Author Archives: DMBurrell

March forecast

Seventy degrees earlier in the week here in Boston. Today: 12 degrees (that’s Fahrenheit). Insane!

Life is chugging along here at La Casa Hail Britannia. My knitting/sewing productivity has dropped over the last few months as I’ve had to spend more time helping my stepfather manage my mother’s affairs due to her declining health. Going through this experience is tough, but it has also given me some valuable insight into how I live my own life. My mother and I have very different personality types to begin with, which adds to the drama. Illness has brought out her anger and unhappiness, which she takes out on those closest to her, which is mostly my stepfather, with me coming in at a close second.  Luckily I get on well with him, which makes things a LOT easier for both of us.

People have always told me things like, “Wait’ll your kid is a teenager … you’ll see how hard it is.” But I have to say dealing my fifteen-year-old is a cakewalk compared to dealing with my 75-year-old mother. My only complaint with him is he could take his studies a little more seriously, change his bedsheets more often, and eat more vegetables. On the rare days he misbehaves, I can still send him to his room, but I can’t do that with my mom. 😉

All this has made me realize that I need to take better care of myself. All my life I’ve had insanely low blood pressure, but recently, it has creeped up into the high normal range, so I’m working to get that back down with exercise, stress reduction exercises, and healthier eating. I’ve never been a big fan of fast food, so it was scary to me to see how often I was eating it driving back and forth to Connecticut. Now I pack food to take with me so I don’t have to resort to “grab and go” eating. And on weekends I’m turning off the electronics and focusing on my own immediate family, exercise, and creative projects, which has been a godsend for my mental health. By the time I post this, my husband and I will have gone to the movies (Lion), had a dinner date (Legal Seafood), and knock wood, I will have finished the last bits on my denim shirt project (photo below, details TK).

What I’m going to do here is create a goal list for the month of projects I want to work on and finish. I feel like that will keep me on track and provide fewer opportunities for distraction. So here goes:

In March I will:

  • Finish my Grainline Archer denim shirt, which just needs hemming and buttonholes

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  • Sew Butterick B6296 pajama set using fabric below:

  • Finish knitting my sister-in-law’s socks from yarn we bought together in Munich last summer (I work on these when I’m waiting in the car for my son or at the doctor’s office with my mother):

  • Finish knitting this Candide cardigan, a pattern from the early 1960s with lovely olive green DK weight wool I bought on sale at Hub Mills/Classic Elite Yarns years ago. A stash buster sweater!

  • And, if I have time, sew a pair of trousers for myself with green fabric of indeterminate cotton/poly content I purchased at the $2.99 Fabric Store in Auburn and a cream-colored turtleneck for next winter using a TNT (tried and true) OOP (out of print) Kwik Sew pattern.

Typing that out and looking through my project piles cracks me up because my ambitions clearly outpace my reality! I’ll check back in as projects get accomplished. : )

 

 

2016 Year in Review

According to my Facebook feed, 2016 has been a year that most of my friends are happy to see leave (“goodbye! don’t let the door hit you on the way out!”). Election results, death, humanitarian crises around the world, job loss … the year has certainly packed a few punches.

For me personally, I’ve had worse years although yes, it was a sad year in which I lost a close family friend to cancer. I look back at 2010-2011, a period of two years where we faced a financial crisis, and then on top of that, my own cancer diagnosis and for good measure, a herniated disc. All in all 2016 it has actually been pretty good to our family.

