Christmas Eve Cast-on – Is that really a thing?

This is the picture I have been keeping in my head as I go through my holiday knitting this year – and there is precious little time for that, what with work.  Not that I don’t sneak a few hours in here and there once the workday is over. More about this later.

This year, we’re not doing a whole lot.  We didn’t send out cards, though we love receiving them – every year we are blessed to receive cards from family and friends and we cherish each and every one of them. In fact, as family sends out picture cards, we hang them up on a special board and those pictures stay up all year ’round!  This year sending our own just got away from us. 

This corner of the den is where we have our little Christmas tree.  In past years, we’d alternate between a large fake tree and a real one.  Over time, the real trees seemed wasteful and given what we’ve seen in the news in recent years, downright dangerous. I like this little tree.  It’s just the right size and little people don’t run into it, LOL:)

Because three of our adult children are residing with us this year, their preparations for the holidays have been a delight to see.  Packages are arriving from various locations throughout the week – and I confess to having one or two on the way for the DH.  Though John and I are believers, albeit of different denominations, most of our six adult children would tell you, if asked, that they generally range in the agnostic/atheist point of view.  A couple of them have some sort of religious faith, but for the most part, Christmas is not a particularly religious holiday for them. That being said, in many ways they keep the holiday traditions in a way that is meaningful for them.  They give to others less fortunate, they give and share with their siblings and friends.  They have big hearts and they express this in the way they care for members of their community.  So, as I have often said, despite my best efforts, they have turned out well and I am proud of each and every one of them. Christmas, different in meaning for each of us, remains a family tradition and one which I am hopeful we all still enjoy.

I’m hoping to sing with the St. Pete’s choir this Christmas Eve for the late service though I’ve missed several practices for a variety of reasons. This would get me home in time to enjoy an hour or two before bed just relaxing with a glass of red and my knitting.   I’ve been following a lot of the knitting podcasts on YouTube (I know, I know, such an exciting life I lead -but hey, it’s a nice break from the news cycle!!).  A good number of the “regulars” I watch are doing something called “Vlogmas” where they do shorter podcasts every day from Nov. 30 through Christmas, basically giving a glimpse into their daily activities.  Needless to say, I have never done anything like that for two reasons: (1) about 50 percent of my day is not available to the public for reasons of confidentiality and (2) I have the proverbial perfect face for radio…  As a result, I really admire the work of these podcasters.  Paula Emmons-Fuessle, who hosts the Knitting Pipeline podcast, once told me that producing an hour-long podcast per week takes a good eight hours to accomplish.  The time and effort to do even a 10-minute podcast daily must be quite an energy drain! And hey, speaking of dear Paula, who is Prairie Piper on Ravelry, please send a few good vibes/thoughts/prayers her way.  She’s had a recurrence of ovarian cancer that plagued her throughout this year and she’s participating in a new treatment protocol. If you are so moved, contributions to her doctor’s study would be wonderful, too! I am a great admirer of Paula – she is such a kind and decent human being with an indomitable spirit!

Anyway, Vlogmas… One thing I’ve noticed is that some knitters who celebrate Christmas tend to do something called a Christmas Eve cast-on. Hence the picture at the top of this post.  I was thinking I’d knit a pair of self-striping knee socks.  Cloverhill Yarns in Catonsville, MD is having a really great sale on Opal sock yarns from the German Zwerger Yarn Company. 45% off – could not resist.  I saw the two skeins above and thought they’d make great Christmas socks and therefore a wonderful Christmas Eve cast-on. 

Do any of you knitters out there do a Christmas Eve cast-on? If so, what kind of projects do you start? For my friends of the Jewish faith, do you do something similar for the evenings of the Eight Days of Hanukkah? Looks like it’s late this year:)!

