Friday, June 29, 2012


Knitting Progress
Wow, my Altamont Fair project is flying along!  I really didn't think it would go this quickly.

I'm on the last, long side of applying the edging.

I timed myself last night (yes, I TIMED myself) and it took me 6 minutes and 40 seconds to do one, 12-row repeat of the edging pattern.  I counted how many stitches I had left to pick up from my needle and determined that I have about 28 more repeats to do before the edging is done.  Multiply that by my time, and I think it will be done in a little under three hours!  Way.  Cool.  Then I have to figure out how to join that provisional cast on at the beginning of the edging with the end.  Then weave in my ends (not many) and block it.  After I block it, it should be 74" long and 17" wide.  It's nowhere near that length now.  All scrunched up on the needles, it is about 50" long and 11" wide.  It's really amazing what blocking does (soaking it in cool water then pinning it out on a towel to dry).  I'm WAY ahead of schedule!

Want to see how I keep track of everything?

And here is my handy dandy magnetic easel for my chart:

Love. It.  I got mine from KnitPicks, but there is a slightly less expensive one here:Metal Easel Display with Magnetic Pegs

That's all I've been knitting.

Garden Progress
It's growing!  Lots of tomato flowers and some of the early girl tomatoes are sprouting out:

The big issue now is that my wimpy-bamboo-stakes-that-I-didn't-know-were-wimpy-at-the-time, are starting to bend under the weight of the plants.  So, since they came 25 to a pack and I only used 10, I will likely try to double up on them to make them sturdier.  I probably should have taken my mother-in-law up on her offer of two tomato cages she has in her basement.  And then bought 8 more.

Lots of flowers on my zucchini plant:

Lettuce (supposedly iceberg head lettuce) and carrots are coming along too:

So fun to see most everything growing!  (beans are looking sad - no picture since I didn't want to humiliate them.  We'll see if they rally.)

Quote of the Day:
"Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning." -Benjamin Franklin

Monday, June 25, 2012

Amish country

We had a wonderful time in Lancaster, Pennsylvania this past weekend!  We spent a lot of time just driving around, looking at the beautiful countryside.

We saw lots and lots of these:
... and now Paul wants to buy one.  He was upset that we would be missing the carriage auction that is coming up next weekend.

We also drove through the city of Lancaster.  The only picture I have of that is this:
The county jail.  No joke!

And then there was this REALLY touristy place:

And this REALLY yummy sticky bun cart that Paul happened to see on a map:

We also went to a car show/swap meet in Carlisle:

This was my kind of place because they had:
That actually says "Women's Oasis"
So great!  A tent full of vendors selling jewelry, bags, Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, chair massages and more. They need to have one of these at ALL the car events.

On the way home we made a stop at Hershey's Chocolate World:

Mmmmm.  Chocolate.  Needless to say, we came home with a lot of it.  Paul resisted the urge to buy the HUGE five pound bar.  He got two half pound bars instead.

We went on the cheesy (chocolatey?) ride that tells you how chocolate is made:
That floor is constantly moving (slowly) clockwise with the carts, to make it easier for them to get as many people as possible on the ride.  So, the workers that are helping you into the cart have to be constantly walking to stay in one spot!

Of course there was knitting in the car on the ride there and back.  I already changed my mind about my Knitting Olympics project.  I couldn't stop thinking about my Tudor Henley, which I had chosen to finish as my project.  And since it is supposed to be my "vacation knitting"....
I had decided not to work on my Celes Shawl (the Altamont Fair project) since it involved a chart and it would be harder to work on in the car.    But, by the time we were on the way home, I was at a part in the henley that I had to keep consulting the pattern and I started getting nauseous!  So, I pulled out a pair of socks I had been working on for about two years and finished the first one:
These are the socks that I take with me to doctor's appointments or anywhere I think I might have to be waiting in line.  I never work on them at home, which is why it's taking so long to finish them.  And I love this sock yarn - it's Malabrigo sock, which is also what i used to make the little lace shorty sock recently.  Love. It.  So soft and nice to work with.

Now I have to come up with another project for the Knitting Olympics.  Oh, and have I mentioned the Tour de Fleece?  It goes along with the Tour de France cycling race!  Similar to the Knitting Olympics, you pick a spinning project to do during the time frame the Tour de France runs.  So, this might be where i spin some yarn that I will submit for judging at the fair.  We'll see.   I may or may not have been practicing my spinning the other day and I may or may not post a picture of my yarn at some point.

Monday, June 18, 2012

No More Hole

A reminder of the before:

And here is the after:

(and there is Paul mowing the lawn!)
We are so happy with it.  Yes, we'll be putting the curtains back up - they are in the dryer.

A Gaping Hole and A Big Mess

We've got a gaping hole in our house...

