Knitting Feeds

Still Hatless

Knitting | Work in Progress - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 17:01
As part of the annual month-long Stash Knit Down Hatathon, I committed to making one or two hats. Easy peasy, right?

Well, this low-ball commitment has turned out to be quite a challenge. I don't knit hats often, but I've made more than a few and swatched this simple slip stitch multiple times, so I felt confident things were under control. Wrong! 

In an effort to get a very basic hat underway, I have over the course of the past week or so cast on five times, and somehow, I've managed to make every newbie mistake in the book. Twice, I cast on the wrong number of stitches. I've also chosen the wrong needle size, knit a basic ribbed edge that didn't work, and in one case, cheerfully knit along for some time before I realized I'd miscalculated the finished dimensions.

Between the gnashing of teeth and the croaking of frogs as I ripped, ripped, ripped one false start after another, knitting sessions were anything but quiet and peaceful. 

More than a week after I started, I'm still hatless. There's yet another attempt on the needles now, and while I very much hope this version will work, that remains to be seen!


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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Antlers Fingerless Mitts

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 11:00

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Original Patterns: Maine Morning Mitts and Antler Hat Knitter Extraordinaire: Patti (Ravelry ID) Mods: Using the Antler hat pattern and the Maine Morning mitts as her guide, Pattie created these Antler Fingerless mitts. details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: Ah, the antler cable. It looks good on everything, don’t

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

In a drawer

Yarn Harlot - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 22:19

We’ve been going through my Mum’s things. It’s time to empty her house and sell it, and unbelievably, months of wishing the house would sort itself without us hasn’t really done anything. Erin and I are not really terrific at this, we’ve both got a low threshold, and I think we both feel like the house is full of emotional bombs.  You’re going along fine, sorting something, and then run into something that’s just so… Mum, that it hits you like a sledgehammer. Nothing is safe. Even trying to get rid of stuff from the freezer was hard – Erin pulled out the little jar of frozen lemon curd I’d made mum at Christmas, and I came undone, two minutes later we’re laughing and crying because we’ve pulled something out with a best before date of some time in 2014.  Mum didn’t really believe in best before dates. She thought they were a scam. (She once ate an 14 month old yogurt by accident and didn’t die. This cemented her philosophy.)

I knit a lot of things for my mum over the years, and I’ve been stunned to discover that she kept them all. Every bit of it (with the exception of slippers that wore out) are still in her closets and drawers. She’s got a fantastic sock collection, and hats, sweaters and tops. Erin took a few of the sweaters, and the silk tee that I knit her, and I think I’ll take the socks back – I’m not sure yet. Socks are such an intimate thing, I don’t know if I can bear to let them go, or bear to have them here.  There’s a lot to figure out and I hadn’t expected it to come down to weeping into old socks, but there you have it.  In her cupboard of sweaters, I found an old one.

This was the first sweater I knit my mother, and frankly, it doesn’t have much to recommend it. For a while with my mum, there was a sheep thing. It’s hard to explain, but she ended up with a lot of sheep stuff, and at the beginning of all of it, I knit her a sweater that was supposed to be reminiscent of her grandfathers sheep farm in BC. It was 1990, and at the time I was very young and broke, and Amanda was six months old, and the outlay of cash for the yarn was a big deal, even though it’s absolutely acrylic. (Canadiana, ordered from Mary Maxim. I remember it coming in the mail.)  I designed it myself, such as it is, a little square, drop-sleeve sweater, and charted the intarsia sheep and hills and clouds, and embroidered on the little bunches of flowers and the legs and noses of the sheep.

I remember making it. I remember hoping she liked it, and I remember being worried because the clouds didn’t look quite right, and the seams aren’t perfect, and the green wasn’t quite the green I thought it would be.  All those things are still true. It’s not the most expertly executed knitwear, my skills are very different now, that’s for sure. I remember her opening it, and I remember her saying that she loved it. I don’t know if she really did. I mean, now that I’m a mother I see that she certainly did love it, but we’ll never know if she loved it because of what it was, or because I made it for her.  The stuff your kids make is like that, and I suspect it doesn’t change because they grow up. She wore that sweater for years. Years and years.

