The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


I have conquered! The Trekking Socks are finished (see below) and I am totally pleased with the result. The fit is excellent, and I know I will enjoy wearing these as soon as fall arrives. So I rewarded myself today by casting on with the Socks That Rock yarn. Can a person have more than one favorite sock yarn? I'm barely an inch into the first sock tonight and I can see where all the praise for STR comes from. I LOVE this yarn! I'm doing the Lichen Ribbed Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks; this is the first Nancy Bush pattern I am knitting.

And for Roxie, so that the suspense is over, I have taken the cone of mohair/wool/nylon (60%/25%/15%) and have cast on for Miriam Felton's Icarus Shawl, from IK Summer 06. I think this is going to be really fun to knit as well.

I am finding that as time goes on and I try more and different things, my pleasure in what I am knitting is becoming greater and more absorbing. The nuances of colors and the interplay of patterns is growing more addictive and more creatively satisfying. The infinite variety of sock yarns and patterns, lace yarns and patterns, and even MDK garter stitch...so much to knit, so little time!

The Trekking Socks

The Trekking Socks

Yarn: Trekking XXL, Color 104

Needles: US Size 1, 4 DPNs

Pattern: Chevron from Sensational Knitted Socks

Note: I changed the pattern to make a heel flap.

Love the yarn, love the pattern.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


What is it this time with the second sock? Referring, of course, to the second Trekking sock, which seems to have its own let's-drive-the-knitter-crazy agenda. I have tinked and frogged more times than I can remember, and finally capped it off by having to drop and unravel several stitches (a couple of them several times each) in order to pick up missed stitches and other assorted boo-boos. Where am I now? Finally ready to start the toe shaping. Tonight? Maybe. I'm ready to start some new projects. On the left there is some Silky Wool, ready to start another Branching Out (after all, Christmas is coming), and on the right is my reward when I finally finish the Trekking sock. Socks That Rock in the Pebble Beach colorway, which my generous buddy Ann of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Stash sent me a while back. Pattern? Probably one of the Ribbed Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks.

I finished the first Branching Out (Megan LittleLace) on Sunday, and couldn't stand it any longer -- I got out some of that laceweight that Roxie sent me in May and cast on for a new project. What will it be? Stay tuned to see later this week. In the meantime, I think I'll go finish that troublemaking Trekking sock. Will there be more tinking, more frogging? I refuse to let a sock beat me.

Branching Out

Branching Out

aka Megan LittleLace

Yarn: Frog Tree Fingering Alpaca, 215 yds

Needles: Addi Turbo Circular, US 8

Length: 31 pattern repeats, approx. 70"

Width: 5 1/2"

Definitely a pattern to do again and again!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Honeymooners

It was a perfectly lovely getaway weekend. We flew out to LA (no problem with my bamboo circulars) on Friday morning and snuck aboard Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas for a two day sail to Mexico and back. In honor of our anniversary, I took along that other honeymooning couple, Magda and Jay Walker. It was about time they both saw some real wear time, instead of just posing for blog pictures.

Magda was worn to the Captain's Gala, and Jay Walker saw some service on my laps around the ship. You can't really tell, but it was fairly windy while we were out on the water. Sunday actually was quite cool, and a light jacket (and socks!) came in handy. We went ashore and saw some impressive Baja coastline, and enjoyed some fish tacos at a little shack nearby. (First time for fish tacos, and yes, they were very good, especially topped with lime juice and pickled onions and jalapenos.)

Knitting accomplishments? Not really very much. I took along my Trekking socks, but ended up tinking a lot; the light inside the ship wasn't always very condusive to size 1 needles, and when I was outside I kept getting distracted by all the goings on and forgetting which pattern row I was on. I did start a garterlac dishcloth, and got about half done. Abigail had the link to Dave's pattern on her blog a little while ago, and it seemed to me that this would be a good quick and dirty way to learn how to do entrelac. So far, so good; I am enjoying the bit of complexity in this.

Of course, I am way behind again in my Bloglines. Annie did get moved out to school, but for some reason the garage doesn't look any emptier. Oh, well, that's the project for the weekend coming up. I will be glad when we have Nana's boxes and things all sorted out and put away. Everytime I walk in the closet I see all the yummy yarns I've gotten lately and my fingers start itching to start something new. I have to stay away from the good old LYS for a while though, I think, at least through August and September. All those start of school and college year fees and requirements!!!

