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.

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.

Death is Nothing at All

We will be losing a neighbor today. She didn’t feel like she wanted to eat and had lost a lot of weight. Her doctor told her to just eat and that it was all in her mind. Well, it turns out that she had lymphoma and a tumor in her abdomen. Her cancer was “curable” and she had begun chemo treatment but she got dehydrated and was rushed to the hospital where she has had trouble breathing on her own. Today they’re going to remove her from the machines and let her go.

My heart hurts for her family and friends and her husband in particular. And when my heart hurts and I feel helpless, I go into the kitchen. Today I made my mother’s Minestrone Soup recipe and will take some over to her husband tomorrow. On Friday my sweet husband will make him some Shepherd’s Pie. I’ll bake for him, too. He’s going to be so lonely and heartbroken.

May her memory be a blessing. Rest in peace, AB.

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.)

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.

I Saw Live Theater!

The Sound of Music at the MUNY

I was fortunate to be able to sneak away for a couple of days to Saint Louis, Missouri to see my eldest daughter star as Maria in the Sound of Music at the MUNT theater. Wow! What a venue! This theater can (and does) hold 11,000 people and it was full even on closing night in the heat!

The performance was incredible! I was so proud of all the hard work that this cast did to bring the show to the stage in just a few short days. Six performance in an outdoor venue in the heat of the St. Lewis summer. Can you imagine wearing a wig and two layers of costumes (one of them a nun’s black habit) in 80 or 90 or 100 degree heat and 100% humidity? It was difficult enough to sit in the audience in the heat! There were, obviously, a bunch of kids in the performance and Missouri is having a COVID surge so their safety and health was a huge concern and the MUNY did a phenomenal job. Everyone stayed healthy for the three weeks that the cast was in rehearsal and doing the show.

And because my kid was in the performance, can I please mention how incredibly proud I am of her. Kate has worked so hard to get into and stay in this business. She makes what she does look effortless … kind of like the best athletes, gymnasts, and yes, knitters. I know that it’s not as easy as she makes it look and I really admire her talent and determination, her persistence, too. She’s incredible and she was the best Maria yet. (There, I said it!)

This trip was also a bit of a reunion with a dear Cincinnati friend! She grew up in St. Louis and was a wonderful tour guide. We picked up where we left off way too many years ago.It was wonderful. We were able to see the Sound of Music twice in the two evenings that we were there. We found a downpour when we tried to meet with my daughter and her husband for coffee and ended up making a quick exit to the car. We spent a lot of time in the incredible park that houses the theater and was the model for Central Park in New York City. What a phenomenal resource for the citizens of St. Louis!

Friends!

I’ll just be over here recovering from all the fun, late hours, lots of chatting and catching up!

Look at me, writing twice in two days! LOL! Gone knitting.

Gifts of Art

We have had a very busy last week, filled with guests and puppies and gifts of art.

I was at a board of trustees meeting on Wednesday night when I got a text from a high school friend. A very dear high school friend. She and her husband were coming to visit.

Back in the day, we had perused the Sunday paper for vans to buy and convert so we could go camping together when we were 17. Sharon and her husband just bought their camper van and we’re coming to park in our yard.

What a blast! We spent the better part of two days reconnecting and connecting with each other’s husbands. And I didn’t take a single photo of us. But they signed our guest book and Chuck left is this beautiful gift of art.

Our shore by Chuck Cornellis

A gift of art is a personal, thoughtful, almost intimate gift. We were touched and moved. and we can’t wait to get together again. As Chuck said, it could have been really uncomfortable and he had never met us. Sharon and I haven’t spent significant time together since 1976 and a lot can change in that long. But it wasn’t difficult or uncomfortable. It was wonderful. Time flew by and I’m still smiling.

