First Mittens

February 24, 2018

Although already a competent knitter, Jeanne joined the Knitting 101 class at Stitch House a few weeks ago, accompanying friend Jean, a true novice. She’s a terrific cheerleader for Jean, giving her tips and encouragement as she created her first project: a Wham Bam Thank You Lamb neck warmer.

Jeanne arrived at last Saturday’s class with one completed mitten and another nearly finished. By the end of class, she’d finished the thumb, closed a gap in the wrist ribbing, and was done!

Jeanne-knit-mittens2

Feeling camera-shy, she struck the perfect pose for admiring these simple, beautiful mittens. When she commented that they were a bit roomier than she had hoped, I took the opportunity to share a general knitting tip.

Knitting Tip

Before starting a project, make a copy of your pattern and work from that.

  • Note the yarn and needles you used.
  • Highlight each size-specific instruction.
  • Use check marks or your method of choice for keeping track of repeats or numbers of rows.
  • When you’re done, make notes about what you’d do differently next time. In Jeanne’s case, she’ll make the mitten smaller by either using a smaller needle (with same size yarn) or by casting on fewer stitches.

I’ve never knit mittens. At least, I don’t think I have. After my recent memory challenge, I can’t be 100% sure.

Do you have a favorite mitten pattern?

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Knitting Amnesia

February 23, 2018

I generally don’t pay much attention to the occasional “memory” that Facebook sends (because they care about me, of course!). But yesterday’s caught my eye:

No-memory-blanket

While I vaguely recall knitting this bright, log cabin blanket, I have absolutely no memory of who I gave it to — what new life sparked my desire to create something.  The information in my post, way back in 2009, was minimal and unhelpful: “log cabin baby blanket.” Duh, obviously!

I’ve got plenty of yarn in my stash that I look at and think: “What project did I have in mind when I bought this?” But until yesterday, I didn’t think that I’d forgotten a finished project.

Am I the only one? Have you ever forgotten a knitted creation?

 


Not Your Usual Bread Baking

February 18, 2018

For the past few years, I’ve been one of the bakers of my church’s eucharistic bread, the round, unleavened bread that’s blessed as part of the Mass and shared with the community. About every five or six weeks, it’s my turn to bring 5 “loaves” to the Saturday afternoon Mass. I’m always afraid that, in the midst of the comings and goings of the weekend, I’ll forget to bake, so I add a reminder to the fridge door.

I really love to bake yeast bread but rarely do so. I love proofing the yeast, kneading the dough, watching it rise, shaping the loaves. And the smell? Heavenly!

Unleavened bread? Not so much. It’s not meant to be kneaded more than a couple minutes before being patted into a circle and rolled thin.

Bread

The balance of sticky and floury is a delicate one. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to start over after scraping a stuck loaf off the counter. After rolling, each loaf is imprinted with a special press (the name of which escapes me). This is another opportunity for stickiness!

Bread2

Yesterday, I had some extra dough which is patted into lumpy free-form circles. Perfect with my supper of turkey soup!

Bread4

In knitting news, progress on Sock #2 is brought to you in part by the Winter Olympics and the NBA Slam Dunk and Three-Pointer competitions.

123sock


For the New Life to Come

February 16, 2018

In the midst of breath-stopping tragedy and rage from my country’s latest mass murder, finishing a knitting project for a baby-to-be has been a welcome respite. When the project made its last appearance on the blog, I was in search of buttons and had cast on for a little pair of shorts (or, as the pattern called it, a diaper cover).

My search for green buttons yielded lots of unsuitable options – pastels, leaf, pine — but not the bright apple green that I wanted. So I switched to pink and found the perfect pair.

Wee-penny-buttons

Before sewing them on the top, I finished the bottom (if you’ll pardon the expression!). The pattern called for longer ribbing on the “legs” that would then be folded over like a cuff. Since this will be for an infant who won’t be moving much at all, I decided about six rows of ribbing would be plenty.

