Monday, July 12, 2021

Travels and Family Time

 I seem to only get around to posting once a month.  It's not that my life is so busy.  I just don't think about the blog that often.  I've noticed other bloggers are not as frequent also.  Maybe blogging is going out of style.

I finally received word that I will be starting work in August.  The contract negotiations for the project my vendor submitted me on are now complete.  We are only waiting for the purchase order to get issued.  Hopefully that won't take too long.  My vendor is hoping I can start on August 2.

Trisha and I went to Tennessee for a few days.  We stayed in Franklin and explored the area.

We found a cute coffee shop in Franklin before browsing all of the shops in town.

In Nashville we toured the Country Music Hall of Fame, walked the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland River and had lunch at Jason Aldean's restaurant.  Country music isn't my favorite genre but I did see a couple of John Denver's gold records.  

On our last afternoon we found a beautiful winery where we enjoyed a wine flight and the beautiful views.

Fourth of July weekend was a busy one.  My oldest sister, Mary Anne, came to visit from New Jersey.  It had been since Christmas 2019 since we saw each other.  My brother, Joe, spent a few days with me before I took him back to Cincinnati.  I also go to meet a couple family members that were born during COVID times.  Frankie is my first great-niece who is now 14 months old and Finn is fourth great-nephew, born in May.  Both are absolutely adorable and make me anxious to become a grandma.

Blake moved back to Cincinnati on Friday.  He isn't completely healed from his surgery, but is well enough that he doesn't need me to do wound care any longer.  He is moving from the UC campus area to an apartment in the far northern suburban section of Cincinnati.  I'm very glad he is getting away from the UC area and into a cleaner, more grown-up environment.  Ed and I aren't going to be able to help him move, but we hope to drive down to visit his new place soon.

On the knitting front, I've been spending most of my time on 3 projects.  

First is a pair of socks using Arne and Carlos' Mountain and Fjord collection. If I say so myself, I'm doing a fantastic job of making this into identical twin socks.

Once I am done with the socks I am going to make a cat toy out of the remaining yarn because Squeaks is fascinated by this yarn.  Saturday after coming back from running an errand, I found my knitting on the floor of the sunroom and a very guilty looking kitty hiding under the settee.

I am also nearing the finish line of the Pajama Cardigan by The Autumn Acorn.  I am working the sleeves two-at-a-time so that they come out the same and I avoid 'second sleeve/sock' syndrome.

My last active project actually isn't knitting.  I'm slowly crocheting flowers for the Arne and Carlos Astri Floral Throw.  I'm using some Knit Picks Palette that I have had in my stash for a very long time.  This is a slow project because it calls for 18 flowers in each of 18 different colorways.  I am also thinking about improvising a few leaf motifs to place randomly in the throw.  I think that will make it look more like a flower garden.  I'll have to make sure they have the same size and general shape so that they fit into the throw without distorting the rows.

Occassionally the neighbor's cat shows up on our front porch.  The cat's name is Topaz, but we call her Squeaks' Buddy.

Saturday morning I found her looking in the front door.  I made me laugh because it reminded me of when my siblings and I were kids and we ran over early to play at a neighbor's house how to play.  I could just imagine the kitty saying "Hi!  Can Squeaks come out to play?"

We don't let Squeaks outside (don't want to deal with the health issues that go along with an outdoor cat) so Squeaks and Topaz have to just visit through the door.  I wonder if they communicate somehow while they are staring at each other.  Occasionally one of them will roll around on the floor.  Neither seems to behave aggressively so I think they may get along fine if they were to be together.  I'm not going to test that theory.  Best to let them hang out this way and not tempt trouble.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Summer Nights

Knitting progress has slowed around here.  Although I'm still not working full-time, I do have a small job I'm doing for a friend. It kept me quite busy last week.  The worst part about it is that I could be in meetings at any point of the day, so it is hard to get a routine developed.  I'm not complaining, though.  It is getting me back in the work-mode for when I do return to full-time, which I now hear is going to be July,

I have been enjoying late summer nights on the deck with a glass of rose.

