Two months left and siblings that came early
Saturday July 28th 2018, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Another 60 grams, and by my calculations I’m 20% of the way there.

Unless I use those two skeins from a different dyelot. They were a close match to the nine in the bag. Let’s see how much the fabric stretches from the weight of the wool as I get further along–it’s a ribbing-based pattern, so it relaxes by closing in on itself for now.



Cian-aura
Friday July 27th 2018, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

Baby blanket. The first 100 gram skein of Cian blue: done.



Thank you, Meagan
Wednesday July 25th 2018, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift

Sometimes a friend asks the very question you’d been silently asking yourself and instantly there’s your answer, front and center.

I was describing the baby afghan and all the ocean features slowly going into it and my worry that I could never finish it in time.

She considered. “Do your other grandkids have an afghan like that?”

Mic drop.

No. No they don’t. Pretty, and patterned, but solid colored. The fact that the older boys in that family got sweaters with cars and trucks is irrelevant, isn’t it.

And that is why I called three yarn stores within driving distance yesterday till I found more Malabrigo Rios in the Cian colorway I wanted. The baby’s still going to get that bright oceanic blue I love so much–it’s new this year and the shops say it flies out the door.

Unless he comes way early this one will definitely be done in time.

The sea blanket can come along in its own good time and purpose after that.



The quiet one in the back who is always helping
Sunday July 22nd 2018, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

(The ends are run in now.)

Collecting and delivering packaged healthy snacks for the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford: that’s her. She used to manage the volunteers who brought soup to their kitchens but when the place got expanded new health rules applied that didn’t let us do that anymore. Dumping split pea soup out of the crockpot onto the passenger side when avoiding bad drivers, that’s all over. (So was the soup.)

So she found out how we could still help the families who stay there while their kids are in the hospital and convey the support of the community in their times of stress and worry. Individually wrapped portions? For people facing huge medical bills, some of them away from their jobs while trying to will their child to live, that at least is something we could do for them.

I reached into my bag and gave her her choice of three ziplocs of knitting, not telling her that I’d made this orange one specifically with her in mind. I also told her she didn’t have to choose any of those if she’d rather I made her something else.

She said this was definitely her favorite and exclaimed how many things of hers it would go with before she even knew that it was cashmere/silk or what it felt like. I’d taken it to church last week but she was away so I’d brought it home: even if she were to choose a different one I had to give her first crack at it.

She confessed she didn’t know what a cowl was. So I took it out and put it on me for a moment and did a little ta daah! It was generously sized and wider as it went down.

“Oh! It’s like a scarf!” She was completely blown away, and it was clear to me that not everybody had caught on that I’d been ever so gradually doing this for everybody.

She was concerned about the cost to me of such a yarn and I described Colourmart’s mill-ends and a sale on top of that and not to worry. For my part, I confessed that the gauge had come out looser than I’d expected, having knit it pre-scouring, expecting it to shrink up and it hadn’t. That concerned her not in the least: it was beautiful.

Hers was way overdue. She’d earned every stitch of it long since. Just ask the families at the Ronald McDonald House.



Someone’s about to get her choice of oranges
Friday July 13th 2018, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

Pattern: same old same old potato chip knitting.

Sixty-six grams out of my hundred and fifty and a generous-sized scarf you could actually wear on a summer’s cooling evening around here with plenty left to make a second one. It wasn’t quite done when Constance was here; she said it wasn’t quite dark nor red enough of a shade for her and she chose the deep teal green hat instead.

Color being everything.

The yarn is 65/35 cashmere/silk, exquisitely soft, but the version I bought was cobweb weight and thus very much on sale. Not a lot of people hand knit cobweb straight up. A shawl can be made out of a thicker yarn than that and still be fine enough to pull through a wedding ring.

So I paid Colourmart the $5 fee to twist it into a balanced (I did the math to see how many yards I wanted it to come out to) twelve-ply rather than fussing with it on my wheel. Well spent. I knit it before I scoured the mill oils out–I could just picture thousands of yards felting into each other coming out of the bath and trying to pry it all apart. Let’s not.

Unwashed, it split easily and drove me a bit nuts but I knew I would love it when I was done.

And oh I do. This is glorious. All those strands have settled down now into a proper yarn, and I wish I could hold it out through the screen for you to touch it.

I like things a little redder and darker, too, though. I’ll just have to give this one away. Such a shame.



The friend who always said, “Color is everything”
Monday July 09th 2018, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Knitting a Gift

Michelle flew home yesterday, Constance drove the four hours home this afternoon and the house is very very quiet. Gotta give those belly-laugh muscles some time to recuperate–they got a great workout.

Constance had brought me a quart of honey from her hives. Bee barf, one of my kids used to call it after a biology lesson in middle school. Yum.

The green Malabrigo hat that came home with me from the trip to Salt Lake because it just hadn’t found out who it was for?

That shade of green? It found out who it was for.



Happy Fourth of July!
Wednesday July 04th 2018, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift,Mango tree

Another Piuma peach cashmere cowl, and I just cast on yet another. Except what I really want to knit right now, for no particularly good reason in the heat of the summer, is a thick warm hat. Maybe for variety’s sake? We’ll see.

The mango tree is loving the warmth, meantime (and me the air conditioning.) There are five smaller sprays of buds coming along quietly further back that will soon be as big as this one.



The right ones on the right day and who knew
Sunday July 01st 2018, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

Cowls, again. Two from the same cone of Piuma cashmere in a natural soft cream.

The first one.

Me to Hank’s wife: Are you allergic to cashmere?

Her, looking at me with an impish grin in anticipation of seeing what I might be talking about: Maybe we’ll have to find out!

The second one.

