Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Right Thing to Say

The other day we all arrived home at the same time. I had picked Ceres up from school and Dave was finished working for the day. I noticed my husband looked tired and grumpy. Nevertheless, I was happy to see him. As he stumbled toward the front door, I addressed him.

Me: "I honey, you're home!"

Mr. Grumpy Pants: "Grumble, grumble."

Me: "I see that you come home to your family with and smile on your face and a spring in your step."

MGP: "Grumble, grumble."

At this point Ceres, my dear teenager, has lugged his cello out of the back of the car and chimes in.

Ceres: ". . . and a fart in your butt."

MGP: (smiles)

My dear husband's sour mood is lifted.

And I can't stop laughing.

The dreaded teenager years are turning out to be quite entertaining.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Summer Series 2009 - Aestlight Shawl and Other Things Shetland

Several months ago, Sydney began radiation treatment on her throat for anaplastic thyroid cancer. A few weeks after the treatment started, she texted me and asked if I had any hats she could wear because the bottom 2 inches of her hair were falling out and she wanted to hide the bald spots. I had a cabled beanie in yellow and brown tones that I sent her way, but knew that she needed something cuter and more stylish. I was thinking of a beret. And so I combed through hundreds of beret patterns on ravelry and came up with a few that I liked. I had my favorite, but thought I'd ask Candace her opinion. My favorite was her favorite, too. Two different faces, but in tight places we think and we act as one, mmhmm.

My main concern was that, although it was still February up there in Utah, the beret might be too warm. The pattern had enough of a lace pattern to allow for airflow - I just needed a lightweight yarn that would still hold shape. I decided on Mirasol Nuna in colorway Royal Purple, a wool/silk/bamboo blend with beautiful sheen and rich colors, and got to work.

I fell in love with the beret. It's Bousta Beret from The Shetland Trader (Gudrun Johnston). Such a beautiful pattern that was quick and easy to knit up and included an adorable i-cord "tail" at the top. The yarn was smooth, the color deep and mesmerizing. I sent it along to my dear sister, but knew I had to make more for Candace and Toni.

But first, me.

Haha, I can be selfish when no one else knows my plans. And for me, the color is green, of course. Again Mirasol Nuna. Candace's beret came next. Since I was making berets in our favorite colors, I needed a yellow yarn. And here Mirasol failed me. I was hoping for twinsy (squared) berets for the four of us - same pattern, same yarn. But Mirasol doesn't make Nuna in yellow. So I searched elsewhere, and found that yellow, a really beautiful, soft, not greenish or orangey or grayish yellow, is hard to find. I finally settled on Louisa Harding Kashmir DK, a wool/microfiber/cashmere yarn in a beautiful sunny yellow. Toni's beret is in Mirasol Nuna colorway Myrtle (blue) to match her lovely eyes. I asked Candace if she thought Toni would wear the beret. She said she didn't know but that it sure is pretty. Ha, I agree.

cute i-cord

My love affair wasn't over, though. There were more Shetland Trader patterns to try. And the Breiwick beret was begging to be knit up. I found a nice lime colored yarn - Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers - and spent my Memorial Day weekend in the AZ White Mountains knitting the beret. I love this beret. So comfortable, the design so pleasing. I wear it around the house (for about 2 minutes, until my head gets hot) and dream of a day, in about 4 months, when it might actually be cool enough here to wear it outside.

I was also discovering that Gudrun's designs were a perfect combination of simplicity and beauty. Curious about what projects she was working on I began to follow her blog. And then, in June, she called out to her readers for some volunteers to test knit a shawl she had designed. I immediately left a comment that I was willing to give it a go. To my surprise and glee, she chose me as one of the test knitters. The shawl is called Aestlight (east light), and Gudrun had knit up a lovely shawl in a golden color. I chose a variegated yarn by Schaefer Yarn Company in blue and coppery and pink tones. It reminded me of the color of the sky here in Arizona before sunrise. It's a wonderful yarn, soft and smooth with strong stitch definition.

The pattern was pretty much perfect, so I spent my time just enjoying the knitting. I'm not a huge fan of garter stitch (which makes up the body of the shawl), preferring instead some stitch variation to keep me interested. But, again, simplicity here didn't necessarily mean boring. Before I knew it, I was on to the border, working a easy and beautiful lace pattern. And then came the edge, knitted sideways to the shawl, finishing the shawl one stitch at a time.

I love this shawl and have already started another. Mom and Velma also love the shawl and have asked if I'm giving it away to anyone (i.e, to one of them). Hmmm, I don't know - but wouldn't it be nice to have a Christmas gift finished already? Yeah, right. Not my style.

I think Gudrun struck gold with this shawl. It was such a fun experience to test knit for her.


I love my sisters, and the opportunities they give me to knit for them. I love making these things and knowing they're for someone special. Sydney is going to be okay and I am so thankful for that, and for her. She is an important part of my life. I'm pretty sure she knows that - even if she doesn't read my blog.