You say April, I say …

Happy Birthday!!!

The end of April signals a lot of things to people. All over the world, spring is springing … flowers and trees are coming alive after a long winter (well, it wasn’t so long this year!) In my family, the end of April signals birthdays.

Today it’s my nephew’s birthday … Happy Birthday, Reid! My youngest brother, Jeff, turns … well, let’s just say he’s hitting a big birthday next year. And on Friday, my baby turns 22! Three great men (one’s still a boy) who were born at  the end of April.

I wish I had a photograph of the three of them together … but I don’t, so a picture of my son (one of my favorites and likely his least favorite) will have to suffice.

Happy Birthday to all!

Gone knitting!

Short Rows Superwoman!

Short Rows.

I’ve attempted a couple of short rows projects over the years. Never successfully. Until today – and thanks to a great short rows tutorial posted by the Purl Bee. Click here to head on over to see the tutorial and bookmark it!

I’m becoming a short rows expert today. I’m in my atelier working on a new project that I saw for the first time when I was in Lafayette, LA for my nephew’s wedding. With all the hoopla surrounding the wedding, my sister and I HAD to make a trip to her LYS – the Yarn Nook – and that’s where I found the Bandana Cowl pattern (free from the Purl Bee!) and bought some yummy, super soft Manos Maxima (color way M8881) in Queen Bee colors (mostly yellow and golds and browns and blacks but a touch of grey and blue too).

I love the Manos yarn. It’s 100% extra fine merino wool, kettle dyed and fair trade! They call themselves the “fair trade merino”. The Bandana Cowl is a one-skein project using a little bit more than 100 yards of chunky-weight yarn. My skein has 219 yards (200 m). Gauge is 18-20 stitches per 4 inches (10 cm) on a 6-8 needle (4-5 mm). The yarn doesn’t split much at all despite it’s loosely spun look and feel. The hand of the extrafine merino is so soft, it’s like knitting with a cashmere blend and I’m quite certain that it will feel really nice around my neck.

Now that I have the hang (sort of, I am only referring back to the tutorial once every three wraps!) of the short rows, it’s knitting up pretty quickly. I’m not sure when I’ll have an opportunity to wear this cowl but you can be sure that I’ll be wearing it soon – at least to take a few photos for you!

Gone knitting!

Love and Marriage

A few years ago!

I just spent a wonderful two weeks with my brother in California. It was the most time we’ve spent together in years – perhaps decades … or since before I was married … or … well, you’ve got the idea. It’s been a long, long time. And it was wonderful!

One night in Lake Tahoe we were all in the bathroom brushing our teeth – how could such a simple activity be so sweet? He and his wife and I all in the bathroom brushing our teeth … but I’ll bet we didn’t even do that as kids. I love his wife, my new sister. She’s wise and smart and beautiful. She can swim the lake, sing, bake, drive a tractor and makes the best EVOO ever! I love hanging with her! My brother may have waited a long time to get married but it was worth the wait – he “snagged” a good one!

Since they are a “one car family” (technically, they’re still a two car family until the truck is sold – anybody want a really nice 2010 Toyota truck?) we spent a lot of time all together or two-at-a-time and it was such a great opportunity to connect on a deeper level and really share. Time, thoughts, beliefs, laughs, food (mostly vegan except for a sausage or two), dogs, poop bags, a few tears, and did I mention laughs?

I am so grateful to have been able to get out to California and can’t wait to go back.

Gone back to bed – too cold in the house without a fire! I’ll be knitting again soon! Must pack up for the move back to Florida which begins on Saturday! I think we’re ready.



Left Coast Living

So, here I am on the “left coast” visiting with my brother Rick and his lovely (relatively new) wife and their four little dogs. It’s such fun to be with my family and to see where they live and to meet their friends. (I’ve even extended my stay already!)

I’ve had my first vegan food, spent a couple of days with my cousin and his family, feted my aunt (a bit prematurely) on her 70th birthday, had my second vegan meal and am feeling very happy to visit my brother and his lovely wife and their four shih tzus.

