Sneaking this in before I hit the road…

WARNING: THIS POST MAY HAVE SOME RELIGIOUS STUFF IN IT. If that is not your thing, please just skip over it.  I am not about trying to foist my beliefs or my belief system on anyone else – except to say we should all be kind to one another, one at a time. I am simply writing here about my whole life – and that includes my ever-evolving spirituality. I come from a varied religious background: Atheist, Agnostic, Jewish, and various Christian denominations.  I am the last person on earth to tell anyone what their truth should be!

Will be heading out soon to visit some of my clients this afternoon/evening, and with luck, will be getting to the Sip ‘n Knit for this evening.  Fingers crossed! 

Hope you all had a great (in the US) holiday weekend.  Mine was quite nice – and the week leading up to it was as well.  Something I forgot to mention when last I posted was a wonderful lunch last Tuesday with a dear friend, Diane F.  Diane – and a number of people who have become very dear to me – and I were all in EfM* together.  It was quite an experience and we all learned so much.  For a number of us, one of them being Diane, this was one aspect to discerning whether one was called to the ordained ministry.  In Diane’s case, it was part of her spiritual formation as a Deacon.  Another fellow EfM’er is now an Episcopal priest.  I am still in the laity, LOL:)! Anyway, we must have talked for hours, but it felt like 15 minutes! I felt like I came away with far more than I gave in that conversation, and I am so grateful to have reconnected with her.  

Speaking of reconnecting, it was quite the weekend for that! When last I left you, dear friends, I was about to attend a 70th birthday party celebration for a wonderful colleague and friend.  I had a blast! The food was terrific, and the company was even better.  I saw some friends I have known for decades, but due to working in another county, have only seen rarely over the past 15 years or so.  It was great catching up.  I found out that one of them is good friends with yet ANOTHER EfM friend – how amazing is that?! I took lots of pictures and a sweet video of the Birthday Girls’ two sisters and her, and later her two daughters,  dancing together to “We Are Family,” which I later sent to the Birthday Girl herself.  This old lady actually hauled her considerable bulk out onto the dance floor and continued the fun.  I probably made a terrific fool of myself and I. Don’t. Care:)! The music was great – all great popular songs from the 60s to today. The DJ was very professional.  It was just a lovely evening and I do believe a great time was had by all!

Sunday morning was a special treat: I went to services at the Washington National Cathedral with Nancy and Rennie S., our former music director and her husband.  The music was, of course, outstanding.  The choir sang Thomas Weelkes’ awe-inspiring “Let Thy Merciful Ears.” I was a bit sucker-punched by the Sequence Hymn, The Servant Song.  The words of the middle two stanzas reminded me of the children suffering in our border concentration camps and I couldn’t help the tears.

I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night-time of your fear;

I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping; when you laugh I’ll laugh with you.

I will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through.

Later, we had a nice brunch together.  It was a deeply meaningful experience, sharing faith and breaking bread with friends. On a more humorous note, the Cathedral window holding a piece of rock from the moon always makes me think of a kid hitting a baseball into a living room window.  Leave it to me to find the ridiculous in the sublime:)!

Sunday evening was fairly quiet – a number of the progeny were out of town or on the other side of the Chesapeake visiting other family members.  Our daughter D, her two girls and BF, J, came for dinner along with the home team.  

Monday was another lovely day, spent knitting and prepping for the week ahead (and cleaning off my disaster of a desk!!!).  

On the knitting front, I’ve made some progress on the Rhapsody in Cables:

I think this picture gives the best approximation of this yarn color.  It is a medium grey, with flecks of teal and deep pink. I’ve had it in deep stash for over ten years. It’s Cascade 220 worsted weight in Heather Tweed.  Sometimes those workhorse yarns just do the best job, don’t they?

Nothing else really to show as I have been – again – remarkably monogamous with this project!

Looking to the future, I am still trying out color combos for the Birkin:

Too many colors perhaps and too warm?? Watch this space, LOL!

In other news, I am seriously and prayerfully considering changing my church home to the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore.  It’s farther from home, but I’ve sung with them before with the St. J’s choir and there’s something about a church in the middle of a city. I realized yesterday evening that my heart wasn’t into going back to St. J’s – not yet – but I do need to participate in some way in a church community and hopefully in some way in music.  More to come in the future.

Well, gotta get back to work.  Hope your week goes well for you.  Keep the victims of Hurricane Dorian – in the US and especially the Bahamas – in your thoughts/prayers! Back soon I hope.  In the meantime,

God be with you ’til we meet again!+

*Education for Ministry – a Four-Year program about the Old and New Testaments, Church History and Theology, and other topics for lay people of the Christian faith – a number of denominations participated.  Ours was Episcopalian and I think that is where the program began if I’m not mistaken.)

And the Knit goes on…

How is everyone today? Here in Merlin, it is sunny and beautiful and not terribly hot for the end of summer. Keeping all my Florida relatives and friends in my prayers as they hunker down for Hurricane Dorian. Please send good thoughts – and as is your wont – prayers down their way.

Am having an extremely lazy Saturday.  Woke up in the middle of the night last night after having fallen asleep in the den over my knitting and found the TV on with an old version of Cinderella playing on YouTube. (Now, how do you get from The Fat Squirrel Speaks to Cinderella? That’s one mystery I don’t want to know the answer to.) Anyway, rather than being a good Doobie and cleaning up the knitting and going to bed, I decided to keep working on my project.  Finally went to bed at 8 a.m. and woke up when? I’m ashamed to tell you. 

