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.

Reviving Past Treasures

What a couple of crazy weeks it’s been here in Merlin! The second major flood in two years has yet again threatened to destroy what remains of a beautiful old town.  The main suspect is over-development of the area and consequent lack of absorption of rainwater. If I understand this correctly (and I may not have it all right), past flooding has been the result of rising waters from the Tiber River overflowing into the low lying Main Street. More recent flooding has occurred more from “top-down” – water that cannot soak into the ground due to uphill development of the land rushes downhill into the town. I do know that a number of businesses will not be able to survive two attacks and will either be closing their doors or moving to higher ground.  A shame – the beauty of Old Ellicott City is the cluster of unique whimsical shops.  I’ve known a number of people who travel there once or twice a year from all over the state to enjoy a day of shopping, lunch or dinner, and maybe even a ghost tour or two.

Friday, two of my colleagues covered my three cases and I took the day to attend granddaughter Patty’s Pre-K graduation.  She and one of her teachers, “Ms. Jo,” are pictured above.  I never met a sweeter person than Ms. Jo.  She told me she’s been teaching nursery school for 26 years.  She definitely has a heart for it.  As each child crossed a little wooden “bridge” in the classroom, Ms. Jo put her hands on each child’s little shoulders and told all of us something unique and wonderful about each child. She really “gets” her students – at least I know she “got” Patty! “Where Patty goes, you will find a party.”Amen sister:)!

One of the crafty podcasts I have recently started watching regularly on YouTube is Stitching the High Notes with OperaJo (her Ravelry name) – an opera singer (I suspect a soprano), fundraiser, and all-around crafter from the San Francisco Bay area in California.  Joanna is a knitter and sewer and also cross stitches among many other things I am sure. Viewing her beautiful stitching projects had me resurrecting some of my own.

I started these babies in the mid 1980s! I still rather like them.  Both are kits from Cadle Creek Heirloom Series.  I looked for more of them online, but could only find one or two for sale on Ebay.  Assume they are no longer in business.  If anyone out there knows, please let me know.  I really liked this series and still do.  The top one you see here was started in anticipation of my first year of law school. I bought it at a local craft store in St. Michaels, MD when we lived there in 1986-1987.

This one I bought at the St. Michaels Maritime Museum a couple of months before we moved there in 1986.

I was happy to see that the materials were still in fairly good shape – yay DMC:)! The only bad thing was a rather plasticky smell from the plastic bags in which I had stored them.  I suspect that smell will diminish with washing and fresh air.

What is surprising to me is how far along I had gotten on these.  I do know that in 1987 we moved back to the other side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and I began law school shortly thereafter.  That, the raising of our six kids, and staying alive took up all my time, so these beauties remained on the shelf.  I gave it a try again in 2002, but I had gotten too farsighted for the detail work and put it aside again. When one of our daughters, S, started cross-stitching some badass samplers, I thought she might want to work on these, but her style is a lot different from mine.  For example, there is a small crocheted hoop hanging near the kitchen sink that says, “Dishes are DONE, man!” – a reference to a line in the movie Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead. Now THAT’s some cross-stitching!

Anyway, I spent an hour or so last night sorting through the floss for the Maritime Museum project and today rescued the Old Line State project from the basement along with some Aida fabric. I think I may just finish these – finally:)! Thirty-two years might be a record for a WIP, don’t you think?

In addition, I bought some floss, needles and Aida cloth for another project at Everything Crossstitch to create another sampler I was admiring in a book I bought a long time ago.

HAH – my husband is going to lose his mind when he sees that….

ON THE KNITTING FRONT:

Some progress to report on the Truckbeth Carbeth.  First sleeve is DONE, man! It took practically no time at all – don’t know why I procrastinated!

Speaking of reviving past treasures, I picked up my On the Spice Market shawl and am now in the home stretch, sort of:

No more of those triple stitch thingies!!! Yay!!! I love the colors in this thing.  Cannot wait to get it finished! Don’t  you love it when a WIP is further along than you thought?

I’ve also made some progress on the Nina2 Am now well into the second half.

