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Archive for the ‘Knitting Group’


Calm Before the Storm

Hi Ellen!

ike.gifIt feels like it has been forever since I’ve posted. I can’t say I have that much news to report though — I’ve been going through a series of Groundhog Days for the last two weeks. We’ve been running ’round the clock operations coordinating the Department of Defense’s responses to Gustav, Hanna and Ike. Today we got a respite and I took the day off. It’s the calm before the storm though…depending on if Ike tracks north or south, he could be really ugly and really strong — much worse than Gustav. One would have thought the National Hurricane Center would have avoided that name choice. If only they’d seen What’s Love Got to Do with It?

My leave to see Allen was canceled, necessarily so. When I told Allen that Dale would be making the trip alone because operations required me to stay here, he stoically said, “Well, Mom, those of us in uniform have to expect that sometimes.” It made me laugh. The two of them had a great time together…I’d venture to say that Allen would have loved seeing me, but that he had more fun with just Dad doing “guy” stuff. And he didn’t feel he had to clean his bathroom. He’s doing great…will fly out to meet his boat (that’s what we call submarines) sometime next month when they’ll have a port call. Marie is doing very well too. She is loving their new home and is very pleased with the new campus she’s working at in Fredericksburg. She performed in New York last month and has been invited back in December. And she’s looking into graduate school at Mary Washington University, right there in Fredericksburg.We’re so glad to know Jenny is home…and are looking forward to seeing her. If she wanted to, she could come visit anytime she liked. We have the guest room set up, I have plenty of stash, the mountains are gorgeous and I think she would love it. Yes, I’m at work most days, but Dale is off Friday through Mondays and would be glad to take her hiking and into Manitou Springs and such. Plus, I know she’s way resourceful and could figure out the buses.

dscn0053.JPGI’ve made great use of my day off. I slept in. I walked the dogs for about 2 miles. I gave Stinky Ruby a bath. I spent a few hours with the knitting gals. I went to Costco to buy veggies for the house and candy for the office. I ate tasty chili homemade by Dale. And soon I will watch a movie with my sweetie. And last night we had a chance to go to dinner with the Red Cross folks he works with at Fort Carson. I wore my Autumn Glory Cardigan and still love it just as much.

dscn0071-1.JPGdscn0072-1.JPGdscn0073-1.JPGWhile at knitting, MJ finished her lovely, lovely mittens with gusset thumbs. She was quite coy about the praise which we heaped upon her, but the excitement overwhelmed her and gave her jazz hands.

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind. At least we are fortunate enough dscn0069-1.JPGaround here to have some of nature’s true grandeur to remind us to occasionally pull our heads out of our asses remember our blessings. Despite the long hours of late, or maybe because my job gives me some pretty intense views into what misery there is in the world, I think I’m doing a pretty good job of remembering how blessed we’ve been. I work Sunday, but I’m not going to complain.

Love, Jan

UFO Mind Control

Dear Ellen,

It has been hot here…very hot for Colorado Springs. We’ve been in the mid-90s most of the week. So, I decided that at knitting group yesterday I would have to work on ufo-to-wip.jpgsomething that would evoke visions of crisp autumn air. I dragged out the project bag containing my efforts at Bernat’s Fitted Cardigan from brochure 530132, Get Smart. I call my version Autumn Glory because the colors of the yarn I’m using capture for me a golden sun-filled day with the leaves all in their colorful death throes glory. All I have left on it is the remainder of one sleeve, piecing and the neck and button bands. It is a bit fussy given that the striping pattern has you working with 4 balls of yarn, (and I did choose mohair to add to the stripe-pattern.jpgfussiness — can you see the blue and green solid stripes amidst the variegated?). I think that is one reason it became a UFO. The other is that it got packed up for the move from my apartment in Norfolk to the house in Portsmouth about a year ago. band-detail.jpgI was content to leave it packed till I got here and got my organization plan in gear for my office. Then it was in plain sight…and it kept looking at me, shaking its head and making those little “tsk tsk” noises. I did get about 4 inches accomplished at knit group and it is in my active knitting basket, so I declare it is no longer a UFO, but now a WIP. It made me do it.

