Another Day to be Grateful

Another Day to be Grateful

I’m one grateful girl today.

I had a text from two of my three kids telling me about the free Covid test kits and my daughter already ordered mine. They really do love their old mom! I got a text from one of my lake neighbors, too. How wonderful it is to feel so loved and cared for. If you know me, you know that I am apt to wear my heart on my sleeve and when I am feeling so grateful, it’s typical for me to get teary-eyed. A dear knitting friend, Bristol Ivy, told me that I have “ocular incontinence.” That is an apt title for me for sure.

I’m also grateful for my knitting students. We had some “sad” news last Friday when Lucille, 93, told me that she probably wouldn’t be coming to class any more. She had a small stroke around Christmas time and her family is moving her into an assisted living community this week. I’m so grateful that her family is so loving and caring. She deserves to be cared for in all the best ways. I’ve grown very attached to her over the years that we’ve been knitting together. I’ve picked her up and dropped her back home, I’ve visited her in her apartment to help with knitting problems, and the whole class has helped her to be social and active … at least on Friday! I’m grateful to a couple of my students who picked her up or dropped her at home to help me and so Lucille could keep coming to class. It has taken a village, so to speak, and the village has helped to keep Lucille knitting.

Lucille

I’ve grown to love Lucille and I’m going to miss her. Look at that sweater! I’m hoping that there will be a knitting group at Lucille’s new home or that she’ll be able to get transportation to class once in a while. We are all going to miss her. But we’re all so happy that she’s moving to a place that is going to see that she’s cared for and that she’ll not be living alone. I’m sure she’s going to love being there and being able to socialize more often and I’ll enjoy visiting her in her new home.

Gone knitting. (And maybe experiencing a bit of ocular incontinence.)

From the “Expert”

Anchor Sweater v.2

Because I value honesty, I want to tell you a very typical story from knitters. Beginner knitters all the way through to expert knitters. All of us have had this experience that I had today. Fortunately, I can laugh at myself. I made a rookie mistake today.

I pulled one of my UFOs out of the cupboard this week in an effort to get some old projects finished. This one is the Anchor Sweater, an intarsia sweater in a child size, by Roo Designs. I started this sweater last year when I was teaching an intarsia workshop. And once the class was over, I put the sweater away and “forgot about it” until I started a cleaning up program in the New Year.

Today I started working on the back of the sweater. My pattern says that the back needs to be knitted until it’s 16 inches long. I got knitting this morning in my class and then at lunchtime I found the back that I had knitted last year …. I should have been knitting the front! Oh, crap!

So, tonight, when I got home, I frogged back to where I started this morning and began following the chart for the anchor. And I was laughing at myself and my rookie mistake.

All of this is to say that I am not perfect. Many people might consider me an expert (I don’t think I’ll ever get there, it makes me laugh because I still learn new things about knitting all the time!) I make mistakes. Lots of them. On a regular basis. This time, here’s what I did wrong … (the idea here is for me to teach you something, right?) I put a project away without making a note on the pattern noting exactly where I stopped work. I “should” have at the very least marked my pattern with a big arrow showing where I begin knitting. If I had marked my pattern (with a big arrow?) I would have known that I’d finished the back and was working on the front.

Oh well. Gone knitting.

Yip Yips for Christmas

It’s a perfectly miserable weather day here in Maine. The wind was blowing across the ice this morning and by mid-day there was freezing rain/sleet and continued wind. A good day to stay inside (and knit!)

Since they’ve been gifted, I thought I’d show you the Yip Yips that I crocheted for my nieces and nephew for Christmas. I think these little containers are so sweet and they make me laugh. I hope their parents have shown them videos of the Yip Yips on old Sesame Street shows (they’re on Youtube if you want to Google them). The one that I particularly loved was the telephone one. I may have posted it here before. I love them! This pattern is easy to follow for those like me who aren’t expert crocheters (yet!) I’ve heard that some people have made a whole family of these to use in lieu of Christmas stockings. I’m not sure I’m ready to go that far, but they sure are happy little creations.

