Sunday, January 27, 2013

The End of the Beginning

I can see the end beckoning me.  I have reached the underarm bind off of both sleeves of Pat's cardigan.  By my eye-balling measurement, I have about 3 more repeats of the motif to do before I am finished!!!!!

Of course I will have to put it together, but that seems so minor compared to getting through this cardigan.  My biggest fear?  That it will be too big.  I told the hubby, it didn't matter if it was HUGE on him, he would wear it and like it!!

I would like to have at least one finished object for January.  I guess I do, sort of.  One of #1 grandson's socks is finished.  I did promise the second one would be done last week, but that didn't happen.  It really is great that all my family loves my hand knits and requests them, but there are so many of them!

DD#2 has been wearing the orange Wingspan I made, and has had several people who come for her Yoga classes ask for some for themselves.  They told her that I could name my price.  If I just quoted them the price of the yarn (about $15.00)  I think they would back down.  That doesn't included my time.  I should figure out the number of hours it took and my hourly wage, just for the fun of seeing how fast they run the other way.

I got new sheets yesterday to replace the one set we were down to.  I also got a new bedskirt and imagine my surprise when I washed it and found it wasn't permanent press.  I will spend the next few hours ironing it into submission before putting it on the bed with my knitted bedspread

I'll take a picture of the newly updated bed and post it.

I have to congratulate myself on fixing the picture problem with Blogger (just needed to update to google chrome) and getting my Nook to take the downloads from the library.

The main reason I got the Nook was to use it for library downloads and it was really annoying to run into this problem.  I'm with everyone who has gotten disgusted with the price of ebooks.  When I got the Nook I thought I could cut down on the number of physical books I have, as I am trying to avoid and eliminate the clutter all around me, and the price of the books was very reasonable, about six dollars.  But now bestsellers are about fifteen dollars and I am not willing to pay that much for digital books.  My library, however has a wonderful supply and they keep getting more.  The only negative its that you have to read them within 14 days, and I hate deadlines.  So I was more than bummed when I couldn't get the books to open after they were downloaded.  I went on line to user groups and found out there were multitudes that had the same problem.  I followed the advice in the forums but still couldn't get it to work.  I finally called customer service, got a great technician to guide me through the steps and fixed the problem.  The thing I had neglected to do was the second delete of the Adobe files and a hard reset of the Nook.  "Joe" said to me that I was the easiest person to get through the steps and wanted to know if I worked with computers.  It was nice to know I could fix something without one of my sons-in-law having to help.

It's been bitingly cold here this week.  In the single digits, so my knits are getting a workout.  I find that I need more pullovers in a lightweight wool to keep me warm. Every day I thank myself for making me so many pairs of wool socks to keep my feet toasty.  I have been wearing my blue cardigan around the house since the wool hasn't held up well and it gets very pilly.  Old yarn, what can I say, besides get rid of it!

I have read four books, since last I blogged so I'll be short and sweet:

 Sweet Tooth - very good, I recommend
The Tiger - Just OK, very long and involved references to Russian history, geography, tigers  and people and customs, that grew tiresome.
The Beautiful Mystery - Excellent just like every other Louise Penny novel.  This series is so beautifully written.
The Rope - Excellent.  A prequel to Anna's adventures.  Takes us to the beginning of her service in the NPS.
I have read all of this series in the last year and have found the last few very dark, but very good.  Well worth starting from the beginning and reading through to the last one.

We went to see Lincoln  last weekend, and I couldn't believe how compelling the story of getting an amendment passed could be, when in the hands of a master.  The theater was full and there was barely a murmur or movement from the crowd.  We were amazed when almost 2.5 hours went by.  Great acting and just beautifully done.

My plans for the week are to get the sleeves finished, get the sock finished and get the picture adventure I have started near completion.  More on that at a later post. Now on to ironing.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Little Things

Still making progress on the sleeves for the cardigan for DH.  Two sleeves at once may be something I do from now on.  It is so easy to keep track of the increases.  Yes, it seems to be slower since I would probably be finish with one complete sleeve, if I was doing this one at a time, but when I got to the second one, I'd lose time  constantly counting and trying to figure out where I had done  all the changes to the first one.
One thing I am having a hard time with (and I have messed up a couple of times) is not working on the correct sleeve .  Finishing two rows of the first sleeve and not having done the same rows of the second.  I have put on lots and lots of markers, keeping track of rows, the various changes in the cables and I added the handy little "start" and "end" markers that came with the cute little "Stitchdot"  stitch markers.  I love what they refer to as the "retro" case.  I remember taking my lunch money to school in a case like this one.

I have the toe of one sock to complete on Nathan's socks.  Need to have him try it on.  His feet get bigger every day!

It was warm enough (with rain) for all the snow to be gone.  We even took a nice walk yesterday during halftime of the football game.  We have been watching the playoffs this weekend, so didn't watch any movies.  We watched the Golden Globe award show.  This is always so much more fun to watch than either  the Emmys or the Oscars.

We did watch last weeks episode of "Downton Abbey"  and I was a little disappointed in what seemed like choppiness in the scenes, didn't seem to flow well.  And a little more of the wedding would have been nice.  The program that aired before it was the real life residents going through all that they have to do to keep this beautiful place from falling down.  It does seem like a daunting task and incredibly expensive.

