Fall – turning in

Hydrangeas in their Fall Dresses

The hydrangeas are wearing their fall colors and the temperatures are cooling. The sunrise is moving over into its fall position. Every morning it shines into our living room reminding me that I have yet to wash the big picture windows. The leaves are slowly but surely taking on the brighter reds and oranges and my favorite tree is about half-red.

I love the fall and I look forward to all of the lake work coming to an end or at least slowing down enough to give me some breathing space. And, I look forward to being able to breathe more easily – the fall allergies are horrible this year. I look forward to getting some inside work done and catching up on the projects that get put aside to sit on the porch and work in the gardens and yard. That work, if I’m honest, is getting more difficult as we get older. I have to remind myself that it’s ok to balance work and rest. It’s part of what I like about fall and winter, preparing to turn in … thinking about what is important and having time to rest awhile. And maybe a bit of knitting?!

I’ve been knitting away, as usual. It’s not a good day if no fiber has passed through my fingers. This week I’ve been working to get my Mini Advent Jumpers completed by the start of December. I have 14 knitted, two need their ends woven in and seams sewn, but that leaves another ten to go. I can do it if I stick to two per week. I just need to figure out how to hang them once finished. I’ll get there. And, frankly, I was reminded that I could do the 12 Days of Christmas if I don’t get them all finished.

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

I also finished and wore my Elton Cardigan this week. It will be worn to Rhinebeck in a couple of weeks. I’m excited to attend my first New York Sheep and Wool with my friend and co-worker, Glenda. I’ll have to get a photo of me wearing it one of these days … maybe at Rhinebeck! I realized, too, that one of my most favorite babysitters lives in North Hampton, Massachusetts and we’re getting a bus from WEBS there. I wonder if we’ll have time to see Tiki? It gives me a good reason to reach out to her after a lot of years.

I cast on a Musselburgh hat by Ysolda Teague in black fingering weight yarn for my daughter, Libet. I must really love this kid to knit a black hat. Especially a fingering weight black hat. I thought the design was a great one, though and figured that my NYC kids would all likely wear this hat. This will be the first of several I think. I’m using Berroco Vintage Sock which is new to our store and I needed to give it a try. It’s got a very soft hand but it’s a little bit splitty. If the hat is a success, I’ll cast on another one in wool which I prefer to knit with. This one can be given away or kept. Wool is always warmer but I wanted to try the hat first with a less costly yarn to make sure of the fit.

I also knitted a couple of Bird BookMarks by Claire Garland. I need to seam them, stuff them and then add the string or cord so they can do their jobs. They’re very cute and will be cute stocking stuffers at Christmas time. I like them, in part, because they use up little bits of yarn that I have left over from other projects. I have a “problem” throwing away perfectly good bits and bobs of yarn and as a result, I have quite a bit of little bits. I keep thinking that I’ll use them in a blanket or something else that will use a lot of odd bits of yarn … so far, that hasn’t happened. And it may not … until I have to use it because I’ve knitted all the things that I want out of “new” yarn.

I added buttons on the Puerperium Cardigan for my future grandchild. She’s due in about 4 weeks time. To say that I am excited is an understatement. This little sweater is adorable. I had intended it to be for my great-nephew but it was too much pink so I’ve bought a new skein of yarn for his sweater and will cast on soon. This was a fun little sweater to knit and I’m glad that there’s a larger-sized version to knit for larger children. I’ll knit it again, I’m sure.

Puerperium by Kelly van Niekerk

I’ve got a pair of mittens on the needles, too. Their the Peace de Resistance Mittens by Bristol Ivy. I have had some yellow and gray Jamieson & Smith yarn from one of the Arnall-Culliford “Year of Techniques” projects that I never knitted. I decided that since this election cycle may be a bit crazy (again) that I should knit these mittens. I need to get cracking so they’ll be ready ahead of all the craziness. I haven’t gotten very far along with these but they’re fun to knit.

Peace de Resistance Mittens by Bristol Ivy

I’ve cleaned my atelier today and organized the mess that I’ve let accumulate over the past few weeks or months. I spent time this morning writing the newsletter for work, and I’ve written this … it’s time to get downstairs to make some pie crusts. We have an overabundance of eggs at our house and we’re going to make some quiche to freeze for future eating. We both are tired when we come home from work and easy suppers are much appreciated. Today it’s veggie quiches and an apple pie on the cooking list – since we don’t have to work today, we can get some cooking ahead done. At least that’s the plan.

