Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Monitor Saga Continues...More Sock Knitting & Spinning

I guess my monitor doesn't want to be replaced yet.  The sunshine was bouncing off the snow in my front yard so I put the blind down and suddenly the monitor looked fine to me.  I guess it was just glare from all the white snow and sunshine making it look different.  Oh well.  It looks like my little shopping trip is put on hold for a while longer, which I don't mind.  :)

I managed to finish the re-do of the first Van Dyke sock.  Sock 2 will be started tonight.  I'm also busy trying to empty some more bobbins in order to prepare for the January bag of fiber for the first Project Stash Buster month.  It's some Spunky Eclectic  merino that has been sitting around for a while.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Post-Christmas Shopping By Necessity

It's finally happening. My monitor is giving up on me.  Even with the brightest setting, the color is very dull.  This means I get to go shopping for a new one in a few days.  Since the speakers are attached  to the sides, I'm getting those replaced, too. I've been wanting a flat, skinny monitor ever since they came out, but refused to toss the perfectly good one I've been using.  It's 8 years old, and was bought with my first computer back in 2001.  The screen is a flat one, but it's a big bubble type monitor.   I think it's served me well.

I'm heading over to check out some online store sites now.  :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to All

It's a quiet night here.  Pat is watching "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" while I knit on my Spruce scarf a bit.  It's not going to be finished by tomorrow for the contest the designer, Susan Pandorf, is having.  Everyone votes for their favorite of the finished scarves and the winner gets all of next year's patterns as a prize. 

My Van Dyke sock also had to be ripped back below the gusset because it was just too long in the foot.  If I put it on so the toe fit properly, the heel was too high.  If I put it on so the heel fit properly, there was a flappy bit on the toe.  I'll finish them next month.

The menu is planned for tomorrow.  It's a simple meal of broiled scallops, baked smashed potatoes with cheese and topped with a little bacon and sour cream, carrots, broccoli, and rolls.  The pumpkin ginger snap mousse is making a return as well at the request of Pat and his brother.

Have a wonderful holiday everyone.  :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Grazing Reindeer Family.... The Tree is Decorated

I had some reindeer visiting me tonight.  There's a lovely mama, papa, and three babies in my front lawn.  They will be there until after New Year's.  Oh, I forgot to mention they are very pretty lit up.  Santa is waving in the corner of the window to everyone as they walk by.   :)  It was spitting snow when I took the pictures.


Here's a close up.


  The Christmas tree is no longer naked.  It's a bit skimpy by my usual standards, but very pretty.  Some of the ornaments didn't show up in the picture.  That's Tiger in the window checking for any outside activity.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Parties, a Tough Week, an Angry Little Dog

Last Thursday evening, Dec. 9, was the Ocean State Knit and Crochet Guild annual Holiday Party.  Lots of yummy foods were consumed before the Yankee Swap commenced. Gifts were opened among much laughter and good fun. I did sample a little piece of fudge, but passed on all the other sweet desserts.

Sunday, Dec. 12, was the monthly gathering of the Happy Hands Fiber Arts Group in North Stonington. We are a very eclectic group so this was not a Holiday Party, just our regular get together.  We did bring munchies to share.  Again, it was all very delicious.  I didn't have any candy or cookies. 

While spinning on my Sonata, I was getting very nauseous with the wheel spinning around in my line of vision and very cold. By the time I left, I just wanted to get home.  The torrential rains didn't help with the hour plus drive.  At one point, I had to pull off the highway and sit for a bit.  I got home, put the dip and veggies I had brought in the fridge, put on a nightgown, and crawled into bed.  I stayed there for the rest of Sunday, and the majority of Monday and Tuesday.    I think it was some kind of bug.  I didn't touch my knitting at all.  Today, I'm feeling more myself. 

Right now, I need to deal with a very pissed off Pooh.  He is vocally demanding a cookie, which he will not be getting.  Then I will be climbing into my recliner to knit for a bit.

Update:  Pooh has yapped himself to exhaustion and is now sleeping next to Hanna.  He's been a brat all night.  I still love him though.  Pooh on the left and Hanna on the right.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Keeping a Tradition...and...The Naked Christmas Tree

Every year, it was traditional to start decorating the house on my mom's birthday which is tomorrow, December 7th.  I've missed doing this tradition a few years, but this year I am renewing it.  The tree was brought up from the basement, and the reindeer are waiting for the first visit to my front yard.  I bought them a couple years ago and just never put them out.  I'm not sure about decorating the fireplace.  That may just prove too much of a kitty temptation.

The last time I had my big Christmas tree decorated was 2005.  We had the rescue kittens which were in isolation from my other cats until they were old enough to be tested, so I put it up.  Since then it has been in storage in the basement.  Ever since their arrival, I've put a small table one up. Moving it into the front hall and putting it back when I got home every day from work was the only way I could think to keep it kitty proof. Even after retiring in 2007, I used the small one.  That year, I had a broken wrist and couldn't even handle that.  Pat had to help me.

Now the "kids" are 5 years old, I decided to try putting it up again this year. Tonight, in the setting up.  If no one climbs it or hides in it, I will put the lights on it tomorrow.  Then some ribbon garland, bows, and my angel on top in a couple more days.  I won't be putting any of my regular ornaments on it since they are all ceramic, spun glass, or crystal.  I do have some plastic candy canes and icicles I used on the small tree I can put on it.  That's it.  It will still be a little naked compared to my usual glittery tree I love.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Project Stash Buster

The other day I was talking to my friend Monet on Plurk about sock clubs.  I  told her I plan to create my own "club" from my stash by bagging up a skein of yarn and a pattern for each month, label with the month, and knit them in order.  This got me to thinking of doing the same thing for a "fiber club". 

