Like my father

There’s a song on the most recent Brandi Carlile album that starts out, “I haven’t seen my father in some time / But his face is always staring back at me”. Every time I hear it, it’s bittersweet. I miss my dad. After six years without him, the memories aren’t as fresh. They’re faded, like the photos we took thirty years ago. When I make the effort, I can see his face. I can see his smile, hear his voice, feel his hug. But those aren’t automatic, fresh like they were the first couple of years. I know I take after him in some ways. The small jaw that required years of orthodontia? Thanks, Dad. The crazy crooked toes that look weird and caused me to have foot surgery years ago? Yep, that’s him too. There are things I can appreciate, of course: the wave in my hair, or my smile. But what I appreciate the most is seeing my dad in my son.

I don’t talk about the boy much. He’s younger, quieter, not as outgoing as the girl. Not as active in as many extracurricular activities. But he’s just as delightful as she is, in such different ways. He is growing into such an amazing person and I love seeing the changes happen. If there’s a silver lining to the girl going to college (besides her getting to live her exciting life), it’s that it might give him a chance to shine more. I’m looking forward to some time with him, some time to focus on him. (My girl, I know you’re reading this. You, and the rest of my readers, should know that this doesn’t take away from how much I love having us all together. How much I will miss you. It’s like they are two separate things, existing on the same plane.)

Physically, the boy is very much like my dad, like my brother. They are tall, slim in a way I envy and he feels is gangly, I think. He has my hair, those crooked toes (but even worse than mine. Sorry, kid.) and that small jaw (yeah, sorry about that too). And even though some of the features aren’t all the same, there’s something about his gorgeous smile that reminds me of my dad. Most importantly, I feel my dad’s spirit in him. I don’t mean a ghostly spirit. Just…character, or soul.

Like my dad was, the boy is shy, introverted, quiet in larger groups. But get him in a small group where he’s comfortable and his quick wit and delightful sense of humor come out in full force. I don’t know if anyone outside our little family group knew just how funny my dad could be. In general, like Dad, the boy is a gentle person. He is calm and patient, and does his best to avoid confrontation, though being a teenager makes it hard sometimes. It takes a lot to get him fired up. That part skipped a generation: I didn’t inherit that temperament, to my husband’s dismay. I tend to have a hot temper more often than not. It has gotten better over the years, at least.

The boy is smart, and really could do anything he decides to put his mind to, like my dad learning computers early on to support his family. I don’t think he loved what he did, so I hope my son finds something that brings him more joy, but I admire my dad for what he did for us. And I think the boy has that loyalty too, that desire to make sure that the ones he loves are happy. He’s not overly demonstrative with his emotions, not the type to give random hugs just because. But he’s open to affection, willing to accept it, and every once in a while he’ll say or write something so sweet and thoughtful that my heart melts.

He’s my boy, my son, my baby. He got many wonderful qualities from my husband, and I love those things. I see myself in him, and love that too. I love all the things that make him unique. And I love him even more for all the ways he’s like my dad.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Miss you.

It has Pockets!

My Tea with Jam and Bread sweater is zooming along! Last night I knit the pocket linings and finished the row where I knit the pocket lining stitches together with the body stitches to attach the linings. Today I finished the bottom ribbed edge, and then I won yarn chicken as I bound off, using just one skein for the last big block of color.

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I know the pockets won’t hold anything heavy, but they sure are cute, and I can slip my hands in them to keep my hands warm! The instructions for making the pockets could have been clearer, but I fumbled my way through it and am quite happy with how they turned out. The only thing I would have done differently is left longer tails to sew down the sides of the pockets.

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The color combination still seems a little strange, with that one variegated stripe, but it’s growing on me, and I think once I get the sleeves done with more of that color, it’ll look awesome.

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The gauge is a bit off, since I forgot that I needed to swatch in the round if I was going to knit in the round, but I’m optimistic that it will fit. I’m just not brave enough to try it on yet!

Farewell, Yarn Bowl

Guys, something sad happened over the weekend: I broke my favorite yarn bowl. I was happily knitting on my sweater while watching tennis, and I had the yarn in the bowl on the coffee table. Every so often, I would pull out a length of yarn, as one does, and the bowl didn’t move. Until one time it did, thanks to a little bit of yarn that got tangled up in itself and then got caught on the bowl, and I didn’t move quickly enough. I could see it happening but couldn’t stop it.

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This was my sheep yarn bowl which was a gift from the mother and it might have been one of the most thoughtful gifts she’s ever given me. Alas. So don’t tell her I broke it, because then she’d be sad too!

Sweater is Growing

I’ve been knitting along on my Tea with Jam and Bread sweater, and for the most part I’m very happy with it. I was glad to use almost all the navy on the first stripe, and got pretty bored during that middle stripe of the main color. But the French Open finals were this weekend, so I just knit around and around while I watched my tennis, and I made it all the way through the second contrast color. Once I had a good chunk of it, though, I started second-guessing myself. This new color is a tonal yarn, with a short stripey effect. The colors were great, but since the other stripes were solid, I was concerned that this looked weird.