Wee-penny-bottom

The seed stitch pattern makes the flowers look a little wonky but so what? Although there’s not really a front or back on the cover, I think of this side as the back. The flower pattern lands on the waist (something a baby doesn’t even have!) on the other side, which seems more front-ish.

There’s probably enough yarn left for a little hat or two. For another baby at another time, I think.

Once I was done weaving in the ends on the diaper cover, I untwisted the yarn and sewed on the buttons.

Wee-penny-top

I’m quite pleased with the results and expect the mother-to-be will be, too.

Wee-penny-set

Lest I get tempted by another project, I immediately cast on the next striped sock because, you know, Second Sock Syndrome is real.

Sock-cast-on.jpeg


Fun Time at Farm to Fiber Festival

February 14, 2018

Last weekend, Fearless Knitter Judy and I spent a couple of hours at the first-ever (maybe first annual) Boston Farm & Fiber Festival, a celebration of local (or regional, as in New England) farmers, yarn, dyers, spinners, knitters, and makers. I couldn’t possible capture the wonderful wooly-ness of the event, but I’ll do my best with a few photos and Instagram videos.

Blue Heron Farm in Vermont brought hundreds of skeins of their gorgeous organic yarn and project bags.

Blue-heron-wool

As we paused to admire and fondle the naturally dyed New England yarn at Upton Yarns’ table, founder and owner Sarah was just pulling out her phone to multi-task.

upton-yarns

As Sarah says on her Instagram profile (which you should follow for the love of all that is wooly), she was “previously an engineer on a small cruise ship [and] these days [works] on an Antarctic research vessel.” How can anyone say that knitters are boring?!

My beloved home state of Maine was represented well by Seacolors Yarnery,  with its naturally dyed yarn and exquisitely soft woven blankets (pretty sure they’re still having a sale) and by Mindful Folk Farm.

Mindful-folk-farm

I could have watched for hours as children patted and marveled at these two lovelies from Wing and a Prayer Farm

Given that I was surrounded by loads of gorgeous yarn — I mean, just looks at all this —  you’re probably thinking that we came home with bags of goodies.

Farm-fiber-fest

I’m somewhat chagrined to say that I bought nothing (except for a delicious hot popover to keep up my strength). I had my mind set on a skein of soft bulky yarn for a cowl, and the only bulky available was a bit too coarse. I could easily have bought hundreds or even thousands of yards of organic fingering or worsted, but I’ve got plenty of that in my stash.

Is it possible to have non-buyer’s remorse?

 


Wee Penny Plus Bottoms

February 11, 2018

Last Sunday, the lovely, almost-finished Wee Penny had an unfortunate encounter with a platter of baked chicken — with some tasty but messy sauce, to be precise. If I wasn’t the type of knitter who usually washed a finished project before blocking, I would have become one!

A good sudsy soak and swish in the sink plus a couple of rinses in cool water did the trick. I lay out the little dress on a towel and placed a couple of pins along the neck so it would drive evenly.

Wee-penny-block

I need to find two small buttons for the back opening. I think green would be nice. Agree?

Wee-penny-blocked

Since I had just under half a skein of the lovely Hayfield Baby Blossom remaining, I decided that I’d make “an outfit.” Rather than a hat or booties (which are cute but, given their tendency to slip off and get lost, kind of ridiculous for an infant IMO), I decided on a pair of “shorts” or, as I discovered after perusing Ravelry, is more commonly called a “diaper cover.

Hayfield-diaper-cover

Eventually I’ll get to the second sock, but for now, I’m having fun with baby knits.

 


Exuberant Girls with Yarn & Needles

February 10, 2018

Have I mentioned recently how much I enjoy teaching knitting? Oh, I have? Maybe a couple or few times? Well, I’ll say it again.

Every Thursday afternoon since early January, I’ve been teaching fourth- and fifth-grade girls from a local after-school program how to knit. There’s never a dull moment in what is definitely the fastest two hours of my week. Think knitting is a quiet, calm craft? Think again.

Only two students were complete novices; the others had learned in my class last year. Like all knitters, each developed her own style of holding the needles and working the yarn. One had to adapt since her arm was encased in a bright purple cast.

