Cowlabundance
Sunday August 20th 2017, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Knitting a Gift,Life

1. Felt much better than yesterday.

2. Cowls: the navy merino/silk, the Malabrigo Mechita in Whales Road and in Pegoso, one of the two red/purple merino/cashmere with sparkles. (Hey, Sherry, your cashmere was well loved all over again.) Someone fairly new, whose story I don’t know but whom I don’t think I’d ever seen really smiling, broke out into all kinds of happiness at the latter–and that, I tell you, is what keeps those needles going.

The friend who’d hoped for aqua exclaimed over her Pegoso and when I said the yarn was handpainted, held it out a moment in wonder and asked, How?

I explained that they (or at least some dyers, I shouldn’t speak for all of them) lay the racetrack-shaped hank out and paint sideways.

She was fascinated by the repeats and the way adjacent stitches in different rows held the same color and just wanted to hold still and absorb it a moment.

3. Re the eclipse tomorrow, from an optometrist: https://stellasplace1.com/2017/08/13/caution-the-solar-eclipse/ There won’t be enough sun to hurt your eyes and force you to turn away to warn you that you’re still looking long enough to do permanent damage. She recommends you watch it on TV.

Me, what I find most interesting is watching the effects of an eclipse: how the light changes, how the shadows turn all sharp-angled, how the wildlife reacts. And, come to think of it, how much I’ll need a sweater on.

Also, hopefully, how empty the freeway will be (hey, everyone’s in Oregon, right?) while I go make a peach run to Andy’s.

Although–maybe after 11:37 when it’s over.



I still have the beaded socks she made me eleven years ago
Thursday August 17th 2017, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life


Finished that one (colors muted by the nighttime photo and the fact that it’s wet) and there will be lots of nice folds on it around the neck. Started another cowl tonight.

But in between I played with the dye pot.

Colorwise, the hanks to the left in both the following pictures are the ones most true to life.

I have a friend (don’t miss that post) whom life has put into a tight spot and it was time to do some stash diving in return for all the good turns she’s done me. She wanted to knit her young daughter a red sweater and it seemed to me I ought to be able to do something about that.

I found two big hand-dyed hanks I’d bought maybe eight years ago at Stitches: 9.17 oz/1300 yards each in super wash merino–not a thick yarn by any means. I’d had plans for them but they’d just never leaped onto the needles, and the plan for the dusty sandy peach one (brightened by the camera here, in real life, not so much) was clearly not going to happen. (It made sense at the time, honest.)

I always thought that weight-wise, if I weren’t making a shawl, they’d be great knitted together–if only the colors were more compatible.

Well now they are. I offered to overdye the multi, too, to obliterate the orange bits, but it was loved just as it is.

The ties around the peach-ish one had been drawn tight enough to mostly resist the original dye. I moved those ties and knew anything I did would come out lighter in those spots, and they were. I like it, though.

That dark red will lighten up a bit once it’s dry.

Somehow, what leaped onto my needles tonight was a small amount of red from another part of my stash. Funny how that happened.



Mathias saves the day
Tuesday August 15th 2017, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life,Lupus,To dye for

The color of the sky, she said. That was her favorite.

I looked over the blues in my stash yesterday, and then again today, willing it to be there. I have some really nice yarns that were close but they just weren’t quite…they were my types of blues, not hers.

I could wind white yarn and haul around dye baths and wait for things to dry and hope I guessed right on amounts or I could go for a little more instant gratification. Besides, I hadn’t seen Kathryn in months and I missed her.

Cottage Yarns in South San Francisco was a hike, but: “Today you can do it–do it today,” I tell myself all the time and I wanted to get started and I wanted to see what Malabrigo had to offer these days (turns out she has a new shipment coming in soon, too) and if anyone in the area had the inventory it would be her. There. Talked myself into it. So off I went.

I wanted superwash for a young mom; she helped me find the most perfect colors of Malabrigo Mechita and I had myself envisioning an entire cowl finished by bedtime.

Yeah as if. But I got to meet her daughter! Too cool that hers is also named Sam–and that it was her birthday.

Came home to a robo-call to pick up my prescription before they returned it to stock. Fudge. That had definitely not been in the plan. Wound a ball of Mechita and headed back out into the early rush hour.

Hit the top of my head, hard, on the car at the pharmacy. Klutz. Had a quiet little freakout to myself over head injuries but seemed to be okay.

