Tuesday, April 02, 2013

We cannot control the wind, we can only adjust our sails...
A dear friend used to say that to me. I just wish that I'd become a better sailor at some point in my life so that I would not be endlessly running out of control before the wind.
...and, speaking of sails, Flying Dutchman socks:
I am, once again, engaged in Sock Madness Forever, a sock-knitting competition at www.ravelry.com.  The Flying Dutchman is the Round 2 pattern.  I've been put on the fastest team again this year.  There are some scary-fast knitters on my team, most of them being Dutch or Scandinavian, and these past two years I've learned a lot about stroopwafels and lutefisk. It took me about five days to knit my socks, but some of the knitters were done in just two days! One woman on my team had her first pair of socks disqualified on a technicality, and then cast on, knit, and finished her second pair in less than ONE DAY!!!
I did not choose my yarn wisely for this pair. The blue is harsh and it wants to felt and the color bleeds when washed.  They're pretty, but won't be as wearable as I like my socks to be.

This was the Round 1 sock, Sockdolager (it's a long story):

I don't love them...the pattern is pretty, but the yarn has too much purple (it looked blue in the store, I swear!).  They'll do a good job of keeping my feet warm, or maybe I'll gift them to someone else who will love them more than I.

Several things have happened since my last post.
My father's wife died, after a five-year battle with brain cancer.  Dad seems to be doing well, and his strength and energy at the age of eighty-six continues to amaze me.
My son and his family lived here for a couple of months, but have now moved on once again.  I hope that this time they will begin to make the necessary decisions to make them independent and stable, for the sake of their four children if not for their own benefit and ours.
My employers bought a much-larger store in the town where I work, and moved my shop into it. I've not only gained a lovely place to go every working day, but have also gained a new and wonderful co-worker named Judy, who is also becoming a good friend!
My granddaughters are enrolled in a new school at their new home and struggling, but it looks as though they're getting lots of help. This school puts a lot of emphasis on the arts and both girls are already involved in after-school artistic endeavors. One will be appearing in the school's performance of "Annie" in April.

I knit this sweater for my son when he was a little boy, and it has been worn by one of his old teddies ever since Nick outgrew it.  One day when Robby was here, I took the sweater off the bear and had him try it on.
The neck is badly stretched and Robby is already too big to wear it, but it was nice to see him in what was once his daddy's favorite sweater. Here is a picture of Nick wearing the same sweater, many years ago.

Robby had asked me to teach him to knit. I told him he had to stop wearing his Velcro-closed shoes and learn to tie shoelaces, and once he did that, I'd try to teach him. His first lesson was just recently:

I found large, sturdy wooden needles and chunky yarn, cast on a few stitches, and showed him the basic knit stitch. I slipped the right needle tip into the loop on the left needle, wrapped the yarn around and used the tip to pull a new loop through, and he said, 
"Really, Grandma? Seriously? That's all there is to it?" and gave me a skeptical look. 
We sat together and knit for a bit. He would work a stitch or two, and I'd work five or six. We completed a few rows.  He wants to make a hat and we'll dye it bright orange when it's finished, as orange is his favorite color.
I've been teaching some ladies to knit socks at the public library, just casual classes that I'm doing for free. We started with five students and are down to one regular one and two who pop in when they can. It's been fun to share my addiction and help some nice people learn to do something new.
One of my students brought in these socks:
This is what Lois had to tell me about her socks:

"The socks were knitted by Elizabeth Humiston, from New York State.  They were given to Grace Tavernier of Bristol IN.  Grace lived on US 120 kind of between Middlybury and Bristol,  IN very near Eby Pines  where they raise Christmas trees.
Grace lost her mother as a young child.  She had one brother.  They lived on adjoining lots as adults.  When her father remarried Grace went or was sent to live with an Aunt and Uncle.  As an adult she lived in the same house that she grew up in.  She and her husband, Minor Tavernier (my uncle) took care of her Uncle Ad  Hill until his death then they inherited his farm.  I also have some old silver plated utensils that have the initial H on them. Grace was born August 9th, 1893 and passed on March 26 1973.  She had a bad heart. 
The socks have  one very tiny hole on the leg , perhaps a snag.  They do not look like they were worn much and are made with thread, not yarn. 
Since Grace Tavernier was born in 1893 I figure these socks could be 120 years old as of now.  The note Attached to the socks says they are over 100 years  old.   According to that note I believe it is written in Grace's handwriting these socks were already 100 when she wrote the note as an adult.  I'm thinking maybe it would be closer to say 120 years by now.   Who Knows?  This note is written on lined notebook paper with a fountain pen in beautiful cursive.  It was pinned on the socks when I brought them home after Aunt Grace passed away.  The note is yellowed now and wrinkly.  It says," This belongs to Mrs. Minor Tavernier (Grace), White Pigeon.  "
I did not write the note so perhaps my Aunt did.  Maybe they really belonged to  the Aunt that raised her.  Grace (my Aunt) never had children.
The socks measure from top to bottom of heel 12" and from toe to heel 7".  I have no idea who Elizabeth Humiston was.  I don't believe she was a Tavernier relative.  Perhaps the Hill family knew Elizabeth."
They are quite lovely and I am so honored that she shared them with me.

There has been knitting that I do love. I found on Ravelry a Dutch knitter named Erry, whose patterns are just beautiful. All are based on traditional Dutch fishermen's ganseys and she includes little stories about the stitches and their histories. I've knit three of them now and will be casting on to knit a fourth very soon.  The first was the Cabled Spakenburg socks that were in an earlier post.  Number two was this pair: 
The Bell of Arnemuiden, cast on in February and finished just a couple of hours ago. I wish I could better show the texture of the stitches.

Number three pair is here: 
Haring uit Maassluis, or Dutch Fish as I call them. Fish, Dutch, orange...All of this amuses me, and I know these will become favorite socks. I bought white yarn and dyed it myself using paste food colors in orange and brown. Three of my grandchildren were here to watch the dyeing process, and they think that I must be quite magical to be able to turn white yarn to orange in my slow-cooker! :D 

And then, there are these:

The pattern is Zugspitze, named for the highest mountain peak in Germany. I saw Zugspitze when I visited my friend in Europe last year and I love these socks...except...I used several small balls of leftover yarn from my stash to knit them.  The colors did not match exactly, but that was ok. What was NOT ok was that apparently some of the yarn that I used was not superwash, and my lovely socks felted in places the first time I washed them. :(

Enough for now, and far too much.  Happy first day of April to you and yours. May it bring you much joy!
Published 2 April, 2013

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