Posts Tagged ‘friends’

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Project for a Dark & Stormy Night

September 9, 2016

Since finishing the striped shawl, I’ve been in a bit of a knitting rut. To be candid, it mirrors my present state of mind — preoccupied with challenges that leave me mentally jumping from one thing to another. But I believe I’ve found a remedy of sorts, in the form of a small, relatively quick project perfect for gift-giving and for using up small amounts of leftover yarn.

May I present a candle jar cover:

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This first one is pretty wonky, the result of my not paying attention to the pattern. Funny how that works. I decided that lighter weight yarn would be preferable and dug out some fingering weight that the marvelous Ann Weaver gave me on my first Sheep Ahoy Knitting Cruise. Yes, it’s more than three years ago. Don’t tell me that I’m the only knitter with three-year old yarn in her stash.

I cast on while having dinner by myself before a ferry crossing 10 days ago. I’d ordered a Dark & Stormy in memory of dear Barb (and because I like the taste) and was enjoying the sunset and nearby table conversations.

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A friend commented later how nicely the color of the yarn matched the beverage, and that’s when I knew that this project would be named the Dark & Stormy Candle Jar Wrap. What better for a dark and stormy night than a candle shining bright and safely protected in a glass jar?

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Not done yet. Check back soon though because I’m on a roll.

Hope There’s Nothing But Cashmere in Heaven

July 27, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t made many new, close friends in my 50s. I’m blessed to have quite a few Sister-Friends, those phenomenal women with whom I share strong bonds of trust, love, and shared experience. Most of them I’ve known for many years.

Imagine my delight several years ago when I met and made two Sister-Friends in the matter of a week, over the course of my first (their second) Sheep Ahoy Knitters’ Cruise. Cathie and Barb had been work colleagues, close friends, and stash-enabling knitting buddies for 25 years, and they welcomed me with open arms.

Barb brought us all tiaras for “formal night” in the sheep’s ship’s dining room. Of course.

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Cathie shared a story that illustrates Barb’s obsession with love of yarn and her sense of humor perfectly:

“One time, we went to a yarn fare in Kitchener, arriving when the doors opened. In the first 15 minutes, we had each spent several hundred dollars and had to make a trip to the car.  I said ‘this could be a problem – we’ve only been here 15 minutes.’  Barbie said, ‘I know, I’m worried there won’t be enough room in my trunk!’

The three of us snorted with laughter on a regular basis whenever we were together. I’m quite sure none of us has been able to look at almond milk without giggling. We emailed, occasionally talked on the phone, went on another Sheep Ahoy cruise, this time to Canada and Maine. Love, laughter, and knitting abounded whenever we were together and even when we weren’t.

And then tragedy struck. Last week, Barb died of advanced lung cancer that she, who never smoked, had been diagnosed with in April.

In May, Cathie and I took a road trip (me from Boston, her from Vancouver) for a weekend visit to Barb’s home in Ontario. As always, love, laughter, and knitting were in plentiful supply — along with delicious food and yarn shopping at Barb’s local yarn store, The Little Red Mitten.

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I’m trying to focus on the positive and be grateful for having been blessed with such a wonderful friend. And I am, truly. But sometimes the sadness and unfairness of it all tightens my throat and squeezes tears from my eyes.

I’ll remember her this way — with an armful of yarn, a sparkle in her eyes, and a smile on her face, giddy with the optimism and possibility of what would come next.

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Knitters’ Road Trip

May 18, 2016

Long-time readers will know of my knitting cruise adventures with my Canadian sister-friends, Barb and Cathie. Recent life circumstances required us to get together for a couple of days in lovely Ontario.

Cathie flew in from Vancouver and I from Boston. With a right-off-the-lot rental car, we headed west to Barb’s home in the countryside. After initial hugs and smiles, we settled in to comfy seats on the sun-lit porch. Before we knew it, several hours had passed. Topics ranged from national politics (Canadian and US), the most recent Ship Ahoy Knitting Cruise (which none of us were able to partake of) hopes for future cruises, updates on our children and Barb’s grandchild, and of course, knitting — stashes, projects (current and future).

Barb’s mother was a home economics teacher for many years, so we had many giggles over some of the recipes in her mid-1960s cook books. Wonder who made Moonbeam Salad Loaf, the ingredients of which were lime gelatin, cottage cheese, and marshmallows (cut into eighths, of course!)?!

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Barb’s dear husband Bill keep us fed and watered with a variety of cheeses, crackers, and white wine. After dinner (courtesy of Cathie and a local caterer), we picked up our needles and watched Murder on the Orient Express. I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to find out “who done it” so it’s still a mystery to me!

The morning was sunny and clear, so the three of us sat outdoors with coffee and knitting, surrounded by birdsong and birds, for a lovely hour or so before breakfast.

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Being a road trip, we were compelled to check out Barb’s LYS, Little Red Mitten in St. Thomas. Fun fact: the shop is across the street from the statue of Jumbo, the town’s most famous 19th century elephant. Curious to know more? Read this.

The Little Red Mitten was fabulous — room after room of scrumptious yarns, patterns, and samples. Who could resist?

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In a feat of perfect timing that must come from 38 years of marriage to a knitter, Bill arrived just as we finished shopping. Hugs, kisses, and perhaps a tear or two were exchanged in the parking lot as we went our separate ways.

Cathie and I headed west to London Yarns — a truly remarkable example of a creative and successful retailer. When she lived in Toronto, Cathie was a frequent customer of London Yarns; based on her descriptions of the many, many projects she made from their afghan and other kits, I’d say she could be considered a part-owner!

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She’s smitten (a kinder word than obsessed) with the adorable Top This baby hat kits. And really, who wouldn’t be? Did I mention that London Yarn takes phone orders and will ship to Canada and the US?

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Mindful of my carry-on bag’s size, I limited myself to 2 balls of Drake Duet for a cowl (details in future post) and 2 small balls of neon yarn for a project-to-be-named-later (when I can think of something!)

When asked at US Customs if I had anything to declare, I refrained from blurting out, “I declare that I had a soul-warming visit with two crazy wonderful knitters whom I miss already.”

Sheep Ahoy & We’re Off!

July 17, 2015

The fourth annual Sheep Ahoy Knitter’s Cruise has just set sail for Bermuda! Mom (Nancy) and I are on board for our second trip together. She’s a veteran of all four!

Dear friend Cathie has come from Vancouver for the adventure. We are very sad that fellow Canadian and dear friend Barb had to cancel because of a medical emergency. Perhaps you’ve heard of the children’s book and project, Flat Stanley? We’ve got a digital Flat Barb. She joined us for lunch today.

photo of Barb on iPad, sitting on lunch table

First knitting class is tomorrow morning. I hope to update regularly.

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