I am really keeping to my resolution to read 2 books a week.  I have been using the recommendations of the podcast "Books on the Nightstand" as my guide and I haven't hit a dud yet.  Listened to  "The Age of Miracles" audio book and enjoyed it tremendously.

I also read  an Agatha Raisin "Hiss and Hers",  Now I love M.C. Beaton having read all the Agatha
and Hamish MacBeth series, but this was just dreadful.  It reminds me of The Cat Who series that just got impossible to read.  Not much plot, or character development and a total disregard to time.  I'll probably try the next Hamish but I'm definitely finished with Agatha.

It's hubby's ROMEO night out, so I may watch a movie tonight.  Have to see what's out there!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year So Far

Christmas is just about put away here.  The decorations are all boxed up.  The only remnants are the two trees, bare and waiting to go to the curb and be composted.  That is one big job, getting everything back to normal.  The house looks a little bare and sad!

I have been busy on DH's cardigan.  Finished the back and both fronts.  The hardest part, so far,  was to do the raglan decreases and v-neck decreases and keep some integrity to the cable pattern and keep both sides symmetric.  I think I accomplished this and have started the sleeves. 

I am doing both sleeves at the same time.  Something I have never done before!  It never bothered me to make a second sleeve, as some knitters say they get "second sleeve syndrome"  i.e. not liking to make two of the same thing.  My reasons for knitting these at the same time, is the same problem I had with the fronts.  I want to ensure the increases and decreases and the cable pattern all happen in the same place on both sleeves without constant counting and marking.

Blogger is giving me picture problems, so I can't post pictures at the moment, so I thought I could link the project but that gave me warning messages! (Sigh)  (EDITED to add picture.  I installed Google Chrome now able to add pictures)

I am on my way to completing 2 books a week, since I finished "Burn" by Neveda Barr and  "Defending Jacob" by William Landay this week.  I guessed the ending to "Defending Jacob", probably because the reviews told me there was a surprise ending.  The last three Nevada Barr books have been darker than the other books in the series but all were very good.  I highly recommend both of these books.

Watched Christmas movies this week, so oldies but goodies.  I did watch "The Descendants" while DH was out somewhere and we both watched "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" last weekend.  Both very good.  We are watching the first season of  "The Big Bang Theory" and liking it.  It is a one note comedy, but it has made me laugh out loud, so we will continue with the second season.

"Downton Abbey" season three starts tonight!!  I am so ready for this.  Also new episodes of our old series coming back tonight, so lots of TV knitting happening.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year 2013

Let's forget about 2012.  Not that it was a bad year.  Far from it.  However, I lost some of my mojo.  Knitting and blogging and gardening (too hot this summer) went by the wayside and time went by too fast with not much to show for it.

So going forward into the new year, I am going to try and get my mojo back.  My knitting has already started to increase.  I'm enjoying it again. I really kept to the resolve of not taking any classes and not buying yarn for anything but items I needed to start right then and there.  No patterns or pattern clubs, no KAL's or mystery KAL's (total disasters each and every time!) and knitting up the stash.

I really blitzed my yarn and got rid of two garbage bags full of yarn, some semi-new and some dating back to the days of my working at the Needlebasket (which was over 20 years ago).  I made a sweater for DD#1  Metro out of Cascade which turned out beautifully.  I made the same sweater for me out of some of that old yarn and I was far from happy with it.  It is okay, but nothing more.  When I started another sweater with a different yarn from that era and it was turning out like a brillo pad, I realized it was a waste of my time to continue.  So out it went along with most of the rest of the hangers-on from ancient times.  Yarn is so much nicer now and my time and effort is much better spent using the good stuff.  Lesson rather painfully learned!

This year I am going to continue knitting from the stash and I want to keep better track of my projects and knitting yardage.  I finished 27 items last year (which included Christmas knitting of dishtowels and slippers) as this included the epic bedspread, it's more than I thought it would be.

I'm in the "13 in 2013" group on Ravelry and I want the 13 to be items from my queue.  I have them in project bags, patterns and yarn together.  I would also like to make 12 pairs of socks; 6 simple pairs and 6 pair using some of the hand-painted yarn and special patterns I've been collecting. 

I have four sweaters and one shawl on the needles right now: Frost Flowers , Tempest, Dahlia, Pat's cardigan, and I just started Bel Air. I am going to concentrate on finishing these four and maybe start a pair of socks in January.  The year I made monthly goals worked well for me, so I think I will continue that.

I read 54 books last year and I would like to double that amount.  Two books a week seems possible, one audio book and one print book.

And I would like to do some sewing.  Nothing much.  Maybe project bags and simple curtains.  I would like to brush up on my sewing skills

I want this to be the year of the great clearing-out.  Getting rid of all the unnecessary junk in the house.  Because we haven't moved in over 30 years, we never seem to have a real reason to get rid of stuff.

And I am going to make sure I keep blogging.  At least once a week.  Keeps me aware of what I have accomplished and is a nice way to look back.

It's been snowy since Christmas with light dusting's every day or so.  You may be able to make out the beginnings of the snow fort the kids started building out of garbage cans full of snow.  Great idea!