Monday, April 30, 2007

Joe's vest the third

I did try to Google for the pattern Mom used for Joe's vest. It is a turtleneck, which is fairly unusual. The picture is in my April 17th post. I'd like a copy of the pattern, to put with the vest and the letter from Ivadell telling me about it.

No knitting today, too many trees blooming! :-(

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Discussion with Mom on Joe's Vest

I talked with my Mom the other day, and she had read the blog about Joe's vest (April 17th post.) From the conversation I gleaned the following information:

1. Mom did not make the pattern changes herself. She is, and always has been, horrified at the idea of deviating from the pattern she is using. So, she suspects that when she was handed the yarn from the American Red Cross that she was also given this pattern. The pattern booklet that was probably purchased with the idea of making something else. She THINKS, but I will need to look at the vests and the patterns, that she knit the two vests for my Dad out of that booklet. Does anyone know or have that pattern? I'd love to have that along with the vest and the note from Aunt Ivadell.

2. Mom had been surprised that Joe had held on to this vest. She had a hard time imagining that it would have meant that much to him.

3. To her surprise, she remembered that my father is still clinging to 2 vests she knit for him in 1941. Dad's are, I understand, (I don't remember seeing them, but will certainly look the next time I am out there) sport weight and have cables. I wonder if one of those was made from the burgundy wool that seemed to be ubiquitous in my childhood knitting? Anyway, I have asked for the vests, to be kept with Joe's (probably in the freezer to protect from bugs until I come up with a better idea) when Dad no longer wants to hold on to them. She said that she asked Dad, the last time they put away winter clothes, if she could finally throw those two vests away. He said, "NO!"

4. Joe's vest was the first thing he had ever had that was knitted for him. There is something delightful in knowing that someone cherishes the work of your hands that much, don't you think? As an aside, I had asked my Dad once if his mother knit socks for his family (he was one of 9.) He looked horrified and responded, "NO! She didn't have the time for that!"

As to the burgundy wool I mentioned above, that is the yarn I learned to knit with. It was on a hank, sport weight, I believe I used size 2 needles. A long stockinette scarf. At about 8 years old, it felt like an eternity to knit on that! I don't remember binding off or wearing it, all I remember is knitting and knitting on it. Dad had a month long vacation each year, the year that I learned to knit I remember taking the knitting along on vacation and knitting while camping. That yarn was always available -- Mom didn't seem to run out of it. I remember winding it up into balls, one person held it and the other wound it into balls. I must have taken some of it with me when we got married, I found a small ball in the steamer trunk when we moved here. I think it is all gone now, but my, it was used for a lot! When I think of my earliest knitting, I think of that burgundy yarn. I still have the pink Boye needles I used when I learned too, even though I now use circulars for flat knitting.


It is a gorgeous day today, after all the rain (downpour, deluge -- we got close to 4 inches in 2 days!) earlier this week. The sun was shining, the grass was green (one of the neighbors mowed his lawn), the birds were all over the bird feeders, the squirrels were at one of the bird feeders despite all Howard has done to try to stop them (grin), the screen doors were open to let in the fresh air. All in all, a beautiful day!

Today should be about spring cleaning, about making room for the kids when they get here next weekend. So what am I doing? Thinking about a new knitting project! I want to start something new. With 2 projects on the needles right now (the scrawl or shrug and a pair of socks) I really shouldn't. I should finish what I have going. That way leads to UFOs, which I really don't like. I think the best thing is to finish at least one of my projects, then I can go on to something new.

Ther periwinkle top has been reduced to yarn. I was feeling rather smug when I got started frogging, thinking that the last time I hadn't known about the Russian join, and so could employ it this time around. Imagine my surprise to find that I had used it! LOL I'm thinking of a simple shell (perhaps cap or short sleeves) with waist shaping that will be much closer to my size, instead of hanging away from my body, adding many visual pounds. I could use the same stitch pattern, as it is bautiful. I may not, as it will be difficult to keep the pattern through waist shaping and bust darts. I'll have to decide after I do a gauge swatch. I will not put in the gussets, though. It dawned on me, after it was totally frogged, that I could have pulled a gauge swatch from it. Except that I may not have the pattern I created any longer, so won't know the needle size. Another look and see. Not a worry.

Don't mess with my chocolate!

There is a move afoot to change the ingredients in chocolate -- get rid of the cocoa butter and replace it with vegetable oil! Excuse me? We don't have chocolate any more -- chocolate flavored? And, to reduce the expense, they also want to change the milk to milk substitutes. As someone who can only eat certain foods, and watch ingredients really carefully (food allergies, you know) this really disturbs me. So, while I don't usually do this, I'd like to point you to Don't Mess With Our Chocolate!

