Thursday, August 29, 2019

Cram Session

I can hardly believe that August is almost over and that September starts this weekend. This summer has flown by! I know it always does (and that winter always seems to pass at a crawl), but this month seems to have passed at warp speed. And I am running out of days to finish things before the month is over!

Originally, I'd planned to be done with my Rhinebeck sweater design by now, but I've accepted that it will get done when it gets done. It's more important for me to get it right than to get it done by an arbitrary deadline. I'll have the sample finished in plenty of time to wear it to the festival, so that's not a concern, and I'm sure my tech editor can edit it in time to publish by then. There may not be a ton of time for preview (test) knitting, but I can be flexible with that. The good news is that it continues to grow and I continue to be happy with it. I am getting much closer to splitting the body from the sleeves.

Photo disclaimer: taken by 9-year-old before my coffee had kicked in

I know it looks a little small here, but that's just because it's crammed onto a circular needle that's smaller than the circumference of my arms and torso combined. When it's time for the split, I'll be running another circular through about half the stitches so I can try it on properly.

The sweater is being put off for the time being, however, while I work to try to finish up my socks before the end of the month in order to count them for the Fibernymph Dye Works Monthly Makes program. I'm determined to knit up at least 100 g of FDW yarn per month this year, and I need to finish this pair of socks to get that this month, so I'm buckling down and focusing on my knitting time on them until they're finished. I'm nearly done with the heel on the second sock, so I'd say that's doable, especially considering the Mister is going to be out of town again this weekend and Rainbow and I have no real plans while he's gone (I'd hardly call watching several episodes of the Great British Baking Show "real plans").

I am also cramming when it comes to reading. When I last posted, I'd resigned myself to an incomplete Summer Book Bingo card, but thanks to a slow day at work yesterday and reading last night instead of watching TV while I knit, I might just get a cover-all.

I can say with confidence that before the day is out, I will have finished Middlemarch and filled the Classic you "should've read" square on my card. I have about 30 pages left to read, and that should not take me very long. I've also got about 6 hours left in my listen to Emma, which will actually take less time than that considering I'm listening to it at a slightly faster speed, and I've queued up a book from the library to fill in the Written in the second person square. Summer Book Bingo goes through Labor Day, so I actually have a bit more time than for the socks, and I think with a holiday weekend ahead of me, I can get in a fair bit of reading time. I'm really glad I decided to participate in bingo this year -- I can't get over how many books I read because of it!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Feels Like Fall

The calendar might say that it's still summer, but all the signs that fall is coming are there. Sign number one: Today is Rainbow's first day of school.

After four straight days of sunshine, cooler temperatures, and low humidity, today it is dark and rainy, so we had to settle for an indoor photo in bad lighting. I think she was a little nervous to start but also excited; thankfully it's a half day to start off the year, so I'll be picking her up in a little more than three hours and she'll have the afternoon to play.

Because of this odd start to the school year, I took yesterday and today off from work, giving me an extra-long weekend. I had hoped that would mean lots of extra knitting time, but as the Mister left early Saturday morning to go to a trade show for work, I've actually been rather busy with Rainbow. Still, it's been enough to make a decent dent in my Rhinebeck sweater knitting, and I'm very happy with how it's progressing.

I'm also happy to report that the fit seems to be good. I spent most of my knitting time last night after putting Rainbow to bed knitting and tinking one round of colorwork; I was planning a third band of motifs after this one, but it looks like the individual motifs won't end up centered under the previous two even though they work with the stitch count, and various things I tried last night didn't make the situation any better. Luckily, because I ran out of time before I got too far along, my brain had some time to sit with the problem, and I've come up with a solution that I think will work perfectly. I'll still have to tink back a round, but that's no big deal. With the beginning of September coming and the weather getting better for sweaters, I'm anxious to get this off the needles!

Sock weather will be here soon, too, and I'm trying to get my current pair finished before the end of the month. I did manage to finish up the first sock on Saturday before the end of Stash Dash, and it got me over the 10K finish line.

I'm pretty happy with the gusset changes, though I'll have to judge the fit after I've had a chance to wear the socks for a while. I didn't do the toe entirely in the contrast color because the mini skein was getting a bit light and I wanted to be sure I had enough for the second sock, so I worked two-round stripes. To be honest, I think I actually like it more!

