Reds and greens
Saturday April 06th 2019, 9:26 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden,Knitting a Gift,Wildlife

We’re having a Cooper’s hawk sighting nearly every day now. Cool.

Another Red Lion amaryllis from my dad–here, the hawk’s gone now, let me give you a close-up. Love love love these. If you have an amaryllis with four or more leaves it should bloom the next year, too.

The ground is so wet that digging a big deep hole and finally planting the Kishu mandarin I got for Christmas was surprisingly very easy. Like pushing a shovel into Play-dough.

If you live in non-citrus-growing areas and wish for a mandarin orange, plant this one in a pot to keep in or out depending on the weather. The tree is small and the fruit is golf ball sized, soft, seedless, and the peel pretty much falls off and you can just pop the whole thing in your mouth just like that. The fruit doesn’t ship well for grocery stores, you have to grow your own.

It ripens months before my Gold Nugget and thus stretches out the season for us. Not to mention it will create more ground-bird nesting habitat out of what was a bare spot.

Today was a perfect spring day and the Sungold cherry tomato that I planted in 2017 burst into even more blooms. Three years!

Note that it was originally set up inside the largest tomato cage I could buy but by now it’s simply carrying it up and away on its shoulders to wherever and there’s no disentangling the thing, all you can do is admire its Leaning Tower of Pisa impression from inside that happy thicket. (Those few dead leaves are from where the freezes got to the outer edges of the plant but it’s made up for it since.)

And to repeat the Red Lion red theme, while listening to two two-hour sessions of the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I got ten repeats done on this cowl; I can get one last one out of this skein and then that’s it.

There will be two more sessions tomorrow, so it is time to pick the next project. Baby girl afghan is what I want to do, but I don’t think I have quite the yarn I want for it yet.



The little old lady on the plane
Monday April 01st 2019, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

So much to say, but let me start tonight with the knitting. I’m too tired to stay up and edit this so it’s straight stream of consciousness but I feel like I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I don’t write this down.

I took four balls of Malabrigo with me: one Rios worsted weight, three heavier in Mecha, and picked the slightly orange red with black specks one for the trip there.

Our flight was very delayed, so much so that I cast off just before the plane took off on the runway. So that was done.

I got another hat knitted while sitting quietly with my dad.

The third one got a goodly way along the same way, but then it was time to go.

We got on our plane after sunset tonight, and the flight attendant put a notice on the seat next to us that nobody else was to sit there. What was that about?

Soon an elderly, tiny woman from I’d guess Central America was escorted to that open window seat next to me on the first row, where she didn’t have to walk far.

I had that third Mecha hat in my hands and she sat and quietly watched my hands like a hawk for a long time, but at last adjusted the small pillow she’d brought on and tried to rest.

She missed the attendant offering pretzels, then something to drink; I saved my pretzels for her and tried to get their attention when she woke up.

She went back to watching my hands. The show had changed now: I was into the decreases at the top of the hat. I finished it and turned it so she could see the seven-point star it made at the top.

“It’s beautiful!”

(I may be deaf on a plane but I sure got that one.)

It was bright royal blue–and I had knitted it sitting by my daddy. But that red!

The seatbelt sign was off and I got up and reached into my purse in the overhead and it was right there at the top waiting to be grabbed, a little to my surprise. I sat back down and showed it to her under the light to get the best view of the colors and her whole body exclaimed with the word, “Oooooooh!!!!”

And just like that it was hers.

She was stunned. “For ME?!” She reached for my hands, looking into my eyes and my smile: yes I meant it.

She could have danced. Her eyes certainly did. She reached up to feel it, and when I said it was wool she said, “Wool?” just to make sure she’d gotten it right. She motioned to it and her blouse to show how very very well they matched. She was so happy!

The flight attendant interrupted her with some water; I grabbed the last ball I’d packed, Rios in Ravelry Red, and cast on a lace cowl.

The hats had been stockinette. This was something new. She watched my hands avidly again, right up until the city lights below started getting closer.

I talked to her daughter later as we waited for our luggage, her teenage son with them. They’d been uncertain about having Grandma sitting alone away from them but that’s what there was at that point in boarding.

Turns out her mother told her afterwards that for awhile there she’d had a hard time breathing.

That would have been when she leaned against her pillow and closed her eyes and hoped hard to be okay.

And then I gave her that hat.

That little old lady being wheeled away in a chair owning her second hat now was definitely happily okay now. I don’t even know her name but we are best friends for life.



Colors of spring
Wednesday March 27th 2019, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Amaryllis,Knitting a Gift

Finished last night at bedtime and hung to dry fast before calling it a night, grateful I got it done in time: Laura’s cowl. Delivered on her last day at Green Planet Yarns.

That amaryllis from last week has a second stalk blooming, and I had no idea that bulb had a twin!

