Posted in Gardening, knitting, Ravelry knit projects, Shopping, Williamsburg, VA, yarn

Wool Sweaters

I haven’t knit myself a sweater since 2017. I felt this needed to be remedied. So I joined the Olive Knits January Gansey Sweater knit along.

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Photo credit to OliveKnits, Marie Greene from Ravelry

The January Gansey Sweater is a pattern written by Olive Knits. There is a KAL group on Facebook and on Ravelry where people are sharing and asking questions. There also are weekly videos discussing the technical aspects of this sweater hosted by Marie Greene of OliveKnits. as luck would have it there happen to be a few other people besides myself making this sweater at the LYS, Flying Needles. I’ve chosen to knit mine with Berroco Ultra Wool DK in a pretty moss green color. I’m using the color #83118 in the dye lot of 7C4778. I’m modifying where I start the cables to what I feel will suit my charming Apple Shape a bit better, but otherwise will be following the pattern.

I chose this specific knit along because it included a technique I always wanted to try, underarm gussets. I would not be surprised if you just read that last sentence and it didn’t even sound like a real thing. Underarm Gusset, indeed. I assure you, all the non-knitters and knitters alike, that it is indeed real and it’s a very old and useful technique.

A Gansey or Guernsey Sweater is a traditional woolen knit sweater often worn my fisherman. Now, I’m not a fisherman, but I will be wearing this sweater. And, I do enjoy learning about historical clothing, especially when it also incorporates knitting.

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As I was working along on my sweater it occurred to me it might be a good time to also go ahead and strip off the lavender flowers from the bouquet I bought at the Williamsburg Farmers Market this fall and make new sachets. While doing this I took this opportunity to add a couple drops of Lavender essential oil to some of the older lavender sachets I had made in the past. I now have freshly protected drawers in which I can store my sweater once I finish it.

I have six or so sweaters I’ve knit and a dresser full of other things knit. Mostly I knit with wool so protection against moths is really important.

So for the next week, I expect I’ll be plugging along on the stockinette body of my January Gansey Sweater. This will have the added bonus of making the fussy cabled section to be minimal. Allowing me to focus on my two oldest sons, Charlie and Ricky,  while they are here for a visit. They will be here this coming weekend. I am very much looking forward to seeing them.

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I will be starting the cables a few inches before the underarm gusset. I expect both these things will require my undivided attention. And in truth, I really want to give my boys my undivided attention, too. So I may have to set the sweater aside when I get to this point. Good thing I have several other projects I can knit as a back-up. You can never be too prepared.

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Wool Sweaters #protectwool #woolprotection #lavender #lavendersachets "lavenderesstionaloil

Happy knitting.

Posted in Family, traveling, Williamsburg, VA

Spring Break

This year we sort of got to have a spring break! ON the heels of Chuck’s family reunion my brother and his family came during their spring break. We don’t really have a spring break in our house. My youngest is 21 and she is attending Paul Mitchell Beauty School in Tulsa, OK.  She doesn’t have a spring break there, it’s run more like a 9-5 job year round.

My brother, Andy, and his wife, Katie, have two children. Anthony and Sam.

They all arrived on Monday. Chuck had taken off from work the whole week. So it was like a big vacation for us, I guess really a stay-cation. Katie had wanted to take the kids to the ocean so we purposefully waited ourselves to do that with them. Tuesday we loaded up the van headed headed to the Atlantic Ocean, Virgina Beach specifically.  Being April the water was really cold but that didn’t stop us!

Sam and I decided it really was tooooooo cold

Anthony had brought the metal detector he had so he could comb the beach looking for treasures.  With a little discreet help from uncle Chuck both kids made out with a few dollars worth of change. Not too bad. Anthony is totally a “Ferdinand” and could probably spend all his days looking at the small details and beauty life has to offer, he’s so sweet. Sam… Sam is a very determined to be the best at everything, and she “already knows that” and isn’t shy to point it out. She was totally intrigued by the bigger kids at the beach trying to climb to the top of the climbing ropes. She jumped right in, and kept at it, until she made it to the tip top! It was pretty impressive watching her.

Dad made sure she didn’t fall, but he didn’t need to!

 

 

It was pretty fun down at the beach. The playground was popular with the kids. Even though it was spring break the beach wasn’t very busy. I can’t imagine going there during peak time. It must be a zoo! This way it felt like our own personal beach.

