Reaching out

by Lee Louise

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Embroidered Refurbishment

by Lee Louise

Notes from 2015. I enjoy making sweaters with unusual design features, but even with five daughters, sometimes I discover that not one of them would be willing to wear something I want to make after I finish it… In 2015 I lucked out, because Hillary expressed a willingness, if not an actual desire, to own and wear a Caldwell Pullover. (The original pattern by Courtney Spainhower can be found in the Fall 2015 issue of Knitscene.) We found three colors of Cascade Yarns’ Cloud on sale at Webs. She would NOT wear the orange, I would NOT knit the nearly-black green (I think it was green, it might have been brown, I just know it was very dark), so we settled on Honey.

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We ordered it, I worried about it, silently fussing that she didn’t really like it but was just humoring me. When the yarn arrived in the mail, though, she was delighted with it, and I went to work.

I don’t recall exactly how long it took me knit the Caldwell, but I believe it was only two or three weeks. Aran yarn knits up so quickly, and the shaping is so interesting, that I didn’t want to put it down.

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However, aran weight wool/alpaca yarn knits up into a very warm sweater. She has worn it quite a bit, I think she likes it, but it is really too warm for the MidSouth.

At the points on the arms, back, and bust where the eyelets stop, there is a pronounced tendency for the fabric to come out in a point. Just sayin’. If you choose to make a Caldwell, be sure to fiddle when blocking to minimize those points. I suppose if the arm points came at the elbow, it wouldn’t look so odd, and there is an excuse to have points in the bust area. But back points are not totally necessary.

 

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The underarm is not a gansey-type gusset, and there are seams (the only seams!) where the underarm of the body meets the underarm of the sleeve. On each side of that seam, there is the potential for holes to form. After seaming, a bit of darning must be done to minimize those holes.

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I did make one change in the design. Hillary asked for elbow-length sleeves instead of wrist-length. I misjudged where to start the ribbing, and so the sleeves are longer than elbow length, but she hasn’t complained. I stopped decreasing a couple of inches before the ribbing, and I don’t think I should have. Maybe I should have gone back and reknit the last few inches of the sleeves, but I didn’t. Judge for yourself.

All in all, I am happy with this sweater, and Hillary likes it too.

Notes from February 2017. Time has passed. I am happy to say that in the past year and a half (?), this has been Hillary’s go-to sweater. She wears it to church on Sunday, and most days of the week besides. With that kind of wear, perhaps it should not have been surprising when a few weeks ago, I noticed 3 or 4 little holes in the garter stitch section of the arm. (Right arm? Left arm? It depends on whether she is wearing it frontwards or backwards, and she is pretty indiscriminate about that.)

I mentally filed this information away, and when Margaret came for the wedding, I asked her to embellish the sleeve to camouflage, and mend, the little holes. So, while I finished the Wedding Bolero, Hillary darned, and Margaret embroidered Palestrina knots, woven spiderwebs, lazy daisies and a couple of satin stitch leaves with leftovers of the original yarn. The result is amazing. It looks so delicate.

I love it even more than I did in 2015, and Hillary still wears it to church, and every day of the week besides!

I hope it doesn’t spring any more holes but, if it does, a solution is at hand.

A Note of Encouragement

by Lee Louise

Is it gray and dreary where you live? Are mountains sliding down the hillsides? Are the potholes big enough to swallow your car?  Are you dreading the floods that will wreak havoc when the snow finally  does thaw?

Worst yet: Is it snowing? AGAIN??

Don’t lose hope, my friends. Spring will come to you too!!

Forsythia above the retaining wall in the side yard:
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Battalions of daffodils blooming under the dogwood tree:daffodils-5

 

Reunions

by Lee Louise

We had a family reunion at Christmas time. My five daughters were all there:

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With their families:

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Our son and his family were sadly missed, but their new baby was born December 31, so travel for them was problematic.

Then in February we gathered again, this reunion celebrating a wedding:

My heart is full. Life is good to me.