We took a nice little drive to Unity and Thorndike yesterday to visit the Amish Country Market, now newly rebuilt and get some Macoun apples and cider from Mueller Farm and some Christmas gifts from my friends at Over the Hill Lavender farm. It was a wonderful day for a drive and it was nice to be out and about. I think it’s time to get down to the kitchen, eat an apple for lunch and get some quiche or pie in the oven.

Gone knitting … well, after I cook!

The Ahab Inside Me

September 3, 2022 – Morning

This morning we had our coffee on the porch. Coffee on the porch is not an unusual occurrence but this morning coffee was with blankets over our laps and my hubby had his (hand knit) hat on. It was 50 degrees at 6:30 this morning. But it was gorgeous and we are so grateful to live here and to have a place that is safe and warm to call home.

There are a lot of people who aren’t as fortunate as we are through no fault of their own. Last night we went to see the premiere of a new play in Augusta at the historic Colonial theater with a group of new friends. It’s obvious that I love theater and the arts (at least I hope it is!) I have driven by the Colonial Theater so many times without even recognizing that it was there. The theater is a sidewalk’s-width from the street but it’s been around since 1913 and figured into Maine’s early film history and it’s now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The play, “The Ahab Inside Me – A High Seas Blues Opera”, was moving and, although a bit unpolished, it sent a strong message about addiction and recovery and how it affects generations in families. I have friends and family touched by addiction and it’s important to bring attention to the stigmatization of those who struggle with addiction. Addiction is a disease. Nobody asks to be an addict. Nobody thinks less of cancer or covid victims, why do we think so little of addicts? Why do we treat them as “less than?” We have a lot to do to educate people about addiction. A health care system would be a good place to start.

We enjoyed our night out in the company of new friends.

I spent the day today knitting and getting prepared for our vacation. I made granola and did a load of laundry so we have clean sheets at the beach. I changed our bed and wrote two agendas – one for the Maine Arts Academy Development Committee meeting on Tuesday afternoon and the other for our Friends of Messalonskee Board meeting on the 14th. Life is busy and full – how lucky am I?!

Aestlight by Gudrun Johnston

Today I worked on the edging for my Aestlight shawl. I’ve passed the half-way mark and am knitting toward the end of this project. I giggle when I say that I started this shawl in “protest” because my friend and co-worker was going to Shetland without me. I’ve enjoyed this project so much and I look so forward to going to Shetland myself one day (maybe next year!)

Elton by Joji Locatelli

I also worked for a little while late in the day on my Elton Cardigan. I am getting very (very) close to finishing the second sleeve … and that means that there is only the button band left to do. Well, almost. I am excited to see what happens to this sweater when it’s blocked. The pattern says that it should be blocked aggressively. I may be able to finish the knitting before we leave for vacation but I’m likely to wait to block it until we return. I look forward to wearing it, for sure.

I bought some new yarn this week. I saw the new pattern designed by Wool & Pine Designs, the Three Season Cardigan and I knew I had to knit this cardigan, heavily cabled, a little bit cropped, v-neck, and gorgeous! AND I had to have it in the yarn that they showed in the sample knit – Katia Concept Cotton Merino. I was challenged, couldn’t find it at any of my “normal” locations, but I did find it on the Katia website. The customer service at Katia was extraordinary and the shipping was so quick. Nearly as immediate as going to my LYS! I shopped my LYS, too! I bought several skeins of yarn to make some more sweaters for my grand-daughter … what a wonderful phrase – “my grand-daughter!” When I am at work and it’s a quiet couple of hours, I get into trouble. In this case, I bought some rainbow Perth sock yarn to make a Newborn Vertebrae, some Berroco Vintage to make a Little Coffee Bean Cardigan and a couple of other surprises.

I have also bought a few more patterns. Oops! I have really loved the Pressed Flowers shawl. We have a sample in the shop that I like but I don’t love worsted weight shawls – too hot for me these days, at my age. This week, Amy Christoffers added the Pressed Flowers Hat to her collection and I bought both patterns. I’ll make them both in sport weight yarn. And I look forward to it. I also love supporting the talented designers that continue to offer incredible patterns.

Gone knitting.

