Spring Projects

I completed the Duxbury sweater from Simply Shetland and sent it off to Chelsea, after I tried it on.  I wanted to wear it for a day or two but the weather wasn’t going to allow her to wear it for too much longer this season.Duxbury complete

I love the way it came out.  I enjoyed the Celtic knot in the front and back and had fun attaching the shoulder straps.  Perhaps the armholes are a bit big but…

Duxbury front Now I am on a felted clog binge.  I had wanted to make these for a long time and the local Michael’s had a sale on Paton’s Classic Merino.  First I made a pair for myself and then DH and my son wanted a pair.   I will surprise Chelsea with another knitted item.  The Paton’s Classic Merino felted easily – I have to finish all the felting projects quickly because we move onto the boat May 1 and will no longer have access to a top loader washer.  I erred in the cuff of my pair and decreased much more than suggested but I have a narrow foot and they fit great. I felted DH’s and am finishing my son’s.

felted clogs finished clog

Too bad I am finishing these super warm clogs just as the weather begins to improve.  Hopefully the moths won’t get to them before I need them again.

Now I have just selected my knitting project for our backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon – of course I am not finished packing yet but have decided on a laceweight Pi shawl  Light to carry, compact and should take forever.  I am going to use a pattern from A Gathering of Lace, called the Shetland Tea Shawl.  It’s basically a variation of EZ’s Pi shawl but all the math has been done.

I have plied my Kood aid fingering weight and am happy with the results.  I think it will become a scarf or shawl.  I am experimenting with black overdyeing to get a deeper tone (?) for some of my other Kool Aid yarn.

Kool aid skein

I will be sad to leave Fire Island in a month.  The winter flew by and I even made some knitting friends here, through Ravelry and the Spinning Study Group of Long Island.  At least the internet will keep us in touch and I’ll be sailing through this way again.  The SSGLI meets monthly and also runs a fiber study group, where I have learned a lot about breeds of sheep and spinning techniques.  Last weekend there was a workshop and I had a spinning immersion.  I’ve concluded that my Kromski spinning wheel will join me and the cats on the boat at least for the first leg of our journey.

I Feel Spring

I can feel Spring on the edge. Snowdrops and crocuses are in bloom and even though the temperature is in the mid 40’s, it feels warmer. I completed my knitting frenzy and already sent it off. The Duxbury sweater for my daughter is beautiful, I am happy with the pattern modifications although the armholes may be a little large. I brought it on a 3 day trip to Nova Scotia, but was too exhausted at the end of each day to even look at it. I did complete a pair of socks during the car ride though. We were looking at seaside places to buy for retirement. We saw several beautiful affordable places but concluded that: a) it is just too far away from my roots in NY; and b) it may be too complicated to gain residency during retirement. It seems that doctors are in demand and in order for me to retire from medicine and live full time there, I would have to work as a doctor. Not exactly what I had in mind. It would definitely cut into knitting, spinning and sailing time. There were beautiful properties though if you only wanted a second home there and that would be less complicated.

I finally knit up a pair of Fiber Trends clogs and am ecstatic. I don’t think it will be a stash buster for me because now I plan to knit them for everyone I know and have particular colors in mind. I found that the Paton’s Classic Merino felted like a dream.

I am looking forward to tonight – Spinning Guild, tomorrow – Fire Island knitters coming to my house to dye with Kool Aid; and Saturday when I will attend a knitting workshop.

In between, DH has been getting the boat ready for us to move aboard May 1. The only problem (well actually there are more) is that the boat is blocked in the yard and there is a chance we could move in on the hard. There is always the lingering question of what to do about the cats. I think I will have to attempt to have them live aboard for our 2 month initial trip before we move to our next lighthouse. Then we’ll be ashore for 2 months and perhaps by then, my son will have chosen a law school and may live off campus… In between all this I am working and preparing for a backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon at the end of the month. I’ll knit a lace weight shawl.

Snow Day!!!

Fire Island LightI looked forward to the snowstorm all weekend.  How childish that I was looking forward to an unscheduled day off work.  I only work 2 days a week and will have to reschedule all these patients anyway but….yipeeeee!!   Overnight the house was shuddering with the wind.  Snow frames all our windows and the wind and sleet are still blowing.

