Airporting
Thursday November 22nd 2018, 12:19 am
Filed under: Knit

The housesitter saw us off.

Alaskan air, after these past two weeks of fire skies at home, is cold and crisp and oh so blessedly clear.



Love your dear ones
Sunday November 18th 2018, 12:00 am
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

My friend Lisa Souza of lisaknit.com ditched dinner tonight after she looked out the window: instead, she and her husband were grabbing important papers and pets and throwing everything in the car at the speed of life.

She lives in a town some of the Camp Fire people had evacuated to.

A car on the road beyond had hit a power pole and gone down the embankment as the sky lit up in fire. Hours later she posted a picture she’d stopped a moment to snap that also showed headlights well below, pointed upwards, like, what just happened??

She reported that somehow the guy inside was okay and that the firefighters had tamped down the ferocious brilliance and were only checking for hotspots now. Those guys are good at what they do and I for one could never ever imagine doing it. Wow.

Our AQI is down to 144, rain is forecast for Wednesday and it looks like everybody will finally get a break.

What I really wanted to write about was all the cool stuff I knitted today, but I just didn’t. As the lungs slowly find clarity I intend to have more oomph. Tomorrow would be good.



North and south
Sunday November 04th 2018, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

Spencer got his afghan and a matching hat yesterday.

Every child needs their favorite blankie. A hat, maybe not so much near the southern border, but then that means it’s the one warm hat he’ll have should he need it.

His cousin in Alaska could show him how it’s done.

Just as soon as he learns that putting on his mom’s boots doesn’t substitute for putting on pants in order to go play in the snow.

I can just picture the two together someday and the San Diego cousin going, You mean you get cold on purpose??



Crisp and sweet
Wednesday October 31st 2018, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Garden,Knit,Life

Just for this afternoon, I needed a project I didn’t have to pay attention to for the doctor’s office and I was fresh out. (Routine appointment, no worries.) Grabbed some violet merino/cashmere/silk Diamante I’d had Colourmart six-ply for me and cast on an hour beforehand and got enough done that you could tell what the pattern was going to be (and so it would be long enough that the curling bottom wouldn’t bug me–blocking will fix that later.)

I found myself sitting next to a fellow grandmother and knitter, a woman from India who loved watching my hands work as we delighted in each other. She was a treasure.

The doctor was the ENT whose love for taking care of his fruit trees had triggered my planting mine, and look where it got me now. Enthusiasm is contagious that way.

So I brought him a gift in a small Penzey’s box: one perfectly ripe, slightly funky-shaped rather small apple that had grown to fit the produce clamshell that had been squirrel-proofing it. I told him it was my final Fuji of the season.

He laughed in wonder, saying he’d picked his last Fuji in August!

Microclimates R Us, I guess.

It smelled perfect. I hope it was. There had been two, and we can tell you that the other had made it clear how good they were now.



Handknit warmth for the survivors and bereaved
Monday October 29th 2018, 11:00 pm
Filed under: History,Knit,Life

A yarn store not far from the Tree of Life synagogue that was attacked is collecting squares to be made into afghans, with a deadline of December 1st and a request that you not weave the ends in (I imagine they want to use them for sewing the squares together in yarns that match.) Note that there are three synagogues that meet in the same building and all were affected.

Yarns By Design got permission from Nickie Epstein to share her Tree of Life pattern and posted it here.

I’m hoping I can find enough people in my area for us to finish at least one afghan in full.

I’ll let the shop tell the details of what they want. I’d love to hear any other ideas on designs.

Pattern: any and all designs and skill-levels are welcome
eg. Stars of David, trees, hearts, doves, plain, etc

Size: 9” horizontally by 8.5” vertically with a 5 row seed stitch edging
Yarn: Dk or sport weight (3 on the standard scale), super wash wool or other washable fibers only. Please make sure your yarn won’t felt!
Gauge: 6 stitches/in stockinette
Needle size: 5-7, or whatever you need to get gauge
Style: knit or crochet

All samples can be dropped off at the YBD boutique by December 1st, or mailed to us at:

Yarns By Design
622 Allegheny River Blvd
Oakmont PA 15139



There be Dragon
Friday October 26th 2018, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Knit,LYS

Spent part of the afternoon hanging out at Green Planet: I had decided that the way to get this baby hat finished that I’d been avoiding was to spend some time with knitters. It had been too long. My hands don’t love the small needles, but in the context of a good conversation there were enough pauses and breaks without even thinking about it. And it was a simple knit.

