Solo to the Summit

July 12, 2018

When last week’s heat wave broke, I felt the need to get outside and move. What I needed was more than my usual early morning outing, which is an everyday necessity. So after Mom and I returned from Mass, I quickly changed, put some supplies into a small pack, and hit the road. Patrick wasn’t able to join me, so I headed north by myself (technically, it was northwest but let’s not quibble).

After an easy 90-minute drive, I arrived at Monadnock State Park. If anyone has wondered why New Hampshire is called the Granite State, a hike up the White Dot trail will provide all the evidence needed.

Rocky-trail

The trail is mostly a mix of rock- and boulder-scattered sections and sheer rock faces, all of which can be climbed without gear although not without a fair bit of scrambling. But that’s a big part of the fun.

The trail gets above treeline about two thirds (or maybe three quarters) of the way to the summit. The views, especially on a clear day, are spectacular.

monadnock-selfie

Along the trail edge and occasionally in the cracks between ledges, I discovered low bush blueberries. It’s still early in the season, which doesn’t really peak until mid-August, but it wasn’t hard to find some purple berries. Several were tart, but plenty were sweet.

blueberries

I pointed them out to a family resting nearby, explaining to the two pre-teens how to spot the leaves and berries. Having done a fair bit of hiking with my three when they were younger, I’ve learned it’s always helpful to have a goal — other than the summit — to keep them moving along the trail.

As I moved past them, I heard the mother tell the kids, “don’t eat anything of those berries or anything else you pick.” I resisted the urge to turn back and explain that I wasn’t trying to poison them. As my friend Kristen would say, “so many people to teach.”

The bare summit — 3,166 feet/965 meters elevation according to the rock carving — provided 360° views of the surrounding area: the White Mountains and Presidential range to the north east and, just barely visible (like a mirage that disappears and reappears), the Boston skyline to the southeast. In the video, you can hear the crows – or maybe ravens? – cawing as they rode the air around the summit.

I lay back on the warm stone, savoring the view, sounds, and breezes for a while. Then I enjoyed a snack and a few rounds on Sock #2 before heading back down.

sock-summit

You didn’t really think I’d leave home without my knitting, did you?!

 

 

 

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Treasures

July 9, 2018

Last week, while Mom and I hung out together and did our best to find refuge from the heat wave, Patrick took a quick trip to Cape Cod for a reunion with some of his cousins. He was pleasantly surprised to encounter nearly no traffic slow-downs on the nearly two-hour trip. Everyone who was heading to the beach to escape the heat had already arrived and was staying put as long as possible!

dober-cousins2

Over the course of less than 24 hours, he savored walks on the beach, a feast of fresh seafood — including oysters harvested just outside the front door — catching up with cousins, and a tea party and iPad games with the youngsters.

He returned home with two tangible treasures: the last yarn from the stash of beloved Aunt Mary Ann, a wonderful woman and prodigious knitter who died a couple of years ago.

What shall I make with these approximately 1,000 yards of cotton? I welcome any and all suggestions.

Yellow-cotton-yarn

A walk on the beach yielded another treasure, which now sits at my bedside: a reminder that love is all around us; we just have to keep our eyes (and hearts) open for it.

heart-rock

 

 

 

 

 


Socks on a train

July 2, 2018

Has anyone seen June? It was just here, but now it’s gone!

Patrick and I had a marvelous weekend in New York City, the highlight of which was seeing Hannah perform in her first cabaret. More on that in a future post.

For today, here’s the start of Monkey Sock #2, heading east along southern Connecticut.

It’s knitting up faster now that I’ve got the hang of the pattern. I still need to read each line of the 12-round repeats, but all I need is a glance.

My knitting goal this week is to finish the Sunshine Coast sweater – just one sleeve to go. What’s up with you this week?


Monkeying Around

June 29, 2018

Based on comments from my last post, there’s a lot of folks who’d like to see more of the Monkey Socks (or, given the state of my progress, the Monkey Sock). Socks are my go-to knitting project, especially when I’m traveling since they’re easy to stuff tuck into a bag.