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However, I got validation on Instagram and from the girl, so I kept on with it, and it’s growing on me. It is kind of unusual but now I think I like it. This will be the fun pop of visual interest on the sweater. I’m now on the last stripe and I’ll be figuring out this whole pocket situation soon. I’m not really sure how it’ll work at this point, but if I go step by step, it’ll be fine.

I also have a finished sock, though I have no idea how I managed to get that done this weekend too. But I grafted the toe yesterday after the men’s final (I couldn’t do that while watching Rafa! I’m good at Kitchener stitch but not that good!).

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It’s a plain cuff-down vanilla sock with a slip-stitch heel. The yarn is Show Me Yarn Bootheel in the special KITH color Flowers in the Mist. The sock feels wonderful, kind of squishy. I can’t wait to wear these! (Okay, I can, because I don’t want fall to be here yet. But I am looking forward to it.)

Alas, I did not knit in public for Worldwide Knit in Public Day on Saturday. I wasn’t in public at all that day, you see. But I did knit at the brother’s house for a family birthday party, so that’s pretty close.

Finished Sockhead

It turns out part of the satisfaction of finishing a WIP is getting to mark it finished in Ravelry. My most recent FO is not in Ravelry, and when I got done, I really missed that final step, much like crossing something off a list.

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Why is not in Ravelry? Because it’s not my yarn, and not my project! A while back I cleaned out the attic and found all the girl’s WIPs from when she was knitting and got permission to finish them. The Sockhead came with me to concerts until I was ready for decreases, and then it got set aside and I forgot about it until today. It took an hour at most to finish the knitting and weave in the ends, and now she has another pretty hat to take to Colorado this fall. I especially like the way the decreases worked out.

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The best thing about this project was that I bought myself some ChiaoGoo circular needles to finish it and I discovered I love them! They have lovely little pointy tips and the join is so smooth. I definitely need some more of those. The yarn is some kind of Malabrigo and I have some left, maybe for if/when I decide to do a sock yarn memory blanket.

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This was the last of her WIPs but she still had some pretty yarn, so I think I’ll cast on some socks for her next. Hmm, will a college student actually want handknit socks, since they can be higher maintenance? I guess we’ll find out!

 

 

Diamonds in the Rough

I recently received a pretty bag of yarn in the mail, some organic cotton from Appalachian Baby. This is another review opportunity, and I got to choose my color palette of the 3-skein U.S. Organic Cotton set. I chose Indigo, Doe, and Natural.

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I had a heck of a time choosing a pattern. The yarn would be perfect for baby items, but I don’t have any babies in my life, so I finally chose a cowl pattern that’s been in my queue for months, Diamonds in the Rough. I’m going to modify it a bit to add stripes. I had some quiet time yesterday, so I took the opportunity to cast on. It calls for a provisional cast on, and it’s been so long since I crocheted that it took me a while to remember how to hold the hook and make stitches! But I figured it out and I’ve made a good little start. (The blue is the provisional cast-on.)

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It’ll be nice to have some cool cotton to balance out the wool in my other projects!

FO: Monkey Socks

Thank goodness these socks are finally done! They lingered on my needles for four months! Yes, FOUR. That’s eons for a sock, I’ll have you know. The first one went quickly because I was eager to see how it looked. And it was cute! I liked it. But man, the SSS (second sock syndrome) hit hard with this one. Turns out, I don’t really like knitting with brown. Brown isn’t pretty or fun or interesting to me. So I had to force myself to finish it just so I could call it done and put the yarn at the back of the shelf where it belongs, freeing up the needles for yarn that is beautiful! Anyway, bottom line, this squeaked in at the end of the month to become the fourth pair of socks finished in May.

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I am quite pleased with them; I think they’re adorable. And I’ll have fun wearing them. But the brown is destined to become an accent color for future socks, and any other sock monkey knitting will have to be self-striping yarn! If you’re interested in details, you can see the project page on Ravelry here.

More fun has been my new sweater project! Despite the continuing heat, I have been merrily knitting along in the evenings and am over halfway through the navy stripe. Eight more rows and I’ll be ready to divide the body and sleeves! I’m looking forward to that; these are LONG rows right now. But look how pretty it is:

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My goal is to get the sleeves on waste yarn and a good chunk of the body done this weekend, though I do have a recital and graduation reception for the girl tomorrow. With the exception of the sweater, I have a bit of finish-itis right now, so I think this sweater and the flower socks will be the focus of my knitting efforts for now. That is, if I can resist the siren call of the new Wonder Woman sock yarn I bought from a Ravelry destash…

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