So that project: 

Doesn’t look like much, does it? Well, it’s getting close to being half a sweater.  I am currently building up the sleeve stitches and creating a nice raglan line at the right shoulder.  It is the most unusual way I’ve ever knitted a sweater and I am up for the challenge.  The mad scientist behind this piece of beauty is (drumroll….) Joji Locatelli.  The pattern is Rhapsody in Cables.  It’s a comfy, oversized, yet elegant, bouquet of cables and lace – and did I say unusual construction? Two hints if you are going to knit this piece: (1) For the provisional cast-on, use an interchangeable knitting needle cable as the “waste yarn” and be sure to put stoppers on the ends as shown above. (Ask me how I know!) When you have to pick up the stitches to knit in the opposite direction, all you will have to do is put the appropriate needle tip on the cord and simply knit.  It avoids a LOT of stress! (2) Follow the pattern very carefully.  It’s one of the best tech-edited patterns I have ever seen – and in 55 years of knitting, I’ve seen quite a few.  The instructions are very clear and Joji provides schematics as you go.  It is knitting up quite quickly because I am so curious to see how the next section proceeds. (And because I rarely have to use a cable needle any more.) The down side is my sleep has suffered (see previous paragraph.)

Since I’ve dived right into the crafting side of my life, allow me to continue.  I FINALLY finished the Nordiska and the fit isn’t too terribly bad.  I see it as a possible top over a skirt on a cold day. Because it is somewhere between a cropped and a full length sweater, I don’t think it would look good on me in pants.  And that’s Ohhh Kayy….

I modified the colorwork patterns due to the amounts of yarn I had.  I was concerned about the colors working together, but they’ve grown on me.  I rearranged the colorwork on the sleeves, which I also shortened.  All in all, it was a satisfying knit.  

I have not much of anything on the weaving and the cross-stitch fronts, so not much to show.  

Yesterday was a long day at court, broken only by lunch with a very nice colleague.  The day was topped off by a rather heartbreaking shelter hearing I won’t tell you about.  As I headed home, I felt in need of some yarn therapy, so I put some stash acquisitions together for another project I’ve been wanting to make since it came out in the second issue of Laine Magazine: Birkin by Caitlyn Hunter, of Boyland Knitworks

There is a version from a kit made by Urso Yarns in Canada. If you are on ravelry, go to the main page for Birkin and do a search on “Urso” and you’ll see them.   I love these colors – lovely mixture of warm and cool pinks and oranges and greens with a lightly speckled main color – just goreous! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to match this, but am hoping to do some sort of mix of cool and warm that work for me.  I am using cream-colored BCGarn fingering weight for the main color and for the colorwork, BCGarn in a deep purple and a lavender-ish purple.  I have some deeper green and lighter green colors in fingering weight and some yellow KnitPicks Palette fingering weight yarn.  I also have a medium blue in BC Garn, but not sure if that will be included.  In no way will my efforts come close to the beautifully dyed yarn in these sweaters, but hope springeth eternal, as they say.  Watch this space;)!

Well, I have to end here – in a half hour I will be attending a 70th birthday bash 

for a dear friend and colleague:)! 

God be with you ’til we meet again+

A Quick Post on a Sunday afternoon.

 It seems I’m always posting (when I do) on Sundays.  I think it’s because I don’t usually plan much on Sundays save the usual get-togethers we have as a family.  I try to keep my activities to that and the odd church thing.  The past couple of weeks have been busy-ish.  Right now I’m not sure if anyone is coming over since everyone seems to have different things in the works.  That’s fine, the standing invitation comes with zero strings – just need to know enough in advance for the obvious practical reasons.  Anyway, thought I’d update this blog or at least show a few signs of life;)!

Though I’ve had relatively few court appearances this summer, the past week was busier than usual.  I had a number of visits all over the place and was giving a presentation on a new statute at our annual in-house legal training.  That took place all day on Friday and was incredibly helpful and informative. We had a legislative and case law update and a terrific presentation by a social worker who specializes in home studies of relative placements.  It was nice to see the others in the firm as we rarely get a chance to see the attorneys from other counties in the state on a day-to-day basis.  A lot of the topics may sound dry, but they really weren’t.  You’ll just have to trust me on that.  One of our attorneys is expecting her second child in  September and we had a little “sprinkle” for her during one of the breaks.  (I think that’s what they call mini showers these days, LOL.) And a number of us were recognized for being with the firm for a long time.  I was by no means the longest-term employee, but I was touched to be recognized  – with the gift of a beautiful watch -for seventeen years with them – the best of my professional life!  I hope to continue for as long as I’m able.  I keep saying they’re going to have to take me out back and shoot me to get me to leave.  

On the crafting front, as the picture as the photo at the top of the page would indicate, I finished the second woven scarf – this time with a houndstooth pattern.  It was a real blast seeing that pattern show itself after relatively few rows! John liked it.  It’s not as long as the other one, but he doesn’t tie his scarves, so it should work fine for him.  Here’s an idea of the actual length:

 Maybe about 48-50 inches/122-127 cm? A little shorter than the usual 72 inches/183 cms I would normally knit. But it worked out.  

I decided to get right back on the horse and a couple of days later warped the loom, this time with the intent of creating a blue/beige plaid with a couple of bright highlights.  I am not sure about this – I am a very very beginning weaver – but I believe a true plaid might require something more than what I did? It seems to be working out, but the darker colors really overpower the lighter ones to the extent that one almost doesn’t see the mix.  That might be a matter of simply choosing the correct colors.  I like it though.  This one will be for my son, Danny.

Not much completed on it – all it will take is a few hours of attention and it will be done before I know it! 

In the meantime, I am more dragging out than banging out a Nordiska sweater. I have made some progress, and true to my nature, have departed from the pattern. I will have to depart some more and add some crochet to that (*&)(&!!! rolling up edge on the bottom.  (No, I did not remember to purl when I could….grrrr.)

 I also played a bit fast and loose with the colorwork, because, well, I had to.  I only had so much of each color and was starting to run out of all of them.  The sleeves will be shorter and consequently wider and the colorwork will be different.  After adding to the bottom, I intend to block the hell out of this thing.  with. a. steam. iron. Don’t call YPS (Yarn Protective Services)!