Knitting Mojo Slump

We finally have had some rain and you can almost hear the plants sighing in relief. It was so dry that even the weeds were lying on the ground. Literally. The weeds have since perked up … something that I’ve never noticed before. The lake is about a foot lower than usual, too. We are in a drought here in Maine and we worry about our well when this happens. Crossing our fingers and toes that we get enough water between now and winter.

I don’t know what it is about the end of summer but I don’t want to finish any of the projects I have on the needles. I only want to cast on new projects so I’ve hit a bit of a knitting mojo slump. I’m not sure if my fall depression/seasonal affective disorder is setting in again as the days get shorter or if I’m suffering burnout from my volunteer jobs but something is going on but I’m not a fan. So I force myself to do some work in the house that I don’t want to do and I allow myself the grace to do nothing more than that and to rest. Time will tell – I could feel lots better if the sun was out.

So, let’s talk about knitting, shall we?

I’m forcing myself to finish the projects that I have in progress. My Alton Cardigan (below) has been in time out for what seems like forever. I finally picked it up today and am going to make a supreme effort to get the sleeves finished and knit the button band so I can be finished. I won’t let myself knit another sweater until this one is finished and I have a few (*cough* *cough*) that I still want to make. And I have the yarn to knit them! I do believe this will be a great sweater come fall. (Come on fall!) I’m at eight inches for the first sleeve, one more inch to go and then on to sleeve #2.

On the needles I’ve got a second pair of Rose City Rollers. I made one pair with US 2 needles and the second-to-largest size (60 stitches cast on). They’re really cute. I think they’ll be great come clog weather. I had a lot of yarn left over and so I weighed the yarn and decided I had enough for another pair. This time, I decided to use a smaller needle (US 1 1/2) to make a little more negative ease. I’ve got one of the socks done and the second sock is nearly there. I like the hand of the yarn which is without any wool. I’ve not used Berroco Comfort Sock before … we’ll see how they wear. The photo below was taken on Friday at my knitting class. Mind you, I’m the teacher. Can you see what I’ve done? One of my students took the photo while I laughed until I cried. For the third time on Friday.

Good Grief! I’m the teacher!

If you have a look at the sock, It has a nice heel flap and turned heel at the bottom of the photograph. AND then I continued on and knitted the foot and another heel flap and turned the heel. Knitting can be so humbling.

Below is what the socks look like now. I’ve frogged the second heel and heel flap and finished the first sock and am moving right along on sock number two. I made the first pair with a rounded toe so this time I’m making the square toe. The pattern has instructions for both. Isn’t that nice? Do you have a favorite toe or a favorite sock pattern, for that matter?

I have been working away at my Aestlight Shawl by Gudrun Johnston. I started this on my birthday because my friend and co-worker went on a trip to Shetland with none other than Gudrun Johnston (and MaryJane Mucklestone, too.) I decided that I’d knit a Shetland style Hap shawl because I didn’t get to go – I’m not whining, I’m delighted that she had a chance to go!

The body of the shawl was done and I started the edging when I realized that I didn’t have enough yarn to finish the shawl’s edging (I wrote about it here.) Luckily we had another hank at the shop where I work and it seems to be a close-enough match. So, I’m continuing to work my way across the shawl and enjoying the process. I’ve gotten my old iPad out of mothballs (not really) so that I can use my knitting app to keep better track of the edging repeats.

We’ve had some fun company this summer and as usual I’ve forgotten to take photographs of the people we so enjoy. We’ve had gorgeous late summer weather so we’ve been enjoying the lake and we feel so lucky to be able to live here. We have a lot of projects planned: an oak tree to split, our guest cottage needs a serious cleanup and fix up. The dog hair is always collecting in little tumbleweeds all over the house. The windows need washed, the screens need a rinse and the weeds have totally taken over the flower beds. We still have one bag of either mulch or compost that we never spread. It’s all a little bit overwhelming, honestly. Hence, perhaps my “mailaise”?

Gone knitting.

July 4th

Maine Blueberry Muffins

We had such a wonderful weekend!

A few weeks ago I would have told you that it was going to be a bummer because we wanted to go to Massachusetts to visit with my brothers and their families but as it turned out, we had to stay home (the bummer) because I forgot that I was signed up to work on Saturday and our kennel was closed on Monday and Tuesday due to lack of staffing. But it turned out to be a great weekend with a visit from my college roommate(s)!!!

