Well, Hello There!… again…

It’s been a long time coming, this post. I’ve been distracted by a number of things, most especially the need to address a health crisis of my mom’s – she is 88, and we’ve come to a point where she just can’t live all alone in the home she loves, but where none of her kids are nearby.

Yeah, I suppose it could be argued that it’s partly our fault – we followed our lives to places hundreds, even thousands of miles away, but they are our lives, and that’s where they are. We’ve been suggesting strongly for several years that it would be great for Mom to live nearer to one of us, but y’know, ya can’t tell ’em anything. Wanted to have her close by before it became impossible for her to live alone…

Well, it came to that point at the end of October, and it took till just before Christmas to find her a place near me that would take her kitty, too. This group-home, residential-care-world is a whole new thing to me; amazing how many there are, amazing how regulated and yet still so different, amazing the range of abilities/disabilities/attitudes of the residents… I know for certain that I could never, ever run one, but I do have some opinions about the ones I’ve seen so far, which I’ll save for another day. Along with the story of transporting a 14-pound cat in an airline-approved carrier far better suited to a gerbil-sized pet. (He appears to have forgiven me.)

So Mom is here now, about 7 miles away instead of 800. There are definite advantages in this, but there are also some extra constraints on my ability to blog, to knit, to just contemplate projects, or my navel, or whatever… I wake up in the middle of the night and fret about things like when is the new supplemental medical insurance going to kick in, have we done the right thing, what if, how come… And still, it’s great to know that I’m going to take her to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit tomorrow – I’m going to find her a place to get a pedicure and take her there soon – we can take her out to dinner once a week – I can go with her to her medical appointments and be her advocate – there are things we can do now that she’s so close that we just can’t do when it means a 12-hour drive or getting on an airplane.

I just wish she’d stop saying she’s going home next month. But she’s determined… And ya can’t tell ’em anything.

On the knitting front, Christmas has come and gone. Photos of the things I made for Christmas:

A manly pose for some manly mitts...

A manly pose for some manly mitts for my nephew… (“Hulk LIKE puny human’s baby alpaca Aire mitts! SOFT!”) (I think Devyn is a natural hand model, don’t you?)

And the lovely feminine mitts for his lovely lady...

And the lovely mitts for my nephew’s lovely lady… And yes, the single stripe was intentional. Mostly.

Love this infinity scarf, and the niece who received it. Here modeled by my darling daughter.

Love this infinity scarf, and the niece who received it. Here modeled by my darling daughter.

Lovely blend of silk, merino, and cotton - fiddly to work with, but great drape. And it's very long for my lovely tall great-niece!

Lovely blend of silk, merino, and cotton – fiddly to work with, but great drape. And the scarf is very long for my lovely tall great-niece!

It's subtle - do you see it?

It’s kinda subtle – do you see it? There’s one on each end of the scarf. Grafting. Ick.

I do love knitting things for other people. I love the whole process of deciding what they might like, of making something especially for a certain person based on something about them. I love the feeling of thinking about them, of wishing happiness for them (maybe it’s even like a prayer) with every stitch. Especially for those who may have been having a rough time, I hope they somehow feel all the love that is knitted into their scarves, mitts, hats, etc. It’s my way of sending a hug, a pat on the back, an encouraging smile. I hope they “get it.”

The blue scarf’s subtle pattern is adapted from Knitty for Dr. Who’s dishcloth pattern. The other two scarves were my own creations – the infinity scarf did seem to take infinity to complete, but almost every knitting project has those moments – the mitts I love because hey, NO THUMBS! I also did some mittens for my mom in the baby alpaca Aire – so soft, so warm! But I forgot to take a photo… And I whipped out four pairs of (thumbed) mitts for my niece, her husband, son, and sister-in-law – also forgot to take photos, but they were remarkable mostly because they didn’t get them till January 21. For my great-niece, I made a slightly different pair, based on a character she uses in her animation:

Harley's giraffe mitts!

Harley’s giraffe mitts!

And for my cousin Karen, who has gone so far above and beyond for me and my mom and the rest of the family, I made a Hitchhiker that I hope perfectly matches her coloring and her suede jacket… Each stitch of this beauty (I’m pretty proud of this scarf, actually) represents a thank you and a blessing. And I’m not one to throw blessings around willy-nilly.

Sadly, there's no way to crop out my baby-blue camo pj's and still see the lovely 42 teeth...

Sadly, there’s no way to crop out my baby-blue camo pj’s and still see the lovely 42 teeth…

Finally, my niece who is an actor was in “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” at Madison Square Garden this Christmas season (cool!!!). While I was doing mitts, I was inspired by her costume and made her these:

Mitts a la Trixie..

Mitts a la Trixie Who…

Currently, I’m working on my first pair of toe-up, two-at-a-time socks. Got them about halfway done and realized they were gonna be way too big for a human, and I also probably wouldn’t have enough yarn to get past turning the heel… Pulled them out and started over. Upside of that is that I think I really know the Judy Becker magic cast on now. Brilliant! Love the yarn, it’s the stuff I bought from Fishknits back at Lambtown (seems so long ago!) – the color is Forest Creek, Strong Heart 2-ply fingering weight.

Love self-striping yarn!

Love self-striping yarn! Love the YO-K2TOG little holes, too!

