Summer Solstice – a little different this year

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. For the past two years on this day, I’ve been knitting from sun-up to sundown to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s Disease in honor of my mother who passed away after a long decline with this illness.

This year, however, I’m really busy with volunteering as president of our lake association and this is the season where all the planning (or sometimes the lack of planning) comes to fruition and I have to take the morning to accomplish some lake tasks – register our DASH (pontoon boat for suction harvesting invasive milfoil) boat, pick up some plastic boxes to store papers so they won’t be eaten by mice in storage, etc.) And I have a couple of phone calls to make as well. By the time I actually get to sit down to knit, it will be noon at the earliest – and I was out of the house before 9am.

But as I knit today, I’ll be thinking about my mother and the disease that she so feared as a younger woman. I remember her saying things like, “I must be getting Alzheimer’s,” when she forgot something. If there’s a reality of manifesting your own destiny, then I’d say my mother did just that. She was forgetting things that mattered by the time my children we in elementary school and she was in her mid-sixties. My age. She forgot her purse when we went to the grocery store, she forgot to take the emergency brake off when she was driving the car, she forgot that she’d already mixed the mayonnaise mixture for potato salad. She couldn’t organize things like the grocery list and shopping for groceries so she said that there was enough even though there wasn’t. She forgot how to feed her cat and would stand in the middle of her kitchen with a can of cat food and couldn’t figure out what else she needed to get the food to the cat. She forgot how to make coffee in her coffee pot so she would walk to the local restaurant for her coffee and say that she liked the walk in the morning. She left her purse at the muffin shop, and the jewelry store, and forgot it when she went to the gas station. The list is lengthy. She forgot so much that we couldn’t leave her alone with the grandchildren and that was very hurtful. We had to take away her keys to the car eventually and hire people to help her and care for her. And eventually we had to find her a home in an assisted living care home. None of us enjoyed any of that.

And then mom forgot who we were.

She lived for ten years after her diagnosis. Watching our mother and grandmother fade away was so sad. The kids didn’t want to see her at the end, preferring to remember her as the vibrant, active, fun, happy grandmother. She became agitated and tearful, she couldn’t speak and finally she was bedridden, curled in fetal position, hands atrophied, gaunt, empty-eyed. She passed away in the fall of 2008. She was 76 years old.

I’ll knit today for my mother and in hopes that a cure will be found so that families and victims of this horrid disease don’t have to experience it as we did. And I’ll have a bourbon old fashioned cocktail tonight in her memory. My mother and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye but she loved me and she adored my children and I wish she could see them today. She’s missed so much and we have missed her, too. Cheers to you, Mom. I hope you can see how great your family has grown and continues to grow. We are all here because of you (and some help from Dad, too.)

Gone knitting.

Pumpkin Hats, etc.

I’ve been working on knitting down my (sizable) stash. When a knitter talks about his/her stash, we all respond that we have bins and bins of yarn. And we do. It seems to me that we all think we have the largest stash but we likely don’t. BUT mine is sizable and I’m proud to say that I did really well to knit only from stash UNTIL I went back to work and customers started giving me ideas again.

This is the yarn corner of my atelier. I had the shelf (and a matching one on the other side of the window holds my knitting books and fabric in the cupboard. Sadly, I have three Ikea shelf sets that also hold yarn. A total of about a dozen fabric boxes in addition to my built-ins. It’s a good sized collection … and I like to think that it adds to the r-value of our home.

Anyway … I digress. I have been trying to knit down my stash so that when I die my children won’t have to deal with it. Partly because they don’t have a clue as to its value. At the end of the year, I dumped out all of the little bins and boxes and went through the yarn to try to cull some that I knew I wouldn’t be knitting with – not ever. I also noticed some that I could knit up and get out. One of those was the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece that I have had forever (or the last time I had fall babies to knit for.) I knew that this yarn had to be a pumpkin hat for my great-nephew-to-be who is due in September and who will live in Salem, MA. A perfect gift for a Salem baby.

So, last week I cast on and knit the smallest size pumpkin hat. I had forgotten how cute the hat is and how little yarn those tiny hats use. I had a significant amount still left. Surely, I thought, I can use it all up if I make a medium-size pumpkin hat, right? This weekend I cast on again and am nearly finished with pumpkin hat number two. And guess what? I have a feeling I have enough for a third hat, too. The extra hats will go into my gifts drawer or maybe I’ll have a giveaway on my Instagram page. I haven’t done that for a long time.