Cafe Gratitude in Healdsburg, CA is my new favorite place to eat. My son raved about it when he spent the summer out here with his uncle and now I know why – first hand. Yummy. Who knew that vegan food could be so yummy?

Visiting Dogville in San Anselmo

We have visited several great pet stores – and bought my littles a new harness and leash (Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday!) Had a spa day for the dogs and got a fun (and stylin’) new hair do and the fun’s not over yet.

We drove with six shih tzus from Healdsburg, CA to Lake Tahoe, NV without any growling. How do these little dogs know who belongs to the pack (and who doesn’t?)


Travel with Lola and Martin

Boq (front), Emma and Gus









We start every morning with tea (with some warm goat’s milk) and then head into town for a “muffin” and another cup of tea at the Flying Goat Cafe. They are currently renovating the space inside so the coffee shop has been moved to the alley outside under a tent. It’s really lovely sitting in the alley outside and might be a good permanent additions. Sitting on the sidewalk with six “matching” dogs is sure to attract a crowd – partly because the dogs are so cute and partly because it’s an unusual sight!

Tomorrow it’s off to the office for a couple of hours of work and then we’re headed into the city for the evening – manicures and pedicures are on the agenda for the ladies and business meetings for my brother. Guess we’ve got the better end of that deal!

Off to bed for some beauty sleep … another big day of fun is ahead!

Definitely not knitting!

California, Here I Come!

I’m off to the Left Coast tomorrow with my little dogs in tow.

Can’t wait to spend a week (ish) with my brother and his lovely new(ish) bride, my newest sister and their four little dogs.

Meanwhile, my shawl is still on the needles and not quite half-way to the large size. Guess I’ll continue stitching away until it’s done – whether I can wear it to the 70th birthday party in Lake Tahoe on Saturday night or not.

I’m taking my two socks on one needle project … must. finish. this. project. I even separated the twins today. I definitely don’t like doing two at once, so I took one sock off and will finish it after the first is finished. So much simpler for me. (It helped that one sock had 67 stitches and the other had 71. Oops!

I will be taking my laptop but can’t guarantee that I’ll be blogging  a lot.

See you on the flip side!

Gone knitting (is there a Mile High Club for knitters?)

Family Values – Valuing Family

Most of the Family in Marblehead 2009

I know I’ve said this before … but I love my family!

N. and I have spent the last few days and nights visiting my youngest brother and his family in Marblehead, Massachusetts. If you have never visited Marblehead, it’s well worth a visit and I love being there all the time but the fall is a great time. Our visit was precipitated by my Aunt and Uncle from Lake Tahoe, NV who were in town for a couple of days on their annual New England “jaunt” and we decided to join the fun – and it was fun!

Happy Bee-day Aunt Judy!

We ate lobster (fresh-caught from my brother’s boat) and birthday cake – in  honor of said aunt – did a lot of laughing, a lot of walking around town, and experienced a first – a school district RAIN delay on Monday morning. I woke up at 5 a.m. because of an odd flashing of light which I had attributed to my cell phone but it was lightning … and then turned into a frog-strangling rain with thunder and lightning. Roads were flooded and school was delayed for 2 hours! Although my youngest nephew wanted to remember another such delay (much to his parents’ chagrin), I don’t think there has ever been such an event. We even watched (from a waterside restaurant) a sailboat being hoisted out of the harbor for the winter.

Sailboat being lifted out of Marblehead Harbor

In Salem, MA there is the most wonderful museum called the Peabody Essex which we’ve visited on numerous occasions but a cold, formerly rainy Tuesday was good enough reason for another visit. I think I like this museum because it has something for everyone – and who would ever believe that Salem would be home to such a magnificent place. We visited only a couple of the galleries but I liked the Man Ray/ Lee Miller exhibit

My nephew, who was gifted by his mother with a “learning with Auntie Linda” day, said that all the eyes gave him the creeps. I appreciated being able to see and learn about a love story (though not necessarily a healthy or happy one) and the art that was created from it. I’d heard of Man Ray in a French History class that I took which included all sorts of wonderful media references to the period – what a great class and teacher that was!

