19 May 2017

Five Favorites on a Friday

Hello and Happy Friday!  I only have to be at work until noon today, which is nice, though the reason is a dr's appointment.  But since (at least in theory) it's a follow-up, it should be fine.  I have my book in case there is a long wait, and it will be air-conditioned, so that will be OK as well.

Since I haven't posted five favorites for a while, I thought I'd do it again today.  It's always good to remember things that make you happy, and to have a happy outlook heading into the weekend.

1.  Getting a start on our garden.  Last Sunday, I spent some time sweeping and cleaning up in the garden.  We generally don't go out and clean it up at all during fall and winter, so there are always lots of leaves to deal with, as well as anything else that has blown in (I'm looking at you, plastic bags) or been dropped by squirrels and others.  I really accomplished a lot, and hopefully this year we'll be able to enjoy it for a while before it gets too hot and humid to be outside.  I'm hoping to find some flowers to plant so there will be some happy color.

If I may digress for a moment, I have a funny story from when I was out there.  Jetsam and Jack went out into the garden with me (Pip and the Koodle found the broom too scary, and stayed inside - wimps!), and they were having a good time, chasing bugs and just hanging out.  When it was time to come in, Jetsam came over to the door and went right inside.  I went to pick up Jack, and he ran away and "hid" in the bushes.  So I walked around the garden saying, "Jack, where did you go?  I hope you're not lost!" and all of sudden he popped up, and ran over to me as if to say, "Surprise! I'm right here!"  I picked him up and put him in the house, and he was *so* pleased with himself.  He went over to Jetsam all happy with his plan to have fooled me.  And I swear that Jetsam just looked at him with an expression that said, "Dumbass."

It was really funny.  At least to me.  Anyway.

2.  Almost finishing the Mojito socks.  I love these socks and have enjoyed knitting them so much, I kinda hate that they will be done.  But on the other hand, I know that when I open my Box 'o Socks in 2018, I will be thrilled to see and wear them.  Also, they will be a happy reminder of our trip to Puerto Rico.

3.  Deciding (well, at least 90% deciding) one of my next projects.  I came across the Sonora pattern, and fell in love!   I love it's basic-but-complicated look, and I think it would be fun to knit.  I'm not sure what yarn I will use - I have a ton of fingering/sock weight yarn, but generally one skein only of any given color, and this pattern calls for two skeins of one color and another skein of contrasting color.  I'm gonna do some stash exploration this weekend.  If nothing else, I may actually break down and buy yarn for it.  On the website, there are some suggestions for pairings using the yarn it was designed for, and they are lovely.  But I'll see what I have before doing any spending.  Next will be deciding what yarn/pattern to use for my next pair of socks.  There are *a lot* of choices there, no purchasing required!

4.  Brownies.  The Tim made brownies last weekend, and we have been enjoying one with a cup of tea in the evenings this week.  YUM.

5.  Anticipation.  Specifically, related to two things that are coming up.  One is a mysterious trek to someplace in NJ for some mysterious reason.  The Tim has been talking about this for weeks, and will not provide any details.  The only thing I know is that it was supposed to take place last Saturday, but was rained out.  So apparently it's partially or completely outside.  I'll find out tomorrow.  The other thing I'm anticipating is for next weekend, when we are heading to WV for Memorial Day weekend with the family.  It's always fun, ridiculous, and a chance to catch up with everyone.  Usually some extended family we don't usually see show up, so that's always great too.  This year, one of the extended family couples is bringing their dogs - Radar, a 3-year-old yellow Lab, and Mattis, a 9-month-old yellow Lab puppy, who is being trained to be a therapy dog for the Franklin County, Ohio, police dept.  (His full name is Mattis K. Nine, and he has his own Facebook page!)    As The Tim has pointed out, we have been puppy-deprived, so this will be an extra treat for us!

What about you?  What went on this week, or is even coming up, that made you happy?  Feel free to share, and have a lovely weekend!

Mattis K. Nine - can you stand it????

17 May 2017

New Book, Nearly Finished WIP

I just started a new book today - and so far, so good!  I won it in a Goodreads giveaway, which is always a fun thing, since it means you a) won a prize, b) you get a package in the mail!  Anyway, I'm almost 100 pages in, and am already hooked.

And sitting atop my project bag from SugarTots is the nearly finished second sock of my Mojito Socks, which I am enjoying so much, I may actually miss working on them when they are finished!

I've started to think about what project (or projects) will be next.  Because God forbid, I have *nothing* on the needles ...

Today I'm joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday - click and see what others are up to!