Well, it looks like we are going to have our two oldest grandgirls with us to dinner this evening.  I bet we will have a terrific time!:)  In the meantime, I probably should clean up a bit!

So, that’s all for now.  Be safe my friends, please stand up for justice and until next time, God be with you ’til we meet again+

Cross Stitch Inventory and One Mystery SOLVED!

Isn’t that a pretty bunch of embroidery floss? I know I bought them about ten months ago or so, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out WHAT cross stitch sampler they went with! I did finally figure it out, but it took getting out everything I had to see if there was a sampler kit out there without its floss.

Another mystery is the whereabouts of a cross-stitch sampler kit I bought at the Washington National Cathedral about 12 years ago and thought I had stored it in my desk.  Still cannot find it.

I did a lot of cross stitching from 1985 until 1987 when I started law school, eleven years and six kids after college. I put a lot of things aside for about 15 years while getting through law school, raising kids, attendant financial struggles, and finally gaining experience in my profession and settling into the area of law I was to practice.  I honestly do not know how some of my colleagues did all that on their own with no spouse in the picture. In 2002 I picked up the two samplers from the mid-80s and bought a couple of simple projects, but my eyes were getting very far-sighted by then and close work was very difficult, so I went back to my first craft: knitting. For some reason, I was able to knit a few things during the 15-year hiatus from cross-stitching.  

Finally settling into a career that I loved, getting more organized with my time, the kids growing up, and getting a good pair of glasses put me in a place where I decided to give it a try again.  So yesterday, I organized the kits and barely begun projects  I had just to see where things stand.  If I remind myself of what I already have, I’m less apt to be tempted to buy something new.  

This baby I’ve posted about already.  It’s the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland, begun in 1986. I am determined to finish this before beginning on anything else.          

 Believe it or not, I actually bought this kit right before I started law school.  It’s the crest of the University of Maryland. I got fairly well underway on this, ca. 1987.

The next two are little projects I got around 2003 or so.  One is to be a patriotic theme for July 4th – an American flag, the other is a kit for a Christmas ornament. 

My good friend, Vicki, while she was still in seminary sometime around 2005/2006 went to England. She kindly brought me back this little cross-stitch kit of Westminster Abbey.  It’s really nice and I hope to finish it sometime in this lifetime.

I thought I’d make the Summer Sampler below from the book Handmade.  For the first time I had the funds and an online resource to get the all the colors I needed. Actually I found three resources: two online and one in a local shop with an inventory to die for. I’m in big trouble. I know.

 The online resources are 123stitch.com and everythingcrossstitch.com  They make it very easy for you to create a kit by listing the needed colors and company. Oh dear.  The local resource is in Catonsville, right next door to my local yarn shop.  Yep.  Right. Next. Door. It’s The Stitching Post and it’s been around a long time. They. Have. Everything. They also have a website and yes, you can order online at  https://www.the-stitching-post.com/

The floss above came from Everything Cross Stitch.  

Two more kits from Everything Cross Stitch:

And one more is on the way – called Quilted with Love.  

There is a sampler kit from The Stitching Post that I will do after I’ve gotten a number of projects done.  It is a rather challenging sampler of a biblical quote:

 It cracks me up that the name of the company is My Big Toe. It’s on linen and I will need some serious lighting and possibly some stronger glasses to do it. It’s the incentive I have to finish what I’ve started.

I did get a pattern but do not have the thread/floss for it yet.  It’s the sort of thing I will have to save up for

a little at a time and I cannot justify the expense at this point. It’s called the Kitchen Garden by Drawn Thread. That will be something special if I can do it.

Finally, there’s that packet of floss at the top of this post.  I couldn’t figure out what the pattern was for the life of me, then I realized it was a pattern from a Bluprint (the artist formerly known as Craftsy) class! The floss came from Everything Cross Stitch and The Stitching Post. The title is: Live Simply So That Others May Simply Live. I cannot post a picture here without violating all sorts of copyrights, but when I get started on it, I will show my own work.

Finally, I have a bunch of muslin and some heavier thread for a Colonial or French Knot one-color embroidery piece that is very old – at least from the early to mid-80s.

Well, a dozen of these is probably enough to last me the rest of my days, LOL:)! I am amazed when I see the output of some of the people I’ve seen on YouTube (or I think they call it Floss Tube:)?)

I put this inventory up to remind myself not to be greedy and to enjoy what I do have – and finish what I’ve begun! 

Thanks for reading and as always, God be with you ’til we meet again:)+

Lazy Industry:)

This weekend was looking to be a lot of fun… until yesterday afternoon. Before I begin, the hearts of so many of my countrymen and women are breaking – yet again!-  for the victims of the latest acts of domestic violence/white terrorism rampant in this country.  Good Lord. What the f*CK is it going to take? When I hear this stuff, about streets running with blood, a woman dying while shielding her two-month-old, her husband as yet unaccounted for – I admit I don’t have any high-minded words. I feel rage. I want vengeance, as I know there is no human vengeance other than one death, maybe.  Interesting factoid (I think): Texas is an “open carry” state, correct? Funny how that didn’t protect people at the mall. Will better gun laws prevent another such incident? Probably not, as they are so hard to predict.  But those laws WILL prevent the everyday violence, the 300 or so annual murders per city in the US, the domestic violence-related murders, that occur. Our lawmakers need to grow a set. A big brass set.E.NOUGH.

Weaving

Before the proverbial hit the fan, Saturday was a fun one. The last of the four weaving classes I took to learn rigid heddle weaving ended with a scarf.  Not the prettiest thing and the colors were weird.  But a finished scarf nonetheless. My compatriots were a lovely bunch and we were all very grateful for our incredibly competent – and kind:) – Stephanie. I was happy to get a picture of everyone’s work off the loom and unfinished.

