So I've spent my spring break doing a bunch of things around the house. Never fear, there was also a fair amount of AIS* time, and a quantity of good wine drunk with a dear friend. Here's an abbreviated rundown:
1. Tidied up the stone steps/slope that lead to the back door. My attempts last fall at something like a terrace didn't survive the winter very well, so I had to turn to Plan B. This involved moving pretty much all the stones, except the ones from the original steps that aren't going anywhere without a pry-bar and someone with more leverage than me. That's where I decided the steps would stay, and bagged the terrace idea. Instead, I built a roundish "wall" to create a flower bed. Hasn't slid off the hill yet. I also uncovered a stone path leading from the base of the stone steps to the steps into the mudroom. Between the ravages of time/being abandoned/the seller's love affair with gravel, it was covered with two to three inches of soil and gravel. That definitely looks better now, and I think will be easier to walk across when it rains, as compared to the slop-hole it has been.
2. Picked up some stuff at Lowe's for future projects, including new lights for the porch. I'm going to try wiring them in myself. Also, a plastic 4-shelf thing for the basement, so I could tidy up a little down there. This also involved hauling more (what else?) gravel up, bucket by bucket. It's the leftovers from when the basement was trenched for drainage. I'll leave some there for the last spot that needs trenching (because why would you finish the job when you can leave it 3/4 finished?). Hauling gravel in buckets is Not. Fun.
3. Straightened out a closet, consolidating stuff into clear bins and tossing some of it. This leaves me FOUR empty bins, so I think I'm going to put the dyepots in them, and they can live in the basement. Believe it or not, that's a little more accessible than in the back of the closet where they are now.
4. Finished the middle section of the lace wrap, then promptly FAILED on the first edging. Reminder: unless you've knit nothing but lace for the last 50 years, and perhaps even then, a lifeline is a very good idea and not a sign of weakness. I think I'm finally at the point where I can knit without counting every last stitch, because in the process of ripping out a few rows, and then picking up the stitches (whimper), I seem to have picked up a few too many. Maybe. I figured out from the picture where the new pattern needed to line up with the old pattern, and then made adjustments with strategically-placed K2TOG's. One spot still looks wonky, but I don't think I have the guts to fix it. We'll see. It does seem to be moving quicker than the middle.
5. Ahhh, spinning. I figured I wasn't going to do any of this fantastic handspinning I have in mind if I don't clear out the six bobbins from my Ravelympic knitting. I want a 3-ply when all is said and done, and the plying is going to take a while. I had put a new drive-band on not long after I finished the singles, and left it.
So I sat down today and attempted to start, and had absolutely no take-up. After glaring at it for a bit, and finding a picture online (I don't replace the band very often), I realized that I'd left the "double" part out of "double-drive" and hadn't put the band around the bobbin AND the flyer whorl. The band was too short to make the adjustment. Cut that band off. Cut a new one...to exactly the same size. Cut that band off. Cut a new one with plenty of extra. Mumbled expletives under my breath. Started again (again).
Since I spun counterclockwise, I'll ply clockwise. Except I seemed to have forgotten which way is which and completely screwed up the first chunk. Oh well, a sacrifice to the spinning gods. Start again (again, again). The leader broke. Tied on a new leader. Started (to the power of four).
It's been longer than I thought since I changed the drive band, because I have also forgotten how stiff a new one is when it comes to treadling. It's more like pedaling a bike uphill right now. But well-begun is half-done, I've heard; or in the case of my basement, half-begun is well-done.
*AIS = Ass In Seat