  • My husband found a great job after leaving his consulting position at a startup; he’s happy with the work and the people he works with.
  • Our son entered high school in the fall and is doing well. He’s in honors-level classes and has made first-honors with his grades (first-honors = A average).
  • My mother’s myeloma roared back in the fall, but this was mostly because she wasn’t taking her medication as directed. It was some work for me and my stepfather to get her to become a “compliant patient” (my mom can be “feisty,” lol), but once we got her on a regular routine of taking her meds each day, her myeloma went back into remission. This was HUGE good news because it meant her medical team wouldn’t have to go to plan B, or chemo drugs that I’m not sure her slight frame could bear.
  • While my father and stepmother went through a divorce, they’re still together … which probably makes no sense to anyone except for my family reading this. It’s a long story, but suffice it to say, this is good news. 🙂
  • My dad is heading toward 80, but he’s in fantastic shape and still working.
  • I went into business with my long-time co-author. We haven’t made a ton of money YET, but it has been good for me to have a focus. We released Money Shots in the fall and will be releasing a third edition of The Renegade Writer early in 2017.
  • My sweetie bought me a new car this fall, so we’re back to being a two-car family. This was after being car-less for two years.
  • We spent 10 wonderful days in Germany this summer visiting family.

  • And lastly, we have a new family member to look forward to this spring. I’m not sure how public this news is so I’ll leave it at that. Suffice it to say, I’m very excited about the prospect of baby knitting/sewing. 🙂

My knitting and sewing projects took a hit in 2016, mostly because I was so busy with my new business venture and taking care of my mother in Connecticut. I’m not sure I knit anything that memorable — no sweaters, maybe a half-dozen socks for the sock drawer. For the last few months, I’ve been working on baby knitting, including a large project that I can only work on at home. (I get a lot of my knitting done in the car, in waiting rooms, etc.)

I hope you had many good moments in 2016 that you can reflect on and wish you all the best for a happy and prosperous 2017! Until then …

 

 

Whiskers!

Today was my son’s last day of school before the holiday break so I drove over a little early, figuring it would be nice to sit in the warm car and either read or listen to BBC World Service. (I chose reading … too much upsetting news.) I happened to be sitting in bright sunlight, and with my glasses on checked out my appearance in the rear-view mirror and …

WHISKERS! Actually, more like a mustache…a sparse one, but yikes, those black hairs were scary looking.

When my son got in the car, I asked him how long I’ve been walking around with a mustache. He said he never noticed I had one. So there’s some good news there.

Oh, the joys of being 50! 😉

Merry Christmas, and if I’m not back before then, a Happy New Year, too.

Winter Solstice

The shortest day of the year. When I looked out the window yesterday afternoon at 4:45 p.m. it was completely dark. I don’t like wishing my life away but I do look forward to January and the days getting longer.

I haven’t much to show knitting- or sewing-wise as mostly everything I’m working on is meant for gifting. One of my siblings is going to be a father this spring, so I’ve gone a bit crazy with baby knitting. Although I learned to knit as a child, I didn’t get back into it until my son was well into elementary school, so I missed out on knitting for my own baby. It is very exciting because this will be my first niece or nephew from my side of the family. (No word if baby is a girl or a boy. My feeling is boy. The Burrell family is male-dominated.)

The expectant mom is a knitter and wants me to show her some tricks. She calls herself a “basic” knitter, which is how I think of myself. I’m not very clever, just good at following directions and patient when things go wrong … and they do, all the time. Take for example one of the huge baby projects I’m working on… Only this morning I realized I had one fewer stitch I needed in a critical row, which means tinking back three long rows of lace to fix a missing yarnover. It annoyed me so that I put aside the project aside; I’ll return to it when I’ve cooled off and can face the task without any emotion. As I told my sister-in-law several weeks ago, I think the sign of knitting competence is not in the fancy stuff you can do, but in being able to look at your work, see where it’s gone south, and know exactly what you’ll have to do to get it back on the path. Getting back to that point is often a boatload of work (to mix metaphors), so extra points there. 🙂

And Christmas is almost here! It feels like it snuck up on me this year. We elected not to put up a tree. I would have done it if O insisted upon it, but he’s never been that affected by holiday spirit, so we’re going to put a few bulbs on our potted Norfolk pine and call it a day. Our cat Winston is a climber. Last year he knocked our tree over so many times it was more of a hassle than it was worth. Live and learn!

