Summer Solstice – a little different this year

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. For the past two years on this day, I’ve been knitting from sun-up to sundown to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s Disease in honor of my mother who passed away after a long decline with this illness.

This year, however, I’m really busy with volunteering as president of our lake association and this is the season where all the planning (or sometimes the lack of planning) comes to fruition and I have to take the morning to accomplish some lake tasks – register our DASH (pontoon boat for suction harvesting invasive milfoil) boat, pick up some plastic boxes to store papers so they won’t be eaten by mice in storage, etc.) And I have a couple of phone calls to make as well. By the time I actually get to sit down to knit, it will be noon at the earliest – and I was out of the house before 9am.

But as I knit today, I’ll be thinking about my mother and the disease that she so feared as a younger woman. I remember her saying things like, “I must be getting Alzheimer’s,” when she forgot something. If there’s a reality of manifesting your own destiny, then I’d say my mother did just that. She was forgetting things that mattered by the time my children we in elementary school and she was in her mid-sixties. My age. She forgot her purse when we went to the grocery store, she forgot to take the emergency brake off when she was driving the car, she forgot that she’d already mixed the mayonnaise mixture for potato salad. She couldn’t organize things like the grocery list and shopping for groceries so she said that there was enough even though there wasn’t. She forgot how to feed her cat and would stand in the middle of her kitchen with a can of cat food and couldn’t figure out what else she needed to get the food to the cat. She forgot how to make coffee in her coffee pot so she would walk to the local restaurant for her coffee and say that she liked the walk in the morning. She left her purse at the muffin shop, and the jewelry store, and forgot it when she went to the gas station. The list is lengthy. She forgot so much that we couldn’t leave her alone with the grandchildren and that was very hurtful. We had to take away her keys to the car eventually and hire people to help her and care for her. And eventually we had to find her a home in an assisted living care home. None of us enjoyed any of that.

And then mom forgot who we were.

She lived for ten years after her diagnosis. Watching our mother and grandmother fade away was so sad. The kids didn’t want to see her at the end, preferring to remember her as the vibrant, active, fun, happy grandmother. She became agitated and tearful, she couldn’t speak and finally she was bedridden, curled in fetal position, hands atrophied, gaunt, empty-eyed. She passed away in the fall of 2008. She was 76 years old.

I’ll knit today for my mother and in hopes that a cure will be found so that families and victims of this horrid disease don’t have to experience it as we did. And I’ll have a bourbon old fashioned cocktail tonight in her memory. My mother and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye but she loved me and she adored my children and I wish she could see them today. She’s missed so much and we have missed her, too. Cheers to you, Mom. I hope you can see how great your family has grown and continues to grow. We are all here because of you (and some help from Dad, too.)

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.

Thank You, Kim! (A Wonderful Moment)

Not a great photo of me but a wonderful memory

I had a wonderful moment last week when one of our customers, who I’d helped with a knitting challenge, came in to say thank you. With flowers!

Kim is a relatively new knitter and she wanted to knit a shawl to keep her warm. She chose a relatively simple shawl, Truly Tasha’s Shawl, that is … it’s simple until you reach the edge. The edge is a knitted-on lace edge and she had no experience with this type of thing. She was ready to just leave it off or make it simpler. I encouraged her to try it and walked her through a couple of repeats of the pattern. Sure enough, she got it and has finished the shawl.

As a teacher, we have a lot of “proud mom moments” and it’s always sweet to hear from a student that they have accomplished something that they feel proud of. I call it a proud mom moment because that’s the only parallel that I can find – when you’re raising little human beings, it’s such a win when they do something, sometimes with your guidance and sometimes not. that they feel proud of whether it’s making a lego tower or graduating from college. Seeing someone that you’ve “helped” to get to a point where they can do something without you is really wonderful!

I had that happen (again) last week and Kim brought me flowers! The little tag is a keeper and a reminder that what I do is meaningful. Whether it’s giving my own child or someone else’s child (even a fully grown one) confidence, another tool to add to their personal tool box, it’s a wonderful feeling. Kim, you made my day!

Gone knitting.