 Mine is at the top, Nikki’s is in the middle and the other Stephanie’s is at the bottom.  As I often do when I am knitting with others, I admire the color choices of others – I sure had reason to do so this time, LOL:)!

I think my favorite was Mila’s scarf – she had a wonderful way of combining vibrant colors, including the incorporation of rainbow-dyed locks of wool into her weaving. It was a work of art.  I kept thinking it would make a wonderful vestment for a priest in a celebration of life.

Isn’t it gorgeous? While there, I got a book with weaving patterns.  I was particularly interested in the houndstooth pattern.  Stephanie said it was an easy pattern.  I didn’t realize HOW easy it truly is! Turns out I had a store credit and was able to obtain the book for relatively little.  In any event, I highly recommend it!                                      When I got home, I washed my scarf and hung it out to dry.  It didn’t look so terrible once I did that, but I decided that I needed to get back to the rigid heddle loom and warp me  – or this time the husband – another one. And of course, I went for houndstooth and a MUCH more subdued palette.

The multicolored brown really adds interest. Definitely a little easier on the eyes.

Knitting

Remarkably monogamous and therefore not much to report- probably because I am he** bent on finishing things, especially the Nordiska I wanted to “bang out” (to coin a Mason-Dixon Knitting phrase:)). Work and other crafts sometimes get in the way of actually getting a sweater done in a weekend, and I have a bit more acreage and therefore more knitting to which a brief glance in my general direction will attest. So it takes me a little while longer to “bang out” anything.  I made some progress and am about done with the body colorwork. Am playing yarn chicken with the main color and may put the body on some waste yarn and knit the sleeves and neck ribbing before finishing the bottom of the sweater. Might have to get creative with the colorwork colors. There is so much rolling up of the stockinette in this thing that one can barely see how far one has gotten. Cannot wait to knit the ribbing.  

Cross Stitch

Work continues on the St. Michaels Maritime Museum by Barbara Noel of Cadle Creek – a WIP in its 34th year.  I started it shortly before my youngest was born and she recently turned 33! It’s a well-drawn cross-stitch pattern and very true to its subject. Like the Maryland Sampler by the same designer, it is a fond memento of our time living in St. Michaels and a tribute to the wonderful people who live on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Picture courtesy of the Chesapeake Maritime Museum website.

 I keep the needlework next to my chair in the den so that I am reminded daily to work on it.  I have to be much more careful now as my older eyes are not as good for close work as they used to be. There are a number of cross stitch pieces I want to finish in the future.  Most are recent purchases. A few have languished in storage for years. I will do one at a time and see.  
They will be the subject of my next blog post. This one has gone on a bit long.

Life
Nothing much new.  A couple of family birthdays, a few get-togethers.  Thankfully everyone is well.  Work continues.  This week had some truly lovely and happy moments in the midst of a lot of suffering.  I am always grateful for those.  When a parent does what they’re supposed to do, when a kid goes home, it makes my heart sing.  That’s what we’re here for.  

This is a quiet, somewhat lazy, Sunday.  The gang is not coming over because the DH is working. Next week, it’s just the DH and me as the three who are sojourning with us are away – two with sister and sister-in-law to New England and the other house- and dog-sitting for the latter.  I have court tomorrow and no hearings until the following week.  Have a presentation to prepare for at a firm-wide training later in the week, but other than that, it’s pretty quiet, so I will get caught up on client visits and meetings as well.  The weather here in Merlin has been quite nice.  Tomatoes are growing, the grandkids are enjoying the summer and getting brown as berries.  S’s herb garden is thriving on the back deck.  Dinner with my college friend Paul and his partner Jim was wonderful.  In an hour the years melted away, despite a terrible lack of sleep the night before on my part.  The colors of Bronycon and Orioles fans mixed together well where we had dinner near Oriole Park at Camden Yard.  I learned a lot about Bronycon and was so happy to meet Jim.  And dinner was absolutely delicious Thai food in a little restaurant near the Marriott Hotel. How one man could do so much with only another person helping him was a wonder to behold.  Added bonus: When Paul went to pay the tab (thank you for the treat, Paul!), the owner told Paul that he frequently went to New Hampshire and Maine because he loved their seafood! I got home blessedly early, as Paul and Jim had activities planned at the Convention, and continued a quiet evening at home. Life is good.  I have nothing to complain of. 

More to come in my next post. Until then,

God be with you ’til we meet again+

Summer Reads

Not just summer, but for some reason this year has been a year of more reading than usual.  A subscription to Scribd, thanks to my youngest and her wife a couple of years back, has brought me numerous reads. Thanks also to Barb and Tracie of the 2KnitLitChicks Podcast, I am now a fan of Nevada Barr’s novels about a widow who went away to forget her grief in the service of the National Park Service (while solving a murder or two); I enjoyed another crime novel about the South Fork of Suffolk County, Long Island (I grew up on the North Shore of Nassau County) called Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger;  listened to Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman; Your Sacred Self by Wayne Dyer; Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie; a number of other Christie short stories and novels; The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell; The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova; and Sophie Hannah’s Agatha Christie-like novels: The Mystery of Three Quarters and  Closed Casket.  Right now I’m listening/reading to Nevada Barr’s A Superior Death and Lady in the Lake by the former Baltimore Sun reporter Laura Lippman.

As for knitting and craft books, I have acquired a LOT of really good books/magazines in the past couple of months. Recently, I received the following:

It’s the 11th of a series and yes, I have the ten that preceded it. This.  THIS is an excellent reference guide for sock knitting – toe-up or cuff-down.  When you get going on your socks, take this with you.  It’s tiny, but it packs a wallop!

And Making No. 7: Desert. Boom. BTW, Nos 1-6 were equally awesome.

Laine Magazine is another amazing book/mag.  Check it out!

and so is Knitscene.

And the last two issues of Vogue Knitting

And I want to knit all the things in the summer issue of Interweave Knits.

Tired just thinking about all this knitting!

