Laughing and Scratching

Laughing and Scratching was a phrase my father used to say on his radio show and it has stuck with me as the vernacular for “farting around.” It’s been a little while since I last posted and I’d like to say I’ve found the answer to world peace or done something terrific. The fact is, I’ve done my job, which is a privilege, and I have helped out at St. John’s with the mailings for the Orchestra’s 2009-2010 season, spent time with friends who needed my presence, spent time with family, had fun with friends, and knitted. What I did not do was exercise, and practice flute, something that will be remedied in the coming days:)
As one can see, there are three of the 8.5M knitting projects upon which I am focusing my time – well, four, if you count the blue lace scarf that I keep in my purse for “down times.” And yes, I have added a project, but when have I ever denied one of my kids a sweater? (Don’t answer that question!)
Right now as I type this, the two grandgirls are here; one is sleeping, the other playing educational games on the other computer. I am alternating between keeping up on my work e-mails and calls and sneaking a read in two knitting magazines and a book I’d like to mention here.
But before I write about knitting, to keep up with the personal journal part of this blog, I probably should update just a little bit. So, to hit the highlights, Monday of last week consisted of an afternoon of Family Team Decisionmaking meetings at DSS for two clients, and a Stephen Ministry mid-summer dinner. I brought my tomato/basil/mozzarella salad. The company was delightful; it was great to catch up with everybody. The “other Joan” in our group also started with her first caregiving relationship, so we are both off and running. We all took a look at a positively beautiful quilt out of diagonal diamond strips made by one of the mothers of the couple who hosted the party. It was really something – what a wonderful work of artistry!
Tuesday, I switched shelters with Priya and went to PA with Nancy to look at more choir music at Menchey’s. It took all day – with a break for lunch at a local chinese buffet – and was a lot of fun. Thankfully, work was not that busy so I didn’t feel too terribly guilty and I was available by cellphone, but got only one call all day! Later, Nancy and I met up with two other friends from choir, one of whom was going through a rough time. I won’t say much more about that because her privacy is paramount, but I will mention that as I left her house, I heard that still small voice of GodasBBL saying, “Don’t you MAKE me come down there!” The next day I was able to help out with mailings at St. Johns for the Orchestra and prepped for Thursday’s court. Friday I helped out some more with mailings and stayed up very late knitting. Saturday was not much to speak of. Sunday after church, I went to my choir friend Diane’s new place. A bunch of us from choir were there to help her christen her new condo. It was beautiful, with a great view of the woods and an oncoming storm front as it happened. We had a delicious dinner (I brought the same tomato/basil/mozzarella salad) and watched Amadeus (how appropriate:)!) When I got home, expecting only the “home team” to be there, everyone was there for dinner! How lovely!
This week was court on Monday, followed by some more mailings, Tuesday afternoon was another FTDM. Yesterday I had yet another FTDM, and went with a friend to traffic court (NO, I did NOT represent her – that wasn’t necessary and anyway I’m not allowed outside practice!). After court, I got the dry cleaning, some wine and some Chinese carryout for dinner and spent the evening with the family until John had to get to bed so he’d be coherent at work. I got to bed early for a change so I could be ready for the grandangels and here we are – the first thursday in a LONG time where I don’t have a scheduled court docket and I don’t know how to behave!
Tonight, I may be going to grab a bite with a couple of friends and then a big group of us are going to do a final push to get the mailings done for the Orchestra. I may just bring a little bit of “vino” to help the process along. I don’t know if the C of E says this, but in the Episcopal Church, they are known for that reference to Scripture that says, “Where three or four are gathered, there is usually a fifth in the midst of them.” Never let it be said that I break with tradition!
On a more personal front, I haven’t been as busy these past couple of weeks as I have throughout the year. I haven’t blogged because I haven’t been able to find the words for what’s going on in my strange, sick mind. Life has been OK, I have no complaints, yet sometimes dreams die, dreams about which you dare not speak. That’s OK. I have so many many more!
