Block Party

Clean, eat, sleep, knit, repeat. If you've ever sold your house you know the drill. Constant cleaning "just in case" they want to show the house at a moment's notice. Since I've never used blocking wires I had no idea how long it would take for the piece to dry. So I timed it 2 days before the open house and hoped for the best. I am happy to say that the purple did not run onto the carpet I was tacking it to. (Whew) And it only took basically over night to dry the lace probably because I helped with a dehumidifier parked right next to the "Block Party". After soaking, squeezing, weaving the wires and pinning to the carpet with my handy Clover U-shaped pins, it was just a matter of waiting. Things were going so well I decided to block the Pink Poncho at the same time. The results are fantastic and the process was not nearly as difficult as I anticipated. Now hopefully the house will sell this weekend. Crossing

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Wired for Sound

This was a busy week. We are selling our house and the whole thing needed to get ready for a weekend of Open Houses. I helped by quickly getting chores done, running to the gym (my new thing and my "muscles" are screaming) and then securing a chair at the pool to knit. I'm happy to say the Pink Poncho is finished. But like the Grape Crush Shawl, waiting for the lace blocking wires to arrive in the mail. Of course they got here Friday so the blocking operation has to wait till next week when I can pin the projects to the downstairs carpet. (kind of a distraction at an Open House). I promise pictures to follow. In the meantime I've taken up the Citrus Socks and got the heel done. I'm on a roll to finish the projects before I start another shawl. After all, they had another free shipping weekend at Deramores. (I'm hopeless). 🙄

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What’s Done is not Done

Well, the shawl is finished…sort of. It really doesn’t look like the picture yet. Oh, it’s off the needles alright and the knitting is thankfully finished. This was one of those patterns, that either through difficulty of level or inexperience on my part, was a bugger to follow. I finally printed out the two charts and dragged them around as I worked on the thing. I also finally figured out it was being knit from the top of the shawl down to the lace edge. We all wish patterns would explain these little things but probably a more experienced lace knitter would have already known. Even so, the pattern was an 8 row repeat on needles so large for the yarn that the stitches kept wanting to slide off. Needless to say, I’m relieved the knitting is finished. But it’s not done. Next comes the blocking, which I’ve never done. I know, how can I have knit all these years without blocking? But baby sweaters knit in one piece really don’t require that. Blankets, eh. Even adult sweaters on size 10 needles; a little steam from an iron flattens out the pieces. But lace REQUIRES blocking or you can’t see it. So tomorrow I’m off to my neighborhood yarn shop where I’m hoping she has some (it’s a tiny shop crammed with so much yarn you cannot move. Heaven for some, hell for someone with OCD). I’m also hoping the shawl will get a little larger with blocking because it does not look the size in the pattern photos. Yet. Famous Last Words. 

Knitted lace shawl

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And Then July Happened

Harbor sceneAfter a little 4th of July fun and family, where knitting was replaced with boat trips, blueberry pies, lobsters, bar-b-ques (ribs, of course), NASCAR race watching and fireworks, it was time to get back to the needles and yarn. Oh, did I mention we bought a house over the weekend? So in between frantic sorting and cleaning to get our current house ready to sell, I managed to start another project. I’ve always wanted to try lace. Real lace, not just little bits on baby sweaters. So I had purchased what looked like the best deal ever on Craftsy – a shawl pattern and the yarn for $7.20! I have one daughter who loves purple so I chose a luscious magenta that looks a lot like a Welch’s Grape Popcicle. It’s cloudborne Merino fingering weight and super soft on size 5 needles. It took me 3 tries to figure out the pattern (seems to be my MO) and after reading the chart a little more carefully (ahem 🙄) I had her cranked up and clicking along nicely. I did listen to The Grocery Girls mini class on You Tube for lace shawls and got a ton of amazing ideas and help before I started. It’s a long but fully entertaining show and if you’re thinking of doing some lace knitting, I highly recommend it. They even showed some incredibly useful knitting tools I didn’t know existed. House and trees

But I digress. It’s been a week now and I have almost 10 inches. Mind you there have been some all day cleaning and house staging sessions interspersed but I can proudly say it is starting to take shape. Of course since that color is on the dark side, I switch back to the pink Poncho or my citrus socks I’ve been making forever. I never like to boat without a project to work on since it’s about a 20 minute trip down the river and out to the bay. You know: the Never Not Knitting thing. 