Girls-knit

Our sessions were interjected with regular fits of laughter, occasional shrieks (“Aaaaaah, I messed up! Help! Fix it!”), dancing or floor stretches, and spontaneous bursts of singing. They rehearsing for the fifth grade production of Peter Pan (the junior version — who knew? not me!).

Three projects were finished at the session’s last class this week. A fingerless mitt that will someday have a mate:

Bascp-mitt

What started off as a neck warmer was turned into a headband because time was short and finishing is key to a first project:

Bascp-headband

And a slightly too-large but still beautiful and pom-pom’d two-colored hat:

Bascp-hat-pompom

Their delighted pride at their accomplishments is everything!


These Early Birds Gobble

February 8, 2018

 

I’m usually a very solid sleeper, falling back to sleep pretty easily after I awake during the night. But when I found myself wide awake one morning this week just before 5am, less than an hour before my usual rising time, I decided to get up and get going.

I’m fortunate to live in a safe environment that enables me– with appropriate reflective gear and blinking lights on my jacket and ankles — to be a regular pre-dawn runner/walker. Whatever the weather, I head out before any in my house is up. It’s a habit I cherish; in fact, one the rare occasions that I’m not able to do it, I find myself cranky and out of sorts for much of the day. My favorite poet-artist Brian Andreas captured the sentiment perfectly in this poem, Before Dawn, that hangs by our door:

Before-Dawn-StoryPeople

I was joined watched by some of the local wildlife, wild turkeys roosting in the trees of my suburban neighborhood. They started calling to each other across a few blocks, probably debating whether to “fly” down to the ground or to hit the snooze button and stay on their branches for a bit longer. Although you can’t really see any of the birds, you can hear a few seconds of their chatter.

 

They're baaaaaack. [listen] #signofspring #wildturkeys

A post shared by Saltwater Hill Knits (MA Hill) (@saltwaterhill) on

By the time I got home — with my usual cup of coffee from the nearby coffee shop — I’d decide to put the mostly brown bananas on the counter to good use. Instead of banana bread, I usually make muffins; they bake faster and are a good grab-and-go snack or breakfast. I tossed some frozen wild Maine blueberries into half of the double batch and popped them into the oven.

Muffins

While they baked, I did a couple of rounds of the border on the Wee Penny baby dress. I’m hoping to finish it tomorrow.

Wee-penny-edge

After I’d done a bit of quality assurance testing of the muffins (they passed), I dove into the day. When I plotted out my daily schedule, I add “nap” to the list. As regularly happens with items on my to-do list, I didn’t complete that one. There’s always tomorrow!

 


Fearless Knitter Finished Objects

February 6, 2018

In November, I started teaching a Knit 101 class at Stitch House, one of Boston’s lovely local yarn stores (LYS). Starting at 9:00 on Saturday mornings, a group of about six or eight new knitters gather around the table for learning, creating, sharing, and only occasionally, cursing. The students include sisters, ages 7 and 9, so we try to keep our language in check!

Stitch-house-knit101

For their first projects, several knitters have made the Wham Bam Thank You Lamb Neckwarmer. Jean is seaming hers in the lower corner in the photo above. It fits my top requirement for a first project, namely that you’ll be able to finish in a reasonable amount of time and experience that surge of pride in your accomplishment. A cotton dishcloth (or washcloth, your choice) also fits the bill when it comes to a first project. Here’s Mary’s creation:

Wham-bam-lamb-cowl

When Helena finished her neckwarmer, she immediately texted her mother in Brazil, who was suitably impressed. Of course.

Wham-bam-lamb-neck-warmer

Julia made a super bulky cowl, which she was delighted to discover also made a terrific headband!

Julia-cowl

This past Saturday, her sister finished a hat, complete with pom pom, for a younger cousin. As you can see, she was delighted. And that’s what it’s all about.

Ella-pink-hat

What have you made that makes you proud? I’d love to hear your ideas for other good knitting projects for beginning knitters?

