Sunday, November 27, 2011


...these knitting binges tend to burn themselves out after a few days. I'm starting to wonder about this one.
hats and mittens

Chores? What chores?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Isn't It Amazing...

..just how many other things one can find to do when one has a long list of chores?

For example, instead of diving into that cleaning Saturday, I was suddenly consumed with the need to start ironing the quilt fabric my mom gave me, which I've been gradually washing over the last few weeks. Here's a small portion of it,as I start to sort it into color families:
quilt fabric

Biscuit helped- he pounced on the iron cord, knocked things off the sewing machine, sat on the fabric, and finally settled back to supervise. The little cat snores are the sign of a supervisor hard at work, I'm told.

Moderate amounts of cleaning did eventually get done, just in time for my parents to come by. Biscuit was very brave, and actually came out to see them. My mom even got to pat him- a first, as he's usually too skittish. They also picked up a bagful of charity knits to take to the collection point for me.

And later that afternoon, I headed down to a charity knit-a-thon sponsored by a couple of local knitters. Last year was their first year, and it was very last-minute, but they still managed to collect a bunch of knitwear. This year, the local knitters knew it was coming and were all ready. They had a long folding table and it was absolutely heaped with knitwear. Lots of kids are going to have warm hats and mittens this winter!

I dropped off the rest of my bag full of charity knits, leaving me lighter by a goodly amount of yarn. I think the sudden absence of knits made me a little giddy. I'd brought yarn and cast on some mittens to work on during the knit-a-thon, but when I finished them (later that day), I just had to cast on another pair. And another. And another. And a hat.
charity knits

Of course part of the reason for the sudden spate of FOs is that I took Wednesday off, and have been having a pretty much perfectly lazy holiday what with sleeping late, reading, and playing with yarn. I've actually had enough rest that I was starting to get ambitious about that list of chores again...and then Cookie settled in for a nice long comfy snooze on my lap. Fortunately I've got the book I'm currently reading and lots of yarn within reach. Because after all, how can I do chores if it would mean disturbing the cat? Like I said. Amazing.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Day So Far

Double trouble
3:30 AM: Biscuit submits request for early breakfast to management. Management staggers out of bed cursing and feeds him.
5:30 AM: Biscuit and Cookie remind management it is breakfast time. Which is true enough on weekdays. Management staggers out of bed cursing and feeds them.
6:30 AM: Biscuit thinks he's got room for just a little something more. Submits request to management. Management heartlessly banishes him to the sun porch where he can tell his problems to the birds.
9:00 AM: Cookie suggests a snack might be in order, and husband suggests curling up on the bed for a nice nap instead. Suggestion is accepted. However Biscuit is let back in at this time.
9:30 AM: Biscuit reminds us he is still hungry. I arise for the day and provide another round of breakfast.

Now at this point you're likely thinking we're gullible and indulgent cat-parents, and we should simply stop spoiling the little beasts. Which point of view has a certain justice. However there is an issue- Cookie is a proper little glutton. Biscuit has a modest and restrained appetite and likes to have frequent small meals as the urge takes him. If we leave food out for Biscuit, Cookie just eats it all. No, really, ALL of it. And then Biscuit is forced to request more food from management anyway. And Cookie gets even plumper (we're having quite a chore keeping him only plump, I can tell you).

So at the moment we're struggling with the plan where we feed both cats at regular mealtimes, but Biscuit gets more food when he wants it, as he doesn't really eat enough otherwise. (And if he's hungry and we don't feed him, we get a long vocal explanation of why this is Completely Wrong.) Unless we can come up with a practical way of separating them at night, I don't quite see what else we can do.

Anyway- I'm awake now, and my plans for the day involve a vat of coffee and, in the immortal words of Allie Brosh at Hyperbole and a Half, "Clean all the things!"

But there will certainly be some knitting as well.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Running in All Directions at Once

I feel like I've gotten nothing done, which in one sense is the truth, but there has been progress made on many fronts.

1. The new bookcases are installed and books have been arranged on them.
new bookcases

I know, you're thinking, "Bookcases? What bookcases?" Strictly speaking, this has been my husband's project- while I've been doing deck and pool things this fall, he's been carpenting. (Okay it's not a real word, but what do you call making things out of wood?) My few contributions involved putting the final coat of polyurethane on, and helping to hoist them into position to be installed.

This has allowed us to spread out the SF and fantasy section of our library, which had books stacked horizontally on the shelves for lack of space. However, when spread out, SF and fantasy has taken up all the new space, so history is still jammed to overflowing. We're going to need to finish two more bookcases (and do some rearranging) before we've got that finally sorted out. Not that I'm complaining. It's lovely being able to shelve books properly upright in order. (If you're new around here, you might be thinking, 'how the devil many books do they have, anyway?' The answer is that there are currently 4640 books in the permanent collection, and several hundred more in the To Be Read pile. When Jonathan and I got married, we built a second story so we'd have room for a large library. We love to sit in the library and read, surrounded by books. It gives us a warm happy feeling.  Here's my favorite reading spot:)  

a sunny day in the library

2. All of the deadfall brought down by the storm has been turned into a modest woodpile. Augmented by donations from my neighbors, it's quite a respectable woodpile- easily enough for a year, at the rate we burn it. I've actually resolved to try and burn more wood this winter, because we had rather a surplus even before the storm.

