Thinking about knitting


cormo hat bIn one moment, I would like to knit with Clara Yarn Cormo 2.0 forever. In the next, I’m enthralled by a crisp woolen spun yarn and garter stitch. When I’m at work, the last thing I should be thinking about is the knitting that waits at home, or what I will do with the design that is forming in my head. And yet there I am.

So I ponder this: I don’t “score” yarn. When something rare and beautiful arrives on my doorstep, I’m delighted. When I spend hard-earned money on yarn, or tools or patterns, there is no “damage” done.

Knitting is such joyful, soulful work. There’s no room for much besides wonder and pleasure, even on the days when my hands ache, or I’ve had to unravel a whole day’s work, or on days when all I can do is think about what I wish I could be knitting.

Snowed in


Amaryllis 1I don’t need to share pictures of the snow, because I’m sure everyone has seen enough. I’ve enjoyed my two snow days, though. Even though they were also my scheduled days off, it was kind of nice to be forced to stay home!

And right next to the swirl of snow outside the window, my Apple Blossom Amaryllis decided that it was a good time to bloom, so I keep turning to it to see what’s new. Yesterday there was one bloom; today there are two. Tomorrow…? I love this color. It’s as if spring has sprung in the dark of the winter!Amaryllis 3

My knitter brain has been kind of distracted lately. I’m in one of those phases: Thinking about thinking about knitting. Rushing into work so I can jot down the thing I thought of on the drive there. Picturing this or that combination of stitches, yarn, color. I decided that the best thing to do would be to finish a few things and clear space in my brain for whatever is coming next — so I finished Troika last week and wore it the next day. It’s so unusual, and so comfortable. I’m happy that I decided to re-knit it, because now I have a piece that is just what it should be.

Troika 2After Troika, I went back to Bristol Ivy’s Lory Shawl—it’s all stockinette, with a welted row every once in a while, so it’s just knitting. Television knitting. I’ll finish it soon, when it will be more worthy of a picture. Right now it’s looking a little lumpy.

One of my days-off goals was to make it to the bottom of the laundry basket. I was making great progress, too, but this morning I passed a bag of yarn one too many times, and I paused over the Kauni just long enough to grab it and cast on. I’ve been telling myself that I’ll just knit until the color begins to change, or until the dryer buzzer goes off, but I know how that goes.Snow Day Kauni

I could blame Kendra for tempting me with this yarn in the Stash Lounge at last year’s Knitter’s Review Retreat, but really, I’m thankful. I’ve always wanted to try it! I’m making up a shawl as I go along, and the biggest problem so far is making myself get up and switch loads.

Tomorrow is a work day. I hope I can get there easily, and I hope that the ponies and horses and their caretakers made it through the storm safe and sound. I’m looking forward to my work week, but I expect that I’ll be thinking about that red Kauni shawl, and wondering what the border should look like.

Knowing how


Foxgloves 1.14.15I had plenty of other things to do on my days off, but I decided to solve a problem instead – cold hands need warm mitts. I had a skein of Elsa Cormo that Kris gave me, left over from a sweater. I had my favorite pattern, Foxgloves by Clara Parkes from Brave New Knits. I cast on yesterday, they’re drying now, and I hope I’ll be able to wear them tomorrow!

I knit them out of necessity, and yet there they are, a pair of lovelies. Whenever I wear them I’ll know that I made something really beautiful, really well. In a way they represent everything I love about knitting: the dreaming, the deciding, the knowing how, and the doing.

As Troika 1.14.15I hope will happen whenever I knit, I learned something. I don’t like it, but my hands are changing, and I’ve begun to knit more loosely. I used to be able to get gauge, almost all the time. When I cast on yesterday, the Foxglove cuff was huge. I’ve made the pattern several times, always without a fuss. I unearthed some smaller dpns and started over, and off I went.