(That’s her and Meg. The sweater’s already three years old by then.) I felt a little twinge of shame every time I saw that sweater in the last 10 years or so.  Wishing, now that I am older and wiser and have more skills and money that I’d made it better. I thought a few times about re-knitting it, this time in wool, with the green I’d always meant it to be, and with shoulder seams that were a bit tidier.  My intarsia isn’t much better, but I could have tried. I never did though, and now there it was, on a shelf in a cupboard in her room, carefully folded, with a bar of soap in-between it and the sweater under it. (My mother has a bar of soap in every possible spot of her closets and drawers. We can’t explain it, but there’s got to be fifty of them.)

It smells like her (and like soap) and right now it’s in my living room, and I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, and I can’t even explain my feelings toward it, but I knew it couldn’t go to Goodwill.  I now own a pretty crappy acrylic sweater, one that I’m super attached to, and rather ironically, it was knit by me.  Couldn’t have predicted that.

Life is surprises.

By the way, we’ve opened our April Retreat up for Registration, there’s some info here if you would care to join us.  Who knows. Maybe I’ll wear the sweater.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Knitting, it's a process...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 15:20
Happy Sunday! Hope you all had a good week. My week was good a bit slow but good. For some reason I had the song " Everybody's working for the weekend" in my head. :) This week found me knitting outside on my lunch breaks, something I hadn't done in... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Camouflage knitting! Hilarious and so accurate – Towards a bra-free Instagram Experience. Mine feed is full of fitness ads, because I recently clicked on a bunch of yoga and pilates workouts as a cardio-free way to try to get a bit of exercise (slowly!) back into my life

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

A River in Egypt

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 18:46

This June I will be fifty years old.  When I am fifty, I will have been knitting for forty-six years, and I have just done a classic dumb-knitter thing, and I want you to know that if you were hoping that sometime soon you would stop doing the same thing, you should probably give up.

I just finished the sweetest little sweater for Elliot.  It’s the Elwood sweater – re-jigged colour-wise to match all the hats I knit this Christmas.  Looks great, right?

Wrong. It does not fit him, it is too small. I have to pull the whole thing out. I think I can just go back as far as the divide for the sleeves, work some more increases and carry on, but I have to pull out the sleeves, the collar and button band, the body from the divide… and here is the worst part.

It is my fault. It is completely my fault. It is entirely, 100% totally my fault in about ten ways, which I have listed below, so that the record is complete.

1. I didn’t do a swatch.  I can’t explain why not, I just let it go, like a passing and irrelevant thought.  A bubble I let float away on a breeze.

2. Once I decided not to do a gauge swatch, I also decided that even though the gauge for this sweater is 18 stitches to 10cm, and even though I have never, ever gotten that gauge with this yarn and a size 4mm needle – that this was indeed the needle I should use.

3. I made that decision, knowing that it would result in a fabric that I liked, but not a gauge that would work, and started knitting anyway – believing that it might still work, even though I absolutely knew it would not. I did not suspect it wouldn’t work. I knew it wouldn’t, and yet I hoped that this was the time that everything would change, for no reason what so ever, even though the world never, ever works that way.

4. I began knitting, and knew the gauge was wrong, and the sweater would be too small, but thought I might just do a few extra increases to make it work.

5. Then I didn’t do them. I didn’t forget either. I just decided to skip it because #3.

6. I had a feeling again, once I divided for the sleeves and body, that it wasn’t working out. As a matter of fact, I applied forty-six years of experience and knew it wasn’t working out, but I decided to ignore that feeling in the hopes that magic dust would settle on the sweater and a unicorn would spit on it and a knitting miracle that has never before happened to me would finally occur.