Yip Yips (crochet) by Carissa Browning

I filled the Yip Yips with little gifts, too, of course. A hand-knit wash cloth (I can’t believe I forgot to photograph them), a toy car for my nephew and a couple of birds in nests for my nieces. These are designed by Susan B. Anderson and are called Simple Little Bird and Nest. I think they’re adorable and they were fun to knit.

Simple Little Bird and Nest by Susan B. Anderson

I sent a few other hand-knit gifts this year. Socks for my son, market bags for my daughter and my son’s girlfriend, dish cloths for all the kids, a Bankhead hat for my husband, and I’m currently working on a new sweater for my youngest grand-dog, Gus. All of these projects and all of the details about them are on my Ravelry project page.

Gone knitting!

Snow (-y) Day!

Just before sunrise this morning

We are finally getting a snowy day! I came home from work last night and listened to the weather reports and decided to err on the cautious side and cancel knitting classes today. Since weather forecasting is not ever a sure thing, I am always hesitant to cancel classes but this time it seemed that they were consistent messages that we were going to get measurable snow. And, YIPPEE! We are!

When we awoke this morning the snow hadn’t begun (picture above) but within an hour or so the snow could be seen coming up the lake and before long, it looked like this … and it’s supposed to continue on through the rest of the day.

The snow begins

So, my brain went on a snow day day off and I forgot my 8am Zoom meeting and my 9am Zoom meeting and I’ve chosen to give myself grace and move on to enjoy the day regardless. I decided that I’d give myself the gift of baking this morning. First up was The Foodie Physician’s Blueberry, Apple and Walnut Baked Oatmeal. I love baked oatmeal. I have always wanted to love oatmeal but the texture makes me gag. When I discovered baked oatmeal, I was skeptically hopeful … but it was good. I’ve been baking it ever since. This is a good recipe and I like it a lot. I used my frozen organic Maine blueberries and some too-old-to-eat apples from the farm in this recipe and local maple syrup. I didn’t have any plain yogurt but I had vanilla so that’s what I put in. I just had a serving for lunch and it was delish! Here’s the recipe:

Blueberry Apple & Walnut Baked Oatmeal (The Foodie Physician)

  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped, divided
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon plus extra for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, any type (I used oat milk)
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use the pure stuff not the imitation)
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, finely chopped apple, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F)
  2. Spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Mix walnuts, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
  4. In a second bowl whisk milk, yogurt, egg, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla together.
  5. Arrange 1 cup each of apples and blueberries on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Scatter the oat mixture evenly on top. Pour in the milk mixture and press to submerge all the dry ingredients into the liquid. Scatter the remaining walnuts, apple and blueberries on top and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  6. Bake 40-45 minutesuntil the top is golden and the oats are set. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serve as is or topped with milk, Greek yogurt or maple syrup. (Try it without further sweetening, I think it’s great as is with milk!)

Since I’d baked something for myself, I decided to make something for my wonderful hubby. His choice was blueberry muffins. This recipe, I’m afraid, I can’t share, it’s a family secret and held close to our family’s chest. But I will share the baked muffins if you ever come visit us in Maine. They are a regular pre-breakfast treat when we have company.

We had a visit from our neighborhood Pileated Woodpecker. The female is a regular at our feeder this winter. I sure hope this means that she has a nest close by and that we’ll see her whole family in the spring! Our little red squirrel has also been a regular at our living room window feeder and we have fun laughing at his or her antics. We can get up close and personal with the window between us but it will sit and eat all of the sunflower seed in the feeder if we allow it.

Paperwhite Narcissus in bloom

And the frosting on the snowy day cake is that my first Paperwhite Narcissus is blooming!

And now I’m up in my atelier sharing this snowy day with you and in a few minutes, I’ll be heading over to my chair to knit. I have a 3-cable baby blanket on the needles in Berroco’s Vintage Chunky for a client and the queue of orders is already starting … it’s a new year, after all. I’ve also re-started knitting the Arne and Carlos mini-jumpers for my Advent Calendar. I would like to finish them before Advent 2022. And I’m going to cast on a sweater that has been sitting in my Ravelry queue for at least a couple of years. I’m going to add some steek stitches to it so I can knit it in the round. I’ve decided that my first WIP (or UFO) attack for 2022 will be my lobster hat. It’s been languishing way too long.