Back soon I hope.  God be with you ’til we meet again+

WONDERFUL

I have been doing so much knitting.  And working.  And getting precious little finished.  And that’s ok. I should be at choir practice this evening, but after eating dinner, my silly old guts got stupid on me and I figured I’d better stay close to home.  ‘Nuff said.  Right now it’s what’s euphemistically referred to as The Holiday Season here in the US of A – and other “western countries.” For me, that means Georg Friedrich Handel’s Messiah.  Handel used to have two dots over the “a” in his name (that’s what they call an umlaut – pron. “oomlowt” in Germany).  He indeed had been German, but upon his arrival at the court of King George III of England, he soon dropped the umlaut and embraced his status as an English composer. Messiah is a classic example of Baroque music, with its word painting (Wortmalerei), sequences, virtuosity, and encouragement of bel canto improvisation.  In other words, my heart:).

I usually start playing Messiah as soon as Thanksgiving is over, but for some reason this year I started early this morning – already two weeks later. I know most of it by heart, having sung so many of the choruses and listened to it year after year.  I have sung alto, soprano and even on occasion, tenor parts.  I just love this piece of music.  For the past seven years or so, I’ve played tympani to its Halleluja Chorus.  It’s probably my absolute favorite – and yes, I hear the eyes of “real” musicians rolllllling  and I. don’t. CARE!

One of my favorite performances is that of the Concert Artists of Baltimore.  I bought the CD and will be playing it in the car as I drive to work/drive to and from visits and, well, drive.

New on Naxos: Handel Messiah

George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759)
Messiah
(Watkins Shaw Edition)

Jennifer O’Loughlin, Soprano
Diana Moore, Alto
Nicholas Phan, Tenor
Sidney Outlaw, Bass
Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphony Chorale
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Edward Polochick

Of all English oratorios Handel’s Messiah has always been the most overwhelmingly popular. It is the least theatrical of his oratorios and the most purely sacred in its choice of subject matter. The vivid choral writing – there are more choruses in Messiah than in any other Handel oratorio – coupled with the expressive density of the solo arias, have ensured its status as one of the greatest choral masterpieces in the Western canon.

This particular version/interpretation by Eddie Polochick is genius.  It just is.  Trust me. Back in the days when I had more teeth  bone/voice in my face, I sang with the Baltimore Symphony Chorus, which Ed conducted.  It was the single most challenging musical experience of my life.  I loved every single minute of it, difficult or no. And… it was 35 years ago. I was 30.  My youngest was 30 days old the day I auditioned.  When I got pregnant with No. 6, I was too queasy to sing and had to quit. My youngest is 33.  It’s been a while:). 

Since then, a dear friend of mine from the St. J’s choir (of my previous church) along with some of the stars of the Symphony Chorus, sang with CAB (and you should know, we sang in the Symphony Chorus together in 1984-85 before we even knew each other:)!).  She very kindly offered those of us who were interested, discounted tickets.  I actually rode into Baltimore with her and was privileged to see their rehearsal before the performance.  What joy!

Much of Messiah comes from the Book of Isaiah – one of the Old Testament Prophets.  One of the choruses is “For Unto Us a Child is Born.” It is about the birth of Christ (in case you didn’t notice).  And it joyfully signals the Christian feast, celebrated among us goyim, as Christmas.  Some of the words are, “Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” And here I must stop for a brief detour in the story….

About 54 years ago, a family moved into the house that had finally been built next door to us.  They couldn’t have been more different from us – children of modernity: agnostics, atheists, and a believer or two of Christianity and Judaism to add to the mix.  The eldest child was a Dominican nun, fer Chrissakes! The mother had recently been widowed; she and her husband had nine children, seven of whom were still living at home.  The eldest two were the aforementioned nun, and a married daughter who lived, not surprisingly, with her husband.  There were two girls, one older and one younger than I by a year.  I knew we’d be friends and I was so grateful to have two friends nearby to hang out with.  There was this older boy – their brother, John (spoiler alert, he and I are now married 43 years already, with six kids, five grandkids and no one has shot anyone … yet.), but he wasn’t even in my 12-year-old radar at that point (Now, my sister Laura… that was another story, LOL).  Anyway, the younger of the two sisters was a girl named Lori.  Lori (her first name was actually Julia, but she was called by a diminutive of her middle name, Lorraine, by those who were In.The.Know.)

