Rough Re-Entry; Wonderful Vacation!

Above the Rooftops – the Perch

We had the most wonderful week of vacation in Rhode Island with my kids and their significant others … and their dogs. This was the second time we’ve gathered in Weekapaug where my mother used to rent back when my children were little. They all have memories of our times there. This year we were short Kate and her family. She was in Seattle in rehearsal for a new play but she’s home now and preparing for the arrival of their first baby, a baby girl, in a few weeks. But we had a really lovely time together and the weather was glorious, the beach was gorgeous, the food was delicious and the week went by way too quickly.

Lobster Dinner!!!

This year we baked a cake, we went to a vineyard for a wine tasting (Stonington Vineyard in Stonington, Connecticut.) We took a picnic and tasted wines as we ate a yummy lunch. I took lots of walks because I’m trying to start new habits and be healthier, move more. Some of us played golf and some of us had a meal at the Ocean House. We all wandered Watch Hill and had a lobster roll and some peach ice cream. Most of all, though, we spent time relaxing together.

And then we all had to go home. My re-entry has been rough. Today I feel like I’ve not been away. My stress level has returned to pre-vacation levels and it’s only been 24 hours since we arrived home. I had a meeting to attend before I even had time to unpack and then today the in-person board meeting (for the board that I lead) fell back to a zoom meeting – after a lot of reminders and a lot of work finding a place where we could meet in person. I’m disappointed, frustrated, and concerned about the future of the organization. I have one more year as president of the board and there is no clear path for the future leadership. Too much falls to the president and burn-out is chronic. Tomorrow I will attempt to share my feelings and frustrations without getting emotional. That will be difficult for me – I have ocular incontinence, after all. I look forward to regaining 20 hours each week once my leadership role is ended. That’s what I’m thinking about right now.

I have been knitting, but not too much, while we were on vacation. I started and have nearly finished a tiny sweater for my granddaughter. I have made the Newborn Vertebrae before as a gift and it’s a quick knit in tiny yarn so it’s perfect for a fall in New York City sweater for the baby. Newborn Vertebrae (free on Ravelry) is a top down raglan sweater, an easy knit, knit flat. It’s designed to cover baby’s back and shoulders because baby’s chest is almost always against a caregiver. I wanted my granddaughter to have a rainbow sweater and this is the closest yarn that I can find on short notice. I’ll continue my search for another, larger, rainbow sweater in the future. All I have left is to pick up the stitches around the opening and knit a few rows of ribbing.

I also finished knitting my Aestlight Shawl. It’s blocking as I type. Although … to prove that even the “expert” knitters make mistakes, I noticed a dropped stitch as I was blocking it. It looks like I dropped the stitch during the bind off and because I didn’t weave in all the ends, it’s going to be relatively simple to fix. I love the color and I enjoyed knitting it. I think I have to have a shawl sale to thin out my collection and so I can continue knitting them. I have reached the point where I have too many (is that a possibility?)

I also got the button band mostly finished on my Elton. SO … all I have to finish is the bind off and then the collar and buttons. I need seven or eight 5/8″ buttons but I like to purchase buttons after the sweaters are finished. It’s always nice to put them on a finished button band and see how they look on the actual garment. Because this sweater is so light, I think I’ll need to buy light buttons because anything heavy will sag IMHO. Once I get that accomplished, I’ll have a new sweater to wear to Rhinebeck!!!

I’m going to Rhinebeck! My friend Glenda suggested it and we’ve gotten our tickets to ride the bus from Webs in Massachusetts up to the festival. We will stay near Webs on Friday and Saturday nights to make the driving easier on us. I’m really looking forward to it. And to a possible reunion with some of my fiber camp friends. Since we have only one day, we’ll be studying the maps closely and making the most of our experience.

Off to the post office to pick up our mail.

Gone postal? Gone knitting.

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.

Relaxing Weekend

We had a phenomenally beautiful weekend. The weather was picture perfect – not too warm and not too cool, sunny and just perfect. We had company for the weekend, too, so we were able to spend a lot of time on the porch and I got lots of time to knit.

I’ve been working a lot this weekend on a gift for my niece and her husband who are expecting their first baby, a boy, in just about a month. I’ve got several gifts ready to send or bring to them but this is the one that I am most excited about. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read my blog (I’m pretty sure that there are only a handful of you who do, so I’m going to risk posting progress photos of it.