Still, it took me a couple of hours to pull myself and my sore head together and actually finally sit down and start knitting, and oh did it ever help. That sweet anticipation as beautifully dyed wool wrapped around wood, again and again and again as I pictured my friend’s face…

My phone buzzed.

Our Sam and her family are in Texas, visiting Mathias’s Great Grandpa. (Where our Alaskan born, on being taken outside into 100 degree heat, was initially stunned: what IS this?! Make it stop!)

After all the news of these past few days–weeks–months–it all comes back to that poster in my obstetrician’s office years ago: “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”

Baby giggles, or even just pictures of baby giggles. They make the world whole again.

 



Mark her words
Sunday August 13th 2017, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Life,Politics

Let me put the knitting down for a moment and show you where to see a photo.

Of first responders.

In Charlottesville. (Washington Post video. Warning: includes that car.)

The one overcome by grief, sunk down on his knee in the grass with a friend’s steadying hand on his shoulder, is the husband of my friend Chan, and that is her blog.

What happened in their town should never happen anywhere. Especially, absolutely, never in America. The actions of these few are a terrorist threat against everything our country aspires towards.

As Orrin Hatch put it, “My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”



Gotta give a little
Saturday August 12th 2017, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

(They’re not brownish in real life.)

The baby hat came out a perfect size 3-6 months. Size 5 needles, 80 stitches.

The cowl that I cast on this morning, same yarn, size US 6 needles, all of .25mm larger: 84 stitches.

They don’t look that much different width-wise. But the cowl stretches sidewise easily way out to here, and the hat, just barely. The cowl will be exactly what the recipient wanted, hugging her neck but with the stretch to collapse down and outward in folds (when I get done.)

But then the Pythagorean pattern is essentially ribbing done in diagonals, and ribbing is put in places where you need stretch. My friend wanted solid fabric and diamonds and stretch and this does it.

I don’t regret flubbing it the first time around: that’s one very soft hat.

My thanks to Sally for prompting the much-needed pattern idea for the cowl.



Rolling with it
Tuesday August 08th 2017, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift

Somebody learned how to roll over today and he was very very proud of himself.

Re the green hat: it matches the cute outfits sent by Aunt-by-love Phyllis but it did not get the spiked dragon tail I was going to knit winding around it and dangling off the end.

It occurred to me just in time what a great cat toy that would make Mathias’s head into.



Baby hat
Monday August 07th 2017, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,Wildlife

The beta went home tonight to the family that loves it best–and I will miss watching those beautiful blue-black fins and tail swishing through the water towards my hand as I drop a speck of fish food into its tank. It had a little rock cave to hide out in with a few aquatic plants attached but when I called softly to it it would come out of there and greet me.

Who knew such a tiny thing could be so charming?

Maybe they’ll go on vacation again sometime.

And then I finished knitting this. Maybe. I had been planning to add more to it–but I really like it as is, even with that edge not blocked yet.

Shepherd’s Worsted yarn from Lorna’s Laces. The colorway was a doodle, a one-off that was in a gift bag at a post-TNNA party held at Green Planet. The pattern was a doodle, too, five repeats of a short simple lace followed by ~6″ of stockinette and then decreasing and out.



Just a few more hours
Tuesday August 01st 2017, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Knitting a Gift

This one is to make the parents happy, and whether they use it for the baby is up to them but I decided I wanted it long enough to curl over the mom’s feet during 3 am feedings, if nothing else, and that as long as that giant ball kept going so would I.

Three repeats done today to bring it to twenty-two before I broke out the icepacks. Two more to go and then that’s all there is.

I like having less left to do tomorrow than what I did today.

(I think. Wait, did I weigh that ball one repeat ago or two?)



Knitworthy
Sunday July 30th 2017, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Knitting a Gift,Life

Oh, right, the purple cowl. And I went to grab it before church.

Something in me said and grab that pink pearl-yarn one, too.

?? Okay, so, I did, a little surprised. I’d forgotten even making it and here I was looking for it. I grabbed a back-up purple, too, but I didn’t think that one was quite it.

As church was letting out, I found a private moment and gave the friend who’d wanted purple her choice of the three; she picked the one she didn’t know I’d made specifically for her this past week and put it on instantly no matter the thickness in summertime and wore it proudly. Totally made my day.

Then I went looking for another friend. She was wearing a white dress and I was mentally going through my stash of white yarns when I finally caught up to her collecting her children.

