Wishing for more time everywhere
Thursday May 23rd 2013, 6:29 am
Filed under: Knit
Went to a short lunchtime concert at Sam’s church, five vocal solos with piano to celebrate Wagner’s 200th birthday. It was a block from her home and we walked over there.
In the evening we drove back to Karen’s and our mutual good friend Kathleen came. We talked into the night till we finally had to say, you’ve got to be in your classroom at eight with an hour’s drive home now–we have got to let you go.
Today while Sam’s doing her infusion thing we’re having lunch with another old friend, and then back to Baltimore to spend more time with her. She told me not to feel guilty about my friend time, that she sees her friends when she comes home, hey. It’s part of what you do.
Well yes, but, she’s who we came for.
Karen showed us the momma robin in her nest just outside Karen’s back door. We were careful not to disturb her.
Is this thing working again?
I’d been wondering why the site was being so slow for me and where all the comments had gone and then this morning it refused to let me delete spam. I did manage to get that one note in at the bottom of yesterday’s post and then we had no access.
Richard, a computer scientist, put in seven hours today dealing with tech support and fixing the wonkitude. There may still be a little weirdness, and if you come across any please let me know. He missed Maker Faire so that I could have my blog and website back, which hurts (me more than him; he’s watching it live now online and saying don’t worry, it’s fine. It helps that Michelle went and brought home the most exquisite chocolate.) I tell you, he’s the best, and so is she.
Along the way he found out that another site had my Marnie’s Scarf pattern picture up with a link to my page, which is cool, but it had been renamed, which wasn’t cool at all and he logged a protest.
I’d been wondering for awhile why on earth I was getting occasional requests for help with a Goddess Dream scarf when I had designed nothing of the sort. Nobody ever gave me the link (because surely I knew it, I guess) and I wondered why they didn’t ask the person who’d made it. I mean, I like to be nice but it’s a little hard to walk someone through the details of a pattern you don’t know and you’ve never seen.
It’s been nine years since I put my own free patterns on my site and I always have to go back and remind myself what I did where; it has at times taken hours to walk a new laceknitter through the work in their hands that they can see but that I can’t. I may have years and years of practice at my work, but generally they’re asking because they don’t. I was there once, when there were no online sources to turn to and not even any books in print that I could teach myself laceknitting from; I’m very glad to help.
It’s all about passing along the love of the craft. But I have to have enough information myself to start from.
I did have a wonderful time yesterday answering a woman who said, “I’m 93 and I’ve been knitting all my life but what in the world is an ssk?”
I so hope to be knitting new things at 93! And how cool that she was online to ask me!
But those times people asked about the Goddess Dream scarf I was wondering why on earth…when I had no knowledge of and nothing to do with it.
The responsible party is here. I very much appreciate that they linked to my pattern rather than just taking it, but I think they just had no idea what problems they were causing me and other knitters by changing the name to something they thought more catchy or impressive. I adore my friend Marnie, in whose honor I posted that freely as she had freely spent her time and efforts helping me recover after a major hospitalization for Crohn’s disease, and I’d like her name to stay attached to my pattern. Her great acts of service and love, only one of which is posted with her namesake scarf, represent a level of unselfishness and good-person-hood that I aspire to.
I guess I’ve got a ways to go yet. I certainly should have asked the people who asked me why they’d come to me so perhaps I could have found out sooner what was up. My apologies to all those who didn’t get the help they were looking for at the time.
Dropped off the drycleaning this afternoon.
I’ve been going to this one place for years, and the middle-aged woman who runs it always whips out that slip and writes down Hyde, A before I even say anything.
We bonded forever over the moment where, early 0n after I’d made it–
–okay, back up. Twenty-three years ago, when I was newly back into knitting as an antidote to all that my new lupus diagnosis threatened, after I got the use of my hands back after the first six months of the disease, I knitted my husband an aran. A big, cream, woolly, cabled aran. An aran with sleeves that he could fold the cuffs back on, a luxury in his eyes that had forever been denied him because of his height. This is what happens when you have to duck through doorways.
