Saturday January 16th 2010, 6:38 pm
Filed under: "Wrapped in Comfort",Friends,Knit

I did not know how this was going to go.  I guess I was a little nervous about it.

Yesterday I met a fellow knitting blogger and, it turns out, an absolutely delightful person, Holly, visiting from Germany; as I walked into Coupa Cafe, a short distance from her hotel room, a woman stopped me and admired my Peace shawl, reaching out and fondling the bottom of it a little and asking if I’d made it.

“I designed it,” I smiled, searching her face, thinking, No, you don’t look the least like that tiny thumbnail photo I saw.

She didn’t seem to want to go further, so I thought, well, that answers that question, and excused myself and continued on past the patio and inside and ordered my hot chocolate. And saw my old friend Glenn.  Glenn!

Alison! How ya doin’! Let me introduce you to my colleague!

The red Peace shawl shown here? I made it for his wife Johnna. (Her computer was down that week.)

When there was a break in the conversation, I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder: “Are you Alison?”

A different woman.  Called that one right. But I bet the three of us could have sat down together on the spot like old friends.

Which is just what Holly and I did.  There was such a warmth in her face as she asked me if I were me that I felt instantly, Oh, good!, and she probably did, too.

And it just got better from there.  We swapped stories for hours, and she’d brought me sock yarns from Germany in a bag from the conference she and her husband were here for; I, having had no idea what she might like, came unprepared, a thought she completely waved away with a smile.

They will be moving back to the Bay Area in a few years. I, for one, can’t wait.

Qiviut peace a chance
Friday January 15th 2010, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

(The new bag in the background: tomorrow’s post.)

At Purlescence last night, people were swooning–moaning, quite honestly–over this skein.   One person shopping the store whom I didn’t know, oblivious to the conversation in the group, stepped close enough to get pounced on: Here, I told her, feel this!

Her expression went from, yeah, okay, I’ll humor you, whoever you are, lady, to *big eyes* and “WOWWW!!!” and her glance sweeping the room, her expression exclaiming, where do I FIND this?!

Maybe six or seven years ago, I was at Stitches West, talking to a woman who was selling qiviut fiber combed from her herd of Alaskan musk oxen.  She and her husband had devised a holding chute to keep each animal still (and, I imagine, from goring them) while they combed out the undercoat it was ready to shed across the tundra.  They would then pick out the guard hairs by hand to avoid damaging that precious fiber.

Small wonder, then, that her little one-ounce ziploc bags cost $30.

But then she had me touch it.

Qiviut was then the softest, finest legally available and humanely collected animal fiber on the planet.   And given where the animals live, very, very warm.  The musk ox had only recently been taken off the endangered list, and hers was, if memory serves, the first non-Inuit-owned private herd on the continent.

There was a moment of surprised delight last year when my first surgeon mentioned she’d bought a qiviut smoke ring in Alaska on a trip and I asked her, At the Oomingmak cooperative?

How did you know?!

My surgeon owned and treasured Eskimo-handknit lace qiviut, of all things.  I knew I was in good hands.

Back to the scene at Stitches.  The woman had a big black plastic garbage bag full of the stuff, ready to weigh out to order, and I laughed and asked her, just out of curiosity, how much the whole thing would cost.  She eyed me with a grin and shot back, “With or without the divorce lawyer?” (Ouch!) “About six thousand dollars.”

So.  I bought one ounce–a year later, at the next Stitches, after having thought about it long enough. I was going to spin it, I was going to ply it with mere cashmere to get twice the yardage, oh, I had plans.

And then I actually tried to spin it.  It was almost like dryer lint.  It needed to be spun very fine, which one would want to do anyway, but I have almost no feeling in my fingertips and the job would be purely visual.  Pass the microscope.  And that gets old and very difficult very fast.

It sat in the closet. I know, I know.

I finally, talking to my friend Rachel one day, told her that it was criminal to have qiviut, of all things, going to waste and that since she liked to spin finely anyway, I was giving it to her. She was under firm orders not to give it back. This was for her.

