Thursday, March 12, 2009

Back in Jersey

Ah, back in New Jersey after a couple of months in lovely Punta Gorda, Florida, where I had rented a beautiful condo, with a huge lanai.  There were plenty of manatees to greet me on my walks around the marina.  

This was the view from my lanai -

And this was the path I took on my morning walks -

I had a great time visiting my friends Pat and Tom.  They bought a home in the marina last summer, and it seemed like a great idea in late November to hop in the car and head south to visit them, so I did.   I'm such a Jersey girl that I worried more about pumping my own gas than driving a thousand miles.   There were some very long stretches of interstate, and I was very happy to have many podcasts and audio books to keep me entertained.  I can't help thinking how my Prius' navigation system has changed my life.  I am severely directionally challenged, and driving almost anywhere used to raise my stress level through the roof.  Now, I plug in an address in Florida and off I go.  I love watching the miles and minutes tick down on the Nav screen.  

 Anyway, my condo was about 1 mile from my friends' house, both within the gated community of Burnt Store Marina.   It is just beautiful there.  
The people were so friendly and the marina was so beautiful that I started to think about moving there.  I was invited to the Friday night D&D (drunk and disorderly) in the clubhouse, invited to the book club and every other social thing.  What fun!

Finally, after more than two months of being footloose and fancy free, I missed my family and headed home.  Isn't it funny how the drive home FROM vacation just isn't as much fun as the drive TO vacation?
I drove home, waded through my mail, finished painting my fiber room/office, fixed the shower head, replaced the toilet innards, put up some new blinds, figured out why I was having trouble getting the new doorknob on the new door, and just generally got caught up.

Also, I was excited to watch the nephews play some hockey at the Trenton Devils home - aka the Sovereign Bank Arena.  Then we stayed to watch the Trenton Devils play.
They aren't quite as good as their big brothers, the NJ Devils, but they are fun to watch.

Hmm, I've been home a few weeks, and it's cold here.  What can I do?  I know, I'll call JetBlue to take me back to FL, Tampa this time.   While I was there, I visited the Plant City Strawberry Fest.   I saw Travis Tritt and Brenda Lee (she is so tiny and cute).  Of course we had plenty of strawberry shortcake and assorted fried things.  In case you doubt that they deep fry everything down there, here is the proof:

Then we drove back to Tampa so we could sing along with these guys (when I say we sang along, I meant I sang along), and I danced my fool feet off.

Here's another view 

Yep, it's the Piano Men, Billy and Elton.  What a great show!  Although the Tampa Times review said it was a sellout of the gray-temple crowd.  Is that ageist, or what?

So, like I said, I'm back in NJ getting caught up and getting excited about the Devs!  Go Marty!  

Oh, and I finished a few pairs of socks, most of a Kauni Cardi, but am stalled on that because I fooled around with the length and now that I have to do the neck castoff caston thing I'm scared to screw it up.  I also made a neat cowl/gaiter, spun some singles and am trying to decide whether to make a February sweater or a BSJ for a May baby.  Details at 11, or in Ravelry if you are so inclined.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Momentous Night...

We have a new president and the months of campaigning are now over. I am so relieved, and happy to move ahead.

There is knitting, but sadly no pictures for a while. The shared camera is no longer working. I'll be doing some camera shopping very soon.
I started the Branching Out scarf in 100purewool fingering, but I'm afraid that the colorway, although really lovely, is not a good fit. I also started a pair of toe-up socks (2s2c) in my merino/tencel handspun. I'm using size 3 (3.25) needles, which seem huge compared to my usual size 0 (2.0mm). The yarn is one of my earliest spinning projects, so it is not very consistent, but it pleases me just because I spun it. The roving came from Susan's Spinning Bunny in the Roses For You colorway.

I really need some comfort knitting now, so I keep starting things even though I can't seem to settle on a project. Just the concentration it takes to start something new calms my mind.

I finished the bloodletting yarn from the other day and I really like the softness of it. I'm itching to cast that on, too, but haven't decided what to make with it. I just want to knit, no matter what it is.
At least I can bring all of these projects to my mutual admiration society (AKA my knitting group) tomorrow night and get some cheer from those great ladies.

