Another Day to be Grateful

Another Day to be Grateful

I’m one grateful girl today.

I had a text from two of my three kids telling me about the free Covid test kits and my daughter already ordered mine. They really do love their old mom! I got a text from one of my lake neighbors, too. How wonderful it is to feel so loved and cared for. If you know me, you know that I am apt to wear my heart on my sleeve and when I am feeling so grateful, it’s typical for me to get teary-eyed. A dear knitting friend, Bristol Ivy, told me that I have “ocular incontinence.” That is an apt title for me for sure.

I’m also grateful for my knitting students. We had some “sad” news last Friday when Lucille, 93, told me that she probably wouldn’t be coming to class any more. She had a small stroke around Christmas time and her family is moving her into an assisted living community this week. I’m so grateful that her family is so loving and caring. She deserves to be cared for in all the best ways. I’ve grown very attached to her over the years that we’ve been knitting together. I’ve picked her up and dropped her back home, I’ve visited her in her apartment to help with knitting problems, and the whole class has helped her to be social and active … at least on Friday! I’m grateful to a couple of my students who picked her up or dropped her at home to help me and so Lucille could keep coming to class. It has taken a village, so to speak, and the village has helped to keep Lucille knitting.

Lucille

I’ve grown to love Lucille and I’m going to miss her. Look at that sweater! I’m hoping that there will be a knitting group at Lucille’s new home or that she’ll be able to get transportation to class once in a while. We are all going to miss her. But we’re all so happy that she’s moving to a place that is going to see that she’s cared for and that she’ll not be living alone. I’m sure she’s going to love being there and being able to socialize more often and I’ll enjoy visiting her in her new home.

Gone knitting. (And maybe experiencing a bit of ocular incontinence.)

From the “Expert”

Anchor Sweater v.2

Because I value honesty, I want to tell you a very typical story from knitters. Beginner knitters all the way through to expert knitters. All of us have had this experience that I had today. Fortunately, I can laugh at myself. I made a rookie mistake today.

I pulled one of my UFOs out of the cupboard this week in an effort to get some old projects finished. This one is the Anchor Sweater, an intarsia sweater in a child size, by Roo Designs. I started this sweater last year when I was teaching an intarsia workshop. And once the class was over, I put the sweater away and “forgot about it” until I started a cleaning up program in the New Year.

Today I started working on the back of the sweater. My pattern says that the back needs to be knitted until it’s 16 inches long. I got knitting this morning in my class and then at lunchtime I found the back that I had knitted last year …. I should have been knitting the front! Oh, crap!

So, tonight, when I got home, I frogged back to where I started this morning and began following the chart for the anchor. And I was laughing at myself and my rookie mistake.

All of this is to say that I am not perfect. Many people might consider me an expert (I don’t think I’ll ever get there, it makes me laugh because I still learn new things about knitting all the time!) I make mistakes. Lots of them. On a regular basis. This time, here’s what I did wrong … (the idea here is for me to teach you something, right?) I put a project away without making a note on the pattern noting exactly where I stopped work. I “should” have at the very least marked my pattern with a big arrow showing where I begin knitting. If I had marked my pattern (with a big arrow?) I would have known that I’d finished the back and was working on the front.

Oh well. Gone knitting.

Yip Yips for Christmas

It’s a perfectly miserable weather day here in Maine. The wind was blowing across the ice this morning and by mid-day there was freezing rain/sleet and continued wind. A good day to stay inside (and knit!)

Since they’ve been gifted, I thought I’d show you the Yip Yips that I crocheted for my nieces and nephew for Christmas. I think these little containers are so sweet and they make me laugh. I hope their parents have shown them videos of the Yip Yips on old Sesame Street shows (they’re on Youtube if you want to Google them). The one that I particularly loved was the telephone one. I may have posted it here before. I love them! This pattern is easy to follow for those like me who aren’t expert crocheters (yet!) I’ve heard that some people have made a whole family of these to use in lieu of Christmas stockings. I’m not sure I’m ready to go that far, but they sure are happy little creations.

Yip Yips (crochet) by Carissa Browning

I filled the Yip Yips with little gifts, too, of course. A hand-knit wash cloth (I can’t believe I forgot to photograph them), a toy car for my nephew and a couple of birds in nests for my nieces. These are designed by Susan B. Anderson and are called Simple Little Bird and Nest. I think they’re adorable and they were fun to knit.