“Are you allergic to any fibers?”

A surprised, “Am I what?”

“Are you allergic to anything? What’s your favorite color?” When she still looked like wait, this is completely out of left field, what?! I added, “I’m a knitter.” (Yeah, yeah, she knew that.)

She was startled and laughed and couldn’t believe I was asking her and shook her head no on the allergies thing and pronounced, “Pink!” And then went, “Well…” and tried to describe the kind of pink she really likes.

Reaching into my purse, pulling out just enough for her to see: “Like this shade?”

“YES!” And then she was instantly embarrassed because it wasn’t like she was trying to ask for the thing, while I was marveling at how it had just happened to be there. I told her, I didn’t know who I made it for but I knew I made it for someone and then it just sat there waiting for its moment and then this morning it demanded to come here with me. Well there you go.

It was beyond perfect as far as she was concerned, and I wondered why I hadn’t figured out sooner that she was the person for it.

But after a few hours’ reflection, I think it’s this. She had taught the lesson today and had told some stories on herself that she might have wondered if they would make anyone think less of her. I would be very surprised if anybody did–allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is the greatest act of faith in one’s listener one could ever offer them, and she’s a peach.

Today was the day that young mom needed that vote of confidence. And it was waiting for her before she said a word.



We talked about a lot of weirdnesses in the English language
Saturday July 29th 2017, 11:03 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Happy Birthday to our friend Phyllis!

I loved listening to her explain to friends for whom English was not their first language and America was not their original country that Boston cream pie isn’t cream, and it isn’t pie, but it’s really good, though–here, have some! (Let me quietly disagree with Wikipedia and say I’ve never seen it served with anything other than pudding as a filling.)

There was a side conversation about, like, take the word nature, but if something is of nature it’s natch-eral not nature-al and how do you know that unless someone corrects you for doing it wrong. The other immigrants chuckled knowingly.

Phyl added whipped cream on top to make a more honest dessert out of that, um, pie.



Round and round and round it goes
Thursday July 27th 2017, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Spinning

If you ever want your inbox to go weirdly silent for an entire day, offer a lot of very nice people something you only have one of. Niddy-noddy? Anybody? Drill a hole and reposition an arm? Use as is? Take one arm out, thread a string through the hole to suspend it by and hang cat toys from the bottom arm? Help me out here.

Meantime, I was discussing something with a friend the other day and she tried to describe her favorite shade of purple. She finally pulled out her phone, went to her alma mater’s site, and there it was in full and official color.

(Actually, I had something like that kicking around…) So today, it didn’t matter what I’d planned on, it leaped onto the needles.

Funny how that happens.



Backup plan
Sunday July 16th 2017, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

Re this cowl: she thought the color was perfect and she loved it.

And then there was the one for Don’s wife.

My husband came home from a meeting recently with a nice and brand new pair of shoes–and quite surprised, I asked, Where did those come from?!

I had been trying to buy him a new pair for some time. Going shopping for shoes, online or in person, is absolutely not his thing. I had tried three times to order him some but he said the fit was wrong and they didn’t work. Back they went, one after another, and it had been kind of bugging me that his feet were beginning to look a bit sad. I was trying.

And then suddenly here was this beautiful pair of black Clark’s. They fit perfectly.

So I cornered Don at church. His wife’s not a Mormon and I don’t see her very often, but I have met her and I remember her wearing a denim skirt. I had some denim-ish colored yarn, and due to the recent Colourmart sales, it was a yarn one could brag about just by saying it.

I thanked him for those beautiful shoes as I fished through my purse and pulled out a cowl in a small ziploc. I asked if she would like the color?

He was slightly unsure at first glance: “Well, she usually wears brighter colors…” But when I said it was cashmere he was gobsmacked. (And like the Fluffball, the yarn had grown fairly thick in the pre-scouring.)

I told him I could overdye it to a darker shade of anything blue-based, or tell me what color to go for and I could knit something else.

But this one was growing on him fast. He couldn’t wait to give it to her.

And he told me, well, they’d bought the shoes in Vacaville. (I almost exclaimed out loud, You drove all the way to Vacaville?! I knew there was a big outlet mall there, but there’s another one in Gilroy and at an hour away it’s a whole lot closer. Although don’t ask me what the shoe stores currently are in either, I have no idea, so, never mind. And maybe it was on their way home from visiting grandkids, who knows.) So. When they really just didn’t fit no matter how much he’d wanted them to, there was no way they were going all the way back there, so he’d been looking for someone to give them to and was glad they’d worked out so well for us, even more so when I told him just why doing that right now was such an extra gift. (Richard told me after church that Don had been very pleased to see those shoes on his feet.)

