Every once in a while it is really nice to go off the grid. While I didn’t go to the jungles of the Amazon or Margaritaville (okay maybe once), it has been really great to take some time for me and reflect on what is important, why I blog and who I am in the big crazy blogosphere. Everything on the home front is great- teeth have been lost, Kindergarten started, Angus will be six in two weeks. Duncan started in the Primary classroom (they are going to a Montessori), he is behaving like a true three year old, complete with the lying on the floor having fits. Very effective birth control for Mommy.
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I love autumn. Love love love it. Spring may mean renewal for some but for me, it is autumn. The smell of the air, the clothes and the colors. One way I know that autumn is on its way is that my birthday rolls around. A couple of days ago I turned 29 again. (38 in the real world) Apparently there was quite a bit of confusion when the boys were putting the candles on my cake. Angus looked at his father and said: “Mommy was Twenty Eight last year? I thought she was Twenty Nine.” The age thing started as a joke and I will have to set the boys straight. I love the age I am.
One of my local yarn shops gives a birthday discount. Shop within a week of your birthday and get half your age as the percentage discounted off your purchase.
The third week in August is a season all on its own in our household. As I said the 22nd was my birthday and next week is our wedding Anniversary. It is a time of assessment, reflection and excitement. There is of course the celebratory excitement and there is also the excitement of the upcoming change in season and the possibility it offers. There is also the excitement of having the kids out of the house and into to the yard more as it is really too hot and humid for them to be outside as much as they like during the summers here. Scavenger hunts, playing tag and general boyishness.
The lure of autumn seems to bring out the nesting instinct in our household, at least with the adults. We are cleaning out, hiring movers to rearrange the furniture in the house (we have some very large, heavy pieces), looking at paint colors and I have completely redecorated the house (at least in my head). Autumn crops are being planned, canning has been done with more to come. Some chutney was put up, which should be ready in the middle of November bringing the lovely tastes of summer to a leafless and chilly landscape. Recipes are being consulted and the pantry is being stocked. French canning jars were ordered. The biggest project currently is turning the sewing and knitting laboratory back into a tidy and usable space. My mind is reeling with projects and possibilities that a tidy well stocked space affords me.
Meet Mr. Figgy. He is only a two year old and I thought I had killed him last winter. Clearly I misjudged the situation. A good number of the figs are headed for this Nigella’s Figs in Rum Syrup. (Found in this book.)
Thank you for all your lovely comments about the log cabin blanket. Truly appreciated. Mwahh!
One of the great things about not knitting a garment is that when you have had enough you can stop. And I am D-O-N-E with Rowan Cork. Had I bought it in a store and not online I wouldn’t have bought it. Wait, what I meant to say was that is had I felt it, I wouldn’t have bought it. But buy it I did. And wanting to make the most of it I churned out this log cabin blanket. I still have Rowan Cork left but I couldn’t go on with it. Squeeky Squeeky yarn. Luckily it is the perfect size for a small child or an adult lap blanket. I might knit a couple of Dulaan hats with the leftovers. But for now I am happy to be done with it. (Oh and I should mention that I knit it on size 9 needles, not the suggested 11s, it is a very nice dense fabric.) And one more note- I thought I was imagining it- it seemed to me that some colors were squeekier than others, sure enough one has 5% nylon and one has 10%. Go figure.
I am so excited, I made a new friend. A knitting friend. Our kids are in camp together this summer and we got to talking. Turns out she is a knitter. And she is kind and lovely and lives in Seoul. Yep, like South Korea Seoul. Unfair! When she came over last week, I showed her Ann & Kay’s book and she was a goner. So I amazoned her a copy and she is in love. So we went to the yarn store this week and I thought she was going to faint. Vita (who works at the LYS) and I pondered what would happen if I took her to Sheep & Wool. We decided that she would need the cardiac team or at least smelling salts. So we are at the store and she whips out the MDK book and says: I want to make this, and this and this. A girl after my own heart. She wants to make the Joseph Blankie of Many Colors, the Baby Kimono and the Mitred Square Blanket.
When I saw her picking colors for the Blanket I caved. I knew it was coming, I could feel the KAL vibe coming on strong. I was so excited that we could have a Pacific Rim KAL. Then I remembered, I don’t live in Seattle anymore. So maybe it will be a Trans Continental KAL instead.