Yeah well. Do your friends like to be ordered around? Neither do mine.

And so it was that I got a text message yesterday incoming: “Will you be at knitting?”

I still have yet to manually enter most of my contacts into my new phone; I had no idea who was asking. So I typed back, simply, “Yes.”  Kind of a no-brainer: it’s Knit Night? I go!

I walked in, sat down, and Sandi casually tossed a bag on my lap as she walked by.  ?!??!!  Yes.  And the message sent with it was, You’ll know whom to knit this for.

I instantly did. Oh, I did. I told them, I’ll have to think more about it and pray about it, but–

–And you know, I did all that, too, but, I knew immediately and that was that.  I can’t tell Rachel how grateful I am for her gift of those 186 yards.  It’s for someone whom I’ve needed to knit something for for several months, someone going through worse than ever I did all of last year, someone I would give anything to make her family’s sudden severe burden easier, if only somehow I could.

Someone for whom I’ve gone through my stash again and again and again, looking for just THE right thing, and somehow nothing felt good enough. I couldn’t figure out why.  Now I know.

Maybe, the fact that a total stranger did all that work spinning it for the sake of goodwill towards whomever the right person might be, added in with my own goodwill knowing whom it cries out to be knitted for, maybe, it might ease her burden. Maybe just a little.

A little basic human warmth and kindness.

A little bit of fluff.  But it can go a long way.

Love and Haiti
Thursday January 14th 2010, 10:51 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Longtime readers will remember that my older son was called by the Mormon Church to be a missionary in Haiti. He was already fluent in French, so picking up Haitian Creole came easily; it was a simplified and altered slaves’ French.

The country went up in chaos while he was in the language training center before shipping out, and all Americans were asked to evacuate. The Church sent him to southern Florida instead.

When all those hurricanes swept through there, one right after another that really bad year, the Church told the missionaries, the Red Cross needs you more than we do right now–go volunteer at the shelters.

Which is how, when he and his missionary companion walked in and asked what they could do to help, he was pulled aside and asked to go talk to that Haitian woman sitting quietly alone over there.  Standard procedure was to ask each person their situation and needs as they came in, but she didn’t speak English; she looked okay to them. But please just go make sure for us.

When she found someone who spoke her language!  I have a mechanical heart valve, I don’t have my meds, I’ve missed my doctor’s appointment, I have a son brain-damaged by sickle cell anemia and I can’t control him in this strange environment…!

He was writing things down in English as she spoke while quickly letting it be known she needed help, stat.  He described it to me as, she had, by the time he found her there, simply given up. “She was in a world of hurt, Mom.”

He got taken aside later and was told he’d saved her life.  He emailed home, saying, Mom, if I never do anything else here, I now know why I needed to have this calling and learn this language and come here at this time.

…I talked to him yesterday.

People whom he knows and cares deeply about have not been able to make any contact yet with people they love back home.  It is very hard.

A word about Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres:  I made a donation a few years ago. (#2 there shows where to donate directly; I’m giving this first link for any knitters who want to be included in the Knitters Without Borders totals, just to show what knitters are made of.  Thank you Stephanie!, who raised over $600,000 for them even before this week’s earthquake in Haiti.)

But I didn’t like MSF’s spending the least money asking for more.  I found a way around that: I set up an automatic monthly payment. They know I have decided to give. They know how much.  It is not restricted to any one purpose, but rather, they are free to put it to use wherever the need is greatest.  As the wife of a Red Cross emergency services volunteer, I know how much that frees them to simply go do their work.

With that, they send the occasional email to let me know what they’re doing in the world and how important it is.

Like I could forget.

We can’t all be there in Haiti in person to help, but we can send the message that we would never let them be alone in their hurt if we can possibly help it.  It is a small world, and they and we are in it together.

I added to that amount yesterday.  Won’t you all join me.