While I hunker down with the knitting this week, I am also trying to finish up some books. At this point, with less than a week left in Summer Book Bingo, I'd say my chances of completing a cover-all are slim to none. But I'm hoping to at least complete two to three more squares. I'm more than halfway through Middlemarch, and I've been listening to Emma for my Classic square (it's been a number of years since I read it last, and I've found that listening to the audiobook at 1.25x speed is perfectly fine and makes it go a lot faster). I'm planning to head to the library this morning to try to read a hard copy of Fox 8 for my Non-human protagonist square; I've had a hold on the ebook from the library for more than a month, I think, and it's estimating I still have at least a two-week wait, which is ridiculous for a book that's so short. I think if I can be at the library when it opens this morning and can find the book easily, I can probably read it in one sitting before it's time to pick Rainbow up from school at noon. And if I can round out the summer with only one or two empty spots on my bingo card, I'll be very satisfied!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Two Down, One to Go

It's been a busy, fun weekend, so not very much spinning has happened, but I've done enough to finish up bobbin number two! That means there is less spinning remaining than I've already done, and that's a good feeling.

As with the first bobbin, I could have fit more on the second, but I thought it was sufficiently full to stop. If I fill up the third bobbin and have fiber bundles remaining, I can always squeeze on some additional singles.

Here's a closer look at the bobbins:

I haven't been micromanaging the colors at all, so I'm very interested to see what the plied yarn looks like. I'm hoping that the greens, blues, and purples will be very blended throughout. I'm sure there will be sections where one color will predominate, but I'm hoping to get an even distribution throughout all the yarn. Let's hope that my desire to see the finished yarn will be sufficient motivation to finish up the third bobbin of singles!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Rip It and Flip It

August is now two-thirds over and Rhinebeck is getting closer, so you'd think I'd be all about my sweater right now. But in the past week or two I haven't felt like knitting on it, even though I've really needed to. And yesterday I came to a realization: I didn't want to work on it because I didn't like how it was going. So I made a brave decision and started over. I had just joined my second skein of yarn, so I ripped that out and used it to start anew, this time from the top down. And you know what? It was absolutely the right decision. I am so much happier with it now, even though I've gotten only the tiniest amount done.

I think boredom was a main factor in my not being happy with the first attempt, but I think it's also going to be a lot easier to figure out the yoke now that I'm working top down. I've also already gotten to the beginning of the colorwork, and of course that makes the knitting much more exciting and therefore faster. I think once the yoke is done, the hard part is over and I can zoom through the sleeves and the body -- at least, that's my hope. Though there's certainly enough time to finish the actual sample to wear it to Rhinebeck, I'm behind in my schedule for the pattern, so I need to pick up the pace a bit. Worst case, if it's not ready to be published in time for Rhinebeck weekend, I can at least show it off at the festival as a preview of sorts.

While I was contemplating the sweater and what to do, I knit up a quickie project as a bit of a palate cleanser. These were easy and fun.

Pattern: Snow Day Mittens by Melissa Metzbower, size Child's Small
Yarn: Cascade 220 and Cascade 220 Superwash
Needles: US 3 (3.25 mm) and US 8 (5.0 mm)
Started/Completed: August 20/August 21

These might look like just your average mittens, but they're a clever design: The cuff is knit (at a tighter gauge) with superwash yarn and then the hand is knit (at a much looser gauge) with nonsuperwash. The mittens are then tossed into the wash so that the hands felt, resulting in a warm, snow/wet-resistant mitten. I'm planning to knit a bunch of these for charity and thought I'd start with one of the smaller sizes. The blue yarn is from the sweater I unraveled, and I have quite a bit of it. These took next to nothing to knit up -- about 92 yards total. I think I unintentionally modified the thumbs by making them shorter than they should be (I found when knitting the second mitten that I'd misread something, but then I wasn't about to undo the first thumb and just did the second to match). I'm not too concerned, as these aren't for a specific person and I'm sure they're fit someone. I'll likely wait until I have several pairs before I do the felting, though.

Reading update: I neglected to snap a photo of my bingo card, but thanks to a quick read last week, I achieve two more bingos. I borrowed a collection of poetry from the library called Resistance Rebellion, Life: 50 Poems Now and read it basically in an afternoon. It was okay; as is the case with most poetry collections, there were some poems I enjoyed and some I did not. Filling in that square leaves me with five spaces remaining on my bingo card: Classic, Classic you "should've read," About nature, Written in the second person, and Non-human protagonist. If I can manage to finish Middlemarch, that will take care of Classic you "should've read." I'm also next in line to get Fox 8 from the library, which will take care of the Non-human protagonist square, and I can probably reread a classic. I finished listening to Birds of a Feather yesterday -- do you think I can fit it into About nature if it's about human nature? Or would that be cheating too much? If I can, then I'd just have to find something for Written in the second person (I've got Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine on hold from the library, but I'm not sure the hold will come up before bingo is over). I'll be okay with not getting a cover-all on my bingo card, especially as this is my first year participating, but all the same I'm so close, it would be nice if I could manage it.

