Sunday, October 15, 2006

Loose Ends

I had forgotten to post a finished photos of the socks I made for my sister. I had my son model them and he was really a sweetie to do this. How many 17 year olds would don cute picot edged socks in tropical colors just for their mom to photograph? eh? Well my guy is the best. The socks look a little loose on John, but I hear from Linda (my sister) that they are a hit. I'm hoping her hubbie might get out the digital camera and take a pic of her cute toes when they are adorned with these beauties. They were knit with Sokota yarn on size 3 DPNs.

This is a photo of my latest baby blanket project for our church knitting group - now officially renamed the St. Thomas Fiber Ministry. We gave it a new name so that all who liked to work with fiber, in any way shape or form, would feel welcome. We are off to a great start this year and will be having a whole box full of knitted items blessed at a church service soon - then donated to our local Project Linus for distribution in the community.

A funny story goes with this project. I started it about a month and a half ago, but laid it down when we went to North Carolina (see my last post). I didn't try to pick it up again until last night. Do you think I could find my project bag that had this blanket in it? No way! I went through every closet, every bag - but it was no where to be found. After a long hard swim with my Masters group this morning, and brunch with my boys I decided to take apart my bedroom closet and my yarn stash. It had to be in there somewhere. I justified this frantic cleaning with the words, "I have to change out my summer clothes with my winter clothes and get this closet cleaned." Well - every inch of the closet was cleared out and NO KNITTING PROJECT BAG TO BE FOUND. @$#*@! So - I made up an excuse to clean out the downstairs hall closet and viola! There was the bag - at the bottom of a heap of pillows, throws, cat toys and stuff. I blame the cats - they are always in and out of the closet, right!? Anyways - project found and two clean closets to boot.

Random thoughts:

  • As I was sitting in Jines (one of our favorite breakfast hangouts) consuming plates of food and enjoying the Park Ave crowd on a glorious sunny Sunday morning in fall, I wondered how the leader of North Korea could really think starving his people was a good thing and that what we were enjoying here in the U.S. was such a bad thing. Amazing how disconnected two cultures can be.
  • History tells us that totalitarian regimes like the one in North Korea will eventually crumble. I believe this will eventually occur. Maybe then the people of DPRK will be able to enjoy the freedoms and just plain good times that we take so much for granted here in our country.
  • Isn't fall one of the best seasons of the year? The colors are incredible. I have a firey red bush in my back yard that makes the most unique red leaves. I can't find this color at the yarn shop. I hope I never do. That would spoil it.
  • I'm a better swimmer when I only swim for fun and fitness (not competition) and for the social interactions with my team.
  • Our business hit a major milestone this week....$25 million in assets under management. When we started 13 years ago we had $0. In celebration Doug's getting a new driver to add to his golf bag and I'm buying a yarn swift.
  • The best part of our business is not $25 million in assest under management, but the amazingly wonderful people we have come to know as our clients. I was totally unprepared for this bonus - a bonus we enjoy every single year.
  • Two college applications out the door - 5 more to go!
  • The WFU Demon Deacons are awesome - winning another game (now 5-1) - beating Duke and State in the same year. The only way this gets better is if they beat Carolina. Go Deacs!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Fall is in the air

Fall is in the air and I had to start up a fall/winter wool project. This is a vest from the most recent issue of Knit Simple magazine. It is a Nora Gaughan pattern made out of Berroco, Inc.'s Ultra Alpaca. Don't you love the color? It is a real pretty cranberry. There has been quite a bit written about Nora's new book "Knitting Nature" and I took time to flip through it at my Barnes and Noble one day. I guess I just didn't like any of the patterns well enough to spend all the money on the book. She is a fantastic designer, but her interest in geometric shapes didn't translate well into wearable clothing. I much prefer patterns like this one. I guess I am a traditionalist at heart. I love all the cables in this vest and the moss stitch that frames the main pattern repeat finishes it off nicely. The back of the vest will be all moss stitch. Some folks object to backs of garments that don't continue the interesting pattern from the front. But, I think it makes a project versatile. Specifically: I have to really concentrate on the front of this vest - can't really work on it in front of the TV. But, when I finish the front I can relax and just knit, knit, knit on the back while looking for, or working on, another fun complicated pattern during my quiet time. Does that make sense? This vest is the most complex cable pattern I have done to date. I think my work on lace this summer has really helped me to grasp the concept of left-leaning and right-leaning stitches and I'm starting to perfect my pattern reading abilities. I'll keep you posted on this one.

