One by one
Sunday January 14th 2018, 11:34 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Wildlife

She chose the black one.

Someone else chose the red one (quite blown away, having zero expectation that I would knit for her. Seems my cover is not entirely blown around there–I can still surprise people.)

And I took the beige home for now so that the next person would be able to choose from a selection of more than one, too.

Simple patterns, potato-chip knitting, but in yarns you want to reach out and touch. Here, let me finish this hat for Lee and I’ll start the next one.

(Hawk update: Richard saw it swooping in front of the toyon tree.)

Stash diving
Friday January 12th 2018, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

Finished (except for running in the ends.) And now the one after this is about 8″ along; it’s about the color of the chair this one’s sitting on.

After several days of growling at myself that I *knew* I had some beige cashmere from that mill-end of the mill-ends sale because I used part of it for Lanae’s, this afternoon I finally found it and cast on immediately. Red, black, or beige–Eli’s mom will get to choose which one came out the most to her liking. (I found it I found it!)

I mean, it’s not like it’s hard to find other people who want one of those.



Dusty purple and red and sprinkles of light
Thursday January 11th 2018, 11:36 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Spinning

Squiggles and squirls… Knitting this yesterday and today has been one of those reminders that when you ply cobweb weight on the wheel from the cones, cashmere and merino fibers shrink at different rates when you scour the mill oils out of the finished yarn and the glitter strand, not at all. This was not a smooth yarn.

It’ll do. Yes I think it’ll do nicely. 

For Rebecca
Monday January 08th 2018, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

I really should make a beige one first anyway, because I remember beige was on her short list. But I don’t have a beige yarn on hand that I’m happy enough with (especially given what it has to compete with) and I think black was her first choice but I need to ask.

To back up a bit: Saturday I picked up the second vicuna/merino cowl (the one that had a mistake in that splitty black yarn that was so hard to see) that I’d started for her, finally got the mistake fixed (frogging back would have been disastrous) and finished it off. I’d started it flying home from San Diego in bad lighting–but enough of the stalling, it was time.

I went looking for her yesterday.

She and her family weren’t there.

Just as well–I should have had both colors done and in hand first. (Even if part of me thinks, hey, 7% vicuna/93% 14-micron merino, hand-plied from cobweb.) I owe Eli’s whole family for taking such good care of my mango tree.

But on my way out the door to church, on impulse I also grabbed a cowl in a deep rose that I’d made just because I really liked the color and the yarn. Merino. Hand-dyed. And it was Stitches yarn, which you know means it’s a favorite. I hadn’t worn it, I’d actually kind of argued with myself while I was knitting it because I had other things waiting in the queue, I hadn’t even thought about it once it was done, and now all the sudden it opened the door, turned on the light, unzipped its ziplock and leaped out at me all on its own. Cowabunga!

Alright, I grinned, I take it your day has come?

There’s been a young couple these last half dozen years or so who, she reminds me very much of someone I knew growing up. Not that I needed the excuse to particularly like them both. You want lime-green shoes at church or bright orange pants and a ready smile to match, he was your man and I thought it was great.

They soon had a baby girl, and blink, suddenly she was an absolutely adorable toddler with a little brother.

I didn’t consciously notice, but come to think of it I think his shoes were black yesterday. Whatever. The young dad announced, with tears, that they were moving. His wife was visiting the folks and showing off the grandkids so she wasn’t there to say goodbye, just him; he’d flown back early to finish up the packing. He thanked us all for looking out for them, and while looking forward to their next stage, grieved losing seeing us every week; “We started our family here!”

Hey, you can’t just leave like that.

I cornered him afterwards. Had I knitted one of these for his wife yet? flipping the edge of my own cowl. She was high on my list but I was quite sure she hadn’t been checked off quite yet.

He laughed. “I bet you’ve made one of those for everyone in the ward!”

“Working on it!” and I meant it. “Does your wife like this color?” reaching into my purse. (It only occurs to me just now that I never did take its picture.)

As far as he knew. “This is beautiful!” he exclaimed, his hands feeling that soft merino, taking it all in. I told him I thought it was machine washable but I didn’t have the ball band anymore so don’t hold me to it. He tried to say something about giving it back if she already had one and I said no way. This is hers.

He was so touched. He couldn’t wait to give it to her. And I think, I really think, that in that moment it helped him ease forward into the new. Taking a bit of the old with them. They wouldn’t be forgotten.

A brief interruption
Sunday January 07th 2018, 11:54 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Food,Knitting a Gift,Wildlife

Quite to my surprise, my stomach demanded a divorce from dinner. Richard is utterly unaffected. Maybe it was (hopefully it’s only) the recalled romaine lettuce? It arrived in a produce box, overnighted in the fridge, but all I ever did with it after that was I threw it away after I read the recall alert and quickly washed my hands.