On Beyond SilkBlend
Wednesday January 13th 2010, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Knit,Wildlife

Got your batteries in and ears on?  Okay, here goes:

1. Finished the Manos shawl.

2. The chickadees supervised the process.

3. The squirrel:  Scarlet-o-hairy made me burst out laughing.  Reddy, though, short for Redwood or all kinds of possibilities, has stuck with me all day. So far. (Rodent is an anagram for Redont chew near the house.)

4. Now I have to go design something to live up to today’s mail delivery: Dianne does nice work.  One feels, knitting her calypso-dyeways yarns, like one is assembling a Claude Monet (and as the daughter of an art dealer who worked with one of Monet’s proteges, I get to say that insufferably smugly.)

It always feels wonderful to buy from the kind of person a fellow knitter can hold up as, this, this: is what knitters are like.  Kind, creative, artistic and generous, with a loyal following for good reason.  I can’t wait to see Dianne at Stitches next month!  (Saving my pennies for that amaryllis yarn that I didn’t even see till after my order had gone through. I mean, how perfect is that.  And the. And the. And the. And the.)

I thought I knew just what I was going to do with this Temptation CoCo when it got here so I could dive immediately in. But sometimes, colorways, once they’re present in person, design themselves just right and just so. If we listen.

I’ve got my ears in.

Namely and to wit
Tuesday January 12th 2010, 11:14 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

I tend to chase off the gray squirrels when they’re acting dominant towards the others.  Hey. This is my patio and my birdseed I’m sharing. Play nice or git, and stay off my amaryllis table! There are rules here!

So the two grays I tend to see have just enough of a healthy fear of people, rare for city squirrels around here, instilled by me.  Although I’ve laughed a couple of times at one when he’s looked, considered the threat, and then turned his back, as long as I’m still safely inside and away, as if to say, If I can’t see you I can’t be afraid of you.  So there.

It is so utterly human a gesture in such a small animal, this obstinate refusal to acknowledge what it doesn’t want to see if it doesn’t have to, that it makes me laugh each time it does it.

Or maybe it’s just on to me.  I AM safe for him to be around.

But it also means I can open the door and he will all-out head for the hills looking guilty– while the one black one, now, when I open the door, stays. Trembling, slightly, sometimes, as the slider widens, hoping hard, semi-sure of what is to come.

I spotted my favorite this morning. (I have got to give it a name!) It was up in a tree, watching.  I opened the door and held a large walnut piece up in the air.

That little thing scrambled down that tree and ran to the patio at a speed I’ve only ever before seen in a squirrel when it’s having a panic attack. Maybe it didn’t want the others to beat it over to me? The others must have thought it was nuts.

It has picked up quickly on what I want out of it and is completely willing to comply: do not cross this line between concrete sections to come closer to the house.  You stay on your side. (I don’t need rodents chewing on my siding, trying to get in, no matter how cute they are like this one is.)

Next thing you know it’ll be trying on little handknitted capelets for me.  In bright blue and red with a large S superimposed on another S. Super Squirrel!  Mild-mannered Super Squirrel is really…if it can just wrestle this thing on, ’cause that lady isn’t stepping any closer…

…oh wait. We haven’t gotten around to it.

Okay.  Re names: it has a circle of lighter, reddish fur around its round, baby-large eyes, giving it an almost Basset hound look.  So: Helen Red-Eye? (Nooooo…!) Reddy, short for Reddy-to-run? Red-onkulus? Not sure of the gender yet, it’s not like the grays with their white belly fur.

Redwood, for the tree overhead?  I’m sure my red-ers can help me out here.

People watching
Monday January 11th 2010, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Amaryllis,Friends,Knit,Wildlife

Can Nut Lady come out and play? Pretty please?

It’s just the one, the red-bellied medium-black squirrel of the three siblings, that has decided my purpose in life is to open the door and toss it a walnut.  It has now learned that if the walnut goes past it, it’s still there, and will now turn and go find it.

