Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April Knit #2 ~ Fingerless Mitts

I finished my second April knit last weekend: a pair of fun, stripey fingerless mitts.

I started these way back in February, and because I completed a few other projects in the meantime, there was a bit of a gap between finishing the first mitt and starting the second. By the time I cast on mitt number two, I'd forgotten how closely I paid attention to tension on the first one and so the second mitt ended up quite a bit bigger than the first. I ran it through a warm wash load, which shrank it to close to the same size, but gave it a denser, felted texture (and also made the top opening lie nice and flat). I'm thinking about putting them both through the wash again, hoping that the first mitt doesn't shrink too much more than the second. Argh! Tension. When will I ever get it right?

Nevertheless, they are nice and soft and a fun length (though I'm not sure what to wear them with...maybe I need a 3/4 length sleeve jacket) and I adore the colors and the varying stripes.

By the way, I didn't put on that shirt or paint my walls to go with the mitts--I just happen to have a lot of chartreuse stuff, including three rooms in my house.

Pattern info and notes on my Ravelry page.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Weekend Things ~ Spring!

I'm eyeballs deep in a project and I can't concentrate on anything else until I get it done, but I wanted to pop in here to let you know--spring finally came! Like the flip of a switch, the weather went from 20s/40s last week to the high 60s over the weekend. I went for a walk wearing a sweater--no coat!

As you can see, there was still quite a bit of snow in the woods Sunday, but it's been melting fast and furious all week. And the river has opened up (but for the occasional ice flow).

And even the piles of snow in front of the house have shrunk (sort of).

And C finally made his maple syrup--his first boil happened later than his last boil for the last two years, and it only lasted three days (which is fine with me), but yielded five gallons of syrup.

Our gravel pit pond is still frozen over (it doesn't get much snow), but I heard a peeper and a wood frog tonight in the nearby wetlands.

It's official--spring's here!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Documentation Part II ~ Catching Up

One of my  New Year's resolutions was to catch up on getting my digital photos put into albums. I had planned on doing this two years ago as well, at which point I got three albums done, through 2010, but then I didn't do any more and fell behind again. I could easily have ignored the project for another year, falling even further behind, but early in the year I faced what I thought was a storage crisis on my computer hard drive. It turned out that it was actually a problem with my backup drive not recognizing my hard drive due to an operating system upgrade, but before I figured that out, I went wild sorting through the photos from the time I got my computer, deleting the most egregiously blurry or awful images and transferring M's pictures (eight trillion lego photos) onto a memory stick. It took most of a snow day and several evenings, but once I got through all of 2011 I uploaded and ordered an album.

I found I still take photos of the same things I noticed last time--birthdays and camping trips and kids eating ice cream (and oh, my goodness, how could they have been such little guys only four years ago!!)

I also found proof that yes, we always have snow on Easter.

I only got through half of 2012 before my wrists and eyes rebelled and then I resolved my imagined storage problem and the project lost its urgency. I was afraid that I might put off assembling more albums for another few years and lose all hope of ever catching up, but then around St. Patrick's Day, I found myself feeling homesick for Ireland and decided to put together an album from my trip there in 2013.

I added in photos that our instructor took while we were there and actually did some post-processing on my pictures, which is something I've only recently started doing (and which adds more time to the process). This album documenting ten days turned out almost as big as my year-long albums. Going back through all of those images was such a nice way to relive that amazing trip (and make me yearn for another one!).

I love having our photos on the shelf where we can pull them out and look at them anytime, without firing up a screen. I also love how little space they take up compared to traditional photo albums (I have an entire bookshelf at the top of the stairs devoted to my pre-digital albums). Now I just have to figure out how to keep up the momentum and get 2012 through 2015 done before the end of the year.

How do you manage your digital photos?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April Knit ~ Lambykin

I'm not even sure when I started this project. I tried to find evidence on my blog, to no avail I do know that nearly four years ago, I bought a drop spindle kit at The Fiber Frolic. Perhaps I tried it out right away, spinning a small skein of knobbly white wool, or perhaps I put it off for a winter's day later that year. And then, last Christmas, or the Christmas before, when E was showing a lot of interest in knitting, I bought him A First Book of Knitting for Children. He wasn't too interested in trying out any of the projects, but somehow it was decided that I would knit the lamb (aka lambykin) using that knobbly handspun white wool, for Easter last year (or maybe it was the year before). 

But then I ran out of wool halfway through and so the project sat for a year (or maybe two), waiting for me to buy more white roving and spin it and finish the poor lambykin, who we all but forgot about until last week, when E reminded me about him and pulled out the drop spindle and spun some more knobbly not good for much of anything but a lambykin yarn and finished knitting him up Saturday night.

He's pretty silly-looking and can't stand on his own, but he's soft and squishy. I realize now that this is really a baby toy and has no practical purpose in a household where the youngest members are nearly ten years old (of course the first thing E did was hold its front and back legs like a machine gun at the Easter breakfast table. Of course. 

I think I might make more of them for babies I know, using real yarn of a uniform thickness, because the more I look at him, the more he grows on me. As for spinning, I don't think it's going to be a regular hobby for me. It requires too much patience, attention to detail, ahem, skill. I'm more of a slap-dash kind of gal. Or maybe I just need to take a lesson a do a little more practice.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Driveway Love

Saturday was a stay inside kind of day--rainy and then snowy--with lots of insides stuff that needed to get done--housework and projects and cooking and a spontaneous closet clean-out triggered by a desire to hide away all of my wool sweaters in the bottom of a deep drawer (they will need to come back out to be washed once the weather is warm enough to dry them, but disappearing them for now felt good). But late in the afternoon the sun came out and since I had dinner all prepped and a few minutes before my mother-in-law was due to arrive, I slipped outside to take a walk to the mailbox. 

Partway up the driveway, I came across this deer track shaped like a heart.

A few steps later, I saw a heart-shaped rock.

Pretty soon every rock I saw looked like a heart.

I tend to look for heart shapes in nature, but this was getting ridiculous. Was I just feeling extra loving toward my driveway?

I mean, who wouldn't love slogging through this mess every evening after a long day at work?

On the way back home, a load of mail under my arm, I didn't see any more heart-shaped rocks, only my shadow.

And our sorry-looking sugar shack. Poor C hasn't been able to boil any sap yet this year, between the weather and working in Bar Harbor for the last five weeks. 

But now that he's done with that and with the sun making an appearance here and there, this part of the driveway will become a very busy place for the next few weekends.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Weekend

Usually I like to go hiking on Easter, but between the weather and familial obligations, we had to make some adjustments and compromises this year.

Saturday we dyed eggs.

And I made Easter dinner my way--

Fresh and green and lemony (Spanikopita, Greek potatoes, asparagus, and a lemon-blueberry yogurt cheese pie)

We "painted" snow with leftover Easter egg dye.

Sunday morning, we had an egg hunt... the wee hours before there's enough light for proper photography.

And we ate fruit parfaits, Easter eggs, and lots of candy for breakfast.

In a sunny patch between snow squalls, we stomped down to the river to see how the breakup of ice is coming along.

Then later headed to a late lunch/early dinner (linner) at the in-laws that left us full and free for a lazy afternoon.

Hope you had a great weekend!
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