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Not Spring Yet

Today, we are supposed be getting a Nor’easter storm that they say will give us potentially 12-16 of snow. It’s been snowing all day, but nothing has stuck yet.   It’s just melting as it hits the ground.  So, I am having a hard time believing that we will actually get any accumulation, but this is probably because I lived in the South all my life where I was conditioned to never to believe forecasts of snow because they invariably were wrong.  However, here in New England, I have to say, the snow forecasts have been quite accurate, at least for the time we have been living here.  I heard this week on the radio forecast that this storm is supposed to be a ‘regular’ Nor’easter (as opposed to the bomb cyclone kind) and would come with just 4-8 inches of snow.

Anyway, as we sit here and watch the snow fall outside and wait for the storm to really arrive, I feel a little like that snow that falls on the ground and just melts.  Sometimes, it seems that I work on things for a long time and nothing seems to happen.  Or, I am busy all day for days, but don’t seem to be making any progress, but I know that’s not true.  It’s just that progress is sometimes invisible.

Take for example my weaving project.  At first glance, it looks pretty much the same as the last picture I showed you.

However, I am actually half finished.  Or at least, I used half of my yarn.  I may actually be closer to finishing than I want to be because I don’t think my warp threads are long enough.    I work on this in the few minutes I have here and there throughout the day.  It’s easy to stop and start and it moves along quickly as well.  Just 12 minutes after the photo above was taken, I had woven about 6 inches and it looked like this.  Then, I wound it up and it looked the same as above.

Life is a lot like this, I think.  It’s work, work, work, everyday and nothing seems to change, but take a minute to step back and look at the big picture, and you realize, actually, quite a lot has changed.  I spent some time this week looking for a new sweater project.  I had the pattern and wanted to use yarn in my stash, but after spending a lot of time sifting through my yarn, I came to the realization that I did not have the right yarn and abandoned the idea.  Was that a waste of time?  I don’t know.  Because of that failed project start, I went back to my happy stripey cardigan.  Noro yarns are so fun to knit with because the color changes can be surprising, but somehow they all work together.  In the skein, these had an autumnal/halloweeny feel to the colors, but knit up like this, I see it is more springlike than I thought.

And just because I could not start the sweater I wanted to, I decided to start another sweater that had the pattern AND yarn ready and waiting.  Also, it’s a bulky weight sweater and I thought I better get it started while it’s still cold and so I Cast on the appropriately named Avalanche sweater by Heidi Kirmaier.   So, usually no progress in one area, just means that progress is being made somewhere else.

This one is not as fast as Carbeth, but I also haven’t spent much time on it.  It’s all scrunched up on the needles right now, so it is hard to see, but there is some lace and a couple of cables, too.  I think I’ll devote more time to it tonight since it feels more wintery today. It’s hard to believe we had a day last week that was almost 70 degrees.  But, even though daylight savings is this week, and I heard that the meteorological first day of spring has already passed, it does not look like spring outside.

However, it does look like spring with my knitting.

I told you I would be knitting pink things next.  Maybe spring will come faster if I knit with spring colors?  But I do have some blue things on my mind too.

 

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Happy New Year! I hope you had a nice holiday full of everything you love. Ours was lovely, full of good food, family time, time with friends, and lots of sleep. We really needed the sleep! After the major festivities on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, I really tried very hard to not do much. Before that, I was busy finishing up a couple of knitting gifts.

Slipper socks for the boys:

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If they look a little loose, that’s on purpose. These boys are growing faster than my knitting can keep up with, so I have to make them bigger to make them last longer than five minutes.

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And a hat for the husband:

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I hope you’ll forgive the blurry nature of Christmas morning photos! Anyway, soon after the holidays, my thumb suffered a minor injury and I was unable to knit for a few days. Good thing I had my loom to keep me busy! On New Year’s day, I warped a new project on the loom. It’s going to be a sampler blanket in worsted weight yarn.

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I know, I know, it’s another blurry photo! Our basement has terrible light. I’ll try to get a better one when I have more to show. It sure is going fast. I can probably weave about 4 inches in half an hour, maybe less. It helps that I want to see what kind of pattern comes up next, so I lose track of time.

My thumb is a bit better now, so I am back to knitting, though not as much as I would like. I have two sweaters on the needles that I can’t tell you about. They are both pretty heavy, so I had to cast on something little and light to work on when my hands are too tired.