It has surprised me the last few days (I apparently learn slower than it does) by perching there in the morning, watching me at the computer, waiting patiently for me to get with the program.

I am utterly charmed.  It’s training me well.

Okay, question for everybody: I succumbed to Margo Lynn’s mention of the Cherry Tree January sale and ordered some suri lace.  They threw in a grab bag with random additional skeins, a pair of SWTC needles (size 8, 32″–perfect!) and these two… black plastic hearts?


Is there some cosmic knitting significance to these that I’m just not grasping?  I am at a loss. Huh.

Meantime, Phyl, the purple flowers you gave me for my birthday are still blooming the winter away, as are the first of the amaryllises, a gift from Richard.

Happy January!

On Beyond Zebra!
Sunday January 10th 2010, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

She totally made my day.  I would not even have expected her to at all remember me.

We were sitting in Sunday School today in a room where the rows of seats were curved a bit, giving the ends a clear view of each other. We were to one side; her parents came in and sat down at the other end, a young mom and dad with a fussy fifteen-month-old in their arms, a good-natured kid, but, naptime is naptime.

They got her quieted down but not especially happy; a cracker and a little milk from her sippy cup helped somewhat. The mom looked tired.

And then–that little girl saw me.  She got the biggest grin on her face, spread her whole hand as wide open as she could, leaned her whole body towards me from far across the room while making the grandest wave hi a wannabe grandma could ever hope to see, in a burst of new energy. Me! It’s me, lady! Remember that fingerpuppet you gave me a month or two ago? Remember smiling at me? You’re my FRIEND!

There was no resisting waving back in kind. I think if her mom hadn’t had a firm grip on her she might have gone flying across the room to leap into my arms.

The back row was soon looking both ways, quietly chuckling, catching the wave too; baby smiles are so marvelously contagious.

Hey, almost out in there…  I replenished my supply in my purse when we got home.  And now you see why I give out those Peruvian fingerpuppets to fussy little ones: it’s for me.  I tell you, it is totally, selfishly, for me.

Brunswick Stew
Saturday January 09th 2010, 8:59 pm
Filed under: Family,Life,Wildlife

No, Dad, I didn’t.  But with memories of that restaurant in Florida you took us to when I was 9 on one trip and again at 16, making sure I ordered that stew on the second go-round, even if it’s chicken in it nowadays, telling me a little of the history of that dish

Take my Dad to a restaurant he really likes once, and he will find it should he get any chance to return, no matter where it was or how long ago.  Let me tell you.  I was three and a half when he discovered a seafood restaurant by the water in an older part of Seattle.  We were in town for the World’s Fair.

My own vivid memory was not about the food, but at being petrified at the idea of stepping off a perfectly solid, stationary platform to get on a shaky, shuddering little flying car hanging from a wire way above the ground with nothing below.  Sitting in the middle of the air.  It was a crazy thing to do, and each time we took the monorail at the Fair, I let my parents know it.  Loudly.

On the very last day, I finally, *by myself,* (I was so proud!) holding Mom’s hand, chose to take that mindboggling step and I crossed that gap in the floor.   Our monorail car jerked right in that moment, scaring the bejabors out of me.  But I still did it. I did it!

I was in my early 40’s when we were in Seattle again, this time for my niece’s wedding; with an afternoon that Mom, Dad, my older brother and I had to ourselves, Dad was sure he could find that seafood restaurant again from way back when.

And he did.  And it was still fabulous.  I bet you he could name the place for you, too.  All I could tell you is, there was a drawbridge nearby on the water and antique Native canoes hanging from the walls and ceiling, with a floor that kind of meandered randomly up and down all over the place in curves to match the canoes. But oh, the chowder.

So.  Recipe: take one large empty round clear Costco container, formerly containing four pounds of in-shell pistachios (and a bajillion biscotti before that).  Eat many, many pistachios till everybody’s ready to give them a rest for a little while, set container in cabinet, let it get pushed progressively further back and forgotten about till the pistachios are good and, um, ripe.   Last year’s crop.

