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.

Humlebi Shawl

Can you see them?

When I saw this shawl on Ravelry, I knew I had to buy yarn and cast on. I had to!

Bees!

Pattern: Humlebi Shawl by Fiber Tales

Yarn: Patagonia Organic Merino (Light Grey colorway; three hanks)

I have knitted a lot of shawls and this is the first one that I’ve knitted that starts with a pico cast on – and over 300 stitches! I’m not convinced (yet) that the picot is picot-y enough, but I hope that if I block the shawl and pin each of the picots that it will be more accentuated. I can’t wait for the yarn. to bloom and to see what happens to the little bees. They’re knitted over a few rows so the first half of them is just a couple of wings and a bobble … bee butts! I had to laugh when I saw them. And then you go back and knit another bobble row and the bee is finished. They’re adorable and I’d like to add them into every single thing that I knit from today forward. (I probably won’t do that but, gosh, they’re stinking cute.

I am knitting this shawl in Patagonia Organic Merino yarn by Juniper Moon Farm. This may be my new favorite yarn. I have a vest worth in a charcoal gray and I have a sweater quantity in a rusty orange color. It’s a rustic wool but it has a nice hand and it’s just sticky enough that it would be a perfect pick for a colorwork project. Obviously, this isn’t colorwork but it’s a fun and simple enough project.

The bees are simple enough as are the flowers. The rest of the shawl is garter stitch with decreases. Lots and lots of garter stitch and decreases. Once I reach seven stitches, I’m done. More on that as I make progress!

Gone knitting.

It’s Been a Little Bit Since my Last Post

This was a very full, busy week. I had a lake association board of trustees meeting on Wednesday that I had to prepare for and run. Being the president of the lake association is a privilege and a lot more work than I anticipated. But we are doing a lot of good work and making a difference in the health of our lake and, we hope, the other lakes in our chain of seven and the rest of the state. These lakes are so beautiful and we want to keep them that way.

In addition, with the war in Ukraine and the political strife and division in our country, I’ve been feeling so sad and powerless. My energy has been lagging and I haven’t wanted to bake and haven’t been knitting much. I’m mostly exhausted by the blame laid at the feet of people who aren’t responsible. I’m tired of hearing about hateful policies being passed in some of our southern states. I am frustrated by the whining about fuel prices when we are all sitting pretty in our warm homes with full bellies and no bombings blowing up our hospitals and schools. None of this is easily solved and I am smart enough to know that there are untruths (spin/propaganda) on all sides but I believe that we are experiencing a temporary discomfort. Ukraine will be forever changed and I am so grateful that we have leadership in place in our country today that at least has some experience. Is our leadership perfect? Certainly not, but I believe the best interest of our country and democracy is safe in their hands. I “fear” that this could easily morph into a WWIII.

Winter’s Last Gasp?

Today is an ugly day in Maine and it may be winter’s last gasp. Time will tell. We woke to drizzle and have seen rain and now it seems to be turning to snow. A veritable weather-tasting! We are so grateful to be happily ensconced in our home; my DH in his man cave watching his movies and me in my atelier doing a little catch-up work and knitting.

I just finished jumper number 10 of 24 of the Arne and Carlos Advent Calendar jumpers. I need to sew in the ends and block it but that’s not going to take much time. I’m likely to knit the 11th before I finish 10. Number 11 will be green with red as the contrast color. It’s interesting knitting them all with the same three colors. I’d like to balance the combinations across the 24 and I think that I can come up with six color combinations so that means four of each.

I’ve also begun a pair of socks for my second-born DD. When they were here for a visit, she requested hand-knit socks and I am happy to oblige. I hope she loves them so she’ll ask for more. My drawer is pretty full and so is my DH’s. How lucky are we?

Fine Sand by Heidi Kirrmaier

I finished my Fine Sand cardigan after a mere three years. It was time to get it finished for sure. I will be happy to wear it this summer. I’ve blocked it and just need to sew in a label.

I also finished a pair of tams for a customer. She has asked me to knit six hats each year for several years and I’m always happy to hear from her. This pair was in forest greens. One in Malabrigo Chunky and one in Berroco Ultra Wool Chunky. Details are on my Ravelry project page. I forgot to take pictures of the finished and blocked hats before they were delivered to the store for pickup. Oops.