The Fiber Trends Patrick’s Pumpkin hat is really one of my favorite patterns. It’s a clever construction with a “shark tooth” piece done up first in garter stitch and then added to a rolled brim. When the hat is finished and blocked you can tack the pieces to that they stay in the right spot. The pumpkin part is so simple and yet so obviously a large orange gourd and it makes a great gift for a fall baby’s arrival. Especially in New England.

Cotton Fleece yarn by Brown Sheep is what I have always bought for this hat. I’m not sure why but it is. I love knitting with this cotton/wool blend yarn. It’s not as stretchy or squishy as full wool but for a baby’s tender head, it’s a soft but warm alternative to acrylics or acrylic blends. And we all know that cotton yarn doesn’t really hold its shape. So … this seems the perfect solution. I also love Brown Sheep because it’s an American company.

Brown Sheep was started over 100 years ago and pivoted in the 1970s when farming prices were low and the market for lamb was dropping off. The Brown family pivoted and began processing wool from their sheep and the rest is history. The Brown family (now with the last name Wells after a couple of generations of marriage) still owns and runs Brown Sheep.

I’ve made a LOT of these hats but on this last one, for whatever reason, I increased in every stitch when the color changed to orange so I had WAY more than 90 stitches. After an inch or so, when the stitches were so squished on the 16″ needle, I had a second look at the pattern and kept knitting. After two inches, I pulled it out, realizing my error. Good grief. Knitting keeps me humble.

I recovered my place again last night while I was watching the Tony Awards. I’m about ready to decrease for the crown of the hat and then I’ll weigh the remaining yarn to see if I have enough for one more hat. It must be my Yankee upbringing that makes it difficult for me to “dispose” of yarn that could still be used. I hope my fingers and wrists hold up well into old age.

Gone knitting.

Thank You, Kim! (A Wonderful Moment)

Not a great photo of me but a wonderful memory

I had a wonderful moment last week when one of our customers, who I’d helped with a knitting challenge, came in to say thank you. With flowers!

Kim is a relatively new knitter and she wanted to knit a shawl to keep her warm. She chose a relatively simple shawl, Truly Tasha’s Shawl, that is … it’s simple until you reach the edge. The edge is a knitted-on lace edge and she had no experience with this type of thing. She was ready to just leave it off or make it simpler. I encouraged her to try it and walked her through a couple of repeats of the pattern. Sure enough, she got it and has finished the shawl.

As a teacher, we have a lot of “proud mom moments” and it’s always sweet to hear from a student that they have accomplished something that they feel proud of. I call it a proud mom moment because that’s the only parallel that I can find – when you’re raising little human beings, it’s such a win when they do something, sometimes with your guidance and sometimes not. that they feel proud of whether it’s making a lego tower or graduating from college. Seeing someone that you’ve “helped” to get to a point where they can do something without you is really wonderful!

I had that happen (again) last week and Kim brought me flowers! The little tag is a keeper and a reminder that what I do is meaningful. Whether it’s giving my own child or someone else’s child (even a fully grown one) confidence, another tool to add to their personal tool box, it’s a wonderful feeling. Kim, you made my day!

Gone knitting.

Knitting Queen (Bee)

Rainy Day on the Lake – but the plants inside are on point

I’m knitting. I promise, I’m knitting! Today is a rainy day at the lake but I’m happy about it because everything was dry and that’s never a good thing when you have gardens and a well. Despite the abundance of water just outside our windows, we would much rather have rain than have to water the gardens. The veggie garden was planted (seeds, sewn directly) and we have signs that it was a success as baby plants are popping their heads above the dirt. Our perennial gardens have been showing us iris, lilacs, and more. I’ve tried to get some weeding and edging done with some, albeit limited, success. One or two gardens have had added compost and I hope to get some mulch delivered to spread around. We also have to replenish the rocks in our drip lines around the house and add them around the boathouse and other outbuildings on our property.

But I am knitting!

I’ve finished a pair of bibs and a pair of baby socks, a “journal band” and my husband’s felted slippers, I even finished them on his actual birthday!

I have a lineup of projects on the needles and reaady to go onto the needles. But I’ll keep this short … I hope. And “light” … I hope.

Bibs

These two bibs are so cute and so fun to knit. These are both free patterns on Ravelry. I knit a bib as a baby gift for one of my daughter’s friends when she had a baby boy. I may be knitting more of these … well, I still have yarn from the ball of Berroco Pima 100 … let’s see how far it goes, right? So, here you have a baby starfish and a pumpkin. It isn’t easy to choose which design to knit, I have to be honest. The next one, already on my needles is an owl Who Loves Ya. My niece loves owls.