7. It did not, and despite that, I decided to knit the button band and the collar before the sleeves, just to make it harder to rip it out if the unicorn thing didn’t happen.

8. As I was knitting the first sleeve I knew it was too skinny. I knew my gauge was wrong. I knew all of those things and I felt pretty bad about knitting the sleeve, but I told myself that all of these problems were probably going to block right out, so I knit the second tiny stupid too small sleeve.

9. Then I wove in all the ends.

10. Then I blocked it, and it didn’t block out.You know why? Because nothing ever blocks out. Nothing ever has. The first time you think “oh dear… well, that will probably block right out” you should immediately rip back, because that isn’t a thing. That’s not what blocking does, and I know that, and I teach that, and I have written that down and I literally have a tee-shirt emphasizing this and I honestly can’t tell you what the hell was wrong with me from the word go on this sweater because despite points 1-10 this morning I texted Megan and asked her to give me Elliot’s measurements because you know… BABIES SHRINK ALL THE TIME, and when he was as big or bigger than he was the last time I asked I actually got upset and shocked that this sweater is too small.

The only redeeming thing I can possibly say about this episode is that at least I didn’t sew the buttons on. I hate me.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Dog Sweater

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:00

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Original Patterns: Honeypie hat and Maine Morning Mitts Knitter Extraordinaire: Parkdale (Ravelry ID) Mods: Incredibly Parkdale didn’t use a dog sweater as the base for this – she used the child sized hat brim for the dog sweater neckline, and the thumb gusset increases form the Maine Morning Mittens as the method for the chest

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Colsie Lake Gradient Mitts

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 21:39
Over the holidays, I managed to finish another quick pair of  Colsie fingerless mitts, worked in a simple three-stage tonal gradient. I delayed this FO post, hoping to get better photos. But between cloudy skies and the demands of life and work, it just may not happen, so let's work with what we've got.

The mitts feature the super-delectable Grignasco Champagne in shades of lake, which is more green, and teal, which has decided blue tones. The colors are so closely related, it's a challenge to spot the transition, but the swatch below shows it best: 



The first section is lake, the last is teal, and the center portion features alternating stripes of both. This creates a subtle ombre effect that flows imperceptibly from green to blue-green to teal. As a result, the mitts go nicely with the Colsie Mirror Gradient Cowl-Scarf, which expands my wearing options.


Colsie Lake Gradient Mitts
Pattern: In development
Yarn: Champagne (Grignasco)
Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)
Yardage: ~90 yards

This yarn is one of my favorites. It knits up beautifully and thanks to the superfine merino and silk blend, the fabric has a soft sheen and feels like a dream. Technically, the yarn hasn't been discontinued, but it's difficult to track down, so if you find some, grab it. 






With one afghan on the needles, another in the finishing stage and multiple patterns in the pipeline, there's plenty of knitting-related tasks clamoring for attention, so I'm off to see if I can make some headway on these other fronts.



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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Peaceful knitting weekend...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 15:33
Hello loves! Pattern~ Melodia Yarn~ Zia Woolz in color Zombie Bride Tea~ Matcha green tea This last week felt extra long and was one of those where you think of nothing but the weekend. Which of course does not make the week go faster. Despite knowing this, all week I... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups & Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week A fascinating look at how standardized (hahaha) clothing sizes became what they are today. Not everything you love to do has to be a side hustle. Simple ways to brighten someone else’s day. If you enjoy crossword puzzles, then you will love this fascinating long read about how

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

January: Book Reviews

Knitted Bliss - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 11:00

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This is a new feature I’ve planned for 2018 – a monthly reflection of a handful of books that I read in the past month that I thought would be worth sharing.  If you follow me on Instagram, you already saw a recent photo of a couple of these books in a recent post! it