I think I just need a good night’s sleep. I’ll tell you the cowl story tomorrow. It’s a happy one.

Oh and–there was a new chunk out of the pumpkin too big to be from a squirrel.

The skunk smell was stronger inside than outside this morning (I really should not have opened that door) and the car got it, too. It probably took cover under there afterwards.

Continuing resolution
Sunday December 31st 2017, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift,Life

Someone playing with his best friend…

And two hats that need to go in the mail in the morning, Malabrigo Mecha on the left and baby alpaca on the right, a little extended Christmas in a box (after I run those ends in).

Assuming I don’t come down with the flu like my sweetie did Friday morning (yes, that morning, after the travel and exposure and the stress and the worry and the late-night messages.)  And if I do, well, those hats will get out there in their own good time, then, but I think I simply need a good night’s sleep.

Meantime, a Happy New Year to all, and may 2018 brighten our hopes and strengthen our compassion.


On their birthday
Wednesday December 20th 2017, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden,Knitting a Gift

Happy Birthday to my mom and to Parker! He has been waiting all his life to be seven.

Sat down at 9:00 this morning with the barely-begun and pulled the yarn triumphantly through that last loop at 1:30 on the nose. Put a tag to it (and iced my hands) and got it wrapped and out the door. And another one’s done and another one’s mailed and another one bites the dust. Hopefully that’s not already too much of a spoiler. But–I did it! Saturday delivery, they claim.

Drove from there to Cottage Yarns in South San Francisco. (Nope–their site’s still hacked, don’t look at it like I just did but if you know a good web support person she’s looking and I’d be happy to pass a name on to her.) I got the yarn for two of the three people still waiting–the two I needed to buy for. (Dark but no purple? Oh well that lets out that that and that in my stash. Purple gravitates towards me.) Oh and no brights. (Not that or that or that either, then.) The more I’d thought about it, the more I felt it needed to be superwash, if for no other reason than to be fair to some future grandchild or child helping their aged parents out with the laundry and being horror-stricken at how the favorite hat had come out. Been there comforted the kid when it happened to the Scandinavian sweater I’d knit in high school. So let’s not do that to them.

THAT, then, at the store. Yes. Dark not purple, heathery not a boring solid but going subtle on the hand-dyed look even if he did marry into a definitely artistic family. Good old Mecha by golly. It seemed exactly right to me, and if it’s not, (talking to my sister here) let me quietly know and I’ll try again.

Meantime, yesterday morning I went out and again picked the tomatoes that were far enough along to ripen inside. There was a possibility of snow last night. (So of course it rained instead and the 30-something temps took a night off.) The ripest were at the bottom of the bowl, with a few surprise orange ones added to the top after I thought I’d gotten them all.

Five and a half pounds this time. And yet, still more to come, if they can.

So my day went from fiercely focused to meandering blogging. How was yours?

Three down
Wednesday December 20th 2017, 12:37 am
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift

Three in the mail, done and done in time for every one of them to arrive in time via Priority mail, even the one going to Anchorage. My brother-in-law’s, though, I didn’t find the yarn I wanted, even at the shop I stopped in at on my way home from San Jose. Still working on working on it.

But hey. I got asked last week by various people who knew nothing of each other’s requests to do five knitting projects that I wasn’t expecting, hopefully before Christmas they wished out loud, and two of those are already on their way there and a third has been cast on. I’m pretty happy about that.

To Nash with love
Monday December 18th 2017, 11:36 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Malabrigo Mecha, 68 stitches, US 7 needles, Parisian Night colorway. Needs the ends run in. Soft and warm.

Needs a run in to the post office.

Sunday December 17th 2017, 11:40 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

Another Christmas present finished (I can’t show it off yet) and another request for a hat to look just like that other one I made for that other person (except please in this colorway. Okay, will find some.)

But I haven’t started my brother-in-law’s hat, likewise requested after our trip to the yarn store in superwash colors I don’t have, nor Nash‘s hat (I have his yarn, that’s what we went there for) nor finished that afghan nor… The aheader I get the behinder I run. But man, did it feel good pulling that finished pretty thing out after the spin cycle tonight with the stitches relaxed into their pattern, showing off how they could look now. My daughter is so going to love this.

Well then. So will they theirs. Git’em done. Nash, you’re on next because your mom asked first and I’ve got your yarn in hand. Casting on right now to get it started.

Well that socks
Sunday December 03rd 2017, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

I knit the ribbing for the cuff of my son-in-law’s hat, then doubled every other stitch and hoped that would be enough. Cabling overlaps stitches and draws them in tight and you need a lot more of them to be able to get the thing on your head when you’re done. It sat there for days while I debated whether I needed to rip out and redo those first three rows above the ribbing or not, till I finally decided I had to move forward before I knew enough to decide to go backward. Or not. Try those first cables and see where it got me, but you can’t just sit there.