 

 

 


But It Was On Sale

February 4, 2018

I haven’t bought any much yarn in the past six months or so, which I consider a feat of enormous willpower. The Hayfield Baby Blossom DK doesn’t really count because baby yarn isn’t a regular part of my stash, and I can’t not knit a gift for a future member of my extended family.

Besides, who’s counting? There are no knitting stash police. And the Wee Penny is progressing nicely, don’t you think?

img_5403.jpg

Imagine my delight, when I arrived to teach Knitting 101 this morning at The Stitch House and discovered they were having a bit of a sale.

In the interest of supporting a local yarn store and boosting the local economy and because I’d donated several bags of stash yarn to a local library’s upcoming yarn sale, I felt almost compelled to buy a few skeins. Wouldn’t you?

Sock yarn is always a good buy because I know what I’ll make with it. This skein of Done Roving Yarn’s “Frolicking Feet” in the Peacock colorway caught my eye. I don’t think it’s self-striping, but the colors will suit my Michael quite nicely I think. Plus it’s made in my home state of Maine, so I was almost required to buy it!

Dove Roving Yarn skein of Frolicking Feet yarn

A sparkly skein in the clearance basket caught my eye. At less than $4.00, how could I resist?

I found some lovely Madeline Tosh Twist Light that I think will complement it nicely.

The question now is: what will I make with these two? Maybe a shawl or wrap of some kind? I welcome all pattern ideas – leave a suggestion in a comment. I’ll let you know what I decide…eventually!


Return to the Shop

February 1, 2018

It’s been ages since I dropped by the marvelous JP Knit & Stitch for a sit-down with some kick-ass knitters. Yesterday’s hourlong session renewed my spirit and my commitment to not let so much time pass before I return.

Shelley, the brains and brawn behind the Sheep Ahoy Cruise, was working on two projects. I’m sure she has several more at home because she’s not one of those freskish rare knitters who only works on one project at time.

Look at this beautiful Icelandic sweater that she’s making with some Lopi that someone donated to me from a loved one’s stash.

Shelley-sweater.jpeg

Her smaller project is a stranded (or is it Fair Isle?) hat in a Winter Olympics motif. Hope she gets in done in time for her luge competition!Shelley-stranded.jpeg

That’s Joy in the background, using her big brown down coat as a lap blanket. In typical fashion, she’s put down her knitting and is focused intently on whomever is speaking. A more kind and generous soul you’ll rarely find. She’s a talented baker and never fails to bring a few treats, wrapped in foil, for knitting and shop staff alike. Yesterday it was almond cake bars (high protein, of course!) — there in the background of this shot of Joanne’s recently completed cowl.

Joanne-gaptastic.jpeg

She’d modified the Gaptastic pattern, making it a bit more narrow and shorter. Lovely, don’t you think?

She’d also brought an almost-completed cardigan, which just needs a couple of buttons sewn on. This photo doesn’t convey the rich green-blue color of the yarn, but trust me, it’s beautiful.

Joanne-sweater

Part of what I love about knitting is its duality — it’s both a solitary and a social craft. While I love to sit (or occasionally stand) by myself as I work on a project, there’s something very soul satisfying to be in the company of others — sharing stories, ideas, heartbreak, and joys — all while creating something new from two sticks and some string.


Old Photos and New Knits

January 31, 2018

I have the great good fortune of living only five miles from my Mom and visit often, more so lately as my work commitments and travels have diminished. Part of every visit — whether we’re doing errands, specific household tasks, or just hanging out — includes some sorting through of old photographs.

At least once a week, I come home with a few photos from my childhood. Third grade school photo? Check. Image of brothers and me in Easter finery? Check. Blurry shot of relatives or neighborhood friends? Check.

As with many (most?) families, my mother was the repository of the family record — not just taking photos but also putting them into albums or envelopes (some labeled, some not). As life with four children, a husband who worked long hours, and her own civic and volunteer commitments, the photo labeling diminished.

Fortunately, I developed the habit of writing dates and names on the back of photos when I was about 12. That’s how we know that this motley crew at Rummel’s Ice Cream included friends Beth and Margie, California cousins Brian, Bruce, and Doug, plus my three brothers and me. Ah, 70s style!