Me, to a longtime familiar if infrequent visitor to her husband’s home town: I wanted to ask you your favorite color, but you’re here, so… And I pulled the other cowl out.

Which is how I found out she’s a knitter.

We suddenly had some catching up to do, in great delight, while he waited patiently.



Highway 80
Saturday June 16th 2018, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

When I was a kid, the freeway between Washington, DC and Baltimore was two lanes each way built out of, if you can believe it, concrete. Set in blocks with the gaps between giving the material room to contract and expand with the temperatures. You did not want to drive it fast: it was a loud bambambambambambambambambam jackhammering all the way. But there really wasn’t all that much traffic on it, at least.

Eventually they tore all that out and put in a real road, which now has heavy development pretty much all the way and the cars to match.

I was remembering those childhood trips to the Maryland state piano competitions at Peabody in Baltimore as we drove from here to Milpitas to Sacramento today. On a weekend, that should be a two hour drive, ideally.

The road is old and not very wide with a whole lot of traffic and they are improving it and widening it in some spots. Construction. Accidents. Cars cars cars.

Three and a half hours there, two coming home.

And yet. We were carpooling with friends and it was time well spent and I’m very glad we went.

Knitting in hand, I finally ventured to ask… The driver guffawed in disbelief at the question: “YES! I LOVE cashmere!” She told me wistfully she owned one single cashmere sweater.

I did not tell her I hadn’t made her a cashmere cowl because her husband had told me she was allergic to it. I had wondered ever since if he’d heard me right, if he’d thought I was only talking about wool because I knew he was having a hard time hearing every word. But he seemed sure enough of himself that I hadn’t pushed the idea.

She loves peach.

I have a finished one in peach.

Well then.



Totally tubular yarns
Monday June 11th 2018, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

The weekend’s project. It will get even softer with age.

Then today, for instant gratification, Classic Elite Chateau: the yarn was thick, the yardage scant, and the needles big.

I ripped out the first attempt at the long-tail cast-on because it wasted a foot or two and you never know when you’ll need to go right down to the end of the skein.

Truer words… (yeah those stitches were getting a little smaller at the end there.)



Sunday’s service, Monday’s mail
Friday June 08th 2018, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

Thought I’d up the stitch count this time from 68 to 70 but I continued with the 2×2 ribbing.

If you’re a knitter (or were ever taught math in third grade for that matter) you can quickly see where that’s going: seventy is not a multiple of four. Well, duh.

Alright then, why not alternate the pairs seed-stitch style. The variety would be interesting to work on.

The funny thing is how it came out in columns anyway. It will stretch to fit any adult but it stays a bit relaxed for a toddler’s head; I hope little Ray prefers the other one but either way now there’s some choice for him in the matter, a means of being in control of an expressive part of his three-years-long life, and that is always a fine, fine thing.

Then a message came in from across the country, I knew *exactly* who I needed to knit for next, stat, some cashmere leaped onto my needles and it is racing along.



Go green!
Thursday June 07th 2018, 11:05 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

A delayed flight, a late night, but let me just say I had one last skein of deep teal green Malabrigo Mecha that has been trying to jump the queue for a week, telling me I needed to make a green hat. For whom? I have not a clue. And yet it kept nagging at me every single day.

This evening I finally realized that if I’d just given in and started the silly thing this morning it could have been done by now, so now it’s 6″ along. Not done but close.

Then we collected the kid and I’m calling it a night.



He can take a little ribbing
Wednesday June 06th 2018, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

(It’s a little darker than this.)

Yesterday’s cowl was for a newly-single mom of an adorable three-year-old and was from a single skein of souvenir yarn bought in Ft. Worth the last time we got to visit my father-in-law before he passed.

I couldn’t match it.

But after some serious stash-diving I came up with this to at least approximate it; I remember, back when I was a young mom I would be halfway through the day before I realized I’d dressed my baby to match me without even knowing it. Again.

Two-by-two ribbing all the way up to give it some serious stretch. It will fit a preschooler’s head with lots of folding-up and it goes comfortably over mine. Kids grow.

Of course, being three and having a mom who’s back in school and will likely soon move again means it’ll probably get lost somewhere before he’s four and make how it was knitted a moot point, but then that would just mean he’d get to choose the colors himself next time.

The point is that in all the shattering losses they’re going through, good memories and a sense of belonging are still being created. They matter.



Look! A newborn cowl!
Tuesday June 05th 2018, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Ah, they’re so cute at this stage…

And Happy Birthday to my Dad! 



That soft gray cashmere
Sunday June 03rd 2018, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Knitting a Gift,Life

I finally learned how to pronounce her name today.

She’s a knitter? I…I… How could I not have known this! She’s so shy and so quiet, but offering her that cowl changed everything in an instant. She crochets, too, but she’d never knitted anything like this. She was blown away.

What kind of… She looked for the right words to ask.

I got it and grabbed my purse. I pulled out a circular needle.

Yes! That! She marveled over knitting needles that were all in one piece like that. Where do you get that?

It was a 4mm/US6 and apparently a fair bit smaller than she was used to. I told her where the nearest yarn store was, or maybe Michael’s, or online?

She did not know how to do it like this, though. Could I teach her?

Be still my heart. Oh honey yes. And there’s a book out there that has lace instructions (lace. That was the word she’d been looking for. English is not her first language) both in words and pictures. I couldn’t resist adding, And I wrote it.

(With credit thoroughly owed to Donna Druchunas for those diagrams and the charting.)

I told her I was giving her a copy next week (or next time, I explained, depending on when my aunt’s memorial service gets scheduled for. Aunt Bonnie cannot leave us without her children knowing just how much their sweet mother meant to my family and me.)

If only I’d done this good woman’s cowl a long time ago. But at least I did it now. We have us some catching up to do. This is so cool.