So of course I now have more book/mags to look at: Two issues of Nomadic Knits – from my home state of NY and my home since 1980 of Merlin:

 And I could not resist the Lace Patterns on KnitPicks’ Sojourn.

OMG I am so bad….:)

Before I leave you, dear friends, I thought I’d share a few pics of my drive on Monday through Congressman Elijhah Cummings’ District.  Try if you can to spot the rats…. or enjoy the amazing view:) 

God be with you ’til we meet again.

Midsummer

The above has not been an unusual scene for this summer.  I shot the video during a tornado warning in my area. We do not live in Tornado Alley in the south-central part of our country. We live in Congressman Elijah Cummings’ 7th Congressional District. And proudly so. He is a class act, unlike our Loser-in-Chief. Enough about that. (Except to say I am watching Jon Waters’ interview with Joy Reid and laughing with relief that humor still exists during The Regime.)

Oh, while I’m on my soapbox for a minute, please know dear 1.5 readers, that I support Ravelry.  And I detest racism and what is happening at our southern border.  If you don’t like me for that, too bad. 

*           *          *              *                *               *              *              *             *           *

As I sit here typing this on a Sunday afternoon, the sky is clear and beautiful, but it is hot outside. It’s a great day for the beach, where the ocean breeze takes the heat and gives back cool relief, water, and play. I’m not at the beach, but am happy for those who are. Meanwhile, I remain eternally grateful for air conditioning and its requisite electrical supply – without which knitting would be very difficult! 

I think all or most of our progeny are coming by for dinner this evening and so am stalling before doing the cleaning and dinner prep (what else is new?) by writing a few lines before starting.  I mean, how long can it take to vacuum, clean a kitchen, make a salad and stick a frozen lasagna in the oven?  Yeah, Suzy Homemaker is not my forte’ as many of my nearest and dearest will attest. 

This weekend, I’d like to say I was assiduously working on my week’s work, catching up on everything. 

Nope.

But some crafting has been happening this weekend. 

Beginning Friday and throughout the weekend, work continued on the Nordiska. I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I started on the colorwork section in the intense hope that the top line of this pattern doesn’t begin in An Awkward Place on the body.  I don’t think it will, given the proper blocking (and underwear!!).  I also added about three additional colors.  Because I could. Hoping to finish this before September.  I’d say I have a good chance.

Am now done with 3 of 4 weaving classes.  Am about ready to hemstitch and take my first weaving effort off the loom. It will be a respectably shabby scarf and I will wear it with pride – or palm it off on some unsuspecting schmoe (Kidding!;) no I’m not.)

There are ways I learned to keep track of how long your work is, but I had started weaving a substantial amount before I could employ them.  We warped 145 inches –  far more than the length of anything other than a “Dr. Who” scarf – I figure I’m at least halfway done with that.  Even with the usual waste and shrinkage, I should be good to go.  Or I’ll have a very ugly table runner.  And that’s Oh Kay….

I photographed the loom from the side so that I could see how many times the woven fabric was wrapped around the front thingie (apron? – just learning the terminology). Here’s an earlier progress pic:

LOL! As you can see, it’s hard to tell!

While I’m on the subject, I have to tell you how much I really like our local yarn shop – Cloverhill Yarn Shop in Catonsville, MD (that’s short for “Merlin”).  It welcomes any and all who come to knit, crochet, weave, spin, and probably a bunch of other homespun crafts I can’t remember.  When you walk in, you are greeted with a cheerful “Hi!” And you receive this same welcome whatever your race, ethnic origin, ability or disability, you name it.  It’s not a commune, it’s not Nirvana, they are there to make a living and to make a profit – that’s what businesses do.  And they seem to have put their finger on the pulse of the extended community’s need for needlework products, from well, needles all the way to weaving looms, spinning wheels, spindles, and of course, yaaaarrrrnnn! They are a younger group (they would probably laugh to hear me say that), but they welcome a lot of us older ones.  I’ve gotten to know some of them by name now: Wae and Amanda (owners), Stephanie (our weaving instructor who did an amazing job herding four cats;)) and a bunch of other folks by sight.  I have never felt that “omg they think I’m a shoplifter” or “I’m not one of the cool kids” vibe those of us who have been knitters/weavers/spinners have felt at times in other places.  If you’re in the area, give them a try.  You will be pleasantly impressed!

Life

A very nice person – and dear colleague – recently retired after a long career of helping kids in many ways.  She will be sorely missed.  I hope she and her husband can enjoy the coming years together.  My stepmom came back from a long trip to Europe where she scattered some of my father’s ashes on Lake Cuomo – so fitting as they were seasoned travelers who used their money to create memories. Another colleague – and friend – will be celebrating a milestone birthday at the end of next month.  Am looking forward to the festivities:). And this coming Friday, I shall be enjoying a dinner with my wonderful college friend Paul and his partner Jim during Bronycon.  Cannot wait:)! They both live in New England, so we don’t get to see each other much, but you know how it is.  You sit down and start talking and the years just disappear!

Things here are moving along as usual.  Not much new happening midsummer.  In the middle of summer vacation, commuting traffic is generally much better. Our daughter, S., who does most of the gardening here, has had a good crop of cucumbers, and we’re also beginning to see tomatoes – at least the ones the deer don’t eat! We have an abundance of herbs, like my favorite – basil – on the back deck. Life abounds.  Hope abounds.  And I am grateful.  

As many of my fellow believers say, TBTG (trans: Thanks be to God).  As many of my non-believing loved ones say: Thank the Myth:)!

Joseph Campbell tells us that Myths are essential truth, so: Whatever your journey, God be with you, ’til we meet again+

Rabbit Hoooooooles!!!!……..

Wow – it’s been a long time! There have been many things happening, few things happening, life happening and a lot of knitting happening.  I have been remarkably (for me) monogamous with some projects and have cast on many more.  And I wonder why I have (mumblety mumblety) projects on the needles? Hmmm cannot imagine;). Warning: this post is probably way too long.