Cashmere. Oh he was thinking now that that would most definitely do, and he loved that I’d knitted it for his beloved.

I have gray, brown, (thrills chills and excitement), an earthy purple and a dye-able white cashmere on hand in case it doesn’t, but he smiled and kind of waved all that away.



All in a good day
Tuesday July 11th 2017, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

Done did got my hair did, after putting off the trim for too long. When it pins you in place when you try to look over your shoulder to change lanes and you have to lean forward first to let yourself free, it’s time. At least for me.

Gwyn does amazing work… Besides, it’s fun to see what I look like with straight hair with a little flip at the end, or at least while it lasts. I like it. So different, without having to cut off all my hair to enjoy the effects of the novelty.

Tomorrow morning the fog will roll in, the humidity will rise, and my hair will curl.

Well, so then we got a message from our older son that he was in town for the day on business and could we meet up for dinner? Cool!

I wondered if maybe still… And so we headed over to the restaurant where Sue worked and who had so adored our kids when they were little. The woman in the intro in my book. She’s a good one.

Sue herself welcomed us on back–she was still there!

Our 6’9″ Richard-the-younger arrived not long after.

I loved her laugh as she said, “Oh, he’s not little anymore!”

Meantime, Sam pinged a baby picture or two our way as if on cue, not knowing we were right there with her favorite waitress from her childhood, showing Mathias getting better and better at this smiling thing.

Sue thanked me again for the scarf I knit her, and I had been going to thank her again for the amaryllis she dropped off at Purlescence for me once, so let me do so here.

It still blooms every year. It’s perfect. Thank you!

After we got home, I texted Gwyn what Sue had said at the beginning, taking me in a moment: “You look fabulous!”

Only with help, honey, only with a lot of very talented help, and Gwyn deserved to hear every word of that.

And then I cast on a baby blanket for a friend. As one does.



Adjusting the picture
Monday July 10th 2017, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

I was on what I’d decided was going to be the last repeat when the so-obvious smacked me upside the head: I know who wears turquoise. (Which this is in real life.) A lot. Like, does she ever wear anything that’s not? Her dad just passed away–you know she could use a good hug. And she’s a knitter!

I used 40 grams of the merino/silk and I have 90 g left. We’ll see how the length and fit of the thing looks once that lace is dried, and if I need to make a second on a larger scale to match her better, I certainly have plenty to do it with.

I’ve wanted to knit for her for a long time and at last I have a plan. And maybe even the cowl.

Meantime, this is how the back of the pattern that my Water Turtles shawl is done in looks like, and I just think it’s really cool.



Glasses
Thursday July 06th 2017, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Knitting a Gift,Life,Spinning,Wildlife

Dropped my glasses off the top of my head when I stood up to answer the phone and then I stepped on them.

It was bad. There was just no putting those back on. All I could do was wait for Richard to get home from work to drive me over to For Eyes.

A dozen feet away was close enough not to be too fuzzy when a Cooper’s hawk skidded to a stop on the concrete just on the other side of the glass door. It considered me a split second as a finch on its back flailed away wildly trying to right itself (its hard thwack on that window had snatched my attention) and he grabbed it and was off.

The younger employee went, “Wow, you really stepped on them,” and given their age (I’d reused the same lightweight metal frames through several prescription changes–I bought an extra pair eight years ago so I could) she was afraid she would break them; the more experienced middle-aged guy, the one I took a tumble in front of last week, was sure he could do it and she was sure he could if anybody could and handed them over.

At this point I’ve been in there enough times that they were not surprised to see me pull out the knitting project I started today (after I did indeed add a repeat to yesterday’s.)

He was glad to see me back and looking none the worse for that fall and made a point of getting those exactly right. He totally rescued me, and was very pleased to be able to make such a difference. I can see again. I can do things again. I have my life back.

They both adored the picture of Mathias in shades and even asked to see more pictures of the baby, and I thought, I really like you guys…!

(Yarn: two strands of a dusty purple-plum cashmere laceweight, a gift from Sherry in Idaho, and two strands of a brick red merino with a touch of sparkle to it, plied together on my spinning wheel.)