I lived with C. sophomore year and we’ve been fast friends for nearly five decades. We had such a good time – we always do. We went to the garden store, Longellow’s, a huge hit with all of our out-of-town visitors, to get flowers for my pots outside. We had an “adventure” finding Maine peas and strawberries and we feasted on ice cream, homemade blueberry muffins, our first (not grown by us) native tomato, salmon, steak and quesadillas. We went on a “cocktail cruise” and did a lot of porch sitting and chatting. I did a bit of garden tending, we snipped back the garlic scapes, picked a few leaves of lettuce, pulled a few weeds, and spent an hour handing our our lake association’s Loon project signs. We watched the Friends of Messalonskee (lake association) annual 4th of July Boat Parade – we had the largest turn out ever! At the end of the parade route there were 40+ boats! We had a bonus visit on Sunday from my freshman roommate and her partner. L and I lived down the hall from C and her roommate, now deceased. We’ve all known each other for a long time and it’s wonderful to be together. L happened to be in Central Maine (across the lake from us) for a night on their way to the north woods. I wish we had remembered to take photos!

It felt so great to slow down and recover from the last few months of “rat race” and I’m trying to figure out how to keep that (more) balanced feeling closer to the everyday. I need to take more time for myself because I need it.

Home sweet home – from the water, with loon sign

I had decked the house out with our buntings and our flag was flying. We looked mighty patriotic, if I do say so myself. (Today the buntings will come down and be put away for another year.)

What I didn’t do for the last few days was knit. I am rather amazed, frankly. I didn’t knit a stitch Saturday through Monday.

Billie for “Jambalaya”

Last night I sat down to start a new baby sweater as a sample for the store. I cast it on three times and each time made a mistake in knitting rows. Each time because the directions seem hastily written (and it’s a major yarn company’s pattern.) There are directions for rows “hidden” in other directions and they’re not “obvious” to me. So, each time I frogged the start of the sweater and cast on again. And then I realized there weren’t three rows of garter stitch before the stockinette stitches began and I frogged it again. I finally put it in time out and picked up a different WIP – Billie – also by a major yarn company and I’ve had success with (almost) knitting two pairs of them. Pair number two is down the first leg. These pants are so cute, I’d like to have a pair for myself. Hmmm, that gives me an idea.

Last week I finished the Mermaid Tail that I was knitting. It makes me smile just looking at it. The pattern is Mermaid Cocoon Newborn Photo Prop by Angie Hartley. I knit mine in Plymouth Yarn Encore Starz in the teal colorway with sparkles. It’s perfectly gaudy and I can’t wait to gift it. I’m going to attempt a little matching headband – perhaps with a shell as a button embellishment. I’ll have to try to drill a hole in the shell and who knows how that will work.

My Elton cardigan is languishing. I picked up the arm stitches on Friday and haven’t touched it since. I have to find a short needle to knit the sleeves and hope I can avoid using DPNs because they make sleeves so much clunkier to knit. I have a Ciao Goo Interchangeable Minis set and I’m crossing fingers and toes that the needle size that I need isn’t already being used for another project. (I’ll have to go on a hunt for them in project bags both hidden and in plain sight in my atelier.

Tubular Bind Off

I did finish the body of the sweater and did my first tubular bind off and I’m wondering where this fabulous technique for a stretchy, clean and neat bind off has been all my knitting life. It’s perfect!

Today is Wednesday and my husband and I both have the day “off”. I’ve been languishing – with a few emails and a phone call of two – on the front porch in the sun with my coffee. It’s nearly noon and I am choosing to enjoy the day with no pressure to “do” stuff. While I’m tempted to do the sheets and towels and remake the guest room bed, I think I’ll take my sample baby sweater out to the porch and cast on again. Persistence for the win!

Gone knitting!

A Return to Summer … in May?

Like a Summer Day but May

If this past weekend is any indication, we are going to have a wicked warm summer. It was close to 90 degrees … too hot, too early. Thankfully, the temperatures have returned to more normal and we got a little bit of rain.

I’ve been working like a crazy woman. I don’t know if I’ve shared the fact that I am president of our lake association and we have had a lot going on. We are doing a huge project in the entire watershed area in order to limit the amount of runoff into the lake. We’ve identified 247 different properties that need to have significant work done and we are in the process of applying for a 319 grant to help landowners pay for the improvements. AND we are moving out of our office, changing storage areas, and still trying to run our normal milfoil removal program and our courtesy boat inspector program at our two boat launches. It’s a lot!