Strawberries are in season.  I bought these lovelies from my community's farmers market.

Last Friday Ed, Blake and I ventured over to Trisha's side of town.  Trisha's husband was out of town on a fishing trip.  The four of us enjoyed a few beers and a friendly game of euchre at a local microbrewery before grabbing a pizza for dinner.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

3 Sweaters Across the Finish Line

 The three almost-done sweaters are now finished.  I think this is quite an accomplishment for me.  This is 3 sweaters in about a month and a half.

Ranunculus  by Midori House was started on March 28 with the hope of finishing by Easter. Of course that didn't happen, but I am now wearing it.  It is knit in Berroco Remix in color Strawberry.  I'm very happy with how it turned out, but I do wish it had a bit more ease.  This is my mistake.  I knit it with a US 9 needle, instead of the US 10 called for in the pattern.  Don't ask why I did that.  I was able to coax a little more width out of it when I blocked it.  Like other people who knit a Ranunculus, I think I'll make another Ranunculus.  It is a quick, addictive knit. Next time I'll use the correct needle size.

Here is a random photo of me wearing it at dinner celebrating my son's college graduation. One of the waitresses at the restaurant complimented it.  It felt nice to have my creation noticed.

The second finished sweater is the Tender Hearted Tee by The Autumn Acorn. This was a test knit for Judy Jewells. Judy set up an Instagram group that allowed all of the test knitters to communicate.  It was fun to see the colors that were chosen and share progress.  It really helped to keep me motivated to work on it.

 I knit the XL size.  The yellow is Knit Picks Preciosa base and dyed by me using weld extract.  The contrasting colors are Rowan Kidsilk Haze and Baah Yarn La Jolla.  Those came out of my stash. Overall I'm very happy with how this turned out.  The colors I chose are bright and a little out of my color palette.  With that said, I think this will be perfect on cooler spring/summer evenings.

The last sweater was from a KAL that my enabler suggested.  She and I decided we liked the pattern and decided to join along.

The Anker Summer Tee was started on April 3.  I made this with 4 skeins of Cestari Ash Lawn Collection in Green Heather.  I lengthened the sleeves because I do not like my batwing triceps.  As I knit the body, once I finished the third skein of yarn, I put the body on hold so that I could do the sleeves.  Once the sleeves were completed, I resumed the body and finished up the yarn.  The sweater is blocking now, so I'm not sure exactly where it will hit me, but it looks like it will be long enough for my liking.

Now that these are done, I'm back to knitting a few UFOs.  Stay tuned for updates on those projects.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

My Knitting ADD

 Can't believe it is nearing the end of April already.  2021 is flying by.  There's been a lot of activity in the month since I've last posted.

Things have changed a little, but not as much as I'd like, on the job front.  The vendor I work with has asked me to be a Project Oversight Manager on one of her contracts.  From what I gather it is mainly a babysitting role.  I will monitor the work of the subcontractor who is doing the technical work and communicate with the customer to make sure she is happy.  Any issues that arise are to be passed along to the vendor.  Sounds easy enough, but it scares me a bit.  I am conflict-adverse by nature and this could put me right in the middle if things start going wrong.  This job will only occupy a few hours a week for me.  I'm still waiting to hear about a few other full-time positions. The longer things take, the harder it will be for me to go back to work.  I really enjoy not having to work, even though the cash flow is not the greatest.

Permanently retiring is not an option right now.  Ed has a job but he isn't enjoying it.  The work itself is not hard and he does enjoy that, but the hours are demanding.  The company is expecting everyone to work 7 days a week and has said they are not approving any time off indefinitely.  The project that he is working on is in serious trouble and the company is doing the classic 'throw bodies at it' to try to correct the issues. Once I start working full-time again, he's going to start looking for something else.  If I can work another 3 years (Oh! How I hate saying things like that!! I wanted to be done doing my grown-up job by the time I'm 58-next year.) he can look for a job that provides benefits but doesn't necessarily pay a lot. I just keep praying things get straightened out soon for us.