Toss the occasional nuts to the squirrels. It’s that or throw them out, and given a choice between squirrel antics or raccoons trashing the place at night?  Right.

Get bright-eyed idea.  Squirrels should earn their food, the little freeloaders.  Remove lid, set round container on its side with the last few pistachios in there–throw in a walnut to sweeten the deal–set it at the crack on the patio for a little initial stability and go back inside to watch.

It was hysterical. I had two, a gray and a black, show up so fast I didn’t even see them coming as I walked back inside.  Two who have been hormonal and territorial of late, who would never have allowed the other on the patio at the same time if they could help it, now circling the mouth of that canister together, the tail of the one wrapped almost ’round the face of the other and vice versa.  Step forward. Jump back.  The other hides behind him.  Reverse, repeat.   Fur-vently wanting in, fur-ventingly knowing no way no how.  Nuh uh.  The gap between solid ground and the who knows…  The wide world outside vs the interior of that piece of plastic claustrophobia…  YOU go first!  But, but, wait, not till I do, but, but…

Quick, Henry, the Flip! (Triple word score points to anyone who gets that reference.)

The videorecorder was nowhere in sight.  Darn.

Best restaurant in their little town.  They might even go in next time.  If only the cover charge weren’t so steep.

I brought it back inside so they wouldn’t stew over it for the night. Besides, they’re such hams, I want to capture them on camera.

Knit one, knit two
Friday January 08th 2010, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Knit

Sometimes you need a little success to get back and get going.

A little new (the yoke), a little tried and true (the Water Turtles motif, practically no-look knitting), a little anticipation, a little self-imposed deadline.  Boom.   Done.

And then all the sudden my stalled-out Manos project, where I realized last month that the design I’d sketched out really just didn’t work, that I didn’t like the next try either, rip, rip, that I finally tossed in a bag in time-out–bingo, now, I’ve got it!

It is so much better for the wait.  It was like a teenager in the dressing room, old sneakers on, trying on every outfit, distracted by its pimples in the mirror and sighing over its unfixable hair while its mom goes nuts outside waiting to see how things look actually on.

It is now the senior in the finally-chosen prom dress, gorgeous, hair done, shoes just so, with the very biggest smile you could ever hope to see.  Looking all grown up. Almost. Here, give me a few hours to pin on the corsage of these last few dozen rows-es for it.

Thursday January 07th 2010, 11:24 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I can’t tell you any stories from today’s 4.1, because I had a bad night last night, got up, gave up, went back to bed, and zonked out hard through the whole thing this morning.  So here’s an old story to make up for it.

Our kids were a lot littler and we were at Back-to-School night.  I got our third grader’s classroom, Richard took the first grader’s; the rooms were packed with parents sitting on tiny chairs.

The first grade teacher was explaining how the children had been taught right from the get-go what the earthquake safety rules were: duck and cover, ie, get under their desk and hold onto the legs so that the top of the desk would protect them from any flying debris.

In the God-has-a-sense-of-humor department, a 4-point-something hit *as she was saying that.*  My sweetie dutifully raises his hand, and–

–okay, wait, picture this here. The man is 6’8″. He is big boned. He is big everything.

–and asks so very innocently, “Are we supposed to get under these desks now?”

Water Turtles shawl
Wednesday January 06th 2010, 5:40 pm
Filed under: "Wrapped in Comfort",Family,Knitting a Gift

(Changed the yoke, though, to make it a one-0f-a-kind. Just because. Original pattern in here.)

This is the Venezia merino/silk yarn Sam picked out at Purlescence last Thursday.  Glass shawl pin by Sheila.

Does it count as knitting it in four days if you totally didn’t touch the needles one of the days in the middle of the five?

Does it count as an FO if you didn’t run the ends in yet? The camera battery died, the bad picture with the running ends stays, I was in a hurry to show it off!