I chose to knit the short rows for the start of the bibs. Because the bibs start with seed stitch and are highly textured, you don’t have to worry about picking up the stitches that are wrapped … actually, you don’t have to wrap the stitches at all. I got each of them finished in a couple of hours and it was a good break from my rows and rows of fingering or lace weight stripes.

On my needles (still) is my Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I am making progress but it’s slow progress. I have posted about this pattern before and I know that once it’s finished, that I will wear it a lot and love it but, geez, it’s not particularly exciting after the fronts are picked up from the back. It’s miles and miles of four-row stripes. For my size, I need to knit stripes until the length from the arm pit to the bottom measures about 15 inches. I have about 9. I’ll keep on keeping on.

I do love the yarns that I chose for this cardigan. The Malabrigo Sock is merino wool and it’s the softest wool to work with. The Berroco Aerial mohair lace is also really soft (and so fine!) Once this sweater is finished and blocked, I think it’s going to be a favorite go-to.

I have finished, in an attempt to knit from my stash, another pair of booties and a pair of baby sock and a pumpkin hat. I had two little balls of Regia baby sock yarn (I may be a bit off on the name of the yarn but it’s Regia for sure.) I knit up the pink pair quite a while ago and now I knit up the blue pair. The tiny balls of yarn are cute but probably silly (and more expensive than a full 100 gram ball. The ones that I bought were on sale, if memory serves, and they were too cute to resist. And I knew that there would be babies born in the future. They’ll go into my gift drawer. The booties, are a repeat of former projects, too. I have a bag full of Cascade Fixation yarn that I have bought over the years. I’m working on getting that yarn used up, too. And last, when I was cleaning out my worsted weight yarn stash, I found the Lamb’s Pride Cotton Fleece yarn in green and orange that I’ve made several hats out of and thought I needed to use it up, too. So, I made a hat for my niece’s baby-to-be and it looks like I still have another hat’s worth. I’ll keep going with my fingers crossed … the green might be a yarn chicken game.

Bullet Journal Band with Pen Pocket

A couple of days ago, I came upon a pattern for a Journal Band with Pen Pocket. This is a perfect little project to use up some of my fingering weight scraps. It’s so small that I’ll have to knit hundreds of them … I may find a better use for my scraps to use more than a tiny bit. I’ve also found some book mark patterns that I will have to knit. Have you seen the Flat Rat bookmark? There are so many cute bookmark patterns. My Journal Band will live on my bullet journal and will hold my pen so I don’t have to hunt for it in my purse. It’s a rainbow band because it’s pride month.

Love and Light by Laura Nelkin

I knitted another Love and Light by Laura Nelkin for my bonus daughter, Robin and her fiance, Evan. I got some pink lights for this project and knitted it up in a few hours. When they were here for my hubby’s birthday, I missed hearing them say that they loved the one in our living room window – and then I gifted them theirs. I hope they hang it in a place of honor to remind them of the love they share today and keep working to build it every day.

My two bonus daughters and their significant others came to Maine to surprise their dad for his birthday. A few months ago, he was in the store (I work in a yarn shop) and I had him pick out some yarn to make him a new pair of felted slippers and this time I planned to add the full leather sole. I had finished the knitting a week or so before his birthday but I hadn’t had the time to felt them. On his birthday I did felt them and then attached the soles and he’s happily wearing them even in the summer. Our mornings, to be fair, are cool and slipper-worthy. I think I posted about them before, the pattern is Fiber Trends Felted Clogs and I used four skeins of Ella Rae Classic Wool, chosen by my husband. He needs the soles so he doesn’t slip on our concrete floors. They’re wonderful leather soles purchased at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine (where I work.)

I’ve seen two moths in my atelier in the last week and that meant I had to clean my yarn shelves. I’d be devastated to have a moth (larva) problem. I’ve even considered going out to buy some plastic bins for yarn storage … but I’m not there quite yet. I’ve sorted and shaken and cleaned the shelves and added a lot of new lavender buds to the shelves. I hope that will deter them. One more moth and I’ll be heading to buy air tight yarn storage bins … and my beautiful visible yarn will be no more.

I haven’t been baking lately. Too much going on in my world. I did make a 65th birthday blueberry pie that wasn’t beautiful but it tasted good. Prior to that I had baked blueberry banana nut muffins and blueberry muffins, too. But I haven’t had the time or energy to bake much since that. I’ll get my baking mojo back soon, I hope. I picked some rhubarb out of our yard and I’ve got a cake that I want to try with strawberries and rhubarb in it.

