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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Knitting as Sport

When I was very young (a long time ago!), I spent some time as a flight attendant.  While in training, one of the instructors told us that we were not allowed to read or knit during flight time.  This struck me as a strange statement:  Knit? During flight time?  I could imagine the urge to read during red-eye flights, but knitting seemed pretty strange to me.

Before long, I began to understand this urge better.  It is so very easy to fall asleep during a long night flight, but reading only makes it easier to fall asleep.  Knitting requires a little more concentration.  I did not know how to knit, and I wasn't about to risk my job by carrying it along, so the thought was put aside.

As time went by, I married and started a family.  I bought a "how to knit" type of book, supplies and taught myself the fundamentals.  I ended up making two baby cardigans for my first-born.  As I look back on this, I realize that I did pretty good for a first time with knitting.  However, there was one thing that really frustrated me:  sewing the pieces together.  Hated it.  That was the end of the knitting.  Today, that first-born has made his own family, and I have retired.  So what am I doing?  Knitting again.

As is often the case, the times they have changed.  Knitting is now done with cable needles and can be done in one piece.  Virtually everyone in our extended family had to endure my knitties for Christmas.  I have learned a whole lot more, and enjoy it lot more.  I definitely recommend Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard, ( and Fitted Knits and Glam Knits by Stephanie Japel (  These books have helped me to re-learn knitting by using one-piece knitting techniques. 

Husker is a pipe smoker, but graciously goes out to our deck to smoke and read or work puzzles at his little table.  During the winter, he bundles up, but still occasionally complains about the cold and reminds me that he moved from Nebraska to get away from the cold.  Soooo -- I made him a watch cap and fingerless mittens (so he could hold his pipe and pencil), and he loved them.  In fact, I think the mitts are probably worn out (he frequently wore them in the house, too!) and he will need new ones next winter.  All of my initial efforts at knitting were more caps, fingerless mitts, and scarves.

Then came the big time -- I made shrugs for myself, 3 granddaughters, and 1 g-granddaughter.  Lots of shrugs get lots of hugs.  Finally, the time came to tackle a pullover for Husker.  This proved to be a more difficult task than I had anticipated.  I used the recommended yarn (cotton) and my gauge was on target.  Despite this, the sweater seemed to stretch under its own weight, and I kept pulling it out and starting over as I reduced the size.  I knitted the body from the bottom to the armpits and pulled it out, knitted one sleeve from cuff to armpit 4 times before I was happy.  (Am I a Type A?)  I finally got it finished, and it looks good, but I do not recommend cotton yarn to anyone.  In addition, I began to think I had carpal tunnel.  I went online about it and discovered that others who knitted with cotton yarn had the same problem.  Another reason to avoid cotton yarn.  The color does not seem to appear quite right in the pix -- it is a deep teal green that Husker picked out himself.

New Kindle

Last Christmas, my husband offered me a new Kindle as a gift.  I was not so sure that it was what I wanted and decided to wait.  I mulled over this for a while and finally tried Amazon's PC based Kindle.  Their ploy worked and I was hooked.  So I went online and sent off for this dandy little gadget.  It arrived Monday, but I did not get home from yoga until after 8 p.m.  I was tired and only tinkered with it for a short while.  This morning, that was the first thing on my mind and I downloaded "Ahab's Wife".  The feel of the Kindle is so right and so light weight.  It is certainly easier than holding some paper books (think "John Adams" at a whopping 751 pages - I thought I was getting arthritis in my hands).

I have heard that textbooks can also be downloaded.  Not that I need one, but it certainly seems like an improvement.  Textbooks are like carrying around a load of bricks ...

Now -- to get to know Una --

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wonderful Weekend

We started Saturday morning before daylight with the sound of strong rain. The local Race for the Cure was to start in a couple of hours. Do we stay in bed and forget about it? As Husker joked, "They already have our donation." But very soon, the rain was gone, and the clouds with them. The sun was out, so we were out of the bed, too. We arrived at the race site about 30 minutes later than we had planned, but not too late to scan the booths and line up for the one-mile walk.

I used to run this event, but that was in an earlier age. So we walk.

I have exercised faithfully since my early 30's, but Husker is a polio survivor and simply is not into working out.  I, on the other hand, cannot imagine anything so delightful as laps in the Y's indoor pool or a vigorous 4-mile walk in our hilly neighborhood. Give me a challenging Iyengar yoga class any day!

Sunday morning was time to hear our new minister in the pulpit. Rev. Jenn has a sense of humor, impeccable timing, and smart, too. Can't ask for anything better than that on a sleepy Sunday start.

The most delightful part of the weekend was dinner on Sunday evening, with Husker's sons, Adam and wife, Caroline, and Jon and his fiancĂ©, Sarah, and daughter, Jennie.   We were in a popular restaurant that informs our city's culture. This was a special event for my husband's birthday.  A note at this point: I was wearing over my top a little sweater that I had knitted called a shrug (an abbreviated cardigan) from a pattern I found on The designer identified herself as a Texan, but no city; however, her location was blown by modeling the sweater in front of a local landmark. Well -- I was about 2 margaritas too far along when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked up at a young, pretty woman who announced that she was the designer of my sweater. What a surprise and a delight to meet her. I have been following her blog since I stumbled upon the pattern. So out of a city population of about 600,000 on one specific night, we both are in the same place and I happen to have my sweater on! What are the odds of that happening? Thank you, Ashley, for your creativity, and stopping to say hello.