Happy Mothers/Mother’s/Mothers’ Day!

IMG_8309

It’s hard to imagine that nearly a month has passed (again) since I’ve posted something about my knitting life – or anything about my life. I wish that I could say that I’ve been on an exotic trip to Africa or on a tour around Europe but I’ve been happily ensconced in my normal day-to-day life in Maine, USA.

Today is Mother’s Day. I heard from all five kids and have eaten my gift of Graeter’s Ice Cream (six flavors, all with chocolate chunks) twice a day since it arrived. I’ve been knitting less and resting my hands more. Sadly, I’ve got some arm aches that lead to thumb pain on Friday and that’s enough to make me slow down.

I took my Orange Peel quilt to the long arm machine yesterday and got it about half-quilted before something happened with the machine. Initially we thought it was a band slipping but as I worked, the noise got worse and it was bad enough to stop using it. With any luck, the repair man is coming on Thursday and maybe I can finish quilting on Friday after class.

I’ve been happy at work at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville. I’m in the store Tuesday and Thursday and I teach on Friday. I love our customers and I love working with creative people. We are participating in the first “Maine Yarn Cruise” this summer and we’ve been getting our planning done. Prizes, patterns, kits, etc. There is a lot of planning to do and 19 or so shops participating from around the state. I love teaching, too. I had 20 students last week – three of whom stayed all day – and I so enjoy helping my students conquer their knitting challenges and learn something new. I also enjoy stretching my own knitting knowledge. Each challenge that students bring to me are a new test of my skills as a knitter and I realize each time that I am really a good knitter, capable of figuring out just about anything that’s brought my way. Confidence building!

I am knitting and making progress.

I cast on for the Joji Locatelli “Starting Point MKAL” and have gotten about half-way through clue number 1. Trying to pace myself. More details will follow but you can also check me out in Ravelry (lindar). I’m nearly finished with a sweater for my sweetie. I’m knitting “Flax” by Tin Can Knits. What a great garment! I’ll have to make more. “Flax” is designed to be worked in worsted weight yarn. I’m using Ella Rae Classic Wool in a really pretty blue color. My husband will look wonderful in the blue! I’ve got most of one sleeve to complete and then the ribbing for two sleeves (after it’s tried on once more).

I have two pairs of socks on the needles – one cuff-down in a speckled yarn and a toe-up pair in Heritage Print by Cascade in Christmas colors. These are the socks that I taught in my adult ed class this past session. One class turned into two … two nights of teaching each week may be one of the reasons I haven’t been posting a whole lot! I also have started another pair of Miriam Felton’s “Footie Socks”. One down, one to go.

I’ve finished husband’s scarf and several “knitted knockers” (www.KnittedKnockers.org). Have also knitted a pair of socks for my new cousin. I’m in the process of making him a flannel quilt like I made for his big sister.

Image (1) knitting-002-199x300.jpg for post 1462My little dog, Lola, has had kennel cough and is now struggling with a goopy eye. Probably spring allergies. Both little dogs are heading to a new groomer on Wednesday and I’m sure that will help – we’re horribly over due for a hair cut! I’m working on finding a new hair dresser, too!

Moving to a new place is a challenge. I’m still working on finding all of the doctors, hair and nail people, groomers, veterinarians, stores to shop in, etc. But we are so glad that we moved to Maine. We are looking forward to more time on the front porch and summer visitors!

Gone knitting!

Another Adventure …

What kind of crazy people are we?

We left Florida on December 20. Three dogs in the back seat and the truck loaded up with presents and a Honey Baked Ham … New York City and Christmas with two of my three children. We planned to spend one night in Richmond, VA on our way and then a night just shy of the city. Only one wrong turn which sent us into Washington, DC … at least we weren’t towing the boat! Smooth sailing!

Almost There!

Almost There!

With my daughter’s help, and having made good time, we ended up in Washington Heights and our little sub-let one night early.

The little apartment we rented was about mid-way between my son’s and my daughter’s apartments. Allowing for adjustments for all the dogs and super convenient for us – not to mention really reasonable rates!

Lobster Feast!

Lobster Feast!

