Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rushing Through

Been very busy lately. End of school, visits from in laws, etc. Leaving to go visit my family in a bit. Tomorrow is a party for my friend Marie, who's back from Germany for a quick visit.

Survived the end of school, barely. I can't believe Sr. Jr. will be in high school next year. And Jr. Jr. will be in 5th grade, almost out of elementary school! Yikes.

We missed Sr. Jr.'s promotion ceremony or whatever it was because he was off competing at Junior US Cycling Nationals! I think it was a real eye-opener for him. He only started road racing this year as a way to stay in shape for cyclocross season. But he did so well that he qualified for Nationals. Even though the competition took place the last week of school, all the academics were completed by then, so how could we say no?

He did great. He came in pretty middle of the pack over all, but was competing against kids with a lot more experience than he had. He's still a Cat 5 racer, and some of these kids were Cat 4 and Cat 3 racers. Some had been to Nationals before, so the whole experience wasn't new and intimidating to them. Among the other Cat 5 racers, he did pretty well.

Historically, Sr. Jr. has been known to get discouraged and give up on things if he isn't doing as well as he'd like. So I was a little worried that he would come home from Nats discouraged and ready to quit. But that hasn't happened. He wants to do more races, upgrade to Cat 4, keep training, and go back next year. I'm very proud of him for this; it's a sign of maturity. I hope it is, anyway.

And he appears to have grown another inch in the 5 days he was gone.

The crafty stuff has been hit or miss lately. Little bits get done, here and there. Socks get finished, but they don't necessarily match:

On the left: Cookie A sock club pattern "Orange Pekoe" in Hazel Knits Artisan sock "Oh My Darling." Love this pattern.

On the right: Yarnissima Mystery Sock KAL pattern "GUSH," in Wollmeise Twin, Lila Ludmilla. Also a great pattern.

I haven't even cast on for the second socks yet.

There was not a lot of spinning, just finished up one skein, that will hopefully be used for a Spin/Knitalong, if I have enough yardage:

Sanguine Gryphon Fiber Club installment 2, merino/cashmere/nylon, 2 ply.

I've been plugging away on the Camp Loopy shawl. Soooo sick of garter stitch. There are supposed to be 12 wedges of dark green, but I was running out of yarn, so I did the 12th wedge in the lighter color with the thin stripe of green. I think this will look neat, too.

Between knit-free trips and weeks with kids at home, I don't expect to get too much done other than bits here and there. Ah summertime.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Ah, the end of the year. School functions and parties and finals and surprise visitors and Nationals and trips and and and brain explosions.

Last week was Jr. Jr.'s school's Colonial Day, which is a huge production that the kids and teachers work on for months. They turn the back yard of the school into a little Colonial Williamsburg, with the kids as the re-enactors. It's really cute. The kids learn so much more about colonial life from this approach than they would just by reading a textbook. The exhibits focus on all (non-political) aspects of colonial life, including agriculture, industry, schooling, music, and dance. The kids learn the Virginia Reel and a minuet, and then the parents get to dance with them too. I loved dancing with both my boys -- I think that was my favorite part of the event.

Jr. Jr. was part of the school display, and acted the part of the dunce:

He played with some Colonial games:

And I got an awesome picture of him NOT making any silly faces:

Back when Sr. Jr. did Colonial Day, they discussed how the colonists spun their own wool and cotton, but all they had was one broken spinning wheel. This year, they had actual spinning demonstrators there, and they were a huge hit. Every time I went by them, they were surrounded by kids who were fascinated by the wool and the wheel. The demonstrators gave them bits of wool and had them twist it up to show how twist makes the fiber stronger, and even let them treadle the wheels. It was great to see.

Parties and busy times over the weekend, but I did finally manage to ply up the yarn I'd been spinning:

Multicolored skein is FatCatKnits merino in Leafeater. Mini purple skein is BeeMiceElf merino in Thistle. The purple will be the heel and toe, the multi for the main body of the socks.

But I have to finish other socks before I can start those...

Like the Yarnissima mystery sock, for example. The third clue came out this morning so I quickly knit it up so I could see if my jiggering to make it fit would work (spoiler: it did):

I also abandoned the last Cookie A sock, the one I showed in my last post. I wasn't enjoying knitting it, I wasn't thrilled with the design, and the June installment showed up and wowed me, so I cast on for that:

And just in case all that wasn't enough knitting to do, I got sucked into Camp Loopy, a little knitalong/contest thing being run by The Loopy Ewe. The first project is supposed to be a two colored shawl or scarf, and I've wanted to knit a Stripe Study shawl for a while anyway, so...

Great! You think. She must be looking forward to having a lot of knitting time. Ha! I say. My mother-in-law arrives tomorrow for a long weekend visit. She'll have my sister-in-law and nephew with her. All of them stay here Thursday night, then my SIL and nephew head out to my father-in-law's for the rest of the weekend. Mr. T and the boys are going to spend all day Saturday at the US Open, so I was looking forward to having the whole day to knit and spin and enjoy some quiet, but now, not so much. (Did I mention that Friday's my birthday?)

Next week, Mr. T and Sr. Jr. head off to Augusta so that Sr. Jr. can compete in the Junior cycling national championships. I'm so excited for him! I'm bummed that I won't be there to see it, and I'm hoping that Mr. T gives me frequent updates (hint hint).

Not long after that, we head to New York for my father's 75th birthday. I'm tired just typing all this out!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mood Indigo

First there was the Time of Green. Then there was my Blue Period. Now, Mood Indigo. I seem to be moving around the rainbow.

One of our cats had surgery last week for bladder stones. Her recovery period hasn't been entirely smooth, so I've been preoccupied with her and haven't had as much time to knit or spin lately.

But I have been working, ever so slowly, on a bunch of (purplish) projects. This month's Cookie A sock club project hasn't been going very quickly. I knit up a bunch of it on the called-for needles but it was too tight, so I ripped it all out and started over on slightly larger ones. It's still a slow knit, however, and so this is all I've got in the week before the next pattern comes out:

It's about 3/4 of one leg. I already received the yarn for the next installment, so I need to get moving.

In the meantime, I started another sock, this one a mystery pattern from Yarnissima, who has some amazing sock designs. The first clue was for the toe:

Cute, huh? And very purple. It's Wollmeise in Lila Ludmilla. Yes, it's the same color as shown in the pattern. I swear on all that is fibery that I didn't set out to do the pattern in this color. I went down to my stash closet with two requirements -- that the yarn be Twin (with nylon) as opposed to 100% (no nylon) and that it be a solid or semi-solid color. This was the first skein I pulled out of the Wollmeise bags that fit both requirements.

The second clue was just published today, so I'll start on that soon.

And look at my spinning --

Purples and greens and yellows, oh my! The little purple bobbin on the side is the 1 ounce bit of purple that will be the heel and toe skein. I plied that up this morning after the photo shoot, but I don't know when I'll have the concentrated time needed to ply up that big bobbin.

And moving right along... now that I finished Mary Jane, I cast on for a new sweater. The pattern is Drifting, by Cecily Glowik-MacDonald, a light little cardi to throw on in summer if I need a little warmth:

Not pure purple, but definitely a purplish-red, no?

(The next color in the Cookie A club is orange. Bright orange. I do not foresee myself having an Orange Thing.)

It's a busy time of year, so the knitting and spinning will continue to slow down. We've got baseball playoffs, Colonial Day, end-of-year parties, visits from family, visits to family, etc. Sr. Jr. has Nationals coming up, too! I'm so excited for him, and sorry that I can't be there with them.

So I'll just pick up what I can and try to have fun things to show.