Nephew at the end of the line ("Red Line" in Salem is the Heritage Trail)

We spent a lot of time in the interactive and child-friendly Ripple Effect exhibit which, considering the weather at the start of the day, seemed timely and appropriate. The kids were particularly at home in this exhibit and I hope they learned a couple of things. They also enjoyed an tiny area in the maritime history/nautical history section nearby where there was a display of ship’s journals … we tried to read the old script handwriting and then tried to interpret what the authors were talking about. It was great – and I could share with them that their grandfather, my father, also journaled about his experience on the seas in WWII. (One day I will scan and post his journals on my family history blog chronicling the Rockwell and Dow genealogy.)

It was a great few days and I always love being with my family!

(Don’t forget to plan your trip to Salem and Marblehead!)

Gone (to do the laundry and then) knitting!

On The Road Again

We’ve had to move out of our Maine house for the month of August which is N’s half-sister’s month. So, we’re on the road again … with our three crazy dogs.

First stop Ipswich, MA. If you’ve never eaten at the Clam Box, you’re missing the best whole-belly fried clams in the whole world! We’ve been there before and have never seen the place without a line out the door. We’re staying with our camp friend from forever ago, Bob … good company and a good friend!

Meanwhile, my Noni bag is mere single-digit rows away from completion! I’m really excited about this one because I’ve never done colorwork and I’m eager to see the finished project off the needles where I can really see the pattern. I got the handles delivered just before my birthday so I’m ready to put it all together when I get back to Orlando.

I’m doing my level best to work on it for a couple hours a day and get it all done before I’m dropped in Atlanta.

Two socks on one needle are frozen and in limbo. Who knew that when you got to turning the heel it wasn’t as easy to figure out. The needles only go one way and you can’t really skip over un-knit stitches to turn the heel as needed. God bless the Internet, though. I found a couple of sites with hints as to how to accomplish this feat … I’ll let you know how it works. BUT it seems that I have to turn one heel, pick up the gusset stitches and then do the second heel. I’ll try it … manana (in other, English, words … tomorrow!)

Gone knitting!

Increases (Stitches and Residents)

I’ve been making a pair of Bella Mittens (and they’re quite lovely) from the free pattern on Ravelry but you can find them on Marielle Henault’s blog by clicking here. I really like the way they’re knitting up and the yarn that I bought for them at Halcyon Yarns in Bath is really soft and a pretty color. I’m quite pleased.

One of the things I like best about the pattern is the way that Marielle does her increases in the thumb gusset. I’ve made a bunch of gloves and mittens and never were the directions (at least it’s my perception) so clear. And she has designed using M1, one is a left-leaning increase and one a right-leaning increase which makes the added stitches look so pretty on the finished garment.

The left-leaning increase or M1L is made by using the left needle to pick up the stitch between the two needles from the front to the back and then knitting into the back of the stitch. Thus adding a stitch.

The right leaning increase is just a tiny bit different – you pick up the stitch from the back to the front and then knit into the front of the stitch. Notice how each different increase leans slightly to the left or right … cool, huh?

The end result is a really nice looking gusset (once you’ve increased a few times, you’ll see the pretty pattern developing. This can really be used in any mitten or glove pattern where there are increases for the thumb gusset and they make the piece look so professionally done. Imagine caring about the garment that you are making?! 🙂

So, now that you’ll be practicing your increases, the residents in our home will also be increasing. My brothers all arrive with their wives, families and dogs on Thursday evening. We can hardly wait – although our dogs will be a bit less comfortable with all the cousins around. My eldest daughter is also coming with her boyfriend and dog. We’ll be ten adults, three children and eight dogs. One brother and two sisters (I’ve told you before how I don’t like the in-law tag, right? I believe that my brother’s wife is my sister and that’s just that. Having been an in-law for almost 30 years, I never was made to feel an equal in their family and I don’t want that in my family) … as I was saying, my oldest brother and two of my sisters, happens to be the two newest ones, have never been to Maine. So, we’ll be eating a lot of lobster and touring our old stomping grounds from when we were kids. The house will be full of fishermen and women, knitters, dogs, dirt, laundry, cooks, dish washers and lots and lots of love.

