The absurd with the Sublime
There was a little left of the second skein of Sublime pearl/bamboo tonight but not enough to be absolutely sure I could do another repeat–besides, it’s at seven and the eye is satisfied with groupings in odd numbers and oddly dissatisfied at even-number ones and I knew that trying for nine, there was just no way; I cast off.
It fills up. It drains. It won’t agitate and it won’t spin, it just growls. You know you’re a knitter when your first reaction to finding out the washing machine just broke is, but then how on earth am I supposed to spin this out after I rinse it so it can be dry by the morning?! How am I supposed to block this?!
On the other hand, I have a bright blue cowl done in cashmere, silk, and baby alpaca yarn I’d plied on the wheel and I know she loves that color, too. The practical side says I think we’re good.
But the part of me that made that avocado one just for her wants to tuck it into my purse and offer to switch her if she’d rather. I’d better go get those ends run in to give myself the option, if not her. (Edited to add, oops, scratch that, it’s not that one it’s the 66/34 cashmere/cotton one. Still good.)
Tuesday March 21st 2017, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Knit
As I clipped off the ties there was this vague sense that something was wrong, but it made no sense and I ignored it–at the time.
Oooh, man. All those hundreds of yards of wool and that compliant-looking hank was anything but: it was tangled, and tangled bad.
If you are winding yarn into a hank (race-track shaped, for the non knitters, for dyeing now and winding into a ball later) and get interrupted and come back to it and finish with the winding going the other way, you create loops against the loops instead of one big loop–and the yarn must be slowly carefully unwoven back through all those figure-eights. The ball, as it gets bigger and bigger, still has to fit through all those catch points every time around.
I started at about 10:30 this morning. I got interrupted by a few things, including a friend dropping by for an hour and a half, but still: it was 3:30 when I finally got that last yard onto that ball.
Which I emphatically did not knit. I was done with it for the day.
So while I fussed with all that, I had the second-day Neil Gorsuch hearings going to keep me occupied. (The Supreme Court nominee.)
He seems like a nice guy. We could definitely do worse, given who chose him.
And yet. Too often he’s sided with money over people. That Hobby Lobby judgment that he defended because of the owners’ “sincerely held beliefs”? A Senator said, Well, what if an owner is a Jehovah’s Witness and refuses to pay for employees’ medical insurance to cover blood donations? Where does this end? And what about the sincerely held beliefs of the 1300 employees, don’t they matter?
There were questions about a case involving a trucker, which Gorsuch dismissed as squabbling over a hole vs an opening in the floor of the truck. I wondered what that was all about, since he clearly seemed to be avoiding it, so I went looking.
What he refused to acknowledge was that by his dissent in that case, he was saying a man’s life was less important than corporate rules.
The brakes had failed on the guy’s trailer and he had called for help, was told it was coming, and fell asleep in his unheated truck. He woke up in the early stages of hypothermia and knew he would die if he stayed there. Rather than drive with a dangerous trailer he unhooked it, drove the truck to safety and warmth, and when that roadside help finally came, drove back to the trailer and dealt with it.
He was fired, and Gorsuch upheld that firing. The rules were he was to have stayed put, and he didn’t.
And this is the man who wants to make potentially life-and-death decisions for us all.
I can only pray we get the smiley Mr. Nice Guy he portrayed himself as. We have enough of a tangled mess at the top.
Monday March 13th 2017, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Knit
I sent off a note to Karida at Neighborhood Fiber Company: is my Washington Circle yarn named after the area near George Washington University in DC? Or for somewhere in Baltimore?
I could just hear her smile as she wrote back:
Washington Circle is one of our original colors and is definitely referring to Washington Circle in D.C. I went to GWU, and that circle was part of my daily pedestrian life as a student. Cheers!
So cool. My husband and I were both born at the old (now replaced) hospital at George Washington University, and I love that the yarn I’m knitting for our grandson has such a connection to place–both ours, and Karida herself: and now she’s working from a place close to where our daughter/his mother lived in grad school.
Losing winter fast
Friday March 10th 2017, 10:19 pm
Filed under: Garden
Another warm day, and now there are 17 green figs. Getting that tree out of that big Costco pot and moved into the ground (twice–the first spot was just too close to the fence) clearly didn’t hurt it any.
You can almost watch the new mango leaves growing in. Compare this to two weeks ago, when they were barely starting. (Around the trunk: cinnamon, because the ants have taken a sudden interest.)
The Mosaic Moon Lachlan cowl will be a lot brighter once it’s dry.
Back to Nash’s stocking.
Thursday March 09th 2017, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Garden
In the side yard, nothing but dormancy yesterday.