I posted about this in the Spinning in Rhode Island group on Ravelry.  So far, Monet, Sandi, and I are playing.   We start on January 1, 2011 in order to give everyone the rest of December to get the bags ready.  It was mentioned that it might be fun to add an incentive of a prize for the person who comes closest to spinning up all 12 months of bags. I'm hoping to get around 5 to 10 people to join us so we can turn it into a contest. If we make this a contest, a photo will have to be posted to show the 12 fiber bags and another to show the spun yarn at the end of the year.

I started the group for people who  spin, and are in RI, or nearby  CT or MA because there wasn't a spinning group on Ravelry for my state. If you are in the area, or want to hang out with us, come join the group and post to the "Project Stash Buster" thread.

We also have a friendly thread every month for a 4 ounce spin of your choice.  We encourage and share our progress in that one.  No prizes with that.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey Pot Pie and Finished Socks

The last of the turkey has been consumed in a yummy pot pie.  Since Pat can't eat gluten, I made it with a mashed potato topping.  I had just enough potatoes left on the shelf.  I think it came out quite tasty and have added this to my winter menu selections.  I can use the same recipe and substitute beef or chicken too for variety.

My Mongolfiera a/k/a Mystery Socks are finished.  The heel actually does fit the back of my foot. I was sitting in my recliner, and when I moved, they slid down a bit against my blanket.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Day is Finished, A Little Knitting Time

The Thanksgiving Day Feast was well received and enjoyed.  I have lots of left overs even after giving some to my brother-in-law.  The pumpkin ginger snap mousse was a success.  It is very rich so a little is plenty.  The dishes are done, out of the dishwasher, and the kitchen is restored to order.  It still has the lingering smell of roasted turkey.  Mmmm.  It's a nice smell. :)

I managed to get some knitting done on my sock 2 of the mystery sock pair.  Then the turkey nap struck for about an hour and a half.  A couple more rows were knit later.  About 20 rows total were completed which was much less than I had planned.  I was hoping to get the heel flap and heel turn done today. Oh well.  They will be done by tomorrow.

Now it's time for bed.  I'm not braving the masses tomorrow for Black Friday this year.  Since I don't need anything, I'm going to sleep in.  Happy shopping to all who endeavor to make the trip in the morning.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

I've already started cooking a couple things for tomorrow's meal.  The cranberry sauce and Pumpkin Ginger Snap Mousse are made.  There are 2 versions of the mousse.  One is gluten free for Pat and one is regular for Paul and myself.

The turkey and all the trimmings will get cooked tomorrow.  I'm actually keeping it pretty simple since there are only 3 of us for dinner.

Of course, Thanksgiving isn't only about the feast.  It's our day to reflect and be thankful for the good people and things we have in our lives.

- I'm thankful for my husband, Pat.
- I'm thankful for my friends.
- I'm thankful for my retirement.
- I'm thankful for my warm home, food on my table, clothes on my back.
- I'm thankful for my fiber pursuits.
- I'm thankful for my health issues improving since earlier in the year.

What are you thankful for this year?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mystery Sock Knitting, Spinning More Junebug

As of last night, I am caught up on the clues for my mystery sock.  The fourth clue comes out on Monday. 

Do you remember Junebug's fleece I was spinning in July?  It wasn't all spun at that time.  I've been spinning some colored/dyed fleece lately.  Tonight, I hope to work on Junebug and get at least a bobbin of singles done.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November Mystery Sock and a Late Night

I'm a bit late starting this, but I wanted to finish the beaded scarf.  I'm trying to be semi-monogamous in my knitting lately.  So last night saw the cast on of the November Mystery Sock from the Solid Socks group on Ravelry.  You are suppose to use solid or semi solid yarns in this group, so I'm knitting it in Wooly Wonka Fibers in the "Tide Pool" colorway.  It is a very light bluish green semi-solid although in the picture it looks like there are blue and green sections.  It really isn't variegated.  It's 100% Merino and I love how this yarn feels.  I have had it in the stash for a couple years after getting it from a de-stash on Ravelry.  Of course, it's now discontinued so I can't get any more.  :( 

I sat and knit on the sock, finishing clue 1.  I wasn't paying attention to the clock.  Thinking it was about 2 a.m. (my usual late night bedtime) I packed up.  When I looked at the clock it was 4 a.m.!  I was up at 9 so it will be a very early night tonight. lol



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Finishing Projects

This week saw the finishing of my beaded scarf.  I had to finagle the graft so it would look right.  I hadn't done a graft in ribbing before.  I think it looks o.k.

The Crown Mountain Farm Corriedale Fiber in "Stonehenge" is also finished. It came out a bit lighter than I expected, but I like it.  Eight ounces yielded 790 yards of 2 ply.  Here's a couple pictures, one of each bobbin after plying. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More Fiber Goodies, Slow Project Progress, and Needleless Cabling

Crafting has been slow this week.  I haven't had a lot of incentive to work on stuff.  Maybe the new meds are to blame or the time change. 

An opportunity was presented by CorgiHillFarm for members of her Ravelry group to get some of her dyed Cashmere/Silk blend at a special price.  I ended up with 4 ounces of a lovely Lilac color.  This is part of my "arm-chair festival shopping" last week.  It arrived earlier this week and is super soft.

I'm still working on my first beaded scarf.  I had plans to have it finished this past weekend, but, was sidetracked with non-fibery stuff.  I think I will have the second half done by tomorrow night or Saturday at the latest. Then it just needs to be grafted together.

Tonight is my knitting guild meeting which includes a lesson on how to knit cables without a needle.  This is perfect timing for me since I'm finally re-starting my TTL Mystery Socks again.  I tried doing this after watching YouTube videos, but, messed up.  Seeing someone do it in person will help.

