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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Winter Snowstorm Means More WIPs

I just can't seem to find interest in one project.

So I cast on another one...


The Mari Lace Cowl  from Lace One-Skein Wonders. There's a sock pattern in that book that looks intriguing, too. I might cast that on as well. This Mari is very mindless. I like to do something mindless and something challenging!

Winter is really starting to get to me. It's been so terribly frigid here lately, and it isn't usually so bad in the Mid-Atlantic. At least, not in Baltimore. We got some snow late on President's Day, about 5 inches, then another 6 yesterday. Ugh.


This is the beginning of the storm. 



The Dogster really doesn't mind the snow so much, except there's no where to go potty.




A later picture.

It warmed up overnight, sleeted a bit, then the sun came out today and it was 40 degrees. After a few days of sub-zero wind chill, 40 degrees felt like a summer beach day.

Now, of course, everything is gray and dirty and slushy.

But it's almost March! Spring is just around the corner!








I gifted the blanket I was making, and it was nicely received. The baby is due in about 10 days.

I hope the blocking holds. It's so pretty like this!











I leave you with a rare, and very brief, moment of coexistence between two mortal enemies. 

Ta!!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

How Cold is it?

This cold.


Note the tiny letters that spell out "RealFeel -5" and "-15." We've been under a high wind advisory, which was on par with the Tropical Storms I've been through before. I spent most of the night wakeful, worried about the stray cats outside, worried that the tree in the backyard would tumble down onto my neighbor's shed, worried that the power would go out and I'd have to deal with the myriad difficulties that would bring about (all related to heat).


The awning over my front porch

I don't have a good alternate source for heating my house. Or cooking. Anyway, we got through it, and the winds are dying down now, but it's still going to be bitterly cold for a few more days.

I really don't like winter. Even if it does give me a reason to knit. I try to think cozy thoughts and think of my flower garden in the Spring, but by February, everything's just dreary and blah.

Since it was so inhospitable outside today, I finished all my errands yesterday so I could just stay in today. I even managed a 5-mile run, until the wind started whipping snow into my face. It was 25 degrees yesterday, which in retrospect is positively balmy!

Can you guess what cozy chore I accomplished today?


I finished the Leaf Lace Blanket just this morning.


I actually had to set up the blocking squares on my bed, since it was kind of larger than the items I normally block and the living room floor is hard on my knees.




Once blocked, I could prop it up, but I can't leave it there overnight. This is the room one of the stray cats shelters in when the weather is this bad, and she is not to be trusted with anything like this!






I think I do my yarn-overs the wrong way. The pattern photo looks very different.



One of the downsides of self-teaching, I can't quite figure out what I am doing wrong when my work doesn't equal the pattern.






In other news, Molly and Fat Petunia loves the new cat tree I bought. They love to be five feet off the ground.









Byeeee!





Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Neverending Blanket Story

I've really got to get going on this thing.


The Leaf Lace Blanket ... it will apparently need a fierce blocking to resemble the photo from the link.


Sometimes, leaf patterns look a little ... well, naughty. Hmm.

I wonder how much larger it will actually be, once blocked? I had planned on investing 7 skeins of yarn in it, but I don't want it to be too long and skinny.


It's a pretty pattern, and easy to memorize.

Anyway, that's all I've been knitting -- the baby blanket, for a baby due in a few weeks. I guess I better get crackin'!

In other hobbies, I signed up for another half marathon. I will soon be flying to sunny California for one, and the other is here locally in late April. I'm excited for both. It'll be nice to be out of dreary cold Maryland in February. There's one more half I want to sign up for in mid-September, but that's far enough off that I haven't yet decided.



Nightie Night, Fat Petunia!

Sweet Dreams!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hygge

Hygge (“heu-gah”). 

I just read about this Danish tradition in an article on the multi-faith website Patheos. This article defined hygge as "coziness," such as making your living space cozy throughout the cold winter months. Focusing on light, warmth, candles, and gathering together with friends. There are many internet articles on hygge, of course, and the Wiki entry on Denmark mentions it up top. I know I'm not discovering something that's been around for eons, but this is the first I heard of it, and it's intriguing! 


While searching for articles on hygge, I found an editorial written by Jessica Vozel.  (Written for the Pittsburgh Herald-Standard.) Vozel points out that Americans would have difficulty with hygge because so many of us rush through our lives, value achievement over down-time, and think it lazy to sit around with friends four hours in a cafe. I won't get into the psychology of it, but she has a point. I do see people lounging around Starbucks (I myself am a frequent visitor), but by themselves ... I see fewer and fewer people gathering in groups at coffee houses.