You can see all of these projects on my Ravelry project page. Gone knitting!

WIPs in the New Year

I write a weekly newsletter for the LYS where I work. This past Sunday, I included what I thought was a good idea to start off a new year … organizing your workspace/knitting corner and all your supplies.

The idea isn’t mine. I saw it on an Instagram post by @ithoughtiknewhow and the general premise is to take a day to do something to start your new year off with a sense of organization and planning rather than the left-over havoc of the old year. I know that I can’t get all of these tasks done in a day but I can probably accomplish several of them in a week. Yesterday I started and finished three steps (all of the ones that I suggested people finish in the newsletter.)

Gathering WIPs

I gathered all of my WIPs (works in progress), my needles and notions that are spread around in bags and drawers in my studio, and brought them to one spot. I’m so lucky to have a studio space where I can do this! (Gratitude.) I then proceeded to examine each project to see if it’s something that I still want to knit, made sure that the yarn and pattern are in the bag of projects I want to keep and put them away in my cabinet. I also rescued yarn for the projects I don’t want to knit, returned it to a cake/skein and put any needles and notions away. I put finished project contents and bags away (I have bins of partial skeins saved away for those “just in case” times and I do return to them frequently) and made sure the project bags were clean before I put them away, too.

I have kept ten WIPs to finish this year. I returned several projects that I don’t want to knit and there may be one more that I’m on the fence about.

I also made a list of the WIPs in my 2022 Bullet Journal so that I make time to get some of them finished – they’ll be in my face every time I start or finish a project. Right now I have a commission that I am working on, it’s half-way done and when it’s sent off to my client, I’ll finish one of the WIPs in my cabinet. @ithoughtiknewhow suggests the possible planning of a day where you work on WIPs … I’m not sure I’m that good at keeping a schedule but it’s appealing and I’m considering giving it a try.

(Sadly, I have a drawer of sewing/quilting WIPs, too. I wonder when I will get to thinking about them. Maybe when (if?) I retire. LOL

Gone knitting.

2022 – First or Last FO?

A Gray Start to 2022

2021 is now behind us. Thank goodness. Hello, 2022. I sure hope you’re more gentle with us than your predecessor.

I spent the day today doing paper work for my volunteer job as the president of our lake association. We did a photography contest among our members and then the members voted for their favorites and we printed them in a calendar for 2022. We ordered 105 calendars and we’ve almost sold them all. Yay! So, today I was trying to figure out how much money we’d made and, despite the fact that we have about 20 left to sell, we’ve made some money. Yay!

After that, I did a bit of knitting.

I had knitted the first of the pair of socks and a half of the second sock but I didn’t finish it last night. I went to bed. I finished it today. I’m hoping that the knitting gods will forgive me for counting the pair as knitted in 2021. This pair will make my 12th pair in the year and fulfills my 2021 Sock Challenge. It’s my favorite sock pattern, Classic Socks by Melinda Goodfellow, Yankee Knitter. I had realized that I have not one pair of solid colored socks so these are “boring” navy blue. I used Sisu by Sandnes Garn (colorway 6062) and I think I’m going to be happy with these socks. I knitted them up on a US 1 1/2 needle because I really like a smaller gauge sock. I neglected to knit the men’s size this time (I usually do this when I use small needles) so I am hoping they fit. If they don’t, they’ll be given away. It’s all good, right?

Happy New Year from the Queen Bee.

Gone knitting.

Looking Ahead to a New Year

Not my photo, I “stole” it … but I love it!

If I told you that I love Christmas, I’d be lying. I don’t. Every year I try to change my attitude and every year I manage it poorly. This year was no exception. Compound Christmas preparations this year with the first Lola’s-birthday-without-Lola, and I have been a hot, teary-eyed mess. And then, at the (somewhat) last minute, my step-daughters decided they couldn’t come celebrate with us. With that, the grocery shopping for a gang, the stocking and gift shopping, the planning that went into a holiday with our kids had taken energy away from other things that I might have been able to use at work and at home. My poor husband has had to put up with me all this time.