Finally, the Columbia Sip ‘n Knit group is working on a KAL for All About that Brioche.  I wound the yarn that needed winding and started the first section but screwed it up, so I frogged it and need to begin again.  But it’s looking cute in its little project bag:

Well never let it be said I have nothing to do.;)

Gotta go – 11 of the 17 are coming for dinner and John is cooking! Which means I get to clean the house and kitchen. I’ll take it!

God be with you ’til we meet again:)+

An Update

Dear friends,

Our dear DIL R, came home last night in one piece, thank goodness! Our daughter, her wife, B, picked her up in Old Ellicott.  Strangely enough, she was pictured on our local news as she was trying to get a message to B as to where she was. That hasn’t alleviated the pain and suffering, though.  So many are heartbroken yet again over losses of life and property. None of the group save those who live here were present on Sunday, but many came by Monday for pizza and sympathy.

This past weekend, beginning Thursday, has been a microcosm of “The Agony and the Ecstasy.” We saw our son in an amazing play (YAY).  We enjoyed a holiday weekend (YAY).  Ellicott City flooded again (HUGE BOOOOO!!!).  Our family got together (YAY).  Our granddaughter, M, graduated from high school today:)! (MAJOR YAY!!!)

And life goes on for all of us, except for the wonderful officer and gentleman National Guardsman named Sgt. Eddison Hermond, who saved one woman in our town, and was washed away to the Patapsco River where he met his Maker.

Flood waters in the past came about from the local river (the Tiber) overflowing after a major storm, like a hurricane. These days, the water flows from the opposite direction, due to an overabundance of development, asphalt, and the tearing down of trees.  I know that my daughter-in-law was traumatized and the owner of the gallery for which she works is seriously considering relocating. It breaks my heart.  Will “Old Ellicott” become a ghost town – unlike the Ghost Tours I’ve mentioned in the past, will the town itself be abandoned? The thought breaks my heart!

To discuss my knitting seems almost sacrilegious, yet, I have to report that in all this destruction, there is actually a Finished Object: not a great thing, a Mere Hat, based upon the Ephemeris pattern by Hunter Hammerson. I am not sure which of my children – or grandchildren – will receive it, but it is safely tucked away for Christmas:)

Am still working on the Nina shawl and will then head over to the Truckbeth Carbeth.

Dear friends, if you are the praying sort, please pray for my dear adopted city of Ellicott and my new home of Merlin.  My heart aches for them:)!

God be with you ’til we meet again!:)

Getting Old and Moldy

Or at least it feels that way, LOL:)! We just had a few days of lovely sunshine, so I can’t complain when the view out my front door looks like this:

though it is making our getting together this evening more problematic than usual. One of our progeny is coming back from a visit to in-laws on the Eastern Shore, one is working a night shift, and two are still on the job.  I barely made it home from the supermarket in time to avoid getting well and truly soaked.  The DH came out to help and handed me an umbrella – saved the day:)! My main hope, of course, is that all and sundry get home safely.  We can always get together another time.

Our youngest turned 32 this past week, so we’ll be celebrating her birthday tonight.  Ms. Penultimate, S, is AGAIN cooking dinner and has already baked a cake – which is why I have time to type this thing – as the thunder claps and the lightning flashes outside the window.

This week has been a busy one despite having one docket day free of hearings.  Despite that, the husband and I had the opportunity to see our son, Danny, in Everyman’s production of The Book of Joseph. I have said this before many times, but it has long gotten to the point where I stop seeing my son on the stage and instead see the character he is portraying.  This particular play is adapted from Richard Hollander’s book, Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland – a loving homage to a great and courageous man, Joseph Hollander, Richard’s father.  The US Holocaust museum told the author that the correspondence contained in the suitcase Joseph Hollander left behind after his untimely death was the most complete of its kind in the history of that time.

As a Long Island kid who grew up in the 60s and 70s, a great number of my friends and family knew far too many people who had survived – or were related to people who had survived  – the Holocaust.  I am so grateful that my “Granny and Papa from Brooklyn” (my then stepmother’s first (late) husband’s parents – Jews from Germany who treated us goyische kids like their own grandchildren) came to the US in 1917 at the end of WWI and before Hitler’s rise to power.  Papa and other businessmen worked together to sneak young people out of Europe at a time when US anti-semitism abounded.  When one young man he had helped smuggle out of Germany in a box came to America and became a success, it was as if his own son (a doctor, by the way:)) had done it.  When he died prematurely of a heart attack, Papa grieved his loss as he had his own son, Dr. Alan Schonbrun, of liver cancer years before.