Today, a dozen tiny green figs, and those protective brown swirls split (on the other side on this one) to show leaves inside that were already green by the end of the day.
The August Pride peach, still blooming after three weeks.
All three of the tomato varieties I planted sprouted today, two to learn about and one familiar old wonderful Sungold. And the…(where did I put it. I was going to show you) Habanero peppers with no heat, there you go. Mr. Sulu, Wimp Factor Seven, full speed ahead! (Assuming they come up, too.)
Oh, and I did some of that anticipated me-knitting: a cowl in Lachlan from Mosaic Moon, not quite that colorway but close and in that soft silky yarn. Gorgeous. I’ll show it off when it’s done.
Fancy meeting you here
It’s always the prep that is so fun. (Me, I never ever ever have to do it again. There have to be some perks.)
They called us yesterday and asked could we come in at 12:30 instead?
Two hours earlier and get it over with faster? Sure!
We got there 12:15ish and after checking to make sure I would stay to drive him home, they were quizzical as to why we there there at that hour. You’re not supposed to be here till 2:30, nobody told us it was changed…
But they never gave us a definitive yes or no after saying they would go check and the result was that we simply stayed and waited it out.
He got in later than the original time, as it turned out, and in the end I was the last person by quite some time in the formerly crowded waiting room still waiting for a patient. Even the receptionist had left. After three and a half hours of knitting cables my hands had to bail and I pulled out some reading.
But meantime, the doctor who was to do the scope did quite the double take when she saw me first: she was my new *GI doctor (our longtime one had retired.) “How are you?!” She introduced herself to Richard, and then as a knitter herself just had to ask quickly about that project in my hands. She was so excited for Nash.
Richard recovered quickly from the anesthesia–he always does–and they had me wait by the exit. And as I sat there, a familiar face went by while it took me almost a heartbeat too many to think of her name. But it came to me and I called it out just as she stepped out of sight behind the door she’d opened, hoping I got it right and thinking that if I didn’t she would just think I’m talking to someone else coming up behind or something.
She stepped right backwards with, Yes?
And then she recognized me. She was another one of the doctors who had taken care of me in the hospital when I was so ill.
How long has it been?!
Me, holding my arms out: You were pregnant.
Her: ’09, then! Wow, you look great! You were in the hospital!
Me: Was the baby a boy or a girl?!
Her: A girl, and she’s eight now, and has a little sister. And I love your scarf! I wear it every year at the (Renaissance? if I heard right) Faire. And I had it on just the other day, and thank you! I love it!
And here I was thinking there was no way she could remember someone who wasn’t even her patient except during rounds. I’m so glad the timing of the day led to my being right there just as she was leaving and had a moment to reconnect.
*Note to Warren: At Stitches, when I fondled your project and asked if it was Woolstock and you exclaimed, “You’re good!” Woolstock is what I knitted up when I went to see my new GI after my old one retired, and the first thing she did was ooh and aah over the feel of it, and then over how it was the perfect color for her. I have no idea what I used for the other doctor (wait–I think baby alpaca) but I know she likes hers, too!
So hurry up already by taking it easy
Woke up in the night aching and wondering how on earth the bed got so painfully hard–oh. It’s a fever, and oh fun, the brainstem doesn’t want me to breathe on my own (not an entire shutdown, but too close), so, an autonomic nervous system flare to go with. Same old same old, diagnosed fifteen years ago with a blood pressure reading of 63/21 during a tilt table test. Y’know, that’s the lupus symptom I like the least.
But then I did okay today and am hoping that that’s the worst of it.
Meantime, a closeup of the flowers on one side of the second peach tree, with the third, fourth, and fifth peaches soon to burst out in tandem while the honeybees next door were zooming all day around their hive near the fence like electrons around a nucleus, radiant in the sunlight.
Maybe I can get the latest purple cowl off the needles tonight–there are only a few rows’ worth of yarn left in that skein.
We have tickets for our friend Russ’s concert Saturday that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time and I really need to be fine by then.
C’mon, get found!
Saturday February 25th 2017, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Friends
Yesterday I was talking to a young vendor at Stitches about knitting lace and she said it wasn’t something she’d managed to get good at or do much of yet, but she wanted to (said wistfully).
I remembered feeling like that years ago before I learned how, myself. Well, hey, I happened to know a book that gave good how-to lace instructions and patterns–but I didn’t have a copy with me anymore at the end of the day. Leap into the aisle and wave your arms as I go by, I said, flag me down tomorrow and I’ll bring you one.
What I knew and did not explain well was the facial-memory brain problem and that I really meant how I’d said that. Oh, I’ll find her, I told myself.
