Giving Thanks

by Lee Louise

antique-cornucopia

Today, Thanksgiving Day was celebrated in the U.S. And so, today we ate turkey, succotash, cranberry salad, and pumpkin pie, and maybe also lasagna, and macaroni and cheese, and sweet potato pie, if we are from the MidSouth. We watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. We greeted each other with wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving, or maybe just a “Happy Turkey Day.”

When I woke up today, I was not particularly happy. My feet hurt. They always hurt in the morning these days. And so, I pondered on this philosophical conundrum as I sat on the edge of my bed, convincing myself that I could stand up, while asking myself unanswerable questions. What, precisely, is meant by a “happy” Thanksgiving? What part does happiness play in a Thanksgiving celebration? Do we have to be happy to give thanks? Were the Pilgrims happy that their harvest was dangerously diminished in that famous 3-day feast? (I doubt it.) Does it mean today that we are happy to be thankful?  Or thankful to be happy? Or, are the turkeys happy?

thanksgiving-turkey-illustration

I will admit that I don’t have any answers to these questions, and so I looked at the history of the holiday.

By presidential Proclamation 118 in October 1864, Abraham Lincoln set apart “the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.”

I am thankful that we do not have leftover turkey tonight. I am thankful that there are no bags of leftover turkey in the freezer, coming back as turkey surprise next year. (Surprise! It’s turkey! Again!) I am thankful that even though my feet may hurt, my hands can still knit.

Purloined Bobbles Preliminary Blocking

I give thanks for the blessings I have and, as I count my blessings, I am happier. And, I hope that you all had a Joyous Thanksgiving Day.

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The Delft, Part 1

by Lee Louise

This story is a year late in the writing of it.

I chose not to post the 2016 holiday gift stories last year, in 2016, because — well — because I was making gifts! Gifts should be surprises. And so, stories and pictures about gifts have no place on the internet until after they have been gifted. One never knows who might be furtively peeking.

The Delft, in particular, was a stealth project of the highest order, because it was to be my son’s afghan that should have been made and gifted about 15 years ago, according to the Epic Afghan Timeline.

It was October 5 when I first read about the upcoming MCAL by Margaret MacInnis. “Inspired by Dutch Delft Polychrome pottery” — I am a fan of Dutch Delft pottery, at least I was, once I had seen some pictures! “Please join in the creation of this unique afghan, which features ovals and odd shapes” — creativity, uniqueness, ovals and odd shapes all spoke to me, and I realized that this would make a wonderful afghan for my son. The time table looked doable, with the first clue arriving on October 15 and the seventh clue on November 26. Finish up the borders by the beginning of December, and ship it off in time for Christmas. Piece of cake! I thought, I can do this!

Join me as I reminisce. Indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events with me. Read along. Watch as my journey encountered rocky spots that made me question my wisdom in tackling this wondrous project. Here we go, starting a little more than a year ago:

18 October 2016.
I want to play too!

Everyone is choosing such lovely colors. The blocks are interesting in construction (not your everyday granny square or double crochet square), and quite lovely. So, I’ve bought in. A little late, perhaps, but, from now, I am with you all till the end. Having gotten the pattern, I ordered Brava 100% acrylic yarn from KnitPicks last night. I am surprised at myself for choosing to use Brava. You see, I stopped using 100% acrylic yarn about 25 years ago when I bought some [brand deleted to protect the guilty] acrylic yarn in burgundy red to make an afghan, and my hands were getting paper cuts! Seriously, it was like crocheting with cardboard. But I have great hopes for Brava.

With input from my daughters, I chose clarity, denim, red, dublin, and almond for my colors and will start crocheting when the yarn arrives. (I wanted to use a white, sky, cotton candy, alfalfa and custard yellow colorway – all pastels! — and I probably will someday for a different design and a different recipient. But, for this project I was outvoted.)

22 October 2016.
I am still waiting for my yarn to arrive from KnitPicks. According to FedEx tracking, it should arrive late today, and then I will start to play. The game? Catch up!!

22 October continued.
Box of yarn arrives a little after noon!

Brava_DelftyDelftColors_1.jpg

25 October 2016.
1 square and 1 oval done. Slow but steady wins the race.

Delft_Clue1_1

But already, with just 2 months till Christmas, I was wondering what I had done to myself. The pieces were, indeed, odd and oval. But I was committed, and ready to move forward.

