Living the generational golden rule
Sunday March 15th 2020, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Knit

Blueberry flowers and an imperfectly-lit nighttime photo of how the afghan’s pattern looks spread out, as requested.

There was a note on the neighborhood site yesterday from someone saying that she’d gone to do her grocery shopping and saw an elderly couple sitting in their car, not moving, not getting out, and how they looked was such that she went over to ask them if they were okay.

The place was jammed. (There were reports of three hour lines over at the local Costco.) They were old and vulnerable to exposure and they didn’t dare get out and didn’t know what on earth they were going to do. She was quite happy to go in and do their shopping for them and load up their car, so glad that she was there at the right time so as to be able to help.

There had to be so many others in the same boat…

So she wrote about it to all whom that site might reach, offering a sign-up sheet: who needed help? Who was willing to do the shopping of their neighbors in need so they could stay quarantined?

People answered saying they were in tears. So grateful to her. So grateful to all those signing up to help. So grateful to get to be able to be one of those signing up.

I wanted to pass that idea along.



Hello out there?
Tuesday March 03rd 2020, 1:02 pm
Filed under: Knit

Testing testing 1 2 3. It looks like we’re finally live again. Go Richard!



Blue diamonds
Saturday February 15th 2020, 11:09 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit

I got to meet the mom of a recent recipient of one of my hats today. It was instantly clear why he’s such a delight and I wished she lived closer.

I pulled him quietly aside from the crowd and asked him her favorite color. He knew exactly where I was going with this, and hesitated while looking off in the distance for about three seconds before stating with great certainty, Blue.

Vivid? (Like this?) Or more like, say, indigo?

He gave me a good description of what he had in mind and I wondered what I had in my stash that matched that. She’s flying home tomorrow, but he’s bringing her to church with him before that. Not a whole lot of hours there, much less available for it and certainly no time to go buy the yarn.

I walked in the door at home afterwards, walked into my kid’s old bedroom that has become the yarn stash room–

–and found a super soft hat I’d utterly forgotten I’d made a month or two ago that was in just that kind of a blue. Out of 14 micron merino. Only the best.

At the time, I was wondering why I was wasting my time knitting this when I had the usual queue pressing on me and this was scheduled for nobody, not even me, and I quibbled at the little carry-around but it got on the needles and then I had to finish it to get it off them.

Even the ends are already run in. It’s in a sandwich ziplock in my purse, waiting; all I have to do is show up.

Ever since, I have been marveling at the choreography, once again, of G_d, who knew that needed to come to be and that it needed to be ready and nudged that ball into my purse before an appointment that I don’t even remember what the appointment was for nor which waiting room it was and there you go.



When you really need a warm comforting blanket
Friday January 31st 2020, 9:57 pm
Filed under: History,Knit,Politics

To quote Dana Millbank, who was in the press galley. This was just before the Republicans in the Senate voted to hear no witnesses and see no documents:

‘“Please don’t give up,” manager Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) urged. “This is too important.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) stuck a finger in his left nostril.’

—-

I’m never going to be able to think of this as anything but the impeachment blanket. It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it, but at least I got nearly all of this out of all of that.

Remember 1/31 on 11/3.

(Oh and just for fun, today, with appointments on the calendar for next week, we found out we have our first coronavirus case here. Treated at our medical clinic–just like during SARS, when it was California’s epicenter. Don’t touch the elevator buttons with your fingers, yay for tips of canes, and SARS got them to install hand purifiers at every landing.)



Trial by foyer
Friday January 24th 2020, 11:53 pm
Filed under: History,Knit,Politics

All those Senators risking, as is stated at the beginning of each session, imprisonment for leaving the chambers during the proceedings–it’s been reported that quite a few of the Republican ones have been wandering out to the cloakroom. They say it’s hard to sit still. They say the chairs aren’t ergonomic.

Well, okay, so the proceedings do go on and on, sure.

But didn’t you guys bring your knitting? I mean, look at this–I had all of half a diamond done on this when the trial started. My grandmother-in-law knit a wool herringbone jacket during long Congressional hearings where her husband was being grilled years ago. (He was head of a government agency, it came with the job.)

You can’t make anything with fidget spinners, guys!



Recovered
Wednesday January 22nd 2020, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit

Cousin John told me about twenty years ago that he was allergic to wool. After his mother’s funeral in May ’18 I gave him a piano hat made of super-soft old-stash Epiphany yarn: royal baby alpaca, cashmere, and silk and no sheep. I’d remembered.

His parents had met playing in the Symphony and he was a gifted musician himself and that keyboard around his head was the perfect design for him. He was in great pain at the loss of his mom, whom he’d been caretaker to, but took much comfort in the offer of that hat and it meant a lot to me to be able to help in any way.