Christmas eve was spent eating (mimosas started off our day) and baking cookies. Our family tradition is Spritz cookies. It’s still more fun to make them when you have someone else to decorate them. I love that my kids all value that tradition – started by my mother – it’s simply not Christmas without Spritz! A lobster feast for dinner, with thanks to my brother the lobsterman, had us all a mess and very happy. Christmas movies and lots of laughs … or was it the wine? I almost forgot to have the kids open their Christmas Eve gifts from Santa.

Christmas Day was low key – relaxing over coffee and muffins, Skyped with the missing daughter and her father in Chicago. The NY kids had to work but we hung with my boy and all the dogs. Ditto on Boxing Day.

IMG_2636Our big outing into mid-town was dinner and going to Kate’s show. We went to Qi for dinner and I love their food. Seeing my girl one more time as the star of Rock of Ages was a special treat for me – and my boy went with his old mom. N decided to skip the show and visited the Strand Bookstore at Union Square which he adored despite a couple of wrong turns and perhaps a wrong address (hence the wrong turn!)

On the 27th we packed up the dogs and presents and tearfully kissed the kids goodbye. Heading north in our truck to our “camp” in Maine.

camp /kamp/ n. A place usually away from urban places where tents or simple buildings (as cabins) are erected for shelter or temporary residence.

Camp Warner

Camp Warner

Think primitive. No running water. No plumbing. Think outhouse with a very (VERY) cold seat. And melting snow on the wood stove to wash dishes. Our mattress on the floor in the living room. Windows frozen with condensation. We carried all of our stuff in from the street with our Christmas snowshoes! A simple dinner in front of the wood stove and I was ready for bed. Too many late nights and I was ready for bed … probably long before I actually climbed in. Despite the “camping” and the cold, I wasn’t ready to leave when we heard that there was a Nor’ Easter coming in! I can’t wait until we are there for all the winter storms!

Next to Marblehead and a visit with my youngest brother and his family. We’ve loved getting to know their friends and love any chance to visit this charming town full of friends and family. So much so that I forgot to take any photos of the visit!

New Year’s Eve day we headed to Connecticut … a trip down memory lane for me at Shady Glen in Manchester and then a visit to the cemetery to check on the headstone for my parents. Then on to Westport to my college roommate’s new apartment … had to check on my “roomie” since we were so close!

What a wonderful trip! I am so grateful that my N loves my family as much as I do and that he’s willing to drive all the way to Maine and back so I can knit!

Gone knitting … Happy New Year!

Pondering my Craft

IMG_2345My little guy is very thoughtful.

I caught him sitting in my atelier today just staring …. I’m not sure if he’s admiring the lovely wool that was gifted to me or if he was missing his favorite porch in Maine (the bags are from my knitting shop in Waterville … circa 1985 bags). Maybe he’s simply pondering my craft.

Gone knitting.

 

Alpaca & Kids & Finished Objects

They're Here!

They’re Here!

It’s a beautiful gray day today and the last of a bunch of fun with my daughter who, with her boyfriend and her new rescued pup, drove from Chicago to visit us. We’ve had some great hot weather and some more typical Maine weather (gray and cool). And we’ve had a lot of low-key fun.

We had lobster twice. I bought some alpaca yarn and knitted an i-cord cover/cozy for her iPhone earbuds. I’ve done a pair before for myself with some scrap yarn. They’re fun & don’t get knotted up in your bag. (Pictures Coming)

Meanwhile, I’ve finished a Friday Knitting Group charity project and I love it!

I bought some new yarn for a charity project ...

I bought some new yarn for a charity project …

It’s a one skein project (at least it was for me) that my Friday knitting group is making for one of our members who is legally blind and having some family challenges. We’re each knitting a square and our teacher will put the squares together. I love the way my square turned out – the colors are vivid and cheerful. The pattern, the Lizard Ridge Afghan, is a free pattern from Ravelry. It only took a couple of hours. The yarn is Noro Kureyon and it’s not too horribly pricey but if you were going to make the full size (24 squares), it’s going to cost you a fortune. It might also be nice with a couple of plain blocks or pattern blocks in a solid color. It starts out looking like an egg crate but I’m told it will block out flat … can’t wait to see the finished results! I’m sure it will be appreciated.

