Sunday, June 29, 2014

My traveling brain

Summer time is creeping up on us and that means I am planning a trip home to South Dakota to visit the families. Our families live on opposite sides of the state so that means bonus road trips too. If you will remember we tried something new. We flew into Omaha NE and drove up to D's family for a day or so then on to my family. We spent a few more days with D's family and drove back down to Omaha to take our first Amtrak ride.

Turns out I liked it so much we will be doing the same thing this year. We hope to avoid getting turned around leaving Omaha. That added some unexpected travel time. And I will remember to eat earlier and not turn into the traveling, ravenous Yarnkettle monster. I am super grumpy when I am hungry. However when I was able to eat I had the best Subway sandwich ever. Hunger really keys in those taste buds.

It really is funny to book a trip like this. Comparing air travel and train travel has pluses and minuses. The flight gets us in a few hours after leaving NY while the train takes over 24 hours of travel. But it is such fun travel for us. Good food, the best night of sleep for D and all the farm country I can handle.

My knitting is getting sorted and planned out. The train allows for plenty of knitting time. Plus I know I will sit around some kitchen tables and visit too. Maybe I will be able to leave some knit gifts behind if I plan it right. Or maybe I will just end up mailing them, I like my knitting to be stress free without deadlines. I just know I've started five or six projects in my mind and will start many more before the actual trip.

I do worry about Gus while we are gone. He will be staying at the vet's office so he can be closely monitored. But I know even with his ball of yarn, his bed and Grandma's flannel blanket, it will still be the vet's office to him. Sigh, sometimes in order to be a good daughter you have to be not a great Momma. I keep telling myself we need to go home but it is still tough.

Anyways, I will soon start making my packing list which I so enjoy that I start it months before we leave. We have a six hour layover in Chicago on the trip home which I will research this time. I want to see if I can hit a yarn store and get some deep dish pizza. Last time we walked up and down a street only to settle on Subway. I was so disappointed when I got home and saw we were only one street away from a huge park. Missed opportunity there, I love parks. Regent's Park was one of the first things we went to see in London. Well after we hit a pub, because you know how demanding the traveling ravenous Yarnkettle monster can be. Food then park = happy traveling Yarnkettle monster.

I am thinking of an audiobook for our road trip time. Right now it is between Mr Mercedes by Stephen King and An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield. D has turned me into a Stephen King fan via Under the Dome and Lisey's Story. On the flip side he enjoyed an NPR interview with Chris Hadfield. I guess it will be a in-the-car decision.

So don't worry about my traveling brain it is most happy when it is planning for a trip, even one we make every year. I welcome suggestions if anyone has any. It gives my brain even more to chew on.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Outside Playing

My boys are really loving the summertime this year. 

Jack eats grass like a cow then horks it up a bit later. Don't ask me I don't understand it. I just know that he does not have hairballs.

Gus is still trying to use heat therapy ease some joint pain. I don't think it is successful but I do know it makes him happier. He seems a bit more relaxed out there too.

Unless he is telling mom to stop taking pictures and knit a sock instead.

Jack remains Jack as ever.

Gus is continuing to decline. But at least the sunshine and smells give him something to look forward to.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Turning shoulda into did

We've been trying to add together time into my exercise routine. Sundays seem to work best for us. We have gone for a couple of spins on our bikes and did a walk or two. Yesterday we took a hike. 

What differentiates a walk from a hike? I would say walking is on a path or road. A hike is rougher terrain, with less than ideal conditions. You know a trail that almost sucks your shoes from your feet. 

Yeah, we took a hike yesterday. Turns out I have a bit of a potty mouth when my shoes are leaving my feet, just one time though. I must say it was fun even though I grumbled a bit. Of course it was much easier to say I enjoyed it once we were back in the car and I was no longer worried about falling into the sopping wet, muddy trail. I wonder why we left our shoes outside last night?

Earlier that morning we did something else I'd been meaning to do again. We planted our garden. Really I should just call it a tomato patch but this year I added peppers and marigolds. If all goes well we will be purple pepper eatin' people.

We put in four tomato plants: Carolina Gold, Supersonic, Grape and Chocolate Cherry. Marigolds are supposed to deter insects. Guess we'll test that theory again too. I don't remember noticing a difference last time we tried. I do know beer in a shallow dish does take care of slugs. The ground is covered with fresh grass clippings to keep the weeds from growing. That has worked for us in the past. There may not be much contrast in picture but give it a couple of days the grass turns brown and all you see is the green plants.

Now if I can just figure out a way to keep D from eating all the tomatoes before I get home. He does love tomatoes ever so much.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Stash fluffing

The other day was such a beautiful day. It called to me to bring out the stash for some airing. Don't worry I aired myself and the cats too. Gus did not really want to go back inside but he knows a packed up yarn basket means Mom is on the move.

While I was out there I took a couple of pictures. You know after I let it lay around sunning itself. I figure it is good to give it some air to deter some moths. For all I know I just brought the moths inside. 

It sure is pretty though. D came out to check on me and asked if this was all of the stash... I said no but it is "most" of the stash.

 I think somewhere around half of it is from my various Rhinebeck trips. The oldest one in there is from 2009, at least it is not a decade old...yet. 

I am finding it easier to give up some of the yarns I bought for myself to D's benefit. It used to be that I would only knit socks for him from yarn I bought specifically for him. In my mind though more than half of that is still socks for me. Good thing it is only in my mind, I am allowed to be yarn selfish there aren't I?

Yes my beloved Zauberballs ride on top, what makes them great vacation yarn also makes them difficult to tuck neatly in the stash. Spheres tend to roll. That is your yarn physics lesson for the day.

Tomorrow's lesson will be titled "String theory: how to make it into one giant cosmic knot."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Saddle sweater progress

I hate knitting sleeves last for some reason, so I got smart and started knitting sleeves halfway through the project instead. Plus I finally applied a technique that makes all the difference. I have a hard time keeping track of what row I'm on in a large project like this. Every tenth row is a decrease row. Instead of losing my place and confusing myself, now I run a piece of waste yarn and flip it back and forth between stitches every five rows. If the yarn end comes out towards me I know it is a decrease round. And if I need to do eight decrease rounds I can just count how many flips of yarn I've made. 

So easy yet so brilliant. I've never been able to keep track of a sleeve so well as when I've been doing this.

Working the short rows to make the sleeve caps required two sets of circular needles. One to knit back and forth on and one to hold the stitches waiting to be wrapped. It is amazing how much easier things are when you apply the right tools and techniques.

This must be my learning sweater because I finally figured out how to write up the pattern steps on note cards so it is easier to keep track of where I am and what I am doing. Unless of course you misread 17 cm as 17 inches. Man that was one deep armhole I tell you! Almost three times as deep as needed.

I even use waste yarn to mark the center line of the saddle shoulder. Waste yarn being the left over bits after I make socks. Naw I don't have any of that stuff laying around my house at all. Left over sock yarn? Bags of it? Nope not me, that is just my helper stash there. Yet another reason to knit D some bright obnoxious socks, my marking yarn will contrast with my sedate sweaters more.

And here I thought loud socks were just to annoy the guys at the gym.