We had a great day for sure!

Continuing on in our stay-cation we took the kids to Jamestown settlement. I like Jamestown because it’s interactive. With an Indian village, Ships, and Fort it offers a rich history experience while out in the fresh air.

Since we were on kid time we skipped the inside museum and movies but those are worthwhile if you get a chance. We also were able to watch glass blowers at work, Anthony was really interested in that. And, frankly, so was I. Jamestown Settlement  tells all about life in the 17th century when the British were arriving to this area with the Virginia Company.

The next day we headed over to what in my opinion is the star of the historic triangle area, Colonial Williamsburg. This is a living history village that is focused around the birth of country. There are recreated and preserved buildings and places that were there in the 18th century. Places where our founding fathers met, where important discussions took place. and where the actual writing of the Declaration of Independence happened.  It’s pretty amazing to be able to experience this through the costumed interpreters. There are also actors all around portraying very real people. The day we were there we saw General Washington riding his horse through the Palace Greens!

It was a perfect weather day. Until, exactly as the Weather Channel predicted, at about 1:40pm there were brief, heavy showers.  We found shelter in one of the stores. It only lasted about 15 minutes.  Then the kids went on with Katie and my mom to the children’s interactive area where they were able to play period games and see children in period costumes going about their daily chores.

They liked this game the best. Anthony picked it up immediately. Sam took a little longer, but she doesn’t give up easily.

 

 

Chuck, Tim, Andy and myself headed off to explore elsewhere. I was really thrilled to share the Joinery with brother. He is a joiner, or as he would be called in today’s words, a finished carpenter. It was nice to see it through his eyes and here him talk about the tools and stuff.

It was a fast, short time with them. I hope they come back soon. We still have to hit up Yorktown! It was really nice to get this time with everyone, especially since my mom was here. too.

Why do I never think to get a group photo!?!

I hope you go out and explore the cool places you live near. Have you ever been to Colonial Williamsburg? If so tell me what you like the best, if not come visit us and we will go again with you!

 

 

Posted in Family, Home, knitting, traveling, Williamsburg, VA

The Reunion

The month of March was a whirlwind. It was a flurry of house things and guests and crazy. So, what was it all about? Family.  New family and known family.  This will be a long post so be prepared……

The end of November, 2017 we were at dinner with very dear friends saying goodbye as we were leaving a couple days later to move from New Mexico to Virgina. This was an extremely emotional time on it’s own. Then……My husband received an email and then a phone call in quick succession.  Chuck said “I think this might be my brother!” everyone at the table was like- WHAT!?!

The story in a nut shell. Way back when, Richard, [Chuck’s dad] in Vietnam had had a relationship with a Vietnamese woman. This relationship created two children, both boys. At some point there were family commitments that required Richard to break off the contact to Vietnam. It wasn’t until many years later, when his American kids were adults that he shared he had had this relationship and two children. I can’t say what information was shared as I wasn’t part of that, but I do know that names and specific places were left unspoken. Therefore no contact had ever happened. Until that dinner!

This is Pete

Pete began a long search to try to find his long lost father. It took a lot of sleuthing and creative thinking. Eventually, Pete had a DNA test done and uploaded it to Ancestry.com. This made a connection! But not quite what he was hoping for. The DNA connected to Ron Anderson, a cousin, not a direct connection to Pete’s dad. There had been a family disconnect many years ago with the Anderson’s and the Hretz’s, leaving more questions than answers. It seemed like a dead end.  But Pete is persistent and wasn’t about to stop there. He contacted a DNA Detective he had met through a Facebook group. This person took all the of the collected info and starting digging. Within 5 hours there was a name, Richard Hretz, he had 5 daughters, 2 sons and had lived in Florida. This matched the most up to date information Pete’s mom had known. Since Hretz is not a typical spelling and all along Pete’s mom was saying his name was Richard Rets, that was a complication that had to be overcome for the connection to be made. Pete was armed with email addresses and phone numbers. He had never been closer! He sent out a flurry of emails to all the addresses. My husband being the only living sibling with the last name still Hretz was the first connection.  And he did indeed make that connection! Pete had found his lost family at last. Facts were shared and plans to meet were made.

