moving forward

I feel like I have been holding my breath for six months. As the pandemic continues amidst political upheaval and controversy; we are learning more about COVID19, about how we function as a society under stress, and about what is really necessary in our lives. I struggle everyday, trying to keep my spirits up in isolation. I am trying to stay positive as the mishandling of our public health unfolds in front of me. I am grateful that I still have a job, and that it is a job I love, even with the challenges we face working in the ER during a pandemic. Trying to stay healthy in these times is becoming more difficult, the fires all up and down the west coast keep us inside with windows and doors sealed. The record heat waves have us sweltering and COVID keeps us out of the usual refuges of the movies, the mall and the beach. COVID also keeps us isolated from family and friends (though we expanded our little pod to occasionally include our children visiting.) I can easily fall into a melancholy despair, I fight against it every day. I joined a writing group online for healthcare workers that has been fantastic at opening up a creative outlet for my experiences. I started guitar lessons online after years of playing and now have some direction and focus to my playing. I have been knitting and knitting and reading so many books and watching so many movies and documentaries giving rise to great conversations with my partner and our families and friends. We are living in such a strange mind blowing time.

Knitting gives me so much joy, I love making things, learning new techniques, handling the beautiful yarns, enjoying the feel and the colors. I joined a knit along for a pattern I bought last spring called Moving Forward Wrap. It seems appropriate for the time, an arrow shaped wrap with a variety of lace and garter stitches. I happened to have a great yarn in my stash just waiting for a project, a lovely handpainted merino wool sock yarn from Knit Picks. I look forward to sharing in the zoom calls and online group as we all make this wrap together and contemplate moving forward out of this dark pandemic, heat, fire, protests, political disaster, into a new world where we are more kind, authentic and caring with each other.


tiny feet

Knitting is my yoga, my meditation, my way of gaining control over a world that feels chaotic and untethered. I know people are talking about 2020 being THE year we all want to end right now and start over. For me, that year was 2015, but for now I will use 2020 to talk about handling disruption of our world and looking for ways to find stability and peace. Between the pandemic, protests, and politics I am easily overloaded. Some days I can’t read another statistic about the pandemic, the numbers swirl around my overworked brain setting off alarms and making me want to scream. I am blessed/cursed with the combination of an analytical, logical brain and a creative empathetic soul. I can sift through hype and propaganda and understand the data and see where we are headed in this pandemic at the same time my heart is breaking for the loss being experienced by everyone on so many levels. I have been helping my family grapple with decisions about socializing and traveling. Do we visit grandma and risk exposing her? How do we widen our bubble of people we see without throwing caution to the wind? Can we safely get together and share a meal? So far we socialize with our collective adult children only occasionally as a group. We are constantly balancing risk of exposure against the emotional and mental health risks of being cooped up physically distant. There is something in the energy of sharing the same physical space that no zoom call can fill. If you are interested here is a link to a tool that will calculate your individual risk of infection, death and probability of survival. It startled me a little to see my risk of infection be 37%! Though I work on the frontline with COVID-19 patients every shift, I do wear full PPE and I think my risk is lower than this calculator predicts. I advise my siblings not visit my mom who is in her later 80’s, especially the ones who live in the areas of the country where the virus is running rampant. I am definitely not going to expose her given the work that I do. My mom loves the family zoom calls, and for a woman of her generation I applaud her adaptation of this new technology. So we Zoom, we text, we wear our masks and wash our hands.

In these moments, plunging my hands into my yarn stash and coming up with a new project gives me a way to at least make something tangible that I control completely from the tangle of string and two sticks to an adorable pair of booties for tiny feet.

This project came from a hand written pattern I found that may be in my grandmas handwriting or maybe my aunt, I’m not quite sure, their handwriting is almost indistinguishable. I think it is my grandmas though, because the directions are sketchy notes as if she is just letting you figure something out and giving you a redirection here and there. She used to do that with me when I would paint alongside her with my watercolor paper taped to an old board set up alongside her easel. We would both paint flowers or birds and hers would actually look like a museum work to my seven year old eyes. She would lean over and tell me to put a color here or a line there, but mostly let me figure out my own hand and gush about the finished product and tell me I had an eye for color. She always complimented my eye and vision more than my technique, but I basked in it anyway. I always felt like an artist with her.

So back to the pattern for these booties. I cast on and played with it ripping them out until I figured out the stitch counts that made a bootie that wasn’t lopsided. I used scraps of sock yarn I had in my basket, and churned out three pair. I have written up the pattern that is downloadable here. Let me know if you make them, send me a photo and any advice to make the pattern more clear and easy to follow.

Stay healthy, stay mighty and happy knitting!

