To those of you who write, plan, edit and continually think about what goes into your blog, I apologize. I’m a pantser (one who writes by the seat of their pants, so to speak), as we call them at campnanowrimo (part of the National Writing Month expansion). I sit down sometime on Thursday afternoon or evening and write my blog according to what’s happened that week. It’s been a heck of a week for me. Life didn’t slow down when school finished. It may have sped up…as summer tends to fly by.

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Part of my container patio garden…I could have a lot of pumpkin growing soon, and I need to separate tomatoes…though they got a late start.

However, I tried the planning thing. I sat down and wrote a mini blog post, and most of my week does not belong in a blog about knitting now, so it was going to be short. But I’ve been reminded of things that matter this week, no matter how tough or expensive it’s getting. I’ve recommitted to decisions and started listening again for those voices that matter, the one’s that look out for you, provide you with a hug and know better than you do just what you need.

I’m working on a quilt block called Grandma’s Kitchen, where we’re asked to provide a childhood memory associated with the block we’re working on…I was started thinking. Last week’s block was Kitchen Table…I thought of Fried Egg sandwiches that need just a bit of mayo. I thought of Brussels sprouts my mother thought I was weird for liking. (Grandma cooked them with butter and sugar, I ate them up and still love them, even with less sugar now.)

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Kitchen Table on left, Sticky Buns(Pineapple Upside Down Cake version) on right…

This week’s block was sticky buns, a favorite treat (this one was her breakfast treat), but it made me think of pineapple upside down cake, my grandma’s favorite kind of cake. I still love this cake, but I don’t get it often enough. As I read through the memories and the stories, I cried. I haven’t cried in some time, I’ve been busy being tough and making things work and getting things done. But I haven’t sat and just felt in some time.

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One side of the sock…perhaps I’ll get some of the wonkiness I’m looking for soon.

In the meantime, I’ve been knitting the socks I’m not sure are wonky enough. I hope to put more time into the Terpander socks by Melissa Morgan Oakes next week(as I haven’t touched them this week). However, I have been knitting the Slip-n-Slide socks by Chrissy Gardiner to see if they get any wonkier…I want them to look a little less stately. Both sock patterns are available in the book Sock Knitting: Master Class by Ann Budd available through Interweave Press.

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The second side of the sock…Again, still looking for more wonkiness…but it’s a fun sock;-)

However, I’ve been compelled to work on these quilt blocks  and get some sewing done as well, since I’m not so busy with homework. I’m going on a six month journey to reconnect with the meaning my grandmother brought to my life. She was likely the adult I was closest to growing up though my parents still attempted to raise me.  It is my grandmother I miss most and sometimes need most. Join me on this journey…Grandma didn’t knit, she just didn’t see herself as “One of those ladies who sits and knits all day.”  She watched hockey for the fights, but she loved me like no other and signed all her letters with x’s and o’s.

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The rest of my patio garden…nothing impressive, but I love my Cosmos and Calla Lilies;-)…and Begonias…just need to get some Petunias in there(which require me remembering to water them).

I think we need more of sitting with Grandma and just being in our lives, regardless if the socks are wonky enough or perfect enough or perhaps just right in the end…I hope;-).

Credit where credit is due: Thank you Pat Sloan, for beginning this process…

*The Grandma’s Kitchen sew along is designed and hosted by Pat Sloan.

Download the blocks at http://www.ilovetomakequilts.com/grandmas-kitchen-sew-along.html

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Graduation Excitement!

May 26, 2017

…with knitting in Public!

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The back of his graduation cap, with my dad in the background…How could I not love this kid?

My nephew graduated high school tonight! For those of you with or on the PhD. track…I know, it’s only the first step. But it is a large first step. And I’m a very proud aunt! So, Brace yourself, Effie! There will be commencement photos. In part, it’s been 17 short years in the making. In part, it’s been nearly half a lifetime (I was a little over 17 when he was born…by years, not months…). I’ve been there for band concerts (just last Sunday), plays (had one last week)…and the Nerf birthday party in which this kid asked everyone he knew for Nerf guns or darts, etc… Admittedly, it was a fun birthday party, and when your Nerf gun runs out of ammo, you just might find your arm works just as well….He could still host a Nerf party if he wanted, and supply most, if not all of us with Nerf guns…(and I’d still end up using my arms at some point).

