Sunday, December 23, 2007

Aaaaaaaaaaargh!

(I've looked and looked, but CANNOT find the author for this)

Knitter's Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
There was unfinished knitting not under the tree,
The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care
'Cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
But I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep---he was no help at all.
And the sweater for him was 6" too small.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash.
Tripped over my yarn and fell down in my stash.
The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how far I still had to go.

When out on the lawn I heard such a noise,
I was sure it would wake up both Dad and the boys.
And although I was tired--my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment that it must be St Nick.

Yet what I heard left me very perplex-ed
For nothing I heard was what I expect-ed.
"Move Rowan! Move Patons! Move Koigu and Clover!
Move Shelridge! Move Starmore! Move Spinrite!
Move over!

Lopi, don't circle around, just stand there in line.
Pay attention you sheep and you'll work out just fine!
I know this is hard as it's just your first year
But I'd hate to go back to 8 tiny reindeer."

I peered over the sill. What I saw was amazing:
Eight wooly sheep on my lawn all a-grazing!
And then in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa's big boots stomping on the porch floor.

I rose from my knees and got back on my feet.
As I turned around, St Nick I did meet.
He was dressed all in wool from his heat to his toe
And his clothes were hand knit from above to below.

A bright Fair Isle sweater he wore on his back.
And his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack.
His hat was a wonder of bobbles and lace
A beautiful frame for his rosey red face.

The scarf on his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
On the back of his mitts was an intricate cable.
And suddenly on one I spotted a small label:

"S.C." in duplicate on the cuff.
So I asked, "Hey, Nick, did YOU knit all this stuff?"
He proudly replied, "Ho, ho, ho, yes I did.
I learned how to knit when I was just a kid."

He was chubby and plump, a well dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself, for I'd thought up a plan.
I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair.

He spoke not a word, but looked down in his lap
Where I had laid my needles and yarn for a cap.
He began then to knit, first one cap then 2--
For the first time I thought I might really get through.

He put heels in the stockings and toes in some socks,
While I sat back drinking a scotch on the rocks.
Quickly like magic his needles they flew,
Good Grief! He was finished by two!

He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
I heard him explain as he sailed past the moon,
"Next year, start your knitting sometime around JUNE!"

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I've been tagged!

(The rules are that you can't insult yourself or be obvious, but you must go through the alphabet and put a creative word that describes you for each letter.)

A-Abby tagged me!
B-Babysat the best baby Sunday night!
C-Chocoholic
D-Dog lover
E-Exercising (going on two days!)
F-"Fabulous" (a Favorite word)
G-Goofy
H-Howdy! (My Texas greeting)
I-Insomniac
J-Junk (I own a lot)
K-Knitter
L-Lens wearer (bad eyesight!)
M-Medical Records (what I do all day)
N-National Public Radio (what I listen to all day)
O-Old glasses (my frames are from the 70s)
P-Peace (what I want for Christmas)
Q-Questioning (always good)
R-Ravelry (I'm Shantastic)
S-Sarah (who I'm tagging)
T-Totally obsessed with dogs and/or knitting.
U-Underdressed (my office is cold)
V-Vacant (my brain)
W-Writing poetry and fiction
X-X-actly right all the time
Y-Yearning for good books
Z-Zounds! It's done!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mosaic Knitting

Last night at knitting my friend J brought some of the Mosaic knitting she had done a while back--it was really cool, and she showed me how and let me borrow some of her Barbara Walker books.

This was in the front of Charted Knitting Designs:

To all dispersed sorts of ARTS and TRADES,
I writ the needles prayse (that never fades)
So long as children shall be got or borne,
So long as garments shall be made or worne,
So long as Hemp or Flax or Sheep shall bear
Their linnen woollen fleeces yeare by yeare:
So long as Silk-wormes, with exhausted spoile,
Of their own Entrailes for mans gaine shall toyle:
Yea till the world be quite dissolv'd and past;
So long at least, the Needles use shall last.
--John Taylor, The Praise of the Needle, London, 1640

It appeals to my English-majorness and my craftiness. Very cool.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Finished Object

Stats:
We Call Them Pirates hat by Hello Yarn, in Diakeito Diatasmanianmerino colors 729 and 727 (100% wool, 40g/130 yds) from the local ys. It took one ball of each color, with plenty left over.

Mods:
I didn't swatch first (ahem), which made the hat a little tight around the brim and (more than) a little short, so I added another row of skulls before decreasing, and instead of lining the hat I made a 1" 2x2 ribbing (my friend wanted to be able to pull the hat down around his ears). This helped with the tightness, too.

I like the finished product, especially since it's my very first two-color project. I did take pictures of this one before I gave it away.

Obligatory Pictures:


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Relief!

After that last post I went back to knitting, and I began to panic. Each stitch made me panic more and I wondered if I was doing exactly what the Yarn Harlot is always warning us about--knitting even in the face of a horrible horrible ending full of frogging and cursing and tears...

So I put the hat on some spare yarn and tried it on:

At least it goes around the big ol' noggin! I'm not sure how that compares to my friend's head, but the panic has subsided. It might just work.

Whew! Thank you knitting gods!

Saturday Happenings

All day knitting today on this:

It's the We Call Them Pirates hat in Diakeito Diatasmanianmerino on 3s. I have a confession about this hat that makes me very very nervous. I didn't swatch. Not at all. I just cast on and knit. It is a bit tight for the gauge, I think, and I know that this means danger ahead, but I am knitting on irregardless. I am being stupid. I have this hope that I can stretch it out a bit. So... I'm going to knit another row of skulls and then measure. Just for, um, practice. I'll let you know how this turns out. Pray to the knitting gods for me, and don't make me think about the truth for a while.

And, another warning. Don't spend all day chasing squirrels, or this could happen to you, too:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Capture of Happiness

Roxie at my feet (with bone).

Wool in my lap.

Heater on my wall.

Ahhh.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Flu Shot

I am at lunch. I ache. I'm cold. I want to go to bed. Stupid stupid only-3-absences-until-you-get-warned-and-7-you-get-fired policy. :-(

Why do I live so far away from my mother? Why did she require I get the flu shot this year, and then not be here while I'm sick? (Please don't mention that I am too old to complain about this.)

K at work brought her crocheted things to work today. Everyone oohed and ahhed. I am considering bring some knitting, but I have a serious lack of finished objects... Post Christmas I am making myself something. I've pretty much given away everything I've ever made. This makes the showing off hard.

I am two months behind on my knitting schedule (or more). It does make my wrists hurt to knit, and I have been packing and moving and spending time thinking, so I am very behind. It is a bit overwhelming, and it is hard to know where to start. But, (positive thinking!) I am starting! Don't worry, dear friends, you will get your presents!

(I almost signed this posting, like a letter. That shows you that I am really not quite up to snuff.)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Report

Several things to report today, so I resort to the numbered list and do not use connecting language (bad, bad former English major).

1) WORK LIFE: Hooray I am hired! I "officially" start Monday in the position that I have been filling for five months as a temp. FIVE MONTHS AS A TEMP. I am far too exhilerated by my official status. The job is ho-hum, but now I earn seventy-five cents more per hour for my ho-hum job and get health insurance (it has crossed my mind that health insurance might cost at least seventy-five cents per hour and thus cancel out my raise, but I am setting this aside as depressing thinking and imagining those cents adding up into extra skeins of expensive yarn instead). I got my nametag today, my new position under my name announced: "clerical" in all caps.

