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.

KNITTING

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+

OK so, I know I don’t usually blog more than once every 200 weeks or something… but..

OK, so I started Lily yet again. Whaddya think about her new colors? I really love stash diving:)

I decided to stop doing the main body of the sweater and instead (as is my usual wont) I decided to knit the sleeves as “swatches” – to check my color choices and to check gauge. On the plus side, this plan is faster and more efficient.

I like the new colors ….. so far. Be honest. What do you think?:) More to come.

IN OTHER NEWS


I didn’t write much yesterday about non-knitting things.  Let me add a bit.

My Dad is in his 80s. I know, I’m in my 60s.  That’s because my parents were 19 when I was born.  I was always proud of the fact that my parents were so young (and “cool”) compared to my friends’ parents.  And for the most part, I still am happy about that.

Despite her incredible youth, my dear mother died almost 55 years ago in a terrible car accident on Southern State Parkway on Oct. 11, 1962.  Her loss has been beyond belief.  My brothers and I miss her so much. So my only living parent is now in his 80s.  My stepmother is a bit younger, but I am grateful to her for loving him and caring for him. I see her as a friend. A dear friend.

He (Dad) got sick a couple of weeks ago.  Really sick.  He was hospitalized, then “stepped down” (what a euphemistic piece of drivel THAT is!) to a nursing home for a couple of weeks.  If not for my stepmother, who truly loves him, he’d be a mess.  Thanks to her, he is going home soon – with increased services and technology, but going home. John and I went to FL to see him and to give the stepmother a break —- and dinner — and wine! We had a wonderful time, enjoying seeing dear Dad and seeing dear her:) and… hey— wine!

Now comes the really nice part that makes me cry when I’m driving and nobody sees me:

John didn’t like the fact that Dad’s dresser in the nursing home had three pictures on it and no cards, so he bought a bunch from him and me.  He sent word out to our kids who got to work.  Our single kids sent cards. Our artistic daughter-in-law R created a card.  Our grandchildren (his great-grands) created cards, picture frames with pictures, and sent cookies and spices they only have in the Kingdom of Merlin (as in Chesapeake Bay seasoning and Berger Cookies).   So now his room is full and his walker has pictures of his great-grandangels on it.

Oh — did I tell you my husband is a saint?

Well he is.

Post Mortem and Life after the Frog Pond

Here lie the remains of a lot of knitting.  Knitting in the round.  Colorwork.  Challenging colorwork. Marie Wallin colorwork. As you can see, a lot of it is quite lovely. Some of it is indiscernible. For that reason, I made the decision to cast off with a three needle bind-off, thereby creating a pouch/bag. More on that later.

So, what did I do wrong? What have we (I) learned here?

1. Swatch

2. Swatch

3. Swatch, wash, block and measure

4. Swatch.

Marie Wallin is my design hero(ine).  She creates beautiful colorwork, lace, and cabled knitwear and crochet. This pattern (Lily)is from her Springtime Collection Six book – an amazing work of art in my humble opinion.  The recommended yarn for this pattern is a fingering weight from Rowan – Felted Tweed, a beautiful yarn to which I do not have access for geographic, financial, and other reasons. This meant that I had to figure out what yarns I had in stash (and I have many) that could work together.

I should have swatched.  I sorta did.  This (above) and my first attempt here:

I call it the Ghastly Cowl. But hey, it keeps my neck warm in very strong air-conditioning. Here the colors were not great and the size was on the huge side.

With colorwork, you really have to swatch to observe whether your colors and fibers play well together. Is there enough contrast and is that balanced with a harmonious blend?  Ms. Wallin’s patterns often use pastels and neutrals, yet in her color choices, she manages to ensure that there is enough contrast to actually SEE the pattern.  Imagine that! My two examples seem to me to be the two opposite extremes – so much contrast that the item looks a bit garish to me versus lovely blending pastels that obscure the beauty of the pattern.

So… in the late hours of last night, I bound off, and took another stash dive – not an altogether unpleasant experience!

As for the knitting I spent weeks on, it’s going to be a felted bag.  The felting is done:

It needs to dry a little bit, and boy, is the ribbing part wobbly! (I think that’s because lighter colors tend to felt less.) My plan is to fold the ribbing over to use as a channel for pull ties, fold in the corners to create a more stable base, possibly lining it, and using it for a small project bag.  I will also iron it. Will update in future posts (hopefully!).

Soooooo now that I have a new bunch of yarn for another colorwork project, I’m going to back off Lily and take a look at some other Marie Wallin designs in my Rowan magazine stash.

Speaking of Ms. Wallin, I am also knitting this from her Springtime Collection:

called Daffodil. Here’s how it looks in her book:

I will not look like that – and that’s Ohhh Kayy…. [WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGE TO FOLLOW]

I have recently ordered Ms. Wallin’s new book, Shetland, and hope to get my copy sometime in September.  She is very good about getting her books out to you and as one who lives clear across the Atlantic from her, I am grateful. Another recent acquisition was Ms. Wallin’s North Sea book.  In the words of Mr. Comey, “Oh Lordy!”  Some of my favorites:

I honestly want to knit EVERY one of her designs in this book! That has never happened to me before! Shetland should be another level of challenge.  Can’t wait!

Recently, I inherited yarns from the stashes of two women.  One is someone I do not know  – the mother of a colleague of a high school friend. The other was from the amazing Ms. Annece P. I will not be buying much yarn in the near future.

As a result, I’ve started some new projects:

Another Nina Shawl, this time in wool.  Am loving these vibrant colors!

I finished Acorn

and Greenwood, too!

As for life, that has been moving on.  John and I recently went to Florida to visit my dad and stepmom.  We had a lovely time. Work is still very rewarding and fulfilling in many ways.  The family is well. John made it through a knee replacement and is in better shape than ever.  The grandkids are growing, the adult kids are growing too, in different ways:).

Until next time, God be with you ’til we meet again+