Lace knitting 

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In the Pink

Pink knittingI’ve been knitting so many baby blue sweaters and blanket for the new baby boy that just arrived that I have quite neglected the PINK Cascade Merino yarn I’ve been stashing away. So with the free Cabled Poncho pattern from Craftsy’s Free Pattern Friday, I cast on and began a cozy poncho for a certain little pixie who is fast approaching 2 years old. My daughter lives in California and it’s blazing hot right now so I chose a larger size (2-3 yrs) so it will fit the baby next Fall. Like so many of my projects, I cast on (this was a new way to cast for me; called a Cabled Cast-on) and began the arduous task of knitting a project with 258 stitches jammed on a needle. After the border the project quickly got tricky, mostly because the actual pattern is written in SCRIPT. Who does that?! I kept getting lost and got off by first one stitch then two. Both times at the beginning of that crazy long row. I ripped that out so many times, my husband thinks it’s crazy that I would go back to it. But if you’re like me, you simply cannot start a project off on the wrong stitch, especially cables! I’m happy to report that on the 4th try, I finally got it right and the pattern started to make sense. Since I have quite a while to finish it, I’m not worried, I’d rather get it right. It’s just so nice to be making something in Pink.

And speaking of cast-on’s I’m toying with the idea of starting a lace shawl to trade-off with. The question is, when will I finish those socks I started this spring….

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Totally Had an Excuse…

I thought I was all caught up and had plenty of time to write my post for last Sunday and then THIS happened (2weeks early):

Newborn baby My son and his wife had their baby a surprising 2 weeks early. The tiny take-me-home sweater fit perfectly as he was 7 pounds and 21″ long.  The hospital provided the hat, knit by a volunteer but somehow it matched perfectly.  He is one week old now and doing well. But I can’t resist sharing some photos to show off. Check out that beautiful blonde hair! 

Newborn Blonde newborn Baby in car seat

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Knitter’s Block Cure

Typewriter drawingAs a writer, I heard tales of writer’s block and couldn’t relate. There are so many interesting things going on everywhere that a story or character can be woven if you just observe with a little imagination. Well I also have heard of knitter’s block and found it impossible to comprehend after once browsing through Ravelry’s amazing pattern tab. But here it is, the monster caught up with me. It’s not that I can’t find anything to knit. It’s that an entire adult sized cardigan for myself in garter stitch is getting progressively tedious and, well, boring. The back, even with shaping, took forever. The front is going better but enough is enough, I need a bit of challenge and I need to see an end in site. So even though my new baby grandson isn’t even born yet, I’m working on his 3rd sweater. I got another round of yarn from my favorite online shop Deramores and somehow ended up with the same blue I had so time to make something out of it. It’s Baby Merino so it calls for a size 2 US needle. I found a vintage pattern from my tattered 1980 McCalls baby knitting magazine that used short rows. This is a technique I’ve never tried in a sweater so I cast off on a new mini adventure. The stitch is garter again but this time the knitting is sideways! At first I didn’t understand this and ripped it out after a few inches only to start again and get a better explanation from another pattern from Drops that uses the technique. It’s coming along well and makes for interesting knittingnsince you have to keep count of where the short rows stop and turn. 

So here’s my cure for knitters block: try something you haven’t done before, the challenge will be worth it. And if it gets frustrating, you can always go back to the piece that drove you to expand your horizons in the first place. Baby blue knitting project

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The Long Road Back

Car drawingSo it’s been weeks since I’ve posted. Mind you, the knitting needles have not been idle but I have been in cars and planes more than I can count at this point. After the Paris trip I had 4 days to get ready and to my youngest daughter’s college graduation in Miami. It’s amazing that we can’t go warp speed in rockets because that’s what I feel like just happened. Seriously it seems we just got her through high school! But there it is, a brand new college graduate with a degree in Physics and a full ride to graduate school for her Aerospace Engineering degree. Needless to say we had to get to Texas and locate/rent/reserve an apartment for her August start date. We then had 3 days to fly back to Miami, pack and drive her belongings back home 1800 miles. It could have gone smoothly, but it didn’t. The first hour a tire exploded on her car and rolled away! We got to the roadside safely and called a tow truck. After an hour we were taken to a tire shop that didn’t seem to have her tire in stock. So after another hour we got towed to a 2nd tire shop only to be informed that the tire we needed was NOT the one the 1st tire shop said. AND, you guessed it, they didn’t have the tire we actually needed. Another phone call, another hour, another tow truck, another tire shop (this time the dealer). By evening we were finally on our way to our 1st hotel; a 5 hour drive. 

