sleeve island

thank you for your patience with the longer stretches between posts this week and for your well-wishes to my mom. she’s home from the hospital now and doing great, going to therapy every day and getting around the house quite well. she’ll be rid of that walker in no time . . .

it’s gotten so hot and muggy here that i hardly recognize what month we’re in. we finally broke down and turned on the A/C last night, just to get comfortable. not exactly knitting weather, but i’m managing to get as much done as i can.

mostly on secret projects, but not entirely . . . i am knitting sleeves too (and you know how interesting progress shots of sleeves are).

al-most as fascinating as progress shots of scarves.
and yet . . . it is nice to see them grow. i have some gorgeous briar rose sea pearl to knit with, which makes it a whole lot nicer place to be marooned on sleeve island.

(oooh, it looks like chris is pretty well stocked up in several variations of this beautiful gray/lavender colorway right now)

last night i actually started the cap shaping on this one and got almost to the top BO, but stopped because i wanted to get enough sleep that i could wake up up early today to blog. i think i have just sixteen rows or so to go.

we go to therapy every day at mid-morning and for some reason, once we’re done there, the rest of the day seems to slip away before i can write, with work taking priority once we get home, then lunch, then exercise (i’m still running, yay), email, etc.

anyway, my first sleeve is nearly done and i feel sure i can start the second one this evening. if all goes well, i might even finish knitting that one by the time i get home on sunday and be ready to seam the sweater up next week. we’ve been catching up on masterpiece mystery so there’s good TV watching to accompany my knitting in the evening.

even with an ambitious goal to meet, a stay on sleeve island can still get a little boring—there are even some times when it (literally!) puts me to sleep—yes, me! well, that won’t do; i need to be efficient this week and get as much done as possible with the time i have.

i was finding that one of the places i get the most bored with my knitting is in the waiting room of the physical therapy office. even with a great book to listen to, i found myself tiring of the piece i was toting around. the problem is that it’s too easy—i needed something more challenging to keep my brain active. i don’t want to waste 45 solid minutes of focused knitting (and reading) time.

so i did what i thought best and cast on something new.

how’s that for justification? but i have to say, it worked a treat—i get so involved that i don’t even see that my mom is done til she’s standing right in front of me.

what we have here is a lace scarf that was the alternate design for the first installment of our fall in full color club. i was torn between two stitch patterns for our august lace scarf and just couldn’t discard the idea for this one, once i’d made my choice for longshadows.

here’s a picture of the blocked lace swatch

i love how mysterious this stitch pattern looks in a darker yarn that has such subtle variations. the spirit trail nona that i’m knitting with is a lovely match for this stitch pattern. with its gorgeous blend of merino/cashmere/silk, it offers beautiful sheen along the lines of the stitchwork and shadowing within its shapes.

i’m working with colorway rosewood, a luscious deep red with rose and rust tones.

the yardage for this yarn is so generous that i was compelled to cast on for a larger than usual scarf. the resulting fabric will be so light that it remains “scarfable” but will block out to a size that can be thrown around the shoulders or wrapped around head and neck as well. i’m pretty sure in fact, that i’ll also have plenty left over for matching lace mitts—at the very least there will be matching cuffs.

i’m hoping to have it done in time to publish the pattern just as we head out for rhinebeck, where our good friend, spirit trail jen will be vending. my experience with knitting longshadows was that it was very easy to tote along through the UK this summer (it compacts nicely into a small bundle that easily fits in my side bag) and i finished it in just a couple of weeks of evening knitting—i’m hoping this one will be the same.

right now, i’m able to finish two or three repeats in the time i have in the waiting room; that’s a good start. and then there is the long car ride home (though sometimes i can’t knit in the car, unfortunately). and i may knit this one a little shorter than longshadows . . . we’ll see.

that’s all the public knitting i have for the moment, but since the weather has held so nicely, i do have one more thing that i think you’ll like to see—my mom’s garden.

this is the entrance to her cottage; it’s filled with potted plants that she brings indoors in winter. she’s had some of these plants for many, many years.

the walkway and front yard are lined with repeating plants of three or four types—coleus, lilies, dusty miller, and pink impatiens. the impatiens have a lovely story behind them; i think you’ll enjoy it.

when we were small, we had a very kind neighbor on our road named olga, who used to babysit us when my parents went out on saturday nights. we loved her SO much—she told great bedtime stories, which impressed us all the more because she knew them by heart. we would ask for something [we thought was] totally obscure and she would tell it from memory, in her wonderful olga way.

she was also a fantastic baker—she introduced me to homemade doughnuts, which i didn’t even know you could make at home. my mom baked a lot—and very well; she still does—but she didn’t make doughnuts . . . i imagine that with five small children about, it was probably safer and more practical to bake in the oven than to fry pastries.

