Fall – turning in

Hydrangeas in their Fall Dresses

The hydrangeas are wearing their fall colors and the temperatures are cooling. The sunrise is moving over into its fall position. Every morning it shines into our living room reminding me that I have yet to wash the big picture windows. The leaves are slowly but surely taking on the brighter reds and oranges and my favorite tree is about half-red.

I love the fall and I look forward to all of the lake work coming to an end or at least slowing down enough to give me some breathing space. And, I look forward to being able to breathe more easily – the fall allergies are horrible this year. I look forward to getting some inside work done and catching up on the projects that get put aside to sit on the porch and work in the gardens and yard. That work, if I’m honest, is getting more difficult as we get older. I have to remind myself that it’s ok to balance work and rest. It’s part of what I like about fall and winter, preparing to turn in … thinking about what is important and having time to rest awhile. And maybe a bit of knitting?!

I’ve been knitting away, as usual. It’s not a good day if no fiber has passed through my fingers. This week I’ve been working to get my Mini Advent Jumpers completed by the start of December. I have 14 knitted, two need their ends woven in and seams sewn, but that leaves another ten to go. I can do it if I stick to two per week. I just need to figure out how to hang them once finished. I’ll get there. And, frankly, I was reminded that I could do the 12 Days of Christmas if I don’t get them all finished.

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

I also finished and wore my Elton Cardigan this week. It will be worn to Rhinebeck in a couple of weeks. I’m excited to attend my first New York Sheep and Wool with my friend and co-worker, Glenda. I’ll have to get a photo of me wearing it one of these days … maybe at Rhinebeck! I realized, too, that one of my most favorite babysitters lives in North Hampton, Massachusetts and we’re getting a bus from WEBS there. I wonder if we’ll have time to see Tiki? It gives me a good reason to reach out to her after a lot of years.

I cast on a Musselburgh hat by Ysolda Teague in black fingering weight yarn for my daughter, Libet. I must really love this kid to knit a black hat. Especially a fingering weight black hat. I thought the design was a great one, though and figured that my NYC kids would all likely wear this hat. This will be the first of several I think. I’m using Berroco Vintage Sock which is new to our store and I needed to give it a try. It’s got a very soft hand but it’s a little bit splitty. If the hat is a success, I’ll cast on another one in wool which I prefer to knit with. This one can be given away or kept. Wool is always warmer but I wanted to try the hat first with a less costly yarn to make sure of the fit.

I also knitted a couple of Bird BookMarks by Claire Garland. I need to seam them, stuff them and then add the string or cord so they can do their jobs. They’re very cute and will be cute stocking stuffers at Christmas time. I like them, in part, because they use up little bits of yarn that I have left over from other projects. I have a “problem” throwing away perfectly good bits and bobs of yarn and as a result, I have quite a bit of little bits. I keep thinking that I’ll use them in a blanket or something else that will use a lot of odd bits of yarn … so far, that hasn’t happened. And it may not … until I have to use it because I’ve knitted all the things that I want out of “new” yarn.

I added buttons on the Puerperium Cardigan for my future grandchild. She’s due in about 4 weeks time. To say that I am excited is an understatement. This little sweater is adorable. I had intended it to be for my great-nephew but it was too much pink so I’ve bought a new skein of yarn for his sweater and will cast on soon. This was a fun little sweater to knit and I’m glad that there’s a larger-sized version to knit for larger children. I’ll knit it again, I’m sure.

Puerperium by Kelly van Niekerk

I’ve got a pair of mittens on the needles, too. Their the Peace de Resistance Mittens by Bristol Ivy. I have had some yellow and gray Jamieson & Smith yarn from one of the Arnall-Culliford “Year of Techniques” projects that I never knitted. I decided that since this election cycle may be a bit crazy (again) that I should knit these mittens. I need to get cracking so they’ll be ready ahead of all the craziness. I haven’t gotten very far along with these but they’re fun to knit.