I feel so blessed to have my family growing exponentially after the age of 50 … and it’s just not my kids who are adding those family members! Maybe that’s the coolest part of all. One new sister by marriage and a new big brother and sister by miracle.

Life is good!

Gone knitting!

Yummy Yarn and One I Can’t Find in Maine

I bought the most wonderful yarn to make my big brother a pair of socks for his double nickel birthday. I had to really search my brain to remember where I found this picture which was and is my inspiration for the pair that I’m knitting. But, I found it on Ravelry when I was searching for a pattern for a pair of socks for a man (with pictures and free.) The pattern was found on Ravelry (if you’re a knitter and don’t know about Ravelry, I’m sure you must have just crawled out from under a rock in a far, far off land!) but it was originally from Knitty (again … if you don’t know about it, not sure where you’ve been living.) If you visit the Knitty Website and search for “Java”, you’ll find this lovely sock pattern (and many other patterns) for FREE!

Anywhoooo … I have my very own tried and true pattern and since these are a gift, I’m going to use my trusty old pattern and I’m going to endeavor to add a couple of these beautiful cables. BUT, the reason that I’m writing about this picture really, is all about the yarn.

I loved the name, Java, first and foremost because I love coffee and so does my big brother. I’m not, however, a huge fan of brown but this pattern showed a lovely mix or tones of brown and so I decided to look into the yarn and the place from whence it comes. Which lead me to String Theory and their hand-dyed Bluestocking yarns. Imagine my surprise, when I realized that they’re only about two hours away in Blue Hill, Maine! So, feeling like this was karma, I ordered a skein of the yarn and had it mailed to our “camp” in Maine hoping that it would arrive before we had to leave for a weekend in Florida. Which, thanks to the good old US Postal Service (thank you very much!), it did!

On the Needles

And it is the yummiest yarn I’ve had the pleasure to knit with since knitting the Senorita Lolita sweater with the Koigu KPPM yarn (“skeinlettes” that I won in the Jimmy Beans Wool facebook design contest ever so long ago and which, it seems, I can’t yet buy in Maine despite the fact that it’s made just over the border in Canada!) I’ve wandered off again but as I reign myself back in to talk about the Bluestocking yarn from Maine, it’s the softest yarn and it’s a delight to knit with – never splitting and sliding smoothly over my needles and off. And … it really is pretty, too! And now I’m going to have to beg for another fiber field trip to the shop where maybe I can witness some dyeing!

… and according to the String Theory Website, there’s a fiber fair coming up really soon and I’m wondering what I’d have to promise my sweetie in order to get there for a workshop or two!

Gone knitting!

The Money Tree (?)

Money doesn’t grow on trees.

I had a discussion with my brother the money manager today. He’s a wise man and I was encouraged to see what I could find out about the banks that I am using and which banks might be more sound going forward.

Visit and check out the ratings of banks nationwide. They have a rating system (“safe and sound”) of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best. Any rating of 3 or above means that the bank is “performing” … call me crazy, I’ve worked hard for my money (what there is of it) and I’d like to have it be in a bank that has a 5 rating.

Visit to read an article about whether your bank is safe. I’ve ordered a report from Veribanc and I’ll let you know what they say and, particularly, if it’s any different from the rating from Could be rather interesting! This Veribanc report suggested by costs $25 … here’s my reasoning … it’s totally worth the money to make sure that my (soon-to-be) bank is on solid footing!

So, there you have it. Obviously, I’m not a money manager  – I’m a knitter, a Queen Bee! – and I can’t give you financial advice (and if I did and you took it, we’d both be fools!) BUT, what I can suggest is that we all start taking some responsibility for ourselves and our actions. Let’s start with our pocketbooks! Know about the financial institution that you’re entrusting with your hard-earned money! And if you don’t do the work, shame on you. (There, I said it.)