Friday, December 31, 2010


We are in the kitchen putting together colossial shrimp/scallop casserole and arborio rice.  We have a gorgeous salad which features toasted walnuts and cranberries and three kinds of lettuce, etc.  We are taking this business over to mom to celebrate the new year.   Our hope, if I may be the spokesperson, is for peace and compassion in this new year.  For good health, happiness, abundance of laughter and many hours of time spent doing the things that bring joy with the people that we love and cherish.

It's a new year - a clean slate.  The possibilities are endless ...

Monday, December 27, 2010


...was the most exciting day of my entire life.  Thirty years ago today, at 2:45 in the afternoon, my first child was born.  If I close my eyes I can go there and relive the event, as if it were yesterday.  I think that this is a universally shared 'mother' thing.  Child birth = Fulfillment.
 December babies are challenging because they have to compete with the Christmas holiday.  Hilly, I hope that your 30th birthday brings you great joy.  And more, I hope that this next year is the best for you in all ways.  I am grateful that you are here, so close by, to be able to share in the large and small moments.  It's a gift and a blessing, just as YOU are.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  xoxox  (let me know how the gluten-free cake was!)

Does your post-holiday table resemble mine?
The hats kept calling to me - like sirens.  They effectively blotted out my good intention to make flannel baby layette items today!  The fact that we had a blizzard overnight really increased my Lazy Factor...when I rose to find more than a foot of snow, well, the pajamas just stayed on.  And I wasn't alone ...
Check out that sofa - it's been covered with blankets since its arrival.  Is there any other way to 'save' nice furniture from the dogs?  If you love and live with pets, you have to abandon your house pride.  Anyway.  Back to the hats -
Mission Falls 1824 OLD color way - wonderful sample knit.   The Cascade was also pulled into action.  I am trying to recreate the most wonderful hat.  I saw it in the movie, 'Home For the Holidays' and it was sitting on Holly Hunter's head as she travelled home for Christmas.  Does anyone else remember this beauty?  It was predominantly red in color and just too great for words.  I won't rest until I knit one for myself.  Any and ALL suggestions around patterns and fibers will be gratefully accepted.
I don't know if this photo is clear enough, but the snow is piled up behind this window in huge fluffy drifts.  And it's colder than I can remember in a long time.  We are really hunkered down - it's too cold and blustery to do anything else.  I'm making pea soup AND New England clam chowder -
And I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to Christmas yet.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Christmas 2010 is behind us.  There were plans to drive to Connecticut this morning to connect with the rest of my small family, but we have threatening skies and a disturbing weather prediction.  SNOW.  Tons of the white stuff is predicted - and one ever wants to be caught on the Taconic in a storm. 

 I'm in my PJ's, drinking coffee, doing laundry, thinking about my next fiber projects.  HATS.
Hilary's zebra hat was a BIG hit - she never took it off all evening.  No, I did not make it!  And mom loved her felted cloche.  Andrew also had a hat on, but he'd just come off a 24 hr shift, so I suspect some serious hat head issues going on in that corner!
In fact, the only person who went hatless this holiday was me!  So I have to rectify this situation, and quickly!  

The agenda today is to kick back, maybe make some pea soup from the remaining ham bone, start a hat, go out to the barn to see what Scott is working on, start a hat, get busy on the baby shower gifts, clean up the house, fill the bird feeders again, etc.  I like this -
I think that a half dozen of these with coordinating blankets would be a welcomed shower gift.  

Friday, December 24, 2010


For the last few weeks we have been observing the most unusual phenomenon.  It is heard before seen - the great whirring of thousands of wings in concert, rising, dipping, creating a dark wave in the sky.  When the wave shifts, dives and finds ground, every bit of earth in the orchards between the trees is blackened.  And then the chanting begins - a sound so vast that I'm convinced neighbors can hear it all the way down the river to Nyack! I have searched through my National Audubon Pocket Guide trying to identify the species, with no luck.  The only bird that remotely resembles the gathering throng is the European Starling.  Hmmmmm.  I don't think that I could ever grow tired of the majesty of these birds when they suddenly, as if on cue, rise into the sky.
I have birds all around me.  This origami swan keeps good company while I sit at my computer.
Over the weekend I started a project that didn't go as well as anticipated.  It's going to be one of those UFO's that haunts me until I complete it.
I had a vision of a Christmas tree skirt unlike any other -
While the background fabrics will be the traditional greens and reds of Christmas, the motif will be decidedly non-traditional!!  No Santas or reindeer or snowmen on this piece.  
Of course I am making this for Hilary, who longs for her Florida sunshine.  There will be palm trees and bikinis and flip-flops.  I have grandiose ideas for this one!
I wish you all a blessed Christmas.  

