Wednesday, January 17, 2018

“A lot of stitches, but a labor of love!”


This past weekend was my son Alex’s 30th birthday. I can hardly believe that it has been 30 years since he was born!  I had been giving some thought as to what might be a unique gift for him when I saw a picture on Instagram of a pullover sweater in a Nordic-style that integrated Storm Troopers as part of the yoke. Stop right there - decision made. I went to the website of the woman who had written the pattern, purchased, and downloaded it. I was a bit surprised to find that it was but two brief pages, but having done color-work and a couple of Icelandic cardigans,  I felt confident enough to forge a head. All of this was shortly before we made our trip to Cape Cod in October, and I knew that I would be stopping at WEBS on the way to purchase yarn. 
In searching for the yarn that the designer used, I discovered that it had since been discontinued. This is a very new pattern, so that surprised me a bit. So, searched to find something that would be equivalent. This really did take a bit of time, since I felt that I needed to match the gauge that she got with the yarn that she had used. I concluded that Cascade 220 Sport Superwash would give me the gauge that I needed. I was able to pick up all of the appropriate colors, and once we got to the Cape, I set about beginning the pullover in earnest. 

The few cardigans and pullovers that I have done in recent years have all started from the top and worked downward, and I have come to find this  construction preferable to bottom up. Unfortunately this pullover was written as a bottom-up construction. If I had felt confident enough, I would have tried to re-write it a bit and do it from the top down, but at that point in time, knowing that his birthday was soon approaching, I needed go with the way the pattern was written. 

Once home I was able to settle in, and after having done the ribbing and color-work at the bottom, I continued with the body, which went quite quickly because it was simply straight knitting in the round. Color work is always an amazing thing to see grow under your fingers! To me it’s one of the things that makes it so enchanting to do. 

 As the final week approached (I had set a deadline in my mind of when I wanted to get this in the mail) I realized that things like doing the collar and weaving in the bazillion ends etc. were going to take a fair amount of time. I’m willing to bet that that last week I spent probably 40+ hours finishing all of those tasks. I'm always saying that I like to learn new things, but two days before I was getting ready to send this in the mail, as I was trimming up a piece of yarn that I had woven in underneath one of the arms, I snipped a hole right in the sleeve. I sat there with it in my lap, mouth agape, and just stared. I’ve then proceeded to poke at it with my finger for a bit, almost not believing that it had happened. I simply made it worse. At that point, I set the entire thing aside and decided that I was going to deal with it in the morning with a fresh mind and fresh eyes. 

The next morning I spent quite a bit of time on YouTube and looked at a variety of ways to patch holes. Well, I have in my own mind that there might be a better method, and that may be something that I explore down the road, but I did not have the luxury of time if I wanted Alex to have the sweater by his birthday. So, I followed the directions that seemed best for the situation and knit a patch over the hole. The final result didn’t looked terrible, but also didn’t look great. I made the kind of kooky decision to stitch around the outside of the patch in a darker color. That might seem a bit odd, but it helped to set the definition of an otherwise awkward edge around the outside of the patch. It is on the underside of the sleeve and while I wish it hadn’t happened  it’s not the end of the world. I said to Bruce “I’m learning something new that I never wanted to learn!“ I think probably many things in life come about that way! 

 You can see from the pictures above that he looks great in his Storm Trooper pullover. You can also see that it is a tad big, but there’s nothing wrong with that for Vermont and a winter that requires multiple layers. He loves it, and I love him. It was a lot of stitches and a labor of love! Happy birthday Alex!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

"Climate is what we expect. Weather is what we get." ~ Mark Twain

We have been in Florida for nearly two weeks now, and I can tell you that most days have not looked like the photo above. Gray skies, rain, and cool temperatures have been the norm, but believe me, I am not complaining. When I think of what folks at home (and beyond) have been coping with, I know that there is no room for whining! Warmer temps and clearer skies are forecast.

I have been so busy completing a project that I really have not noticed it much. Now that the project is complete, and out of my hands - literally - I am beginning to give thought to other things. I have gathered with my Florida knitters a couple of times now, and it is so good to see them all, and to catch up on what has been going on since last spring. Same thing with condo friends. It does not take long to slip back into the rhythm of Florida life!

I have a couple of knitting projects waiting for me, and a few new books to read. Below is the schedule for the 2018 Book Mania event. This is always high on my list of things to do while here, even though it seems that I often miss it. I am hoping that I won't this year! I am currently listening to one of the books, have placed a hold on another, and am expecting a third in today's mail (the wait list at the library is so long for this book, I don't imagine that it will make it to me till next winter).

So, there is much to do, even if the weather does not cooperate!

The Martin County Library System is excited to announce the guest author list for its annual BookMania! festival on March 3, 2018 at the Jensen Beach High School Performing Arts Center. Authors will participate in one of multiple panel discussions featuring prominent and emerging writers as follows:
9:15am-10:00am Know Your Body, Know Your Food - Inez Frid
James Hamblin: If Our Bodies Could Talk
Larry Olmsted: Real Food, Fake Food
10:30am-11:15am A Dogs Tale - Jackie Williams
Maria Goodavage: Secret Service Dogs
David Rosenfelt: Collared
11:45am-12:30pm All in the Family: Writing Teams - Joanna Campbell Slan
Liv Constantine (Lynne & Valerie Constantine, sister team):  The Last Mrs. Parrish
Charles Todd (Charles & Caroline Todd, son/mother team): The Gatekeeper
1:15pm-2:00pm The Spy Next Door: True Tales of Espionage and Intrigue - Luann Justak
Eva Dillon: Spies in the Family
Paul Kix: The Saboteur
Michele Rigby Assad: Breaking Cover: My Secret Life in the CIA
2:30pm-3:15pm Relationships in History: Then and Now - Edie Donohue
Jamie Ford:  Love and Other Consolation Prizes
Kate Quinn: The Alice Network
Lisa Wingate: Before We Were Yours
3:30pm-4:15pm On the Edge of Your Seat - Paula Hundt
Rene Denfeld: The Child Finder
A.J. Finn: The Woman in the Window
Anne Hillerman: Song of the Lion
Now in its 24th year, this prestigious literary event is free and open to the general public. BookMania! is sponsored by The Library Foundation of Martin County, Inc. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

"Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right." ~ Oprah Winfrey

As this posts, we should be pulling into our winter home. I admit to feeling a bit torn. It seems that we are finally beginning to settle into our new northern home (mostly) and now we turn around and leave it. I know that all torn feelings will be set aside once we walk through our condo door and see all of our Florida friends. I will say it again, I know how lucky I am to have such a dilemma!

I know that this is the season for setting new goals, and I am always game. This year however, I intend to focus on more practical ones. 

*Empty our remaining storage unit (yes we will!)

*Migrate my blog from Blogger to WordPress (I hope) I cannot compose on my iPad with Blogger (not even my new one) and my laptop (which I currently compose on) is on it's last leg. I can compose with WordPress on my new iPad however, so I hope to successfully move my blog to this. I'm not sure how that will happen, but I'm going to try!

*Continue to use Bullet Journaling begun earlier this year - I'm not super organized, but I am definitely getting a better handle on things!

*Watch and read a little less news.

*To not remain quiet.

And of course, I hope to spend more time with loved ones; improve my eating habits and health; read more; and knit more.

I think that my most important goal however is to recognize that while we live in tumultuous times, I will have faith that good will prevail. 

I wish you each the Happiest of New Year's!