We spent Thanksgiving in Florida this year. My mother-in-law’s extended family built an amazing outdoor pavilion on their property so they had a family reunion of sorts. It was an interesting experience eating Thanksgiving dinner outdoors in 70 degree weather! On top of that, the food was definitely “southern style,” which interested me greatly as a food writer. For example, there were no vegetables that were cooked on their own. In other parts of the country, I think it would be common to have side dishes of plain green beans, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and/or winter squashes, but with this Southern-style Thanksgiving, the vegetables were cooked into casseroles with a lot of added ingredients. Again, it was interesting to experience a different regional style of celebration. 🙂

OK, so the photo above. That happened Sunday afternoon, right after my husband and I returned from grocery shopping. I had just settled down with a cup of tea at the dining room table when I heard a loud crack. I looked out the window, saw pine boughs falling to the pavement, heard more cracks, and then I jumped up and ran to the other side of the house because I could tell the tree was coming down. What a noise! It ripped out the power lines, caused some significant damage to our neighbor’s home, and shut down the street for hours. We are very lucky no one was hurt, and we had power back by 9:30 p.m. (Actually earlier for us … my husband had the foresight several years ago to buy a backup generator after we lost power for a week at our old house.) This has been the third or fourth tree to come down sort of close to where I’m sitting. Yikes! Think someone’s trying to tell me something?

When Harry Met Meghan: Why Meghan Markle May Be Perfect for Harry (and for the British Monarchy)

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Full disclosure: When rumors started circulating a couple weeks ago that Prince Harry was dating an American television actress named Meghan Markle–and that she was teasing her social media followers with coy Instagram shots of Buckingham Palace and spooning bananas–I thought it was a publicity stunt, a very bad plan hatched by her media team to get some better name recognition for an actress few Americans know of.

Was I ever wrong.

I think I was more shocked with Prince Harry’s strongly worded statement to the press to leave his American girlfriend alone than I was by the outcome of our U.S. presidential election. After all, I’ve spent the last several months warning my liberal east coast friends that they were underestimating the depth of dislike for Hillary Clinton in other parts of the country, thus why I awoke Wednesday morning not at all surprised we have a Trump presidency awaiting us in January.

Like the pundits here and abroad have said, this very public declaration is an extraordinary move for anyone in the royal circle to make. Look how long it took Prince William to stand up to the press with his long-time girlfriend (and now wife) Kate MIddleton– years!–and Prince Harry stood up to it in mere months. It certainly signifies the relationship between the British prince and the American actress is very serious, and my gut says an engagement announcement is forthcoming.

I’ve thought a bit about this, and my opinion is that a Princess Meghan is just what the Royal Family needs to move forward and stay relevant. Why?