mj-chris-kir.jpglinda-and-lisa.jpg

Speaking of group, we had a very good time Saturday. We all accomplished a lot given that we took over this corner of the coffee shop for about 6 hours! We are lucky to have venues that let anne-crochets.jpgmj.jpgus REALLY relax. The thing that caused the most stir was the fact that Anne started a crochet project…and with acrylic yarn at that! Those who have been with the group since its beginning were amazed as the Anne we know and love does NOT crochet or use acrylic. A banner day for her open-mindedness. The yarn she was using was the Berocco Comfort yarn, and I have to admit, I really liked the feel of it. How great for baby stuff! I brought some mint plants and cut mint to MJ. She in turn brought me the Teosinte pattern that I had left at group last week. A good trade.

I was there for about 4 1/2 of the 6 hours and worked on my Teosinte socks as well as the sleeve of the cardigan. (I had to frog about 2 inches — teosinte-progress.jpghadn’t paid attention to the striping, and though it’s subtle, I would have known. Love frogging mohair — especially that has been carried in a twist up the side!) I didn’t make the progress on Teosinte as I’d hoped while traveling. The problem of traveling with folks from work is that you actually do work during the flights! That’s okay, I’m at the heel gusset now. It’s an interesting one — not the one called for in the pattern, it’s one I’ve adapted from a Wendy Knits freebie.

The rest of the weekend has been quite enjoyable too. The dogs and I (of course) have taken several walks and bunny.jpgcounted many bunnies. I shot a few pictures this morning. The bunnie pattern is to sit up and take notice of us and then to freeze. If it thinks we’ll get close, it will then transition into a flattended crouch to try to pretend bunny-pretending-to-be-a-rock.jpgthat it is really just a rock and nothing to which anyone should pay any mind. When you get to about 10 feet away they take off in a flash of bumping white tail speeding off into the distance.

birthday-goodies.JPGI also got a box with some VERY lovely gifts . In it was hand spun Betsy Viola yarn in a gorgeous magenta and blue-grey colorway, the Harlot’s Things I Learned While Knitting book and a really great CD by Regina Spektor. I didn’t even know Regina Spektor. She’s awesome. I think my favorite song is probably “That Time” — so cheap and JUIcy! The gifts were for my belated birthday from my twin. I know she remembered the birthday, so I’m not upset the actual recognition came a few days later. In fact it rather extended my birthday enjoyment.

Quick Bits

Dear Ellen,

I decided to find a means to do a brief post while on this trip — otherwise I will keep waiting for enough time for a proper post and will never get one up at all. So here are a few photos and some minimalist comments to accompany.

squirrel-watching.JPGMax hates squirrels. They have no place in our yard. Here he is diligently on guard for the squirrel who has had the audacity to make a nest in the tree growing next to our fence. Technically the nest is outside of our yard, but as the branches do emanate from our tree, he feels it is a violation of policy. When the squirrel comes out of the nest, Max barks ferociously and chases the squirrel along the fence till he/she (I have no idea which) leaves the area. max-has-a-boo-boo.JPGIf he/she does not leave the area, and instead chooses to chatter at Max from the fence corner post, Max will charge said corner post and nearly scale the upright to try to make it clear to the squirrel that this is totally unacceptable. As a result, Max will sprain his ankle and be required to wear ruby-sleeps-curled.JPGfashionable leg wear in the form of sock and bandage to help provide support and compression. He also got to have ice compresses…and seemed to enjoy all the babying. This was just over a week ago and he is trotting around just fine now. Ruby pretty much slept through it all.

table-rock-group.JPGI have continued to enjoy knitting with the “Spinners with Altitude” group. Here’s a shot from the meeting two weeks ago at “Table Rock Llamas.” The lovely space in which we are seen knitting (okay, I’m not seen — I’m taking the picture) is the back room where there is some extra storage and where classes are held for dyeing, knitting and especially spinning. The problem with this group is that they are trying to tempt me into yet another craft by offering the claim that spinning is really just a “companion craft” to knitting — not to be considered a detriment to knitting time. flash.JPGI don’t know, but I must admit it truly is starting to tempt me. Flash (Anne’s new baby) is not tempted by spinning, but he does enjoy a comfortable sweater (Anne’s Enchanted Forest sweater). I have a feeling that Flash could be spun into a delightfully soft yarn and all that would be left would be a cute little bark.

office-in-need-of-organization.JPGWe are all moved in now — my office is making progress. This photo is about a week old and there has been much improvement to include the stashing of the stash in “cube” shelving that I put into the closet. When I finish I will post photos of the completed effort to prove that my office/craft room was very neat and organized at least one moment in time.

