Knitting is a lifesaver. Since the end of September, I have made 3 pairs of socks and 5 baby hats. Just easy, thoughtless knitting that keeps my hands busy doing projects that I can complete.
I was just knitting socks of various sizes for really no apparent reason and with no clue what would become of them. Then one day on Facebook, I saw some local friends posting about the Library Holiday Craft sale. I donate crafts to it every year. When the girls were little we would make ornaments or I would Mod Podge something. Last year, I donated hand-dyed yarn and scarves I think. Perfect, I thought. I have socks!!! So I just need to print up some labels as to sizes and care instructions and off they go.
At the library where I work (which is in the next town over), we are knitting baby hats to donate to a hospital as our Wednesday Night Knitters charity project. They are not preemie hats or anything, just regular baby-baby hats. According to Knitting Rules, baby heads have about a circumference of about 13 to 14 inches, but I think they can be as big as 18 inches so this is a pretty easy task. I have knit 5 in a variety of sizes.
It is fun and easy – I’m using left over sock yarn and knitting them on 2 circs like I knit socks. And the same as when I knit socks – as soon as one is done, I immediately cast on for the next hat.
It has been a rough fall here at my house. Thank goodness I have knitting.
This blog post is dedicated to MPS (May 4, 1924 – September 23, 2011). I love you, Daddy!
This photo was in the paper on October 29, 2000, he was 75. In January of 2000, we had moved into this house next door to my parents. Everyday he would walk down the path to visit me and the girls (they were little!) with his dog Sioux. He would ride his tractor around, work in his garden, drive around to visit friends, AND he still went to work at the cider mill. He always did as much as he possibly could. He loved the outdoors and he was a hard worker. The last few years had been so difficult for him as his health declined and also his ability to do the things he loved. Just spending time with him, was all we could give him. We wanted to ease his pain, but there was nothing we could do. His day, when his pain ended, was September 23, 2010. His life ended as he wanted it, surrounded by his family and we let him go, encouraged him to go — off to a place free of pain where he could once again be himself.
He leaves behind millions of memories that we will never forget. I will never look at a clover patch without thinking of him. He had this uncanny knack of immediately spotting four leaf clovers (or even 5, 6, 7, or 8 leaf clovers!). Driving down the road, they are everywhere – the little red pick-up trucks he loved so much. When I was in high school, he drove me to the farm with him every morning where I picked up the bus for school. Early in my high school career, his truck was so old that on rainy mornings water from the road would spash up and in through the holes on the floor leaving me with wet nylons and feet. I don’t know why, but this always made me laugh. (You would think, it would make one cross!) I would also get off the bus at the farm and would work at the cider mill until it was time to go home at 6. Being a farm, there were usually kittens around. I’ve been thinking of this memory for last couple of weeks and finally pulled and scanned the photo:
I have a whole series of photos that goes with this that shows me trying to take photos of the kittens and me with the kittens, but I love this one of my dad holding the kittens so I can take their photo all together. I don’t think there are words for a dad who would do something silly like that on the whim of his 14 year old daughter.
My sister and I came to him rather late in his life — he was 44 when I was born and 46 when my sister was born. We adored him. We followed him everywhere. When we were little, we would go to work with him or the store, or where ever and follow him around. He would fool around with us by stopping suddenly and whoever was directly behind him would crash into him and the other of us would crash into the first. I can still remember the giggles! And he could yell too. He hated when we bickered. Which I never understood at the time, but now having children myself, oh, it drives me nuts and makes me yell too! We loved our daddy though no matter what. And we still do and always will.
This is the photo that sits on my desk — my college graduation. Nothing made me happier than making my dad proud of me. I can look at this photo and know that he was. He was proud of both his girls. My sister says that having one of his children build a home next to his and raise her children here was his lifelong dream. I am so proud and honored to have been here for him. I love that my girls were able to know him and love him. Hugs and high-fives were given out like candy. We will miss you, Papa.
There is no way I can write everything in this blog post. I hope to remember him for always and through whatever I do — conversations with family and friends, facebook postings, future blogs posts — share my memories and feelings that I have for my dad.