Alrighty then, from the sublime to the ridiculous: if anyone really cares, what’s on Joan’s needles?
Well, a LOT, LOL! The pics above are of the three projects I’m focusing on this week – and as many who have read this blog know, that could change next week. But for now I’m working on finishing Jared Flood’s Tweed Baby Blanket, Sandrine from Chic Knits, and Buttony , a free pattern by Katie Marcus for Sabrina. Buttony, featured here for the first time, is a cute, top-down sweater, with a line of buttons on the side. A picture is available on the link above. There is also a ravelry link. Sabrina picked out the yarn out of my stash – a navy blue acrylic (Caron Simply Soft) so she can just throw it in the wash and the dryer without concerns about felting.
The baby blanket is about twenty rows and an i-cord finish away from ending. A good thing, since I’d like to be done by the baby shower on the 23rd! Thanks to a weekend of sitting with my Dad and watching old movies and the first season of MadMen, this blanket has gone fairly quickly. I am now only 12 or so rows past the point where I put the sleeve stitches on bits of scrap wool and the rows are going a bit more quickly – after all, 307 stitches goes a little more quickly than 441 stitches do. I’m still really liking the KnitPicks CotLin and think I will have enough. We shall see if I have enough to do an i-cord edging on this one, too.
Ever the knitting book and magazine connoisseur, I have a few things I’d like to share with you in a few seconds, but I did want to mention here that I’d like to try my hand at designing an aran sweater. Thanks to Janet Szabo’s books, some generic sweater patterns, and a number of stitch dictionaries, I am going to give it a shot. It may be a year in the making, what with having to knit swatches and figure out sizing. Then again, it may just be a sweater for one person. We shall see. Wish me good luck!
OK, this week, I’d like first like to take a look at a fairly new (to us on this side of the Atlantic) knitting magazine. The Knitter, now on its seventh issue, is a very tastefully done magazine, focusing on – you guessed it – knitting patterns and knitting news. There is an interesting page about what “the Knitter likes, ” including a website called Serenity Knitting and a small feature regarding Annie Modesitt’s two-month teaching blitz in the UK. The Table of Contents gives a nice summary of the pattern and articles and I show you a brief glimpse here. A bit expensive because it’s from the other side of the proverbial pond, I still think it’s worth the extra
money. The glossy pages are on high quality paper and patterns are all challenging enough, and appear to be well designed.
This month’s Vogue Knittting was also quite nice and I show you a few glossy pages to whet your appetite for what looks to be some beautiful autumn knitting inspirations! By the way, I like that hat on the second page and will be knitting it, probably in a different color.
As always, Vogue finds interesting ways to deal with cables – switching directions, using lace. It’s all good! The thing with all of the Vogue publications is that even for someone like myself, someone who shall not soon be wearing anything under a size 20, even these items for those women I internally call “skinny minnies,”(probably out of some outdated form of envy – I’m working on that) are translateable into something interesting for someone like myself who is…. well …. not.
And here are pages from Nancy Bush’s Knitted Lace of Estonia. Oh. My. G*d. This book represents to me a life sentence of knitting. And to think these women just knitted these things from their own memories and imaginations! What a way to go! As if that weren’t enough, Ms. Bush provides a beautiful stitch dictionary of Estonian lace patterns, so that if there is another piece of lace knitting you’ve been aching to design, one can have at it! The book represents a great deal of time and research the author put into living with, speaking with (through interpreters from what I understand) and learning from the women of Estonia, one of those countries who went through hell during the Second World War and an almost equal amount of hell during Soviet occupation during the Cold War. Yet, they have maintained and established their cultural identity – at least they have through their beautiful knitting!
Well, dear readers, that’s all I have for today. Please note that the pictures above were “pictures of pictures” and not stolen from anyone’s bandwidth. I wish you all health and happiness and may God be with you ’til we meet again!
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Messy Desk Sunday

