More Felted Mats, and What Feels Like Relaxing on an Anxious Day

“This is for relaxed people.  This is not for me.”  Kate Gosselin, mother of twins and sextuplets (Jon & Kate Plus 8, TLC)


I’m having a little problem today.  I can see obligations and appointments piling up over the next two weeks, and it makes me anxious.  There’s one doctor’s appointment, one sitting-with-the-little-old-parents morning, one lunch with my insurance guy, and graduation weekend for my youngest host kid.  His mom and sister will drive in the day before graduation and stay with us.  Oh yeah, and birthday dinner to celebrate Daddy’s 90th birthday.  We can splurge, spend the $2.50 we each made on our Preakness bets.


I know that’s not an unmanageable list, but when I look ahead and see my road cluttered with scheduled activities, I can’t help but wonder how I’m going to bear up healthwise.  I put Kate’s words at the top because my reaction to all these appointments is so different from my reaction to having my house fill up with noisy children going in every direction.  That is when I am relaxed and comfortable.  I don’t mind the chaos and the mess.  I can enjoy children without any effort or preparation or adjustment. 


Today I went to my sister’s house to help her with her new computer.  I’ve messed around on my own pc’s since the Radio Shack Tandy.  No, since I wrote programs for my microbiology professor in medical school.  That’s the first time I saw a pc.  Before that I was in engineering school, going to the computer center with my punch cards to run my programs.  The computer took up a whole building.  Then they put it in a little box that could sit on a desk.  Wow.  Anyway, I’m pretty fair at troubleshooting for everyday computer use.  When I turned the corner onto my sister’s street, I thought they had moved her house.  Instead of being pale yellow, it is now hot pink.  Quite a change.  I sat in the driveway and examined the details of the front door and steps to make sure I was at the right house. 


After the sister visit, I went to the grocery store.  I’m beginning to see increased prices on fresh produce.  I remind myself that if a pack of vegetables is $5, that’s only 1/4 or 1/5 what I would pay to eat the same vegetable at a restaurant.  I’m stricter about preventing waste, but I haven’t changed my buying habits yet.  Despite the careful shopping, I had a haphazard meal for dinner.  I took soup from the freezer, microwaved a package of cauliflower, and had garlic bread from Niedlov’s.  They are a local artisan bakery and their garlic bread has whole cloves of garlic baked into it. 


All this way without mentioning knitting.  Well, I won’t discuss it.  I’ll show you.  This is the felted rug that I began at the end of March.  I felted and blocked it, and debated for a while whether I should trim it.  Since it’s felted, I could cut the edges even with scissors and have a perfectly good, nonravelling edge.  But I’ve decided to leave it uncut.  See “Just Sunday Winding Down”, March 30 post. 

     This baby hat didn’t make it into the pile for afghans for Afghans.  I made the seed-stitch brim first, sewed it together, and then picked up stitches around the edge to mke the crown.  The crown has a spiral pattern with 1 purl and 4 knits all the way around.  The cast-on is a multiple of 5 minus 1 stitch. 

 This is the new mat that I cast on yesterday.  From the top, the colors are actually orange, brown, tan, and violet.  I don’t know why the violet reads so blue in these outdoor photos.  You can see the garter stitch border and stockinette body of this piece. 

 Some of my tomato plants, and my rolling cart covered with a towel.     




Grade A, Truthful Tomato Talk

As much as I am trying to ignore it, lupus is giving me daily aches and pains and difficulties, and I’m in venting mode.  The cast shoe I’m wearing has to be fastened securely around my foot, and I can’t just slip it off and on, a liability when you don’t bend well.  It does seem to cushion the blow to my poor cuboid bone, and I can’t say that the pain is as bad as it was a week ago.  I can put my foot on the floor without hollering, an improvement I appreciate greatly.  My cheek rash has been hot and red, I’ve had a few feverish moments, and I’m a bit tired, and I’m hoping these symptoms are not harbingers of a flare.  No joints are involved in this foolishness, but I am having some knee aches. 


This morning I was anxious to check on my tomato babies and see how they fared overnight.  A couple looked a little droopy, but it wasn’t from lack of water.  I left them alone and let mother nature take care of them for the day.  Hope they perk up soon.  They got a little water from today’s rain.  They are all 8-12 inches tall, with several leaves on each plant.  They should be resilient.  Tut-tut says her grandfather helped develop the Rutgers tomato.  One of my sisters attended Rutgers, and I was getting ready to ask her if she knew of their tomato, and here’s a person who actually worked on it! 


