A new pen wouldn’t hurt either

For years and years, I’ve run a very tight Christmas ship.  Very tight. Spreadsheet kinda tight, and it’s really worked for me. It’s prevented a hysterical sort of feeling in my tummy and made it possible for me to get a lot done during the run up to the holiday.  This year – well this year there was a problem with the spreadsheet.  The appointed day came to open it and start worrying about Christmas, and I opened it, saw my mothers name on it and closed it again.  I’d made notes about what her gift would be, what I had to take to her house for Christmas dinner, what sort of cookies I had to bake in time for her annual Christmas party, and it just stung too much too see how many things we always do that we won’t this year.  I’m not sure what happened after that, but the general sense of dread I’d had about the holiday turned into a more specific one, and I entered a prolonged period of denial.  I just didn’t worry about it.

I didn’t pre-shop, I didn’t worry about presents, I didn’t knit Christmas specific stuff (much) … I didn’t do any of the things I usually do, and for a while that seemed like it was working.  I didn’t have to feel bad that my mum won’t be at Christmas… I think on some level I’d just decided that we wouldn’t have one. It seemed so simple.  There was just one little problem with that.

elliotsfirstchristmas 2017-12-11

It’s Elliot’s first Christmas, and this family is so, so good at Christmas – in no small part because my mum was such a wonderful grandmother, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I owe him the same… and not just a token Christmas, a really lovely one. To somehow figure out new traditions – new ways of doing things.

I don’t know what’s going to be possible – I’m not even sure how to handle things. I mean, do I bake meringues if what I did with them was take them to my mother’s party? When do I see the relatives I saw at mum’s? Do they come to my house? What do we do in the afternoon on Christmas day, when usually we would bathe and dress to go to my Mum’s? It seems really complicated to figure out, and I can tell that it’s going to take a lot of energy. I remembered to buy Meg some blank ornaments so she could make them with Elliot’s foot and handprints, and I managed somehow (a little late for me) to put the tree up, and cried sentimentally the whole time I did it, but it’s up there, and it is lovely to have it, and I do love seeing it. It hurt to make it happen, but I see now that it would have hurt more to not put it up. I’m going to keep that in mind as I try to get the rest of this thing going.

elliotsfirstchristmasornamentbetter 2017-12-11

This Christmas is going to be about the basics. People. Time. Being together.  There isn’t going to be a mad knitting dash to the end (that’s a lie I have one sort of wild plan) I’m not going to make a million cookies – just the favourites we really love. (I don’t know if that’s meringues.) I’ve come to this a little late to the party – just about two weeks to get it all together, but I’m going to be gentle with myself and my family – we still weather regular storms. Making a Christmas grocery list is a chore that should have taken me ten minutes today, but it came grinding to a halt as I encountered a recipe card in my mum’s handwriting.  I love her handwriting. Reflecting on that and looking for other cards she wrote turned it into a lost half hour.

I was going to knit a ton last night – but a first attempt to make a family plan to deal with mum’s stuff degraded into trying on all her shoes. (They mostly fit Erin and I. It was sad and funny and… not knitting.) I have a feeling a lot of it is going to be like that, and I don’t know how to plan for it, maybe you can’t. Maybe this year just isn’t going to be compatible with a plan, really. Maybe this is the year I just do…. what?

So far, my entire Christmas plan consists of me saying “We are really going to have to do something about Christmas” and so far, that hasn’t worked at all. I’m going to go out now, into the snow and I’m going to try buying a new notebook, and writing  “Christmas” on the front, and seeing if tomorrow I have a realistic plan for getting this thing fixed. It will probably work. Office supplies are definitely a good first step.

Right?