So -what have we here? Yes - it is me and my family at Wake Forest Univerisity. I freely admit that I am old enough to be attending my 25th college class reunion. What a blast. And, how weird, too. We were all walking around thinking, "Do I know you?" and "Hmmm, you could maybe be that guy from my biology lab, 25 years later, with less hair and more weight." I was so lucky to get to visit with both of my college roomies. They, of course, had not changed a bit and we picked up right where we left off in school. We didn't have nearly enough time to visit with each other...but this is just a motivation to get back together again....soon!

I call this my "leaky year" because it is the last year John will be here at home and I often find tears rolling down my cheeks thinking about all the last times we will do things. "This will be the last time we fill-in-the-blank." But when we went to Wake and John went on the tour and interview I realized it will also be a year of many firsts, many beginnings. We're entering a new phase of our lives and that is truly exciting.

And now for some random houghts:

  • Check out for fabulous sugar cake. I no longer have to buy 5 sugar cakes, freeze them, pack them in my suit case, and transport them.
  • Why have a common college application if every school that uses it is going to add their own supplement?
  • Why do all teen-age boys want to learn to play the guitar?
  • Does anyone really care about Mark Foley anymore? (Ahhhhhhhh!)
  • Alicia Marble - route manager
  • How bad is it when you and your brother are in the same city visiting and neither of you knows it so you don't see each other?! (Yup, Patrick was in Winston-Salem with his wife and daugher the same time we were there and we didn't even know it. Ahhhhhhh!)
  • How many Bar-b-q joints can you get to in one weekend in NC? Doug managed 3 - but he plans to break that record on our next trip.
  • Political lawn signs - tacky.
  • Political lawn signs - free speech.
  • Political lawn signs - too many of them.
  • Political lawn signs - we live in the greatest country on the planet.
  • The picot edged socks were a big hit with my sister.
  • Have you tried the two-circular-needles sock knitting method?
  • Have you tried the one-large-circular-needle sock knitting method?

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Clapotis is fini!

Just in time for fall - a nice cozy shawl. Click on the top photo to see the detail. It was made from Lorna's Laces - Lion and Lamb - color "Jeans". The pattern is, of course, from ( It was the best project - new, different (love those dropped stitches!) easy, great for doing while watching TV and wonderfully versatile, wearable and gorgeous. The project bottleneck has been opened. I think there will be several FOs in the next few weeks. Woo Hoo! (Because I already have a winter wool vest project ready to go - from the latest issue of Knit Simple - Nora Gaughan - yep - CABLES! and lots of them). Knit on!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Reading, Knitting, Learning

A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell

I love it when I find books that touch my life in many different ways. This book did just that. I'm a fan of well written history and historical fiction. This book, set in occupied Italy from 1943-1945 was fabulous. One of the reasons I loved it was that it portrayed women during World War II going about their permanently altered lives spinning and knitting. It was a way of life to carry a drop spindle in one's apron pocket and pull it out at a moments notice to spin. Time was never wasted - especially not by women in occupied Italy. We sometimes find it hard to believe, being the hobbyists that we are, that there was time when knitting was the main way many were able to cloth themselves. Folks wore only hand knitted socks, stockings, sweaters and jackets. These items were made from wool women spun themselves.
The book was also a wonderful portrayal of the struggle of Jews fleeing Hitler. This novel, while it is fiction, gave me a view of World War II that I never had before. Many Italian Catholic peasants, priests and nuns helped to hide, harbour, feed and cloth thousands of Jews who had been forced out of surrounding countries. They fled to Italy thinking it would be a safe place. But Italy Musoluni capitulated and the country was occupied by Germans. It was under fire by the Allies. At the same time the country was had internal political factions who often threatened their own population (Does any of this sound just a little familiar?). The writing challenged me to re-evaluate the concept of sacrifice and forgiveness. It also got me thinking about how easy it is to be so totally unaware of the suffering of others - even though we know it exists - see it on TV and read about it in our newspapers. This novel is well worth the read - and don't worry it's not your typical World War II story - in fact it is anything but.
On other notes...both my camera batteries need to be recharged, but when they are I will update you on my progress with the Sokota socks and the Thorn and Thistle shell. There is certainly something to be said for finally making a pattern that is shaped well. I can't wait to have a finished knitted garment that is actually finely tailored - a first for me.
Stay tuned...Kate

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Secret Pals - above and beyond

I got a cute card from my secret pal this week. Even though SP8 is almost over and she has revealed her identity, she continues to stay in touch and I think that is the sign of a really super Pal. Thanks Karen - you've been terrific and I hope we stay in touch as time goes by. See Karen's blog at

I've also really enjoyed spoiling Kim my SP. See Kim's blog at We keep up an email correspondence and I plan to continue that.