It worked!

They had the most perfect rendition of Malabrigo Rios in Solis and I believe in supporting the yarn store that offers me their table and time with good friends.

Plus some Classic Elite Chalet baby alpaca/bamboo, one of my favorites, because that company has closed its doors and when the stock is gone it’s gone. For anybody who hasn’t heard.



Bok, bokbokbokbok
Sunday October 21st 2018, 8:37 pm
Filed under: Knit

That was the closest game of yarn chicken I have played in a long time. Six inches–less than the leftover length from the long-tail cast on. Definitely put that full skein to use.

Now for the quick soak and shake to let those stitches relax.



Katherine now
Wednesday October 17th 2018, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

One week ago, a name popped up in the comments on a Facebook post and I did a double take. We instantly friended each other, and I got to read about a few of her experiences with Catholic Relief Services in Africa. (Do you still go by Katie? I haven’t gone by Katie for 35 years! …I’m behind…)

Then yesterday she posted a picture inside San Francisco airport–because the airline had lost her bag and she was going to have to go fast to buy some clothes before the meeting tomorrow in…

And I went hey, that means you’ll be driving practically right past my house!

Which is how Katherine, my friend since junior high and whom I had not seen since high school graduation, carved two hours out of her very busy trip and spent them today with me and we caught up on forty-one years of life.

“You kind of disappeared,” she told me. I did. I married at 21 and then school and grad school and being broke and kids and distance and we simply didn’t get home for a long time and have never been there for long when we are. I have not seen my favorite mountain laurel in bloom but for three fading tiny blossoms on a single cluster since I was 18.

She married late and no children came, but he was the great love of her life. To describe his generosity, she described his knitting: she was one of six children and there were all these nieces and nephews on her side. One Christmas he knitted them all mittens.

Double knitting mittens. Twenty-four pairs!

Twenty. Four. Pairs. Of double knitting??

I was completely boggled.

He was completely adored.

Ten happy years. Then his cancer. Even in hospice, right to the end, she said, he was knitting for others.

And he loved my friend Katherine and that alone would have been good enough for me. I so wish I could have met him.

I told her, My memories of you from junior high is that you were always nice to everyone. Without fail. At a time in life when kids are so easily snarky and mean you were unfailingly kind.

She was someone I wanted to be a lot more like. Still do.

I sent her back out into the world with a copy of my book and some knitting (thank you for the gorgeous yarn, Lisa!) of my own.

Alaska Air reimbursed her on her clothing purchase.

It was their baggage handling that sparked us those two marvelous hours.



Baby hat
Sunday October 07th 2018, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

Curious. And here I thought that skein looked pretty close to a solid color.



He’ll never be this tiny again
Friday October 05th 2018, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit

Spencer, so very very new.

Meantime, a conversation two days ago: no, you can’t pay me to knit a cowl for your mom like yours but tell me her favorite color.

Her: Purple and pink and happily wears wool.

Me, now that I’ve finished the survivor’s one:



Introducing Spencer
Saturday September 29th 2018, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life

I wanted to officially finish the blanket the day the baby was born and so I held off on those last few things.

Meaning, I have some ends I need to go run in right now and a tag to sew on. (Edited to add, done!)

7 lbs 3.5 oz, 21″, and a perfect little baby boy in every way. We are over the moon.



Greens and blues, Sara said
Friday September 28th 2018, 8:40 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life,Politics

The last few days prompted a conversation wherein an old high school friend opened up yesterday and told me about her being a survivor.

I asked her her favorite color.

(Solis colorway. I had knit up all I had of that. I was actually out. I had to do something about that.)

Today I kept feeling like, go to Green Planet.

Cottage Yarns in the opposite direction has a better inventory on all things Malabrigo.

Go to Green Planet.

I finally said a little prayer, and felt like, yes already fer cryin’ out loud, honey, Green Planet.