Peace de Resistance Mittens by Bristol Ivy

I’ve cleaned my atelier today and organized the mess that I’ve let accumulate over the past few weeks or months. I spent time this morning writing the newsletter for work, and I’ve written this … it’s time to get downstairs to make some pie crusts. We have an overabundance of eggs at our house and we’re going to make some quiche to freeze for future eating. We both are tired when we come home from work and easy suppers are much appreciated. Today it’s veggie quiches and an apple pie on the cooking list – since we don’t have to work today, we can get some cooking ahead done. At least that’s the plan.

We took a nice little drive to Unity and Thorndike yesterday to visit the Amish Country Market, now newly rebuilt and get some Macoun apples and cider from Mueller Farm and some Christmas gifts from my friends at Over the Hill Lavender farm. It was a wonderful day for a drive and it was nice to be out and about. I think it’s time to get down to the kitchen, eat an apple for lunch and get some quiche or pie in the oven.

Gone knitting … well, after I cook!

Finishing Up

Today was a beautiful day! The sun was shining after several days of grey and rainy weather which made it even more special. It was also the autumnal equinox – where the day and the night are perfectly balanced. Yesterday, the day was longer than the night. Tomorrow the night will be longer than the day. I love living in a place where I can actually see this happening – we watch the sun come up in the morning and it moves ever so slowly from the right to the left and then back again. In the winter the sun is nearly directly across the lake from our house providing passive solar heat.

I made myself finish up a bunch of house/family things today so that I can feel ok about going back to work tomorrow. I finished the laundry, finished folding linens, refreshed the outdoor potted plants and window box, finished putting away the groceries from yesterday and straightened and cleaned our bedroom. I’m hoping the last task helps my allergies when I wake up tomorrow.

I have finished up some knitting projects, too. I have two baby sweaters blocking and I’ve been working at weaving in the ends (all 15,000 of them) of my Elton Cardigan. I’ll be taking Elton and one of the baby sweaters to work tomorrow or Friday so that I can hunt for buttons.

I started the Newborn Vertebrae first and finished it second. I had started knitting this little cardigan for my granddaughter and only had to pick up stitches around the front and do a few rows of 1×1 ribbing. Why I chose to pick up another sweater pattern for baby – this one, I thought, was going to be for my great-nephew, Noah – I’ll never know but it’s been sitting patiently waiting for it’s turn. The yarn information you can find on my Ravelry project page. (I’m lindar.)

Puerperium Cardigan is a really fun knit. I’ve not knitted this before but I really loved it. It’s such a simple pattern but it’s adorable when done. I love the buttons down the side in particular. I have had this yarn in my stash for a little while and thought I’d make this for Noah but as I was knitting, the pink spots just kept popping out and I realized that it’s more for a female baby (I know, I know, boys can wear pink but I’m old and it said little girl to me.) So, today at work, I’m returning the extra yarn from my Elton Cardigan and I’ll pick up something cute for a sweater for Noah. Since he’s here in the flesh now, he’ll be needing little sweaters in Salem, MA soon.

And, I’m happy to report that I’ve finished the knitting and weaving in of the zillions of little ends on my Elton Cardigan. It just needs to be blocked and have buttons added. I sure hope I love this sweater. It was a bit of a pain to knit – it’s not the pattern, it’s the mohair. But I love the color and I think I’m going to like the boxy, lighter-weight. For now, I’m going to sign off and go get it blocked to I can take photos and then report about the fit.

Gone knitting!

Knitting Mojo Slump

We finally have had some rain and you can almost hear the plants sighing in relief. It was so dry that even the weeds were lying on the ground. Literally. The weeds have since perked up … something that I’ve never noticed before. The lake is about a foot lower than usual, too. We are in a drought here in Maine and we worry about our well when this happens. Crossing our fingers and toes that we get enough water between now and winter.

I don’t know what it is about the end of summer but I don’t want to finish any of the projects I have on the needles. I only want to cast on new projects so I’ve hit a bit of a knitting mojo slump. I’m not sure if my fall depression/seasonal affective disorder is setting in again as the days get shorter or if I’m suffering burnout from my volunteer jobs but something is going on but I’m not a fan. So I force myself to do some work in the house that I don’t want to do and I allow myself the grace to do nothing more than that and to rest. Time will tell – I could feel lots better if the sun was out.