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He’s not bored, just really tired, & likely,excited about graduation as well…

Ah, the memories, as I have a beer in his honor(after the ceremony) and wish I’d remembered to bring my Jeans home…I did get some knitting done, because as we know, commencement ceremonies have long speeches and processes. The kids made it interesting, as did some of the adults. One teacher was convinced we were all watching him…I was knitting a row as he spoke and almost called out, “I promise, we’re not ALL watching you…” but I attempted to behave (I’ve no freakin’ idea why).

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The sock is really coming along(I’ll be hoping for a cold day in June;-)

I did complete another repeat of this sock this week as I finished the last three rounds of the repeat and I got a lifeline installed at the Commencement Ceremony…then I had to actually stop to take photos. I wish I would have had a better seat for a Jazz Band photo, but I got most of them. Why should you care about the photo…well…They played “FreeBird,” and they rocked it. I saw this Sunday in Band Concert as well(we have some rockin’ band concerts). These are some pretty cool kids, and they leave a tough act to follow.

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Terpander socks are coming along…One more row until I start the last 48 rows (plus the 1-1/2″ or ribbing at the top).

So, I’m going to sit here and knit, and wonder how/if I have enough money to knit my youngest niece a shirt that looks like one I picked up at a local thrift shop(because I wasn’t wearing jeans to this, and the slacks that fit me don’t match the shirt I wore and left at my former sister-in-law’s home when I changed for the ceremony. I’m not a selfie fan….and my nephew was tired of photos by the time we got to me taking one with him…(I should have said too darned bad, but I respected his wishes). So, we’ll see what I can pull out of my hat in the next hour or so, and share some knitting photos as well…cuz we’re really here for the knitting, right?

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Backside of the Terpander socks… we’re making progress…really.

And now, here it is…I’ve made good progress on the Terpander socks and the Knot socks….but now i think I have to contemplate making a sweater vest or two…My niece ordered hers in purple or rainbow…how fun does rainbow sound? It looks like a http://www.ravelry.com search is in order (as well as a trip to the yarn store after I pay for my summer term.) Which reminds me, I’d better get back to studying…and finding some research participants;-) .

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Bottom hem of the shirt I picked up today…the one my niece wants in purple or rainbow…um, Lizzie, you’re lucky I love you…I have to pick up this kid’s knitting lessons over the summer I think.

 

 

There is knitting, too, I promise….

Allow me to pour us a beverage and explain. I’m having wine, what will you have?

After my nap, I sewed and then sewed some more, then I ripped out some stitches of misplaced hexies, and went back to sewing them in the right place…darned hexies. I was also sent home disgustingly early on Christmas Eve which left my bank account weeping a bit more than expected this year. The snow arrived early this year, which is better than late, when you are not driving home in it too early on Friday night as well….Alas, let’s get back to the sewing I went right back to with the extra time I now had on my hands. I still had tweaks to sew, hexies to place and part of a border to attach….as well as a letter to type and print which would be delivered explaining the quilt top.

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Jamie…wondering what he might do with a planetarium (it’s science, he’ll be fine…).

Where’s the super-secret quilt top? What a great question, I’ll get right on that. About 4AM Christmas morning, I put the quilt top in a huge box with some batting choices, the letter and a small, wrapped package of chocolate and popcorn. The child shouldn’t walk away empty handed,after all. As my dear niece, Jessica, worked to undo all my pretty 4AM wrapping, she guessed there was a dress in the box. Unless it was a ball gown replica (one I’d shown her back in October), it wouldn’t have needed such a large box. It was a good guess on her part, and perhaps success on my part. (I have sewn her dresses before, mostly when she was younger). Once she got the box opened and began to lift the quilt out, I had my sister in law step in and assist with the unveiling and handed Jessica my camera. Forgive the photo, I often forget to direct when I’m not behind the camera. Besides, most of my subjects are cats, dogs, and yarn…they have ears only for food, and the yarn, doesn’t listen at all, much like the cats.

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The reveal….there’s more to go….but here’s what I’ve been working on forever….or the last three years…if that isn’t loving someone more, I don’t know what is;-).