Simple Little Bird and Nest by Susan B. Anderson

I sent a few other hand-knit gifts this year. Socks for my son, market bags for my daughter and my son’s girlfriend, dish cloths for all the kids, a Bankhead hat for my husband, and I’m currently working on a new sweater for my youngest grand-dog, Gus. All of these projects and all of the details about them are on my Ravelry project page.

Gone knitting!

WIPs in the New Year

I write a weekly newsletter for the LYS where I work. This past Sunday, I included what I thought was a good idea to start off a new year … organizing your workspace/knitting corner and all your supplies.

The idea isn’t mine. I saw it on an Instagram post by @ithoughtiknewhow and the general premise is to take a day to do something to start your new year off with a sense of organization and planning rather than the left-over havoc of the old year. I know that I can’t get all of these tasks done in a day but I can probably accomplish several of them in a week. Yesterday I started and finished three steps (all of the ones that I suggested people finish in the newsletter.)

Gathering WIPs

I gathered all of my WIPs (works in progress), my needles and notions that are spread around in bags and drawers in my studio, and brought them to one spot. I’m so lucky to have a studio space where I can do this! (Gratitude.) I then proceeded to examine each project to see if it’s something that I still want to knit, made sure that the yarn and pattern are in the bag of projects I want to keep and put them away in my cabinet. I also rescued yarn for the projects I don’t want to knit, returned it to a cake/skein and put any needles and notions away. I put finished project contents and bags away (I have bins of partial skeins saved away for those “just in case” times and I do return to them frequently) and made sure the project bags were clean before I put them away, too.

I have kept ten WIPs to finish this year. I returned several projects that I don’t want to knit and there may be one more that I’m on the fence about.

I also made a list of the WIPs in my 2022 Bullet Journal so that I make time to get some of them finished – they’ll be in my face every time I start or finish a project. Right now I have a commission that I am working on, it’s half-way done and when it’s sent off to my client, I’ll finish one of the WIPs in my cabinet. @ithoughtiknewhow suggests the possible planning of a day where you work on WIPs … I’m not sure I’m that good at keeping a schedule but it’s appealing and I’m considering giving it a try.

(Sadly, I have a drawer of sewing/quilting WIPs, too. I wonder when I will get to thinking about them. Maybe when (if?) I retire. LOL

Gone knitting.

2022 – First or Last FO?

A Gray Start to 2022

2021 is now behind us. Thank goodness. Hello, 2022. I sure hope you’re more gentle with us than your predecessor.

I spent the day today doing paper work for my volunteer job as the president of our lake association. We did a photography contest among our members and then the members voted for their favorites and we printed them in a calendar for 2022. We ordered 105 calendars and we’ve almost sold them all. Yay! So, today I was trying to figure out how much money we’d made and, despite the fact that we have about 20 left to sell, we’ve made some money. Yay!

After that, I did a bit of knitting.

I had knitted the first of the pair of socks and a half of the second sock but I didn’t finish it last night. I went to bed. I finished it today. I’m hoping that the knitting gods will forgive me for counting the pair as knitted in 2021. This pair will make my 12th pair in the year and fulfills my 2021 Sock Challenge. It’s my favorite sock pattern, Classic Socks by Melinda Goodfellow, Yankee Knitter. I had realized that I have not one pair of solid colored socks so these are “boring” navy blue. I used Sisu by Sandnes Garn (colorway 6062) and I think I’m going to be happy with these socks. I knitted them up on a US 1 1/2 needle because I really like a smaller gauge sock. I neglected to knit the men’s size this time (I usually do this when I use small needles) so I am hoping they fit. If they don’t, they’ll be given away. It’s all good, right?

Happy New Year from the Queen Bee.

Gone knitting.

Looking Ahead to a New Year

Not my photo, I “stole” it … but I love it!

If I told you that I love Christmas, I’d be lying. I don’t. Every year I try to change my attitude and every year I manage it poorly. This year was no exception. Compound Christmas preparations this year with the first Lola’s-birthday-without-Lola, and I have been a hot, teary-eyed mess. And then, at the (somewhat) last minute, my step-daughters decided they couldn’t come celebrate with us. With that, the grocery shopping for a gang, the stocking and gift shopping, the planning that went into a holiday with our kids had taken energy away from other things that I might have been able to use at work and at home. My poor husband has had to put up with me all this time.

