Wow. A lot has happened since last I posted. At least it seems like a lot to me. There was Christmas, and New Year’s – both nice and not-so-nice, with a lot of family drama that did not need to happen. I will spare you that bit because it involves personal information that is not mine to share. Trust me, you’ll be glad I didn’t:)
The above was taken a week ago – it represents the first time (except the layover the day before) I’d been in Dallas, TX since 1960. Sixty years. I bet it’s changed a lot. My stay was only long enough to switch airplanes. I was headed from Little Rock, AR, to BWI Airport back home after I had met with a client who is staying out of state at a residential treatment center. Kind of a zig zaggy way to go, but what do I know about air transportation? (Zilch)
Some fun stuff: The weekend before the Martin Luther King Holiday, the DH and I went to Vogue Knitting Live! in NYC and had a terrific time. I actually met two teams of my favorite podcasters:
Cady Jax Knits:)! Caitlyn on the left and Jackie on the right:
We must’ve all gotten the red memo that morning:)! I didn’t want to interrupt their lunch, but they were so gracious. Hugs were exchanged. Much fan girl gushing on my part and a happy time ensued. They were so nice:)!
On our last day there, I also happened to see Andrew and Andrea of Fruity Knitting in the lobby as we were waiting to go to lunch:)! I simply smiled and waved at them. Andrea was busy on her laptop and Andrew, probably more to protect her screen time, came over and met my husband and me. He was delightful and very kind!
If you have a few bucks lying around (I know, who does?) please consider a small – or large, if you can – Patreon donation to these two podcasters. Two more whom I absolutely adore (among quite a few others) are Amy Beth of The Fat Squirrel Speaks and Sofia and Dennis Kammeborn of the Kammebornia Podcast (out of Sweden). Amy Beth’s talent, her humor and her great way of telling about her exploits really brighten up my week. The Kammeborns are both excellent artists, storytellers, and photographers. Sofia is a wonderful knitwear designer and Dennis was at one point in the music industry. The photography alone is worth watching; knitting is the icing on the cake:).
I went to four classes, but have yet to attend the fashion show/dinner, despite having gone about four or five times. Funny story: John (DH) went to a dental appointment about a week later and spoke with the principal dentist in the practice. It turns out Dr. Z. is an avid knitter and was there as well. She said the dinner was wonderful and that she really enjoyed it. Apparently, she does test knitting for some of the designers! Hmmm, maybe I can talk John into that dinner…. But seriously folks, when your dentist’s a knitter, how can you be nervous?
Our big night out is usually the Saturday of that weekend. Last year and this, some of our six adult kids pitched in and bought tickets to a Broadway show. We reciprocate by somehow or other getting reservations at Carmine’s – an INCREDIBLE Italian restaurant in the theater district and only about a block and a half from our hotel. Carmine’s holds a special place in our hearts – the kids’ grandfather (my dad) and grandmother (Maureen) treated us to Carmines when we visited with them in New York in the mid-90s. Dad was working at WCBS-FM, an “oldies” station and we took the kids to watch a part of his show. They got such a kick out of it. He actually had them on the air for a brief moment. He sent us the tape of it and they were over the moon – even our (then) “cooler” high schoolers:)!
Anyway, this year we had a delightful dinner and then headed back a block to see Alan Sorkin’s Broadway adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. It was simply wonderful. The end was incredibly moving and an insightful commentary on the world in which we are living today. Ed Harris’ portrayal of Atticus Finch was outstanding. I confess I was still somewhat heartbroken over Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and actually discussed it with another theatergoer during the intermission.
This year, five of our “kids” were with us: daughters E, S, J, daughter-in-law L, and Dan, who has been staying in NYC these past few months waiting tables and trying to crack into some acting jobs up there. He has one this coming summer: an off-off-Broadway version of The Book of Joseph – for which he played the protagonist at Everyman Theatre here in Merlin. I am hoping to go see that! Dan had some connections to an understudy working in Mockingbird, so he was able to join us at the theatre! I believe a terrific time was had by all. As John used to say at the end of many a family excursion: “I don’t know about you kids, but I had fun.”
Note: There may have been some yarn acquisitions. (see below)
Oh, BTW, those four classes – all wonderful:
AM: Brooke Nico: Brioche Tips and Tricks (She was a great sport taking on Nancy Marchant’s class after Nancy got hit with the flu and couldn’t fly to NY)
PM: Amy Detjen: Contiguous Sleeve (Never miss a class with Amy:)!)
AM: Cecelia Campochiaro: Serpentine Method: Sequence Knitting
(OMG She is a MUST SEE at any future such gathering I attend!)
PM: Nancy Lyons: Stop Turning – Knitting, purling, colorwork, backwards and forwards. She is the quintessential teacher. You learn more in an hour with her than a semester! She puts her all into it and expects you to do the same – I’d say that was more than a fair trade!
More knitting fun!
As if that were not enough, one month later I was having a blast at a Spring Knitting Retreat at the Blue Mountain Retreat Center in Knoxville, MD. The Retreat Center is on the Maryland side near the confluence of the Potomac and the Shenandoah Rivers, near the top of a hill due East of Fort Duncan. There is a breathtaking view of the river as you come over the crest of a hill near Sandy Hook as you get onto Harper’s Ferry Road. Basically, you’re in spitting distance of MD, WV, and VA … and their yarn shops:)!
We went to WV and VA yarn shopping on Saturday – Two Rivers Yarn in Purcellville, VA, and Yarnability in Charles Town, WV. I got yarn for which I promptly cast on two more projects because – you know – I don’t have enough knitting to do (mwahaha…).
