Socked in at the Summit

October 10, 2018

It wasn’t until college that I learned about “leaf peepers.” Having grown up in Maine but never having thought very much about the changing colors of autumn — except that I loved the season — I didn’t realize that people travel hundreds of miles — often by bus tour — to view the brilliant foliage. (Yes, I was naive!)

Last weekend, Patrick and I joined our friend Paul and son Ethan for a day hike in New Hampshire. The 2.5 hour drive provided opportunity for lots of knitting on my latest project, the Starshower shawl-cowl hybrid. 

(Wish I could remember what yarn I’m using, but it was unlabeled in my stash. I’ll poke around and see if I can find the rogue yarn band in the bin.)

Fortunately, we had no expectations of solitude or a quiet ascent. The small parking area at the trail head was full when we arrived at 10am, so we joined a dozen or so “overflow” vehicles along the dirt road and began our ascent.

We passed and were passed by a range of hikers and dogs — small and large — on the steady climb over rocky trail and switchbacks. Recent rain and mountain springs made the going quite muddy and occasionally slippery, especially on moss-covered rocks.

On a clear day, Osceola’s summit offers expansive views of surrounding valleys and peaks in the White Mountains, but when we arrived 1 3/4 hours after starting, it was shrouded in misty clouds. 

As we ate our lunch and stretched out on the rocks — joined by 20 or so other hikers, about half of whom were Quebecois visiting for the long Thanksgiving weekend — the sun threatened to burn through the clouds. Standing at the edge, we watched the air currents flow up from the valley and glimpsed birds flying through the mist. 

Suddenly the clouds opened, giving us a view to the bright carpet of leaves across the valley and nearby peaks, including a ski area.

After five minutes or so, the curtain closed, and we were again surrounded by swirling clouds. We took that as the cue to begin our descent, returning via the same trail.

Our route from the National Forest provided a brilliant reminder of the season’s beauty. Count me among the leaf peepers for life.

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Calling on St. Clare

September 27, 2018
I’m teaching my dear friend Pat how to knit. To be more precise, I’m helping her refresh and expand her knitting skills since she knit a couple projects back in college. To her first lesson, she brought me a small wooden token of St. Clare, who I was surprised to learn is the patron saint of needle workers.
Don’t the colors blend nicely with the Vanilla Latte sock? Pat got the token from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston; it’s taken from one of the many tapestries that hang in the exquisite and eccentric museum, which is also the site of the largest unsolved art heist. If you’re a podcast fan, check out “Last Seen,” a fascinating story about the theft and nearly 30 year search for the missing treasures. According to the inscription on the back, St. Clare, who was also a buddy of St. Francis of Assisi, is also the patron saint of sore eyes.
This dual patronage makes a lot of sense given the strain involved in deciphering stitches, not just for those working without the benefit of electric lights but for those of us who struggle to figure out what to make of the yarn on our needles — or in my case, as I continue my quest to learn crochet, our hooks. Here was my second attempt at the first couple of rounds of the Sandy Cowl (which, for some inexplicable reason, is also called the Eggnog Cowl).
My eyes definitely strained to decipher why each stitch was so tight and looked nothing like the pattern photos. I know hope I’ll be able to “read” the stitches as I get more practice, but I’m definitely not there yet. I ripped out the second attempt and went back to YouTube for some basic instructions and practice with the most basic of beginner stitches, the single crochet. With the token of St. Clare propped on a nearby table, I cast on and began again. I still can’t read the stitches very well, but I can definitely see — without eye strain — that I’m getting the hang of it.
Thanks, Clare.