When I was a young child, I always had my nose buried in a book – sometimes to escape the strange twists and turns that life had already thrown at me, sometimes because the story or the information was so interesting, I couldn’t bear to look up and pay attention to the world around me. It was often at those times that my stepmonster (former – not the wonderful and dear Maureen of current times) would say to me that when I grew up I was going to probably be one of those mothers who had stinky diapers piling around me, with numerous children screaming for my attention while my nose was buried in some book. As one can readily see from the above, she wasn’t far off. Although (thankfully) there are no stinky diapers needing to be changed and washed and no little ones are now screaming for my attention. Once when Dori was little, she had a couple of children’s books that I thought were just hilarious – The Stupids Step Out about a family of incredibly stupid people (what can I say? The book cracked me up) and George and Martha about two good friends who just happened to be hippopotami. I told her I would have those books near my desk when I became a lawyer and that they would have the same pride of place as Black’s Law Dictionary or the Maryland Code.
Well, I can’t find my copies of The Stupids or George and Martha, but I do have an occasional ball of yarn nearby and one of the Juvenile Clerks at the courthouse keeps xeroxes of coloring book pages with a box of crayons for kids who come to court and have to sit up at counsel table for their hearings. And though I did manage to carve out some time for music (Choirs of St. Mary’s, St. Louis, Alexandria Choral Sociey, Baltimore Symphony Chorus and now wonderful St. John’s choir) and I did manage to take time knitting over the years while the kids were little, and yes, my nose was often in a proverbial book – more often one from the library, titles culled from the pages of the NY Times Book Review, even then I was able to get the housework done and no one went to school without clean underwear or a matching pair of socks. John may disagree with this, but I wasn’t that terrible (well, except for that time during finals of my first year in law school when a mushroom type thing actually grew in the upstairs bathroom, but, hey, we all get one boo boo, don’t we?).
I know I should care more about this stuff – keeping up a professional image at work, looking good, running a well kept household. But the fact is, I just don’t. OK, I suppose it is helpful to have clean underwear. I grant you that. And the one day a week I actually cook something, I should make it at least palatable. And every so often, I really do dig out of my clutter. Really I do. It’s just that there are so many other interesting things going on, that I sometimes forget – and then resolve to do better.
Today is another beautiful weather day in Merlin. The heat has not really passed 80 degrees F and most evenings, it’s back into the 70s. We in Merlin do not know how to act; we are such wimps and prisses about weather, that it’s become a statewide occupation to piss and moan about it. Now all we can do is say, “Nice weather, isn’t it?” A real conversation killer!
This morning I (GASP) actually went to church. Nancy was playing and Donna and Tom H were singing. What I didn’t realize was that Nancy was singing the alto part in the a beautiful duet. One focuses on her instrumental talent and often forgets what a pure, lovely singing voice she has. And they were a person down – Sally L (the one who was supposed to sing alto) was out with some sort of bug. The sermon was really great – with a quote from Pascale about one of the downfalls of the human race being the inability of human beings to sit quietly alone in a room for a period of time. True.
Afterwards, I met up with friends outside – Susan F introduced us to a French student who was staying with her family and we tried in our terrible high school French to communicate, which to this young man’s credit, seemed to be amusing, LOL. I had made plans a couple of weeks earlier to have coffee and catch up with Ellen R, a former fellow EfM’er who had been through some recent life-changing events. Nancy, Donna and Tom joined us and we had a nice [br/l]unch and great conversation. I know this will sound weird, but I was never so happy as when I heard from Nancy that they were all coming to meet up with us. OK, I am crazy; I think we’ve established that! It was like the cavalry coming to the rescue:)
So now I am at my rather messy desk, trying to figure out how best to get ready for this evening and this coming week. John is still asleep, though I hear some moving around upstairs. Soon I will be calling to get a head count for Sunday dinner and then it’s off to get groceries and figure out what to make (yeah, not very organized, is it? – should probably do in opposite order!).
Yesterday, I did go to the Saturday Sip ‘n Knit at Savage Mill. There were a good 15 or so of us and I must have sat and knitted for a good three hours, because although I did go grab some coffee afterwards, I didn’t get home until 3:30 in the afternoon!
I worked on the Sandrine from Knit Chics’ Bonnie Marie Burns. I finally got to the dividing row and it’s going a little bit faster.
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This evening was dinner with four of the six and the two and seven ninths grandchildren and it was nice. A quiet summer evening with dinner thrown together, mostly from the deli section of the supermarket, a few glasses of red wine, and a beautiful evening on the little swing on the deck. Can life get any better?