So a couple of weeks ago, as dear Jenn and I headed to Martha’s Vineyard for a quick visit to our sister-friend Kate, new owner of an awesome toy store on the island, I cast on a sock.

image

While I’ve curbed my yarn-buying activity a fair bit recently, I make an exception for sock yarn. Unlike that scrumptious skein of DK weight merino or chunky baby alpaca, I know exactly what I’ll make with 400 yards of sock yarn.

I love the almost neutral, subtle color changes in this luscious skein from Flying Finn Yarns. It called out for something other than my usual Good Plain Sock Recipe, so I searched for a pattern with some texture and detail.

Monkey Socks (free from Knitty) caught my eye, with curves and weaves and a little bit of lace. Fear not, just a few yarn overs here and there. I like the addition of the twisted rib at the cuff — just to shake things up a bit from a traditional K1 P1 ribbing.

monkey-socks-salon

I made the heel flap in Eye of Partridge instead of the plain stockinette called for in the pattern.

monkey-socks-heel

The pattern continues all along the top of the foot until the toe. Good thing my feet were clean in this shot!

monkey-socks-toe

As usual, I had to sit alone to graft the toe together with the Kitchener Stitch, quietly chanting the instructions to myself (knit front slip, purl front stay, purl back slip, knit back stay, repeat).

One down, one to go. What are you making this weekend?

 

 


Shhhh, Knitters at Work

June 28, 2018

As Mom’s ability to process the world around her declines, I’ve been trying to find activities to occupy our time together. We regularly visit a nearby thrift shop, which is full of items that spark conversation and questions. On a recent visit, she got the giggles trying to explain why she thought this little tchotchke was just the right thing for our friend Cathie.  When we’d caught our breath and finished wiping the tears from our eyes, we agreed to leave the treasure for someone else!

Agh-thrift-store

On the community bulletin board by the door, I spotted a sign for a Knit and Crochet Circle at the local branch library. With a bit of prompting, Mom has started knitting again, and although she isn’t able to follow a pattern or do the purl stitch, her muscle memory for the knit stitch is still strong. She agreed that it might be fun to chat with other knitters, so we headed to the library.

Knit-group2

That’s Mom on the right with her multi-colored garter stitch. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with it,” she says on a regular basis, but the lack of direction doesn’t seem to bother her much. The other woman was working on a baby hat and told us about her adult daughter who’s a public health worker in sub-Saharan Africa.

The group leader — if one can ever really lead knitters — Amy (on the left), remembered Mom from her days volunteering at the library. Mom has no recollection but that didn’t seem to bother anyone at all. When we walked home 90 minutes later, we agreed that a return visit would be in order.

Knit-group

Since the Sunshine Coast sweater is on hiatus for a bit, I’ve started a pair of Monkey Socks [yarn is Flying Finn Yarn’s fingering in a special one-of-a-kind colorway]. I made some nice progress over the past week, including a relaxing hour on the ferry — with the occasional pause to sip my Dark & Stormy (in memory of dear Barb, who introduced me to this treat on one of our cruises).

Ferry-knit


Yoga Socks Off the Needles

June 10, 2018

These little non-sock socks really shouldn’t have taken as long to knit as they did, but there you go. Sometimes life (and knitting) is like that.

The yoga socks are off the needles and into the sink for a bath before blocking (really, just drying).

 


Fiddly Sticks

June 9, 2018

I’m a big fan and regular user of double-pointed needles (DPNs), especially for socks because then I don’t need stitch markers, but I completely understand how daunting they can appear to knitters and non-knitters alike.

“Fiddly” is the word I use when explaining DPN use to my knitting students. To be sure I’m using it correctly, I looked up the definition: “complicated or detailed and awkward to do or use.” Or, as the good folks at Merriam Webster say, ” requiring an annoying amount of close attention.” Annoying. That sounds about right.

(As an aside, if you’re on Twitter, you really must follow Merriam Webster. You’ll learn and you’ll laugh — and really, couldn’t we all benefit from more of that?!)

At last week’s Knit 101 class, Lisa learned to pick up and knit sleeve stitches using DPNs. And, true to the definition, she found it (annoyingly) fiddly.

“Aaargh, I can’t do this,” she exclaimed after her first stitch. Her first stitch!