I've got a long weekend coming up -- I'm taking off Monday and Tuesday -- so I expect there will be lots of knitting, spinning, and reading time. Rainbow starts fourth grade(!) on Tuesday, and we are both ready to get back to the normal schedule!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Decade in the Making

Typically, I'm not the kind of knitter who lets projects linger in an unfinished state. There was that one sweater that took me a year to finish, but it was an anomaly (and, in my defense, it was a rather large sweater worked in laceweight yarn). While I'm not strictly a monogamous knitter, I do regularly work through my projects and finish them. Perhaps that makes this project and its completion so much sweeter.

I started the squares for this blanket when I was newly pregnant with Rainbow, on May 20, 2009. I had a lot of sock yarn scraps sitting around and thought they would be good for a baby blanket, seeing as sock yarn is generally pretty reliable if thrown into the washer and dryer frequently. But after working through all my washable leftovers and even some more scraps that a friend sent me, I was left with 11 squares that got put away when Rainbow arrived and my crafting time and attention span greatly diminished.

Over the years, I've thought about this blanket a lot. As Rainbow got older, I figured that I'd need to make a lot more squares for it to be big enough to accommodate her, and I guess the idea of all that extra work put me off pulling it out. But as my bag of sock yarn leftovers was overflowing, this summer I decided it was time. And it turns out that there wasn't that much extra work left to do: When I pulled out all the squares that were done and laid them out on the floor for Rainbow to see, she decided that the one additional square was all that was needed. So I finished the square, we dug through my stash to find something good to do the seaming with (we settled on a partial skein of some handspun superwash merino), and I started connecting the squares. While I was unwell over the weekend, Rainbow and I binge-watched some Great British Baking Show episodes while I worked. By the end of the day, the blanket was done. And I had one ecstatic 9-year-old on my hands.

She's now obviously bigger than the blanket, but this is the size she likes -- and she's been curling up with it every night since I finished. She loves to wrap it around her shoulders while she reads in bed, too.

I didn't follow a pattern for these squares but instead just followed the basic method for making log cabin squares. I tried to keep the squares more or less in the same color family, but obviously I didn't stick with that the whole way through. Rainbow really likes how eclectic it is, and I love looking at it and seeing a record of many of the socks I've knit over the years. I can see remnants from socks from the Rockin' Sock Club, from socks I knit for family members, even from a monkey I made as a gift.

Amazingly, even after sitting in storage for a decade, I found only one hole in one square (clearly someone had chewed through it). I darned it and frankly it's imperceptible unless you look on the wrong side for the darn. I imagine that there will be more holes to darn in the years to come, and frankly I think it only adds to the charm.

The squares were joined using single crochet, with the wrong sides held together so that the ridge from the join is on the right side. I thought it would feel odd on the wrong side, and I also like that it gives a framing effect to the squares.

As to the finished dimensions, it's a bit hard to tell, as it's all wrinkly from use. But properly blocked, the squares are about a square foot each, so the finished blanket is roughly 36 inches by 48 inches Had I been more meticulous as I was knitting it, I could have calculated how much yarn I used a bit more accurately, but I didn't, so I had to weigh the finished blanket and make a general guess. It weighs 584 grams, so given that the average sock yarn is about 400 yards per 100 grams, that means I used about 2,336 yards (or 2,136 meters for Stash Dash). I know I've knit a lot of socks over the years, but to have that much in leftovers really says it!

I won't say I will never knit a sock yarn blanket again, and certainly I've already started crocheting one, but I will say that I won't let another project linger for a decade as a WIP. I think that in spite of the long wait, it's probably better that I finished it when Rainbow was a bit older, as she more fully appreciates it now. And nothing makes me happier than finishing off a big project and seeing it really and truly loved.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

And That's Why I Have Electric Wheels

I had such grand plans for this weekend. We had next to nothing planned, so I thought I would get tons of crafting in. And it started out fairly well: I got up early yesterday morning and went for a 3.3 mile run. Shortly after I got back, though, I started feeling not right. And since then I've spent the majority of the weekend on my bed, feeling helpless. I'm not exactly sure what's up with me, though I suspect a flair-up of a chronic condition (isn't getting older fun?). I'm just feeling very weak and worn out, so I haven't had much energy. Today going grocery shopping wore me out so much that I had to take a nap.