Most people are fingertip-t0-fingertip the same measurement as their height.
Back then, I didn’t trust myself to handwash a wool sweater without wrecking it, especially not after all that work (now I wouldn’t bat an eye) and I took that aran with the 78″ wingspan to that new-to-me-then drycleaner. I told her not to block it, having been warned (I think by my mom) that they would press all that glorious cablework flat forever otherwise.
Several years later, he’d worn it enough that it seemed time to get it cleaned again.
“Oh, *I* remember THIS sweater! she exclaimed, holding it out to her own arms’ length, which was a whole lot less than his–or mine, for that matter. She admired it, exclaimed over it, and oh! You MADE it?!
I never forgot that moment and I bet she didn’t either.
There was somebody new working with her today, and my friend whose name I somehow never found out seemed scattered and pulled in too many directions. Helping the kid back there with something he was asking her about, rushing back to me, finding out that no, those weren’t my shirts, oh, right, those were…she’d forgotten..she swept them into a bag and out of the way, apologizing, while I smiled, no, no, no problem.
She took a breath. All her attention was now on me. My husband’s suit? Monday, alright?
Is it possible to have it rushed by Saturday?
She was momentarily distracted and glancing away just then while trying hard not to be–but she had to–!
It was okay. Meantime, the new helper did not fall but inched ever so slowly, steadily closer, coming up on the left, holding tight to a laundry cart that suddenly seemed to need rubber stops on one side of the bottom just in case.
Saturday is fine; thank you very much!
She had to ask me my name, and that was a complete tipoff as to how overwhelmed she was feeling.
The woman I am guessing was her mother got ever so much closer to the counter on her slow way forward, her body so bowed that she could barely lift her head enough to make eye contact.
But you make eye contact with the customer and you greet them and she was determined.
And so this very tiny woman of about 90 whom I had never seen before at last looked me eye to eye and found me smiling. She raised one hand from the cart in cautious slow motion and carefully, gently, waved hi to me, and then her face blossomed into a smile at our shared sense of success.
She completely made my day. I will never forget it.
Darrin Bell wrote recently of taking care of his 94-year-old grandfather in his final weeks and what it was like to be with someone he loved so close to the other side, and in his comic strip he quoted his grandfather as saying, everything you do in life, you’ve got to be at your best.
I felt privileged to share a moment with a woman of about his grandfather’s age who was showing me how to do exactly that.
And I think, when I take the drycleaner slip back on Friday for the pickup, I will take a copy of this post in thanks. (Ed. to add–wait, I don’t want her to feel she’s lost face on the name thing; I’ll just tell them thank you.)
Actually, that part wasn’t new
Monday May 13th 2013, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Family
From the daughter of a ham radio operator, after listening to me read a line of pattern row out loud to myself while transcribing from my notes. I was reknitting that last new pattern to fix a few quirks: yo, ssk, k1, yo, sl2-k1-p2sso…
Michelle listened to me a moment–not interrupting, like when I’m counting stitches, no problem–and then told me her earliest reaction to having seen some of my written work for the first time was, and she said it with a grin, “Mom is learning to write in knitters’ Morse code.”
Actually, this one is a no-remorse coda: the first shawl is fine, just, this time it’s coming out even better.
Cone if-erous with needles
Friday May 10th 2013, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Knit
This is when a designer recommends buying an extra cone or skein for a project: not everybody has a scale to measure down to those last few nailbiting grams (and this is all I had from Colourmart’s silk mill ends. Made it!)
With apologies to those who’ve read this description before: buying yarn on the cone means having to wash the mill oils out, an extra manufacturing step that yarn-store yarns have already gone through. The oils, more like hair mousse, gray the color out somewhat and are to keep individual fibers from blowing all over the machinery; they come out with a hot scouring. Softness and brightness bloom!