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That being said, the quilt top is still a wee bit unfinished and my dear Dad was the first to point out the holes left in the quilt top. (I wanted to shout, “You should have seen them yesterday!” I didn’t, I was good.) He suggested the holes were arm-holes…you see them…clever, but not quite. I’m quite aware I have more work to do. But once it was unveiled, and I returned to work Monday to double my normal hours this week, including an extra Tuesday, I decided it was now okay to take a slight break from the quilt top. Besides, there is still more to update.

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Said quilt top…Spindly legs, and all…spindly term courtesy of Jessica…

I also presented the cable socks to Lizzie(the younger niece), that I’d been working on for much of fall semester. I promised feet photos and forgot them. I’m torn between you have to wait until my pair is done or I’ll have her pose her feet next time…then we have to figure out the best way to photograph someone else’s feet….

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Future footwork…(it’s not as if I have three or more of these irons in the fire;-))…

I also meant to unveil mittens to my dad. They did not get finished, not even the first one. Hence why I was on the naughty bench all week, in addition to the quilt top–’When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.” –Mae West.

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Where the mitts are this week….(they didn’t fit…). I’m glad I got the “alternate” gift…perhaps one day, I or Lizzie will love them;-)….

Luckily, I’d received a generous surprise gift card and snuck off the the J-store (Jo-Ann Fabrics) to purchase some last minute gifts….(yes, I know better). While dear James’ journal came in before the big day, he still appreciated the simple hard-cover journal of a similar size I procured for him which may travel better.

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The journals….his is much better–the leather one on the right, but mine travels easier….

Then I presented my dad with his “alternative” gift, a simple Star Wars calendar. I proceeded to test his reaction to the wool I was using by thrusting the entire skein into his hand. If it made him itch, I’d have a positive and he could wash the itch off quickly. I showed him the right mitt and had him try it on. Turns out, it’s better suited for my hand than his, which I feared. He was not fully aware of the mittens, so this gift was not an entire bust, thankfully. I might be able to get off the naughty bench for this year. I’ll be sure to join you ladies (and perhaps some gentlemen) right back there next year!

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Bubble gum filled Naughty socks….the Nice sock was hidden in the bottom of the snowman….

Now that the big reveals are done and my nephew enjoyed his bubblegum filled socks… presented naughty one first (because the kids really are a chip off the old aunt block….don’t tell them I admitted to anything near old, but the block is old!), I’ve considered reflecting on the past year, but with all the deaths of legends, whether the returned home as the K theory in Men In Black suggests or they are simply gone, we’re begging for a kindler, gentler 2017, and thinking of sending 2016 off with a big bang…or one heck of a salute. It won’t matter to me, unless the big bang is in the gaming hell where I will hopefully be dealing a Carnival game rather than Black Jack.

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My happy break from work(except when I’m talking knitting with a Georgian(U.S.) knitter working on a Detroit Lions cowl before a tournament she attends once a year;-). (Squee moment from work).

Enough about work…there’s a reason Londoners, or Englishmen, in historical novels call it a gaming hell, and I’m not really done being naughty, and therefore am absolutely not prepared for reflection…February will be cold enough for that…. Plus, I’ve picked up some “shelved” projects and had others thrust upon me or requested.

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The other side of the socks….I still love this color.

Dear James had to fill my stocking after all, and when he got home from his last minute traditional shopping trip to my local yarn store, he reminded me that I’m expensive and told me he got me a new project…well, the yarn for it anyways….

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Dear James told me I didn’t have a matching scarf, hat and mittens…half acrylic…Now I’m left searching for a matching pattern….any suggestions?

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Reveal of the second sock for the kid willing to wear my Naughty or Nice stocking hat…;-)

No, I didn’t throw a huge fit on the naughty bench, not yet anyway. I actually enjoyed my knitting/quilting time there… Allow me to explain.

There is this beast of a quilt…it’s semi-secret and only twin size, but it’s an original design that’s mostly hand-sewn and three years in the works. Since three years is long enough and there will be a great reveal next week, I haven’t knit but two rows this week, and I had to rip one of them out…two steps forward, one step back, right?

So, I’ve spent all of my spare time sewing this quilt and creating the border and getting the quilt top in place…And I need more hexies! And I need another hexy! And I need another inch or two here. I’ve discovered I’m a creative designer with tons of love and a boyfriend who scales back my eye for color, thank goodness. I must give him credit in the letter I’m yet to write and print off…because I’m also all about tough quilt love. I promise. If it is to become a dog bed, it will be returned. If it is found on the floor, it gets one opportunity to be picked up or it will be returned. I can find another tweak it needs(as it still needs some tweaking) and store it in my closet or hang it on a wall.