I was surprised at the depth of emotion this play stirred up in me.  Perhaps this is partly because as I was learning about the horrors of the Holocaust as a child, the reality of those horrors hadn’t really registered with me. After all, most of my friends’ parents just didn’t talk about it. Too, I suppose it is because I see so many parallels to how we as a country treat immigrants.  It’s disgusting, despicable and unAmerican.  I hope I don’t spoil the play for you if I tell you that one of the very last scenes at the end is a “family movie” played on the back wall of the set with Hollander’s deceased relatives’ six great-grandchildren reciting each of the names of his family members.#NeverForget

Tomorrow we remember the many people who gave their lives in service to our country -if not for them, who knows where we would be?  When I was in sixth grade, our teacher, Norman Herzlich (who himself was a survivor of the Battle of the Bulge) had us memorize the Preamble to the US Constitution.  In seventh grade, Ms. LaTulipe (now known  as the late Mrs. Denise Heageny), our English teacher, had us memorize In Flanders Fields.  I still remember the first stanza.

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae1872 – 1918

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place, and in the sky, 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly, 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe! 
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high! 
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep….

If we continue to support unAmerican prejudice, keep the poor desperate, destroy the middle class, take away workers rights and steal the just wage away from them in support of maintaining the wealth of a very few, we are breaking faith with those who have died to keep us free. Don’t forget, many of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, and marines were and are average folks, poor folks like the rest of us.  They had greatness and heroism thrust upon them and rose to the occasion.  How can I not “take a knee” at the thought of injustice, cruelty and bigotry? How can I break faith with those who fought for my rights?

The best way to remember those who died for us – ALL of us – is to continue to work so that this wonderful country is the best it can be – always.

UPDATE: FLASH FLOODS!!!

Well folks, it looks like Main Street in Old Ellicott City is flooded again.  My daughter-in-law, Robyn, who works at the Horse Spirit Gallery in Old Ellicott City, just sent us this video – thank God they are upstairs in the gallery! Meantime, we’ve called the others who are either staying home or headed back. Waters are still rising and the lights are flickering.  Will post more later.

Spring/Summer Finally!

Until this morning, the skies looked like this for almost all of last week:

On the Tuesday the above photos were taken, I was on my way to bell practice.  We rehearsed very quickly that evening, then all of us got drenched leaving early, getting to our cars and getting home. There was a tornado watch and in some parts of the state, I believe one or two small ones were seen, thankfully none touched down.

Despite the weather, I managed to get in a lot of client visits along with the usual rounds of courthouse time.

Then, this morning, the world was in bloom:

That thing we call the sun actually made an appearance in the morning sky. Who knew? And miracle of miracles, I actually made it to church today. Today in the Western Church, we celebrate Pentecost (In Judaism it’s Shavuot) – the commemoration of the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the early Christians (In Judaism, it’s about the Ark of the Covenant, I think- Shavuot??).  I mention this because there is a reading from the New Testament in which the Holy Spirit descends upon the public, and suddenly people were speaking in a myriad of languages – sort of the opposite of the story of the Tower of Babel.  We replicated this scene this morning – an English speaker started the reading with people beginning the same reading and continuing on in another language – Korean, Spanish, Basque, Latin, Russian, German and back again to English.  I was one of the German readers.  Thankfully, it was so cacophonous that nobody heard all the errors I made!

In the Gallery/Choir Loft, the bell choir, the adult choir, the instrumental group and of course, our organist/choirmaster played. Usually, Pentecost is the last Sunday we play before taking a break for the summer.  We will be playing and singing in a few things here and there until September, but the regular rehearsals are done for a bit.

This week has been a whirlwind in contrast to the very quiet previous week at work – much more court time and lots of client visits, so not a lot of knitting happened. I had a lovely Mother’s Day last Sunday – my kids are obviously very forgiving! When they had all gone home, I called my Dad and stepmom to see how they were doing.

