Thursday, May 31, 2007
June stretches out before us like a long, lazy cat; warm days, crickets, breezes, thunderstorms, sun directly overhead and extra time, it seems, to knit!
I found this easy pattern, called Cat's Paw, on a British knitting forum.....www.knittingforums.co.uk. I always
enjoy finding out what everyone else is working on or struggling with, it gives perspective to so many things.
The directions are as follows: Cast on a multiple of 7 stitches.
Row 1: Purl
Row 2: K1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k1.
Row 3: Purl
Row 4: K2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk.
Row 5: Purl
Row 6: K2, yo, sl1, k2 tog, psso, yo, k2
Repeat rows 1-6 for pattern.
And, while I'm on the subject of the British Isles, nothing is more appropriate to proper knitting than enjoying the perfect cuppa! Even I don't usually take tea this way; it's just too convenient to "put the kettle on" and drop milk and a teabag (at least I use Tetley's British blend) into my oversized teacup. (The chalice, as my husband calls it.)
When life gets too uncivil, too rude, too full-moonish, we need, we crave really, a sanction; something reassuring, that allows us to re-position ourselves and our thinking. Nothing quite fits better than a perfect cup of tea!
Over time, rules regarding tea have come and gone, and some have stuck around to enhance tea's qualities. I have created my own little list of "must-do's!" and even though I'm not British, (only a not too distant American cousin) this is one list I love to follow!
So, here goes........................
Rule #1: Use the good stuff! Only opt for Indian or Sri Lankan tea, that is. Anything else is just not the same.
Rule #2: Always use a teapot. Preferably made of china or earthenware.
Rule #3: Warm the teapot. I usually just swill it out with hot water, but warm is good.
Rule #4: Measure correctly. One teaspoon per serving and one for the pot is the norm. If you like stronger -- then adjust.
Rule #5: I've heard of pouring the tea directly into the teapot; I've never tried it so I can't comment. I use the little strainer ball and pour boiling water into the pot.
Rule #6: Use a good teacup. Mine is oversized, deep, and able to hold a good-sized cup of tea, which is what we're after here, it it not?
Rule #7: Start by pouring the designated amount of milk into your teacup FIRST. I've heard this rule is controversial, even right down to actual family arguments, yet it's the way I've done it for years, because a long, long time ago, I heard it was the English way to take tea, and I will never change this rule, no matter what you say!
Rule #8: This one's an option; drink your tea without sugar. Real tea connoisseurs will tell you the beauty of the tea goes missing when you apply sugar, but I love sweet! (And that goes for the rock group, too.)
Lastly, never, never, never drink lukewarm tea! It must be hot, scalding almost, to be enjoyed to the fullest!
Quite like life!
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Where I know that I'm free
Show me that I'm everywhere
And get me home for tea"
The Beatles "All Too Much"
I think from Yellow Submarine. If you want a flashback just go to YouTube.
From when I was little, I have always loved tea! "Take tea and see!" my Mom always told me my grandfather would say. He was the tea drinker in our family, and he got my mother hooked, and ever since I can remember tea has been my middle name.
Just because Tuesday, May 29, is the 2nd anniversary of my Mom's passing, I want to leave a little impression here as to what kind of mother I have. Not had. She may be gone from my sight, but, she will never stop being my mother. And who knows, maybe she really is here, you know, "a breath away's not far, to where you are." Go see Josh Groban if you don't believe me.
If ever there was someone in my life with a smile for everyone, it was Mom.
If ever there was someone who knew the preciousness of life, it was Mom.
If ever there was someone willing to speak out for what she believed, it was Mom.
If ever there was someone who taught me to take risks, it was Mom.
If ever there was someone who ran us all around to fulfill our (my sister and I) heart's desires, it was Mom.
If ever there was anyone happier when she became a grandmother, I have yet to find her.
If ever there was someone who loved to read and instilled that precious love in me, it was Mom.
If ever there was someone who was always learning, whether it be playing the piano, or knitting, it was Mom.
If ever there was anyone who could set a more beautiful dining room table, I haven't found her yet.
If ever there was someone who loved her pets more tenderly, it could only be those who learned from her love how to love our own baby dogs and cats.
If ever there was anyone who dressed better, I have never met them.
If ever there was someone who thought every season was beautiful, it was Mom.
If ever there was someone who looked prettier in a prom dress, I have not met her.
As I picked the thorny little branches off the ground that Dad had trimmed in front of her gravestone on Memorial Day, I felt her there with me; maybe lounging on the stone in front of me, maybe floating gracefully in the air, warm with the sun all around me. I only know she was there, and oftentimes, here in Pennsylvania, with me. Shadows all around me, are no figment of my imagination; I can't imagine that well. She is there, watching over us all, I suspect; keeping us from harm.
I do know this much; in this life, remember:
it is all God's will;
every day is a gift;
and you will know love when you feel love;
but, my mother could have told you that.