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

madewell fade

Autumn Geisha - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 01:14


Happy last day of January! Are you looking forward to Spring as much as I am? I’ve been flipping through my botanical books and sketching little flowers into my journal all while dreaming of the season ahead. It seems so far away when the chilly wind is howling outside and there are grey days upon grey days. Makes me ever grateful for all of the woolly projects in my basket. I’ve been making good progress finishing some of them so a cast-on party is sure to happen soon :) The latest one off the needles is my Madewell Fade. The pattern is a great basic cardigan by Joji Locatelli. All of the yarns used are from Hue Loco. This was quite a quick knit for a fingering weight cardigan. The body only took me a couple of weeks to knit up, but the project stalled when I reached the sleeves. It’s a mystery to me why sleeves take so long to knit but socks fly off the needles. Does anyone else have this problem? Oh well I am just happy to finish a sweater after going a whole year without any completed garments. I can feel my sweater knitting mojo finally returning. Have a great rest of the week!
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Clean Slate

Knitting | Work in Progress - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 16:12
I very much wanted to start this year with as close to a clean slate as possible. So with that goal in mind, I made a difficult but logical decision to allow Herlacyn to hibernate while I cranked out a handful of quick holiday knits and focused on finishing a cluster of scarves, cowls and mitts.

Now, the time has come to wake Herlacyn from its winter slumber and bring this project to completion. When last you saw it, it was seamed and ready for a border.




That work is now well underway, and with a bit of time and attention, the border will soon be completed. 

To minimize the amount of finishing required, I've been weaving most (but not all) ends as I go. 



The bad news? This tends to slow down my already slow knitting speed. The good news? In theory, once the borders are worked there will be just a few remaining ends to tackle. Then I'll have my first major finished project for the new year, and that will be a very good feeling, indeed.


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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Hip to be square

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 01/29/2018 - 18:51

I finished that gorgeous hat over the weekend – Hallstatt is off the needles, and isn’t it pretty?

Yarn is Sublime Baby Cashmerino DK – and I knit the pattern almost as written – the recipient would be opposed to something tight around their head, so I knit the whole thing on the larger needles, rather than knitting the ribbing on smaller ones. It’s more of a head topper than a head hugger now, and should suit.

When I was done, I knit on the emergency sock I keep in my purse for waiting times – and I thought about what to make next. I’ve been carrying around more Freia Handpaints to make another Bonfire (knits so nice I’ll make it twice) but I’ve also been thinking about a sweater for me – something simple and wearable, like Vintersol or Humulus.  I know – I’ve said before that yoked sweaters aren’t really my thing – but that’s not entirely true.  I love them and think they’re so very pretty on other people (and I’ve knit a couple I couldn’t resist)  but I have broad, square shoulders and a generous rack, and my mother always said that sweaters like that make me look like an advancing tank.  She stressed the role that v-necks should play in my life, and she’s not wrong. They’re flattering for me.

The thing is – It turns out that maybe I don’t give a crap. I mean, maybe it’s okay if I look like an advancing tank, and maybe nobody cares. It’s taken me getting this old to suspect that when I leave a room, people do not discuss my neckline choices in a way that’s going to have any actual impact on my life.  As a matter of fact, I suspect that nobody is discussing my necklines at all. (If this is not true, and it is all you discussed with your friends on the way home from a book signing or workshop, say nothing now.)  It is possible that I’ve spent years trying to avoid criticism that is definitely not forthcoming, and that much like my mother’s warnings about the lengths of my skirts (I have always worn them too long for a woman my height) and the fact that I don’t wear lipstick (just to brighten me) or that I love neutral colours (despite the fact that I would look so much better with a little colour by my face)  the round neck/yoke thing might be true, but unimportant.   Maybe, I think to myself, maybe I should just wear whatever sweaters I like.

This is bold thinking for a woman who has worried about her square shoulders her whole life, so it didn’t quite take hold. I’ll continue to contemplate this, as I knit another sweater for Elliot.

Elwood, in yarn leftover from All. Those. Hats.