Runnels-bothwell's-1973

This week’s photo sorting yielded some possible treasures — negatives from my Mom’s childhood and some of her elder relatives.

AGH-old-photo2

I find the reverse negatives (is that a thing?) difficult to “read,” but in some images, I can identify the subjects by their size or features. For example, this is my Mom and her three sisters, probably in the mid 1930s..

agh-old-photo3.jpeg

I’m planning a trip to our local library to see if there’s a viewer or projector of some kind that I can use to see the images more clearly. There’s a terrific camera and photography shop nearby — the kind that sells film and developing chemicals — where I’ll have some prints made. This one may be my Mom’s father with her and her two older sisters (again, the hair bows!). He died when my mother was 9, so images of him are especially precious.

AGH-old-photo

On the knitting front, the Wee Penny has been joined in the round and is growing. What’s up in your world?

Wee-penny-joined


Fiber Arts from Morning to Late Night

January 29, 2018

Despite its size, I find New York a remarkably easy city to navigate. Walking and the much maligned MTA subway were are sole modes of transportation this weekend. Keeping to my daily routine, I headed out from our hotel in Downtown Brooklyn for a solo walk early Saturday morning. After a mile or so, I discovered a yarn store (of course!) Alas, Woolyn wouldn’t open for several hours, so I just peeked through the window and snapped a photo.

Woolyn yarn shop in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Waterfront Park is a creative, accessible, and — on a mild, sunny, late-winter morning — truly beautiful public asset. On the edge of a renovated pier, I watched the Staten Island Ferry land at Battery Park, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the distance (New Jersey, too). As always, I sent a silent prayer of thanks to my father, who arrived at Ellis Island in 1939.

After a tasty lunch with Hannah in East Williamsburg, we boarded the subway to Manhattan, transferring to the legendary A train for the journey to 190th Street near the northern tip of the island. Hannah did the New York Times’ crossword puzzle on her phone while a fellow passenger practiced guitar.

After a 10-minute walk through Fort Tryon Park, we arrived at The Cloisters, an exceptional museum “dedicated to the art, architecture, and gardens of medieval Europe.” A selection:

Cloisters There’s an extensive collection of tapestries, the most famous of which are the likely the Unicorn Tapestries. Given their age (more than 500 years old), travels, and centuries of less-than-ideal environmental conditions, they’re in remarkable condition. I didn’t even try to capture the detail or colors or scale. I hope you can see them yourself one day.

unicorn

Our evening included dinner with cousin Kathy, followed by a performance of “The Band’s Visit.” There really is nothing like live theater. The subway ride back to Brooklyn provided the perfect opportunity to dissect the day, marvel at our great good fortune, and get in a few more rows of the Wee Penny.


Weekend in the Big Apple

January 27, 2018

There’s much I miss about not having any children living at home (at least, most of the time), but being able to easily plan a weekend away isn’t one of them.

Yesterday afternoon, Patrick and I hopped in the car and drove a few hours to Stamford, CT where we left the car and boarded a commuter train to New York. Since we’d caught an express train, we arrived a full 90 minutes before we were due to meet Hannah for dinner, a 40-minute walk away.

What to do? We had the same thought at almost the same moment: the famed Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station (of course!)

Oysters and knitting work in progress

Patrick enjoyed a half dozen (minus one for me) raw oysters and some delicious oyster stew. We had a lengthy, enjoyable chat with a Swiss lawyer on the next stool, who was savoring his two dozen oysters plus a half bottle of wine.

By the time we’d finished our brisk 37-block walk to the East Village, we’d worked up an appetite for our second meal!


Diagnosis: Second Sock Syndrome

January 26, 2018

The sock is done and looks quite nice. It’s a bit big for my foot, but it’s not meant for me. I don’t know the eventual recipient yet, but I know it’s not me. That’s not a problem.

