Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It's been a little bit on the cool side

My knitting chair is right next to a window.  In the afternoons, and in the summer, it's delightful to have natural light for knitting by. My Ott light, a gift from my mom when I was about to knit a black sweater, is on the other side of my knitting chair.  It's seemed a bit cool lately, and I thought I'd stick a thermometer on the windowsill ('in') with the external sensor next to my feet ('out') to see if this coolness was all in my head.

Perhaps it's not in my head after all!  Cold temps outside (and in) aren't all bad, though.  You know how, after making a batch of stock, you're supposed to let it cool before putting it in the refrigerator?  At this time of year, I can just set it in the back room to cool.  And then notice it's frozen, and leave it there for a week or two until I'm ready to use it for soup.  

I have to remember to reinterpret cookbooks at this time of year. "Have ingredients at room temperature" is best understood as "place ingredients on pellet stove for at least an hour."  I made a batch of cookies on Saturday, and the butter re-solidified after I creamed it with the sugar because the flour and molasses weren't pre-heated.  I warmed the whole mixing bowl on the pre-heating oven for around 5 minutes to resolve the problem.  

I got a gift!  I was quite impressed with the gift bag it came in.  It's not quite the right shape for a knitting bag, but I am sure that it will see some use.

This past week's knitting has been of the incognito type. I'm halfway done, though, and will post pictures when I can. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

2017 Temperature Afghan

It's said the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. And for me and my mom, this proverb has more than a seed of truth.  For the past two years, Mom has made a temperature afghan from her stash. 
Temperature 2016
The first year, she diligently worked one row for each day, plus a white stripe to divide up the months.  And - because we're detail-oriented people - she also added in some indicators of the precipitation.  The afghan was almost 8 foot long. 

So, for 2017, she changed the rules.  If the temperature stayed in the same color range for 2+ days, she still only added one stripe.  65 degrees for 10 days in a row?  Then one stripe of whatever 65 degrees is.  The afghan came out a lot shorter!
Temperature 2017
She's skipping the Temperature Afghan this year, and plotting out her yarn for a Temperature Scarf for next year.  I'm almost tempted to join her, but I've got this Counterpane thing going on, and since I decided to commit to Counterpane 2022, I've had 4 test knits crop up. 

I love test knits. They're like permission to MAKE time for knitting, as opposed to knitting when I've got everything else done. I get to play with new yarns, new patterns, and new-to-me designers.  And since I have a knack for picking intricate patterns with teensy yarn that can take forever, test knits remind me that there's a world out there with simple patterns and worsted weight yarn. 

I've learned I have another blog reader out there (Hi, M!) so I'm going to make an effort to get back on a weekly posting schedule.  We'll see how it goes! 

Now, please excuse me while I pop off the computer and work on test knit #4 ... on size 0 needles and 46 sts/4". 

Friday, December 22, 2017

2017 Wrap-Up

I've been noticeably absent from the blog of late, primarily because when one has things to DO, one does not necessarily take the time to write about doing them.  Keeping a good to-do list has been essential, and I find that the back of a Page-a-Day calendar is the ideal tool for the job.  Unless the projects span multiple days, in which case, something a little less prone to disorganization is better.  And so, I began a foray into the world of Bullet Journals.  I like my little journal quite well.  It serves as an anchor for all my ducks on a back burner. 

The beginning of 2017 saw me add Data Administrator to the list of hats I wear around here.  It's been a wonderful hat, and I've learned a lot about Data Administrating -- so much so that I was offered another hat by a company they work with, this time as a Systems Administrator.  I had to stop and think whether I had time to wear yet another hat.  My head gave me one answer, my heart gave me another, and after a week of waffling I knew the only way to convince myself that I did *not* have time for another job was to try it for a month. 

That was around September.  I still have margin around the corners of my life most days (otherwise you wouldn't be reading this blog post) and have decided that to keep myself out of trouble, I am going to knit a counterpane (or coverlet, if you prefer).  After a good bit of swatching - for, when a project calls for around 1000 hours of labor, it's a good idea to pick the right pattern/yarn combo - I settled on using carpet warp and the Corinthian Squares pattern, and a proposed completion date of Christmas 2022.  That's 200 hours a year, or 5 hours a week.  I am next to positive I'll finish in just 2-3 years, but time will tell.  The 5-year plan pleases my Russian-speaking brain, and won't interfere with test knitting, gifts, and life in general. 

