Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Of Good Friends and Dishcloths

Life sometimes offers us opportunities to rejoice, as in the case of my online quilting friend, Sarah Lynn, who just completed a lovely masterpiece quilt that was appraised at $9,000.00!   Well, perhaps her opportunity to rejoice wasn’t entirely due to life, but to thousands of hours of her painstaking labor.  Sarah Lynn and I have a connection… my best friend from high school (and that’s a LONG time ago) was her English teacher in her own high school days (not QUITE so long ago).  She lives in Nebraska, where I went to high school… once upon a time in olden days!  It was fun to “meet” Sarah Lynn online and discover our connection to Miss Owens, who is no longer Miss Owens.  She got married quite some time ago.  Here is a link to view her Graceful Garden quilt.  She also does long-arm quilting and custom sewing.
At other times, life seems ready and all too willing to knock the wind out of our sails.  Most days, I have my rose-colored glasses firmly in place, but sometimes it’s hard to remember I’m wearing them, as things don’t look entirely rosy.  My oldest daughter tells me to quit whining when I have those days, but it isn’t easy to stop whining, when I’m lying face down in the dirt, figuratively speaking.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I was sitting in the office of my eye doctor, waiting to hear my name called, and I looked around the waiting room and noticed all of us were women, and all of us had canes or walkers.  I mentioned that fact out loud, and one woman sitting near me began a conversation. 

She said:  I would rather use a cane and be safe than lose my balance and fall flat on my face.
I said:  Me, too. 
She said:  My daughter drives me to my appointments now.
I said:  I just arranged for a driving service.  My children all work.
She said:  My daughter works, too, but we arrange my appointments around her schedule so she can drive me. (Said with a smug, self-satisfied look)
I said:  That’s nice.  My daughter used to drive me, but she has 3 teenaged children besides her job.
She said:  Don’t you have any friends?  (With a pitying look sent in my direction)
I said:  I have one friend, but her husband has cancer and she has her plate full right now.

And that’s when I started dipping into my very own pity pot!  I don’t have friends here that I feel close enough to that I would ask them for rides, which is why I hired a driving service.  When I lived in Minnesota, I had no children nearby, but I had a lot of friends, and we took care of driving each other to appointments, when necessary.  We loved each other, supported each other, and shared bits and pieces of our lives, along with recipes and patterns.  We went out to eat together.  We worked on projects together.  We laughed together and sometimes we wept together.  It takes many years to build those kinds of friendships.  I miss my friends!  Rather than begin to weep when I thought about how alone I was feeling, I pulled out my knitting and began to do some mindless knitting on a diagonal knit dishcloth. 

This is a great pattern to work on while watching television or when you don’t have the opportunity to do something that requires greater concentration.  It is known as “Grandma’s diagonal dish cloth”, and since I am a Grandma and I knit, here is my version.
Grandma’s Diagonal Dish Cloth:
Supplies needed:  Worsted-weight cotton yarn and size 8 needles (I prefer a circular needle)
Cast on 3 stitches.
Row 1:  Knit 3 stitches
Row 2: Knit 2 stitches, yarn over, knit remaining stitch.
Row 3:  Knit 2 stitches, yarn over, knit to end of row.
Rows 4 – 44:  Repeat row 3.
Row 45: Knit one stitch, Knit 2 stitches together, yarn over, knit 2 stitches together, knit to end of row.
Repeat  that row, decreasing 2 stitches each row and increasing one until 4 stitches remain.  Knit 2 together, knit to end of row.  Three stitches remaining.  Bind off, leaving a short tail to weave into the cloth.  Weave in end from casting on, and you’re done!  The yarn over creates a “lace” pattern on the edges of the cloth. 

I am not a fast knitter, and my husband referred to these as my “$90.00 dish cloths”, considering the time I put into them!  I find the cone of yarn is getting smaller but the price is getting larger, so perhaps they are worth even more than that these days.  I get fewer cloths now from a cone of yarn.  I would never sell these, because no one would pay $90 for a dish cloth.  But I make them throughout the year and give them to my children and friends for gifts, along with the nylon net scrubbies, which I posted a pattern for about a year ago on my blog.  I can't put a price tag on love, and there is a lot of love knit into those dish cloths for friends and family!

 Not all things go up in price.  I got a coupon for an oil change from my Chrysler dealer, for $12.95, including a multi-point inspection!  So this afternoon I will head to the dealership with my knitting bag in hand, for my appointment to take advantage of the bargain.  While I knit mindlessly, I will have time to think of my friends real-time and online, and send loving thoughts of appreciation for their friendship.  And I will count my own blessings.  Among them will be the fact that the lady who was so eager to make me feel what is lacking in my life is not counted among my friends!  As one of my old friends once said… with friends like that, who needs enemies?  And I will give thanks for my NEW friend and driver, Jan... thank goodness they have services like this.  I'm thinking it would take me a long time to walk to my appointments, even with my cane!


  1. We are all better off without people like that grumpy woman in our lives. I appreciate you Aleana and always look forward to your posts. :)

    Counting you as my friend,
    Pondering Cat

  2. I will never forget one of your last days in MN sitting on the porch with you. Even in the silence we knew how deep our friendship was and I feel the same today. We may be now miles apart but you and your family will forever remain in my heart.

  3. Well whomever that "broad" was at your eye doctor appt. she is a truly a bitter person. I bet none of her kids take her anyplace and that is why she was venting on you. I also arranged for rides too. And when I need it they have volunteers that will pick up groceries for me too. Now I feel great that I don't need to burden anybody but also know that I can ask a friend. Its truly empowering to be able to take care of this stuff myself. So I am sending you a huge hug. Snowbound Minn.

    1. By the way I must say when I need an oil change I'm coming your way. I just paid $80.00 for mine. Like I completion here.

  4. LOL...90 dollar dishcloths, I love it!!! Those and scarves are the only thing I can knit...I'm a super slow knitter, so mine would probably cost right about the same!!! Now I can crochet like its nobodies business...but that's probably because its a life long thing.

    That lady in the office...her daughter probably takes her so that her mom doesn't get on her last