You can fill out a note to the FDA, asking them to please not change the standards for chocolate.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Miscellaneous Thoughts

Way back in 2003 I knit a shell for myself, I found the yarn at Romni in Toronto. I'm not quite sure when I bought it, at that time I wasn't keeping a spreadsheet on my yarn. It was knit in Butterfly Cotton in a periwinkle color. Knit in King Charles Brocade with a tie neck and gussets. But, I really overstimated the size I needed to go over the hips, the gussets to go over my hips weren't necessary. I've just never been happy with it. I had two options that I could see -- frog it and start over or sew new seams and cut off the excess fabric.

Last night I came to an abrupt decision, instead of waffling about it. I started frogging it. This is going to be a bit slow to frog, the yarn is sticking to itself slightly. I am telling myself that this way I'm getting the pleasure of knitting it twice. I love the Butterfly Cotton, and am really curious as to why it isn't available everywhere! You can see the fantastic stitch definition I got from it!

Some time ago my cousin sent me a picture of her wearing the vest I made for her last June. I got permission from her to post the picture here, yet didn't post it. So, here is Nancy wearing the vest I made. I originally designed the pattern for my Mom, Nancy liked it enough that she asked for one for her own. This is made from Halcyon Yarn's Block Island Blend 35% hemp, 35% cotton and 30% rayon. Mom wanted her vest to zip close, Nancy wanted hers to remain open, so that is what she got. Nancy is a dear, and she really truly looks so much more like my Mom's daughter than my sister and I do! So it is really appropriate that she have a vest that looks like Mom's, isn't it! I really need to take a picture of Mom in her vest, perhaps I'll post both pictures together so you can see the resemblance!

A couple of weeks ago I witnessed a man beating a woman. This has been really difficult for me to deal with. In case you are wondering, I did call the police. It has affected me profoundly. Right now I'm having trust issues toward most men. Thank God that isn't a situation that I deal with at home, and I trust Howard not to BECOME that type of person! But how many people around me are being abused? How many spouses (I know there are women that abuse their spouse as well) believe it is really their fault instead of the abuser? I know that it happened in my extended family, and the ramifications went throughout the whole family. I know that it happens much more than is reported. And it makes me angry. Unfortunately, there is a part of me that is frightened as well. That is going to take time to get over it. I want to protect those I know, and I can't! Damn it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Thoughts on Inspiration

I think it is pretty clear that I love to knit. grin

Last night I was thinking about some of the things I've gained from the KnitList since I joined it in 95 (sheesh, that was a LONG time ago, it seems!)

When I joined, skp was the the standard left slanting decrease. There was a great deal of discussion and delight when ssk (slip, slip, knit those 2 together) came along. I no longer skp, but automatically SSK.

As I mentioned last night, Joan Hamer's sock pattern swept the list and, the online knitting world, to the point that enough interest was generated to start SockKnitters. Looking at my list, I'm bemused at how many pairs of socks that I've given away. I wonder how many of those socks are still in existence. The thing that really baffles me? From that list I made a LOT more socks for myself than I remembered. So where are they? I only remember a few pairs of socks that wore out, I know that some pairs were "acquired" by others (Hi, Serena!) But what happened to those others!

So many people over the years have donated patterns to the KnitList patterns pages.

Actually, before I joined, I was struggling to knit again after crushing the left wrist. I think I've written here before how Kathy and Katherina taught me(insisted that I learn) to knit Continental, instead of the English method I had learned when I was in Elementary School. That happened just before I did the wrist in. Serena was in college. Once I was out of the cast and struggling to knit again (my occupational therapist even made me a brace to wear while I was knitting, the Velcro straps caught on the yarn, but it helped me do it.) Anyway, Serena joined the List and asked for ideas to help me with tension. And some of the suggestions worked. I still knit at a much looser gauge than I did before, but the stitches are consistent. I just need to make a gauge swatch. No problem.

One year, while at college, Serena had a terrible, awful, no good birthday, with the campus post office closing before she could get her birthday present, she fell on the ice and badly sprained her get the idea. I wrote something about it on the list, and she was flooded with supportive e-mails.

I've gotten together will so many nice listers! Made dear friends with several of them. You know, the friend who, when you get together, the conversation and fun picks up as if you have never been apart. The nice thing is that our husbands like each other as well! That is definitely an added bonus.

We've had listers stay at our house. We've stayed at other lister's homes. We've visited other listers. There is a common thread in our lives (pun intended) that knits us together. But deep down, almost all of the knitters I've met are just plain nice people.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Today is Monday. That is probably enough description for a lot of us!