Oh, by the way, on the way out of the harbor on Friday we saw filming going on for the next "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie. It was really pretty cool; there is no way one cannot recognize that ship. Too far away to really see anything, though. Pity.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

We're on the Road Again

Thank you, one and all, for all the kind comments left on my last two posts. The hubby and I are packing up for a quick romantic getaway out of town. I'll see you all next week when we get back. May you all have a great weekend, too.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Four Score and Seven Years Ago...

Well, maybe not quite that long ago.

31 years ago today we got hitched. Two years ago our oldest son followed suit, which is when this picture was taken. I didn't have time to try to dig out an old wedding picture and try to scan it to Blogger, so I did the next best thing. It's still a wedding picture. 31 years ago in Michigan it was hot and humid, a lot like it is now. But a picture perfect day.

Who says good things don't last?

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Final Chapter

***Previous Chapters may be linked in the sidebar under The LittleLace Saga*****

Slowly the summer passed. Moira fed chickens and milked cows. She helped Poppa in the fields; she helped Momma in the house. She watched over Megan and Baby Lace; she cooked and cleaned and, in the evenings, she walked out in the fields and thought about Wellesley, the college just for women.


Poppa was pleased to see that Momma seemed to be feeling better. It was as if Momma had come to terms with Magda's disappearance. She didn't set for hours staring at the walls anymore; she was working in the garden and canning food for the winter. Momma talked sometimes about sending Moira to the college, but both she and Poppa could not see how they could afford to do so. Perhaps in a few years time, if they could set aside enough money from the crops...

Poppa washed his hands and face at the well. He could smell the dinner being set out in the kitchen. Momma and Moira were hard at work as always; he could hear Megan setting dishes on the wooden table. He shook the water from his hands and saw his brother Jake coming through the fields. Poppa called a greeting as Jake came up to the house. Set down to dinner, Poppa said; Jake smiled and agreed. They stepped into the snug little kitchen. Hello, everyone, said Jake, and then he handed Momma an envelope. Momma was pleased; one or two letters came each week from her old friends at the El Tovar hotel, and it always made Momma happy to hear from them. They all sat down and enjoyed the good stew, biscuits, and vegetables from the garden. Poppa was glad to see Momma smiling and telling little stories to entertain everyone.

When dinner was over, Momma picked up her letter and went outside to read it. Moira and Megan, who had grown much taller and was now able to help out, began to wash up the dishes, while Jake and Poppa lingered at the table with their coffee. The late afternoon sun spilled golden through the open window, and birds and crickets chirped in the peaceful fields. Suddenly the air was rent by a scream. Momma! Both Poppa and Jake leaped from the table and dashed outside, as the dish Megan had been drying crashed to the floor. Momma was running towards the house, still screaming while the letter fluttered in her hand. She fell into Poppa's arm. We've got to go back, she cried. We've got to go back.


It was nearly noon, almost a week later, as the train pulled into the Grand Canyon station. Moira was nervously peering out the window. Would Magda be there to meet them? They had telegraphed their arrival; perhaps Magda hadn't received it. Certainly there was no one on the platform that looked like her.

Momma was the first off the train. Moira could see the anxiety in her eyes as she turned back to look at Poppa. Moira looked around the platform as Momma began to walk towards the station. A lady was standing there waiting, dressed in a stylish hat and fine furs. Both Moira and Momma gasped, as the lady jumped forward and threw her arms around Momma.


They could hardly believe that it was really Magda. Moira couldn't keep her eyes off her now-so-sophisticated sister and her elegant clothes. And Magda was married as well! She was no longer Magda LittleLace; she was now Mrs. Magda Walker. She proudly introduced them all to her husband, Jay. Although as flashy and debonaire as ever, he was no longer the Mysterious Stranger, but Magda's beloved husband.

They all walked up to the hotel, where Magda and Jay Walker had been staying for the last few weeks, hoping that they could find out where Madga's family had gone. Now over a celebratory lunch, Jay explained to Poppa that his gambling days were over; he and Magda had purchased a cattle ranch in northern California and the both wanted Poppa and Momma and the girls to come and help them run it. Even Max the Wonder Sheep would come. A joyful Momma and Poppa quickly agreed, and Megan and Baby Lace both smiled and laughed because everyone was so happy.