So, never stop listening to the stillness, and you will find your heart's desire.
Hopefully, with a cup of tea at arm's length and your passion going full-tilt; for life's just not worth it, any other way.
In the immortal words of George M Cohan,
"My sister thanks you, my father thanks you",
but most of all my mother thanks you.
For all I am, for all she always knew I was, for all I will ever be, I thank you Mom,
and no one will ever love you more.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Herman's Hermits aside, (if you don't know what that means, just "google" it), in between my ebiz, this blog, my knitting, my monthly newsletter, and my life, I currently work full-time. Not by choice, mind you, but there are those bills that need to be paid every month.
When researching online for knitting nuggets, I often run across websites far away from northeast PA, and it always puts me in mind of one thing: just what is going on all over the world?
As I write this installment, it's 9:00 a.m. in my world. Yet, most of the west coast hasn't even stirred their coffee yet! And, people in the British Isles are enjoying a late lunch or an early tea. (I prefer the latter, thank you, but that's another story.)
Somewhere in India or the Seychelles it's night-time and when we are driving to work, they are thinking about going to bed. There are school buses driving kids to school somewhere, and somewhere else they're taking kids home. Where people are busy at work on any given afternoon, others are sitting down to a concert or a play. I watch The Tonight Show and someone else is watching a morning show or early evening news. The world certainly is round because all of us are always moving around the hours.
So, when I sit and knit, I like to think of others who are sitting and knitting, too!
Who else is knitting a pretty summer shawl or learning how to knit their first afghan? Knitting clubs are here, there, and everywhere, teaching some how to knit with circular needles, showing others how to knit using a chart.
If you are looking for that perfect poncho pattern or an easy scarf pattern, chances are someone in another time-zone is, too.
So, here's what I'm going to do: in the next few weeks check back here for some awesome patterns from all around the globe! East, West, North and South, I'm looking.
To start things off right, here is a pretty chenille evening wrap, perfect for those elegant weddings all summer long!
Direct from Shohola, Pennsylvania --
Cast on 57 stitches. Knit 6 rows.
Row 1: (ws) - K1, *p1, k1, rep from * across.
Row 2: P1, *sl 1p wyif, p1, rep from * across.
Rep rows 1 and 2 until wrap measure approx 52 inches.
(note: wyif = with yarn in front)
Fringe away, and you will get so many compliments!
Be sure to check here again next week, and if you have some suggestions for patterns around the world, please let me know! Cheers!
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
The better to hear my knitting needles. Even better to learn new knit stitches or purl stitches or cable stitches or lace stitches.
As I write this , let me tell you something about a Pennsylvania spring. Leaves are just popping out on the earliest bloomers; dogwoods are going from lacy white to green, daffodils and tulips are at their prettiest. The grass has deepened into a muted, summer color; while driving over the mountain (elev. 1254 ft.) just outside of Port Jervis, NY on I-84, the foothills and far away places have a softness that a month ago was absent from the earth. Pretty lavender azaleas and deep purple-tinted trees rise over the open fields and farmlands which stretch out along my ride. Black and white cows lounge lazily in their big brown farmyard, some standing doing nothing, others sitting doing nothing.
The Delaware River has, at last, shrunk back between its banks; two weeks ago after 8" of rain in a day it resembled a watery behemoth. Early mornings find gauzy fog, ethereal and wispy, settled into every nook and cranny. I can still see my breath while fueling up the car (an outrage - this $3.00/gal gas) yet, the air is no longer cold. Only balmy.
Spring is delicate. Luscious and lacy, sylvan and cob-webby. A lot like lace knitting.
Lace knitting is just a combination of certain, same stitches which when worked in a pattern, row by row, create the most beautiful creations! One such stitch is the Yarn-Over.
Now, you can achieve these lovely holes by just dropping stitches all over the place, but that will definitely give your knitting a decidedly tacky look and I don't think that's what you're going for.....instead, do what I do.
Learn the stitches. Nothing could be easier. Learn those little "yo's" for knit stitches and purl stitches, for there are different ways of doing them. It's just another facet of how to knit. Remember, yo's always look loose on your needle and the tendency, at first, is to let them fall off, because they don't look like real knit stitches. But, they're as real as the rest of them, so treat them accordingly, and knit or purl them as your pattern row tells you.
Whenever you do lace knitting there are specific knit stitches you will always use, and "k2tog" (knit 2 together) is another. This creates one stitch where once there were two, by, knitting two stitches together. Couldn't be easier! And, let's not forget SK2P. Looks complicated, doesn't it? It's not. Here's all you do: slip 1 stitch, knit 2 tog, pass slip stitch over the knit 2 tog. Now, 2 stitches have been decreased.
For a lot more information on knit stitches, just visit my website at The Knit Stitch to purchase my ebook, where all of this, and more, is made easy for you!
So, until next time, I think I'm getting another cup of tea -- and my knitting! Ah, heaven!