review

You know how sometimes you have an idea or memory in your mind and it’s totally…not reality? Well, that’s what I’ve done with the past year and my goal to knit from stash. Meaning, I’ve felt a ton of guilt over “all the yarn I bought.”

So, I figured that today I could review my year and take a look at all the yarn I bought. First up, there’s this project. On facebook of all places I saw this yarn advertised! And it was so gorgeous, and it had a most charming name of “succulent set” advertised with various types of succulent plants. So charming, the advertising totally got to me. After a quick wander around the internet to make absolutely sure that the company was legit and that there weren’t a bunch of problems with the company, I purchased the set. It’s a merino/tencel yarn, and I was so very excited to use it in a Find Your Fade shawl. Which I am wearing today actually. That was in March. I knit the shawl right away, at the same time I was working on a westknits marled magic mystery shawl using all handspun scraps (Total knit from stash win.) and I felt pretty good about my decision.

Then there was this:

Because I am a complete sucker for westknits, I just had to do another mystery shawl. I purchased yarn for this shawl as well, 3 skeins, though in reality I knit two of those skeins paired with one of my own from stash. This purchase happened at the end of September. I have mixed feelings about this one, mostly because the shawl shape is odd. But the yarn pairings were amazing. And, I ended up with enough left over of the middle color that paired with another half skein in stash, I could easily have a full pair of socks.

Now, I am not gonna lie, I also purchased another 3 skeins of sock weight yarn from dyeabolical’s christmas specials, and those haven’t been knit yet. But, I think it’s fair to say I didn’t completely overdo it after all. And I’ll try to keep it down to an even smaller amount this year. Furthermore, my knit from stash game was serious, and I got very creative in pairing various in stash yarns to create something unique.

And even more amazingly, I knit sweaters…from stash! 3 of them! And a vest!

And all that was after not knitting garments for myself AT ALL for a very long time. Since the end of 2014 actually. In the end, I think it’s been a pretty bang up year for knitting from stash, and knitting in general.

 

A 10 Year Old Sweater

Today in my ongoing challenge to actually wear my sweaters, I’ve pulled out one of the oldest. A 10 year old Starmore made from some sort of knitpicks yarn. A merino. It’s really all I could afford at the time, and it did work well for me, except for the fact that this sweater has been ridiculously pilly from the very start. I don’t care that much, it’s super warm. But, if I were to do it all over again now, I would indeed choose better yarn.

It’s still very cold here. I took the dog for a walk yesterday evening after a few days of not walking her much at all. She was thrilled to be out. I was dressed appropriately. I still spent the remainder of the evening desperately trying to get warmed up again. Heat got turned up, fleece was worn head to toe, I stayed under a fleece blanket, and yet I never could quite get warm. It’s colder again today, and I may have Mr. Ink do the walking so I don’t lose another evening to the couch and blankets.

I worked on my legends of the fall sweater, I am almost through the 6th yarn in the body of the sweater so one full color sequence. I can’t wait to show it off but have also decided to wait until I’ve gone through color 1 again so we can see the full effect of the yarn combination. Despite the fact this is just plain ordinary stockinette in the round, I am LOVING knitting this right now. I don’t know if it’s the colors or the meditative quality of stockinette but it’s been a great knit so far.

I’d like to think I’ll get the rest of the yarn wound and the sleeves cast on but it was too cold in the basement for that yesterday. Oh, also, I was reading the pattern and realized the sleeves are knit flat. But, there’s really no reason in the world I couldn’t just knit them in the round, right? I mean, there’s nothing complicated to trip me up or anything, and that would save me some seaming. I’ve never changed up the pattern that way before, so if you have any hesitations or words of wisdom, let me know!

And that’s it for me. Stay warm friends!

Another Goal

I think I briefly discussed another goal I am hoping to achieve this year, and that’s to actually wear some of the handknit sweaters I own.

Well, it was -9F when I left the house this morning. It called for the warmest of sweaters. And I indulged that call with this:

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Yep, I dove all the way back to 2011 to pull up this photo. This is one of those Alice Starmore patterns, can’t remember which one off the top of my head. The yarn I used was Blackwater Abbey. I adore this sweater and often forget why I don’t wear it regularly. Until I remember just how warm it is. It’s seriously the equivalent of a coat. I can throw this sucker on and not need a coat even on the coldest of days. Which is good, because most coats don’t fit over it anyhow.

One thing I love the most about Starmore patterns is how the ribbing is also complicated, different than the pattern, and yet still blends seamlessly with the main body of the sweater. Look at that ribbing! So cool!

Yeah so, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll wear a sweater, even an old one, and showcase it on the blog. It’ll fill in those gaps when I don’t have another picture to share. Like today.

That being said, I did finish plying a skein of the 3 braid combo spin, though I haven’t gotten it off the bobbin yet. With the new “rules” I am not in any rush since I don’t have any completed knitting to balance it all with!

I am back at work today. This morning felt extremely hectic but I feel like I am catching up ok enough at the moment. And I am happy to be back, so there’s that.

5 and 6

I added yarns 5 and 6, the colors I was nervous about. I changed up the order I wanted them in a million times before I added them in, but I think I got it. I really like my result!

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I think I chose wisely, each yarn is different, but also enough the same that it blends pretty well and nothing stands out so much as to look strange. I think this is going to work!

I have these plans to begin the sleeves immediately, keeping the sleeves at work in order to get them done fairly quickly. I always stall out on sleeves. I am not sure if I’ll knit them two at a time or separately. The only thing stopping me is the cold basement and not wanting to be down there to wind 5 more skeins of yarn.

We got through the worst of the cold last night. It was -14 when I let Lizzie out this morning, with her booties on of course. If it gets all the way up to the predicted 5F we’ll go for a little walk, her and I.

Miss Butterfly is at a sleepover but will be home by noon. I have told her that we’ll be taking down the tree, I am tired of the living room being squished. I think I’ll wait to start any plying until the tree is down and the furniture is in a more appropriate place.

I’ve had a lovely vacation and I am both sad and happy it is drawing to a close. Any more time off and I’d be very stressed about this month and next, as we are very busy again at work. I am already feeling the mental gear up for work tomorrow, I keep making lists in my head about things I need to go over or do, and projects we’ve got going on. It’s at that point where I realize that I might as well BE at work, as focused on it as I am. But, I had a lovely vacation with a ton of time spent with Miss Butterfly. Pleasant time, valuable time, most of it teenagerish but not to the point of annoyance. A vacation worth cherishing.

All the best for this new year!