I’ve also started a new shawl pattern. Humlebi by Fiber Tales. I was really challenged by the bumble bee section. Most likely because I was so stressed and tired and I needed to knit it with fresh eyes and a rested soul – this has been difficult to do lately. The cast on is a picot cast on and lots and lots (and lots) of picots to cast on. But the real challenge for me was when I started the bee section which I knitted and then frogged and re-knitted. The second time, this is what I got …

Humlebi Shawl in progress

It’s a bee!!! I’m working this shawl in Patagonia Organic Merino by Juniper Moon Farm. I can hardly wait to block this shawl (and I have a long, long way to go before I can.) I believe the yarn will bloom beautifully these wonderful bees will adorn the edge proudly!

I think my next cast on will be a vest, also in Patagonia but this time in a charcoal gray. I’m thinking it will be Emsworth by Isabell Kraemer. I “need” a dark gray garment to wear with my work “uniform.” It will be a fun knit. I also need to finish one more WIP. Perhaps the lobster hat that I have started and re-started more than once. So many projects and so little time. Ha! Ha! Ha! (My kids would say that I’m not funny and compared to them I’m not but I can make myself laugh and I enjoy my own sense of humor.)

Season six of Outlander started this week and I’m binge watching season five today (maybe it’ll stretch to this weekend or more?) I’ll be ready to watch season six episodes 1 & 2 when I finish – I just have to refresh my memory of where it left off. Today is the perfect day for such activities.

Gone knitting.

About Decency

I may have to admit to being old. I feel like I’m starting to sound like my parents or maybe it’s just that I am finding my voice at 60+. Regardless, there is something afoot on “my” lake that is aggravating my moral and ethical self and that is making me question the society that we live in in the good old US of A.

A Couple of Sunrises Ago …

I am on the board of trustees of a public charter school here in Maine and I have listened to educators and others say that our children are disrespectful and rude and have no manners and are selfish, etc. None of these are wrong but we, the adults, have to look at our own behavior as the examples that our youth follow and (maybe) look up to. Who are we? Who are we as an adult society? How do we behave? Are we respectful and polite? Do we set the example for our youth by behaving well, by saying “please” and “thank you”? Do we use our turn signals? Are we generous with our time and talents? Do we take our hats off inside? Do we watch our own language use?

This morning there is a large group of what appear to be adults (to be fair they’re over a mile away) who are out ice fishing on the lake. Ice fishing in Maine is a long-standing tradition, often a generational (family) event, that is a wonderful outside activity for adults and children. Lots of people I know take their kiddos fishing in the winter. In fact, I just found out that there are child-sized snowmobiles! How cool is that?!

While I was sitting at the table eating my breakfast, I thought I saw that they had a flag flying over the group so I got the binoculars out and had a look to see what clever flag some family had created. Boy, am I sorry I did. There was a “F#*@ Biden” flag, a big one, flying with a Trump sign. I have no problem with the latter flag. We get to support who we want to in this country. But the former flag, the one with the obscene word and the name of the president of these United States, that one I take offense to … strongly.

We need to do better. Children will see that sign today and ask their mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, “what does F@#* mean?” because children READ! If we ever wonder why our youth today has no idea what appropriate language is about, this is one of the reasons why. We need to bring back the respect of the office. You don’t have to like the president, but the office must be respected. Only by demonstrating good behavior can we teach it. I am disgusted by this group and I hope someone, a mom or dad or another adult, will ask this group to take the flag down. What are we teaching our children?

I went out and put my American flag up this morning with a sadness that I haven’t felt for awhile and with a pride that I often feel. We can do better. We must do better.

Gone knitting.

WIP – Moorland Socks

Years ago, I was intrigued by A Year of Techniques “club” that came from the Arnall-Culliford Knitwear company out of the UK. I often seek to increase my knowledge of knitting so that I can pass what I learn on to my students and this seemed to fit right into that column. AND it was a year of improving knitting by a monthly technique project. There was a book and twelve projects so it seemed to be something that I could manage with everything else in my life.

That first year, I managed to complete a bunch of the patterns in the book. I also made the decision to buy the yarn collection for all of the projects because, being a company based in the UK, they were using yarns that I had not seen nor worked with. It would be an additional bit of knowledge that I could gather about yarn and how to match yarns and patterns and maybe, too, a little bit about color.

That first year I finished seven of the twelve projects. I ended up frogging one and not completing another because I didn’t like the fit, so we’ll count it as five projects completed and enjoyed. The next year they did Boost Your Knitting: A Second Year of Techniques followed the third year by Confident Knitting. Each year I went along and bought the yarns and have really, really enjoyed knitting with yarns that I may not have otherwise been exposed to in rural Maine. (Until I get to Paris and Shetland, anyway.)