Before I go, I leave you with some pictures – progress on Sandrine and a little project using a lace pattern found on the internet via a knitting listserve. (Gotta love ’em!)
Good night, oh patient readers- God be with you ’til we meet again!
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Friday fun:)

Quick entry before I get ready to go to a concert this evening. John and the grandangels are in the next room, waiting for their Mommy to come pick them up after a training she had to do but didn’t need (long story about a supervisor losing paperwork or something). We had a nice afternoon wherein Gram attempted the baking of shortbread cookies, but the result was not quite as good as hoped for. Just as well – none of us need cookies right now, LOL!
Court this morning was fairly uneventful – and court yesterday turned out not to be as eventful as anticipated, dubious motion from the PD’s office notwithstanding. Yesterday I did, however, obtain this lovely book (’cause, you know, I don’t have enough knitting books, right?):

Aren’t these projects just lovely? Kristi Porter is actually pictured in the red sweater – I know this because she made an appearance on Knitty Gritty once (back when the show was still happening!). On that episode, Kristi gave some great pointers on how to recycle sweaters from thrift store finds. This book was truly a pleasant surprise. Often with books like this you get the same old same old, just in different (lighterweight) yarns. But this was quite a symphony for the eyes. I love the wrap on the cover and the sweaters pictured. But there are short-sleeved Ts with lovely patterns on them and other accessories – I counted 32 projects in all (there are probably more!). Great work, madame author – these are terrific. I can’t decide between the orange or the lavender sweaters above, but I do know I’ll probably use some of Elsbeth Lavold’s Hempathy in a vibrant true red that I’ve been saving up over the last 2 years (buying a ball here and there). And I’ll probably get started some time next Spring, but that’s OK. These items will stand the test of time, I’m sure!

I’ve made some progress on the Jared Flood Baby Blanket (Tweed Baby Blanket) and have approximately 22 (450-plus stitches) rows to go. I’ve also

been working on the Aestlight and have made a little progress there, too, but it might end up being more of a kerchief than a shawl, LOL!
Well, I’d better get cracking if I’m going to be able to meet up with Nancy and Rennie for that concert in time. Take care, and God be with you ’til we meet again!

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The weather feels like May – it’s just lovely! You’d swear we were in San Diego rather than Merlin! Well, I am battling a bit of post-trip nausea probably brought on by the usual change in altitude, food and drink and then getting back to one’s own “normal,” but I expect that will be fine in time.

When last we met, dear 3.5 readers, I was preparing to go on a long weekend to the Big Apple to stay with my Dad so my stepmother could get to her sister’s wedding and have fun without worrying about leaving him with a bunch of strangers. The weekend was really a lot of fun and my dad did very well, considering he has had very short days punctuated by sleep ever since his surgery where the hospital practically put him into a coma state. He’s still in pain, but I think he’s doing a lot better than he was just a couple of months ago when we last were up there. Suffice it to say, a lot of wine somehow disappeared (but no one got drunk that I could see!) and a lot of DVDs were watched and a lot of knitting got done on my most recent project – the baby blanket. I’m about to run out of that lovely Lion Brand wool yarn, but it is possible I’ll finish, since I’m on the decreasing end of things. Even if I have to purchase another 456-yard skein, it won’t break my heart, LOL!