I told John’s sister that if one of the siblings wanted it that was fine with me but if not, I’d love to have it back if at all possible. She hadn’t seen it. I was given the executor’s phone number.
The man sounded absolutely overwhelmed. The loss, the pain, and now the burden. He was horrified to realize that he thought he remembered it but that he was thinking it had probably gone out in the trash with so much else. He apologized. “There was just so. much. stuff.”

I told him he didn’t have to look for it. But if he did find it not to worry at all about what condition it might be in—I would wash it. He didn’t have to. That was on me. And if I didn’t see it again, that’s okay, just know he had my thanks for all he was doing for our John whom he loved, too.

Monday while I was still in town after the funeral his sister Amy stopped by my mom’s house a few hours before I had to leave for the airport. She didn’t know who had found it nor where but she had the hat, she wanted to make sure I got it, and I think she wanted to see how happy it made me to get it back. So much more personal than popping it in the mail later. (She got a Malabrigo Mecha one, picking a pinks-and-purples colorway and leaving the two blue ones for the mechanic I didn’t know I was going to see the next day.)

It takes a fair bit to make animal fibers pick up smells and there wasn’t much of a one (blame the silk?) but there was some and it’s clean and drying now.

All the things that I knit, all the knits that I give away–that one I won’t again. That’s my Blueberry now.

Thank you, Stan out there. And Amy, and I don’t even know who all else to say that to.



I dream of gene-ey
Tuesday January 14th 2020, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

So this got started: that’s an instant-gratification swatch from the weekend with the water smushed out of it and the towel there on the footrest straight from the sink. Good enough for measuring where you don’t have to worry about the fit.

But having just finished a project that for weeks took my thoughts when it wasn’t taking my actual time, today I just didn’t touch the new one at all. I had work to do.

My yarn storage is now more organized and the room is straightened up and vacuumed, and I made good headway on that other room, too.

It’s good to know there’s at least one organizing gene in there. It may be recessive but when it’s expressing itself you run with what you’ve got.



Over in the guest room
Saturday January 11th 2020, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Politics

After the scouring to get the mill oils out. I get to tell the new parents that it’s already been washed in water too hot to touch.

The answer to the lace pattern pulling the edge pieces upwards after the cast-on: run in the ends only through there, and then again from the other direction. Weigh them down, add the bulk, it’ll straighten them out and make them stay straight–and they did.

And while I was doing that I worked on the back of the join areas to tug down anything sticking out and it worked. Nice and straight now all around.

I didn’t get a good picture of any of that but I did manage to capture the damp afghan in direct afternoon sunlight.

On a political note, should you be interested, my cousin Jim, formerly a Republican and definitely far to the right of me, had a few things to say. 

 



Cashwool afghan
Friday January 10th 2020, 9:34 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Knitting a Gift

Turns out, all it needed was for a Great Big Corporation to put me on hold long enough on speakerphone.

It’s not exactly how I’d do it next time but it’s pretty darn snuggly and good. Note to self: I needed to add a pair of plain rows before going into the lace pattern for the separate edging pieces. That’s obvious now and I should have seen it.

Now to go scour the mill oils out in hot water. I will not, however, run it through the dryer and totally fuzz it out–that’s for the parents-to-be to mess with (or not as they choose), I want to present it at its best.

Note to self: two strands dk Cashwool from Colourmart, size 5.5mm US 9 needles, 183 stitches, 51.5″ wide by 62.5″ long after rinsing but before scouring in hot soapy water, and it took 1125 grams (not quite two and a half pounds) to make. My swatch promises it will not shrink appreciably even in the dryer.

(Note: If you click the Show Items: All button in the upper left on the Colourmart page, you can see the sold-out Lavander (their spelling) color that I used to check against the Violet that’s in stock. Mine’s lighter.)



Edgy edgy
Thursday January 09th 2020, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Knit

On the left: blocked with nice straight edges that didn’t last, on the right, blocking now.)

Having knit all day Saturday, my hands were not in the mood for working much on that afghan. I felt guilty about taking a break Sunday and Monday and got some done Tuesday. Wednesday, not much. (Plus the news on my cousin kind of took the wind out of me.)

Today I looked at what had to be done and when I needed it done by.

Actually, when I told my husband I felt I had to give it to his cousin on Sunday, his response was, What’s the hurry? Give it to her when the baby gets here.

I prefer to add to the happy anticipation. That and, hey, you, don’t abet my procrastinating, okay?

I realized later that wait, to block the second edge to sew the two of them onto the afghan to wash the afghan to dry the afghan to gift it–meant I had to finish the second edging today. It was about four inches long.

Saturday all over again, with more breaks.

All of which is leading to the question: would you join such a piece to live stitches or cast off ones? I’m leaning towards cast off, just to minimize how far a future broken stitch could run. (I’ve got live ones at the base of the afghan right now, having cut off the original edging, and having it run upwards creates a real mess.)

While I’m at it I think I’ll rip out those purl rows top and bottom of the afghan: the ones along the side don’t really show and those do.

Once I’ve got all that done I should probably knit a very simple edging all around the edging to smooth out those blocking-resistant angles, that instep at the heel of the lace in the edging. Right?

