Thankful

We woke to this view this morning and are so thankful for the privilege of living here, this close to nature and where we can escape the craziness of the world. We are just back from our Thanksgiving gathering in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Two of my kids and their partners and dogs came up from New York. It was a wonderful Northshore Thanksgiving – seafood feast; clam chowder from the Causeway Restaurant in Gloucester, steamed clams and lobsters and dessert from the Italian bakery in the north end of Boston. A wonderful gathering of family and friends who are like family.

I’ve been knitting away and have finished several projects that I can share and a couple that I won’t.

I had a commission for three simple Christmas stockings from my cousin who had lost hers to a moth infestation. She requested green, red and white and I insisted that I’d put on their names. I made an effort to get them finished by Thanksgiving because I’ve lost the post office holiday “battle” before when items intended for Christmas didn’t arrive in time … even when sent two weeks in advance. I didn’t want that to happen here. I’ll be writing up this pattern in the coming weeks for my followers. Why not, right?

I also finished a stocking for my granddaughter. I wanted hers to match her parents and thankfully I kept a copy of the pattern. I must have had the book once upon a time but I don’t any more. I knit Sylvie’s stocking out of Plymouth Galway yarn in an Aran colorway. The stocking is cabled with two different cable patterns on it. The hugs and kisses cables go down the front and back of the sock from top to the tip of the toe, around the heel, too. It’s not an easy pattern but I’ve learned to read my knitting and cross the stitches according to my eyes in order to keep the pattern going. If my memory serves, I added a tassel and an initial ornament to her parents’ stockings. I couldn’t find a nice “S” ornament but I found a cute photo ornament and I think it’ll be good.

I’ve knitted a few things for my granddaughter that I think I can share with you since she’s not yet reading (she’s one month old!) I made her a pair of faux shearling booties and a Christmas sweater and a Love and Light to hang in her nursery.

The shearling booties have knitted cuffs. This is a fairly simple kit to knit that one of my co-workers saved out for me. She was knitting a pair for her granddaughter and I’m grateful that she thought of me. Every well-dressed Maine grand baby needs these. The are a “kit” by Boye called Starting Point Cozy Cuff Baby Booties. I used scraps of Berroco Vintage for the cuffs. I can’t wait to see these on her!

Babies love to look at lights and I thought a light-up heart, Love and Light, designed by Laura Nelkin would be a good addition to her nursery. I had ordered the 200-light strand of fairy lights from Amazon some time ago and finally grabbed my needles to get it done. It’s such “big” knitting that it doesn’t take too long to make and it’s absolutely adorable.

I made her a Newborn Vertebrae sweater in rainbow sock yarn and because this fits so well, I decided to make her another one, this time for Christmas. I knitted the body of the sweater with white sock yarn and then grabbed some bits of stashed yarn and knitted red cuffs, a green and red border around the front of the sweater, and then i duplicate stitched a big green Christmas tree with a bright yellow star to the back. I think it’s adorable. I really wanted to put some sequins and beads on it but babies only spend time on their backs these days and that would NOT have been comfortable. Maybe next year!

I’ve still got a Musselburgh hat to finish but I’m nearly up to the decreases and finishing. I hope it fits. I think it’ll be warm. Pictures to follow as it’s a gift. I’ve got 15 of my Arne and Carlos Norwegian mini-Jumpers finished and number 16 is on the needles. Needless to say, these will not be finished this year and it’s ok. I’ll get them done for next year and this year I’ve bought all of my kids a chocolate advent calendar from Harbor Sweets in Salem, MA. If you’ve not tried their sweet sloops, you’re in for a treat. They’re quite a step up from the $1 chocolate advent calendars from the Christmas Tree Store in Augusta!

I have a couple of pairs of mittens on the needles, too. The KAL “Merry” mittens has been fun. I’ve knitted through the end of the third clue and have the fourth to do next. And there’s a second mitten, too. The Peace de Resistance mittens have been chilling out in my knitting bag for ages. They’ll be happy to see the light of day one of these days. There’s also a pair of socks on my needles.