I'm also looking forward to my checkup and flu shot tomorrow - not really. But I look forward to the flu even less, so I'm happy to go.

The first year without my dear brother is now over. It has been an excruciatingly difficult year, but things will get better as time goes on.

And there are so many things for which to be thankful - the President Elect is just one of them.

An historic day, a day of endings and beginnings. Onward we go.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

World Champion Phils!!!!!

WoooHoooo. Phils Win!

2008 World Champion Phillies!

Time To Put On Your Woolies

The weather has been chilly and mild, and then yesterday - Wham!  Wind, rain, and even snow flurries.  I was talking to Mom, and she was going outside to catch some snowflakes on her tongue.  Today it is windy again.  Can I use that as an excuse again to put off going to Lowe's to complete my order for new carpet?  I just may do that.  Tonight is knitting group at the library.  I really look forward to it every week.  I guess I didn't realize how much I missed being around groups of friendly people since I retired.  Besides, who can resist the mutual admiration of fellow knitters?  I showed off my stole last Wednesday,  and I have a cowl  to show this week.  This was a fun and quick (and BIG NEEDLE) project.  I'm going to get some critiques tonight to see if this would be a good project for holiday gifts.  I don't like to knit on schedule, so projects that can be completed in a day or so are about the limit for me.  Socks, of course, are always on the needles.  

When I started the stole, I figured it would be fun to knit a beaded lace mystery KAL, even thought I probably would never wear it.  Well, I have already worn it to two weddings.  Alas, I have no photos of it being worn, but here is a photo of some happy people -

An absolutely beautiful wedding.  The bride is stunning, the groom handsome and happy, the father of the groom happy and exhausted (and more relieved than words can express that he found someone to tie his bow tie mere minutes before the official photos were taken), and the best man and flower girl happy and handsome/pretty themselves.  I've been close to these 3 men since two of them were 13 and 10, and this was a happy and emotional day.  I'm so proud and lucky to know them.  It was a wonderful weekend, but, except for their dad, they all flew back to OR and CA shortly afterward.  I miss them already.

In other news, I went to Rhinebeck!  I missed last year, but Mr. G decided the trip was a go this year, so off we went on Sunday.  It was a chilly, breezy and fun day.  I really bought very little, one Sheep to Shoe kit in the Space Dust colorway and one skein of STR lightweight in Lodestone from the Fold, one skein of Araucania sock yarn in the descriptive colorway 309 from Carodan Farms, and a tote bag for my Hitchhiker wheel from The Merlin Tree's Dave Paul.  I enjoyed meeting Dave after having communicated by email and phone when I ordered the jumbo flyer for my Marvin.  The flyer and bobbin are BIG.  I haven't even used it yet after pining for it for a year, and I've had it for more than a month.  The bad news was that it took us hours to get back to North Jersey from Rhinebeck.  I guess the nice weekend had the leaf peepers out in force, because traffic was slow and backed up for miles.

On the spinning front, I just finished two bobbins of singles from this roving .   I have to ply and wash 'n whack, then I'm planning on another cowl (really a gaiter, I think).
There are so many neat patterns for cowls, and I think they are less likely to get lost than scarves.  Also?  I really like knitting in the round.
I was lucky enough to get a Black Magic Woman sock batt from Josette
and I really want to spin that sparkly black fiber into some sparkly black sock yarn.  I waited too long to acquire more sock batts from her.  I wanted to make sure I liked the socks I made from a Mermaid batt I had gotten a while ago.  
Now I know I love those socks sooo much, but now her batts sell out practically the second they are listed, so I may have to special order some.  I know that I MUST HAVE the Pumpkin Juice batt.  And the sample that was included in the BMW batt - I think it is Gold Dust Woman,and it is gorgeous and I want that too.  And Galadrial, and and and...
Sigh.  I am supposed to be on a fiber diet until I reduce my stash, but sadly, I cannot spin and knit as fast as I can push that PayPal button.  