Lori was a sweet person with an incredible sense of humor.  As time went on, it became apparent that she had a real talent for putting words together.  Her writing was incredibly good.  By the time she was getting ready to graduate high school, she was on her way to Malloy College on Long Island (officially known as Malloy Catholic College for Women, just so’s ya know).  She had this really sweet voice, almost identical to that of her oldest sister, “GG” by now no longer a nun, but living as a layperson, released from her vows.  We liked GG both with and without them.

Less than two weeks after her high school graduation, we stopped hearing that pretty voice.  She was in an auto accident, permanently disabled, unable to really speak above a whisper, unable to walk, unable to even really eat or drink on her own.  It wasn’t until two years after we almost lost her that we realized she had a MIND behind those disabilities.  Her youngest sister, Kate, then 12, was talking with her, asking her about her spelling homework.  Lori blinked at the correct letters! We realized she was THERE! Now, her mother (the lady who was to become my indomitable mother-in-law and someone I always admired) knew this, but had had no proof and was (infuriatingly) poo-pooed by the doctors as being too hopeful.  The doctors were, of course, wrong (I cannot tell you how happy I am typing that sentence!)

For years afterward, Lori and I would talk together whenever I went to visit.  Being the smartass I am, I’d ask if it was a vowel or a consonant and then go through the corresponding part of the alphabet.  It was a frustrating exercise for Lori but my goodness, she composed some of the most beautiful prose I ever read or heard! When we got together for Thanksgiving dinner, it was Lori who composed the prayer we all prayed.  And there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

Lori never remembered the accident and she was honest when she told me there were times she wished she could just die, but that changed over time.  She was grateful for her life.  And she dearly loved God  – and each and every one of us – and we loved her.  Her sense of humor was legendary.  I will never forget a friend of John’s mom, sitting in Lori’s room during the wedding of her older sister Holli, just crying.  Lori laughed as her brother Jim, distracting her from this distressing situation,  teased her about (of all things) her urine collection bag. (God bless him:)). She got dirty jokes as well as any of us.  And we often promised to load her feeding tube with vodka when the nurses’ backs were turned.  I like to think someone did that at least once.:)

When John and I got married in Vermont, six hours away, Lori couldn’t make it.  But she caught the bouquet.  We made sure her Mom took it home to her. No one else was getting my wedding bouquet!  Lori was our only son, Danny’s, godmother.  I like to think her prayers for him have saved him from many a scrape.  

Over time, Lori would learn to say a few words, breathlessly.  One of her most frequent words was “Wonderful.” Or as we New Yawkas would say, “Wondahfull” Whenever a new grandbaby was placed in her arms for a cuddle, when a loved one who had been away for a while returned home, when someone did well, Lori would say “Wonderful.” And you knew it was good.

In November 1997, John’s Mom died.  It was only a bit less than six months later, that Lori died, the victim of failures of parenteral nutrition and dehydration.  I miss her to this day, this wonderful friend and dear sister-in-law.

Today, I was listening to Messiah and the strains of  “For Unto Us a Child is Born” were filling my car as I drove to the home of an infant client’s grandmother for a visit. When the words, “Wonderful, Counselor…..” came to my consciousness, I could hear Lori whisper her barely audible “Wondahfull” and the tears started flowing.

Amen. Truly wonderful, my dear friend in Heaven.

God be with you ’til we meet again+

Autumn is here…

Indeed, along with choir rehearsals, football, Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Halloween is not a thing at our house anymore.  We live off the beaten track; our place is not worth the effort for a kid with the desire for a large candy haul. Not that it stops us from buying candy.  There’s always a drawerful the grandkids manage to locate;)! Somehow the candy manages to disappear without the help of the neighborhood munchkins.