Something New Every Day

September 20, 2018
Part of what I love about knitting is the opportunity to learn something new — whether it be a new stitch, discovering the magic of blocking,  or figuring out how to make a too-small sweater bigger.  For at least a year, I’ve been saying (mostly to myself) that I want to learn how to crochet. Yesterday, I bit the bullet.
And boy, did it feel fiddly! The chain stitch cast on was a piece of cake, but it took me ages (well, a bunch of minutes) to figure out how to hold the working yarn, stitches, and hook. The experience gave me new appreciation for the challenges of my beginner knitting students. I discovered, pleasantly but not surprisingly, that the process began to feel easier with practice. It’s what I tell novice knitters and turns out, it’s right! I started with a basic square of single crochet using a bit of leftover cotton yarn from my stash.
I can’t yet “read” the stitches very well. Sure, I can see a couple of spots that don’t look right, but I have no idea what went wrong nor how to fix them. That’s going to take some more practice. I felt so delighted with this little accomplishment that I decided I should dive into a pattern. Ha! Lessons learned: don’t try to learn a new skill after 9pm nor after a glass of wine. My next step will be to learn a few more basic stitches like double crochet or half-double crochet (what?!) before attempting an actual project. Any suggestions for a beginner crochet project that doesn’t involve granny squares? Back in the knitting world, I’ve just finished the first Vanilla Latte sock. Yarn is Urth Merino Sock, colorway 2018. The person who’ll receive these for Christmas has bigger feet than I do, so even though I used my foot as a rough gauge, I continued a bit longer before shaping the toe.

New Normal for Now

September 14, 2018

I’m happy to report that Mom’s been home for a few weeks and has regained her pre-pneumonia strength and balance. It helped that she was quite fit before she was hospitalized and that we walked with her around the hospital floor several times a day whether she wanted to or not.

Last week, we introduced a couple of home health aides who help five days each week so brother Luke and I can maintain our work lives, sanity, and marriages. We also consider it an insurance policy of sorts so that neither of us is overwhelmed if the other gets sick, has a major work obligation, or wants to take a day trip or — gasp — vacation.

The transition and adjustment has been blessedly smooth. The aides are professional, kind, and experienced. Although she’s sometimes confused about why they’re there, Mom has welcomed them into her home and life quite readily.

A few days ago, she agreed to return to the hair salon, a short walk down the hill, after refusing to go for several weeks. The wonderful staff were pleased to see her and told her so. While her hair was washed, cut, and styled, I resumed my usual seat by the window and worked a few rounds of the Vanilla Latte sock.

Sock-salon

Yarn is Urth Merino Sock, colorway 2018, a mix of bright blues, greens, and oranges.

We spend a fair bit of time each day knitting. I don’t like to even think of the day that she forgets how to do the knit stitch. Having finished two garter stitch scarves, Mom has started another one in a lovely creamy white. I cast on 30 stitches, and she’s taken it from there.

mom-knits

Yesterday, we were joined — remotely — by my friend Judy, who reported that she was back in the knitting routine, too. From her home about 60 miles away, she sent an update via text.

striped-sock-judy

I believe the yarn is Diversity from Plymouth Yarn (Zebra colorway). Pretty sure I was with her when she bought it.

She makes knee socks while I prefer mid-calf or just below. If you’re a sock knitter, what’s your preference?

 

 

 


Mitts and New Knits

September 11, 2018

When I bought a few skeins of Koigu KPPPM at Flock in late July, I felt justified in straying from my “no new yarn” resolution guiding principle. After all, I’d just finished two projects and certainly deserved a reward, right?

Plus it was on sale, so I practically was required to add these lovely skeins to my stash.

Koigu-yarn-skeins

One of the things I’ve learned about my yarn buying and stashing is that I’m much more apt to use yarn within a reasonable amount of time (let’s not get into what my definition of “reasonable” is though) if I have a project in mind. I realized this a couple of years ago after I pruned my stash and gave away nearly everything for which I didn’t have a specific project — or at least a well-defined concept.

Sock yarn never falls into the giveaway pile because I always know what I’ll make with it.

But when Mom was in the hospital and I needed something portable and easy, even socks seemed a bit too ambitious. So I made a couple of baby hats with one skein.

barley-hat-baby

Once she got home and we established a new routine, I decided that I could cast on something a bit more complex. But socks didn’t seem to the right fit – pardon the pun. So I decided on fingerless mitts.

Knit-vote

Must admit that, at the cuff, these look quite similar to (some might say indistinguishable from) top-down socks.

While it’s still summer for a couple more weeks and I’m not eager to think of weather cold enough for mitts, it feels great to have a knit gift tucked away for December. I’m not sure why they look so orange-y in this photo.

mitt-envy

On Friday, I mailed a pair of socks from my gift box to Michael, who entered his third decade yesterday. We must be having fun because time sure is flying.