 



Laura’s
Sunday March 24th 2019, 8:44 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

I can only knit so much at a time before my hands kvetch at me for it. But still, I’m making progress.



She’ll need warm things there
Friday March 22nd 2019, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden,Knitting a Gift

My friend Laura is moving away so I headed over to Green Planet yarns to meet up with her. (And with Anne. Hi Anne!)

Which means I really need to get to work on that cowl I cast on because I needed a carry-around project; no particular planning went into it, whatever yarn would do. Cameleon, in Malabrigo Rios. Summer in a ball. Cheerful stuff.

It wasn’t in Anne’s colors, but Laura swooned.

Which means I made sure I have her forwarding address now. That worked out well.

Meantime, the blueberries are blooming.



Ear doctoring
Wednesday March 13th 2019, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Knitting a Gift

Sometimes a blueberry clafoutis just demands to be made and that’s that.

Meantime, I went to go see my ENT today. His wife got a handknit from me years ago but I’d never knit him his own something; it was time.

A Malabrigo Mecha hat, thick, densely knit, warm, and soft. He quite liked the dark teal green. He tried it on for size, very pleased.

Turns out he’s taking a week off starting tomorrow to visit his daughter’s family, and where she lives it’s been snowing a lot.



The perfect blue
Sunday March 10th 2019, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

The cowl was just the right color for her. Cashmere and 14-micron merino: soft, soft stuff.

It came out the wrong gauge. The last time I used that yarn I was trying to make a hat that was Alaska windproof and I guess my inner yarnmemory wanted to keep it that way. I thought, well, at least it will stretch out a lot when it hits the water.

It only did a little. Assessing it honestly, it was pretty but it was pretty small: it needed a petite person for it to be flattering on, which she is not. And it was very warm, again begging for someone who needs it that way.

So it’s been sitting around for a few weeks, a little lost. Last night I felt like, I need that done and I need it done now. I found it and ran the ends in and put it in my purse, along with a project in progress to make up for it that was partly that same blue.

Which my intended recipient totally fell in love with. Malabrigo in the Whales Road colorway for the win! Deep-water blue, a little purple, a little teal, perfectly blended, in a much lighter yarn. The gauge and size are coming out perfect and she is very happy about it.

Meantime, very much to my surprise, John E showed up from New England to visit his mother, introducing his wife to all his old friends who were still around.

When we moved here in the late ’80’s, I was asked to teach the twelve-year-olds. Of which there was, for the first six months, one. Him. I asked if there was a manual for the class? I think so, the person in charge answered, but never got back to me despite being pestered a few more times. Well alright then I’ll just have to make do.

So every Sunday I had about 35 minutes one on one with this kid, trying to teach him what it means to try to live by the light of the love that seeks to guide our steps toward blessing others. That we make mistakes. We own it and apologize. We learn. We improve. We go on.

It was hard, since the planning and delivering were ad-libbing, but it was easy; he was a great kid.

I remember one time when he came home from college, watching him interacting with others at the ward Christmas party I think it was, and with my own kids being young I said to his mom standing next to me and with quite a bit of pride of my own directed his way, How does it feel to know you’ve succeeded?

He heard that and turned to face us from several feet away in the crowd, overwhelmed. It was a moment for all of us to live up to forevermore.

His hair is starting to turn gray.

His wife is quite petite, and a lovely woman who made you instantly feel like you were in the presence of a friend. Clearly John found the right one.

She was busy talking to someone else, so I motioned towards his jacket and asked if she liked that color?

Yes, she does! His eyes suddenly wanted to know where this was going, hoping/not daring to hope…

The next thing you know, she was swooning over the most perfect soft blue cowl and he was telling her happily, You know that really big warm scarf I have? She made it!

She threw her arms around me. I was claimed.

Awhile later, as people cleared out and they were off to his mom’s, someone who grew up here took me aside and asked, Who was that guy everybody was swarming around?

Then, That was JOHN?!!! Man, she told me, after not seeing him for 30 years I just didn’t recognize him.

Well, but that’s the difference between 12 and 18. He was just a little kid to you back then.



Love play work
Sunday February 17th 2019, 12:32 am
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift,Life

Finished the hat during the drive to Salinas for a family get-together.

We went home by way of Mutari for hot chocolate in Santa Cruz, making it back just in time for our niece, who had carpooled with us, to make it to her next thing. (Which meant taking 17 home. In the rainy season between storms of the day. I know one friend who will read that and cringe at the thought, but the redwood that fell across the highway had been cut up and pushed out of the way by then.)

Then daughter and husband fixed the plumbing under the bathroom sink and I can’t tell you how good it feels to have that working again.

Then out to get ice cream to celebrate.

Lots and lots of family this morning, some I hadn’t seen in half a dozen years, and it felt like so much life was all packed into one short day.