Since last I posted about knitting, I’ve finished six projects, four of which were sweaters of a sort. They are:

Treelight by Jennifer Steingass.  This served me well in the cold months at the beginning of the year.  It works as a sweater for work on the coldest days.

Norah Gaughan’s Calligraphy Cardigan  – which looked so much better on my beautiful daughter, D., that it became hers instantly. This was a “bang out” sweater as part of Mason Dixon Knitting’s Field Guide No. 9. And my goodness, Norah Gaughan.  They had me at “Bang!”

Following the call of the Mason Dixon Knitting crew, I finally finished “banging  out a Carbeth,” albeit a year or so late. The Carbeth, by Kate Davies (another designing great) is a really cool sweater. I do, however, think that it looks best on those with badass shoulders.  

Mine are more bad than ass, I think:

The up side: it’s a VERY warm sweater, which should serve me well on the very cold days of winter. Or, there may be someone with badass shoulders for whom this sweater will do.  We shall see.  

I finished the Upwards Cowl by Lisa Hannes as part of a KAL our Columbia Sip’n Knit did for March.  A nice little two-week project in lovely mystery yarn I acquired at one of our yarn swaps last year. 

I also finished a pair of socks:

and last but not least a Tegna by  Caitlin Hunter:

I am right proud of this bad boy.  I knit on it without mercy and enjoyed every minute of sore hands, arthritic thumbs and swatch insecurity. I knit it in Berroco’s Remix Light – fingering weight, but thicker than the yarn called for in the pattern.  My swatch told me to go down a couple of sizes.  Comments from other knitters who came before me told me to keep the sleeves up two sizes, so I made a larger armhole.  That advice stood me in good stead.  The fit was excellent –  if I do say so myself. Roundy shoulders be damned!:)!

You may notice a difference between my Tegna and the pattern.  I decided to add some vertical stripes to the main part of the body  in the form of p1, k1tbl, p1, k11.  They flow from the lace pattern and, as I said on my Instagram post, give my horizontals a little bit of vertical:).

ON THE NEEDLES

I may have mentioned a paragraph or so ago that I have (mumblety-mumblety) projects on the needles.  Yeah… a lot. But there are a few I am working on, one, in particular, I am trying to “bang out.” It’s getting to be a theme this year.

So, last weekend I started another Caitlin Hunter beauty – the Nordiska sweater.  It’s a short-sleeved v-neck, top-down sweater in the round.  I am knitting it with some Rowan Pure Wool superwash DK I bought last year for a sweater I thought I could steek, but of course, the superwash part put the kibosh on that. I am knitting the largest size because my swatch told me to.  I hope it was telling the truth.  

I am about 15 rounds from FINALLY dividing for the sleeves. Right now I’m at over 425 stitches and each round is taking. for. ev. er…. Am hoping to get to the dividing round before the weekend is over.  We shall see.  I have a work project that will take a few hours to do first.

The other projects waiting in the wings (aside from the other 56 or so…) are:

The Iqualit Shawl by The Petite Knitter aka Wei Chien:

What the Fade by Andrea Mowry (this picture is a bit wonky – am in the middle of a round):

Here are all the colors I’m using.  The letters above each skein indicate the order of pairing.  A with D, B with E, C with F.  So far I am having a so-so time with it.  I may frog this project and either start it again or use the yarn for another one of the Mowry “fades.” Not sure yet.But I love these skeins. 

I am also working on a scarf/hat project for the Columbia Sip ‘n Knit.  One of our knitters, Judy M., has become a CASA (YAY!!) in the county where I work.  A CASA is a court-appointed special advocate, a volunteer who works with one child or family at a time that is involved in the foster care system.  Judy has started a KAL to knit scarves and hats for kids in care.  I saw this yarn and thought it would be make a nice scarf/hat combo.  I am using Hunter Hammersen’s Causation pattern for the reversible scarf pattern and maybe fingerless gloves if I have enough yarn left; and her Correlation pattern for the hat.

OTHER CRAFTY RABBIT HOLES…….!!!!

Many years ago, I was a cross-stitching maniac.  I’ve done some form of knitting, and needlework since I was ten years old, with a few breaks for having babies, going to law school and the insanity which was my life. The cross-stitching fell a bit by the wayside once I got to law school in the late 80s.  Then there were the years of working insane hours to really learn the profession, and then, of course, the ATF (arms too short) or TMB (too many birthdays) syndrome hit my vision and close work with linen was out of the question.  But a new set of glasses and the kids growing up have caused me to take it up again.  I finished a project I started 32 years ago this past spring.  I may have posted about it here – or maybe on instagram:

LOL – Busted! The frame glass has found me out:)

So… I have another project from those days that is still in progress, but moving along. Like the Maryland piece above, it is a real treasure by Cadle Creek.  I fear they may have gone out of business.  They did a number of beautiful cross stitch designs of a number of historic places.  This is of the Chesapeake Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD, where we all lived for about a year and a half.  My youngest was a newborn when I started this project (even before the Maryland one above). My youngest turned 33 this year.  The colors are still very vibrant.  Looking forward to finally finishing this little lovely.

I have a few new projects waiting in the wings, but the first one I will do once the one above is finished is “Suffrage Act” by Diane Williams for Little House Needleworks. Our foremothers fought bravely for our right to vote, some at risk to life and limb, suffering torture and disparagement from society at large. They deserve to be remembered.  

That’s one old-new rabbit hole I’ve fallen into. Let me tell you about the new one:

Yep.  I am taking a class for newbies at Cloverhill Yarn Shop in the next town over (Catonsville, Merlin).  There are four of us in the class.  One is super-experienced – she’s woven with floor looms.  Another has done this before and is taking a refresher.  The remaining two of us (including yours truly) are total beginners.  It’s a 20-hour class that takes place over weekend mornings.  Today, tomorrow (Sunday), next Saturday and the Saturday after.  I’m glad we are doing two classes back to back on the first weekend. Once we finish completely warping the looms, we can take our work home to weave.  Apparently, that’s the easy part. 