Graduate
After 3 long days we finally got home but it was so late we didn’t have time to visit the hotel she’d be staying at for her summer internship in Connecticut. So the next day we drove there and back, only to realize it wasn’t a safe place. After several scrambling hours we drove back to Connecticut to find something safer (not to mention cost effective) all this time we drove 2 cars thinking I would be coming home. But life is not alsways easy or how we plan. We found, by some miracle, an unfurnished apartment willing to rent for 10 weeks and drove back home because in all the confusion she forgot her passport and couldn’t start work. At this point I should have been done with kids, cars, hotels, etc. but somehow I just kept going. I think I’m numb. 

As the apartment lease began to get done we realized they were adding more and more charges and it wasn’t going to work. Too bad that was AFTER we packed her car with a bed, dishes, linens and items for living. If you’re like me, you are thinking, will this never end? At this point, I decided to just book an residence style hotel with a tiny kitchen and be done with it but the cost was outrageous until I happened to call one near the airport of the town she will be interning at. They had a special rate for the corporation she will be at! We leave Monday (again) for her new job. Big sigh of relief. All of this reminds me of the Massachusetts Senator’s slogan “And She Persisted”. I have always said you’re never lost if you keep going. 

Did I knit during all these trips? Like any addict, I kept my needles with me. I’m actually working on a garter stitch sweater for myself in a lovely orange wool. The back is complete. Wow, adult sweaters take F O R E V E R. I would have 3 baby sweaters done by now. Hopefully I can get back on track to knitting, posting and sleeping in may own bed. Knitting project

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Knitting My Way Through Paris

Eiffel TowerI admit I’ve been home for nearly 2 weeks and haven’t updated the blog. But let me explain: I’ve been knitting up a storm. Well, that and planning a baby shower, household duties, celebrating my son’s birthday (made a cake, of course) while he moved into his new house (that is basically a construction zone), ordering graduation cards for my college daughter, booking flights to rent her an apartment in her new school/job, putting an offer on a new house, while doing little things to prepare our current one for sale, all the while pining after French Strawberries and the little market street I stayed on and trying to get over jet-lag. So, here it is: a knitting/travel update. 

Paris was wonderful (as it always is to everyone who visits) but this trip was especially grand. My little grandson had his 2nd birthday so he is at the perfect age for fun and discovery. He had his first pony ride in one of the charming Paris parks where tiny Shetland ponies take children on the winding footpaths through the flowers and duck ponds. Then one day we went to Luxembourg Gardens and sailed boats on the pond (the highlight of my stay) and I bought him his first ice cream cone. My daughter took time from work while I was there so we did something fun nearly everyday. He had his first Easter Egg Hunt in their local park. His little face was priceless every time he found another egg. One day we took the train to Trouville by the Sea and had a spectacular lunch overlooking the harbor. We wandered tiny streets and strolled the busy boardwalk full of early holiday goers. It’s the most charming seaside town I’ve ever seen, like out of a storybook in bygone years. 

Easter egg hunting Pond boats Pony ride
Beach sign
My husband joined me halfway through the trip and we had a driver take us to the Loire Valley to several Chateaus. We had lunch in the darling castle village of Amboise on one gloriously sunny day. Leonardo di Vinci is buried in the chapel. We also saw the chateau of Catherine of Medici and it’s beautiful gardens and hedge maze. Then one day we took a train to Fountainbleu where Napoleon said goodbye to his troops before being exiled. The formal grounds are magnificent with swan ponds and fountains rivaling Versailles. 

Amboise Castle Formal garden Tulip Gardens  Amboise  

Shopping was wonderful. I bought dresses for all my upcoming events and my college graduate daughter’s special day. Lots of baby shops (the French love their babies) provided perfect shopping for my soon to be 3 grand children. And the Market streets have wonderful French household goods for that new house/construction zone. And of course, I visited the local yarn shop and bought a few skeins of cotton and wool. 

Sweater and tutu Blue knitting Cotton knit baby jacket
But all the while I carried my little Laduree knitting bag along and stitched a few rows. I made an entire newborn jacket for a friend’s baby due in August and started a ballerina surplice for my granddaughter to go with the tutu we bought. The surplice proved too large so I ripped it out, adapted the pattern and started again. That done, I’m now onto the cotton purchase in Paris for the new baby. Tiny needles and the DMC cotton make for perfectly smooth pieces. It’s going to be a little sailor collared pullover for this summer. 

I miss Paris terribly but I’ve got so much to do in the coming weeks, you’ll have to forgive me if I miss a Monday update or two! 

Eiffel Tower Arc de Triumph  Nortre Dame

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Pardon the Interruption 

I am spending some time strolling the streets of Paris, enjoying my family, buying French yarn and eating Lemon Tarts. I will write all about my adventures after April 18th. Until then…Ă  bientĂ´t. 

Paris cafe

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