Elton

Elton by JoJi Locateli

I’ve been doing some monogamous for the last few days. Elton is on my needles and I need to get some knitting under my belt on this fingering weight cardigan.

It was a busy day … I picked up groceries at 9:00-ish, forgetting that the hot rotisserie chickens aren’t ready until 10. My bad! Home and put the groceries away and picked the chicken while it was warm. (I have a thing about handling meat and this is the only way I can deal with it.) I decided that I might as well make the casserole for dinner since the chicken was done.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole is a family favorite. My kids still request it for Sunday dinner when we are together. You can use a whole chicken or three or four chicken breasts, cooked. Two boxes of Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice original recipe. Follow the instructions on the box to prepare. 8 ounces of sour cream. 1 can cream of mushroom soup. Curry to taste. We never did when the kids were little but now we add broccoli. Fresh or frozen and warmed through – Al dente is best because it gets cooked again. Combine all ingredients and put in a casserole dish. Cook for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Banana Nut with blueberries

When I was cleaning the dishes and wiping down the counters, I discovered three very ripe bananas. Just the amount I need for banana bread. So … I made muffins. Banana nut muffins with blueberries. One of our favorite recipes.

I did a couple of loads of laundry, and vacuumed the downstairs. The little rolling balls of dog hair were getting pretty thick and my allergies have been all sorts of crazy. When the muffins came out of the oven, I cleaned up the kitchen and headed upstairs for a little bit of knitting.

Elton is an interesting construction as I have mentioned before and at this point I’m past the interesting construction. I am knitting 4-row stripes of each of my two yarns. Four fingering weight and four lace weight mohair and silk. Not particularly exciting knitting but I’m hoping that when it’s done and blocked that it’ll be a really elegant cardigan.

Today, though, I found not one, not two, but three (THREE!) dropped stitches. I used my crochet hook to pull up the first and all the while I was thinking that it would be too wonky looking. Pulled too tightly because I was squishing an extra stitch up in the middle of two others. I fully expected to have to frog back several rows (half of this rows are mohair which is fuzzy and sticky. I wasn’t looking forward to it.) Fortunately though, I was wrong. It looked fine. So, when I found dropped stitches two and three I did the same and they all looked fine.

No More Dropped Stitches

I’m measuring 4 inches below the arm pit. Another 11 inches to go. Let’s hope I don’t drop any more stitches. I may not be so lucky the next time.

But dinner was good!

Gone knitting.

I really AM knitting, I promise.

I’ve finished an order for a customer (again!) of two tams. These are hats number five and six for this season. Whew! But she loves them and they’re not difficult to knit for her at all. I delivered them to the store this morning so that she can pick them up. The pattern is Quick Lacy Slouch hat and is free on Ravelry. I’ve made these hats in several different bulky weight yarns. These happen to be in Cascade 128 which is superwash and soft. The stitch definition is also quite lovely.

I’ve finished one pair and started a second pair of socks for daughter number two. She’s daughter number two in birth order only. I swear that I have knitted socks for her before but she said I didn’t so, she chose her yarn when she was here this winter and I’ve been knitting some for her. I hope they fit. If not, I’ll adjust them and my pattern for her (not so) little feet.

I also delivered a pair of camo dish cloths to my son for his birthday – it’s a joke. He had to have a camouflage afghan when he was younger and still at home. I had to make them when I saw the yarn.

I am on sleeve island. My “Patsy’s Traveling Sweater” is almost done, I have a few inches of each sleeve to knit up and then it’ll be ready for a collar and blocking. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to wear it right side out or wrong side out. One of my co-workers made one of these sweaters and she wears it on the “wrong” side. If I decide to wear it on the “wrong” side, I’ll have to re-knit the bottom of the body so it will roll the right way. It’s all good. Time will tell.

Noro Striped Mittens

I’ve finished the lining on one of my Noro Striped mittens and have begun the second. I’ll admit that these mittens are a bit short for me and they may be sold or given away. But they’re really pretty and the Berroco Folio lining is very soft (and will add extra warmth.) As I believe I’ve said before, my favorite thing about these mittens was knitting the thumb before knitting the hand which made the thumb color not stick out like, well, like a sore thumb. (Sorry.)

