The Longest Day … in memory of my mother

Just before sunrise on the longest day of the year

The Longest Day (summer solstice and the Alzheimer’s Association fundraising day) was June 20th this year. I participated for the first time as a member of Ann Budd’s team. Ann has been doing this for years (and I’m sorry I didn’t know about it sooner!) One of my co-workers was participating and I thought it was a wonderful way to remember my mother who died from Alzheimer’s in 2008 at the age of 76.

The day started with a wonderful sunrise and coffee on the porch. It quickly got too hot to sit on the front porch in the sun so I moved to location number two, the screened porch.

Location #2 on the longest day where I finished my June socks

My goal for the day, in addition to remembering my mom, was to finish projects or at least work to that end. I finished my June socks first. I had knitted them to the toe so it wasn’t a stretch! This yarn is another One the Round Signature Sock, fingering weight wool and nylon. I love knitting with it and I love wearing it. As you can see, I don’t worry about “matchy-matchy” and there’s a funny spot at the ankle of one and a little less funny spot at the ankle of the other. (Can you see me hunching my shoulders? I really don’t mind; they’re socks.)

Classic Socks for the Family by Yankee Knitter in On the Round Signature Sock

My next project was either my Humulus sweater or my The Shape of a Bay shawl. I chose the shawl because it’s been languishing in time out for nearly two years. I bought this kit at my fiber camp not last summer but the summer before. It’s two skeins of Cashmere People Fingering yarn and the pattern. The yarn is super yummy. I just finished a shawl test knit for Lori Versaci (VersaciKnits) for her pattern Campfire. ( blogged about it here.) This yarn is very special and the colors are so beautiful. Oddly enough, one of the colors in my Campfire shawl is the same color, albeit in a different weight, as my Shape of a Bay shawl. Go figure.

Location #3, inside with a view of my sweet hubby in one of his favorite spots

The Shape of A Bay is by Bristol Ivy. It is a half-pi shape shawl with double sided lace. I have learned that some lace is different than others. Some lace, typically more simple, is knitted with the lace-y stitches on one side only, usually the right side, and knits/purls on the wrong side. This pattern has those lace-y stitches on both sides, right and wrong side. When I am knitting a project that requires lace concentration, I like to do them earlier in the day, post coffee and pre-tired end-of-day eyes and/or cocktails. I love knitting this pattern and working with this yarn. It’s a treat. Two years ago I had worked into the pebbles section. (Lucky for me I had marked my pattern so I knew where I had stopped and I was able to start up without any trouble.) On the Longest Day, I got through the end of the pebbles section and finished most of the first repeat of the ripples section.

The Shape of A Bay by Bristol Ivy

In the photo above, I’m through the pebbles section and starting the ripples. I had a lot of interruptions from the Littles who are getting old and have to be let out frequently … and who don’t always make it outside quite fast enough. I might have gotten further but I am grateful to be home with them when they’re really in need of their humans.

My end-of-day view was in my atelier, Littles at my feet, working on something mindless until the sun set. I took a break for dinner and a cocktail with my wonderful hubby and then we retreated to the air conditioning and a little bit of “stupid TV”. I have been working on using up some of the odds and ends of my fingering weight/sock yarns in a crochet blanket project called the Battenberg Blanket. Mine is not likely to look as “orderly” as the pattern is intended but I will have the pleasure of remembering all of the socks, shawls and other projects that I made. I am planning to use a solid color to put them all together but I’d like to make a big (queen-size perhaps) blanket so I’ll be making squares deep into my 90s. Ha! Ha!

My friends and family helped me to surpass my fundraising goal and together we will donate over $1,700.00 to fight the good fight against Alzheimer’s Disease. I don’t ever want another family member to experience the ravages of this disease that stole my mother from me and their beloved GranJan from my children and nephews. Thank you to Ann Budd and Glenda for making it so easy to participate. It was a privilege to knit on the Longest Day and I look forward to knitting again next year.

Gone knitting.

Busy (Queen) Bee!

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This weekend, I’m home alone. We live in this bee-utiful place and I feel so grateful to be here. The fiance flew off to Atlanta leaving me with the three dogs and “nothing” to do! So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to update you all (all one) of you on what I’ve been knitting. I have been quilting, too … rather, piecing quilt tops!

On the knitting side, I’m working on Christmas gifts and have finished two pairs of socks and a hat. If I showed you pictures, I’d let the cat out of the bag and ruin the surprise for a few of the people that I love most. So, suffice it to say that I am enjoying these projects and am happy to start some Christmas knitting this early! I have a third pair of socks planned and the yarn is purchased.