I should have rehearsed over and over, The guy with the red beard. The guy with the red beard. The guy with the red beard. Because how many of those could there be? But I didn’t.
I spent hours today taking in every aisle across the entire convention floor, going past the 150 or so vendors, trying to find her and her husband again and coming up empty and wondering how on earth this could be. I did find lots of old friends I hadn’t seen the day before (and some I had) and vendors who had become such themselves, and that was all good. But I just couldn’t fathom leaving at the end of the day without finding that couple and it was actually getting to be a possibility.
I thought one woman might be her but she not only didn’t recognize me, I simply did not exist for her. That happens all the time when you’re down there in a scooter, although less so at Stitches than anywhere else.
Sympathetic friends asked me the name of the booth. I had no idea, but I knew it was on the left hand side near the end of a section and that they, um, sold yarn. (Hey, not everybody there did!)
Finally I realized that I simply was not going to succeed at this on my own. At all. Clearly. I couldn’t fathom leaving someone excited to learn something new at last and then abandoning them–so I did the sensible thing I should have started off with and offered up an inner prayer for help.
It wasn’t immediate, but pretty close: an old friend saw me and we exclaimed over each other and chatted awhile before I headed down this one aisle I was already on.
There at the end. Right there where I’d gone past I’m sure twice before. They were both in the booth and it was no longer crowded so I could actually see them both–and their delight in that moment at seeing me again. (Me: It IS you!) And so the Twisted Owl couple at long last got their book and she loved it and he loved that she was so happy.
I can’t wait to see them at next year’s show. And now I have the website and a photo to go by.
Friday February 24th 2017, 11:32 pm
Filed under: Knit
I love seeing old friends at Stitches every year. Today’s started off with standing in line to get in, since I got dropped off slightly early, and finding a mother and daughter coming in behind me who–JO?? Is that you?!
My oldest’s close friend from high school and her mom, who recognized me a split second before I did her. The knitting thing. It spreads.
By afternoon, someone there was having a bad day for whatever reason and as she came walking by lost in a world of her own I looked up at her and said, simply, You look like you need a hug. It was an offer.
She was surprised, gratified, and we threw our arms around each other like old friends and then continued on our ways down the aisle in opposite directions, with her definitely lighter on her feet for it. It felt great.
Turquoise was not intentionally a theme today but sometimes it just is anyway. I told Susan at Abstract Fiber why I needed a new skein of Burnside Bridges (on the far left). I wasn’t going to go home without getting me some of that first and foremost.
I had never bought a kit in my life. I guess I just did, though–Imagiknit had two baby sweaters up and I looked at them and said, emphatically, I want to make that one.
This one comes with the pattern free with the yarn, she offered.
I believe in paying designers, I told her. I want the other one, thanks.
Yes! There was a big grin on her face as she rang that one up.
The cowl was Stitches-specific; back to the afghan, which still needed those last twenty-four rows of ribbing and for me to stop basking in the glorious feeling of being done with all the color work and to tell myself, it’s Not. Done.
I got the first thirteen rows in and had to give my hands a break. Well, I thought, if I don’t finish, it would be fun to work on it at Stitches–but then I’d have to carry it around all day.
Meantime, our son flew into town on business just for today and not only did he have time to get together with us for dinner after all, he messaged that he’d gotten done early. And so he took the train down and I took the car up and got him and then we went and picked up my husband and all of us went out for a good meal. There is no better excuse than family in town.
I started checking the hour as we finished our dinners. Maybe we should think about getting going… I felt antsy about the time even though we seemed to have plenty.
We took a short walk around downtown in the cold (it’s 33F now) to work off some of those calories and for them to look for a shop my husband kept expecting to see right in the next block.
What time was your flight home?
We piled into the car and turned on Waze. Turned out the freeway to the airport was at or close to a dead stop nearly the whole way–there’d been an accident.
And so it directed us along the scenic route that I had always suspected had to exist but had never had reason to look for before. That portion that should have been fifteen or twenty minutes in normal life took us an hour and a half to get around–but that was a lot better than for the people still stuck in all that and it made it so he did catch his flight home. It was a close call but he made it.
Someone out there had a much rougher time of it. I hope they’re okay.
To everybody coming to Stitches, may your travel be safe. Oh and just to Camelot it for you we canceled the storm we were supposed to have this weekend. Instead of a definite inch they’re now forecasting a chance of, if there’s anything, .18″ from Saturday through Monday. It will, however, be brisk.
