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.



He liked to hear the laughter of happy people


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.


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.



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:


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.

Bead or Bead-not ~~ There is no middle ground

by Lee Louise

Serendipity. It has to be serendipity. There is no other explanation. All the pieces fell into place, and against all odds, here I am, about to start another project!

In compliance with the no-knitting-related-expenditures mandate detailed in the preceding post, I have not been buying patterns without prior approval. And so, when I saw that Elizabeth Ravenwood Designs was starting another MKAL in A Big Comfy Doghouse Group on September 22, and that the pattern would cost $4, I was resigned to my fate. I would not participate, because there was no $4 to spend. I was sad, because the ladies in this group are great fun, and I enjoy the give-and-take banter among the participants in the 2016 Year of Lace MKAL. Alas, I thought, the Name the Mystery MKAL was not to be, for me.

Imagine my surprise on the morning of September 22, when I was earburned with a message containing a coupon code for a free pattern from Elizabeth Ravenwood Designs! Sarah is a regular participant in the group’s Caption Contest! thread, and a very funny person. She has won several times, and I have watched her pattern library grow each time, but she was struggling with this picture:


We kibitzed. We talked music theory and song lyrics, and she entered the contest with an entry reminiscent of the Lawrence Welk show:

And a K1!
And a P2!
And a P, S, K, PSSO!

I thought it was very funny. But then I had an idea, and I submitted an entry too:

Let’s start at the very beginning — la, la — Doe! A meer! A female meer!

And that, my friends, is how I won a coupon code for a free pattern. I chose the Name the Mystery MKAL pattern, thus circumventing the mandate, so I could participate in the MKAL. I started studying the thread carefully, determined to enter every contest that I might possibly qualify for. I set up my project page that very day, as a contest entry, squeaking in under the deadline. I submitted a name proposal for this nameless mystery, in order to enter a contest. I will cast my vote for my favorite FO, for the last contest. And why do I do this: Because it’s FUN!!!!

I have named my scarf Lace Cappriccio (also my entry for the name-the-nameless-scarf contest). I had to choose yarn as part of the project page set-up contest, so I went stash diving. I quickly found the perfect yarn, 434 yards of Apple Tree Knits Silk Fingering in the Under Irish Skies Gradient colorway:

And then I printed out the materials list for the pattern, read it, and stopped to consider. Beads. Yes, it really said Beads. Optional beads, true. But Beads. I paused for reflection. I reconsidered. Beads? To bead or not to bead, that became the burning question.

Faced with a major issue like this, I immediately did what everyone does — I posted in the group thread, and asked whether I should include beads or not. I was overwhelmed by the generous responses! I tallied the count, and found 8 in favor of beads,  while 2 were strongly opposed. Oddly, no one was lukewarm. There were no neutral votes. Since, in fact, I actually have been wanting to try beaded knitting, this afternoon I talked it over with my husband, and beads it is!


I went to Bead Couture in Memphis this afternoon and bought some yellow beads. Yellow? you may well ask. I don’t blame you for asking. You can be sure that I asked. But please-please-please, don’t ask me — I took along my daughter, Hillary, who studied art in college, and is considered, among her peers and teachers, as a gifted color expert — blame her, or praise her, the choice was hers. And the amazing thing is, I think it will work!!



Infinity is Really Big, or, Infinity + 3

by Lee Louise

Now, some of my family think that I know my mathematics since I majored in Math as an undergraduate. I will admit that, at one time, I knew lots of mathematics. Truth compels me to admit, sadly enough, that I have also forgotten lots of mathematics. However, one fact remains, embossed on my brain. And if you know your mathematics too, you probably also know this one fact that has remained with me over the years: Infinity is Really, Really Big. In fact, it can’t get any bigger. So, by adding 3 more, you don’t in actuality HAVE 3 more, you still “just” have infinity.

Recently, I began thinking about my wip’s (wip = Work In Progress). There are times when it feels like I have an infinite number of wip’s, besides owning a sizeable stash (stash is yarn stockpiled for starting as-yet-unstarted projects). My husband has expressed a conviction that I do not need to add to my stash, which seems rather heartless to me.

And so, I decided to add 3 more wip’s to my already infinitely large set of wip’s. While the total, inexpressible number of Lee Louise’s wip’s did not get any bigger, I did manage to decrease my stash by 2 skeins of beautiful blue Ella Rae Merino Lace DK, 1/2 skein of Burnt Earth Foothills Fingering from Lost City Knits, and the remaining partial skeins of manly gray Regia 4-ply.