So, let’s talk about knitting, shall we?

I’m forcing myself to finish the projects that I have in progress. My Alton Cardigan (below) has been in time out for what seems like forever. I finally picked it up today and am going to make a supreme effort to get the sleeves finished and knit the button band so I can be finished. I won’t let myself knit another sweater until this one is finished and I have a few (*cough* *cough*) that I still want to make. And I have the yarn to knit them! I do believe this will be a great sweater come fall. (Come on fall!) I’m at eight inches for the first sleeve, one more inch to go and then on to sleeve #2.

On the needles I’ve got a second pair of Rose City Rollers. I made one pair with US 2 needles and the second-to-largest size (60 stitches cast on). They’re really cute. I think they’ll be great come clog weather. I had a lot of yarn left over and so I weighed the yarn and decided I had enough for another pair. This time, I decided to use a smaller needle (US 1 1/2) to make a little more negative ease. I’ve got one of the socks done and the second sock is nearly there. I like the hand of the yarn which is without any wool. I’ve not used Berroco Comfort Sock before … we’ll see how they wear. The photo below was taken on Friday at my knitting class. Mind you, I’m the teacher. Can you see what I’ve done? One of my students took the photo while I laughed until I cried. For the third time on Friday.

Good Grief! I’m the teacher!

If you have a look at the sock, It has a nice heel flap and turned heel at the bottom of the photograph. AND then I continued on and knitted the foot and another heel flap and turned the heel. Knitting can be so humbling.

Below is what the socks look like now. I’ve frogged the second heel and heel flap and finished the first sock and am moving right along on sock number two. I made the first pair with a rounded toe so this time I’m making the square toe. The pattern has instructions for both. Isn’t that nice? Do you have a favorite toe or a favorite sock pattern, for that matter?

I have been working away at my Aestlight Shawl by Gudrun Johnston. I started this on my birthday because my friend and co-worker went on a trip to Shetland with none other than Gudrun Johnston (and MaryJane Mucklestone, too.) I decided that I’d knit a Shetland style Hap shawl because I didn’t get to go – I’m not whining, I’m delighted that she had a chance to go!

The body of the shawl was done and I started the edging when I realized that I didn’t have enough yarn to finish the shawl’s edging (I wrote about it here.) Luckily we had another hank at the shop where I work and it seems to be a close-enough match. So, I’m continuing to work my way across the shawl and enjoying the process. I’ve gotten my old iPad out of mothballs (not really) so that I can use my knitting app to keep better track of the edging repeats.

We’ve had some fun company this summer and as usual I’ve forgotten to take photographs of the people we so enjoy. We’ve had gorgeous late summer weather so we’ve been enjoying the lake and we feel so lucky to be able to live here. We have a lot of projects planned: an oak tree to split, our guest cottage needs a serious cleanup and fix up. The dog hair is always collecting in little tumbleweeds all over the house. The windows need washed, the screens need a rinse and the weeds have totally taken over the flower beds. We still have one bag of either mulch or compost that we never spread. It’s all a little bit overwhelming, honestly. Hence, perhaps my “mailaise”?

Gone knitting.

Relaxing Weekend

We had a phenomenally beautiful weekend. The weather was picture perfect – not too warm and not too cool, sunny and just perfect. We had company for the weekend, too, so we were able to spend a lot of time on the porch and I got lots of time to knit.

I’ve been working a lot this weekend on a gift for my niece and her husband who are expecting their first baby, a boy, in just about a month. I’ve got several gifts ready to send or bring to them but this is the one that I am most excited about. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read my blog (I’m pretty sure that there are only a handful of you who do, so I’m going to risk posting progress photos of it.

The pattern is called Owl Baby Vest and it’s a free pattern on Ravelry. I am knitting it with a great red Vintage DK yarn. I have one skein and it should be enough to finish the whole garment. When I saw it I knew it HAD to be the “sweater” for my niece who loves owls (and her husband is an Alabama fan so the color is spot on, too.)

