YIKES!:) How about I break the silence with a little bit about what I’ve been knitting these last six months?

I’d tell you I cannot believe it’s been over six months since my last blogpost, but of course I believe it. It’s been more than six months and not because I haven’t been knitting! I have been knitting like a madwoman (as in late at night, under the influence of red wine and never getting enough sleep). What I haven’t really done is write about it.

And yes, I did finish that wonderful baby blanket for my friend’s Diane’s darling little granddaughter. She did me the kindness of sending a picture of her in it.  What an adorable baby:)! Not surprised, given the incredible good looks with which everyone in that family has been blessed. This was my first “commissioned” work and it took up a lot of my knitting time, but it was worth every minute!

As usual, I seem to collect knitting projects like lint on velvet.  I finish one project and three or four others spring up to take its place, LOL!

Since finishing this baby blanket, I’ve also finished three other projects:

Erigeneia by Silke Terhorst:

The yarn for this project was a bunch of leftover yarn I got at a yarn swap about a year ago.  I liked how the colors blended, so I set it all aside to knit or crochet a shawl that might lend itself to a gradient-like color pattern.  The pattern seemed to be just the thing I was looking for! It took no time at all to crochet.  The colors were perfect for my daughter, S, so she has made good use of is.

Drachenfells by Melanie Berg:

OMG what’s not to like about anything Melanie Berg designs! There’s not one of her patterns I don’t love.  The yarn used here is grey cotton dishie from Knit Picks and two colors of Berroco Comfort  – both machine-washable. The Berroco Comfort was cannibalized from another project (it started as part of a fair isle project; then I discovered I’d have to either knit back and forth or steek non-felting yarn, neither a pleasant prospect). I love the colors for this.  Because I knitted in a worsted weight, rather than fingering, the knitting got done sooner and that was just fine with me.

and a Yew Tree Cowl:

Another free ravelry pattern knit with this delightful angora I picked up at  – yes a yarn swap! Delightful to knit and there were leftovers  – used for a pop of color for the Anni Cuffs below.  (Never waste pink angora. Never.) The upper photo is a better indication of the actual yarn color.

So naturally, it follows that I have picked up about a dozen projects:

Greenwood in a bright cherry red Berroco Vintage yarn (more about that later);

Anni Cuffs in leftover yarns (love this pattern);

Grace Infinity Scarf out of a Caron cake:

A few others I really haven’t begun yet (I’m terrible about posting sock projects on ravelry, don’t know why that is); and finally

Flax by Tincanknits in some lovely Donegal Tweed yarn straight from Ireland!

This last is going to a client of mine in foster care.  He’s a toddler who has had a number of physical issues and is now with a pre-adoptive family, doing incredibly well.  The foster mom had received this yarn as a gift from her parents when they returned from a trip to Ireland, but she didn’t have time to knit anything, so she gave the wool to me when I went to visit my client at her home.  It seems only right that this little guy should get a sweater out of the deal:).

Am really enjoying the Greenwood pattern.  It’s the first time I’ve knitted a sweater side-to-side. At least it’s the first time I’ve gotten this far in knitting a sweater side-to-side that I can remember. I might have tried in the past, but got easily distracted by something shiny…(oh look – a chicken!)…

I’ve been fairly monogamous with this project, with the occasional sock or the above Flax (with the immediate gratification inherent in knitting things for small people).  It has required a lot of concentration and though the stitch pattern is rather simple, lending itself to extensive TV knitting, one does need to pay attention.  Ask me how I know. It’s also important to make sure the front and the back match as far as width. The only difference between front and back is the neckline. Right now I am about 2/3 of the way through the back, and have finished the front. Then I will be sewing front to back (both sides include the sleeves) and then adding ribbing at bottom and cuffs and a cowl neck.  Am really looking forward to it.  As you can see from the link to the pattern page, it is not a sweater with extremely fine finishing.  It is meant to look rustic – at least I hope it is! I imagine it will be terrific over pants or a skirt and am hoping it gives me enough ease to be just shy of oversized. We shall see.

KNITTING RETREATS….

I attended the Columbia Sip ‘n Knit’s Fall Retreat at the Bishop Clagett Center in Adamstown, MD. I had a blast, the weather was great, the company fantastic, and the knitting was awesome!  No politics – there was a money jar with pics of Hilary and Trump in case anyone decided to violate that.  Luckily I went on a yarn shopping jaunt with a fellow liberal and we got it out of out respective systems in the car on the way;)!

But seriously, check out this view. Isn’t it lovely?