I'm thankful that if I had to feel under the weather, it's at least happened at a time when I didn't have to miss out on anything or try to grin and bear it. I'm a little sad that it meant that I did not have the energy to do as much spinning done as I had hoped. I was still okay to spin a bit on Friday night, and I managed to finish up the second bag of fiber bundles in my big Polwarth spin. The second bobbin is getting much closer to being full!

First thing this morning I had enough energy to a tiny bit of plying, so I put the Electric Eel Nano through its plying paces with the singles I'd spun last week. I haven't washed the skein to set the twist yet, but I'm happy with how it looks.

The colors aren't really my thing, but this was freebie fiber and I spun it just to test out the wheel, so I'm not too worried. I think there are still plenty of adjustments I could make to the wheel, but I have to say that I am pretty impressed with what it can do given the circumstances. And on a day like today, when I don't have the energy to treadle, it's good to have an electric wheel!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Complete 180

Despite a similarly crazy schedule to last week, that knitting ennui has been replaced this week by a desire to start All The Projects. I guess fall (aka Prime Knitting Season) must be just around the corner!

I am still working diligently on my Rhinebeck sweater and am about 8 inches into the body; I joined my second skein of yarn last night. No photo because it looks the same, just a bit bigger.

I did finish up that blanket square over the weekend, and Rainbow has declared it to be the last one, so now it's time to seam all the squares together. We took a good dig through the stash the other day and came up with this leftover partial skein of handspun sock yarn, and I'm crossing my fingers that it'll be enough.

I am just planning to crochet the squares together and not add any border, so it should be a fairly straightforward process, as least in theory. I still have to have Rainbow decide on a layout for me so I can have some semblance of a plan.

Meanwhile, I seem to have started another sock yarn blanket without noticing.

Rainbow's been wanting to expand her crochet skills (you may remember that she taught herself single and double crochet earlier this year for a school project), and I'd promised I'd teach her how to do a granny square. The easiest way to do it was to crochet one alongside her, and, well, it's addictive. I still have a big bag of Fibernymph Dye Works leftovers that I thought I'd be using in more blanket squares, and then I came across a couple more partial skeins in the dig for seaming yarn, so it looks like I'll be busy with this for a while.

Though I haven't cast on yet, I am itching to start yet another new project, this time for charity knitting. Last week I ripped out an old sweater to reclaim the (non-superwash) yarn to make some Snow Day Mittens, and I washed it and wound it into cakes so it'd be ready.

I've got roughly 830 yards of this to play with, and lots of scraps of superwash to use for the cuffs, so I should be able to make quite a few pairs of mittens.

Finally, I've got my lunchtime/on-the-go knitting, and it's socks (surprise, surprise). I'm using the yarn from the first shipment of the FDW Just Desserts club, and as the colorway was named Summer Fruit Tarte, I couldn't not use the contrasting mini skein (appropriately crust colored) to make a crust-like cuff.

It looks like I'll have a lot to keep me busy if the weather this weekend forces me indoors!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Pattern Release: Schuss Socks

Though fall is getting closer -- the days are starting to get shorter, the mornings a little cooler -- we're still in summer for a while yet. I'm not the kind of knitter who gives up working on larger projects in the summer (I'm always cold in the air conditioning anyway), but when I take my knitting out and about on warmer days, I do find that I prefer something small and light. That usually means a sock. And this summer, I've been all about the shortie/ankle socks.

When I finished Rainbow's Little Boxy earlier this year, I had a fair amount of yarn leftover, so I thought I'd use at least some of it to make her some ankle socks and use them as an excuse to try out a stitch pattern I'd been playing with. As soon as I finished them, she promptly put them on and wore them every evening until I had to steal them to wash them, so I knew they were a hit. And I knew I'd also need to reknit them for proper pattern photos and in something other than semisolid yarn so I could make sure the stitch pattern looked okay. And also so I'd have my own pair.