When we headed off to Duluth, I brought along 6 skeins of sock yarn, just in case I needed it. Sadly, even though I had gotten this far on the first pair by the time we got home, neither sock has grown very much. I did get almost a complete heel done this week, and have tinked it back because I didn't like it. The yarn is Wildfoote by Brown Sheep in color Mums. There is a ply of chocolate brown, a ply of rust and a ply of tan. The pattern is my own, I was trying to remember the stitch pattern in the Blueberry Waffle Sock while away from the computer and came up with a 5 row repeat over 6 stitches. Let me think, I learned to knit socks from Joan Hamer's Woolease socks which she posted to the KnitList in 95. In the years since that fateful posting (grin), I've knit 96.5 pairs of socks, not including the pair on the needles now. The Blueberry Waffle Socks were a popular pattern in 98, when they were posted. There was a mad rush to knit them. Oddly enough for me, I even knit them in a purple/blue llama/wool Classic Elite yarn! I still have them, they are heavy socks for when my feet are cold. Wonderful, but too thick for my clogs.

Dentist today for a filling on a tooth that hurts. While I was not happy to have to have it done, I also thought, as 4 hands seemingly were in my mouth at the same time, how grateful I am to be living in an age of dentistry, instead of the centuries where the only thing that was done to teeth was to extract them, and not painlessly either!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Secret Pal 10!

I've been gifted again by my Great Secret Pal 10 spoiler! Look at the neat surprises she sent me! Her first attempt at knitting with wire, certainly doesn't look like a first attempt! You can't see really well from the picture, but it is copper colored with copper, orange and yellow beads.
The CD is Chopin, which will be wonderful to knit to.
The bookmark says "Wisdom begins in wonder" Socrates. It has green ribbons and beads, silver stars and a silver frog.
The cinnamon Altoids have been claimed by Howard (with my permission, of course.)
The embroidered towel is great, how did she know I needed more hand-towels?
Thank you Secret Pal!

Joe's Vest

My Uncle Joe served in the Air Force in Cerignola Italy in World War 2. He wrote home that winter that he was never warm. My Mother hadn't met him in 1943-44, but as people were encouraged to knit for service-people, she asked for the yarn and knit this and sent it to him. He was thrilled to get it. He kept it and wore it the rest of his life.

Around Christmas his wife, my Aunt Ivadell, asked if I would like it. Of course I said "Yes!" It came in the mail this weekend while we are away. A good friend picked it up from our front porch and kept it safely for us.

The vest has been washed and worn enough that it is slightly felted. The dye has shifted, as you can see by the picture. The collar is still the original khaki on the exposed side, but the inside and bindoff have turned brown. When I first looked at it, I wondered if it had faded in the sun, but it has happened on both sides.

Hm, Mom, I just looked at the booklet you told me that you had used during the war, and I don't see this pattern! The only thing I can think of is that you took a long-sleeved sweater pattern and made it a vest because you didn't have enough yarn. Correct? The booklet is "Minerva -- Hand Knits for Men in the Service" with a copyright of 1942.

Ivadell's note says in part, "I'm glad for you to have it as a memory of two dear people, Mary Ann and Joe."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Vacation things I'm grateful for:

1. A safe trip to and from Duluth for all of us.
2. Spending time with Nathan and Kim
3. Howard and I sat for about an hour overlooking the lake, just enjoying each other’s presence, looking at the lake, and reading.
4. Laughter as we talked, played games, walked and enjoyed being together.
5. The calming nature of the waves against the shore.
6. Finding beach glass.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Duluth Vistas

We climbed Enger Tower. I forgot to take a picture of it! The Tower is 5 stories tall. There are 96 steps from the entrance of the Tower to the top. Goodness! I am quite pleased that I managed to make it all the way to the top without stopping. Whew! I could really feel it by the top. These are shots from the top of the Tower. The bridge in the first two pictures is a lift bridge, the entire center of the bridge rises vertically to allow a vessel through. We stayed near the Bridge. Downtown Duluth has a neat boardwalk that extends for miles for pedestrians, bicycles and other healthy activities. There were so many families out Saturday morning!

This picture actually shows the distance from the Tower to the Bridge, but the zoom feature helped tremendously on the first one! The distance caused the pictures to have a blue tint that I couldn't fix.

A different view from the Tower.

I planned to show you a picture of my socks that I'm working on, I started the first one on the way up, and almost finished the second sock top on the way home. I have a half inch to go on the second top, and then it is on to the heels on both of them. Unfortunately, the pictures do now show the pattern or the correct color. I'll try again tomorrow, in the sunlight.

It is good to be home. We are all unpacked, and looking forward to the rest of the week that Howard has off.


I am fascinated by trees growing out of rocks. Emblamatic of struggle, of endurance, of strength... These trees were at Gooseberry Falls.