And I’m going to another retreat in about four weeks from March 24-26 and I can’t wait! This one is in West Virginia – I’ve never done the Spring retreat before, so it should be fun! The only downside is our beloved Annece will not be there, hopefully we’ll sense her presence in spirit.

On the work front, it’s been inordinately busy, which is a bit strange in that our caseloads haven’t really increased, rather, we have had an influx of new cases, which are more labor-intensive.  And some of the older cases have presented with some more complex legal issues, requiring more time and effort on our parts. Hey, that’s my job. I’m not complaining at all! Just explaining my absence from the blogosphere:).

FAMILY STUFF

Thanksgiving and Christmas were wonderful.  Our youngest was at her S.O.’s family for Thanksgiving, but they came for Christmas and it was terrific having everyone all together under one roof. The grandkids are young enough to still enjoy each other’s company and the littler ones still look up to the older ones. I dread the day they all get too cool to hang out with us (wait, that’s probably already happened, LOL!)

THE BIG APPLE AND VOGUE KNITTING LIVE!!!

This gets its own subtitle.:) John and I took a trip we have taken in the past – during the MLK holiday weekend – we went to NYC and stayed one of Marriott’s hotels, which is always such a pleasure. Marriott is the best (yes, hubby works for them, and even if he didn’t they’re still great). We saw not one but TWO Broadway productions: On Friday we saw “Front Page” – an amazing production by a number of acting veterans from the stage, the silver, and the small screen.  On Sunday, we saw Waitress! OMG it was soooo good!

So what happened Saturday? VOGUE KNITTING LIVE!!!! While John went out to explore Manhattan and see a movie, I went to a lecture about cables given by the brilliant and inimitable Norah Gaughan.  Her Knitted Cable Sourcebook featured prominently.  The lecture was about using one’s imagination and working with various cable patterns to create something completely different.

Afterwards, I browsed the Marketplace and may have bought a few things…

John and I went to lunch nearby at the Olive Garden restaurant on Times Square where we could get a good view of the pedestrian traffic in the area; then back to Vogue Knitting for a class with one of my knitting heroines:

AMY Freaking DETJEN!!! 

It was about the Rib Warmer vest/jacket, basically deconstructing it (well, that was the title of the class, LOL!) There were a number of Facebook friends present that afternoon.  I actually got Amy to autograph my copy of her and Meg Swansen’s book, Knitting with Two Colors! It was such a treat to meet her in person.  She is a wonderful teacher and just a delight- and OMG so funny!

WASHINGTON, D.C.

No, sadly, I did not participate in the Women’s March – I had an important skype meeting that morning with a client- but I was with them in spirit! What an awe-inspiring experience to see those pink “pussy hats” not only in D.C., but everywhere in the US, in Canada, and around the world! YES!

However, I did have the opportunity to stay in a beautiful (yes Marriott) hotel in D.C. last weekend.  John and I celebrated my (mumblety-third) birthday by watching our son perform in one of the most intense plays I have ever seen – he plays the young husband who with his young wife is invited for drinks in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolff at Ford’s Theatre  – yes that Ford’s Theatre.  We were in fabulous seats – and a brief glance upwards revealed the flag-draped box seats where our (truly) great President Lincoln met his terrible fate.

I have at this point in my son’s acting career told him numerous times that I (a total non-professional, of course) assess his acting ability by the extent to which I do not see him as my son, but as the character he portrays. This experience was a new level of incredible for me. A three-hour play, every moment took my full attention. When we had dinner afterwards – he and his beloved Serena, John and I – the conversation turned to the play, what we each saw in each of the characters, the plot and its incredible twists and turns. We even forgot to ask him how HE was doing, LOL!

So yeah, it was good.  Really good. Unfortunately, today is the last performance. But, like all good working actors, Dan has more gigs coming up in D.C. and in Baltimore.

AND IN OTHER NEWS….

Life keeps moving on and I’m glad to remain on the roller coaster.

Be well my friend, I will try to update this thing a bit more regularly. Until then,

God be with you ’til we meet again +

So last night….

So last night I knuckled under and got 1/4 of the edging done on this blanket. I rather like it, though I got here at about 3:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time (groan….). And, wonder of wonders, Ms. Hanson herself had prepared additional bits of pattern charts to bulk out the corner a bit.  Not too shabby!

But ohmygoodness, I was tired when I woke up this morning for court. I had but one hearing and then spent the afternoon, eschewing a meeting and getting paperwork done.

Lots of good things going on in the work front, but lots of things.  So by 3 p.m. I was ready to head home to get some work done there.  Because I have no sense and because with all the hateful, evil violence happening in the world today, I had a desire to put a few ticks into the positive side of the balance sheet, so I decided to give blood.