I have to admit that I'm rather shamelessly fond of these socks. The stitch pattern looks complicated but isn't, and something about that texture makes these so much more addictive than self-striping yarn on its own. Of course, you don't need to use self-striping yarn for these -- the stitch pattern looks nice in solid, semisolid, and variegated as well.

If you followed my progress on this second pair on Instagram, you'll know that I had a hard time coming up with a name for them. For me, naming my designs is the hardest part of the process. I had the same issue when I was a teenager and did a lot of creative writing: Coming up with a title was always the thing I struggled with most. I asked for suggestions on IG and in my Ravelry group, but nothing really struck me as the right name. I wanted something that was a little onomatopoeic, something that was fun to say as well as somewhat descriptive of the pattern itself. And then, over the weekend, it suddenly hit me.

If Wikipedia is to be believed, a schuss is a straight downhill on skis at high speed. It's sometimes also called a schussboom (isn't that a great word?), and apparently it was also the name of the first Olympics mascot. I thought it was perfect for these socks because in addition to the fact that they are a very fast knit, the stitch pattern reminds me a bit of the marks on the snow left behind by skis. Also, how awesome would it be to shout "SchussBOOM!" when you finish a pair?

These socks are essentially a heel, a foot and a toe. They use a traditional heel flap and gusset, but I've moved the gusset decreases so that they fall on the bottom of the foot and hug the heel. The stitch pattern is both written out and charted, and the pattern is graded to five sizes so you can knit these shorties for the whole family. This sample was knit using Knit Picks Felici, and though I did use two separate skeins so I could get the stripes to match on this pair, I used 49 g to fit my large feet, so if you have smaller feet, you could easily get a pair out of one skein (I'm planning to use my leftovers to make Rainbow another pair of anklets). Any fingering weight yarn will work, and to make these even faster, I've knit them up at a larger gauge than normal: 8 stitches per inch. As always, the pattern has been tech edited to ensure an easy-to-understand, error-free pattern.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Very Little Spinning

You may think from the title of this post that I have not done much spinning in the past week. That's not true -- thanks to Camp Spin 15 in 19, I got quite a bit done on my Polwarth singles. But this weekend I was a bit distracted due to the arrival of a new little spinning thing on Friday.

This is our brand-new Electric Eel Nano, which I'd backed on Kickstarter many months ago. I say "our" because this is meant to be Rainbow's wheel, but as she's still very much learning how to spin, I am spinning on it a bit first to get to know it so I can help her when she's ready to have a go. We have a total of seven bobbins (three purple, two white, and two green) as well as the power cord and a USB cord. The rolag I'm spinning was an extra goodie in my Fibernymph Dye Works fiber minis package last year, and I've been waiting for the perfect excuse to spin it. I'm not terribly concerned about how well it comes out, which gives me some freedom to play and put the wheel through its paces.

I will give a full review of this nifty little wheel once I've had more of a chance to get acquainted with it, but for now I will say that it's very light and one of the most clever features I've found yet is that there's a magnet in the body of the wheel that holds the orifice threader in place.

Thursday, August 08, 2019


I think I have hit the lull of the summer. I'm not feeling particularly excited about anything at the moment, and I think the main problem is that work has been so busy that I have very little mental or physical energy at the end of the day. That won't go on forever, thankfully, and I'm sure my enthusiasm will return eventually, so in the meantime I'll just keep on keeping on.

After spending the evenings in the early part of the week spinning, I'm back to working on my Rhinebeck sweater. I think I've knit a little more stockinette than ribbing at this point, but there's still quite a long way to go before I get to the fun part.

My sock yarn blanket square is growing, and perhaps it'll be complete by the end of the week.

Reading update: I haven't had a ton of time for reading over the past week, but I've managed to finish one (audio)book, Maisie Dobbs. I started listening to it on a run, and then I continued listening while spinning this week. I very much enjoyed it -- four stars from me. I will likely start listening to the next book in the series when I run this weekend.

I may be cheating a bit here, but I've put this book into the "About politics" square on my bingo card. The book deals with war, social class, gender roles, and mental illness -- all of those are political, right?

After hearing positive reviews from Kat and Bonny, I started reading Middlemarch. I was hopeful that my preconceived notions about it (based on a college roommate's complaints when she had to read it for a class) were wrong, but I have to say that it's rather a slog. I've always experienced some weirdness with Kindle books and the page number, but for this book, it seems to take several screens before I've read a page of the book -- and considering that the book is 500+ pages long, that really adds to the length! As I'm not reading this for a class and don't need to pay such close attention, I'm essentially skimming it, and I'm hoping that the goal of filling in a bingo card square will be good motivation to finish it.