2) HOME LIFE: The kitchen is put up and clean. My living room is livable; the yarn box is open by the coffee table and there are two pictures hung. The bedroom... well there's a functioning bed in there behind the boxes. It's easy to find, too, since Roxie lounges on it most of the time. Roxie seems happy. In addition to the bed, she has many many squirrels that keep her busy and fresh dirt to dig in.

3) DATE LIFE: I'm going to bed early tonight. (Ha ha, got you excited there...)

4) KNIT LIFE: I went to knitting on Wednesday, having been gone for many weeks. I don't know why I missed so many. I was so happy to see everyone, to feel their warm prayer shawls, to help bless... it was WONDERFUL! I also discovered that Jenny had bought a mosaic knitting book she'll let me look at if I "come regularly" (incentive indeed!) and that there was a basket of donated needles with multiple sets of dpns that I may borrow. I will be back for mosaic and needles. (Oh, and to see everyone, too... that part was the best.)

And to close, I went to my employee health meeting on Wednesday and they did these little stretching tests. I learned that I have the beginnings of carpal tunnel syndrome and may have to start wearing braces when I knit and type. Ugh. I am too young for this. Braces aren't cool. But braces are better than pain I suppose. Bleh. I blame work, not knitting.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Longing Post

I miss school. Rather desperately.

I was putting away my books tonight, and I realized that no one but a truly snobby academically-inclined person would have my library. I want to be writing about old and middle english again.

I don't want to be entering data every day.

I miss my books.

I hate my job.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Moved.

Whew! All night and all day and everything fits snugly in my little backhouse, including the dog. She's zonked out on the couch at my feet (the visit from her aunt-dog while my family helped me move proved a bit exhausting for her; it's hard to entertain that long AND chase squirrels AND make sure the people in the ally know there's a dog guarding the place).

Now, I'm unpacking and have come across the yarn box. Very tempted to start a new project. Someone tell me no. Someone tell me just to content myself with the house. That's got to be project enough.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Passing OVER The Knit

I have been a bit bad lately on many many levels:

1) I GOT SOCKS!!! Fabulous, fabulous socks. A long long time ago.
My first Sockapalooza pal couldn't make it, so I got a "sock savior"! She was fabulous. Just look:

All kinds of goodies! And all purple! I got some StitchKeepers (I've never seen these before, and I am very excited), a book for keeping my sock "Knit Notes" in, Soak for handwashing, a keychain sock blocker sock (How very cool!!! Now, something to do with all of that scrap sock yarn I've been saving--keychain socks!), fancy yummy chocolate, and a 110 gram skein of absolutely purple "florentine" colinette sock yarn (never used this before either)! All of this, for me! I was on the phone with a non-yarn friend when the package came, and I think I may have made him deaf with my exclamations.

MY socks are the Baudelair pattern from knitty, a pattern I've drooled over lots but never cast on for. And they are made out of KOIGU! They are really wonderful, and I feel so special every time I put them on. I can't thank Jenny enough! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

2) I haven't finished anything except, well, for ONE sock. It will have a mate soon! I'll post pictures when they are both done.

3) I forgot my camera when I went to Lubbock's "Knit Out" this Saturday, but I won a beautiful handknit sweater and got some yummy Japanese boucle that will become a scarf for someone this Christmas. The knit out was lots of fun, and I had a great time hangin' out with some of the people from Shaggy Sheep. However, the discussion turned toward their in-stock yarn and I am afraid I am in grave danger of spending more money. I am SO excited that Lubbock's fiber community is growing.

4) My life is in disarray. I am moving. The yarn isn't packed. I think I'm in denial.

Well, enough confessions for now. More soon.

I will post, I will post, I will post!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Pass the Knit Along!

This weekend I got to spend time teaching my mom to knit.

How cool, to pass this gift on. How cool, to give it to my mom. She's knitting her first prayer shawl, and I hope she finds the peace that I do in knitting for someone else.

Way to knit, Mom!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, My Little M&M

I got to experience the beginning of a new life today. Little M&M was born by cesarian to one of my best friends around noon, weighing in at over 8 pounds and 21 inches (I'm off, I know... he was bigger than both of those... forgive me!).

We're so excited to see him. We've been waiting so long.

These are the moments that life is about, the moments that keep us alive. The utter joy on my friends' faces as they held their baby was almost too much to bear. I love them both, and the love that they have for their child is amazing. How do we do this? How do we hold such a capacity to love?

I think about my parents, about being a parent. There is such risk involved. And the world is really such a crappy little place. Even as M&M was born today, I hear on the radio about the government in Burma preparing to "deal with" the protests of the peaceful buddhist monks. The unbalanced state of healthcare in this country (lucky for Milo he wasn't born too poor). The inmates claiming that lethal injection is "cruel and unusual." These things, too, occupy my thoughts, alongside M&M's appearance.

And yet, I can't bring myself to agree with friends that have said it's irresponsible to bring a child into this world. I can't quite believe that we are that far gone.

I stood outside this evening and I thought about us humans. I thought about little M&M and the power in the choice his parents made to bring him into this world. I thought about the beautiful weather today. I considered this birth of a million opportunities.

It doesn't really matter, I think, the way things turn out. It's not worth worrying about because we do have these things: we have birth, we have beauty, we have absolute truths, and we have love. I believe that life is worth living anyway, despite the shitty bits. It's hard to defend this position. It's hard to say oh well, and live.

But there is so much beauty to be had. There is so much joy to share. I saw it all in the faces of my friends as they held their new child, and I was reminded again to get up, to go on, to embrace the future.

Thanks, little M&M. We all owe you so much already, after your very few hours here with us.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Where I've Been (A Vacation of Sorts)

Last weekend I went to the Monolith Festival in Red Rocks, Colorado. I saw tons and tons of great bands, and had a fabulous time with my friend R and her boyfriend.

I did knit, too. (What is vacation without a knitting bag?) I took a sock:

I think my friends thought it was a bit odd to be sitting in the parking lot before a festival knitting. But there were a lot of odd people there anyway. (After all, there was a Flaming Lips concert.)

Inspired by the Yarn Harlot, the sock and I went camping and I took a sock picture:


And just to share with the world the reason I don't usually photograph myself camping:

Fun is not always beautiful.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hmmm....

What do you think?



I have been wanting a new tattoo... :-)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Skull

I finished my first crocheted object this morning (up to this point, it's just been embellishments)!



I'm sorry it's so blurry, but it was very very hard to photograph. It's very small, maybe a couple of inches from cap to jawbone... Yes, it's a skull. Why not? I'm calling him Yorick (cliche, yes, but fun nevertheless).

If you want to make one, go here, where the creator posted her pattern. Hers looks way better than mine. And the photo is not blurry. Here is one spinning in 3D. I really like the giant skull crocheted out of nautical rope on the right, too.

(And coming soon, very soon.... socks!)

Friday, September 07, 2007

As I lay here...

I have just finished with a long hot bath. I have worked a lot of hours this week. I will work a lot of hours next week.

I am knitting a familiar sock pattern in bright colors. I am wearing handknit socks and striped pajama pants. I am reading a book about a class full of special needs children.

I am eating leftovers.

I am alone, except for the dog and cats.

I am happy.

Why do I try so hard when this is all it takes?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Looky What I Got!

I had a terrible weekend, despite the fact that I had one of my best friends visiting and everyone came back into town. I had a migraine Friday and missed work, thereby getting even more behind (who knew it was possible?), then I was just Ms. Bad Mood Saturday and Sunday. I picked fights, I cried, I slept too much.

