Friday, May 18, 2012

...a thread by any other name....

...so you ask....what's new in this neck of the woods...?  Funny you should ask, because I have been spending a fair amount of time in the woods lately, hiking for the most part.  I started hiking through the trails around my area with a spindle in hand -- hubster doesn't feel that I am getting any healthful benefits out of my hikes because he doesn't feel I am walking fast enough...I tend to look at it in terms of I am moving, up and down hills, crossing over rocky brooks, going off trail to get around a tree limb that came down, enjoying the quiet meditation of bird calls, and getting lung-fulls of fresh air !  According to the tracking system I have been recording my hikes on, my hikes and/or cross-country hikes have all been in the range of 2 to 4.5 miles, with my speed between 3.5-4.5 miles per hour -- not bad considering all the roots I need to avoid traversing the hills....  In any case, since May 1st, I have hiked a little over 25 miles (nope, not training to do any marathon, just enjoying myself).  I am working my way through a fleece I purchased this spring (see precious post with the wash bucket), but with a small wooden spindle it does not accumulate very fast...so far according to my records, I am averaging slightly more than 17 yards per mile.  I eventually plan to ply this wool before knitting with it, and even so the plied version is going to be a heavy fingering weight.  Haven't found what I want to knit with it yet, though there will be at least one pair of socks, so have time to continue my spinning hikes......

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

..so now what ??

Can it really be since January when I last posted?...and I seem to recall in teh back of my mind having made a mental note/New Year's resolution to be more active in my blogging life.....well, we see where THAT resolution went...lol. So, where to start, again, because the beginning is much to far back to travel to, so perhaps start from now, today, and work backwards for a bit. First the good news on the homefront...I am working again, so that is great -- the hours are different than what I used to work but still with enough time to get the things done that need to be done, spend time with those I love, and hopefully even get around to exercising a little more (this half-century-old+ bod really needs to get in shape). To this last item, my employers are running a weight loss challenge that begins today, May 1st, and will run through the next 3 months, with some poretty sweet incentives offered for losing the biggest percentage. In any case, with starting work later in the day now, figured I could get into the habit of going for walks (aka, cross-country hike thru the back '40) several days a week. I did this today...so okay, it's a little on the cold and rainy side but that just means you have to be more motivated to do the distance planned and get home where you can take a shower to warm up. Yup, that's what I did, chugging along at a good clip, still noticing all the green sprouting everywhere, seeing trash that others have left behind (and while I normally bring a trashbag with me to pick up returnables/trash, I did not today), and listening to the sounds of assorted birds hiding in the canopy as well as the music of the rain falling overhead. The hiking trail goes through the woods, comes out behind the grade school in their ball field, and drops off onto the road so actual street walking is maybe about 2 blocks worth. The fitness app on my phone says I did 1.99 miles in 33 minutes, averaging about a 17-minute mile. This is considerably better than my time last week, but then the circumstances were different -- this week is to get-out-of-the-rain, last week was a spinning hike for a little over 2 miles averaging about 26-minutes/mile. (I wonder what the wildlife along that trail was thinking watching me stride past swinging a piece of wood on a string...lol). Part of what I have been doing is doing my usual summer routine of setting out buckets to wash fleece, so started with this
and let it soak for the day (since we haven't hooked up the outdoor hose yet, carrying pitchers of water in-and-out of the house means I need to set aside a bit more time to accomplish the same amout. Plus, while the daytime temps may have been hovering anywhere between 50s to almost-80, the nighttime temps were dippling close to freezing (one such bucket had a coat of ice on it one morning). Then to add-insult-to-injury, it rained/poured for several days...well, at least that bucket got a good rinsing. And this is what I wound up with
As an fyi...this is the fleece I went hiking with last week as well. Previous to that, had gone out for a walk with the hubster (we discovered an area on the far edge of the property where some timber trespass had occured, so we were out counting-stumpage). While we were out, verifying where the property line runs, I mentally "blogged" about what I was seeing and hearing -- funny thing that, mental blogs don't translate very well especially when you try to physically recreate them. The gist of it revolved around a phrase, granted the phrase comes from a holiday medley featuring the 'dance of teh sugarplum fairy'.....in early spring it is more of a whispering dance of tree limbs as they gently sway to and fro....looking up is like looking through a veil with scattered puffs of white chasing each other behind the lacework....the music is not Tchaikoschy (?sp) but more of "hee-hoo" and "chik-a-dee-dee-dee" of songbirds passing messages to each other of the intruders (hey wait, that's us!) in their midst....then Surprise !.. a startled turkey hurries up the hill to finish his meal in peace, and so I let him be.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

.... ? Something new

So, time has come to post something, and even though I have CO several projects, completed several more, and plugged along on several --IP's, still managed to get through the Christmas knitting that needed to be done. Did I take pictures of completed gifties ? Of course. Did I get them off the camera and posted to my Ravelry page ? Not yet... Been too busy cleaning and putting stuff away, and spending as much time as possible visiting with family including an aunt in the terminal stages of cancer. We lost her early in the year, so now trying to get back into the normal routine.....

