We Interrupt This Life … Vacation Knitting

I just spent a lovely week with my siblings, some spouses and some kids on the “left coast”. Two days in Marin County where my “Irish twin” brother (not really but close enough) lives with his wife and two adorable daughters.

Horsey Rides

Horsey Rides

Happy Baby

Happy Baby









Faye will be 3 in December and Lilah will be one at the end of November. They are precious! It was the first time any of us had met the girls and we all had a blast. Well, their parents are sleep-deprived because of Lilah’s teething. The rest of us thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The Aqua hotel in Marin was a perfect place to stay! They have rental bikes and a beautiful full breakfast buffet. In the evenings after dinner when the girls had to go to sleep, the rest of us sat in the lobby with Wendy (at the front desk) who poured us a glass of wine and baked us fresh hot cookies. She even got the nephews and a brother or two a glass of milk.

Sister selfie

Sister selfie

On Saturday we had to say farewell to my sister who was headed home to prepare for a bike trip to Italy. (She brought her bike to California and rode every day!) The rest of the crew headed out to Lake Tahoe, Nevada for a few days at the lake. Some fun pictures are at the end of this post!)

With all the family activity, I didn’t get a lot of knitting done. But I did do some.

My Arne & Carlos Regia sock number one is finished and sock number two is started. I love knitting with this yarn and I love the sock! I’m using Susan B. Anderson’s How I Make My Socks pattern which is a very simple, plain sock pattern and my Signature US 1 DPNs. Can’t wait to add them to my sock drawer. For now, they’re in time out so I can finish my test knit sweater. It’s called “Crew, by Lori Versaci of VersaciKnits. Knit with a DK yarn, I’m using Berroco Fiora in a deep teal color. (Color 3856, dye lot 83925) I am using my Knitters Pride interchangeable needles (US 5) and a 32 inch cord. The pattern is great and I love the drape of the fabric. I’m knitting two sleeves at a time to keep them even and (hopefully) accelerate the finish. I can’t wait to wear it! I’ve finished my Manos Serena shawl. It still needs to have the ends woven in and be blocked but in our little cabin there really isn’t room for me to block knitwear. If we have a sunny day tomorrow I may lay it outside on the grass. I’m eager to see it finished!

Gone knitting (deadline looms)!

Fay, Uncle Rick and Papa

Fay, Uncle Rick and Papa

Clowning around in the cul-de-sac

Clowning around in the cul-de-sac

Catching Crawfish (we cooked and ate them, too!)

Catching Crawfish (we cooked and ate them, too!)

Tahoe Mountains

Tahoe Mountains

Tahoe sky

Tahoe sky

Old wooden boat on the lake.

Old wooden boat on the lake.

Diane, Greg & Melissa - my cousins - at the beach picnic

Diane, Greg & Melissa – my cousins – at the beach picnic

Cousin Jack and Cousin Lily

Cousin Jack and Cousin Lily

Papa and Lilah

Papa and Lilah

Princess Faye -swimmer

Princess Faye -swimmer









Needles, Needles, Needles

I’m working a lot knitting socks. Trying some new patterns and trying different needles, too.

Knitter's Pride Dreamz DPN

Knitter’s Pride Dreamz DPN

I have a set of new Knitter’s Pride “dreamz” 6-inch double pointed needles in US1 (2.25mm) needles and they’re going to help me knit up some wonderful socks using  Susan B. Anderson’s “How I Make My Socks” pattern and Patons Kroy Socks in Spring Leaf Stripes colorway (that I’ve had in my stash for a few months.) I am really liking these needles. They are smooth but not slippery. The tips are pointy enough but I’d like to have a little more tip … they are almost rounded off at the tip rather than pointy and pointy is better when you’re using fine yarns. At this price point, however, they are very reasonable and they are nice to work with.