Just stuff that laundry behind the piano

When I was a young mother, and the girls were all little, I was part of a mothers group. I was a La Leche League Leader back then and a Wednesday morning playgroup sprang out of that. We’d all get together and the kids would play and the mums would talk about parenting and (literally) how to make your own granola. (Yes.) To be completely honest the other kids would play, and the other mums would talk and I would spend the entire time following Amanda around with a baby on my hip, ready to pull her bodily from encounters the minute she started to open her mouth. The kid was a biter. In any case, we moved this little playgroup around, and when it was my turn to host it, I would start getting anxious days before – cleaning and scrubbing and stuffing dirty clothes in closets and hiding dirty dishes in the oven and generally freaking out, so that by the time the other mothers arrived, it looked like I was a pretty perfect mum who could not only juggle three kids (one of whom was a vicious land-shark) but also had a clean house, a freshly baked whole grain cake made with wheat germ (it was the 90s. Anti-oxidants hadn’t been invented yet. We just had to put bran and wheat germ in things) all while knitting the children their own sweaters, cloth diapering, growing my own vegetables, and helping run a charity without even breaking a sweat.

This, of course, was a lie. Like anyone who’s trying to do even a third of those things, the housework was absolutely on the bottom of my list.  In any toss up between littles and babies who need something and washing a floor, the kid won every time. There was always dishes in the sink – the bathroom was right on the edge of a health code violation all the time, and if I did get three minutes when I didn’t have to care for another person you can bet I was knitting, not dusting something that was only going to get dusty again. I mean, I like a tidy house, but let’s get real about what your priorities are like if your day has that much to do with other people’s bodily fluids.  Still, even though every parent on earth knows this, I felt compelled to disguise this reality when those other parents were on their way. It was just what I did. You clean up before company comes over, am I right?

So, one time I’m careening through the house, hiding the mess and trying to get the place ready, and my mum was over, and she was sitting there drinking coffee (I know I’ve told this story before) and she watches this for a while, and then tells me that she thinks I’m being mean. That everything I’m doing isn’t just cleaning up for company, it’s giving the other mothers the impression that I can have three little kids, a leadership role in a charity, bake all my own bread and have it all be no biggie. She wondered aloud if they felt inadequate when I pretended I could do it all, when in reality I’d put a bag of diapers that needed washing in the garbage can in the backyard because I was too far behind.  (I washed them later.)

I think about that often. About how my mum thought that pretending wasn’t kind, and I try to live in a way that’s… kinder. For example, I can tell you that something in my fridge smells funny right now and I don’t know what it is, that this morning I found underpants under a chair in the kitchen, and that I totally screwed up my knitting. I wasn’t going to tell you that last one, because once I saw what I’d done I though I could just fix it and nobody would ever know, but then I thought of my mum, and know that right now there’s one of you who’s sitting there realizing that you knit two left mittens and trying to reconcile that with your self esteem, and well.

This weekend I was away.  I spent the weekend with some friends I don’t see often enough, and we hunkered down and cooked together, and ate together and knit together. We call it Yarnclave, and because we were together so close to Christmas, we called it Yarnclavemas. We made a pie.

yarnclavemasbetter 2017-12-08

So, I’m knitting on Elliot’s sweater at some point, and I’ve finished the body, and cast off, and finished the first sleeve, and I’m picking up the held stitches for the second sleeve, and I’m thinking something positive about how it’s all going so quickly, and there it is.

elliotsstripesbad 2017-12-08

Way back when I divided for the sleeves and body, I was careless, and I put the sleeve stitches on one thread, and SOME of the other sleeve stitches on another, and then put some of the sleeve stitches on the needle for the body along with the body stitches, and then carried on. Coyotes in the wild have knit better.  The body was therefore too wide, and the one sleeve too small. Unfortunately, the fates had a good giggle about that, and I just so happened to pick the correct sleeve to knit after the body, so got that whole sleeve done before I realized what had happened.  Now, if I’d have happened to notice sooner, I could have just pulled back the body, given the sleeve stitches back to the sleeve and reknit the body, but because I didn’t notice I had to rip back the sleeve, and then the body, because the body won’t unzip all the way because I picked up stitches for the *&^%$E#$ing sleeve from it.

mistakesleeve 2017-12-08

The worst part isn’t just that I had to rip back everything but the yoke and start over, the worst part is that I even took a picture of the sweater while it was dead wrong, posted it on the blog, and didn’t notice – although may moths beset the first one of you who giggles, because it’s not like you noticed either.

right there. 2017-12-08

So, it’s days later, I’m still knitting the sweater, it’s just a few weeks before Christmas and even thought I am a reasonable, grown-up, middle-aged woman, I just got reminded that haste makes waste, pride goes before a fall, and my mother is always right.

backontrack 2017-12-08

I think I’ll have a lie down, or something, before I get slapped around with any other clichés.