Saturday, December 18, 2010


 A coworker asks me - "Why do you do it?  Each year you drive yourself half mad trying to complete so many knitted gifts!"  I did think about that question for one brief moment.  The answer was already formed and relaxing inside of my head, awaiting its debut.  I. LOVE. IT.  More than any other activity, it brings the spirit of the holiday closer to my heart.  Can you think of anything more satisfying than finishing and presenting a handmade-with-love gift?  Yeah, ok.  Cheese fondue.  Food on a stick, dipped into warm cheese is pretty sensational.  But apart from that ....
How about some yarny sushi?  A Morehouse original pattern - The Sushi Scarf ... mmmm.  This is about 60% complete and absolutely fun to knit.  It could change your mind about purchasing kits.
The original Morehouse farm is located a few miles east of the Rhinebeck fairgrounds where the infamous Sheep & Wool Festival occurs each October.  At one time the Morehouses ran a yarn shop that was really something special.  One can still purchase Morehouse fiber through the website.  
One finished Fetching in my go-to Mission Falls 1824 wool.  Must. Finish. Second. Mitt! 
The impetus for completion ... a treat for myself.  I am not allowed to touch this project until all gifts are washed, blocked and wrapped.  Discipline is hard. 
A neckwarmer to accompany the Fetching mitts.  Needs buttons.
A Keyhole scarf that was frogged ... too pastel even for the over 70 set!  I'll try this pattern again in a nice variegated fiber.  It's a furiously fun FAST knit!  You have time to make a dozen of them!  

One of my daughter's dearest friends is having her first child in February.  Her nursery theme is of a nautical nature,which might be challenging.  I've been instructed to avoid bright colors.  Limitations - how I struggle with them!  I have some ancient Lang superwash merino in a (clears throat) modestly subdued shade -
There will be bibs and blankets and a quilt to accompany this gift.  This might be the year that I try my hand at booties!  The holiday brings with it a few days off from work and my Bernina and I have a date.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

 Whose Woods Are These by quilter Jane Kennedy.  This piece epitomizes all that I wish for Christmas, for all of us.  Peace, serenity, solace from fear and poverty, disease and ignorance.  The solemn stillness of the winter landscape transports me.  When my mind is this quiet, hope tiptoes in, and remains.  Perhaps this will be the year.  Perhaps we will, as one nation, live in peace.

This quilt is very important to me and I keep a copy of it on my bulletin board at work.  It always brings to mind Robert Frost's poem - did you also memorize it when you were a child?

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


It was hard to say goodbye to the autumn.  But the frost is on the pumpkins and it's time to hang the holly.  These lovelies went off to the burn pile where they await the next big bonfire.  Hopefully, the local critters will sneak in and have their fill of seeds before this occurs.

The weekend wanted some holiday decorations.  The dogs were mightily interested in the comings and goings and hanging of the lights.  They sat in the doorway for hours, just observing ...
A frazer fir - such a lovely tree.  It will come indoors in a night or two when its boughs have dropped.  We paid $68 for this tree.  It seems excessive.  But we had an outing with Hilary and Carson - driving all over the county searching for perfect trees - and THIS was worth every penny!  Last year my daughter was in Florida.  I missed all of the laughter and the comfort of her precious self.  I am blessed and I know it.  Having one's child so close is a miracle and a gift in this day and age.  I always give thanks.
My potting shed is dressed for the holiday.  We are missing one essential element - SNOW!  I spent some time in the sewing room today -
I have missed my hand quilted projects!  My fingers are tender and without the quilting callouses! Time to strap on a thimble and get busy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Is this precious?  Or what?  How we love our beasts.  I keep begging Hilary to produce a Bubbha calendar - 12 months of the beautious boy.  He is such a dear heart.  He spreads his good will over us with no exceptions.  Unconditional Love.
He likes to hold paws/hands.
We have Christmas babies to knit for.
And its really time to shuffle back upstairs to the sewing room!  This well-loved pin cushion was made by my friend Pauline, from vintage kimono silks.  I have always treasured this gift and keep it nearby and at the ready.