Yesterday my sweetie and I took a walk down the road. Our blackberries are ripening and in the mailbox was a second gift of art. My little cousin sent a beautiful picture thanking me for “magic towels.” You’ve seen them, I’m sure. Little discs that when placed in water, expand to be a little cotton washcloth, often with a picture of something. These were Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Thanks by Penelope

I love art made by children. It’s so pure ans expressive and Penelope is an artist. Her dad said she was very excited about me getting her picture. I was excited to find it in my mailbox.

Both fabulous pieces of art will be proudly displayed at our house. We are grateful.

Gone knitting.

Maybe the Best Scones Ever

One of the things that I got for Christmas this year is a New York Times Food subscription. I am wanting to make cooking (and you all know I love baking) more fun and maybe attempt to get out of our cooking “rut”.

I was reading something online and saw a photograph of these scones. They looked really yummy and the idea of Cinnamon Roll Scones … well, suffice it to say, the hubby and I were delighted with the idea! So, since I had all of the ingredients (I had half and half not cream) in the house, I jumped in!

Oh. My. Goodness!!! They were divine. So much so that we considered not sharing with our neighbor who loves baked goods but doesn’t have a spouse that bakes. (We did share in the end.)

The end of a beautiful day!

Collaboration

I’ve completed a collaborative knitting project with my friend and lady farmer, Mary Perry of Winterberry Farm, the last organic farm in Belgrade, Maine. Winterberry Farm is also animal powered … not a tractor to be found!

My DH and I have been fans and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members for several years. This year, I helped Mary at her farm store on several winter days when the interns aren’t yet arrived to help with the farm. My DH fed all of the animals a few times when Mary and her family were away overnight. I learned a lot about what it takes to own and run a farm. Anyway, I got a call from Mary a few weeks back and she wanted to put together some knitting kits with her yarn and needed some help finding simple patterns that would work with her yarn that she has spun at a mill nearby.

I chose three patterns: a simple hat, a simple scarf and socks.

The hat pattern was knitted up in the blue colorway and is Barley Light by Tin Can Knits. What I love about this hat is that it is a simple stitch pattern that results in a lovely hat in a lighter weight which is good for the border seasons of fall and spring.

The scarf pattern that I chose has been a favorite in my knitting classes for students who are starting to feel more comfortable with their knitting and are willing to branch out and try something new … and a bit more “complex”. The Workday Scarf by Sue Flanders is one of my favorite simple scarf patterns. I chose to knit the shop sample in the neutral, undyed/natural colorway and it is stunning! There is nothing better than a lace pattern (or any pattern for that matter) knitted up in a light natural color yarn. Both the yarn and the pattern are allowed to shine!

The sock pattern is being knitted up for Mary by her sock knitter, a local woman who knits socks for purchase (in case someone doesn’t knit their own) in the Winterberry Farm Shop. I sent the pattern for the socks to Mary and they’re being knitted for the shop. I guess you’ll have to stop by the shop to see which colorway was selected and what the socks look like!

Winterberry Farm is located at 538 Augusta Road (Route 27) in Belgrade, Maine. Come see the farm and shop for yarn! Or buy a kit! They’ll be available soon. Meanwhile, come visit the farm, join the CSA and shop for pies, farm-made canned goods and frozen foods, and yarn!

Gone knitting.

Friendship

I got a text message from my former neighbor in Ohio today. They’d had a wonderful snow storm and she sent pictures of the old neighborhood under newly fallen snow. It hit all the buttons for me. Memories of raising my three kids there and the wonderful people I met there. I was content there for the most part and I felt very connected to my across the street neighbor.

We’ve not lost touch and I’ve been able to watch her children grow up through the miracle of Facebook. I feel close to her despite the miles between us. Maybe it’s a “mom thing” or maybe it’s because I witnessed her deep sorrow and devastation at the loss of a child and the birth of a child all at the same time. I don’t know what it is, but I feel a kinship with this woman although I only knew her for a short time before I left Ohio.

The text message and pictures brought tears to my eyes. It is meaningful to me that I was thought of and reached out to. I’m so grateful.