Anyway, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day weren’t as sad as we thought. We managed our way through without me crying and we are now on the other side of Christmas and heading into the New Year. I sure hope that 2022 is a “better” year and that the pandemic and all the negative news is made much less a priority. It’s been exhausting.

A little bit of time to review 2021 as 2022 is coming in quickly with or without permission.

I’ve been semi-successful at my 2021 Sock Challenge. I have completed 11 pairs of socks. Three of them, however, are small children sizes which is a stretch to the “rules”. I do have a pair on my needles and I have almost finished the first sock. I’ll count that one as a half sock completed. I’m 1/2 a sock short of my goal. Considering the year … I done good!

I finished three sweaters this year! And a fourth is so close that I’ve only got one sleeve (or is it two? I’ve not looked at it for a bit.) I have at least enough yarn for five more sweaters in my atelier. I’ve got my knitting cut out for me. LOL

I’m racing to finish one more pair of mittens before the end of the year. I might make it! And these may be my favorite mittens ever, replacing my favorite mittens to date – my Snowflake Mittens. My Snowflake Mittens were my first ever colorwork project. I knitted them way, wayyyyy back in 2016 and they’re still like new. I love them so much but the Lamb’s Pride wool/mohair yarn is a bit prickly. The new mittens are a blend of wool/alpaca and they’re so soft. AND as a bonus, they’re lined with pure alpaca. Hmm. That gives me an idea … perhaps I’ll line my snowflake mittens!

According to my list in my bullet journal, I’ve completed 65 projects this year. My Ravelry queue tells me that I’ve completed 77 (but I think a few actually belong in 2020.) I’m not sure which one is right but either way, I’m satisfied with my productivity. I’ve made several items that were given as donations to the needy. Some hats and mittens went to our local police department to give to those who need them. Some socks went to the homeless shelter. My LYS, Yardgoods Center, donated a bunch of hand-knit socks to the Mid-Maine Homeless shelter for “Socktober”. It was sweet! We will do it again next year.

You can see all of my 2021 projects on my Ravelry project page. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – I’m lindar on Ravelry. Please be my Ravelry friend.

I have some goals for the New Year. I am free to change or modify them as the year goes on. I can even delete them totally. I’m going to find a doctor and have a physical. I’m going to look forward more (and backward less). I will choose to be with people who value me and treat me well and I will “divorce” people who don’t. I’ll remember to be grateful every day for what I have and for my health and the health of my family and friends. There are three days left in 2021.

Gone knitting.

Grateful

Sunrise at Home

I started this post after Thanksgiving having spent several days with two thirds of my kids, their significant others, my brothers and sisters-in-love and their kids and some of their significant others. Being with family is my drug. I left Massachusetts with my heart full and my soul warmed. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday just before all of the pressure heading into Christmas begins. I’m so grateful that my children and their cousins know each other and that they enjoy spending time together and we enjoyed spending time together, too!

And now we’re well into the Christmas rush. Rushing to get the tree decorated and the presents bought and mostly shipped to their recipients but some to put under the tree and into stockings for Christmas day. I’m working hard to keep the gratitude and warm fuzzies in my heart that I had a Thanksgiving and to be fully honest here, I’m struggling. My dear husband’s daughters and one of their boyfriends are scheduled to be here for Christmas this year. It seems that because of a sick dog, one won’t be able to come. The other daughter’s boyfriend seems to be rethinking the trip because he’s spent a lot of time in Florida with his family. I was really looking forward to seeing them because we haven’t seen each other for a long time. We haven’t seen the dog mom daughter for a year and a half.

Today I’m trying to wrap my head around having Christmas at home with my little family – me and my husband. It seems that it’s entirely possible again this year. Somehow I have to make it ok and I’m not sure how to do that. It’s going to be difficult to make any major changes because I’m now scheduled to work since we were going to be celebrating here with my step-daughters. It’ll be near-impossible to kennel the dog at this point to fly anywhere and a drive to their homes is at least a two day drive each way … leaving two days to visit. We don’t relish the idea of four days in the car for a two-day visit. The NYC kids are having a Christmas dinner to which we’ve been invited but I don’t know what kind of hotel or extra bed situation we’d be looking at and the dog still needs to be kenneled. I guess we will look at our options if we find it’ll be just us for sure.