Anyway, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day weren’t as sad as we thought. We managed our way through without me crying and we are now on the other side of Christmas and heading into the New Year. I sure hope that 2022 is a “better” year and that the pandemic and all the negative news is made much less a priority. It’s been exhausting.

A little bit of time to review 2021 as 2022 is coming in quickly with or without permission.

I’ve been semi-successful at my 2021 Sock Challenge. I have completed 11 pairs of socks. Three of them, however, are small children sizes which is a stretch to the “rules”. I do have a pair on my needles and I have almost finished the first sock. I’ll count that one as a half sock completed. I’m 1/2 a sock short of my goal. Considering the year … I done good!

I finished three sweaters this year! And a fourth is so close that I’ve only got one sleeve (or is it two? I’ve not looked at it for a bit.) I have at least enough yarn for five more sweaters in my atelier. I’ve got my knitting cut out for me. LOL

I’m racing to finish one more pair of mittens before the end of the year. I might make it! And these may be my favorite mittens ever, replacing my favorite mittens to date – my Snowflake Mittens. My Snowflake Mittens were my first ever colorwork project. I knitted them way, wayyyyy back in 2016 and they’re still like new. I love them so much but the Lamb’s Pride wool/mohair yarn is a bit prickly. The new mittens are a blend of wool/alpaca and they’re so soft. AND as a bonus, they’re lined with pure alpaca. Hmm. That gives me an idea … perhaps I’ll line my snowflake mittens!

According to my list in my bullet journal, I’ve completed 65 projects this year. My Ravelry queue tells me that I’ve completed 77 (but I think a few actually belong in 2020.) I’m not sure which one is right but either way, I’m satisfied with my productivity. I’ve made several items that were given as donations to the needy. Some hats and mittens went to our local police department to give to those who need them. Some socks went to the homeless shelter. My LYS, Yardgoods Center, donated a bunch of hand-knit socks to the Mid-Maine Homeless shelter for “Socktober”. It was sweet! We will do it again next year.

You can see all of my 2021 projects on my Ravelry project page. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – I’m lindar on Ravelry. Please be my Ravelry friend.

I have some goals for the New Year. I am free to change or modify them as the year goes on. I can even delete them totally. I’m going to find a doctor and have a physical. I’m going to look forward more (and backward less). I will choose to be with people who value me and treat me well and I will “divorce” people who don’t. I’ll remember to be grateful every day for what I have and for my health and the health of my family and friends. There are three days left in 2021.

Gone knitting.

Another FO – Knitting Pure and Simple #233 Neck Down Shaped T-shirt

I just finished another sweater that I knitted. This time, the sweater is for my student, Lucille, who is going to be 93 years old on Friday.

Lucille has some beautiful sweaters and some are quite complex knitting projects. She’s been coming to my Friday knitting class for several years and I’ve grown to care for her a lot. Enough so that I pick her up and bring her home after class every week. She’s a valued member of our class. We also have noticed (and reported to her family) that her memory isn’t what it used to be and her knitting has really been a struggle.

This sweater was one she really wanted to knit and I really thought that it would be simple enough for her to manage successfully. I got the sweater cast on for her, reviewed the sweater pattern with her in class and then sent her home. The following week at class I had to frog her sweater back because she’d knitted half of the rounds, increasing every round and not knitting a plain round in between them. I took the sweater home that week and returned it to her with all of the increases made and the sleeves separated so that she’d only have to knit around on the body stitches. That didn’t work either. She asked me if I could finish the sweater for her and “charge her a lot!” LOL

As an “expert” knitter, I picked up Lucille’s needles and cast on the sweater and started knitting. When I got to the end of the body, it was time to do a few rows of ribbing … on a size US 3. It was a HUGE difference between the two needle sizes so I decided to measure Lucille’s needle that I had knitted the entire sweater with … it was a US 8, not the US 6 that the pattern called for nor did the gauge match. Fortunately, the gauge was only a little bit off and it was a little bit larger than she wanted it to be – and it fits! So, I went ahead and knitted the sleeves in the same size needle and did the ribbing on a US 5. Phew. Note to self: even the teacher sometimes forgets to check gauge. I will attempt to remember that I should check the needle size before picking up a student’s project.

