Knitting keeps us going. And in the face of this year of things taken away, I've been knitting. My newest Finished Object is Shalom. This Shalom is not for me, though I have plans for at least one Shalom for me. This one is to celebrate the best news this year brings. My daughter is pregnant. She and my son-in-law have worked a long time to put their lives in the order they want to bring a baby into the world, and they are just so in love with this little bitty being to be. The baby is due in February. Shalom works so nicely for pregnancy, don'tcha think? Also good for nursing.
I started Shalom a couple times, and ripped back the yoke a couple times more. Pattern specifies bulky yarn and I'm using worsted. Brooks Farm Yarn Four Play worsted, a lovely merino silk blend with a luxurious soft and silky feel that makes me grin all over. Deliciously warm, too. This sweater is a birthday present to my daughter so I started it in secret, without having seen her in a while so I misjudged the size I needed to make. Same for the yoke adjustments. Even now, I'm not sure my calculations and the yarn agree on appropriate size, but the sweater just had a bath and is now pinned to block and dry. Fingers crossed it fits, at least well enough. If not, I have another yarn picked out to make another one for her.
A baker I met several years ago in my head surfaced in my basement as I sorted through treasures and detritous, tossing the latter and savoring the former. I made his acquaintance in a college class, advanced fiction writing, I took as my life tumbled and I went back to my first big love, fiction writing. I don't know where this baker came from, don't know his story, don't even remember the assignment that brought him to limited life. I think it was a character sketch, an assignment not intended to be complete, just an exercise to poke the muse. There are only two pages to him and I found page 2 first. It's the page with professor's comments but dampness smeared most of her comments. I only vaguely remember working this sketch with no intent in mind. Sort of like swatching a yarn on several needle sizes just to see how it looks, no project at hand. He didn't much catch my attention back then. But meeting up with him again put him in a better light. I like him. And I want to dance with him. My notebook from that class also turned up among the treasures and I may find notes to give me some clues.
I'm not sure I want clues. His time clearly was not then, a few years ago. I don't know if now is his time or not. But I am intriqued. And that is a good thing.
And this character is just for those of you who visit for the bunny photos. Buckwheat, a lilac crossbred angora, was soaking up the sun on the deck. Once the photos were on my computer screen, I discovered this one full of expression. That's one of the fun things about photographing the bunnies. Every so often, I unknowingly catch something funny. I don't know it until I review the photos on the computer.
These are now in the hands of the intended recipient, so now I can share them here. Newborn size booties, pattern is Hodge, a free Ravelry download, described as "stay on" booties. Under the visible stockinette cuff is a rib section for good fit. And the sides have alternating sections of garter and stockinette that are also supposed to help with keeping them on cute little bitty kickers. The yarn is my own handspun, more of a worsted weight than the fingering called for in the pattern, so yes, math and measuring was involved. The fiber for the yarn is also my own creation, a blend of angora from my own bunnies (of course), cormo and alpaca I dyed in pastel shades of purple, pink, and blue. Purple predominates, but depending on the clothing paired with the booties, the other colors will show up. New mom-to-be and I will be picking out a pattern so I can make a hat to go with these booties.
I love this pattern!! Construction of instep and sole is different from other booties I've made and it is fun. I think I may tackle the math to make a pair for me, too. :)
Wanna make some Ooo La La soft somethings for you or a loved one? I can make some fiber or yarn for you, too. Or booties (though I do respect pattern copyright and this pattern does not grant commercial use rights so I cannot knit these for sale).
Dexter came to visit today. He is a rescue bunny, appears to be an English angora, smaller than my foofballs. He arrived at his new home a few months ago badly matted. His new mom did a great job cleaning him up, except Dexter said uh uh no way NOPE to his face being sheared. His new mom is used to other animals but Dexter is her first angora and the bunny knows how to exploit that. He is otherwise quite a little charmer. His new mom stumbled on a connection to me, asked for advice, and I invited her to bring him over. Much easier to show her how to handle him and his dirty matted face. He now looks quite silly, almost like a cross between a rabbit and a lion, don'tcha think? But with all that dirty matted foof off his face, his mom can now give his eyes a gentle cleansing a couple times a day and hopefully heal his eyes. And keep him matt free. I have complete confidence in her ability to meet this challenge. Dexter has a great new life ahead, and I am privileged to have helped a little.
Itty bitty FO (finished object for you non-knitting muggles) because the pattern is cute and I wanted to learn the construction. The pattern is free on Ravelry. But be kind - free pattern, unless otherwise specified, means for your own personal use, not to sell. I plan to donate these... somewhere. Perhaps a women's shelter. Which means I will likely make more to donate. They take very little yarn. I'm hoping left over yarn from my own socks will be enough to make a pair.
Tomatoes continuing to grow and ripen. Brandywine has been a thin harvest but the grape tomatoes are much more enthusiastic. Some of these will be in my salad soon, others will perk up scrambled eggs for supper.
What little thing makes you smile?
We pulled into a farm shop in rural Maine to this. Such a sweet Warm Fuzzy with a view. He is half Old English Sheepdog and half Traveling Salesman, and all love. Me Mum chose to stay in the car, so this sweet guy happily came over to snuggle her where she sat. The store itself was equally full of goodies to stoke nostalgia and encourage happy healthy eating.