Today was an unusual Sunday.  I wasn’t feeling very well last night, so I decided to forgo Sunday services at St. Pete’s.  I was truly sorry to miss them – joining that choir has been a great experience so far.  Hopefully, I can properly contribute.  Our choir director is an excellent organist/graduate student from Peabody, very talented, and very kind, so we are very lucky! My dear friend, Nancy also sings there and I know a number of singers from singing and worshipping with them in the past, so it’s a lot like coming home.

Today was also unusual in that instead of having Sunday dinner with the gang, a bunch of us went to the Firstborn’s home and watched the Ravens play Houston.  A terrific win and a delicious bunch of chili, later, I am feeling no pain:)!

I have been attempting to cast on the second half of the bottom ribbing for the Weekender sweater. I’ve had two false starts already – having cast on the wrong yarn in the wrong number of stitches while trying to remember how I should begin a tubular cast-on.  As soon as I finish this post, I will tackle it again under the theory that the third time is the charm.

I finally – FINALLY – finished Rhapsody in Cables and wore it twice, thanks to the recent cold air visiting this part of the US from Canada. 

Glamorous surroundings, are they not?  In any event, this sweater was incredibly interesting to knit.  And the use of interchangeable knitting needles was a godsend!

While at our Fall Knitting Retreat at the end of October, I started a couple of new projects.  Both are shawls and each is in the nascent stage. And each will take a bit of time.  First,  Pauliina Karru’s Enchanter:

Pauliina, also known as “Lina” of the eponymous podcast and her own design company, “Lina Knits,” is an excellent designer.  I have purchased a number of her shawl patterns.  Her podcast is also really interesting.  She lives in Helsinki, Finland with her young son.  I thoroughly enjoyed her daily vlog posts over the Holiday season last year and am hopeful she will do the same this year if she has time.  It was interesting to see how she went about her day.  Her English is impeccable – this fact puts those of us in the US to shame – we simply do not teach foreign languages early enough! She’s had a recent loss in her life and I hope she is doing well.  If anyone deserves to, she does.  I was encouraged to see this pattern as one of her latest.  Once you get started on it, it is not difficult to learn the lace part of it, but it is a shawl and therefore does require a good deal of knitting.

The second shawl is the Finella Shawl by Allison LoCicero – part of a Lace Collection from Knit Picks called Sojourn.  I am currently working the edging pattern.  For 120 repeats. Of 8 rows. And that’s just the beginning.  I think the good news is, that once this work is done, and one picks up stitches for the body, one then starts decreasing, so (thankfully) the work goes increasingly quickly.  My favorite kind of shawl.  At least I hope it is:)! I have progressed fairly far beyond the point shown in the photograph below, but I am still only about one third of the way toward finishing the edging. And that’s Oh Kay.

With these two additional projects, I have 1 weaving project, 1 cross-stitch project, and 60 knitting projects on the needles and 38 projects waiting to be started. Oh dear. 

This morning I took a look at the oldest twelve of those projects and determined I would either finish them or frog them in the next six months.  As a result, the above three projects may wait a bit. Here’s the reality: I am 65 years old.  If I am very lucky,(VERY lucky) I will live another 15 years – 25 years. I need to either finish these projects or frog them and give them to someone for whom they will (as the phrase goes) Spark Joy. Given my usual knitting speed, were I to give each of the projects in my list a month to complete, it would take me about five years to finish the ongoing projects – and another 3-plus years to finish the remaining 38.  Assuming I complete all these projects in time, I will be 73-75 years old when they are done.  And that assumes no new or additional projects in the meantime – a very unlikely possibility.

Damn this is grim. Maybe my knitting time should be dedicated to making things for others. At least then I will have the joy of seeing them do something good.

Let me think on this awhile….

In the meantime, I have to get ready for tomorrow’s fun and frolic. 