The pattern has been an interesting experience. I don’t believe it’s been tech edited so the language and the steps aren’t always clear. I have minimally altered several of the steps, starting with the very beginning. I didn’t want the starting point to be under an arm but I wanted it at the center back which meant knitting 27 stitches before starting the owl pattern. I also had to “fix” the underarm decreases and the setup for dividing the back from the front and the two sides of the front, too. I’ll put the specific steps that I made differently into the notes on my Ravelry project page for this little vest.

As of today, I’ve attached the shoulders and I’ve picked up the stitches around the collar (t’s a v-neck vest so there were quite a few stitches to pick up.) I’ll get them stitched in the next couple of days and the arms, too. I’m excited to see what it looks like when the pieces are all done! My plan is to add stitched on eyes for the owls – I haven’t decided if I will sew on eye buttons or if I’ll keep it even safer and stitch on eyes with yarn. But the cabled owls need eyes.

I’ll update this post when the little owl vest is finished.

Bird’s Eye Lace

Today I pulled out my Aeslight Shawl again after a brief vest knitting respite. I have finished all but the knitted on edging. It also occurred to me that I don’t have enough of the yarn for the larger size shawl which is the one that I’ve knitted of course. So, I’ll be hoping to find another skein of yarn, Malabrigo Sock in the Tiziano Red colorway. I’ll be crossing my fingers and toes. If I don’t find the red, I’ll be forced to choose a second colorway for the edging which isn’t my preferred result but I think it will be acceptable. If it’s not, I’ll be starting it over with a new yarn because I really love this shawl. AND I chose it to knit because my friend and coworker just came home from Shetland.

Aeslight is knit in traditional Shetland construction: a garter stitch triangle and then stitches are picked up in the yarn-over edge and you knit a border which, in this case, is a bird’s eye lace pattern that I loved knitting once I learned to look at my knitting. The third section is a knitted-on edging. I’ve just completed two repeats of the edging and it’s fun but my tired brain needed to rest tonight. And, I’m not sure about the yarn amounts. So … it’ll have to wait until I get to the store and see if there is one more skein of red yarn. Or not. What a rookie mistake!

Two Repeats of the Edging

Gone knitting.

Labors of Love

Our flowers in the perennial gardens are showing off again. We don’t love gardening but we do it because we love seeing the flowers when they decide to bloom. And each year we are thrilled all over again because they’re so beautiful. This iris is one of the ones that I always forget about. I expect it to be a white iris and then this showy cousin of the white iris (that doesn’t exist) appears! It’s wonderful and (maybe) worth all of the brown tail moth rash that I am struggling with.

This is a great time to be looking at our gardens. The hollyhocks are blooming, the Stella D’oro lilies, the Iris and the daisies are all abloom. So are the hydrangeas (and we have a lot of hydrangeas) and the catmint. The bees and hummingbirds are happy campers and we are, too.

I’ve been working away at the different projects that I have on my list. I’ve finished two pairs of Billie pants for two new babies coming in the fall. These little pants are stinking cute! I’ve also finished a Kirby cardigan, a sample for the store, which is also going to be a KAL later on in the summer.

Kirby cardigan by Asa Buchta

Kirby by Asa Buchta is a simple top down cardigan with a little bit of lace around the yoke for babies 3 to 24 months. Suggested yarn, and the yarn I used, is Vintage DK by Berroco. I used the colorway that was in the pattern photograph. This little sweater is going to be part of a KAL with the Maine Yarn Cruise later this summer. Our Berroco rep at the store, Andra, had made several of these little sweaters in various DK weight yarns that Berroco makes. They were all adorable. This is a fun little sweater to knit.