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This is just the beginnings of a Hitchhiker shawl/scarf and it is just right for now when I want to knit, but can’t hold much weight.

I also have some sock yarn ready to wind and knit some new socks. My good friend, Kim Swingle, has just released a group of patterns called Playtime specifically for all the highly variegated sock yarn in your stash. The patterns are designed to minimize the pooling that these yarns are notorious for. I cannot wait to get started on some!

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And for those times when my hands need a complete rest, I have these to keep me busy:

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New cookbooks! There are lots of great new recipes in these pages. I can’t wait to get started!

Time for a Break

At the end of the last school year, I got a little frazzled around the edges.  There was a loooong stretch of school between the winter holidays and Easter break.  This year, I’ve decided to try out a different schedule.  Not really a year-round school schedule, but one in which we take breaks for a week every six weeks or so.  This week has been our “week off” and I am really glad I decided to do this.

Now, this doesn’t mean we do Nothing.  Heaven forbid that Nothing gets done in this house!  Ha!

Actually, the boys have been doing a few little independent work type things and we’ve done a couple of fun projects to prep us further for Williamsburg this weekend.

On Monday, we made butter.  It was more fun than we expected, especially when the bottom of one of the jars fell out.  There was cream everywhere and I am so sad I didn’t get a picture to show you.  I was just getting ready to take a picture when it happened and then my housey instincts kicked in and I put the camera down to Clean It Up.  Oh well.  It was still a great time, even with a greasy floor and the boys now having to share a jar.

See, doesn’t it look fun?  We put five marbles in a pint jar with about 1/2 cup of cream.  Amazingly, we discovered that before it turns into butter, there’s whipped cream!  No more getting out the mixer for whipped cream in this house!  We’re going to use a jar and kid power from now on.  Anyhow, there was a lot of butter at the end of it.  I was really impressed.

The boys also finished these and I have to say, I think they look terrific.

The boys are really proud of their work and they should be.  Even with the mistakes they made and the unevenness, it was something crafted by them.  And there were a lot of good lessons learned, too.  Among them, patience, looking at details, and even some color theory.

It was a great project to do and very practical too.  As my oldest said, “I made it with my own hands.”  And, isn’t that the essence of why we craft?

Cardboard to the Rescue

This week for Thankful Thursday, I am going to talk about cardboard.  Yes, I know.  What in the world could I have to say about cardboard?

Well, actually quite a lot.  We take cardboard for granted, I think.  Every time we go to the store, we bring home loads of cardboard–even more if you go to a warehouse store.  You would think that if you buy in bulk, you would be saving on packaging materials, but have you seen the kind of cardboard that cereal comes in from Costco?  It’s amazing.  I think you could sit on it and your cornflakes would still be safe.

I bet almost everything we have has been in a cardboard box at some time or another.  Then, once you’re done using a cardboard box as a storage device, cardboard continues to be useful–as a tool, a toy, a cushion, an art project, and even as mulch for the garden.  We save lots of cardboard boxes.  You just never know when they will come in handy.

This week, I took this cardboard box (I highly recommend this vacuum, by the way, but maybe I’ll talk about it in another post)

and I cut it up into pieces.  Well, really, I just wanted two long pieces, one each for the boys.  I cut some notches in one end of each piece 1/4 inch apart for 9 inches.  See?

Then, I took the yarn we had dyed last week and wound it around the length of the cardboard, wrapping it around the notches when I came to them.  Lastly, I added a few pieces of tape.  Do you know what it is?

That’s right, it’s a loom.  I dug out some yarn that we had dyed a few years ago with kool-aid.  The boys picked out a color and I taped an end to a ruler.  Then, they started weaving.

It was a bit of a slow start at first and they made a few mistakes, but hopefully they will get the hang of it.   After watching them struggle a little, I added another piece of cardboard to cut their work in half.

Now, on every other row, they can just lift the little cardboard piece and slide the ruler right through.  It’s going to be tricky going around the end of the cardboard, so we’ll see what happens then.  Here’s one last picture of both looms together.

See, isn’t cardboard useful?  I’m happy that I didn’t have to go out and spend oodles of money on a loom (and so is the husband) for the kids.  Now, I can use that money for more yarn or fabric!  Yay for cardboard!

Do you have a favorite use for cardboard?

p.s.  I did get this idea from the Colonial Days book I mentioned last time, but I kinda expanded it a little.  The project in the book was just a little potholder.  We have enough of those in the house.  Plus, I may be an over-achiever.