I got it
Today, the sun was shining. And as I drove, I kept marveling at how easy it all was…
I got Richard to work. I got two packages mailed off. I got to the clinic and picked up a prescription. I got home and ate a bite. I found the lost tomato seeds so I can get them started (it had been bugging me for days. They were right there where I’d looked five times because I was sure I’d put them there–I had.) I got to the audiologist’s and got my hearing aids cleaned in anticipation of Stitches and needing to hear as best as possible. I got bird food. I got clear across San Jose from downtown Los Gatos to the place that sells scooter batteries (Stitches…), because mine are dead after two years, and then drove four cities’ more to get to Costco and then home.
I got Richard again.
And then I got in three and a half hours’ knitting time on a cowl that had been half done and I got it blocked. It is done.
Yes you can
A friend of mine went up to Lacis in Berkeley for the first time. Lacis is both a shop and a museum of all things lace; it was founded by Kaethe (I was told, as best as my hearing could tell, to pronounce it Katy) Kliot. Who as a refugee from post-WWII Germany funded her ticket to America by resurrecting old doily patterns to make cotton tablecloths for American soldiers to send home.
And then she spent a lifetime finding and publishing and selling every lace book title you could possibly hope to find. When she couldn’t find fine enough knitting needles for certain types of work, she manufactured her own.
Ruth marveled that she’d missed out on discovering such a marvelous place earlier and wanted to know if any of us had ever been. This is what I told her:
Years ago I bought, from Kaethe Kliot herself after she helped me find it, a book on Shetland lace whose price was marked in British pounds so I had no idea what it was going to cost me. (It was not inexpensive, as it turned out, but I had been able to find it nowhere else.) But what it gave me was the memory of talking to Kaethe herself before she passed. One of the things I was there to look for, I told her, was a musical treble clef and base clef done in a lace pattern; was there such a thing?
She glanced upwards and searched mentally through her vast library for several long seconds, then was quite certain as she looked at me again and said, “No–but it wouldn’t be hard, here’s how you do it…” and she was quite excited to be part of an unexpected collaboration here. Excited for me, clearly knowing how much I would love the discovering in the process.
At the time, though, I was barely started at being self-taught on doing lace and there was no way. But what she did was make it so I had hope, or at least wanted that hope, that someday, maybe, I could live up to what she believed I could do.
I actually still haven’t ever knit such a thing, but now it’s only because I haven’t bothered to. By now I know I can.
But I loved her for her faith in me and I loved, too, that there was an entire warehouse of knitting books and a woman who knew every pattern in every one of them. Who wanted everybody to be able to do anything they wished they could do.
Edited to add: I just found the Lacis tribute to Kaethe, here, with pictures of her work and of her. I have visual memory damage specifically for faces and yet I recognized hers instantly. With great fondness.
Doesn’t have to be pink
A quiet day, a bit of knitting, a sick husband, here, honey, drink some juice, drinking some myself while trying not to catch his bug…
And with all that is going on in politics I happened to stumble across this: a cooling treatment that helps chemo patients keep their hair through it all, and the study was done right here at UCSF.
Well, huh. If you can’t afford the cooling scalp, maybe a plain icepack or two? You know, we could definitely design a hat with a giant pocket to hold them in place, and you always want a layer of fabric between you and the colder side of the pack anyway to keep the skin from freezing.
Those sewn-square pussy hats would be about the right shape to add to.
Knitting diplomacy fail
I think maybe that was a mistake.
Yesterday we had our lupus support group meeting, and rather than have someone present info on some medical topic of the day it was requested that we come prepared to talk about our hobbies, our creative outlets, what we do that we enjoy.
I had no idea MR quilts, but wow does she ever. She brought some small ones to show us and I wished out loud that my mother, who also quilts, could have been there to see them.
The conversation continued around the room till me, the last in line. I said that if I took this out of its ziploc it was probably never going back in, and seeing the badly bulging bag coming out of my tote on that rainy day there was a chuckle around the room.
And so they dutifully admired the afghan project.
And then the leader of the group asked me the same question she’d asked the quilter: “How long did it take you to do that?”
“Well, usually an afghan takes me about an hour an inch but this one is taking two.”
Her eyes kind of bugged. “TWO HOURS an INCH?!” I could see any possible hope of interesting her in learning to knit instantly vanishing. Hard.
I knew that explaining untangling the balls of yarn and dropping and picking up every fourth stitch every sixth row down four rows certainly wasn’t going to help the cause, talking about five or six hour (or more) cowl or hat projects wouldn’t rescue it–I had already lost them all.
But hey, nice afghan.
(And now you have some context for yesterday’s tongue-in-cheek post.)
Have to use up all the yarn by then. All of it.
Wednesday February 08th 2017, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Knit
One week and two days till Stitches West. Not that I’m counting or anything.
Edit alert: Lisa is right and I had it written down wrong in my calendar–it’a the 23d-26th, not next week. You mean I have to wait longer?