While I've been waiting for news about jobs, I've been doing a lot of fiber related things.

I finished up dyeing the samples from the natural dyeing class I took last month.  In the above photo are cotton handkerchiefs and skeins of merino using each of the class extracts.  The top is logwood (purple), then osage orange (yellow) and finally madder root (red).  I also dyed a skein of worsted weight merino to use up the exhaust bath of the madder.  It came out as a peachy pink color.  I'll save this for a little baby sweater for someday.

After taking the natural dyeing class last month, I ordered a sample pack of extracts with the intention of dyeing up more yarn to go with the single-ply merinos I made in the class.  My thought is to crochet an afghan using all the colors.

But, as usual, I got distracted by another project.  I volunteered to be a test knitter for Judy Jewell of The Autumn Acorn.  She is releasing a new sweater tee pattern and called for volunteers.  After she notified me I decided to dye up some of the yarn blanks to make a main color for the sweater.  I used weld extract from the sample kit I ordered and made 3 skeins of very bright yellow.

After a stash dive, I came up with a ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze and a skein of Baah La Jolla to go with it.  The La Jolla has turquoise blue, bright green and yellow in it. It pairs very nicely with the bright yellow of my yarn.

The test knit is coming along, but working with fingering weight means a lot of stitches.  I'm making the XL size.  Overall I'm happy with how this is turning out, but I will admit this is brighter than anything I usually wear.  It is definitely a spring-summer sweater.  People will see me coming when I wear this.  I'll need to find my jeans skirts wear with this.  Let's hope I can still fit into them.

Before all this came up, I got the bright idea to knit a Ranunculus using the Berroco Remix I bought back in February when my friend (also known as my enabler) and I took a field trip to a new yarn shop.  I bought the yarn with the intention of making a Tegna sweater, but realized when I got home that it was too heavy for that.  After a few weeks of buyers remorse, I then realized it might work for Ranunculus.  I was slogging along with this when my enabler mentioned a KAL to me.

Our newest favorite LYS announced a KAL for the Anker Summer Tee during the month of April.  We had been wanting to make a trip to that shop so we went on another adventure on the first Saturday of April.  I'm making this out of Cestari Ashlawn Collection.  I decided to modify the pattern slightly by lengthening the sleeves just a bit to bring them down to my elbows.  By doing this, I think I'm going to be playing a bit of yarn chicken to get the length specified in the pattern.  Since I'm short, I'm hoping that it even if I can't get the specified length, it will still be a length I'm happy with.  I really don't want to buy another skein of yarn just to add an inch or two.

As I mentioned above, I'm also doing a test knit for The Autumn Acorn.  This is her Tender Hearted Tee.  I finally separated for the sleeves and am working on the body.  I should be knitting monogamous on this to get it done by the deadline, but my ADD won't allow that.  I've decided that my morning knitting will be one of the other two projects and my evening knitting is this.

I know I really should be more disciplined about my projects.  I have a pile of UFOs upstairs.  After I'm done with one of these, I'll cycle a UFO into the rotation.

Speaking of ADD, Mother Nature has had a bit of it lately.

Spring sprung beautifully.  The daffodils were extra gorgeous.  My star magnolia bloomed.  The crabapples were loaded with blossoms.  I even had a mystery blue flower pop up in my flower bed.

Then this happened last week.  About 4 inches of snow.  I know better than to put out plants this early but I know a few neighbors that did.

By the afternoon most of the snow was melted.  There didn't seem to be too much damager to crabapple blossoms.

Today is a grey and dreary day. Now I'm going to refill my tea, grab one of my projects, turn on a podcast and knit for a while.