THEN, Sunday night I remembered that it was Labor Day (!) and I didn't have to go to work on Monday. This perked me up a bit. I knit. I read. I pet the dog, despite her decision to eat another pillow. Saturday night four of us went to the drive-in and sat in the back of my car while eating terrible fried food.

I knew life was okay again because I heard Bob Dylan sing "Lay, Lady, Lay" on my way home. This, to me, is a sign of good things.

I had a wonderful time with my dearest F all weekend, and was sad to see her leave Monday afternoon.

And THEN, and THEN... I walked in Monday evening and there was a package for me! I hadn't looked in the mailbox all weekend, but there was a box addressed to me. And inside?

Yay! Hogwarts socks! Thanks so much, Gina! I love my new socks. They fit perfectly:


They are very comfy. I wore them to work on Wednesday with my purple scrubs and I was very happy. I even showed them off to my co-workers, who were also very impressed. I love the mismatched heels and toes! I feel very honored to have received such a fantastic package, which was so well put together. In addition to socks to showcase my "house pride," it had fun Hogwarts candy "from the trolly," stitch markers "designed by goblins" (I can't wait to use them on my first lace project...), and TWO sets of Clover Takumi Bamboo premium double-pointed-needles "bewitched with a special kitchener charm"! Yay!!! I'm so excited... now I can cast on for more socks (oh dear, say my family and friends).

I really am so thankful to Gina for the great pick-up she gave me with this wonderful package. I am smiling now as I look at my socks...clean again. My first sock swap... what a great experience!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sobering Thought

I am only twenty-three, but I have come to the realization today that I will never, ever, be able to knit everything that I want too.

This makes me very very very sad.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pillow Casualty

Over a year since Roxie last ate a pillow!!! A whole YEAR... I've been bragging on her.

But yeterday I was neglectful. Yesterday she was alone for a long long long time. And she ate one of the designer pillows off of my bed. Not the $2 pillow I sleep on. The designer one. The PURPLE one. Sigh.

But the creative part of me is considering what I could make to fill with the stuffing...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hogwarts Socks Received

I'm SO glad that my pal Tammy finally got her socks!!!

I was very tardy on these, but I did send them, and you can see the finished project on Tammy's blog.

I'm going to Prayer Shawl Ministry tonight! Hooray for knit-night!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Family Visit

I had a visit from the family last weekend. There are a few updates:

My brother's hair is as long as mine.


We get along the same as ever.


And my dad sent pics of the new puppies my sister's dog, Angel had (ten purebred beaglies!)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Christmas: Four Months, Seventeen Days

It's been so long since I bought yarn aimlessly. So long. I was in the yarn store just the other day, but I was on a mission to purchase yarn for my Hogwarts Sock Swap pal (I was embarrassingly late on the mailing-out end, but she's only on book six and says she'll wear the socks to read the last one... nice pal!) and only searched through the diakeito.

But my heart aches for something new for the stash. Something...special... Something laceweight? To make my first complicated lace shawl? To give my mother for Christmas? Hm....

I wonder how many years it will be before my family and friends start to open my gifts at Christmas and are no longer excited at the prospect of knitting. Well, until then, I realize that four months ahead of Christmas means that I have to start planning. Not everyone will get a sweater this year. So I've made a list. I had to share this progress, because lists are always progress. Right?

And lists mean planning, and planning means new projects and new projects mean... NEW YARN!!! Yay! More reasons to touch wooly things and dream a bit before really settling down to a project.

(No I'm not posting the list here!!! Christmas is a surprise!)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sheep Shoes!

Golly-gee I've been a BAD blogger!!!

Please forgive the long absence of posts oh web-rings and sock-swappers and those non-knitting friends who stop by occaisionally... you see I have been hard at work adjusting to the regular ol' 8-5 (or 7-4, as it is in my case) again and the knitting blog just... slipped by...

But not the knitting! Oh no, please forgive the last post. I have finished a couple of pairs of socks. I have made another stripe or two on Milo's baby blanket. And other creative pursuits have also born fruit. There's another dog painting on the cusp of being finished. I made my first stitch markers!

And, of course, there are NO pictures because the camera is being bitchy again. I think there must be some sort of short in it or something because a pair of new batteries only lasts the camera about a day before it decides that the world is just too big to take pictures of. I embarked on a picture-taking journey this evening, with a series of things to photograph, but I only got a few shots of one thing before the camera gave up.

And that one thing? Actually that one PAIR of things? Why, only the new shoes I bought yesterday... the new sheep shoes!


I was casually walking through the shoe store yesterday and heard an announcement about the huge sale they were having on Chuck Taylor's. Thinking about the two pairs of truly stinky sneakers I have at home, I went to look at this sale. And there they were--pink sheep! What was a (not-so) fashionable knitter to do? Why buy them, of course, at great discount!

And I am very proud of my little sheepies. Makes me feel like... buying more wool... (I guess this could potentially be a problem...)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lots of THINKING, Not Much Knitting

(I am REALLY bad at titles for posts. I am really bad, actually, at titles for anything... This is an odd thing for a story writer to be bad at, huh?)

I've been thinking and thinking about the problem of not finishing projects and the prospect of either locking down and knitting it all in the manner of a work deadline (Not fun at all, and knitting is supposed to be fun, right? Tell me it is supposed to be fun...didn't someone say it would be fun?) OR setting the projects aside indefinitely and just telling the recipients too bad, I just don't feel like knitting on that right now (this seems much, much worse, and potentially hurtful to some non-knitting audience members, who don't understand the organic nature of making knitting fun). And the more I thought about this problem, the more I felt like the Universe is really like the end of Dogma when God is asked the meaning of life and she smiles, pushes the nose of the main character and says, "Boop!"

So maybe I was being a teeeeeeeensy bit melodramatic there, but it bothers me sometimes, my non-completing nature, and it embarrasses me to post that I've spent all day on a bracelet for me when, say, there's a red shrug that's been on the needles for gosh, how long has it been my friend? Almost a year? A simple red SHRUG? That the recipient PURCHASED the yarn for? That is embarrassing. WAY embarrassing, and it makes me feel a bit like a schmuck. And that makes me feel bad for blogging, for sleeping, for eating, for going to work, for doing anything but knitting on the damn shrug. And this is not a good mood for knitting... not a good mood for anything at all...

BUT THEN, just now, on a fellow knitter's blog, I saw something. Go back, click on it, now look at the left side... Do you see it, the section marked "On Hold For Now"? Why, that is non-threatening! Look, there's even a little thing that shows how far she's gotten on each of them. Why, she is close to finishing some of them, LIKE ME! But does she stress? Oh no. Does she worry about the non-knitting public criticizing her for her lack of productivity? No. Does she feel like God is touching her nose and saying "Boop!"? Why, NO. (Actually I don't know this for sure, but it makes me feel better to think that way, so, that's how I'll think until I'm told otherwise. And, according to her blog she is working on stash projects, which makes my point a bit moot, but let's not get hung up on details in my moment of enlightenment.) What she does is file the little (big) projects away, not under "In Progress" which would give the false impression that they are under production, but under "On Hold For Now" where she is still thinking about them, they are still there, but they are being filed for a little while while they move from being not-really-in-the-mood-for-this to now-I'm-fun-again. I like it.

So, after that rant, I am adding a new little section (it's on the right over there now, go ahead and look), and proudly announcing that I have started a NEW PROJECT!!! I am making my first two-color-knitting thingies. They are Knitty's Manly Mitts and they are for the manly man whose black cable socks I still haven't finished even though his birthday was many many weeks ago (so maybe they count as knitting from the stash? Not sure... but I think it makes them more fun). SO I am embarking on this journey guilt-free (maybe) and fun-filled (double maybe).