The wheels are still busy with the same fibers.  Sunday will see more progress on the Fibers4Ewe fiber since I will be taking that to Happy Hands.  The Crown Mountain Fibers  Corrie fiber in "Stonehenge" has had some progress on the MInstrel.
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The person who was suppose to teach the cabling lesson wasn't able to attend tonight.  We ended up with a knitted item fashion show instead.  We had a lot of fun and laughter.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Can You Smell the Wool Fumes???

Tomorrow starts the inaugural Fiber Festival of New England. It's both Saturday and Sunday and it's in Springfield, MA at the Big E fairgrounds in the Mallory Building. I'm not going. Sniff, sniff. O.K. I wiped the tears up. I was suppose to go but there is no way I can walk or stand that long yet. I'll just have to imagine the wool fumes from the fleece sale, the kaleidoscope of color from the yarns and fibers, the frenzy of activity, and the low roar of all the people.

As I have posted before, I did some stash enhancement/fiber shopping online in the spirit of Rhinebeck last month. Well, I did the same thing today. CJKopec had a couple of fibers up I couldn't resist. "Autumn Rainbow" and "Christopher" are on their way to live in my stash. I'm calling these my FFofNE purchases. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So, everyone who goes this year, I wish you a wonderful weekend of fibery/yarny goodness. I'm going to be there next year right along with you. :)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Shhh .. I'm Taking a Sock Knitting Break

I decided to take a few days off knitting socks even though I joined the Sockvember group on Ravelry. My brain just needed a few days break from them. Instead I'm working on a beaded scarf. You knit it in 2 pieces and graft the center. Since I'm almost done with part one, I should be done with the other half this weekend. The yarn is Kraemer Sterling (the one with real silver), and the beads are seed beads in Amethyst and Iris colors, alternated.This picture was taken a couple days ago.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Day and Simplify Things

It's Election Day so please remember to go vote. I plan to later this afternoon.

The Painted Sheep has an ongoing Ten On Tuesday post that usually is a list of ten items pertaining to a particular topic. Today's was Simplify Things. I'm going to borrow the topic and put my thoughts here.

1. Plan and cook meals ahead so you have more than a day's worth at a time. It's much simpler to toss a dish in the microwave for a few minutes. The extra prep/cooking time can be spent doing other stuff.

2. Clean the house as you go. It will be much easier and quicker for the "big cleaning" on that one day you decide to do it.

3. If you have your own washer/dryer do a batch as soon as you have enough. It will be less of a chore than waiting to do it all in one day. If you go to the laundrymat, bring something along to keep you busy while sitting there.

4. Work down the fiber/yarn stash or your craft/hobby stashes. It's much easier to pick the next item if there is less to go through to choose it. (I'm seriously working on this one.)

5. Only buy what you need. Save "want" shopping as a treat, reward, or present to yourself.

6. Spend time with friends just hanging out. You don't need an event, party, or expensive night out to enjoy each other's company.

7. Remove the "fluff" friends. You know the ones I mean.

8. If you haven't worn or used it in 2 years, toss it. (I'm working on this one too.)

9. Take time to breathe, reflect on the good things, and enjoy what Mother Nature has given us. Let go of the stuff you can't control or change. This helps center me.

10. Enjoy life. We only get this one chance so make it a happy one without carrying around "baggage" from the past.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Crocus are Finished, Lily's Fleece, And a Fun Evening

Tonight was a fun evening with lots of lovely people visiting the Senior Center. I managed to finish the ribbing of the Crocus socks up to the bind off. I needed to do that at home because I needed to view the tutorial for Jeny's Suprprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. I think this will be my new bind off on all ribbed items.

Here's a picture of one of the Crocus beauties on my foot.


I also came home with Lily's fleece. I was suppose to get it in two weeks, but Barbara showed up with it tonight. It's soooo soft and beautiful. Lily is a 2 year old white alpaca.

I think I will spin for a bit now.

In the Home Stretch of Socktoberfest, Another Demo, Birthday Presents

There are just today and tomorrow left of Socktoberfest. My Crocus socks are almost there. I need to finish the ribbing tonight. That should be easy since I'm doing a demo with Happy Hands at the North Stonington Senior Center this evening. Instead of bringing my wheel, I'm knitting. It will round out our group. We have someone spinning, weaving, knitting, and maybe spindling. Next month is Sockvember so I plan to get the Through The Loops Mystery socks done for that while working on my Spruce scarf.

Yesterday was my birthday. Pat had the day off work for some other stuff, so it was nice to have an extra evening with him. We ended up going shopping and checking out the local BJ's. We had a 60 day free membership offer. I don't think we will be buying a membership though. We didn't find that many items we would purchase in the future.

Pat gave me a cute card that made me laugh. Since we usually buy what we want during the year, birthdays and Christmas gifts are usually gift cards or money. Some of my birthday money didn't last long. I went shopping on etsy after finding a link on a Plurk post for a really cool spindle. It's made of acrylic and has an etching on it. That and 2 "lamb tails" are on their way to me. The lamb tails are round discs with a slit to hold your yarn if you need to stop spinning. You hang them from your wheel near the orifice. I use a Velcro dot right now and this works well. These little clear etched discs just called to me so I bought them.

I need to get my knitting in it's tote and ready to go tonight. I will also be bringing my Ditto that has been hibernating and might try working on some of the increases again. This is the kind of weather when I wish I had finished it since I would be toasty warm with it on now.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Spinning with the Alpaca

Today was spent at Rocky Ridge Alpaca Farm in North Stonington, CT. with some friends. Sue and I were doing the spinning demo and there was a person demonstrating how to make leashes from fiber. There was farm raised garlic from a neighboring farm for sale as well as handmade items in the sale shed. Hot chocolate, tea, coffee, apple cider, and pastries were available to keep us warm and full.