There are a bunch of events on the horizon, both personal and professional, that I am happily anticipating: in July, most of us will be attending a family reunion with my husband’s family.  The dear husband is one of nine children born to his late parents, seven of whom are still with us, twenty-eight grandchildren, many of whom are married, (I think) 41 great grandchildren, and 1 great great grandchild. In other words, there are a lot of us:)! It’s to be at Hershey Park in PA.  I don’t plan on going on rides, but do look forward to seeing everybody! And maybe the odd glass of vino and a joke or two…

In August, I hope we will be able to visit my Dad and stepmom in Florida.  Yes, I know, Florida in August is not an optimal time to visit, but we have tickets we never used and need to use or lose them early in the month. Thank goodness the husband is a hotelman and works for a really really good hotel company, so we will very likely have a great place to stay as we always do!

At the end of August, I will be attending the NACC (National Association of Counsel for Children) Conference in San Antonio Texas.  I try to get to this conference whenever I can.  This year, my firm is reimbursing our expenses (except for food – but one would eat at home, right?) and though the initial outlay is a challenge, it is well worth it.  One of my favorite people from Lambda Legal in NY will be presenting and I want to update him on a client of mine whom he helped (by helping me). The topics are always timely and incredibly helpful.  I always come away with a renewed commitment to do the very best I can for our clients. Hopefully, a bunch of us will be going so we can enjoy it together.  Did I tell you I have the best colleagues you could ever wish for? Well, I do.  There’s not one of them I wouldn’t trust with my own kids.

And, saving the best for last, in September, our youngest daughter, J, will be getting married to her fiancee, L, in Ohio. We are all very happy for both of them and though we wonder what L thinks of us sometimes, we are happy and grateful to have her join our family – after all, we put the “fun” in dysfunctional. The two of them are truly made for each other. I just know they will be happy – because they already are:)!  The wedding will be at one of Ohio’s beautiful parks – perfect for both of them as they are such great outdoorswomen!

I have a great deal to look forward to:)! (pardon the misplacement of the preposition, LOL).

On the Knitting Front:

Work continues on the Nina Shawl, because, let’s face it, X number of stockinette rows is an easy “go-to” when you are sitting down after work and watching the boob tube (trying to get away from mentions of the idiot in DC).

At this point, I am about half-way through the project.  Note the “checkerboardy” bit on the right side of the picture.  I just had to try 3-color linen stitch.  Yes, what appears to be black and light pink is actually black, maroon and light pink.  Trust me, that’s what you would see in person.  Am now on the BIG stripe of red, heading back down again.  This will be a gift to someone. Whom, I don’t know yet. My goal this year is to knit a little something for everyone in our 20-member family (including the step-grands) before Santa jumps down our non-existent chimney.  It’s a goal.  We. Shall. See.

The Truckbeth Carbeth is still awaiting further work, as is the Shawl based on a Weldon Veil.  So of course, I started yet another project (one of the Christmas items): the Ephemeris hat by Hunter Hammersen. I am having a heck of a time with the stitch pattern above the brim. I’m not sure if I’m getting it right, but I like it enough to keep it as is.  We shall see, LOL:) I am knitting it in worsted weight in smaller needles which may have something to do with why it looks a wee bit different than the pattern.  And, that’s Oh Kay..

There isn’t much else new to report. Until next time, God be with you ’til we meet again+

Happy Mother’s Day:)

Spring hath definitely sprung here in Merlin, USA.  The snapshot above is of a tree-lined street near Baltimore County DSS where I attended a meeting this past week.  I took the picture while pulled over briefly – couldn’t resist. It has been an unusual week for me in that I had no regularly scheduled cases on any of the three docket days.  I had one shelter hearing but that was all. I did schedule a LOT of visits, made and received a lot of phone calls and emails as is usual, but it was very strange being away from the day-to-day interactions – both good and not-so-good – that life at the courthouse affords.

