Sunday, December 9, 2018

Another Week Flew By

... and I still haven't started the Epic Knit. I can't even blame Hanukkah, as we won't really do much until Rachel gets home for winter break.

I did receive some hand-made pendants from my talented SIL Mary. Isn't this just SO cool?
She has an Etsy store here, just in case you need a gift for someone special -- or yourself!
While procrastinating on the epic cast-on, I finished my Dewberry, and I can wholeheartedly recommend this pattern. It's fast and easy, and looks great. Like Kathy, now I want to make a larger size.  I have a feeling I'll be giving out a few of these as gifts a year from now.

I'm almost done with finishing on a quilt. You can't tell from the photo, but I managed to miter the corners on the binding, which I am exceedingly proud of!
I know the flash photography does not do it justice, but the days here are short. I'm making a few more in this crazy/Kantha style. They are intuitive and relaxing. 

And relaxation is much needed. High school students get crazy this close to Christmas. Quite a few students I know are having trouble in the community -- and that never helps their academic performance. Still, the students are my favorite part of the job (along with the special ed team in my building). My husband and a few physicians strongly feel that I should retire. I go back and forth. I hate the paperwork, but there are still parts of the job that I truly love.

If you're retired, I have a question: How did you know when the time was right?

Sunday, December 2, 2018

I Blame Kathy!

If you read Kathy's blog (and if you don't, you really should) you know that she has knit up two Dewberry cowls. Hers are so lovely, that I just had to cast on one for myself:
Not only is it a beautiful pattern (which she says is also easy), but it lends itself well to Malabrigo Rios, one of my favorite yarns.

This is kind of a problem, because I'm supposed to be starting my Epic Knit, which is an amazing fair isle cardigan from Marie Wallin:
Is that not stunning? 

It's knit from the bottom up, so you start by casting on more than 350 stitches. Casting on that many stitches is so boring! I can't watch TV or listen to a podcast. It's all about counting. So I keep finding ways to avoid the start. I know, I need to develop some self-discipline.

It is going to take me forever. Marie Wallin is a British designer who runs an annual club of one pattern. I'll be shocked if I finish this in a year.

And since Hanukkah starts tonight, I want to gift you this hilarious and brilliant Hanukkah song:

Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday!)

Friday, November 23, 2018

And the Beat Goes On

The action just never stops here!

Wednesday I showed up at the hospital at 6 a.m. to have my A-Flutter fixed. It was easy. I just fell asleep and let the staff take care of things. They seem to have me all fixed up.
I made it to my family's Thanksgiving at my Mom's apartment. My brother Eric and his family came out from Virginia. My other brother, Michael (in Washington, DC), baked us two amazing pies (cherry and apple) and mailed them to us. Above, Eric is enjoying a piece of cherry.

It was surreal without my dad. It just hasn't fully sunk in yet.

My sweater is ready to be blocked, so I started a shawl. What can I say. I could outfit an entire homeless shelter in shawls -- and maybe I will! They are just so much fun to knit:
The pattern is the Soundwaves Shawl, and it is perfect TV knitting. Easy but not boring. The yarn has been in my queue for years: Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere. Can you even imagine? It is truly smooshy.

I am about to start a mega knitting project. Probably the most ambitious thing I will ever attempt. Does that have you waiting for my next post?

Sunday, November 18, 2018

When It Rains...

It's been a bit crazy here.  Between my dad's death and his funeral, I ended up being admitted to the hospital with Atrial Flutter. It's kind of like the more common A-Fib, but I'm way too queasy to explain the difference to you. What I can tell you is that when your heart isn't working right, you feel just awful!

The good news is that it can be fixed with a procedure call ablation. The bad news is that I am so queasy that I almost passed out when the cardiologist tried to explain the procedure to me. "I usually don't put patients out for this," he said, "but I think I'm going to have to in this case." I second that!
My dad as a boy. I think his openness and sweetness really shows itself.
I was out of the hospital in time for the funeral. For the first time, I really understood the Jewish tradition of family and friends placing the first shovelfuls of dirt on the coffin. There is something very comforting about being part of that process, although it was extremely emotional for my mom.