Of course this was one of the old posters on the wall at the Red Cross Donation Center in Columbia. But it was this poster that really moved me:

Because that is what they do, God bless them. No political boundaries. No chest pounding racism. Just help. Isn’t that what we should do for our fellow humans?

Well, sadly, I got started, but the veins wouldn’t cooperate. So much for doing my share. I will have to think of something else.

Hey — maybe knitting:)!

sounds good – so sisters (and brothers), let’s get knitting!

Hope you have a good week, everyone.  God be with you ’til we meet again+:)

Knitting Distraction

I am finally in the “home stretch” for this baby blankie – Honeybaby – by Anne Hanson. So of course, I decided to change things up a bit and to put this into lace overkill.  Call it my affection for the Victorian era in terms of what I think is pretty. I decided that instead of the final pattern chart for this thing, I would instead do a knitted on lace edging.  It is taking for.ev.er. As a result I have not yet reached a corner. Therein will lie the challenge – to add enough stitches to keep things square-ish, yet not so much that we have a floppy corner or worse yet, a circle.

It’s looking pretty good so far, if a bit ornate. But I like ornate.  It’s fancy, it’s for a special baby, the first of her generation who will be much beloved as all babies should be. I hope this blanket will last and be used for any future babies that might enter this family. It is a DK weight yarn- a mix of cotton and linen (KnitPicks Cot-Lin) because her parents and she will be living in the warm Florida climate.

This little bit is just a small fraction of what is left to do…

so, though it definitely should be complete by the time the baby arrives, the interruption of a brief due August 1 and some changes at work conspired to cause a missed deadline for the baby shower.  For that I am somewhat chagrined, but taking the long view, I’d rather do this properly than rush through to just get it done. After doing a bit of measuring, it appears that I hit the blanket dimensions by the time I was done with the second pattern.  The reason: the pattern calls for fingering weight and this yarn is DK. And that is OK:) Adding this bit of lace edging will make the blanket just a wee bit larger than the original pattern – and that is even better.

You Knitspot fans out there might recognize this edging. It is the edging used in Amalthea and the Capricorn Triangle patterns I had from my pattern subscription to Bare Naked Knitspot 2014 (and also available for sale now on ravelry). It’s been a lot of fun, Looking at the beginning of the edging, I am thinking I should have cast those stitches on provisionally.  Will have to figure a relatively unobtrusive way to graft the last row to the first one. Will report back when the time comes.

 

I have been sort of a one-flavor person this summer.  So not like me! But this is a project that needs to be done.  The sooner I am done with it, the sooner I can go back to my two summer color projects:

I just wanted to add these pictures to show (1) I had made some progress before beginning Honeybaby and (2) TO ADD SOME COLOR:)! I miss color:)

 

 

Into the midst of the craziness that was life last week, a very pleasant surprise arrived in the mail.  I thought my Interweave Knits subscription had expired.  It hadn’t yet. So I got the 20th Anniversary issue and all the attendant goodies:)!

An article by Mary Jane Mucklestone on demystifying steeks AND a beautiful Fair Isle pattern which she also penned (Fall River Vest) along with beautiful shawls by two of my favorite designers  – Susanna IC (Catlett Shawl) and Anne Hanson (Edmonia Shawl) and my joy is complete. There is an embarrassment of riches in the sweater department – not a one I wouldn’t knit given infinite time and infinite yarn -though I am really, really eyeing the Kathe Cardigan by Linda Marveng – a solid classic cardigan that manages a level of chic femininity.  There are two really cool sock patterns – Bandolier (Lisa Shroyer) an exquisite example of colorwork and  the Thompson River Socks (Carolyn Kern) textured socks with an edgy surprise of color.

Also included, in addition to Editor Meghan Babin’s introduction are Interweave founder Linda Ligon, and former editors Melanie Falick (1999-2002), Pam Allen (20022007), and Lisa Shroyer  (2012-2015) weighing in with guest editorials.  Notable for her absence is former editor Eunny Jang (2007-2012). It would have been nice to hear whatever someone as talented and intelligent as Eunny would have had to say (I’m not prejudiced – but she is a fellow Merliner!).

Overall, it appears the theme for this 20th Anniversary issue has (rightfully in my unprofessional and extremely humble opinion)been an emphasis on the classics – patterns and designs that have remained and will continue to remain with us for years to come – but with just enough of a twist to move with the times. Worth every penny.  I highly recommend this issue.