I was considering the importance of agriculture research when I was at the university last week.  The road to the yarn store passes by some of the agriculture department’s massive fields of cattle and sheep.  There are barns and lots of farm equipment in evidence, too.  Somewhere, maybe there’s a greenhouse full of southern heirloom tomatoes. 


Speaking of university, my daughter’s grades are in, and I’m celebrating with her.  She had a fabulous semester and is feeling great that she’s hit her stride with her college work.  Now that she’s home, I’m also grateful to have the company and the help.  I admire her way of running the house.  She’s good at anticipating our needs and stocking up on necessities.  We have always taken care of each other with little kindnesses, and we fall back into that habit as soon as we’re together.  We’ve never fussed over who carries the plates to the kitchen or who should put the dog out this time.  We’ve had some difficult times, but never because she was a willful or negative force.  I am the luckiest mom!  She brought me the coolest purse for that day.  We had seen it together in a store and I was sure she would buy it for herself.  It’s a good thing I didn’t ask her about it.  She doesn’t lie to me, and my surprise would have been blown. 


“She doesn’t lie to me.”  That is a powerful statement.  What I despise more than anything is when someone lies to me.  And yet, I don’t think you raise a truthful child just by saying “don’t lie”.  My way to approach it was to always contain myself when she was telling me something difficult.  I think that without the yelling and fussing and kneejerk reactions to her confessions, she was encouraged to say what she needed without fear.  When I asked her why she tells me the truth, she says she doesn’t “see the point in lying”.  She adds “You don’t lie to me.  Why should I lie to you?”  That is true.  Whenever I can dredge up the truth and articulate it, I use it.  It’s easier, cleaner, maybe not always safer, but then who can live a safe life all the time?  I like truth. 


Tomorrow I will climb back on that bike and ride.



Enough of my “way to live” talk.  I’m almost finished with the band of a child’s hat that I couldn’t finish in time for the mailing.  I did complete ten hats.  I’ll show you the last two tomorrow. 

Baby Tomato Plants, Newborn Hats

I am elated.  My heirloom tomato plants arrived yesterday, and today we put them into their pots.  I only ordered 10 plants, and they are in separate pots that are lined up around the perimeter of the little porch outside my bedroom.  The pots are big and I was afraid we’d run out of potting soil, but Dayna discovered two bags that had been under the deck since our sod was put down four years ago.  She dragged them up for me and we had just enough, including the new bags and the compost.  Dayna also had the honerous job of shoveling the compost into buckets and bringing them up to the porch.  It smelled like poop, but it was the most wonderful, moist, rich soil, inhabited by tons of earthworms.  We put a beach bucketful into each pot along with the potting soil.  The plants were in great shape after being shipped from California.  Laurel ( has the packing down to a science; they are well-protected and moist when they arrive.  I chose them by their characteristics, looking for drought-tolerance, ability to grow in pots, and production of fruit that isn’t too huge and heavy.  They have wonderful names like “Rutgers” and “Black Plum” and “Goose Creek”.  I left all the little markers so I can report on them later. 


Now, I promised photos of baby caps and yarn.  I was able to take them yesterday, and here they are:
An Aurora 8 scrap project, knit in the round, with diamonds added, side view and top view.




Aurora 8, knit in round

Ulteppegarn bonnet with underchin ties.  Top and sides are mistake rib. 

Unidentified yarn, ribbed bottom of cap, nipple top.


Leftover handpainted Manos.  Side and top views.

All the baby hats I had yesterday.  Two more from today will be photographed and shown tomorrow.  The top left peachy-coloured one has ribbing at the bottom and again at the top, and it’s closed with a three-needle bind-off over about 10 stitches.  The bottom blue one is 2×2 ribbing all the way to the top. 

Ulteppegarn (Norwegian) -lightly twisted, posted as 4 stitches per inch on an 8-10 needle, but it knits a lot smaller for me. 

Soft Chunky, from Twinkle Handknits–you can see the softness!

On the left, Mountain Colors Mountain Goat in Winter Sky.  On the right, three balls of Sublime Organic Cotton in shade 91.  In the top middle, a skein of Manos Silk Blend in color 3019.  Closer view of Silk Blend.  Lucious!


I’ll let the photos say it all tonight.  If I get requests, I’ll publish some patterns for baby hats.