So naturally, I have to cast on a new pair of socks to replenish the supply. I’m pretty sure Christmas is just around the corner.

urth-sock-yarn

 

 

 

 


Vote One, Knit Two

September 5, 2018

A couple of years ago, I became a local election volunteer — not for a particular candidate (although I still do that) but for our city. You know, one of those people who welcomes you to the polling place, checks your name off a list, hands you a ballot, directs you to the electronic vote-counting machine, and hands out “I Voted” stickers.

I consider it a small action to support our democracy and, thanks to the detailed training involved and adherence to law and procedures, to upholding people’s confidence in the voting process.

election-training

Turnout for yesterday’s state primary election was pretty light (that is, lighter than our country’s generally low turnout), so I had time to do a bit of knitting.

You didn’t think I’d go to an eight-hour shift during which I’d be sitting and chatting with my fellow volunteer (a lovely Vietnam War vet who spent 20 years working in the State Department before taking over his father’s business) without my knitting, did you?!

Knit-vote

I started the second fingerless mitt (Mitt Envy in Koigu KPPPM), the cuff of which looks like the start of a top-down sock. I’d finished the first one the day before while hanging out with Mom, who graciously agreed to be a hand model.

Fingerless-mitt-agh

While there weren’t any major municipal races, there were a couple of big upsets elsewhere in the state. And I sure hope the ripples turn into a wave come November.

 

 

 

 


Summer Savor

September 3, 2018

Although our children are technically no longer school-age, the calendar still “resets” on Labor Day. Kevin and Michael are back at college, having finished their first week of classes and after journeying 300 and 1,500 miles respectively.

As usual, I’m filled with conflicting emotions of hope — a new year, a clean slate — and loss — loved ones leaving (literally and figuratively) and moments not savored. So on this quiet morning, I’m taking a few minutes (who am I kidding? this always takes longer than I expect!) to capture some special moments from the summer. No commentary, just memories.

Natharbor4

monadnock-selfie

AroostKrdpals

MHDcabaret

Agh-MAH-colby

MODmudfun

GHbeach

GHbeach2

heart-rock

No photos of knitting, but you know it’s always there, keeping me company, teaching me valuable lessons, and helping to keep me balanced.

 

 

 

 

 


Wrapped in Love

August 24, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, a package arrived from my dear friend Barbara. Inside was a beautiful just-about-finished Woven Sky Throw and a lovely note asking for my help in completing the finishing touches, like weaving in ends — which proved to be a great activity (i.e. requires very little thinking) while keeping Mom comfortable during her hospitalization.

MGH-ends

As I’d discovered on my first entrelac project, the technique brings with it a lot of gaps where the edge stitches are picked up — at least, that was my experience. Barbara’s project was similar, so I closed them up one by one, tidying as best I could.

entrelac-gaps

Two opposite edges had been bound off too tightly, pulling in the corners. I tinked* back back the bind off and then re-bound it off, taking care to do so loosely. The final result wasn’t quite evenly square, but it was closer. A quick swish in the bath, a cool rinse, and then blocking flat were the true finishing touches.

Soon this exquisite creation will belong to Barbara’s granddaughter as she heads off to college, hers to cuddle in good times and bad. I’m confident she’ll be able to feel the love infused in every stitch.

entrelac-throw-finished

*tink = to un-do stitch by stich (knit spelled backwards)

 

 

 


Baby Blues

August 21, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed making a Baby Vertebrae sweater for a friend’s Baby-to-Be. The name is a bit puzzling. My brother asked, “what’s up with that baby spine sweater?”

The pattern gets its name (I presume) because the sweater covers the baby’s back and not its front – an open front makes better snuggling and less cleaning of inevitable spit-ups and dribbles. Plus, no buttons, button holes, or button bands.

I love the Neighborhood Fibre Co. yarn  (worsted in Old Towne East) so much that I decided to add a little hat.

Baby-knits

Many thanks for all the kind wishes for dear Mom. I’m happy to report she’s home and getting a bit stronger each day. I’m still confident that knitting helps her, and I know it helps me.


Knitting in the Whirlwind of Life

August 18, 2018

The past week has been a bit of a whirlwind in this little corner of the world. And as I’ve wondered many a time — including on the blog — how do non-knitters weather the storms of life?