As of today I’ve completed about 63 projects. I think. I keep track in my bullet journal and in my Ravelry queue (mark the year you’re knitting in the “tags” area) I’m quite pleased about this number because I’ve been working and teaching and volunteering on two boards of trustees so I’ve been busy.

I want to touch back to the sad end of of our Thanksgiving when we had to say goodbye to my beloved grand-dog, Willow. On Friday morning, something was wrong with our girl. Luckily, my brother is a veterinarian and he and his wife scooped up a very uncomfortable Willow and took her to their animal hospital for a check. It turned out that she had a “sizable” tumor on her heart and the heart was surrounded by fluid from the tumor. The fluid could be tapped and drained but there was no way of knowing how quickly it would fill up again. My daughter and her husband made the difficult decision to put Willow to sleep so she wouldn’t suffer, and she was suffering. We all had a chance to visit with her and say our farewells and my brother and sister-in-love are the most caring and compassionate team I know. We are so very lucky that we were there at their house when this happened. The kids were scheduled to head back into New York City that morning and it could just as easily have happened in the car. At least our dear Willow was surrounded by people who love her as she passed away. We will all miss her.

Rest in peace, sweet Willow. Until we meet again.

Gone knitting.

Fall-ing Back.

We see a lot more sunrises on the lake in the winter. We have gone back to daylight savings time here in Maine, falling back an hour. This means that we wake up to sunrise and it’s dark before the end of the workday. But it’s beautiful. The sun rises in the colder months almost directly across the lake from our bedroom window and that means the sun shines straight in. It’s lovely waking up to a colorful sky.

Life has been busy on the lake. We have been trying to get the gardens cleaned out and the pots emptied and put away. My hubby planted the garlic and covered it with a thick layer of hay. We have had our first snow … not enough to shovel and followed by rain, but first snow. It was lovely for me because I stayed in and enjoyed the warm, cozy house and a day of drinking tea and knitting.

We’ve been doing a lot of “family planning” with the holidays closing in on us again. We will be in Marblehead, MA for Thanksgiving this year with some of the kids, then heading to the Washington, DC area for (bonus daughter) Robin’s wedding and then I’ll be heading to New York City for my first babysitting gig as a grandma. The baby has hit her one month mark, loves to eat and hates to sleep on her back, alone, in her bassinet. Her parents are exhausted but totally in love.

Basic Christmas Stocking by Queen Bee Knits (pattern coming soon)

I’ve completed two of my three commissioned stockings and am working on the third. It’s of interested to note that I am using three different brands of yarn for these three stockings and they’re each a bit different. I think I saved the best for last, Cascade 220, which was the only 100% wool yarn that I found that was “white enough” to pass as white – not ivory or cream or aran colored. I’ve gotten down to the heel in about 6.5 hours of knitting. I estimated ten hours and we’ll see how close I get. I’m not as good as lawyers are at keeping track of my time. My dear old dad would be so disappointed (not really). Once tis he knitting complete, I’ll duplicate stitch the names onto them and send them off. The really rough pattern notes are here. I’ll write up the pattern when I can and post it on Ravelry.

I’ve finished the baby’s Christmas stocking, too. I made this stocking pattern for her parents “a few” years back. It must have been before I kept real records of my projects on Ravelry. But I do know that the pattern is out of a book … and I kept the pattern but didn’t keep the book. SO … I’m lucky that I have it to knit again. I really enjoy knitting cables. I had forgotten how much. This stocking is fairly heavily cabled but very satisfying to knit. The X and O cable pattern is easy to memorize with the stitches crossing every four rounds. Once you have learned how to make a cable lean to the left or the right, it’s a pretty easy pattern to read as you go. The “ornament” pattern is less intuitive but it’s really lovely. I love the way the design incorporates the cables all the way through the heel flap and heel turn and all the way down to the toe. The pattern is Hugs and Kisses Aran Stocking by Dee Lockwood.