What got me interested in learning how to weave on a rigid heddle loom was seeing a couple of my knitting friends warp a loom and weave an entire scarf in the course of an afternoon. Knitting something that size would take me at least a week of intensive knitting (for me intensive means every night after work_). It’s a great use of stash and a great opportunity to experiment with color and texture.  I’ll be happy to adequately plain weave at this point! I actually bought the loom I’m learning on, so I anticipate it will be the one I use for quite some time.  I was gifted a beautiful 32-inch wide Kromsky by my daughter B., a few years back, thinking it would be easy enough to learn on my own.  Unfortunately, I got hung up on the warping. I will certainly now be able to use the training I get on this Ashford to see where I was going wrong.  And now I have a good local resource for materials should I need some – and I know I will need a few things.  This loom has the ability to let you use two heddles, so that’s a future purchase – and I will also need a few more thingies for the weft (forgot the term, LOL!). 

So yeah, when you visit me at the Funny Farm, you’ll know I’ll have plenty to do…

🙂

Life, in general, is moving along.  It is summertime – and one of the hottest we’ve had on record, but of course there’s no climate change.  And don’t get me started on politics! Trust me, you don’t want to. 

As to music, St. J’s hired a new musician and we are all very hopeful for next year.  I’m staying away for a bit. Have been to the WNC* with Nancy and Rennie and other friends and that’s been great spiritual food.  I am so conflicted about St. J’s but I will do my best starting in September when the rehearsals start back up.  

Work is work.  I can’t talk about it here, except to say I have wonderful clients and interesting colleagues and that we’ve had two retirements in the firm since last I posted.  I don’t plan on quitting until I absolutely have to or until they tell me I have to (which I sure hope never happens!)

Well, that’s all I have for now.  Until next time, God be with you ’til we meet again+

*Washington National Cathedral

Happy Holidays:)

To the 2.5 readers who continue to stick with this haphazardly published blog, Happy (belated) Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, a blessed Kwanzaa and a Happy New Year. And if I forgot any other Holiday  (Festivus?:)), please forgive me and throw that one in too.

So much has been happening.  My goodness, where to begin?

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Everyone except our youngest and her new spouse was here. They were with the other side of the family, helping out and enjoying the holiday.  We are lucky to have them around here in Merlin, a blessing for which I am very thankful.

Christmas is looming and of course, I’m not ready.  I’ll be ready at about 4 a.m. on Christmas Eve, per usual:).  

Christmas Eve, I plan to be ringing with the bell choir, singing a song or two, and playing the tympani on some of the more bombastic numbers.  My favorite part of the services is after Communion when the entire congregation sings Silent Night. The last verse is a spine-tingling moment of awe. It is then that the organ drops out and the church, lit mostly by candlelight, echoes the quiet combination of voices, young and old, choir and congregation, lay and clergy, singing a capella.  Moments like that bring the real Mystery of Christmas to the forefront for me.

Sadly, as with much of life, we are undergoing a change at St. J’s.  Our beloved Music Director will be retiring  – unfortunately at the direction of our new Rector who has other “plans” for this place. I don’t know what the future will hold. I don’t really know the new Rector.  Right now I don’t know that I want to. However, I love this place and especially love this congregation.  Part of me wants to pick up my marbles and go elsewhere and I may have to.  But there’s another part of me that knows that we will do more than just endure.  We will survive and thrive. And besides all that, I don’t want to waste my time being a hater.  Time and contemplation will tell.

We will be celebrating our Music Director’s extraordinary musical career at the end of January.  A number of us – current and former members of the choirs, will be with her in the Gallery/Choir Loft the next Sunday as well, standing with her for her last service. Sadly, I will be out of town that Sunday, but they will all be in my heart. My time in this choir has included some of the happiest times of my life. And the memories of those times will live on.

To the more mundane aspects of life, LOL: on the knitting front, I remain remarkably monogamous to a couple of projects, (oh the irony of that sentence!).  The Daffodil is off to the side, back completed, but needing re-doing/lengthening and the front about 2/3 done. This is an earlier progress pic:

For the past six weeks or so, I’ve been working when I can on Jennifer Steingass’ Treelight pattern from Making No. 6 Black and White. Please pardon the sideways picture and the not-so-great light.  The entire eastern seaboard of the USA is heading for a major winter rain storm.  Hey it could be worse – it could be snow!

Well that’s all I have for now.  Be well and Happy Holidays – and God be with you ’til we meet again:)!+

So far, it’s been a hell of a summer

Originally posted on Nov. 12, 2018….. but forgot to publish it.  

…but before I begin with my life, OMG, have you seen this?

Webs is selling kits for Franklin Habit’s Dolores – complete with sunglasses! – and an additional kit to make Dolores’ Rhinebeck Sweater! Am I going to buy one or both? Not today.  Too much month left at the end of the money, but I’m saving up for both if I can. Are they not the cutest? What an adorable toy she would make.  Dolores is a wild woman, but I believe our Patty and she would soon be fast friends and partners in crime! (God help us.)

Isn’t it funny the kind of thing that wakes me up from blog fading? It has been a crazy almost-6-months – see chronology below:

*   June 11: The day after my last post, my knee went out after court that morning.  I could barely walk to the parking garage, get in my car and get home. Taking the next ten days off work helped me heal a bit, but after an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon and an MRI, I soon learned that surgery is in my future. It was at first scheduled for today, but something (too-high blood pressure) got in the way, so we are holding off until late September, to better plan the thing.