And if you have a project that I am, ahem, supposed to be finishing that isn't on the "On Hold For Now" list and you are concerned, just let me know. I'll add it to the list and we'll just go along happy together until I decide to put away a few files. Boop!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wristlets, Shrugs, Blankets, and... beautiful collarbones?

I have been at work these last two weeks, but (here's the usual gripe) the camera isn't working again. It eats through batteries like I knit through sock yarn, and I can't photograph. It makes me very sad to post progress without pictures, but I miss writing, so I will.

I made Knitty's Perdita in the Bluebell variation yesterday, though. I used what I had, tan cotton crochet thread, instead of embroidery floss and made crocheted buttons to close it. I'm proud of myself - my first beaded project (and first successful crochet)! Plus, now I can wear it with my scrubs and not just be blase every day... I finally made myself something, too (also a first). I do plan to make several more in all three variations, though, and distribute them amongst friends. :-)

And I FINALLY got the package in the mail and received by my friend that I mentioned over a month ago. Here's what was inside, as modeled by its recipient (her camera WORKS):
(from the front)

(and from the side/back)

The back is folded under a bit, but you get the idea. It is "Shrug It Off," a pattern written by Carlyn at the LYS. Pretty easy knitting, but it wasn't mindless - I kept having to rip back because my yarn-overs didn't line up. I felt so silly. It is beautiful, though, even if a bit big on my friend. (Doesn't she have beautiful collar bones? I've never noticed, but with her head cropped off that way, the collarbones are fabulous! How do you complement someone on their collar bones?) Anyhow, I'm glad she liked it. She's away for the summer and I miss her dearly.

Perhaps soon I will be able to post more pictures of the bracelets and everything. I've been inspired by the little bit of crocheting that I've done, and I remember the joy I used to get (and still do) when we open up my mother's Christmas ornament box and find the delicately crocheted snowflake ornaments that someone made for her. They are so beautiful, and I was always so taken aback by the fact that someone made them. No one in my family crocheted or knitted (I'm changing this--hang in there Mom, you'll get it!). I want to make those ornaments, too, and send them to friends every year in Christmas cards. I've been searching for a pattern on-line and I found THIS. WOW!!! Every snowflake you could EVER want to create! So I'm off to explore the patterns, see if I can master crochet, and put in a few more rows on the baby blanket for one of my best friend's baby-boy-to-be-born, Milo. (The blanket is growing much slower than he is; keep praying with me that it'll be done by September!)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Knitty is Up!!!

Yay for Summer Knitty!!! I'm totally making these.

And now I'm headed back to work (lunchbreak post).

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Call For Prayer Shawls

I got this e-mail from my dad today. He ran into a friend of his that needs help collecting a few prayer shawls.

If you read this and think you can help, please let ME know by commenting on this post, or directly contact Barbara as listed. (Though I really would like to see that you helped, too... so if you contact Barbara you could, you know, tell me anyhow...)

I'm going to paste what she said here, since she has so elequently described what exactly she needs:

-----------------------------------
From: Dunlap-Berg, Barbara
Sent: Wed 6/6/2007 11:28 AM
To: Nashville
Subject: Love to knit, crochet, do a not-so-random act of kindness?

If you knit or crochet, I would love to draft you for a prayer-shawl project related to the Bishops’ Katrina Church Recovery Appeal! The Gulf Coast annual conferences will host a celebration Sept. 6-7 in New Orleans. As part of this event, Mississippi Area Bishop Hope Morgan Ward wants to present prayer shawls to 200 of the top post-hurricane volunteers. Several of us at United Methodist Communications are working with the conferences to prepare for the observance.

One of my tasks is to get 200 prayer shawls. I contacted United Methodist churches featured in a Tennessean article about prayer-shawl ministries, plus several other churches recommended to me, and I put an article on the Tennessee Annual Conference Web site (that article will be repeated). I currently have commitments for about 125 prayer shawls.

A few UMCom staff—Jackie Vaughan, Tracy Wood and Bridget Worden—are involved in the project, knitting or crocheting as quickly as their little fingers will fly, and I am inviting others to participate as well.

My deadline is Aug. 1. I will attach a fact sheet that answers 99 percent of the questions.

Please let me know if you can help! Thanks so much.

--Barbara Dunlap-Berg, Creative Resources Editor, Connectional Giving Team


And here's that fact sheet:

Fact Sheet: Prayer Shawls for Katrina Volunteer Celebration
1. Why is United Methodist Communications involved in this effort?
Ever since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast nearly two years ago, United Methodist Communications has worked with the conferences in that region to raise funds, recruit volunteers and share stories of the church in action and response.
2. Why are prayer shawls needed?
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the Mississippi Area wants to honor approximately 200 special volunteers from across the connection—persons who have given greatly of their time and talents to the recovery effort. Reflecting on the Isaiah 61:3 reference to “mantles of praise,” she—and her colleague bishops—would like to present each volunteer with a prayer shawl.
3. When and where will the prayer shawls be presented?
A celebration is slated for Sept. 6-7 in New Orleans to mark the second anniversary of the hurricanes and—more importantly—to thank volunteers who sacrificed time and money to make a difference; recruit additional volunteers, particularly skilled laborers; establish partnerships between Gulf Coast churches and congregations across the United Methodist connection; and raise funds for the Bishops’ Katrina Church Recovery Appeal.
4. Who will provide the prayer shawls?
The challenge now is to find individuals and church groups willing to knit or crochet prayer shawls for this celebration. Barbara Dunlap-Berg, creative resources editor for United Methodist Communications’ Connectional Giving Team, is spearheading the prayer-shawl drive. If you can provide prayer shawls for this celebration, Barbara would love to hear from you.
5. Are the prayer shawls for men or for women? Should they be knitted or crocheted? Are they to be one color or multi-colored? Are patterns available?
Katrina volunteers come in all shapes and sizes and are men, women and youth. That means the prayer shawls can be varied sizes. Both knitted and crocheted prayer shawls will be appreciated. No specific color is requested, so if you are part of a prayer-shawl ministry that already has completed shawls, they will be perfect! If you are purchasing yarn for this project, green for new life and blue for water are symbolic. Multi-colored prayer shawls are fine as well. They may have fringe, but that is not essential. Several patterns may be found online. [Shannah says: Our church's prayer shawl ministry uses the pattern found at http://www.shawlministry.com and there is also lots of great information about the Prayer Shawl Ministry there as well.] Prayer shawls should be at least 50 inches long.
6. How many prayer shawls do you want from one individual or church?
Two hundred shawls are needed, so donations of one, 25, 50 or more will be warmly received. If you can commit to a certain quantity, it would be very helpful if you would contact Barbara in advance, (615) 742-5489, bdunlap-berg@umcom.org to tell her how many you think you can contribute.
7. What is the deadline for completing the prayer shawls?
The prayer shawls are needed by Aug. 1. However, you can deliver or send them before that date, if you wish.
8. Must I deliver the prayer shawls to you or can you pick them up?
Barbara will be happy to pick up prayer shawls within a 50-mile radius of Nashville. Prayer shawls also may be brought or shipped to her at United Methodist Communications, 810 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37203-4744.
9. Can we tell the recipient a little about our prayer-shawl ministry?
Of course! Perhaps you already have an enclosure to include with your prayer shawls. If not, please pin a note to each prayer shawl to let the recipient know about you and your ministry.