DPN-first-try

I encouraged her to breathe and try another stitch, reminding her that she was only knitting with two needles. The other two needles, dangling nearby and holding 2/3 of her stitches, were just hanging out, waiting until she finished with the stitches she was working.

As you can see, she got the hang of it pretty quickly and finished wee sleeve #1.

Baby-sweater-sleeve

Since baby’s arms are so short, a short sleeve was in order. Wish I could remember the yarn she’s using. Isn’t it fun? I’ll look it up and will update soon.

In other DPN news, I’ve started the sleeves on the Sunshine Coast sweater. Now that the warm weather has finally arrived here in the Boston area, it’s time to get this finished.

Sunshine-coast-sleeve


Since You Asked

June 2, 2018

Apparently my description of the yoga sock as a sock “without the fun-to-knit bits” wasn’t particularly helpful. Or at least it didn’t provide a clear enough visual image. So here’s the finished one in action (that is, on my foot, which is not practicing yoga).

knit yoga sock

After this morning’s knitting class and lunch with Mom, we’re off to Rhode Island for a cousin’s wedding. I’m hoping to see the newest member of the extended family, who was born three weeks ago. She’s not yet big enough for the Wee Penny dress, but she’s just the right size for herself!

What are your plans for the weekend?


Slow Yoga (Sock Version)

May 31, 2018

Part of what I love about knitting is the opportunity to try something new — a new stitch pattern, like entrelac, or a new technique, like putting in a lifeline and ripping back to fix a mistake.

A year or so ago, a pattern for yoga socks caught my eye. I’m a big fan of sock knitting and practice yoga somewhat regularly, so I figured it’d be a good fit. After I finished my most recent pair of socks, I cast on the yoga socks as my traveling knit project.

If you’re wondering what yoga socks are, they’re basically socks without the fun-to-knit bits — that is, without the heel or toe. You might think that they’d knit up really fast, but I’m finding them kind of slow going.

I’m almost never knitting only one project at a time. Having a small project that I can tuck into a bag and take “on the road” is a must-have. Just after I cast on the second yoga sock last week, I worked a few rounds while taking the subway into downtown Boston where I was leading a two-day social media marketing course (one of my day jobs!).

yoga-sock-start

Over the holiday weekend, all five of us were together at our rustic, quirky, old island house. The weather was gray and somewhat chilly, so we spent time near the fireplace in the unheated “barn,” playing cards and Scrabble, reading, napping, and knitting.

yoga-sock-barn

While I love the colors of this yarn — Schoppel Wolle’s Zauberball Crazy (Malerwinkel colorway) — I’m finding it somewhat hard to read . Or perhaps I need a new pair of reading glasses!

I got a few more rounds done while waiting for Michael to get four wisdom teeth extracted. I love how knitting absolutely transforms waiting time.

yoga-sock-knit

 


Yarn Bomb Redux

May 30, 2018

It’ll come as no surprise to long-time readers that I’m a fan of yarn bombs — or public fiber art (or is it fiber public art?). I don’t post every one that I see. I mean, who has the time? But every once in a while, I’ll find one that’s post-worthy, like the gorgeous bike outside Fibre Space in Alexandria, VA, or the amazing creations along the boardwalk in Saltburn-by-the-Sea in England. Sometimes I’ll share on Instagram.

And then there are the few yarn bombs that I’ve helped to create, especially the street sign outside our house that still makes me smile.

Some of you may recall last spring’s city-wide art initiative at a nearby lake when some young knitting students from a nearby after-school program and I  “wrapped” a bike rack.

yarn-bomb-installation

The project continued this spring with some additions to the lake area. I didn’t contribute anything to this effort and am still holding out the hope that the cover I envision for one of the barriers may someday become a reality. Fortunately, several other Fearless Knitters already have. Aren’t these fun?

Lake-pillar-yarn-bomb

Lake-pillar-yarn-bomb2

After the winter snows and rains, the bike rack is a bit worse for wear, faded in parts and coming apart at a few seams. But it still makes me smile.

Faded-yarn-bomb-bike-rack

If a yarn bomb catches your eye, please let me know — email or tag. I’d love to share.