God be with you ’til we meet again:)+

Travel and Back, Part Deux (the knitting bit…)

When last I left you, dear 2.5 readers, I was back home, having had a delightful excursion to Florida.  We had had a rather awful Plumbing Emergency the week before and the landlords wanted to have their insurance adjustor’s agent have a look at it and determine what, if anything, needed to be done.  We had taken care of the repairs immediately, so the damage was thankfully minimized.  We got in the door at 10:15 a.m. and set to work to clean up the place – after all, we had been gone all weekend and who knows how the kitchen was holding up? We got in the door, immediately started a load of wash from the suitcases, cleaned up the kitchen, vacuumed and sprayed Lysol everywhere, LOL:)! It was rather comical, looking back, but I was not laughing at the time!

Well, we survived the inspection and learned that at some point, the room in question would be cleaned, the chandelier replaced (yes, the dining room under the two upstairs bathrooms…), and finally repainted.  They would (thank goodness!) move the furniture and move it back in.  I am in NO rush for this, but when it happens, I’ll be fine with it, too.  Grateful it will be done and that we didn’t do anything Awful to cause it.  Apparently (according to the plumber who repaired everything) it was a faulty installation of the drain in the master bath shower.

Well wasn’t that exciting? Sorry. Anyway, the rest of the week was fairly quiet.  I had lunch with a client who just needed time away from his current situation. It worked out fine.   And I knit.

Still working on the Rhapsody in Cables sweater by Joji Locatelli. I did cast on a couple of shawl patterns just to prove to myself I’m as crazy as I used to be, but I am SO CLOSE to finishing this thing I could scream:

See this? It’s the back of the sweater.  It’s done, I’ve picked up and knit side stitches, did the three-needle bind-off on each side, I’ve picked up stitches for the bottom ribbing and am about half-way through the 3.25 inches I am supposed to knit for it, but I think I will quit at 2 inches. Then all I have to do is the neck ribbing and blocking and I. will. be. done! 

I got this far on the project thanks to the Annual Columbia Sip ‘N Knit Fall Retreat at the Claggett Center – an Episcopal Retreat center in Adamstown, just southeast of Frederick, Maryland.  Many different groups rent space from this retreat center, and ours was one of them.  We are not a religious group by any  means.  Our only commonality is knitting and crocheting and other fiber arts. In fact, our group is diverse in many ways. 

As I have every year, this year was a BLAST:)! Those of you who don’t knit probably won’t relate and that’s OK.  

For the first time in all the years I have gone, I was actually off work the Friday it started.  I got there at about noon, found a room, put my groceries away, and took my knitting to the main house (called the Doll House after a former  Maryland Episcopal Bishop) where I found a seat in the meeting room where we all sit and knit. That evening, we went to the home of a Maryland Indie dyer, who also featured the work of another indie dyer and yes, there may have been a couple of yarn purchases. I don’t know which interested me more: the beautiful yarns or the century-plus old farmhouse.  It looked like it had been a plantation at one point.

Then it was back for dinner, knitting, late-night snacks, and wine:)! I got a lot done on the Rhapsody.  Next day another indie dyer came to show her wares and there may have been a couple of yarn purchases, but what happens at Knitting Retreat, stays at Knitting Retreat;).

The weather on Saturday was rather dreary, but the warmth of the knitting, fun conversation and wonderful company made the day fun! After a night of very windy thunderstorms, we were treated to a beautiful vista.

Soon after it was time to pack up, say good-byes, and head for home.  It was a pleasant drive.  Sunday topped off the weekend with a nice time with family.

Not much more to share on the knitting front.  When the sweater is done I will post and hopefully have a few more interesting knitting ventures to discuss.  Until then, I wish you health and good friends and

God be with you ’til we meet again!:)+

Travel… and back.