The pattern is called Owl Baby Vest and it’s a free pattern on Ravelry. I am knitting it with a great red Vintage DK yarn. I have one skein and it should be enough to finish the whole garment. When I saw it I knew it HAD to be the “sweater” for my niece who loves owls (and her husband is an Alabama fan so the color is spot on, too.)

The pattern has been an interesting experience. I don’t believe it’s been tech edited so the language and the steps aren’t always clear. I have minimally altered several of the steps, starting with the very beginning. I didn’t want the starting point to be under an arm but I wanted it at the center back which meant knitting 27 stitches before starting the owl pattern. I also had to “fix” the underarm decreases and the setup for dividing the back from the front and the two sides of the front, too. I’ll put the specific steps that I made differently into the notes on my Ravelry project page for this little vest.

As of today, I’ve attached the shoulders and I’ve picked up the stitches around the collar (t’s a v-neck vest so there were quite a few stitches to pick up.) I’ll get them stitched in the next couple of days and the arms, too. I’m excited to see what it looks like when the pieces are all done! My plan is to add stitched on eyes for the owls – I haven’t decided if I will sew on eye buttons or if I’ll keep it even safer and stitch on eyes with yarn. But the cabled owls need eyes.

I’ll update this post when the little owl vest is finished.

Bird’s Eye Lace

Today I pulled out my Aeslight Shawl again after a brief vest knitting respite. I have finished all but the knitted on edging. It also occurred to me that I don’t have enough of the yarn for the larger size shawl which is the one that I’ve knitted of course. So, I’ll be hoping to find another skein of yarn, Malabrigo Sock in the Tiziano Red colorway. I’ll be crossing my fingers and toes. If I don’t find the red, I’ll be forced to choose a second colorway for the edging which isn’t my preferred result but I think it will be acceptable. If it’s not, I’ll be starting it over with a new yarn because I really love this shawl. AND I chose it to knit because my friend and coworker just came home from Shetland.

Aeslight is knit in traditional Shetland construction: a garter stitch triangle and then stitches are picked up in the yarn-over edge and you knit a border which, in this case, is a bird’s eye lace pattern that I loved knitting once I learned to look at my knitting. The third section is a knitted-on edging. I’ve just completed two repeats of the edging and it’s fun but my tired brain needed to rest tonight. And, I’m not sure about the yarn amounts. So … it’ll have to wait until I get to the store and see if there is one more skein of red yarn. Or not. What a rookie mistake!

Two Repeats of the Edging

Gone knitting.

Baby and Birthday Gift Knitting and More

Well, now that all of the gifts have been given, I can share with you the final photographs. I delivered a carload of handmade gifts and it was fun to see them opened and appreciated.

My middle daughter turned 35 last month. Yikes! Not sure how that’s possible. For her birthday, I (finally) patched and re-made the quilt that I gave to her when she was still in a crib. I don’t remember exactly when I made it but I do remember it hanging behind her crib in our house in Sharon, CT. We lived there until February 1990 … so I made it before that. A couple of years ago, her new puppy chewed through the outside border and binding and batting … oops! I took it back with the intention of repairing it sooner than later but it just didn’t happen until now.

I untied it, pulled the quilt top off of the batting and backing, patched some holes in the quilt top and bought new fabric for the border, backing and a new cotton batting. I also took the quilt that had been tied to a friend of mine who put it on her long arm for me and quilted it. It’s gorgeous! I used the left-over bits to make the binding and hand-stitched it onto the quilt and even put a label on it.

This was a true labor of love. The quilt was in storage for a lot of years and I have at least two more in the linen cupboard in our house. Seeing how well this one came out, I wonder if I want to pull the other two out and get them done “right”. I have soooooo many unfinished projects. It’s time to get them all done. (Before I die! LOL)

I pulled all of these photos from my blog’s photo catalog which means that I’ve written about them all before. These are most of the things that I took to the baby shower. I’ve been collecting them for years. I also brought a blanket, one of my favorite knits ever, a Metro Card rattle and a little dress.

So far, the hits were the mermaid tail and the little Clementine dress. All of the details for each of these projects are on my Ravelry project page. I’m “lindar” (without the quotation marks).

Gone knitting.

Hot! Hot! Hot!