But I began to think: no wonder my Troika cowl looked awful! I was almost to the buttonholes, and I just wasn’t happy, but I hadn’t figured it out. So when I bound off the last thumb on the mitts, I unraveled the cowl. It’s on smaller needles now, and the fabric looks like it should.

Here’s the thing: I know what I’m doing. I’m not winging it, I didn’t keep going and then end up with unwearable mitts or an ugly cowl. I know how to knit. I suspect that many of us knitters think we’re not that good at it, or that we’re just okay. But listen: when we make choices and decisions and do math and build thumb gussets that will fit, we are doing something pretty amazing, aren’t we?


Like Gretchen


short beach 1.8.15 bSometimes things happen to you and afterwards you’re left marveling at the serendipity of it all, or the meaning, or the lesson.

On New Year’s Eve I got a last-minute appointment to get a haircut. And because the next day would be a holiday, I happened to be there when one of my dearest bookstore customers came in – her appointment is usually on Thursday. Gretchen is one of the kindest women I’ve ever known; a true Southern woman, gracious and warm. When I was sick she comforted and mothered me, knowing that I wasn’t near my own mother, and that my mother was also ill. In the time I have known her she has lost a sister, her husband, and much of her eyesight, but she remains present and loving. Every time I get to see her now I am wrapped up again in her soft hug and sweet, loving attention. She’s one of my treasures.

That chance reunion made me think about my mother, and miss her. And later in the day, when Judy asked me to go with her to visit her mother, I held both Gig and Gretchen close. Judy’s mother, at the end of a life that lasted 100 years, was leaving the world, and we were there to be with her and to let her be.

How lucky I was to get an appointment that morning! How fortunate I am that Gretchen came through the door! How grateful I am that I was filled up with her light, and with sweet memories of my mom, to fortify me!

This is what I meant about my intention to pay attention – Gretchen did, and that five minutes with her gave me something I needed when Judy’s little mother Louise died the next evening. Judy and I sat by her bed, knowing that she was watching over her dear daughter, until it was time for us to go. We cried and laughed a little, and talked a little, and all through that last hour I felt surrounded by love. I want to be like Gretchen when I grow up.




It’s my usual plan on the first of January to knit something new. I like to begin the year with—well, something new. I cast on Troika last night, hoping to get a jump start on the thing, but after about 20 rows I realized that I wasn’t following the directions, and my cowl was already taking on an oddly-angled edge. Scrap that.

I began again this morning, this time with a real understanding of what Bristol Ivy had in mind for me. I’ve been knitting along all day, on and off, and enjoying this clever pattern. It’s a kit, but I noticed that the pattern is now available as a Ravelry download.

Rosemary appropriated it when the sunbeam arrived. I can’t blame her, since it wasn’t going to last long. She loves her green blanket thing, especially when it’s warmed by the sun or by my lap underneath it. At night, she likes to burrow under it and go to sleep. So what if Jane’s knitting was in her way?

Anyway, I’m knitting on my day off, like I’d planned. There’s laundry going, and black-eyed peas to warm later, and every once in a while I sigh and spend ten minutes “picking up,” which translates to “putting one thing away before wandering off.”

I don’t have huge intentions for this new year. I intend to pay closer attention: I hope to be the kind of person who knows when care and attention is needed and who then practices it. I intend to keep stretching my creating brain: I hope I will be able to knit more through the year. I intend to continue to grow in my job: I would like to keep seeing the smiles on the young riders’ faces as they arrive for their lessons each week, and as they discover that they’ll be riding their favorite pony that day.

I also hope to attain a goal: I would like to write a blog post for each of my soon-to-be 60 years. That’s just a few more than one a week, and I would like to look back at the end of the year and know that I accomplished that small thing. Do you think I can do it? We’ll see!

Happy, happy 2015 to you all! I hope it’s filled with loveliness and kindness and wonderful yarn, and smiles and sweet breezes and delicious spoonfuls of your favorite gelato.