With that said, I hope to get pictures moved over so that they can be posted: parrot socks, mittens & hat, afghan square, pence jug, lovers mitts, and a pair of socks for me that were named Hospice socks. Until the next time......

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 3, 2011

..fits and starts

So...here we are in November and I seem to be backpedalling of late.

Case in point, Snelle Annabelle has been frogged and re-cast on no less than 3 times, the last of which was this morning...why, you ask?...because my stitch count is off, again, ....and it only has 26 to begin with. The pattern has a double-decrease which is what has been messing me up -- originally thought it was not working so frogged and did a regular single decrease, with the first leaf working but not the second, so frogpond once again with a double decrease for the first one and single decreases afterwards....swimming in the frogpond again. I think I have been trying to work this at night when I am brain-frazzled so it had not been making sense. This morning on frogging it, I decided to write some cheat notes on my chart with stitch counts....and realized that the chart itself should not be looked at other than for stitch counts because in expecting it to line up, it was not, hence the head muddle. So, tonight I start it again and keep a careful count.



The silk graduation shawl that I have been trying to work on....cannot seem to get past the cast-on row, i.e., it looks crappy/the needle size is all wrong/mixing up a couple of patterns so stitch count is not working....yup, frogpond again...lol.




On the other hand, do have a few finishes:

The first is a turkey illusion cloth....don't know about this one, think I should have left the light and dark as stipulated in the pattern because I can only see the image on the back side, though now that I put it on top of a skein I can see it. However, that being said, in looking at the cloth, I believe I either missed a row or repeated a row because the body seems to have disappeared. And no, this one is not taking a trip to the frogpond, it is done and will stay as it is. Let it be a lesson to me to pay better attention to what I am doing..lol.





The second are my Alaine socks. I did change up the pattern a tad, and decided that I needed to finish them. Since the stumbling block had been the heel treatment, I frogged what had been knit on the heels and changed it to my new favorite heel treatment, Cat Bordhi's Sweet Tomato heel. Now that's what I call done! They are now awaiting washing/blocking along with another pair finished earlier this summer that got misplaced before they could be blocked. I actually have several other items awaiting blocking, so need to get all of them together.



Next up is a new project I cast on for, my "..A Jigging and and a Jagging" Jigsaw afghan. As this will be made with sock yarns, any leftover bits of Regia, Opal, Socka, OnLine, Bernat, et cetera, as well as any full skeins of color/prints that I have decided NOT to turn into socks, will get worked into this. Time-frame to completion is unknown at this time as I am still working out color arrangments.





So, there you have it...an update to YoPP that is actually picture-heavy. Now back to finishing up another batch of dried fruit (apples, cranberries) to put up for the holidays.....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

..closing out the month of October...already ?!

So, where were we…oh, yeah, trying to stay on top of posting updates on YoP (Year of Projects)…..
? still working on some of the itemized list…yup
? added new items…..yup
? changed/adapted features of itemized….yup
? finished anything…..yup
? posted picture(s) of finished…..not completely but working on it…..

And…to help keep me in a line since I am concurrently working on:
-Graduation present/shawl (due for January 2012)
-Christmas gifties
-Stash reduction (and stash meaning yarn/fiber/fabric/SIP’s/WIP’s/queue’d items)
I have signed onto another group called Stashdown A-to-Z where each month will be the next letter of the alphabet, goal being to work on/complete projects beginning with that letter in order to whittle down the perpetually enlarging queue (and also to complete any WIP’s with that letter designation, since they after all were queue’d at one point)….from now through Nov.30th is “A” – that is not to say we cannot work on anything but items beginning with “A”, because you can…..the hope being that with focusing on items beginning with a specific letter, you hopefully will actually complete them.

So, with checking my queue’d items, as well as what I had listed for my YoP, and yes even digging in my in-the-works bin(s), pulled several items beginning with “A” to the front of the list – the Alaine socks are now top of the heap, with (Snelle) Annabelle a close second. The rest of the list got re-shuffled as well, with several small gifties being mixed in, as well as the addition of several more such as the Slinky socks (football and hockey projects), as well as one that will take a bit more time than a month so will get worked on as I decide on color placement – Jigsaw Afghan, for which I am using leftover bits of sock yarns as well as some skeins that have fallen into the ‘What Was I Thinking’ category…….