I’ve begun a pair of Fiber Trends Felted Clogs for my sweet hubby for his birthday at the end of the month. He stopped in the store one day (to bring me food) and I had him choose his color(s). I’m knitting these in Ella Rae Classic Wool. He chose a gray and a purple which I’m holding together. His old slippers were worn out because he really loved them and wore them a lot.

I’m going to end here. I have bunches of future knitting projects lining up and I brought home more yarn from work this week. I love working in a yarn store so I have access to people who fill my head with future knitting ideas – and some of them seem so important that I have to bring yarn home immediately.

Gone knitting.

What a Week!

Which Way is UP?

I’ve accomplished precious little knitting this week and I feel like I’m not sure which way is up. This photo was taken from our front porch on Wednesday which was my day off from work but was eaten up with lake association business. Being the president this year is a big job and the busy season is kicking up and we are vacating our office space, too. Lots happening, for sure. And my boss is away for three plus weeks and it’s spring vacation from school so two of my co-workers have also gone out of town, leaving two of us holding the fort … which we can do! It’s just a lot more hours than I’m used to.

I’ve finished the body of my “Patsy’s Traveling Sweater” and am hoping to get one of the sleeves onto some needles today. The sweater is really colorful and fun with multiple colorways of Gina yarn by Plymouth. One of my co-workers wears hers inside out … I’m going to see what mine looks like when I get the sleeves on (and before I knit the collar) to decide whether I’ll wear it on the knit side or the purl side. I may need to reknit the rolled hem on the bottom of the body if I decide to wear it “inside out”. We shall see.

I’ve finished a pair of dishcloths with a Christmas-y theme. I’ve cast on another one to take to my son in New York next week. It’ll be fun to see his face and see if he realizes the reason that I chose this one specific yarn. 🙂

Noro Striped Mitten

I’ve also finished the first part of the Noro Striped Mittens … I’ve finished the outside of both mittens, the striped part. They’re really pretty and they were fun to knit. I loved the way the designer (who reached out to me on Instagram when she saw my post) worked the thumb so that the color was seamless and matched that part of the mitten. Had I knitted in the typical mitten way, the thumb would have probably been a completely different color. But this way, the thumb looks like it belongs on the mittens. Genious!

I’ve been working on socks for my daughter at her request. I’m nearly done with the second sock and just have to go back to the first one to knit the toe. I didn’t know how long her foot was and didn’t want to make the socks too long or too short. Custom-knit socks should be perfect. I’ve got plans to make a couple more pairs for her once I know she likes them. My sock drawer is full so I have to have other victims to knit for because I love knitting socks. I think I need to make a pair for my sister, too. And maybe her husband. I think they’d like that.

We are going a Spring Sweater KAL at work starting on May 1. The caveat is that you must use a fingering weight yarn for the sweater. We posted the details on our newsletter today and had several suggestions that people can knit. We will do a kick-off on May 1st via Zoom so that our customers near and far can join us.

I bought my yarn this week. I bought some navy blue Berroco Aerial (laceweight mohair) and some Malabrigo Sock in a navy colorway. If I weren’t so lazy, I’d tell you what it is but that would mean that I had to get up from my desk and walk all the way (maybe 6 feet) over my knitting chair and look in my bag and come back over here. Sorry, not happening today. I’m writing this post and then I’m going to go sit in my chair and knit a bit before dinner.

I was in the store two extra days this week and it’s always fun to be there. This week, it was a bit different on Thursday because I decided to get a second Covid booster on Wednesday morning. I was tired and achey by Wednesday night and I went to sleep at 8:30pm and woke up at 7:00am and I still felt like I was tired. My arm was also quite sore – and I heard you should choose your dominant arm … not sure I’d do that again. Thursday I was dragging and it wasn’t busy enough to distract me. Phew! I’m glad I made it. By Friday, I was back to myself, fortunately, and I was good to go Friday and Saturday, too.