If you have questions that weren’t addressed here, please contact Barbara Dunlap-Berg. She will gladly respond. Thank you very much! For more information about the Bishops’ Katrina Church Recovery Appeal, please go online to www.umc.org.

Medical Receptionist

And so I return to the same company that I left a year ago, but this time in a job that actually involves insurance. Bleh. But it's a job, and I need to eat, and so... if you live near me and are having surgery, look forward to a call about your insurance co-payment and my cheery little voice on the other end.

I refuse to let my arts suffer in the face of this new job. I am not in school so that I can do my art; I am NOT going to give up art for a little job.

This is my resolution. (But how many writers are medical receptionists? Not many...)

Friday, June 01, 2007

A Fine Line

There are many fine lines, as we all know, many of which are encompassed in my life: the fine line between being completely insane and only being a bit off your rocker, the fine line between enjoying time with someone and obsessively calling them, the fine line between loving your dog and actually beginning to take on the qualities OF your dog...

It's that last one that's given me pause today. I see myself becoming more animalistic the longer I have a dog, the more time that we spend together. And then, today:

Roxie was sitting on the couch, on her butt, like a human. I begin to worry about scary Animal Farm tendencies arrising in our home. The cats have been friendlier than usual today, the rats more intent at breaking out of their aquarium with the assistance of their water bottle. And Roxie, sitting, looking at me like I am the dog.

(Note the knitting around her... the moment she picks up those needles I'm outta here.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Man in the Maze

My roommate got back from Santa Fe, New Mexico on Monday and she brought me two beautiful things.

The first:

A postcard of one of Georgia O'Keefe's purple petunias.

And the second was a small black stone with a labyrinth on it. (The camera's still not working, so you get an image from the web.)

The symbol is "the man in the maze" and this is the first time I've seen it, but I am no stranger to labyrinths. They are one of the central images in my life and are very important to me. I love how true they are to life, how the path turns and twists ridiculously, but alway the center is there, is constant. In this little rough patch I'm having, I wanted to burst into tears and thank my friend for thinking of me, for knowing that what I need most right now is a small stone to hold on to, to remind me of the center that is hope, that is peace, that is always there even when I am turned around. I just need to keep walking. God is there.

I am a man in the maze, but I have the prayer shawl that was crocheted for me to bind myself up in and a small stone to hold close to my heart. I want to keep these little reminders with me always. They help me feel safe in this out of control world. They remind me that there is a pattern and a center and real, tangible, love.

Sleep

Some days sleeping is underrated.

Insomnia attack this evening, and so I sit up late knitting on the baby blanket. I taught myself how to purl continental style as opposed to the English style that I usually use (check out which hand the yarn is in, that's the difference). I was ridiculously proud of myself for this. Maybe I'll show off tomorrow at knitting.

On my "insomnia": it tends to hit the most on days that were not particularly good. I wonder if it's some kind of protection for the next day; maybe if I stay up late I'll sleep in and miss most of a bad day tomorrow. Maybe it's just that bad days create panic and panic makes me tense and tension keeps me from sleeping.

At any rate, "Murphy Brown" is on the television, which tells me it must be very late indeed and Roxie has gone to bed on her own. It's actually Wednesday. I am going to go sleep a bit, if I can. Maybe I can miss most of tomorrow. :-) (No knitting until 6:30!)

I am reminded of the line of poetry that has stuck with me the longest. I don't even remember what poem it is from, but we read it in my first "Intro to Poetry" class. The line, which in and of itself is perhaps short of brilliant, comes up all the time in my head. This is a reflection on me, I'm sure. It was in a poem about the beauty of spending a day in a hammock. The poem seemed joyful and then we get to the last line, where the poet should reflect on the beauty of the ocean, or the way the wind whips across his face, but instead: "I have wasted my life."

Indeed. I hope to waste mine, too, if only sleep would come. (Maybe if I had a hammock?)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hopeful Memorial Day to You

In light of recent news, I just can't bring myself to post a "Happy Memorial Day" message. But I'm not giving up to despair and sadness today, either, as I look pictures and listen to the stories of those who have died. So, I'm trying to stick to my guns and be hopeful, because hope is all we have.

In honor of today, I'm doing a blog first and posting a personal poem that I wrote a week ago today. It has knitting and soldiers in it, so I feel it's appropriate for the blog and for this thoughtful day.

And if you get a chance today, stop by National Public Radio's The Toll of War page to get some perspective on this war.

----------

Pacifism

he said:
“and there is war everywhere anyway, why worry about it. It’s so far away, Sweetheart.”

as i sit and knit i am connected (through my tiny needles,
my even stitches)
to my spirit-grandmothers
they were handed spun cotton,
asked to knit it together into strips
so that wounds could be bound
bleeding stopped
men healed
but i knit alone
i knit warm socks in hot weather
(they will stay here
wrap around feet
wear through and get thrown away
they won’t heal)
i knit for frivolity
they knit with purpose

and what is this war anyway
i read the news 39 minutes ago
7 US Soldiers Killed
but what do i know of them
they hurt
not me
and like he said
the war is everywhere

he said
it doesn’t matter
what will your pain do
what a useless thing to be
a Pacifist
how stupid
we all fight wars
if a man broke into my house, he said
I’d kill him dead
I’d shoot him
(he keeps a gun under the mattress, just within reach)
i sat quiet.

i just knit.

but what is dead
isn’t it important?
7 men gone
their bodies cold and turning grey
and me
here knitting

not even a sock could warm them
not even a bandage could fix them now

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday's Post is for Poetry

I'm going to memorize a poem a week, starting now. I think that we don't have enough poetry in our society, and the best poetry is poetry that is known by heart. For this first week, a poem by Mary Oliver from her book Dream Work published by Atlantic Monthly Press:


Wild Geese


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

In a Funk (and teeny-tiny needles)

I'm in a funk today... just kind of angry at the world in general, I think, and at the lack of interviews in my unnecessarily slow-going job search in particular and also the fact that there are people dying across the world and I'm upset by nothing really important... and so I sat down to get a little stress-release knitting in. This is not the right time to work on the sweater for my pregnant friend or even the cable socks that are now late for another friend's birthday. There is a time for stress-full knitting, but this is not it.

But I surprised myself with the kind of knitting that I wanted to do. I pulled a little ball of left-over sock yarn out of the stash, grabbed some #2s and cast on for a 3 by 3 cable. I think it might turn into a wrist bracelet or somesuch if I can find pretty buttons. I am just really shocked that my stressed state lent itself toward teeny yarn and teeny needles and a cable, not toward big yarn, big needles, and garter stitch. Am I becoming more tightly wound myself?

Or maybe I just wanted something that wasn't so... simple. Life is too complicated. Let's throw in some tight knitting and straighten things out a bit.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Kiwi!

This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen:



(And I know, three posts in one day after a week and a half of NOTHING!)

Radio Stations

On a non-knitting note:

I changed the #3 radio station today, and it seemed like it might be a bit significant.

#1 is National Public Radio. But only in the mornings and the evenings. During the day it's the local college's classical music station. I like classical, but it's not really driving-around-the-town type music. So from 7-8 in the morning and 4-6 at night and sometimes on Saturday, this is my first choice.

#2, #4, #5 are all oldies stations. I flip through them depending on the song. There's nothing like groovin' to sixties music with the windows down or having rock blaring over my little Focus speakers and turning heads (inside, I have exhibitionist tendencies...).

#6 is my one "modern" station, for those weak moments when I succumb to the pop culture. I tend not to blare that one.

