First of all, dear 2.5, Happy New Year:)! It’s been a strange few weeks since the onset of 2015. I am sitting here, midday on a cloudy cold and damp Saturday in the not-so-wilds of the county seat of Central Merlin, Mid-atlantic seaboard state in the USA. Our front hallway and living room are crowded with huge boxes containing auto parts that we are somehow supposed to get to an auto repair shop – the proprietor a friend of our son, Danny – so that one of our cars can be repaired from an auto accident in which the front end was pretty badly damaged. The accident was not Danny’s fault – and after a couple of months of dealing with an “interesting” attorney for the self-insured cab company that ran into him – we had a check. They totaled the vehicle. We were not interested in giving up on a Toyota that continues to have a perfectly strong working engine. After a few months in Merlin, doing his gig with the Everyman Theatre company in Bawlmer, and a few other side gigs, Danny headed for the sunny shores of LA with his friend, Bowie, plans to hone his craft with a well known actors studio and to continue the search for work in his field. His work in Deathtrap was really good – and yes, I’m his mom, but it was good, you will have to trust me – and the local critics and theatergoers:).
We get the more than occasional visit with B and R – now married almost a year and a half and dealing with spanning their time between Bawlmer and Philly – one for work, the other for art school – and we are the meeting place – a nice place to be:). A bit more occasionally, the two daughters with the grandangels come to visit for Sunday dinner more or less. Even the separated ones manage to come by and we are doing our best to love them all. Not a difficult job:)
Our youngest two are the farthest away. S is in Argentina, still doing her field work and improving her Spanish daily I’m sure. J is in her last (please God) semester of law school in Cleveland. We have already booked flights for graduation in May. The joys of technology have even kept these two closer to home. This was our first Christmas without the whole gang here in Merlin, yet with a laptop and good old Skype, it was like she was in the kitchen with us! Amazing. I often marvel at the things they said we’d be able to do in this century and I never quite believed it.
As for me, I hurt my back a couple of weeks ago, but thankfully it was nothing that required a trip to the doctor (yet). It’s slowly getting better, but I have had to focus my attention on getting work done and the fun extracurriculars like music and knitting meetups have gone by the wayside for a couple of weeks. Boo.
So, as I sit here, amid the boxes that remind me of those stern statues on Easter Island, I am listening to the washloads going downstairs, to keep it all moving along. I don’t want to look at a super mound on Monday:)! The Christmas Tree is still up and a number of Christmas decorations are waiting to be taken down. Someday I will have an orderly house again (or maybe for the first time, LOL?)
Speaking of which, I have been reading a book by a Japanese author, Marie Kondo (the second “o” in her last name has a line over it, but this typing system doesn’t allow that, my apologies!). Its title: The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up:The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Maybe some of the things she writes about will sink in. Ms. Kondo claims that once a person follows her methods of discarding and tidying, they won’t regress. Hmmm. We shall see. I’ll finish the book and give it a try for my own “stuff” and see if it makes a difference. Will let you know how I do. In the meantime, I am attempting to fold my wash the way she suggests. I think there may even be a video or two on YouTube. Thanks to podcaster/designer Paula Emons-Fuessle of Knitting Pipeline (Prairie Piper on Ravelry) for her discussion of this book on her podcast – one of my favorites!
So what am I working on these days on the knitting front? Currently, I have six projects at hand. I actually have a total of 52 projects pending, and another similar number of projects in hibernation. I think decluttering may need to start there. The problem is, pretty much all of my pending projects make my heart sing, LOL:)
Remember this thing? I started it over seven years ago – the Nina Shawl from the first Mason-Dixon Knitting book. I still want to finish it. It is, I believe, the oldest of my UFOs (unfinished objects). I finished an older one this summer – a sweater I started for Madison back in 2003 that became a sweater for Ruby in 2014, LOL:)!