What do you do when it is the hottest day of the year (until tomorrow of course)? You get a swift kick in the arse from Norma, do some stash diving and make a hat for Dulaan. Cracks me up that the HEAT of Virginia has me knitting for Mongolian winter. Four (yes really four) strands of baby Alpaca brush/ Plymouth yarns held together. Man, I think this thing will make a yak sweat. I ended up with about a half of each ball left, so now I am making a scarf. Plus I have eight whole balls left which will hopefully turn into another hat & scarf. Or maybe a gator. Thanks again Norma for your swift kick. Love it. And maybe the best part? It took me all of 2 hours. I am going to put a big cardboard box in my sewing/knitting laboratory marked Dulaan. Let us see what I can do for next year, shall we?
A few days ago, when I picked up the boys from summer camp, I noticed the daughter of the Director sitting and knitting. She is a beautiful young lady of ten. As I approached, I noticed she was knitting chenille. Then I spied her knitting needles. Pencils. Two colored pencils – both white if you must know. And rust colored chenille. My heart began to sing. The drive, the ingenuity, the adorability of it all. It does in fact, get better…she was knitting a bracelet for her big brother. Ponder this for a moment. I strive to raise my children like this one. So, I did have the presence of mind to take a deep breath and not scare the daylights out of her, then I did the silliest thing in the world. I said “So, are you knitting?” Uh, no I am building a nuclear reactor – to her credit she only said yes, I am knitting and then she told me that her teacher offered free knitting classes last year. It was necessary to reign it in again as I was about to scar her for life with my excitement.)
Then she seemed to be having some trouble. Again, I took a deep breath and asked what she was trying to do and if she needed help. She said “I am trying to finish this off and could you help me?” So I showed her how to bind off. This was such a great experience. The next day I dropped off a little package for her to keep in her mom’s desk at work. Yarn, needles, a needle/stitch gauge and Kid’s Knitting. The joy that is brought me to give her more knowledge, for me they were not things but gateways to her self expression, was wonderful.
This is all part of the Food Chain. Many, many people over the years have taken the time to share their knowledge with me and I am much the richer for it. By taking the moment to share my excitement with a young lady, I feel that I am fulfilling my part in the Food Chain.
While I have been knitting for many years, and sewing for some years, I still consider myself a novice in both arenas. Not a beginner but a novice, and yes, I do think there is a difference. Part of me always wants to be a novice in many areas of my life, with my handwork, my husband, my children. How boring would it be if I learned all I could learn about these areas (or any area) of my life. To me, being a novice means being always curious, always wanting to learn more and trying to do better.
There are so many people that inspire, teach and guide me. It is amazing to me how lessons in one area of my life can inform a completely different area of my life. My father, an attorney whom I love more than anything, has taught me so much about creativity, the innate beauty in the world and being true to yourself. Really, his training and mine could not be more different and yet his academic training has informed almost all of my creative endeavors. The Food Chain in action.
Lastly, I wanted to show you a sketch made out of fabric. I have been sewing, pressing, sewing, pressing and making progress on the Awry Log Cabin Quilt. I am making samples/ sketches/blocks to see how they look. Here is a sample, laying on Frog, who is laying on a rain coat of the boy’s. I think these experiments might turn out beautifully.
Have a great weekend and thank you for stopping by-
I just said to Angus, “Someday there will be a girl you love, other than Mommy.” He said: “I will always love you best.” Oh my, how I wish it was true.
As we head into the Memorial Day weekend and officially kick off summer, I wanted to share with you something I wrote for family and friends several weeks ago. I did not know Cpt Weikel, he was a comrade of my cousin who is currently doing his 2nd tour in Iraq, and I went to represent our family and pay my respects. Have a safe holiday and please take a moment to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day.
Yesterday was a remarkable day and I am not certain I can do it justice, but I will do my best. Arlington National Cemetery is a paradox. It is one of the most beautiful, quiet, leafy places. The birds sing and the trees shade you as you walk. And then you remember why you are there and how many people have come there for the same reason for many many years. Yesterday we were there to honor CPT Ian Weikel. CPT Weikel was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, both were presented to CPT Weikel’s widow, Wendy, by General Anderson. Additionally, Wendy was presented with a case for the burial flag. General Anderson spoke of how highly regarded CPT Weikel was by all who knew him, including his senior officers. Clearly CPT Weikel loved what he did and excelled at being a soldier.