  1. She’s a working woman. Ok, she may not work in an office or be on the cusp of discovering the cure for cancer, and her day job is probably a bit more glamorous than the one you or I have, but Markle does support herself with her acting and shows some entrepreneurial spirit with her website and a clothing line. The loudest complaint I heard about the Duchess of Cambridge, and now about Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, is that she was “work shy.” Before she married Prince William, the Duchess did hold a few jobs, but not for long, and she had to rely on her parents for housing and an eventual temporary position in their own company. Bea and Eugenie are objects of ridicule for their relentless job hopping and the number of cushy vacations they manage to take each year. If Markle does become a member of the Royal Family, she’ll probably have to give up her career, but at least no one can accuse her of taking any free rides to the palace balcony.
  2. She’s philanthropic. I suspect this is one of the major attractions Prince Harry has for his new girlfriend…beyond the obvious, that she’s absolutely gorgeous! Princess Diana was revered for her charity work, and Markle looks like she has the energy and star-power to continue her legacy. As a young child, Markle traveled with her mother to developing countries, where she saw poverty up close, and this seemed to drive her philanthropy as an adult. In college she double-majored in theater and international relations (Northwestern grad, too, a great school!), and has most recently traveled to places to Rwanda and Afghanistan on behalf of UN-based organizations. If she and Prince Harry marry, she’ll be totally comfortable and passionate with the royal charity obligations she’ll undoubtedly have. Moreover, it seems that both she and Harry have similar charitable interests … a double win!
  3. She’s biracial. Markle’s mother is black, her father white. A few newspapers have made issue of this and snobbishly wondered if the very white Royal Family was ready for her. My feeling is that the Royal Family is far more welcoming and liberal than we give them credit for; it’s the old-school courtiers and the media rabble-rousers who will make race into an issue. So many families today are made up of different races that it’s time to let our institutions reflect that reality instead of holding them to a standard that’s antiquated and frankly racist.
  4. She’s American. I’ve read some snobby comments about Markle’s common American roots, but the flip side of this is that Americans are going to be far more aware and interested in the British Royal Family than ever. I wasn’t around when Grace Kelly married Prince Ranier, but I’m guessing that most Americans had never heard of Monaco until Grace became Princess Grace. The British may see the Royals as “royal scroungers” but Americans have nothing like them, so they’re what we think of when we think of England. Having one of us in their midst will make us love you a little more than we already do.
  5. She’s an actress. The press seems to think Markle’s acting background is an impediment (mostly because of some risque scenes she’s done) but I think it’s an incredible skill she’ll bring to the family business. Everyone rolls eyes about the Royal Family’s endless ribbon-cutting and wreath-laying itineraries, but after watching all ten hours of The Crown on Netflix last weekend, I got a taste of how hard it must be for the royals to always be smiling, pleasant, and conversational for hours at a time. (If you saw the mini-series, there’s a funny scene where the Queen has to have a relaxant injected into her cheek after the muscle freezes from smiling too much during a Commonwealth tour.) Markle’s acting background means she can put on a show, deliver a speech, smile, act interested, and have less of a chance forgetting her lines than someone who hasn’t had that kind of training.

Of course, if Markle marries into the Royal family, it won’t all be rainbows and unicorns. Surely she’ll have to give up her (paid) acting career, her social media presence, and I assume her American citizenship. And then there’s the relentless media scrutiny she’ll have to deal with, although her acting career will have prepared her for that somewhat.

What do you think? Has Harry met his match? Is she the breath of fresh air the Royals need, or a right royal headache? Please feel free to comment below. P.S. I’ll be back next week with a more personal post; I haven’t been able to log into WordPress until today because of a technical issue, but that has been fixed. Yay!

 

 

How to get the mothball smell out of clothing

Two years ago I resorted to storing my winter woolens in mothballs after a particularly nasty clothes moth infestation wreaked havoc on my yarn stash. That was a painful week, throwing out skein after skein of expensive yarn because–grr–the moths had a particular fondness for the skeins that cost a fortune!!! I didn’t want to lose any handknits to those damn pests so rather than relying on lavender, cinnamon, and bay leaves (which repel, not kill), I went the mothball route to ensure all buggers were dead.

Here’s the thing about mothballs: they smell terrible. And yes, I know, they’re terribly toxic too, but my infestation was so great, I figured one or two seasons of mothballs would be a risk worth taking as long as I was careful handling them and I minimized my and my family’s exposure to them. I would not use them if I had young children in the house, and we store off-season clothing in a room where our cat isn’t allowed.

So back to the smell–it seems like mothballs evoke all kinds of different images and memories for people. For my mom, the smell reminds her of walking to school in her winter coat and every time she moved, getting a whiff of mothballs she hoped no one else could smell. My friend says the smell makes her think of “old people.” For me, I think of a metal wardrobe my parents had in the 70s. It must have stunk of mothballs.