About two weeks ago, I took a week (plus two weekends) off from work.  It was delightful:)! John and I flew to Florida to see relatives on both sides of the family and of course our son, Danny, in his latest dramatic endeavor: Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. Danny reprised his role as the brutally vulnerable Stanley Kowalski.  Quite an intense play, quaintly outdated in its view of the human psyche, yet still powerfully true in a classic sense, sadly. The play was tremendous and I’m not just saying that as the mother of one of the actors! My stepmom, Maureen, came with us.  We all met afterward for dinner at a local restaurant/sports bar (the play ended at 10 p.m.) and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  Earlier that day, we had rented a car and driven down to Maureen’s home to pick her up and take her with us.  My brother, Chris, lives there, too, so we had a chance to chat with him before we left.  Unfortunately, he had to work that evening and couldn’t join us.

The next morning we drove back to Maureen’s home, had brunch on the way at

Huston’s Restaurant on the water, and spent a good part of the afternoon with her and Chris, reminiscing about our Dad – her husband – and looking at old family books and heirlooms.  I took a lot of the books and mementos back with me, along with a few things for our kids and us to remember him by. I also took home some of my father’s ashes.  After we said our farewells, in which plenty of hugs were involved, John and I went back to West Palm Beach and had a quiet evening.  Danny joined us at our hotel for a drink and after-play snacks.  We said our good-byes to Dan  – he was coming back to Merlin after another week – and called it a night.

The next morning we checked out of the hotel and, after stopping by a local UPS store to arrange to ship home the books and mementos I had received, we continued across the state to see John’s sister Jane and her husband, Ken.  It was wonderful to see them.  They had recently moved and their new home was beautiful – in a lovely community near their daughter, Mary, and her two children. She is truly lovely and looks after them well.

We had a delicious seafood lunch, reminiscent of the great seafood restaurants on Long Island where we all grew up, and enjoyed our time together thoroughly.  I am only sad our time together was all too short.  Another round of hugs and we were again on our way back to West Palm Beach, this time at a hotel in the middle of town also close to the airport.  I will always be grateful for the benefits John has with Marriott:)!

After a lovely night’s sleep, we were up before dawn to get to the airport for an early flight back home. And this was only Tuesday:)!

More to come. Until then, 

God be with you ’til we meet again+

I am not Whinebecking.

I have wanted to go to Rhinebeck for many years now.  It’s in upstate New York, about a half-day drive from here in Central Merlin, but finding a place to stay, even if sharing it with others, is a bit problematic.  Also, it usually falls on or near the weekend of the Columbia Sip ‘n Knit’s annual Fall Retreat – something I would hate to miss. A high school friend of mine, Eileen, lives in the Buffalo area and every so often makes it to Rhinebeck.  I keep hoping we can meet up there someday, maybe.

But not this year.  And that’s Oh Kay. It turns out that in six days, the DH and I will be flying to West Palm Beach, FL to see our son in their regional theater’s production of Streetcar Named Desire.  Danny will be reprising a role he played for Everyman Theatre here in Baltimore.  He’s already said he’s getting even deeper into the role.  It’s very intense, this play. I know we will once again be transported to another place and time watching this drama and I will once again see the character he is playing and forget it’s my own son on the stage.  My stepmother, Maureen will be coming with us as well, which will be a treat.

After that, we are headed for the other side of Florida to see John’s sister, Jane and her husband, Ken and hopefully their daughter, Mary and at least one of Mary’s kids, Emma.  We’ll see:).  Anyway, as much as I love knitting, family comes first.

Not to say that I’m missing out on some good stuff.  The following weekend is the annual Fall Knitting Retreat at the Bishop Claggett Center.  No, this is not a religious retreat, BELIEVE me:)! (What happens at Knitting Retreat, stays at Knitting Retreat – and that generally involves a bit of wine drinking…).I am planning on taking a bunch of projects with me, to wit:

The plaid scarf I haven’t worked on in over a month for Danny:

The St. Michaels Museum cross stitch project (see previous blog posts)

And the following knitting projects:

The Iqaluit Shawl:

The Finella Shawl (a new cast-on):

Causation/Correlation Scarf and/or Hat:

Andand I hope to cast on Flower Buds:

And Ziggy!

Will I get all that done? No way, but I’m going to try.

