Grateful

Sunrise at Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gone knitting.

It’s been a “Timespan”

This has been a crazy busy timespan … since I am lazy enough to not go back and see when I last posted, I’m using that word to indicate that it’s been a while since I have last written something here.

Life has taken on a life of its own and I am feeling the pressure of fall and shorter darker days and the impending holidays that always add pressure. Maybe one of these days I’ll learn to say “no” more often but for now, I am keeping my promises and working hard to stop every so often so that I don’t fall apart. Spending part of every day with yarn in my hands certainly helps. It also helps me to see that I am making progress both in my knitting projects and in work and volunteer areas of my life. My husband and I even had a date night and went to see a movie – neither one of us “liked” it but we went out. Together! A first since the pandemic began.

Socktober Socks

I started a thing at the store that isn’t original and not close to being my idea. Socktober. I found an article somewhere on the Internet about it and did a bit of research and then added it to my work newsletter that I write each Sunday morning. The Yardgoods Center – Yarn department – donated 16 pairs of hand knitted socks to the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter. I knit the pair above and also included a pair of baby pink hand knit socks, two pairs of store-bought socks that have been in my gift drawer (doesn’t everyone have one of these?) and the wonderful customers at YGC brought in the rest. I think it’s a wonderful gift to those who are less fortunate and I hope the socks will keeps some feet warm this winter.

Pattern: Yankee Knitter Socks for the Family, Yarn: Regia 8 Fadig. Check my Ravelry project page for more details on this project and all of the others I talk about. I’m LindaR on Ravelry.

I have a bunch of projects on the needles and a few that I feel like I need to get to or need to finish.

Neck-Down Pullover for Men

I have finally made some real progress on my husband’s Christmas sweater. I gave him the yarn for said sweater last year at Christmas and it looks as if I will have it finished by Christmas this year. I’m knitting him the Knitting Pure and Simple Men’s Pullover in Cascade 220 yarn in a heathery-gray colorway. I don’t recall ever knitting with Cascade 220 yarn and I really like the hand of this 100% wool yarn. It’s not scratchy at all.

Pattern: #991 Neck-Down Pullover for Men, Yarn: Cascade 220 (100% wool).

Evergreen Socks

I finished my “Christmas Tree” socks that I’ve been wanting to knit for ages. I’m trying to keep up with a pair of socks a month (2021 Sock of the Month Challenge) and I may have fallen off the wagon just a bit but I think I am back on. This pattern is on Ravelry and I used deeply stashed yarn by the Buffalo Wool Company. Back when I was being paid to work full time (as compared to now when I’m working part-time and volunteering part-time) I joined a yarn club with BWC. I got to know the owner because we had a couple of shipping snaffus … mostly because we were in Maine for a couple of months and then Florida the balance of the time and yarn went to one place when we were in another and never the twain should meet. Ron was an absolute wonder to work with and when I “tripped” over him at an outside holiday art/craft festival in Washington, DC one year, it was really fun to be able to meet in person. (And of course he remembered me as the shipping problem. LOL)

Pattern: Evergreen Socks, Yarn: Buffalo Wool Company Tracks Sock

Arne & Carlos 2021 Advent Calendar

I’ve begun working on Arne and Carlos’ 2021 Advent Calendar patterns. I adore these little “jumpers” so much and they’re fun to knit and very satisfying to finish in a day or two. I’ve finished the first two jumpers and have finished knitting the third but still need to weave in ends and steam block it. I don’t imagine that I’ll finish these before Christmas is over but I will get them done (probably before I finish the Christmas balls from 2020) because I really want to have them displayed in the house. It takes me about four hours to knit one of these and another half an hour to do the finishing. Each one is unique and there is a collection of Christmas balls to match … I won’t be buying that pattern … yet.

Pattern: Arne and Carlos 2021 Advent calendar mini-jumpers is available for purchase on their website, yarn: Patagonia Organic Merino by Juniper Moon Farm.

I have been crocheting snowflakes for the store window display using free patterns off the internet and scraps of yarn on hand. I have to get the glue out and dilute it to “starch” them so that they’ll hang straight. I’ve also been crocheting a set of Yip Yips that will be a gift. I’ll stop talking about them here and will write about them after they’re delivered. Another gift is a pair of socks that are on my needles currently. It’s a pair of “vanilla” socks in a colorful colorway and I’ll write more about them later, too. Suffice it to say that I am almost done with the first sock. I’ve got a way to go to get them completed.

My FEZA baby blanket is nearly finished. I’ve reached the finishing point of the fourth color. Since this isn’t promised to anybody (I started it as a project to work on when I am teaching classes or sitting in a Zoom meeting) it is sitting alone in the bottom of my knitting bag. I’ll get it finished one of these days. My Fine Sand Cardigan is in the same place. I won’t likely wear it until spring. That gives me the winter to get it finished. I really need to get it finished THIS winter, though.

With any luck, the next time I write here, there will be more than one finished item. Perhaps a sweater and a blanket by the end of the year? I’m keeping track this year of how many projects I complete … so far it’s up to around 50. Can I reach 60? Time will tell … that work thing keeps getting in the way of my knitting time.

Gone knitting!

Knitting with Friends

Camp Smedley – From the Water

We have our first house guests (maybe I should call them “camp guests” since this house is really a “camp”).

Our friend Bob comes up with kids each summer and the kids keep on growing. They’re fun to watch around the lake each year and it’s interesting to witness the excitement that they get when they’re “let loose” at the lake.

Coffee discussion this morning centered around what it is that one of the kids likes about fishing. Talk amongst yourselves….

We decided that Bob was probably “right” in his observation that the joy of fishing is in not knowing what you’ll get. The adventure of the hunt. Walking through the grass and finding a snake or up on the railroad tracks and finding a long-dead porcupine or dipping a hook into the lake over past the boathouse and waiting for the thrill of the first underwater tug. The joy of the unknown? Would that that joy continued into an adventurous spirit in adults rather than fear!

Meanwhile, I’ve had lunch and attended a knitting class with a new knitting friend. My post about the Ravelympics was picked up by a reporter for an Olympics News-related website and I was asked to respond. (Little old me?!)

On my needles … my tunic sweater is growing again after its too-large frogging. 🙂 I really love knitting with my Signature needles. The cord is so flexible. Much more so than the other needles that I have. I’ve finished my first Maine Lobstah sock and must admit it’s a tight fit … not sure if I’ve knitted it more tightly or if the yarn is a bit heavier than typical sock yarn but they’ll be fun. Sock number 2 is cast on and a new WIP. I’ve decided to pull out a few of the older projects and yarn that has been in my stash for a (long) while. I’ve cast on the Gaia Shoulder Hug shawl by Anne Carroll Gilmour. It’s a simple lace design knit in Noro Kureyon Sock (or Silk Garden Sock) and the lace/eyelet rows are knit as the colors transition. The color way that I chose is difficult to knit with as the color transitions are so slight. But, I’ll finish it this time … if for no other reason than to do it. And, last, I’ve pulled out my mohair lace yarn to cast on the lace scarf that I had attempted years ago. I’ve done a successful cast on as required in the pattern and I’m ready to try the pattern again.

Bought a bit more yarn the other day, too! (I don’t know what to say, I can’t seem to help it! Must be just like I wrote above … the wonder in the discovery!)  Ron Miskin had another surprise purchase (with an excellent discount) on The Buffalo Wool Company‘s Facebook page. And, I’ve had an order from that wonderful grandma who won the socks give-away. A little hat and mittens for her grand-daughter for the holidays! More goodness to come! Blessings are all around me!

Gone knitting!