Comings and Goings

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Still pretty busy around here – this is just a crazy summer! – so you get another list of all our comings and goings:

1) We went to some non-Fourth-of-July fireworks:

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This was at the end of Schenectady Summerfest.  We had no idea where we would be seeing the fireworks so we found a parking lot, hoping we could see them from there.  We sat facing the wrong direction for a while, until other people, apparently in the know, came and sat facing the other way!

2) We went to the July Guptill’s car show.  It was hot. So we got:

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And saw this:

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And this adorable pedal car with a lawn mower handle attached that made a perfect “stroller”:

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3) I was commissioned to make these for a friend’s mother:

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That’s the “before” picture.  I’m just about ready to felt (shrink) them to size.

4) We got ice cream another time:

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It was so hot, I couldn’t get a picture sooner because it was melting.

5) We went to Brimfield last weekend.  Here is my haul:

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A just-from-the-box (so the guy said, but I’m inclined to believe him because I’ve never seen one in this good condition) Acme dress form from the 1960’s.  A set of 4 pretty blue polka dot glasses.  The dots are raised up, but on the inside.  And two Fire King azurite blue dinner plates.  We already have two luncheon plates and two fruit bowls, so now we have a little collection going.

6) I finished my Fractal Danger:

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I love it!  Class scheduled for Aug 8 & 22, 10:30-12:00.  Call The Spinning Room to sign up!

7) Our CSA boxes have started coming!  We (and by “we” I mostly mean “I”) enjoyed grilled scallions and squash with fig balsamic drizzle:

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And we have only semi-enjoyed the chicken/pasta/kale dish I made.  It made a lot and now we are tired of it.  Tonight Paul is eating it for the second time and I am eating it for the fourth time.  Kale is pretty chewy and takes some work to choke get down.  To be fair, we made some yummy things with kale last year.  I think this batch may have been a little “mature”.  Tomorrow we are expecting collards, so I’m not really sure what/how we’ll do with that.

8) I took the doodlebugs to the park today and this kitty was there:

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There was a woman there with her dogs and this is her cat, who follows them to the park all the time.   His name is Arthur.  When I was growing up we had a cat (actually two different cats) that looked almost exactly like this (I think ours had a little more white on the face).  AND their names were Arthur!  Yes, we had two cats, one after the other, that looked the same so we named them the same.  Miss Ladybug kept asking why he looked so mad, but I didn’t think he looked mad.

Stay tuned for more knitting. I  have an almost-finished something.

A Friday List

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1) Take a look at the wonderful summer window Christine knit for The Spinning Room!

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She knit a mermaid! And a jellyfish!

2) After a two-week absence, we saw the ground hog.  So, his fate with the bobcat was not what we had hoped thought.

3) The weather was iffy this week, but I kept the doodlebugs busy with blanket tents/slides/hammocks:

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and, in between rain showers…..

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Hippity hops!!  Who remembers hippity hops???  I remember one that was red and had a horse head on it, with handles on either side of his head.  They LOVE these and bounced around for a loooooong time.  I even made an obstacle course for them to hop around.

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4) Yet again, not much knitting.  It’s coming, though, because I currently have no classes scheduled to teach at The Spinning Room.  I have to get crack-a-lackin’!

The Rest of the Vacation That Didn’t Include Yarn Shops

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So, after our two-day trek, we were FINALLY at our hotel.

Ok, but first let me tell you this:  Before we left, I organized all the knitting I was going to take:

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That is SEVEN projects, plus a needle for the potential project for the Quince & Co. yarn I was going to buy.  You just never know which project will be the best to work on at certain times, so I wanted to be prepared.

I started the Fractal Danger shawl on the car ride, because that was a great car-knitting project:

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But, then I bought all that yarn on the way up, and I wanted to start knitting with it right away.  So, forgetting about the bag with the 7 other projects in it (I seriously did not even look at it or open it the whole time we were there), on the first day at the hotel, I got out my swift, whose name is Paul:

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…. wound up some Chickadee yarn and started the Rhombus Feather Shawl.