I just wrote the store’s weekly newsletter which I’ll wrap up tomorrow morning and send out. I must be “enjoying” the stifling hot weather because Hot! Hot! Hot! has appeared here and there, too. Mainers have been a lot cooler than those in other parts of the country and the world but most of us here don’t have central air conditioning in our homes. We are very lucky to have three window units in our house that keep us more comfortable than we’d be otherwise … I’m not much for hot weather! In fact, I loathe it. Why do you think we were happy to move from Florida to Maine?! Without A/C I’d be parked in front of a fan all day and nothing would get done – no knitting, no cleaning, no laundry. Nothing. I don’t have that luxury right now … I have so much to do (and I’ve gotten so much done!)

I have completely finished my daughter’s quilt repair project. It’s bound, labeled and ready to wrap up. My daughter’s birthday is tomorrow but I didn’t dare send it to her in NY City. I’ll carry it by hand when I go down to the city next week. No photos for now. I’ll update my post here when I’ve delivered the quilt.

I finished knitting the Mabel cardigan in Berroco Vintage. This was a fun and quick knit. I made the 6-12 months size and hopefully it will go with the raspberry Billie pants that I made awhile back. I only have to sew on three little buttons and it’s good to go. I love the raspberry color!

Mabel by Fiona Alice

This week I designed and knit a teeny tiny Metro Card rattle. It was a special request from a mom-to-be that lives in NY City. There is a shower in her honor next weekend and I’ll be making a crazy quick trip to New York City for the shower and to bring some of the things that I’ve created. Lucky that I had a real Metro Card to copy! Baby girl will have her own card so she can travel the city when she’s born. I used Tahki Classic Cotton and a US 4 knitting needle.

The other baby that I’ve been knitting for is arriving first but his mama-to-be hasn’t decided if she wants to have a shower. Time will tell but I’m knitting for baby boy (his name will be Noah) and I can’t wait to meet both babies! I looooooove babies! (My husband is concerned that he may never see me once they’re born … and he’s right to worry! LOL)

Metro Card Rattle by Queen Bee Knits

I made a pair of tiny socks for a baby gift. I have a bunch of little bits of sock yarn in my atelier and I had (sort of) run out of projects to knit at my class yesterday so I picked up one of the larger bits and made a pair of baby socks. Baby socks can be knit in a couple of hours so they’re very satisfying.

Classic Socks by Yankee Knitter

I have been ignoring my Elton cardigan. I have started the first sleeve but I’ve been busy knitting baby gifts and have set the sweater aside for now. I’ll be picking it back up on the next week or two and will hopefully finish it so I can wear it as it gets cool later this summer.

I’m starting to think about Christmas gifts, too. And fall knitting. The heat may be getting to me. I’ll have to get rolling on my Arne & Carlos Advent jumpers, too, if they’re going to be done by December 1st. If I don’t get them done, I fear that they’ll never get done! If not, this year, there’s always next year, right?

Gone knitting.

My Needles are Clicking!

Perfect Maine Morning

It was a picture perfect day today but really warm. I don’t love the warm and muggy days. That’s why I live in Maine.

I spent the day getting all sorts of little projects taken care of … laundry, I baked a blueberry coffee cake with streusel topping (the butter had been sitting on the kitchen counter for a couple of days), made some iced green tea, cleaned the kitchen, made phone calls, worked on the details for our lake association annual meeting that’s coming up soon, and had a meeting. I am so grateful for the air conditioners in our kitchen/living room and my atelier. It makes getting things done so much easier – if I didn’t have the air conditioners I would be a lump in front of a fan.

But this isn’t about that.

I’ve had a request for a baby rattle that’s rather unique – it’s to look like a New York City Metro Card. When I was at the store on Friday I bought some Tahki Yarns Cotton Classic yarn in a golden yellow and black (for the stripe). I also grabbed a blue but I think that will be going back because the lettering will be added by embroidering and the cotton yarn will be too heavy.

It took me several times to get the size right. I originally thought it should be five inches wide but that turned out to be too big. The real cards are much smaller so I decided to cut it down to three inches wide and two inches tall. Figuring out the three stripes wasn’t too difficult and I’m quite pleased with the basic part of the “card”.

I knitted a plain yellow rectangle to be the back of the card. I intend to do a 3-needle bind off for one side of the toy and I’ll seam the sides when it’s stuffed and after the embroidery is finished. That will happen tomorrow. When the light is better and when I’m feeling fresher.

The biggest question to me is, how do I make it rattle. I’ve been researching tonight and one tutorial had a fabric tube stuffed with bells. That might work … and I’ll stuff around it with fiber fill. Time will tell if it will work. I’ll update after the gift is delivered.