If this post seems random, it is.  Hilary borrowed my camera and hasn't returned it yet (can you hear me, Hil?) If she doesn't show up with it soon I'm going to start dragging out her baby pictures and posting them!

Friday, December 3, 2010


Sometimes the sky is too dark at 6:30am to walk the dog and so I sit quietly and knit for those few stolen moments.  It surprises me to realize something that I never would have guessed -I have become a morning person/knitter.  It was gradual - not unlike the appearance of crow's feet.  One day the bloom of youth - the next, a sullen old harpy!  (One who likes to rise with the birds and knit before dawn).
The Shelter mitts grew so much during the night - are there knitting pixies hiding in the corners?  I love this yarn - it has an airiness about it that is so surprising.  
It feels like a wee bird in the hand!  I'm told that it blooms when washed - can hardly wait.  I took it to work with me and it miraculously continued to grow!  (we had a slow day!)
When I went into the mail room I found the lovely Shanna wearing this gorgeous scarf - she epitomizes what the well-dressed Vassar student is sporting this season!  I think that I should grab my camera and take a walk about campus to photograph the amazing variety of scarves that are showing up ... maybe next week!
The following is a poster that some clever middle management person decided to post in the office.  I am getting dangerously close to ripping it down.  It hurts me to look at it and it lost its meaning about 10 seconds after it appeared!!!  Although I was assured that the Rottie was sedated for quill removal and suffered no long reaching effects, the visual makes me want to chew my nails off.  (or maybe the nails of the person who hung it in the office!)
We could discuss this for a long time, yes?  I mean, is it even POSSIBLE for seven women to work together in a cramped basement with partitioned work areas w/o getting into each other's biz-ness?  I don't think so.  A visual - scenes from the movie 'Jumping Jack Flash' - ones that depict the office 'pool'.  Scale it down, remove any and all windows, install putrid-colored dividers, take away the flamboyant characters and you have my office!!!!  TGIF.  
Another mitt has been brewing -
This is the Susies Reading Mitts pattern from the Dancing Ewe Yarns site.  I am knitting it in an old favorite, Mission Falls 1824 wool.  Good stuff.  I'm still wearing a pair that I made for my dad before he went into the nursing facility.  I pull them out on these cold mornings and wonder what I ever did before I (a) learned to knit and (b) loved my knitting enough to wear it!  
When I got home tonight there were two packages waiting for me - one from Morehouse Merino and one from Sunday Knits.  All hushy-hushy stuff.  Worth the wait, I think.  You may have guessed that I have slipped into production mode.  

Last Christmas I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to kill the pain that the 'silly season' produced within me.  In retrospect, I know those efforts to have been a massive waste of time.  I'd like to take a different path this year - a new approach, a gentler and more patient view of what was once a joyous time.  I heard from the beautiful and wise Nicole - she and I attended the same college many years ago and today she lives in Sweden. (we found each other again through the miracle of Ravelry! Yay!)  She reminded me of how difficult it is in this country, in this culture, NOT to fall prey to the consumer glut at every corner, and it's true.  
Think of it.  If you don't find a Lexus in the driveway, what's the point?  How can you even consider NOT covering her in diamonds?  And isn't every child entitled to electronics to break the bank? 