I’ve been at my desk sending lake association emails, signing DEP documents to commit to our work this season and now I’ve written my post. I hope that if anybody is reading this that you have a great week. I’ll be reminding myself to slow down and breathe and to squeak time for myself in the moments between. All the details of my current and past projects are on my Ravelry project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry.

Gone knitting.

Noro Striped Mittens by Kelly Ziegler

Yesterday when I wrote, I said that I would likely finish the #12 Advent Jumper. I didn’t.

Instead, I picked up my needles and two balls of Noro Silk Garden (Aran/50g/109yards) and knitted the funnest mittens that I’ve knitted in a while. So, I’ve had the one ball of yarn in my stash for years. YEARS! I remember buying it at the Wags and Wool in Lubec when I traveled there with my knitting girls on the Maine Yarn Cruise and that has to be at least four or five years ago. I bought the yarn to make mittens but didn’t like the pattern at all so … onto my shelf the yarn went. And it has been very patient waiting for me to pick it up again.

I found this pattern within the last week or so and sometimes I just HAVE to cast on a new project because I’m excited about it. This is one of those projects. I bought a second ball of Silk Garden at the shop last week and cast on yesterday. Since the yarn is heavy worsted weight, they knit up pretty quickly. I’ll cast on the second mitten today and, with any luck, I’ll get it finished to and then the magic happens … they’re lined!

I had nearly a full ball of DK weight alpaca yarn in a bright pink colorway from my Northman Mittens so I bought another one just in case. I’ll knit the lining next week. I hope. It’s going to be another busy week. BUT I think these will be fun and warm mittens to wear next winter.

What’s wonderful about this pattern is the way the designer (who reached out to me on Instagram this morning!) handles the thumb. It’s brilliant, really, as the thumb is knit first so that the colorways match and the thumb doesn’t stick out like, well, a sore thumb. I’m so happy with this magical step that makes the mitten colors work!

Gone knitting.

Ice Out and Critters Return – Welcome Spring!

The Critter

As soon as the ice goes out (this year it happened on April 6th) the water birds and critters return to the lake. It’s miraculous, really, that they know when it’s safe to come back out on the lake. This year we heard reports from the northern end of the lake that the loons had returned while our section of the lake was still covered by ice. BUT as soon as the ice was gone, the loons were calling from the cove. There’s nothing quite like living so close to nature. We are so grateful to be able to witness the seasonal changes, to watch the sun change its position in the sky, and to know that there are more miracles coming soon when the babies are back with their parents. It won’t be long.

Since the ice went out, we’ve seen all the weather. Beautiful blue bird skies, thick fog and days of rain. Fortunately, it seems that mud season was relatively short this year and early. I had some white knuckle trips down our road and I may have let a few four-letter words escape my lips while hoping that my car wouldn’t get stuck in the mud.

I’ve been knitting like a mad woman. I seem to want to cast on all the new projects and I am trying to stay focused on finishing some, too.

Grandma’s Favorite

I’ve got a full basket of cotton yarns that I’ve collected over the years. I am trying to knit down the stash and one of my favorite projects is dishcloths/washcloths that I’ll pop into my gift drawer and pull out as needed. These two are from deeply stashed yarn from a big box store and they’re obviously seasonal. We use them here at home and the kids like them, too. They’re great stocking stuffers or as a gift with a special bar of soap. The pattern is so simple and easy to remember which makes these dishcloths good TV knitting.

Arne & Carlos Advent Jumpers

I’m almost half-way through the collection of Advent jumpers from Arne and Carlos. I love knitting these little sweaters and they knit up so quickly. I’m using Patagonia Organic Merino yarn from Juniper Moon Farm and, I have to say, this is my favorite yarn right now. I’ve made my Humlebi Shawl in it and I’ve got the charcoal gray colorway set aside to make an Emsworth vest. Number 12 will likely be finished by the end of the day today. I like to spend Sunday knitting for fun. I also like to bake and I’ve eaten all of my granola and my baked oatmeal.