(p.s. Happy Birthday to my sister Carolyn!  She and I used to argue as kids over whether the 12 days of Christmas started 12 days before–ie on my birthday, or that it went to 12 days after–ie, hers. She was right, but I was the obnoxious little sister who refused to concede the point.  Okay, in our old age, now I will,  so, Merry Christmas too!)

More nuts to the squirrels
Tuesday January 05th 2010, 6:32 pm
Filed under: Family,Wildlife

Roomba squirrel!

When our first was a baby, I read everything I could get my hands on about nutrition and childhood: I was going to be a good parent to this perfect little new person.

One of the things I wanted to do right was to set her on  a lifelong path of liking her veggies.  (I guess I succeeded; she’s now the family vegetarian.)

So.  Sweets were out, even fruit juice till she got a little older–didn’t want to train her to have a sweet tooth, especially since type 2 diabetes was all over my extended family.

She was a young toddler when we were visiting back home one time, and my mom happened to make a really nice dessert for everybody.  When Mom was done, she put the spoon she’d been caramelizing the sugar for the sauce with in the dishwasher and turned away a moment, leaving the door down.

Sam toddled over just then and happened to grab that interesting-looking big spoon and, what else was a toddler going to do, stuck it in her mouth.

There was no wrestling it out of her hands. The *look* on her face.  What WAS this?!! YOWZA!!!

The squirrels vacuum in ever-wider circles under the birdfeeder, sniffing for any stray seeds, Roomba style. Leave’em alone and they’ll clean the place right up.

Someone gave me some just-slightly-sweetened walnuts for Christmas. I love’em, can’t eat’em, and nobody else here was going for them.  I finally decided, well, there’s more than one way to get entertainment value out of a food, and I put just a few outside.

I turned my head and one disappeared so fast I didn’t see it.

Then a bluejay swooped down, grabbed the second, then the last, then stood there with its beak very full waiting for the black squirrel who’d been coming for them as if to taunt it, flying away at the last moment.  Neener neener!  Got YOU, buddy!

Sibling rivalry, much?

I waited till the littlest black squirrel was around and put two more out just for it.

And it was like watching Sam at the dishwasher all over again.  What IS this?!!  Oh. My. SWEEeeeEET!!

It jumped up on a chair back to get a good view of anything incoming that might try to take it from her.  She didn’t run off with it, but sat there nibbling thoughtfully away.  It was a full half; it took her awhile. Then she came down and went looking for more.

And found it.  Even my opening the door to get a clearer shot (backlit by the lowering sun, but it was a good try) couldn’t dissuade her from staying right there savoring every second.  S U G A R.

Great Christmas present, truly. I totally love it.

Monday January 04th 2010, 11:08 am
Filed under: Life

Woke up this morning to find my Christmas-present Roomba (it SO needs a kitten tackling it as an accessory) under my footrest, pulling on the edge of the fringe from Robert’s medicine blanket as if it were a child sucking its fingers, a missed Christmas tag wrapped around its wheel.  It couldn’t have what it wanted, so it had shut down and was hiding under there with its security blanket.  My lazy kate, which had been several feet away, was tucked right by it under there. Spinning, weaving, yarn–it’s got good taste.

Hey! Who let that go out of the living room? I had it turned off, too. I thought.

Don’t look at me, I’m not a trained Roomba-tologist.

Back and forward
Saturday January 02nd 2010, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Family,Friends

January 2.  New Year’s will probably always now remind me of January 2.

There’s a whole lot I didn’t write in that post a year ago today.  I didn’t say it was an emergency colonoscopy.  I didn’t say how the doctor wanted me to get some blood tests run, too, but after he saw what he saw he made a point of telling Richard to take me straight home afterwards and not put me through going to the lab that day. He was hoping all that bleeding he’d wanted so much not to see would quiet down enough to make it easier to go in the next day.

It was all downhill from there.