 


More Sunshine than I Thought

May 18, 2018

As I’ve mentioned a few times, progress on the Sunshine Coast sweater has been slow although it’s been moving a bit faster now that I’ve got the pattern memorized. There are 12 stitch markers, which was a bit daunting at first. I think part of why it feels so slow-going is the way it “sits” on the needles. This is my usual view.

Sunshine-coast-plane

That’s a heck of a lot of stockinette stitch. But now I realize that the subtle details that first drew me to the pattern are what make it interesting to create: The occasional eyelets that run down each side and the five that sit just below the neck edge. And the gently tapered side panel that adds a bit of visual interest.

Sunshine-coast-side

Since I hadn’t measured the length since I separated the sleeve stitches from the body, I hung it up to get a good view. I’m delighted to report that I’ve only got a couple more inches to go.

Sunshine-coast-body

Of course, I’ll then have to pick up the armhole stitches and make the sleeves — two of them! But at only about 1/4 of the stitches as the body, they should practically knit themselves. Right?

 

 


LYS visit: Fibre Space

May 17, 2018

During our visit to Alexandria and Washington earlier this month, I slipped away for an hour to visit Fibre Space, just a few blocks from Chris and Karen’s. The first clue that this is not an ordinary local yarn store can be found outside, where several sheep and a yarn-bombed bicycle mingle on the brick sidewalk.

Fiber-space-bike

Inside is equally as charming and color-filled, with sassy mannequins bedecked in a variety of handknits. Who doesn’t love a bright red yarn-bombed animal (deer? sheep with deer antlers?) overlooking a room?

Fiber-space3

As often happen when I’m surrounded by miles of luscious yarns, enticing sample knits, thousands of notions, and all kinds of knitterly goodies, I was almost overwhelmed and unable to make a decision. Maybe some Skinny Singles sock yarn from Hedgehog Fibres? How can you go wrong with beautiful sock yarn?

Fiber-space2

“But you’ve got at least five or six skeins of sock yarn at home,” my stash-controlling alter ego reminded me. Maybe something a bit heavier? The “big wheels” of Hazel Knits DK were mighty tempting, but I’m not in the mood for a shawl or sweater, especially since the Sunshine Coast is moving along so slowly.

Fiber-space

Since yarn is my go-to souvenir when I’m traveling, I focused my purchase energy on local products. A wall of Neighborhood Fiber Co. skeins caught my eye. The company is based in Baltimore, about 50 miles away (which counts as local for me). The colorways are named for neighborhoods in Baltimore and also in Alexandria and Washington.

Neighborhood-fiber-yarn

When we lived in Alexandria more than 20 years ago, we lived in the Del Ray neighborhood. While I was tempted to buy a skein of the “Del Ray” colorway out of sentimentality, I’m really not a fan of yellow tones (at least, not for me — and really, that’s who it’s all about). Instead I chose a skein of superwash merino in blue-black Old Towne East.

While the supremely helpful shop staff assisted another knitter, I just had to peruse the “accessories” conveniently displayed near the register. A project bag from Chicken Boots (Charm Keeper model in Big Kitty) caught my eye — just-right size with a see-through bottom and a handy carry strap. How could I resist?

Fiber-space-goodies

I have no idea what I’ll make with 400 yards of this lovely yarn. I’m guessing it’ll become a hat or maybe a pair of mittens. What do you think?

 


Back to the Old Stomping Grounds

May 8, 2018

I’m regularly surprised by how long it’s been since we moved from the Washington, DC, area. I know, I know, “surprising” probably isn’t the right word if I keep doing it, but really — 21 years?!

We’ve been fortunate to maintain friendships by visiting once a year or so and seeing friends whose travels take them to the Boston area. And then there’s our wonderful family — my brother Chris, sister-in-law Karen, their two teen daughters and pre-teen son. The best fringe benefit of my eight-month interim management gig at a DC-area organization last year was my weekly visits to their home. Plus the rates and amenities were unbeatable!

Patrick and I flew down early Friday morning after snagging same-day tickets (released online at 6:30am) to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Like all great museums, there’s no way to experience it in a day (even an entire day) and you could return again and again and come away with new knowledge and inspiration. And probably sore feet, which you could rest alongside the water at the entrance.

