A little bit of writing, a little bit of knitting...

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Back to the grind

The cottage... Posted by Hello
Talk about frustrating! I just wrote a whole post, and it was promptly deleted as I tried to post it...

Anyway...I returned to Logan Airport last night after a relaxing weekend at the cottage with Mom and Dad. The cottage isn't what it was when I left it -- Dad has since transformed our little brown cottage into the gorgeous summer home you see above. But I didn't have a problem making myself at home -- I immediately set up my knitting corner on the couch next to the fireplace. It wasn't a great beach weekend -- in fact, the closest I came to sunning myself on the beach was on Sunday afternoon, when I got out a chair and read on the beach in jeans and a sweatshirt. So Mom and I did some shopping. We went into town on Friday and visited DeChippenham's. Mom found a sample scarf/shawl in Plymouth Electra that she just had to have, so I started that over the weekend. Mostly, I worked on a poncho for my niece -- it's almost done.

My friend Dan (from the cottage to the right of my parents') showed up with his wife, Luanna, and their kids (both of whom have been born since we moved away), and I got to give them the blanket I just finished for their new baby, Addison.

It may not have been a sunny cottage weekend, but I had a wonderful time. It was hard to leave -- especially since I returned to an empty house. Paul left yesterday afternoon for Minneapolis for work, and he won't be home until tonight...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Outta here...again

I'm starting to feel like I haven't been home at all this summer. But I'm on my way out the door again. This time, though, it's for a really relaxing trip -- four days at Mom and Dad's cottage in Michigan, with nothing to do but sit on the beach and read or sit in the cottage and knit or sit around the campfire and eat. Ahhh! Now that's the life.

Sophie was a good girl and dried quickly enough, so she'll be joining me on the trip. I'll take pictures of the two of us on the beach. I've also packed the crocheted belt and a poncho for my niece -- I just started it last night.

Mom emailed this morning to say that she'd bought some random yarn at a garage sale this morning. God bless Mom! I can't wait to get away for a while and let Mom spoil me (and take me to the new yarn store by the cottage...).

Poor Paul is missing out -- though I'm sure he'll have a nice, relaxing weekend of his own. We'll just miss each other in the airport on Monday, as he flies out to Minneapolis for business just a few hours before I fly in. So goes our life...

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Blocking Sophie Posted by Hello

There you have it. Three runs through the wash, and she's ready to block. Hopefully, she'll dry by tomorrow so I can take her to Michigan with me.

One Sophie - ready to felt!

Sophie - Pre-felting Posted by Hello

I finished Sophie during my lunch break yesterday, and I quickly started felting last night. It was gym night, so I had to work fast. And, of course, things didn't go as planned. It didn't felt enough after the first wash, so I put it in again. I was about to give up and start blocking after the second one, but I still wasn't totally satisfied, so I decided to try one more wash this morning...

I don't blame the yarn. I blame the worthless washing machine. And I blame the stupid building we live in, where hot showers are rare commodities. I'm guessing that the washing machine just doesn't get hot enough to really do a good job of felting.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Two more days...

I've always known that I work best under pressure. Give me a calm, relaxing day, and I'll get nothing done. Give me high-stress, last-minute, and I'll shine. So I've set another knitting deadline for myself. Sophie is going to be finished by the time I fly out to see my family on Thursday. In fact, to put extra pressure on myself, I left a couple of pairs of jeans out of the laundry last night. There's one pair of jeans that I need to take with me on Thursday, but they need to be washed first -- so I'll have to felt my bag before I leave. That shouldn't be a problem, though. Last night, while waiting for the laundry, I finished the body and the straps. I just need to connect the straps, sew in the ends, and maybe make a pocket for the inside. Then I'm done and ready to felt. I'm thinking I'll take some time out tomorrow morning to get her felted. Then I'll be ready to go home and show off my new bag (and maybe have Mom sew in a zipper).

Monday, August 23, 2004

Lots of rain = lots of knitting

The weather in New England (and pretty much everywhere, for that matter) has been insane this summer. Actually, Paul and I figured over the weekend that there were actually three weeks of summer here this year -- and we missed two of them when we were in Europe. On Saturday, it was cold and rainy (actually, it was a downpour), so Paul and I spent the day at home being creative. Paul sat at the table, working on his latest work of art, and I sat on the couch, working on my Sophie. In fact, she's over half done now -- and I even had time to do a little bit of En Fuego work, too. I was so proud of myself!

Yesterday, however, I didn't knit a single stitch. We decided that it was about time to go whale watching. Actually, there's a reason for it. It looks like we might be leaving New England soon, and we wanted to do the whale watching thing before we leave. We've been talking about leaving pretty much since we got here -- and the plan was to leave in the next year, though our destination was unknown. But now it looks like we might be moving relatively soon -- to Ohio. It's still hush-hush around my husband's office, so don't tell, okay? But I've been looking into the whole moving thing, and while I'm not too excited to pack up my belongings again (nor did I ever really dream of moving to Ohio), it would be nice to head back to the Midwest for a while -- and it would be especially nice to leave New England, where it's painfully obvious that I just don't fit. I've already looked into real estate -- we're talking about getting a nice place with a special guest/drawing/knitting room. And I've already found the local Barnes and Nobles -- and the local yarn store. What else do I need?