We got a letter in the mail, that, fittingly, arrived today of all days: announcing the new company that would be handling our by-mail meds, which, were I still on it, would have applied to supplying my Humira–you cannot just walk into a pharmacy and buy a biological Rx off the shelf.

So now we know.  Caremark has been kicked out.  YES!! (I tell myself I’m not bitter.  And yet.  It is still true that had they done their job I might still have a colon. Had Blue Cross honored their commitments on time I might still have a colon, not to mention points south requiring that second operation.  They did not.)

But a year later, looking back… All of that is honestly a very small part of the whole.

There is this sense that I can handle anything now.

There is this sense that I can be there for anyone else now.

There is the knowledge that there were people who were there for me through anything and everything, including, to the best of your abilities, so many of you from wherever you were.  You let me know I was not alone and not bereft in that hospital room all those weeks with needles in my arms and itchy plastic anti-blood-clot machines working on my legs day and night, that my mom and my husband keeping watch there and my children who were away weren’t facing this alone either.  I cannot tell you how important your presence in the comments and by your prayers were during those days, the squares that were knit, the afghans that were assembled, the cards that were sent, the Thinking Good Thoughts that got thought. Thank you.

There were doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, even that housekeeper, who made me feel it was important to them that I had passed through their lives and thereby gave meaning to what I was having to go through.  In the process, they, too, strengthened my then-tenuous hold on my own.  How close I came–not that there was any doubt–was brought home to me when I got word two months ago that someone my little brother had grown up with had just had the same liver-inflammation complication of his own Crohn’s; he had not made it.  My heart goes out to his family.

I am intensely grateful to be here with my own family still.  Amazed at the things I can do now.  Intensely grateful at having had our kids home for the holidays.  Celebrate? Oh, honey, there are no words to say how much.  And it’s a whole new year!

Just one e-wrap
Friday January 01st 2010, 9:56 pm
Filed under: "Wrapped in Comfort",Family,LYS

I know, it sounds like having Amazon put paper and ribbon to your Christmas presents.  I can’t believe it–it took me how long to figure this out?!

Purlescence was having a don’t-make-us-count-inventory sale New Year’s Eve, and Sam and I did that errand, too, before she left.  We walked in and people jumped up and offered us seats; have I ever mentioned it’s a nice place? (Oh, never…) Thanks, but I was there with a specific purpose in mind.

I wanted fingering weight, but color and feel rated highest. Sam picked out this one.

Venezia merino and silk, in a shade of green she pointed out just about anybody with any coloring could wear, with a nice sheen to it.  Spun quite finely into many plies then cabled together–Cascade did a very nice job with the spinning. This one shouldn’t pill.  This one kept its softness despite the rate of twist. Well done!

Worsted weight. (Oh well, can’t win’em all.)  The Rooster Rock shawl proved to me I could work with that, so, okay.

I started to knit a variation on my Water Turtles shawl, and the slip knot at the beginning of my traditional long-tail cast-on stopped me right there.  In that yarn, it was just too thick.  I didn’t like it.  I started again.



Hey.  What if…

Now, I once explained to someone that there is almost never a good use in knitting for an e-wrap.  If you cast on via e-wraps, ie simply twisting the yarn into a loop like the cursive letter e and putting that loop straight onto the needle, when you go to knit the first row, there will be a length of yarn hanging down between those e-wraps that will get longer and looonger and looooonger as you go across the row, like a dog on a retractable leash running after a squirrel.

And yet.  I tried it. One e-wrap, just on that first stitch only, just there at the start, just that very first stitch.

I had to do several rows to see how it would really play out in context.  And when I did, it was, WOW.

I have knitted over a hundred of these top-down shawls by now.  Not so many on the heavier weight ones, so I guess I didn’t have quite the motivation to go looking before, but still–a hundred shawls! And I only just now get it.  This is how they all should have started. This is how all the ones I’ll do after this will.

I guess my surprise New Year’s present to myself and the whole wide world arrived e-wrapped after all.