When I started knitting this sweater, I was tired after the 4th of July weekend. I started it three times and each time I frogged it back and started again. The sweater that I was starting didn’t look like the photo on the pattern page. I’m a good knitter and I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I must have skipped a couple of rows. I texted a co-worker friend who I also knew to be knitting this sweater for her future granddaughter. I wondered if she had had a challenge with starting the sweater and did hers look like the one on the pattern. It didn’t. She was one garter ridge short, too. So, I wrote to the designer through Ravelry and told her what was happening. Come to find out the pattern was wrong and was missing a pair of garter rows following the button hole row. Yay, me! I was the one who noticed it. The pattern will be updated (and it appears that I was on July 7th.)

I’ve finished my second Billie pants. These pants are so cute and I can’t wait to see them on the babies that I’m knitting for. One is expected in September and one in October. The pants are knitted in Berroco’s Vintage DK (or Vintage Baby). These yarns are basically the same yarn but one is in 50 gram balls and the other is in 100 gram balls. Since these pants (size 6 months) required 2 balls of Vintage Baby, I chose to buy one skein of Vintage DK. The yarn is nice to work with, soft and machine washable and dryable. I love the folded ribbing at the waist and the ankles and the extra room at the butt where the diaper bulk will be. Now I need to make two sweaters before the babies arrive! I’ve got one planned and need to find the second pattern. I have ideas!

Mermaid Cocoon Photo Prop by Angie Hartley

So, this is a special gift for a special baby. The mother of this little girl-to-be was a HUGE fan of Ariel (The Little Mermaid) when she was a little girl and I think this will be a fun gift for her baby-to-be at her baby shower later this month. When I first saw this, I filed it in the back of my mind because I thought it was really cute in the sparkly yarn and it was so appropriate for the mother! The yarn is Plymouth Encore Starz in a teal-y blue with sparkle. I’ve also knitted a simple garter stitch headband to go with it. I’d love to make some braids with an orange yarn and attach them. I hope I’ll have time. Add a fork and it’ll be a hilarious photo prop for a newborn.

I have quite a pile of baby clothes now. I love babies and I’m so excited about these little ones. I hope that I’ll have lots of time to hold them and love them and I know that I’ll be knitting for them. I also have to get back to my Elton cardigan. I only have two sleeves to knit … and the button bands … and then it’ll be done. I hope that it’s a good fit and that I can find a dress to go with it – we are heading to Washington, DC in December for my bonus daughter’s wedding and I am thinking that I can use it for that event … maybe with some sparkly buttons? I also have to focus on the Arne & Carlos Advent jumpers. I have exactly half of them knitted … maybe I’ll give myself some grace and another year to complete the set. If I really concentrated on them, I could get them done in a couple of weeks. Time will tell.

I have another project that I will write about in a separate post when I get it finished. It’s a big one and a true labor of love … all over again.

Gone knitting.

July 4th

Maine Blueberry Muffins

We had such a wonderful weekend!

A few weeks ago I would have told you that it was going to be a bummer because we wanted to go to Massachusetts to visit with my brothers and their families but as it turned out, we had to stay home (the bummer) because I forgot that I was signed up to work on Saturday and our kennel was closed on Monday and Tuesday due to lack of staffing. But it turned out to be a great weekend with a visit from my college roommate(s)!!!

I lived with C. sophomore year and we’ve been fast friends for nearly five decades. We had such a good time – we always do. We went to the garden store, Longellow’s, a huge hit with all of our out-of-town visitors, to get flowers for my pots outside. We had an “adventure” finding Maine peas and strawberries and we feasted on ice cream, homemade blueberry muffins, our first (not grown by us) native tomato, salmon, steak and quesadillas. We went on a “cocktail cruise” and did a lot of porch sitting and chatting. I did a bit of garden tending, we snipped back the garlic scapes, picked a few leaves of lettuce, pulled a few weeds, and spent an hour handing our our lake association’s Loon project signs. We watched the Friends of Messalonskee (lake association) annual 4th of July Boat Parade – we had the largest turn out ever! At the end of the parade route there were 40+ boats! We had a bonus visit on Sunday from my freshman roommate and her partner. L and I lived down the hall from C and her roommate, now deceased. We’ve all known each other for a long time and it’s wonderful to be together. L happened to be in Central Maine (across the lake from us) for a night on their way to the north woods. I wish we had remembered to take photos!