Signature Needle Arts DPN

Signature Needle Arts DPN

My other socks are on my Signature Needle Arts 6-inch US1 DPNs. (One of which I seem to have lost already. I am hoping that I left it at the office on Friday and that I will find it when I return tomorrow. You’ll understand why one would worry about the loss of one needle when you are told that I paid $48 for a set of four needles. Thus, one needle is valued at $12 which, by the way, is more than a set of 5 Dreamz needles.) The yarn that I am using is Gale’s Art Wonder Sock in the Graffiti colorway. I love this yarn’s color and it was one that I fell in love with and went to buy immediately after casting my eyes upon it. That doesn’t happen often. The Signature needles, while pricey, are worth every cent. I love the stiletto points and the yarn slips easily over them without slipping off them. I’d say that these are my favorites and I will collect more as my pocketbook allows.

I’ve had many (many!) sets of needles over the course of my knitting career. From the “cheap-o” needles that you can buy on sale at the big box craft stores to my pricey Signatures. I bought my first boxed set of needles at a half-price going out of business sale in Cincinnati, Ohio. I thought spending $50 for a set of Denise Interchangeable Needles was a huge expense. And I loved the needles. Until I discovered Addis! Addi cords were so much more flexible and they’ve been through several iterations since my first circular needles. One summer I bought a set of HIya Hiya needles (around $70- $80?) and I fell in love again. The transition between the needles and cords were much smoother than the Denise needles and the single circs that I bought here and there. No matter what brand of bamboo circular needle I seemed to buy, the transitions were often rough.

And then one  year I took some classes with Annie Modesitt and discovered Signatures. I’ve often asked for them for my birthday and Christmas and mother’s day, too. I tend to buy 40″ circulars because I can use them in magic loop in so many applications. I have one pair of straights and one pair of their DPNs. They are all magnificent and the tips are nice and pointy.

Limited Edition Knitter's Pride Dreamz (well worn!)

Limited Edition Knitter’s Pride Dreamz (well worn!)

I was gifted one more lovely set of needles a couple of Christmases ago. They are a limited edition set of Knitter’s Pride Dreams interchangeable circular needles. They have been so well used for so often (and taken with me when I travel or teach) that the box is starting to show some wear. I love the needles. The cords are nice and flexible and the transitions are mostly smooth. I have a couple of needles that are not as smooth as others. But, over all, this set is a decent price point and they are pretty colors and they are great to knit with.

Needles, like friends, are a personal choice. We all have our favorites or besties. None are “bad”, some are better for different projects. Have you ever travelled with a friend who you can only take in small doses or one who snores? It makes travel a challenge! Needles are the same! When you have the wrong needles, your project will be a challenge. I like to use bamboo with “slippery” yarn (like mohair). I use circulars for almost everything these days but I still like to knit socks on DPNs, too.

Variety is the spice of life, right?

Gone knitting.

Another Adventure …

What kind of crazy people are we?

We left Florida on December 20. Three dogs in the back seat and the truck loaded up with presents and a Honey Baked Ham … New York City and Christmas with two of my three children. We planned to spend one night in Richmond, VA on our way and then a night just shy of the city. Only one wrong turn which sent us into Washington, DC … at least we weren’t towing the boat! Smooth sailing!

Almost There!

Almost There!

With my daughter’s help, and having made good time, we ended up in Washington Heights and our little sub-let one night early.

The little apartment we rented was about mid-way between my son’s and my daughter’s apartments. Allowing for adjustments for all the dogs and super convenient for us – not to mention really reasonable rates!

Lobster Feast!

Lobster Feast!

Christmas eve was spent eating (mimosas started off our day) and baking cookies. Our family tradition is Spritz cookies. It’s still more fun to make them when you have someone else to decorate them. I love that my kids all value that tradition – started by my mother – it’s simply not Christmas without Spritz! A lobster feast for dinner, with thanks to my brother the lobsterman, had us all a mess and very happy. Christmas movies and lots of laughs … or was it the wine? I almost forgot to have the kids open their Christmas Eve gifts from Santa.

Christmas Day was low key – relaxing over coffee and muffins, Skyped with the missing daughter and her father in Chicago. The NY kids had to work but we hung with my boy and all the dogs. Ditto on Boxing Day.