DH went off island anyway but I intend to stay by the fire and work on my Duxbury Sweater.  I am down to the second sleeve and love how the saddle shoulder is knitted onto the front and back of the sweater pieces. Duxbury Saddle Shoulder I’ll remember this sweater because it is about my 4th Fisherman style sweater and the first where I have gotten rid of the cable needles.  I worked with techniques from EZ’s knitting glossary and a video I found on Youtube, which was even easier.  I realize I let my stitches float in the air a little more than shown on the video.  In between I darned DH’s slipper socks, which he has worn to shreds.  Later I hope to spin up some Corriedale that is Kool Aid dyed.

Cherry Kool Aid Single Ply

I may also dye the rest of my Corriedale roving because I just received a pound of grey Shetland and white BFL that I am eager to get to but have been working sequentially on projects lately.  I’ve decided to make socks out of the Mohair Merino Blend since I havent’t tried carding nylon into my yarn yet and want them to wear well.  My next pair for DH will be EZ’s mocassin socks so I can replace the sole as needed.  I saw that he has completely worn away the sole on the slipper socks that have a suede bottom that I made last summer.  I’m happy that he likes them so much.

We went to the Adirondacks last week and went cross country skiing and snowshoeing.  Lake Placid was pretty quiet considering it was Winter Break for many schools.  I got to wear all my warm 2008 items, Thorpe, Cowl and Norwegian mittens.  And I could knit in the car and got several hours of work on the Duxbury.february-20093 The cowl has been reworked again.  Since it is too big and I am too lazy to rip it out, I have now knit up an I-cord so it fits snuggly.  It’s great to wear when I run because I like my hair in a pony tail and hats don’t stay on.february-20091And for a random photo, this large sea creature was offshore last week, hmmmm.

A Valentine Trek

DH decided it was time for me to leave the knitting and spinning at home and take in some fresh air (well actually I packed my socks to take with me) I was duped into leaving the cozy couch by the offer of a nice meal out at a restaurant. This is a big deal because the only restaurant that remains open all year on the island is 2+ miles away on sandy unpaved roads. The tide was right and we were able to take our bikes along the ocean for a bit, where we saw a Harp seal that was wounded and had washed up on the beach. Help was on the way from the Marine Foundation. Further down the beach we found a bunch of sand dollars. We sipped hot cocoa and pressed on, actually past the restaurant – hey this was more than I signed up for.

We rode through the Sunken Forest and through Cherry Grove and the Pines. This added about 5 miles one way to the trip. We ran into some people who chewed my ear for a while until DH was ready to pack off again.

Back to the restaurant and a wonderful meal, and cocktails. Then the ride back home in the dark on the ocean. What a life!

Back at home, I am  knitting my the Duxbury cable sweater without any cable needle. What freedom!  I have experimented with a few different methods and have found the best ones for me.  On the spinning front, i’ve been swatching some recent yarns and making big plans.

Wild Life?

p2080037Tim and I were on a quest today.  I wanted to see the snowy owls that have been seen at Jones Beach and was afraid they may leave as the weather warms.  We drove out to West End Beach 2 and met a mixed batch of birders.  The first group we met was happy to point us in the right direction although we didn’t really know where they meant.  The second group was quite a contrast and were quite closed  and tried to discourage us from looking.  Tim’s strategy was to use the binoculars to look for groups of bird watchers who might be watching the birds we were looking for.  This didn’t work too well but then someone told us that the area had become so popular that it was fenced off.  This we could find.  Even then, we wouldn’t have been able to see the Saw-Whet owl sequestered there until a photographer showed us it hidden in a pine tree.  It wasn’t the Snowy owl though so we were off to the nature center.  There the guide told us they hadn’t seen it that day but had seen birders in the west end of the park.  This seems to be our best strategy, find the birders who might actually be looking at something and then try to find it.  We saw a snowy owl but it was off in the distance and really looked like a piece of styrofoam.

Then we were off to the Connetquot State park for a hike.  We went to the fish hatchery where even without others, we were able to find trout trying to jump over a dam.  The smaller ones had a clear advantage because they could slip between the dam and the bridge over it.  The larger ones jumped so high that they rammed the bridge and fell back into the water, perhaps a little dazed, to be snagged by one of the fly fisherman.

