Tuesday, February 24, 2015

And at Last a Distraction

Yes, we are still (partially) buried in snow, but now instead of being up to our eyeballs we are just up to our butts. I suspect the residents of Boston are still mighty discontented, the more so since we will be getting more snow tonight, but at least here the roads are in pretty good shape. Still really icy on the side roads though. I ran across a video this morning that I just had to share. I had no idea Octopi could move so fast!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Winter at the Beach

The weather has become so all-pervading that just the sight of someone's pictures online that feature green grass or people outdoors in short sleeves makes me angry and depressed. As a tonic for my seasonal wounded spirit we got into the car and headed for the beach. We didn't stay long, but I feel much better now, sometimes a little time outdoors is just what I need, even if all I can see is brown, gray and white. Based on what the marshes looked like I would say the tide was out, but there were no waves or wave sounds. It felt odd to be next to the soundless sea.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

First Sweater

I have finally finished my first sweater! Last year I took my Christmas money and made the leap into sweater knitting. I had been hemming and hawing about it but at last saw the sweater I needed to have. It's Little Wave, by Gudrun Johnston. Never mind that the construction is a bit unusual, that there are many sections of doing two things at the same time, that it has a button band, a short row collar, and an icord bind-off. It is the sweater for me! I started it in January last year and finished it  last weekend. That said, I was not working on it all that time. For one thing, I only knit for myself from January to June, and I was making several projects for myself. Also, knitting with worsted weight and the needles it requires is more tiring for me. Fingering and lace weight are easier on my shoulders and wrists.

I made a gauge swatch and compared the measurements on the schematics to a sweater I already own that fits, but still came out with a very large sweater with very long sleeves. It's really too big to be flattering, but not too big to feel great wearing it at home, so I am mostly satisfied. I am really proud of the way it looks and the general quality of the knitting, but next time I will step down one size and also step down one needle size. Because it really has no seams a little snugger gauge will give it a bit stronger shape retention. It is designed for Shelter, which I think is a smaller worsted with a bit less stretch than the Cascade 220 I used. Shelter would have cost literally twice as much to knit, which would have been too much of an investment for my first fitted garment.

Things I learned from this project: Gauge lies. I-cord bind-off. My knitting in pattern improved over the course of the project, and my reading of a printed knitting pattern improved.

On to the next project! I am currently working on a pair of socks for myself, while evaluating a number of shawl patterns for my Christmas yarn - 600 yds of sport weight alpaca in royal blue. I should have something started in a day or two.

There's lots of knitting time to be had because we are still eyeball deep in snow. This picture was taken before the most recent 6 inches, and we are expecting more Saturday night into Sunday. That one is forecast to include freezing rain, sleet, and rain for my area, so who knows whether my piles will grow or shrink. It's hard to make plans because so many things are cancelled in the wake of one storm or another. It's not just the snow and wind, although they are plenty inconvenient. It's also the little question of how soon can parking lots be cleared and where to put the snow. Driving around parking lots is hair raising because you really can't see over or around the huge snow piles. We will probably still be looking at some of these piles in June. Of course, we have only received a bit over 4ft at my house since January 28, and Boston is up around 8 feet for the same period. We are beginning to think temperatures in the low 20's are quite tolerable.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Still Slogging On

We are still buried in snow, with more coming. Boston has had about 40" in the last 10 days and we are not far behind. Our roads are mostly clear, and if the right lanes are still deep in snow the center lanes are at least open for business. I am only watching the forecasts with one eye now - we had snow yesterday and snow this morning but the one that comes in tonight is likely to keep going until early Tuesday and every forecast is different from the last. Worst case it looks like another 10 inches for us, best case we get a much smaller tally of snow but that is because part of our precipitation will be freezing rain!

The wild turkey that hangs out across the street disappeared for a few days because the homeowner there was so anxious about him sleeping up in a tree during the first night of the blizzard that she grabbed him and threw him into a shed until the blizzard was over. He was mighty unhappy about that turn of events and decamped to another part of the neighborhood for a few days. He's back now, knowing a good thing when he sees it. He is eating with her chickens, which is no small advantage when there is so much snow on the ground. My bird feeders are nearly empty but I can't quite summon up the gumption to wade out into the yard with a ladder to fill them.

The dogs and I have still not gotten into the back yard, so we are still walking several times a day. I swear Mitzi is getting a waist from all the exercise.  We've been down in the single digits plus wind a few times. When that happens they just do their business in the driveway and stalk back to the house. So far I think they are enjoying it more than I am. I am pretty sure my back yard neighbors are thrilled not to be hearing Mitzi's barkathons.

Shana has come down with the flu. It was almost a sure thing since she spends a fair amount of her working time in emergency rooms. She had her flu shot (not very effective this year) and had been hand washing like a fiend but it caught her anyway. The timing was such that she will probably have missed only one working day, but that is small consolation as she is miserable. I immediately decamped to the guest room and am hoping to miss out. I did cancel my social engagements for the next few days in case I am incubating and possibly contagious. Oddly, no one has yet complained about my declining to spread the wealth (of germs). I've been knitting and catching up on my reading, so cabin fever has not been an issue for me. Really it almost never is. I could stay in all week without a pang most of the time.

I've been making serious progress on my "Little Wave" sweater. I am up to the neck back on one side and will probably have the left shoulder and back strap done tomorrow. Then it's only picking up the edging (no small thing but I don't mind picking up stitches), a few rows of garter edging (with buttonholes) , knit the pockets, kitchener the lower armholes and pick out buttons! All pretty small stuff, except that I am pretty sure that garter stitch down both sides of the front and around the neck will get tedious. The collar is integral to the borders, shaped with short rows. Of course now I am having anxiety about whether I will like it once it is done after all that work. As far as I can tell, I think it will fit, so full speed ahead! I will say that over the time I have been working on it my skills have improved. Nothing like a big project to force improvement.