anyway, olga also had a nice garden (as did most people where we lived). my mom loves pink and rose colors of all kinds and admired olga’s pretty pink impatiens, so she gave mom a cutting way back in the early 60s and taught her to propagate the plants from one year to the next by rooting in water. my mom has been taking cuttings every year since—these plants go 50 years back to one single cutting; isn’t that amazing?

each fall and winter she goes through the throes of anxiety, wondering if the cuttings will make it—they root very easily (and so prettily!)

but are prone to wilting fungus and seem vulnerable to various bacteria tracked in by aphids or whatever is about. one year recently, the lot was saved by the fact that my mother’s cousin edith took cuttings from my mom some years back and has also been propagating them for some time (phew!). just this week we lost another jarful, though there are several jars here that are doing great (and we’ll start more before i leave).

i know it will probably be up to me to keep them going, but i’m nervous—impatiens do well in our shady yard, but i’m not so great at indoor gardening; i dunno if i can keep cuttings alive.

i should probably start practicing by taking some home with me this weekend (like about a hundred of them, haha). once i get some going, i’ll spread them around by handing them off to friends (susie??). that way we have backups, heh.

speaking of pretty pinks and garden colors, my mom got an extremely beautiful and thoughtful gift in the mail yesterday from my good friend chris at briar rose fibers.

isn’t this batch of abundance gorgeous?? my mom is thinking about knitting the hourglass throw when she feels a little better, and this yarn will be PERFECT. its blend of pink, rose, and gold suits mom to a T—the first thing she said when she saw it was “wow, isn’t THAT pretty!”

she was so touched, too . . . it really perked up her day.
i’m helping her right now with a multi-directional diagonal scarf, but when she’s done with that, she’ll be ready to take on a bigger project.

well, it’s time now to get ready to go to therapy—and i’ve been chatting long enough, heh—so i’m going to leave you for today. hopefully, i’ll be back in a couple of days and it won’t be so long between posts.

32 Responses to “sleeve island”

  1. Anne, your mom is so lucky that you can take the time you need to be with her and help her. I love the story about the impatiens propagation – amazing! And so nice of Chris to dye the perfect pink yarn for her. It’s so cheerful!

  2. mari says:

    I am so glad to hear your mom is doing so much better and is home now. Recovery always goes quicker when you are in familiar surrounds that you feel comfortable in. Her garden is just as lovely as yours! I can’t wait to see mom’s hourglass throw!

  3. Barb says:

    Its nice to hear your mom is doing so well! Isn’t Chris the sweetest!! That yarn will be a joy to knit with and will brighten up any day! Have a safe trip home.

  4. stashdragon says:

    Glorious Abundance! What a perfect gift.

    The lace projects look beautiful – and yes, so does the sleeve. (I’ve fallen asleep while knitting, too, so I’m laughing with you).

  5. Hattie says:

    I love that you’re doing something with that stitch pattern, I liked it a lot when I saw it on chapter 1

  6. josiekitten says:

    That’s such a lovely story about the impatiens. My Mum’s cousin (aged 94) has a bright red geranium that belonged to her mother. She has kept it going all these years. I’m a little worried that it will be up to me to keep it going! It’s so good that you are able to be there to help your Mum. The Hourglass throw is going to look just stunning in that yarn, beautiful colours. And of course, knitting will be great mind therapy for her too, especially once you have returned home.

  7. Jean says:

    I think you’ll like Case Histories in the Masterpiece Mysteries. The books by Kate Atkinson are also a good read or listen as the case may be! Glad to hear that your Mum is making such good progress.

  8. Virginia says:

    GOOD JOB, MAMA KNITSPOT! Keep on working hard and feeling better!

  9. Nancy says:

    I am so glad your mom is doing well. Love her new cheerful pink yarn.

  10. Eleanor says:

    Good wishes to your Mom. When mine was 89, she broke her hip in December, and the following summer she golfed 60 games. At 92, she broke her pelvis and she still golfed and drove to 94. Now she is 6 months from 100 and she is confined to a chair. The time you spend together is important to both of you, as you already know.

  11. Mary Pat B says:

    Anne, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story of Olga and her impatiens. The root cuttings are quite beautiful as are the flowers themselves. Glad to hear your mother is home and recuperating. Her new yarn is gorgeous and will be lovely in your hourglass throw. Safe travels!

  12. Nancy says:

    Best wishes for the whole Knitspot Family!

  13. juniperjune says:

    oh my, that rosewood colorway is gorgeous! sending good thoughts to your mom– my mom is recovering from major surgery right now too, and i’m sad that i can’t be with her because of my job responsibilities on the west coast.

    in brighter news, i met cookie this weekend at vogue knitting LA! we talked about your blog and what a wonder it is that you manage to keep up with so many commenters. :) i got a blurry picture that i’ll post on my blog soon…

  14. KatJ says:

    I love Masterpiece Mystery, Anne. I’m enjoying watching the Inspector Lewis episodes alot.

    You have been super busy and I know we only know the half of it since you have your secret projects going too.

    So glad to hear your mom is doing so well.