Pete and Chuck the day they first met in person

As we had moved to Williamsburg, VA we were only 3 hours from where Pete and his family live in Raleigh, NC. Pete came for a visit to meet Chuck and they starting making plans to get all the family together to meet Pete and Loc (the other brother) and since we are pretty centrally located between all the siblings we offered host everyone.

the siblings,  just missing Carolyn – Pete, Margaret, Chuck, Mary, Jane & Loc

Back to my loss of the month of March.  Having just bought and moved into our house in February there were so many things I wanted to do to make it a home. [I basically updated every aspect of the house!] A home I would be sharing with almost every immediate member of both Chuck’s family and mine. I really wanted it to look it’s best. We had 50 people for the reunion, serving dinner both Friday and Saturday.  Our oldest daughter, Stevie, came down from Alexandria, VA on the train. Which was so amazing. (I reallllllly like her!) As a added bonus we had the pleasure of Chuck’s sister, Jane, and her family stay with us for the whole weekend. And, I have to say, I think that was my favorite part of the weekend!

Jane is lovely and her husband, Bill, is so funny. She has two beautiful, charming daughters who brought their boyfriends for a wonderful spark of youth and enthusiasm. They arrived Thursday evening giving us some extra time to visit with just them. It was great. I truly hope they will come back often!

Carolyn’s family is missing and so are 3 of my children and others but we had a really good turn out and even Ron Anderson is here!

So who all came? I’ll list them in order by age of the siblings and I won’t include boyfriends and girlfriends to simplify things. The order; sibling, spouse and children.

Mary, Keith and Beth and Laura.

Ruth, Ray.

Chuck, Kym, and Stevie, Tim and Max and my mom.

Margaret and Joey and Jillian.

Jane, Bill and Sarah and Abbey.

Loc and Alyssa.

Pete, Lin and Sean and Richie.

Even Ron Anderson, who really was the link that connected everyone, was able to make it! Such an amazing thing, this finding of lost family, I know my shortened version is not nearly enough to really show what a blessing this is for everyone. Pete said this was the happiest day of his life. I’m honored and humbled to have been a part of it. It is wonderful to have so many together for a happy occasion.

Don’t worry, no-one missed any important basketball games

And I really want to say this house was great for entertaining. Many of the cousins gathered in the dining room to play games. The siblings collected themselves in the family room to share their lives with each other. Pete being new to the whole sister thing seemed to have his heart bursting with joy. Pete fondly referred to them as “the sisters” which was adorable. Everyone else  fit comfortably into the living room and kitchen. There really was a perfect balance. At least, from my perspective.

Probably the biggest last minute push to get the house ready was our Shed. We had the entire exterior of the house painted and had the roof, brick and shed power washed previously. The shed definitely was shabby. And it has so much potential! Bill, from Virginia Painting CO, made an extra effort to squeeze in the shed for us. I really don’t think the pictures do it justice!

before the water damaged siding was replaced and it was repainted, we had the trellis added when we put in the fencing.
even thought the color change is subtle it seems cheerier with the new cream paint, navy shutters & white trim

 

We replaced the door and added exterior lights in addition to wood siding repair and all the painting.

 

 

 

My mom had identified the windows each of the shutters belonged to and hung them when she was here last. Essentially rescuing the shutters, the previous owners had left  them abandoned on a pallet behind the shed. Did I mention my mom also arrived on Friday, I love having her here! We still plan to add flower window boxes, in ground gardens around the front and side. The door will be painted red. I can’t wait to have flowers blooming all around. Plus, we will install a fence that will enclose behind the shed as if it were it’s own backyard. The chicken coop is on the right side that looks like an add-on of the shed. The fence will allow the chickens yard time that is safer from predators when I can’t be there for them to free range the entire yard. I do realize the hawks will still pose a problem even when I am there. My youngest daughter, Hanna, said I have a chicken problem. I told her it was how I was coping from missing her.

There’s ten chickens

What do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment. They are so cute. I’m going to put together a new brooder in the big watermelon box I got from Sam’s Club tonight so they have enough space.  They currently are in the largest storage box I could find.  The new bigger brooder will require them to move from the living room to the mud room.  I’ll miss hearing all the chirping. They are about five weeks from heading outside to their forever home. The previous owners also had chickens in this space. We are upgrading the inside of the coop so it is everything a happy chicken needs. Very exciting!

My brother and his family were here last week. I want to tell you about that but it will have to wait until next time.