I myself love coffee and coffee shops, but I rarely share my coffee-drinking time with friends. I have coffee at work at my desk while I'm working, in the morning while I get ready, on the weekend as a grab-and-go from Starbucks, to drink in the car!

But back to hygge, which is not about coffee...


I am not a very social creature, so the community gathering concept of hygge is rather lost on me. I am, as my nickname suggests, an unmarried woman of a certain age. My friends have children and have their own lives, and, sadly but understandably, there is no longer time for lazy mornings hanging around La Madeleine's over late breakfast and coffee.

So, in other ways, to get through the long Mid-Atlantic winters, I shall do what I can to observe hygge throughout the cold months. Candles, greenery, hot beverages, and warm cozy wool.


There appears to be an entire web directory dedicated to hygge, and I am going to go explore it.


Cozily yours,

Spinster Beth (with Fat Petunia in the corner)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's Going to Be Boring for a While

I'm not knitting very quickly on this baby blanket, and it's all I'm doing right now, so the next few weeks will be quite boring here!


It is much bigger than the last blog entry, at least.

Other updates:

Weather: Cold, foggy, rainy, dreary.

Reading: "Boiled Over," by Barbara Ross. The 2nd in a series (so far, a series of 2) about murder mysteries in a small town in Maine.

Next running event: Diva Half Marathon in California. Roughly 40 days away. Training is right on schedule!

That's all, folks!

One day, the sun will shine again ... 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Why Can't I Have Nice Things


Every pair of socks I knit sooner or later, usually sooner, develops a hole or bare patch.


This was expensive sock yarn, too.

Most of my socks turn out very loose (dunno why, I'm a tense knitter), so maybe this time it was the friction against the back of my shoes.

Usually the hole falls in the ball of the foot, or bottom of heel.

Ugh.

So frustrating. I love hand knit socks.







I did start the baby blanket I switched to, after realizing the dress wouldn't work with the yarn and pattern.


Leaf Lace Blanket  from 60 Quick Baby Knits. 

It's meant for Cascade yarn, but I'd already purchased Paton's Classic Wool DK Superwash. Color is Wisteria. 

I will have to buy more, but I'll worry about that later. The baby (a co-worker's first) is not due till March, after all. 

The pattern is so simple--odd rounds 1-7 and 9-15 are the same. So just two different lines to memorize. I hope this flies off the needles, but -- well, I know better. My knitting luck has been rotten lately. 











In other news, the weather has improved. It was 27 this morning when I walked the dog, and it felt like Spring. We're expecting icy rain overnight. Booo. 


Oh, were you trying to do something here? Am I in the way?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Luckily, I'm a Knitter

...Because today was a day when great swathes of wool were necessary.


I wore all this, plus heavy boots and a heavy lined coat. Gloves under mittens, because as I get older, my fingers ache terribly when it's cold (and turn waxy and white, which disturbs me). Wristlets under my coat, because for some ridiculous reason all my sweaters are 3/4 length sleeves. Leg warmers over my jeans, because one layer of fabric is not sufficient when it's this cold!

The waxy-white-finger-thing ... kind of icky, right? Anyone else have this issue? This happened when I forgot my running gloves but was determined to run the 9-mile-run I had on my schedule. It was about 36 degrees, which I honestly thought wasn't too cold to go bare-fingered. Silly me!



It was 7F this morning ... -13C. Now that's average in places like Norway, home of one of my favorite knitting bloggers, Hege ... but for Baltimore, that is really cold! We get a week or so of "Arctic" weather every winter, and we rush about covering pipes and filling our gas tanks and such, but then the extreme chill passes and it's back to being around 35F (1C) during the day and mid-20s (-5C or so) at night. We got a few inches of dry powdery snow Tuesday, which had the chance to melt slightly before re-freezing, so it's just no fun to be out and about.

So I finished the Scandinavian Mittens, as you see ... just in time to wear them!


One is slightly larger. I have a tendency to knit very tightly, and I concentrated on knitting loosely when I was doing the 2nd mitten. However, the thumb-gussets are terrible. I have a rough time with picking up stitches.

I was going to start a baby dress next, but -- despite spending a lot of time selecting the yarn and pattern -- the yarn I selected is not a good fit. Rather than spin myself into knots trying to figure it out, I'm just going to be a quitter and make a baby blanket. I reason that it is a better gift, anyway; a baby dress would only be good a few months, but a blankie is forever!

That's what I tell myself, anyway ;-)


Cover me up and bring me a hot cocoa. And fluff my pillow. And read me a story.