Yesterday (Saturday) I spent a full day visiting clients and speaking with another one on the phone.  At the placement for two clients, I sat outside under the shade of a tree while talking with the clients and their caregivers, gaining information on a new case.  When I got home some three hours later, I had a sunburn! I swear, it’s those “unplanned” times in the sun that will give me skin cancer (Heaven forfend!) because who puts on sunscreen when you work mostly indoors or in the car?

The week started out with an attempted visit to a client in Montgomery County.  Unfortunately, the group home I was visiting was in the midst of getting the country lane to their parking lot paved and trucks blocked my way.  I rescheduled.  Frustrating, but the drive in the beautiful woods off the beaten track was a treat.  I revisited a place I had seen about a year earlier – the Oakley Cabin -and it remains a peaceful and beautiful spot.

Next week begins tomorrow and there will be a lot on the proverbial plate; all the more reason for enjoying this quiet Sunday.  My daughter, S. will once again be making dinner for the Sunday crowd -for which I am extremely grateful (yay for being done with her second year of law school!). As soon as I am done with this blog post, I am headed to a nearby yarn shop to start a new project because I want to support the yarn shop we have and because I want to enjoy a brief calm before getting back into the storm of life. Sadly not because I want to be a good little lawyer and get a jump on the week’s work.

Top of the workbasket                      

Not a heck of a lot to report on the knitting front.  I have a tendency to stick with a project for a while, getting to a certain stage before working on another one. Somehow, things get done and I am never bored.  A number of projects that were in my Ravelry projects have been slated for frogging – a good thing because those yarns will be used for another project.       

Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t STILL have (mumblety-mumblety) projects still awaiting finishing! Recently, I’ve been focusing on getting to the halfway point of Nina No.2 :

It’s been an enjoyable knit, though that garter stitch edge is driving me batty.  I may just turn it up and tack it onto the back, creating a hem – oh wait – is that what the pattern says to do? I’ll check back with you on that, LOL!:).

Not much progress on the three other projects in the workbasket: the Shawl Based on a Weldon’s Veil by Carolyn Wyborny from the June/July 2018 edition of Piecework Magazine; the green pair of socks; and the Truckbeth Carbeth continue to await more progress. No point in posting pictures yet.                 

As Porky Pig used to say at the end of the cartoons, “That’s all, Folks!”

God be with you ’til we meet again+

Postscript: Forgot to mention that a former client of mine texted me earlier this morning to wish me a happy mother’s day.  She is doing well – working full time (just quit a second job) and owns her own home! Squeeeeeeee!!! She stays in touch with her CASA (court-appointed special advocate) and is doing well. Best gift ever.

Having a lovely time….

What a great way to start a weekend! Our eldest grandchild, M., performed Friday evening with the Mount Hebron HS dance company.  She was very happy.  This has been a great year for her.  You can see the happiness on her face as she poses with her aunt and sister right after the performance. She and her family will be coming by today to celebrate and enjoy the food stylings of her other aunt, S. Yes folks, that’s right, I’m not cooking this Sunday – do I hear a Hallelujah?!

As if that were not enough, yesterday began what I like to think of here in Merlin as the Knitting High Holy Days: Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I was to “woman” the Hospitality Tent run by our local Columbia Sip ‘N Knit (of which I am a member) and sponsored by a number of ventures local to the MD-DC-VA area. I was supposed to be there at 9, but the traffic getting there was incredibly slow.  So I got there a bit late, but there were no “customers” yet, so no harm done.

I took very few pictures, but I can honestly say a good time was had by all.

I’ve been coming to Sheep and Wool consistently since 2007.  While I have spent money buying yarn, it’s rare for me to buy huge amounts of anything at Sheep and Wool.  I enjoy the company of the knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, farmers, authors, and vendors from all over the country – especially the knitters. It’s fun to sit and relax in the Hospitality Tent with my “peeps” and see all the goodies others have purchased.  For some who live in somewhat isolated rural areas, the Sheep and Wool Festival is an opportunity to buy a year’s worth of supplies for their business, farm, or artistic endeavors. They buy a lot, but they buy carefully, mindful of their costs and needs, and especially of quality. These are the people who do not necessarily fall into the latest fads in knitting or fashion; these are frugal hardworking people who don’t waste their money. Others are fairly well-to-do and enjoy this opportunity to share their passion for their fiber-related craft. Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had at Sheep and Wool have been with people I would otherwise have never met from many walks of life.  For that, I feel very lucky.  This year, I met people from Long Island, not far from where I grew up, some from VA and DC, one from Scranton, PA.  The conversation was friendly.  We were all interested in what the other was knitting, what they bought, and where they were from. There was a lot of laughter (see above knitting-related shirt art:)) and, as I said, a great time was had by all.

