Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Alrighty then...

One more project done.  And I can actually use these.  I'm also wearing something else of my own knitting today.  Winter is the one time I can sorta kinda get away with it.  And yes, I have court this afternoon - a shelter hearing yesterday held over until today.  
After a rather long day at court and with my back screaming at me, I headed home to a really nice dinner John made for B and me. (Of course I had 'after,' but it was worth it!).  Anyway, with not much else I could do, I finished the Burning Love Fingerless Mitts by Dutch Mama and am fairly pleased with the results.  A little thing, but they are my own first pair I've kept for myself and they make a good deal of sense for days when you need the extra warmth, but need your fingers for driving, using the phone (NOT at the same time!!!), and other things.
Also made a small inroad into the reversible cable scarf/cowl, but not enough to post a picture at this point. 
We in Merlin were rather lucky as far as the weather goes. Our friends and relatives to our north did not fare so well, though their respective states were forewarned and thus for-armed, so I hope the human toll was not as high as it could have been.
Well today I have that hearing, a meeting afterwards at DSS and finally finally bell practice.
Gotta go.  Until next time, God be with you til we meet again+

Sunday, January 25, 2015

39 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.....

Sorry to disappoint the Canadians among you, but that was just a reference to the number of "In progress" projects I now have going on Ravelry.  No, I did not complete 13 projects overnight.  I'm good, but I'm not THAT good, LOL:). I decided to weed out the projects (1) I knew I was not going to get around to for a long while and (2) those that I hadn't even started yet, but had put up on ravelry as a sort of "space marker" for projects for which I had yarn at the ready. Those projects are now a part of the 97 I have in hibernation, to be reviewed later for completing or frogging. So the score is now 39 projects in progress, 97 projects hibernating, and 156 projects completed (since 2007, LOL). Not too terribly shabby.

So after blabbing away about the projects I have currently moving along, I did make a bit of progress on this, more or less doubling what I had done to get me about 35% toward the finish line.  If I keep working on this, I might have it done within the week.  The colors are very bright and I was thinking my granddaughter Ruby might like it - or perhaps Madison, though I think she prefers golden yellow (her homage to her One True Love, Bart Simpson) and other more muted colors.  I'll check with their mom. Or it could go to their wild grandma --or her even wilder partner in crime, Nancy C., mild-mannered organist by day, wild woman by... the rest of the day;)
The weather was kind to us in this part of the Atlantic.  At least it was last night.  No snow.  No rain, not even much frozen on the roads for those (like John) who work the graveyard shift. I was to play flute for the youth choir this morning, but it wasn't to be.  I was in a mad rush to get there on time and felt a bit panicked, hoping my nerves wouldn't make me screw up the piece, when I got to the church and realized I had forgotten my flute in the rush! By the time I would have gone home and come back, it would have been too late.  It wasn't an essential part of the piece, thank goodness and I think I have dear Diane's forgiveness for the mess-up! Since I hadn't been to choir practice and didn't know the music for this morning, I called it a day, though I should have gone to the services - it's just difficult to do when you're supposed to be up in the choir loft.  No excuse though.
To atone for my faux pas, I decided to sit at the computer and my hearings prepped for tomorrow morning.  I have many of them for some reason and of course will need to be at two places at once - three if I want to attend a meeting for a client on the other side of town. 
For a variety of reasons, it's doubtful we'll have any of the usual suspects over for dinner tonight.  Everyone is either out of town, working or has other things to do.  I'd like to say John and I will be cleaning the house and catching up on all I didn't do while my back was betraying me, but somehow I think we'll be doing well to get ready for tomorrow:).  Hey, at least the laundry is done (ah the humanity!).
The HUGE boxes are still in the house, Elizabeth Zimmermann and Meg Swansen's Knitting Glossary is in the DVD player (though I suspect John might soon request a switch to a sports show - blech) and outside the clouds are gathering for what threatens to be a winter storm tonight. Ah well, reporting from Easter Island, this is FugueStateKnits signing out.... Until next time, 
God be with you 'til we meet again+

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Did I tell you I love to knit?