I’ve been working too hard on lake association stuff to have much time to breathe. But we’re making progress and have a location and date for our Annual Meeting, a new location for our DASH boat and docks, we have hired a wonderful new Administrative Coordinator and our season is just starting. We also arrived at the end of the year for the Maine Arts Academy and graduation was fantastic! Listening to the student speakers and our wonderful Head of School speak was very uplifting. I left graduation feeling grateful and hopeful (at least for awhile.)

Today is my first day home alone in a couple of weeks. With visitors, meetings and other goings on I have neglected the laundry and house so I will end here and head down to finish the laundry and clean up a little bit before I head out this evening for dinner with my co-workers. I am fortunate to work with three really wonderful women.

Laundry first and then some knitting.

1787 to 2022 – a little bit has changed. So what do we do now?

Rainy Day in my Atelier

I’m not sure what this post will end up being. There is so much going on that it’s difficult to focus on one thing. My intention is to post here about LIFE in general which is why my “tag line” is what it is. BUT I’m afraid that if I stray from knitting that I’ll get up on my soapbox and may never come back down.

So, suffice it to say that I hope you’re not comfortable today.

That 19 children can die at the hand of a murderer who can legally buy TWO assault weapons more easily than I can buy SUDAFED is abhorrent. That those same children could be forced to watch said murderer kill their beloved teachers before he murdered them. That they watched their classmates be obliterated by his weapons so that they were only recognizable by their sneakers is unimaginable. The entire situation is unacceptable. AND YET our elected representatives say that it’s not a gun problem, it’s a mental health problem. I’m calling bullshit. (Sorry not sorry.) We have had a mental health problem in this country for decades. Mental health has been stigmatized and people who live with mental health challenges have been shamed, blamed, ostracized and, oh, by the way, if you’re not living in the top !0% of earners, mental health treatment can put you in debtors prison, making it nearly impossible for most of our citizens to get good quality services. Or any services.

Our problem here is GUNS. Ours is the only country in the civilized world that has as many guns and gives permission to anyone to buy and carry guns. Other countries have mental health problems just as we do but they don’t have the gun problems we do. People are the same no matter what language they speak, no matter what color their skin, no matter who they love, not matter what they do for a job, no matter where they live. It may be simplistic but it’s true. People are, at the core, alike. We want to be liked (loved) and we need food, air and water. We aren’t all that different from others and the differences make it more interesting. Anyway, my point being, we DO have a mental health crisis in our country but it’s nothing new. We ALSO have a gun crisis and it’s good and well time for us to accept that as truth and start to do something about it.

I can’t buy two boxes of Sudafed because “they’re” afraid that I will make crack.

I can’t have a driver’s license without proving that I am who I present myself to be. I must show a utility bill with my name on it, my marriage license, my passport, proof of insurance, etc. AND, by the way, I have to be at least 16, take a test that says I am a competent driver, and I can’t drive a car without it. Cars also kill people like guns kill people so why are they treated so differently!?

The ONLY reason to own a gun is to kill (or to boost a fragile ego.) Here in Maine, lots of people own guns. Most of those people have guns so they can hunt – and they eat what they kill. Most of the gun owners are responsible gun owners. For heaven’s sake, WE own guns! We don’t hunt and I don’t even know how to use the guns but my husband has killed rats in our yard. And I may have asked him to kill the groundhogs had they not left of their own volition. BUT it’s time for us to do something differently and drastic because killing innocent children in school is not OK.

My thought is that we must ban assault weapons AND we must put in place a way to make sure that those people who are allowed to buy guns are capable of being responsible gun owners. To drive a motorcycle you need a special license, right? Why not require classes and licensing for guns? Why not have a 48-hour waiting period … I’m required to wait 48 hours to have an abortion, considered by some as murder, why not have to wait for a license for a gun? This is a HUGE issue and I don’t pretend to have all of the answers but a document written by rich white men in the 1700s is not one to hang our hat on today – the world was a wholly different place then. Their “well-regulated militia” is our United States Military – Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines. We don’t need to arm our citizens to protect us as we did then. The rules have changed. The world has changed. Women can open a credit card account without their husband’s permission. Women are allowed to have POCKETS in their dresses because they’re allowed to own things. Women and black people are allowed to vote (or they have been, it seems that this is being challenged, too, but that’s a different post.)