I have to say that participating in SP8 was a really interesting experience. I was introduced to two very unique, creative and fun women. Both are younger than me. Both have very different tastes than I do - yet I have learned lots and found great ideas through their blogs. They live on opposite coasts and have very different lives from each other and me. It's been terrific. Thanks to you both.

Socks can be hard to fit...

Click on the sock to see it up close

So - I have finished one of my socks. This is for my sister who has a longer and narrower foot than I do. The sock is definitely longer, but narrower - no. It is hard to get sock fit just right when a person lives a thousand miles away. So - I'm using my son's foot which is the same size and narrow. I'm going to have him try on the sock and then I think I may wash it to get it to shrink down. It is only not narrow enough near the top of the foot. I know this because it is too big for my foot near the top. I'm not sure I see the point in knitting another one until I get the fit on the first one right. My son is out playing golf and so I'll have to wait until late today before I can get the fit. I'm so impatient. I'd really like to see if it fits now. (Do you think he would mind if I showed up at the 5th tee and said, "hey - try this on for size" - ha! - talk about embarassing your teenage son!) I try to keep the "process vs. product" thought in my mind at times like this. Enjoy the process and worry less about the product -otherwise it is for naught (and it will drive you crazy!). Send positive knitting thoughts my way.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Great Northern Diver

Well - here I am at the top of East Rattlesnake mountain in New Hampshire. You can see Squam Lake in the background. This is my most favorite place in the whole world, and once again I cried this past Sunday as I stood on the Greenwood Lodge dock to say good-bye to the lake for another year. And as I was standing there, wondering how I would make it - not seeing the sights, smelling the smells or hearing the sounds - I saw two loons in Bennett Cove trying desperately to take off. Loons are large birds, very large, and they have the most beautiful haunting calls. Every year they must find a way to launch themselves, however awkwardly into the air, to migrate south for the winter. I think these two loons were practicing. It's not yet time for them to leave. It takes them a VERY long time to take off. It's hard grueling work. They stumble and run across the top of the water for several hundred yards, all the while crying out. They work so hard for that one (of two) important take-offs they make each year -for heading south and returning north. Their landings, I hear, are equally ungraceful - a big ker-splash into the water - more like a crash. They are meant to be swimming in the water, not flying in the air. Well the comparisons to my leaving the lake were enormous. It was if the birds were saying to me, "we know it's hard to leave - but if we can do it, so can you." They made it easier for me to walk off that dock.

I often feel like a loon - (o.k. I can hear you laughing out there) - awkward on my take off and even more so on my landings. I can only hope my song while I'm on the lake, though, can be half as beautiful as theirs. Thank you Lord for the Great Northern Diver.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My First Colinette

I've always dreamed of buying some Colinette yarn, but even better is to receive it as a gift. I have got to have one of the most fabulous Secret Pals because she sent me my first skein of Colinette (Zanziba to be exact!). It is so lovely I had to pose it with some other cherished objects...a vase a dear friend bought for me on her trip to England and a beautiful family heirloom jewlery box my mother recently gave me. I really need to ponder what to make with this yarn. I'm open to suggestions from anyone! Please help me. I want to do the right thing with this yarn. For now I have gingerly placed it in my yarn display basket on my dresser. I love being able to see all the wonderful colors and textures of the fibers I own - so I keep them on display always. It gives me joy to look at that basket each day.

Secret Pal - if you are reading this I hope you have seen the comment I left at your blog and read the email I sent to you. If not - thank you thank you again for such a terrific gift --- which included not only the Colinette but other wonderful spa items that I am THOROUGHLY enjoying! You are super!

Here is the progress on the back of the Thorn and Thistle sweater/shell. This project has been a real learning experience and now I am on an "easy stretch" of the pattern. I'm loving how it is turning out and I also love that it is so light weight - not heavy and saggy like cotton sweaters can get.

OK - so Floyd Landis did it. I must say that I love to hear the Star Bangled Banner played on the streets of France! How inspiring were Floyd's last few rides. Whenever I ever begin to feel defeated I will think of Floyd. I cheered for him and knitted furiously as he pedaled to victory. I had to keep flipping back and forth between the British Open and the Tour on that final Sunday, but I'm not complaining. I''ll be ready to go next year when the Tour returns.

Bye for now and remember - leave comments - bloggers love comments.