The weather co-operated and stayed dry. It was a bit chilly in the morning, but tolerable. Then the wind kicked up for a while. After that the sun came out and it was so nice.

I have a beautiful white fleece to pick up in a couple of weeks at the next Happy Hands gathering. Her name is Lily.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Knitting at the Speed of a Snail

At the pace of my knitting today, which was only for about a half hour, I will never get the socks finished for Socktoberfest. Ughh! I think I will go do a bit more now that I have guilted myself into knitting.

The second day of the new medication went well. I had no noticeable side effects. My appetite was a bit reduced again though. That's a good thing. :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Socktoberfest Knitting Continues...More Spinning...New Medication

With only 10 days left in Socktoberfest, I think I will fail to complete all 3 pairs of socks. One pair might be done. There has been some non-knitting things happening that required my attention and definitely cut into my knit time. The frogging of my Through The Loops mystery sock put a damper on progress as well. I had over half the leg finished when it was frogged.

Esmeralda, the Sonata, has some pretty pin drafted fiber from Fibers4Ewe on it right now. I haven't touched it since Happy Hands last Saturday. Millicent, the Minstrel, has some Crown Mountain Fibers on it right now. For some reason, I had a little bit of this fiber separate from the rest of the 8 ounces so I started spinning it. Now, I can't find the rest of it in the stash. This company wraps their items in white paper. I forgot I had put it in plastic bags and spent some time looking for the original white paper wrapping. In a little while, I'll go look through the bins again for it. :)

On Tuesday, I went to my diabetes doctor. Let's just say I didn't get any real surprises from him in regards to how I am progressing. He has added another medication to my repertoire. Now, I have an injection in the morning as well as my other med in the evening. It is a relatively new medication with some side effects that can be very disruptive. You start with a small dose, and after a week increase to another level, followed a week later with the full dose. It's suppose to lower your blood sugar, and, decrease your appetite which will cause/help you to lose weight. If I can tolerate the adjustment periods, this med will be a huge help to me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Sock Do Over

The Through The Loops Mystery Sock is very pretty. Unfortunately, I've been riddled with problems that are no fault of this pattern. The designer did an excellent job explaining it.

The first yarn I chose didn't show the design. I fixed that by changing to a burgundy shaded yarn. It's still variegated, but all the hues are variables of the burgundy.

It was my first real cables and I cursed my way through the painfully slow knitting of the ribbing which was clue 1. Then I got clue 2 and zip along through the first half of the leg. As I was ready to start the second pattern of the leg, I finally admitted to myself that the sock was looking a bit too big. Slowly Pat slipped it over my foot. He didn't want to lose any of the stitches. Then all was confirmed. The rib was too loose. It just slid up and down my leg without even attempting to stretch to hug my calf. Now, I'm a plus size lady with big calves. I usually don't like my socks too high. The ribbing, when stretched, could have almost been used for knee sock length.

So, off to the frog pond my lovely burgundy colored sock went. I think I will knit on Crocus a little bit first this evening just to prepare myself for those darn cables when I start it later tonight.

I think I'll take a quick ride to Best Buy for a bit of retail pity shopping. O.K. - Truthfully, I was going anyway to get Season 4 of "The Tudors" which was released this past Tuesday. See you later.........

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Brrrr. The Chill Of Fall Is In The Air

The last few nights has seen the use of a blanket on the bed. I can feel the temperature difference that marks the beginning of Fall. There is also the smell of fireplaces and wood stoves having been lit for the first time in the season. I do so love the smell of a toasty fire. That smell always reminds me of camping in the summer, too. Pumpkins, corn stalks, apples, and cider are also happy reminders of the season. Now I want to go to an orchard. The cooler days also reminds me that winter is not far away with the cold white snow and ice. I can live without that last part for a while longer. I'm not a lover of the winter weather.

It's time to pack away the shorts, sleevelss shirts, and lightweight clothes of summer. Now it's time to dig out the cool weather clothes including sweaters, jackets, mitts, fleece tops and pants, and wool socks. Usually, I wear the socks all year, but this year found me wearing cotton during the warmer and hotter seasons.

I better get back to knitting the latest 3 pairs as well as my poor languishing sweater so they are ready for frosty days ahead.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Yay! For Socktoberfest!!

I love knitting socks. They are so portable and condensed. It's much easier to carry a sock in a bag to knit on than a sweater in progress. We have a button for this year's Socktoberfest.O.K. I'm heading back to my Crocus sock. I'm on the gusset increases of sock 2. Once I get the heel flap in, I'll knit the legs of both socks at the same time.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Knitting and Spinning Photos, My New Spinning Spot

I finally got the pictures of some of my recently finished knitting and some finished spinning. This is the "Blueberry Hill Yogurt" by DkKnits. She is no longer dyeing fibers or yarn. I'm spinning the last 4 ounces of the pound now.







The next two are of my "Rosebud Socks" by wendyknits.









The next two are of my "Legolas" kerchief by Susan Pandorf. The left is the entire kerchief and the right is a close up of the stitches.







The final picture is my new spot for spinning. Pat hasn't had time to put the rails or awning up on on the deck yet, but I still love sitting out there on a nice day and spinning.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Socktoberfest 2010 Plans...and New Sneakers,

October 1st is the beginning of Socktoberfest and I am planning to finish my Crocus socks, and a pair of plain vanilla ones. Over on Ravelry, Through the Loops will also be starting her Mystery Sock 2010 on the 1st. That pattern calls for a semi-solid color yarn which I still need to stash dive for. Those 3 pairs should see me through October. Lace knitting is still ongoing with Evenstar and Spruce both coming along slowly.

In between knitting, I'm spinning the last of "Blueberry Hill Yogurt" from DkKnits 2009 fiber club. Then it's back to Junebug's fleece for some more sweater spinning.