IMG_2636Our big outing into mid-town was dinner and going to Kate’s show. We went to Qi for dinner and I love their food. Seeing my girl one more time as the star of Rock of Ages was a special treat for me – and my boy went with his old mom. N decided to skip the show and visited the Strand Bookstore at Union Square which he adored despite a couple of wrong turns and perhaps a wrong address (hence the wrong turn!)

On the 27th we packed up the dogs and presents and tearfully kissed the kids goodbye. Heading north in our truck to our “camp” in Maine.

camp /kamp/ n. A place usually away from urban places where tents or simple buildings (as cabins) are erected for shelter or temporary residence.

Camp Warner

Camp Warner

Think primitive. No running water. No plumbing. Think outhouse with a very (VERY) cold seat. And melting snow on the wood stove to wash dishes. Our mattress on the floor in the living room. Windows frozen with condensation. We carried all of our stuff in from the street with our Christmas snowshoes! A simple dinner in front of the wood stove and I was ready for bed. Too many late nights and I was ready for bed … probably long before I actually climbed in. Despite the “camping” and the cold, I wasn’t ready to leave when we heard that there was a Nor’ Easter coming in! I can’t wait until we are there for all the winter storms!

Next to Marblehead and a visit with my youngest brother and his family. We’ve loved getting to know their friends and love any chance to visit this charming town full of friends and family. So much so that I forgot to take any photos of the visit!

New Year’s Eve day we headed to Connecticut … a trip down memory lane for me at Shady Glen in Manchester and then a visit to the cemetery to check on the headstone for my parents. Then on to Westport to my college roommate’s new apartment … had to check on my “roomie” since we were so close!

What a wonderful trip! I am so grateful that my N loves my family as much as I do and that he’s willing to drive all the way to Maine and back so I can knit!

Gone knitting … Happy New Year!


We arrived home in Florida after a pretty dreadful three day drive from our favorite place in the world, Maine. The traffic was horrendous. The worst we’ve seen in seven summers. I’m  not kidding!!! From Washington, DC to Florida, there was pretty much solid traffic and the rest areas were all full … and it was hot. HOT!

Our second night we stayed in a hotel in Richmond, VA. It was there that the biggest problem presented itself. The air conditioning in the truck broke. It would work for awhile, and then just stop blowing cool. And even when it was blowing cool, it was a feeble blowing … in order to get the air to circulate, the fan had to be on full blast. Loud. Not cool enough and then when it would stop, we had to open the windows. My little dogs, particularly my little girl, don’t tolerate heat well and they can overheat very quickly … so I was really worried that we’d have a serious problem … and only 6 hours to go! Ugh!

But after tears and panic and many calls to AAA and service stations all through the Carolinas, all of which are closed on Saturdays … unbelievable! … we just drove and made it home (relatively) unscathed.

And the unpacking began. I had made several trips back and forth lugging in our stuff when N asked me if I had seen my piano. My piano? What!? I was immediately worried and walked around the corner from the kitchen to find this …



It made me cry!

I knew immediately that two of my friends were in on it – I can spot their work from a mile away (and one of them is the only person in the world who has a key to our house).Three of my friends created this surprise for me while we were away … and I am so honored. It is absolutely magnificent!

Here are some other pictures …


Cute little sheep!


This Makes Me Smile!


Cutest Bee Ever!


Curls hanging!


All the Legs are Different! (Two on the Piano and Four on the Bench!)


View From the Right Side!


Even the Pedals are Yarnbombed!


The Front


View From the top of the Bench!


An Amazing Work of Art!


Terri … the MasterMind!

Image 1

Terri and Jackie! (Kelly was taking the photos.)


The Top … with Candlesticks.

IMG_2178 IMG_2183

Before and After!

Before and After!

So, there you have it. I’ve been yarnbombed.

This yarnbombed gift made all of the bother and drama seem OK … and I am never taking it off my piano! I love my friends! What a wonderful welcome home surprise!

Gone knitting!