Well alright then.

I brought the pair of needles I would be using, went there, found just the thing, waited while they wound it and dove right in, both the knitting and the conversation at the table.

Some old Purlescence friends happened to be there, and one of them asked me how I was doing. I told her the last few days had been pretty intense.

And with that everybody felt permission to talk about it and the conversation got going. Of the five of us sitting at that table, four had followed every hearing and every update.

The fifth, a younger woman, had not; she wanted to know but she’d shied away from finding out and was not even sure what the story was, and it hit me: we’re talking to a survivor and it’s still all too close to home for her. But we did not pry and we did not ask.

The woman across from me started talking about Jeff Flake and the woman in the elevator confronting him, demanding, Look in my eyes! We come to the courts for justice! We who are hurt, who have suffered injustice, we look to the courts and you want to put a rapist on the court! There are many of us and you ought to be ashamed! We come to the courts for healing, for justice!

I chimed in that Flake had gone back to that hearing room and had still voted yes–if. If the FBI were given a week to investigate, then yes, move the nomination to the floor. If.

Something changed in the room.

The witnesses will be interviewed after all.

The fifth woman gathered up her things now and said she had to go, but she had one request: could she give me a hug?

Yes! (Oh honey yes. Yes of course.)

She thanked me and then headed out the door into the waiting daylight.



Jimmy Fallon and…
Saturday September 22nd 2018, 9:20 pm
Filed under: Knit

On a lighter note: Lenny Kravitz and the giant scarf his friend had knit him.

Meantime, another hat, 7US needles, this time in the Paris Nights colorway: Malabrigo Mecha, 70 stitches, 8.5″,  at the top *k8, k2tog,* then one plain round, *k7, k2tog,* plain round, *k6, k2tog,* etc, till you’ve done *k3, k2tog,* at which point stop doing the plain rows between the decrease rows. This rounds off the top of the hat without making it pointy.



Here let me show you what I did wrong
Saturday August 25th 2018, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

There’s a knit two rows purl two rows knit two rows sequence between the squares. When I picked the blanket up again after not working on it for a week while we had company, I somehow only did the first two rows of that sequence of six. I did not see it till I was more than that much further along.

So my choices are:

1. Ignore it. Carry on. Got a ball and a half left to go. (It’s very stretchy sideways, while the picture is with it kind of scrunched in at the sides, so you can definitely add more length, not to mention their kids are tall. But then their daddy is over 6’9″.)

2. Cut it just above the spot, carefully undo enough rows to have plenty of yarn to be able to cast off right there (and where you would want that to be in the pattern), rip out the eighteen hours’ worth of wasted work and have a do-over at the top.

3. Cut it and do all that but flip it over and kitchener (ie graft) the now-live stitches from the top of the bottom to the bottom of the top (only 210 stitches, who’s counting) after I finish those balls and ignore that the stitches will be suddenly upside down to the rest of the blanket. Like nobody will ever know.

4. Which brings us back to, well then hey, ignore it without all that extra work.

But if I just leave it It. Will. Bug. Me.

I think reknitting every one of those inches will be dependent on the baby hopefully refusing to be too much of a preemie, but it’s what I should do.

Like any kind of ribbing, it’s a slow-going pattern.

The thought occurred to me today that y’know, if I could find a match on the dyelot (wishful thinking) then I could actually come out of this with two afghans, after all, one’s a third of the way there already…

Although I think I’d make a plain wide border all around the shorter piece I’m going to cut off. One can only do so much.

Now, who has a full bag of Rios in Cian in stock in a lighter shade than some and with no green in it that I can buy?



(And then I explained what qiviut was)
Tuesday July 24th 2018, 7:02 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

How to make people laugh in church:

We were studying from the Book of Psams in Sunday School, and after a goodly discussion, the teacher handed out paper and pens and asked us what we would write for our own personal psalm. After giving us a few minutes, she asked if anybody wanted to share theirs?

She got one taker. Here goes.

“The Lord is my knitter.

I shall not unravel.

He increases my stitches in cashmere and qiviut and broadens my hem

His purls shall sustain me forever.”

(Because, you know, the front is the flat stockinette side and the purls mean He’s got your back.)