My little dog, Hanna, just had her 14th birthday. She is such a little princess. :)

The weather is much cooler, even though it's been cloudy with showers on and off. I don't mind the lack of humidity at all. The temperature is making me want to get into my dye room and create.

Today was my podiatrist appointment. I now have nice short nails, and pretty new sneakers with customized insoles formed to my feet. The sneakers are so comfortable and have good support that give a nice bounce/spring when you walk. Very spiffy if I say so myself. :) Here's hoping they make my feet feel better which will make my back feel better.

O.K. It's time to head back to some more spinning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Oh No!! Camera Batteries Died....Solstice Spinning Plans

Last Wednesday was the monthly Ocean State Knit and Crochet Guild meeting. I love spending time with these ladies. I always come away with a smile on my face and heart. I actually had finished objects for show and tell. Everyone loved Legolas and Rosebud. The in progress Crocus socks were also shown off. I've been meaning to get some pictures of Legolas and Rosebud Socks, so today I set them up for their photo shoot on the outside table. Unfortunately, I didn't realize the batteries were kaput in the camera with no more in the house. I'll pick some up tomorrow since my back was not co-operative with walking today. Dealing with the pain is a day to day, sometimes hour to hour, thing.

I did spend a couple hours on the deck with Millie Minstrel Navajo plying 4 ounces of Superwash BFL fiber. The deck still isn't finished yet. It needs it's railings and handrail as well as staining/sealing. The temptation to sit outside was too much to resist. I just put my chair on the house side, turned my face to the nice breeze, and relaxed. Pat was working on putting up my new clothesline poles while I was out there. There will be 4 shorter lines instead of just the one long one, which will give me twice the amount of space to hang clothes.

Tonight is the Fall Solstice and the completion of our latest round on the "Spin Your Stash" group on Ravelry. I added up all the spinning I had done since the Spring Solstice. Including the 4 ounces I finished today, my total of spun and plied yarn/fiber is 5 pounds. I've set some goals for the round which will end with the next Spring Solstice. There is not an actual poundage goal for this one, but, plans to finish my Junebug fleece, spin up at least one of my 92 quart bins, finish a spinning UFO that is 3 years in the works, wash 4 fleeces and get them to the mill for processing. That's enough to keep me busy. :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Spinning With Happy Hands

Today was spent with my friends from Happy Hands Fiber Arts at our monthly gathering in North Stonington, CT. It felt good to spin with friends I hadn't seen since July. I managed to navajo ply almost all of 2 different bobbins. There was spinning, knitting, crocheting, weaving and needlefelting all happening. It's so great to see so many different talents being shared at the same time.

Later, in the evening, it was knitting time with some friends. Crocus is growing with the gusset increases in process. My goal is to be on the heel flap by Wednesday. I'm planning to knit on that part a bit while at my Ocean State Knit and Crochet Guild meeting.

I am sort of tired so I'm going to have an early night. See ya soon!!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Finishing and Starting

The Rosebud Socks are finished and I've started the Crocus Socks. I know crocuses come in many colors, but the one in my yard is a beautiful shade of purple. Because of this, I decided to knit these in Cascade Heritage Sock yarn in color number 5625 "Hyacinth". It's a pretty solid shade of purple and it shows the stitch definition really well. I do like the feel of the yarn and the way it knits. The pattern is a 16 row repeat which makes a very pretty lace.

While looking for the yarn for the Crocus socks, I found my missing fiber I want to spin for the lace part of my February Lady Sweater. It's only been missing for about a year and a half. Ironically, it was in the bin right in the living room. This fiber is from Wintechog Hill Farm and is a Coopworth Hoggett/Alpaca Cria/ Angelina blend in black. I might need to get more though. I think I will be short on the yardage. I did finish both shades of the "I Wanna Be A Pink Poinsettia" singles. I need to ply a sample of the two shades to see if I like the look or if I need to ply each shade separately. After that is finished, I want to spin some more of my Junebug fleece and the black fiber. I might alternate so I don't get bored with just one color.

This weekend's plan include spending some time in my craft room washing some fleece on Saturday and getting together with my Happy Hands pals on Sunday. I am looking forward to seeing them since I wasn't able to make it to the August gathering.

Evenstar is getting some attention as well. The new Ott lamp really helps a lot. I'm no longer struggling trying to see the tiny stitches with a table lamp.

As far as my current health issues, I'm doing o.k. There is still a lot of pain in the back and leg, but I can't do anything about that right now. I've been trying to walk and move around more which should help. This week's weigh-in found me 2 pounds lighter which is good. I hope this upcoming weigh-in finds me down some more.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I Have A Diagnosis

Today was the follow up with my orthopedic doctor. The news is not good. I have severe spinal stenosis. According to the doctor, I will definitely need surgery in the near future for this. I really don't want surgery, but he feels therapy won't really do me any good. In order to do the surgery, I need to work on losing weight faster than I have been.

This news follows the news from last week about the necessary dental surgery. My head is spinning right now. It's a lot to process at one time.

I'm going to knit for a while and think.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Open Farm CANCELLED

Thanks to Hurricane Earl, Wintechog Hill Farm's Open Farm Weekend is CANCELLED. If you were planning to go, you can contact Sandi at the info in the previous post to make an appointment to check out the fleece, fiber and other goodies.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Open Farm Weekend and a Surprise

Saturday, September 4, and Sunday, September 5, will find me at my friend Sandi's Open Farm Event. I couldn't do copy/paste so had to type the info below:

Wintechog Hill Farm Open Farm Event

Hours for both Saturday and Sunday will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sandi will have both millspun and handspun yarns. Both raw and washed Coopworth fleece will sold by the pound. Coopworth/Coopworth blends will be for sale as regular roving, pin drafted roving, pencil roving, and custom batts for your handspinning or felting needs.