If you’re looking for some really really tasty coffee, just a couple of blocks up the street from Yarnability is a coffee shop called Sibling Coffee Roasters. OMG, I swear they put crack cocaine in their coffee it is so good (not that I know what crack tastes like! I get into enough trouble with red wine!). I promptly got a pound to take home to the DH. He enjoyed it too. They will fill internet orders too, so if you want to try something that puts even Starbucks to shame, give them a try:)!
This year I decided to pare down my active knitting projects on Ravelry to 40 – LOL I know right? Pare down? But it was getting really bad. I have kept things I’ve put into kits or I’m on the fence about into hibernation. At least it’s not as overwhelming when I think about what I want to work on any given day.
Right now, I’m working on three sweater projects – let’s call them the “Holey” Trinity:
This bag holds my Hinterland Pullover by Jennifer Steingass. I fell in love with this pattern the first time I saw it in an email from Spincycle Yarns. I ordered the contrast color – already had a sweater’s worth of navy fingering in stash – and as soon as I could order the pattern we were off to the races!
FINALLY! Am just barely past the separation of the arms and body:
It’s in fingering weight and it is taking forever and I. don’t. care. I love it.
The next sweater I’m working on is a cardigan. It’s stored in this (remember when The Twist Collective had knitting bags?):
Yes, those are drums – I shall explain later.
I’ve wanted to knit this cardigan for years, ever since I got the pattern from Brooklyn Tweed:
Trillium just needed the right yarn. Inspired by Nicole DuPuis of The Gentle Knitter Podcast, I thought a nice light, tweedy yarn would do the trick. Trillium, meet Rowan Felted Tweed. Rowan Felted Tweed, meet Trillium by the brilliant Michele Wang. This was a VKLive purchase and well worth it!
I love how the sweater is created by knitting the sleeves first with a really cool rib pattern, then bottom up to the armholes, joining the sleeves, then knitting a beautiful lace pattern in the yoke – saving all the fun for last and precious little finishing to do – my favorite!
Last but by far not the least of this trio is made from yarn already in my stash, inherited from a dear departed friend. It had been a beautiful cabled project that was going to be too small, so I frogged it directly into balls of yarn. It hurt my heart to do it, but I knew it would never be something otherwise and I don’t believe in wasting yarn – hopefully, some of the wonderful creativity that was poured into this yarn by Annece will help in the making of this sweater, another pullover. I have it stashed in this pretty bag:
The yarn is beyond gorgeous: a mixture of jewel-toned turquoise, fuchsia and others I can’t put my finger on. The sweater? Felix by Amy Christoffers. It’s a simple pullover, with just a bit of minimal lace at the raglan shaping to keep it interesting. The yarn, having gone directly from a highly cabled piece to this one, is a bit lumpy-bumpy; even so, I like it. Am past the division between sleeves and body and am using this project as my more social/tv watching knitting – just knit knit knit ad nauseum – or ad delirium if that’s what toots your horn.
Both Felix and Hinterland are at that “knitting ’til you can’t stand it anymore” stage – and that’s Oh Kay – though I think I’ll finish up Felix sooner than later, just because it’s worsted weight, fewer stitches and will move along faster giving me that instant gratification thing we humans crave. Both will be enormously satisfying to finish. This weekend, however, I think I will be spending the majority of my knitting time getting that second sleeve finished on the Trillium – so that all three sweaters will be at the boring phase at the same time. I can then work on each of them one at a time. It’s not exactly Banging Out a Sweater as the women at Mason Dixon Knitting would have you do in February, but it works for me. Speaking of them, in two weeks they will be starting yet another March Madness – a great recap of the beloved patterns of 2019! Cannot wait!
Every year in January for the past 6 or so years, I’ve gotten an email asking about rehearsals for St. Pete’s annual Mardi Gras celebration. Before then, they had a jazz band whose drummer was a real pro. With the exception of one year when I just couldn’t do it, the poor darlings had me instead. Luckily, my musical shortcomings are deftly hidden by the talents of the other five members of Les Clefs de La Musique – The Keys of Magic – with apologies to the French-speaking among you. We play mostly Dixieland and pop music pieces, with one brief nod to rock ‘n roll with a rather vanilla rendition of “Downtown.” The adults and the little kids get up and dance to the Charleston, Five Foot Two, The Girl from Ipanema (Love messing up that Bossa Nova beat), and other types of music, ranging from Matilda to St. James Infirmary -which for some strange reason reminds me of that scene in A League of Their Own when the Marla Hooch character (played by Megan Cavanagh) sings “It Had to Be You” in a drunken off-pitch contralto voice to her intended. Don’t ask me why, LOL!
The pics above are from our most recent Mardi Gras extravaganza this past week. I don’t remember having more fun. I brought some extra drum sticks and at intermission (and inadvertently during one of our sets, LOL:)) let some of the little guys bang on the drums. They got such a kick out of it and so did I. I like to think the young person who owned the drums before I very gratefully got them is getting a kick out of it where he is as well:) It was a record crowd this year, but the happy intimacy of the congregation wasn’t lost. It’s funny, every year, I kind of dread this – not for the music or even the rehearsals, which are also a lot of fun – but for the physical work needed for lugging around a set of drums. After all, I’m not getting any younger. But every year, I get what I need in help and energy. And I’m grateful.
Well, dear 1.5 readers, I’ve bent your patient ear enough. Until next time,
God be with you ’til we meet again+