In the winter, people where I live stay in with the fire and in the summer we stay in with the air conditioning. But in spring and fall, we get to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. So it was that yesterday, as I drove to the grocery and the LYS, I got to see many happy people out with their dogs or their gardens. It was cheering. Not as cheering as this picture, which was taken in the summer. But you can see that my local yarn shop is in a quaint little house. They have a cat, too.

At the yarn shop, I bought the Lavold book I was thinking about before. Chanthaboune had advocated getting a different book, but the shop did not carry it, so I did not have to agonize over the decision.

The lady in the shop had lovely white hair in French braids, and was wearing a gorgeous cardigan she had made up as she knitted. She had done about 4″ of feather and fan lace for a peplum effect, and then switched to a lace rib. She had calculated her shaping in the old-fashioned way, relying on The Big Book of Knitting when she needed a bit of help (an excellent book, which I often find helpful). I was particularly impressed by the precision of her set-in sleeves. She was kind enough to explain to me the entire process, and even let me feel the yarn, a liberty not everyone would have allowed, I am sure. It was a pleasure to talk with her.

While I was there, she answered the phone and, in apparent answer to a query of “How are you?”, said “I’m mean as a snake.” I saw no signs of it. Just shows what good manners she has.

I had my Olympic bag with me, and she made the excellent suggestion that I should add beads to the ends of the drawstrings, which I shall certainly do.  She then showed me her modular knitting project, inspired by the book Dazzling Knits, which she recommended to me. She had gone, she told me, to a reunion, and everyone was doing it. Modular knitting, that is.

Following this pleasant interlude, I came home and put away the groceries, scrubbed the scrubbable parts of my house, and made some enchiladas for lunch. I then felt entitled to settle in for an afternoon of knitting.

In this picture you can see the completed second baby hat (though not very well), and evidence that I am back to working on Erin.

You can also see the Lavold book. My mother gave me a $20 bill marked “spend it on yourself” for my birthday, so I was able to buy it with no sense that I really should be paying a bill or doing something for the kids. The $20 covered not only the book I was coveting, but also the bar of Dagoba organic fair trade chocolate you see sitting there among the knitting tools. Ah, luxury!

The Lavold book, “Summer Breeze,” contains sweaters for men, women, and children, mostly in cotton and silk. There are interesting textures and shapings, but no colorwork, really — just a few stripes. There are cardigans, jackets, pullovers, a vest, and a coat. I found them all very pretty, though #1 son assures me that a guy could get beaten up for wearing the men’s sweaters. One of the men’s sweaters is called “Elmer,” so he may have a point. There is a wide range of sizes, and the texture stitches are charted. Once I’ve actually made something from the book, I’ll let you know how the directions are. (Have you noticed how many reviews at Amazon are by people who haven’t knitted anything from the book yet? What do they know? Just saying.)

And here is “Gorilla with Baby Hats in the Gloaming.”

The fabrics in this picture, by the way, are from Waverly’s “Echoes of Ireland” collection. If I need to do another gorilla study, I can title it “Gorilla with Echoes of Ireland.”

I was able to buy a bunch of this collection on sale a few years back and covered all the soft furnishings of my living room with it. Any day now, I intend to order some of this sheer fabric from the same collection to make curtains with. It is called “Irish Prose,” and if it isn’t covered with quotes from Donleavy and Swift, I will be deeply disappointed.

Today I have church, a baby shower (good thing the hats are finished, and I bought the babes some books to go with them), lunch with friends, and a trip to the gym with my sons. I often stay home and nap while they go to the gym on Sunday afternoons, but I have a doctor’s appointment in the morning, with blood test, so I am hoping to counterbalance the chocolate with cardio. You probably can’t actually cram for a blood test, but it can’t hurt…