Leading up to the twenty-third, my dad was in the hospital and rehab facility for 12 days. He was in 7 rooms during that time (3, 428, 115, 12, 528, 409, 401) and I started knitting a pair of socks. I haven’t completely settled on the name for these socks but I think of them as Comfort Socks. One of these socks I was knitting in the final room on the twenty-third, and to remember which it was, I have duplicate stitched a letter M into the cuff for Martin.
I purchased the yarn from Tina of Bittersweet Woolery this summer at WOOL (also a weekend of bittersweet memories, but still a special and magical time). The pattern is the basic Yankee Sock Knitter pattern, but in the ribbing, I knit every other row. These socks are for me. I will wear them and think of you, Dad. For always.
I don’t really have any irresistible knitting projects going at the moment. Mostly right now, I’m knitting dish cloths for the summer reading program adult incentive baskets this summer. They are fun and quick, but I keep forgetting to capture their images before they leave my house!
The first one is Hedera by Cookie A. This was the project I started for my trip to Michigan during April vacation. I’ve been on the heel flap for a while. The yarn is Merino/Tencel blend from my shop. Yup, product research, lol! I wanted to test this yarn on a sock to see if it would be stretchy enough as the blend is more drape-y than spring-y. The result is that I think these are going to be lovely socks to wear. The yarn is soft and smooth and there is definitely enough stretch in the fabric so that they will be comfy socks too.
The second is some kind of Summer Waves pattern that Cheryl was knitting when we went to Spa: Knit and Spin in Maine in February. The yarn is Oasis by The Woolen Rabbit which is SO soft! It is silk and Camel in the colorway Ribbit (which I do think is a rather unsophisticated name for a yarn with elegant fiber and spectacular depth of color.). I confess that I haven’t knit on this one too much lately either. Maybe I need to do some more traveling?
Since it has been awhile since I have last posted, just a couple quick updates…
Reading: I’ve also been stuck on the same book for awhile too! I’m trying to read The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller. It is good, but, well, it is just not The Hunger Games, you know?
Gardening: Today, I need to do some soil prep to plant the wildflower seeds that I just bought from New England Wildflower Farm. I’m going to plant these along the edge of our new field. In the middle, the baby grasses are coming in nicely, but the edges are sparse and we also need to reduce the mowing area. Everything in my yard so far is growing like a maniac with the early warm weather we have had. We have had full size leaves on most of our trees since the beginning of May. This is very unusual for where I live!
Spinning: I’ve been spinning some yarn as R&D for my Etsy shop. I’ve started to use Greener Shades dyes on some of my rovings and I’m going to be launching a new fiber by the end of May! Stay-tuned for more info…
My Etsy Shop: I had closed my shop during the month of April for travel and to catch up on home maintenance (which never, ever ends, btw). I have plenty of great items in there now and have more to list so here is my shameless shop promotion – please go check it out!
Well the sun is out, and the Earth is calling. I’m off to play in the dirt! Have a great day and thanks for reading!
Yarn: Spincerely yours, 80% superwash merino/20% bamboo in Narcissus
Needles: Size 1 double points
I started these socks on our vacation to Vermont this summer. I grabbed a pattern, some yarn, some needles and started knitting on the car ride up on Sunday. It was probably sheer luck that it all worked out. I finished the first sock in 4 days:
Here she is on our car ride back through Brattleboro after visiting King Arthur Flour, Quechee Gorge, and a couple of other touristy places. That was a Thursday. I cast on for the next sock, and I have been knitting on it for quite a while, but what took 4 days on vacation, took 4 weeks at home. Sigh…
Anyway – I love these socks. I love the pattern. It was easy to follow and I didn’t notice any errors (and I didn’t even look it up on Ravelry or anywhere beforehand). The lace pattern is fun. I love gathering up all the yarn-overs on round 7 and purling them together. I also liked that it was just a strip of lace and therefore not overwhelming for my limited ability to concentrate in the summer. My mom thinks I should enter these in a the fair, but I do have a couple of places in there were the stitches are bit uneven so I’m not sure they are good enough for the fair. I also have another pair that I can enter and only one can go. Perhaps I need to run a poll to see which pair to send?
