Spring Break Progress

While many are away in tropical climes during spring break, we stay home and use the time to do some spring cleaning, spring baking, and spring crafting. This week, I have been focusing on gluten free treats for Easter Sunday. I made these gluten free hot cross buns, two flourless chocolate cakes, and an almond sponge cake.

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Next week, I’ll be able to tell you if these treats were a hit or not and if they are good, I will post more details about recipes and such.

The house is mostly organized which truly is 90% of the battle here. Just don’t look in any of the closets, ok? Once all the tidying was done, I was able to concentrate on some knitting, especially two new shawls.

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Winterwood is quite a challenge so far, with lace stitches on every 534 stitch row. One row takes me at least 30 minutes and the truly tough rows with p3tbl stitches can take up to an hour. It has been awhile since I have tackled a lace pattern this tough and it really is good for the brain! It’s best done while awake and alert, and with a reasonable expectation of uninterrupted time, which is why I have only managed 11 rows so far. Those things are in short supply around here!

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Autumn Arbor is less demanding, with only 109 stitches per row, and no tricky stitches. There is lace on every row, but it’s not too bad, so this is what I have been working on when I have 10 minutes or so to spare.

When my brain is tired, I go back to my Cape Cod, which is coming along nicely.

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Just the cuff and one whole sleeve left to go here and then it will be done, probably just in time for sweltering hot weather. Oh, well, then I can wear one of my newly blocked shawls.

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I will never cease to be amazed at the magic of blocking.

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The lace patterns really open up and lay flat to reveal sheer beauty.

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The green one is the ever popular Annis pattern and the pink one is the Spring Mystery shawl; both patterns by SusannaIC. Lately, I have really been loving the crescent shape for shawls.

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Happy spring.

Cleaning Up

Oh boy. This has been a busy first week of spring break. We went on a field trip where we saw lots of sheep.

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Some were just a day old.

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We got to touch a Teeswater fleece that was full of lanolin.

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The farm also had llamas and alpacas.

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And here’s a peacock showing off his colors.

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It was a fun day watching the kids pet a few animals, play with some fiber, and enjoying the good weather. For most of the rest of this week, we have been in super deep cleaning mode for the Easter holiday. While I was going through all the boys’ clothes, look what I found.

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This is a whole bin of sweaters I made for the boys that no longer fit. There must be at least a dozen sweaters in there. Here’s the drawer of sweaters that still fit.

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Do you sense a color trend? Ah, well, they are boys and blue is my favorite color after all, but maybe I should knit something red next. Or orange.

Anyway, I am going to go and do some knitting now. I’ve just spent the past four hours deep cleaning the kitchen. The kitchen is so clean that there is no way I am making dinner tonight because I want to enjoy the fruits of my labors and keep it clean as long as possible. Nothing is more discouraging than cleaning something and then having it become filthy in less time than it took to clean it. Absolutely no one is allowed to make anything in the kitchen tonight. Happy weekend, everyone!

Getting Away

Last weekend, I escaped from my family for a little over two days. It was wonderful.

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There was shopping, lots of good times with friends, lots of good teaching and music, and, of course, knitting. While I was away, I finished two shawls.

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The pink one is done. It’s the spring mystery shawl knit along project with Susanna IC. This one was really fun and enjoyable to knit.

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This one is Annis, also by Susanna IC. If you need a quick one skein project, this one certainly fits the bill. I cast this one on last Saturday and now it is done. After the first 18 rows of lace, the rest is stockinette short rows and very easy to do while talking with friends or listening to teachers.

Now that I am back, I am planning to block these and then start a few more shawls. I think I may have spring shawl fever.

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Sweaters? What sweaters?

Unfocused

Spring is here. I am sure I don’t have to tell you how long and cold this winter has been. You won’t hear me complaining, though, because I have loved everything about this winter (except the month that I was really sick, but that was last year and let’s not dwell on that). I know it’s been hard to tell here on my blog, but we have had a really productive and fruitful winter. Since January alone, I have completed four sweaters, two shawls, and a few other little projects, including a few quilt blocks for my quilt group.

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On the school front, we used the cold weather to our advantage and focused hard on some of our tougher subjects and have been able to get ahead a little. In fact, we are so far ahead, that I am planning a two week spring break for my older son, just a one week break for the younger, and we’ll still be done by the end of May. Ahh…all our hard work for the past three months will be so satisfying when we knock off at the end of May while most other kids still have weeks of school left.

Of course, this intense focus cannot be kept up and is just beginning to fade now that finer weather has arrived. All winter, with my knitting, I have been very goal oriented, working on one project at a time until completion. This is actually pretty uncharacteristic of me. I am easily bored, but this winter for some reason, I was really able to focus and get a lot done.

Until last week.

Last week, I started five new projects, but I really have been working on more over the past week. The result of this is a lot of mess without much in the way of progress. It’s as if spring fever has hit my knitting. Want a peek?

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These are all the projects that I have worked on int he past week or so. Is it any wonder that I am feeling a little unfocused and unproductive? Here’s a closer view?

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Looking at them now, I can see some progress that has been made. Like this sweater here. There’s definitely a few more inches on the body there than there was over a week ago.

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Still, even though I know I could finish some of these fairly quickly if I just focused on them a bit more, I cannot resist casting on something new.

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Spring. It’s here at last.

More Pink

With the delay of spring here in this part of the world, I find myself looking to create a little spring of my own wherever I can. This is manifesting itself mostly in yarn and in pink.

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First, my Brandied Cherry sweater is all done. The depth of color on this yarn is difficult to capture in photos. The pink is dark and vibrant.

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Before I seamed, I blocked my sweater pieces. This is something I used to never do, but now I do it every time because it really makes seaming much easier. One thing I noticed about this yarn is that it really stretched out in blocking. I was expecting this since it is a superwash yarn and don’t mind extra length in my sweaters. I find, in general, that you can really stretch out SW yarn when it is wet, but once it is dry, it usually bounces back a little.

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I used some of my new clover clips to help out with the seaming. They are really handy and easy to use and reposition.

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My row gauge was a bit long, so my sleeves turned out a tad longer than I expected, but there is a cuff incorporated in the pattern that is meant to be folded back, so all is well there, too.

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I am very happy with how this one turned out. It is a warm, cozy sweater in a happy color.

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As soon as I was done with this, I went back to work on my spring mystery shawl, in a very similar pink color.

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Additionally, I am already planning another sweater in (surprise!) pink, though this one is a little more muted in its tone.

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This yarn is from The Woolen Rabbit and is made of 85% Polwarth wool and 15% silk. It has a lovely sheen from the silk and is very smooth to knit with. My plan is to make this sweater with it. The blue sock yarn just came along for the ride because even though I am very smitten with pink right now, blue is my true love.

Usually at this time of year, we have some flowers and budding blossoms, but this year we are still stuck in the polar vortex. Any cherry blossom color around here is coming from this gorgeous yarn by the same name.

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Yes, I am a little obsessed with pink and likely will be until the riot of spring colors finally arrives. Then, maybe I’ll go back to gray or brown. For now, I need pink.

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