I’m just that much of a help

A few months ago when I was in Vancouver at Knit Social – I staggered up to the Gauge Dye works booth and gave Catherine all my money. You know. As one does.  As I did so, I remarked that she always gets my sock yarn money and my shawl yarn money (yes I have an itemized yarn budget and you should too) and thank goodness that’s where it stops. Her colourways together with the cleverness of self- striping yarn that works for shawls? It might as well be my personal version of knitter kryptonite. As I walked away, I reflected that it’s a good deal that she doesn’t have sweater yarn or I’d pretty much give her all my yarn money, and then a lightbulb went off, and I just about walked backwards to her booth and then I told her.

“If you think about how a shawl works, and whatever magic you run to make the stripes the same length as the rows grow longer – isn’t that” (I said to her, trying not to look as excited as I felt because it’s slightly uncool, while simultaneously pretending I know what math she does)  “Isn’t that the same math as a top down raglan sweater? If you have self striping sock yarn, and shawl yarn, and sweater yarn…” (here I paused for dramatic effect) “…you’d get all my yarn money.”

Catherine looked at me. I looked at her. Then I saw the tumblers start to turn in her mind, and I knew my work was done.  “Make me that” I said.  “I’ll try” Catherine said. “There’s going to be a problem with sizes.” She said that, and I swear I saw here reach for a mental calculator.  “Give it to me in Whistler.” I said. “We’ll see.” She said.

Now, this isn’t the most positive response I’ve had to a yarn demand.  I felt like probably eventually it might happen, but that I shouldn’t get married to it, so I didn’t.  I thought about how clever an idea it was sometimes, and I felt good about telling a really clever person who could actually make it happen, but since I had no idea what had to happen for this yarn to happen, I just thought about it a little bit, like I do other things that I really like the idea of but never happen, like only having one kind of screwdriver.

I got on with my life – until I was at Catherine’s booth at the event in Whistler, and I was giving her all of my sock and shawl money, and she said WAIT, and with a perfect air of brilliance mingled with appealing confidence, she pulled this skein out from behind the booth.

sweateryarn 2017-11-30

I started to say something like “Oh isn’t that pretty” or some other standard yarn thing, when I saw her eyes twinkle, and it hit me.

bettersweateryarn 2017-11-30

Self striping sweater yarn.  She’d actually done it. Designed to work with Flax Light (though it would work with any sweater with standard top down construction) in the 1-2 size, you can cast on at the neck and have stripes of the same size appear all the way to the divide for the arms and body. The rest of the skein is blue- for the rest of the sweater, with the exception of the last little chunk, which is green, so you can have a little green at the cuffs, or the bottom band, or the button bands, or the (yeah here it comes) baby pockets.  This is the prototype, but she says she can make more – and I feel like she’s going to need to do that.

bettersweateryarnworked 2017-11-30

Soon. So, so smart.  Here. Take my sweater money.

*PS WING OF MOTH IT JUST OCCURRED TO ME THAT SHE COULD DO THIS IN OTHER COLOURS.

*PPS. I’m going to need a small loan.

*PPPS No, it’s cool, I’ll just re-finance the house. Never mind.

Long Haul

The top ten reasons I have deleted blog posts to you in the last 2 weeks – along with random photos of where I have been and things I have been doing.

  1. I have been travelling and working a lot, and by the time I find an internet connection to hit “post” what I wrote seems out date and stupid.

rainbowportludlow 2017-11-23

(The Resort at Port Ludlow on the last day of our retreat, when a rainbow broke out of the (unrelenting) rain.)

2. After my last post, someone wrote me an email saying that I should be nicer to autistic people. My response wasn’t generous, and I deleted it. (Everyone should be nice to everyone – which I was, even though the guy was a jerk. I answered all his questions and gave him my hotspot. I am super nice.)

3. One of the posts was about weaving in ends and I almost bored myself to death writing it, never mind posting it.

mittensontheplane 2017-11-23

(mitten knitting on the plane.)