Later in the afternoon, Magda asked Moira to come walking with her along the Canyon's rim. Moira quickly agreed, even though she was still feeling a little shy next to her so grown up younger sister. Magda seemed to sense this as they stood looking over the Canyon. I'm so sorry for all the times I've hurt you, Magda said. I know that I always treated you really badly, making you do all the work. I wish there was a way to make it up to you.

Moira was silent. After a few minutes passed, Magda spoke again. Momma and Poppa told us about the college, she said. Jay and I talked about it. We both think it's time that you stopped working for everyone else; we want you to go to Wellesley and do what you want to do now. Jay has already wired the funds to pay for your first year. If you leave again on the train tonight, you can make it there in time for the first day of fall classes.

Moira could hardly breathe. She turned and stared at Magda, her sister who had always irritated her so. Suddenly Moira burst into tears, and the two sisters hugged and cried together as the wondering tourists wandered past.


The sun was setting as Moira lifted her suitcase and set off on the path to the train station. She could not stop smiling. The summer was ending, and the real journey of the Amazing Lace was just beginning.

The End

Saturday, August 12, 2006

White Coats

Friday evening, August 11, 2006
Michael spent the week in Orientation for the next four years of Med School.
The week culminated in the "White Coat Ceremony", symbolizing the entrance into the medical profession.

Mike and Proud Mom

Mike (future doctor) and sister Maria (future dental hygienist)

Mike and best friend Ali with Nana

We're tired, hot, and hungry.

Can we go to dinner now?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Slug Days of Summer

What is it with the sluggish feelings these days? Is it the combination of heat and humidity? Perhaps it's all the rain -- no, I enjoy the rain. And we certainly need it. Maybe it's the creeping nature of growing older. Maybe it's just a Blogger thing. I know I can't be the only blogger having trouble uploading my pictures. I couldn't upload about half the pictures I wanted for the latest chapter of LittleLace. And today was no exception. It's a constant struggle lately.

But the sluggishness continues. It's a constant effort to force myself to exercise; I feel good when I do it regularly, but if I miss a couple days, total inertia has set in. And it's a bear to throw it off. Knitting still continues, but it seems to take forever to finish anything. Case in point: one ballband dishcloth that took two months. Alright, it was lost in a deep corner for a while. But still.

So now a new MDK project presents itself. A Baby Genius burp cloth, chugging along. I didn't realize until about half way through that I would need a second ball to make this big enough, and wouldn't you know, in all the cotton yarn I picked up, I got doubles of everything except this one. Necessitating an early morning trip to Wally World today, early so that I would miss the back-to-school shoppers. And of course, I picked up the second ball and four more of other colors. I'm so weak.

In other news, the first Trekking Sock is done. This is the Chevron Sock from Sensational Knitted Socks; I added two extra stitches to each pattern repeat and it fits perfectly. Knit on size 1 needles. No, the second sock is not on the needles yet. These are slug days, remember?

The Harebell Lace - Pumpkin Socks - Baby Lace socks are coming along slowly. I think my eyes are getting used to the fine gauge, because they don't hurt as much as they used to when I would work on these. But I still only do about six rows at a time. I am seriously debating about stopping the pattern at the bottom of the leg and switching to a very plain rib pattern on the foot or else just stockinette, rather than continuing the pattern all the way to the toes. I know it would be nice to continue the pattern, but I am thinking that I might like a snugger fit in the foot. The lace pattern is not real snug. So I am soliciting all your opinions. You all have probably been knitting socks longer than I have, so I am eager for some input.

Finally, I am trying to do some work each day on Megan LittleLace -- Branching Out. It would be nice to finish this also by the end of the month, especially since the lace socks won't be done for quite a while. The FrogTree Alpaca fingering weight is really soft and knitting up beautifully.

Now it will be time to write the last Chapter of LittleLace. So what will be the fate of the LittleLace family?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

LittleLace Chapter 5

***Previous chapter links can be found in the sidebar under "The LittleLace Saga"***

Moira knew what they were all thinking. Momma and Poppa and everyone else thought that she was unhappy because she was worried about Magda. In truth, Moira WAS unhappy, but not because she was worried. No, absolutely not; Moira was unhappy because she was completely consumed with jealousy. She envied Magda. Oh, how envious indeed she was, of Magda's reckless courage in running away.

