I Left my Heart in NY City

I’m back from a whirlwind trip to New York City to help my daughter when her husband was out of town and, obviously, to see my granddaughter and the rest of the family. I drove down to Westport, CT a day ahead of when I had planned to be there because we were supposed to have a big winter storm on the day I was supposed to leave.

Luckily my college “Roomie” lives there and she puts up with me (happily) when I come down her way. Thursday night we had dinner with another college friend and, as is apt to happen, talked until we were ready for bed. We’ve been friends for 47 years! Those friendships are so special and I am so grateful for these wonderful and dear friends.

On Friday I hopped on the train into the city. I can’t wait until this summer when I become an official senior citizen because the train fare becomes $9 each way even though $13.50 isn’t bad. The train ride to Harlem is so easy and my daughter picked me up at the station there. It’s such an easy trip and with no driving traffic, it was a 5-hour drive to Westport. Not bad at all.

This child. I have always disliked leaving the kids at the end of a visit. I love being around my children and I love that they all live close enough to each other and like each other enough to get together. This child, my granddaughter, their niece and daughter, is an amazing addition to the mix. I took precious few photographs because I had way too much fun playing with her, feeding her, and helping her very competent mom take care of her and her 4-legged sisters.

The last time we were in the city was at Christmas and in the month since, Sylvie has changed so much! She is actually making eye contact with people, she really engages, she’s generous with smiles, has a lot of new ways to be heard and she even clicks. Ha! Ha! Her hands are always busy and you can see the concentration when she reaches for things. It’s so intentional now. She sees what she wants and reaches for it. She still needs a little help but it won’t be long before she’s grabbing things all by herself.

I brought her a Knubbelchen “doll” that I made with scraps of left-over fingering weight yarn and I was thrilled that she loves it. It’s a perfectly sized toy for little bitty hands which have the most perfect knuckle dimples. The knots at the “hands” and “feet” of the Knubbelchen are just the little bit of help she needs to be able to hold onto it. And, of course, everything goes in her mouth!

I also brought the silver rattles that were given to my children when they were born. I had saved them for just this moment and our little Sylvie didn’t disappoint. She loves to lie on her back and kick and wiggle and the rattles were a fun addition. It’s the most wonderful feeling to see my child totally in love with her child. I really believe that our appreciation of our mothers only comes when we become mothers ourselves. I never tire of watching all of my children love on this baby girl. it’s remarkable, emotional, rewarding, it makes my heart grow even more full of love for them all.

The funniest part of the trip was that I was carrying ten pounds of corn-filled microwaveable heating pads that I had made for them all and only a year later. I promised to make these for them last winter when they came up skiing and well, life being what it is, the corn and fabric sat until last week. (I wrote about it here. My suitcase was incredibly heavy going there and significantly lighter heading home. Kate’s has already been spit up on which means that it’s already in use. And then there was the night that Kate received a “goodnight sweet pea” text from my husband. (I was meant for me.) And all of the kids sent him a good night text with a spontaneous term of endearment. Ned was entertaining us all from Maine and we had a good laugh at his expense and with lots of love – my kids all love my husband and he loves them. Another thing to be so grateful for. He’s already said that if we can take the train into the city, he’ll come with me next time. Yay!

I left New York yesterday with my heart so full and tears in my eyes. I managed to collect lots of snuggles and smile and belly tickles and kisses until next time. I can’t wait until next time.

Gone knitting. (Because I didn’t knit a stitch except for on the train.)

Summing Up Another Busy Week

Sunrise a week ago today …

It’s been a pretty dreary week on the lake. We haven’t seen a lot of the sun so the sunrise that we did see was even more appreciated. This one was taken by my husband while I was sleeping. The lake has finally frozen over and despite the almost 50 degree day, we still have ice. Maybe we will see winter after all.

I’ve had a busy week again. I had a lake association board meeting to run on Wednesday evening and I spent the early part of the week preparing for that and sending out the necessary documents to the board members. This was also my week to work on Saturday so I was in the store two days and taught one day, too. I love teaching on Friday … it’s a highlight of my week. My morning class keeps on showing up and challenging themselves. My afternoon class has gotten smaller but they’re a good bunch.

I’ve been working away at my couple of projects. I started and finished another Love & Light by Laura Nelkin for a friend of mine. I completely forgot to take any photographs of it before I wrapped it up and mailed it off. I hope she loves it. She’s been a sweet friend for a long time.

I made a little “doll” for my granddaughter. I have customers who have made these dolls over the years and I’ve always thought they were cute. I chose a couple of my larger balls of left-over fingering weight yarn from my stash and got to knitting. Knubbelchen by pezi888 is a relatively simple project and so sweet. I hope it’ll be chewed on and loved.

I’m also working away on a pair of black socks for my son. He’s very appreciative of my hand-knit socks. This pair is black alpaca. The yarn is Lang’s Alpaca Sox 4-ply and it’s utterly delightful to knit with and is so soft and squishy. These may be the squishiest socks I’ve ever knitted. I’ve got the first sock completed and the second sock is at the heel turn. My son has huge feet so I’ll be knitting the foot of the sock for two days but they’ll be done well in advance of his birthday.