There will be handmade knit items, hand dyed yarns and stitch markers for knitting and crocheting by Shady Fibers.

CK6 Designs will have hand dyed batts for spinning.

Everything will be set up in the barn so this is a rain or shine event. NO CAMERAS PLEASE! Bring your knitting or spinning and hang out with us for a while.

Sandi Nemeskay Wintechog Hill Farm
116A Wintechog Hill Rd. North Stonington, CT 06359
860-912-0240 or 860-535-4046 if more info or directions are needed.

If you haven't figured it out, the surprise part is that I'm CK6 Designs. :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Week of Good & Bad

This has been a mixed week. I'll start with Saturday.
Good: I had my MRI of my back.
Bad: It took two Valium for me to get in the darn machine and I was foggy for the rest of the day. No knitting. Just lots of hanging out.

Sunday was a quiet day.
Good: Part of the foot of Sock 2 was knit.
Bad: I damaged my dental implant.

Monday saw me at the dentist.
Good: The implant is fixed. I had also been having pain for about a week so an X-ray was taken.
Bad: He had to do a minor surgery around the implant base.
Very Bad: I need to have a bone graft to repair some bone loss around the implant base. This is not an option. I must have the surgery. I've had this 2 other times and it's the worst pain I have ever had in my life.

Monday night found me knitting on Sock 2 again. I'm on the last increase of the gusset flap. I'll start the decreases and do the heel flap tomorrow.

Today, Tuesday, was Weight Watchers day.
Good: Stayed the same. There is no bad with this since I have lost 14 pounds since August 3.
Good: I spent a little over an hour spinning on Millie Minstrel tonight. If I have a chance tomorrow, I might finish spinning the last bit I have left. It is "I Wanna Be a Pink Poinsettia" which I dyed a while ago. If all is going well, I might start the other half which is slightly lighter.

I'm really tired so am going to have an early night. See you soon.

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Well, I had planned to go to bed about 3 hours ago, but am still awake. Millie and I spent another hour together and I've finished spinning the first half and started the second half. It's much softer in colors compared to the first bobbin. I need to decide if I still want to ply them together or just knit with both of them in a project.

Now, it's almost 3 a.m so I'm really going to bed now. Goodnight.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rosebud Sock Update

Yesterday afternoon found me spending some time at the orthopedist office. I know the wait is usually about 45 minutes, so I made sure to bring some knitting. Of course, I forgot the pattern book at home and couldn't knit any more after I finished the stockinette portion of the toe. Due to my diabetes, I have extremely sensitive feet and don't like the patterning to go all the way to my toes. To compensate for this, I do about 5 rows of stockinette prior to starting the actual pattern. Sometimes, if it's a very textured pattern, I don't do any pattern on the top of the foot. It all depends on what the fabric will feel like. I finished the toe increases and stockinette with about 10 minutes to sit and wait in the exam room.

It seems I might have spinal stenosis which is a narrowing of the spinal column. This is usually caused by osteoarthritis. The arthritis pushes the discs out of place or alignment and squeeze the nerves which cause the pain, tingling, numbness, and inability to be mobile. My MRI is scheduled for tomorrow. Thanks to my severe claustrophobia, I have to go in the Open MRI machine. Also, I have to take a Valium just to get in that machine. I feel like such a wimp, but, can't help it. The claustrophobia can be over powering during that test. My follow up is next week and I hope the treatment plan is simply therapy. I really don't want surgery.

Last night was spent working on the Rosebud sock again with 2/3 of the first 24 row pattern repeat in place. I plan to spend this evening with it again. My goal is to have this pair finished for next weekend so I can move them from the WIP pile to the FO pile. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Slow Road Back

As I sit here thinking about this past week, I feel some good progress has been made. Tuesday saw me able to spin on my wheel again. I only spent about 15 minutes but it felt so good just to put my feet on the treadles again. The leg and back were o.k. and I plan to do another 15 minutes later today. I figure it's a good idea to work my way into it slowly again.

Last night found me just relaxing and watching t.v. The shocking part is - No knitting! I just didn't feel like it.

I'm a little worried about my Rosebud socks. These are lace socks worked over a 24 row pattern. The original toe-up pattern from Wendy Knits uses a 450 yard skein. I must have missed this when I stash dived for these. I chose a gorgeous hot pink/fuchsia skein of Socks That Rock in "Lover's Leap". Unfortunately, there is only 360 yards in the skein. The first sock is knit through the heel flap and put aside. The second sock will be started tonight and worked until I get to the same point. After weighing the yarn, and sock 1, it should take another 1.5 ounces to do this. That will leave me 1.5 ounces to finish them. At this time, I estimate I can get 2 full repeats on the leg, which looks to be what is in the original photo. If I have enough, I will knit the rib section even though it might be a little shorter than the original. The other option I have is to dye a skein in a similar color which will give a slight contrast at the top and use that for the rib. I will have to wait and see how it turns out.

While on the road to the store, I made a quick visit to JoAnn's and got a second Ott Lamp for my living room. I really needed better lighting near my recliner and didn't want to keep moving the other lamp back and forth from the desk area. The new lamp has a magnifier attachment. Lately, I've noticed the small stitches are just a tiny bit harder to see. I do have reading glasses, but can't find them right now. I might put the lamp together later and then I can use it to start the second Rosebud sock later.

As for the back, I am feeling much better. The last few days have seen much improvement in my walking and moving around. There has even been a couple visits to the store. Maybe the cooler temperatures and less humidity of late are helping calm the muscles down. I did notice less swelling in my feet and hands which I usually have during the summer months.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

No Spinning on My Wheel For Me

Thanks to my current back and leg pain, I've had to miss out on participating in the spinning demo at Washington County Fair this year. If I try to treadle my wheel, I have pain running from my back into my leg all the way to the front of my calf. One of my spindles has been getting some use though. I have an appointment next week with my orthopedic doctor so hopefully, I will get some relief.