I also started a new project this week. It is supposed to be for my car ride to Lake George next weekend (with Agent J’s Girl Scout troop), but it is a terribly easy and fun pattern to knit so I am going to have to control myself until Saturday! More details to follow!
Hope you are all having a great Labor Day weekend. The weather is pretty good here. It has been overall sunny though it is not sunny at the moment. No rain though! I think this is the first time this summer that I have HAD to go out to water anything that wasn’t under cover. Things are starting to grow even. Well, things did grow this summer like weeds and grass and shrubs, but the flowers? Not so much. But now my marigolds are perking up and things are just starting to look a bit nicer–at least the things that are left, that is. Sunshine is amazing stuff.
I finished my Jaywalkers today! Woot! After 2 years, it is about time! My dad was watching my progress on these. I had been determined to finish them before he came home from Valerie Manor, but he beat me and came home on Tuesday and I didn’t finish my knitting until today.
I can’t believe how helpful this Frog It or Finish It KAL has been. I’m getting so many projects off my plate. It is so cathartic. Next week, I will have to look for a new one.
I wanted to take an “artsy” Jaywalker photo, but I just couldn’t find a really good background so all I have to offer you is this rather silly one. Oh the things we do to display the objects of our obsession.
Happy Spring everyone and have a great weekend! Guess what I saw on my first day of spring? Do you remember Rotund the Woodchuck? Well, now I have 2 woodchucks. I saw them out grazing in my field. I thought that one was possibly a baby though it would be pretty large to be a baby. After reading about woodchucks in Wikipedia, I think they might be a mating pair:
The breeding season extends from early March to mid- or late April, after hibernation. A mated pair remains in the same den throughout the 28-32 day gestation period. As birth of the young approaches in April or May, the male leaves the den. One litter is produced annually, usually containing 2-6 blind, hairless and helpless young. Young groundhogs are weaned and ready to seek their own dens at five to six weeks of age.
What does this mean? That I could possibly have 7 to 8 woodchucks in 6 weeks? I think it may be best to not put too much effort in my garden this year, don’t you?
Pattern: Twilight by Melissa Morgan-Oakes from 2-at-a-time Socks Yarn: Hand dyed sock blank from Knit Picks Needles: Size 3.0 mm 40 inch Addi Turbos Started: January 7, 2009 Finished: February 7, 2009
Thoughts: This is a very interesting technique. When I first started the socks, I just did what the book told me and everything was fine, but it took a while before I figured out what was really going on and how to keep the yarn from tangling. I wish I had a photo to show this, but the sock blank and working socks fit so well into the Box Bag from JessaLu, it was like it was just meant to specially hold this project. There were a few areas of the pattern around the heel turning/gusset parts where I didn’t really follow the pattern. I never checked to see if there was any errata, but there may well be, or it could have just been me. The best part of these socks is NO SECOND SOCK SYNDROME!!!!!
Frog It or Finish It: I have taken something out of hibernation. I don’t think it will be done by Friday but I’m well on my way!
Phat Fiber: I’m going to be participating in the March Box of Phat Fiber. This sounds like a very interesting marketing concept. If you haven’t heard of it yet, you can visit it on Ravelry, Etsy, or it’s Blog. So far I have dyed the fiber I’m going to send. I still have to package it and make all the graphics! I have to get moving, but what a really cool concept to get your product samples out to other fiber addicts. I’m very excited, so if you don’t see me around here to much it is because I’ve been eaten alive by the monster called Photoshop…
Yup, that is me – 8 stitches too short! I recently cast-on for a pair of socks and left 8 little stitches off.
I’m making just the regular Yankee Knitter Socks in this fab color from Twisted. The pattern is written for multiple sizes in multiple gauges and I, apparently, became mismatched. I didn’t even notice that I had too few stitches until I was decreasing for the toe and I had an unequal number on the top and bottom. I’m now making the second sock with the correct amount of stitches and all is going well though I haven’t brought myself to rip out the first one.