Lizard Ridge Afghan ... one square with love from the Queen Bee

Lizard Ridge Afghan … one square with love from the Queen Bee

My grand-dog, Willow, loved her first couple of boat rides. She particularly likes sniffing all the new smells in Maine – and she loves to watch squirrels. She’s a rescue dog and just moved to Chicago two weeks ago from Missouri and has already driven to Maine. One well-traveled girl!

She is very sweet and calmer than our one-year-old chocolate lab puppy … unless her parents are out of the room! 🙂 She has some “hang ups” (she’s afraid of the dark and has some separation anxiety … howls in their apartment … ) having been a stray who lived on the streets of Saint Louis before she was picked up and has lived in a shelter and then a foster home prior to coming to live with my daughter. I think she’s going to be a great dog. She just needs a lot of love and patience. She’s already making progress.

My new Chicago grand-dog, Willow

My new Chicago grand-dog, Willow

I love having my kids around more than anything. And this visit has been lots of fun. And I even got some knitting done between cocktail cruises!

Cocktail cruise ... daughter "binocularing" and her boyfriend "two fisted drinking" ... four dogs, four adults!

Cocktail cruise … daughter “binocularing” and her boyfriend “two fisted drinking” … four dogs, four adults! Lots of laughs!

Gone knitting!

 

First Morning in Maine

Messalonskee from the porch

Messalonskee from the porch

I slept almost twelve hours last night. We were in bed before nine. So goes life at “camp” (our home in Maine.)

We’ve got internet now. It happened a couple of years ago but we’re still fighting the idea of bringing in a television. It’s never been here. It, frankly, doesn’t seem to fit here. We watch some TV and movies on our computers but … no cable. We read and knit and play games and just sit. Since my knees and feet seem to be working better, I’m looking forward to some hikes, too. And a lobster dinner!

This is my first morning … with my coffee and dogs (all three of them and not without some growling) and it’s perfect. My little family is back together where we would rather be. There’s one fisherman on the “island”, crows are “cawing” (is that a word? I just know the spell check is going to “ding” me here!) the breeze is blowing and the sun is shining. It’s a bit hazy but perfect none the less. I have a lot of unpacking to do but I think it will wait until I have a second cup of coffee and sit here awhile and soak it in.

Gone knitting (maybe.)

Big Brown Dog

I found one of these on the floor in the living room this morning. (They’re all finished and were in my bedroom waiting to be put away.)

Lady Grantham Dinner Gauntlet (a Jimmy Beans Wool KAL) in Lorna's Laces Sport

Lady Grantham Dinner Gauntlet (a Jimmy Beans Wool KAL) in Lorna’s Laces Sport

It must have been this big brown dog!

"Monk"

“Monk”

We’ve adopted/rescued Monk from a family in California and he arrived on Friday. We’d forgotten what it’s like to have a puppy in the house! Lots of walks and lots of ball-throwing in our neighborhood park.

IMG_1265My little dogs would like to send him back! (Not going to happen. We’ve already fallen in love with the big brown dog!)

Welcome Monk!

Gone knitting!

Farewell, Faithful Companion

Max, Faithful Companion, in 2007

Max, my boyfriend’s dog, is old. He’s had Cushing’s Disease for the last three years and probably has an inoperable pituitary tumor in addition. Until recently, the medications prescribed have managed the Cushing’s symptoms and Max has been able to lead a happy (tail-wagging) life.

This summer has been different. He’s not even interested in going outside. He’s fallen off the front porch and rolled off the “sea wall” and into the lake. He struggles to get up when he’s been lying down. N has to carry him to the lake to cool him off and often carries him outside to do his business. He still loves to eat but isn’t as happy to chase a ball or a stick and seems to have a vacant stare most of the time. All night long he does circles. Circling and circling as if he’s going to settle down … but he doesn’t. Even a double dose of Valium doesn’t take the edge off for him.

N has given him a great life! He’s been on many a long ride in the car and loved to ride on the boat, ears flapping in the breeze. He loved to wander off and get into the neighbors’ garbage (and come home bloated with a full belly). He has several warm and comfy beds around the house, unlimited water, excellent food, lots of love, and millions of thrown balls and sticks. He had many a nap on the couch, ball in mouth.