4. At least three of them just said YES YOU CAN KNIT ON A PLANE.

finishedmittens 2017-11-23

(Finished Cloisonee mittens. That I knit on a plane.)

5. I deleted one by accident and in a fit of rage couldn’t write another.

nowhite 2017-11-23

(Trying to knit a second pair of Cloisonee mittens on the plane when I realized I’d forgotten the white yarn. I had backup yarn for another project but was mightily annoyed.)

6. A few of them were too vulnerable, sad and grief struck. I am generally all of those things right now, but I am trying hard to let those feelings come and go – and writing them down and committing them to the archive felt too much like committing to the dark side. There are times of happiness along with the grief, and because I’ve always believed that you get more of what you pay attention to, I didn’t want to write about grief.

balloffun 2017-11-23

(The backup yarn. Despondent Dyes : Party like you plan to be home at 9:00)

7. Then I decided that it was wrong not to write about grief, because it’s a human thing and it’s what’s happening and it happens to everyone and shouldn’t we talk about it?

snowyretreat 2017-11-23

(The scene just outside Whistler BC, at the Sea to Sky Retreat by Knit Social.)

8. See #6.

9. Thrown off by #’s 6, 7 and 8, I wrote a really happy one, and then decided (because grief makes you a crazy person) that it was disrespectful to my mother’s memory to be too happy and felt guilty that I wasn’t grieving and deleted it.

claraandi 2017-11-23

(The inestimable Clara Parkes and me. In the snow.)

10. I was knitting.

fingerlessmittens 2017-11-23

(Sorta mittens.)

PS I almost deleted this because I remembered it was American Thanksgiving and wondered if my post should be about that (even though it is not Thanksgiving here.) I decided not to. Happy Thanksgiving, American friends.  Happy Thursday to everyone else.

 

Going Going

I got up today (I’d say this morning if I believed for a second that 4:30am was morning) and staggered back to the airport, where I was seated in the chair that they’ve engraved my name in, I’m here so much. (That is totally not true but it’s got to be coming.) I was only been home for a few days this week, just long enough to talk to my family, snuggle a grandson, go to a Bike Rally meeting, nail a deadline and wash my clothes and put them back in my suitcase.  I like travelling, I really do, and for the most part I’m good at it. I sort of like hotels, and airplanes are good for knitting on, and I’ve always liked restaurants. (People bring you food and clean up afterwards. What’s not to like?) I don’t really get all that jet lagged, compared to some people I know, and there are usually interesting people and knitters and yarn when I get where I’m going. I know all this, and I can tell you that I am a professional and tidy traveller,  absolutely who you want to be behind in the security line, and I can make 9/10 border agents smile. I show up to the airport early so I can be the nicest person in the joint, and I amuse myself very well during delays.

Speaking of amusing, other than on instagram have I shown you what I’m knitting? It’s Autumn Lace – by Nancy Marchant, of course – and I’m charmed to no end while knitting it, I tell you that.  Two colours of mohair/silk, the green is my old friend Cracksilk Haze in Jelly, and the other is a Cracksilk Haze substitute, Debbie Bliss’ Angel in some brown colour that today I’m calling “ball label in suitcase”.

autumnlace 2017-11-09

I’m having a ton of fun knitting it, and the only thing that I don’t quite love is that every time I get off of a flight I’ve got so much greenish mohair stuck to me I look like I murdered a muppet.  In any case, It’s been me and this fluffy extravaganza on flight after flight after flight, and despite being really good at travel and mostly being cheerful about it, this morning I had another human just about spoil a 5 hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver (one more flight to go, and I’m almost at Port Ludlow) and I have absolutely no recourse but to tell you about it.

I got on my flight, and assembled my knitting, got out my headphones, selected a show, and established my craft zone.™  Everything was fine when buddy comes down the aisle, masquerading as a normal person, and plunks himself in the seat next to mine.  I nod politely, headphones in, and proceed to properly and studiously ignore him. Over the course of the next 5 hours, the following occurs.