I estimate that I am spending about 20 hours weekly on lake stuff. Mondays are my lake days and I almost always spend the full day working on lake stuff – meetings, committees, fundraising, memberships, banking stuff, finances … and on and on. I’m so grateful that I have a good group of people helping me with a lot of it. I’d like to clone them!

Add my real job (the one that pays me) and writing a newsletter for the yarn shop and I’ve been super busy. I’m trying to remember to make time for my sweet husband – he puts up with my nonsense without complaining – but I haven’t been baking as much as I normally do (or that he’d like) and I’m (almost) getting my normal house stuff done. The yard, though, needs a lot of work and our project this year is to fix up our guest cottage … I sure hope it gets done. We’ll be renting it once it’s finished.

My Traveling Sweater

I’ve finished my “Traveling” sweater and brought it to the store to show if off on Friday. This was a fun knit and I’ve inspired a couple of my students to give knitting an adult-sized sweater, too! When we are all finished with our sweaters, we’ll take a group photo … in the fall. This is a Knitting Plain & Simple top-down pullover pattern. I used ten balls, 9 different colorways, of Plymouth Gina. I chose the balls fairly randomly and knit the entire ball and then spit-joined the next one. The only “fudging” I did was to sort of match the first part of the sleeves to the start of the body. It just looks neater.

The other thing I did a little bit differently is to turn it inside out. That’s right, I’m going to wear it on the “wrong” side or the reverse stockinette side. SO, to make that happen, I had to frog back the bottom of the body and then re-knit it so that it rolled the right way. I did the same to the sleeves and the collar. It fits well, it’s going to be really comfy when the weather gets colder again. (It’s worsted weight and I tend to run warm, so … )

Noro Striped Mittens

I also finished my Noro Striped and lined mittens. So, this was a stash busting project. I’ve had a skein of this Noro yarn in my studio for a couple of years. When I saw these mittens, I jumped at the idea of using the one skein. I only had to buy two more skeins to get it done, but it’s done! This pattern uses two skeins of Noro (or you could use a worsted or Aran weight yarn of your choice) yarn for the stripes and another yarn, I used Berroco Folio, for the lining. These are fun mittens and I love them … but I’ll be gifting them because I don’t NEED them. (Remember my Northman Mittens? And my 4-Needle Snowflake mittens? And my Gray Fuzzy Mittens? LOL. I have a few pairs. I don’t need any more.) I do know who is going to get these lovely mittens. She’ll be so surprised.

I have been working right along on one more pair of socks for my daughter. I made it to the heel flap of the second sock this morning when I was waiting for my car to have its oil changed. One heel flap and on to the foot. They won’t take long now. (And I’ll return the clean socks I borrowed when I was in New York when I send the new socks.)

Last but not least, I’ve cast on an Elton cardigan by Joji Locatelli. One of my co-workers and a student and I are doing a KAL/CAL at the store where we work and knit. Our Spring Sweater KAL/CAL only requires that participants use fingering weight yarn for their sweater. They can choose any sweater pattern to knit or crochet and there are no deadlines or pressure. It’s meant to be a fun, no pressure, supportive experience and we have 17 people in the group. We’ve had one virtual meeting that kicked off the KAL/CAL on May 1 and we’re having our second meeting, a hybrid meeting, in person and virtually, on 5/21. I need to make some progress for that meeting! I’m feeling the pressure, for sure. I bought the Elton pattern ages ago and then used the yarn that I was planning to use to knit a Love Note instead. So, this time, I’ve chosen for my main color, Malabrigo Sock in the Cote D’Azure colorway (a really deep navy blue) and for the accent color, Berroco Aerial in a deep navy. I think it’s going to be elegant and I’m thinking that I could wear it to my step-daughter’s wedding in December if I can find a dress to wear under it. I’ll add a photo or two when I have enough knitted to bother to take a photo.

Fiber Trends Felted Clogs Pre-felting

I just finished the sewing up of a pair of slippers that I knitted for my husband for his birthday. I only need to felt them now and sew on the sole. His last pair were completely worn out and I had him throw them away. They had suede sole pieces. The new ones will have a full suede sole. I’m getting so fancy … or he is. LOL.

Gone knitting.

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!