Jim’s Love Sweater 6 and Alberta Arts

We’re off again shortly heading to Astoria, OR and ever north moving closer to home in Alaska. It’s been a great few  days with Andy, Jennifer, AbbyTabby and Daisy the dog.

They live in the Alberta Arts district of Portland and right around the corner of  their early 1900’s house is a street filled with small shops, all kinds of food and murals. I so love seeing the young women entrepeneurs and their success ful little shops!

Resale items are always interesting and Portland is no different, Why, I think looking at an halibut tail and a uh um hat rack? How about your ATM. Boring? This one lights up at night.

Jim did a little home improvement with Andy’s help. I like to keep him entertained so Jen and I can go play.

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Today we walked to the waffle shop and then I went on to the knit shop, Close Knit for some desperate help to finish the back of Jim’s sweater.

I figured Monday morning would be light but I was wrong, the little door bell tinkled constantly. I waited while she helped two older “Pussy Hat” supporters, gathered some yarn to continue on with my blanket whichis 6 inches long but Jennifer’s is almost done. Inspiration comes in many ways.

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Finally my turn and she quickly ripped out (gasp) the offending two rows and then showed me how to shape the armholes to finish the back. She loved the story of the sweater and invited me to attend the Wednesday night knitting group, but alas it’s time to go.

I walked back to the house taking little shots of the Alberta Arts District, so lively, so supportive of all people. Even the pest control for the attic squirrel “Nature First Pest Control only hires vet, retired police and fire fighters.

Jim’s Love Sweater 6 and Alberta Arts

Introducing the little Grey Panther and Jim’s doctor vist

Jim’s only favorite store is Shiptons here in Sheridan, WY. After getting his blood draw at the Welch Cancer Canter, we went off to the store. I was puttering and he quickly didn’t find what he wanted….so he went out to The Grey Panther and I finished. There I found the Little Grey Panther who will now be our constant companion.

 

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We returned for his 11am appointment with Dr. Marino who examined him and then pulled out the blood work analysis. Jim had admitted he was a little nervous and hadn’t slept well last night. I told him that if hadn’t been concerned, I would have his head examined. When Jim had been released from the hospital, I was constantly afraid I would lose this man I love dearly. The fear has settled down but rears its head near doctor appointment time.

 

It appears the only problem Jim now must deal with is high cholesteral! Liver and kidney functions fine!! A CT in six months. If all ok then, one year to next tests!!  “How nice,” I said to Jim, “to only have to worry about high cholesteral.”

Dr. Marino had raved about the hospital food. Patients had complained and a real chef was brought in. I had the  health “special.”  If here, I would come every day for the health special soooooo good!!img_2084

And Jim is off to a well-deserved nap!! Life is good..

 

Introducing the little Grey Panther and Jim’s doctor vist

A Love Sweater

 

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Jim is amazingly healthy from his bout with stage 4 lymphoma and its wretched treatment. Fatigue, minor feet neuropathy and cold sensitivity are the main treatment remnants. Awhile ago, I generously promised to knit him a classic, soft , warm grey cardigan to wear with his slippers even though he doesn’t smoke a pipe and DustyKitty isn’t likely to bring him the newspaper. The only hand knit sweater he remembers, was sent by an aunt in England when he was a young boy. Even though he admits it was beautiful, it picked like crazy and he didn’t like wearing it. I promised him softness.

I have had only one knitting experience—a disastrous one. Forty-nine years ago as a first time expectant mother I decided to knit my daughter a sweater as was the family tradition. It was such a struggle. It was ¾ done and looked terrible, a dirty white from too much handling. One morning I walked into the living room and noticed that the cat had spent the night unraveling the sweater and wrapping it around the living room. I was so happy.

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My current challenge was to find the best pattern and softest, warmest wool. I found it at the Wooly Ewe, in the tiny town of Telkwa “on the banks of the Bulkley River” in British Columbia. It was in a nondescript part of town with no other stores nearby. I’m glad I had the card and enthusiastic recommendation about it from the fabric store in Smithers.

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We parked the Sprinter and walked into the tiny building, immediately surrounded by natural warmth from the wide pine planked floor and a room filled with yarn tucked into wall slots and baskets. The elegantly, but not expensively dressed proprietress, rose from her work table—a polished slab from a huge tree. Behind her was a beautifully framed print made by her niece—a copy of which I had purchased at the bookstore in Smithers.

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I explained my project. Jim, who normally would avoid shops, was as immediately taken with the shop as I was. First, she looked through a pattern book and found the perfect pattern and promised to copy it for me. Then we started looking at colours and kinds of yarn—-light, soft and warm. Jim selected charcoal grey, the same colour as The Grey Panther. We talked about the pros and cons of each yarn. At her suggestion we picked an alpaca from Norway that “the Quebec Knitters had just purchased for their projects.” She gathered 14 balls after determining the right size for Jim.

We chatted. It seems she had owned her own made-from-scratch bakery for 22 years and wanted a change. We talked about how hard it was to find people with high standards to take over a passion. She opened the Wooly Ewe a year ago.

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Talk drifted to the beautiful handmade rocking chair in the store. Jim sat in it and rocked. A friend had made it, she said, finally able to focus his love on woodworking after spending his career in an area that made money but not the same passion as woodcarving provided. Jim and she talked about how hard it is for an artisan to support himself. Her brother, like Jim, had been a shop teacher even though he studied History and Geography. He wanted to get more girls in Industrial Arts classes. When Jim retired, his classes were so popular they had to add more classes. Her brother, now retired, focused on his real love as an artisan.

She wrapped our purchases and we left, more than a customer, less than a friend.

I began rolling the yarn into balls as we drove, admiring the texture and the balls of yarn. Then I looked at the pattern and gulped—experienced knitter. But this will be a “community of love” sweater. We are visiting a number of great knitters on this trip and surely they will help me over the rough spots. Jim will have a warm, beautiful sweater made by many loving hands and holding beautiful memories. So if you want to knit a row or two……….

A Love Sweater