I’m going to go knit on my Find your Fade. I’m on the sixth color and really want to get this finished. I, of course, managed to get another terrible cold. All the extra germs from guests I suppose. Autoimmune Diseases suck! At least I wasn’t sick with my niece and nephew here.

Happy knitting.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Reading, Williamsburg, VA

The Journey Begins

Today I moved my blog to WordPress from Blogger. I’m trying really hard to update things here regularly as I really want to share my love of knitting with you. I also want to keep track of the new things in my life. The year of 2018 is bringing so many different things. We moved from Las Cruces, New Mexico to Williamsburg, Virginia at the beginning of December in 2017. I’m really excited to live in a place that has such a rich history in the birth of our country! I’m looking forward to learning through the living history at Colonial Williamsburg and exploring Jamestown and Yorktown.

I’m currently reading the Lacemaker By Laura Frantz. It is set in Williamsburg, Virginia during the American Revolution. The Main character, Lady Elizabeth “Liberty” Lawson is charming, resilient and determined. As her world unravels around her Liberty sets her mind to fining a way to be independent using her creativity to make it on her own in a time when woman had little options. She uses her skill as a lace maker to set herself up in the folly behind the tavern Raleigh taking in lace orders and mending. [Raleigh is a real life tavern that saw many important meetings with General George Washington, Thomas Jefferson to name a few. Probably the walls hold all the secrets that went into the development of Declaration of Independence.] As the story progresses you find Liberty putting herself right in the middle of the danger and proving her name is just the beginning of who she is and what she stands for. This book is exactly what a new Virginian needs, I find I’m searching the history books to learn more about the names and places mentioned.

So here I go.

I’m on my way.

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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Posted in Home, Williamsburg, VA

Swirling thoughts keep swirling

 

We are closing on our new house on January 31st. Im spending too much time with all these thoughts and plans swirling around in my head. What colors to paint. Should I paint every room? Do I want neutrals or colors. Neutrals in some rooms, colors in others? What plants to plant. Hydrangea’s and Roses, definitely some Impatiens. Where to place furniture and art work. Living room will have our big couch but do I put my favorite chair in there or in the family room?it never ends.

 

I’m spending so much time scour Pinterest, Instagram and blogs trying to decide what my style will be.  I’m what I would consider hand me down eclectic. which won’t change,  but what is the overall feel I’m going for.

What I really love about this house is all the built in storage. It is homey and cottage-y. I will make sure to enhance all the moldings and builtins with my paint choices. White trim and cupboards is a definite yes. The family room and kitchen have beams that have been painted white and I will keep that, but these and the crown moldings are getting lost against the white ceilings. I will change the ceiling color just enough to make these features the glory of the rooms.

 

You can see the ceiling beams and moldings in the family room

 

this is one of many builtins in the hallway
one of the bedrooms

I’m pretty sure when I saw the builtins I was sold. Totally ready to move in.  I love the “dressing room” part of the master bedroom. There are matching builtins on either side of the 3-way mirror and a make up desk.  I can imagine a large mirror hanging above it with some new farmhouse style good lighting will be perfect. Eventually I may replace the counter or maybe open up the master bath into the dressing room area.

one side of the dressing room
make up desk with original 1962 sparkle countertop

A big challenge is definitely going to be the master closet. and it is just a closet.  very basic and very small. With some fresh paint and some smart storage choices I will make the best of it.  It’s a great time top finally pair down to that Capsule Wardrobe I’ve been planning.

please be kind
these clothes belong to the current home owner
more along these lines

 

Chuck asked why I didn’t want top build a house so I could make it exactly what I want.  I do have exactly what I want. to take something good and make it amazing.  To be the curator, the editor, the caretaker. This is what I want.
Now to get off the internet and finish knitting my hat. To keep my mind from swirling.
Happy Knitting.
Posted in Family, Home, traveling, Williamsburg, VA

New Year, New everything

Well, We’ve made a major life change. I never thought I’d make a big move again. We had been in Las Cruces, NM for the last eight years for my husband’s work, and again work as brought us across the country. NOW we are Virginians!

we spent New Year’s Eve in D.C. celebrating Stevie’s birthday

July 1st brought major contract changes at Chuck’s work and it was quickly clear working for the new company had lots of negatives. Chuck started looking for work in June/July and had a few job offers but nothing was quite right. We had specific criteria that needed to be met to make us to move. 1- closer to family; 2- services for present and longterm for Tim; 3- comparable cost of living/ salary ratio to Las Cruces; 4- benefits and retirement options closer to what Boeing had.  That was it. When Virginia started looking like the win, it was a good fit. Stevie would be just a few hours away in D.C sooooooooo……………The actual decision to move happened really fast. The official job offer in Williamsburg, VA. was given on November 7th, 2017 and we were all in yes.