And this was our favorite spot:

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Sitting on the balcony off of our room, looking at the water, listening to the water lapping on the rocks, watching (with our binoculars) the fishing boats and kayaks and sailboats and tour boats go by, people watching (as they walked on the path along the water), knitting, having a beer or a soda.  We did this for many hours, until this:

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…and we finally went inside because it got chilly.

EVERY. DAY.  So nice.

But we did other things too.  We went to a car cruise at a local burger/ice cream joint:

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Where we got the one and only ice cream of our trip (shocker!) (and no picture).

We went to Jordan Pond and walked on the carriage roads for a bit:

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And had lunch at the Jordan Pond House, with their famous popovers:

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The popovers were gone before I remembered to take a picture.  So yummy with butter and strawberry jam.  The meatloaf sandwich and turkey BLT were good too.

We obsessed about this boat (while sitting on our balcony for hours):

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How many passengers? (1100) How many staff were there? (500 – no kidding. Practically half the number of passengers.) Were those lifeboats that they were using to ferry everyone back and forth to the harbor? (yes, they fit 90 as a ferry, 150 as a lifeboat) How many floors are there? (11, but we could only count 8) Where the heck would they fit a pool? (on top, near the back)  Can we see any people on there? (yes, if we used our binoculars)  When will it leave?  (when we were at dinner. Damn.)

We saw the movie Inside Out at Reel Pizza:

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Great pizza.  FUNNY movie.

We visited a lighthouse:

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We (really, I) shopped for tea:

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And then we did this again:

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It. Was. Great.  We didn’t want to leave.

The Unintended Yarn Crawl

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Paul and I went to Maine last week for a nice, relaxing vacation.  We went to Bar Harbor, where we have been several times before.  Apparently, we like it there.  Since it is an 8 hour drive, we like to break it up by staying in Freeport on the first night so we can go to LLBean.  We had a lovely drive up the coast, stopping at some popular beaches and unintentionally driving by the Bush compound in Kennebunkport (none of which did I get pictures).  Stopped for lunch at the Portsmouth Brewery where Paul had his first of many blueberry sodas:

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And I had the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my life:

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Fried eggplant, blistered cherry tomatoes, sprouts, pickled shallots and basil pesto mayo. Oh. My. Gosh. So. Good.  I wished I could have taken one home with me.

We had left the house at 6:30am and finally got to Freeport at 4:30.  Ha!  So much for breaking up that 8 hour drive to Bar Harbor.

But then, fun was had at LLBean:

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The next day was terribly rainy, so our continued drive up pretty, picturesque, historic Route 1 was a little foggy.  I had planned to stop at a yarn shop called Over the Rainbow Yarn in Rockland because they carry Quince & Co. yarn which is based in Maine. (**Note: This is seriously the only yarn shop I had planned to stop at.)  I’ve been hearing about this yarn for ages on the Knitting Pipeline podcast and have been wanting to try it.  Before we left, I researched the types of yarn they have and looked up potential projects so I knew how much yarn to potentially purchase.  What an incredibly pretty yarn shop, living up to its name:

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(even the buttons are organized by color)

Here is what I got there:

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Quince & Co. Chickadee, a sport weight yarn, to make the Rhombus Feather Shawl (green yarn on the left).  And Cascade Venezia Sport to make the Piper’s Journey shawl (eggplant yarn on the right), which is a design by the woman who hosts the Knitting Pipeline podcast.

Once we were done at Over the Rainbow, we were making our way along the coast and it was still raining.

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We decided to stop in Camden for lunch. What a beautiful town.  And since we were there, and since they have a yarn shop called The Cashmere Goat, we decided to stop.

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There was a scarf/shawl/poncho-y thing there as a sample of the Manos del Uruguay Fino yarn.  Just a long rectangle, seamed along one part.

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(Don’t ask me why I didn’t get a picture of it on the mannequin.  You really would get the idea better if I had.)