Gone knitting!

Labors of Love

Our flowers in the perennial gardens are showing off again. We don’t love gardening but we do it because we love seeing the flowers when they decide to bloom. And each year we are thrilled all over again because they’re so beautiful. This iris is one of the ones that I always forget about. I expect it to be a white iris and then this showy cousin of the white iris (that doesn’t exist) appears! It’s wonderful and (maybe) worth all of the brown tail moth rash that I am struggling with.

This is a great time to be looking at our gardens. The hollyhocks are blooming, the Stella D’oro lilies, the Iris and the daisies are all abloom. So are the hydrangeas (and we have a lot of hydrangeas) and the catmint. The bees and hummingbirds are happy campers and we are, too.

I’ve been working away at the different projects that I have on my list. I’ve finished two pairs of Billie pants for two new babies coming in the fall. These little pants are stinking cute! I’ve also finished a Kirby cardigan, a sample for the store, which is also going to be a KAL later on in the summer.

Kirby cardigan by Asa Buchta

Kirby by Asa Buchta is a simple top down cardigan with a little bit of lace around the yoke for babies 3 to 24 months. Suggested yarn, and the yarn I used, is Vintage DK by Berroco. I used the colorway that was in the pattern photograph. This little sweater is going to be part of a KAL with the Maine Yarn Cruise later this summer. Our Berroco rep at the store, Andra, had made several of these little sweaters in various DK weight yarns that Berroco makes. They were all adorable. This is a fun little sweater to knit.

When I started knitting this sweater, I was tired after the 4th of July weekend. I started it three times and each time I frogged it back and started again. The sweater that I was starting didn’t look like the photo on the pattern page. I’m a good knitter and I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I must have skipped a couple of rows. I texted a co-worker friend who I also knew to be knitting this sweater for her future granddaughter. I wondered if she had had a challenge with starting the sweater and did hers look like the one on the pattern. It didn’t. She was one garter ridge short, too. So, I wrote to the designer through Ravelry and told her what was happening. Come to find out the pattern was wrong and was missing a pair of garter rows following the button hole row. Yay, me! I was the one who noticed it. The pattern will be updated (and it appears that I was on July 7th.)

I’ve finished my second Billie pants. These pants are so cute and I can’t wait to see them on the babies that I’m knitting for. One is expected in September and one in October. The pants are knitted in Berroco’s Vintage DK (or Vintage Baby). These yarns are basically the same yarn but one is in 50 gram balls and the other is in 100 gram balls. Since these pants (size 6 months) required 2 balls of Vintage Baby, I chose to buy one skein of Vintage DK. The yarn is nice to work with, soft and machine washable and dryable. I love the folded ribbing at the waist and the ankles and the extra room at the butt where the diaper bulk will be. Now I need to make two sweaters before the babies arrive! I’ve got one planned and need to find the second pattern. I have ideas!

Mermaid Cocoon Photo Prop by Angie Hartley

So, this is a special gift for a special baby. The mother of this little girl-to-be was a HUGE fan of Ariel (The Little Mermaid) when she was a little girl and I think this will be a fun gift for her baby-to-be at her baby shower later this month. When I first saw this, I filed it in the back of my mind because I thought it was really cute in the sparkly yarn and it was so appropriate for the mother! The yarn is Plymouth Encore Starz in a teal-y blue with sparkle. I’ve also knitted a simple garter stitch headband to go with it. I’d love to make some braids with an orange yarn and attach them. I hope I’ll have time. Add a fork and it’ll be a hilarious photo prop for a newborn.

I have quite a pile of baby clothes now. I love babies and I’m so excited about these little ones. I hope that I’ll have lots of time to hold them and love them and I know that I’ll be knitting for them. I also have to get back to my Elton cardigan. I only have two sleeves to knit … and the button bands … and then it’ll be done. I hope that it’s a good fit and that I can find a dress to go with it – we are heading to Washington, DC in December for my bonus daughter’s wedding and I am thinking that I can use it for that event … maybe with some sparkly buttons? I also have to focus on the Arne & Carlos Advent jumpers. I have exactly half of them knitted … maybe I’ll give myself some grace and another year to complete the set. If I really concentrated on them, I could get them done in a couple of weeks. Time will tell.

I have another project that I will write about in a separate post when I get it finished. It’s a big one and a true labor of love … all over again.