NMAAHC

While on a morning walk through our old neighborhood, I was lucky enough to bump into an old long-time friend and former co-worker. Since he was heading out to walk his dog, we walked together back to Chris and Karen’s, sharing news of spouses, children, his brand new grandchild, professional endeavors, with only a bit of shared dismay at the state of what passes for political “leadership” today.

KMB

Patrick and I won the aunt-uncle lottery (albeit with no competition) and took the kiddos on a field trip to National Harbor for a few hours on Sunday. Nothing educational; just walking about. Since we’re not their parents, we said “yes” to nearly everything they expressed interest in. There’s a candy store? Let’s get a bag or maybe a chocolate covered Oreo. Ice cream? Absolutely. Nail polish that changes color in the sunshine? Who would be without it?!

There’s a fair bit of public art — statues, like this one of Henry Ford, which A. enjoyed mimicking.

Natharbor5

The little kids’ play area included less historic, if slightly more creepy, sculptures.

Natharbor

A giant sculpture of a giant, The Awakening, had been moved from its original site along the Potomac in D.C. to a human-made beach at National Harbor, where its various parts are explored by young and old alike.

Natharbor2

Four times around on the giant Ferris wheel gave plenty of opportunity to watch planes heading toward the nearby airport, gaze down at the marina and shops, speculate that it’d be a great place for an action movie scene, and wonder if you could survive a jump into the harbor from this height.

Natharbor-wheel

Natharbor3Natharbor4.JPG

Some day I hope to be able to take a selfie with Patrick in which we don’t look dopey, but for now, what you see is what we get.

The Sunshine Coast sweater got a bit bigger on the two flights, but you can’t really tell from this picture. Interspersed among the inches of stockinette stitch there are some lovely, subtle details. You’ll have to trust me on that for now.

Sunshine-coast-plane

Another highlight of the weekend was my visit to Fibre Space, a wonderful LYS that’s only a few blocks from Chris and Karen’s house. Stay tuned for that post later this week.


Bursting Out All Over

May 3, 2018

Spring has been a long time coming here in Greater Boston with last month’s temperature averaging a cool 55F (13C). If yesterday’s weather is any gauge, we’ve had the shortest spring on record and have jumped right into summer — sunny, dry, breezy, and a hot 88F (31C). I figure we’ve earned it and have vowed not to complain regardless of how much I’m sweating.

Mom and I took advantage of the day with a visit to the Arnold Arboretum, an urban treasure in her Boston neighborhood. We parked on the street and climbed the path past a Revolutionary War burying ground. As you’d expect in an arboretum, all the trees are labeled so you needn’t keep saying, “I wonder what kind that is.”

AGH-arboretum

We discovered that we were in the honey locust collection although there were other trees nearby — some buckeyes and some other specimens that I promptly forgot!

Agh-arboretum2

The “summit” of Peters Hill includes many granite slabs that serve as welcome resting spots from which to marvel at the Boston skyline.

Arboretum-boston

Since she’d closed the window shades before heading out, Mom’s apartment was refreshingly cool. She’s started a new knitting project, a garter stitch scarf (or maybe it’ll be a neck warmer) made from some luscious Malabrigo Rios that she got at the grand re-opening of JP Knit & Stitch.  If you’re visiting Boston and looking for a LYS, it’s a definite must-visit.

Malabrigo-rios-garter-stitch

I’m still alternating between the Sunshine Coast sweater (photo soon) and the yoga socks. On a work conference call earlier this week, I worked a few rounds in between comments and note taking. Ah, the benefits of being a freelancer!

Yoga-sock-laptop


Spotted at the Miami Airport

April 26, 2018

I love when friends send me photos of yarn bombings or other public displays of knitting that they’ve seen on their travels, near or far. Kathe was passing through the Miami Airport earlier this month and came across Knitting as Poetry: Reflections on the Natural Environment in a corridor gallery.