Delving the Depths

by Lee Louise

Okay. My oldest, antique-est wip on my Ravelry projects page, now that I have finished the Rambling Rows sweater, is Lochinver, an Alice Starmore gansey. Begun in 2002, it languishes. This fall, I have entered it in three separate finish-it-by-such-and-such-a-date challenges, and failed twice. The finish date for the third one looms — January 1, 2017. Ideally, I would like it to be finished by Christmas.

A few months ago, in a fit of organization and reordering, I excavated a lot of old projects and wips from their various hiding places, and made project pages for them all. As I was creating the project page for Sarah’s Lochinver wip, I found the receipt, dated October 5, 2002, for 12 skeins of yarn. That really pinpointed it for me! No guessing at all, but an added source of guilt. I have been instead-of-finishing that sweater for 13, maybe 14 years now!

This project entered the hibernation state when I got to the point where the instructions told me to GRAFT the shoulder seams. I’ve spent some time (14 years?) waffling over this — graft? would a 3-needle bind off be just as effective? It’s a shame, because Sarah bought the yarn herself. Occasionally, she has reminded (nagged?) me about this project… she was storing it in her room somewhere…

Well. On 30 July 2016, the sweater came downstairs from the limbo of Sarah-land so I could take progress pictures for my projects page. That day, Lochinver was officially designated a WIP. I know where it is; I have no excuse. Based on a poll in one of the Ravelry gansey groups, I have decided to use 3-needle bind off on the shoulders, instead of trying to graft them. (That decision was a relief. I began to feel hope.) Then, with just four balls of yarn left, I will attempt to knit two full length sleeves. My fear is that the sleeves will be too short. But hey, if they are, they can be 3/4 length sleeves. Or 7/8 length. And that is okay, because shorter sleeves might be more realistic for the climate here in the MidSouth anyway.

I had forgotten how lovely it is.

The yarn is actually a deep, violet red, and not the pale, wimpy red in the pictures. For some reason my phone captures only the red, and not the deep or the violet…

I am glad for many things

As Thanksgiving approaches, I find that I am mindful of many things that make me happy. Some things are related to the holiday, the time of year, the songs we sing. Family, church, and nation.

But today, I am especially happy for my 5 1/2 day weekend, which started Tuesday at noon!

I intend to make the most of my holiday weekend, which has been carefully augmented with annual leave to stretch to a total of 140 hours. Family will visit, and the design for a bolero for an upcoming wedding will be chosen. Thanksgiving dinner will be created and eaten. Savored, even. Stores will be visited this weekend, small local businesses that enjoy my patronage, none of them in the mall.

Today I am also glad that my size 8 24-inch circular needle is no long being held hostage by a hibernating project:ramblingrows_et_2

16 years ago, I took a mitered squares class at Yarn to Go in Memphis, and started this little sweater as my class project. This Rambling Rows Jacket has been in hibernation for 16 years, but today I have finished it, as a holiday gift for one of my grandsons. I am glad that the circular needle, barely visible but in evidence in that picture, is available again… I have missed it.

16 years ago, I stopped on the buttonhole row since I didn’t know whether to put the buttonholes on the boy-side or the girl-side. A Yarn to Go bag (including the receipt and all the ball bands! imagine that!), the partially finished (so close to completion!!) sweater, the pattern, and a perfectly serviceable size 8 24-inch circular needle went into my closet. Many times over the years, I have remembered the needle, and regretted it.

Today, I finally took this project out of the closet to finish it. The buttonholes are now on the boy side, and I will buy buttons when I go shopping Friday (or Saturday).

Finished. Or close enough to call it finished.

I had forgotten the other reason I put this project aside. The center back join was a disappointment, to put it mildly. In actuality, it was NOT a join — there was a hole the size of a nickel where those four squares were supposed to come together. So tonight, I darned that hole closed, and only I will know it was ever there.