Meanwhile, I’m knitting. A lot. I’ve been finishing some projects, too. I have so many things that I want to knit and with my schedule, I’ve been lining them up for when I have some time to knit “what I want”. I’ve knitted several gifts for the kids in NYC and they’ve been sent on. We are going to go to the beach in Rhode Island again in September and that’s their big gift. Since they haven’t opened gifts, I’ll not discuss what I’ve made until after Christmas – and I even forgot to photograph a couple of the gifts. Oops!

The Slip Stitch Hat by Tanis Williams is a sweet hat with a slip stitch section around the head. It makes the sport/dk weight hat a bit warmer around the ears. I used a bit of a handspun yarn that I was gifted with a wool/silk blend yarn that I found at Marden’s here in Maine. It was a yarn company close out sale and was a great deal. This hat will be going to Yardgoods Center’s February hat drive for the needy in our community.

The beaded tape measure is a new activity that I’ve been doing with my Friday knitters, one of whom is a phenomenal talent at beading and quilting in addition to being a great knitter. Anyway, we bought a kit online (Etsy) and we had a class at the end of my teaching day a few weeks ago. What fun! I love the way the tape measure looks so much but I admit that I’m a bit hesitant to put it into my knitting bag for fear that it will be damaged or get dirty.

Evergreen Socks by Madeline Gannon are so much fun! I loved knitting these. I used deeply stashed yarn from Buffalo Wool Company. I’ve had this yarn from a bunch of years ago when I signed up for their monthly yarn club. It’s a fingering weight blend of wool and buffalo so these socks are likely to be nice and warm. I think these will be for me. I only have one daughter who has the same size feet as I do and she likes shorty socks.

Husband’s Christmas (last year) sweater. Well, he loves it and it’s a perfect fit. I gave him the yarn for this sweater last year at Christmas. His face when he opened it was a classic. He wondered if I was going to teach him to knit! LOL. Needless to say, here it is almost Christmas again and I have finally gotten it done. I loved loved loved knitting with Cascade 220 worsted yarn. I’ve not knitted with it before (I know, I was surprised, too) and it’s so much softer and more luxurious feeling that the Ella Rae wool that I’ve knitted with several times. The price point isn’t that different anymore so I’d prefer the Cascade; especially when it’s a garment. We’ll see how it wears and how it pills. The pattern is Knitting Plain and Simple #991 and it is simple but the heathered yarn makes is anything but plain.

Oh, Arne and Carlos, how I love you. I started knitting the Christmas balls last year and got about six of them finished. I haven’t tried to knit any this year because these stinking cute mini jumpers came out and that’s all I wanted to knit. I have managed to get five done and will pick up the rest of the 24 and hope to get them finished before next Christmas. I’m using Patagonia organic merino in three colors. I decided to keep the traditional holiday colors for our house. We shall see. But I love them so much!

Last but not least, I have cast on for a new pair of mittens for me. I love my “old” snowflake mittens a lot. These new ones are similar and very different. These are the Northman Mittens by David Schultz and I’ve chosen to knit with the same yarn as the design calls for. It just so happens that we have a great selection of Berroco Ultra Alpaca yarn. I’ve changed my mind already several times but I can’t change it again. I am knitting with a light tealy-blue-green and a light gray shade. The lining will be knit in a pink for a pop of color and you can find all the gory details for this and all of my other projects on my Ravelry project page. (I”m “lindar” on Ravelry.)

I am knitting a sweater for my almost-93 year old student who is having memory challenges and she was unable to be successful with this Plain and Simple pattern. I’ll get the sleeves finished this week and will present it to her as my gift on her 93rd birthday which is on Friday … and a cake! She’s one of my favorites and it’s crushing to see her struggle to knit. She was a wonderful knitter back in the day.

There you have it. I’ve caught you up to date. I’m sorry for the downer at the start of this post but I have promised myself that I would be authentic here and show you how life and knitting weave together to make me who I am. I won’t apologize for who I am and I am an emotional person. I’ve mentioned before my “ocular incontinence”, right? I will make the best of whatever Christmas brings, I’m just struggling with it for now. It’s all good. We love all of our kids and this won’t change that, of course.

Gone knitting.