I have a pair of socks on the needles for me and a shawl, too.

Tyrolean Stockings by Ann Budd

Tyrolean Stockings by Ann Budd

The socks are Ann Budd’s Tyrolean Stockings. I was teaching a class a week or so ago and happened to look through one of the books populating the table and loved the cabled knee-length socks. I have a stash of wool and decided to use some to make these socks. They are so pretty that I may enter them in the knitting competition at some fairs this summer. The pattern can be found in Interweave Knits, Fall 2007 and on Ravelry. They are also in a compilation of sock patterns but I can’t tell you the title or the author. I’m sorry. The socks are knit top down and are a fun knit. I’m using a Patons Classic Wool yarn in the seafoam colorway. I love the color and I can’t wait to finish sock #2 and hope to wear them before the weather here in Maine gets too warm. The picture doesn’t, unfortunately show the great color … why do cameras do such a poor job sometimes of accurately displaying colors?

Crushed by Rachel Henry of Remily Knits is project number two on my needles.     I have had this bee-utiful yarn gifted to me by my sister-in-love in my stash for a while now waiting for it’s perfect project and I think this is it! It’s a lovely lace shawl and I am excited to see the color change from black to yellow and all the colors in between! In case you didn’t figure it out, it’s a gradient yarn. Vice in the Loki colorway, 80/20 merino/nylon. I rewound it so that the shawl starts with black and ends with yellow. No pictures yet but I will update on this project as I get some color change!

Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket

Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket

I knit a Baby Surprise Jacket (Elizabeth Zimmerman) as a sample for the LYS that I’m working for. I used Little Birds yarn by Universal Yarns. I think it turned out super cute! The yarn is soft and I love the way the pattern works up. I have to admit that I was confused by the directions at first and had to google some hints as to how to get the increases right. But the wonders of the internet helped and I got over the hump. It was a super quick knit and would make an adorable baby gift!

One day on Facebook, I think, I saw a “Tablet Stand” that was knitted. I was intrigued and also needed something to help my charts “stand up” so that I can read them more easily.  IMG_6325This is the result of that … It won’t hold my tablet but I does hold my iPhone and the metal piece that support my patterns with charts. Sometimes I still knit the old fashioned way … with a paper pattern. The pattern is called “Reading Rest” by Frankie Brown and it can be found on Ravelry. The stitching up/assembly is quite fiddly but I did finally get it. I would stuff mine more aggressively if I was going to make a second one. I used beans and some fiber fill … rice might also work. It definitely needs to be heavy enough to support technology! I used some stashed Knit Pics yarn (DK or Sport weight, I’m not sure what it was and I don’t have the label.) I think it could also be knit in a worsted weight and made a bit larger than mine. I’d say mine is a moderate success, though!

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Missouri Star Quilt Company “Orange Peel”

I have also started sewing in the last year or so. My friend, Beverly, is a talented quilter and she got me started. I’ve been busy finishing sewing projects in the last couple of weeks. This is the biggest of the three that are now finished. It’s a Missouri Star Quilt Company’s “Orange Peel” quilt. The little orange peels are all little individual pieces of fabric cut to shape and then “stuck” on the dark gray squares and then they are appliquéd (stitched around).

I have also finished two other quilting projects and I am waiting to go learn how to use the longarm machine to quilt them myself. I sure do hope I enjoy it and do a good job because I have a lot of time invested in them!

My Quilting 101 Sampler Quilt is done. I really enjoyed taking this class at the Cotton Cupboard in Bangor, Maine. The staff there is very friendly and knowledgable. They helped me pick out my fabrics so that they match and the classes that I’ve taken have been great! Of course, this one is in my favorite (bee) colors!

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IMG_6354The third quilt top is the flag quilt that I started in a class last spring. (Yes, I know, it has been a full year in my atelier waiting to be finished!) I am happy to have this one done and wish I had taken it more recently because I can see a lot of “issues” in this quilt top but I’m not “dedicated” enough to re-do it. It will serve as my first quilt with round parts sewn together. Not easy to piece! I really like the quilt and can’t wait to to hang it up in our house.

So, there you have it! I’ve been a busy bee and I’m making progress with my projects. I always feel particularly proud when I wrap up and new project and feel content with the work that I’ve done. I am learning that I am a very competent and capable woman and I am learning to be proud of myself. What a good feeling!

Gone knitting!