  1. Before we take off, dude taps me ON THE LEG and asks me while I have my headphones in, if I have internet (I do) and if I will make a hotspot for him so he can text his sister. I am so stunned by this that I do so. I still can’t explain this.
  2. Dude interrupts me about a billion times (all while I have my headphones in which I thought we had all agreed was the international signal for not going to chat with you) to ask me separately, and always preceded by the tap on the leg –  the following. A) Where do I live?  B) Do I like that place? (This question comes 15 minutes after the first, as a separate interruption. C) Where did I get my glasses? (He has recently learned he needs glasses and is considering Walmart. This is not where mine are from.  D) Do I like the show I am watching? (You may all infer the internal answer.) E) does it bother me that it is a sexy show.  (It is The Handmaid’s Tale. It is not sexy, it is actually sort of the opposite.)  F) Do you have to purchase meals on this flight? G) A thousand other things.
  3. He manspreads his legs so wide that I have little room to exist, even though I am not very big.
  4. He leans towards me, shouldering into my space and forcing me to either cuddle with him or flinch against the plane wall. (Naturally, I choose the latter.)

Finally (although there was so, so much more) he tells me that his mother used to knit, and he thinks he could too, and then (holy cats I swear this is true) he proceeds to explain to me how many things he could make if he knew how to knit, and relates in intricate detail – all absent any actual knitting knowledge, how I could make a sweater if I wanted to. He tells me I would need a front piece, and a back piece, and some sleeve pieces, which I could “sew together” to make a sweater. He draws the shapes of these pieces on his tray table. He says he thinks (like he is probably the first to consider it) that you could likely make many things this way. Making shapes with knitting, and then fastening them together in various ways. He waits, at the end of this speech, for me to thank him (I do not, and it is a little awkward) before he tells me more about his knitting theories, and how many things he knows about it, because it is “common sense” that this is how it would all work.

He stops just short of patting me on the head and says that he could knit if he wanted to, but for (of course) that he has a job to do, and thusly, could not knit on planes, but maybe “some other places” but that most likely he doesn’t have time. You know. I somehow magnificently manage not to point out that he’s done absolutely nothing for the last 5 hours except bother me. Not read a book, not watched a film. Not napped or looked at the inflight magazine for the love of wool. Nothing. NOTHING I almost scream, and then I notice that I’ve been shedding green mohair all over him and for one perfect second, I hope he has an important meeting, and I am quietly happy.

 

Sock about town

Here I am, in London. (I know. Trust me, I feel really lucky.) Here for a bit of work, a bit of play, and a bit of a family visit – Joe and I are getting really good at combining those and making the most of opportunities like this, and that’s what we did yesterday. Long story short, after stomping all over the city yesterday, including a visit to a yarn shop (Knit with Attitude, lovely spot) while Joe went to the Imperial War Museum (not quite my thing) I found myself with a little time to kill before dinner. I consulted my map, realized that the British Museum was right around the corner, and really, how do you miss an opportunity like that?

britishmuseum 2017-11-04

The front of that place is fenced off, and you have to pass through security as you enter, and they search your bag. As with most things here, the process is efficient and polite, and in no time at all I was standing in front of the guy, and plunked my largish bag on the table in front of him.  He greeted me nicely, and – waving a hand at a chart of nasty looking things like knives and such, asked me if there was any chance I had “anything like that” in my bag.  I replied that I certainly did not, and he started to poke around in it.  First he moved the two skeins of yarn I’d got at the shop, then pulled aside the scarf I’m knitting, and then the sock that I have for when it’s too dark to work on the scarf, and then said “Yes, looks fine. Just this lot of knitting.”   I smiled, and said “Sorry, yes – it’s quite a lot I know” and knitters, he looked right up, smiled a broad and cheerful grin back at me, and said “Yes, does seem to be a bit more than the national average.”

“I’m Canadian.” I said, not sure why I felt like that explained everything.

“Right.” He replied, and it seemed like he thought that too.

I was emboldened by that, feeling like it was really okay to be a knitter here (even if I’m a little bit more than the National average) and so the next part of my plan was easy. With Canadian grease (that’s “excuse me, so sorry, pardon me, apologies, sorry”) I squeaked my way to the front of an exhibit, whipped out my sock, held it aloft (“sorry, just a moment, thanks so much”) and voila.

rosettastone 2017-11-04

A sock and the actual, real Rosetta stone.