But I digress because where I wanted to go with this post was to tell you about my Moorland Socks WIP. Moorland Socks were in the third group of technique projects. The yarn is from Fab Funky Fibers and contains two mini skeins as the main color of the socks, a wonderful self-striping multi-colored yarn with another mini for a contrasting heel. The technique for this project is a Garter stitch short row heel.

Today I finally finished the first short row heel and what fun it was to knit. (I can’t wait to try it on and see how it fits and how it feels to wear!) Because the heel and short rows are garter stitch, there is no need to pick up and knit the wraps for the short rows and that makes it much simpler and more straight forward to knit. I found that I did need to keep count of the stitches between the wraps, however; at least until I figured out how to read my knitting. It was more difficult on the increases (after the decreases on the first half of the heel) but I managed it, I think, quite well and it’s a super cute heel if I do say so myself.

Such a pretty heel, such a pretty sock! Since I wrote this I’ve finished sock number 1 and have cast on sock number 2. The mini skeins made it pretty easy to “match” the socks (so they look alike … or as alike as I care to make them look.) The fit’s pretty good, too. I’ll be curious to see how this heel wears compared to my favorite heel flap and gusset. I’ll let you know.

Gone knitting.

Cashmere … Nimbus Cowl

Pink Cashmere Times Two

I had a hank of cashmere lace in my stash. It came from my college friend “Sue Doo.” She saw it at a fundraiser, if memory serves, and bid on it with me in mind. Isn’t that so thoughtful? It had several skeins of Noro yarn, some knitting books, and this lovely cashmere lace.

And then a couple of years ago, I was with friends on the Maine Yarn Cruise and we were visiting the Good Karma farm in Belfast where they’d purchased a bunch of yarn and they were selling it for a song. I found a skein of cashmere and silk lace.

Both of these yarns are pink. One a bright pink and one a soft pink. They’re both lace weight. So, when held together, they make a fingering weight. I only have one of each so it’s a one and done kind of pattern that I needed to find and Purl Soho’s Nimbus Cowl was super simple. It seemed perfect.

Since I’m “experimenting” here, I cast on the 154 stitches (after I cast on 174 and then took off 20) and just knit around and around for three inches. After three inches, I’ll decrease a bit because it’s cashmere and I want it to sit close to my neck, of course! It’s so soft and so light. I hope this little knitting experiment works.

Also today …

Sunrise 2/1/2022

This was sunrise this morning. I woke up extra early this morning and so I got to watch the sun come up. It was really cold this morning (-8) but it was clear. I always feel better when the sun is out. My dear husband and I had an appointment this morning at an auction house, getting some free appraisals on some old stuff that we have. It was a great day to drive to the coast, actually. After our appointment, we went home to let the dog out and then off to a Medicaid 101 class at our local senior center. Good grief, how is it possible that we are getting close to being official seniors (and not in high school or even college!) It felt particularly odd to be walking through a senior center and thinking that we could be hanging out there. I’m glad we are on this side of the dirt today.

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.

Another FO – Knitting Pure and Simple #233 Neck Down Shaped T-shirt

I just finished another sweater that I knitted. This time, the sweater is for my student, Lucille, who is going to be 93 years old on Friday.

Lucille has some beautiful sweaters and some are quite complex knitting projects. She’s been coming to my Friday knitting class for several years and I’ve grown to care for her a lot. Enough so that I pick her up and bring her home after class every week. She’s a valued member of our class. We also have noticed (and reported to her family) that her memory isn’t what it used to be and her knitting has really been a struggle.

This sweater was one she really wanted to knit and I really thought that it would be simple enough for her to manage successfully. I got the sweater cast on for her, reviewed the sweater pattern with her in class and then sent her home. The following week at class I had to frog her sweater back because she’d knitted half of the rounds, increasing every round and not knitting a plain round in between them. I took the sweater home that week and returned it to her with all of the increases made and the sleeves separated so that she’d only have to knit around on the body stitches. That didn’t work either. She asked me if I could finish the sweater for her and “charge her a lot!” LOL

As an “expert” knitter, I picked up Lucille’s needles and cast on the sweater and started knitting. When I got to the end of the body, it was time to do a few rows of ribbing … on a size US 3. It was a HUGE difference between the two needle sizes so I decided to measure Lucille’s needle that I had knitted the entire sweater with … it was a US 8, not the US 6 that the pattern called for nor did the gauge match. Fortunately, the gauge was only a little bit off and it was a little bit larger than she wanted it to be – and it fits! So, I went ahead and knitted the sleeves in the same size needle and did the ribbing on a US 5. Phew. Note to self: even the teacher sometimes forgets to check gauge. I will attempt to remember that I should check the needle size before picking up a student’s project.