SO incredibly excited to be getting our new window and getting rid of that awful drafty monstrosity.  Not that the new window isn't a monstrosity.  It's going to fit into the same opening.  It's so big that the owner of the company came to measure a second time after we ordered it and he's here today to supervise.  (Bet the workers love that!)  And I bet you thought the "Big Mess" in the title of this post was referring to the mess they are making to put the window in.  Nope!

Here's the big mess:

I've gotten the center panel (8 repeats of the 52 row chart) of my Celes Shawl finished! It took me a lot less time than I thought (about a week).   And I've picked up the 530 stitches around the edge so I can start attaching the edging...

Hard to see it in this picture since I've only gotten two repeats of the edging done.  The blue yarn is another provisional cast on that had to be done at the beginning of the edging.  So, it's going to look like a big mess for a while, until I can get more of the edging done.... one stitch will come of this needle every other row.  So, the time I apparently saved getting the center panel done quickly, will likely be used getting this edging done.  Maybe I'll be surprised again at how quickly it goes....

In Other Knitting News....
I went to Connecticut over the weekend to visit my mom and my sister and my nephews.  We watched two of my nephews in a soccer tournament and I got to visit and chat with my other nephew while they played. I loved seeing them.  They are so cute, getting so tall and growing up so fast.  It was a lot of fun.

Oh yeah, the knitting.  While I was visiting, I helped my mom get re-started knitting a sock!  We got her cast on and started on the ribbing and I'll talk her through the rest on the phone when she gets to the sticky parts.  I forgot to take a picture.

In Book News:
I finished 212: A Novel (Ellie Hatcher) by Alafair Burke (click there to go to Amazon). Loved. It.  It was a great police detective mystery, trying to find out who killed a young college student.  Lots of twists and turns.   She writes very well, stringing you along and making you want to know what is happening next.

I also read Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1) by Stephenie Meyer (click there to go to amazon).  I was on the fence about whether or not to read this, knowing it was a young adult book.  BUT, I just read all the Hunger Games books and loved them and those were for young adults too.  My next reservation was that I knew it was about vampires and that's just not a subject I'm thrilled about. But, then my friend Elaine (hi Elaine! and Steve!) told me she and her sister both read the whole series and they loved it.  She didn't think it would be what I was thinking it would be.  So, I decided to read it.  It was great!  Much better than I thought it would be.  While I did have some eye-rolling moments with the teenage "I'm not talking to you because I shouldn't but now I'm talking to you because I can't help it but I really shouldn't because it's dangerous for you but you smell so good" parts, the other parts were very engaging.  There was adventure and excitement, especially toward the end when the bad guy is coming and Bella is in BIG trouble. (I don't think that's saying too much or spoiling anything....)

I had a discussion with my 13 year old nephew about the book this weekend and he agreed with me about the eye-rollling mushy stuff.  He has read the series and overall seemed to like them but had some other complaints about them.  He started to tell me about them but then I made him stop since I hadn't read the others yet.  We'll talk again when I've read them!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Oh, For Pete's Sake!

We needed MORE wood????  Well, apparently now we have enough wood for two winters, which means next year we'll get more wood and have enough time for it to dry out for winter number three.

So, it was off to stack wood for us, while Mandy supervised:
I LOVE stacking wood.  It's SO much fun. (She says, dripping with sarcasm).  I grumbled that it was boring.  Paul said he thought it was good "together time" and then I felt bad for saying it was boring.  But it really was.  I'd rather have "together time" be going to get ice cream.

We also made a day trip to Manchester, Vermont this weekend.  On the way up we stopped in Bennington for breakfast at the Blue Benn Diner:
Very tiny but very cool diner with a huge menu.  I had eggs benedict.  Mmmmmm.

Then we went to a car show:

This cool car was there (electric - even back then!).  The owner's grandfather drove it to work at GE in Schenectady every day:
It even had a GE parking permit on it!...

From there we went to Yarns for Your Soul, a yarn shop in Manchester:
Towards the left you can see a knitted flag hanging on the porch!  A very nice shop with lots of nice yarn.  I purchased some Ella Rae Lace Merino in a gray/taupe color, of which I forgot to take a picture and now Paul has the camera (sorry Aunt K!).  I'll post one later.  I was looking for something to make my Altamont Fair project out of.

Speaking of my Altamont Fair project... I spent about an hour and a half yesterday trying to decide on which project to do and then what yarn to knit it with.  I ended up knocking out the Trousseau because I hadn't purchased the pattern and I already had the patterns for the others.  I knocked out the Catkin (even though I really like the two-color pattern) because I suddenly realized it had 8 zillion buttons on it.  And we all know how I am about buttons, never mind then being judged on how well I applied them.

