Saturday, July 16, 2016

And the beat goes on and on...:)

But in a good way:)! I am enjoying the knitting for this Honeybaby blanket.  I bought the pattern directly from Anne Hanson's Knitspot website many moons ago when I was on hyper alert for all things lacey and pretty and before she became the yarn and design maven she is today. Sadly, I never really had the opportunity until now to actually knit it.  I am not knitting it in any of Anne's yarns because this is for a Floridian baby and it will never be cold enough to need wool.  However, I will say that if I ever have the chance to knit something in any of her beautiful wools, I will.  My brief experience in her booth at Maryland Sheep and Wool this May certainly convinced me of that!

 I am a bit antsy, because I am supposed to have it finished a week from Monday (9 days from now) and am still in the first quarter.  I did not have as much knitting time this week as I would have liked, but today will probably get a good 4-6 hours worth in, because it's a Saturday and I didn't schedule anything. Fingers crossed:)!

'Til next time, God be with you 'til we meet again+

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

One note wonder:)

Whenever I am working on a project with a deadline, that's what my knitting feels like, LOL! I am in the midst of knitting Honeybaby by Anne Hanson of Knitspot fame and what a well-written, beautiful, never boring pattern it is! However, it is a lot of knitting, so it's all I work on when I'm not working:)!

I cannot wait to see how this turns out.  I'm using KnitPicks Cot-Lin in Swann - and the tone of the white is just right - not blindingly bright nor too yellowed.  Hoping the new mother will enjoy it and that it holds up for many years to come.

My other summer projects were moving along - Drachenfels is now in the home stretch 

And I restarted On the Spice Market with yarns I felt were closer to the original:

And made a wee bit of progress before the Cot-Lin arrived for the baby blankie project.
Ah that's better!:) All put away as I work on Honebaby....

Here in Merlin, summer is in full swing.  My daughter's herb and flower "deck garden" is coming along beautifully.  She even has tomatoes and zucchini growing in the yard.  Hopefully the deer won't get them! This picture I took at dawn one weekend morning.  There's a bit of reflection from the glass door, but I rather liked it.
Work has been incredibly busy, incredibly good and incredibly bad. Life is moving along. The family are well.  Wish I could do more music.

Well that's all I have for now.  Back soon - and God be with you 'til we meet again:)!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Confession time

No, I don't have anything really horrible to confess. Did you think I'd tell you if I did? NOT. Anyway, I will confess a couple of things: 1) I never made it to that client visit this morning.  I got as far as Hagerstown, about an hour plus away from home and it was bumper to bumper traffic. Nope.  Not going to take 4 plus hours on a holiday weekend to maybe get to see a client.  So I called and asked to reschedule for a week later.  No problem. So, 2)

What's a lawyer to do?
You guessed it. A trip on the way home to a LYS called The Knot House in Frederick, Maryland, er Merlin...The yarn was 40 percent off, which brought it back to 2002 price levels, LOL:)  I am always on the lookout for a good US size 5 circular needle, and Pompom Quarterly.  I mean, Pompom could I resist?

As Ricky Ricardo used to say, I had a lot of 'splainin to do when i got home, but hopefully, I won't be in divorce court any time soon.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. And please keep that Saint of the 20th Century, Elie Wiesel, and his family, in your thoughts and prayers. May he find eternal joy!:)

In the meantime, God be with you, 'til we meet again, my friend:)+

Summertime Summertime sumsumSummertime:)

To my fellow Murrikans, I wish you a Happy Independence Day weekend. Here on the mid-Atlantic seaboard, it is a beautiful day.  As I sit here typing, just before leaving out to visit a client who is placed way out in farthest reaches of Western Merlin, mapquest directions and GPS in hand (belt and suspenders!), the house is peaceful.  R is at her weekend job, D, just got back from a weekend with his SO and is chilling out between gigs. 

Life has gone on since my last post, nothing of particular significance - at least no more significant than what has gone on in every life.  Does that stop me from writing about it? Of course not, LOL:)!

Work has gotten a bit busier. We have added a new jurisdiction and a group of us have been nominated to make the trip to that courthouse every so often.  I love a challenge and love to see how other places deal with the various issues in our cases.  And Merlin is one of those states where each county can be very unique in that regard. 

So the knitting...I've made a lot of progress on my Drachenfels.  It's a lovely pattern by Melanie Berg.  I had been fascinated with it - and of course the On the Spice Market shawl as well (more about that below). I used yarns in stash and am quite pleased with the results so far.  One of the delights of this pattern is that it is so very adaptable to your needs (or to be more precise, the amounts of yarn you have).  I am not a great fan of knitting yards of garter stitch, but between Melanie Berg and Elizabeth Zimmermann, I am slowly being converted!