Have I ever written about the Sock Ruler? I love this tool. It was gifted to me by my sister-in-love who didn’t want to knit socks and, at first, I thought this was a goofy item and that I’d never use it. Boy, was I wrong. I love the sock ruler and it’s an amazing way to measure the length of the foot in particular. The rounded end fits perfectly in the heel and you work the foot until it’s 2 inches (or whatever your pattern directs) less than the length of the foot. In my son’s case, that’s 9 1/2 inches of foot and then the toe decreases. The Sock Ruler is available in an adult size and a baby and infant size, too. I have bought the baby and child Sock Rulers and I’ll be sure to use them when Sylvie gets bigger but I use the adult one every single time I knit socks. I love it! (And I really love my son because these socks are black.)

The Sock Ruler in my son’s black socks.

I’m working right along on my Emsworth by Isabell Kraemer, too. It’s a little bit slow-moving because I have to be able to pay attention when I’m knitting this vest. The lace work is simple enough but when I am in a group and talking, I tend to forget to move markers and counters and all the tools that you need to keep track of where you are. I can share with you that I have picked up the front shoulders, connected the neck and am working my way down through the increases at the side of the underarms. It’s quite a fun knit and the charcoal gray, while a little bit difficult to see the stitches, is a great color for my wardrobe. I look forward to getting this finished, blocked and wearing it!

Emsworth

I wound a couple of hanks of stashed yarn into cakes this afternoon for a new shawl project. One of my former co-workers came into the store last week with a shawl/scarf on that I really liked and I knew I had the same yarn in my stash. I have to pattern and am ready to cast on and play with some blending of the two yarns. More on that when I get started.

This afternoon, after I finished the store’s weekly newsletter, we went on a most excellent shopping adventure to Portland, Maine. We’ve been talking about finding me a good knitting chair for ages. I thought I wanted a sleeper sofa or a chair but it had to be comfortable for a knitter which means a straight back and a relatively shallow seat and, most important of all, low or no arm rests. I’m so excited to report that we’ve ordered my chair and it’ll be delivered in March or April and I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone on this one! Wait until you see it.

I’ll end on the volunteer front where I started and let you know that our administrative coordinator is leaving us and we (I?) will be getting back all of her files and jobs and the office phone early next week. I’ve decided to close the “office” for a couple of weeks to give myself some time to recharge. It’s been a lot of work. My board meeting was successful in that there are several board members who have stepped up to get a few tasks accomplished and we will be forming a governance committee group to find the new slate of officers to take over in the late summer. And we will also be forming a committee to figure out how to better organize the lake association so that we can close down for a while in the winter and how we can better plan the season so that the board does less of the work and there are consistent tasks for the staff. I’m eager to see where this leads. We are on the precipice of requiring a part-time executive director to oversee the business of the organization.

The other organization whose board I sit on is the Maine Arts Academy. We’ve had a busy fall/winter, too! We are so excited, though, because we’ve bought our own building and we’re moving the school to Augusta, Maine pretty soon. Our current campus has gotten way too small and we have the demand from students and this year we had to turn some away. (And we hate to do that!) I’m extra proud of this group of dedicated teachers, administrators and board members. They’re among some of the most wonderful people I’ve had the occasion to work with. I look forward to being in our own building and seeing where the school goes. I’m sure it’s going to be a bright future for MeAA!

Sunset this afternoon … pink skies and snow in the forecast. I’m crossing my fingers (and toes!)

Gone knitting.

KnitCompanion

I got a new iPad for Christmas. My old one was probably an original iPad and it was ten or more years old. I used it regularly and it didn’t owe me anything but it was not able to run a lot of the programs that I wanted it to run and it was time for an upgrade.

The main reason I wanted an iPad was so I could use the KnitCompanion app. I’d used the free app but I wanted to upgrade and pay for a subscription because I’ve read and heard a lot about how wonderful it is. My old iPad couldn’t run the app.

I’m a serial paper pattern printer and I go through a lot of paper and ink and, although I recycle, it feels like a tremendous waste of paper if there’s an app for that. And there is. The subscription is $25 a year. I’m pretty sure that I pay that for ink alone in a year. And there is so much wonderful stuff in the KnitCompanion app. I’m really excited about it.

Today I’ve been working on my Emsworth vest. I’ve followed the beginning of the pattern from my printed paper pattern and I had two pieces of highlighter tape in two different places to remind me where I was. One was on the chart and one was on the pattern. Today I uploaded the pattern from my Ravelry library to KnitCompanion and customized the chart so that the row I’m working on is highlighted. I also changed the coloring of the chart to mark and count the (RS) knit/ (WS) purl stitches so that I don’t have to stop and count the long stretches of stitches, the app counts them for me. It’s brilliant!

There is a highlighter in the app and the highlighter lines don’t move when you close the pattern so you can work on another pattern – I was working on my Knubbelchen doll for my granddaughter. I’m heading into New York to help babysit when her dad is out of town later this month … I want to bring a few things with me and this is one of them. In advance of Valentine’s Day. Anywho … I digress. I hopped out of the Emsworth pattern and into the Knubbelchen pattern and I can be sure that when I go back to work tomorrow, the highlighters will be exactly where I left them (not hanging inside my knitting bag.)

I’ve found a good tutorial on VeryPink Knits YouTube channel. They’re really well done and they make great sense. I’m sure I’ll be returning to remind myself about certain parts of the app like I did today to remind myself how to manipulate the chart so that it’s easier to knit from. I’m one happy camper, uh, knitter!

Gone knitting.