It felt so great to slow down and recover from the last few months of “rat race” and I’m trying to figure out how to keep that (more) balanced feeling closer to the everyday. I need to take more time for myself because I need it.

Home sweet home – from the water, with loon sign

I had decked the house out with our buntings and our flag was flying. We looked mighty patriotic, if I do say so myself. (Today the buntings will come down and be put away for another year.)

What I didn’t do for the last few days was knit. I am rather amazed, frankly. I didn’t knit a stitch Saturday through Monday.

Billie for “Jambalaya”

Last night I sat down to start a new baby sweater as a sample for the store. I cast it on three times and each time made a mistake in knitting rows. Each time because the directions seem hastily written (and it’s a major yarn company’s pattern.) There are directions for rows “hidden” in other directions and they’re not “obvious” to me. So, each time I frogged the start of the sweater and cast on again. And then I realized there weren’t three rows of garter stitch before the stockinette stitches began and I frogged it again. I finally put it in time out and picked up a different WIP – Billie – also by a major yarn company and I’ve had success with (almost) knitting two pairs of them. Pair number two is down the first leg. These pants are so cute, I’d like to have a pair for myself. Hmmm, that gives me an idea.

Last week I finished the Mermaid Tail that I was knitting. It makes me smile just looking at it. The pattern is Mermaid Cocoon Newborn Photo Prop by Angie Hartley. I knit mine in Plymouth Yarn Encore Starz in the teal colorway with sparkles. It’s perfectly gaudy and I can’t wait to gift it. I’m going to attempt a little matching headband – perhaps with a shell as a button embellishment. I’ll have to try to drill a hole in the shell and who knows how that will work.

My Elton cardigan is languishing. I picked up the arm stitches on Friday and haven’t touched it since. I have to find a short needle to knit the sleeves and hope I can avoid using DPNs because they make sleeves so much clunkier to knit. I have a Ciao Goo Interchangeable Minis set and I’m crossing fingers and toes that the needle size that I need isn’t already being used for another project. (I’ll have to go on a hunt for them in project bags both hidden and in plain sight in my atelier.

Tubular Bind Off

I did finish the body of the sweater and did my first tubular bind off and I’m wondering where this fabulous technique for a stretchy, clean and neat bind off has been all my knitting life. It’s perfect!

Today is Wednesday and my husband and I both have the day “off”. I’ve been languishing – with a few emails and a phone call of two – on the front porch in the sun with my coffee. It’s nearly noon and I am choosing to enjoy the day with no pressure to “do” stuff. While I’m tempted to do the sheets and towels and remake the guest room bed, I think I’ll take my sample baby sweater out to the porch and cast on again. Persistence for the win!

Gone knitting!

What a Week! Let’s Stick to Knitting

Mullein in bloom

What a week. What a series of weeks. On top of the Supreme Court decision, I’ve been so busy for the last several months volunteering for our lake association. Maybe too busy. I really needed to take this weekend off. I needed the time to recharge my batteries and to have some time to process everything. In addition to the Supreme Court decision, today would have been my father’s 100th birthday. He died suddenly in 1985 at the age of 62. Now that I’m nearly 64, it’s so evident that he was too young to die. And he’s missed so much. I would so love to be able to talk to him again. I have so many questions (for him and my mother.)

Trip Around the World Quilt

This week I finally got to repairing my daughter’s quilt. I made this quilt 35 years ago when my second-born was still in a crib. I remember hanging it behind her crib in her room in our Sharon, CT house. This quilt was a special gift that I made for her when my life wasn’t really my own. I was a stay-at-home mother of two little girls and quilts are an expensive hobby on one income – and I didn’t buy the fabric at an “expensive” (quality) fabric store.

Back in 1987 we had only the polyester, fluffy quilt batting. Since my daughter’s quilt was a tied quilt, the batting had separated and was extra fluffy in some areas and nonexistent in others. But it was her quilt and she loved it … until her puppy had a few unsupervised minutes and chewed a good bit of one side of the border. I got it back to repair probably two years ago and I just haven’t taken the time to fix it.