3. The pool closing is almost complete. Thankfully, I had the cover on before the leaves started coming down in earnest. Most of the stuff is put away- I just need to empty and store the filter.

4. I've managed to whack a few of the routine chores every day this week, so I'm starting the weekend with just the endless house project list.

But, what of crafting, you're wondering?

5. I've finished the Charlemont scarf, but need to block it.

6. I finished the mittens I cast on for simple knitting during the power outage.
navy mittens

7. I'm past the halfway point on one of the secret projects.

8. I'm past the halfway point on the red cabled scarf.

9. The pink afghan has gained a couple more rows of squares.

10. The intarsia hat is still in time-out, contemplating its sins.

I do have a lot of crafting time planned for this weekend, however, so hopefully I'll be in a position to show off some FOs next week. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's the Little Things

Today was a day for appreciating the little things. A long hot shower. Hot coffee. Electric lights. Yes, lights...amazing how much easier it is to knit when you have them. We got power back yesterday (Monday) afternoon, after losing it Saturday evening during the snowstorm. Not that it was much of a storm, by NH standards, but it was very early, very wet and very heavy. How heavy? This heavy:
tree swimming

No damage to the pool or (newly stained) deck as far as we can tell.
The leaves are still on the trees, which is mostly why the snow pulled down so many branches. I've never seen the bushes in my yard flattened like this. They're normally over eight feet tall!
forsythia having a lie down

And the neighborhood got hammered- this was what I saw in nearly every yard along my street when I ventured out.
downed trees
downed wire
(It's hard to see in the photo, but there's a wire down across the street there.)

As far as losing power, it really wasn't that much of a hardship for us. We lit the oil lamp and a few candles, hauled in some wood, and built a nice toasty fire in the wood stove. Sunday morning we still had hot water for showers in the water tank, and even Monday it was pleasantly warm. Today was the morning I wasn't looking forward to washing in cold water, but I was spared even that minor hardship. We're pretty close to the center of town, so we're often near the top of the list for repairs. This is the first time in the nine years I've lived here that we've had an outage lasting more than a day.

And while I appreciate room lighting for knitting, I certainly didn't let a little thing like that stop me! Several different projects got some attention.

But, I should introduce the WIPs:
1. My lace scarf (the Foreign Correspondent scarf, which I fell in love with after seeing the two that Toni knit) and it's coming along. I plan to just keep knitting until I finish the skein of yarn, but I'm at that stage where I knit, the scarf gets longer, and ball doesn't seem to change size at all. Maybe it's a feature of the yarn? (Valley Yarns Charlemont Kettle Dyed, in Evergreen- it's a lovely silk and merino blend.)
Foreign Correspondent Scarf

2. The Which Way is Up reversible cabled scarf, which I hauled out of the pile and did a bunch of work on this weekend. I've actually taken a few stitches out of the pattern because I'm knitting it in bulky weight instead of the worsted the pattern calls for, but I already know I'm going to make this one again. It's a very charming pattern, and I love it that the scarf has no wrong side.
Which Way is Up Scarf

3. An intarsia hat, in time out after I messed up the chart six rows back. That one really ought to go to the head of the list, since I wanted it done before Christmas. But you can meet it when we're back on speaking terms.

4. A mitten- I started that one just so I'd have something simple for dim light. Also my local knitting group is doing a charity knitathon this month, for which I'd like to have some more hats and mittens done.

5 and 6. Are secrets.

7 and 8. The mitred square blanket and the multi-pink afghan. These will get some intermittent work- probably the pink afghan mostly, as it is very bulky and I'd like get it finished and donated before the holidays.

9. The bamboo summer top which is definitely my oldest WIP. I probably won't pick this up again until after the Christmas knitting is done, but I would definitely like to get it out of my queue this winter.

Oh, yes and the FO. Before the power went out I finished the second afghan (second one started but first one finished). Very Easter-y, but I'm pleased to have used up all the yarn- about 14 skeins-worth, but several of them were huge 8 oz skeins, so it's a lot of yarn. The finished size came out 46" x 70". Strangely, the afghan seems way heavier than the yarn was before it was crocheted!
Easter diamond afghan

And somewhere in there, I really ought to knit myself some more mittens. I can only find one pair of the four I ought to have, and they're in terrible shape. Although I strongly suspect that some of the missing ones are going to turn up before I get around to knitting more!

PS. Cookie wanted me to say that he's happy the heat is on too. The sitting around the wood stove thing was interesting, but the couch is more comfortable.
Cookie at rest