Thankfully, due my organizing of the stash this past September, I knew just where to find it. As I was documenting the outstanding projects on Ravelry, as much as I could, I would write down where the project had been stored. Some of that needs updating, but it worked for this one. When I want to continue knitting on something, I take it from the “stash room/guestroom” and bring it downstairs. Having it in my field of vision causes me to get going on it. I finally settled on organizing my projects by date added. Ravelry starts with the most recent, so.. I named the projects in progress using a number first and then a name, starting with the oldest as #01 and going to the newest as #(gulp)52. Then I sort them by name. The rule I am giving myself for 2015 is that the oldest project has to be included with any recent ones I am working on. Otherwise, it gets frogged and the yarn used for something or someone else.
Newer projects on the needles:
Wendy D. Johnson’s Nordic Cowl. I am enjoying this knit. It’s in the alpaca blends I purchased while at the Columbia Sip ‘n Knit’s Fall Retreat at the Clagett Center. There was an alpaca farm a couple of miles down the road from us. Initially, I thought I would use this yarn for the Kex Blanket pattern (see below) but had enough leftover yarn that I didn’t need to use this. It’s a bit luxurious for just a cowl, but it’s going to be a lot of fun. I decided to do a white background with one side of the pattern in greyish olive green and the other in a medium blue. So far so good, but this is not a pattern to be knitting with a glass of wine at the ready. Nope. Gotta pay attention to this one, but it eventually starts to make sense. Just so’s ya know, the little bit of bright green, is just waste yarn for a provisional cast-on. This will be doubled over and kitchenered together at the end.
Kate Davies’ A Hap for Harriet. This is one of those patterns I fell in love with just seeing it on her blog. And the color of the original just had me hooked. The yarn is true Shetland fingering weight, from Jamieson, distributed by Schoolhouse Press. It’s not a terribly difficult pattern and sadly this picture doesn’t do it justice. As it develops, I will show you more of it.
Burning Love Fingerless Mitts. As you can see from the picture, I am almost done. It’s a quick knit – which it should be ferheavenssakes – Dutch Mama does a great job putting it together. I had to adjust a wee bit for my tendency to knit loosely. The Cascade 220 heather yarn is a leftover ball and some from the recently completed Kendrick by Ann McCauley. This is one of my favorite shades of blue and I just might be using these fairly regularly!
Sandycove. Another of the prolific and colorful fellow Irishman Kieran Foley’s masterpieces. I could not resist using the Uluru yarn I had for this wrap. I was worried the shifting colorway would obscure the beautiful lace patterning, but the simplicity of the pattern works very well with this pretty yarn. Cannot wait to see the finished result! I had become a fan of Mr. Foley at the beginning of his online presence, and was very glad to see that Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed appreciated his brilliance as much as I did. I think Kieran’s inclusion in the regular BT offerings has given him quite a boost – as he has for Brooklyn Tweed:)!
The two photos below are indeed of the same scarf! Thanks to the creativity and teaching prowess of Lily Chin, I have adapted a reversible cable pattern from her book Power Cables for my Aster Reversible Scarf/Cowl. Whether it ends up a scarf or a cowl, depends on how long the ball of yarn lasts:). I am really enjoying knitting this and knowing I can do it again after learning the techniques for reversible cables brings a smile to my face. I highly recommend Lily’s video by Interweave on the topic.
This last picture is no longer a UFO. It is a small wrap/afghan/lapgan – Stephen West’s Kex Blanket. A ravelry friend, lavlaurie, had been knitting on a larger version of this thing at two of the Knitting Retreats I’d been on. It is a lot of fairly mindless knitting, but never boring, so it’s perfect for kniting with friends. I loved her choice of colors so much, that I decided I wanted to do the same pattern (again, there I was, choosing knitting patterns based upon color rather than the pattern itself, isn’t that strange?). I did the pattern as written and therefore it is not very large. It really should be doubled to be a proper afghan, but it’s fine for its purpose and I just love how it turned out:) Thanks Laurie, for the inspiration!:)
Well, with any luck, the snow storm they are calling for on this part of the US Eastern Seaboard will not develop and I will have the opportunity to sing and play flute in the morning without causing too much ear pain:). The next challenge will be the lifting and bending involved in transporting my drums to practice for Mardi Gras:) Wish me luck!
Until next time, God be with you ’til we meet again+