While I’m at my Desk This Morning

Let me update you on the week I’ve had. It was busy and full as usual but with a bit of an added twist … we think it was food poisoning!

This week on Messalonskee

Friday night I woke up with my heart beating (what I thought was) extra fast. Fast enough that I felt unsure of what was happening and a bit fearful, to be totally honest. I got up out of bed and got a glass of water, sat in the living room for a bit until I decided I needed to be close to my dear hubby in case something bad happened. My arms and legs and head felt “fuzzy” (tingly?) and I woke him up, asking him to call 911. Fortunately he waited a minute or two because I realized I was going to vomit … all the blood was going to my stomach! I have never realized how my body works so efficiently! (Ha!) Soon, I was feeling better and we went back to bed and to sleep, my heart returning to its normal rate. Yesterday I spent the day in my PJs. I was tired enough to take a nap and miss a call from my dear daughter. Napping is not something I do unless I’m not feeling well (needless to say, it doesn’t happen often!)

Today, I am feeling much better, thank goodness! I dare say, I feel “normal” again. I’ve been up at my desk playing catch-up. I needed to write a newsletter for work, add a bunch of new people to the store email list, writing a membership article for our lake association newsletter, etc. and I figured I’d let you know what’s happening in my knitting world.

#295 Bulky Baby Pullover

I finished the baby sweater, Diane Soucy’s Bulky Baby Pullover, for a special little baby. This completes the gift that will be sent off sometime soon. Baby isn’t due for a few more weeks but I want him to have it when he’s born. He’s moving from Florida to Colorado in January and he’ll need a bunch of warm clothes! I really enjoyed knitting with this chunky yarn and because it’s easy care, the new mom won’t have to stress about washing. Once the gift has been received, I’ll post pictures of the gift in its entirety.

Tin Can Knits The World’s Simplest Mittens

This is a custom order from a wonderful customer (and friend) for her grandsons. Mittens! Here in Maine we all need at least a pair of warm mittens in the winter (and sometimes in the fall, too.) These mittens are knit in Berroco’s Ultra Wool Chunky and, as such, they knit up really quickly. If my mind could concentrate, I’d have finished a pair in a day. I love the Ultra Wool yarns for their superwash ease and their heft. These will be warm mittens. The pattern, another free Tin Can Knits pattern on Ravelry, is really simple and is written for fingering, DK, worsted and chunky yarns (so, any gauge, really). If you don’t have my vintage mittens pattern, you need this one. And frankly, if you want to knit mittens in any gauge, this is a good pattern. Peruse the other free or paid Tin Can Knits patterns, they’re all pretty special!

Fingerless Mitts in purple

I have offered to make some fingerless mitts for the Maine Arts Academy to use to incentivize students at times. Or, frankly, to use in any manner that the administration sees fit. There may be a student who needs some love and that’s ok, too. So, I’ve knitted the mitts with some stashed Patons Classic Wool yarn in a deep purple colorway. My plan is to add some snowflakes to the back of the hands to make them a bit more interesting. This will be an ongoing opportunity for me to knit down some of my stash and to give back to the MeAA community. It’s a wonderful school of which I feel so privileged to be a part. (I know that’s grammatically correct, but gee, it sure sounds stuffy, doesn’t it?)

These mitts are based on the vintage pattern seen in the photograph. This is a classic mitten pattern that I knit to the knuckles or wherever I deem fit to stop knitting and add a few rows of ribbing. Simple, clear and include sizes for children and adults. I love this book and when I retire and have more time (does that ever happen?) I will knit all the things in the book. The mitten pattern itself is free on Ravelry but you can buy the whole book at Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine 207-872-2118 … we’ll send it out to you if you don’t live nearby! You might even talk to me!

I’ll post a few more pictures when I get the ends woven in and the snowflakes added.

Gone knitting …

campfire

I’m the queen (bee) of the world! 🙂
Campfire Shawl by Versaciknits

This week saw the release of Lori Versaci’s VersaciKnits newest shawl pattern, Campfire.

I was fortunate to have been asked to test knit this beautiful pattern and with that was a request to knit it in Cashmere People Yarns, Cashgora Sport.

When I called Portfiber in Portland, Maine to order my yarn, I spoke with owner, Casey Rider, a friend and “camp counselor” at one of my favorite places on earth, Medomak Fiber Retreat. Casey is one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known. I wanted my shawl to evoke the feeling you get when you wear a comfortable pair of worn-in blue jeans. I’d looked at the colors of Cashgora Sport on Portfiber’s website so I had some idea of what colors I liked but I also knew that the colors on the computer aren’t always like those in your hands. I counted on Casey to take my initial ideas and transform them into reality – and she did a magnificent job. I love the colors individually and together. While this shawl was a financial investment, it’s worth every single penny spent. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting every stitch (even the ones I had to frog and re-stitch because I can’t count!) and I love wearing it.