First, can we acknowledge how cool it is that the airport has art exhibitions? Miami isn’t the only airport to do so, but it’s worth reminding ourselves that public art enriches our lives — and, when it’s in an airport, provides a diversion from the long waits inside terminals.

knitting-as-poetryThe artist, Evelyn Politzer, is a native of Uruguay, so it’s only appropriate that the exhibition is supported by malabrigo, a family-owned yarn company in Uruguay.

politzer-miami-airport

Described as “suggestive of aqueous elements,” these droplets are “a reminder of the importance of water conservation, a major issue in Politzer’s immediate community [of Miami].”

Politzer-miami-airport-2

These looser, less contained creations are described as “tender and sensual, their color range suggesting warmth and nurturance.” I can see that.

What public fiber art or yarn bombs have caught your eye? As I did last year, I’m working with our local cultural arts organization on a yarn bombing project. More on that in an upcoming post.

I’ve recently started some yoga socks — basically, socks without the heel and toe (aka the fun bits!). It’s my traveling project, seen here at Mom’s hair salon.

Yoga-sock


Back to the 60s

April 18, 2018

As a change of pace from our usual walk into the square for marketing, errands, and lunch, Mom and I took a field trip to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Perched on the edge of Boston Harbor, it’s a beautiful, powerful, exhilarating, and somber place to spend a couple of hours.

JFK-agh

I’m sure the thousands of school children who visit each year take some comfort in learning that young Jack was far from a good student. As these letters show, he was determined to do better, and his father expressed confidence that he’d turn out OK. Ha!

JFK-school Having grown up in Massachusetts in a politically active family of Catholic Democrats, Mom feels a kinship of sorts with the Kennedys. The politics of the 50s and 60s are vivid in her memory — in part, because she was so politically active herself.

JFK-convention

Watching parts of Kennedy’s speech at the 1960 Democratic Convention prompted snippets of her own participation at the 1972 Convention, when she chaired the Foreign Relations platform committee — a lively topic (to say the least) in 1972.

I love these Get Out the Vote ads. “Sure you’re busy — but…”

JFK-vote

No presidency is perfect, but the belief that the government has a vital role to play in building a better society for all that undergirded the Kennedy administration touched my heart again — especially in contrast to what passes for our current political leadership.

JFK-speech

In knitting news, I seamed Mom’s Wham Bam Thank You Lamb neck warmer while we waited for our lunch at our favorite bakery. Looks pretty spiffy, don’t you think?

Agh-neckwarmer

I’d like to think she can put it away until next winter, but given the wacky weather we’ve been having, she may need it this month!


Power of Memory

April 11, 2018

The warm detergent-scented air, steady rumble of washers and dryers spinning, metallic jingle of the change machine, fellow customers folding, chatting, reading. It’s been nearly a decade since I’ve been to a laundromat, but not much has changed.

As often happens when I knit in public, my project (Second Sock) sparked curiosity and conversation. As she folded several baskets of clothes, the owner told me about her mother’s crochet and sewing skills.

Knit-laundromat

A 20-something woman said that she’s been thinking of learning to knit, partly to do something creative and also to break her habit of defaulting to her phone. I told her about a couple of local yarn stores that offer lessons and, as I left, encouraged her to follow through: “you’ll never regret learning to knit.” Hope she does.

My first knitting teacher and I have been spending a lot of time together this winter, walking from her apartment to the village market and/or our favorite lunch spot or thrift store several times a week. We’ve watched lots of Celtics basketball and have welcomed the start of baseball season, which provide plenty of knitting opportunities.

Last week, Mom expressed interest in knitting again, so we pulled out the simplest of her several works in progress (WIPs). After the briefest of tutorials, her muscle memory kicked in, and she was on her way!

Mom-knitting

 


New Knitter Pride

April 4, 2018

Some WIPs (works in progress) on a Wednesday: Not all of the students in my Knit 101 class are true novices, but every month or so, a brand new knitter walks through the door. Chris and Justin are the most recent, each with their own motivations for learning a new craft.

Ten-year old Chris arrived with his mother, a non-knitter, a few weeks ago and explained he thought knitting looked cool. Yup, you read that right. While he’s got a goal of making a sweater someday, he started with a practice swatch in garter stitch and last week learned the purl stitch. His concentration and quiet pride warm my heart.

New-knitter.jpeg

When Justin walked through the door, I thought he was looking for directions to someplace else! He’s not your typical Saturday morning knit class member: a male, accountant in his late 20s.