Tonight we're taking dinner over to my brother- and sister-in-law's to spend some time with our adorable nephew, and the weekend ahead should be perfect for spending time outside. Here's hoping the summer doldrums go away soon!

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Ravel and Unravel*

It's shaping up to be a heck of a busy week. The calm of the summer at work has passed, and now I've got more work to do than time. So I look forward to my brief breaks to knit more than ever.

I finished these socks over the weekend. I had sent off the pattern to my tech editor on Friday, so I figured I should really finish the second sock so I could take pattern photos and have them ready for when she gets the edited pattern back to me. I'm happy with them but am even happier to have them done.

I am still working on my Rhinebeck sweater and it doesn't look much different, but because the socks were finished I needed a new work project. I decided to resurrect a very old project. Some longtime readers may remember that when I was pregnant with Rainbow, I started making a bunch of log cabin blanket squares with leftover scraps of fingering weight yarn, thinking that I'd have enough to have a blanket complete by the time she arrived. Unfortunately I ran out of yarn before that happened, and then she was born and I didn't have time to knit much, so the squares got put away for about a decade. But since then I've collected quite a lot of scraps and Rainbow has proven herself to be quite knitworthy, so I though it would be a good project to work on again. And for a very busy time at work, garter stitch worked flat is the perfect mindless knitting.

This was what I accomplished during my lunch break yesterday. It isn't much, but it was soothing knitting. The yarn is some leftover Fibernymph Dye Works Bedazzled in Sad Panda (self-striping, hence the color changes). It was one of the bigger balls leftover, and my plan is to knit with it until it runs out or the square is done, whichever comes first.

Meanwhile, there has been some unraveling here the past couple of days. I decided that one of the first sweaters I made wasn't really my style anymore and the yarn could be put to better use. I'm also not buying yarn from that company anymore. So I unraveled it. Here's what it looked like most of the way through the process:

I've got five skeins of various sizes that have now gotten a bath in some warm water and Soak and are drying and un-kinking a bit. I plan to use this yarn to make some Snow Day Mittens to donate, using some leftover scraps of superwash yarn for the cuffs. I'm not sure that using up yarn that was already in a sweater counts as knitting down the stash, but at least there's some more room in the sweater drawer for something I will wear!

*The title is taken from a poem of the same name by Jorie Graham, which I read years ago. It's about Penelope in the Odyssey, and how each night she unraveled the weaving she had done during the day in an effort to ward off her many suitors as she awaited the hoped-for return of Odysseus.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Weekending Done Right

This was the weekend I really needed, one I would like to have every week, to be honest, but one that I really especially needed after a busy workweek.

Friday nights we usually have Shabbat dinner at my parents', but this weekend they are away getting the new house in Florida into shape (have I mentioned that when they took Rainbow down over her spring break in March, they bought a new one?). So instead we went to a family "cookout" (it ended up being indoors due to rain) at our synagogue, and we were home on the earlier side, so we all were able to relax a bit before bed, me at my spinning wheel, Rainbow with a book, the Mister with his various electronics.

Yesterday, I went for a run first thing, before I lost my nerve and before it got too hot. I've been training all summer for the two 5K races that the Mister and I typically run in the fall at the end of September/beginning of October, and I've slowly been building up my endurance. Last week, I managed to go for 2.1 miles before I took a walk break. This week, I felt really good, so I thought I'd just keep going until I felt like I had to stop -- and I managed to make it 3.15 miles! I walked a bit and added on an additional tenth of a mile to make it an even three and a quarter, but I'm super psyched to have managed more than a 5K at this point in the year. I still have to repeat it, but I am feeling good.

After I had breakfast and cleaned up, we all walked to a local farmers market nearby (about another two miles round trip) and picked up some fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, and cherries as well as a freshly baked loaf of sourdough. We had a quiet evening at home with "snacks" for dinner -- including the bread, the cherries, and the tomatoes -- and Rainbow and I made a batch of pesto with the basil we'd bought and some from our herb pot outside. It felt really good to get into bed last night, and if you need a visual representation of why, well, here you are:

My legs were tired -- and that doesn't even count all the treadling I did at my wheel yesterday! This weekend was the kickoff of Camp Spin 15, and I managed about an hour and a half both yesterday and today. I'm trying to spin up as much of the Polwarth I started during Tour de Fleece as I can, and I'd estimate I'm about halfway through the second bobbin.

