Yarn Swap:) and update

Summer is taking its leave of us soon, but I have held on to what I can.  My kitchen window sill has a way of summarizing the life that goes on around us.  Just enough light, just enough of a glimpse to the outside world.  To me, the windowsill over the kitchen sink was the view into the outside world over which my mother, and later my stepmother, presided. It was here our moms watched us, here they saw us doing something good — or bad:).  When I met and fell in love with the proverbial Boy Next Door, we wanted to stay well away from prying eyes keeping tabs on us from either direction. And yet, now it feels like home because I am the mother, the grandmother. Thank goodness, I don’t need to keep tabs on anyone anymore – or perhaps better stated, I never could, really, but I still want to do it.

So, what’s been going on in the past couple of months?  Well, let’s see. We’ve had our share of Sunday dinners and visits from our adult kids and not-adult grandkids:).  And last weekend, we had a visit from our daughter J. and her fiancee, L. It was lovely.  They helped us with a major task or two.  Our son, D., is in the middle of rehearsals and is again playing at Ford’s Theatre in a week – he’s going to be re-imagining his role as the younger son in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. John and I are going to see him this coming Friday evening.  This may sound strange, but I have become quite a big fan of his. Yep, I know, I’m his mom, but he really is quite good. You should see him act. It’s quite amazing.:)

What else? July 30th, there was a lovely (Xian) ecumenical service to commemorate the anniversary of the terrible flood in Old Ellicott City at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Ellicott City.  I was privileged to be among the choir members as were others from my beloved St. John’s. How much better would it have been to include all religions in this service? Just saying…

At the end of August, the DH helped me with hotel accommodations and rental transportation to go visit a client in southern VA.

Soon, I will be going to NC to visit 3 other clients and, thanks to the Marriott employee in my family, I will be able to stay overnight there as well.  Thank you, DH.

Finally, the last week of August, bell and choir practices started. We welcome a new Rector who seems to be wonderful.

Work keeps on keeping on and, despite lower client tallies, seems to be more labor-intensive and that’s Oh Kay.

Today there were only those of us in the home crowd for dinner, so I had a bit of time to write this.

On the knitting front, our local Sip n Knit had its semi-annual Yarn Swap.  I went in with a big bag of yarn to give away, swearing I would not take any yarn back home with me.

Then I said, I wouldn’t take as much as I had brought.

Then I said, I wouldn’t take more than I brought.


And yet, there’s not one bit of yarn I regret:)! In fact, I cast on two new projects:

One will be a wrap; the other will be the scarf version of the wrap. I am thinking of starting with my own kind of Feather and Fan/Old Shale pattern and then merging the decreases and increases into a Gull Lace pattern (think February Baby/February Lady Sweater).  Both of these lace patterns are very easy to memorize.  I decided to add a few tweaks to the F & F pattern.  In the wrap, I cast on 126 stitches.  I slipped the first stitch of every row in case I wanted to add a lace edging – or to create a smooth side.



2 strands of fingering weight wool knitted together on US 8 needles.  I used a silk/wool blend of unlabeled yarn and a strand of Rowan Kidsilk Haze.  I know it’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it;)

Cast on 126 sts.

R1: sl 1, yo, (K1, yo) 5 more times, k2tog 3 times, SSK 3 times, * (K1, yo) 6 times, k2tog 3 times, SSK 3 times. Repeat from * to last 6 sts.  Knit 6.

R2 and 4: P all sts

R3: K all sts

R5: sl 1, yo, (K1, yo) 5 more times, k2tog 3 times, SSK 3 times, * (K1, yo) 6 times, k2tog 3 times, SSK 3 times

Rs 6-8: Repeat Rs 2-4

Repeat the last 4 rows until you get sick of it.  Then I will let you know what I do next!

For the scarf version, I did something a little different with the F & F pattern – even more anal-retentive, LOL!


2 strands fingering weight wool knitted together on US 8 needles. Again, unlabeled yarn that was clearly wool or alpaca and a delight to knit!

Cast on 72 sts.

R 1: (K1, yo) 3 times; (K2tog) 3 times, SSK 3 times, (yo, K1) 3 times.  Repeat to end

R2 and all even rows: P all sts

R3: K all sts

Repeat these 4 rows until you are sick of them and then I will figure out how to transition to the Gull Lace pattern for both versions of this.  Likely there will be some sort of transitional rows to get us to the next pattern.

Watch this space – as Rachel Maddow says.

So included in the beautiful yarn I managed to appropriate was a sweater or vest’s worth of DK weight teal wool, three skeins each of two colorways of Mini Mochi yarn, a cone of black fingering weight wool, two cones of fingering weight acrylic red yarn, a skein of lavender bulky Lopi yarn, two wheels of unspun Icelandic “Plötulopi” wool which will go very well with an ongoing project of mine, three skeins of fingering weight wool that I think will together make a lovely shawl, 4 skeins of alpaca fingering weight yarn that will be an amazing shawl also, and finally 3 skeins of self-striping sock yarn.  Yes, I am a fingering weight junkie.  I admit it.   I think that’s why I pick up all this amazing lovely stuff at yarn swaps.  The less experienced knitters don’t want it because it means a lot of knitting for a small area and the more experienced ones have already used up the other skeins in a project they’ve finished.  So I didn’t take anything anyone else would have wanted and everything I got was in a color I love. A good haul and therefore not a wasteful one.