Elliot has no position on necklines yet.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Jasmine Hat

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 01/29/2018 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Jasmine Scarf Knitters Extraordinaire: Alice (Ravelry ID, website) Mods: Using the stitch pattern from the popular scarf pattern, Alice incorporated it into a hat design instead. Full details – including a chart on how she did the crown decreases-  can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: When you

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

January loves and knit rambles...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 01/28/2018 - 16:06
Hello there, loves! Yay, the weekend is here. This week was a long one, but still a good one. Most of my evening hours were spent knitting on some vanilla socks, which I will show below. The evenings of sock knitting didn't stop me from dreaming of other projects. Now... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 11:00

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I basically stayed in bed all last week, so this week is my first in trying to get things a little back on track. I’m still exhausted all the time and coughing a lot, but I can do a bit more every few days, and that is encouraging. Thank you so much for all your

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Sure another hat

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 01:40

Oh guys, thanks so much.  Without wanting to be a buzz-kill of any kind, this week is a wee bit dreary, and as always, there you were to lift me up, and make me feel less alone. Thanks for your thoughts, your comments, and especially your donations. I know it’s sappy, but I really feel like the universe wants some balance, like water seeking level – and that if my family has to have a hard time right now, that maybe that will be balanced by your donations making things better for another family.  Actually, I know that’s true. I’ve taken a larger leadership role with the Rally this year, and it takes me into PWA several days out of a month (week, actually) and I can tell you for an absolute fact that the money you donate changes lives absolutely. I have met the clients, and the money you give touches their lives in practical and real ways. You are a force, never doubt it, and it does my heart a world of good.

After driving home on Sunday from up North, then driving here to Ottawa rather unexpectedly on Monday, I feel like I’m really scrambled with my knitting projects.  I have a sock humming along in the background, but mostly I’m trying to finish another hat.

I KNOW. I said never to another hat, but you had to know I didn’t really mean it, and besides, what’s a chemo cap without a proper “formal” hat for when you’re out in public.

I’ve chosen a lovely hat that turned up in an exhaustive Ravelry search for just the right thing.  It’s the Hallstatt hat, and the yarn I’ve got is Sublime: Baby cashmere merino silk DK.  (There is nothing more to say about that combination, it’s magic. Everything delicious for a sore head.) Hat is pictured here in my hotel room on the window ledge at dawn, where there is little to work with.

I’ve been plowing along on it for a few days, and I’m remembering this feeling from when my mum was in hospital.  I thought there would be so much knitting, that all that sitting would mean knitting, but when someone is so ill, it turns out that when they speak, you want to put your work down, and turn your full self towards them, and as a result, it’s slow going.

Things are rather unbelievably and fortunately stable here, so tomorrow I’ll make the 5 hour drive back to Toronto, and home and the other part of my family, and finish this hat. It won’t be long before I’m back, and I’ll bring it with me.

And now…. Gratuitous grandson photo.


Home and to him, tomorrow. Peace out.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

fringe and friends logalong

Autumn Geisha - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 01:41

One of the highlights of my knitting year is participating in the Fringe and Friends KAL that is hosted by Karen Templer on her Fringe Association blog. The last three years have been all garment based but this year I was excited to see just a general technique as a prompt for the KAL: log cabins. Leaving the theme so wide opened to other crafts has been fun & inspiring. Check out the Instagram feed (#fringeandfriendslogalong) to see cool projects ranging from garments to accessories to housewares to lots of squishy blankets. The blankets in particular were tempting me but I already have five (yikes!) on the needles/hook at the moment therefore a smaller project seemed like a smarter plan. Since socks were my next favorite project to knit on, I was excited to try to improvise a pair using the log cabin technique. Everything started out fine and I was completely smitten with how lovely indie dyed yarns combined with log cabin knitting. But then the creative thought/planning process kinda froze up on me and I ended up staring at the above rectangle for weeks. The hubby thought I was crazy because I kept pulling it out and swearing at it. I finally forced myself to just try out a few ideas even if it meant a lot of ripping out. And eventually something clicked:



Eureka! I have a sock!
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Fourteen

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 02:05

This is not the way I expected it to be.

