It was a wild and crazy weekend at my house. There was almost nothing on the schedule. No place to be, nothing that really had to get done. Once again, the weather was outrageously beautiful and there's only one thing you can do with weather like that: sit on your duff outside and knit. So Saturday morning I took the knitting basket outside and plonked it down next to my favorite cheap red plastic Adirondack-style chair. I headed back into the house to fortify myself with a few pieces of chocolate and my iPhone (because I really wanted the full relaxation experience) and that's when I saw It: the giant pile of dust and dirt dragged into the garage during the winter. "Oh," I said to myself, "just a quick sweep and then I'll sit down and knit."
7 hours later, El Husbando and I collapsed in exhaustion, having cleaned out the entire garage. Not just a sweep. Not just a quick shuffle of mis-shelved items. We emptied out the entire thing, cleaned off shelves, washed everything that would sit still, then carefully replaced our authorized garage items in their designated places. Outside we had three giant piles: donations, trash, and recycling. The kids even helped, kind of. At least, they stuck around for the first three hours so they could shift stuff around and spray everything (and everyone) with the hose. The garage itself is now almost clean enough to have a party in, not that we would think of doing such a thing. One giant job crossed right off the checklist, and we didn't even mean to do it. An accidental garage cleaning, if you can believe in such a thing.
The catch: one beautiful 86 degree day down the tubes and at the end of it I was too tired to knit. Figures. A few hours later, a cold front rolled in, bringing the kind of wild wind that comes when the temperature suddenly drops 40 degrees. We scrambled outside to collect all the donations, trash, and recycling that were being blown all over the yard. Our perfectly clean garage is now filled (again) with three giant--but well organized-- piles: donations, trash, and recycling.
Today, I did have an agenda. In October, the gas meter reader backed into our basketball hoop. He must have been driving with his eyes closed, because those things are pretty hard to overlook. But he was very responsible about his irresponsibility (perhaps not his first infraction?) and knocked on the door to tell me that it was his bad and he called it in to his company and they were all over it before the end of the day. They told us to buy a new hoop and they would reimburse us. So we did, and they did, and that giant unassembled bugger has been sitting in my garage since November. One of the reasons I was so keen to sweep my side of the garage yesterday (HAHAHAHAHA) was that I wanted to finally put the hoop together and I wanted a reasonably clean workspace where I would not be rained on or get sun stroke or have all my instructions blown away. I celebrated my clean (if re-cluttered) garage by opening up the hoop box, counting all the parts, and beginning the assembly. I got about four pages into the 30 page instruction booklet and found that I am missing the single most important tool for finishing the job. One tiny little drill part which will allow me to install the self-tapping screws through the solid metal pole that supports the hoop and keeps the whole affair from toppling onto some unsuspecting ball player. There is no hand tool substitute that I can find, and after trying to put the screw in by hand for 45 minutes (please feel free to laugh at me here, I deserve it), I was forced to admit defeat. So now, in addition to my three giant piles, my garage contains this:
One long overdue job, still un-done.
We still managed to end the day in grand style. El Husbando, known the word over as the Rock Whisperer, was up to his old tricks again. He got out the tractor, the pull cart, and his two trusty helpers and they captured and relocated two more rocks. They are intended to be the base of a bench, but the slab of salt and pepper granite that we plan to top the bench with is still in service as our front step. It is poorly suited for this job, as the slab is a mere 8 inches tall, but the front door is over 20 inches off the ground. But it's all we have, and it needs to stay put until the nice Patio People come later this month (or early next month, not really sure which) and put in a patio and walkways and proper steps. It is too big to move anyway, even for the Rock Whisperer, and we'll need the help of the nice Patio People and their earth moving equipment.
After he put the two new rocks in place, he made the inaugural fire in the Fire Pit. The timing coincided perfectly--although unintentionally-- with dinner, and here we are dining al fresco by the fire. This is unheard of behavior for early April, when we are more likely to see freak snow storms and heaps of mud, but I suppose we'll have to call this the unexpected upside of global warming.
You can see in this picture how badly we need some patio stuff at the back of our house as well. It has looked like that for 5 years, and I'm a little tired of it.
Also, although only bits and pieces of the dog are showing up in these pictures, I assure you that we do own one complete, but camera shy, canine.
Continuing with the theme of jobs that were supposed to get done, but did not (cough progress on must have cardi cough) and things that I wasn't really supposed to do, but did anyway with shameless disregard for the consequences, here is the completed Tweed Beret. It was a very quick and easy knit, and considering its origin as a throw-away kind of project (not in the sense that I'm going to throw the hat away, just that I was really only looking for a way to use up some left over yarn), I'm very pleased with the outcome. I have used a stunt-double for the first picture because (1) she has much more style than I do, (2) she is very cute, (3) the hat looks good on her, and (4) she keeps asking if she can keep it. Also included for your viewing pleasure are artistically arranged shots of the hat, from varying angles, in an appealing natural setting. This should provide ample explanation for why I went into law instead of art as a profession.
Here is another hat. I finished it a few weeks ago. It is very cute and was a lot of fun to knit, but it doesn't fit the person I knitted it for. I hope I learned something while knitting it, because otherwise I can't account for its existence.
Because I wouldn't want anyone to think that I'm only about the knitting, here are some things that I was supposed to finish a few years ago. They were my quilting works in progress at the very time that the knitting upgraded itself from a pleasant hobby to something bordering on obsession.
First is a Halloween quilt. I bought the fabric when my local quilt shop was closing and was never entirely satisfied with the way the different fabrics went together. That didn't stop me from making the quilt though. I dug it out a few weeks ago and machine quilted it with a spider web design. Here is the whole quilt with the binding on, but not yet tacked down on the back side.
Here is a close-up of one of the blocks:
And here is the goofy little spider that I added to the last web I made on the quilt. It's right at the point of the blue triangle.
Here is the backing. I like the way you can see the quilting best from the back, but I will admit that I used this quilt as practice so that my freehand machine quilting will be improved by the time I get around to working on some of the nicer unfinished tops still in my collection.
Here is a picture of a table runner I made out of the same fabric that I used for my brother's wedding quilt. I used the same pattern to make a runner for my mother, also using the left over fabric from the wedding quilt. I am about half way through tacking the binding down, which explains both the hair clips on the right side of the picture and the difference in the size of the maroon edging. I plan to finish both quilts soon, but I haven't actually worked on them recently, so "soon" should be understood to mean sometime in the next 10 years or so.
Moving on from my Xtreme Crafting habits, tomorrow is my birthday. By my children's reckoning, I will be turning thirty-twelve. El Husbando has spent weeks working us all into a frenzy over this day, which I think might be the single biggest gift giving occasion in our year. Last year he asked me for a list of "suggestions" for what I might like and I was fool enough to give him one. I thought that he would pick a few items off the list, but instead he bought everything on the list. I felt pretty greedy when he kept bringing me present after present, and I have spent the year working very hard to use everything he got me. This year I asked for just one thing, but I suspect-- mostly because El Husbando keeps calling me to tell me every time he either buys something or even thinks of another gift--that there might be a few more things coming. I can't complain too much; it certainly makes getting older more fun, but it forces me to accept the idea that this is one area where I cannot possibly compete with him. He is just too good.
47 minutes left until the big day. Better get my beauty rest. Good night!