Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Goodbye February, Hello Spring

I always have hated February.  The only good thing about it is my daughter's birthday.  This February was the coldest in the history of record keeping in the history of this area.  That goes back to 1871.

The beginning of March has been equally as nasty.  Yesterday we had the craziest weather.  Started out cold and snowy, about 2 inches worth and windy, then changed to freezing rain and then just rain when the temperatures went over the freezing mark for the first time since January. I have been very worried about the solar panels.  They have been covered with about 18 inches of snow since January. All the thawing and freezing yesterday made me anxious.  But here is what it looks like today.
Almost all cleared off.  There was a huge dump of snow in front of the garage door that we had to shovel but we were glad to do it since it meant the solar is humming away today making our electricity.  The solar guys told us not to touch the panels, just let Mother Nature do her job and so far they have been right.  (The Christmas decorations do have to go, don't they?  After Friday, temps should be in the 30's and 40's if we can believe the extended forecast.  So soon they will be a thing of the past.)

This is my view as I am doing my yoga in the morning: yes, I can finally see out of the skylight.  All the snow has melted off.  The buds on the tree look ready to burst and I am just so ready for some blossoms.

Here are some pictures of the back yard.  Hard to believe the amount of snow piled up.
Granddaughter making a fort under the round table on the patio.
Standing near the bird feeders looking down at them instead of up.

Hubby trying to shovel the snow away from the mailbox, since the postal service says they can't get near it and haven't left mail for a week.  Yet our newspaper carrier has no problem getting our paper to us every day.  Sigh.

Knitting is at sort of a standstill.  My hands and shoulder were very sore, so I stopped knitting for over a week and have started back very slowly.  I have 5 pairs of socks knitted for the year.  The end of this week is the 10th week of the year, so I was a little ahead of myself.

I have started my sixth pair, a really pretty Knit Picks Felici That I have had forever.  Just wish I had gotten more of this yarn when it was available.  I really like the softness of it.  Good for the kids socks since it is not the least bit scratchy.

This is Martinique colorway and is prettier than I thought it would be, green, blue and purple stripes.
I should have this sock finished by Saturday and be right on track for my 52 in 2015 sock goal.

Just three more subzero days to get through before it begins to warm up.  Hooray!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day and Socks

Temperatures are supposed to plummet this weekend (below zero for highs) with wind chill in the negative.  The weather forecast mentioned maybe and inch or two of new snow so imagine my surprise this morning when I woke to a steady stream of snow.  So much on the ground and so much more this morning!

This was first thing this morning, the snow is almost up to the top of the patio table. This is not drifted snow but actual snowfall that has been adding inch after inch of  snow each day without any thaws since the beginning of January.

Same view a bit ago with the snow up to the table top.  Amazing!  We are safe and sound (so far) inside with a pantry full since we did our shopping yesterday.  Nowhere to go since I had planned a nice Valentine's Dinner for two at home.  I really dislike going out on holidays like Valentine's or Mother's Day.  Too many people, too rushed servers to really enjoy.  So we are having fillet and shrimp with baked potatoes and sour cream with our Valentine's candy (Orange chocolate sponge candy) for dessert.
I have declared an extended moratorium on yarn purchasing after I caved and bought a striped Christmas sock skein.  I have declared 2015 the year of  "52 Socks in 52 weeks".  One sock a week in between other knitting seems a little nutty but something I can attempt.  

Saturday will be my day to mark my progress.

So far I have completed and gifted four pair of socks.  That is correct, not one for myself.  A pair for Chiara for her birthday, a pair I gave to Amy and a pair for Collin that I have been meaning to make for about 4 years.  I finished another pair for Steph but haven't been able to give it to her yet. 

Four complete pair, eight socks.  Since this is the seventh week of the year, I am doing great, so far.

I have another pair for hubby about half finished.
It is Paton's Kroy sock yarn that I have had in my stash for awhile.  I am knitting it even though I had horrible results from a Kroy yarn I used last year. It was a stripe that had a long repeat which made it very difficult and needed quite a bit of finagling to get both socks to match.  I was a little leery when I started on the pair I made for Amy, but it turned out beautifully, pretty colors no problems matching the socks.  I was tempted to pick up a few more skeins the last time I went to Jo-Ann's but remembering my resolve to not buy any more yarn for a while, I resisted.  Good thing!

The hubby socks are a very pretty blue and brown marle and I was very happy with it until I got to a knot; a knot that threw the repeats of the first sock off so much that I didn't have enough yarn to finish. That is finish with the correct color repeats.  I am about a toe and an inch short.  I started the second skein for the second sock hoping there won't be a problem with that skein.  Right now I am at the heel flap.  If there are no problems with this skein, I will see what I have left and try to piece together the yarn to match.

So here is my resolve: it is not worth the aggravation and time to make socks with a yarn that may be cheap, but gives less than perfect results.  No more Kroy yarn.  
I have tried Opal and love the way it holds up and it is not terribly expensive so that may be my go-to sock yarn.

I like all the hand dyed striped yarn, but most of it is $25 and up and is just too expensive for my budget.  I am sure the artisans who make these yarns are charging what their time is worth but it may be a luxury I can indulge in on rare occasions.

Besides, I have an entire storage bin of sock yarn to knit through before I need to replenish.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Making Progress

Its sunny but cold today.  We had a good storm last week Thursday and Friday that left about 18 inches of snow on the ground.
The kids had Friday off and Thursday my darling daughter picked up the kids so I wouldn't have to go out in the storm.  So I got four uninterrupted days to straighten out the mess that was my sewing/craft room.  It always gets trashed over Christmas as that is where all the presents get wrapped and the normal decorative items get stored.

I got rid of a boatload of old knitting magazines and cleared out a shelf on the bookshelf to house all the notions needed for sewing, thus clearing off the sewing table.

Clear table with happy pin cushions waiting for me.
Today I took advantage of hubby going to work and oiled the machine and changed the needle and sat down for some much needed practice.  Got to know my machine again and sewed on a simple little Christmas quilt
.  Straight lines and turning corners.  Perfect practice.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Another New Beginning

I love the start of something, a new season, a good book, a new knitting project.  But the best is the start of a new year.  All bright and shiny and full of possibilities.

This year is starting off very quietly for us.  A day to kick back and rest a bit.  Holiday parties and get-togethers are over.  The decorations need to come down but that is a job for after the weekend, I think. I hate putting Christmas away.

Resolutions for this year - stay healthy, live mindfully and lighten up.   I want to continue with organizing myself and getting rid of excess. I also what to do more sewing.  I have plenty of material to go through.

Again, continue to knit down the stash.  I did fairly well last year but there is so much it seems like I barely put a dent in it.

I finished 14 pair of socks in 2014.  Wow! That really surprised me.  During December I made 4 pair. They were the only projects I worked on in between all the Christmas stuff.  I started my first socks for 2015 last night.  I think they will go to Chiara for her birthday this month.

I am going to try and get all the afghans done.  I have yarn for four.  Today I am going to start the Dinosaur Afghan that I got yarn for so many years ago I don't remember.  There is enough yarn to make two, which were going to go to Collin and Chiara, if I recall.. They have both outgrown them, but Chiara says she would still like one, so I'll make it and maybe a Diagonal Blanket with the leftover yarn.  I hope I still remember how to do Intarsia.

It is very cold and the wind is howling today.  We did have some snow overnight but not enough to even need shoveling.  I think a cup of hot chocolate in front of the fire is in order.