All done with the body … on a US 8

Today I finished her sweater and it’s had its bath and is drying. Our house is very dry so I am hoping that I can give it to her on Friday, her birthday, when we have a little celebration at our class. I’m bringing a cake!

Gone Knitting!

Details about this and all of my projects (some aren’t knitting!) are on my Ravelry page. I’m lindar on Ravelry.

Starry Light

This has got to be one of the quickest and most delightful projects I’ve ever knitted!

Starry Light by Laura Nelkin

This is Starry Light by Laura Nelkin. It’s a quick knit on US 17 DPNs with a 66 foot length of fairy lights. I ordered mine on Amazon but this is a strand that needs to be plugged into a USP port. I have mine connected to my laptop on my desk and it works. We have a couple of those USB blocks around the house but I like my light on my desk – at night I can enjoy the starry light while I’m knitting in my atelier.

The knitting isn’t easy. Wire doesn’t stretch like yarn but it doesn’t take too much time to get adjusted. The start is a bit awkward as I think everyone who has started one of these has said. I’m sure that when I make more that they’ll get easier with each try. Regardless, when the knitting is done and the wire is threaded through the live stitches, you have to really “massage” the lacey wire mess into a star. I found it easier to bend the wire into 4-inch lengths which would become my star. (I wish I’d taken some video of what I did.) I then stretched and pulled and wiggled the wire into shape being careful not to stress the wire so much that I broke it.

I’m tickled with it – and bonus, my lights have eight different settings controlled by the button at the base of the lights or the remote that comes with the set. I’m going to order more after Christmas and knit up a bunch to use around the house – maybe in the big picture windows in our living room. We all need more light at this time of year!

Gone Knitting.

Grateful

Sunrise at Home

I started this post after Thanksgiving having spent several days with two thirds of my kids, their significant others, my brothers and sisters-in-love and their kids and some of their significant others. Being with family is my drug. I left Massachusetts with my heart full and my soul warmed. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday just before all of the pressure heading into Christmas begins. I’m so grateful that my children and their cousins know each other and that they enjoy spending time together and we enjoyed spending time together, too!

And now we’re well into the Christmas rush. Rushing to get the tree decorated and the presents bought and mostly shipped to their recipients but some to put under the tree and into stockings for Christmas day. I’m working hard to keep the gratitude and warm fuzzies in my heart that I had a Thanksgiving and to be fully honest here, I’m struggling. My dear husband’s daughters and one of their boyfriends are scheduled to be here for Christmas this year. It seems that because of a sick dog, one won’t be able to come. The other daughter’s boyfriend seems to be rethinking the trip because he’s spent a lot of time in Florida with his family. I was really looking forward to seeing them because we haven’t seen each other for a long time. We haven’t seen the dog mom daughter for a year and a half.

Today I’m trying to wrap my head around having Christmas at home with my little family – me and my husband. It seems that it’s entirely possible again this year. Somehow I have to make it ok and I’m not sure how to do that. It’s going to be difficult to make any major changes because I’m now scheduled to work since we were going to be celebrating here with my step-daughters. It’ll be near-impossible to kennel the dog at this point to fly anywhere and a drive to their homes is at least a two day drive each way … leaving two days to visit. We don’t relish the idea of four days in the car for a two-day visit. The NYC kids are having a Christmas dinner to which we’ve been invited but I don’t know what kind of hotel or extra bed situation we’d be looking at and the dog still needs to be kenneled. I guess we will look at our options if we find it’ll be just us for sure.