Of course, casting on too few stitches is a perfectly normal knitting mistake, right? This is what really worries me. Yesterday, I forgot how to turn on my cell phone. I don’t really turn it off too much so when it does end up off, I always have to think on how to get it back on. For some reason I always forget that I have to press and hold the off button to turn it on. I kept pressing the green button thinking that was right because green means go.
Anyway, I’m also making these mitts for a cold librarian:
They are called Porphyria by Cissy Black and I’m making them out of a skein of Koigu that I’ve had for a while. I was saving it as part of a set, but I can always get more, right? There are plenty of mistakes in these but they do disguise well! This is a really fun pattern and the ribbing makes is perfect one-size-fits-all gift choice.
Well, running late again as usual… I hope I get a chance to blog again before the Fiber Event on Saturday. Have a great afternoon and thanks for reading!
I can’t even believe how the contest entries have poured in during the week! I’ll admit that my main goal in having a contest was to spice up the activity level of my poor little blog and it sure did work. (Now, of course, the challenge will be in maintaining…) Anyway, since the contest had so much more participation (I had almost 60 entries and I typically only get 2 to 8 comments per post) than I had anticipated (mostly due to being noticed by the blog called WiKnit), I felt a bit torn. I would be so happy to send a prize off to a regular reader and commenter, but wouldn’t it be nice to send a prize off to a someone new to me? What to do? What to do? OK, really not so hard to figure out — I’m sending out 2 prizes — a silver and a gold.
Agent K and I printed out all the entries and separated them into 2 piles. One for people who have been to my blog and commented before (many whom I know in real life too!) and one for newbie visitors. Then we drew 2 winners.
The GOLD prize goes to Nicole from Bookwrym Knits! Nicole has been reading my blog for a very long time and she comments on almost every entry that I write so this is a well earned prize (I know, oh-the-torture of having to read about all the strange insects in my yard!). Thank you so much Nicole! Coincidentally, you will see, if you go to her blog, that I recently won her contest. Seriously and really — just a coincidence! You will also see that she just partook in a read-a-thon. I should have done that today to get through the book I need to read for book group tomorrow night. It is a great book and I want to read it, only it is not a book that can be rushed.
The SILVER prize goes to Terri D. from Off Jumps Jack! Yesterday was Terri’s birthday too. What a great time to win a contest! After perusing Terri’s blog and her Ravelry page, I found out a few interesting things about her. She is an Obama supporter, like myself. (Ok, well, she is probably a little more vocal about it than I am, but I working up to it…) We have both made the following items: baby surprise jacket, coronet, multidirectional scarf, and a booga bag. She lives in the the city and has 3 children. She likes all kinds of colors (which will make choosing a yarn to send to her very easy!).
OK winners, I will be contacting you to get your mailing information and any additional preferences and/or allergies. Thank you to everyone else for entering. And to all my “newbies,” welcome and I hope you will “stay” for a while!
The class was fantastic! I learned so much. The workshop portion of “Rhinebeck” started on Thursday and I drove out to take Spinning for Socks with Judith MacKenzie-McCuin. If you have been reading for a while, you know I’m a bit of a stalker when it comes to famous fiber artists and Judith was extremely “stalk-worthy.” There were a couple little glitches in the morning – I parked a bit far away from the class building and I was running late. I rushed to the class only to find that I need not have worried as the workshop was also starting late. The classes were held in a large building with the “rooms” divided by curtains so it was also a bit difficult to hear at times. Judith was recovering from a cold so I really had to concentrate to hear. The other thing I forgot was a notebook and so I found myself writing all that I could on little scraps of paper. Other than those few things, I thoroughly enjoyed my day.
She started by teaching us the attributes of a good sock yarn. She talked about top versus roving. This part was especially interesting to me as I’m never quite sure how to label things in my Etsy shop. I buy some fibers as roving and some as top. Most people search for handpainted fiber on Etsy by using the word “roving” so I always want to include that. What she taught was that once top, which has all its fibers aligned parallel and straight and is steamed and pressed, is hand dyed and washed, it is no longer top. It would have to be recombed to realign all the fibers to be labeled again as top. This was when I made a big “note to self” to only use the word roving in my listings for now on. It is a relief that I don’t have to worry about that technicality anymore.