I had to make it, so I got some yarn for that:

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The Fino is the blue and green yarn on the right and middle.  Fingering weight yarn, knit for this pattern on a size 8 needle to make it soft and drapey.  The pattern was made up by an employee of the yarn shop so I took pictures of it to get an idea of when to change colors for the stripes.  I also had to get the Araucania Huasco yarn on the left because I loved the color.

Then we had lunch with a view of the harbor.

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That’s our lunch, not the view of the harbor.  I tried lobster spring rolls which were very tasty.

We left there, with plans to see downtown Belfast.  Paul’s family went to Belfast for vacations when he was young, so he wanted to see the downtown area again.  Another pretty little harbor town.

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And since we were there, and since they have a yarn shop called Heavenly Socks Yarns, we went.

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A small shop packed with yarn and buttons and samples, including this cute, felted mobile:

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…which I pretty much took a picture of so I could show the doodlebugs the felted turtle.  (They have four little plastic turtles they got from the dentist, named Timmy and Twimmy, Tammy and Twammy, and they loooooooove them.)

And since they had a The Fiber Company yarn called Acadia (the national park in Bar Harbor) in the blueberry colorway (Maine has blueberry everything), I had to get it:

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(terrible picture -sorry)

Everyone was so friendly at these yarn shops.  So helpful and pleasant to talk to, asking us where we were from and where we were going and making suggestions for things to do while we were in Maine.  This is not surprising, really, because knitter’s are awesome.  If you go to Maine, stop at these shops!!

After that, it was finally on to our hotel in Bar Harbor where we were welcomed with a misty view:

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But, hey, I’ll take a misty view over no view any day!  We left Freeport at 8:30am and got to Bar Harbor at 4:00pm.  So, it took us two days and 17.5 hours to get there.  Didn’t seem like it.

More on our trip in the next post…

The Groundhog’s Day

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We have had a groundhog living in our yard for a few years.  He used to live in a hole, waaaaaay across the pond at the edge of the woods, pretty far from the house:

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We would see him over there nibbling on clover, occasionally standing up on his hind legs to look around.  Really cute, actually.  To me.  To Paul, not cute; a nuisance.

This year, much to Paul’s dismay, the groundhog packed up and moved residence to our shed:

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More accurately, under our shed.  Much closer to the house, and my garden.  Still cute, eating clover, standing up on hind legs to look around.  But now, really more of a nuisance as we have no idea what’s happening under the shed and what he has done to the foundation of the shed.

Front door:

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Back door:

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So, the nuisance factor has increased and there was talk of a bb gun  (which, I have since been informed, will bounce right off a groundhog) or a trap.

Then, Paul saw this:

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Do you know how hard it is to get a picture through a screen door when you are in a hurry?  It is a bobcat.  Very excited and interested, prowling around the shed, sticking it’s head into the front door of the groundhog’s new home.  Then he went away.  The groundhog came out and did his usual cute eating of the clover and standing up on hind legs to look around.  But, then there was me, talking out the window to him, telling him to stick close to home or else something would eat him.

We haven’t seen the groundhog in days.  I know. I feel bad, too.

But hey!  Look over there!  There’s more knitting!

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I started the Swallowtail Lace Shawl (free pattern!), in the hopes of teaching a more advanced lace knitting class.  What you are looking at is the pinned-out piece I have started, and it is the top middle of the shawl (what would lay at the back of your neck).  There is a pretty lily-of-the-valley border, which includes knitting nupps.  Nupps, in the past, have been my nemesis.  So, stay tuned for that.

Then, I got totally distracted by Fractal Danger a new pattern by Martina Behm, whom I love.  I’ve made several of her patterns….

Brickless:

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Lintilla:

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Hitchhiker:

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and Heaven and Space:

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And now there is a new one, which I might have to start pretty soon.  Even though I have three other shawls started.  And I need to start the mittens if they are going to be done in time to submit to the fair.

Ok, did I distract you from thinking about the groundhog and his fate?

No? Here is something else then. I’ve got a pepper:

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And a tomato:

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If that doesn’t do it, I don’t know what will.

