Making Progress … stitch by stitch

Driving Home

So, I’ve written about having been struggling with “tennis elbow” since the end of July. It’s still a nagging problem but I’ve been doing some knitting. Not much but some. Yesterday I went to get a massage to work out some new kinks in my shoulders and arms. It was very helpful and I felt pretty good afterward. I had a couple of errands to run and then planned to go home to get some Christmas stuff “wrapped up”. (ha! ha!)

I was stopped in traffic on my way to the office store for labels when *CRASH* … I was rear ended. After a call to the police, waiting for them to arrive and make a report, I was able to drive my car away with minimal damage. The woman who hit me wasn’t so lucky. Her car was towed. Just before Christmas, that’s a big bummer. She said she was trying to find a cough drop and looked down. My response and the police officer’s response was the same, “That’s all it takes.”

Today I am feeling fine. I was happy to head to work with minimal aches and pains. I think those that I had were more from the massage working out kinks than from having been hit. So, I am feeling so grateful that it wasn’t worse. That nobody was hurt. That I was able to drive away. 

Oh, and my knitting … I’ve got several projects on the needles. None are moving along at a quick pace. I knit a few rows (or rounds) at a time and then put it aside. A pair of socks for my favorite son, a pair of fingerless mitts that have been languishing for thirteen years. A Bristol Ivy shawl in Cashgora yarn, Dolores (Franklin Habit’s sheep) and several others.

I did finish a baby hat knit in cashmere yarn for my new nephew in California for Christmas. He’s perfect and I can’t wait to meet him! 

Gone knitting!

 

2017! Happy New Year!

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I feel fortunate that 2016 was a wonderful year for me and for my family. One daughter bought a new home, another daughter became engaged, I married the love of my life and we had all of our children in our house at the same time (for the first time). Our children are gainfully employed, healthy and happy. We are both working at jobs we love and are paying the bills, we have food on our table, a warm home and we are healthy. What more can you ask for?

I am eager to see what 2017 brings and what opportunities in the fiber world I will become involved with. I am excited to continue teaching knitting and creating in my every-improving atelier! This year’s goal is to add some serious shelving to my studio for fabric and yarn storage. I am already realizing that my “cheap fix” is not going to work long-term … fabric and yarn multiply when packed into small spaces and despite working hard to knit from my stash, it’s only minimally smaller.

img_7778We had a quiet New Year’s Eve at our house. A summer camp (childhood) friend and his son joined us for a lobster feast and a glass or two of sparkling wine prior to midnight. The guys all stayed awake after the power went out but I claimed the black-out as an opportunity to go to bed “early”. This is our photograph, grainy though it may be, from around 10:30pm. I love selfies with this guy and can’t wait to see what 2017 brings to add to our life together.

My goals for the year are to attend and help with, perhaps, the fiber week at my old summer camp. I’m looking forward to Maryland Sheep & Wool, too. I want to do more in my community – attend events, help my neighbors, life my best life and speak from my heart (not usually a problem). I want to floss more often and remember to listen to myself and speak my truth. Having lost my voice a long time ago, it feels wonderful when I speak out and speak up and feel heard. I’ll keep working on that piece.

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Wishing you blessings in 2017. I’m hoping that it’s the best year yet for all of us!

Gone knitting.

Teaching and Technology

Choices!

Choices!

Last week I sent some yarn to a customer who lives far away. She wanted to make socks out of Encore Worsted yarn. I sent her a picture of a few choices and we got it mailed to her. On Wednesday I got a phone call and she was stuck. She had gotten her leg and heel flap done, had turned the heel and picked up the gusset stitches. But despite having done all the “hard” work she was stuck on the directions to knit the next part – mostly on having the right number of stitches on each needle so she could decrease in the right spot!

Now, any of you who have ever tried to explain something over the phone understand how difficult it is, right? I think every teacher, at one time or another, assigns students to give directions in writing for someone who has never done something. Dialing a phone, making tuna salad? It’s not easy to fully describe any task where you are unable to see the person to whom you are giving directions.

