Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Road trip planning

I am the planner of the family. When vacation time comes around, I check out books from the library and visit websites. If there is something to see along the way I usually know about it. I am the one that makes a list of places we could stay, things we could do and where we could eat. All of that is me.

I am not a dictator though, I make all my lists and then we sit down and talk about the options. I've learned that every minute does not need to be planned but I like to wake up with a day full of options. Usually it is a joint decision with me narrowing down the options.

This time though we talked early on trying to decide where our destination would be. We spoke of a few places but D kept telling me he wanted to be near the water this time. Finally we settled on Portsmouth New Hampshire. D remembered this wee bit of New Hampshire's coast from when we drove up to Maine quite a few years ago.

So I started my planning but this year D took the lead with our lodgings. He booked us in to a lovely B&B. I think he likes B&Bs almost as much as I do now. I think it may be the allure of drinking a good cup of tea in a nice garden, or it may be the waffles he received in Portland OR.

D's deciding factor in choosing the B&B was that the owner/operator is a knitter. He is so used to living with me that he just could not stay under the roof of a non-knitter. No I don't really think that but it pleased me to have him think of this for me. A little knitter talk over the breakfast table really helps me get into vacation mode.

He has found a few lighthouses, a submarine and beaches to tour around. And speaking of tours how about a brewery tour?

Yep this trip is coming together nicely. Did I tell you the best part? D has even agreed to a detour on the way out. I get to stop at Webs Yarn store on the way out. You know they bill themselves as America's yarn store. I may be hitting their website a bit lately, you know just to see what they have. The sock yarn selection seems adequate, hee hee. I may even find the yarn for my Color Affection shawl there, and probably twelve other projects too.

Monday, April 29, 2013

English ladies solving mysteries

Sometimes I am struck by my reading choices. As you know I am a concurrent multi-book reader. It used to be that I had several paperbacks strewn about my life, but now it seems my books are contained by their format.

My lunch time reading is done on my ever so convenient, Kindle. I rarely travel without this little gadget. It is much easier to carry ten books with you in ebook format. It is amazing at how quickly a book can be enjoyed even when you only read for an half hour five days a week. I must admit though that I love book endings and will tend to pull out the Kindle at home if I am close to wrapping things up. My current Kindle book is Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs Book 2) by Jacqueline Winspear. I adored the first book that I found through Audible. But decided the narrator on the second book was not as good as the first so I changed my format. I'm about half way through and enjoying it as much as the first one. Such lovely writing and interesting characters. The post WWII England setting has its own  draw for me.

My driving time has turned into "reading time" with my discovery of Audible's books. Now I have several waiting for me. This format too has earned a rather limited time slot in my life. Usually I listen in snippets of time but consistently during my weekday. I just finished The Black Ice by Michael Connelly. I don't remember how I stumbled on this series. While I enjoyed the book, I'm not sure it was my genre, gritty LA cop vs Mexican drug runners. I think I am more of an historical who-dun-it kind of gal.

I am back to something more my style with Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal. This one is set in WWII era London, but you probably guessed that by the title. It is a nice varied cast of characters, and it moves along at a nice clip. I find it so interesting to travel to a different time and place with a book. I must just like this place better than The Black Ice's LA. Hey I am a sucker for a book that has scones in it. The Black Ice had a predicable lack of scones.

My current paper book is Cocaine Blues: A Phyrne Fisher Mystery, by Kerry Greenwood. Do you see the female sleuth trend? This book differs by having a slightly more cynical detective. Her view of the world is more jaundiced and oozing with ennui. I have learned what it means to ask for an address. Who knows what else I have to learn from this book.

So I'm hitting an English female detective trifecta and enjoying every minute of it. I may have to work a bit harder at keeping the story lines from crossing over in my brain.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sad socks

I was digging through sorting out my sock yarn remainders the other day.You know since they no longer fit in the big bag I gave them and have now demanded a second big bag.

I like to keep them as they have come in handy repairing a few holes. But sometimes it is just amazing to realize how many socks I have knit in the six years I've been knitting. 

Most of the time I remember what the yarn is and where it came from, but I found a ball I did not recognize. Really most of the time when I hold the remaining yarn I get a mental picture of the socks that I created. I tend to think of how well they're holding up or how old they are. Maybe even what went wrong with them. 