In terms of stash acquisition, as previous posts have shown, I have been very active on that front in recent months, so I kept my yarn purchases to a minimum and only shopped at that local yarn shop that was selling its remaining wares at under costs.  I stood on a bit of a line for this and a bad knee kept me from really wandering around to ooh and ahh over the goods of the many colorful vendors present. For that I am sorry.  But I was able to make a decent enhancement to yarn and needle stash and also got a few plants for our daughter S’s summer vegetable garden.

You can see the three plants above.  Do not be fooled by the bags of projects.  I brought three along, with the idea of discouraging too much yarn buying.  Yarn tends to be squishy. One can pack down quite a bit in the bottom of a bag:). When I got home, I organized what I had obtained and I think I did well.  I added to my growing collection of Shetland wool yarn, purchased two circular needles for sock knitting and two sets of straight needles that were just cute, a ball of self-patterning sock yarn that will likely be a pair for someone in my family, enough of a lovely yellow yarn to make a shawl, three skeins of cotton-ish skeins that were just pretty, and eight skeins of self-patterning yarn that will make one or two grandchild-sized sweaters (depending on the grandchild). All of this cost a fraction of what it would have done normally.  The downside is of course, that another local yarn shop will be gone.

As soon as I could, I logged onto Ravelry and entered this into the stash.  When starting a new project, I will know what I already have and it will be more likely that I will “shop from stash.”

Knitting

Yes, there’s been knitting.  I finally started the first sleeve of the Truckbeth Carbeth.  It will be a priority to finish in the coming week.  Not likely to be worn until the coming autumn, but what a nice thing to have a couple of new sweaters waiting for you when sweater weather hits:)! More pics to come.

I’ve made some progress on A Shawl Based on a Weldon’s Veil.  I’m still at the lace part, using some nice purpley laceweight held double:

I took it along with me to Sheep and Wool, but it’s really not the sort of pattern one can do while chatting, so I left it alone until I could get home and give it the proper focus it needs.

I finished the first of the pair of green socks I’ve been working on and made some decent headway into the second one – to put the kibosh on Second Sock Syndrome. In the project pouch is a skein of sock yarn to keep me going on the next sock project.:)

I’ve picked up my second Nina Shawl to work on again – love the colors and hope to take less time finishing this than the cotton one that has yet to be finished!

Gotta go clean up a bit before Sunday dinner with the gang:) Feeling exceedingly grateful for all of life’s blessings.

Hope the coming week is good to you, my friend – and God be with you ’til we meet again+

Spring Hath Sprung and Happy Bearthday!

Or perhaps one can say it’s peeking around the corner, hesitantly moving forward in fits and starts:).  That’s OK – I’ll take it!

The past week or so has been pretty much same old same old. Not a whole bunch to report, except I did finally finish the Bright Sweater! That last sleeve took sooooo long to finish. I have to laugh – I thought for sure by the time I was done with the thing, I’d have to wait until next year to wear it.  Nope.  I wore it yesterday until the temperatures finally hit 60 degrees F/16 degrees C.  It fit fine, though I would have been happy to have been a bit smaller myself:).

And hey, it folds well:).  

I should continue working on the next thing in my Ravelry cue, but was tempted to work on another purply item:

It’s the Nathaniel Sweater by Michele Wang – Volume III of the knit.wear Wool Studio series put out by Interweave Press. This volume features Michele Wang’s incredible designs.  I may have mentioned this in previous blog posts.  I am a big fan of Ms. Wang’s work – I have to say there is nothing in this volume that I do not want to cast on.  In fact, I am hoping to knit two of this design in different colors.  I mean, what could be so bad about having two lightweight roomy knitted tops, each making use of a simple yet elegant stitch pattern?