The pattern is clear and not at all difficult for even an adventurous beginner. Increases are always in the same space, There is some stockinette stitching which makes the pattern stitch areas worth knitting. The contrast between the patterns and stockinette are so satisfying. And the finished product is stunning … even if I do say so myself!

Campfire is made with three skeins of Cashgora Sport. I used Scree (natural), Toile (light blue) and Denim (darker blue). But you should check out the colors … they’re amazing! And the purchase of these yarns support the women in Tajikistan and Afghanistan who spin and dye it. Giving these women work means that they can support themselves and their families. Doing good.

For the month of May, you can also help Lori and Casey do some more good … Lori is donating 100% of pattern sales to Vinylhaven Community Outreach, a non-profit supporting the needs of people on this Maine island that depends on the lobster industry that has taken a big hit during this Covid-19 pandemic. Portfiber (Casey) is donating 20% of Cashmere People yarn sales during the month of May to Full Plates Full Potential, a Maine non-profit that provides breakfast and lunch to Maine children even during this pandemic.

Let’s do some good~ Gone knitting!

Knitting for Good

kfc_poster2008As knitters, it seems that we are programmed for using our craft to make the world a better place. Knitting chemo caps, hats and mittens for the homeless, blankets for women in domestic violence shelters, sweaters for penguins, purple hats for babies, helmet liners for soldiers, “knockers” for mastectomy patients. The list of charitable knitting ideas is endless. You can find something to knit that makes the world a better, softer, more loving place.

penguin sweatersI’ve knitted almost all of these opportunities. Almost. Most recently, I’ve knitted “knockers” for women who have had breast cancer and have had mastectomies. I’ve also knitted a couple of hats for children who have undergone chemotherapy.

Knitted-KnockersNow, I’m working on a hat and mittens to go to one of my students’ granddaughter’s second grade special needs class. Every year her class gets a hand-knitted gift from their teacher. Last year Alice knitted 21 sets for the class all by herself. This year, my Friday Knitters are helping. I am knitting a “hunting orange” hat and mittens because what second grade boy wouldn’t want one? We do live in Maine. after all, and people love to hunt here! Even if you don’t hunt, you (almost) need to wear that eye-piercing orange to walk to the mailbox or if you’re going for a walk in the woods. We even put it on our pets!

redhatsKnitting for good is a wonderful way to give back. I am so privileged to be able to knit and afford to buy yarn and needles (it’s an addiction!) I am happy to be able to knit for others who may not otherwise have access to warm, cozy garments. I don’t care to have my name attached to it, my giving is nameless and faceless. The “payback” for me is knowing that I’ve been able to do something for someone else. And it feels so good.

 

Gone knitting!

Giving Back & Getting So Much!

During the school year last year, I started mentoring a little girl who was then in third grade. It seemed like a good idea and the right thing to do for me. A selfish thing to do, actually.

I had no idea that the relationship would become so special. But today it is. For the last year, I have had the privilege of mentoring a most adorable (now) fourth grader and I just wanted to share with you, dear readers, that I was invited to a fourth grade choir concert last week. What fun! And such a special invitation.

Fourth Grade Choir Concert for Veterans Day

 

I have been to fourth grade choir concerts before … my own children were always performing. It was easy to go to see my own children. It was also easy to go to see this little girl who I have grown to care so deeply for – she is adorable, sweet, and smarter than her years. And despite some pretty big challenges in her young life, she is happy and so much fun to be around. And she did a great job in her concert!

Parents were so proud and excited. Siblings were falling off cafeteria benches and itching to be anywhere else. But this mentor was really proud of one little girl who is very special to me!

Gone knitting!

Philosophy of a Business

We had dinner at a restaurant called Avatar in Sausalito. The owner, Ashok, is at first glance, a happy man. Sit at the “bar” at his restaurant and you’ll find out why he’s so happy – he’s a food scientist and psychologist who will make you the best food you’ll ever have in your life. “You’ll want to lick the plate,” he told me. (And I did – want to, that is!) Ashok loves what he does every day. He loves his life and business.

Every year on the day before Thanksgiving, Ashok opens his door to the community and feeds all the people who walk through the door – last year it was over 1,000 – for free. Wine, beer, food, all free. FREE! Last year my brother worked in his kitchen for the event and this year both he and his beautiful wife will be there.

I’ve always heard that if you want to receive, you have to give and the bounty that this good-hearted man receives is (in part) due to his participation in giving back to his community. Or, I would contend, he really gives to his community – daily! He’s giving of himself – tell him what you FEEL like eating and he’ll prepare you a delightful dish. He’ll also look you in the eye, shake your hand, smile at you and remember your name. He’s thankful that you’ve chosen to eat at Avatar.

Blessings – gone knitting.