For example, when your brother drives your Mom to the doctor’s office after she’s woken with a fever, uncontrollable shivering, and even more confused than usual — what do you do if you can’t concentrate on your knitting in the back seat?

On two consecutive nights last week, Mom spent seven hours in the hospital emergency room.  On the second evening, while she dozed and we waited for a room to become available, the Barley Light baby hat kept my hands and mind occupied and mostly calm.

Barley-hat-MGH

Diagnosis: pneumonia (albeit with no cough or shortness of breath). After a day or so of IV antibiotics and with continual supplemental oxygen, Mom was able to walk slowly.

AGH-MGH-walk

The network of nearby siblings, spouses, and (grand)children made it possible for us to tag-team each other, so she was rarely alone. The baby hat finished, I brought in a friend’s entrelac blanket for finishing touches — weaving in ends and closing up loose connections.

MGH-ends

I’m confident that our being present to translate the questions and actions of the medical staff and to provide encouragement and comfort (including watching our Red Sox continue their remarkable season), especially at times when the fear and incomprehensibility of Mom’s world overwhelmed her, helped her healing progress.

By Wednesday, when her oxygen monitor was removed from her finger, even she was able to knit.

AGH-MGHa

Although she won’t believe it until she’s in the car, she’s going home later today. The recuperation will continue in the comfort and familiarity of her apartment. I’ll be casting on a new project soon, doing my best to knit gratitude and love into each stitch.

 

 

 


Duo of Finished Objects

August 5, 2018

I try not to set too many knitting goals for myself, but sometimes a knitter has to do what she has to do. And I must admit that I’m quite pleased to have achieved my vacation knitting goal of completing two projects.

Since they had a true deadline — birthdays are exact dates after all — the Monkey Socks were my top priority. A couple of people have asked about the significance of the name. The simple truth is that it’s the name of the pattern by Cookie, available on Ravelry and on Knitty.

On the 26th and final repeat of the 11 row pattern, I finally committed it to memory. A relatively quick toe shaping and seaming and then into a pot of sudsy water.

They dried quickly in the sunshine and were tucked away for the birthday girl.

Yarn is Flying Finn Yarns one-of-a-kind (OOAK) that I bought at J.P. Knit & Stitch’s reopening a few months ago. I just love the subtle color variations.

At that point there was no way to avoid the Sunshine Coast sweater anymore. As I explained earlier, I had a bit of an emotional hurdle to overcome on that one. But finish I did, and I’m delighted to report that I’m delighted with the final product.

On the ferry back to the mainland, I started my next project, a Baby Vertebrae frontless cardigan for a friend’s baby-to-be, who’s expected to make an appearance in early September.

baby-vertebrae-ferry

Since I’ve now got only one WIP, I feel free to cast on something else. I’ve got time, right? Unlike birthdays, baby due dates aren’t exact — until they become birthdays, of course!

 

 

 


Another Epic Rally

August 4, 2018

Turns out that Chris and Karen’s overnight visit to Nantucket, followed by a 12-hour journey home to Northern Virginia, was just the first travel rally of our vacation. [Note: neither Patrick nor I participated in either rally. We’re supporters only.]

Months ago, Hannah and her squad of four NYC Sister-Friends had synced their work schedules and planned a vacation — no small feat in and of itself. Hannah arrived mid-day Friday after a brief detour at home. The foursome would arrive by air later that night.

However, true to its name, the “Little Grey Lady of the Sea” put a damper on those plans. Low, thick fog blanketed the island, and all flights were cancelled. After they turned down the airline’s offered rescheduled flight on Monday evening and discovered that there were no rental cars in all of New York City available for a one-way trip to Cape Cod, and after dozens of texts, a plan emerged.

New York’s Port Authority bus terminal isn’t a particularly lovely place at any time of day, but I imagine that it’s less so than usual at 3:00AM on a Saturday morning, which is when their bus to Boston departed.

About four hours later, the sun was shining — even if they weren’t — when they arrived in Boston and made their way to our house about 10 miles away.

Squad-bus

Kevin had left the key under the mat and a welcome note including details on where to nap and how to turn on the coffee maker. They collapsed and napped a bit until Hannah — who’d taken a 7:30 fast ferry from the island and driven 1.5 hours home — arrived. They piled in, and she reversed the journey.