And merino can shrink like crazy. Which I’ve done quite deliberately with some of their fine wools, hanking and scouring and shocking with cold water and scouring some more and only then knitting at the very new half-felted gauge–but silk, you just knit it as it comes on the cone, skip the hassle, the yarn is the size it’s going to be.
Lace. Shawl. (Between the baby projects.) How did you guess?
Two blog posts. Do I post this one? (I’m not sure.)
I told the nurse that the cardiologist she works for is so soothing. But if you want me to come in about something, I told her, you have to worry me about it or I’ll blow it off: I’ve had lupus a long time. You get pretty blase’.
She chuckled and handed the phone straight to the doctor and let him deal with me directly. He did not worry me this time either, rather, he said that that kind of description you’d have to have narrowed arteries for it to be a heart attack.
Well then, it was a lupus hit-and-run and it’s over now, right?
He thought so. Added the usual, But come right in or call 911 if anything else…
Dude. If I’d been able to call 911 at 4 a.m.-ish Sunday rather than just living through it, I would have. Well maybe. As it was, I had decided I really did need to somehow wake Richard up to call after all–and immediately it let up. Poof.Â Over. Lack of pain never felt so good. So I figured, stupid lupus inflammation, and went back to sleep.
“How are you feeling now?”
Fine! (Explaining the excitement in my voice) And IÂ just got a new grandson!
He chuckled. He’s so looking forward to that stage.
Or do I just post this one?
When I wrote about the Dancing Queen amaryllis the other day, I promptly got the ABBA song of that title stuck in my brain. It is safe to say I have never cared for that song.
I woke up in the morning and the darn thing was still playing in my head. There was only one escape: replace. I put Carlos Santana on first, a little bit louder than I intended to. You’ve got to change your evil ways! Baby!
Which is how I finally got myself to sit down with the latest yarn and start the knitting that I so much needed to do. Music is Pavlovian: I can’t have it playing and read, rather, it demands that I sit and absorb every sound I can, and I can’t just sit there (at least in my own house) without making something in my hands to the rhythm of the notes.
I ripped out the beginning four times but got past that and kept going, making this project up as I go along, something new, writing it down. Crossing that out. Tinking back. Getting it right.
I had been missing that compelling sense of purpose to the work that comes with a good project. It’s such a relief and a comfort to dive back in. I heart knitting.
April all new
I was asked, so to explain: I got put on antibiotics for a sinus infection and they’re clearing that up nicely, but I also had–well, norovirus really should be a yarn-related description, don’t you think? *cough* Mild flaring too. At the one week mark I figure I’m about halfway done with it all.
It rained last night, and this morning, together, both apple trees opened their first blossoms.
This makes me way too happy. There is a very new plum-cherry cross on the market, Dave Wilson’s Pluerry, not lab-induced but done by good old-fashioned years of field work, and it is supposed to be the top taste winner, period, across all their fruits. The catch is that it needs a plum tree for pollination. I of course have one–but in all the various microclimates around here, they don’t yet know which varieties other than Burgundy will work. I have a Santa Rosa. I’ll wait for now–but it tickles me beyond silliness that my apple trees show how it’s done, to the day.
Kathy, I finally snagged a shot of a chickadee with its beak full of your dog’s undercoat; there’s a bunch of it on the table just below that pot and he dove down in there awhile like a knitter at Rhinebeck, individual fibers flying as he searched out the best, then reappeared on top to show off his prize just before taking off.
And if my Plantskydd (when I get it) is successful, I may actually have to thin the plums.
I finally, for the first time in a week, picked up my baby blanket knitting today (it will be scoured in hot water) and at least made a try at getting it done in time. It felt so good to be working on that beautiful thing again in happy anticipation of our coming April baby.
Thursday March 28th 2013, 8:03 pm
Filed under: Knit
Slowly.Â But the worst is over. And thank you, everybody.