His motivation for learning to knit? He resolved to learn 10 new things this year. How cool is that?! So far, he’s learned to bake bread and play golf (at an indoor range until the snow melts). When summer comes, he wants to learn how to water ski. His knitting goal is socks for his girlfriend but, like Chris, happily — and very conscientiously — dived into knits and purls.

Novice-knitter.jpeg

After completing her son’s hat, Louise is working on a scarf (the pattern name escapes me at the moment) in a beautiful variegated yarn. She’s been perusing sweater patterns, so it’s likely she’ll add another project soon.

Louise-scarf.jpeg

Jacqui recently returned to class after a winter hiatus and has cast on a hat. Before she joins the stitches in the round, I encouraged her to knit an inch or two flat, so that it’ll be easier to join without twisting. The subtle color shifts in this Madeline Tosh yarn are exquisite.

Jacqui-ribbing.jpeg

I’ve been spending most of my knitting time with the second sock. I’ll get back to the Sunshine Coast one of these days. What’s on your needles?

Sock2


Traditions and travels

April 2, 2018

The house is quiet again as Kevin and Michael left this morning via plane and car after being home for the past few days.

As is my tradition, I baked the lamb cake, using the metal mold bought by my Mom more than 60 years ago in Boston’s North End.

I tweaked the recipe a bit – adding the zest of one lemon to the batter, which is similar to pound cake so the cake can “stand up.”

After morning Mass, we brunched at home, and I finished the cake while the boyos cleaned up.

Since it was a beautiful spring day and we had a couple of hours before we were due at my brother’s house for dinner, we headed to our favorite quick, local hike.

Recent snow melt made the trail mucky in parts, but we didn’t care a bit. As always, tossing a football along the trail was mandatory.

The tower at the summit was open again after being closed for repairs when we were there for the family Thanksgiving Day hike. Beautiful views of Downtown Boston and the harbor.

Easter dinner at Luke and Mary’s was delicious and the conversation lively. As usual, the lamb cake platter was graced with eggs decorated with colored paper, including photocopies of photos and tissue paper. Most were made by my late in-laws and some are nearly 20 years old.

After second helpings and another sliver of cake, we headed home to close out the evening — and the boys’ visit — with a friendly yet competitive game of pinochle.

The sock and I observed.


Some Things are Never Finished

March 24, 2018

When my children were very young, I didn’t knit much. I thought I didn’t have enough time, which is bizarre because there’s the same amount of time in Every. Single. Day. If I’d been honest with myself, I would have realized that it wasn’t a matter of time; it was my perception of time and my very real reality of seemingly all-consuming busyness.

My mind was shifted by a single comment from a wise neighbor to whom I’d shared the desire to knit but didn’t have time: “When you’re raising a family, running a home, and working at your job, you might find that it’d be nice to actually finish something.”

How very true. So much of daily life is repetitive or ongoing — cook a meal, wash the dishes, wait a few hours, and do it again. Wake up, rally the troops, get everyone out the door (fed, dressed, and as put together as possible), then do it in reverse in each evening. And again. And again. For years, decades even.

One of the joys of knitting is finishing. In fact, I consider finishing the primary goal of a new knitter’s first project. That’s why I recommend a dishcloth as a first project and definitely not a scarf, which can take an eternity.

With that thought, I’m pleased to report that Sock #1 is finished.

Sock1-done-roving

Since I’d not been happy with the bumpiness of my previous sock toe grafting, I paid extra attention to my Kitchener stitching. This is an improvement over my earlier toes.

Sock-toe-kitchener

Part of my desire to finish the sock was my seemingly slow progress on the Sunshine Coast sweater. The slower pace isn’t surprising since it’s now up to about 250 stitches per round.

Sunshine

On the home front, dear Michael is home for a week’s break. Since he arrived at midnight and will likely sleep a solid 12 hours, I won’t see him until this afternoon, after Knit 101 class and the Boston March for Our Lives.

Being a parent or a child is a role (not really an “activity”) that doesn’t feel like it’s ever finished — at least, if you’re as lucky as I am, not for many, many decades.


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