Monday, May 31, 2010


Barbara from the comments after the last post asked me if I'll ever get to wear the set I made for the book.

Indeed I will receive it back this summer, and it is for me to keep and wear as I like. Which is kind of nice! The shell needed to be made in a certain size specified by the publisher, for their model. I'm lucky I'm the same size, though probably considerably shorter. :)

Thing is, ever since I've received the book and posted about the project, I've been wondering whether I would really really wear the ensemble! Anyone who's ever met me, people who know me: have you ever seen me in pink?

Nope. I am not a pale pink and pearls kind of person at ALL. In the summer I'll wear lighter colors, linen and whatever goes with that. But in general I like solids, deep and rich colors, black, and chocolate brown. I've only recently started to augment that with some brights like turquoise and orange (not together, of course!!)

Then there's the lace. I love knitting it, but when I look at my wardrobe, I barely own a single lace garment. Scarves and shawls are the exception, of course. Lace in small doses, that's more my thing.

So why the heck did I knit a lace garment and stole in a color called Antique Rose??

The answer is fairly simple: I designed them not for me, but to the best advantage of the pattern and the yarn.

I was given a selection of Dorothy Reade's stitch patterns. I was hoping there'd be a diamond one, and there was! Lucky me! In two variations!! That meant I could play. One I used for the shawl, the other I used for the shell.

When I saw the yarns we could choose from, I wanted a yarn that would match the stitch pattern: a soft color that would be interesting, but also not obscure the stitch pattern. Sometimes you don't know until you swatch, but in this instant I was sure from the get go it would work. Lorna's Laces dyes Almost Solids, and it's what I requested.

I also knew I wanted to edge the lace pattern of the shell in seed stitch, which would again work well in the pale pink. (There's almost nothing seed stitch doesn't work with, really.) It would look like small pearls along the neckline. Diamonds, pearls, what could go wrong?? Funny thing is, I don't wear a lot of jewelry, either, I usually save it for special occasions.

So there you have it. A pink lace shawl and shell, and all I wanted was to do the pattern and its inventor justice. I hope I've done that.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Successful Lace Knitting

Two and a half years ago, Donna Druchunas was talking to my friend Alison Hyde about how she is planning to write a lace knitting book, honoring the work of Dorothy Reade. Donna wanted Alison to contribute, as they had just collaborated on Alison's book, Wrapped in Comfort.

Alison in her kindness referred Donna to me, who in turn graciously asked me whether I'd be interested in participating in a project that would involve 24 different lace patterns and just as many designers. We would all be able to pick a stitch pattern from a list, and then submit a design. I gratefully said yes.

I was very much inspired by a pattern that had 2 versions, and submitted designs for a shell knit in DK weight yarn, and a matching shawl, knit from chunky weight. Lorna's Laces was one of the companies that gave yarn support - and THAT inspired me even more. When a yarn and a pattern come together, it's a beautiful thing indeed.

Two years ago, I finished the pattern writing and the pieces and took a million pictures, before sending them off. Finally I am able to reveal:

Thank you for taking a first look. I am sure that I will be talking about this book and the projects in it a lot more....consider yourselves warned!!
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. It's Memorial Day weekend here, the weather is beautiful and summery, and tomorrow I get to go to the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft fair in Cummington. My dear friend Anna is driving, and I reserve the right to take a nap in the middle of the day.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

lace on the brain

It must have been the anticipation of THIS arriving in the mail for me that my mind has been on the subject of lace knitting lately.

I made this Foliage hat for my sister. (True confession: I started it before the Citron shawl. First I would alternate: do one repeat on the hat, do one section on the shawl. Then it was just one more section on the shawl. The shawl won.) I finally finished the hat a couple of days ago. This is very soft Queensland Super Aussie Merino worsted.

Then I have the terrible, terrible task of test knitting a new yarn I dyed before my surgery. It's an as yet unnamed blend of 50% merino, 50% silk fingering weight that is simply divine to knit with.
I started on a Prairie Rose shawl from the Knitter's Book of Wool.