The caisson, with three riders and one riderless horse took CPT Weikel to his final resting place. Over three hundred people followed the caisson to the gravesite. There were many active military whom had traveled from near and far to honor CPT Weikel. I have never seen such a display of patches, braids, medals, nor have I ever seen such shiny shoes. My favorite was a soldier who was clearly Calvary. He wore his spurs over dress his shoes. There were many retired military as well as Patriot Guard Riders. These folks are phenomenal. More than twenty came, there were twenty Harleys and many of them had two riders. All of them carried very large American flags, which at the end of the service they made an alley with the flags for Wendy to walk through to the limousine, so in her grief, she could be shielded from the crowd. They did not know CPT Weikel but came to honor him and they do this for any soldier they can. We all walked shoulder to shoulder in the crowd that had an amazing cross section of Americans: bikers, soldiers, mothers, and friends.
The graveside service was beautiful. There was a 21 gun salute, Taps was played, as was America the Beautiful, and there was ceremonial Bagpipe playing. CPT Weikel’s pastor from his church in Texas gave a very moving eulogy about the passion with which CPT Weikel lived his life. The passion with which he loved his wife, his God and the Army was fierce. The pastor spoke of the impact that CPT Weikel had on so many people. This was apparent again by the sheer number of people there, including several West Point cadets who had been given permission to have the day off to pay their respects. Both Wendy and CPT Weikel’s mother were presented with flags.
We were standing in the shade and the Army band was playing America the Beautiful while the sun shone on the headstones of Fallen Soldiers and I began to understand. It was as if I heard the word Brotherhood for the very first time. I recalled a moment of Candace and Matthew’s wedding when I was talking to Roman Izzo. He said “Don’t call us Heroes, it really is offensive. It shows disrespect to each and every one of our brothers who has gone before us and given the Ultimate Sacrifice.” I get it now, even though I thought I understood it then. Watching the ceremony at Arlington, with the leaves and the birds and gravesite, for the first time I really began to understand that Freedom isn’t Free. I knew it but did not understand it. I have never been more proud to be an American. It was so very humbling to know that so very many people who I have never met or will meet, stand tall every single day so that I can have the life I have. They stand tall to protect my children. And they consider it a privilege, an honor. Up until yesterday, I thought I knew what Honor was. I had no idea. As a civilian, I am certain I will never understand it fully yet yesterday gave me a glimpse of what Honor is. There is a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes and pride in my heart to know that CPT Ian Weikel gave the Ultimate Sacrifice for us all. Let us do what Christian has told us to do, Deserve It. We can never repay the Ultimate Sacrifice however, we can not squander it. May God rest your soul Captain Ian Weikel and thank you for your gift which we can never repay. God Bless America. God Bless those who keep America safe, we are forever in your debt.
Frog Pond for the Sock. I was about one inch from the toe decreases and I realized I just wasn’t that happy with it. Yes, I know I gave all that Sunshine and Light talk about knitting on and keeping the sock as a memento. Hooey! Crap! Frog it Baby.
Then I was on a roll. Which resulted in this, and this.
Good For The Soul (Sole) I tell you.
The other thing good for the Soul? My peonies. When we left Seattle we left many, many peonies. About 25 bushes and 2 trees. It broke my heart. So I have been slowly building up my stash. One of my favorite things about them is that as soon as the bud shows color, you can cut them and they will continue to open in the vase. After a few days of contemplating it, I did it. I realized they are mine to do with what I want. I cut them all and put them in a vase so as to enjoy them more easily. The Dark ones are Karl Rosenfeld, the Bright Pink are Kansas and the Pale Pink are Sarah Bernhardt. Heaven.
Roving Around. Here we have some Blue Moon Fiber Arts Super Merino in Hot Flash. The Other Wad is also BMFA but Merino & Kid Mohair, also in Hot Flash. We thought they were both the Super Merino and had an Oops moment when we realized they were different. Lord Knows what these will become and truthfully it doesn’t matter. It is just fun to use my Turkish Drop Spindle and some awesomely dyed roving.
Blue is normally not my color, but this is such a beautiful color that I found it hard to resist. Especially when it is Three Waters Farm Wool/Alpaca. Yummy. It wants to be a cardigan, I think. The Green, also Three Waters Farm Wool/Alpaca, is awesome. I was thinking of using a bit of it on the cuffs on the Cardigan but worry that while I think it is cute now, in a few years I might not like it.
Also from Three Waters is some Superwash Merino in Aunt Maude’s Mauve.
This is some Cestari, a local Virginia Yarn, which will become Holiday Vests for the Small Hollering Boys. If I can get them to wear the vests, even if it is just for a photograph I will be very pleased.
Here is Frog being a whacko. Yes, he climbed the window screen to the top. And yes, he is chewing on my ball winder.