Mothballs are a sure bet at killing moths and larvae, but what you can’t count on is getting the stink out of your clothes afterwards. The first year I used mothballs, I did what I thought was the logical thing: I washed all my stored items to remove the residual smell. Unfortunately, not only did it not work, it actually made everything smell worse!!! Drycleaning? Useless, as well as expensive. So I tried some other tactics, such as soaking garments in white vinegar and water (helped a little) and storing them in a plastic container with some baking soda (which maybe masked the odor more than killed it). I also tried lavender sachets and even “Febrezed” some of my more “hearty” knits. Eventually I couldn’t smell the mothballs when I would take the item out of the container or my closet, but here’s the weird thing — if the garment got damp, such as from rain or being in the snow, it would start to reek of mothballs again. So frustrating that I couldn’t get rid of the chemical odor!

Near the end of last winter, I was doing some research to find out if mothballs can repel snakes (nope–snakes can’t smell). I hit on a description of naphthalene, the chemical in mothballs, which said naphthalene gas is broken down by bacteria, fungi, air, and sunlight. WELL! No wonder water didn’t work so well for me! I piled all my woolens in a laundry basket and headed out to our sunny backyard with a bag of clothespins. By the end of the day, all of the woolens I’d hung up on our clothesline were virtually free of mothball smell. For good measure, I aired them out the next day too, and for the rest of the winter, I could wear woolens that didn’t smell as though they’d come out a steamer trunk in my great-grandmother’s attic.

That’s what I’m doing today — airing and sun-cleaning all my woolies for the coming winter. What I do is every hour or two move things around and flip garments over so they don’t get sun bleached, especially if there’s a fold in the fabric. (I ruined a sweater when I was a teen by leaving it in the sun too long with the arms crossed across the body. Learned that lesson early!) Some of the heavier items, like my Aran cardigan, will get a second airing tomorrow. Then I’ll handwash everything to get rid of any dirt or insects that landed on the garments while airing and then store the clothing on shelves lined with lavender and cinnamon sachets.

 

Back to WordPress

A bit disappointed that Hugh Laurie didn’t win an Emmy for his role in The Night Manager. Boo!

My co-author and business partner said she didn’t mind if I used some space on our server to host my blog, so I spent an evening last week reinstalling a backup copy of my blog to the new host. A couple of times I was ready to pull my hair out, but I find walking away and taking a break usually resolves the (human) error. I liked Blogger’s platform, but it broke all my permalinks, which cost me some traffic. Not that I get tons of traffic here, but a couple of my posts get a lot of hits because (I hope) they’re helpful, so there was that.

Last Saturday I drove down to Connecticut with my son for a family meeting. My stepmom’s best friend from high school was there, and she let us pick one of these pot-holders made from felted sweaters. I thought they were so cute and clever. (I picked one of those teal birdies.)

K worked in theater costume design for years, so I’m excited that next month when I drive down to North Carolina for a business meeting I’ll be spending a night at K’s house in Baltimore, which is roughly half-way between Boston and Research Triangle. I’d been agonizing whether or not to make the 12-hour drive in one straight shot, but when K invited me to spend the night at her house–quilts, sewing, fiber arts–no way was I going to turn that down. It’s nice because the part of the trip I was dreading has turned out to be something I’m looking forward to. I don’t really have any friends who are as into sewing and knitting as I am. They appreciate it, but they don’t want to talk about it to the degree I do.

Warm and rainy here today. Beautiful sunset in the evening as we drove back from Lexington. O wouldn’t let me pull over to take a picture. It kind of looked like this:

48 hours

It has been a long two days. I’ve been a bit overdue for my annual cancer checkup, which involves some invasive and altogether unpleasant medical procedures, so today was the day. The actual day is not that bad; once I’m at the hospital and hooked up to an IV, the worst is pretty much over. When I awaken, I know I’ll be able to eat again, to breathe easier that another year has passed and with luck, put more distance between the time I wasn’t so lucky.

Except that today, the worst wasn’t over. When I awoke after the procedure, I was in terrible pain. Awful. And I’m not a wimp about pain so when I say it hurt, it hurt. It took hours for the pain to subside to a point where I wasn’t wincing every time I changed position, and even now, over twelve hours later, I get an occasional stab just under my breastbone. My doctor also found a new polyp, this one much higher in my colon, which was removed and will be biopsied. He didn’t seem too worried about it; he told me and my husband that it was “tiny,” unlike the huge mass he found five years ago. I’ll know the results in a couple weeks. I have a lot of work to keep me busy so I plan to distract myself. Another clue that he’s not too concerned it’ll come back positive is that he’s pushing my next checkup to three years instead of one. That’s great news!