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!

What a Week! Let’s Stick to Knitting

Mullein in bloom

What a week. What a series of weeks. On top of the Supreme Court decision, I’ve been so busy for the last several months volunteering for our lake association. Maybe too busy. I really needed to take this weekend off. I needed the time to recharge my batteries and to have some time to process everything. In addition to the Supreme Court decision, today would have been my father’s 100th birthday. He died suddenly in 1985 at the age of 62. Now that I’m nearly 64, it’s so evident that he was too young to die. And he’s missed so much. I would so love to be able to talk to him again. I have so many questions (for him and my mother.)

Trip Around the World Quilt

This week I finally got to repairing my daughter’s quilt. I made this quilt 35 years ago when my second-born was still in a crib. I remember hanging it behind her crib in her room in our Sharon, CT house. This quilt was a special gift that I made for her when my life wasn’t really my own. I was a stay-at-home mother of two little girls and quilts are an expensive hobby on one income – and I didn’t buy the fabric at an “expensive” (quality) fabric store.

Back in 1987 we had only the polyester, fluffy quilt batting. Since my daughter’s quilt was a tied quilt, the batting had separated and was extra fluffy in some areas and nonexistent in others. But it was her quilt and she loved it … until her puppy had a few unsupervised minutes and chewed a good bit of one side of the border. I got it back to repair probably two years ago and I just haven’t taken the time to fix it.

I had found the fabric for a new backing and a new border that matched pretty well. I also bought some red print fabric for the binding. I bought one of the new, better, more stable, natural batts. I used some of the old borders to make patches for the holes in the quilt top and stitched them on. And then I added the new borders … unfortunately, I didn’t remember what I had planned when I bought the fabric and I cut them months ago and they weren’t exactly what I wanted. But I made it work and sewed them on. I spent a good bit of time trimming threads from the back of the quilt (it had been washed a couple of times in 35 years) and on Friday after work, I dropped all the pieces off with a dear friend who is going to quilt it on her long arm. The quilting will make the quilt more stable and it will last longer. Once quilted, I’ll trim it and measure it and then cut and apply the binding. I will machine sew one side of the binding and hand sew the other. And then it will be ready to gift back to my daughter – a new old quilt for the ages.

Whoooo Loves Ya, Baby?

This owl bib is the third one that I have knitted. This one is absolutely for my niece’s baby boy because the mama-to-be loves owls. And I love this designer! She has lots of cute bib and washcloth pattern on Ravelry and they’re free! The pattern is Whooo Loves Ya, Baby? and I knit it in a premium cotton, Berroco Pima 100. I love the peach color and I love the yarn. I have a hank of green Pima 100 and I will be making more bibs. (All details are on my Ravelry project page.) The other two bibs I posted about here.

I knit these two sets of hats and thumbless mittens for two babies-to-be. I love knitting baby gifts and these are so cute! I knit them with a new yarn in the LYS where I work, Lang Merino 200 Bebe. One skein was enough to make both the hat and the mittens – complete with the icord string to hold them in the baby’s jacket. This is fingering weight yarn (it’s a fine yarn, Muffin) and will be a good weight for a fall baby. The pattern is a free pattern at our shop. The sample in the shop was knitted by a customer and this is her pattern. If anybody wants the pattern, please let me know and I can send it to you via email.

This morning I needed something to do for my family. I needed to disconnect and go outside and it was summery-warm here in Maine yesterday and today. So, we got out early and headed to Stevenson’s Strawberry Farm in Wayne, Maine. The berries were ripe for the picking and in about 45 minutes we picked 12 pounds of berries. When we got home I made the crust and put it in the refrigerator to chill. After lunch I washed my car for the first time in a few years – we have a pump that pulls lake water for our gardens and outside water activities and it wasn’t working properly. We finally got it, or rather the pipe from the lake, fixed and we’re back in outside water business again.

Once the crust was chilled, I made the rest of the Strawberry Glaze Pie. In my Friday morning knitting class, Jan brought in a strawberry glaze pie and after having a slice (or two), I knew I had to make one for my husband. It was a delicious fresh strawberry pie. The berries are perfectly sweet and this pie should be the most wonderful, fresh strawberry pie. I may have to make one tomorrow for my board meeting. If I plan my time well in the morning, I should be able to make the pie crust, go pick up my groceries, make the pie and then head to the car dealership so they can figure out what’s wrong with my screen – it keeps going black in the middle of a trip where I need to use GPS. Baking was something that I did with my grandmother and it always centers and grounds me and helps me to process my emotions and events of the day. I needed it today!