After all that angst it’s coming out just exactly right and I am very pleased with it. It’s slow going, given that I’m used to knitting lace with its holes and stretch and airspace, whereas this has (at least to some extent) wind-blocking density and a good solid warmth.

As I’ve been working it, the short straight cable needle with its points at each end bemuses me: for years and years, given that I’ve been doing cabled knitting since my teens, I wondered why on earth they sold them in sets of four or five when you only ever needed one.


Home delivery
Wednesday November 22nd 2017, 12:22 am
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift,Life

I had to go look up Whistler’s Mother to figure out why this photo reminded me of it. This one’s colorized, of course, a la Ted Turner after he bought those 1920s movies.

And that is 1420 grams of Malabrigo Rios, stuffed back into that ziplock and about to go poof and escape like an octopus

Held it in suspense
Friday November 10th 2017, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

This evening, at long last, I picked up the (overdue) wedding afghan project that I did not try to stuff into my suitcase last week and started purling the wrong side row.

While looking forward with each stitch to getting to the end so I could turn it around and remember: what was that pattern again?

Sixty-five years of marriage
Sunday November 05th 2017, 11:31 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift,Life

My parents celebrated their 65th in great style, first with family, then with friends on Saturday. One of whom pulled me aside and told me, Your parents throw a great party!

Today was the actual day. Turns out today was also my Uncle Wally’s 94th birthday, which we did not know, and he was having a get-together, too, so we swung by there for just a quick visit on our way home.

To back up a little: Friday, we got to the airport two hours early because going any later meant hitting the very worst of rush hour and there was just no way.

Then the flight was delayed two and a half hours.

I cast on a hat right at the beginning and knit. And knit. And knit. Grateful that it was a pretty hefty yarn and size 9 needles so that my hands could just keep going without needing ice packs. (Which is part of why I’d bought three more skeins of Malabrigo Mecha a few days earlier.)

The hat was finished before we landed: all but running in the ends.

We fell into bed in Salt Lake City at last at 1:15 a.m. (Sorry, Mom and Dad.) We shall not speak of the car rental agency that did not check the flight status, decided we were no-shows, and did not hold our car nor would they make it right by upgrading us.

My cousin Bruce and his wife were at his dad’s during our brief dropping-by, and she got a chance to tell me how much she loved the soft shawl I’d made her. Looking at her three years later, I’d say that cancer treatment definitely worked. The doctors do theirs, I do mine.

Suddenly it dawned on me–I hadn’t wanted my handknits in my check-in so everything I’d brought to wear in the cold and the parties was stuffed in my purse–and that hat was in there. I asked her do you think he’d like, and as soon as he got wind of that idea, YES he’d love…!

But the ends. This was not quite up to my usual. Did they have a big sewing needle?

Bruce surprised me by saying that his stepmom had taught him how to crochet, so yes, he could figure out the weaving the ends in on the knitting. Then he asked how long it had taken me to make that.

Boggled his mind. “That would be six weeks for me!”

His sister joined the conversation, the cousin whose son I knit a Christmas stocking for earlier, and loved that Bruce got that and then half-turned away so as almost not to say it out loud that she wished she had a hat from me too.

Well, I’d started another one but it was only just started.

Wait. I hadn’t thought of it since I’d packed for the trip, but, I did, I’d brought a baby alpaca lace hat in a deep burgundy and it was right there. She exclaimed in delight as I pulled it out and offered it to her.

It was a little small, which is why I’d never given it away but it had carried it around on various trips to colder places: often taken, never worn but maybe once.

This time our plane was only delayed about fifteen minutes. Fifteen more and that second Mecha hat would have been done. I’m going to ask her if the hat she got really did work for her once she saw it in a mirror, and if not, hey. We’ve got a backup.

It was so very very good to see everybody. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! Thank you for having us!

Priority: mail
Wednesday November 01st 2017, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

I had her address. I didn’t have his. I dithered.

I finally simply asked him for it. Said I wanted to send them thank-you notes for all the work he and she had put into making the high school reunion happen for everybody who could go, and for sharing all those pictures afterwards for those of us who couldn’t. His response was vintage Paul, sweet and kind and thoughtful as he ever was.

So two Priority Mail envelopes were handed to a mail clerk yesterday. I love that they have no idea what’s really coming. I had planned on sending them sooner–but it required my asking that question first.

I finally did.

I drove away from that post office just floating: MAN, that felt good! SO good. (So why don’t I do more of that? C’mon, Alison, knit more, you know you want to!)