But #3, this was the loner Christian station that I listened to. Christian rock. Or it used to be. I liked it, it was fun to occaissionally jam along. But not so much anymore. It seems that they are constantly on pledge drive, and a few months ago I heard the host say "if you want God to bless your life, you've got to send us your money" or something along those lines and I haven't been able to turn on the channel since. I felt betrayed, used, for my faith. I don't believe that my not pledging to the station will keep God from "blessing my life." Now I know that this is not what the man said, but it's the other side of the coin and it is just close enough to give me pause. I felt guilty about changing the station, though, felt as if I was abandoning my always-a-bit-unsteady faith (let's be honest here) and kept thinking maybe I could return to the joyful days when I could listen to one or two songs at a time happily before changing the station for something a little less saccharine. But no, not so much. It just sat there, and the poor button never got pushed.

So today, I changed it. The local college has an alternative radio station that plays all kinds of music-- weird, interesting music that I hadn't given a chance to until recently. But I like it. It makes me laugh sometimes, and almost always makes me think, even if it is a bit odd.

And to me, my faith is about thinking. So I am not feeling guilty for changing my station. I am branching out, thinking more, and just wanted to explore here the difference in where a button takes you can make. #3, welcome back.

Knit Wit

I was called this today by a friend. Funnily enough, I wasn't insulted...

Here's a little update on a few of my projects. My camera is TOTALLY irritating, and won't let me take more than a few pictures before it says it's out of battery (I don't believe it; I just put in a new battery...), so here are the few I squeezed out before it quit on me:

First, the "Random Hearts" sweater revisited as a shrug (sometimes things just aren't meant to be).


Then, a newly cast-on baby-blanket in blue and brown boucle.


The first HP sock is finished, and the second is started. (I know I need a higher contrast background, but now the camera won't turn on. Sorry.)


And a FINISHED OBJECT on the way to its new owner. I'll write all about it when it gets there and gets opened.


There is another pair of socks on the needles that are being finished as quickly as possible for a friend's birthday this Thursday (I'm sure I won't make it, but maybe by next week). They are my first men's socks. The camera went kaput before I got to these.

I have painted, too:



So that's my little update. I'm out looking for jobs. Maybe when I find one I'll have more time to post (ha).

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thanks, Moms

I wanted to be sure and express here my gratitude to my two moms.

The first, for giving me life and always always being on my side. My mother, whom I love oh-so-dearly and who is always there. I thank you for loving-me-no-matter-what and for helping with all those papers and for letting me call you at 4 a.m. and for calling me at 7 to make sure I'm awake and for all the little things that you did like making me breakfast every morning and tickling my toes to get me out of bed and for sitting outside in the garden reading books to me. Thanks for teaching me about books and the importance of staying grounded.

The second, for marrying my dad even though he had two little girls. My step-mother, whom I love oh-so-dearly and who is always there, too. I thank you for loving-me-no-matter-what (really) and for baking cookies with me and for telling me it's ok to cry even when you don't know why and for taking me to all the exciting places I never would have known about and for teaching me to love animals and for giving me the right to call myself your daughter even though you didn't have to. Thanks for teaching me about dreams and the importance of taking off with my wings.

I owe myself to these two strong women. I couldn't have picked better. I am so lucky.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Updates again

I need to work on my titles... lack of creativity there.

Here are the start of the socks for my Hogwarts Swap friend. I reallly like them, and it's going fast. You should see the color! (Sorry I can't show you, I'm keeping that yarn secret...)



And I also finished this self-portrait today:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Socks for Others Update

1. Hogwarts Sock Swap: I've picked my yarn AND my pattern. Whoo-hoo!
Yarn: Can't tell you, sorry. Well, I've told my secret pal, and I don't want her to accidently stumble upon my blog. But I will say that it is in a bag adrift somewhere and it upsets me quite a lot that I am missing two pairs of socks-in-progress and their yarn, two skeins of this mystery yarn, and my sketchbook. I'm stifling the panic because I really don't feel good and I don't think that I can extend the energy to turn the house upside down right now. It has to be somewhere. Has to be.
Pattern: Hello Yarn's Cable Twist Socks. I'm excited.

2. Sockapalooza: My PP (palooza pal) likes lots of color, so I am in search of a fancy yarn. I saw the comment that Jayne left on my blog yesterday about her Etsy Shop and there are somethings over there that I'm interested in... (Hi Jayne! Thanks for the comment with your shameless plug! *wink*) And I do have a pattern chosen, too. Razor Shell Socks from the Mimknits.com Online Store. I was impressed by a fellow Hogwart's Swap friend, Blackrayne, and her beautiful rendition of this pattern. This is her first sock!!! My first socks were, well, they went to my mom, so it doesn't really matter how they were, but they were definitely not this beautiful! Blackrayne has dyed the yarn herself and these are for her swap partner. But then, I also might make these Lacy Scallops socks. What do you all think? Which is better?

3. And I wanted to share a little listing of my fave sock pattern sites. Here, here and here are some great pattern directories. And a few of my favorite patterns-to-try from my bookmark list: Mirabella socks, Eyelet Cable Socks, Lombard Street Socks, Aran Braid Socks, Basic Cabled Socks and Twinkle Toes.

Now I'm off to find an antihistamine/decongestant before my head explodes.

Hooray for Loozers!

Thanks for all the comments!

I'm glad I was right about the "secretness." I thought this, but I kept seeing everyone's comments and I just wondered... I, too, have a "secret identity" where I have already e-mailed by paloozerpal (PP?). I still haven't heard from mine, though. I hope she likes purple, because I REALLY REALLY do.

:-D

Question for my Fellow Sock-a-pa-loozers

So after we broke blogger together my sockapalooza friends and I are now doing something I don't fully understand called the knit pligg where we can post urls and talk to each other.

(Hello!)

SO, I'm giving it a try with this little shout out. Forgive me if I am a bit odd... this is my first.

But I did have a question, too. We are supposed to be secret pals, right? Just checking. Secret was my understanding, but I'm not always the brightest crayon in the box, so, yeah...

I'm excited about my pal and her preferences (which just aren't too confining, really) and I'm going to run on now and find some exciting yarn and a pattern. She likes "colorful socks." Hmmm... I like colorful...

If you are a pa-loozer, stop for a sec and say hi. I'd love to meet you. If you're a friend and you're confused by this entry, say hi, too. I'm always a glutton for comments.

:-D

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sock Monkey

I am going to make a sock monkey for my friend's little monkey that's due in September. I was doing some researching tonight, and I found two sites with free patterns: The original - a vintage sock monkey pattern, and an exciting modern one. (They're pretty much the same.) And then there's the Crocheted Sock Monkey Bookmark and Sock Monkey Hat. I'm especially intrigued by the hat. I can see the whole family in one: sock monkey mom, sock monkey dad, sock monkey baby... How cute is that?

My friend, an interior designer, is making her entire baby room a sock monkey theme. I'm so excited to see it and the art that she is creating for the walls. I have to finish that dog painting so I can get into the "monkey business," too. (I know, I know, that was TERRIBLE.)

I'm watching two dogs tonight, a doberdog (not my doberdog) and a greyhound. It's thunderstorming outside and the doberdog is neurotic, so I actually have her in my lap right now. She's shaking, poor thing. The thunder seems to be subsiding though, so maybe she'll be able to relax soon.

So after my proclamation earlier today that I had too many projects, here is my happy announcement that I'm about to start another. But it's sewing not knitting... that's different, right?