Once I got the yarn from Yarns for Your Soul home and decided on the project, I had doubts about that yarn and color.  So, I made a trip to The Spinning Room.  Which project did I decide, you ask?....
The Celes scarf/shawl by Jared Flood!  I'm using Lamb's Pride Nature Spun Fingering Weight in the color "Nervous Green".  I have no idea what that color name means.

So, that's how much I've gotten done so far.  That is one repeat of the chart, of which I have to do three more times.  For that side.  Then I have to make that same thing again and then kitchener stitch (sew) the two sides together.  The idea for making the two sides and then sewing them together is so that they will look symmetrical when hanging around your neck/shoulders.  Once those two sides are done, I'll have to pick up stitches all the way around for a total of 530 stitches (!).  THEN, I'll knit a 12-15 stitch per row border all the way around, knitting in one of the picked up border stitches every other row.  If you do the math, that means the border is approximately 1060 rows!  I have exactly 2 months to finish it.

I also finished my Diamond Lace toe up sock:

I only made one.  The other one I'll start when I teach the class.  I absolutely LOVE the yarn (Malabrigo sock) -- 100% merino means it is very soft and feels so nice to knit as well as to wear on your feet.

The one drawback to the weekend was that plans to go racing in Englishtown, New Jersey were derailed by this:
That, apparently, is a car "sitting on the ground" (even though it's not, really).   We went to the race track on Wednesday night so Paul could test and tune the car since he has been struggling to figure out why it's not getting the times it is supposed to.  After that night, he decided to put the old springs back in the car.  The ones that were working before he decided to install new/better ones over the winter but apparently they weren't working very well.  Even thought the car was sitting fine before he took these springs out, now it is not.  It is sitting way too low and therefore cannot be raced.  Don't know why.  Ordered new springs.

Quote of the Day: (for Paul)
"I have not failed.  I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
-Thomas A. Edison

Friday, June 8, 2012

Knitting Olympics

So, there's this website called Ravelry.  It's like a Facebook for knitters and crocheters.  You have your own "page" to keep track of your projects and there are also lots of discussion forums, as well as patterns (free and for purchase).  It's really great if you knit or crochet (and a HUGE time-sucker if you don't watch out!).  At any rate, a few years ago, they started the Knitting Olympics, to go along with the Summer and Winter Olympics.  The idea is to choose a project that will be challenging for you to complete during the time the Olympics take place.  You cannot cast on/start until the night of the opening ceremonies and you must be done by the time the flame is extinguished at the closing ceremonies.

This year I actually have time to participate (not like when I owned the yarn shop and was organizing our own knitting olympics - with prizes!- but didn't participate).  I've been contemplating what project to choose and my ever helpful husband, Paul, made a suggestion.  "How about finishing that Henley?"  Ok, so the link takes you my Ravelry page which only has a picture of yarn balls! (in a really pretty purple)  But here is a picture of what it will look like:

I love it because the fabric looks a little like those waffle weave long-underwear shirts.  I actually have this partly done.  I think I'm at the point of separating for the armholes (knitting from the bottom).  I started this THREE YEARS AGO while on vacation and it became known as my vacation knitting.  Except I didn't knit it on every vacation.  And I suspect that if I think I'm at the point of separating (which i'm really not sure - it's been that long since I've picked it up), then I've been procrastinating picking it up again because it will involve some thinking and brain re-organizing.  It's been pretty easy up until now.  I'll have to stop knitting in the round and start knitting back and forth.  Then I'll have to separate the front to make the button band area.  Then I'll have to knit sleeves.  Long sleeves.  Sometimes they feel like they take 10 years.

Paul brings up this henley ALL. THE. TIME.  He really likes it and thinks it will look good on me.  We got the yarm at a yarn shop while on vacation together and I was on a roll for a while.  Now, I usually hem and haw and mumble some excuse why I really should bring another project (the other project is more portable, the other project's yarn is lighter in color and easier to work on when traveling,  etc.).  BUT.  If I choose this for my Knitting Olympics project, then I'll have a deadline and an incentive to get it finished.  Maybe I'll have Paul fashion up a medal to present to me when I'm finished!

And, since I can't work on that until July 27, and I'm done with my "required knitting" for upcoming classes, I decided to pick a new project to knit in order to enter it into the Altamont Fair!  Here are a couple of things I'm thinking about knitting:
The Hemlock Ring Blanket:

Or one of these shawls...

or Celes:
Any suggestions/comments on which one I should do?

OR, I might submit a hand-spun skein of yarn.   Did you know I know how to use a spinning wheel????  I'm not terribly great at it, but it might be fun to try to submit something.  AND, I'm going to sign up to compete in the Spinning Bee (whomever can spin the longest length of yarn in 30 minutes wins!).

Whatever I knit or spin has to be done by August 10.  The Knitting Olympics go until August 12.  Uh-oh.

My class last night went fine, thanks for asking! (Hee hee.)