    I loved seeing the Blumchen sleeves. I’m eagerly awaiting this release – as I do every single one. : )

  15. Elise H says:

    So glad your mom is feeling better! Hope that you have had a few minutes to possibly wander to Trumpet Hill or the Spinning Room in Altamont. If you get to the Spinning Room you are just down the road from Indian Ladder farms and I will tell you that the cider donuts are amazing and the apples are bountiful. They even have Macouns out–and those are not easy to find!

    Enjoy your time here..I fear our warm weather is about to change.

  16. Donna says:

    I’m so glad your mom is doing well. I’m sure your care has a lot to do with it! And I love that scarf pattern, especially in the rosewood colorway. Jen’s colors are just amazing!

  17. Lori says:

    Planning to try out this propagation thing tonight on my impatiens that are still thriving since Mother’s day. Thanks for sharing your story!

  18. GerryART says:

    Therapy is THE BEST ! ! ! !
    does wonders for the physical side as well as the mental side.

    hugs to you and your mother
    Gerry

  19. Lara says:

    So glad to hear that your mom is doing better. Her plants look amazing and I can see where your wonderful gardening skills come from.

    The new scarf is beautiful. Im going to have to make that one too.

    Lara

  20. Ann says:

    Hope your Mum is feeling better. I love your new design, Renee – a great classic pattern.

  21. Kathleen says:

    Love the plant story! I have some lily of the valley that came to me from my grandmother–and have been in several gardens since then.

  22. Kim says:

    Oh. . . . I think that pink/brown Abundance is just gorgeous!! I love it! Can’t WAIT to see what Chris has at her booth at Rhinebeck! First stop always!

  23. Jody says:

    Love the story about the impatiens–I would certainly kill them if I attempted that! I’m glad to hear your mom is recovering nicely.

    Chris is wonderful, isn’t she? That Abundance is so pretty. I just bought 2 oz. silk hankies from her at the WI Sheep & Wool festival a couple of weeks ago.

    I made your Henley w/a Twist out of sea pearl–I love it, but should have made a smaller size. I’ve found that the yarn grows. I keep wanting to throw it in the dryer, but that would surely ruin it.

  24. Cris says:

    Wonderful story about the impatiens and Olga, thank you for sharing it. And that red yarn is killer, as is the lace motif you’re working in it. None of my knitting is interesting me lately; maybe a bit of lace in a nice yarn is the answer.

  25. Brandi says:

    What beautiful knitting and garden. I love your stories.

  26. Jo Morgan says:

    Having had two knee replacements in 2007, I can appreciate the challenges your mom is facing after knee surgery. How blessed she is to have your help and support. The story of the impatiens and the beautiful pink yarn were day brighteners. Good luck, Mama Knitspot. Keep working hard in therapy. And, Anne, take care of yourself! Jo

  27. Emily says:

    Thanks for posting so much – love the knitting, yarn, your mom’s garden, and stories! Hope you mom gets well soon! That yarn knit into the hourglass throw will be gorgeous! And hope to see your secret projects unveiled soon!

  28. Susan in Guelph says:

    So glad to hear that your mum is recovering well, Anne. A wonderful, supportive daughter, impatiens rooting for next year and Abundance from Chris for your gorgeous Hourglass Throw…she has the best “medicine” ever!

    BTW, I really am trying to keep my own “impatiens” about the release of Blumchen under control. Then there is the Longshadows variation……

  29. Michelle Brauner says:

    I am such a sucker for a good Olga story and looking at beautiful flower gardens. Now, it shows where you got your green thumb. The entrance to your Mom’s home brings back wonderful memories of my Mom’s home who also had a love of pink and rose both in her home and garden. So of course, I simply love the yarn that Chris sent your Mom and rosewood from Spirit Trail.

    Enjoy the rest of your time with your Mom. And a shout out to Mama Knitspot: “I”m so glad to hear that you are doing much better. Keep up the good work at therapy. I love the simplicity of your gardens and can’t wait to try my hand at propagating. Until your delightful daughter posted this, I never gave it a thought to propagate my impatiens. Take care!

  30. Elizabeth says:

    Which colorway of Sea Pearl are you using? It certainly is a pretty one!

    Glad your mother is doing well. What a wonderful story about the impatiens-wishing you luck with propagating them!

  31. Danielle says:

    so glad to hear that your mom is on the mend! i didn’t know you followed Masterpiece Mystery! it’s one of my favorite series, especially all of the new Inspector Lewis episodes. i originally got hooked on Inspector Lynley, but that cancelled that series so unceremoniously :(

  32. Mitty says:

    I have an elderly friend who propagates impatiens by digging up the whole plant and taking it inside. Then partway through winter, she takes the cuttings and roots them in water. She thinks this reduces the chance of their dying from fungus. Who knows? She seems to have great success. A plant given by a friend is such a beautiful gift. I have a Christmas cactus that my father’s cousin gave me for a wedding present many moons ago. I treasure it because the cutting came from my great-grandmother’s plant.