He’s been an intrepid companion, a faithful friend.

Max and the Annoying Littles

Car Ride 2009

Playing the Ball Game in 2008

Death is the natural end to a good life. N has decided that it is time. It’s time to let Max be free from the creaky old body that doesn’t provide a good quality of life any more.

Ned has dug the hole where we’ll bury Max. He’ll be put to sleep here in Maine at home. Max is comfortable here and this place is a constant comfort for N, too.

This is a very sad time. Farewell, faithful friend. We’ll see you again in Heaven.

Gone knitting.

Road Trip!

Here I am in my northern “Atelier” … and I feel driven (ha! no pun intended) to chronicle our road trip – another excellent adventure! Our annual pilgrimage to our favorite spot on the planet Earth – Belgrade, Maine.

We took off on Tuesday morning, a day earlier than we had planned to leave because we got “worried” about the Memorial Day weekend traffic. Call it a gut feeling. And the drive was uneventful which is a good thing when you’re towing a Hobie Cat and have three dogs in the car! We got as far as Richmond, Virginia where we stopped the first night – we love dog-friendly LaQuinta Hotels! A ten hour drive in twelve (or so hours) is always tenuous … but we do it well!

Day two began in Richmond and we had no plan for where it was going to end. BUT when we looked at the map and since we got an early start (very early, thanks to Max) … we thought we might make it to Connecticut.

Washington Monument Straight Ahead!

And then we hit Washington, DC and made a “wrong turn” … what’s the deal with road signs in our nations capital? We ended up in a traffic jam and in downtown Washington … with a boat and trailer. Really!?

Ha! Wrong turns lead to interesting blog photos!

Thankfully, we can laugh at our mistakes and on we pushed toward New York where we had another near miss on the New Jersey Turnpike and darn near ended up in Manhattan … but managed to pull off a “fix” and swing around via the Garden State Parkway and headed over the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Tappan Zee Traffic over the Hudson

Once over on the New York side, we realized we could make Massachusetts and pushed on … another 13 hour day but we were at my brother’s house around 8 … and we adore being in Marblehead. (If you’ve never been to the North Shore of Boston, you have got to make a trip … Marblehead is the sweetest town and a great place to escape to when you need to get away!)

Marblehead Harbor - Evening

After a night with our family – the nephews, dogs, and their parents – we headed off one more time … picked up the boat and spied on the movie people who are filming the movie “Grown Ups” there … with Adam Sandler and Salma Hayek. (I had to spy!)

Hooking up the trailer - last time!

Movie Stars in Marblehead

The last leg of our journey included dropping a box of books off for a knitting friend of mine. These books belonged to her mother, now deceased, and she just felt that the books needed to be returned to Gloucester, MA (where they came from). So, up Route 128 we headed to Gloucester … and dropped off the books at Isabel’s house. Ned and I both remarked at how special it is to live in towns where you don’t have to lock your doors. Raising children in towns like that must be very special.

And then I saw this sign …

Coveted Yarn - Gloucester, MA

What knitter could resist? Not this one, that’s for sure. So into the shop I wander… Heaven! Coveted Yarn is a sweet shop that looks teeny-tiny and is really packed to the rafters (cleverly so!) with the most wonderful fibers and yarns! I could easily have spent the better part of the day there fingering fiber … but had to settle for an hour and hope one day soon to be able to get back! (Maybe to meet Isabel, too!) I bought some of their locally dyed yarns … one skein of sock weight and two bulky weight in magnificent color ways and a pattern, too. (Nope, not sharing, it’s a gift for someone really, really special!) I can hardly wait to get my needles unpacked.

And then off to Maine … with a little luncheon stop at Stop and Shop – did you know that grocery stores offer some more healthy choices on the quick? ~ we had eaten enough junk the day before! Only a couple of hours more and we were in Maine … crossing the last bridge of our trip!

Piscataqua River Bridge - Welcome to Maine!

Upon arriving at the house, we always sigh a sigh of relief. It was still standing  … 100 years and counting  … this house has been the one constant for Ned and we spent some special time here when we dated the first time (in 1976). I feel very much at home in New England.

The Littles - Glad to be Out of the Car!