NYC Easter Trip

We spent the Easter weekend in New York City. Loved staying at the Times Square Westin Hotel and had a lovely room with a great view! Not enough pictures were taken with my camera (phone)… But here it is in a nutshell!

Times Square M&Ms store

Times Square M&Ms store


Margaritas in the afternoon with my three babies!

Margaritas in the afternoon with my three babies!

What were we thinking? We’re Floridians … and it was cold!

Rock of Ages at the Helen Hayes Theater

Rock of Ages at the Helen Hayes Theater


Go see my kid in the starring role – you won’t be sorry! She’s there through July!

A Sunday Morning "hike" ...

A Sunday Morning “hike” … through an “alley”


And a snack near Rockefeller Center at Bouchon

And a snack near Rockefeller Center at Bouchon


My little dogs do NOT like the big city. And while they were eager to be included in the trip, they were perhaps even more eager to go home!

Please can we go home now?

Please can we go home now?


Great Weekend!

Gone Knitting!






“Can Do”

I have so enjoyed my teaching experience so far.

Today we had a short day – one class and then lunch with the Yarn Nook girls and off we went to sit at my brother & sister-in-law’s house on the back patio and knit! (Like we don’t get enough of it!) It felt good to have a short day after yesterday which was our marathon knitting and teaching day. We will probably not stay all day next week when I have three classes! Even crazy old me needs a break!

I love the challenge of teaching a student who is really stretching herself in a class. Challenging herself to do something that is really difficult and, perhaps, even something that she may not be ready to attempt yet. Those fearless knitters are the ones I admire. Partly because it’s so gutsy. Partly because I was not that type of knitter. Or at least that’s not how I classify myself.

There is a lot to be said for trying something that’s really difficult. It’s good for our brains, it’s good for our souls. The sense of accomplishment is incredible when you finally “get it!” I am happy with the progress that all of my students have made. They’ve worked hard. They’ve (mostly) had that “can do” attitude and it’s such fun to be teaching such a great group of women!

Gone knitting!


Attention! Attention! Knitting Queen (Bee)

I’ve learned that I need to pay attention when I knit.

Any distractions can cause me to knit beyond a decrease, or knit where I should purl … you get the idea! And knitting with a cocktail in hand is a definite NO! Knitting group projects must be free of decreases or any counting of stitches because I never cease to be amazed at how my chatting can make me forget the simplest of each!

That said, I’ve finished a few more projects and am pleased with my progress. But, once again, I brought more projects up to Maine to complete than I completed. I also am going home with more yarn than I came with.


Baby sweater finished. Needs to be blocked.

Socks finished; Matching hat … maybe half way done!

Bird nest – finished and being lived in (see Facebook!)

My second attempt at the Gaia Shoulder hug … finished (when I was better able to pay attention!)

Gaia Shoulder Hug by Ann Carroll Gilmour – well, it’s her pattern. I knitted this one!

And I also finished the little cabled sweater in periwinkle blue. I haven’t photographed it yet … so watch here or my Facebook page!

Gone knitting!

Finishing and Starting Over Again

The other day it was miserably cold and rainy and we were beginning to have a bit of cabin fever. Late in the afternoon, however, the weather changed and we had a lovely double rainbow on the other side of the lake. Clear. Colorful. Perfect in every way! And then the rain came back with a vengence.

I liked being reminded (thanks Mother Nature!) that every day is a new opportunity to start over again. Sometimes we get to start over more than once. Life is full of choices – the question is whether we make an effort to start over … or not.

When I got home after four days on the road and on the run, I was exhausted and a little bit cranky (hard to believe, I know!) When I found out that my daughter went to bed at ten, I didn’t feel quite so badly that I went to bed at nine thirty. I started over several times in those couple of cranky, tired, sensitive days.

