Thursday, July 26, 2007

So, what about the knitting?

The trip of a lifetime is now officially over. I think it took me so long to blog about it because it was a way to keep it going in my mind. But now it's time to move on. Life has been happening. I've been knitting all along. My current project is a shawl for my sister Lynny. She wanted one like the one I made for my other sister Betsy two years ago. This was Betsy's shawl:

I was able to find the same yarn, a beautiful silk/wool/cotton blend and cast on back in April. The pattern for the first one was made up as I went along so I decided to be a little more "planful" on this one. Using the 365 Stitches calendar, I picked out 12 stitch patterns to use on 169 stitches. I did 20 kib (knit into back) stitches, then 43x3 of the pattern, then 20 more kib stitches. The pattern stitches were 12-16 rows (depending on the pattern...usually two repeats) followed by eight rows of either garter or stockinette and then the next pattern. It has been a tedious knit, going VERY slowly, partly because of so many interruptions but I am almost at the halfway point (about 36 inches). Here is my progress to date:

As usual, I'm not 100% happy with it. It is too wide, the divisions between the three middle "panels" are too distinct, there are mistakes, yadda, yadda... But at this point I am just determined to finish it for her. I hope my yarn holds out. I hope to put some fringe on it and would be REALLY unhappy if I can't do that. Her birthday was in mid-May but she knows it will take me a while to get it done. I showed her the very early stages when we had our sister's weekend in April. During that weekend, Betsy saw the bag I made for Lynny last year (the Constant Companion) and oohed and aahed so I think that will be her request for HER next birthday in February. She mentioned how much she liked the evening bag I made for her this year and Lynny perked up and said, "Evening Bag? Ooh, that sounds nice." So, I guess the lesson I have learned is to make the same thing for both of them.

It reminds me a little of the stories that my friends with two children tell about having to duplicate what they buy to keep both kids appeased. I never had to worry about that, having an only child.

I have been home from Europe for eight weeks and it already seems like an eternity since I was there. It didn't take long to get back into the groove (or rut, depending on my mood) and I have tried very hard not to start every sentence with "When I was in Europe..." but it is so hard avoiding the temptation to tell EVERYone about the trip. Meredith is SO over that, tired of my telling the same stories she has heard a million times by now. My new resolution is to keep my mouth shut when we go anywhere together and someone asks, "So, how was your trip?" I need to let her answer and tell people about her entire semester. Things have been a little...shall we say...strained since we got home. She clearly does not want to be home this summer, thinking of it as just an unpleasant pit stop between her glorious time in Milan and her impatience to get back to her friends in Burlington. She is working a lot of hours on her research internship and taking a (shudder) Physics class in a compressed semester...and it has all conspired to turn her into little miss crankypants a great deal of the time.

Ok, enough on that topic...I had better stop before my natural tendency to say how I really feel gets me into trouble.

We've had an interesting summer since I got back. The heat arrived just in time for the annual Bike Trek Across Maine on Father's Day weekend. That meant my crew and I were not only busy keeping the refreshments going for the 1800 bikers coming through but also keeping an eye out for anyone in distress with possible heat stroke. We were lucky this year and only had a couple of people who needed extra assistance from us. It was a gorgeous weekend with perfect weather until the very end.

Back in Portland, I spent a beautiful Saturday morning at the Rose Garden in Deering Oaks Park, one of my favorite places. Here are some of the pictures I took:

Just looking at those pictures relaxes me! Then I went home and took some pictures of our great masterpiece by comparison but there are some pretty flowers.

We even have some tomato, zucchini and cucumber plants that are doing very well this year.

These pictures were taken in late June and the plants are now twice as high as they were then. We will be picking our first zucchini any day now. And then look out everybody! I'll be breaking into cars to leave them in there just to get rid of all of them!

In mid July we celebrated Anniversary number 31. It wasn't the big deal like last year at the Franconia Inn but we took the day off and took a nice ride up the coast to a beautiful area called Bailey's Island. Here are some pictures from that day:

We enjoyed a delicious lunch on the outdoor deck of a local restaurant and indulged ourselves with some steamers...

which we made short work of...

and a wonderful seafood platter.

It was so nice to just sit and relax, take our time with lunch, chat and enjoy the seabreezes. A perfect day.

I'll miss not going up to the cottage for my usual two weeks in August but my trip was well worth the sacrifice. Besides, now I can go to my wild and wacky family reunion in mid-august instead. That will surely be an event worthy of a blog entry or two. My family definitely puts the "fun" in "dys-fun-ctional"...the challenge will be paring down all of the information to keep the entry from getting too long!!!

So, it's back to knitting the shawl-from-hell so I can give it to my sister at the reunion... I KNOW she'll be asking for it.



I love the shawls Mary Ann!!! They look awesome to me. Glad you had a day off for your anniversary - It is exactly what I would have wanted to do this time of year. As for Miss Crankypants - they are all like that! Sue

Busymom51 said...

Thanks for the support, Sue! I really do appreciate hearing that I have so much makes it more likely that the summer will end with both of us still alive :~)

BTW, did you happen to get a gander at the GORGEOUS stitch markers I am using on my shawl? I got them from a FABULOUS and talented woman I know...YOU!!!! Thanks again for making them for me!

Stay cool...hope to see you soon.

donni said...

I read this before but now I'm back to comment. I can so relate on the mother/daughter tensions. It's tough knowing when to keep your mouth shut! My daughter just moved to Chicago, which is about 4 hours away from us. She was ready to leave home, I miss her muchly, but I don't miss some of the negative comments! HA!