The picture above is of an occupancy sign in a movie theater in midtown Manhattan – one of those multi-plex thingies. The number just cracked me up –
couldn’t resist taking a picture. The movie was part of yesterday’s activities. We were both too tired to really do much else (I suspect it had to do with our relative lack of physical activity during the prior three days coupled with the aforesaid wine ingestion).

Believe it or not, on the left is a mosaic of all the views we had – first from my dad and stepmother’s apartment and the second (night time) from the hotel room where we stayed on our last night there. Once Maureen got back, we had a little dinner and conversation and caught up on our respective weekends and then John and I headed for the Marriott Marquis whence cometh the night time photos of Times Square. The other one is during Sunday’s brief excursion to check into the hotel and salad at the Olive Garden on Times Square. John made some new friends, but they didn’t join us for lunch – saw the Naked Cowboy guy wearing his tighty whities – interesting eclectic tastes, those New Yawkas!

The next morning, we had a good breakfast at the hotel, checked out, checked our luggage with the bellstand until later and then made my annual pilgrimage to School Products on 28th and Broadway. Owned by Berta Karapetyan

(author of Runway Knits), School Products boasts of being the oldest yarn shop in Manhattan. There are always some lovely sales – and it’s worth the trip. On the third floor of an otherwise nondescript office building, it’s not a large shop and it doesn’t have all the fanciness of Knit New York or Purl Soho, but there is a spot where one’s husband (or partner or lover or whatever) can sit down and relax and they do have quite a selection of yarns, books, magazines, and needles, etc. I think I made a bit of a killing for a (relatively) small amount of moolah. Above is a bag John got me from the Marriott gift shope, two cones (a little over 20 oz each) of laceweight merino at 3,400 yards per pound, two 40-inch Addi Turbos US sizes 4 and 8, respectively, and this:
An Autumn 1986 volume of Nihon Vogue. For five bucks. Granted it’s a 1986 edition, so there’s more than I care for of geometric intarsia and rather weird looking mens’ sweaters, but that’s Ohhhh Kayyyy. There are some lovely patterns and enough English translation and charts to make it about do-able. Although I do have to admit, it is strange getting used to the right-to-left orientation of Japanese magazines – must be like Hebrew – which is why the price is on the back of the magazine, because we Americans think the back of the magazine is the front of the magazine.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the lace merino – Since I have such a huge amount of yardage, I think I’m going to double it and knit a fine weight sweater with the US 4 Addis. But that will undoubtedly be in a few months after I’ve gotten some of my ongoing projects completed. Ah, I just hate when that happens, LOL NOT!
Well, folks I’d better get myself back to work!
Until later, God be with you ’til we meet again!
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OK, so I’m a total nerd I admit it

Well, last night I did a bunch of knitting on that fourth lace project – and this represents where I am so far. I’m just about ten rows from where I have to pick up all those yarn overs on the ends of the rows. It’s an interesting pattern and I’m enjoying it. I’m using the Pakucho organic cotton – two balls of laceweight used together to make a fingering/sportweight fiber. Even the garter stitch looks decent with this beautiful yarn – and I’m generally not a big fan of garter stitch. Unfortunately, I stayed up WAAAY too late – until about 6:30 in the a.m. – and was sorely tempted to miss church this morning, but I made it. My hair was dirty and the rest of me clean (a wise choice, LOL) and as always I was glad to have gone. The sermon/homily was an interesting exposition on the concept of hospitality and vulnerability; Donna and Tom H sang the communion hymn and Nancy played in her usual wonderful manner!

Our Sunday was relatively quiet. K and D came by for dinner, and we quietly celebrated K’s birthday with a dinner on the grill and then John toddled off to bed since he’s working tonight. He’s working straight through Tuesday since we are headed for NYC Thursday through Sunday. I am so nervous about this trip. I hope I don’t screw things up. Hopefully the professionals will give us some guidance in how to care for my dad. And I’m glad John will be there! Well, some things you just figure out when you get there.