Our gardens are coming along. We have peppers forming and tomatoes blossoming. The garlic scapes are ready to be pinched and brought inside. Tonight we’re having pasta with the garlic pesto from last year’s harvest. Our lettuce is almost ready to pick and the peas are ready to have a trellis to climb. My Shasta Daisies are just about to pop. My dad loved his gardens and I hope he’d be proud of what we’ve built here and the good life we have here in Maine. My dad loved Maine.

I’m sure as I process the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, I’ll have something to say. I’m absolutely pro-choice and once again it’s about wealthy white men needing to be in control. This time it’s a dangerous line being crossed where politics and religion are being prioritized over the law and people of color and the poor are going bear the brunt of this decision. Women deserve better.

Gone knitting.

Pumpkin Hats, etc.

I’ve been working on knitting down my (sizable) stash. When a knitter talks about his/her stash, we all respond that we have bins and bins of yarn. And we do. It seems to me that we all think we have the largest stash but we likely don’t. BUT mine is sizable and I’m proud to say that I did really well to knit only from stash UNTIL I went back to work and customers started giving me ideas again.

This is the yarn corner of my atelier. I had the shelf (and a matching one on the other side of the window holds my knitting books and fabric in the cupboard. Sadly, I have three Ikea shelf sets that also hold yarn. A total of about a dozen fabric boxes in addition to my built-ins. It’s a good sized collection … and I like to think that it adds to the r-value of our home.

Anyway … I digress. I have been trying to knit down my stash so that when I die my children won’t have to deal with it. Partly because they don’t have a clue as to its value. At the end of the year, I dumped out all of the little bins and boxes and went through the yarn to try to cull some that I knew I wouldn’t be knitting with – not ever. I also noticed some that I could knit up and get out. One of those was the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece that I have had forever (or the last time I had fall babies to knit for.) I knew that this yarn had to be a pumpkin hat for my great-nephew-to-be who is due in September and who will live in Salem, MA. A perfect gift for a Salem baby.

So, last week I cast on and knit the smallest size pumpkin hat. I had forgotten how cute the hat is and how little yarn those tiny hats use. I had a significant amount still left. Surely, I thought, I can use it all up if I make a medium-size pumpkin hat, right? This weekend I cast on again and am nearly finished with pumpkin hat number two. And guess what? I have a feeling I have enough for a third hat, too. The extra hats will go into my gifts drawer or maybe I’ll have a giveaway on my Instagram page. I haven’t done that for a long time.

The Fiber Trends Patrick’s Pumpkin hat is really one of my favorite patterns. It’s a clever construction with a “shark tooth” piece done up first in garter stitch and then added to a rolled brim. When the hat is finished and blocked you can tack the pieces to that they stay in the right spot. The pumpkin part is so simple and yet so obviously a large orange gourd and it makes a great gift for a fall baby’s arrival. Especially in New England.

Cotton Fleece yarn by Brown Sheep is what I have always bought for this hat. I’m not sure why but it is. I love knitting with this cotton/wool blend yarn. It’s not as stretchy or squishy as full wool but for a baby’s tender head, it’s a soft but warm alternative to acrylics or acrylic blends. And we all know that cotton yarn doesn’t really hold its shape. So … this seems the perfect solution. I also love Brown Sheep because it’s an American company.

Brown Sheep was started over 100 years ago and pivoted in the 1970s when farming prices were low and the market for lamb was dropping off. The Brown family pivoted and began processing wool from their sheep and the rest is history. The Brown family (now with the last name Wells after a couple of generations of marriage) still owns and runs Brown Sheep.

I’ve made a LOT of these hats but on this last one, for whatever reason, I increased in every stitch when the color changed to orange so I had WAY more than 90 stitches. After an inch or so, when the stitches were so squished on the 16″ needle, I had a second look at the pattern and kept knitting. After two inches, I pulled it out, realizing my error. Good grief. Knitting keeps me humble.

I recovered my place again last night while I was watching the Tony Awards. I’m about ready to decrease for the crown of the hat and then I’ll weigh the remaining yarn to see if I have enough for one more hat. It must be my Yankee upbringing that makes it difficult for me to “dispose” of yarn that could still be used. I hope my fingers and wrists hold up well into old age.

Gone knitting.