Since last month when I went through my projects and frogged a number of them, I got the entire number of WIPs down to 40.  DOWN to 40? you might ask - well, yes and that really doesn't count the number of sock projects I just work on from time to time. That number may pare down even further as I decide to either finish, modify, or frog a number of them. In the meantime, I am not going to stop being intrigued by new patterns. Nor will I stop being a bit distracted by the next shiny thing I see. That is the joy of this craft and as long as I have the resources, I am going to enjoy it. So there.:)

Another Melanie Berg pattern that I decided to purchase on ravelry after a few weeks of thinking about it is On the Spice Market.  I just love her use of color, but buying a bunch of new yarn is not in my budget right now. I did buy two balls of green at my local yarn shop that I think will do quite nicely and filled in the rest with stash yarn, so I am feeling quasi virtuous, LOL:).  These colors truly are reminiscent of the colors of spices and a beautiful photograph a friend of mine sent back to us from Morocco of exactly that - a spice market! The beautifully bright colors in the desert light offset by the simple background is a work of art.  This shawl evokes just that for me and apparently countless others because it certainly is popular on!

Unlike the Drachenfels, which I am knitting in a Dk/light worsted weight, the Spice Market uses fingering weight.  I anticipate this will take a while longer.  But I am having fun so far:
It is not a difficult pattern, though there are some challenges, such as German short rows and an unusual, though again, not difficult, stitch coming up fairly soon for me.  But that's the thing.  It's never boring and you find that after hours of knitting, you actually have made some lovely progress.  In the interests of full disclosure, I did not weave in my ends yet.  They are tucked behind the bit of knitting to show how it will look once that is done;)!
These are not colors I would usually wear, but sometimes you have to do something different.  Or maybe, circumstances will show me that this needs to be a gift for someone else! And that, in the words of the immortal Stewart Smalley, is Oh Kay...
Speaking of gifts, these babies will have to be set aside for the next month as I am awaiting the arrival of some KnitPicks CotLin in Swann for a baby blanket for a dear friend's daughter! I will be knitting this and I hope I can do it in 3 weeks! Wish me luck folks, I'm going in there....

So.. whaddya think? Do I have a shot? Fingers crossed!

Well, gotta go.  Hoping to hit a Yarn Shop in Frederick on my way back.  We'll see. I really shouldn't (famous last words...)
Until next time, God be with you 'til we meet again!+

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I Kon-Mari'd My Knitting (Well... sort of..)

So I fell down the rabbit hole in January.  I read Mari Kondo's book on the magic of tidying up (sorry, cannot get the line over the second "o" in her name with this English type) and listened to her second book thanks to Scribd. A lot of what she wrote resonated with me. and it may sound crazy to a typical Westerner, but I like the idea of thanking those things in your life, even if they are just "things," for the service and the joy they have given you. If nothing else, the practice helps to cultivate a spirit of gratitude for the many blessings we in the developed world have received from the Almighty.  Have I had the time or energy to actually implement her book? Nope - mainly because I live in a house with a lot of other people - or to be more precise, I live in a house with the stuff of a lot of people - some of whom live here, some of whom do not.  Stuff over which I have little control right now. 
Anyway, Ms. Kondo's thinking as I read it, is that one should go through ALL of a particular category of stuff at the same time, go through each thing, and determine whether to keep it - because after all, the first order of business in being tidy is to winnow out the the clutter and then organize what is left. Makes sense.  To determine whether something should remain with you, you have to ask yourself if it sparks joy.
Does the red can opener in the kitchen tools drawer make my heart sing? Well, not exactly, but it brings with it a memory of the rather long life I have spent with my husband and stands as a reminder of the hurt I have caused him and the belief that I/we can change the things I/we need to change. No, I'm not going to tell you that story. Too private.
Do I need four can openers? No. Which is why I don't have four. But often, people do have a number of things (don't look at all the planners on my desk, LOL!) that they could pare down without it really hurting too much.
But I digress.
So... knitting. I had close to 100 projects either on the needles or waiting to be cast on. You knitters know how it is. You see a pattern or a ball or ten of yarn and you cast aside all prudence and thoughts of future financial stability  and buy it. At one point I had the smallest bedroom in the house as a craft room where I kept stash, tools, projects, a table and my sewing machine. But with the influx of adult kids, the craft stuff got relegated to a corner of the basement for a while - and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
In time, some of the crowd moved on to their own respective abodes, but the stash remains mostly in the basement.  Over time, I've pulled a lot of projects up from the basement. They're stored safely away from moths and mildew, and because our basement is remarkably dry for this part of the country, I wasn't worried about where it was being stored, I just wanted to be able to visit a little more often. You knitters will understand. The rest of you, just go read something else.
Thank goodness for ravelry - I can at least keep somewhat up to date on the stash, but there's nothing like seeing it up close and personal - and thinking of the next wonderful think you are going to make.  But all those projects. By the time I got around to finishing them, I'd either be dead or they would lose their appeal. So I started with about 2/3 of the projects I have going  - 1/3 the ones closest to done and 1/3 either not begun, or I knew I wouldn't finish (see above picture).  Works in progress tend to stay in project bags -  some were in pretty boxes if  put aside to work while I worked on something else.