First of all, dear 2.5, Happy New Year:)! It's been a strange few weeks since the onset of 2015. I am sitting here, midday on a cloudy cold and damp Saturday in the not-so-wilds of the county seat of Central Merlin, Mid-atlantic seaboard state in the USA.  Our front hallway and living room are crowded with huge boxes containing auto parts that we are somehow supposed to get to an auto repair shop - the proprietor a friend of our son, Danny - so that one of our cars can be repaired from an auto accident in which the front end was pretty badly damaged.  The accident was not Danny's fault - and after a couple of months of dealing with an "interesting" attorney for the self-insured cab company that ran into him - we had a check.  They totaled the vehicle. We were not interested in giving up on a Toyota that continues to have a perfectly strong working engine. After a few months in Merlin, doing his gig with the Everyman Theatre company in Bawlmer, and a few other side gigs, Danny headed for the sunny shores of LA with his friend, Bowie, plans to hone his craft with a well known actors studio and to continue the search for work in his field. His work in Deathtrap was really good - and yes, I'm his mom, but it was good, you will have to trust me - and the local critics and theatergoers:).
We get the more than occasional visit with B and R - now married almost a year and a half and dealing with spanning their time between Bawlmer and Philly - one for work, the other for art school - and we are the meeting place - a nice place to be:).  A bit more occasionally, the two daughters with the grandangels come to visit for Sunday dinner more or less.  Even the separated ones manage to come by and we are doing our best to love them all.  Not a difficult job:)
Our youngest two are the farthest away.  S is in Argentina, still doing her field work and improving her Spanish daily I'm sure. J is in her last (please God) semester of law school in Cleveland.  We have already booked flights for graduation in May.  The joys of technology have even kept these two closer to home.  This was our first Christmas without the whole gang here in Merlin, yet with a laptop and good old Skype, it was like she was in the kitchen with us! Amazing.  I often marvel at the things they said we'd be able to do in this century and I never quite believed it.
As for me, I hurt my back a couple of weeks ago, but thankfully it was nothing that required a trip to the doctor (yet).  It's slowly getting better, but I have had to focus my attention on getting work done and the fun extracurriculars like music and knitting meetups have gone by the wayside for a couple of weeks. Boo. 
So, as I sit here, amid the boxes that remind me of those stern statues on Easter Island, I am listening to the washloads going downstairs, to keep it all moving along.  I don't want to look at a super mound on Monday:)! The Christmas Tree is still up and a number of Christmas decorations are waiting to be taken down.  Someday I will have an orderly house again (or maybe for the first time, LOL?)
Speaking of which, I have been reading a book by a Japanese author, Marie Kondo (the second "o" in her last name has a line over it, but this typing system doesn't allow that, my apologies!).  Its title: The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up:The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Maybe some of the things she writes about will sink in.  Ms. Kondo claims that once a person follows her methods of discarding and tidying, they won't regress.  Hmmm.  We shall see. I'll finish the book and give it a try for my own "stuff" and see if it makes a difference.  Will let you know how I do. In the meantime, I am attempting to fold my wash the way she suggests. I think there may even be a video or two on YouTube. Thanks to podcaster/designer Paula Emons-Fuessle of Knitting Pipeline (Prairie Piper on Ravelry) for her discussion of this book on her podcast - one of my favorites!
So what am I working on these days on the knitting front?  Currently, I have six projects at hand.  I actually have a total of 52 projects pending, and another similar number of projects in hibernation.  I think decluttering may need to start there.  The problem is, pretty much all of my pending projects make my heart sing, LOL:)

Remember this thing? I started it over seven years ago - the Nina Shawl from the first Mason-Dixon Knitting book.  I still want to finish it.  It is, I believe, the oldest of my UFOs (unfinished objects). I finished an older one this summer - a sweater I started for Madison back in 2003 that became a sweater for Ruby in 2014, LOL:)!

Thankfully, due my organizing of the stash this past September, I knew just where to find it. As I was documenting the outstanding projects on Ravelry, as much as I could, I would write down where the project had been stored. Some of that needs updating, but it worked for this one. When I want to continue knitting on something, I take it from the "stash room/guestroom" and bring it downstairs. Having it in my field of vision causes me to get going on it. I finally settled on organizing my projects by date added.  Ravelry starts with the most recent, so.. I named the projects in progress using a number first and then a name, starting with the oldest as #01 and going to the newest as #(gulp)52. Then I sort them by name.  The rule I am giving myself for 2015 is that the oldest project has to be included with any recent ones I am working on.  Otherwise, it gets frogged and the yarn used for something or someone else.