I’ve been able to start and finish several knitting projects, too. Started a pair of socks with my Maine Fiber Frolic “Maine Lobstah” sock yarn. Loving the way it is knitting up – bright and so lobstery! FInished the cute little sweater for the baby-to-be also in bright rainbow colors – perfect to start a new winter season in! Finished the “Lakeside Log Cabin” baby blanket with a crocheted edge to give it a really stable, finished-looking edge. Started and (almost) finished a couple of loads of laundry today and have been enjoying the sunny day and an opportunity to sit on the front porch (aka my Northern Atelier) in the sun and cool breeze.

I like the idea of starting a new day every day. Giving myself a new opportunity to pursue my dreams. I still dream of owning a yarn shop. A place that is warm and welcoming and has two little dogs to greet customers. Where I can teach knitting and be surrounded by the fiber that I love so much. I’d love to learn to spin and teach spinning and maybe even weaving. One day maybe pottery too (.. what a mess pottery would make in a yarn shop!) But certainly it will be a place where my personality is infused in every corner – happy, warm, honest, sincere, always learning, full of love. I also dream of traveling in my RV – doesn’t have to be huge or fancy. Just warm and safe.

So, off I go to finish some projects and to start some new ones. Every day I am learning more about myself and just how little I really need to be content in my own skin. I keep simplifying and it’s all good!

Gone knitting!

Road Trip! The Kindness of Strangers

My grand-dog, Mabel, always happy to ride in the car!

This weekend, I put a lot of miles on my daughter’s car, took some long subway rides, knitted in public and watched my son (my youngest child) graduate from college.

I wanted to blog really badly when I arrived in New York at my daughter’s apartment. But didn’t bring my laptop and was sure NOT going to attempt a blog entry on my phone. So, now that it’s not as fresh, I want to mention that I was struck by how many people on the uptown A train (express from Howard Beach to 190th Street) were kind to each other!

When I lived in New York and was pregnant with my first child, I remember long train rides, standing. I was the size of a subway car for goodness sake … and nobody seemed to notice my balloon legs and Omar-the-tentmaker “dress”? But I am happy to report that kindness (and manners) are alive and well in 2012. A gentleman in a suit got up and gave his seat to a woman with a tiny baby on her chest (in a baby carrier – get your head out of the gutter!) Another man gave his seat for the woman’s little girl. An older lady nearly fell into the lap of a woman seated. Rather than copping an attitude, the lady helped her sit and said it was “no problem”. It was sweet to see! I’d likely have written more if my mind was still fresh but alas, it’s not!

Thursday plane, train and subway from Maine to my daughter’s apartment in Washington Heights (Manhattan). Friday a ten-hour drive from New York to Cincinnati. Saturday brunch, graduation and dinner. I also managed some knitting in public both on my son’s porch and at Starbucks! Sunday the return ten-hour drive from Cincinnati to New York – with a lovely traffic jam only five miles from my daughter’s apartment that delayed our Tony watching for over an hour! And today, subway, train and plane back to Maine! Lots of travel for a momentous occasion … my last child’s graduation from college! That means three have successfully completed four years of college and they all are employed! I am one proud mom!

I made a lovely new knitting friend at my gate this afternoon. I believe it’s safe to say that I have never met a knitter I don’t like! She’s from New York State and was heading to Maine on business. On her needles a shawl (pattern had no photo … brave soul!) and in her suitcase, a pair of socks in progress. A woman after my own heart! Her 401k is being earmarked for yarn while her husband’s will pay for retirement. Hey, a girl on a fixed income has got to have a stash of yarn to knit with! I say, that is mighty good planning! We had a great chat and agreed that when traveling we both plan and pack our knitting first!

As nice as it is to travel, I will be happy to sleep in my own bed tonight. Listening to my little Lola snore. I am grateful for friends who open their houses to this Queen Bee and for precious time spent with my children. Tonight I’m too tired to even download photos. So, suffice it to say, I’m not knitting … but I’m going … to bed! 🙂

Road Trip!

Here I am in my northern “Atelier” … and I feel driven (ha! no pun intended) to chronicle our road trip – another excellent adventure! Our annual pilgrimage to our favorite spot on the planet Earth – Belgrade, Maine.