Another thing about this baby being a boy. We've been discussing the lack of creative boy clothing. Why is that? My new mission is to clothe my friend's baby in just as adorable a way as any foofy pink girl. Off to investigate...

(Mom if you're reading this, get off the computer and go see if the record player works. I WAAAAAAAANNNNNNNT it! Simon and Garfunkle are calling to me from their album cases. They need me. I need them. I need a working record player.)

Pictures!

I've been so upset because my camera didn't work that I haven't been posting. But here, at last, I turned it on and it worked! Lest I lose the moment, I dragged my rear off the couch (to the kitchen, grabbing a snack on the way...) and took some photos.

I was inspired by Julia's honesty yesterday about her varied knitting projects, and I decided to post a few of the "closet projects" myself. The stash secrets. So here they are.

First, "Shrug It Off," a set of, well basically, sleeves, that my friend Rebecca commissioned. The pattern was designed by Carlynn at Shaggy Sheep, and it's fun and easy and repetitive and I'm embarrassed by the number of times I've had to rip simply because I miscounted:

It's almost completely done. Don't know why I never listed it as "on the needles" except that I'm embarrassed by the sheer number of projects I have going on right now. Here it is again, with my feet in the picture. I'm in my pajamas at 3:30 in the afternoon because I am SICK SICK SICK with a sinus infection.


And I'm not the only one. Here is Roxie:

What you can't see in the pic is that she is chewing a hole in her leg. That's right. A hole. In her leg. She chewed. Created it herself, actually. Apparently she might be a disturbed doggy. She has a vet appointment in about 30 minutes. Because she's OCD and there's nothing wrong with her but her own insanity. Much like me. She might have to get doggy antidepressants.

But back to the projects. Here's another:

It's an afghan for my friend who's getting married soon. Hopefully it will be finished before her first anniversary. There are going to be 36 squares, arranged in a not-so-random pattern. Now there are 1.5 squares. It's my mindless knitting project.

And a finished object! The Mason-Dixon Dishcloth. It was fun and simple and finished quickly. Made me feel productive (a dangerous thing).


And the most embarrassing thing ever? Here is my project for the Red Sweater Knit-Along. TV decoration:

Good thing there's no time limit, eh? I'm still frustrated with having to rip half of it out. Is it wrong to carry this sort of grudge against your knitting?

The worst part about this whole thing was having to pull all of this knitting out, and not finding it all. I am now missing my sketchbook and two sock projects, and I am highly HIGHLY distressed about it. So there should be more pictures, and there are not. I'm going to ransack the house as soon as I am feeling better.

On the art front, I am making some progress on Gracie's brother's painting. Bailey:


So those are my confessions for the day. Hope you enjoy!

I promise not to take so long to post anymore. (OK, I can't promise, but I'll try.)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

An apology for varied oopses.

1) Sorry that I haven't been posting. I have been "out in the country" watching a friend's animals since Wednesday.

2) Sorry if I stole your bandwidth. I just found out last week about bandwidth theft and am afraid I have been a guilty party. But I changed all of my images over to my own server today, and I am proudly going to display this:

Please, if you've done this accidentally, fix it, too. It was a pain, but I feel better about myself now.

3) Sorry this is the end of this post. I actually *have* been doing some knitting, and I will post more on THAT later. ;-)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

That is sweet earth you might say...

In honor of Earth Day, I want to suggest that we knitters look to alternative yarn sources, like old sweaters.

I went to an art show yesterday, and there was a recycle booth. All day today I'm going to try and think of other cool and unique things to knit with, and let you know what I think of by late this evening. If we're going to call ourselves "fiber artists," we've got to look outside the box! And helping reduce trash is always a good thing.

I'd love to hear if anybody has any cool suggestions...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Something Meaningful

Continuing on with the poetry theme:




Keep walking, though there's no place to get to.
Don't try to see through the distances. That's not for human beings.
Move within, but don't move the way fear makes you move.
Today, like every day, we wake up empty and frightened.
Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

-Rumi

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Unproductive is My Name

I haven't been posting, because I kept hoping for more productivity to post. But then today I realized that my camera is out of batteries, so even if I was productive, there would be nothing to post.

SO. A short haiku poem on the joys of unproductivity:
Lying on the couch,
Feels so nice to be useless
'Til I head to bed.

Now, I think I'm a-gonna paint. Or knit. Or something. Maybe it's time for bed again?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Wedding Weekend

And after being a bossy maid of honor (I'm in the middle):



I'm exhausted.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

No Knitting Today

*gasp*

But I was so dizzy that I spent most of the day flat on my back. I didn't know that a little earwax could completely knock me over. I've never felt like that before. The doctor seemed to think I was being a bit silly by coming in and he just gave me some pills for dizziness. But truly, it was a totally frightening and new experience to stand up and just fall back over.

I leiu of knitting, I signed up for the Sockapalooza. So now there's more knitting to do. Happy thought. :-D

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New Header Banner

I created this today:


The picture is my first prayer shawl, though technically it's a "lap blanket." I made it about two years ago. I was going through a very self-centered time in my life, having just gone through a very painful ending in a relationship. The church had just started a "Prayer Shawl Ministry" and I needed something to do with myself to fill up empty moments. I knew how to knit (though was only very much a beginner--I knit my stitches through the back), and so I joined. I couldn't even think of anyone to knit for, I was so full of myself. I picked purple yarn because purple is my favorite color, and the favorite color of my ex-boyfriend, so it symbolized a lot of my pain. I did pray while I knit it, and I cried a lot. After about the first skein of Lion Brand Homespun (it took 3 on size 13 needles, 87 stitches across) I began to think about who I could give the shawl to, beginning to feel a change in myself. And, ironically, the shawl belonged to my ex-boyfriend's grandmother, Mimi.

Mimi was a red hat lady, and I knew that the shawl belonged with her. When I'd finished, I had a friend crochet a red scallop border around the shawl. I gave it to her with a new feeling of wholeness and completion. It was like an ending to that chapter in my life.

Chapters don't really end in life, though. About a year later, Mimi died suddenly. (She fell in the yarn isle at a craft store, broke her hip, and died... but that's another story.) I was enlisted to care for her mentally retarded son because of my many interests and experiences in special needs adults. I went to her funeral. She was a wonderful, truly unique person and so was her funeral. Red hats and purple clothing reined. The family used my blanket to cover the table with her pictures on it. After the funeral, no one wanted the blanket I had made, so it was given back to me.

I am not friendly with my ex-boyfried (he is now happily married and expecting his first child), but I have Mimi's blanket. I have the memory of creating this first well-done knitted object and of joining the world again with me, to wrap around me. So it seemed only fitting to put it in the background of my banner. My first knitted object. The beginning of a new life, and the end of an old one.

And that's another great thing about knitting. Right now I am using the blanket to keep myself warm (the cat loves to knead the knitting with her paws, too), and it is a part of my roommate and my daily life. But it also symbolizes so many things. So many kinds of love and pain and healing. So I had to share why it is on my banner. And why I knit: because of the prayer shawl ministry, because of the color purple, because of Mimi the Red Hat Lady.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I'm a Hufflepuff!

I've joined a sock swap to prepare for the new Harry Potter book!

We have to finish a pair of socks before the book comes out on July 21st. I'm pretty excited about this... as part of the swap we're required to take a test to see which house we're in (I'm a Hufflepuff, which is what I wanted to be, happily), and then post the questionnaire on our blog. So here 'tis.