So instead of spinning, I'm still knitting. Legolas was finished a few days ago, but is still not blocked at this time. (This pattern is part of the Fellowship of the Rings series and not available individually.) The first "Rosebud Sock" is coming along nicely. Tonight was my knitting guild meeting at one of the member's home. I was going to go, but didn't feel up to it. The last three weeks has been spent pretty much at home.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Oh What a Pain in the Butt!!

I have chronic back pain due to the 28 years I worked as a CNA. I usually just live with it.

Last Thursday I had a back ache which progressively got worse by Monday. That's when the leg started to ache. Each day it was a bit worse. I called my doctor on Thursday and got something to help relax the muscles. It didn't work. My knitting guild had a bus trip to WEBS this Saturday which I was really looking forward to going on. I had to give in and cancel my seat on Thursday.

I can walk about a couple minutes before the pain starts to radiate down my leg. As of right now, it's from the back, across the butt, and down the leg to the calf. I decided to go to the walk in treatment center today. The doctor took x-rays and thankfully, I don't have any discs out of place or anything. It looks like the arthritis is pressing on the nerves. He said I have sciatica, which I knew already. It was also good news to learn I don't have a blood clot or anything. I just wanted someone to give me some advice or meds to help relieve the pain a bit. He gave me a different med to take, ordered ice and heat packs intermittently twice a day, and told me to come back in 10 days if it's not better.

Well, needless to say, there has been no spinning all week since Monday. So instead, I have been knitting. I started my "Rosebud" socks and had to frog them because I was making them too big on the size 1 needles. The pattern called for size 0 but I thought it might be too tight for my foot. When I started them over, I promptly broke my needles. New ones are on their way here as of tomorrow thanks to great customer service from Knit Picks.

The medication makes lace knitting with lace weight yarn too hard to focus on so I started "Legolas" finally. It's still lace but knit with DK weight yarn. I'm on chart 2 and all I can say is that the meds make it interesting to figure out this pattern.

Hopefully, I will be able to start spinning again soon, but, in the meantime the knitting is getting some loving attention.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Bad Case of Start-itis

I'm not sure why, but I have a bad case of Start-itis. Thankfully, it isn't usually contagious. Currently, my "Evenstar" shawl has been sharing knitting time with my "Ditto" sweater, "Legolas" kerchief/scarf, and all the Tour de Fleece spinning. There also is the "Spruce" scarf I need to finish before December. That all changed over the last few days.

Before TdF I had done some solar dyeing with a sport weight yarn. Plans were to make another pair of "Rocky Butte" socks with this yarn. Unfortunately, I didn't realize I needed 2 skeins for socks. The yardage just isn't enough in one skein. Instead, they are to be knit in my other Fiesta Baby Boom yarn. That's one addition to the project basket.

Today another project joined the pack. A nice bright pink skein of Socks That Rock in "Lovers Leap" will become "Rosebud" socks by Wendy Johnson. The pattern in in her latest book "Toe-Up Socks for Everybody".

"Skuld" and "Verdandi" shawls, both by Anna Dalvi a/k/a knitandknag, are also in the pile to be done.

That's eight projects! I hope I'm cured of Start-itis soon. The only cure I know of at this time is Finish-itis.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Gremlins Attack Again

Yesterday was the Challenge Day for Tour de Fleece. I've been busy spinning my "Junebug" Coopworth fleece. A few other batts were spun or plied in between just to break up spinning the same project.
My decision, at the beginning of TdF, was to ply my Coop singles with my jumbo flyer on my Sonata wheel. After searching for two days, I had decided the Gremlins had hidden it on me. Bins and tote bags were looked in over and over again. I know I looked in a certain bin and it wasn't there. Then I happened to look over at this bin and there it was right at the top.

The flyer is on my wheel and I'm going to ply now. The plan is to ply as many of the 8 bobbins as I can tonight. There are only tonight, Saturday, and Sunday left for me to finish them in.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Memories of a Grill

When I mentioned cooking supper on the grill, I was reminded of a story about a grill.

In 1979 I went to work for the state of Rhode Island. I was a CNA at what was then known as The Medical Center - General Hospital. Now, it's called Eleanor Slater Hospital. Every summer the union put on a summer cookout for the members. There were also raffle tickets sold with some very nice prizes. The summer of 1980 was my first one working there. I bought a ticket, never thinking to win anything. Well, I won the second place prize - a grill.

This grill was cooked on every summer until 1988 when my boyfriend at the time decided to buy me a new "fancier" model. The still working grill was passed on to someone who passed it on to her boyfriend when she decided to re-locate out of state.

Many years go by and in 1999 I met the man I would eventually marry. One night we had to stop by his house. He called me into the back yard to show me something. It was a complete shock to me to see my old grill still in use. He was the former boyfriend of the person I had given it to 11 years earlier.

Well, the end of the tale is this: The grill is now 30 years old and I've been cooking on it again since 2000.

Here's the latest food I cooked on it tonight. Italian Sausage Shish Kabobs. The left picture is as they were put on the grill and the right is off the skewer on my dinner plate. The juice is from the veggies and the dab of margarine I put on my potato.












While I was cooking supper, Tipper the cat was cooling his belly in the hall.



Uh Oh! Pickle Jars On the Loose!!

The two large pickle jars are at it again. The sun bathing started about 2 hours ago. These jars have no shame. They are out their in all their naked glory just soaking up that sun.

This time, it's 6 ounces of BFL fiber in each one. The KoolAid is Cherry and Grape, which is used in both jars. I'm trying for a two toned fiber with some blended color. If it works, I have 12 ounces to spin into something nice.

