Tuesday, April 25, 2017


My making this spring is a story of process. I have a shawl, socks, and a sweater on the needles. I finished most of the knitting the Travel Sweater but it needs blocking and button bands, my least favorite part of sweater knitting. The table I use for blocking is filled with fabric and patterns for J's Christmas Quilt. I am almost ready to assemble the quilt top so I don't want to disturb the creative mess in order to set up blocking mats. Procrastination perhaps?

The yarn I used in these mitts has been sitting in a basket near my desk. The colors were so appealing, I cast on a pair of Small Flower Mitts. This is a great pattern for using up leftover bits of yarn. The touch of color work makes them interesting to knit. I knit the flowers from a tiny ball of variegated sock yarn. Since I didn't have enough to match the colors in the mitts, I'm embracing the difference. It is fun to look at all the variations of these mitts posted on Ravelry.

My writing projects are also in process but then most of writing is process. I finished this poem begun two years ago. I offer it here, at the end of National Poetry Month.

How to Enjoy the Prairie in April
April 20, 2017

Breathe into the back of your lungs.
Amble into a draw, dry from lack
of winter snow and spring rain.
Retrace your steps up the swell.
Breathe deeply.

Under the bowl of blue sky, scan
the horizon for a cottonwood
the crone of the plains. Breathe.
Sift through her branches for shades
of green and brown. Smell the fresh
grass. Embrace the wind. Breathe.

Listen to five notes from a meadowlark.
Memorize the ancient melody as it
recedes across the plains.
Study a single white-mountain lily.
Find promise in well cared for land.
Breathe again and again and again.

Copyright by Jane A. Wolfe

Thursday, April 20, 2017

April Color

April and the view outside my window becomes more colorful each day. Although I favor blues, pinks, and lavenders, I watch for green shades creeping into the landscape. This week, the birch leaves outside my window began to bud. I never wear chartreuse anything but after the monochromatic landscape of winter, this color is a welcome sight.

Early in the month, the New England weather also changed before our eyes. On our first full chilly day, we toured the Emily Dickinson Museum. There are two homes on the property as well as a large yard and garden area. Miss Dickinson was an avid gardener so we walked around a good sized garden bed that will be planted later this spring.  A few brave purple wildflowers bloomed under large trees. The home of Austin Dickinson, Emily's brother, is not available due to renovation. Portions of Emily's home, including the conservatory where she gardened and wrote, were also closed. We were able to tour the parlor, another downstairs room, a room upstairs that is temporarily set up with some items from the library, and of course the bedroom where she wrote much of her poetry.  

The guide/volunteer was excellent. He downplayed Miss Dickinson's reclusiveness. Before visiting, I reread an essay on Dickinson by Adrienne Rich (Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson.) Rich discusses the poet's life from a feminist perspective. Personally I agree with Rich's view that Dickinson recognized her own talent and created a life that allowed her to write. Fortunately for all of us, Dickinson's parents supported their unconventional daughter. She had access to education and a home that included a pleasant bedroom with lots of natural light and a view of a main street in Amherst.

After dinner that evening, we drove around Amherst and happened onto the cemetery where Dickinson was buried. By then it was cold and I wished I'd worn a few warm knits. There is another small museum in the area with Dickinson artifacts. Somehow I missed that in my research before our trip. Touring that museum the next day wasn't in our plans. This grandmother wanted to arrive at our daughter's home in time to walk the kindergartner from school. We were so eager to hug those dear ones. Since our daughter lives not too far from Amherst, I hope to visit again.

On this trip I knit most of a pair of vanilla socks for my daughter. Before we left, I took a photo of five skeins of sock yarn and asked her to choose a color. She picked purple and I used some leftover Opal Smile yarn to add a little pizazz to the vanilla. Knitting a heel flap, heel turn, and gusset on a plane without error made me feel quite accomplished. Turning a heel is such good entertainment. I also made friends with a flight attendant who is a knitter. Knitting really is a universal language. Kate tried on the first sock so now I know the exact length for her sock foot. I jotted the measurement down on my sock recipe card so I am all set for the next trip. Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying the colors of spring.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

April Travels

Earlier this month we visited our daughter and family who live in Connecticut. I knit my version of a vanilla latte sock on the planes, in Amherst, Mass., and down the coast to Old Greenwich, Ct. We spent one day visiting the Emily Dickinson Museum and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in the Amherst area. On a cool April weekday, we practically had both museums to ourselves. The Eric Carle (author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other children's picture books) Museum was beautiful. In addition to three galleries, the museum has an extensive library of children's picture books and a large art room where visitors, old and young, can create a piece of art. I read Carle's books to my children and preschool students. Now, I am reading them to my grandchildren so learning more about his art and personal story is a joy. My ever patient husband and I enjoyed the displays showing how Carle and two other illustrators created the art in their books. Stay tuned for more on the Dickinson museum in another post.

We spent the rest of the days with our family. In between walks around Binney Park to count the snapping turtles, we crashed Monster Jam trucks and raced Lightning McQueen cars. We watched a white egret in the pond and discovered an osprey nest in a utility poll at the train station. We helped? keep three boys quiet in church. How does my daughter do that while her husband is in the pulpit?

One morning the two older boys and I looked at yellow wildflowers in the grass. I called them buttercups, the 3 1/2 year old called them sippy cups. They were neither but labels were not the point.Two warmish sunny days made for afternoons at the beach. One early sunrise, our daughter walked around Tod's Point with us. I couldn't help but wonder if anyone has dyed yarn in the colors of the sunrise - peach, soft yellow, and the most exquisite blue.
Some evenings I knit on a sock while my daughter and son-in-law shuttled three little guys in and out of the tub. As she says, "sand in the tub at the end of the day, means we had a good day." We had six and a half very good days. One evening E. wanted to know what I did with the yarn pieces dangling from the sock. So I showed him how to weave in ends before his bath.

After an all too short week, we boarded a plane with sand in our pockets and hearts full of love. We arrived home to full blown spring complete with blooming lilacs, growing grass, and weeds galore in the perennial flower beds. I wish all of you a heart full of love as you celebrate spring.