My life was forever changed when I gave birth to three wonderful human beings. I have been so blessed to watch them grow. I got to go on field trips, be PTA President, have birthday parties in limousines and buy Christmas gifts, fill their stockings and help them with their homework – at least through elementary school. I have gone to sports events, high school and college concerts and plays, we spent time at the beach in the summers, went to the Ohio State Fair, met college friends, boy- and girl-friends from all over the country. When a parent does their job well, their kids go off to build their own life and I’ve had the pleasure of watching my kids get jobs, live with roommates, live alone, move from one city to another, live on cruise ships, meet a special person, get engaged, get married, buy a home. My kids are all in their 30s and I can’t imagine NOT having lived through all of the regular and special moments with them.

BUT there are 19 sets of parents, 19 sets of grandparents … who won’t ever be able to see their beloved child get their period, find body hair for the first time, get arrested for something stupid, graduate from high school … the list goes on and on. Because life is lived in the ordinary moments and some shitty human being with two legal assault weapons decided to go into a school and murder children cutting those ordinary moments short.

We all need to feel uncomfortable about this until something changes and the murders stop. Don’t be fooled, this can happen to you or someone you love. There are 19 families who know this as fact this morning and won’t forget it tomorrow. Or the next day … or the next …

Gone knitting.

Elton

Elton by JoJi Locateli

I’ve been doing some monogamous for the last few days. Elton is on my needles and I need to get some knitting under my belt on this fingering weight cardigan.

It was a busy day … I picked up groceries at 9:00-ish, forgetting that the hot rotisserie chickens aren’t ready until 10. My bad! Home and put the groceries away and picked the chicken while it was warm. (I have a thing about handling meat and this is the only way I can deal with it.) I decided that I might as well make the casserole for dinner since the chicken was done.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole is a family favorite. My kids still request it for Sunday dinner when we are together. You can use a whole chicken or three or four chicken breasts, cooked. Two boxes of Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice original recipe. Follow the instructions on the box to prepare. 8 ounces of sour cream. 1 can cream of mushroom soup. Curry to taste. We never did when the kids were little but now we add broccoli. Fresh or frozen and warmed through – Al dente is best because it gets cooked again. Combine all ingredients and put in a casserole dish. Cook for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Banana Nut with blueberries

When I was cleaning the dishes and wiping down the counters, I discovered three very ripe bananas. Just the amount I need for banana bread. So … I made muffins. Banana nut muffins with blueberries. One of our favorite recipes.

I did a couple of loads of laundry, and vacuumed the downstairs. The little rolling balls of dog hair were getting pretty thick and my allergies have been all sorts of crazy. When the muffins came out of the oven, I cleaned up the kitchen and headed upstairs for a little bit of knitting.

Elton is an interesting construction as I have mentioned before and at this point I’m past the interesting construction. I am knitting 4-row stripes of each of my two yarns. Four fingering weight and four lace weight mohair and silk. Not particularly exciting knitting but I’m hoping that when it’s done and blocked that it’ll be a really elegant cardigan.

Today, though, I found not one, not two, but three (THREE!) dropped stitches. I used my crochet hook to pull up the first and all the while I was thinking that it would be too wonky looking. Pulled too tightly because I was squishing an extra stitch up in the middle of two others. I fully expected to have to frog back several rows (half of this rows are mohair which is fuzzy and sticky. I wasn’t looking forward to it.) Fortunately though, I was wrong. It looked fine. So, when I found dropped stitches two and three I did the same and they all looked fine.

No More Dropped Stitches

I’m measuring 4 inches below the arm pit. Another 11 inches to go. Let’s hope I don’t drop any more stitches. I may not be so lucky the next time.

But dinner was good!

Gone knitting.

Yardgoods Spring Sweater KAL/CAL

On May 1 we kicked off a project at the yarn shop (where I work.) Spring Sweater KAL/CAL is the first “garment sized” knit or crochet along that we’ve tried and we are so pleased that there are 15 people participating. This project is meant to be a relaxing, fun, supportive, encouraging project for our customers near and far. Our first “meeting” was via Zoom for our kick-off headed by Donna and Glenda. (I was on a train heading to Connecticut from New York City after visiting with my kids and because the train was quite full, I felt that it would have been rude to hop on the call.

Today we are having our second meeting and it will be a hybrid meeting. We’ll have two computers on Zoom for those who can’t be with us in person and we’ll be at the shop in the classroom.