Any-who…need to get going, as my Alaine’s need a partial frogging as I am not thrilled with the heel treatment, so am changing it to suite me (and re-picking up stitches works much better in the broad light of day than in the evening…). Here’s to getting a little more done, a little more blogging posted, catch up on reading a few more blogs, a little more writing accomplished, a few more recipes tried before the holidays are here, and a few directions to turn my attention towards so that I am not so sad when my children leave again (this in particular as one son and his wife are being stationed in Europe, leaving shortly and I won’t get to see them before they fly)……

..until the next time, I remain, that very busy frog hiding out in the wilds of Maine…..

Monday, October 10, 2011

...just because

...not an update, just a little on-the-side post of goings-on...

For the month of October, we are having some kind of jumbled up weather....torential rains at the beginning of the month, frosty overnight temps, and high 70/low 80s during the day ! Frost means I can harvest the grapes (we have wild grape vines growing outside the house), so have picked enough to make a batch of wine -- need to pick these early in the day while it is still cool, otherwise you are competing with the bees and the yellow jacks are not too keen on sharing the fruit with you. Any-who, did pick enough (need 15 pounds of fruit at a minimum, eventual yield is 5 gallons of wine), have left the rest of the grapes for the birds and yes, the bees too!....good thing, because I noticed that some of the vines (that we thought we have trimmed all of the "escapees" from the arbor) were growing at the top of the lilac bushes -- ten feet up in the air and what do I see...deep purple mini globes in assorted bunches....nope, not going after those...lol....and with all the grapes that have ripened and fallen off the vines, it smells very wine-y in that corner of the yard.

So, what else is new....hmmmm....the Dempsey Challenge was this past weekend, with the bicycle tour passing within a mile up the hill from my house, into the midst of which I had to pass thruough in order to pick up my daughter from her Girl Scout camping trip that returned Sunday morning. And if you are wondering, yes, Patrick Dempsey did ride, and from what I heard got mobbed by fans whenever he stopped at any of the rest areas (the Challenge had a 10-mile, 25-mile, 50-mile, and 100-mile routes) -- no, I did not stop to see him, despite being a fan. Maine is home to (and by home, I am not distinguishing between permanent home/vacation home/family member's home) a number of celebrities (actors/actresses, artists, writers, former Presidents), all of whom value their privacy, and who can find it here if they choose to retreat into anonymity....

And, with it being Columbus Weekend, the last big push of tourists (at least until the snow flies) is for what we call "Leaf Peeper" Season when you are quite apt to find yourself driving behind someone driving either erratically side-to-side or slower than the posted speed limit as they point out to their companions the myriad colors on the hillside or reflected in the streams. I am fortunate in that I live so close to a wooded area that I can go walking thru the woods to enjoy the colors up-close-and-personal, if you will.

Other than that...I leave you with a bit of eye candy...one of the little surprises that I found one morning as the frost was melting away.....

Monday, October 3, 2011

updating the update

...yeah, I know, that sounds a bit odd but I suppose it is no worse than saying a round circle.... In any case, do have a few pictures for you, though I will warn you color representation via my cellphone is not accurate.

First off, these started out as the Water-to-Sky anklets, but then because I found myself just too tired to concentrate on directions and/or chart, got changed to a very basic/plain summer anklet (there is maybe three rounds of the charted pattern, which because of the color changes in the yarn, just do not show up and I was not interested in frogging a mohair-based yarn to remove them...and yeah, even though I was a bit more with it by the second sock, repeated the "error" in order to keep them consistent)....they are wonderful in my hiking sandles, coming up just high enough so that the back strap does not rub into the back of my ankle.



As well with being too tired to think straight and wanting just really not thought-heavy things to work on, managed to finish these two little washcloths -- this is actually supposed to be a bright apple green. The leaf one was a real quick knit, started it one evening and bound off the next. The other is trying for a quilt block effect.



And finally, while reading some of my Yahoo group mail a few weeks back, had come across someone talking about Cat Bordhi's new take on heels, including a YouTube link to see it in action. In essence, it is a variation of a short-row heel that uses NO wraps (something I mess up on consistently).....Welll, after watching the video, said "I can do that", and immediately cast on for a new pair of socks in order to do so (all my other socks-in-progress are past the Afterthought heel stage, so could not use them). Have been dragging this pair with me for the past week-and-a-half everywhere I went where I had knitting time -- as of last night, I have about 1-1.5 inches left of ribbing on sock-B remaining to be done. And if I have not said so yet, absolutely LOVE the looks of this heel as well as the fit (and this is un-blocked worsted weight wool socks) -- these have 4 wedges, so will be interested to see how well they hold up.



So, there you have it....an update that is actually fiber-related in it's entirety...lol. Until the next time.....