Knit sock on foot

Here’s the problem: I’ve come down with Second Sock Syndrome. Instead of casting on this sock’s mate, I’ve fallen for a clever yarn and the prospect of a baby knit.

Skein Baby Blossom DK yarn

The trigger was the arrival of an invitation to a baby shower for a marvelous young woman, who’s also a first cousin once removed. As soon as I learned of her pregnancy, I began thinking of what to knit the lucky baby-to-be.

What? That’s not the usual reaction to pregnancy news?!

Before heading to Mom’s house today, I zipped to a nearby yarn store and grabbed a skein of Hayfield Baby Blossom DK. It’s patterned but not exactly self-striping and knits up with banners (kind of like stripes) interspersed with little flowers.

I’m just getting started so you’ll have to trust me on this one.

First inch of knitting

As for the Second Sock — you’ll have to trust me that it’ll get finished someday. I promise to share.


Blanket Blocking

January 25, 2018

When I first started knitting — several decades ago now — projects were done when they came off the needles. If pieces needed to be stitched together, they were seamed and done. But more recently, I’ve become a blocking convert.

Blocking – the process of using water and shaping to truly “finish” the piece — is now the final step in my knitting projects. I first experienced the transformative power of blocking with my first lace shawl. And while the difference isn’t as dramatic in every project, blocking gives your finished work a more even, professional look.

After I’d woven in all the ends on the Siman Blanket, I spread it on the floor to admire its size and pattern — and its fluffy “waves.”

Siman-blanket-fluffy

Some knitters will debate the merits of steam blocking with an iron versus the full-immersion method. I’m firmly in the full-immersion camp, preferring to plop the entire project into a sink or bath of warm water, swishing it about with some gentle soap, and rinsing.  Given all the places my knitting travels and the dribbles of tea or wine or crumbs of graham crackers amidst the stitches, I figure that a good wash is needed anyway. Warm water and a cap of Euclan swished about and then into the bath.

Siman-blanket-bath

After a good hour of soaking and a gentle wash, I drained the soapy water and refilled with clear water for a rinse. After draining, the water-soaked blanket was heavy!

Siman-blanket-wet

Trying not to twist, I squeezed out as much water as I could, and then wrapped and rolled it into a few bath towels. A blanket burrito of sorts!

Siman-blanket wrapped

Then I spread the whole, significantly larger blanket onto a bed, pinned it in a few spots to help hold the shape, and left it to dry for a day or so.

Siman-blanket-blocked

I couldn’t resist wrapping myself in it before folding it carefully and mailing off to sweet Hannah. I like to think of her in her chilly apartment, warmly wrapped in love.

wrapped-siman-blanket.jpeg

P.S. She likes it.

Blanket-thanks-mhd


It’s Been a Minute

January 24, 2018

OK, it’s been waaaaay more than a minute, but here we are.

I’ve been traveling a lot for work and made good progress on Hannah’s throw (Siman Baby Blanket in Cascade 128 Superwash). But after a few square feet, I had to face the reality that it was getting too big to schlep about on the Metro and airplanes.

Simran-throw-growing

Clearly, socks  – the perfect travel companion – were needed. I dug out some lovely self-striping Felici from Knit Picks – colorway is Toucan.

Felici-sock-yarn

It felt great to be knitting a sock again! Part of what I love about making socks is the design and simple engineering of the thing. Although I’ve tried a couple at least one toe-up version, I prefer top-down.

Knit-sock-ribbing

My go-to pattern is the Yarn Harlot’s Good Plain Sock Recipe. I’ve made more than a dozen pairs with it, and it never fails to please me — nor the recipient. Kevin got a pair for Christmas. Same yarn, different colorway.

Kevin-socks

An added benefit of sock knitting? Totally portable, just about anywhere — for example, on a plane.

Knit-sock-airplane

It’s nice to be back. What’s on your needles these days?

 

 


Too Big for Travel Knitting

July 13, 2017

I’m doing a fair bit of air travel this summer, flying down to Washington DC every week for a couple of days with a new client. Even though the good folks at JetBlue provide free in-flight wifi, making it easy to keep up with online work, there’s still a fair bit of “down time” — or as I call it — knitting time.