Well, I should be working, but it’s Saturday and I have decided to take this weekend and let it be a weekend. Work will come soon enough on Monday. Our son Dan gave John and me a little thing called Chromecast – it’s a plug thingie that works with a lot of TVs these days to link up to your Netflix or YouTube – or anything that plays videos on the internet.  I have a couple of Craftsy classes I want to watch while I get back to work on the edging to the baby blanket, so off I go.

BTW, for the foreseeable future, I will be posting individual pictures I took back in 2012 of our beautiful Ellicott City.  May the memory of the past become the reality of the future.

Hope to see you all soon here on the interwebs. In the meantime,

God be with you ’til we meet again+

Tribute

166 (1)“On July 30, 2016, a storm dropped six inches of rain in two hours on the city. The resulting flash flood caused severe damage in historic Ellicott City, especially along Main Street. Many homes, roads, businesses, sidewalks, and more were destroyed by the flooding, including the city’s landmark clock.  A state of emergency was declared as a result of the disaster, and at least two people have been confirmed to be dead.” (Wikipedia, citations omitted).

28114129754_17ea198a34_hThis. The sight that greets us as we leave our driveway-disguised-as-nonCounty-street every day – a not-so subtle reminder of the devastation that occurred last weekend. The sidewalks have collapsed and it is not safe to drive or walk to Main Street. The news helicopters kept passing overhead, so many and so loud last Sunday that my poor husband got a bad day’s sleep after working overnight at the hotel. The presence of the helicopters is dwindling as last Saturday night’s flood is relegated to old news, no matter how raw the loss remains to the business owners, employees and residents of “Old Ellicott.”

In the past week, the news and the internet have been rife with images like this:

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and afterwards, this

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After the initial shock and terror – and the loss of two lives – the other consequences of flooding, gas main break, water main break have started.  The County had to tear down buildings, their old structures no longer strong enough to withstand the onslaught of time and nature.  People are homeless and now sewage is seeping into the Tiber, a branch of the Patapsco River.

Ellicott City, “Merlin”  was a mill town, founded in the early 1700s by two Quaker brothers from Pennsylvania with (surprise surprise) the last name of Ellicott. The hills and the water flow were factors in the economic growth of this early American town.  Ellicott City also has a rich supply of ghost stories and for years, there have been two “Ghost Tours” every weekend, guided by local ghost experts.  John, my brother Dan (who was sojourning with us for an all-too-short stay) treated ourselves to one such tour on a Friday night in June of 2010.  Why so many ghosts? The theory is that the overhead electrical wiring, the river running underneath and the abundance of granite in the hills contribute in some strange way.  My own theory is that it is a town that has remained very much the same physically while living through the changes of 300-plus years of history. Why knows?

A little over four years ago, April 20, 2012 to be exact, I took a walk from my house to Main Street, the first of many I took that year and since.  I had lost a lot of weight and was ready to walk a few miles to test out my newfound freedom from joint stiffness and pain and the effort that pushing 100 pounds too many had always cost me on walks in the past.  It was a gloriously beautiful day.  The town was dressed up to greet tourists, proud residents and Maryland shoppers who took at least one annual shopping pilgrimage to its quaint streets. This is how I remember Ellicott City and it is to this that I believe we will eventually return.

My daughter-in-law works for the owner of one of the most beautiful galleries I have ever visited.  She worked at the gallery on weekends as she finished up her Masters in Fine Arts in Philadelphia, two hours away, during the week. After graduation, she continues to work there as a second job, but her first love.  The night of the flood, she had just left work when the heavy rain began.  Her boss, accompanied by four others in the shop, did not realize the extent of the flooding until she saw cars starting to float down the street and a rather dramatic rescue of a woman from her car by a “human chain” manned by local business owners and others. She actually pushed her own body against the door to the first floor of the gallery to hold the rising flood waters at bay.  When finally she had to let go at the urging of her friends to get the heck upstairs, the water was chest height. She lost a great deal in that flood, but she was luckier than the two who lost their lives after being knocked down and drowned by the flood waters.

Just to give you an idea of the kind of people my daughter-in-law works for (and I say “works” because they plan on reopening and she is helping any way she can), her boss, Robin, after the shop closed on July 17th, threw a party in honor of our Robyn (our daughter-in-law)’s attaining her Masters degree. Robin and her husband’s warmth and kindness was something I will never forget.

One thing has been on my mind all week:  Katrina and the people of New Orleans who continue to suffer all manner of untold sorrows. We need to find better ways to deal with flood waters. We certainly have the science and the people who know what needs to be done.  We just have to have the will to listen to them and do it.

The United Way of Central Maryland has a fund to help with relief efforts. #ECStrong

God be with you ’til we meet again+

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