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He liked to hear the laughter of happy people

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Today was my father’s birthday. Harry John. A moment of silence to remember him – – – he was a great man, full of mischief, a born storyteller, everybody who knew him liked him. He told me once that he patterned his life after his own father, my grandfather Frederick Heath, who was also well liked and esteemed. I didn’t know my Grampy well, I was young when he passed. But I loved my father very much.

My sister and I always called him Daddy. Daddy married my mother, Garneta, in 1943, in a parsonage in Ashtabula, Ohio. As I understand it, since it was wartime, the only people present were the pastor and his wife. They didn’t have a wedding party, no family to support them and celebrate with them at a reception in their honor, just two young people starting their life together.

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They didn’t have a 25th anniversary party either. But as their 50th approached in 1993, my sister and I planned a 50th anniversary party for them. All the family came. My cousins were there, many of them staying over from my Uncle Bud’s funeral, which had been that morning. My father’s cousins were there as well. We tried to keep it a surprise from my mother, but of course she knew there was something going on, when I flew into town and went into huddled planning conferences with my sister. The party was held in the old firehouse on Main Street, and at one point, as I sat next to my mother and listened to her talk, and realized how much it truly meant to her, to finally have the wedding party that she hadn’t had 25 years ago, or 50. I have never regretted that party.

slater_1993a

 

no time to watch the sun come up ~~ by Hillary

glow fills the eastern sky

morning like any other

so slowly yet no one sees

no one cares to look

 

with rushing wheels

and sleepless nights

the start of a new day

no longer means sunlight

 

for years, time lost value

or times cost has increased

time never stands still

it moves in fast forward

 

a hour is still the same length

the sun always sets in the west

but mankind always forgets

there are no reminders to look

Completed Shawl and Mitts

by Lee Louise

I’ve been doing a lot of knitting since the beginning of October. The first weekend in October was prime knitting time, as I knit through General Conference. 10 hours of knitting, my friends! It was a truly remarkable experience. Uplifting. Productive.

I finished my version of Susanna IC’s Catlett Shawl, having extended the lace pattern by several 4-row repeats:

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Catlett is modeled here by Real People:

Then I got to work on my Master Mitts again. The pattern is Elizabeth Ravenwood’s Master of the Horses, Hounds, and Hawks Mitts. I finished the left hand mitt that weekend and started the right hand mitt before the closing Conference talk:

Notice how much nicer it looks when worn by Real People, and not by my keyboard?

Now, I was knitting both these projects for KALs, and the deadline for the shawl wasn’t until today, so that was done, blocked, photographed, and posted in plenty of time. I like to finish by the deadline so I can be eligible for prizes (I need all the free yarn and patterns and bags that I can get!) But those mitts — starting the right hand mitt was not the same as finishing the pair of mitts, and the October 7 deadline was for a finished pair. Well, I came home from work that evening and we turned on The Hobbit and a marathon started. We watched 7 or 8 delightful hours of Martin “Bilbo Baggins” Freeman wandering around the New Zealand countryside, and I knit. And knit. And knit some more. We were into the third movie when the midnight hour tolled, and that right hand mitt was still unfinished, by only 5 or 6 rounds on the thumb:

So, we paused The Hobbit in the middle of the third movie, I took pictures of my Failed KAL entry, and posted. Then we resumed watching (and knitting, and finishing ends), and at 12:47 a.m. on October 8, I was well and truly finished with both mitts, just 47 minutes late for the KAL deadline.

On September 6 I had written: “After all, how long can it take to knit a couple of mitts?…” Well, I guess we know now!

Death to the Orange ~~ by Hillary

Sour spray fills the air

signal to the end

fingers dig under bitter peel

hands collect stickiness

creating skin-tight gloves.

Peel falls in a single piece

nails scrape white

gather it into their tips.

Core rips from the sphere,

splits in half

broken chance for survival.

Seeds dig out of flesh,

to find the hollow peel

their living burial, dead.

Wedge by wedge

membrane crushes,

juice runs down the throat.