April was not a cruel month this year

Our new furry daughter Fennel is obviously more interested in watching squirrels and birds than keeping track of what I’m knitting!  Still, she’s a very sweet and affectionate companion who has gives both of us much joy! And occasionally, out of nowhere, she darts up, grabs a ball of yarn and runs with it.  She knows how to get Terry’s and my attention when she wants it.  She clearly rules the roost!

As I said in the last post, June and Estonia will be here very, very soon.  The month flew by, starting with a Portland visit  from my daughter Becka on her second book tour, this time promoting the paperback release of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”  I’m happy and proud to say it’s been #2 on the New York Times paperback nonfiction best sellers’ list since it was released in February.  One of the many highlights of the visit was attending a program she did for local high-schoolers at Jefferson High and the Metropolitan Learning Center, in Portland, the latter being her high school alma mater.  It was heart-warming as a mother and mind-blowing as a person to have reached the point where I observed my daughter giving advice to high school students.  If you can hear your child dispensing wisdom to others, you know you are old…..or at least older than you were when they were in high school!   She loves teaching, supporting and inspiring young people as you can see in this picture:

She’s the one close to the middle, talking with her hands.  If I said that she looks like one of them, I’d be showing my own age.  I remember not being able to understand when some “old” person said to me in my 40’s,

“I don’t see how you could possibly have a child that old.  You look like a child yourself!”  She understands the value of encouragement and inspiration and how it can make a real difference in the trajectory of a young person’s life.  Another heart-warming experience was attending her reading at the Bagdad Theater on SE Hawthorne in Portland (with her brother and his family, her father and his wife and many friends).  Her US paperback book tour was recently completed.  She has a little time to regroup and then will be again traveling internationally as various foreign translations are released. The moral of this story is directed to people mired in the difficult parenting years—-hang in there, you are likely to be amazed at what comes forth from all of the challenges!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I continued to knit whenever I could–something I need to do every day, just like taking prilosec, baby aspirin, vitamin D and calcium.  The Estonian Potpourri shawl group is fun, and everytime I try a more complex lace pattern, I realize that what I do next is easier.  That must be growth, right??  Here are some of the blocks that I’ve been working on.  I now have the three blocks joined with two additional connecting patterns.  Tomorrow I will again pick up stitches for the lace edging and hope that this time it all works out.  I’ll report back on learnings. This status report represents my having to unknit a great many stitches that were picked up after the connecting patterns were inserted–almost 800 stitches around the rectangular shawl. One thing that I just adore about lace knitting is that it gives me patience, tenacity and also much calm…once I figure out problems, correct them and take a few deep cleansing breaths and smile!!

Thankfully the holidays are finally over

Yes, I did finish the socks for my son, the last holiday 2010 commitment waiting to be fulfilled. While his feet aren’t nearly as large as the size 13 feet of his 20 year old son (and my oldest grandson), they are big enough because they are size 11 with deep ribbing and long legs. These are the first socks I’ve made from Cascade “Heritage” handpaint sock yarn and I like the yarn. In the picture below, they seem brighter, more blue than they really are. I used color 9922 which to me reads very taupe/grey/some blue and lavender—subdued and fairly low contrast.

Matt's 2010 Holiday Socks

And rather than beating myself up about being so late, I’m actually feeling very good because I see from my iPhoto gallery (cameras don’t lie…) that I didn’t take a picture of his Regia black and taupe marl holiday 2009 socks until April 4th, 2010. So, things are looking up.

I don’t even want to think about when I must have finished his 2010 Valentine’s Day socks—-which didn’t happen this year. And, yes, I’ve finished the “Berlin Book Tour Sock.” The geometric leg design is reminiscent of the Monument to the Murdered Jews, the colors are those I saw again and again in Berlin, and the little bands of red with small squares of gold remind me of the brass (or were they bronze??) plaques that had been placed in the cobblestone walks in front of the homes of Jews who had died in concentration camps. It was very moving to see them everywhere.

And now, the “Berlin Book Tour Socks”:

I really didn’t have to remind myself — but I did anyway. Berlin is an amazing city to visit. I hope to return someday.

This year I want to make Matt’s socks early, maybe give them to him on Thanksgiving and then give him his Valentine’s Day 2012 socks on Christmas. Now, on to making some socks for my DDIL Renee. She picked out the yarn for them while we were in Berlin. And the yarn she picked out tells me she saw what I did in Berlin: black tweed with small flecks of red and other bright colors!