Meanwhile, I’m knitting. A lot. I’ve been finishing some projects, too. I have so many things that I want to knit and with my schedule, I’ve been lining them up for when I have some time to knit “what I want”. I’ve knitted several gifts for the kids in NYC and they’ve been sent on. We are going to go to the beach in Rhode Island again in September and that’s their big gift. Since they haven’t opened gifts, I’ll not discuss what I’ve made until after Christmas – and I even forgot to photograph a couple of the gifts. Oops!

The Slip Stitch Hat by Tanis Williams is a sweet hat with a slip stitch section around the head. It makes the sport/dk weight hat a bit warmer around the ears. I used a bit of a handspun yarn that I was gifted with a wool/silk blend yarn that I found at Marden’s here in Maine. It was a yarn company close out sale and was a great deal. This hat will be going to Yardgoods Center’s February hat drive for the needy in our community.

The beaded tape measure is a new activity that I’ve been doing with my Friday knitters, one of whom is a phenomenal talent at beading and quilting in addition to being a great knitter. Anyway, we bought a kit online (Etsy) and we had a class at the end of my teaching day a few weeks ago. What fun! I love the way the tape measure looks so much but I admit that I’m a bit hesitant to put it into my knitting bag for fear that it will be damaged or get dirty.

Evergreen Socks by Madeline Gannon are so much fun! I loved knitting these. I used deeply stashed yarn from Buffalo Wool Company. I’ve had this yarn from a bunch of years ago when I signed up for their monthly yarn club. It’s a fingering weight blend of wool and buffalo so these socks are likely to be nice and warm. I think these will be for me. I only have one daughter who has the same size feet as I do and she likes shorty socks.

Husband’s Christmas (last year) sweater. Well, he loves it and it’s a perfect fit. I gave him the yarn for this sweater last year at Christmas. His face when he opened it was a classic. He wondered if I was going to teach him to knit! LOL. Needless to say, here it is almost Christmas again and I have finally gotten it done. I loved loved loved knitting with Cascade 220 worsted yarn. I’ve not knitted with it before (I know, I was surprised, too) and it’s so much softer and more luxurious feeling that the Ella Rae wool that I’ve knitted with several times. The price point isn’t that different anymore so I’d prefer the Cascade; especially when it’s a garment. We’ll see how it wears and how it pills. The pattern is Knitting Plain and Simple #991 and it is simple but the heathered yarn makes is anything but plain.

Oh, Arne and Carlos, how I love you. I started knitting the Christmas balls last year and got about six of them finished. I haven’t tried to knit any this year because these stinking cute mini jumpers came out and that’s all I wanted to knit. I have managed to get five done and will pick up the rest of the 24 and hope to get them finished before next Christmas. I’m using Patagonia organic merino in three colors. I decided to keep the traditional holiday colors for our house. We shall see. But I love them so much!

Last but not least, I have cast on for a new pair of mittens for me. I love my “old” snowflake mittens a lot. These new ones are similar and very different. These are the Northman Mittens by David Schultz and I’ve chosen to knit with the same yarn as the design calls for. It just so happens that we have a great selection of Berroco Ultra Alpaca yarn. I’ve changed my mind already several times but I can’t change it again. I am knitting with a light tealy-blue-green and a light gray shade. The lining will be knit in a pink for a pop of color and you can find all the gory details for this and all of my other projects on my Ravelry project page. (I”m “lindar” on Ravelry.)

I am knitting a sweater for my almost-93 year old student who is having memory challenges and she was unable to be successful with this Plain and Simple pattern. I’ll get the sleeves finished this week and will present it to her as my gift on her 93rd birthday which is on Friday … and a cake! She’s one of my favorites and it’s crushing to see her struggle to knit. She was a wonderful knitter back in the day.

There you have it. I’ve caught you up to date. I’m sorry for the downer at the start of this post but I have promised myself that I would be authentic here and show you how life and knitting weave together to make me who I am. I won’t apologize for who I am and I am an emotional person. I’ve mentioned before my “ocular incontinence”, right? I will make the best of whatever Christmas brings, I’m just struggling with it for now. It’s all good. We love all of our kids and this won’t change that, of course.

Gone knitting.