The day before our birthday I had a surprise party and cake at work, the day of our birthday I was serenaded with “Happy Birthday” by both NPR (coincidentally they sang “Happy Birthday” to their listeners to embellish a story about wacky copyright issues) and the Colorado Navy community at the annual picnic. There were two huge cakes at the picnic, one chocolate and one vanilla, and I was told I was expected to have a piece of each. (NPR did not provide birthday cake.) That evening Dale had a few friends over and we had red velvet cake that he baked himself. (He is truly mastering high altitude directions!) So, that made it a 4 cake birthday…guess there’s some good in turning 50 after all! I hope you had a wonderful day too!

Love, Jan

In Our Own Backyard

Dear Ellen,

Today was a lovely day. I started out with our now routine dog walk (a record 18 bunnies were sighted this morning!), unpacked a few more boxes and then got to run out to the “Knitters with Altitude” knitting group. I had a good time with these ladies and they are not only people with whom it is easy to sit, knit and chat, but they meet Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Those timings make it far more likely I’ll be able to become a regular. The big topic of excitement is that Kirsten is on the verge of having all the necessary arrangements to open her own yarn shop. She finds out if the loan is approved on Monday. Also, Christi (or Christy or Kristie or Kristy — no, I didn’t find out) is shifting from employment to avocation. She’s clearing enough on her own hand-dyed yarn, roving and spinning tools sock-progress.jpg(Crazy Monkey Creations) on Etsy, that she quit her job and isn’t intending to go back. Oh, and I also got a few inches done on my sock. No camera at the group, so you’ll have to suffice with the sock photo. I’ve decided on a simple spiral rib for the pattern.

dale-grills.jpga-boy-and-his-dog.jpgOn return I worked away in the bathroom/bedroom and I’m confident I’ll finish tonight in there. While I was beavering away at unpacking, Dale figured out how to get our granite kitchen table into the house and then decided it was time to give the new gas grill its christening. post-bbq-rolls.jpgyummy-bone.jpgHe did a most lovely job on steaks, corn, roasted onions and peppers and baked potatoes. Yummy and I didn’t cook. Neither of us could finish our steaks, but the pups had a very good time with the bones. dove.jpg Max had to do major rolls afterwards and then hung out with Dale to show his appreciation. Ruby found the remainder of his bone while he was cavorting. This little dove kept us company all through dinner.

We really enjoy our backyard and the entire locale. We don’t have a lot of flowers, columbine.jpgstar-aster.jpgbut we do have a few star asters and Rocky Mountain Columbine. I have a corner full of mint and a raised bed that is unplanted and just begging for a garden fork and some color. It will wait another weekend or two, but then I’ll plant whatever looks good at the garden center with thoughts about what should go in for next spring. On our morning walks we can see the mountains at the end of the path and there are pict0003.jpgpict0001.jpgplenty of local flowers and squirrels and bunnies to keep us entertained.

My postings of late are rather filled with the routine of life and settling in to a new home. Maybe not the most exciting, but I am so much appreciating the moment and with that am compelled to share it.

Love, Jan

Eye of the Storm

Dear Ellen,

I’m really grateful that you sent me that sock pattern, yarn and needles while I was in Baghdad. Although I had worked on a sweater* the previous summer, it had not been truly satisfying and my commitment to knitterly pursuits was under the assault of the entropy of daily life (and in a combat zone at that). The socks gave me a puzzle to solve — having never used DPNs, and never having done any kind of open work pattern. Working on them (and frogging and reworking) for 15 or 20 minutes a night put some calm into my day by making me focus on something creative and something wholly distinct from the battles of the day. (Pun absolutely intended!) Your gift was far more than the materials for those socks…and it keeps giving today.