Needless to say, I will have a lot to get done on the work front in the next few days, so posts may be a bit scant, but I will try to stay more in touch than I have the past two weeks. When we’re in NY, I will undoubtedly be too busy to post and I won’t have a computer, but I will have knitting:)

And speaking of which, I found this lovely thing at Michaels – yes Michaels! Isn’t this lovely? I think I’m going to do another one of the Aestlight shawls in this oatmeal color for the colder months with a US 7 rather than US 6 needle. Yes, I think I have lost my mind. But that assumes that I had one to lose in the first place.:)
Hopefully I will be back again soon. Until then, I leave you with a picture of a beautiful blue bird with a red/orange/white breast that visits us occasionally to be admired – and God be with you ’til we meet again!

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Supplement to the previous post – my showbiz relatives

I forgot to mention in my last post that last Saturday, John and I met up with daughter B and her friend J and Dan’s girlfriend, Casie, to see our son, Danny in his latest endeavor. It was an excellent play. The acting was very good and truly, a good time was had by all!
The play was Five Flights (more specifics can be found a few posts back). It was about three sibs – actually two sibs, the friend of one and the wife of another who is mentioned but never puts in an appearance. They are left after their father’s death with a broken down aviary – a monument to their father’s grief at the death of their mother. The argument is whether to create a church to birds (long story) or to let it just decay back from whence it came. Our son, Danny, plays a hockey star who plays for “our team.” His fellow hockey player, is a straight man, originally from Russia or Latvia or the Ukraine (sorry I forget – he had an Eastern European accent!) – and provides the comic relief for the play. Danny plays a gay man who instantly starts to fall for one of the brothers in the family who owns the aviary.
The fellow he falls for has been deeply hurt before and is unwilling to be hurt again, so he backs away, though the attraction is mutual. His sister has a crush on a woman she’s met at the library who believes that God is embodied in birds (or something to that effect) and believes the sister is a sign from Heaven. Unfortunately the woman cum aviary preacher wannabe does not return the sister’s affections. The sister-in-law wants to tear down the aviary and develp the area into a place where people can live or play. I think the sister-in-law more or less represents what most of us in the audience would do were we placed in a similar situation. Interesting that her husband is not present at all and that she is the only one who is not a blood relation of the father who has died.
The brother and sister decide they want to let the place crumble. In some ways this is a reflection of their resignation and desire to avoid the suffering and risk that love entails – the love and grief their father had – grief only quenched by the creation of an edifice to hold the spirit of his departed wife.
There is a lot of humor in this play and a great deal of sadness, as it looks at the human condition and our desire to avoid pain and suffering at all costs. What I really appreciated about the play was the way that it focused on love and little, if any, attention was paid to who (or what gender) was loving whom – which is how it really should be.
I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface, but the play was worth the trip and the dinner we all had together at the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant was lovely.

Great job, Dan!

My “lil sis” Christina is DJing in Baltimore tonight. She is known as EmpressDJ and is in the process of promoting her own CD of drum and bass music. You can find her on Facebook where there is a link to one of her songs -and it’s quite good!

Break a leg, Christina!

Soon to come in October, Casie Platt, Danny’s GF, will be playing in Tony Kushner’s award-winning play, Angels in America about the AIDS crisis in the US. HBO presented a five-hour version of Angels back in 2003 and I have the DVDs given to me as a Christmas gift from one of my many offspring. If you live in the DC metro area, it’s definitely a must-see, so keep yer eyes peeled for it!
Break a leg, Casie!

Well, that’s enough for one day – until next time, GBWYTWMA+

Still wit ya….