 I want to spend the month of December in Sweden, sharing laughter and cafe au lait and knitting with Nicole.  THAT'S what I want for Christmas, Santa.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I have been late to a lot of parties, but this is one that I've discovered in a timely fashion!
My apologies for the dark image - it couldn't be helped.  Shelter arrived today - it's very nice.  As with any new relationship, 'alone' time is necessary!  I will say that Jared's staff are excellent -both helpful and speedy!  I am thinking that this could be one of those keeper relationships ... a new go-to yarn.  I love that it is grown in the western part of this country and milled in New England.  A true American!
In honor of December 1st, I brought the first piece of a Christmas tradition downstairs and set it up.
One year Scott brought home dozens of pieces of this little ceramic village.  Charming, I thought to myself, just what we need, more dust catchers!  Cynical?  Yes.  I have a bit of the Ebenezer Scrooge to my personality.  It wasn't always this way - there was a time when I held the magic of Christmas in my heart and mind throughout December and into the new year.  God's love was big and comfortable and far reaching - spreading itself like a balm over my family, my community.  
These days I feel separated, isolated.  It's my own fault, of course.  I no longer 'belong' to a church nor do I hop on the train to go into the city.  I don't immerse myself in local events and I spend much too much time being afraid, or appalled, or both, at what I read in the paper and hear on the evening news.  Public gatherings make me nervous.  Road rage gives me hives.  It's getting harder to practice those 'random acts of kindness', isn't it?  I worry about what is happening with medicare and social security.  People are hungry and out of work.  And Mr. Obama - I'm a little bit mad at you, too.  It's going to take something extra special to get into the holiday spirit this year.  I'm not sure what that might be.
Maybe I should start with the things that I love.  (He who guards my shoes!) And a look in the mirror could help - usually one can recognize their problem when it is staring them in the face.  
My daughter told me this evening that her childhood friend is expecting her first child.  Now THERE is a reason to be joyful and grateful.  I need to knit!  Grace abounds.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Working full time creates a stinginess in me - a hoarding of sorts, for my weekend time.  The long Thanksgiving weekend is always excitedly anticipated.  Planning begins weeks in advance - the sewing room is cleaned, projects are lined up in order of importance, small busy work is tackled and forgotten, food is prepared and stored.  FOUR days.   
This year I was cheated out of my holiday.  It started on Thanksgiving afternoon, shortly after the dishes were cleared and put away.  The sore throat.  The heaviness in my head.  I took to the couch with a myriad of knitting.  I fell asleep with the needles in my hand - the yarn strewn across my chest.  The following three days passed by like a bad dream - a coughing, sleeping, snotting, drifting testimony to the Headcold Gods.  
I was able to make a tiny bit of progress yesterday on some mittens that I'd started for Hilary last season.   I also cast on for a matching slouchy hat. 
I've frogged the hat at least three times since this image was taken.  Swatching is hateful when healthy, despicable when ill!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Does your family boast an incredibly tacky 50's kind of platter?  The one that makes its debut but once a year?  Ours does, and it was handed down to me.  Woo-hoo.  Notice the crack in the upper left corner?  You can't destroy these things!
I hope that you all had a wonderful and memorable Thanksgiving day.  This guy became a "lap dog" when the turkey aroma finally transformed his good manners -
It's to his credit that he rarely begs.  In his defense, there were some substantial items being passed around that were worth begging for!  We had a beautiful meal and a quiet afternoon.  Sometime during the night I was nailed by the latest viral something - translating into a horrific head cold.  Snot City.  Sorry.

But the good news is that the Briar Rose fiber came - the skein that Chris dyed for me so that I could finish my Hilflowers shawl.  Chris is a magician - there is no way to separate the new from the old fiber.  How does she do that?
The shawl is calling to me from the couch.  Turner Classics, here I come.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


There was a lot happening around here on Sunday.  The ironing of the napkins was abandoned, as
a project that I have been clamoring begging for began to take shape;
The Long Awaited Pen.  The temporary place where Harley will be able to exercise (supervised) when the snow and ice claim the roads that we walk each day.  We do a fast gaited 2.5 miles each morning, much of it up hill, and the pavement can get really perilous - not to mention the drivers.  I could spend a lot of time discussing the people who drive up and down our road.  There is a day care center about one mile from here on our route, and I have witnessed driving that should create legislation, truly.  It is horrifying to see how recklessly parents drive with young children in the car.  Anyway.  The pen will be wonderful.
Harley and I will be safe on inclement days and the expletive name calling and finger waving sign language will cease!  I want you to know that I've spoken to the local police about this matter.  They blew me off with their claim that I walk during the time that they change shifts, so they are unable to position a radar trap.  Nice.
Sunday was the perfect sort of day for pen-building.  It was also good for lace-drying -
This is the Lovely Leaf Lace Scarf from The Purl Bee lounging in the November sunshine.  This merino/silk combo is so gorgeous and dense that it only partly dried after many hours.  Must. Have. More.

We talk about our never-ending parade of UFO's and occasionally post one or two so as to accelerate the finishing process.  This doesn't always work out so well for me, but I like to think that journaling my projects will, in the end, help me to at least CONSIDER finishing them!  Someone is desperate for a holiday outfit-

One of my cousin Lori's creations - an Elf doll, badly in need of a wardrobe!  She has been sitting around for a few years in her perfectly muslin nakedness, and I have vowed to clothe her this season.

Everyone looks better in lace.  About 20 minutes after this image was taken, my stomach started to do a spiraling watutsi dance.  Which lasted for the better part of two days.  Brutal, I tell you.