2016-06-05 16.06.47
So this Sunday, before the gang came over for dinner, I set to work. In two short hours I went from over 100 projects down to 45.


I freed up about 35 or more knitting needles,

2016-06-05-160818_26934801553_ountold amounts of stitch markers and tool bags,

2016-06-08_11-52-55_26933927564_orefiled at least 50 knitting patterns, deleted over 50 projects from my ravelry page,

and added a whole big bunch of delightful yarn back into my stash.
27510063116_ebc3e2967f_c2016-06-05 16.02.48
I  took the larger batches of yarn back to the basement to be sorted and stored in bins by weight. I then kept one box of yarn upstairs for inspirational purposes and for the odd one- or two-skein project and organized a corner of the living room/home office to store projects I am not working on right now. Bonus: this little corner is not visible as you walk in the front door.
I now keep2016-06-05 16.04.39 only two bags of knitting handy, so I can choose among a few projects at any given time. One of the bags has older projects that are fairly close to finishing. I am definitely a process knitter, but I like me some product now and then!
My current project OTN: see my next post:)

I was even able to repurpose two of the fabric "cubes" I was using to store projects for the home office (the stack of papers are all printed out knitting patterns I'm not quite ready to recycle.):
My knitting sparks joy as it always has, but now I am not burdened by projects I will never finish and the light has been let in a bit.
Ahhhhh..... That's better..... :)
2016-06-05 16.02.23
God be with you 'til we meet again+

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Progress is good....

If akin to the movement of the earth's tectonic plates, LOL!  More on that in a minute. I have to share
what a wonderful time I had last night.  Two friends of mine from St. J's, Mike and Sue M., and I went to the home of a colleague, Meg and her DH, Harry. and had the time of our lives. Mike plays in the bell choir at St. J's, and, though he works in another field altogether, is an accomplished musician and composer, with the credentials to prove it - a Master's from the Peabody Conservatory here in Bawlmer.  He also plays Irish music on his fiddle like nobody's business.  Mike and some of his cohorts were the musical entertainment at a Ceilidh (pron. Kay-Lee) held at our church to raise money for our outreach program.  I was hooked immediately.  When Meg told me her entire family were well versed in Irish music and that they had house concerts and sessions afterward with anyone who brought their instruments, I was lucky to attend.  

The first few times I went, I had to satisfy myself with the concert only and some nice times with some lovely people, because the DH works graveyard and needs the car back before 10.  Not wishing to turn into a pumpkin, I dutifully left before the next phase of the fun began.Not so this time.  Mike drove.  He also brought his fiddle.
And. What. A. Treat. 
Every single solitary person in that room knew EVERY one of the beautiful melodies by heart.  There were flutists, pipers, drummers, guitarists, and fiddlers.  As Sue and I watched from the back of the room (not far from the wine, LOL:)), I so wanted to join them, but I don't know one of those tunes and my flute would have done me no good.  I later told our hostess that I felt like a kid who came to a pool party but forgot his bathing suit, LOL:).  From what I understand there are opportunities to learn at different places not terribly far from me.  Would dearly love to learn more and might just go see what it's all about.
As for the concert, we were beguiled with the incredible talents of Laura Byrne (flute), Rose Conway Flanagan (fiddle), and Pat Egan (guitar and vocals). Laura is classically trained and Rose has a lifetime of learning from her father and others in her home, being second generation Irish, while Pat was the one of the trio directly from Ireland. Each one of them were incredibly talented.  It was a joy to listen to them.  There is nothing in the world like live music, but I will be looking to get some of their CDs.  Who knows? I might learn something!
So there is one finished object for my ravelry page - my version of the Nennir Cowl from by Lucy Hague:

 Modifications: Worsted weight wool instead of fingering, did cabling pattern only once, then switched to a mock rib pattern for the "back," made it long enough to reach around the neck, attached with 3-needle bind-off. Looking forward to wearing it hopefully tomorrow!

Am still working on the other project that has maintained my focus this month - the Garland Necklace Yoke pullover.  It is slow going right now because I frogged quite a bit of it.  It was truly way too big, as I had increased far too many stitches after the ribbing, so I ripped back down to the ribbing, added some more ribbing and then increased only 10 stitches.  So far, I am getting a lofty fabric that seems to be the right size for me.  Decided to do this with only one strand of the Unspun Icelandic for a drapier, lighter and, as previously stated, loftier fabric.  Now to get through the next 16 or so inches to the armholes....:)
And then, the sleeves, the joining and the COLORWORK:)!!!! I am a firm believer in delayed gratification, can you tell?:)
Hope someday to see a larger version of this:
in these colors:

God be with you 'til we meet again!+