I had found the fabric for a new backing and a new border that matched pretty well. I also bought some red print fabric for the binding. I bought one of the new, better, more stable, natural batts. I used some of the old borders to make patches for the holes in the quilt top and stitched them on. And then I added the new borders … unfortunately, I didn’t remember what I had planned when I bought the fabric and I cut them months ago and they weren’t exactly what I wanted. But I made it work and sewed them on. I spent a good bit of time trimming threads from the back of the quilt (it had been washed a couple of times in 35 years) and on Friday after work, I dropped all the pieces off with a dear friend who is going to quilt it on her long arm. The quilting will make the quilt more stable and it will last longer. Once quilted, I’ll trim it and measure it and then cut and apply the binding. I will machine sew one side of the binding and hand sew the other. And then it will be ready to gift back to my daughter – a new old quilt for the ages.

Whoooo Loves Ya, Baby?

This owl bib is the third one that I have knitted. This one is absolutely for my niece’s baby boy because the mama-to-be loves owls. And I love this designer! She has lots of cute bib and washcloth pattern on Ravelry and they’re free! The pattern is Whooo Loves Ya, Baby? and I knit it in a premium cotton, Berroco Pima 100. I love the peach color and I love the yarn. I have a hank of green Pima 100 and I will be making more bibs. (All details are on my Ravelry project page.) The other two bibs I posted about here.

I knit these two sets of hats and thumbless mittens for two babies-to-be. I love knitting baby gifts and these are so cute! I knit them with a new yarn in the LYS where I work, Lang Merino 200 Bebe. One skein was enough to make both the hat and the mittens – complete with the icord string to hold them in the baby’s jacket. This is fingering weight yarn (it’s a fine yarn, Muffin) and will be a good weight for a fall baby. The pattern is a free pattern at our shop. The sample in the shop was knitted by a customer and this is her pattern. If anybody wants the pattern, please let me know and I can send it to you via email.

This morning I needed something to do for my family. I needed to disconnect and go outside and it was summery-warm here in Maine yesterday and today. So, we got out early and headed to Stevenson’s Strawberry Farm in Wayne, Maine. The berries were ripe for the picking and in about 45 minutes we picked 12 pounds of berries. When we got home I made the crust and put it in the refrigerator to chill. After lunch I washed my car for the first time in a few years – we have a pump that pulls lake water for our gardens and outside water activities and it wasn’t working properly. We finally got it, or rather the pipe from the lake, fixed and we’re back in outside water business again.

Once the crust was chilled, I made the rest of the Strawberry Glaze Pie. In my Friday morning knitting class, Jan brought in a strawberry glaze pie and after having a slice (or two), I knew I had to make one for my husband. It was a delicious fresh strawberry pie. The berries are perfectly sweet and this pie should be the most wonderful, fresh strawberry pie. I may have to make one tomorrow for my board meeting. If I plan my time well in the morning, I should be able to make the pie crust, go pick up my groceries, make the pie and then head to the car dealership so they can figure out what’s wrong with my screen – it keeps going black in the middle of a trip where I need to use GPS. Baking was something that I did with my grandmother and it always centers and grounds me and helps me to process my emotions and events of the day. I needed it today!

Our gardens are coming along. We have peppers forming and tomatoes blossoming. The garlic scapes are ready to be pinched and brought inside. Tonight we’re having pasta with the garlic pesto from last year’s harvest. Our lettuce is almost ready to pick and the peas are ready to have a trellis to climb. My Shasta Daisies are just about to pop. My dad loved his gardens and I hope he’d be proud of what we’ve built here and the good life we have here in Maine. My dad loved Maine.

I’m sure as I process the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, I’ll have something to say. I’m absolutely pro-choice and once again it’s about wealthy white men needing to be in control. This time it’s a dangerous line being crossed where politics and religion are being prioritized over the law and people of color and the poor are going bear the brunt of this decision. Women deserve better.

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.

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.