But while holding the remainders of the bottom skein I was stumped for a minute. Maybe the time has come that I don't remember each project like I did because of the sheer volume of the project roster? But I don't think that is the case since  I could remember all the yarn around it. I formed a mental picture each time I picked up a yarn but for this one.

It hit me that maybe I no longer remember because the socks no longer match the yarn? I took a walk down sock memory lane and found these.

My nice rich Summitless socks are now a pale pink imitation of what the color they were before.

And I remembered putting the socks away a year ago and looking at them like I had not knit them myself. When did I knit pink socks? (Not that there is anything wrong with pink socks, I just tend to go for more darker colors.)

So yeah your memory fades along with the sock yarn sometimes. The reason you don't remember knitting it is that you did not knit it in that color. 

On the plus side the actual yarn is holding up very well in the knit form. Just the color was lost. On the minus side I still have the top skein in my stash. Guess I won't worry too much about making fancy socks out of that one. I may just get another pale imitation. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


With spring in the air and clogging up my brain with allergies, I have returned to doing a bit of yarn making. 

Well I don't know if I can call it yarn making when I've not used any yet for actual knitting. Of course using that analogy, none of my stash is yarn because it has not yet been knit. That is right Hubby it is not stash, just potential knitting.

I was trying to spin a bit thicker than my apparent normal fineness is but it just turned out a bit lumpy. I guess that is what you get when it takes you 6+ months to spin up one braid of fiber. I was worried that the spinning bug had left me. But as with many things it seems it has a season. While I thought this brown was nice it was not the most exciting color to spin. There were no drastic color changes to entertain me, just brown, brown and more brown.

If you will notice that is one of my 2012 Rhinebeck spindles. It is a bit heavier which is what I asked for to help with plying. It has a nice long shaft that holds a good amount of wool. You know since once I get spinning I usually stay spinning. Weird how that works, sounds a bit like a law of physics.

D helped me out the other night by powering the ball winder while I kept the single ply from tangling. He even helped me wind the two tails together to form a plying ball. Such a good Hubby, he must be bucking for another pair of socks.

Now if I could just force myself to wash the new yarn and really set the twist. Maybe I should just go fluff some fiber instead.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

My feet are on fire

My feet are wrapped in what I am calling my Ember socks. My lovely little Zauberball again knit up into fraternal socks but hey I like fraternities. No wait that is not what I meant. I meant that it does not bother me to wear socks that don't match perfectly, as long as they're both the same colors I am good.

 Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball color 1874 ombre. 

I just love how the ball shows off how lumpy it is at the end. And thanks to a really bad allergy season I went from 2/3 of a sock to finished in about 24 hours. Even with medication all I want to do is breathe normally, but my nose and sinus refuse.

I spent large amounts of time knitting on this sock and watching back episodes of Stockinette Zombies.
Or as D calls it my virtual knitting group. Every time he came to talk to me I was watching an episode. What can I say the way they talk reminds me of home. I am highly entertained. Plus they knit fast so there is much to see.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Not a hard time at all

Well submitting my first home owners claim was not difficult. The questions they asked and how it broke out was interesting. The most interesting question: Was the tree live? Which lead to the best quote: We can not hold someone liable for having a live tree in their yard. 

We were not trying to assign blame but I guess the insurance company may need to at times. I really did not want this to turn into a feud. Remember neighbors are people too, we all have to live somewhere. Luckily they are nice neighbors and left a note on our door the next day. They offered the use of a tarp for the shed but a storm was rolling in and we decided that the tarp most likely would not make it though the night. The way the wind was whipping and the rain hit out windows I am sure it would not have made it.

Really the scene is a bit like Niagara Falls. You see it from the American side (neighbor's side) and it is unimpressive. Then you go to the Canadian side (our side) and wow, it is much bigger than it looked on the other side.

We hope good will has been passed both ways now. As D told them, you never know we may be living next door for 30 years, we may be paying you back in a couple of years. 

We learned something really important about our neighbor. They have a kegerator (refrigerator + a special setup for a 1/4 keg),  I may just need to borrow a glass of beer. Plus if the power goes out they will need to dispose of the beer before it goes bad. Hey I am just trying to be a good neighbor!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Welcome Home

I received a welcome home today that stopped me in my tracks. Part of our neighbor's tree came down. And when a pine that tall and big comes down, my shed will tell you that it leaves a mark. 