November 8th [Hanna’s 21st birthday BTW] we all flew to Washington D.C. on a previously planned family vacation. Our oldest child, Stevie, and her husband relocated there the year before. All 6 kids were there and the spouses/boyfriends came too.  This was not connected to the accepted job in VA we have had it in the works pretty much since they moved. It takes time to organize everyone’s schedules. We spent a week there exploring the city and enjoying each others company. It was the first time we went on vacation with all our children as adults. It was a whirlwind of busy days filled with museums, shopping, eating good food and a lot of.

I love how the girls gather in the quiet spaces, finding camaraderie, blurting their thoughts, opinions and quips at the boys in unexpected moments. The boys usually ended their days with each other, beers (or harder stuff) and ridiculousness. There seems to be an ongoing battle of whit, each very funny in their own right, arguing over whose terrible jokes cost a quarter. Charlie thinks he’s the best person to pass the final judgment. I think we all agree Matt wins the game.  I

t was nice that we started our day gathered at Stevie’s and Matt’s then could split off into smaller groups for individual preferences and again join up to end the days together. My favorite part was everyone together over dinner as a family sharing ourselves.  Stevie served us a delicious Thanksgiving dinner in her home on Saturday.  With room for all of us and she and Matt graciously extended the invite to a few invaluable friends, Resa, Alvin and Elizabeth. I’m very thankful for this trip and everyone making the time to be there.

this is our last meal together
Matt had to work so Charlie helped him join us in spirit

When we returned home there was a mad rush of packing and getting our home ready to be on the market. I stalked Zillow and Realtor.com trying to see what housing would be like and researching Williamsburg, VA. Chuck made a zillion calls and arranged a place for us to stay and planned out all the travel arrangements. We had everything packed up and shipped across country by Dec1st. It was an overwhelming time of goodbyes and tears. Max and Hanna drove to Tulsa, Ok. and we headed to Virginia on Dec 2nd.  I still can’t comprehend all that happened in November, I’m not sure there really was a November in 2017. I miss many aspects of NM, especially my friends.

Now we are starting out in 2018 with an accepted offer on a new house in Williamsburg, we close January 31st. Hopefully moving in on February 1st. Then all the fun will begin for real. First order of business will be to become official Virginians with new Drivers licenses and State Id’s so we can start getting Tim on track with services and therapies. Hanna has been here with us, having flown here the second week of December from OK. She has her friend Hannah visiting for a few weeks before they both head out to their schools in Oklahoma and New Mexico. Max was expected yesterday but there was the crazy snow explosion that shut everything down for a couple days. He will be here tomorrow and we plan to enjoy a delicious meal at Sal’s by Victor, probably our favorite restaurant in Williamsburg. We have a few more weeks before Hanna leaves so it’ll be real cozy in the two bedroom apartment we are staying in, 6 adults all cramped in. I’m sure it will be fine. It’s just a few weeks………….

I hope to keep track here of all the house plans and decorating. In general, all that is the making of a house into a home. I’m overexcited about this new house. I have so many plans swirling around in my head. I need to start making them real.

This is the new house!

Just looking at this picture I can see removing all the shrubs and replacing them with roses or hydrangeas, something flowering and inviting. I need to add some color. I’m sure my little metal bistros table with be super cute up on the porch, perhaps with a colorful oil cloth  tablecloth, maybe a rocking chair or two, red ones.  Maybe I’ll paint the chairs to the bistro table bright green or yellow……..Hurry up already January 31st!

My knitting mojo has been all screwy. I knit hats for my nephew and niece that both turned out too big so I had to reknit them. I sent the larger ones to my son and daughter in-law. In the end it was great mistake!  I will detail the hats better in another post.

 

Charlie and Leah seem pretty ok with my mistake
they’re pretty sweet themselves

I also, just last night, finished my Shusui Shrug so information coming soon on that too.

Happy Knitting!