How many mornings since then had she sat out on the Canyon's rim with Megan, brooding about Magda and her newly-gained freedom. As Megan played in the sunshine, Moira wished desperately that she could have the courage to leave, as well. Oh, certainly not to run away like that, and break Momma and Poppa's hearts, but to have the courage to follow her own path. Now, how on earth could she even think about leaving? Not with Momma and Poppa so upset, and feeling that she needed to help out even more now that Magda was gone. But now that Poppa had decided to move the little family back East, Moira found her spirits beginning to lift. At least it would be a change.


Moira found the train trip to be totally absorbing. There was the excitement now of seeing constantly changing scenery and many different people. She was fascinated by seeing with her own eyes places that she had only read about in books. Moira had finished the little bit of schooling she could get a couple years ago, and she still missed it. She had enjoyed school tremendously, and had been very sorry when it ended. Books and newspapers had been hard to come by, and those she had found she had devoured eagerly. Now she was seeing so many new things, and her desire to study and learn was returning full force. Perhaps Uncle Jake would have books that she could read. Or perhaps, maybe, even a school that she could attend once they were settled. Moira found herself almost daring to hope.


Uncle Jake was waiting for them when the train pulled into Boston. Although he was somewhat prepared for what he would see, he was still privately shocked at how sad and unhappy his brother and sister-in-law looked. Once he had gathered up all the luggage and they were safely in his wagon, he told them of the plans he had made. He had booked several rooms in one of the local hotels for a few days. He wanted them, especially the girls, to have a few days to see the sites. What he did not tell them was that he was hoping to distract them all from their grief and perhaps cheer them all up somewhat. He was pleased to see that they all seemed to brighten up a bit at the prospect. Especially Moira.

Moira was overjoyed with Uncle Jake's plan. She was so happy to see the North Church and Boston Harbor, and there was so much water and green trees, she hardly knew where to look next. Uncle Jake knew a lot of the history of the area, much more than Moira had been able to learn in school, and she found herself clinging to his every word. None of this was lost on Jake. He saw how eager she was to learn, and certain thoughts started percolating in his head. Perhaps he should take a chance...

The last day in Boston, Jake told them that they were going to take a short trip out of town. Eagerly they all climbed onto the train for the journey. Moira was excited. Uncle Jake had told her that he wanted to show her someplace special. How surprised she was, then, when they got off the train at a station named "Wellesley". Momma and Poppa wanted to know what was here for them to see. All Uncle Jake would do was smile.

They walked to the grounds of the most amazing thing Moira had ever seen. She could hardly believe Uncle Jake when he told her that this was a college just for women. Moira was totally overcome by the beautiful grounds and the imposing buildings. This had to be the answer to all her dreams and desires. The more they walked and looked around, the more Moira found herself desiring to come here and study herself. Oh, could it only be possible?

Uncle Jake knew he had been right in bringing Moira to Wellesly. But could the girl come here? Was there even a hope? As Moira walked around, peeking into the halls and classrooms, he took Momma and Poppa to the school offices. There, even though both Momma and Poppa seemed interested in possibly giving Moira the chance to attend, the tuition alone was far more than anything they could all hope to ever raise. Quietly, they decided among themselves not to say anything to Moira. But Moira knew. She had seen them go to the admission office, and had seen their long faces when they came out. She knew that it was far more expensive than they could afford. Quietly she continued to walk about the grounds. It could have been so wonderful, but she knew that it was not to be.

In the late afternoon, the LittleLace family boarded the train again to return to Boston. The next morning, they began the long wagon ride to their new farm in New Hampshire. Moira sat in the back of the wagon by herself, watching the Massachusetts countryside disappear from view. Soon they would be in their new home, and her days of helping Momma and Poppa on the farm would begin all over again.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Last Week (or so)

It's been a pretty busy last eight days or so. Change that to read exhausting, frustrating, energy-sapping, and any other adjectives you care to toss in. It must have been some malevolent force of nature or whatever that decided that we would move Nana and clear out her house during the hottest few weeks on record in Phoenix. Add to that a monster herd of thunderstorms that hit the Phoenix area last Tuesday night. There were several hours worth of storms with heavy rains, winds, flooding, and severe lightening. The yards and streets flooded and we lost power for a little over an hour; I couldn't sleep anyways so I read by flashlight, but I could have read by lightening bolt -- the flashes were that big and that close together. Fortunately we had no storm damage. Other houses had tree and roof damage. But finally on Sunday we made our last trip down to our house and stuffed, piled, shoved, and otherwise manhandled all her property that wasn't given to charity (yet) into our garage. I couldn't fit a bicycle into that garage right now. But now Nana is in the house, her house in Mesa is on the market, the furniture movers are contracted for September, and I think we can start concentrating on moving Annie to college now.