FO – Frosty the Snowman Christmas Stocking

I have finished and mailed off another family heirloom for a customer and friend. This stocking is the second one that I’ve knitted for her. The coolest part of the whole story is that her mother, now deceased, designed these stocking patterns for a very well-known stocking pattern company. Her mom had knitted stockings for the whole family and they’re trying to keep the tradition alive by knitting her mother’s patterns for new additions to the family. Cool, right?

The Frosty the Snowman stocking is relatively simple Intarsia knitting. A top hat wearing snowman who is holding a striped candy cane. My friend asked that I use angora as the pattern requires. With little bits of green for his scarf and mittens, black for buttons and hat, the most clever and my favorite piece of the design is the way she designed the candy cane – with white stripes on the red fabric and red stripes on the white. Sooo clever and it works so well!

What I don’t like about the Intarsia technique is weaving in the ends. The front looks so clean and clear but the back is bedlam! Each color across a row requires a different length of yarn and that means there are lots of bits of yarn dangling from the back. Every one needs to be woven into the reverse side of the stocking without being visible on the front. I also add the name in duplicate stitch on the front and then seam up the back and add a braided length of yarn to hang the stocking. Lots of work!

I was very happy with this stocking and I hope she is, too. I wish that their family has a very merry Christmas this year and every one after.

Gone knitting!

FO – Sunday Morning Shawl by Espace Tricot

I have been knitting and knitting and I finally have some FOs to show for it. Finally!

When we went on vacation, I decided to give myself the gift of a new “vacation” knitting project. Three hours to Rhode Island, a week at the beach and three hours home to Maine. I can’t say that I got a ton of knitting done but I did knit some while we were away.

Sunday Morning Shawl by Espace Tricot

I have now finished my Sunday Morning Shawl by Espace Tricot. I used The Fibre Company’s Lore, 100% wool yarn, in a gorgeous mustardy yellow. The shawl design is simple and classic with a bit of twisted rib and stockinette and a wonderful row of bobbles. I loved knitting this shawl and I love wearing it now that it’s finished and blocked. I can’t tell you, though, that it was finished without drama.

I got to the twisted rib edging and was almost half-way through when I noticed the “line.”

The line – finger pointing for emphasis

I really thought that since it was for me that I could “deal” with the little problem so I continued knitting … and realized I couldn’t… deal with it.

Have you ever had a problem with a knitting project and thought you could ignore it and knit on? And the you realized that you couldn’t ignore it and needed to fix the problem? Well, that’s what I did – dropped down every other row where it was twisted when it shouldn’t have been and then pulled the stitches back up so I could knit on.

Almost fixed
Fixed! Finger to help you see there is no line! 🙂

I dropped about one hundred stitches down ten rows or so and pulled them up. As I fixed each stitch ans the line disappeared, I felt so much better about my work. The design is amazing, the yarn and color are perfect and I love this vacation shawl! I wore it to work for the first time today.

Gone knititng!

My Favorite Time of Day

This is my favorite time of the day. The time when the sun is beginning to set and the opposite side of the lake gets lit up. My photos don’t begin to show you what it actually looks like. Trust me, it’s spectacular.

We have had a lovely day. We got our bedroom cleaned up, the bed changed, the (disgusting) side windows and screens washed, and the laundry done. My sweet hubby cleaned out the “curiosity cabinet” in the stairway. It needed it so badly.

I got a load of sheets and towels washed and dried and folded and put away (it doesn’t always happen, yay, me!) I made a batch of granola and a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I also made progress on my knitting.

Yesterday I tried something new. It didn’t work. The Intarsia Christmas stocking that I’m working on for a customer friend calls for angora. I’ve always held the angora yarn together with a worsted weight wool. The angora claims to be a worsted weight and “should” be ok to knit alone. Well, no.

So, today I frogged it back to the start of the angora in the pattern and re-knit. It’s much better now and I’ll be happy to knit on to the end of the Intarsia part and down to the toe. I’ll need to weave in the hundreds of millions of ends and embroider a smile and eyebrows (seriously, eyebrows?), duplicate stitch a name and off it’ll go to New York City.

I may get there tomorrow. Definitely, the knitting will be finished by the end of this week. I’m working to be finished in time to mail it before the end of October. Way in advance of Christmas!

FOs to come.

Gone knitting.