YFB 3YFB 4YFB 2YFB 1These memories come back right now as knitting is once again providing me a calm in the storm. Yesterday started with a million chores/errands to complete in preparation for the start of our pack out of our household goods for the move to Colorado. The day was jammed with things that had to get done. The day was also the Saturday meeting of “Yarn for Breakfast,” the knitting group I told you about a little while ago. Although I wasn’t able to make the whole meeting, I did manage to make it for about 45 minutes…45 minutes of relief from thinking about the details of the move, 45 minutes of friendly conversation and support, 45 minutes of creating in the midst of household deconstruction. It’s times like these that I value knitting the most — for the knitting, most certainly, but even more for knitters.

Happy Mother’s Day!
Love, Jan

Sad First Sweater*The “why the h@ll did I put eyelash yarn on the neckline and cuffs??” and “why the h@ll did I make it 4 sizes too large??” and the “why the h@ll did I think this pattern would flatter me??” sweater.

…Of course we’re moving…

Hi Ellen!

Three weeks ago we finally hung the last of the pictures that we wanted to put up in this house. After 8 months of poorly conceived efforts Cox Cable figured out what was wrong with the configuration here on base and we now have perfect HDTV and lightning fast internet. The extreme frustration and hard work to untangle the dysfunctional organization at work is just starting to pay dividends and morale is heading upwards. Dale got offered the chance to supervise execution of a NASA grant at the Virginia Air and Space Museum AND a position with Nauticus, the landmark maritime museum in Norfolk. I found a hair stylist. And this morning I attended a knitting group with which I fell in love. Yes, that’s right, it’s time to move.

We’ll be uprooting next month and heading out to Colorado Springs. (I was going to add the state, but figured you knew it was Colorado.) The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Northern Command (NORTHCOM) are both headquartered there on Peterson Air Force Base. Because it’s an Air Force base, we will have access to an excellent officer’s club, golf course, fitness center, recreational center, shopping facilities and housing. Oh…and they do have an airfield too. We’ll be packing household goods the 14th and 15th of May, shipping them on the 16th and actually leaving Norfolk on the 21st. Allen’s graduation from Supply School is the 23rd, so we’ll head down there and then either head straight out to ‘the Springs’ (as I’m told we are to refer to it if we don’t want to stand out as outsiders) or do a drive-by through Ohio. I have to be there the 29th, so in any case, we’ll get a lot of miles under our wheels. The job is a really good one — working in the J6 for both commands. That’s the communications and computer networks for both. It will require a lot of work with state, tribal and local governments, non-governmental agencies like Red Cross, and other nations. The mission is both defense of the continent and providing military support to civil agencies in response to natural disasters or other crises. Yes, I am pleased about the opportunity, though I would rather have made the move about 3-4 months from now.

Yarn For Breakfast GroupAs for the knitting group, I found it when Dale and I stopped in the local coffee shop and discovered they hosted a knitting group. The waitress took my e-mail address and promised to pass it on to the group the next time they were there. She did and they contacted me and I was able to join them this morning. The group is Yarn For Breakfastcalled “Yarn for Breakfast” as it meets in the AM (though they’ve spun off “Yarn for Supper” for an evening gathering as well.) Yarn for Breakfast is both low fat and high fiber.

I talked two friends (Pat and Kathy) into joining me. Kathy is a lightning fast knitter and Pat is a remarkable beginner. PatKathyThat’s Pat showing off her dishcloth first project. Kathy is working on the first sleeve for a ribbed raglan she’s making. We all had fun with these ladies. They are a wonderfully eclectic and fun group of knitters of all levels of experience. It was a great three hours of knitting and talking and drinking great coffee. All this and it’s less than a mile from my house. If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard.

Spring FlowersSpeaking of the back yard. It’s really greening up…and look what I found!

I know I still owe a photo of the capital steps socks, but you may have to wait till I finish sock number two. It’s about a third of the way done, so that shouldn’t be too long.

Love, Jan