Today I am going to paint the woodwork in my junk(soon to be office/craft)room.  I ordered the carpeting weeks ago, the carpet-measuring person came out, and all I have to do is go to the store and pay for it and set up an appointment.  Why have I not done that?  I have a bazillion things to move from the closet in that room, and from my bedroom which decided it needed new carpet too, and the woodwork painting.  At least I freecycled many, many pairs of shoes, quilting books, sewing patterns, etc.  Unfortunately, I haven't even made a dent in the load of stuff I need to downsize.  The good news is that the more stuff I move downstairs to ready the upstairs rooms for carpeting, the less I want to keep.  I'm sure that when it's time to move it back up, more of it will go out the door.  This is not a bad thing.  You can see that I have even been driven to blogging to put off the painting a little longer.  OK, that does it.  I'm off to paint.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I love the Olympics!

I just love watching the Olympics.  Summer, winter, I love them all.  Unfortunately, I have been influenced by the athletes, and have started running.  As those who know me will attest, I hate exercise, and feel it is dangerous.  I can relate quite a few incidents of friends injuring themselves while exercising, and I have always discouraged it.  I didn't even know why I started running until my friend Barb told me it was the Olympics.  She said to watch out, or I'd be looking for a trampoline or balance bar next.  I feel quite athletic now.  Of course, I have only been running for two days, and maybe for 1/16 of a mile, but still....

I have been much more successful with the Ravelympics.  I entered the Vest Vault, Handspinning Heptathalon, WIP Wrestling, Hat Dash and mumble SockPut mumble.
I have no chance of finishing the Sockput, mainly because I chose to knit socks from yarn I had spun but not yet plied or finished.  I would have had a chance had I not been away from my spinning wheel for over a week.  Anyway, I have not even cast on for the socks.  Here's the yarn though, and it turned out very nicely, if I do say so myself -

It is one of the superwash sock batts in the Mermaid colorway from Enchanted Knoll Farms.

Here is my entry for the Hat Dash - The Amanda Hat in 100purewool.

My niece Steph grabbed it and stuck it on her head when I gave it to her last Sunday,
so I think she likes it.

the entry for WIP Wrestling -

Ice Queen
this is the Ice Queen which I started in February and finally finished.  I made this for
my friend Sue.  At least she'll have it in plenty of time for this winter.

My entry for the Vest Vault is the Back-to-School-U-Neck Vest from Fitted Knits
in 100purewool I just have the back straps and neck and armhole finishing, so it's possible I'll finish on time.

Oh, and the Handspinning Heptathalon.  I had already spun half of the Crown Mountain Farms
roving before the Olympics started, so I decided to use the other 4+ ounces as my entry.
I finished plying, washing and whacking it and it is now drying.

I did take a break from all of the crazy knitting and spinning to wish my niece a Bon Voyage as she sets off to college - tomorrow (gulp).  Good luck, Jack!  I know you will have a great time - and study really, really hard.

All three of the lovely nieces (shown here with Grandmom) are athletes.  They certainly do not take after their Aunt Ginny.

The clock is ticking down, and I have many stitches to make before I sleep.  I'll give it my best!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy July - the Tour de France Month

June 2008 is history.  It was a busy month filled with fun family things.

Half of the FL visitors arrived 

The nieces kept me busy.
There were tournaments -

dance recitals -

a HS graduation -

and a confirmation - (why yes, that is a halo on my head)
I also kept busy with Mom, and made a few short visits to the lake.

In fiber news - 
the final pair of BBS   is finished and laundered.  I have one beanie to go, then the 3 pairs of socks and the beanie can be shipped to Socks for Soldiers along with some goodies for the soldiers.  The new olive drab colored yarn is on order, so for the first time in a very long time I have no soldier socks on the needles.
The socks for our FL visitor are finished and on her feet, and the socks for me are finished (and stuffed in the drawer with the all of the other socks for mememe).
Sadly,  the Summer of Socks 2008 socks have been frogged.  I  blithely ignored the suggestion to make the smaller size of the pattern since the stitch is very stretchy, and guess what?  They were too big!   