When I started the project, I had two full bags of the fiber bundles plus about half a bag with the overflow. I've now got about one and a third bags, so I can tell that I'm making progress even if the bobbin seems slow to fill. Camp continues for two more days, and while I don't think I'll finish all of the singles in that time, I may just finish up this bag of fiber. My goal is to complete the singles and ply all the yarn before the end of Stash Dash -- mainly because doing that would rack up a heck of a lot of meters toward my total!

The best part of the weekend, however, was something that was expected but still a surprise: My nephew has finally been born! After getting to the hospital at about 11 Friday night and laboring all day yesterday, my sister-in-law gave birth at about 9:40 last night, and today we got to go and meet him. I know I'm rather biased, but I think he's absolutely adorable!

Rainbow is, quite obviously, in love with her cousin. She said after we'd left that she wished she could have stayed with him all day to cuddle him! I'm hoping that even though he ended up being a bigger baby (8 lbs. 9 oz.!) he'll still fit into the sweater I knit him earlier this summer. I'm planning some additional baby knits soon, and I'll likely err on side of making a larger size. The new family of three is expecting to go home on Tuesday, and we plan to take them dinner sometime this week, so you can expect more cute baby pictures in the near future!

Thursday, August 01, 2019

One, Two, Three

I'm keeping things simple today with a list:

1. One stitch (all knit)

Last night I successfully finished the ribbing on my Rhinebeck sweater, which means I'm now on to the ease of stockinette -- just knit knit knit until it's long enough. The switchover means that this project is now fully mindless and thus faster. I've also switched over to larger needles, and I've actually gone from a 40 inch circular (which was really too big for a sweater that's going to be about 38 inches in circumference) to a 32 inch circ, so things are now much more comfortable.

2. Two books read

I finished two books this week, one of which was a quick read and one that I've been reading for far too long.

The Lost Girls of Paris was a library book that I'd had a hold on for more than a month, I think, and I ended up being rather disappointed in it. For as much as it was a quick read and moderately entertaining, I was so distracted by the implausibility of the story lines that I really didn't enjoy it. I gave it two stars; if you're okay with some minor spoilers and want to know why I didn't like it, you can read my review here.

I'd been reading Dreyer's English since late April (silly me thought it would be my first bingo square covered!) and finally finished it last night. It didn't take me that long to get through it because it wasn't good or I didn't enjoy it. Rather, I kept putting it down in favor of other books (many of them library books with a due date and a waiting list) because I knew I'd get back to it eventually. This one was a good read. For those of you who may not already know this, my day job is as a copyeditor, so style, punctuation, and grammar are very pertinent to me and at heart I'm a language nerd. This was an interesting and humorous read that earned four stars from me.

When I checked on my Goodreads reading challenge after finishing these, I was surprised to see that I'm way ahead of pace to meet my goal of reading 50 books this year. I'm at 44 already!

3. Three skeins of yarn (if you include the mini skein)

Despite my self-imposed yarn diet, I have had some new skeins of yarn come into the house over the past week or so, but they're sock yarn, and sock yarn doesn't count, right?

The skein of the right is the free skein I won for participating in the Fibernymph Dye Works Monthly Makes program for the first half of the year. I got to pick the base and colorway I wanted, and I chose Cosmic on Bounce (superwash merino/nylon). Rainbow tried to steal it from me when she saw it, so I've agreed to use it to make us matching pairs of shortie/ankle socks (they are her new favorite thing -- she's been wearing the most recent pair I made her every evening since I finished them). The skeins on the left arrived yesterday, and they're the first shipment from Lisa's Just Desserts sock yarn club, which I caved and signed up for. This colorway is called Summer Fruit Tarte, and it came with a mini skein dyed to look like pie crust and a recipe for the tart itself. The yarn looks good enough to eat, don't you think?

We've got a quieter weekend planned, with the only things currently on the calendar being a cookout at our synagogue tomorrow evening and a birthday party for a friend of Rainbow's on Sunday afternoon. Rainbow and I have talked about maybe checking out the farmers market near us Saturday morning as well. We are still anxiously awaiting the arrival of our nephew; my sister-in-law's due date has come and gone, and when she went for an ultrasound yesterday, they told her that they estimate the baby is now weighing more than 9 pounds! They are headed back to the doctor today to discuss the plan going forward, and for her sake, I hope the baby comes soon!