Patsy’s Traveling Sweater

The body of my Traveling Sweater is nearly done (it may, actually be done but I have to measure it again to make sure.) This has been a fun knit. Patsy is a customer who has come into the store a bunch of times to purchase Plymouth Gina yarn for the sweaters that she makes. She has a Facebook page for the sweaters because she’s knitted over 100 of them. I have loved the sweater since I first saw it and have almost bought the yarn once before. When we heard that Plymouth was discontinuing the yarn, I put aside what colors we had in the shop and the boss ordered bags of each remaining color. When they came in, I bought the yarn and cast on my sweater.

The pattern is a Knitting Plain and Simple pattern #9724, Neck Down Pullover for Women. These patterns are simple beginner patterns and are knit top down in the round with minimal seaming. The sizing is somewhat size-inclusive but they certainly could be expanded. It would be wonderful if they added full stitch counts, too. But I recommend these patterns often for customers and students knitting their first garments. I’ve chosen 10 colorways of the Gina yarn and have randomly pulled them out of the bag to knit next. I have simple knitted the whole ball and then spit-spliced the next ball and kept knitting. I had a bit of a challenge making gauge but I decided that I would use the recommended needles and knit the size larger so that it would fit comfortably. I’m thinking that I may use a folded hem rather than a rolled hem but I haven’t decided yet. I suppose I can knit the rolled hem and then sew it up if I change my mind.

I’ve got to buy one more ball of Gina so that my sleeves, at least at the shoulders, match as closely as possible to the body of the sweater. After that, random is fine.

Spring has sprung!

Gone knitting.

Binge Watching and Knitting

Saturday morning

I was back home and back to work this week after my week away and, maybe I didn’t drink enough coffee this morning, I’m tired. Not motivated to “do” anything much. So, I’ve retreated to my atelier and I’ve been binge watching Outlander’s sixth season and knitting. And I’ve made good progress despite one “bad stitch.”

I cast on my Patsy’s Traveling Sweater on Wednesday. It was a challenge getting gauge and I decided that since I couldn’t get it just right, I’d make the next larger size and hope it’ll fit! So, I’ve been knitting along and increasing every other round as the pattern dictates. This is a sweater that has been made over 100 times by one of our customers. The first time I met Patsy I admired her sweater and I’ve admired it each time since. The pattern is simple; it’s Knitting Pure and Simple #9724 “Neckdown Pullover for Women”. Patsy knits hers in diverse balls of Plymouth’s Gina (worsted weight wool, 50 grams, 109 yards, made in Turkey.

Linda’s Traveling Sweater

I started mine with color number 12 and have since knitted color number 4 and 3 and I now have to go to my bag of colors and choose another. The stripes are fun and happy and the sweaters, when finished, are warm and really appealing. (I hope I won’t be allergic to mine. Someone will inherit it if I am!)

The one bad stitch was about three rounds back … just about exactly where I stopped knitting last night. I noticed that I hadn’t completed a stitch (it looked like a yarn-over and a wrong-colored stitch) and made a mental note to fix it on the next round. I must have decided to go to bed before I fixed it and then forgot over night. Needless to say, three rounds in this morning, I noticed the mistake and there’s no way to fix it without frogging it back and starting over. It’s now done, fixed, and I’ve reknit all that I pulled out and then some. It’s a perfect binge watching sweater.

I also have socks for my daughter on my needles and I am waiting for her to measure her feet so I can make them fit perfectly. I chose a simple gray yarn for her first pair and I have another couple of balls set aside for more for her. I’ve got a full sock drawer now and I am delighted to knit for her for a bit. I should also knit another pair for my son since his birthday is at the end of the month. If all goes as planned, I’ll be heading to New York for a visit at the end of April. I just have to pick a couple of days and notify the crew!

Socks for my Daughter

I blocked my Humlebi Shawl and wore it to work on Thursday. It was quite a bit smaller than I thought it would be from the photograph on the pattern but it’s really wonderful. I blocked it “aggressively” and it’s at least as big as the schematic says it should be. I like it and will enjoy wearing it a couple more times before all the knitwear goes away for the summer.