I finished spinning the pound of fiber I started way back in March.  It is ready to knit up, but I'm still petting it and looking for the perfect sweater pattern.  
I am now spinning a Mermaid batt from EnchantedKnoll.  It is beautiful.  I finished the first bobbin yesterday, and began the second today while watching the start of the Tour De France.  It is the beginning of my Ravelry Tour de Fleece.  I know I should have waited to start the batt, but I just - umm- forgot.

July is a difficult month for me, but I am determined to make it a good month this year.  
Here's hoping I can travel to Erskine Lake again before the month is out.  If not, well so be it.  We adapt and move on.  I am planning on going 'down the shore' in August.  Ocean City, to be exact.   Oh wait, is there more to OC than the pizza?  Of course, there is!  There are the scones at Positively 4th Street, and the funnel cakes and cheese steaks  on the Boardwalk, and Spadafora's seafood.  Yumm, do we see a trend here?
Hmmm, I believe it is lunchtime - that explains the food fixation.
I'm off to heat up the grill.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Lovely Month of May

Today is another chilly, overcast day here in NJ. There have only been a few 'shorts' days since I returned home from Florida. Blech - I want shorts and flip-flop weather.
In my absence from blogland, while dealing with quite a few personal issues that kept me busy, I did keep up with fibery things.

There has been spinning, plying, and whacking away at the lovely superwash merino roving from The Sheep Shed Studio. My little HitchHiker - Marvin - is getting quite a workout.

SheepShedStudios Roving

The Sheep Shed Studios superwash merino

I really like the way the colors are blending as I ply it. I'm still a rookie spinster, so the yarn isn't all that even, and I think I over-plied a bit, but I'm still very happy with it and looking forward to knitting something. I had originally planned on a vest, but I'll probably have enough yarn for a cardi.
I have 4 big skeins so far - big skeins is my technical term for 'I haven't gotten around to measuring wpi or yardage yet'. I think I have spun up about half of the 1.5 pounds that I ordered.

In other news -
I finished Susan's socks. This was my first experience with bamboo sock yarn. It is very soft and a bit shiny. The yarn is RubySapphire Panda sock yarn.
Susan's Socks

Then there is the lovely Ice Queen, also for Susan, which is still in progress.
Ice Queen
Ice Queen

This sad state of affairs is due to my silly idea that I could leave it at home while I traveled to Florida for a few weeks and remember exactly where I had left off when I returned home. Maybe if I stare at it long enough I'll have an epiphany. I'm ignoring the fact that I could have frogged and started from scratch and be finished by now.

Next up, a pair of socks for P's dear mom, who will be arriving from Florida in June for her summer long visit to NJ. I'm almost finished with those.
Irene's Socks

My last pair of BBS is awaiting cast-on. I have some olive drab yarn pre-ordered and am looking forward to knitting SFS that are not black. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but a dozen pairs of those babies, and I'm ready for a new color. I received an email from a soldier in Baghdad who received a pair of my socks, so that was quite a thrill. It made me want to knit even faster.
I have two pairs of men's size 12 finished and awaiting a wash and dry, then I'll ship those to Kim along with the pair I'm starting now, and whatever goodies I can fit in the package for the soldiers, and off it will go.

Bye-Bye BigBlackSocks. Hello OliveDrabSocks.

I have been getting a lot of knitting done while sitting with Mom while she has her blood drained each week. She was recently diagnosed with hemochromatosis, which is treated by removing blood to bring down iron levels. So every Friday, we make the trip to the hematology/oncology office. I get her all comfy in her recliner with an afghan and a magazine. I then get myself comfortable in the chair next to her with my knitting and my tea, and we settle in for a couple hours. All of the ladies that work there are exceptionally nice and cheerful, which is probably a requirement for the oncology part of the office. The ladies check on my Socks for Soldiers each week, so that is a good incentive to keep going.

My break is now over, and I'll go back to sorting through things to offer on Freecycle. This has really helped me in my humongous downsizing effort. I was always reluctant to throw away anything that was in good shape, even though I no longer had any use for it. Now, my loss is someone's gain, and we are both happy.