Pictures will be added as soon as I take them. It's time to make supper on the grill, so I will try to take them while out there. BTW, since it's so hot, supper is shish kabobs tonight.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our Neighbors At the Fair

I forgot to mention the wonderful neighbors we had next to us at the fair. These lovely ladies and gentlemen were very entertaining.

They won 3 ribbons. :)
Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's Off to the Fair I Go!!!
(Warning: Picture heavy post.)

I just spent three wonderful, fun filled days participating at the North Stonington Fair with the Happy Hands Fiber Arts group. We did a demo that included wheel and spindle spinning, tri-loom weaving, drum and hand carding, and knitting. The shawl in the pictures was a group effort. At last year's fair, Sandi had set up some roving for the children to dye with Kool Aid. Members of HHFA help spin the yarn from this roving and everyone who was part of the demo this year did some weaving on the shawl. I might see one of these looms in my future. :)

There was also a very educational display in the sheep judging part of the barn. The fleece and info in the display are complements of Alder Brook Farm which is owned by Sylvia Murray and David Pringle. The fleece is from a Romney named Martha. There is a nice picture of this fleece on the website under the "Fleece for Sale" section. It was very hard for me to resist buying this beauty. Happily, two of my friends bought her and I will get to see her after she is processed into roving.

Here are some pictures of our demo:




























These pictures are of some our bobbins we were spinning during the demo. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of all the bobbins or the spindles from everyone.














Thursday, June 24, 2010

Adventures of the Pickle Jars

Today's hot weather is perfect for putting the pickle jars out in the back yard. Let me explain. There are no pickles in the jars. One has fiber and one has yarn. I'm solar dyeing with Kool Aid. The steamy and soupy summer heat will cook them quickly. I think they might be done in a couple of hours. The left jar is 4 oz. of BFL and the right jar is 4 oz. of sport weight yarn. I'll post pictures of the finished items soon.
Just a quick note: No pickles were hurt during this adventure.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Springtime Fiber Fun

Thanks to Mother Nature for not letting it be too hot for me to be outside, I have managed to spend some happy time in my swing with my knitting.  I haven't finished any of my projects, but, progress is being made.  The current travel project, Fuzzy Feet Slippers, are knitted and just waiting to get felted. I need to pick up another WIP to be a travel project now. Evenstar is still at almost the same spot it has been lately.  It takes a while to a round on it now.

We had our annual swap at my Knitting guild last Thursday evening.  It was a terrific time with everyone going home with some new to them yarns and goodies.  I did win the grand prize gift certificate to WEBS which will be used when I go on our bus trip in July.  :)

The wheels have been very busy.  I am participating in a group on Ravelry called "Spin Your Stash".  Well, my mind had a blip and for some reason I thought we were finishing up this round on the first day of Summer.  Duh!  It's from the Spring Solstice to the Autumn Solstice in September.  My personal goal is to spin 3 pounds from the start to the finish.  Not including this week's spinning, my current total is 34 ounces.  I thought I had to have a marathon spinning session to make my goal.  Now, I think I will change my goal to 4 pounds.  :) There's nothing like a little challenge to keep you motivated.

Last Saturday was the Scottish Festival and I was part of my spinners guild demo in the morning.  Then, the guild had it's actual meeting in the afternoon where I managed to finish the singles from pink batt on "Esme Sonata".  Now, I just need to  2 ply that.

"Millie Minstrel" has been very busy with some Copperpot Woolies batts. I'm alternating bobbins between three similar colorways.  I was going to ply a single of 2 colors together.  I'm not sure now. The plying decision will be made later.  Right now, I'm taking a break from the batts and spinning a bit of wool that was dyed with Kool Ade.  It will be getting Navajo plied tonight.

Sunday was suppose to be Happy Hands monthly gathering, but it to be cancelled because the building where we meet was being painted . The weather was iffy with a possibility of rain, so spinning outside was not a good option either.  I did manage to meet up with some spin pals and spend a bit of time with them anyway.

Pooh and Hanna were way over-due for their vet visit.  We took them in last week and both passed with flying colors.  Hanna does have to have a couple of teeth out and a cleaning again.  She's in good shape for almost 14 years old. It's so funny to watch Pooh become so docile for the vet.  It's like an entire different animal.  lol  They both got their rabies shots so don't need that again for 3 years.  :)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Spinning Merino/Bamboo, MA S&W, and Llama Fleece!

Last weekend was very busy. Saturday was spent with my husband's aunt visiting the cemetery in the early afternoon. Then, I took him for his belated birthday supper at Panera. We found out they have a gluten free selection so he can eat there once in a while. After that, we visited the two cemeteries for my family.

Sunday was a long ride to MA Sheep & Woolfest in Cummington. I was suppose to go with 3 friends, but, life had other plans for them. I figured I would just skip it this year. Pat had other plans. He decided we were going. So off we went. I only bought some fiber from two vendors. I've been very conservative this year with the festivals. I need to work down the stashes. :)

Speaking of which, currently on my Minstrel wheel, Millicent, I have some lovely Merino/Bamboo blend from Copperpot Woolies. The colorway is "Victorian Holiday". The first photo is of what is left of the first 4 ounce bump and the second one waiting to be spun. The photo on the right is the bobbin of singles. The camera doesn't really show the shine from the white bamboo very well. I started spinning this last week and hope to finish the first bump tonight. It's coming out nice and thin.













My phone rang last night with a call from a young lady I had met in April. Her mother-in-law has a couple of llamas and she wanted to know if I still was interested in their fleeces. So today found me on the road going to collect two lovely fleece. One is dark brown and the other is fawn mixed with some white. There is quite a bit of guard hair and hay to be removed, but, I think they will be worth the end result. I'll post pictures of it once I get them washed.