The piece is deceptively simple.  Though the stitch pattern is easy – it uses only knits and purls, no cables or lace – you must pay attention to it until you get the row sequence correct. Ask me how I know;).

After a few repeats of the stitch pattern, I decided to take a break and worked for a while on the afghan. Not much progress this weekend.  If I’m a good girl and get properly prepared for tomorrow’s fun and frolic at work this evening, I might have some time to work some more on either this or the Carbeth. Or maybe if I’m a bad girl;)….

Well, the house is clean(ish), the grill is fired up and we are preparing to have a double birthday celebration for two of the progeny – one born today (Earth Day – yes, he used to get a cake in school saying “Happy Bearthday”) and the other tomorrow. They were born four years apart, save a day, so we are planning on double the usual fun tonight.  Only sorry that the three youngest grands won’t be there.  But they’re with their Dad and that is just fine! I understand some wine and a cookie cake may be part of the plan, so I’m definitely on board:).  Wine and tube steaks are my favorite kind of dinner.  And, except for the odd bunch of accompaniments, the DH is cooking, so I’m not complaining!

God be with you ’til we meet again +

There’s this Earning A Living thing going on…

41454922131_bb273b7366_cWhich is why I don’t have much to report regarding knitting progress.  I am about to begin the fifth pattern repeat (of seven) on the left sleeve of the Bright Sweater.  After that is done all that is left to do is weaving in the very few ends to be woven in and then blocking.  So, after I am back from my one client visit today (at 4:30, unless they reschedule), I am setting myself a goal of finishing the thing tonight!

Of course, with Spring finally showing up this week, it is unlikely I will wear this sweater for six months or so.  After this is done, I will set my efforts to finishing the Carbeth, which has been briefly (ahem) set aside until this current project is finished.

The stash expansion has continued.

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In this day of “knitting from your stash” and de-cluttering, I seem to be swimming against the tide and heading toward (if not already at) SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy).  How can anyone know what one’s life expectancy might be or how much one will be able to knit in one’s lifetime? I do have some hope of exercising a level of frugality with it all, however.  My plan is to pull the entire stash out of the basement, re-organize and cull any additional yarn I won’t likely knit to be set aside for the next Yarn Swap and/or donations. This “airing of the stash” is going to occur sometime in the first full week of May – after the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. At least that is my goal.

Knitting and other craft books are another story.

When presented with the ability to add to my library, I rarely say no. And so it was yesterday. These two books have been around for a while, but they are put out by Rowan and are therefore worth acquiring, in my opinion.  Your mileage, as they say, may vary:).

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Those, too, will eventually be culled.  More likely than not, I will hang on to the reference books and give away the pattern collections with a few exceptions. But that will be further out in the future.

I should have time for this.  After all, my children are grown and we are down to a load or two of wash per day.  When there were eight of us living under one roof, the daily total was usually five to eight loads.   I can do wash with my brain on silent – I used to have five baskets – one for the occupants of each of four bedrooms and the fifth for the linen closet. I would fold and toss into the appropriate basked like dealing cards in Vegas.

Work takes up most of my daytime hours – as it should.  They are not paying me to sit around, of course.  And of course, other than family (and of course, one’s Higher Power), it takes first place.

Recently, work has taken more of my time for no particular reason.  It just happens. So, not much to show in terms of progress, but I am glad for the stash enhancement.

Today started out as a busy workday, but due to a variety of circumstances, my schedule completely emptied and other than the requisite Things To Do Around the House, and picking up dry cleaning, I have been blessed with some knitting contemplative time for which I am very grateful.  Tomorrow (Sunday) I have to travel to Merlin’s Eastern Shore to visit a client so I will be missing church (and choir). I might try to attend a church of my denomination near the client just for a bit of variety. It couldn’t hurt:). 

The weather today is just beautiful.  There is a lovely breeze, the temperature is at 83 degrees Fahrenheit/28 degrees Celsius.  A variety of beautiful birds are indulging at the feeders and all manner of pansies, bluebells, and dandelions are sprouting up in the grass.  It will be a shame when the mower has to come out.