All done with the body … on a US 8

Today I finished her sweater and it’s had its bath and is drying. Our house is very dry so I am hoping that I can give it to her on Friday, her birthday, when we have a little celebration at our class. I’m bringing a cake!

Gone Knitting!

Details about this and all of my projects (some aren’t knitting!) are on my Ravelry page. I’m lindar on Ravelry.

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.

Adjusting. Change.

This will be the first month that I’ve missed knitting a pair of socks (or two) in almost two years. It’s been an extraordinarily busy month and it’s been really stressful.

Our refrigerator wasn’t keeping the ice cream frozen so we put a call into the technician we’ve used and he said it’s more than likely the condenser is shot. He advised us to buy a new refrigerator. Despite the LG people saying it takes a couple of hours (if you can find a technician who will come to service it – we’ve tried five, none of which can do anything for at least 3-4 weeks) the technicians all say it’s almost a full day’s work. LG will pay for the part under warranty but we have to pay for the service … guess what? It’s probably not worth it. Never mind that by the time someone can come to fix it our food will be gone. Ugh. So, we bought a new fridge and installed it ourselves because they couldn’t deliver for a week either. Ugh.

I’ve been driving a 2007 Camry since it was a new car. It was wonderful in suburbia but it’s not as wonderful on rural Maine camp roads. We’ve been talking about buying me a new one and we went out for our initial hunt last week. There isn’t much to see … not too many new or used cars are available and there’s not a lot of hope for a different situation into 2022 because of computer chips that aren’t readily available. Anywhoo … we found a RAV 4 that we thought was a good match for us and gave the dealership a deposit and it was supposed to come in at the end of the month. I was on my way to work last Thursday and saw it on the back of a car carrier truck and then got a call from the dealership that it was in if we wanted to test drive it. Suffice it to say, we pulled together all of our pennies and bought me a new car.

Meanwhile, my brother and sister-in-love in MA called me to talk about my remaining Little, Lola. I knew that she was close to the end of her life and that she wasn’t thriving but I was blind to the truth that she had no real quality of life and certainly no joy. My wonderful family offered to come to Maine to have a look and see how she was doing and, if I wanted to, to euthanize her. As I thought about it all last week, I knew she was ready. I wasn’t and would never be if I am totally honest. She was disoriented, her back legs weren’t’ working and she often fell down, she wasn’t able to get outside to do her business and she kept getting “stuck” around the house. She wasn’t comfortable.

Lola died peacefully at home on Sunday morning with all of us loving her. I will always remember her like this. She was such a wonderful girl. She was my heart animal and I absolutely adored her. She was almost literally attached to my right hip for the past 15 years. Life is horribly out of balance without her. To have lost both of my beloved Littles in six months is crushing. I am so grateful to have had them both in my life for so long and selfishly I wish it could have been longer. But even another year or five years wouldn’t have been enough. I still wouldn’t have been ready to say goodbye. I already miss her more than I could have imagined.

I’m knitting and it’s my time-filler now as well as being something to focus on in this difficult time. I’ve been working to finish the Gallbladder Shawl for my daughter’s birthday (that is this weekend) and I may get it finished but I doubt that I can get it blocked and delivered in time. But that will have to be ok this year. I think she’ll understand. I have a Christmas stocking up next for a sweet friend/customer and a list of future knits to follow that. I have to finish a sweater that has been languishing … I need to pick up the stitches around the neck and down the second side and knit four rows for the button bands and then knit the sleeves. It’s SO close.

For now, I’m giving myself grace around everything as I learn to live without my four-legged companion. My husband and I were talking over coffee this morning and saying that we are each missing the habits or patterns that our little family has been living with all these years. We look for her in her spot, I walk downstairs at bedtime with empty arms, there’s nobody to take outside first thing in the morning or last thing at night. So we will continue to be grateful that she’s at rest and we will create new habits/patterns to fill in those holes where the Littles are missing. We loved them so.

Gone knitting.