Thanks to multiple flight delays (runway construction and summer storms are the double-whammy of on-time travel), the lovely Woven Sky Throw is progressing nicely. I’m close to the final tier of triangles, which means there’s “just” the border to finish. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s gotten too big for schlepping around airports and subway trains.

Entrelac-throw-wip

So yesterday evening, I broke out the swift and ball winder and grabbed my two skeins of Anzula “Cricket.” After a few minutes, they went from this…

anzula-cricket-yarn

to this.

Anzula-cricket-yarn

Next step: casting on for the Spring into Summer Romper.

 

 


Summer Romper for a Baby-to-be

July 5, 2017

I wasn’t really looking for a new project when I walked into Flock over the weekend, but it would have taken nerves of steel not to have purchased something. I know there are people who only knit one project a time — I even met a knitter who stated as much with great pride (stunning!) — but I’m not one of those knitters!

One of the employees at my local coffee shop is due with her first child at the end of August, and I’m a sucker for baby knits. I was tempted by the collection of cute toys in the shop window, but frankly, I was looking for something a bit simpler.

knit-toys

Then this adorable striped romper caught my eye. It’s OGE Designs’ Spring Into Summer Romper, available on Ravelry.

spring-summer-knit-romper

Sheila, who’d knit the sample, provided some additional notes for the pattern and a yarn recommendation. I don’t know if the B2B* is a boy or girl, so I chose a gender-neutral combination (even though I truly believe all colors are for everyone).

I decided on Anzula’s “Cricket,” a delicious DK blend of superwash merino with a touch of cashmere and nylon, in Gravity (gray) and Keola. Casting on will have to wait until I get home where my needles are. What’s on your needles these days?

anzula-cricket-yarn

* Baby-to-Be


Island knitting

July 2, 2017

One of the benefits of being a freelancer is that I can work anywhere there’s an Internet connection and phone service. I’m still developing the discipline to focus on work as needed and then shift to other priorities, like last week’s anniversary trip to New Hampshire, time with family and friends, or this weekend’s trip to our quirky old house on my favorite island.

angels-roost-barn

As soon as I board the ferry and feel the sea — waves and air — my entire being eases even if I’ve got deadlines looming. On my usual early morning run, I loop through streets and lanes that are mostly quiet except for the people whose work keeps the island running.

flags-path

[Speaking of people who “get the job done,” an aside: Just in time for Canada Day and the 4th of July weekend, my brother Luke dropped a bit of his usual brilliance on his blog with a perspective on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s just-released video from “The Hamilton Mixtape.”]

morning-cemetery

Lest you think I spend my time here working and running past cemeteries, let me introduce you to my local yarn store. Just around the corner from our house, in a former and much-loved bakery, stands Flock: A Nantucket Knit Shop.

Flock has everything you could want in a knitting shop, whether you’re a novice looking for a first project or an experienced knitter in search of a new pattern, kit, or just the right yarn for your next project.

flock-madeline-tosh

There are samples scattered about the shop, always good for turning that “I want to knit something” into “Ooooh, I want to make that!”

flock-nantucket-knit

What puts Flock into the category of great yarn store, in my mind, is the helpful, generous staff. When I visited yesterday, Sheila was in the sunny side room, helping a preteen knitter making a Seagull from one of the shop’s kits. You can see a couple of seagulls in the photo above — adorable!

nantucket-knit-shop-flock

She paused to give me a range of suggestions for a baby-to-be project, seamlessly figuring out my skill and comfort level without ever asking. Moments after I’d made my decision (more on that in my next post), a half dozen shoppers blew into the store, chatting loudly excitedly and tossing out questions. Sheila was calm, cool, and collected as she guided them to patterns and yarns. Although I slipped out before the group left, I’m quite confident they departed with just what they wanted and Sheila returned to Charlotte and her seagull-to-be.

If you’re on Nantucket, be sure to visit Flock. If you’re not lucky enough to get to the island, follow them on Instagram for knitterly inspiration.

 


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