My personal "reward" in the middle of all this was Stephanie "Yarn Harlot's" book tour stop in Mesa. I had intended to come to this anyways, so it all worked out rather well. The malevolent force of nature did take a break that day and there was no rain. There was nothing else I could do at that point at Nana's house, so I spent some time at Michael's Arts and Crafts, picking up $1 balls of Sugar and Cream. The book signing was scheduled to start at 6:00pm, so I arrived at 4:30 in order to get a decent seat. There were four ladies who had been there since 1:00, sitting in the front row and knitting all afternoon. There was one more front row seat and yours truly snatched it up. (Just my luck, when Stephanie took her picture of the group, all you can see is my right arm in the lower right corner of the picture!!) I did some yarn shopping, and then took my seat and worked on the Trekking sock until it was time. Once Stephanie started, I was laughing much too hard to knit, anyways; it's hard to knit and wipe tears out of your eyes when you are laughing so much. Her formal talk was delightful, but once she picked up her sock knitting and started taking informal questions she became even more delightful and funny. I got to touch the lace shawl she is working on, and of course got to take a picture of the two socks together. It was fortunate that I was able to be one of the first in the book signing line, since I had a three hour drive to get home and I didn't want to leave too late. (Had to go back to work in the morning, too.) I did get home before the rain started up again. It has been raining a lot here ever since and we have a lot of roads closed and washed out in my neck of the woods now.

Of course, while waiting for Stephanie to arrive, I checked out the projects the other attendees were working on. I saw a few socks being knit, and some lace pieces; for some reason no one seemed to have any big bulky wool knits in hand. One lady was working on a sock with what had to be the magic loop method; I watched her surreptitiously for a while and decided that this would be just too fiddly for me. There was also some MasonDixon knitting going on as well. My MDK sock yarn log cabin knitting spent this particular evening in the car, but believe me, it has been worked on. It has certainly been the perfect overstressed knitter project; nothing much to count, nothing to memorize, and the color changes were quite soothing to the brain. See the difference between last weeks plain center block and what it looks like now:

I've used up a lot of my leftover bits of sock yarn and have started using some orphan skeins of yarn now as well. It's all standard sock yarn and all washable; I think it would make a great baby blanket or an even greater cuddle blankie for a toddler. I'm at a point now where I will have to stop soon; the bits of sock yarn I have left now won't make a complete log and I only have a couple actual orphan skeins of sock yarn (by orphan, I mean single skeins that will only make one full size sock). I don't think I want to make a bunch of small log cabin squares and seam them together; I would rather just keep adding logs until I get a size I like. I am really thinking about ordering a bunch of single skeins of KnitPicks sock yarn, both solids and variegated, to keep going on this blanket. In theory, it ought to hold up really well as a cuddle blanky; it's washable and tough as nails. I mean, it's SOCK YARN, fercryinoutloud.

The Fiber Factory, in Mesa, where the book signing was held, is a really marvelous shop. Lots and lots of nice things that I haven't been able to see and touch (I draw the line at smell) anywhere else. They gave me a 5% discount because I had travelled from the furthest point to be at the book signing, so I couldn't turn that down. Here's my loot: two hanks of Euroflax Linen (MDK handtowels!), a ball of Sockotta, and a hank of MountainColors Bearfoot, the last one in the store. Thank goodness for sock yarn and MDK knitting. I had been thinking strongly about starting another lace piece, something fairly complex, but after the last eight days I realize that all I will be decently capable of will be simple stuff for a while. Warshrags, socks, and cuddle blankies, that's the ticket.

I'm still well behind on my bloglines; if you haven't heard from me for a while, I'm slowly getting back on track. I was completely toasted on Sunday night, so tired I couldn't even fall asleep, but I'm starting to feel a little more human today. Time to get the next chapter of LittleLace of the Desert ready to post.