I can’t be the first. If you’re in town, do me a favour and nip down there will you? Let’s get that National average up.

Making Hay

Since last we saw each other, my pets, this little life I’m trying to lead has been on fire. I’ve been trying to “keep busy” since Mum died, and I’ve certainly succeeded, though almost all of this was planned before that – it always seems when I’m booking these things that it’s going to be fine if I just keep it together. Stay organized. I tell myself.  Make a list. I tell myself. Well, I am and I do, but it’s still sort of madness over here. The day after I posted last, I hopped on a plane and went to Knit East, I taught for two days – lovely students, good company, hard to beat the Bay of Fundy for a view, and to ice the cake I got to see Denny and Megan. They’ve both moved away from Toronto over the last few years, and it was such a pleasure to be together like the old days.

dennymegannew 2017-11-01

I came home and the sweet little owl button’s I’d arranged for Elliot’s sweater had arrived, so our little guy got his finished sweater. Elliot has just learned to sit, so new and exciting poses are possible for this up-and-coming sweater model.  Here, he attempts a thoughtful, pensive approach…

newposes 2017-11-01

…then wonders if it’s what I was after?  (Sweater: Gus. Yarn: Regular old Cascade 220, but indigo dyed by Judith on afternoon we were together at Strung Along. Buttons, Jennie the Potter)

newsletter 2017-11-01

Three days after landed I was out the door again – this time for the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival – and wrapped up another pair of socks.

newsocks 2017-11-01

They go with all my pants.

newyellowpants 2017-11-01

Yarn: Mudpunch in “Ambitious Apiary” Pattern: My Good Plain Sock.

I got home from the Columbia Gorge on Monday night, and since I’m leaving again tonight, I made the 48 hours at home count.  I carved a pumpkin with the (grown-up) kids.

hesnotsure 2017-10-31

Meg and Alex dressed him up as an Ewok and we posed him with the pumpkin…

hedidnteatit 2017-11-01

and the leaves.  Just to be seasonally appropriate. (Meg would like you to know we didn’t let him eat the leaf.)

newhatside 2017-11-01

I finished a hat for Elliot. (Tiny Lumberjack)

newhatfront 2017-11-01

Then we all had a great big family dinner for Joe, because today is his birthday.

joeshelpers 2017-10-31

And now I’m leaving. I’m staying organized, and I have a list.

Randomly on a Thursday

1.

intheairtonyc 2017-10-19

Two days ago Joe and I got on a plane and flew to New York City for a little bite of the Big Apple

2.

sockatthemet 2017-10-19 meatthemet 2017-10-19 lookdownguggenheim 2017-10-19

He had work and me too, but we still had the time to make the most of it. We went to the park, and the Met, and the Guggenheim. (I have no idea why those pictures are blurry, they aren’t before I upload them but I don’t have time to figure it out.)

3.

knitthroughguggenheim 2017-10-19

I knit all of those places because I’m me.  Nobody minded.  As a matter of fact I wasn’t even the only knitter at the Met wandering around with a sock in hand.  (I think it was a sock.)

4. They were on their way to Rhinebeck, which I am not.

5. I know. I’m bummed about it too, but this year I had a conflict, and I’ll be at Knit East.  It will be the first time in more than a decade that I won’t be with my usual crew, but duty calls, and Knit East is awesome, and there will be a whole bunch of amazing knitters there too. Life is long.  Next year will be Rhinebeck, with my wool as my witness.

6. The only problem remains that I usually buy a years worth of soap there, so I’m going to need a solution. (Makes note to self, arranging cross-border soap mule.)

7.

headed home 2017-10-19

I’m on my way home now, with a quick turnaround to St. John in the morning. I’m literally putting down one suitcase, sleeping, and picking up one I pre-packed before I left.

8.

closed 2017-10-19

I almost went to a yarn store in NYC, but it was closed for a class. (One knitting teacher to another – I’d never interrupt your class. Not for anything.)