He hasn't been his "real" self for many years, but the finality of death is always difficult to grapple with.  He was a kind, smart, funny man who wanted to help others. One of our struggles after the dementia set in was that he wanted to donate insane amounts of money to public schools and other good causes. His goodness was appreciated in my hometown, so the funeral was well-attended. It was a fitting end to a life well-lived.

Because it was such a crazy week, I don't feel like the loss has hit me fully yet.

As you can imagine, I have not gotten much knitting done. It is taking me forever to finish the second sleeve on my Vodka Lemonade sweater ... but I'm almost there!

This weekend I've been reading blogs and enjoying catching up with you!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

It's Always a Surprise

It's been almost exactly a month since I last posted.

I hope to be back online soon, but for the next week I'll be focused on my family. After a decade of struggling with dementia, my father passed away this morning. It was surprise. In my experience, it always is. My first father-in-law was in a coma for days before he died, and still it was a shock when he left us.

Out of respect for my dad, I haven't said much about his illness. It has been a very difficult decade. He suffered from frontal-temporal dementia, and it turned the sweetest man in the world in to a very angry person. The kind, funny, smart man who raised me hasn't been around for quite a few years.

He is in a better place. I will always miss him.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Finally Some FOs...and a Start

I started out 2018's Secret Sock Society run by the talented Helen Stewart with great enthusiasm, but I've gotten distracted by embroidery and quilting. Still, I completed a second pair of the Winter Rose socks. 

This pair is gray and is for me. This is a great pattern than I highly recommend. It does require you to knit 3 stitches together occasionally, but you get used to it.

Don't faint from surprise, but I have a second FO. This is a Sockhead Slouch Hat. 

It takes some time because it's knit in fingering weight, but it is perfect for a gorgeous gradient skein. I used yarn from Knit Circus. Truly perfect mindless knitting!

As for my start, I have to thank Kathy B! I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner that my father needs a Twiddle Muff. 
He does indeed have restless hands, so I'm hoping this will keep him happy once I add some texture, bobbles, and i-cords.

If he likes it, I may knit up a few more for other residents in the Memory Unit.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Busy, Busy, Busy

The combination of school starting, the High Holy Days, and another health issue made September an absolutely exhausting month for me.

Still, there were plenty of good times. I love the services, and my friend Richard always makes amazing challahs for the Yom Kippur Break Fast. Those white dots you see are coconut. It turns out that coconut challah is delicious.

And we always have a good time eating in the Sukkah, which is in a friend's back yard. Usually we freeze while we eat in it, but this year the weather was warm and the problem was mosquitos!

School is as crazy as ever, but I am lucky to work with great colleagues and kids. I enjoy it, but there's just too much of it. When I come home, I'm drained and all I want to do is knit. So, I have made some progress on my Vodka Lemonade sweater.

I'm getting close to the end of my chaotic embroidery project. I'm just finishing up the white background, like this:

I just don't like the way it looks on white fabric:
Nancy asked me what kind of embroidery hoop I use. Until recently, I used the cheap plastic ones from Joanne Fabric and other big box stores. But I've discovered Morgan hoops:
This is the best hoop I've ever used. By far. It is truly a no-slip hoop. I found mine at a local fabric store, but I've since learned you can buy them online from a number of sources, including Joanne Fabric.

As for the health issue: Did you know that if you see flashing lights in the periphery of one of your eyes you need to get medical attention immediately? I didn't. Fortunately, my friends did. I do have some attachment issues with my right eye, but not a full retina detachment (whew!). 

Keith and I were going to go away for my birthday weekend, but the weather is rainy, so we decided on a staycation. (Six years to Medicare -- Yay!) I also want to take a vacation from Supreme Court news. I am so upset that a man who was part of such a drunken, sexist group of young people could even be considered for a lifetime job on the highest court. I work with hundreds of young people every year, and very few of them would even want be part of the 100-Keg Club. That behavior is neither normal nor acceptable. That's all I'm saying. I'm on staycation!