The lawn was (and parts still are) knee-high. Buttercups, little white daisies and dandelions are blooming everywhere!

The vegetable garden was (until tomorrow) completely over-taken with weeds.

Only the "seedy" rhubarb is visible in the Vegetable Garden!

After several hours cleaning and disinfecting and moving in groceries and clothes and yarn (duh!) and when our backs couldn’t do another chore, we showered and it was cocktail time. A bit too breezy to spend more than a cursory few minutes on the front porch … we are so grateful to be able to spend time here in this beautiful place that we love so much. I’ll be writing more about our summer adventures – my knitting group meets on Wednesday night and I’m already itching to see my Maine knitting girls!

Gone knitting!

1. belonging or pertaining to the origin or beginning of something. 2. new; fresh; inventive; novel

I’ve been working on designing a line of original dog sweaters and coats for a year or so now. I just came across the notes I took from a teleconference with a friend who has been in the garment industry (for people) for her entire career and whose wisdom and experience I truly value. We had talked about having twelve (TWELVE!?) designs and changing out the fabrics for the seasons. Well, the seasons may be do-able but no (freaking) way I’ll have twelve designs any time soon! A girl’s got to make a living and without taking my little business all the way to an Andean village where women can knit for me, I need to get these patterns written, tested and knit up a few samples.

I have four designs at this point in time that I can use as my base.

The Señorita Lolita, a sassy dress with a ruffled skirt and a big colorful flower on the shoulder. Fingering weight yarn makes it more time-consuming to knit but makes the little dress flow-y and light. I just sent my first iteration of this sweater off to the Central Florida Fair as my submission to the “Other” category. Submitted with this photograph of my little Lola (“Whatever Lola Wants…”) who is my inspiration for the design.

The Boyfriend is a classic turtleneck sweater knit in bulky yarn which makes it pretty quick to knit up unlike it’s sibling above. The design is based on the women’s sweaters with the same name that are bulky and loose and snuggly … hoping that the feeling of wearing a boyfriend’s sweater will translate to the feeling of caring for your fur baby.

The MacTire. Irish knit-style cabled sweater with a turtle neck collar. Right out of the pages of GQ! (Is that still in print?) I love this sweater with the “hugs and kisses” cable down the back. Also a relatively quick knit as it’s in a bulky wool, it’s simply classic and appeals to my Irish roots.

MacTire (mock teerah)

Last but certainly not least is the Nor’Easter Coat. Seed stitch is one of my favorite textural stitches and with this bulky or super-bulky wool, it is a visual thrill. The stitches are tightly knit and make a really warm coat for chilly days. I’m working on the finishing touches to the pattern. This may be my current favorite!

Patterns to come!

Gone knitting!

Looking at the Open Door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m ready to start a new life. Not really a new, new life. Just a new one. While I know that this is somewhat confusing to all of you, I know exactly what I’m talking about. I am ready to stop revisiting the old stuff. I’m ready to forgive and forget and move on. I want to be surrounded in positive, healthy and forward-looking.

What’s done is done. My old life is old. It will never be the same again. I can’t go back there. My life has been forever changed by this divorce and everything that I believed to be true was proved false by a cheating (now ex-) husband. But he didn’t just lie to me and our kids; he lied to himself and he has to live with that for the rest of his life. I can forgive him and move on knowing that I did everything I could to make our marriage work. I did everything I could to make the process of separating and divorcing be fair and kind. I hoped to be able to have a friendship (of sorts) because we will forever be connected by our children. He doesn’t know how to play fair and won’t take responsibility for his behavior then or now and, again, he will have to live with the consequences of his choices.

I am working to be forward thinking. Today. Tomorrow. And for each day thereafter. I am so fortunate to have a roof over my head and food in my belly. I have three healthy kids and two darling puppies, wonderful siblings, friends, and a man who loves me. I’m counting my blessings even as my ex is trying to undermine my positive attitude. He sucked me back into his whirling dervish tornado of abuse and sick thinking for a brief time today and I allowed it. But I’m back on track tonight and next time (if there is one) I will do even better at keeping my pledge.

I have a good feeling about 2012! I’ve turned around and I’m looking at the open door!

Gone knitting (after a bit of sleep!)