Newer projects on the needles:

Wendy D. Johnson's Nordic Cowl.  I am enjoying this knit. It's in the alpaca blends I purchased while at the Columbia Sip 'n Knit's Fall Retreat at the Clagett Center.  There was an alpaca farm a couple of miles down the road from us.  Initially, I thought I would use this yarn for the Kex Blanket pattern (see below) but had enough leftover yarn that I didn't need to use this.  It's a bit luxurious for just a cowl, but it's going to be a lot of fun.  I decided to do a white background with one side of the pattern in greyish olive green and the other in a medium blue. So far so good, but this is not a pattern to be knitting with a glass of wine at the ready.  Nope.  Gotta pay attention to this one, but it eventually starts to make sense. Just so's ya know, the little bit of bright green, is just waste yarn for a provisional cast-on.  This will be doubled over and kitchenered together at the end.

Kate Davies' A Hap for Harriet. This is one of those patterns I fell in love with just seeing it on her blog.  And the color of the original just had me hooked.  The yarn is true Shetland fingering weight, from Jamieson, distributed by Schoolhouse Press. It's not a terribly difficult pattern and sadly this picture doesn't do it justice. As it develops, I will show you more of it.

Burning Love Fingerless Mitts. As you can see from the picture, I am almost done.  It's a quick knit  - which it should be ferheavenssakes - Dutch Mama does a great job putting it together.  I had to adjust a wee bit for my tendency to knit loosely. The Cascade 220 heather yarn is a leftover ball and some from the recently completed Kendrick by Ann McCauley.  This is one of my favorite shades of blue and I just might be using these fairly regularly!

Sandycove.  Another of the prolific and colorful fellow Irishman Kieran Foley's masterpieces.  I could not resist using the Uluru yarn I had for this wrap.  I was worried the shifting colorway would obscure the beautiful lace patterning, but the simplicity of the pattern works very well with this pretty yarn. Cannot wait to see the finished result! I had become a fan of Mr. Foley at the beginning of his online presence, and was very glad to see that Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed appreciated his brilliance as much as I did.  I think Kieran's inclusion in the regular BT offerings has given him quite a boost - as he has for Brooklyn Tweed:)!
The two photos below are indeed of the same scarf! Thanks to the creativity and teaching prowess of Lily Chin, I have adapted a reversible cable pattern from her book Power Cables for my Aster Reversible Scarf/Cowl. Whether it ends up a scarf or a cowl, depends on how long the ball of yarn lasts:).  I am really enjoying knitting this and knowing I can do it again after learning the techniques for reversible cables brings a smile to my face. I highly recommend Lily's video by Interweave on the topic.

This last picture is no longer a UFO.  It is a small wrap/afghan/lapgan - Stephen West's Kex Blanket.  A ravelry friend, lavlaurie, had been knitting on a larger version of this thing at two of the Knitting Retreats I'd been on.  It is a lot of fairly mindless knitting, but never boring, so it's perfect for kniting with friends.  I loved her choice of colors so much, that I decided I wanted to do the same pattern (again, there I was, choosing knitting patterns based upon color rather than the pattern itself, isn't that strange?). I did the pattern as written and therefore it is not very large.  It really should be doubled to be a proper afghan, but it's fine for its purpose and I just love how it turned out:)  Thanks Laurie, for the inspiration!:)

Well, with any luck, the snow storm they are calling for on this part of the US Eastern Seaboard will not develop and I will have the opportunity to sing and play flute in the morning without causing too much ear pain:). The next challenge will be the lifting and bending involved in transporting my drums to practice for Mardi Gras:) Wish me luck!
Until next time, God be with you 'til we meet again+