*    June 24: Two weeks after I last posted, our (my sibs and my) Dad died. Suddenly.  He hadn’t been in great shape to begin with, but this was a bit unexpected, an accident, really. Dad and our stepmother were both very active in their trade union.   Dad was a fairly staunch agnostic if one can use the word “staunch” and “agnostic” in the same phrase.  He felt that religion was the cause of the world’s ills.  I felt that it might have also lessened a lot of the world’s ills.  I suppose the jury is still out on that one.

Anyway, we will all likely get together at some point to honor his memory, but there was no traditional funeral or even a burial, as he was cremated – which left us all to deal with the loss in our own way.  Of course, the one most devastated by this was our stepmother who cared for him as his health declined over the years.  Parkinsonian Syndrome was progressing into Parkinson’s, leaving bits of his memory and much of his physical ability behind.  She told me once that she had decided to make their home into a sort of nursing home for him, which she did, digging into their remaining savings to provide for health aides for him and a home that was comfortable for him.  She made a conscious choice to enjoy the brief moments of lucidity when he was truly himself – and that helped her get through the tougher moments. They were a close couple who loved – and argued – passionately. I know he has left a big hole in her life and I hope their shared memories will be a great source of solace for her.

I also believe that our youngest three sisters who had the least amount of time with him, have been deeply hurt by his passing.  He never met his youngest two granddaughters, which is beyond horrible.

Dad died on a Sunday.  A fan of his, New York dentist Allan Sniffen, if I am not mistaken, is the person who had started a non-profit website years ago called Rewound Radio, dedicated to rock and roll radio.  The weekend after Dad’s death, Mr. Sniffen put together 48-plus hours of Dad’s shows from 1961 through 2003, encompassing his time at WABC-AM from 1961-1983 and WCBS-FM through 2003.

Rewound Radio has done other such tributes to various radio stations, disc jockeys, and radio shows.  I remember one time, in particular, a few years ago: my father’s 20th-anniversary show from 1981 was being aired online.  His mom – my grandmother – phoned in because she had learned that sending a telegram would take too long. She came from the generation in which, if you couldn’t attend an event, you sent a telegram, offering best wishes.  At the end of the show, Dad played a recording of my grandfather, singing “By a Waterfall.”  At the same time, our kids and grandkids were over for  Sunday dinner.  I pointed up at the machine amplifying the online show and said, “Kids, that’s your great-grandfather, that’s your great-great-grandmother, that’s your great-great-grandfather singing.”

A surreal moment for me, a late baby-boomer who thought fax machines were nothing short of magic, but for them, my post-internet space-age darlings, it was nothing new.

That show was included in the tribute that took place the weekend after Dad’s death. John, the DH, set up his iPad to play it nonstop in our kitchen – the place where we always had the radio playing at home.  Like everyone else who enjoyed AM radio at that time (and of course I was one of them), I laughed at the jokes, enjoyed the music and (in my case at least) cried at the loss. So that was my personal funeral for Dad, attended by thousands, and yet just one.

Music has been always the background and foreground of my life.  The very first home I lived in was my grandparents’ house in Malverne, NY.  Grandfather was a musician. At one time he had headlined his own big band, traveled around, made records.  He played with the likes of Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey. He worked gigs, taught in schools, and taught me how to play the flute. Flute was his first instrument, tenor sax, his second. He practiced both while I took naps. My grandmother was a cellist and the best, sweetest Grandma anyone could ever have, my dad was a jazz lover, my mother trained as a singer. Throughout my childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, the radio was on all day and the stereo at night. So, a musical tribute had a great deal of meaning for me, to say the least.

People often asked me what it was like growing up with a father you heard on the radio and also on TV doing commercials. I thought it a strange question because I had never grown up without one who did that.  Although I do recall when John and I were still just dating, he would jokingly put a band-aid across the radio band in his car when my father was on the air.:)

Another question people would ask a lot: “Is he as funny at home as he is on the radio?” Ahh, that was complicated.  As we got older the answer was more and more “yes” – and actually more so, because he could say at home what you didn’t dare say on the radio. When we were younger, however, he was still in the midst of parenting tasks, which were often decidedly NOT funny:).

I will miss him until I die.  I hope he was pleasantly surprised by the wonders of Heaven:)

*    July 19-20: Last week, John, the kids (except Dan who is still in NYC), grandkids, and I went to Hershey, PA for a family reunion with John’s side of the family.  Every last one of us had a terrific time, though I fear John went through a bit of suffering pushing me in a wheelchair uphill from time to time. Onlookers were a little confused when at one point I stood up from the wheelchair, saying “It’s a miracle” and went on a ride.

UPCOMING:

*     August 22-25: I attended a professional conference in San Antonio, TX.  In the past, this has not entailed a great amount of walking, thank goodnesss:)! I did a wee bit of walking and got to know a co-worker and admire her all over again.

*     September 22: Our youngest wed her fiancee, Liz, in Ohio and I was privileged to be presiding over their ceremony. That same day, her cousin was wed to his wife in a much more conservative Catholic ceremony in New York.  We love them both and pray for a good life together for all of them:)!

on the knitting front…..

I have been working all summer on a Marie Wallin pattern called Daffodil.  

The above picture is a few weeks old. I have since finished the back and started the front.  However, I discovered that when I finished the back, it was much too short.  So…. I decided to finish the back as it should be, rip out the shaping on the front and match it up to the back. Fingers crossed it goes as it should:).

In October, I was at the Columbia Sip ‘N Knit’s retreat at the Clagett Center in Adamstown, MD.  I purchased a sweater’s amount of Shepherd’s Wool at the Knot House in Frederick, MD with my co-conspirator, Anika.  I decided to use the wool to knit Treelight by Jennifer Steingass –  from Making Magazine No. 6 Black and White. I will use the colors the creator suggests in Shepherd’s Wool – 6 skeins from the Knot House and 2 skeins from Cloverhill Yarns in Catonsville.

Friends, I wish you well.

God be with you ’til we meet again.