Hugs and Kisses Aran Stocking

I’ve made a second Newborn Vertebrae for Sylvie. This time it’s a Christmas design. She’s getting so much bigger but she’s still pretty tiny and she spends a lot of time being held or lying on her back. (She much prefers the former, by the way.) The rainbow vertebrae sweater that I knit her fits her perfectly and her mom and I decided it was a good fit for the time through Christmas. We hope. Anyway, I used a 50g. ball of fingering weight sock yarn for the body of the sweater and then I dove into my stash for the accent colors. I found several greens and a lovely red and I’ve decorated the sweater appropriately. I wanted to go all out and decorate further with sequins and beads BUT they’ll be like a bad princess and the pea story because the beads would poke the baby’s back. So it’s unadorned for the most part. I just have to add a tiny yellow star.

I’ve set aside the Merry KAL until I get the deadline knitting finished. Suffice it to say that I was really (really) tired on Thursday after work and I decided to pick up this pattern for a bit … I knit and then promptly frogged the same rounds. Moral of the story is knit a very simple pattern when you’re sleep deprived or you’ll be tinking back. Ha! Ha!

My Arne and Carlos Mini-Advent-Jumpers are frozen at number 15 1/2. I’ve begun number 16 but I haven’t been back to work on it for a few weeks. I don’t think I’ll finish them this year and that’s going to be ok. I’m going to give myself some grace since I haven’t stopped working whether it’s as president of the lake association, a board member for Maine Arts Academy, at the store or in my own knitting business. I also have a life aside from work and a house to clean, laundry, groceries, cooking, baking and sometimes I have to sleep, too. The LYS where I work and teach is kicking off a Fall Smalls KAL/CAL on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we’re going to work on small projects – participants can come knit with the group for no cost and can work on any small project they want; toys, a small sweater, a hat, dishcloths, whatever. Our Fall Smalls KAL/CAL will run for just a few weeks and end on the Winter Solstice. A little (pun intended) fun ahead of a busy holiday season.

I also have a Musselburgh hat on the needles that I’ve spoken very little about. This has been my knitting go-to for when I need something “brainless” to knit. I’ve got the hat nearly to eighteen inches and time to decrease for the end of the hat. BUT it’s been a lot of knitting in the round. Once past the increases which are not difficult it’s time to knit forever! I’ve been knitting forever. This is a hat designed for several different yarn weights. I’ve chosen a fingering weight sock yarn, washable, Berroco Vintage Sock in the black colorway. I’ll tell you honestly that I don’t love this yarn. I would rather be knitting with wool rather than this combination of acrylic and wool. The yarn is soft and washable, suitable for wearing against the skin and also suitable for babies. But my daughter said she’d wear a black hat and I wanted to try the pattern to see how it knits up. I love the pattern. Ysolda (Teague, the designer) is a genius. I hope it’ll be a perfect fit!

I’ll leave you here, dear friend (dare I say friends?) with the idea that this is a wonderful time to gather with friends and/or family and count your blessings even if they’re as simple as a crisp cool day with sun or the feel of yarn passing through your fingers. I’m grateful for a healthy family, the opportunity to travel to be with many of them over the course of the next few weeks and, of course for yarn. This is the time to fall back into the winter routine of coming inside and (hopefully) slowing down a little and knitting.

Happy Thanksgiving and cheers!

Gone knitting.

Finishing Up

Today was a beautiful day! The sun was shining after several days of grey and rainy weather which made it even more special. It was also the autumnal equinox – where the day and the night are perfectly balanced. Yesterday, the day was longer than the night. Tomorrow the night will be longer than the day. I love living in a place where I can actually see this happening – we watch the sun come up in the morning and it moves ever so slowly from the right to the left and then back again. In the winter the sun is nearly directly across the lake from our house providing passive solar heat.

I made myself finish up a bunch of house/family things today so that I can feel ok about going back to work tomorrow. I finished the laundry, finished folding linens, refreshed the outdoor potted plants and window box, finished putting away the groceries from yesterday and straightened and cleaned our bedroom. I’m hoping the last task helps my allergies when I wake up tomorrow.

I have finished up some knitting projects, too. I have two baby sweaters blocking and I’ve been working at weaving in the ends (all 15,000 of them) of my Elton Cardigan. I’ll be taking Elton and one of the baby sweaters to work tomorrow or Friday so that I can hunt for buttons.