Decided to frog my attempt at the What the Fade shawl.  I will probably do it in the future, but for now decided to repurpose the yarn to make another Joji Locatelli pattern: Fading Point.

And finally, I am VERY close to finishing the Rhapsody in Cables sweater.  In fact, am hoping to get it done this week.  Am about 2/3 done with the back and then all I have to do is the neck and bottom ribbings and blocking.  As you can see, it’s very much an oversized sweater.  I expect it to be large on me – and squishy and warm! Despite global warming, we will have a winter this year anyway:)!

Here’s the back:

And here’s the front:

It has been an absolute riot knitting this sweater! The design was so interesting and it kept the attention – so much so that I have been remarkably monogamous for the past month! That doesn’t sound right, but what can I say?

In other news, one of my offspring and her spouse are coming over tonight and they will be figuring out dinner with two other progeny.  The DH will likely be sleeping as he is working tonight – probably to save PTO for our trip next week. I will be taking my two eldest grandgirls out to dinner.  Hope I can behave:)! Tomorrow is a day off for me – the courts are closed on Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day here in the US, even though schools are open (go figure), so tonight is more like a Saturday than a Sunday.

Speaking of Sunday, two bad knees have made my bi-weekly trips to the Cathedral a lot more painful than I anticipated.  I decided to attend church closer to home just down the street from me at St. Peter’s church – a community much much smaller, but full of heart and life. I look forward to joining them and hope I can be of some use.

As I type this, I am mindful of the fact that all our plans can be changed at a moment’s notice.  I just learned that the husband of one of my dearest friends left this mortal coil sometime late this morning.  I am so sad for her and for their family.  They were married for 53 years. Although she – and I – were somewhat prepared for this to happen, I was surprised at the shock and sadness I felt when I learned this news.  I cannot imagine her pain right now.  My prayers are with them as they go through this awful time and sustain such a life-changing blow. May the Angels watch over them.

Sorry to end this on such a sad note.  Be kind to each other, fight for justice, and God be with you ’til we meet again+

Another quick one…

And I mean quick – in ten minutes I have to change for court and meet up with a colleague for whom I am covering while she has to be elsewhere.  Anyway, thought I’d do a quick update on projects and life.

As the picture above shows, I just barely started on a cowl -and this is the second time I am knitting this pattern, which is rather unusual for me.  Remains to be seen how the different colors/weights will work together, but I’m up for the challenge.  I wear a lot of blue, so it should end up fine.

Right sleeve and shoulder from the back

The Rhapsody in Cables continues.  I’ve had some days during which there has been very little knitting.  Again, one must earn a living to enable this habit I’ve acquired, LOL:)! I think because it is so unusual in its construction, that curiosity keeps you moving forward to see what will happen in the next steps. Right now I’m working on the edge of the front and the left sleeve.  After that I think I only have the rest of the back and sewing up and finishing to do. So the end is in sight.  These photos should give you an idea of the progress to date:

Front with right sleeve
Back with right sleeve and wrong side of front

This past Sunday, I finally did make it not only to choir practice, the service, but also bell practice.  It’s hard making new friends after such a long time with a bunch of people I’ve come to love elsewhere, but somehow I think this is what I’m supposed to do for now. Well, gotta go:)God be with you ’til we meet again!

Runs, Hits and Errors…

I don’t have a picture of the progress made on the Rhapsody in Cables sweater, but progress I’ve made.  Unfortunately, it was made at the expense of much-needed sleep.  I simply could not sleep last night, so I figured if I stayed up knitting, I’d eventually get tired, but for some reason, I just kept on knitting.  Soon, it was too late to go back to bed and I was showering, getting dressed and ready to go to services at the Cathedral and choir practice.  Duly caffeinated, I drove to the next town over from me only to find that I was likely a danger to myself and others behind the wheel.  After pulling over and issuing a rather shame-faced email to the music director, I drove home and attempted a couple of hours of sleep before the firm barbecue this afternoon. Even then I could not sleep.  But I got enough horizontal rest to allow me to get to the party without causing an accident. 