So do you think branches sticking out of the roof is a bad thing?

My shed would say yes!

There are four holes that I could see. (Not appearing in this picture.) At least one rafter is cracked.

I grabbed the bikes and got them inside the house. What? I really want to ride this summer. My hubby has trained me well. Get the bikes to safety!

But all in all it could have been so much worse. I am thankful. We keep saying at least it was not the house. But it is a bit freaky to look in the back yard and see a big honking tree laying out there. Yikes. Do you think the cats heard it hit or were they sleeping too hard?

My first homeowners claim. Yay?!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Mommy loves me

In light of the bombing in Boston yesterday I thought it would be good to talk about how we show love. One of my Mom's ways is to make me things, mostly pillow cases. I like a funky pillow case I can not lie. 

Last summer we did a bit of bonding at the fabric store. I picked out a few fabrics that Mom magically turned into love. This print has cats of lace, stitched paw prints and balls of yarn. Plus I think it was in the clearance bin. What is not too love?

I usually throw them on top of one of my grandmother's quilts, with Doser snuggled in too. This may not be my favorite quilt of hers but it certainly looks lovely with Mom's pillow cases.

She added a little heart to the hem of this one.

So remember today that we all have our talents, let's use them to tell someone we love them. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I've got new yarn

You see that red one there? It called my name from the yarn store for a week or so before I could get back there to get it. I wonder how many hands it had to fend off before I made it back? 

These are both from the Periwinkle Sheep. I may have made the trip for the red one but the blue one liked me too. I was considering getting a third color so I could finally make my Color Affection shawl but I had that thought after I bought them. I was trying to think of a complimentary color, maybe a nice wheat colored tan? Then it hit me, nope I don't want to make a patriotic shawl. I want to make a shawl that goes with many things but not one that looks like I draped a flag over my shoulders. 

So these two are marinating in the stash, deciding what to become. Me? I still knitting a bunch of socks.

Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors II in Audrey Hepburn.

Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors II in Atlantic.

I also picked up the spindle again this week after a long break. I broke up the fiber into smaller batches and decided to do a bit each day I thought of it. It really makes it less likely that I keep my arm in an awkward position for too long. Now I just need to think of which fiber to try next. 

I am thinking the blue and white one. I don't know how I've resisted it for this long. Oh right my spindle was full.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Wrestling a Porcupine

I'm trying out a new sock technique, and at one point I would have sworn I was wrestling a porcupine. Things are going alright now and I really like the look. But wow who knew sock knitting could be so dangerous?

So socks are normally knit as a big tube that you do some special sock magic and create a bump out for the heel. Heels are a common place for holes to appear so many people try to figure out cleaver ways to make it easier to replace the heel or sole of a sock. 

The sock Achilles HeAl is one of those kinds of socks. I kept being drawn to it. When my Drusilla yarn refused to be just another sock, she sweet talked me into her plan. I didn't even know Drusilla was sweet on Achilles. But she was and I was stuck with a porcupine.

Dang it I knew I should have taken pictures along the way to explain but alas I could not get a hand free.  Achilles is knit as a normal top down sock but you knit the instep, or top of the foot, portion flat for a ways. The pattern calls for you to cast on some stitches to work all the way around the foot, knit the toe, then work the heel.

I however used my Ravelry skills and did as most people did, I followed that plan for a bit but instead of knitting the toe I went back and knit the heel. It is pretty hard to figure out how long a sock should be when a quarter of it is still missing.

I am not kidding when I tell you that a few times I had twelve double pointed needles and a circular needle, all holding or working stitches on that sock. I still am not sure how I did it. Let's hope I can recreate it for the second sock.

Poor Dru was even sent to time out with all those needles poking her too. I kept getting confused by the wording on the second round of the heel. The designer has you pick up and knit a round of stitches plain but then stops the second round of knitting to give a new starting point while leaving 15 stitches unworked. Those 15 stitches jump from round one to round three without passing GO. I, being the ignorant knitter that I occasionally am, did not think you could get anywhere without passing GO. So off to jail Dru went to await her turn again.

The most frustrating thing was checking online to see if anyone had the same problem. Many times the heel was called fiddly, but no one owned up to being thwarted by it. Till I read one lady's project notes where she explained that the round ended before all the stitches were worked. Sometimes it is the simplest things that bite you in the bum.

What a wonderful thing project notes are people!