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Despite the looks of this picture, after a day of "wintry mix" weather, today the sun is shining and it is a clear, cool and beautiful, if a bit muddy, day here in central Merlin, USA.  Today our country celebrates Thanksgiving - a time to reflect upon our many blessings. I was meant to sing in the choir in church this morning, but a turkey I thought was defrosted was not, resulting in an hour delay in getting the thing into the oven, ensuing apologies to Nancy, our intrepid Organist/Choirmaster, and indulging in more secular pursuits. 
The turkey is in the oven and will come out in time, barring any unforeseen emergencies, on time. The stuffings (yes, I meant to use the plural - we have two types, each from a different side of the family - we never managed to come to a compromise on that, LOL) are in their respective slow cookers. This is  because (1) I find that stuffing the bird creates more anxiety than I am willing to endure, and (2) we have enough vegetarians in the family who would not appreciate their stuffing being inundated with the blood of a dead bird, and (3) any turkey large enough to hold the amount of stuffing I make for my family would be big enough to wrestle the axe from the executioner;)! In another hour or so I will be peeling potatoes and heading for the home stretch of preparing our Thanksgiving meal.  We are sixteen for dinner this afternoon; Eleven adults and five children (the grand-angels). My ever-optimistic DH, John, believes we can fit the adults and maybe even a child or two at our dining table. Yikes. I am pushing for a "kid's table." We'll see. Thankfully (see, I am thankful!) John will take over the strategic arrangements  and table setting when he wakes up - yes he worked last nght, but he's off tonight.  It pays to have a hotelman in the family:)!
A LOT has happened since last I really wrote.  My birthday was lovely, as the pictures illustrated. I am still working, representing the best clients in the world - kids. The husband still works at the hotel after a long time of not feeling well last year into this.  There have been changes.  There has been a separation and probably a divorce among the gang.  Children are involved.  It is my fervent hope that the people involved will keep the welfare of their kids first.  I believe they will; they are both good people. Our oldest is close to finishing her degree and licensing and will hopefully begin her practice in the mental health profession.  Our second in line continues to work for the public as a 911 operator (forgive me, D, I don't know the official title - I know you do a lot more!), B and R celebrated their first anniversary this summer. R is in grad school for art in Philly while B continues to manage a Safeway store in Bawlmer, so we see them a lot between gigs.  Danny is still an actor and is now giving L.A. a shot, coming back to Merlin to work as a member of the Everyman Theatre's company. This holiday season, he plays in Ira Levin's Deathtrap  - I am looking forward to a trip to the theater:)! Our penultimate child, S, is in Argentina, doing the necessary fieldwork for her dissertation. We will be missing her during this year's holidays.  She likely won't be back in the country until next summer. Because Argentina is in the southern hemisphere, she has two summers this year. But Skype and Whatsapp to the rescue! It's like she's right here in the room with us! I never would have believed you if you'd told me when I was a kid that this would be possible.Our youngest, J, is finishing up her next to last semester of law school and will be spending her Thanksgiving this year with her girlfriend's family in Michigan. So four of the six progeny will be here. And, in the words of the immortal Stuart Smalley, that's Oh Kay....
Knitting has been happening and so has music. And some family milestones.
Some music highlights of the past 9 months:
The Ordination of Melinda Artman:)
Concert Artists of Baltimore, of which my good friend, Diane L. is a member (soprano) presented an outstanding concert upon the 125th anniversary of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore at the Cathedral downtown.

Oh, and a couple of Sundays ago, I had the distinct pleasure of playing triangle for Ron Mutchnik and Nancy as they played Vaughn Williams' The Lark Ascending - three "dings" and a lot of counting, LOL:) but what a thrill to be in the choir loft as they played!
Knitting highlights:

So, yeah, I've been knitting. Mostly for sanity:)

Our family has celebrated some milestones:
A wedding this summer - our nephew Sean and his wife Christine.

Betsy and Robyn's first anniversary

John's and my 38th anniversary as Patticakes turned 2:)

 And numerous side trips and travels together and alone while on the road for work.

 So for what am I thankful? For music, for the means of expressing my limited creative abilities through music and fiber crafts, for employment in a meaningful capacity, for good health, for a reasonably healthy mind:), for my children's health  - mental, physical and spiritual, for a roof over my head and food on the table. For the freedom of expression, of religion, of the press,  for the technology that saves lives and brings people together, for open discourse, for my colleagues, for my church community, for my dear dear friends, for my wonderful family, nuclear and extended, for friends who are like family, for being alive long enough to meet my grandchildren - or at least the first five of them:), for the good fortune of having been born to parents who were poor but hardworking and who saw the American dream come to life; for sun sparkling through colorful leaves in autumn, for new life in spring, for sunshine in summer and for Christmas in winter. Most of all, I am thankful for the love of God. (Ok you can stop gagging now, I'm done).

Happy Thanksgiving and God be with you 'til we meet again:)+