I feel like this is pretty much what should be written on the tee shirt I’ve been wearing for the last while.  Finding a way to restructure the family, figuring out a new way to get the hang of all the changes, trying to let go, to move forward.  I keep discovering myself standing in the middle of a something I’ve never lived before, usually with a trashed kitchen and a lot of laundry, one or more people in the family crying or laughing either literally or figuratively, and thinking “this is not the way I expected it to be.”

Grief, grandmotherhood, parenthood, taking down wallpaper – honestly, almost nothing is the way I expected it to be, for better or worse, and I am just so glad that at some point in my life I decided that flexibility (both physical and spiritual) was something I should try to cultivate, and I both went to yoga and tried to get down with new points of view.  I admit, this has had limited success. I accept now that flexibility isn’t going to be the whole secret to happiness (although I swear it helps) and I am now convinced that the rest of it lies in what you choose to say right after you think “This is not the way I expected it to be.”

I’ve been trying really hard to be someone who sort of good naturedly looks at getting a surprise like that and thinks “Good golly I wonder what magic will happen next! Maybe we’re all getting lollipops!” but it turns out that the best I can do might be to surrender all hope of knowing what’s going on, all sense of being invested in my own expectations, and trying for a weakly uttered “Ok then. If someone will bring me a scotch while I take a bath, I think I can re-orient.”

Take today, for instance.  Today is my fourteenth blogiversary.  I have been sitting down at my computer/laptop/macbook for fourteen years, as of today, and writing to you about my knitting and my life and my everything, as often as I have been able.  I am pretty proud of this. I love this relationship between us enough that in the days leading up to this blogiversary, I kept thinking about what I would do to celebrate. A big post. Maybe show you some beautiful pictures, maybe a long letter to you, telling you about the amazing impact you’ve had on my life, and what it means to all of us that you’re here. (I try to do this every year, because it’s a really hard thing to explain.) Then things changed, and plans got altered, and my sister and I played a game of WWMD (What Would Mum Do) and voila.

This blog post comes to you from a hotel room, where I’m by myself, having trouble connecting to the wifi, hotspotting from my phone at a cost of wool knows what, after a drive to Ottawa that should have  been a simple mission, but wound up being a two day affair involving an ice storm, all so that I can be nearby and present for someone in hospital, only to end up sitting here, more or less quietly,  realizing that the universe isn’t done with the edit to my family and that things are pretty hard here, and that I don’t mean to be vague, just to protect the privacy of someone else and it’s all really sad and ending up with… this is not the way I expected it to be.

I thought that my blogiversary would be different, but as I got to working up a good head of self pity, I realized that it’s actually sort of good, because Blog… when I thought of having a blog, this is not the way I expected it to be.  I thought I would write, you would read and I don’t know what I thought would happen after that, but not this.

I never ever would have expected that after fourteen years, I would sit in a room by myself, a little bit lonely, trying to figure out my next move, realizing that there is no next move, just a simple endurance game, and the magic of showing up, and that what I really need is patience and strength and to hold right on tight and maybe to knit a bit… and to talk to my blog and realize in that moment that you, my blog, you make me less lonely, and one of you is always up, and you always know what to say when things are down, and wing of moth you are so funny, and…

This isn’t what I expected it to be.

Thank you for fourteen years of making this wild ride better. I love you, and I can’t tell you what it means that you’re there.

Now take a gratuitous picture of my grandson while I get on with  it.  See you tomorrow.

(PS. If you are feeling traditional, this is the day that donations to my bike ride in the amount of 14 dollars (or a multiple thereof) freaks the daylights right out of PWA.  If I’ve entertained you $14 worth over the last fourteen years, let it rip.)

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