The poor DH broke his toe a couple of nights ago and foolishly thought he could work his usual graveyard shift on his feet.  By the time the poor thing got home, his toe was throbbing and he could barely get to sleep, let alone accompany me to the barbecue.  Instead, he slept and I attended.

The firm picnic was lovely.  The children of my colleagues were all there, having a wonderful time.  All of them – big and small – were adorable! Though I fear their parents will now be peeling them off their respective ceilings from the sugar highs they all had, LOL!:) I had a really nice time chatting with my colleagues and meeting one of their dear doggie:) – she was so sweet!

After many thanks and goodbyes, I left for home and prepped the kitchen for my eldest and her three kids along with the rest of us here at home.  Then the Penultimate Child, B, prepared a lovely dinner.  Thank. God. I wasn’t fit for much more than pizza delivery when I got home.  Instead, we all got a healthy dinner of chicken, asparagus and air-fried potatoes.  Yum.  It was wonderful to see the three youngest grands, though I was sorry their cousins couldn’t make it.

Nothing much more to report, so I will leave it here. Until next time,

God be with you ’til we meet again:)+

Decisions Decisions!

Remember when last I left you, dear 2.5 readers, I was not 100 percent sure of the colors I had chosen for the Birkin I want to do in the (hopefully) near future? Well, yeah… those colors were lovely, but a wee bit too brilliant and clear for my faded colors. So I toned it down a bit. I went through my shetland and other fingering weight wool to see what I could find — and settled on this:

I will be blending/fading a few of the colors to get the softer look I am seeking.  I think it will turn out fine, especially with the pretty cream color BC Garn Bio Shetland at the top of the picture to lighten it up a bit.  And there are just enough warm colors to balance out the cooler tones I can wear.

This yarn is fast becoming one of my favorite, relatively inexpensive “workhorse” yarns.  I found a beautiful color at WEBs today and got a few skeins to supplement what I already have in stash to make a kit for a Virgil pullover. (Yes, yet another pattern by Caitlyn Hunter:)!) The icy blue color just called out to me. In fact, the colorway is appropriately called”Iced.” I will be adding as my two contrast colors a skein of Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Long Johns and another skein of Battenkill Fibers fingering Shetland wool in a natural cream color.  So many projects, so little time:)!

Since last weekend I’ve only done a small bit of work on the Rhapsody in Cables, hope to have more to show by tomorrow or the next day.  

I finally made a decision on what to do about choir and church and all that business – at least for now.  On what at the time seemed to be a whim, I sent an email to the music director for the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Bawlmer, our Cathedral.  I’ve posted in the past about St. J’s choir singing Evensongs and other celebrations in conjunction with their and other choirs in the area at the Baltimore Cathedral. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of those experiences.  I also knew already that the music director was a very talented person (and thankfully one with a great sense of humor) who really knew his stuff, so I emailed him and asked if I could join.  It just so happened that one of his altos had recently moved out of state, so I went to rehearsal Thursday evening.  The music was challenging (I have to practice tonight!) but not so much so that it was frustrating or totally out of my grasp.  In fact, I had a great time and met a number of really nice and kind people.  I will do my best and try to stay out of any church politics (famous last words, LOL:)).  The ride is a bit longer, but not terrible – it’s only 1/2 hour away from home – and the music is wonderful.  Another bonus is I work and live in two counties adjacent to the City, so the travel isn’t so bad.  Even more, the Cathedral has a lot of good outreach efforts from what I understand. 

Tomorrow is looking to be a fairly busy day.  Rehearsal at 9:45, service at 11, hoping to meet the bell choir director and see if I might be of any use there.  After that, hopefully, the DH will have had enough sleep and I’ll be going home to fetch him for a Barbeque with my firm. Then home to host whomever of the family is coming for dinner (something simple  – or carryout, LOL!:)

Well, I’m off to do a little knitting…:)

Til next time,

God be with you ’til we meet again!+