Well, I’m off to run an errand or two.  Back again soon, I hope.

God be with you ’til we meet again+

An Embarassment of Riches and Stash Enhancement:)

Oh boy… what a week it’s been on the knitting front. 

Am in the home stretch for the Bright Sweater (finally!) with four more repeats of the sleeve patterning for the second (left) sleeve and then the twisted stitch ribbing and stockinette roll at the cuff.  I actually tried it on and – who knew?- it will fit! This sweater is meant to be extremely over-sized for a petite woman.  Since I am already over-sized, it fits pretty darn well. I am not complaining.  I have enough over-sized sweaters.

Despite being incredibly (for me) monogamous lately – most likely because I haven’t had as many opportunities to knit in the last month or so – I have worked on a few other projects and yesterday began a new one (as I usually do right after our bi-annual yarn swaps, but I am getting ahead of myself).

I often take some bit of knitting with me on Sundays when I spend two services in the choir loft playing bells.  There’s the homily (Rector, this helps me listen better, I promise) and the time between services during which I knit to keep out of trouble. Recently, I brought along my version of the Brick Sweater.

I have moved well beyond the above picture; am well past the armholes on this top-down pullover. Hoping it will become some sort of staple item, as many of my clothes are black.

This week has added to my yarn and knitting book collection more than usual. A local yarn shop has decided to go out of business and has incrementally reduced prices leading up to the final date.  What is left will be sold at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival the weekend after they close. I have been visiting on and off since I learned they were leaving us.  Their feeling was that they could not compete with the internet – a true shame.  Their shop was a way to involve their disabled daughters in making a living and making their way in the world. I wish them well.

When their prices got to 50% off, I felt I should go – to help them (and of course myself) while there was still a substantial choice.  I needn’t have worried.  Yarn was 50% off, magazines $1 and books $5. I purchased a good bit of their offerings of Jamieson’s Shetland DK yarn and a couple of skeins of a Berroco yarn I have been using in a project not pictured here.

I was also able to get a number of books I know I will enjoy – many of which are parts of series I have collected but didn’t yet have.

 
As if that weren’t enough, the Columbia Sip ‘n Knit group had a yarn swap yesterday morning. I was able to divest myself of a rather large bag of decent yarn that I knew I would not be knitting any time soon – so why not see if someone else could enjoy? In return, I received a new set of goodies.

Yes, the beautiful orange Namaste bag is part of the haul, along with the yarn pictured, five magazines not previously in my library, two Tunisian crochet hooks (seen on top of the purpley yarn in the picture), and a pair of straight knitting needles (I picked those up because I hadn’t brought any knitting with me – DUH! – and thought I’d start something while there.)

Eight skeins were of Harrisville New England Shetland wool.  Combined with the Jamieson’s DK haul of the previous day, I’d say I have enough for at least a colorwork sweater.

I’d say I did pretty darn well.

That project I started yesterday? It will hopefully be an afghan eventually.  Right now it’s a six-foot-long skinny scarf:) in “thick and thin” wool (I think).  Because it’s thick and thin and therefore highly textured already, I am just crocheting it with an extended half double crochet.  A few months of doing this relatively mindlessly in front of the boob tube, and I should have something to show for it.:)

Here’s hoping.  The yarn fascinated me, but it took me three tours of the yarn tables to pick it up – because I wondered what I’d make with it. I think this is the most sensible use of the yarn.

In addition to the above, I picked up some bunches of partial skeins of fingering weight wool or cotton or alpaca with a view to combining them into a cowl/scarf/what-have-you.

And what about these beauties? The Kauni will likely go with another similar ball I have in the “Red” (which is really orange to rust in color).  I am pondering what to do with the Verb for Keeping Warm yarn in “Dusk.” Maybe include as part of a What the Fade shawl? I think that’s what I love most about a new skein of yarn: thinking about the many possibilities.  In this case, I am enjoying the fruits of someone else’s good taste and hopefully upgrading/informing my own.  Well, it’s Sunday and the gang is coming over for dinner.  Time to do some dishes and peel the laundry out of the washing machine….

God be with you ’til we meet again+