My daughter is coveting them, which makes me happy… and will probably eventually make her happy, too, when I give them to her. Because that’s what moms do.

The problem with blogging while knitting for Christmas…

So I’m pretty sure that the people I might be knitting gifts for don’t actually read my blog, but one can’t be too careful. So that means that I can’t discuss what’s occupying my mind.

I decided at the outset to avoid politics, so that part of my brain consumed by the election will not appear here. That leaves family stuff, which for the most part is private (though I’ll never miss an opportunity to link to my daughter’s blog, Good Day Howard), and (mostly) what I’m knitting, or planning to knit, or worrying about knitting… And since from now to Christmas I probably won’t knit anything for myself (poor Kate!), that means I have, basically, nothing to talk about.

Unless I do this:

I’ve actually finished _______’s _______, except for weaving in the ends. I hate weaving in ends, but there are only ____, so I guess I’ll do that in the next couple of days.

Started ________’s _______, had some design issues and now need twice the amount of yarn that I bought and also, coincidentally, that is available on the face of the earth. Checked Ravelry to see if anyone has some in their stash that they want to trade or sell. Guess what? LOTS of people have it in their stash, and not ONE. SINGLE. ONE. wants to get rid of it. This yarn is SO pretty, people buy it just to keep it around and pet it. So yeah, I picked a great yarn. Go, ME!

________, somehow sensing that I’ve already purchased yarn for the _________, has suddenly completely changed ___ hair color. Not a little. A LOT. I’ve decided it’s going to be okay.

That’s about as specific as I can get.

In other news, that isn’t all that new, because it was a month ago, I got to take a day off from the Cafe and go to Lambtown! This fiber fair takes place in Dixon, CA, this time each year. Last year I only got to be there for under 2 hours, at the end of the day. Not much fun. This year, I was there from 10 a.m. to almost 3 p.m. – got to circle the main exhibit hall three times, and saw different things each time!

Got to see the “Sheep to Shawl” competition outside pretty much from beginning to end, though I don’t know which group “won” – seems to me getting to participate in such a great group effort would be enough of a win. Three teams, each consisting of one carder, 4 spinners, one plyer, one weaver = Three Beautiful Shawls. Love the name of one of the groups – “Weft to Our Own Devices” – Hahahaha!

“Weft to Our Own Devices” – hahahaha! They do beautiful work!

Bought one little new toy – a punch needle. Kind of a miniature rug needle, or giant Russian embroidery (igolochkoy) needle – great for stash-busting, using ends of skeins, and making a beautiful, strong fabric suitable for purses, seat cushions, coasters, and a really stunning, unique vest. Una Walker, of WoolyWalkers, was very helpful!

Punch Needle – I have yet to try mine, but this nice lady sat down and gave it a whirl. This is the back of the work.

The red vest is AMAZING – and all the rest of the stuff is pretty fantastic, too!

Got to play with a loom for a little while. I actually hope I’ve staved off my yearning for a loom for just a little while longer – really want to get to at least “proficient beginner” on my spinning wheel before I take on anything else (except aforementioned punch needle). Here’s a picture of the nice lady (Robyn) who let me weave a while on the loom in the photo. She’s from Meridian Jacobs, who apparently do, well, everything.

Fighting the urge to get a loom – not sure how much longer I can hold it off…! This is Robin from Meridian Jacobs.

Spoke to some spinners, but not in any detail. They always look so peaceful, I hate to interrupt their reverie. Plus, I feel guilty about that baby alpaca that’s been languishing on my wheel for so long. If you’re learning to spin, don’t start with baby alpaca fleece.

Ran into several fiber friends, including one of my idols, Joan McGowan-Michael, of White Lies Designs, in her booth. We hatched a plot for a knitting group, which I need to follow up on. Upon which I need to follow. Follow up upon which I need to… !!!!!   I gotta do something about it.

Knitting idol Joan McGowan-Michael and dear friends Leigh and Cecile. Knitting makes people happy!

Towards the end of the day, I finally stopped at the booth with the REALLY bright yarn – it actually took my friend Leigh to make me look and see how really great the Fishknits colors were. And the young man in the booth was a great salesman, standing there knitting the best pair of toe-up two-at-a-time self-striping socks and telling us about the yarns and some of their names. My favorite was the sock yarn in shades of pink, grey and black – “Baby’s Got a Dark Side.” They have an Etsy shop, be sure to check it out!

Leigh and the wonderful Billy from Fishknits! LOOK AT THOSE SOCKS!!!

Bought some of that yarn, and some other yarn,…

Shaggy Bear Farms, in Scio, OR – more stock on the farm than people in the town. Sounds like my kind of place…

and a beautiful pattern (Little Sparrow Shawl, from Kira K Designs) for which I will now need to buy more yarn, and then there was some more yarn… Oh, and I got some yarn. You know, each skein doesn’t really weigh very much, but by the end of the day, my big ol’ knitting bag with the incendiary political statement on it was REALLY HEAVY. I really need to learn how to tell myself “No.” Someday.

Lambtown celebrates everything about sheep – sadly, this includes how darn tasty they can be. I kinda hate to admit it, but I LOVE to eat lamb. Vegans, close your eyes. Herewith, a photo of a pretty tasty lamb kabob. Poor little lamb… yum.

So yummy…