We waited for my sister's car in the shop at nearby bodies of water. Such peaceful scenes. Day one at Biscay Pond, mid-coast Maine, with a rock and wooded shore, just a hint of beach for boat access, it's pristine and clean waters lovely to look at, and for my sister, perfect for strolling, bare toes hugging submerged sand while the cool clear waters bathed her feet in natural goodness. I stayed on shore with my camera, joined by this little bit o'bug who hung out with me for a good while, first on my hand, then ... well, must be a boy, my sister said. Here at home, I see dragon and damsel flies a plenty, but of the blue and green varieties. This one is the first red I've seen outside of photos, and it seemed nature chose to color coordinate wonders for me that day.
The view from the base of this tree also called to me. "Look up, find bright sky somewhere up there."
The car was not ready at the end of the day, a bit of a bother since the repair shop is about an hour from Mum's. But that did mean another visit to the picturesque little village
of Damariscotta, a charming little spot I've visited pretty much every one of the last 31 or so years.
This time, I lingered with my camera at the river. On one side of the bridge, it is like a bay on the ocean, dotted with fishing and tourist boats, wharf dining, and pricey hotels and housing with a view.
Then there is the other side of the bridge, quite dramatic when the tide is moving. Tide was low for this visit, just barely coming to life as time dictated we move on. But I liked it's serenity on that other side of the bridge, gentle ripples of nature meandering off to the distant lake, instead of immediately to my right the bustle of tourism and the hustle of a village overloaded with end of season money spenders. Many a time I've been among the money spenders, particularly enjoying dinner at Salt Bay Cafe a short walk from the bridge. Further down is my big favorite, Main Street Cafe and Book Store.
Those places will be memories for me now, not likely destinations anymore. Much is changing in life, as life is wont to do. Many of the wooded acres surrounding the scenic drive where me Mum lived near Damarascottia are now up for sale, and houses are likely to spring up. When I visit Mum in her retirement community, and want to wander, I will seek out new to me lakes and ponds and villages. I want to leave my memories as they are.
Yesterday I made jam. First time for me. Raspberry peach jam. It's a refrigerator jam. I do not have the equipment nor desire for water bath processing to keep my jam safe on the shelf. And refrigerator jam, like microwave fudge, jells nicely with my desire for instant gratification at times.
Ooo, microwave fudge, raspberry jam in the same sentence - there is a taste treat to figure out in there somewhere.
After that batch of jam went into it's jar, I cut up more peaches in preparation for another batch of jam this morning. Mind you, I should have been packing and preparing for another trip to Maine today. But when the days tend to start with "Did Mum wake up today?" what should be done isn't necessarily what gets done.
I've spent a lot of this past week taking care of shoulds. One big should is new roofs on rabbit hutches. Several of those hutch roofs will not last the winter. Power tools intimidate me. I grew up unschooled in power tools. Public education decreed I would learn to sew and cook, but no tooling around for girls. The men in my life ... well, that suited them just fine. So I never had to learn to use a drill. Oh, heck, even my hammering is a bit less than elegant. And my daughter will warn you: do not trust me with a tape measure.
You do know why women can't judge distances, right? Because men keep telling us this
| | is 6 inches.
But I have these bunnies and it is up to me to properly house them. Look at that face. Scowling power tools with dials and numbers and lost instructions are no match for the force of that amount of cute.
Besides, there is youtube. And now, while I am clearly still in need of much practice with my drill, I am no longer intimidated by it. That is a very good feeling.
Making jam is a treat for me. Not just the tastebud kind of treat, although this batch of cinnamon peach jam is chock full of Yum. Getting excited about making jam tells me I am processing those things which life foistered on me no matter how much I said NOOOOOO! They still hurt. I'm still grieving. But for the first time in months, I'm looking forward with a bit of a smile. And that's just jammin'.
Quiet early morning under a clearing sky. A peaceful time, lovely to relax on the deck, sip Earl Grey in the company of a curious doe, and enjoy the gentle nod of dahlias as a squirrel tiptoes quietly behind them so I won't notice.
September morn, it stays for just a little while, bows too soon before afternoon sun. September morn, that glorious crisp hint of chill on rising that makes a morning cuppa tea so welcome in the hands. September morn, its crisp that seems to clean the air and you just wanna throw your arms wide, turn up your face to the sky, eyes closed, and breathe in deeply of Earth, perhaps gather a bowl, candle, water and flowers for a spontaneous solitary ritual of thanks. September morn, I wanna sing with you for a while.
Oh, ok, here. I know you wanna go there and say hi to Neil. But come right back, k?
Summer hasn't left yet. There are still tomatoes to ripen and harvest, to slice and season to taste and eat, not in gluttonous gobble, but to savor with grateful countenance. And dahlias in bloom still gracing the deck.
But this September morn sent out its invitation as a reminder: get your ass in gear, clean under the hutches, replenish the compost. Autumn is coming and close on its heels is that blustery grump winter. You don't have as much time as you want.
I keep that message in mind every time I tell myself to get up and move, and my lazy butt whines "I don't waaaaaahnna." It bears repeating.
We don't have as much time as we want.
And that's why this beautiful September morn, I spent some time with my rake and pitchfork under a bright blue sky sporting those pretty, somewhat lacy cirrocumulus clouds, with Neil Diamond in my head.