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

My Granddaughter’s Closet

by Lee Louise

Flowers in Mississippi, 29 Oct 2017.jpg

Last weekend we went to Alabama because my grandchildren had singing and speaking parts in their Children’s Sacrament Meeting Presentation. The presentation was wonderful. The 4 year old actually spoke his part, before spending the rest of the meeting with his teacher’s arms around him. Tightly, I understand. The other two grands spoke their parts clearly, and sang all of the songs with great intensity. The trip was definitely worth it.

My husband and I slept in my granddaughter’s room while we were there. Being of an inquisitive nature, I naturally opened the door to her closet, turned on the light, and looked around. Over the years, I have knit her a Noro bolero:

Noro-bolero-5.jpg

an Entrechat shrug, undocumented;

a pair of gumdrop legwarmers:

and Sarah knit a lemon-colored lace cowl for her last holiday.

I have never seen her wear any of them.

Imagine my surprise and delight, when I opened the closet, turned on the light, and there they all were, neatly arranged on hangers!

It was a good trip.

Hydrangea in Mississippi, 29 Oct 2017

Insight into my proccess

by Lee Louise: It is with great delight that I reblog (my very first reblog!! Ever!!!) my daughter’s very first post, on her very new blog.

FabledFigment’s Yarn Stash

So I guess it’s time for me to start this knitting blog everyone seems to think I should have. And by everyone I mean my mother and everyone else who has seen my work and wished there was a pattern to go with it.

Right, so maybe that’s a smaller demographic than I implied at first.

I’m a designer. Not a famous one. I have designed a handful of very nice sweaters for myself. Most of them burned in a house fire with most of my stash, something I really don’t want to dwell on.

I went to Tuesday Morning, not the best place to buy yarn, to be sure, but accessible. I found three balls of fibranatura Lima in three different colors. I wasn’t familiar with the brand but it felt nice and I liked all three colors.

I’ve decided to make either a hat or a cowel or…

View original post 869 more words

Fudging with a Pinch of Judicious Cheating

This fall, Classic Elite sponsored two Colorful KAL’s, one in linen stitch, and one in stranded work. I always like to play along and, since I never do stranding or fair isle if I can help it, I joined the linen stitch scarf KAL. (The free pattern is called Liberty Wool Linen Stitch Scarf, designed by Susan Mills.) The KAL was a blast and I am finished, although I must admit that a certain amount of fudging and cheating was involved. And so, even though I failed the colorful linen stitch KAL, I thought I would share my journey with you.

When I joined this KAL, I truly intended to make a small linen stitch cowl, suitable to gift one of my granddaughters this holiday. 6 skeins, or 3 each of two colors, would be a scarf, 8 in. by 72 in. My granddaughters are not very big. 2 each of two colors would finish into a scarf, 8 in. by 60 in. That’s still kind of big, so I decided to get 2 skeins of Liberty Wool, in 2 contrasting colors, figuring that a piece 8 in. by 30 in. would make a very nice cowl. I looked at the pattern picture some more, and concluded that an 8 inch tall cowl would be too big for a small person (my four granddaughters range in age from 3 to 10), so I cut the cast on stitches down to 37, and started linen stitching away.

Very quickly into the project (about 1 1/2 inches!) it was forcibly brought to my remembrance that (1) I don’t like to knit linen stitch and (2) even love for my granddaughters would never compel me to finish this project. 4 inches into the project, I realized that (1) I *hate* linen stitch and (2) I was ready to consign the project to a dark closet somewhere. And so it continued, inch by inch, until I had 9 inches of a linen stitch cowl, which I hated and didn’t want to finish. I was 10 days into the KAL.

That afternoon was a Saturday, and one of my daughters asked me to take her to the library. I took the KAL piece along and stared at it with loathing, front and back. It was then that I noticed by chance how much the back side of linen stitch looked like seed stitch. And so, I started knitting seed stitch:
Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (Seed and linen stitch, wrong side).jpg

Well, after a couple of inches of that, (and it grew so quickly!!), I remembered how, when my youngest daughter was learning to knit, sometimes her seed stitch would shift sideways into a 1×1 rib, and I knit some ribbing. Then I thought of how a chart for ribbing, turned 90 degrees, is a chart for garter stitch, and I did some garter stitch:
Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (seed;1x1 rib;garter stripes).jpg

Linen stitch is a slip stitch pattern, with the yarn floats in front. Mosaic stitch is a slip stitch pattern, with yarn floats in back. So I made two different mosaic stitch patterns:Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (mixed mosaic)Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (garter mosaic)

And some moss stitch:
Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (moss stitch)

And some eyelet variations:
Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (mixed eyelets)

By then in was Sunday afternoon, and I was getting close to the end of my 2 contrasting skeins of yarn, so I reverted to linen stitch (which went much, much faster this time around, thank you very much!), so the two ends would be the same width, to make it easier to join together into a cowl.