The one thing that sucks about cancer is that even with a good outcome, it may be out of your body but it’s always there in the back of your mind. My risks for another diagnosis are higher than someone who hasn’t had that diagnosis. I do remind myself that my grandmother had colon cancer in her 70s and lived to be 100 and it wasn’t cancer that got her, but old age. Every time something goes wrong with my digestive system, I wonder if I’ve got another tumor growing in there. It’s hard to know when to relax or when I should be on it.

I was feeling too bad afterwards, so my husband brought me home to sleep it off best I could, then we went out later for food. I hadn’t eaten in two days, and all I wanted was miso soup and California rolls. We have a fantastic Japanese restaurant in town, so we enjoyed an early dinner then brought take-out home for our son. The food hit the spot, the perfect meeting between what my tastebuds craved and my stomach wanted.

On the ride home, we were talking about the weather and I mentioned to him how I was looking forward to fall because it was “knitting season.” He said, “Sweetie, with you every day is knitting season.” Hahahaha! Not quite true — I prefer sewing more in the summer, but I do always keep something going on my needles year ’round, mostly socks. But for the past week or two, I’ve found myself trolling Ravelry more. I think I need more shawls. I used to enjoy knitting shawls but felt they didn’t mesh well with my style so I stopped. When we were in Germany this summer, though, I got a lot of use out of my Pebble Beach shawl — I used it to block the sun on my shoulders during a day-long boat trip, as well as a garment to keep me warm at night. So I think I’ll focus on making a few new shawls this winter — they certainly are quite handy!

Cranking it out

Yesterday (Friday) was mostly spent working like a dog on Money Shots: doing some last-minute research at the grocery store (oops, forgot to talk about all those new refrigerated coffees and how you can save $ with them), editing recipes, adding to the text portion of the book, assigning ISBNs through Bowker. I love this stage of book-writing–the end is nigh and the incoherence has been beaten and massaged into paragraphs that make sense.

Updated author photo; forgive the war paint

Updated author photo; forgive the war paint

What is really enjoyable is having all my fingers in the pie, not just the writing one. I suspect I’m more of a manager than an artist at heart; maybe a manager with artistic sensibilities. Whenever I take those left brain/right brain quizzes, I fall in the middle somewhere, maybe a little bit more to the left on one day, more to the right on the next. I’m not one of those writers who throws up her hands at the prospect of doing some math, figuring out a bit of geometry, or working on some website coding that’s gone wonky.

Anyway, yesterday was a productive, satisfying day that left me feeling like, “Ok, I’ve accomplished something here.” Writing isn’t particularly hard for me as much as it’s tedious and slow business. So I’m going to enjoy the weekend and finish my new denim skirt, which only needs to be hemmed. “Only” is misleading here; it’s a button-up skirt with a facing and I can’t quite figure out from the directions what I’m supposed to do with that flap of fabric, but I’ll figure it out after a few more cups of coffee. Then, since it’s a bit overcast today, it feels like a good day for a leisurely bike ride, maybe as far as Cambridge with some knitting packed into my bike kit. (It’s surprisingly pleasurable to pull over in a scenic spot to work a few rows of garter stitch!) I don’t want to save it till tomorrow because we’re supposed to get some stormy weather. Maybe dinner out tonight with the husband … yes, sounds like a good day.