Elton by Joji Locatelli

I’m knitting my Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I’ve enjoyed the process thus far, and am having fun seeing how the cardigan goes together. The construction is quite brilliant making a sweater (cardigan) all in one piece top down. I cast on first for the back of the sweater and with some short rows, and stripes of the main and contrasting yarns, got 6 1/2 inches completed and then I headed to the front. Stitches are picked up, along first one shoulder and then the next, and matching short rows and stripes until the front sides are also 6 1/2 inches. And here is where the fun begins because everything is put back on the needles and striping continues. I reached that point yesterday!

For my main color I’m using Malabrigo Sock yarn in Cote D’Azure, a really dark navy blue. It’s so dark, it’s nearly black. The contrasting color is Berroco’s Aerial in their dark navy colorway. I sure hope that I planned this well because I think it’s going to be elegant. The Malabrigo Sock has just enough sheen to be quite snazzy looking and the sheer lace weight mohair in stripes between is really pretty. The directions say that you should block this aggressively to get the fabric to open up and relax and I think it’s going to be really pretty. Those thoughts are what are going to keep me knitting endless stripes of garter stitch.

We had five of us (and six if you count Bette who had to work) in the shop and one via zoom from Canada! Beth had never been in the store before and she found our little group on Ravelry. Wonderful news for us and we were thrilled to welcome Beth to our group. She has a friend in Maine so we hope to meet her someday soon! There is only one duplicated pattern on the needles from the group of women who reported. Glenda and I are knitting Elton. Glenda is knitting hers in the “Wish You Were Beer” colorway of Emma’s yarn Practically Perfect Sock and their laceweight mohair to match. Otherwise, the patterns are very diverse.

Donna is knititng Flax Light (short sleeves) in Malabrigo Sock, Diane is knitting Berroco Ultra Wool fine and I can’t believe I can’t remember her pattern name. Lynn is knitting Pull Johanna in Berroco Alpaca Socks, Beth is knitting Hitofude in Lang Sock, and Bette is knitting miMa (don’t remember that yarn either. Glenda will set me straight! I know she took notes.) It was fun seeing what everyone was knitting and what challenges they were facing. I’m eager to see where everyone is in three weeks when we meet again!

Gone knitting.

A Return to Summer … in May?

Like a Summer Day but May

If this past weekend is any indication, we are going to have a wicked warm summer. It was close to 90 degrees … too hot, too early. Thankfully, the temperatures have returned to more normal and we got a little bit of rain.

I’ve been working like a crazy woman. I don’t know if I’ve shared the fact that I am president of our lake association and we have had a lot going on. We are doing a huge project in the entire watershed area in order to limit the amount of runoff into the lake. We’ve identified 247 different properties that need to have significant work done and we are in the process of applying for a 319 grant to help landowners pay for the improvements. AND we are moving out of our office, changing storage areas, and still trying to run our normal milfoil removal program and our courtesy boat inspector program at our two boat launches. It’s a lot!

I estimate that I am spending about 20 hours weekly on lake stuff. Mondays are my lake days and I almost always spend the full day working on lake stuff – meetings, committees, fundraising, memberships, banking stuff, finances … and on and on. I’m so grateful that I have a good group of people helping me with a lot of it. I’d like to clone them!

Add my real job (the one that pays me) and writing a newsletter for the yarn shop and I’ve been super busy. I’m trying to remember to make time for my sweet husband – he puts up with my nonsense without complaining – but I haven’t been baking as much as I normally do (or that he’d like) and I’m (almost) getting my normal house stuff done. The yard, though, needs a lot of work and our project this year is to fix up our guest cottage … I sure hope it gets done. We’ll be renting it once it’s finished.

My Traveling Sweater

I’ve finished my “Traveling” sweater and brought it to the store to show if off on Friday. This was a fun knit and I’ve inspired a couple of my students to give knitting an adult-sized sweater, too! When we are all finished with our sweaters, we’ll take a group photo … in the fall. This is a Knitting Plain & Simple top-down pullover pattern. I used ten balls, 9 different colorways, of Plymouth Gina. I chose the balls fairly randomly and knit the entire ball and then spit-joined the next one. The only “fudging” I did was to sort of match the first part of the sleeves to the start of the body. It just looks neater.