Duluth Trip 1

Here are Nathan and Kim at Gooseberry Falls.
The Visitors Center has a bird feeder outside, and the deer come and feed from what the birds have dropped. They are so used to people that they don't even move. I used the zoom function on my camera, but we were probably 20 feet away. See how they are shedding their winter coats?

The Falls. We walked down, and saw the rush of water and the smaller ice fall off to the side,

Duluth Trip 2

The ice was mainly gone from Lake Superior, but there were places where it insisted on staying around.

This bit of ice fascinated me, as you can see the melting of the ice underneath, but the top still is solid snow. See the icicles hanging down below the snow? Amazing!

Look how much more of the ice there is than on the surface! A miniature iceberg!

Okay, I'll admit that the melting ice fascinated me. These are from a (mainly) sandy beach. There are holes in the ice, it is jagged, and it all is melting from underneath!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tuesday Thoughts

1. A chat with my mom on the phone today.
2. A warm house! The wind is blowing, there is a possibility of a winter storm tonight and tomorrow, and I don’t have to be out in it! Even though the wind is howling around the house, inside we are protected. Okay, I don’t LIKE the fact that we are now (since I started this entry the weather radio went off) under a winter storm warning, but I am truly grateful that I have a warm house to protect me! I remember the house in Oklahoma where the few times it snowed we had snow on our bed—it blew through the space between the foundation and the house!
3. A loving husband. Thanks Howard!
4. Choices. Being offered choices.
5. Talking with my brother on the phone. Now, if he will finally make the bread we’ve been talking about for a year… Grin

Tuesday Check-in

I've missed a couple of days working out, as allergies and I have had some "discussions". I think I'm back on top of it, but it was "interesting" while it lasted! It basically came down to figuring out which foods I'm allergic to now. Blast it. But, on the positive side, that means I'll be feeling a LOT better!

I'm thinking about a knitting project for the weekend, as we'll be in the car about 10 hours. Good knitting time, while Howard is driving. Something fairly easy, as I don't want to have to pay too much attention. Decisions... Too bad Nathan really doesn't like it when I knit while waiting in a restaurant! It is perfect knitting time! I think I still embarrass him!

Monday, April 09, 2007


1. Sunlight and warmer temps, even if they do promise snow tomorrow.
2. The gift of listening. Both to be heard, and to hear.
3. That my body is recovering from this last allergy attack.
4. The idea of starting a new knitting project. Just which yarn and pattern appeals to me? The idea of choice, that I’m not knitting out of necessity, but for the pure enjoyment (even though I plan to wear it.) That I don’t have to finish one project before I start another, even though I usually do.
5. To hear both kid’s voices last night.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good things

The new webmistress is great, and has been updated after so long! I’m so thrilled to have her on board as a volunteer. Yay Tasha!

Yesterday’s dizzyness has lessened.

I believe I have enough yarn on hand for my next project.

The brief flurries of snow this morning weren’t enough to even dust the ground.

For friends who listen when I need to talk.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wednesday Cheers

Today I’m grateful for:
1. Pending vacation. Time with Howard, Nathan and Kim to play, walk along the beach (if it is warm enough) and enjoy time together.
2. The gift of quick and relatively inexpensive communication. I remember when we were first married how badly I wanted to call home, but couldn’t afford it. Now with monthly payment plans that have gone down so much in price over the years, I can talk with distant family members if I so desire. I would write family members weekly when we were first married. Or, honestly, I TRIED to do it. Didn’t always happen.
3. The gift of transportation. It isn’t that many generations ago that if one moved out of state or country away from your family, there was a good possibility you would never see them again. How sad that seems.
4. The gift of the internet. Through that I can keep in contact with people around the world and learn many things. It is amazing how close you become to people!
5. That no one’s cats or dog in our larger family seem to have been affected by the pet food problem.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tuesday Blathering

This fabric is DENSE! Of course, I also thought I had all of the ends taken care of when I took this picture! WRONG! LOL

The Scrawl is moving along. I am having a hard time concentrating enough to work on it though.

Dianne, my knitbuddy, brought some Koigu samples when she visited last year. I love them, but have had a difficult time knowing quite what they are going to be. Remember the stranded socks that were too tight? That was the first thing I tried with it. One is shown in the January 27th post. I cast on again, thinking I'd make wristwarmers, and practice knit 1 through the back loop, purl 1 ribbing. Well, it is almost long enough, but look at the gaps where I changed needles! Not something I usually have a problem with since I first started knitting on double points. Rats. At least I'm now so comfortable with knitting in the back loop that I can do it without looking.

I changed the exercise ticker to reflect the Run-a-go-go dates. That really seems like a long way for me to go at the moment!