I started the Newborn Vertebrae first and finished it second. I had started knitting this little cardigan for my granddaughter and only had to pick up stitches around the front and do a few rows of 1×1 ribbing. Why I chose to pick up another sweater pattern for baby – this one, I thought, was going to be for my great-nephew, Noah – I’ll never know but it’s been sitting patiently waiting for it’s turn. The yarn information you can find on my Ravelry project page. (I’m lindar.)

Puerperium Cardigan is a really fun knit. I’ve not knitted this before but I really loved it. It’s such a simple pattern but it’s adorable when done. I love the buttons down the side in particular. I have had this yarn in my stash for a little while and thought I’d make this for Noah but as I was knitting, the pink spots just kept popping out and I realized that it’s more for a female baby (I know, I know, boys can wear pink but I’m old and it said little girl to me.) So, today at work, I’m returning the extra yarn from my Elton Cardigan and I’ll pick up something cute for a sweater for Noah. Since he’s here in the flesh now, he’ll be needing little sweaters in Salem, MA soon.

And, I’m happy to report that I’ve finished the knitting and weaving in of the zillions of little ends on my Elton Cardigan. It just needs to be blocked and have buttons added. I sure hope I love this sweater. It was a bit of a pain to knit – it’s not the pattern, it’s the mohair. But I love the color and I think I’m going to like the boxy, lighter-weight. For now, I’m going to sign off and go get it blocked to I can take photos and then report about the fit.

Gone knitting!

Rough Re-Entry; Wonderful Vacation!

Above the Rooftops – the Perch

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

Lobster Dinner!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Off to the post office to pick up our mail.

Gone postal? Gone knitting.

The Ahab Inside Me

September 3, 2022 – Morning

This morning we had our coffee on the porch. Coffee on the porch is not an unusual occurrence but this morning coffee was with blankets over our laps and my hubby had his (hand knit) hat on. It was 50 degrees at 6:30 this morning. But it was gorgeous and we are so grateful to live here and to have a place that is safe and warm to call home.

There are a lot of people who aren’t as fortunate as we are through no fault of their own. Last night we went to see the premiere of a new play in Augusta at the historic Colonial theater with a group of new friends. It’s obvious that I love theater and the arts (at least I hope it is!) I have driven by the Colonial Theater so many times without even recognizing that it was there. The theater is a sidewalk’s-width from the street but it’s been around since 1913 and figured into Maine’s early film history and it’s now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The play, “The Ahab Inside Me – A High Seas Blues Opera”, was moving and, although a bit unpolished, it sent a strong message about addiction and recovery and how it affects generations in families. I have friends and family touched by addiction and it’s important to bring attention to the stigmatization of those who struggle with addiction. Addiction is a disease. Nobody asks to be an addict. Nobody thinks less of cancer or covid victims, why do we think so little of addicts? Why do we treat them as “less than?” We have a lot to do to educate people about addiction. A health care system would be a good place to start.

We enjoyed our night out in the company of new friends.

I spent the day today knitting and getting prepared for our vacation. I made granola and did a load of laundry so we have clean sheets at the beach. I changed our bed and wrote two agendas – one for the Maine Arts Academy Development Committee meeting on Tuesday afternoon and the other for our Friends of Messalonskee Board meeting on the 14th. Life is busy and full – how lucky am I?!

Aestlight by Gudrun Johnston

Today I worked on the edging for my Aestlight shawl. I’ve passed the half-way mark and am knitting toward the end of this project. I giggle when I say that I started this shawl in “protest” because my friend and co-worker was going to Shetland without me. I’ve enjoyed this project so much and I look so forward to going to Shetland myself one day (maybe next year!)

Elton by Joji Locatelli

I also worked for a little while late in the day on my Elton Cardigan. I am getting very (very) close to finishing the second sleeve … and that means that there is only the button band left to do. Well, almost. I am excited to see what happens to this sweater when it’s blocked. The pattern says that it should be blocked aggressively. I may be able to finish the knitting before we leave for vacation but I’m likely to wait to block it until we return. I look forward to wearing it, for sure.