Hogwarts Sock Swap Questionnaire

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into? Hufflepuff

2. Shoe size? 7.5-8 inches

3. Foot Length? 8.5-9 inches (I usually like a little snugger fit, so go for the 8.5 when I knit myself socks, but technically I'm a 9, and either's fine)

4. Foot Circumference? 9 inches

5. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length. I am not that picky, since I usually buy the inexpensive needles and splurge on yarn. I use the cheap metal kind that only come in sets of four. I'd really REALLY love to have a set of five. Currently I have two different size five sets, and it would be nice to have one complete set. Having said that, I DO like Addi turbos, and the bamboo is so pretty at the yarn store...

6. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length? ANYTHING! I can get excited about anything knitting-related, so... surprise me!

7. Are you willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal? Sure.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Widdershins

Yes, I have cast on for (yet) another project.

But before I go there, I want to justify it by another foot's worth of progress on the Broadripple Shawl. When I finish, I've gotten permission from the pattern's creator (remember, it was originally a sock pattern) to post my shawl version here. Incentive to keep knitting on it? After two socks and half a shawl, I really am getting a little tired of it. I've got it memorized, could knit the pattern in my sleep. And yet, I still think it is so beautiful.

SO. The new thing:

Can't tell yet? They're toe-up socks, Widdershins, to be exact. My first toe-up sock. It was fantastically hard. Those people that say toe up socks are easier are filthy liars. I had a really hard time. And I only had four needles instead of five, so that made it all the more difficult. But I'm doing it nonetheless.

And see:

Now I have a toe hat!

Happy Easter



From the Easter Dog!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Shawls for ERs (pronounced "ears")

Yesterday at Prayer Shawl Ministry meeting a new member, Pete, showed us her first shawl. She discussed how it was not very good (which was a lie, because it was very, very nice) and that she didn't have someone to give it to. She told her son that she was just going to put it in the closet and let it sit for a while. Her son said, "wait, Mom, I'll take two." (Let's set aside the fact that he said two, which was an unreasonable demand obviously coming from a non-knitter.) Pete's son is a trauma nurse at one of the hospitals. He mentioned how the other day the people in the hospital had to wrap a woman who had just lost her baby in a really old hospital blanket. How much better to have a knit shawl?

We all got chills. Indeed, knit shawls are better, and we sent Pete home with the rest of the shawls in our closet.

We blessed them all for ERs. My little thoughts and prayers go with those shawls and the many little journeys that they go out on.

Broadripples Finished!

I FINISHED Penny's socks!!! FINALLY, all of my Christmas gifts have been gifted. *Blush*

And here they are:




Roxie stuck her paw in, and I just had to include it.

Hoo-ray! Now I can cast on for new socks!

The pattern is Broadripple Socks from the Knitty Summer 2003 issue. The yarn is Diakeito Diamoment number 807 from my favorite yarn store, Shaggy Sheep. It's hard to find the Diakeito yarn, but Jan reminds me that Shaggy Sheep ships! It's thick yarn, a little too thick for the size 3 needles, but I do like how they turned out, thick and warm. They'll be great, ahem, for winter. It took 3 skeins, with only a little left over, and they are definitely sized for size 7-8 feet. I like the colors, but if I had it all to do over again (which I DON'T) I would try to match the skeins a little better so that the toes change more gradually. Anyhow, I'm pleased. They're Penny's favorite color, and I hope she will like them too. My comfort socks.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Scattered Thoughts

I went to the LYS today and looked around for a bit, rather guiltily. But I escaped, my only new item being the knowledge that I can sit and knit with the staff if ever I am lonely... and that they know my name now. (Is this good or bad, that the yarn store staff know my name?)

I have this real desire for more sock yarn, and it's getting to be a bit obnoxious. I MUST finish these that I have first. So, I went home and forced myself to knit on the pink broadripples. The PAIR will be finished by Wednesday so I can give them away. I don't know why I'm having so much trouble finishing these!

Babies are being conceived everywhere, it appears. I am excited about the prospect of knitting things for them, though. I hope every baby I know about is a girl, so that I can knit pink ruffles.

Speaking of pink ruffles, I shall soon be a bridesmaid in my sister's wedding. This, amazingly, infringes even on my life, some six hours away. How odd that we Christians have picked this one ceremony (sacrament?) to be so special. I want a Kitchenaid mixer for my baptism. What about the Eucharist? Doesn't THAT deserve a $600 cake?

I've been having this odd craving lately to go do a rosary. I'm not Roman Catholic, and although my mother is high church Episcopalian I have been an ardent United Methodist these last few years. I'm not sure what I should make of this craving, since it also coincides with the desire to learn to spin. Maybe my hands just don't have enough to do? I must learn to knit while I am washing dishes or taking a shower or reading.

I found this today. It's colored cotton. Naturally. And also sustainably. I REALLY want to learn how to spin cotton. It seems silly to have grown up all of my life with fields behind my house filled with the stuff and not know how to change it from a little poof in a shell to the thing that is one of my greatest passions--yarn. I can remember picking up the balls out of the field when I was a kid. I remember watching someone show us how to card and spin at school, and I came home, picked out the seeds, and twisted a little section into yarn. Even then I thought it was cool to see the process that changes a tiny seed into something wearable. I must find a spinner here!

Along those same lines, I am beginning to feel a deeper connection to place, to here in the South. This is also quite odd, since I've spent many years trying to figure out how to leave Texas. But as I was driving back yesterday I was admiring the openness, the sky. I saw an old woman walking back to her house and I realized that I do, indeed, love it here. This place is my place. There is room to just be here. The moon hung in the sky tonight so big, and even from my yard in this little flat city I could see the stars. I understand things here, in this place. I understand how people think and why they think the way that they do. I understand why Georgia O'Keefe came here and found her art in the plain colors. There is room here to see for miles and drive out in the country where there is nothing but red dirt and yell loudly. There is also room to sit quietly. There are terrible things here like tornados and dust storms and mud rain and wind that will drive a person crazy. There's not always a lot of appreciation for differences. But there are redeeming qualities that my friends and I ignore far too often. There is a lot of love here. Even a girl with liberal tendencies, a tattoo, and a nose ring, can be accepted by a circle of older women. There is a connection between us all. We have lived here. We have survived the drought and the rains and the open spaces, and we even dared to thrive throughout it all. We have passed down the tools throughout the generations, and there are still people to share our love with. We young 'uns often forget about respect in our need to move forward and reject the past. I think that this is what knitting does for us. It connects us back and back to our mothers and grandmothers and farther and farther. Women have always been doing this. Women must always be doing this.

It is too easy, always, to dismiss someone, to dismiss a place, as ordinary. There really isn't anything ordinary. We shouldn't work so hard to be special. The most special people are the ones that recognize the negative and decide to be positive anyway. The most special people are the ones that look at the terrible awfulness of life and decide, anyway, to love.



Well, I've waxed eloquent enough for a while. I just keep hearing how terrible this town is, how "there's nothing to do," and "nothing but narrow-minded people" and "why in God's name would anyone live here." I also, let these words slip out of my mouth, and I wanted to say, for the record, that I understant the beauty, too. I understand the importance of open space and deep connection to the earth. So there. That's enough.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Back From the Bridal Shower

My sister's shower was this weekend. Lots of people and cool stuff.

If I stay single forever, can I have a shower, too? I want a KitchenaAd mixer.

But along the drive, I finished one of the Seduction Socks:


And I also made some (albeit small) progress on the second Broadripple sock:


And now for some scrubs and the Broadripple sock again. I MUST FINISH!!!