15 May 2017

Stick a Fork in 'Em

Because they're done.  Finished.  Finally.  It took way longer than it should have, and it put me behind on my sock goals, but as I am writing this post, they are residing in the Box 'o Socks.

Project:  Weird Colorblock Socks
Pattern:  Pin Striped Socks, by Julia Swart (free pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn:  Knit One, Crochet Too Ty-Dy Socks, colorway 1883
Needles:  Size 1US
Modifications: None
Comments:  Ugh.  These turned out to be such a slog!  The yarn tended to split, which was frustrating.  And the color changes were hard to figure out (or not, as you seen in the photo).  And then of course, the use of the Afterthought Heel.  NEVER AGAIN.

I don't have a problem with a heel flap/gusset construction, but in the interest of broadening my knowledge and experience, decided to try the Afterthought Heel.  So many people I know use it all the time, and rave about it.  On the first sock I tried to install the heel, I messed up so badly, I had to cut the socks in half and re-knit the foot and toe.  Then I managed to get the heel into that sock, but it wasn't pretty, and there are a bazillion ends where the yarn kept splitting/breaking.  Yesterday, I sat down to put the heel into the second sock, and though previous experience made it go faster, it was still annoying and I'm not completely happy with the result.  After all of the work put into the socks, I have a sneaking suspicion the heels won't do well with a lot of wear and tear, and that makes it even more frustrating.

But - they are finished.  I tried them on, and they fit.  They're in the box and I'm moving on.  I am hoping that being away from them for a while before wearing them will bring back my initial fondness for how they looked, and that they will prove me wrong and last a while.  It's very disappointing to have a project that you just want to get out of the way.

But I was neither impressed nor pleased with the Afterthought Heel.  As I said above, I don't mind the heel flap/gusset construction, and when you finish the toe, the whole sock is finished - all that's left to do is weave in the ends.  Granted, you may still end up with an attack of Second Sock Syndrome, but you won't end up with socks that are finished but not quite.

Of course, I also don't mind knitting with double-pointed needles, so maybe it's just me ... ?

Regardless, another pair for the box.  :-)

12 May 2017

Furball Friday

(Photo taken January 8, 2017)

Jetsam - and everyone else at our house - hopes you have a lovely and relaxing weekend! 

Who would believe such pleasure from a wee ball of fur?
- Irish saying

10 May 2017

Unraveled Wednesday, Indeed

I finally have my act together enough to join Kat and some others for Unraveled Wednesdays.  I would keep meaning to join in, but would either forget or not have any pictures handy to share.

Today is indeed unraveling for me, in the emotional sense.  The past week or so has been really difficult health-wise, for myself and some other family members as well.  Nothing like having it all piled on at once.  Because we cannot just stop and go back to bed and shut out the world though, there's no choice but to manage as well as you can at any given moment, and we're trying.  Sorry to be vague, but it's not anything I can bear to go into right now.  I'm sure that soon you'll hear all about it whether or not you want to!

So, as I often say, Onward.

I have two finished socks to show you today - but they are not a pair.  (Kinda like the joke of when is a door not a door?)

The sock on the left is the first Mojito sock, finished on Monday evening.  I love the colors, and can't wait to cast on for sock #2.  But before I do, I wanted to at least put the Afterthought Heel in one of the socks I finished before we went on our trip.  So I did that yesterday afternoon, after getting home from a dr appt.  And I *will* do the other sock as well, but not right away, since the first one was not pleasant.  I am however, determined to finish the socks, so it will happen at some point.  (Warning: in some post in the near future, you will have to hear my ranting about the Afterthought Heel.  In a nutshell; Not a fan.)

When Knitting Annoys - film at 11!

The book is one I started this past weekend.  I'm not very far into it yet, but I'm finding it very interesting.  I heard about it on the Treehouse Knits podcast, where she mentioned that she and another podcaster have a reading group (and of course I am too lazy to locate the links that would actually help you find it.  Sorry about that).  I borrowed it from the library, to see what I think.  It's one of those books that if I had to read it for a class, or for formal discussion, I'd be worried because there's a lot of information and dates from B.C.; but since I'm reading it for my own purposes, I'm doing OK because I feel no pressure to remember every single specific fact.

I'm also listening to the audio book Messenger of Truth, by Jacqueline Winspear. Needless to say, it's much lighter and easier to manage, story wise.  It's funny because this is the fourth in the Maisie Dobbs series, and I realized that they have all been audio books so far - I haven't actually "read" any of them!  But I do enjoy them, and the narrator's voice seems appropriate for the time period when they take place.

So that's it for today from me.  What about you?  What are you up to with your reading, knitting, and listening?

P.S. I hope none of you are unraveling, in any sense of the word!  :-)