And so, on one memorable day earlier this month, I started them one after another in one fell swoop, and the 3 new wip’s looked something like this:

That’s a blue Catlett Shawl (Susanna IC design), a red Master of the Horses, Hounds, and Hawks Mitt (Elizabeth Ravenwood), and a gray Neverland and Oz sock (Heidi Nick), if you couldn’t guess that from the pictures. And I don’t expect you could.

I am making some progress:


I am having fun. I added 3 to infinity and infinity didn’t get bigger; when I finish these 2 wip’s, and subtract 2, infinity will not get smaller. BUT, my stash has decreased to the tune of the depletion of all of my wool and nylon blend sock yarn. If I hope to knit another pair of socks, I. Must. Buy. More. Stash.



A Picture of the Sun ~~ by Hillary

There once was a lake shining in the noon
Blinding the eyes of all who dared gaze upon it
Wind rippled its glowing surface, casting shadows
Small waves of light and murk we only saw through a lens.

The filter dims, flattens, changes the truth
Any camera, painting, mirror, even the eyes do this.
To one can be certain they see reality
Even water, which reflects everything, is not honest.

There once was a lake shining in the noon

But logic says it was the sun instead.

Tootsie Roll Sock

by Lee Louise

I accepted the challenge to knit a Tootsie Roll sock,  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/tootsie-rolls on July 15. What fun, I said — knit a sock!! I can do that! I can knit one sock… for my husband, Tom. And, if I knit two, he can wear them!! So I didn’t follow my inclination and use brightly colored self striping sock yarn (follow the link above to see how this pattern zings when you use colorful yarn). Instead, I checked my stash for some nice, serviceable gray. Conservative gray. Manly gray.

Eureka! There were still a few skeins of gray Regia 4-ply that have been kicking around the house for years. 9 or 10 years ago, I bought a whole bag full of this beautiful gray yarn:


My husband had learned to knit in the Marketplace at Stitches Midwest, because he wanted to knit himself some socks. I bought the yarn and gave him a copy of Cat Bordhi’s book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters. He used 3 balls of yarn and knit 2 1/2 socks in the past 10 years. All the same color, but nothing “identical” about them, I might add. BUT, I have once again claimed this yarn as MINE. And if I find the book, I will probably appropriate that as well.

On July 25, I cast on and started the ribbing:


Regia 4-ply is an old favorite of mine, as is this heathery gray colorway. Unfortunately, this yarn has been discontinued and so, when it is gone, I will be unable to get more. And that’s a shame, because I would if I could.

A month passed, as months do. I knit on the sock some, and then I didn’t knit on the sock for days at a time. Poor neglected sock! On August 29,  I finally grafted the toe. The sock is a slouchy sock, and as I knit it I had serious misgivings about whether it would fit Tom or not, which may account for not pressing on and finishing in 3 or 4 days, as I could have:


The sock scrunches up on the horizontal rib, making it appear shorter and wider than it really is. With a foot in it, it fills out nicely — more nicely than I had dared to hope as I knit. Tom is modeling here, and I think it is a very nice sock:

I especially like the appearance of the heel (no gusset hole!!)


The graft didn’t come out as well as I would like, but that is an issue with my execution of the graft, and not with the pattern, which is well written and easy to follow. Tom says that if I make another, he will wear them, and so I will. But maybe not tomorrow, or even next month. Because let’s face it, knitting socks for a man who wears 9 1/2 EEEE(E) shoes requires courage. It truly is an act of love.

LYS Destination: Birmingham, Alabama

by Lee Louise

We all have our favored LYS — the local yarn store. I have two that I visit often, here in the Memphis area, but that doesn’t stop me from seeking out new yarns and new friends in new areas. My ongoing mission? To seek out new yarn communities, to boldly go where other knitters have gone before. And to go again!

In January 2015, my daughter was quite ill in Birmingham, and we made our first trip of many to that area. That is when I first stepped inside the doors of Memory Hagler Knitting where knit happenz in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, and it was a beautiful sight. I was made welcome by the owner, who sat at a large rectangular table, helping her customers. And there was beautiful yarn, the balm for my troubled soul, displayed all around:


I joined the group at the table, and admired the yarn and enjoyed the camaraderie. Quantities of yarn in all colors, brands and fibers met my eyes:


I took a walk around the shop and saw buttons and patterns and books and shop samples and More Yarn:



Yesterday I got an email from KnitHappenz, advertising their Back to School Blowout Sale, which started today and will run Tuesday through Friday of next week, and I wish I could go, but I can’t this time.

I have only been to KnitHappenz four times, but the last time I walked in the door, Holly recognized me, asked after my daughter and grandkids, and made sure there was a place at the table for me. When my destination is Birmingham, KnitHappenz is my LYS!!