We took off on Tuesday morning, a day earlier than we had planned to leave because we got “worried” about the Memorial Day weekend traffic. Call it a gut feeling. And the drive was uneventful which is a good thing when you’re towing a Hobie Cat and have three dogs in the car! We got as far as Richmond, Virginia where we stopped the first night – we love dog-friendly LaQuinta Hotels! A ten hour drive in twelve (or so hours) is always tenuous … but we do it well!

Day two began in Richmond and we had no plan for where it was going to end. BUT when we looked at the map and since we got an early start (very early, thanks to Max) … we thought we might make it to Connecticut.

Washington Monument Straight Ahead!

And then we hit Washington, DC and made a “wrong turn” … what’s the deal with road signs in our nations capital? We ended up in a traffic jam and in downtown Washington … with a boat and trailer. Really!?

Ha! Wrong turns lead to interesting blog photos!

Thankfully, we can laugh at our mistakes and on we pushed toward New York where we had another near miss on the New Jersey Turnpike and darn near ended up in Manhattan … but managed to pull off a “fix” and swing around via the Garden State Parkway and headed over the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Tappan Zee Traffic over the Hudson

Once over on the New York side, we realized we could make Massachusetts and pushed on … another 13 hour day but we were at my brother’s house around 8 … and we adore being in Marblehead. (If you’ve never been to the North Shore of Boston, you have got to make a trip … Marblehead is the sweetest town and a great place to escape to when you need to get away!)

Marblehead Harbor - Evening

After a night with our family – the nephews, dogs, and their parents – we headed off one more time … picked up the boat and spied on the movie people who are filming the movie “Grown Ups” there … with Adam Sandler and Salma Hayek. (I had to spy!)

Hooking up the trailer - last time!

Movie Stars in Marblehead

The last leg of our journey included dropping a box of books off for a knitting friend of mine. These books belonged to her mother, now deceased, and she just felt that the books needed to be returned to Gloucester, MA (where they came from). So, up Route 128 we headed to Gloucester … and dropped off the books at Isabel’s house. Ned and I both remarked at how special it is to live in towns where you don’t have to lock your doors. Raising children in towns like that must be very special.

And then I saw this sign …

Coveted Yarn - Gloucester, MA

What knitter could resist? Not this one, that’s for sure. So into the shop I wander… Heaven! Coveted Yarn is a sweet shop that looks teeny-tiny and is really packed to the rafters (cleverly so!) with the most wonderful fibers and yarns! I could easily have spent the better part of the day there fingering fiber … but had to settle for an hour and hope one day soon to be able to get back! (Maybe to meet Isabel, too!) I bought some of their locally dyed yarns … one skein of sock weight and two bulky weight in magnificent color ways and a pattern, too. (Nope, not sharing, it’s a gift for someone really, really special!) I can hardly wait to get my needles unpacked.

And then off to Maine … with a little luncheon stop at Stop and Shop – did you know that grocery stores offer some more healthy choices on the quick? ~ we had eaten enough junk the day before! Only a couple of hours more and we were in Maine … crossing the last bridge of our trip!

Piscataqua River Bridge - Welcome to Maine!

Upon arriving at the house, we always sigh a sigh of relief. It was still standing  … 100 years and counting  … this house has been the one constant for Ned and we spent some special time here when we dated the first time (in 1976). I feel very much at home in New England.

The Littles - Glad to be Out of the Car!

The lawn was (and parts still are) knee-high. Buttercups, little white daisies and dandelions are blooming everywhere!

The vegetable garden was (until tomorrow) completely over-taken with weeds.

Only the "seedy" rhubarb is visible in the Vegetable Garden!

After several hours cleaning and disinfecting and moving in groceries and clothes and yarn (duh!) and when our backs couldn’t do another chore, we showered and it was cocktail time. A bit too breezy to spend more than a cursory few minutes on the front porch … we are so grateful to be able to spend time here in this beautiful place that we love so much. I’ll be writing more about our summer adventures – my knitting group meets on Wednesday night and I’m already itching to see my Maine knitting girls!

Gone knitting!