I liked the pattern well enough. In fact, it's gorgeous. It was kicking my butt a little, since it's been a while that I've made anything more complicated. Maybe it was my poor post-surgery brain that just couldn't handle it. (Ask me another time what really stupid things I've done in the last two weeks.)
But I decided that the yarn and the pattern were fighting each other....the yarn was too busy for the pattern, the pattern too intricate for the yarn. I frogged it,

and started a Twilight scarf from the book A Fine Fleece.

Better, no?

Tomorrow, we talk about what's inside the book. ;)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Some of you may remember what happened around here in February?

Thing is, that dining room is still not completely put back together, and I'm only partially to blame for it. There are still a few little things that the construction company has to come back for and finish. Not the least of which is that we are now hearing a new drip in the ceiling where they laid the new pipe and let me tell you I am just not entirely ready to face what needs facing. We have been after them to come back, played phone tag and letter writing, and been given nothing more than promises.

I am a pretty gentle person, as is my husband, but in weak moments we have been thinking up mean ways to discredit that contractor... on whose good side (if there is one) we need to stay if we want him to finish what he still needs to finish.

Meanwhile, the windows haven been bare. Which isn't so bad in the winter. But recently, the weather has been warming up quite a bit, the sun rising ever higher, and warming the place up more and more.

Yesterday morning, I lugged my trusty old Kenmore sewing machine into said dining room, dug up some fabric remnants, and made us some shades.

Please be gentle with me as you take a look, I only know the very basics of sewing, having never made much more than simple window treatments and the kids' Halloween costumes over the years.

And speaking of stitches: went back to the surgeon today to have the row of steristrips removed that had covered my suture. I asked how many stitched he put in?
Oh, he said, it's just a running stitch.
That man has some mean sewing skillz, I tell you. I feel entirely put back together, if not still a bit sore.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

obsession, or addiction?

Last week, I made Citron shawl.

I started it on Tuesday, and finished on Friday night.

It took exactly the same amount of yarn as a pair of socks.

I am not sure I have ever made fingering weight socks in 4 days, but this pattern was so addictive, that I simply could not stop.

I'm glad I didn't make it in lace weight, since I'm not sure it would have been a usable size for me. My dummy is a size 8, I'm a size 4 or 6 depending on the day. Just laid plain across the shoulders,

it doesn't cover much of the front.
But I do love the view from the back:

Then there's the option of draping it across like so

and I may just have to look for a little shawl pin next week at the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair. :)
Project is raveled HERE.
Pattern: Citron (, Winter 2009)
Yarn: Noro Kureyon sock, color# S236, one skein.
Needle: size 6/4 mm, 32 in addi lace
I should note here that I did not have enough yarn to do the ruffle at the end. I opted for 4 garter stitch rows after the last (Section 5) increase, and then bound off. I rather like the clean edging, and am not sad that I didn't get a ruffle.
Oh yeah -- and the obsession part? It has to do with color....

Saturday, May 22, 2010

In Memoriam Victoria Moore

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the passing of my dear friend Victoria Moore, who died from cancer on her 44th birthday on May 22nd, 2005.

Victoria had only 7 months after her diagnosis. I feel very honored that I was able to be there for her till the very end.

Victoria was one of the smartest people I ever had the fortune to meet. Not only was she computer smart and book smart and smart in any other kind of way...she had 3 Master's Degrees! In fact in the beginning I could hardly believe someone like her would even talk to me. I often choke in the presence of intelligence, but not with Vic, because her heart and her openness and warmth and genuineness made it easy to just be...yourself. She saw something valuable in you, and held it and cherished it.

We came from different regions of the world, with few things in common (or so we thought), one of which being poetry. We belonged to a group that met for years in each other's living rooms, every other Tuesday. Her command of language was awe inspiring, her criticism of other's works always kind and constructive.

When we got to know each other better, we compared hysterectomy stories and scars, and our overbearing mothers. Once she invited me to an award ceremony at RPI, where she eventually received her third MA. When we got there, I realized that SHE was getting a writer's award, and it was a really big deal! Yet she never wanted to make anything of it.