The other thing I did a little bit differently is to turn it inside out. That’s right, I’m going to wear it on the “wrong” side or the reverse stockinette side. SO, to make that happen, I had to frog back the bottom of the body and then re-knit it so that it rolled the right way. I did the same to the sleeves and the collar. It fits well, it’s going to be really comfy when the weather gets colder again. (It’s worsted weight and I tend to run warm, so … )

Noro Striped Mittens

I also finished my Noro Striped and lined mittens. So, this was a stash busting project. I’ve had a skein of this Noro yarn in my studio for a couple of years. When I saw these mittens, I jumped at the idea of using the one skein. I only had to buy two more skeins to get it done, but it’s done! This pattern uses two skeins of Noro (or you could use a worsted or Aran weight yarn of your choice) yarn for the stripes and another yarn, I used Berroco Folio, for the lining. These are fun mittens and I love them … but I’ll be gifting them because I don’t NEED them. (Remember my Northman Mittens? And my 4-Needle Snowflake mittens? And my Gray Fuzzy Mittens? LOL. I have a few pairs. I don’t need any more.) I do know who is going to get these lovely mittens. She’ll be so surprised.

I have been working right along on one more pair of socks for my daughter. I made it to the heel flap of the second sock this morning when I was waiting for my car to have its oil changed. One heel flap and on to the foot. They won’t take long now. (And I’ll return the clean socks I borrowed when I was in New York when I send the new socks.)

Last but not least, I’ve cast on an Elton cardigan by Joji Locatelli. One of my co-workers and a student and I are doing a KAL/CAL at the store where we work and knit. Our Spring Sweater KAL/CAL only requires that participants use fingering weight yarn for their sweater. They can choose any sweater pattern to knit or crochet and there are no deadlines or pressure. It’s meant to be a fun, no pressure, supportive experience and we have 17 people in the group. We’ve had one virtual meeting that kicked off the KAL/CAL on May 1 and we’re having our second meeting, a hybrid meeting, in person and virtually, on 5/21. I need to make some progress for that meeting! I’m feeling the pressure, for sure. I bought the Elton pattern ages ago and then used the yarn that I was planning to use to knit a Love Note instead. So, this time, I’ve chosen for my main color, Malabrigo Sock in the Cote D’Azure colorway (a really deep navy blue) and for the accent color, Berroco Aerial in a deep navy. I think it’s going to be elegant and I’m thinking that I could wear it to my step-daughter’s wedding in December if I can find a dress to wear under it. I’ll add a photo or two when I have enough knitted to bother to take a photo.

Fiber Trends Felted Clogs Pre-felting

I just finished the sewing up of a pair of slippers that I knitted for my husband for his birthday. I only need to felt them now and sew on the sole. His last pair were completely worn out and I had him throw them away. They had suede sole pieces. The new ones will have a full suede sole. I’m getting so fancy … or he is. LOL.

Gone knitting.

I really AM knitting, I promise.

I’ve finished an order for a customer (again!) of two tams. These are hats number five and six for this season. Whew! But she loves them and they’re not difficult to knit for her at all. I delivered them to the store this morning so that she can pick them up. The pattern is Quick Lacy Slouch hat and is free on Ravelry. I’ve made these hats in several different bulky weight yarns. These happen to be in Cascade 128 which is superwash and soft. The stitch definition is also quite lovely.

I’ve finished one pair and started a second pair of socks for daughter number two. She’s daughter number two in birth order only. I swear that I have knitted socks for her before but she said I didn’t so, she chose her yarn when she was here this winter and I’ve been knitting some for her. I hope they fit. If not, I’ll adjust them and my pattern for her (not so) little feet.

I also delivered a pair of camo dish cloths to my son for his birthday – it’s a joke. He had to have a camouflage afghan when he was younger and still at home. I had to make them when I saw the yarn.

I am on sleeve island. My “Patsy’s Traveling Sweater” is almost done, I have a few inches of each sleeve to knit up and then it’ll be ready for a collar and blocking. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to wear it right side out or wrong side out. One of my co-workers made one of these sweaters and she wears it on the “wrong” side. If I decide to wear it on the “wrong” side, I’ll have to re-knit the bottom of the body so it will roll the right way. It’s all good. Time will tell.

Noro Striped Mittens

I’ve finished the lining on one of my Noro Striped mittens and have begun the second. I’ll admit that these mittens are a bit short for me and they may be sold or given away. But they’re really pretty and the Berroco Folio lining is very soft (and will add extra warmth.) As I believe I’ve said before, my favorite thing about these mittens was knitting the thumb before knitting the hand which made the thumb color not stick out like, well, like a sore thumb. (Sorry.)

I’ve begun a pair of Fiber Trends Felted Clogs for my sweet hubby for his birthday at the end of the month. He stopped in the store one day (to bring me food) and I had him choose his color(s). I’m knitting these in Ella Rae Classic Wool. He chose a gray and a purple which I’m holding together. His old slippers were worn out because he really loved them and wore them a lot.