Currently, I am working on the two new projects above and the Afmaeli yoke sweater – created for the occasion of Istex’s 25th-anniversary celebration. Istex is an Icelandic yarn company, I believe.  I’ve heard their yarn is really lovely, but the chances of getting it here in the US is fairly slim.  I get my unspun Icelandic wool from School House Press in Wisconsin, thanks to Meg Swansen who found some back in the early 1960s and had her mom (Elizabeth Zimmermann) import it for us. It makes for a lightweight, cushy, yet warm garment. I tend to get that yarn above all others at SHP.

My Afmaeli is a product of a number of yarns, none of which, sadly, are Plötulopi, but they are lovely too:)! I am using a charcoal black Paton’s Classic wool and Rowan superwash wool in various colors for the yoke.There are 9 colors in my version of the sweater. I have finished the main body of the sweater to the armholes and am working on the first sleeve.  When I’m done with the sleeves, the fun part begins:)!

The wrap project from the unlabeled yarn and the Rowan Kidsilk Haze is on the fourth repeat of the Feather and Fan/Old Shale (as modified by moi) pattern:

The scarf version is only halfway through the second repeat and has even longer to go:

 so I think that makes Project numbers 65 and 66 on Ravelry when I get around to posting them.

Not that I’m complaining:)

I did finish something recently: the Flax sweater by Tincanknits for my young client, BS:)



Just have to get it to him so he can use it as the weather starts to get cooler.

Finally, I would like to make three video podcast recommendations (on YouTube):


The Grocery Girls

The Gentle Knitter

They are my current favorites!

Do you have any you would recommend?

Well, my friends, that’s all I have for now.  Until next time, God be with you ’til we meet again+


Summer Riches on a Lazy Sunday

The skies have turned a lot darker than the overcast day you see outside in this picture. The birds are swarming the front yard bird-feeder in an attempt to get the last few morsels before they take shelter from the threatening storm. Life abounds in summer — from the cacophony of the cicadas at night to the lush greens, yellows, and reds of flowers and vegetables ripening on the many plants our daughter, S, has planted around the house and on the back deck. A small sampling of the universe outside sits on the window sill – with one exception: the luscious-looking peaches were picked by our first-born and her husband at a local farm.  There were blackberries, but I ate ’em up!  It was nice of them to stop by.  Usually on Sundays when the kids are with her ex, we don’t see them.  I expect the empty house drove them out to seek solace in the joys of nature. In any event, we had a lovely conversation, free from the usual noisy crowd in the background:).

Today has been a fairly lazy Sunday so far.  With the exception of a few loads of laundry and some knitting, I haven’t done much to speak of.  Later this evening I will get ready for the onslaught of Monday: arguments and advocacy and meetings and filings that are my work week. But for now, I am enjoying the (relative) quiet – though it’s never completely quiet in this house.

I did not go to church this morning – in fact, I’ve been rather bad about my attendance these past few months.  My rationalization (today, anyway) was that I had attended church yesterday – sadly for a funeral honoring the life of a really nice person who recently succumbed to illness. It was a beautiful service.  Her husband had specifically requested that the choir sing at the service, so an email “APB” was sent out by our Organist Choirmaster a/k/a She Who Must Be Obeyed (SWMBO).  Those of us who could do so were there.  We sang a number of the usual hymns from the 1982 Hymnal and Lift Every Voice and Sing.  For a Communion Anthem, we sang “Panis Angelicus.” One can never go wrong with that piece.  A small choir from the Church of the Brethren in which the deceased grew up joined us in the gallery to sing three beautiful hymns from their own hymnal, in their own way, surrounding this bereft family with love and community.  In many ways, for those of us in the choir loft, that was one of the most moving parts of the service.

One part of our funeral service at St. J’s often includes reflections by family members. It was then that I experienced something eerie.  The deceased’s first name was the same as that of my youngest grandchild.  She, too, was the youngest in her family.  I thought to myself that someday – probably about 100 years from now – someone would be talking about her – as a sister, a wife, a mother and a friend. Someday, if we try to live our lives as we should, someone will talk about each of us that way. Earlier this year, a dear colleague of mine died.  The firm got together one evening to remember her, tell funny stories about her and to learn about those parts of her life that didn’t include our work, such as her extensive travels around the world and her study of Spanish to the point where she had become fluent, her great faith and her very opinionated view of what should happen when babies are born to addicts (well ok, that had to do with work), and the fact that she had contacts in high and low places and always knew the scoop on everyone and everything before anyone else did.

Whenever I hear these eulogies and other remarks about the lives of people I have liked and loved, they leave me with an intense desire to live my life as well as I can, to emulate the good things these dear people have done and way they have lived their lives – not 100 percent, but as much as makes sense to me. Believe it or not, these thoughts do not depress – they only serve to inspire.

Well, THAT was rather heavy for a knitting blog. I suppose for me, the New Year has never really been a time of resolutions.  Organizing, cleaning up? Sure, but not resolutions and goals.  I find myself doing that a lot more in the summertime – when cooler evening breezes and teeming life around me give cause for reflection.


Well as is usual for me, from the sublime to the…. never mind.:)

I’ve made some progress on Lily – and I think I’m getting the colors right this time.  The idea of knitting the sleeves as a sort of swatch has been a good one, I think – although as I did earlier with the body, I’m knitting them in the round until the sleeve cap shaping.  I need to wash and block this to see if my ideas are actually correct, but so far, so good. I’ve had to add three more colors to provide the contrast I think is needed without adding too much. I think it’s working – at least I’m cautiously optimistic.

Hopefully, the third time will be the charm.

I’ve been strangely monogamous with this project the last couple of months – not like me – so there is not much more to add.

Bis später!

God be with you ’til we meet again+