Wash day

A good description of care of hand knits. I have been washing on delicate in my machine but I have found that my socks are slowly felting and getting smaller. Especially the ones made from Blue Moon Yarn. I need to get busy replacing some of MY socks. Maybe I’ll cast on a pair today. Happy knitting!

Glenna Knits

Occasionally in the course of blogging about knitting-related things, I get asked how I wash the things I knit. After about ten years of producing knitted things that get worn, I’ve gotten a bit of practice washing them (and I do indeed like to wash the things I wear), and actually it turns out that this is not a terribly complicated thing to do. The internet is full of advice on things like this, but here’s what I do.


First, I’ve stopped bothering to pre-sort my laundry into knitted things and non-knitted things. I realized that what would happen is that I would shove the non-knitted (i.e. “regular”) laundry into the washing machine first, and then by the time it came around to deal with the knitted stuff it was all too easy to get lazy and post-pone it another week. Which you can get away with, of course, if…

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Ribbed Neck Warmer

No matter what I have on my needles, I am always easily distracted when my husband says, “I wish I had…… you think you could make that?”  Well, he has been getting back into fly fishing, and it is usually pretty chilly and damp on the river. A regular scarf isn’t practical with the ends flying around getting caught in the line or snagged by a hook.  I had just made my cabled neck warmer and he said that would be the perfect thing for fishing, but plain and made of something that could get wet.  So I dropped all my other projects to whip up a special neck warmer for his next fishing excursion. I decided to make the first version out of some Lion Brand Wool-Ease I had sitting in my stash, a little bit of wool for warmth and acrylic to keep it from shrinking and keep its shape. It is super soft too.


View and download the pattern here

Ribbed neck warmer

Old standby granola

It is one of those days where everything I touch leads to a project starting with trying to eat my usual yogurt and granola breakfast.  I shook the last crumbs of our homemade granola into my tub of greek yogurt and decided I better make another batch right now if I want some for tomorrow. Brian usually makes it but that wouldn’t be till the weekend. Thankfully he keeps the pantry stocked well with all the ingredients we need. I thought I would share the recipe, many people have asked for it. It is pretty flexible, you can add or subtract things to your taste, don’t add fruit until after roasting it though. We usually measure by weight. I just tare my mixing bowl on the scale and add each ingredient, zeroing in-between. I include volume measurements as well, precise measurement is not critical in this recipe, so don’t stress.

nuts and seeds

Oatmeal       695 grams or 4 cups

coconut (unsweetened)       109 grams or 1 cup

chopped pecans      130 grams or ½ cup

slivered or sliced almonds        239 grams or 1 cup

pumpkin seeds       174 grams or ½ cup

sunflower seeds     152 grams or ½ cup

peanut oil       111grams or 1/3 cup

honey   369 grams or ½ cup

vanilla extract   9 grams or ½ teaspoon

cinnamon   3.5 grams or ½ teaspoon

kosher salt  7.5 grams or 1 teaspoon


I mix it all up in my kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook on slowest speed. Mix just until blended. I use the dough hook instead of the paddle because it turns everything over well and is gentle on all the nuts and seeds.

going into oven

Then I spread this all out in my big turkey roasting pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Roast at 350˚F stirring every 15 min until it is all toasty brown. The house always smells heavenly while this is going on. Let it cool completely and store in airtight container. Don’t store while still warm or the granola will get soggy, believe me I have done this.

finished granola

Stuttering start

I joined TGKA way back in 2011 and ordered the Master Hand Knitting Program in 2012 but other than gather references, print out the instructions and then reorder the updates each year, I never really started. I have too many goals and two of them are big ones, this MHK and my CEN (certification in Emergency Nursing).  I finally ordered specific yarn for may swatches; Wool of the Andes, bare from Knitpicks, and some Lionbrand fisherman’s wool as back up.  I am not sure why I didn’t choose cascade 220 like most of the people working on this project are using. Hopefully the exact yarn we use doesn’t matter. Last night I started knitting the first swatch and am already noticing every imperfection in my knitting. I have occasional loose stitches in the field and sort of irregular selvedges.  I think I will just keep knitting the first few swatches and block them before I pass too much judgement on them. I keep going to the Ravelry page and reading about what everyone else is struggling with and how they handle it. I find I waste a lot of good knitting time reading when I should be knitting.

Here is the start of my first swatch. Baby steps.


Felted Slippers

Back in 2002, I made my husband a pair of the felted clogs that were all the rage then. They were made using this pattern by Bev Galeskas for Fiber Trends. They lasted about 4 years without leather soles.  I ended up making them for myself and one of my kids too. Mine and then Joe’s. I added leather soles to Joe’s and they have worn well. The next pair I made for hubby, I put leather soles on and he wears them in the yard and garden and taking out the trash and everywhere. They have lasted about 8 years now, but they are wearing out from the inside. I decided I would try a new pattern and my hubby, who does not do well with change, graciously said he would love any pair of slippers that I made for him.   So I decided to use Julie’s Men’s Felted Mocs at Lavender Hill Knits.