A Break in the Silence

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I just realized that my last post was eleven days ago!  There are quite a few things to say, so you are getting a list today….

1) There has been some knitting!

2) The Two-Hour Toe Up Slippers (that aren’t really two hours):

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I was trying to find a good pattern to teach as a small, quick summer project.  I saw the title and thought it would be great.  Not so much.  I’m a pretty fast knitter and each one definitely took more than two hours.  And for someone learning, it would certainly take longer.  HOWEVER. This is a great class to learn some things:  Judy’s magic cast on for toe-up socks, binding off in the middle of the row, Kitchener stitch for the heel, I-cord bind off for the opening, and and I-cord flower.  So, it may still be a class, just not in the summer and not one session.

3) I have also been working on my Melodia shawl:

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You cannot see the pattern terribly well 1) because of the lighting and my stellar photography skills  and 2) because the skein was dyed while in a scarf blank form (knitted into a scarf already) and then unraveled to wind it into a cake, so it is all kinked up.  Once it’s washed you will see all the pretty eyelet pattern rows.  It’s an easy pattern and fun to see how the colors are turning out.  Stay tuned. I’m almost to the greens.

4) The Wool Nook at the Altamont Fair is having a spotlight on mittens this year, so I’ve been looking for patterns to knit.  I think I’ve settled on the Sea Mineral Mittens and this yarn:

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Or maybe adding one more color:

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or this:

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Feel free to weigh in.

6) But I really can’t decide which pattern, so I’m still thinking about these too: Wintertime for AdrianaCupcake Mittens or Chrysanthemums. Again, feel free to weigh in.

7) My One Way Tee is still in time out.

8) The Doodlebugs made something for their dad for Father’s day:

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9) While we were at CVS, picking out our supplies, I sent a picture to their mom, saying we were picking up some lunch:

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10) I finished reading The Blue Bistro By Elin Hilderbrand.  It was a nice, light romance-y book, taking place on Nantucket, that I enjoyed. Great for a beach read if you are looking for one.

11) Loving these:

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A Lull

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I’m in a knitting lull.  Things have been so busy with babysitting and teaching knitting classes and working at the yarn shop and going to car races and doing house stuff, that I’ve actually been too tired to knit.   And that One Way Tee disaster has made me not really want to work on that yet anyway.  When life calms down a little, you’ll see more knitting.

So today you get a smorgasbord of things…

Before we went to Ohio, it was my sister-in-law Beth’s birthday, so the doodlebugs and I made her some strawberry rhubarb freezer jam, because she loves strawberry rhubarb things:

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Then the next day, we made her some strawberry rhubarb oatmeal bars (which I forgot to take a picture of).  Miss Ladybug did not want to taste the jam, even though she loves strawberries and anything sweet.  It was red and not purple, and she only likes purple jam, the kind that goes on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Mr. Doodlebug loved the jam.

Two Book Reviews:

1) Liberty Falling (Anna Pigeon) by Nevada Barr: As usual, an exciting mystery, which takes place at the Statue of Liberty.  Plus I really like the main, recurring character, Anna, whose personality you learn more about in each book.

2) The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery by Alan Bradley: I loved this.  An 11-year-old girl (in 1950s England) who loves chemistry works to solve a murder mystery.  The story is told from her point of view, and she is very funny.  Several times I laughed out loud at the sometimes subtle humor.

Also, I finally got more veggies planted in the garden:

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In addition to the tomatoes, there are now peppers, eggplant, broccoli and baby watermelon.  However, it has been so cold lately, I don’t think the tomatoes have grown since I planted them.  Hopefully the weather will be more seasonal from here on out.

And there was another ice cream outing:

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Paul and I will use any excuse to go out for ice cream.  This time it was to celebrate his 8-year anniversary of returning to GE (when we moved back from Vermont).  Hooray for him.

That’s it for today!

Mixed Reviews

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This past weekend was our yearly car-racing trip to Ohio.  It was a mixed-review weekend.

The trip out on Thursday was great.  Sunny skies, not much traffic….