Wednesday March 27th 2013, 8:15 pm
Filed under: Knit
Barf 102.4 ears throat belly. Â Tomorrow will be better.
Got two and a half more pattern repeats knitted so far today on that baby blanket.
Meantime, now it’s the apples’ turn to leaf out.
I sampled every variety I could find 20 years ago and then planted what was then almost an unknown, a Fuji. The house had come with two apples and a cherry tree that were dying of old age, according to the arborist I had come out. Richard and his dad took them out and I planted the Fuji.
Only, somehow they never took out the stump of the old Gravenstein and the rootstock eventually grew back–and it was apparently a Golden Delicious! Who knew! Not completely sure, because in all these years we’ve never gotten a single ripe apple off either one. Which is one of the reasons we didn’t plant more fruit trees earlier. Critters.
I have my bright mylar ribbon at the ready for the first season ever. I’m learning. And Plantskydd is supposed to stink, but from the mentions I’ve read from other gardeners, it actually works. Cool! (Los Gatos Birdwatcher carries it. Who knew!)
I have never watched those trees so closely before. Three days ago they both looked dead to the world. Then two leaves, then a scattering all over, with the Fuji first and the ancient one a single day behind.
I have seen snails climbing down at daybreak after a night of munching on the blossoms. I’ve never put anything more than eggshells around the trunks because I’m a strong disbeliever in poisons; if only I’d known.Â Sluggo is a brand of iron pellets that poisons only snails and fertilizes the trees, harmless, so I’ve got some out there now.
And it was spring solstice today, the day when I once had both hawks when the female was alive doing flybys again and again across my back yard–theirs, rather. So, thought I at the universe, where are you?
I guess Coopernicus answered that question pretty well.
Friday March 08th 2013, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Family
I got far enough past the ribbing to fall in love with how it was coming out.
And then I had to choose: tink or frog? Three 180-stitch rows. Silk? No way. Tink it is.
I want to show off the pattern but I’d like to keep some bit of surprise to it, not to mention that first I have to convince myself I can carry it off. With a brain injury, I don’t do charts well at all, I just don’t. And my first attempt at transcribing this one…
And yet. This is worth it.
But when I found this pattern, there was this one change, just one thing I would have added. And I guess the artist thought so too, because he offered a second chart with a variant in it.
There were no written-outs.
There was no picture of the variant version.
But it seemed to be exactly what my eyes were looking for, and besides, I needed a little extra width on the thing without having those stitches be excessive, yardage-devouring ribbing, even with the new cone on the way; I wanted it done the way I envisioned it. My stitches were set up for that added panel before I even found the pattern in the first place–I’d started the ribbing and launched into the afghan, whatever afghan, here’s the yarn now GO, figuring the rest would fall into place. Because somehow it just felt it would.
And it did. And the second time the set-up row came out right.
I can now delete my earlier draft here where I said I was torn between, shoot me now, and wow, this is going to be so cool. It IS going to be so cool. (Note to self: transcribe with comfortable posture and the stronger light over at the kitchen table, not at the computer.)
Meantime, in the last two days we have been celebrating Kim and John. Happy Birthdays!
No replacement cars yet.
Drove Richard to work for an early meeting. Drove home. Drove Michelle to work (a goodly commute). Drove home, a lot of stop-and-go. Answered email, a quick lunch, just enough time to get a load into the dryer. Drove to get Richard, then while he worked from his Ipad along the way, drove to the audiologist to discuss the newest-technology hearing aids that came out in the last few weeks, drove to Los Gatos Birdwatcher because it was right nearby and I was low on birdseed, drove home for long enough to grab a quick bite, drove to San Jose to pick up Michelle in go-but-mostly-stop traffic, put some gas in the car, drove home long enough to swig a glass of milk and dash back out, drove to Purlescence for the last hour of knit night–
–all of this in the rain–
–and man, did it feel good to stop. Sit. Knit and talk with old friends and get a hug from Juanita and a laugh with Rachel and actually get something done, yarnwise, the hat a portable project that made no demands on my attention, just slowly turned beautiful almost of its own (while unfolding to me what the next two iterations of it are going to be.Â Cool. I can’t wait.)