I bought some new yarn this week. I saw the new pattern designed by Wool & Pine Designs, the Three Season Cardigan and I knew I had to knit this cardigan, heavily cabled, a little bit cropped, v-neck, and gorgeous! AND I had to have it in the yarn that they showed in the sample knit – Katia Concept Cotton Merino. I was challenged, couldn’t find it at any of my “normal” locations, but I did find it on the Katia website. The customer service at Katia was extraordinary and the shipping was so quick. Nearly as immediate as going to my LYS! I shopped my LYS, too! I bought several skeins of yarn to make some more sweaters for my grand-daughter … what a wonderful phrase – “my grand-daughter!” When I am at work and it’s a quiet couple of hours, I get into trouble. In this case, I bought some rainbow Perth sock yarn to make a Newborn Vertebrae, some Berroco Vintage to make a Little Coffee Bean Cardigan and a couple of other surprises.

I have also bought a few more patterns. Oops! I have really loved the Pressed Flowers shawl. We have a sample in the shop that I like but I don’t love worsted weight shawls – too hot for me these days, at my age. This week, Amy Christoffers added the Pressed Flowers Hat to her collection and I bought both patterns. I’ll make them both in sport weight yarn. And I look forward to it. I also love supporting the talented designers that continue to offer incredible patterns.

Gone knitting.

Finishing Line

Over the Christmas holidays and the last few weeks, I’ve been slowly but surely finishing up some projects. Others, I have finished photos of and can freely post them here without any surprises being ruined.

This past week, I started and finished a Boxet Bag. This pattern is in Making Magazine #5, Color and it’s designed by Cal Patch. I had been home all week with a “broken” back … not sure what I did but I finished my morning stretching and couldn’t stand up … and I needed to do something fun! I have a full bin of wool bits and bobs that I’ve been carrying around with me since we lived in Florida and I thought this was a good way to use some of it up. If there was any disappointment, it’s that it isn’t bigger and didn’t use more but I really love this little tote. I used Patons Classic Wool in several colors. This is a crochet project and I’m so pleased that this knitter is finally feeling more sure of herself when it comes to crochet. I only had to pull it back once or twice and that means I’m learning!!! It’s so cute and it’ll be so much fun to carry!

On Sunday I frogged my Malabrigo Rios cardigan. I was finished with the body and could try it on and I hated it. It’s just not for my body – there’s nothing wrong with the sweater, it’s just not right for my body. I’m still learning that. I do love the yarn and I need to find another simple cardigan pattern that will accentuate the beautiful Malabrigo colorways. The yarn is back into it’s caked format and ready to go. Pattern suggestions are welcome. It sure seems to me that when I knit sweaters I need to make two and frog them before I get it right!

My embroidered mittens are finished and have been worn quite a lot. They’ve also inspired a few other knitters to make some of their own! I love seeing everyone’s work!

I started knitting a Newborn Vertebrae sweater as a baby gift and then I didn’t have the right needles at work so I switched gift ideas in mid-stream. I made baby Izzy a pair of adorable baby booties and sent them off to New York and then I finished the Vertebrae and it will be added to the gift drawer in my atelier for another little baby. Vertebrae is a free pattern on Ravelry and I knit it with leftovers of On the Round Signature Sock yarn in the Silverlining Tweed colorway. It’s super cute! (And so tiny!) The Booties are made in Cascade Yarn’s Fixation and the pattern is Sue’s Baby Booties. Have a look at my projects page in Ravelry (I’m Lindar.)

Have I posted pictures of my niece’s Unicorn Mittens yet? They really came out super cute and I love them! I sent sparkly Unicorn purses from Target and a few other little things that I found and thought the girls would like. But the mittens are my favorite!!! One pair had blue eyes and one had green eyes. The bright colors are fabulous, if I do say so myself.

Last photo for this post is the pillow that I made, ostensibly for my hubby. He has a brand new (to him) red truck and he loves the old fashioned trucks that he drove at camp as a teenager. I had purchased this embroidery kit forever ago and had never made it up. So, since I was resting my knitting arm, I decided to give it a shot. It turned out well but if I were to do it again, I’d choose fabric that isn’t so Christmas specific so it could be kept out for a longer time. Oh well. I keep learning as I make!

So, there you are! A few more updates as promised in the older posts. I hope that you’ll check them out, too. I have so much fun making things for my family and friends. I would much rather make than buy … it seems more personal and I enjoy the process of thinking about what people would like!

Gone knitting.