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Lizzie’s “Masterpiece” #1…Yes, she worked on two of them…

Don’t get me wrong. It’s meant to be used and loved, but with respect–and more than one would give a blanket. It’s also under contract, as I have to show it at shows and retreats. But the top is nearly done and my fingers might be a touch sore, though I sewed my own leather thimble and discovered I love this thing. I decided I’m gifting it as is for Christmas and allowing the recipient some say in the batting and backing, as well as the quilting. I’m certain  (and hopeful) that she will be quite surprised.

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If you look closely, you can make out Stars…the top row says “made of”

I also plan to finish the damn mittens that I’m still halfway through the one hand of…(I really expected to achieve full Wonder Woman status this week and get to halfway through the second mitten). But I only received a $25.00 gift card to the J-store  (Jo-ann Fabrics, for those not in the know)….that helped obtain some Christmas gifts at the last minute(both on sale as well).

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The finished gingerbread square created by Jessica and myself…such a cute courtyard for the love kisses(they were the last two, and I left them for my niece).

But I also had to test my wonder woman status this week and work on Gingerbread houses with my sister-in-law, nieces, and Little: Mariah. It was a good night, and I kept my youngest niece overnight and then made Magic Bars and No-bake cookies with Lizzie–which leads to nap time.

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The other side of the mittens that did not knit themselves this week…

My brain hasn’t registered my schedule much of this week, I was up at 8AM on Wednesday and 6:45 AM on Thursday. AGGHHHH! I’m normally not up before noon, and noon is early. I still work overnights. I’ve worked through most of it, but I needed a nap (which I don’t normally do) mid-day to work around getting up over five hours early, perhaps six full hours early. I don’t even have class this week. Alas, it’s not helping the knitting and I’m not going to knit as much when I’m ready to fall asleep…. I can sew better tired, so long as I’m not on the machine, and double checking my work.

There may be some more knitting tonight…I’ve accomplished two more rows for a total of three this week, however…I still have hexies to create and stitch in, as well as a border to assemble…and now real life must intervene and call me back to work for the weekend….alas….wish me luck. Next week, there will be a reveal…

 

…has caught on with me;-)….It’s real. I’m doing it.

It started last week(or the week before at Hunter’s while I waiting for my sister-in-law); I took my knitting to class. I’ve taken my knitting to class everyday. I don’t have a lot of reading for this class right now, but I will have loads later, I suspect. However, I still get to class early and I knit a row or two. Sometimes, I get three rows in…other days like today run away from me and I get only one or two rows in…but it’s coming…just wait.

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Mascots at the game-7th inning stretch singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,”

I had a busy final move day today. I unloaded much that isn’t needed anymore and I had some help unloading some of it. It is a load off my shoulders. I’m done, I can focus on the move-in. But in the interest of doing things my little enjoys, I took her an hour and a half away to a West Michigan WhiteCaps game. (To my Grand Rapids friends, I’m sorry I stayed so quiet about this, but you guys like to drink–which is frowned upon with my little). We had a good time and saw a poorly called, poorly played game of baseball. The players were doing what they were supposed to-mostly, perhaps the other team was just better. But there was one call, at least, where I asked if the ref went to Bowling Green. It wasn’t college ball…but maybe he was from Bowling Green(somewhere in Indiana).

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Please don’t look closely at my hair, I’m in the middle of a move-out of one home, now to set up another.

However, Mariah enjoyed herself, and we splurged on Burger King, sugar and hot dogs as well as a tie-dye ball we didn’t stay long enough to get signed. As she gets older and we pick a team she likes better, perhaps we’ll stay that late. She was ready to leave by 9:30…and the little turn around in the ballpark left me needing that extra few minutes to get her home. (And yes, friends, she turned into a pumpkin, but I had to resist getting a picture-she pulled her foot off my dashboard before I got her home–darn it.) She also woke up ten minutes before I got her home. No sleeping pics of the Little sleeping on the way home.

However, this blog is about knitting, not driving a sleepy 11 year old home. I took the knitting with me, of course, and let Mariah take her first photo on my new camera with only so much instruction of how to hold it. I do have a picture of this one;-)

I also have a picture of where the knitting has gotten too (or will by the time I post this).