We'll be making the final moving decision in a month or so... I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Reorg night

After we got back from the gym last night, I decided to reorganize my projects. I just picked up a copy of Folk Bags from the library, and it got me in the bag mood. So I rearranged some of my circulars a bit so I could start my very own Sophie. I did another row on my En Fuego while I was reorganizing (at this rate, it'll be done by...approximately fall of 2010), and then I started the base of Sophie. I hope things go well with Sophie. Because if all goes well, I'm making a bunch of them for Christmas.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Olympic Marathon Knitting

Last night, I was determined. I was determined, and I was driven. I decided that I was going to finish that baby blanket so I could move on to something else. So I sat myself down in front of the Olympics and got to work. I knit and knit and knit until my muscles ached, but I wasn't giving up. Oh, no. I was going to finish. And finally, I did it. I still have to weave in all the ends, but the blanket is done! WOOHOO! I'm so excited to finish -- and move on to the next project.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

It's a mad dash...

...to finish the baby blanket. I leave in just over a week. I'm not really panicking, though. I'm to the easy part -- the decreases. I've got 68 stitches left on the needles, and I need to get down to 3. No sweat. Then again, Paul decided that we need to go back to the gym tonight, so there goes my extra knitting time...

In fact, I'm so confident that I'm going to finish in time that I set the blanket aside last night and did a few more rows on the En Fuego.

This afternoon, during my lunch break, I attempted to reacreate my list of upcoming projects. It's a long, long list. I'm trying to figure out what I'll take along with me when I visit Michigan next week. I like to travel with small projects, but I don't have many of those on my list -- and I have to be careful about what I bring along, since most of my knitted Christmas projects are for my family... It looks like the only possibilities are the En Fuego (which isn't a small project, but at least it's relatively light and portable) and the guitar strap for my BIL. Either that, or maybe I'll attempt to finally pull out my copy of Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles and teach myself how to knit socks...

Monday, August 16, 2004

A long relaxing weekend with my needles...

The weather went from sweltering and humid to cold and rainy over the weekend, so I spent most of the weekend on the couch, watching the Olympics and knitting. I've come a long way on the baby blanket, which is good, since I leave for Michigan next Thursday, and it's got to be finished then... I also finished another one of my Christmas scarves. I was tempted to start up another project after finishing the scarf -- like another Christmas scarf, or a bag, or maybe some baby booties, or that poncho that I've been meaning to start (or else I won't be able to wear it until next fall). But I kept working on the blanket...gotta finish the blanket... And then there's the En Fuego shawl that's been paused. So much for wearing it this summer...!

On Saturday, while I was shopping for Paul's birthday presents, I was right next door to A.C. Moore, so I thought I'd just stop in for a minute. I was shocked and overwhelmed by what I found. A.C. Moore is apparently clearing out a ton of their stock to make way for the fall stuff, and it was all on clearance. There were boxes and boxes of marked-down yarn, and I just couldn't pull myself away. I eventually left, determined to return later with a few projects in mind. So we went back Saturday night (in search of frames for our prints from the Van Gogh Museum), and I picked up some Lion Polarspun for a poncho for my niece (though I couldn't find a kids' pattern I liked, so I'm going to have to come up with that on my own) and some Cha-Cha for a fun guitar strap for my brother-in-law. Now I need to watch a lot of movies in the next four months so I can get everything done in time for Christmas...

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The yarn store is the best medicine...

After a generally crappy morning, I decided to head over to Hub Mills to drown my sorrows in yarn -- and to check out their latest sale. And I must admit that nothing helps to raise my spirits than a trip to the yarn store. I browsed through the aisles, got new ideas, picked up some baby yarn for some booties for a friend's new baby and one more skein for another Christmas scarf, taught a beginner how to knit a simple shawl, and compared notes with Lynne, my favorite yarn store clerk. The latest topic was ponchos -- since they're everywhere now (I swear I was the only one in London not wearing one last week). And Lynne pointed me to the poncho pattern at The Knitting Room's site. To make it even more tempting, I found the yarn on sale at WEBS -- $28 for a bag, which would make two ponchos. Anyone wanna split a bag with me?

I also learned where working at a yarn store will get you. A former employee (of 23 years) came in, and she was telling us how she can't fit all of her yarn in her 13-room home, so she's goe some of it stashed in a friend's barn. That's the stash her husband doesn't know about... So it could be worse. I may have a cabinet and the space under the bed occupied, but I haven't needed to store my stash in a barn yet...

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Home, but not recovered

We made it home on Saturday evening, after two days of dashing through train stations and airports. And I'm still suffering from a mix of jet-lag and absolute exhaustion. While I was gone, I managed to finish one of my Christmas scarves (though I like it so much that I don't know if I'll be able to part with it...) and most of the second. And I started my crocheted belt. I didn't finish as much as I'd ambitiously planned, but what was I thinking -- that I was going to sit around in my hotel room for two weeks? Not quite...

The trip was a lot of fun, though. Paul and I got to spend quality time with our friends in Delft -- we even took a trip to Germany for a day with our friend Nick. Then it was off to London, where we saw everything we possibly could -- we toured the Tower of London (which was a serious Monty Python moment for us, causing us to burst out into "We're knights of the round table...we dance whene're we're able...") and Westminster Abbey (where I got appropriately choked up at the grave of Geoffrey Chaucer). And then we rented a car and took to the countryside.

Since returning home, we've spent a lot of time comatose in front of the TV. I go between Christmas Scarf #2 and the baby blanket that I'm working on for a friend. It sounds like I'll be seeing him and his new baby in a few weeks, so I'd better get to work. He had originally told me that he was positive they were having a boy, so I could just go out and buy blue yarn for that blanket. It's a good thing I went with a nice safe yellow -- because they had a girl.

I still have the En Fuego shawl staring at my from my knitting basket, and the yarn for my fall poncho is ready to go. I've got a lot of work to do -- I need to talk Paul into watching a lot more TV. Too bad he's not a football fan -- I see that Monday Night Football started last night...

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