When we returned to Fire Island, there was another crowd there enjoying the full moon rising over the lighthouse.  Quite a day.  We didn’t pack a lunch so I had some chocolate covered almonds in the car, which I saved in a clean exam glove and we enjoyed a snack from the candy man.

Candy Man

Candy Man

Color Works

Originally uploaded by One2KnitFar

Yesterday was a spinning and sample day. I spun some of the corriedale that I had dyed with Kool Aid and food coloring. I swatched!! I tried a 2 ply that was randomly matched and a navajo ply. I liked the softness of the 2 ply better but didn’t think the colors worked at all. Then I took the photo and realized the colors were exactly like the tablecloth. I must be blind or something.

And for a random addition, these are my favorite bowls that I bought in Maine this summer from a local potter.

Water works

There’s a dredge project taking place off Fire Island this winter to add sand to the beaches east of here.february-32 There’s a barge offshore and it’s pumping sand onto the beach through a big pipe.

This lucky guy is surveying the bottom before the sand is deposited. It was in 20’s today and the wind was blowing about 20 mph. He said he would rather be here than Florida now because there aren’t any sharks.february-342

february-371The seagulls are having a feast on the critters deposited with the fresh sand behind the tractors.

On the home front, I learned how to cable without a cable needle today from Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitter’s Glossary.  I am forever losing my cable needle so this is very freeing.  Next I’ll have to steek something.

I enjoyed a long walk along the beach today, met a new neighbor and saw a fabulous sunset.  I may have even glimpsed the green flash!


What a difference a day makes

Yesterday it snowed in the morning and then rained and was windy. Somehow,  the fog rolled in and the Fire Island Lighthouse, which is only a mile away, disappeared.   Here’s the view january-2813from my deck today, when the skies cleared and yesterday.  january-289In fact, it was so nice today that a charter fishing boat was out.

Since I didn’t want to go off island yesterday, and we needed bagels, I tackled bagel baking again.  I have tried this in the past, twice, with mixed results.  My last batch looked great until I boiled them, the water was a rolling boil and it disintegrated the bagels.  This time I boiled them at a low simmer and they were a success, from The Joy of Cooking.january-2812

I’m still working on my daughter’s Duxbury cable sweater and the yarn and the pattern are beautiful.  I’ve been working out the math since I made some pattern modifications and think I have a plan.  On the spinning front, I plied my 50/50 merino/alpaca blend and it’s luscious.  I played around with a “longer” draw and had some success.january-2815

The Pitter Patter of Little Feet

jan-212We awakened this morning to the pitter patter of little feet – above our heads.  We looked up and the skylight was covered with what I think were Eastern Starlings that were taking advantage of the ice melting off the skylight.jan-214

This one looks a little bit like a penguin.  I’m not sure about that eye!  Then while we had breakfast, we saw a seal float by on an ice floe as the tide went out in the Great South Bay.  All this wildlife while I was still in my jammies!

Later in the day, we took a walk to see more wildlife along the Fire island inlet.  We saw lots of deer, more seals, a hawk and some plovers.  We saw almost just as much from the comfort of home.

And in the morning…we’ll have waffles!

BreakfastI am so excited.  Since we packed up  all our possessions last spring, I stored my well used and seasoned electric waffle maker.  I love waffles.  In the interim, I have become very creative with different flours, buttermilk and make all sorts of pancakes but they are not the same.  And while Tim has agreed to install an oven on the boat for our year of cruising (he can’t go a year without apple pie) we won’t have the power for an electric griddle on the boat or next  summer when we move to Massacussetts as lighthouse keepers.  Essentially we will be off the grid for the next couple of years and I need waffles.

So I began investigating waffle irons.  I am reluctant to buy food related items from China and most of the new cast iron waffle makers are made there.  Camp ones seem too flimsy.  Plus I remember a wok from the 70’s that I could never season right.  I am too impatient for the slow, low temperature method and end up burning the oil onto the pan.  Then I found a used, cast iron waffle maker, not belgian, made in Pennsylvania, with innovative handles that stay cool, on ebay – and it was already seasoned!!  It arrived and was clean but seasoned.

Waffle iron

Waffle iron

Now I’m back in waffles and will be set for the next couple of years.  I may get rid of the electric waffle maker when we finally unpack the PODS.  I had a great breakfast and then played some more with kool aid dye and roving.