10.

peas 2017-10-19

I ate at Dirt Candy. It was amazing. I had a tiny grilled pea taco. (And a lot of other stuff too.)

Fibre in your diet

Socktober is still a thing over here. I had a brief dalliance with the beginnings of a shawl at Knit City, but it didn’t quite take hold, though it might have stood a chance but for Megan. My mum loved clothes shopping and did heaps of it for all of us, so I was trying to be a good grandmother, and asked her what Elliot needed. She answered that he could use a sleeper or two, and that she likes the ones with feet. I went shopping, and had trouble finding footed ones that would fit him. (Being of average weight for his age but of a rather diminutive stature, our wee lad is a bit of a square.) I bought the one footed one I could find, and two that didn’t have feet, and forked them over to Meg. When I did, she mentioned that the reason she likes the footed ones is because his little feet get so cold at night and then she said maybe he needed more booties or socks or something like that and I felt a feeling that must be exactly like the way sharks feel when they pour the buckets of chum in the water.

I went the knitter equivalent of bananas. It was all I could think of. Babies are enough to set me off, but the thought of a cold baby who could only be saved by knitting? Lunatic. I was a lunatic with wool. My grandson had cold feet and I was unstoppable. Hours later:

littleblueonestoo 2017-10-17 greenalldone 2017-10-17

One pair with ribbed cuffs and a stockinette foot, and another pair where I kept the ribbing going on the top of the sock, and gave way to stockinette on only the bottom. (No pattern, though you can find lots on Ravelry if you look – wait, I did it for you. These ones by Kate Atherley look perfect.) The good news is that not only are his feet warm, they fit just fine:

greensockson 2017-10-17

Maybe a little big, but he’s growing fast, and they are apparently delicious.

greenoneisgoodtoo 2017-10-17 delicioussocks 2017-10-17

The green ones especially.

Vegetables are important

Thanksgiving came and went this weekend, and we all magically got through it. Our first holiday without her, and there were moments that were just fine, and moments that were awful and we missed mum so much our hearts were fit to break. I’m finding this grief like that. Everything will be completely okay or completely horrible, and then something swings it the other way, and there’s no predicting what it will be. I’ll be standing there, and I’ll see Elliot learning to sit, and think my Mum would love that was happening and then cry for her so desperately, or realize my mum would like something else and then laugh out loud thinking of how she’d enjoy it.

Do you know, that in as much as my mother was a completely reasonable person and frighteningly bright, for some insane reason, she would never, ever put out more than a single can of corn for 14 people at a family diner.   A few years ago I told her that it was time for the unreasonable and inexplicable corn rationing to stop. Perhaps when we were little, a single can cut it -but now we’re all grown and she has grandchildren and I pointed out that corn is cheap and Erin really likes it and that Erin could eat practically a can herself, and that the single can system was being mocked pretty openly.  “Loosen up mum, buy more corn” I told her, and she did. Mum very reluctantly bought two cans, doubling the number of kernels each person could have to a whopping nine or so, and nothing on this earth would convince her to so much as consider a three can solution. Things were already pretty out of control, to her way of thinking. Three can’s would have been MADNESS.

When I arrived at Erin’s on Sunday, she hustled me into the kitchen, lifted the lid off a very large pot, and proudly showed me a veritable vat of corn. “Holy Cats” I breathed, rather awestruck. “Eight cans” she said, and her face shone.  “Mum’s gone. We can stop the madness now. Everyone can have all the corn they want.”  At the end of the night (and despite having 16 people for dinner) the leftover were corn, corn, some corn and about three more or less incinerated Brussels sprouts.

corncorconr 2017-10-10

(Photo emailed to the family the next morning as the reality of how much corn Erin had began to sink in.)

We stood there – looking at all that corn, and agreed that while mum hadn’t been right, we guessed we weren’t either. We still don’t have the magic number. It’s somewhere between two and eight cans though, and I can’t tell you how much Mum would love that.*

*Truly, I’ve been the model of restraint, because I have not emailed my sister 47 recipes that use corn, or started a pinterest board called “Too much corn” and sent her a link, and neither have I suggested several craft projects using laminated or dehydrated leftover corn – although really… That’s what mum would have done.