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Friday was also a beautiful day.  Lots of racing:

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The event was held at Summit Motorsports Park, which hosts national drag racing events, so that means it was a pretty nice track.  To Paul and Rob, that means a nicely maintained drag strip, well-run racing and good places to pit their cars.  To me, that means good options for treats like ice cream, and clean bathrooms.

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Only a little waiting for oil-downs to be cleaned up:

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Ray made his trips to tow Rob’s car:

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Ice cream at a local dairy:

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And Rob’s wife, Martha, got to come with us on the trip this time!:

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Saturday was, well, a little bit not as good.  There was some racing, but also a little fixing:

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And there was more ice cream:

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This place sells the yummiest ice cream for a dollar a pound.  A DOLLAR.  For A POUND. (Forgot to take a picture, but it was a very large cup of ice cream.)

There was the sitting and visiting (with Martha and Rob’s friends Diana and Sean):

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But……. notice the wet ground?  And also notice how everyone is crammed to the one end of the canopies so Rob’s car can get under the rest of it?  We had a lot of visiting while waiting for the rain to stop and the ground to dry up.  And then there was this:

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Not even the canopies could keep Rob’s car dry then.  Paul, Rob and Ray were left to literally hold down the fort (canopies) while the rain, wind, thunder and lightning happened (Thanks to Martha for thinking to take this picture! I was busy hoping the tires on the truck would absorb the lightning when it hit the truck.  And trying not to suffocate in the heat of the truck.)  Soon after this, we called it a day.  Which, the next morning, turned into calling it a weekend.  The event for Sunday was canceled because of the weather.
Here was our ride home:

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Blech.

But, the knitting, you ask?  What about the knitting reviews???  Also mixed.

There was some knitting.  But not a lot.  The stars were just not aligned for me and knitting this weekend, what with all the rain and all the ice cream.

On the trip out, I did start a new project, Melodia, with my new Periwinkle Sheep gradient yarn which I am liking a lot and it is going along nicely:

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But on the trip home, there was this:

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Remember my One Way TeeThe one I had to rip out last weekend because of the mistake waaaaaaay back? Well, I had finally gotten it knitted back to the 15 1/2″ I needed before doing the armhole bind off.  Then I did the bind off at each armhole.  Then I checked my stitch count.  I was short by six stitches.  Which is exactly the number of stitches I was supposed to increase (again) waaaaaaaaay back when I started knitting again, after I ripped it out.  I was so focused on having to re-knit about 2/3 of the back, that I completely forgot I had done some decreases and then increases for the waist shaping.

So:

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It is currently in a time out.  Paul thinks I should just focus on one project at a time, so maybe this wouldn’t happen.  I think maybe he is right (this time).

Thanks Lucille

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Wow.  A whirlwind REALLY TIRING weekend.  But fun.

First off, let me just say, without complaining about the type of weather (because I’m tired of complaining about the weather), that I was able to have one last wear of my wool vest when I worked at the yarn shop on Friday:

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Then lets move on to the next two days, which we spent outside, racing.  Saturday saw the need for sweatshirts and long pants for a good portion of the day.  And then Sunday saw the need for short pants and t-shirts and sunscreen and hats and lots of water and towels to sop up the sweat.  (See?  No complaining.  Just telling you.)

But the racing was fun:

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Except for sometimes.  There were a few oil-downs.  That is when a car leaves the starting line, something horrendous happens in the car and then oil and/or other stuff spills out of the car all. the. way. down. the. quarter. mile. track.  And someone (several someones) has/have to clean it up.  And it takes for. EVER.  This happened right before our friend Rob was to go…..

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So we waited.  Then I left to take some pictures from the tower:

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There was other waiting too.  Me waiting on the ATV:

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Paul waiting in line to race:

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But that’s the usual waiting.  So we took a selfie….

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Paul wasn’t really thrilled about taking the selfie… can you tell?

And there was my usual other job (aside from waiting on the ATV, which I do in case something happens to the car and I have to go get him and tow him back):

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Writing the dial-in number on the window. That number – 10.81 – means Paul thinks he will get down the quarter mile track in 10.81 seconds or slower in order to beat his opponent across the finish line. (He can’t go any faster than 10.81 seconds or he will lose!)