Where the heck, you may wonder, have I been? Not blogging for 10 days! Geez louise! Sorry ’bout that – for a time life did intervene and then for a time the computer from which I usually blog decided to get colicky on me and required a little burping from the computer folks in Bawlmer. So… I had to borrow one of my kids’ laptops to get pics up and then onto this (family desktop) computer. Snorrrrrrr – oh sorry, let me wake you up now…
I cannot believe it’s the 4th of July weekend here in Merlin, USA. Normally Global Warming hath reared its ugly head to give us the usual weekend of hellish roasting, but today was just an amazingly beautiful day – with warm balmy breezes, shineshine and birds tweeting and dear running about in the back yard. Ahhhhh. This evening John and I sat outside on the back deck, sipping our respective glasses of wine and enjoying the scenery. I think there is just such a deck in heaven – I raised a toast in salute to those who have passed before us.
Speaking of those who have gone before us – for those of you in the U.S. who read this, Happy Independence Day:)! And for those of you in countries where you cannot enjoy the freedoms that many of us here in the US, Canada, Europe and elsewhere enjoy, please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you – especially for you in Iran who are struggling for your freedoms! Please don’t anybody think this doesn’t mean we in America don’t have a long way to go in making sure all of our citizens have the freedoms originally only granted to straight land-owning white men! I’m grateful that for the most part we can fight that fight here with far less worry of bloodshed than in many other places. I’m still holding out for socialized medicine and legal services (only fair since I am an attorney!).
I have been doing a LOT of knitting lately – and I am about to start yet another project after having added approximately three more to my list. On Ravelry, it looks as though I have 72 (soon to be 73) projects. But really, I don’t. I have actually finished 37 of them, so I only have 35 (soon to be 36) on the needles. And at least three of them are fairly close to completion – those three being the Daily Sweater from Mason-Dixon Knitting’s latest book, February Lady Sweater, and well, I’m about 1/2 way done with Sandrine (well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).
I have a confession to make: spinning really scares me. It looks too easy, and something inside tells me it’s really really hard and just pretends to be easy to suck you into its clutches. You may remember that a while back, I got a drop spindle to practice on. I bought a book – Knitting in the Old Way. I even tried spinning some pencil roving to dip my proverbial big toe into the cold teaming water, and got the equivalent of the big kindergarten jumbo crayons in fiber out of it. Then I thought I’d try to spin a bit of regular roving.
Cloverhill Yarn Shop in Catonsville, Merlin has a lovely selection of roving – and it was majorly on sale as my daughters would say – $2/oz – precarded, cleaned and dyed – not bad! So, I thought, why not give it a shot. I still have trouble with the pre-drafting thing. I think you’re supposed to do that with a drop spindle. So I drafted a bunch of it (at least I think I did – I copied what some people were doing on YouTube, LOL) and actually didn’t do too badly. The one thing I have a lot of trouble with is making the dang thing spin, so it tends to go slowly. Rolling it up the leg does not work for one who is thunderous of thigh…. Now I have to
finish spinning this stuff and safe up my toilet paper rolls for plying. Why, I don’t know – does one’s bowels and/or bladder need to be emptied before plying? Probably not, but I think that’s the way we non-wheelers do it. So now spinning is going to be my new adventure:)!
I’ve also begun three new lace projects (you know, just in case I find myself with time on my hands and nothing to do – RIGHT!) First, I am doing the Taurus Birthday Shawl from the KAL started by the Wollklabauter herself, Monika Eckert. Links for this can be found on Ravelry here. I’m knitting it on size 5 (US)/3.75 needles with Pakucho lace cotton in deep green (more of an olive green). So far it’s going pretty well – of course each hint adds more and more stitches until I think we will be at well over 500 stitches per row -but I’m doing the triangle version, so by the time I get to the really really high numbers I’ll be heading toward the end.
I have finally found a use for this lovely cotton yarn I bought at the 2007 Merlin Sheep and Wool Festival – it’s cotton yarn, handspun, by a lady from Silver Spring, Merlin, named Janet Stollwitz. The yarn at first is hard to work with, the colors are fantastic, but it feels like it’s about to break in your hands. But it hasn’t and so far, it’s working well with this pattern. I chose to do Gnarled Oakwoods by Anne Hanson of
knitspot.com fame. This pattern was featured in the premier issue (Fall, 2008) of The Twist Collective and I liked it right away, got the pattern and then filed it away for another day. I’m looking forward to finishing this sometime in the next year:) (Hey folks, I didn’t say I was a particularly swift knitter!)
Here’s the third new project on the needles:
Who can resist a bit of Jojoland Melody – and in my favorite colors to use together (other than a variety of blues)? Purple and green really complement my new Black’s Law Dictionary. And boy do I feel old – this is the 9th edition. I started law school with the 5th edition (but then a fifth was something I needed many of in law school, LOL). The original edition was published in 1891 – so now you know how truly old I am!
I’ve been moving right along on the Sandrine-probably because it’s such a beautiful red and the pattern just fascinates the heck out of me – plus if I really really pay attention and finish this well, I may have something nice to wear to work occasionally – or if not, it will be a terrific spring weather sweater. If I work on it tonight, I’ll be close to the point of dividing off the sleeve stitches – instant relief from the 439 stitches that will be on the circular! (Thank God for circular needles!)
If I don’t work on the Sandrine tonight, I’m going to be starting on this:

This is the lovely and versatile Aestlight Shawl by Gudrun Johnston. This is it as pictured on the Ravelry site and on her blog.

A simple and elegant triangular shaped shawl, I think I will enjoy making this most of all – and I think this one will be for me (why not?). It’s supposed to be in fingering weight yarn (the pictured finished shawl uses Malabrigo, which I imagine is lovely), but I think I’m going to use two strands of laceweight yarn togther from my stash – probably one of the many beauties from Knitpicks (I have probably enough of their Shadow) or some of the beautiful Fiddlesticks lace yarns I have picked up over the past year at All About Yarn in Columbia . It’s fun to go stash diving! None of the guilt and twice the fun!

Day to day life has gone on. I still struggle with weight and exercise, and I will need to give the doc a call so I can start this time to document (not that this hasn’t been done already, LOL!!!) six months of weight loss under the care of a doc. I must do this for my insurance to allow the bypass surgery. That’s OK. I’ve waited this long, I can wait six more months. One good thing: John and I have joined the local Y so that we will have a place for regular exercise (and swimming, which I love). I have not started there yet – holiday weekend and summer time is fairly busy and I’d like to go at an odd hour as I am getting started. Hearing of Colin’s faithful routine despite a crippling illness has inspired me to get going. He looks MAHVELOUS after a weight loss of over 100 pounds. The clothes he wears are stunning! As I say, he is an inspiration to me in more ways than one!

In the meantime, I have been working, knitting, and living life. We have had the grandgirls over to help with summer daycare. Luckily John and my schedules have allowed it without us having to take off time from work. Last Sunday I had the pleasure of singing with a small group from the choir Thomas Tallis’ If Ye Love Me and this time I sang the BASS part with Dave B, since Nancy had the soprano part covered, Susan F and Peggy B (Dave’s wife) had alto, and Drew C has a very strong tenor voice. This was a first. Luckily the range (tessitura) of the piece is relatively small. I was surprised to find that I was able to reach (on occasion) the C below middle C! And I haven’t had a cigarette in years! I’m afraid one day my vocal chords will just pop and that will be the end of any sound out of me for the rest of my days. My kids would like that!

Yesterday, after giving the housework a lick and a promise (yeah right!), I went over to the music office at St. Johns to give Nancy a small amount of help with the bell choir music. It’s always fascinating to peer inside the work of someone like her – in a job I could never do if I tried for the rest of my life. We did a lot of talking and laughing – about family, politics, music, friends – that it was almost 7 when I got home. Oops! Oh well, I usually don’t go out too much…well not lately anyway!

Next week I have a lot to get done in a short amount of time since I hope to be leaving for NYC on Thursday. Maureen is going to her sister’s wedding in Canada and that will be too much travel for Dad, so John and I are going to stay with him to keep him company and hopefully not bore him too much! Definitely bringing knitting along!

Well, not much more to say today. I will return, good Lord willing, etc., until then, God be with you ’til we meet again!

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