Saturday, February 27, 2010

Going green

Here are the homespun napkins (fun and easy to make) paired with my mother's Belleek Shamrock teacup, a china so delicate you can almost see right through it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

green + white + snow + wind = snowday striping

Very early this morning, the telephone rang. Here is what we heard:

" ...This is a routine message for all district faculty and staff and all parents and guardians. All schools will be closed today, Friday, February 26, 2010, due to weather. Again, all School District schools will be closed today.Thank you."

A snow day! I truly believe teachers get more excited about snow days than do their students. All week long there has been chatter and speculation about if and when and would we have an early dismissal, late start, or best of all...a snow day! And today our deepest desire is confirmed.

As soon as I hear the cancellation message, my mind begins the delicious journey of planning what I can do with this gift of time. It is just 8 am, and I have already watered and fed all my plants, sent a few emails, checked out my favorite blogs, and copied this recipe for cookies I would like to try (maybe not today since my students, and colleagues, and I ate our way through 3 boxes of Girl Scout cookies yesterday!). I can continue striping fun with two balls of Lion Brand Superwash Merino, making what I hope may be the softest socks ever. And I might even begin to cut out some napkins from some homespun fabric that just arrived. Surely, this is going to be my marvelous, wonderful, no bad, very good day.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


In the knitting world, a UFO stands for an Un Finished Object, the project that has sat neglected in your knitting basket while other projects were conceived, executed, and long since given away. I have two UFO's that hover. One of mine is a pair of beaded hand warmers. The first mitt is entirely knit and simply requires a three-needled bind off; its match has the beads threaded on the yarn and probably would only entail a night or two of Olympic watching to complete. But they have sat at the bottom of the wooden crate next to the television sofa for, I would guess, two years.

The other UFO is an alpaca broken rib scarf. That beautiful yarn started out as a lacy shawl, unraveled to begin a scarf pattern called" The Road," and now has finally settle into becoming this, which I hurriedly picked up Friday morning and threw into my knitting bag to mindlessly knit as we made a late afternoon trip to Harrisburg. At the end of my school week, I needed to "veg," not concentrate. I needed knitting therapy, not a creative challenge. It is actually quite lovely, and it really deserves to be finished this winter.

As I sat in church today, I thought about all the other UFO's of my life--a letter to a friend which is long, long past due, a couple of sympathy cards, a get well card, a telephone call, a prayer shawl...things I really need to attend to, things sitting in a box of "good intentions" that show others that I care, turning my gaze outward during this season when my baser nature desires hibernation.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bloom (Ash Wednesday)

My "Christmas" catcus is the middle of February, just when I need a flowering the most.

'Tis the season of irritation. Too much snow, not enough light, icy sidewalks, grey skies, inadequate exercise, the upheaval of unpredictable weather, the claustrophobia of winter, etc. etc., etc. People are growing grumpy, feeling frumpy, easily irritated, and, especially in Pennsylvania, pretty sick of winter. At school, I hear, "I am so stressed," or "there is just too much to do," or "how long exactly is it until I retire?" My students are tired, a bit whinny, inured to the notion that there is still much to learn and difficult to convince that we really are on the downhill slide of the school year. I have even noticed that lately, I linger longer in the morning looking deep into my closet or sorting through scarves in my drawers to search out color, pattern, or texture to add additional flavor to these seemingly tasteless days.

Today as we begin the journey of Lent, a time of reflection and meditation, these pink, delicate flowers, dripping simple splendor into the dullness of this season remind me of the necessity of hope in what I can't always know and faith in what I can't always see.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Alexander

Five years ago today, our sweet (and spunky!) red-haired grandson entered this world and our lives, making everything brighter and better because of his presence. Happy Birthday dear Alexander....

Here is his birthday sweater vest...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"And can it be...."

"Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?"

Words: Charles Wesley, 1739 (Acts 16:26)

Music: Thomas Campbell, 1835

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ta da!

I blocked it last night, my Big Sack Sweater made with Wool of the Andes Bulky Yarn from Knit Picks. And, I finished it, just in time for single-digit temperatures this morning and a 14 inch snowfall still on the ground from yesterday.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Puzzling: legacy story # 2

I am stitching up my purple, Big Sack Sweater, and so far, so good--I'm liking what I see. Really, this is the first pattern I have significantly altered, using what I have learned about knitting to modify the pattern to how I want to wear this sweater. I lengthened the body, knit the sleeves in a tube to avoid having to seam them, and am changing the rolled neck to one that is longer and ribbed. I like a challenge to puzzle out in my head, and making this sweater provided me a fun, winter knitting riddle. I know my tendency to mull things over until a solution emerges comes directly from my father, thus providing me perfect opportunity to pen a logical bookend post to the last one which ended up as a homage to my mother.

An engineer by training and profession, my dad could, as far as I was concerned, fix anything. He wired and rewired our house, designed and constructed a sturdy fence still standing in the yard of my childhood home, even though Mom and Dad moved from there over 15 years ago. Dad repaired electronics, landscaped and maintained the "grounds" of their Pugh Street home, kept the plumbing working, and the flat porch roof and gutters cleared of snow and leaves. He built his adoring (and adored) granddaughter a dollhouse that he designed and painted to look precisely like our 1815 home in rural Huntsville, PA. His workshop was neat, ordered, and magical; frankly, it was a bit of a mystery to me.

But Dad did not only tinker with radios and wood. He baked bread, scrubbed the kitchen floor (on his hands and knees), and ran the vacuum cleaner (all the time!) My fondest memories of him are set in his "study," a bookshelf lined, knotty-pine-paneled room where he spent hours reading, writing, and pondering. Some of my most serious conversations with my father occurred in this room. I have always considered Dad quite conceivably the truest Renaissance man I have ever known.