Victoria had moved around a bit in her life, but was always interested in the history of a place. She would find out everything there was to know about the region where she lived, and she would pass that knowledge along in a way where you also wanted to know everything about your surroundings. She grounded herself wherever she was, found new roots in a thorough appreciation of people she met and the place around her.

Through her strong compassion and her most graceful passing she taught me to hold still and listen, and not always just ask questions. I am extremely grateful that she was my friend.

Here's the poem I read at her memorial service. It is to this day one of my most favorite poems, by any author:

Report my Passing (Krakatoa, 1883)
by Victoria Moore

From the porch of her house on South Sumatra
watching ships sailing through the Sunda Strait
past Lang, Venlaten, and Krakatoa,
Mrs Beyering learned semaphore.
Orange and yellow stripes: I am carrying mail,
Flags Z+D+2: report my passing.
Dr Beyering watched his instruments;
she scratched in her diary.
First, there was the plate, smashed
on the marble floor of the dining room.
As for the water barrels she kept in the bathroom,
their surfaces rippled with every detonation.
She didn't feel the vibrations through her feet;
they were coming through the very atmosphere itself.
The compass began to spin round and round.
Blue checks: I am in distress.
The windows and doors rattled and banged.
The whitened sea seemed to freeze,
became uncannily smooth, then shivered again.
The lighthouse shifted on its foundation
and the iron-rich ash made a magentic blizzard.
Dr. Beyering was moved to send a telegram.
The diary stayed dry when the tsunami took the house,
swam with Mrs. Beyering through thick mud and leeches,
reached the top of the highest hill,
and reported to London, Amsterdam, and Paris
that the plate, part of Mrs. Beyering's dowry,
had a gold rim and a pink rose in the center.

Monday, May 17, 2010

small stuff, big steps

The surgeon called this morning to check up on me and let me know that all pathology reports came back negative. I never really had any doubt, but it's good to know for sure!

Right after surgery, my calcium levels were so low that they gave me calcium intravenously and orally. After I got home, I had to take 3000 mg a day, plus magnesium, Vitamin D and C to help absorb and digest the calcium. Since I cannot have dairy, my husband got me a stack of soy yogurts and coconut milk custards (yum! chocolate! And I was eating that for my health!) which I ate in addition to the calcium tablets.
There are 4 tiny parathyroid glands behind the thyroid, which got a bit jostled and stunned during the removal of the thyroid and the golfball sized nodule I had. They regulate the calcium levels in your body.

All week, I was supposed to watch myself for signs of low calcium, and today was able to report that I had none. So as of today, I no longer need to take vast amounts of calcium.

Meanwhile, I was grateful I could knit even the tiniest bit every day! I had made the back of this little sweater before I went in the hospital. I cast on for the front last Wednesday.

I finished it this evening - it's going to one of my husband's colleagues, who just had a little boy not too long ago.

Pattern: Mock Cable and Basketweave Cardigan and Sweater by Melinda Goodfellow/Yankee Knitter Design
Size made: 6-12 months
Yarn: 2 skeins Berroco Comfort DK
Needles: size 4 and 5.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I can't laugh, yawn, turn my head, drink from a cup without a straw, cough, sneeze, or talk in a loud voice.

But I can look at beautiful flowers my husband had ready for me on the day I came home. He is also doing a marvelous job keeping the fridge stocked, the laundry washed, and generally keeping things going. The kids are pitching in (sometimes I text them to remind them...must conserve my energy and my voice.)

I have to keep track of meds and do my breathing exercises. Thank goodness I don't need the heavy painkillers any more.

I got some lovely Get Well cards. Thank you so much!!!!! We have also been eating very well thanks to some impressive dinners that three Chicks brought over for us to enjoy.

I do everything in small increments, whether it's reading, watching a movie, or knitting. In fact it seems like everything these days is portioned out: 1500 mg of calcium, 10 pages of Anna Karenina, Synthroid, netflix, 1000 IU Vitamin D, 6 rows of knitting. Then a nap.