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Current progress…I think I’m at six or seven repeats of 9…class resumes Tuesday;-)…

I also knit at home, but I’m getting far more done while waiting for class or a tow truck–goodbye old truck, I won’t miss you. You cost me too much money-it sounds like an ex-husband…(No, the ex-husband cost me less or made his own money, most of the time).

Alas, this is a knitting blog….I keep having to remind myself tonight, but this is also a journey…and my journey tonight took me to places I knit in public. No photos of class knitting–sorry…oh, there’s a story there. Hold on. But I have been knitting in public.

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During a ballgame…I did get to watch Kirk Gibson’s son play some tonight, on the Detroit Tiger’s apparent farm team.

So the class story–we have guest lecturers this week-who have no problem letting us out early(and for once I don’t feel cheated out of my education–we’ll discuss that later). Today’s guest lecturer was talking to us about writing intros…without realizing it, I’ve probably been writing Introductions for a while now, informally-but still an intro. We had an in class writing assignment and I chose to persuade that knitting is a great tool for mindfulness(which I’m supposed to be looking into;-)). The guest lecturer reviewed them on break, and mentioned that she, too, was a knitter and they had a group that met at Hunter’s Ale House on Thursday nights.

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Getting there…in size and shape;-)…I think. Perhaps I need to do more knitting in public while waiting. Imagine the progress…I may need to cast on some vanilla socks…(so I’ll need some really fun yarn;-)).

Well, I was busy tonight, but I learned we have a knitting group only twenty minutes away where they serve Right Brain Lavender Ale(try it, please). A pint, a glass, some knitting, some girl talk, and just what the doctor ordered. No wonder the waitress didn’t bat an eyelash when I stopped in with my knitting a couple weeks ago to meet my sister-in-law after a rough day of work(which is also on my “prescription tablet,” along with quilt retreats).

What on earth do I mean? (if you choose to care). I was tested for ADHD a couple weeks ago, and learned I have symptoms but do not have ADHD, not even the inattentive type. It is much more likely that I have had anxiety, but between knitting and quilting and scrapbooking–as well as the blogging and working in front of people often, I do not qualify for anxiety either. This is supposed to be good news, but the tapes I’ve been playing in my head are over five years old and need to be changed. So, they said, get out there and socialize some. I guess I am, so long as I can take the knitting along.

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Squib, always ready to help me knit…though not such a public kitten…

Perhaps next week I’ll discuss the shoppel question….Schoppel Wolle Zauberball

I’m  currently using string theory colorworks, so I was confused, but I must meet this german wool. I’m part german after all, I just focus on the Irish side, mostly. Schoppel wolle zauberball

Traditions, Old and New…

November 27, 2015

 

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Situation normal…Mom, I’m keeping the bag…no you can’t have the contents.

This morning was Thanksgiving and I worked a bunch of extra and unexpected hours tossing cards at people(literally for this game). Then I came home to get the requisite five hours of sleep so that I might travel to visit Dear James’ family for gathering and food gluttony.

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Just when I thought I might get to knit without furry help…It never lasts…excuse the terrible photo…

I enjoyed the day and trying a new wine…perhaps I’ll aim to try a new wine every Thanksgiving, and perhaps I’ll share one of my aged Chianti’s with them each year. We’ll see how that tradition develops. I’ll discuss stocking topics closer to Christmas. You’re welcome, it does happen to be my favorite tradition. For now, I have some simpler traditions and potential new ones to discuss. My oldest niece and I play the ‘I love you more,’ game. I thought I’d won it this past year when I told her that I loved her enough to share my ice cream with her. She’ll be 14 in two weeks. You can imagine how long she remembers the ice cream at that birthday party.

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Look, look! Do you see what I see?

However, as I’m knitting these socks for my younger niece, I’m realizing we’ve yet to create our own catch-line tradition. Lizzie’s specialty is funny faces, and making people laugh. But as I knit, even tired, on little sleep(and only a small mistake I chose to ignore). I had knit these socks these socks right “Down to the toes.”

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Scamp, sleeping where the knitting bag should be. She’s making her own traditions…

This line is going to be included with the gift of the socks, because every girl(every child, even,) deserves to know they are loved, right down to their toes. And what better way to accomplish that, but with a pair of warm socks that are knit…

Right Down To The Toes. 

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