And so the perfectionism and overthinking continues.



Why even people who can’t draw should sketch
Sunday December 29th 2019, 11:25 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Knitting a Gift

Ten tall clumps of green that, a hundred years later, would become a fairy ring of redwoods towering above. She grew up in the redwoods, she knows every stage well. A single tree to each side towering alongside the height of the inner section of blooming bougainvillea, then a matching row of those clumps again.

It all sounded good in my head.

I botched I don’t even remember what on the first clumps and so since I was going to have to rip it out anyway, I took it off the needles and spread it out to see if the width matched my gauge swatch while I was at it.

Wow. No.

Well, then, okay, eight clumps.

But then the flowers were going to be too close together. At that point I’d frogged three times and the baby’s due date was looming and it was getting late that night and I didn’t want to think about it, I just wanted the clumps to stay done this time and to ditch the frustration and get the thing finally past that point. So I did. With seven repeats across.

Which is why as soon as I’m done with the fifteenth repeat (might make it sixteen) I am going back to that beginning and snipping a few rows below the line of purl stitches and working the strand carefully out across to drop the bad part off while leaving enough yarn to go back and cast off from.

And then–this is the hope right now, anyway–after a minor blocking to make sure I can get the sideways to match the lengthwise, I’m going to knit two pieces that look like the sides and sew them on to frame the thing all in the same pattern. Fallen redwoods provide a great deal of life in the forest.

Or I could keep it simple and rib the live stitches upwards at the top and downwards from the bottom or just skip all that altogether and leave it plain. Eh. We’ll see how patient I feel at that point and whether the baby comes early.

But that mismatched bottom–it has to go. It kinda hurts to look at, it’s so bad.



Canteenabulations
Monday December 23rd 2019, 11:06 pm
Filed under: Knit

So I ordered this little 6.25″ round leather shoulder bag from a used-goods site that was new to me. I remembered seeing them for sale elsewhere back when those were new, and at $13 for it including tax and shipping, yeah, now it was something I could let my curiosity give in to.

It came, and I tucked the box under the tree.

An email from the seller: did I like it?

Yes, but I’m waiting till Christmas to open it.

A few hours later I got a note from the site explaining that the seller was not going to be paid until I’d inspected the goods and officially accepted it.

Ohmygoodness. I wasn’t trying to hold up her money… I ran, opened the box, made it official to the site and sent a message to the seller explaining my newbie ignorance and apologizing. She was quite gracious about it.

So the point of all this?

We’ve been doing a lot of flying the last few years and my very tall husband likes to sit in the front-most seats if at all possible so his knees don’t hurt–but you’re not allowed to put anything under those seats, your stuff all has to go up above.

Having a ball of yarn wedged between and behind the two of us (no flight attendant has ever said boo to that) means that occasionally it goes flipping out of there. I can’t set it up in my purse at my feet.

The canteen bag: it’s by the same company that made my big purse with the trio of knitted cables embossed into the very nice leather, and I would dearly love to find one like it when it officially gives up the ghost, to the point of having shown it to handbag makers who show at Stitches West and asking them to make something along those lines–it would sell like hotcakes there.

It is clear that Charlotte Ronson of the CR logo, whoever she is, is a knitter. And that she likes to work with good materials. I wonder, did she think of ball winders when she designed this?

Imagine flying with that canteen bag as your necklace, pulling a cowl or hat or socks-on-circs project from it and having the ballwinder-wound flat cake of yarn in a place so custom-made for it as you knit away.

If they tried to count it towards my two carry-ons I could easily tuck it into my larger purse while embarking.

The only question is do you think I could get away with calling it leather jewelry so I could keep it on the whole time? But if not I could always tuck it behind and between us at landing if need be.

(Edit: and then I found a version that IS a necklace, in my eyes, anyway, in wood. Not that I’m buying another nor at that price, but, proof of concept.)



The cache’s out of the bags
Wednesday November 27th 2019, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Knit

Four white afghans out of six in two years. Because you can’t go wrong with gifting someone with 50/50 pima cotton/highest grade cashmere, and it came undyed.

But my brain, my brain. Colors! Save me!

Some of these looked better together here in the sunlight than they do now at night, so not all these will go in. The orange got ripped back out. But these are way more fun to look at.



Mark my woulds
Thursday November 21st 2019, 11:23 pm
Filed under: Knit

Does anybody else do this? I sometimes put a bit of random yarn next to the second stitch in from the edge as I start knitting so that I have a marker to show just how much I’ve gotten done that day and to nudge myself to do better after days when I don’t.

Sixty-eight hundred stitches yesterday was a bit much, though; I mostly gave myself a break today.



Climb every mountain
Wednesday November 20th 2019, 11:31 pm
Filed under: History,Knit

Impeachment hearings, the Democratic debate: given Sondland’s testimony today, we could impeach the entire administration. Think of the knitting time!