Because Sunday’s event was so well-attended, parking the trailers was a little sqooshy, so we didn’t have room to put up our canopy.  We spent our time between racing rounds sitting in a line, in the shade!

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One of the best parts of the weekend (and it could be debatable as to who would call it the best) was thanks to Lucille, Rob’s mom.  She is a knitter-but-mostly-crocheter and asked me what I was working on.  So, I showed her my wonderful progress on the first side of my One Way Tee.  She looked at it for exactly one half of a second and said, “Is that supposed to be there?”:

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It is a little hard to see in the picture, but there is a jog in that nice neat middle column of knit stitches.  It was incredibly obvious once she pointed  it out.  At first I said, “It’s on the back.  No one will notice.  I’m not the type of knitter who will undo everything for one mistake.  And it’s on the back.  No one will notice.”  (yes, I said “It’s on the back. No one will notice.”  more than once.)  I am so terribly impatient, and just did not want to have to knit it again.  Because really, who would notice? (again)  Then some time went by.  And I just couldn’t ignore it.  So, it went from this (15″):

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(and yup, now that I’m looking at this picture, which I posted on the blog last week, I can totally see the mistake!)

To this:

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…about 7″, in 3 minutes.  (And this second picture is the more accurate color, by the way.  I love it.)

As I was ripping it out and rolling the yarn back up, Lucille was apologizing profusely for pointing it out and feeling so badly that I ripped it all out.  But I told her not to worry – I was grateful that she saw it now, instead of me finding it when I was all done or already on to the second side.  So, THANK YOU to Lucille for her eagle eyes!

So, that was my holiday weekend.  How was yours?

Had To

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Crazy busy around here this week, but I wanted to tell you about last weekend before the craziness of this weekend.

Last weekend was pretty much all knitting-related.  I taught a class on Saturday and then went to The Periwinkle Sheep’s studio open house.  Fun to see where Karin does all her kettle and hand-dyeing.  Of course, I had to purchase:

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That Shields of Garnet red yarn has been a favorite of mine for a while, and someone in my Saturday class was using it, so when I saw it at the open house in a new alpaca/merino/nylon blend, I had to try it.  Had to.  And then, I saw the watercolors gradient yarn that she is also testing out.  There was a pretty shawl there, showing what could be done with it, and of course that sold me on this one.  The pattern is Melodia and is likely what I will use with this yarn. So there was that.

Then, Paul and I had to deliver a car that he had done some repair painting on to the person it belonged to and that took us down to the Kingston area.  On the drive I worked on my One Way Tee:

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I’m 3/4 done with the back.  It’s going along much more quickly than my Second Story Tee did (which you will see below!), and I think I like it better than the Second Story Tee.

We had breakfast and did some errands and then took the “back way” home, through Saugerties, which meant we were going right by The Perfect Blend Yarn & Tea Shop (two of my favorite things!) and so we had to stop.  Had to.

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And of course I had to purchase.  Had to. :

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So there was that.

Also, I got my new sneaks in the mail!:

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They were purple so I had to buy them.  Had to. So cute, right? (Peach laces!)

I also saw this recipe for Marakesh Carrots on Joy the Baker’s blog and I had to make it because I love all the spices that are in it.

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so. So. SO. YUMMY.

Also, yesterday was Paul’s birthday and he had to go to Jumpin’ Jack’s for his birthday dinner/dessert:

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Finally, I want to show you my finished (!!), but not yet blocked, Second Story Tee.  Here is the back:

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And here is the front:

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And here is a close-up of the front:

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Notice anything?  I didn’t until I had finished it!  That last diagonal stripe stops too soon.  Right on the top of the front.  But, I don’t care.  No way, no how am I undoing this.  I can only hope 1) no one will notice or 2) it looks like it is supposed to be there.  However #1 is moot since I have just told you about it.  But… I had to.  That’s what this blog is all about, right?  : )