And so, it is finished. 10 days for 9 inches of linen stitch, 1 day for an engaging stitch sampler. I plan to block it L–O–N–G, to straighten out the edges (the ribbing will need to be pinned side-to-side, even so):
Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (preliminary blocking)

and then we will see what it really wants to be, cowl or scarf, holiday gift or not.

BTW, I love the yarn, Classic Elite’s Liberty Wool, in 2 colorways, worked in alternating 2 row stripes throughout.

And thus we see, I have failed the KAL. But I had an awful lot of fun while I was doing it!

A Blanket a Day

by Lee Louise

I have knit and crocheted many blankets. For my mother, for my sisters, for various friends, for weddings and babies, for charity. I once took on an extended project, and crocheted an afghan a year for five years, one for each of my husband’s siblings as our family’s Christmas gift to their families in the Christmas “sibling rotation.”

Some time later, I decided that it would be fun to make an afghan for each of my own children as a high school graduation present, to take to college with them. I had done a similar thing once before, for my in-laws, why not for my own offspring? It was a grand plan, though sadly lacking in execution.

A year ago, the status of the plan went something like this:
1. Oldest child: Her afghan was finished in time frame as planned; she took it to college with her in 1995, and used it extensively in the cold Utah winters; she still uses it:1995 -- Sarah's afghan.jpgf

2. Second child: afghan semi-finished while she was an undergraduate in college; she chose a knitted afghan on big needles with 4 different yarns held together; I do not enjoy knitting with multiple strands of yarn — in fact, I seem to recall that I finished the knitting of it and handed it to her in an unbecoming fit of temper, and told her she would just have to finish the ends herself. Still unfinished, it perished in a fire a few years ago, along with all of her other worldly possessions. I think she needs another afghan, but not until this first cycle is complete.
3. Third child: finished the afghan about the time her second child was born; she already had a Master’s degree in collaborative piano.
4. Fourth child: this is his, though deplorably late — his sixth child was born Dec. 31: Delft_Border_2d
5. Fifth child: afghan is a whisper and a promise; so is her baby quilt, which also never got made; I am looking at yarn and colors and designs now, for 2017 or, more probably, given that it is already mid-October, 2018.
6. Sixth child: I never told her of the original plan, so she didn’t know that I hadn’t made her an afghan (or a baby quilt either, for that matter); she graduated from college two years ago.

When I first shared this story, someone suggested that surely the sixth child had heard of the plan at some time, that she had seen her sisters’ afghans and the four baby quilts, and knew that she had been neglected. Poor youngest child!! So I asked. And no, she had had no idea. She does now, of course. Last Christmas I taught her to crochet, and she is a natural. Maybe I could give her yarn this Christmas coming up and let her make her own?

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Last night I started a Facebook page. Tonight, I have 67 friends. Woot!!

Lee Louise Etc. on Facebook

Hillary on RedBubble

by Lee Louise

Well, we did it. Or, to be more precise, Hillary did it. Here she is, my daughter the entrepreneur:

H-3.jpg

Hillary has opened a RedBubble store. She is a gifted artist, and has chosen this venue to showcase her work. After researching various print on demand sites, she chose RedBubble as the best fit. She will increase her offerings weekly. Each picture has a multitude of print options. My favorites are the tote bags and the framed prints, most often with black matte and mocha frame. Hillary is drawn to the postcards and notebooks.

The self-portrait above is available, as are these pictures, among others:

H-1

Vases and flowers

H-2

Meditation in the woods

Hillary has chosen to start by offering her early pieces first, to document her growth as an artist. The pieces on the website to date are from her middle school and high school days.

Take a look at

http://www.redbubble.com/people/Hillary-Louise

 

Reaching out

by Lee Louise

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.

cascade_cloud_honey_2

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.

caldwell-1

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.

 

caldwell-3

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.

caldwell-2

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:
forsythia-1

Battalions of daffodils blooming under the dogwood tree:daffodils-5