Yesterday, re the baby blanket, I weighed and calculated yardage used so far and realized I was hosed. I emailed Colourmart:Â they didn’t have another cone of that blue silk…? Thinking, of course not, I bought all they had and took the risk of it not being enough, and it wasn’t enough.
With the time zone difference to England, I didn’t hear back all day but wasn’t really expecting to; I checked my email one last time before bed. Nothing.
Woke up this morning to two messages: Yes we do. It’s on its way. Oh, and, (an hour later) here’s the invoice.
*deep sigh of grateful relief*
And tomorrow I will knit.
Accipiter vs corvid
Wednesday March 06th 2013, 11:09 pm
Filed under: Knit
Routine doctor appointment this afternoon. Going out the front door to my car, there was a raven perched on the streetlight.
So that explained it! It hadn’t dared land in my back yard but it was near the redwood tree, which would not be allowed–and must have been why I had just seen Coopernicus swoop across my back yard to the redwood, then swoop around again in a loop, not in stealth but dominance. Here, here, over here, too. If I could see it out my back window, it was his.
He took a low pass over that black squirrel that was teasing him a few days ago.
I saw yet another swoop after I got home.
A limb was taken off the neighbor’s tall tree last summer, taking out the big nest that I’m sure was the Coopers’; there is a new one higher up there now, not quite as big–yet. (Someone captured video here of a Cooper’s pair building their nest and it looks just like it. That makes me all the more hopeful that Coopernicus may have found a new mate.)
I needed a portable project to take to that appointment, so, after way too much dithering, I found a forgotten start to a hat in the stash–one single row, hadn’t even joined it into a round yet. It would do.
Finished the ribbing during the wait; another patient was having an emergency, they apologized, I assured them I was fine and please take care of whoever it was–and I started into the pattern part, not a long wait after all.
I considered the thing.
It was a pretty small nestbuilding in my hands but it was merino and baby alpaca and cashmere goodness. Soon to be ready to hat-ch.
Peaches and silk
Tonight was the first time I’ve knitted since the hot water heater flooded, and the stitches burst out after becoming so pent up. I had to finally put the needles down for my aching shoulders.
Silk with a bit of lycra knits up doubled quite well, far better than the slipperiness of pure silk. The yarn arrived a week ago, but patternwise, I had too many ideas in too many directions and nothing quite…. Now I know exactly what it wants to be when it grows up. It is such a relief to finally dive in and see it starting to take shape–my daughter-in-law delivered three weeks early last time and I have to assume this little one will be in a hurry, too.
Peach tree #2, meantime. While the plum needs an umbrella against the coming rain even more.
Knitting is lightning fast compared to watching newly-begun trees grow. And yet these change every day. The first peach to bloom has shed nearly all its petals now and is all about the leaves and growth; it’s branching out.
And so am I. And if I stop typing I might get to go do another row before I go to bed. (Glancing at the clock, 180 stitches, hmm. Maybe not.)
Oh I remember this one!
Thursday February 28th 2013, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Knit
Unearthed in the emptying of the closet, safely inside a ziploc bag that only got wet on the outside (I cannot tell you what a relief that was) was this shawl, the precursor to the Wanda’s Flowers one in my book. I had been saving it so well and so long that I’d forgotten it. My Rabbit Tracks pattern starts and ends it and goes up the sides (with an extra stitch or two added at the edges) and I remember now, I knitted a rectangular shawl of just the flowers part for a dear friend twelve, fifteen years ago or so and afterwards wished I’d jazzed it up a bit more, which got me to try again with the flower part framed by my little feather-and-fan variant.
Grignasco Merinosilk. In a 100g skein, all of it used up.
I haven’t knitted a big project in a fine laceweight like this in a long time. I’ve missed it.