And so it was, that 24 hours after they’d left work, they arrived. While the previous night’s fog had lifted, the afternoon was cloudy and cool. So they had the beach to themselves.

Squad-beach  Mhd-grace

Back home, they shared stories of their adventures around the table and around the fire. As Patrick and I had noted the night before when their rally plan was hatched, this will make for a great memory.

Barn-dinner.jpg

 

 

 

 


Life Lessons from a Sweater

July 28, 2018

Like many knitters, I’m usually always working on more than one project at a time. Recently, however, I’ve been playing favorites, spending much more time with a pair of socks than with the Sunshine Coast sweater. Sure, I can blame it on a deadline. The Monkey Socks (pattern on Ravelry and Knitty) are a birthday gift for a special friend.

But there was something else keeping me from finishing the Sunshine Coast sweater: fear. That’s probably too strong a word. How about dread?

It had to be something emotional that was keeping me from finishing because I love everything about the project. The bright apple green cotton yarn is a perfect match for this casual summer sweater.

Green Sunshine Coast sweater knitting at beach

The pattern is simple yet detailed, with lovely eyelets interspersed at the neckline and sides and subtle bands along the body.

Detail of eyelet holes along neckline of sweater

After casting off the body (more than two months ago!) and before picking up the stitches to knit the sleeves, I held it up and realized that it was too short — at least, too short for my liking. Here it is just before bind off when I tried to gauge length with circular needle still attached.

Sunshine-coast-body

I picked back the bound-off stitches and knit for a few more inches, increasing as the pattern directed. And that’s where my brain kicked in. When I finally bound off the body, it looked too wide, too boxy, and that triggered my body self-image “baggage,” that inner voice that says “that’s too boxy; it’ll make you look fat.”

I expect we all have an inner voice telling us who we are or how we should be, a voice that really isn’t our friend. I try not to listen, but boy, it can be persistent sometimes.

Now I know I’m not fat, but I used to be — at least, I was heavier and fatter than I wanted to be. But that was decades ago — like three decades ago. But that self-image and those feelings linger and, apparently, are still pretty powerful.

But I’m happy to report that my rational brain was helped along by a good dose of reality from my dear, wise daughter Hannah, who responded to my “this may be too boxy” concern on Instagram with “Mom, you think everything is too boxy. I’m sure it’s beautiful and perfect.”

 

She was right.

MAH-sunshine-Coast

 

 

 

 

 


Hazy Summer Days & an Epic Rally

July 22, 2018

I’m not naive enough to believe that vacations are long, lazy days that stretch on forever, but I must admit that I thought I’d be able to write a blog post or two during our vacation week. I chalk up my failure to achieve that “goal” to my brain being in decompression mode combined with a desire to cut down my time on the laptop.

Anyway, here we are — in the hazy, humid days of late July on our favorite island. Nantucket is known, in part, as the “Little Grey Lady of the Sea” for the cool fog that rolls over this “Faraway Isle” as the afternoon temperature drops. Afternoon is often when the waves pick up along the south shore beaches, bringing out wetsuit-clad surfers who wait for something to ride.

cisco-haze

Brother Chris, Sister Karen, and two of their three children arrived Tuesday for a quick visit, a bit of a detour on their way back to the Washington DC area after a week on Cape Cod. In our 24 hours together, we packed in plenty of fun — tumbling and diving in the waves (not a camera-friendly spot), rousing games of corn hole in the back yard — where Aidan made the game more complicated by acting as a human pendulum crossing each tosser’s path.

Hills-cornhole

As Patrick and Karen grilled supper, the competitors recuperated on the big couch. An evening walk into town for ice cream cones and bookstore browsing (and buying) topped off the day.

hills-ack.jpg

The ferry departs near a shop called Hill’s of Nantucket, so of course, a photo was in order — even if one of the subjects had his eyes closed.

Hills-nantucket2

Given the 11-hour drive home that awaited their arrival on the mainland, they looked remarkably cheery as they departed, didn’t they?

Ferry

Given the length and complexity of their travels, it was truly an epic rally. Next year, we’ll need to plan a little better. Until then, back in the quiet of the barn, there’s Sock #2 to finish.

Sock-barn

 

 

 

 


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?!

 

 

 


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).

 


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