As you can imagine, one of the attributes of a good sock yarn is strength. We talked about worsted spinning versus woolen spinning and discovered that worsted spinning would be a good choice for socks. Thus, much of the class was dedicated to learning worsted spinning techniques and I learned to spin in a way I had never tried before.
As we tried some different fibers, she went around the room helping all the students. There were 10 of us in all, though I have to admit that I only learned the name of my neighbor to the left (Cindy) and didn’t really get a chance to mingle much throughout the day. I discovered that I need to work on which hand I hold my fiber supply. Even though I’m right handed, I spin with my left hand and hold my fiber with my right hand. I’m not sure why this is, I did try both ways on Thursday to see if the switch would be easy, but my hands cramped. The question I have is if my hands cramped because they are not used to spinning that way or if the reason I spin with my left hand is to avoid the hand cramping and give them break from their usual roles.
We were all allowed to take enough merino top to make a pair of socks using a spinning technique called marling (not sure about the spelling on that). This is when you spin multiple colors into your sock yarn by holding 2 or 3 different color tops in one hand while spinning across the tops of each (yes, the tops of the tops) and then switching out the colors so you have 4 or more colors all together. It is not easy, but the effects are pretty. Here is a photo of a sample of my yarn (3 ply) and my fibers that I took at home the next day (the lighting in the workshop classroom was not very good for my camera).
We also spent a lot of time talking about plying. Multiple plies are good for socks and we got to learn some new plying techniques to add to our “bags.” I would highly recommend to any spinner to take as many classes as you can because there are some highly knowledgeable teachers out there and they have so much to give. You can never have too many spinning tricks in your bag and you never know what you are going to need to know for any given fiber, project, or situation. So take that class you have always wanted to take — it will be worth it!
So now, I’m off to go tell my Gold and Silver finalists the good news and visit some of your blogs! Thank you again for sharing your love of October with me. It is a great month!
2 Handspun Hats (meets summer knitting goal #4: I will knit some things with my hand spun yarn.)
Roving: BFL in Tango from The Painted Sheep
Yarn: Navajo 3 ply, 11 w.p.i.
Pattern: Improvised – child’s size hat
Blue Epona Hat:
Roving: Superwash merino 64 ct lambswool hand dyed in the color Blue Epona
Yarn: 2 ply, 9 w.p.i.
Pattern: Improvised – child’s size hat
1 Market Bag (meets summer knitting goal #3: I will knit one market bag.)
Ok, so actually this is crochet…
Pattern: String Bag by Lily
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Linen Isle
Thoughts: I improvised the bottom to make it more “gussetted” but because I have a very difficult time telling where the ending of a crochet row is, the bag is slightly lopsided. Have also only successfully used it once at the grocery store. The baggers keep ignoring its existence.
1 Pair of Socks (meets summer knitting goal #1: Since I did sign up for Summer of Socks, I will knit one pair of socks from beginning to end.)
Pattern: Spring Foward by Linda Welch
Yarn: MadelineTosh Sock in Vermillion
Thoughts: Cool pattern, just very time consuming!
Some More Squares (meets summer knitting goal #2: will knit 20 more squares on my Sock Blankie.)
Pattern: Sock Yarn Blanket by The Heathen Housewife
Thoughts: I currently have 35ish squares. I don’t know how many I knit this summer, but I did knit some. Now that the blankie is getting bigger and warmer to knit, it is good that the weather is getting cooler.
So what is new on my needles now, you wonder…
Back to School Cardi:
Pattern: Hey Teach by Hélène Rush
Yarn: Cotton Ease by Lion Brand
Thoughts: I have the back done and I’m almost done with the 2 front pieces. This is very fast knitting and the lace pattern is easy and intuitive. Surprisingly, I’m really enjoying this yarn. It is a cotton/acrylic blend so it is elastic and soft and it doesn’t hurt my fingers like 100% cotton.
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