I had some yarn that I purchased many years ago on a trip to Vermont, it would work perfectly. I had already made a hat for a friend from it but I was pretty sure I would have just enough to make the slippers.

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Using the yarn doubled to get gauge I had just enough to make two soles with sides.


I had just this much leftover! Whew!    So I made the uppers and the heel flaps with some Cascade 220 in a charcoal grey that I had in my leftovers basket. I think it blended quite nicely.


As with all felting projects, the knitting always ends up looking so huge and I never quite believe that is is all going to work out. Here are the slippers next to MY feet, pre felting.  Granted my feet are smaller than hubby’s feet, but still, they are huge.


I felted them in my front loading washer.  I usually have good luck with this even though “they” say you can’t use a front loader for felting. I just put them in a lingerie bag, then toss it in the washer with a  beach towel and a pair of old sneakers.  I set a custom program to hot wash and no spin and pray.

Here they are fresh out of the washer, I made Hubby try them on while they were still wet; he is such a trooper putting cold wet wool on his bare feet while I fuss about whether they are the right size or not. They seemed a little big to me but he likes them roomy, so we let them dry in the air for a few days.

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I felt that this pair would look better with the leather patch type soles than the full soles that I usually use. I also used the grey yarn to whip stitch around the uppers and tack down the decorative heel flap. The sides of the slippers curled more than the sample in the pattern, but Hubby is happy with them and has worn them every night since I finished them. He promises these will not go in the garden, he’ll use the old pair for that.

Here are his happy feet.

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sometimes you need something cute

Our high school is participating in the 1:1 computing program for students. This year  each student received a Google Chromebook with a case to protect it.  We are an Apple family and Rose was disappointed that they didn’t all get MacBooks, though it seems the Chromebook is easier to integrate and much less expensive and for many families, this is their student’s first computer. They are small and cute and have a touch screen. They have many social sites blocked so the kids won’t all be on Twitter and Instagram but then they still all have their phones. However, the case doesn’t fit that well, you have to jam the computer into it and squeeze to get it zipped closed, so Rose asked if I would knit a quick sleeve for hers, and “can you get it done by Tuesday when school starts?”

So we perused my stash and found a couple of balls of yarn that were part of a gift bag from a Mindful Knitting retreat I went to back in 2006. Pink and grey, really soft and just the right weight. I swatched a little to figure out how many stitches I would need to go around the computer. I only had to rip it out once before I got it right.



I decided to use this project to learn a new technique that I have been meaning to figure out for a while. The Jogless Join. This is where you can change colors while knitting in the round without an obvious “jog” in the stripe. It’s pretty simple once you actually try it.  Here you can’t even tell where the old row ends and the new row begins.

Then we decided we would make the stripes in the Fibonacci series, since this was for school and she’ll be taking calculus and physics and all. I was impressed that she could tell me the code for the series. 1,2,3,5,8,13,21…..  you add the two previous numbers together to get the next value in the series.

The deadline turned out to be no big deal since Tuesday night was a rare slow night in the ER and I wasn’t assigned to the trauma zone.  Therefore I could knit while I watched my admitted patients sleep.



You can see the Fibonacci stripes marching out nicely, then in reverse so as to use roughly even amounts of each color. The pattern will be available on my revelry page soon.



If you look closely you can see where the new color joins on each stripe, the beginning of the round moves over to the left one stitch each time. but overall I think it looks better.

The finished product with a garter stitch open edge to prevent curling.  Rose is happy and as soon as she showed her friends they immediately wanted one too. A sure sign of success with teenagers.

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My Candace Shell

I’m trying to work my way through my stash before I spend more money on yarn. I can’t remember what I planned to make with this particular yarn, It is Sirdar Spree, a bulky weight mostly cotton yarn. I made the Candace shell with it, just using about 3 skeins of the wight that I have. You can see it on my Ravelry page here. It was a quick knit on size US 10 needles. The pattern uses 13’s but I must knit extremely loose, I kept going down a size and knitting a swatch and still getting too few stitches per inch.  It will be a great top to wear for the rest of the summer.  IMG_5269IMG_5545  IMG_5376 IMG_5375 IMG_5516 IMG_5543 IMG_5542


I might have liked a little shaping at the waist, even with the vertical ribbing, I find the bulky yarn just makes me look bulky too. The yarn is not that fun to knit with because it splits very easily, and catches on everything. The pattern itself fits me perfectly though, I knit it in the second size, The colors will look great with my linen pants. Now on to the next project, another sweater with some more stash yarn or a wrap with the rest of this yarn? 



What is normal?

Because it is totally normal that mom and daughter are sitting beside each other knitting in matching dresses.