So, I’m on the phone with a customer who is stuck on her sock. First I have to figure out where she is exactly. Next, I have to explain to her what to do next. Well, on Wednesday I didn’t do a good job. We couldn’t find a place where we could communicate with each other well enough to solve the problem. I was feeling like a failure and she was frustrated.

And then she suggested that she might send me a picture! It was a genius idea!

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This was the picture I got via email

This is the picture that I got. You can see where the working yarn is (at the bottom left-hand corner of the needles) and, if you’ve knit many (MANY) pairs of socks, you know exactly what you would do next. Right? But can you describe to someone over the phone what to do? Well, after spending fifteen minutes on the phone without making any real progress, we finally had a new starting place and new hope!

Once I saw exactly where she was, I could then explain to her what she needed to do next.

She knitted down the left-hand needle and then knitted half of the heel (top) stitches. This becomes needle number three. We are now at the new beginning of the round. Now she can begin her first round with gusset decreases – Needle one will be the second half of the heel stitches and the right-hand needle stitches, the bottom needle is the top of the foot and will be needle two. We already know where needle three is!

Working together with our photograph and the use of our wonderful new technology …

Success!

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Now she’s ready to complete her foot.

I am so grateful for the challenges that I am given as a teacher.  I love the brain work that it takes to figure out how to solve a challenge for the student and for me. And I have made some wonderful connections and created wonderful friendships, too. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love teaching knitting!

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A Good Yarn

 

hatWorking in a retail store, you get to meet a lot of people. Some of them make a mark in your day. A mark that is worthy of re-telling.

Yesterday I met a man who fits that bill. He came into the shop, an older man, probably in his 70s and very dapper. Slacks pressed, button-down shirt pressed, too. A blazer and hat similar to the one at left.

His eyes sparkled and he was purchasing some suede patches for the elbows of another blazer that he wasn’t ready to part with over a couple of small holes that had worked their way onto the elbows. He complimented our shop several times and said it was like stepping into the good old days. (The shop, to be fair, has been in the same family for 65 years and it is a bit like stepping into the past!) His tailor had sent him in and his friend got him there with no wrong turns.

I asked him where he was from and he said, “New York” area. He told me he had been called to service when 9/11 happened. Working for FEMA. He showed me his ID. I told him that I had worked at the World Trade Center in the early 80s and how that day hurt me personally even though I was miles and miles away.

I thanked him for his service both to our country and to the city that was my home and is now the home of all three of my children. He held my hand and thanked me, a glint in his eyes and a smile on his face. Maybe it was because I was cute (that’s what N. said) or maybe it’s because he was pleased to have been recognized as a veteran. I don’t know. He said he’d be back again and I hope he will. I hope I’m there that day. But I will remember that encounter in my little yarn shop with gratitude.

Like the three lady friends the other day, I wish I had taken his photograph.

Gone knitting.

New Friends

oldfriends

 

You’ve all probably seen these photographs on Facebook and Pinterest. The other day at the Yardgoods Center Yarn Shop I made three new friends. Three ladies came into the shop and it was clear that they had all the time in the world to shop. One spent a few minutes on the phone at the table in front making plans with family. The other two were checking out the free patterns. After awhile, and having checked on them all a couple of times and having showed them the color-changing “Abracadabra” yarn, they came to the cash register with a few patterns to purchase and a question.

Turns out they’ve been friends since early childhood and were together again for three weeks more. When one lady said they had a question, the other two ladies giggled. (It’s funny to see elderly ladies giggle like girls!) They’d spent hours (HOURS!) over the past couple of days trying to figure out what it meant to cast on stitches without a slip knot in the backward loop method. They were all beaming, eyes bright, smiling widely with the memory. I had a left-over ball of yarn and one needle left behind by a customer and I showed them what to do. They were delighted. “You made our day!”

Such a simple thing made a big impact. They made their purchases and left for lunch. Giggling that they only had a two hour ride. I smiled at them behind their backs. What a treasure their friendship is.

Old friends are the best friends!

Old friends are the best friends! We are being sharks … at 50-something.