I’m going to end here. I have bunches of future knitting projects lining up and I brought home more yarn from work this week. I love working in a yarn store so I have access to people who fill my head with future knitting ideas – and some of them seem so important that I have to bring yarn home immediately.

Gone knitting.

An Excellent (Happy Mama’s Day) Visit

Washington Heights, NYC

I got my mother’s day gifts early this year – I traveled to New York City to spend time with all of my kids. They, of course, are my best gifts ever. I am so proud to be called their mom.

I had an excellent adventure. I drove to my college roommate’s house in Westport, CT, visited with her for an evening and then headed by train into New York City for a few days with my kids. The first day I had lunch in mid-town with Daughter 1 and her husband. April 27 is my son’s birthday so we had a bite of dinner at Bea in mid-town and then headed to the bowling lanes to meet a group of my son’s friends. What fun it was to bowl in New York City, of all places. I wish I’d taken a photo or two.

Thursday we visited Holland Ridge Farms in New Jersey. Acres and acres of tulips that you can pick and pick we did. My daughters each picked more than 70 and I controlled myself because I knew I had to transport my flowers to Maine. Suffice it to say that there was every imaginable color and type of tulip. They were gorgeous and the scent was mind boggling. I never realized that tulips had a scent. (We chose to pick mostly closed flowers, hoping they’d bloom more slowly and last longer. Note: mine are just about done as of today.) We walked and walked and walked and practically got blown away in the wind. It was sunny but very windy and we were dust-covered from tip to toe. We found a fun pick up spot and bought some subs (shrimp parm and steak pizza subs. Yum!) and root beer for lunch before heading back to the city. We happened upon a special sight on the way back to the highway – young horses in a big field, running and playing.

Yearlings?

My younger daughter loves horses. We had to stop to get closer and watch these magnificent animals. They were very shy and kept their distance but it was so much fun to watch them run.

I met my son’s girlfriend for lunch on Friday with their dogs and after lunch we took them to a local “park” for a bit of a run. The “park” is actually an historic home, The Morris-Jumel Mansion. Next time I’m in the city, I want to tour the home. The grounds have been somewhat ignored over the past few years but you can see its potential. I then took the subway (all by myself) to midtown to meet my youngest brother at his hotel for a drink. He was in the city for a veterinary conference. A quick hike to a new Thai restaurant, Lum Lum, with my daughters and their husbands and later, my son and his girlfriend came to join us. The food and company was extraordinary.

Saturday was exercise day. I am tired and sore just thinking about it. Daughter 1, her husband and their dog Bessie and I walked to the Linwood Farmer’s Market. Through Fort Tryon Park to drop off their composts, bought some fish and apples, had a wonderful bagel sandwich and then hiked back to the Heights along the river. 13,000 steps round trip and we hadn’t even gotten to the yarn store yet!

Daughter 2 and her husband were so sweet to go with me to Brooklyn to visit Brooklyn General Store – a bucket list item for me. It’s quite a distance from Washington Heights (but I learned that you can tap your credit card in the subway!)

I loved wandering this little shop. It’s an older building, full of character: wood floors, lots of yarns that my LYS doesn’t carry – La Bien Aimee, Spin Cycle, and so many more. I patted lots and lots of yarns there. I also admired fabrics, stitch kits, etc. I couldn’t decide what to buy but I ended up with a really pretty fingering weight peach cotton/alpaca yarn by Illimani Yarn Company. I bought another in an oatmealy-grey color as well. I’m not sure what it will become but when it decides what it wants to be when it grows up, I’ll let you know. We had dinner, Ramen, at my daughter’s apartment that night and she tested positive for Covid. I’ve been double boosted so I figured that I was as “bullet proof” as I ever could be having had my second booster shot two weeks before. My son-in-law tested positive on Sunday. I’ve continued to test negative. (By the way, if you want to test for possible Covid exposure, New York is the place to be. Tests are readily available all over the city.)

Sunday I headed back to CT for another evening before driving home on Monday. It’s so wonderful to have long-time friends (we have known each other for 46 years now!) who you can pick up with as if you’ve been apart for a few days rather than several months. It’s always special to spend time together with my special woman friends.

This mama’s heart is so full and I am so grateful to be able to travel to the city for a visit. Grateful for time away from work and my volunteer jobs. Grateful for my husband who is willing to hold down the fort while I am gallivanting. And it’s so great to come home again – where I can rest up for a couple of days before heading back to work. My legs are still tired.

Gone knitting.