Merry Christmas, all!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Monday, September 04, 2017

Fair Photos and a quick update

On what looks to have been the day with the 2nd largest attendance in history, we went to the Minnesota State Fair.  Dear Husband says that once was enough people to last him a lifetime, and he doesn't plan to ever go back.  I will admit it was a bit crowded, and there were so many people I didn't stop to take the time for good photos.  However, I did take some, and handful came out with little enough blur that they are suitable for sharing.

The Third Places - a sampling

My gloves

Some items which didn't place

More items which didn't place

And more

Very blurry fourth-place items, including my blurry mittens

More items which didn't place.  Pretty!

Sanquhar Gloves in a different display case
This summer has seen some progress on the downstairs.  The trim was added in late spring, and once that was in I began contemplating and pricing window treatments.  The short version is I saved ALL sorts of money by making my own Roman shades. I'm quite pleased with them.  After two years, we have covers on the downstairs windows again!

Next up for home improvements is painting an upstairs bedroom, after a bit of spackling and sanding.  Home improvements have also included sealing a gap in the hopper of the pellet stove, replacing a defunct heating element in the dryer, and finally getting the thermostat properly mounted on the new drywall downstairs.  (New = Feb 2016)

We have some completed knitting, too!
A hat, blocking

Mittens, artsy-like
 There is a haul from the garden
Parsley, tomato conserve in the making, tomatoes, chocolate bell pepper, ground cherries, white summer squash, Alma Paprika peppers, Boothby's Blonde cukes, and Haralson apples. 

To top off all this loveliness, I am now a Certified Technical Editor! 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July update

Computers are so unpredictable.  Did I need to log out of my e-mails to write this blog post?  No!  Maybe I only need to do that when the months are not evenly divisible by 7.

Summer is in full swing.  The garden is flourishing and requiring daily vine checks, during which I make sure the butternut squash does not devour the sour gherkin cucumbers, and the pickling cucumbers stay closer to the trellis than to their protective enclosure of chicken wire.  It's REALLY hard to move chicken-wire panels for weeding and harvesting when the cucumbers are growing on them.  We've harvested all 4 kohlrabi that I planted (yum!) and have swiss chard and kale galore.  And calendula.  The calendula in the garden is doing beautifully, and got a serious trimming last week because it had taken over not the 2 squares of the garden I had allotted it, but 12 squares, 10 of which were occupied by peppers.  Tsk!  I'm having fun drying calendula petals this year, and am using fresh ones as a colorful garnish to soups, salads, and whatever else I think of.

But why did it have to be the calendula in the veggie garden that abounded in size and flowers?  Why not the calendula in the other three places I have it in the yard?  Could it be ..... the chipmunks?

My new mint patch is flourishing, and has peppermint (either plain or chocolate; I bought two plants years ago and they looked, smelled, and tasted identical), spearmint, and pineapple mint.  And oregano, just because.  I expect it to take over the area that it's in, and overgrow it, and take on the world.  I'm fine with that, since dh can mow one edge of the minty triangle, and I can chop it off when it grows over the curb or onto our steps.  We've been enjoying mint lemonade.

Knitting has been rather quiet lately, but is picking up.  Mittens are on the needles, and more mittens will be on the needles shortly, and who knows what else!

Sitting at the computer and poking at the keyboard has NOT been quiet.  Between this, that, and the other thing, I have been spending days and days without knitting.  Classical Writing is working on polishing a book for general release, and TKGA always has records that need to be organized.  TKGA also offered a new certification last month, that of Technical Editor.  I pounced on that as soon as I could, and am working my way through the class.  LOTS of screen time for that one.

I don't have any photos to speak of, but a blog post without photos is not visually appealing, so let me lob one in for aesthetics.  This is the beginning of a pair of twined mittens, which will be finished today if I don't spend too much time writing blog posts!