Tree hats, people hat
Wednesday February 06th 2019, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knitting a Gift

Two frost covers, one greenhouse, two strings of incandescent Christmas lights plus a heater made it 54F this morning under the covers with the mango tree vs 29F for the outside temp. Three more mangoes have begun to turn yellow, determined to become what they were meant to be.

Meantime, Malabrigo Mecha is proving to be easier on my tendonitis to knit than that fluffy grabby red alpaca was, and I find it very encouraging. It felt good to see something brand new coming to be.



At the edge of the polar vortex
Thursday January 31st 2019, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

Yay for tracking numbers. Yay for the post office. That sweet little girl got her baby blanket back Wednesday, cold weather or no.



Malabrigo to the rescue
Saturday January 12th 2019, 11:36 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life,LYS

Today we picked our daughter up on the way and discovered for ourselves why she loves Dandelion Chocolates in San Francisco so much. Wonderful, wonderful place: happy people, great pastries, and you can watch the chocolate coming to be, right there, while they offer you samples. Yum.

More on that later.

And then because my husband and daughter really love me they humored me in letting me spend a few minutes at Imagiknit nearby.

Before we left for the City, having read the weather reports, I grabbed a Malabrigo hat that matched my outfit just in case. The coldest winter Mark Twain supposedly spent was a summer in San Francisco, but the winters right by the ocean can be pretty brisk, too.

It came home again and got put back away unworn with the feeling that that just wasn’t quite it yet–but, something…

This evening we were heading out again and I found myself going back to that ziplock of recently-knit Malabrigo Mecha hats that were still here. I looked at the two teal ones and went no… They’re close, but not the one from this morning; this one instead. And stuck it in my purse.

We went to our Saturday evening stake conference (ie a semi-annual multi-ward meeting) and offered a ride home to a friend whose car had broken down.

We needed a few things on the way and so did Karen so that was easy; we stopped by Safeway.

She got a little ahead of me–there’s always something to be distracted by in a grocery store–and she stepped into a line behind a couple Richard and I recognized but don’t really know. She did, though. They had been at that meeting, too, and the wife turned to us and said she’d shivered through that whole thing and was still cold and wondered if we were as well? She was clearly seriously uncomfortable.

I was already silently noting how the hat in my purse matched her outfit.

How often do you get a chance to actually rescue someone from being cold in California? I told her happy birthday as I handed it to Karen to hand to her.

She tried to turn it down but when she saw I really and freely meant it she let me give it to her, gobsmacked and thrilled. It went right on her head and it was going to stay there. Her husband exclaimed over what a beautiful color it was.

Who else could it possibly have been for?

Besides, Karen (who had such a big grin on her face while being happy for her friend) already has hers.



That’s okay, I can make more
Monday December 17th 2018, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

So the moss green Diamante found its owner yesterday, that Piuma did, too.

And I had one more with me.

It had been my last two skeins probably forever of the discontinued 70/30 baby alpaca/bamboo Chalet in a gray just slightly on the earthy side. It had worked up quickly while I’d waited for the next green hat yarn to arrive, it was soft and warm–and it had not yet found its home.

During the last meeting there were four of us sitting on our row on the side and as I looked across I knew that it would look so great on her. I debated: if I got up and went around to her at the end, it would be when the meeting would be over (since it was just about to start), everybody would be rising and talking and I wouldn’t hear a thing. If I just passed it down the row right now quick before the meeting, my ears were stuffed and she was far enough away that I wouldn’t hear a thing.

Not that it’s about me anyway. Okay so that settled it.

The woman next to me had just gotten one of my cowls in October and the woman next down had long since gotten hers and knew what I was up to, so no feelings were going to be hurt: I got it out and asked the other two to pass it on down.

The woman at the end was new and had not the slightest idea what was up as it was handed to her with grins on the others’ faces.

“It’s my favorite color!” she exclaimed once she got that no, this really was for her. Her next thought was, “Oh, my daughter’s going to steal this!”

I do have another good yarn that is gray…



Chateau chapeau
Monday December 10th 2018, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

Another one, at the same stage as the one on the left was last night.



Leafy greens
Sunday December 09th 2018, 8:10 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

The silk in the cowl really lightens it for the camera, but these two are a good match for each other.

Which means that if one of the nephews picks that hat, I’m tempted to buy a second skein to make one for the husband of the woman getting the cowl.

Here, let me go finish off that last bit at the top now.



Their gift back
Friday December 07th 2018, 12:25 am
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

I got word back about the undyed cashmere/cotton blanket that I knit awhile back, going beyond baby blanket size because I had the yarn and I could and that I told the parents they could use it for their new daughter or as an afghan on the couch–it was whatever they wanted it to be for.

Turns out it has gone through the laundry any number of times (shed a bunch of fluff in the process I have no doubt) and has done fine.

And, though they don’t let her toddle around the house dragging it behind her, their little girl goes to bed cuddling with it every night. It is the lovie that every knitter aspires for their baby blanket to become.