We are really glad to be here right now because the ice is thinning quickly and it will probably be gone very soon. The color has changed to a medium gray and we have about six feet of open water at the shoreline. Up the lake a bit there is much more open water and I’ve heard that some loons have returned to the lake. I wish I knew how they know exactly when the ice has opened up and they can return to the lake. I can’t wait to see them and HEAR them! Each season here is a wonder. I will miss the ice but I’ll welcome the open water and the returning waterbirds.

It was a very good Saturday. Gone knitting

On the Road Again

Marblehead Light from Fort Sewell, Marblehead, MA

The past week I’ve been living “on the road” which is saying that I’m not home. This is the first road trip that I’ve taken by myself in two years. I found myself very anxious when I was leaving the house. My GPS on my car wouldn’t connect, I couldn’t get it to play my podcasts that I had hoped to listen to, nor would it play my music that “I” downloaded (with lots of help and support from my sweet husband.) Turns out that if you turn the car off and then re-start it, that it works. Phew. I was so grateful for my husband’s suggestion.

First stop was to my “oldest” friend’s house in Connecticut to celebrate the life of her son. He died on Valentine’s day in a one car crash. He was 28 years old. The memorial service or “Irish Wake” was wonderfully well put together for Scudder. He didn’t want a church funeral or, really, any formal service. So, we all ate and drank and remembered the young man who was so loved by his family and friends. His sister’s and mother’s lives will be forever changed. I was lucky to be able to spend the night at my friend’s house and chat for a few hours before heading off to Massachusetts.

Second stop was Salem, Massachusetts. My sister-in-love is house and dog sitting for my niece and her husband who are honeymooning in Italy! We haven’t been able to have a lot of girl time since I moved to Maine (we have plenty of time together with husbands and kids and other siblings but not just the two of us) so I really wanted to visit for a couple of days. And I did … and I extended my visit to a week! One of my wonderful co-workers worked for me on Thursday and I cancelled my class (I know, that’s not normal!) on Friday. Today the husbands arrive and we’ll spend the weekend celebrating my nephew who is off on an excellent adventure to Alaska for a few months.

I am knitting! I finished my Humlebi Shawl by Fiber Tales. I knit this shawl in Patagonia Organic Merino by Juniper Moon Farm. I love the oatmealy-gray yarn and the bumble bees that are knitted in around the edge are fabulous! I will block it aggressively rather than gently and I hope it’ll be an ok size for me. I used just over one skein and I’ll weigh the remaining one to figure out how much I used in total. I checked my gauge and I measured 19 sts per inch rather than 17. So, I wasn’t too far off but it probably would have been a bit better for me on a larger needle. It was a fun knit so I may consider knitting it again just to see what happens when I change the gauge to what it’s really supposed to be and I have more yarn.

Humelbi Shawl blocking close-up

I also knitted up a couple of pairs of booties for a new mom (and dad)-to-be. I knitted up the pattern that I found at the store years ago and that I really love to knit. It’s called Sue’s Baby Booties and I knit it up in Cascade Yarn’s FIxation. When I ran out of projects (daughter’s socks are at the toe and I need her foot measurement, Humelbi Shawl was finished except for blocking, and I only had Arne & Carlos’ Advent Jumpers left which take too much concentration to knit in a group) so I cast on another pair for my brother and sister-in-law’s neighbors who just had a baby girl. This pattern makes me so happy! I love all the combinations.

I have reached the toe decreases on the socks for my dear daughter. Plain vanilla socks for the first pair to see how she likes them and how they fit. Since I don’t have her feet to try them on or measure. I sent her a text to trace and measure her foot so I know how long to knit them. We used to have the same shoe size but mine are bigger these days, I guess. Anyway, I’ll put the first sock onto a holder and start on the second sock so I can continue my progress. I’m feeling successful and productive with all these small projects.

Spring in Massachusetts is a couple of weeks ahead of us here in Maine. I can’t wait to see our spring bulbs in bloom. They’re coming!!! The snow in the yard is all gone, the road has already dried up a bit from the muddy mess that it was when I left. The lake is still mostly covered with ice (it’s certainly ice-covered at our house but each end is more open than a week ago) and it’s turning grayer. I’m ready to see the water again.

Gone knitting!