Speaking of which, here’s what a good man I have. Recently, packages have been arriving in the mail addressed to him, which I don’t open. That was a cardinal rule in our home growing up, you never open someone else’s mail, so I don’t do it even if I know what’s inside is for the house or something he’s ordered for me. So when he comes home, he opens these packages and leaves the contents on my work table. To wit:

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This was everything from the last week. He had overheard me mumble something about not having good marking tools for the dark fabric I was using as a mockup, so he took it and ran with it. {{{}}} Of course, we have an unwritten agreement that whenever he needs something sewn, whether it’s bathing trunks, a wallet prototype, or a pair of pants that need rehemming, that I’ll do the work. But really, I think it’s time for me to get going on the tailored dress shirt I promised him for a birthday present something like five years ago. :-/

Fall is (almost) here

For once, I’m happy that September has been ushered in the door. Summer here in eastern Massachusetts has been hot and dry; our county is under a severe drought, my vegetable garden didn’t survive past the end of the July (the deer also helped), and because I’m a woman of a certain age going through some hormonal changes, the heat makes it hard for me to get comfortable. So autumn, let’s get it on!


I can always tell fall is in the air because the knitting projects I mostly ignore during the summer start calling to me from their dusty project bags … like the wine-colored mohair cardigan I intended to wear for a Christmas 2015 party:

I’ve knitted the back, which you see above, as well as the two sleeves. When I knit sweaters, I always knit the sleeves first just to avoid the whole “Second Sleeve Syndrome” thing that often happens … you get done with one sleeve and think, “Oh God, another?” then never finish the darn thing. Here, what happened is that I didn’t take great notes when I was knitting the back, so when I started to knit the two fronts, instructions like, “decrease on the same row as you did on the back.” Had I kept notes, I’d know what that row is. But I didn’t, so in a fit of pique I threw the sweater aside and went on to knit something else, probably a hat … or ten. 😉 And I would rip the back out and start over again — I’m the kind of knitter who doesn’t mind taking something completely apart to get it right, even if it means I “wasted” days knitting it the first time ’round — but this is silk mohair, and you knitters know it’s sheer hell to tink back a row, never mind rip back a whole sweater knit in mohair! 

So … the plan now is to use a measuring tape and measure the best I can where I should start decreasing for the armholes and neck holes. And take good notes so I have them for the other front side of the cardigan. I was being a big baby about it, but it’s time to move forward and get this lovely sweater finished. BTW, it’s an Erika Knight design — I knit one in gray a few years ago and it’s one of my favorite pieces. I’m going to knit another in an icy blue, maybe with some silver thread shot through the ribbing.

I’ve always got a pair of socks going, of course, to get me through appointments, waiting rooms, and sitting in the car waiting for my son to appear. Speaking of my son … it was his first day of high school this week. Late Monday night when my husband and I were talking in bed, I started to cry because it hit me that in four years he’ll be off to college. “He’ll be an adult!” I sniffed, and my husband said, “No, he’ll be an adult in three years, two months.” Geez, honey, thanks! 😉 Anyway, Oliver wasn’t too excited starting school again, but he did say he liked his math, history, Latin, and digital art classes.

The publishing company we started at the beginning of the year (“we” being my long-time co-author and business partner Linda) is going well, and in October we’re releasing another title called Money Shots: How to Save Cash on Your Coffee Habit—While Still Feeling Full & Satisfied. Linda did the lion’s share of the writing, while I’ve been handling the recipe development. By tomorrow I should be finished with the last of the recipes. I’ve been on a perpetual caffeine high for the last six weeks. In some ways it has been good because it has me buzzing around here making lists and plans and actually executing some of those plans! On the other hand, my adrenal system feels shot so I’ve been taking long walks to calm the jitters.

Research for our next book!

Let’s see, what else? I’m planning a short trip to North Carolina next month to meet with Linda. I was hoping to make a stop in NYC to do a little shopping in the Garment District, but the truth is, my fabric stash is overtaking my studio and I have too many sewing projects already in the queue. When I’m faced with too many possibilities, I stall and get nothing done so the smart choice is save NYC for when I really need something. My brother is coming up this weekend to go hiking with my son; it’s always nice to spend time with my brothers. 🙂

Hope you’re enjoying the cooler weather wherever you are. 🙂