I am so fortunate to have some old friends, too. Not that we are old, we have been friends for a long, long time. We don’t get to see each other very often, but we make an effort to meet once a year. Each time we pick up where we left. We may not party like we used to and we’re often in bed by ten but the reunion is always sweet.

I’m going to be missing the reunion this year and am so sad about it but  I am coming to realize that I can’t do it all – and that saves my sanity. Only two of us will be at the beach next weekend. I’ll be there in spirit but not in body. I commit to 2016, though. I need the girl time to recharge and renew. Old friends are the best friends. I love my girls!

Gone knitting.

I’m Not Ignoring You!

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Lilies of the Valley

I don’t want you to think that I’ve been ignoring you. I just can’t believe how busy my life has been since we’ve moved to Maine.

Mother Nature has been working double overtime to make everything around us green and blooming. The pollen has been like snow at times but it is beautiful when the wild flowers start to bloom in the woods. I saw some lilies of the valley on my walk a few days ago and our yellow iris down by the rocks at the edge of the lake are blooming profusely.

We have been to bed early and up early and have seen some beautiful sunrises. We are reminded with each one how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place. Even when it’s really, really early! IMG_4783

IMG_4798All three dogs are adjusting to living in the little guest cabin and to the noise that is our home-building destruction and construction life. Little Boq has had some wicked hot spots but we seem to have them under control again. The little dogs have been to a new groomer and will feel so much better now that they’re groomed and bathed.

I have been knitting a little. I’ve managed to finish the little pink zebra footie socks for my mentee in South Florida. She is turning 14! Yikes. I am hoping they fit and I have another whole ball of the same yarn to make one more pair to her specifications. She loves pink and zebra stripes, I thought the yarn was perfect!

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Pink Zebra Low Socks

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Two Dishcloths … one good, one not so good

I have also finished a couple of dish towels for my daughter. She sent me the yarn and I knitted her some cloths. One, I love. It’s Grandmother’s Favorite and it’s an easy knit and I love the way it came out. The second one was supposed to be a paw print. Ya know … I’ve knitted many paw prints before and must have used a different pattern. This one I do NOT like. It’s huge and not a good image of a paw print. I’m sending it anyway because she can use it for her dog’s muddy feet or something. But it will go with a note of explanation. (I wasn’t going to frog it after it was done but I’m not happy with it.)

I have chosen the third pattern for my Seacolors Yarn sweater and I think I am going to like this one much better. The pattern I am knitting is called Driftwood by Isabell Kraemer. I will not be making stripes but rather blocks of color. I’ve started with the peachy-orange shade and then will change to the green for the bottom of the body. I’ll see what I have left over for the sleeves. I’ll use the blue yarn for the edging and probably most of one of the sleeves. I’ll keep you posted!

I wore my cotton tunic to work yesterday. I love the color and the cotton yarn is perfect over a t-shirt or blouse. BUT I have always thought the straps were a bit too long. So, this morning I’m pulling the straps apart and shortening them. I would like to be able to wear it without  a shirt under it if I want … when I’m done, I’ll be able to. I got quite a few compliments on it and that always feels good!

I feel so blessed and grateful to be able to live here on our beautiful lake in Maine. It’s really a dream come true. The love of my life and I are building our home and all is right with the world.

Gone knitting.

I’m a Mainer Now!

Welcome to Maine!

Welcome to Maine!

Well, we did it! We moved to Maine. Our house in Florida is sold, we have driven forEVER (four days) and we are here in our happy place.

The cars are unpacked, all my yarn is in totes and bags and boxes and is ready to have me knit with it. But first I have to do a little settling in … find some clothes to wear, clean the kitchen for use the next couple of weeks, clean the guest house cabin where we will live over the course of our house-building process and then move our stuff up there.

We have to do a test sleep up there because I recall that the bed we bought for the guest house was reported to have a sink hole in the middle of it (one person slept there?) and I absolutely refuse to fight an uphill sleeping battle for three or four months! My sleep is too important to me to sleep in a less-than-perfect bed!

Tomorrow night is my knitting group and I’ll be happy to see the ladies! And there’s a tea party at my LYS this weekend. Best get my work done so I can go relax and visit and knit!

Gone cleaning!