Yesterday I had a few hours where I got overwhelmed with all the things I am unable to accomplish right now. Then more flowers came! Thanks so much, Theresa. :)

So, what are you all up to these days? Knitting and otherwise? Most of all I hope you are all doing well!!
PS: If you're interested, there is a yarn give away going on right here!! If you mention it on your blog, you get entered twice!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I am home from the hospital. Everything went well. I am sore and a little wiped out. My family is taking care of me. I tried to knit on a sock a little in the hospital but got tired fast and also the IV thingy was in the way. :)
Can't talk much yet due to my throat being very sore. Maybe in a few days I can have some visitors.

Friday, May 7, 2010


To get ready for Cummington (the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair, Memorial Day weekend) before my surgery on Monday, I needed to get dyeing this week. Kay of Sliver Moon very graciously accepted my delivery today so she can take my yarn with her when she sets up the booth. She's been inviting me to join her for three years running, and I am very grateful to have this awesome outlet for my yarn!

The following pictures are of my new sock yarn called 'Oh so fine!' (which name I am constantly debating. I tend to overthink these things, maybe. But I chose the name not because it's a finer gauge than my other sock yarns, but because it takes color in a really fine, unusual way...never ask a poet to name yarns.)

"Memories of Summer" on the drying rack

'Deep Blue Sea'

' Juniper'




an overdyed, as yet unnamed batch of watercolors II sock yarn.

Here is a new kid on the block: this yarn is not for sale just yet, I only ordered a very small batch to try. Now I have the terrible task of having to test knit this blend of 50% silk/50% superwash merino wool...

Compared to the 100% superwash merino next to it, it has an exquisite sheen. It feels very soft....

...and takes dye in an interesting way, too! Of course I expected as much, having seen silks and silk blends plenty of times, but it's somehow different when you get to pull it out of your own dyepot. These 5 skeins were dyed together, colorway "Truffle":

This next batch is a black overdye of a bright yellow, and I'm calling it 'Goth'. Represented here in the "watercolors" sock yarn.

And lastly, a group portrait of "Oh so fine!"

Thanks for taking a look, and I hope to see you at Cummington!
And for all you moms out there, I hope you will have a splendid Mother's Day this weekend. My husband is picking our son up from college as we speak, his sophomore year is over already! I'll be glad to have them both back home again Saturday night. Annemarie and I will go to the Tulip Festival tomorrow, as is our tradition. And my Mother's Day wish? All of us going to see "Iron Man 2" on Sunday.
Somehow this earned me "cool mom" status this week among the middle school set.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

what a day!

Saturday was a fabulously beautiful, sunny day. Shoppers, aka my dear knitting friends, came bright and early, and picked out their favorites.

Leah, on the right, was in charge of the Periwinkle Sheep yarns up on our little deck. Hey Jody, watcha got there?

Jody was in charge of the cash out for the Yarn Yard Sale. Thank you to all my wonderful helpers!! I couldn't have done this without you!

Shelly drove all the way from Gloucester, MA, to come to the sale! I know her from my ravelry group Stash Knit Down.
The irony is not lost on me that someone is on a Stash reduction rav group and then drives 3.5 hours to go to a stash sale. But you all know how it is: some days, you just need to get in the car and go for a drive! That's what Shelly did, and she even hand delivered a blanket square for an afghan that our group is putting together for one of our members.

Leah and Amy winding yarn straight from one of the bins.

My smallest visitor needed a cheerios break. :)

Thank you thank you everyone that came to my sale. I hope you are all happy with your purchases - let me know what you are going to make! I am just so glad that all that yarn went to good homes. I feel so much lighter now!
The whole thing kind of wiped me out - the week of sorting and bagging, and not getting much sleep the night before from all the anticipation. I took a two hour nap after clearing away the bins. Out of 13, I only had 5 left with yarn in them!
Later in the afternoon, Dear Husband and I went to Washington Park to see the tulips in bloom, and to go have some dinner. I post tulip pictures every year, so if you're getting tired of it, now's the time to go read another blog. ;)

This group of pansies snuck in. "We're here to see the tulips!"

Walk back through the park after dinner at one of our favorite Indian restaurants.