Sunday, June 26, 2011


I always wanted to grow up to be an anthropologist. Specifically a cultural anthropologist. But I couldn’t figure out how I would pay the bills, so I grew up to be other things.

I still love to hear people’s stories though. How they ended up where they are. What happened along the way. What guided them. Finding the back story to the moment of their life that is today.

Which is ironic, in that I have such lousy skills in actually understanding/interacting with people. I spent the last two weeks trying to sidestep the booby traps. Those situations where what you WANT to do and what you SHOULD do are diametrically opposed and stressful. Even I understand that shaking someone while screaming “For G-ds Sake take pity on me and explain” would be counterproductive.

So I retreated to knitting. Charted, counting, nothing-exists-outside-these-needletips-knitting. The soothing rhythm of binary. Something, nothing, something, nothing, something something something, nothing.
After roughly 47 hours of “math” I emerged with my mind no clearer, but with a finished shawl. 570 yds of Wollmeise and the Trousseau pattern. Luckily I was not captivated by the elusive Wollmeise; I can think of 3 different yarns I’d prefer to have. I am however enchanted with the pattern, and have been considering re-knitting it in Mirasol Tupa. Several people in Rav had noted that they ran short despite having considerably more yardage than the pattern called for, so I used my scale extensively and finished up with less than 5 yds left over. The large calls for 500 yards, and I left out one 16 row repeat and 2 rows of final border. 50" wingspan and 25" back depth.

Sometimes I tell myself I’m just undergoing a vigorous “blocking” from the Universe. I hope when it’s all over the pattern of my somethings and nothings in time/action/choices will reveal a worthwhile life.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

There may have been knitting.

Most of you would not be the least bit surprised to hear that “there may have been knitting last week.”

After all, I think of knitting as the ultimate panacea. Want to think? There’s knitting for that. Want to NOT think? There’s knitting for that. Joyous? Knit. Sad? Knit. Apathetic? Browse patterns. Anxious? Wind yarn. Of course, this doesn’t work for monogamous knitters; they must surely have some other coping mechanism? Perhaps they are Opera fans, after all Opera comes in all those flavours too.

I’m still seeking the elusive silence of the mind. The only way I can describe last week would be: Roller skating in a Lightning storm. You have to keep one eye on the tarmac, looking for road hazards, and simultaneously cast a wary eye on the heavens lest you be suddenly cardioverted.

My mind was so cluttered that I totally forgot -until very suddenly today- that Sunday is my daughter’s Birthday. In one sudden swoop, all other thoughts fled. What do you do for a dead child’s birthday, especially when you are far from anyone who remembers her? When you remember that moment of epic joy, that later led to life shattering pain?

               I knit.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bogged Down

"There you go - all my own work. Contains almost everything except tea." M. Allingham

The nice thing about knitting slumps? They're not important. If you are driven crazy by a co-worker, they are harder to sidestep. If your loved ones are demonstrating the traits that you love them "despite" - short of running away from home - you still have to deal with them. If your own mind is fixated on a single jaw clenching thought, you cannot just hit "mute."

Knitting...that's another story:

If your tiny apartment eats two balls of wool necessary for a sweater; you order more, and while you're waiting you realize that the previously knit part is now 4" too big because you've lost weight. Rip Rip Rip.

If a project is bogged down because you mailed off beloved speciality needles and then the artist had a family emergency; you just mark the chart and set the project aside.

If you left out of work without the chart for another project - meaning all your weekend knitting plans are dead in the water - you pull out the swift, some stash, download a new pattern PDF that Jenny & Nicole are knitting, and
Cast on a new project.

I'm suddenly struck with the thought - if that sweater is too big, I bet the cute dress I ordered yesterday is too. ~Curses~.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Testing the resiliency

The term "stress" - as it is currently used - was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as "the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change".

We all have stress. We’ve all heard ad nauseum about Fight-or-Flight, any reasonably up to date woman can give you an intelligent discourse on the basic brain chemicals that we’re hopped up on in response to all those “tigers” out there. They can even give you a comparative commentary on how relaxing/recharging is different based on the activities needed to release chemicals in women vs men. Both halves of the species need to return to the cave. One to climb into a solitary charging cradle and one to have interaction with sympathetic listeners.

What happens when the tiger lives in the cave? When that suspicious sound you heard in the back corner turns out to be large & dangerous; waiting for the hunger to build before it pounces and devours your future? When it’s there in your mind, growling in the night?
Obviously as knitters and spinners we chose to indulge in our hobbies to release stress. Hence why this week has included a pair of SportWeight socks on 2.5mm, Tofu - who is going to Georgia to live with a little girl who has an inoperable brain tumor, and 120 yards of worsted weight "in the grease" 3 ply for mittens. The marl is for the hand and the solid chainply will be striped cuffs.

I've also re-read some old favourites, listened to hours of music, walked so much my plantar fascia hates me, and I suppose I will clean this place sometime in the near future.

What do y'all like to do to return to the still, quiet, silence of the mind?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Nibble nibble

I had a week that was roughly equivalent to ripping out 1200 yards of mohair lace knitting in a cobweb gauge. But we're not going to focus on that. Instead, I'm looking at the future. A future that will hopefully include a lovely light worsted weight 3 ply marled yarn for mittens. I'm actually going to chain ply a smidgeon for solid coloured striped cuffs and then marled mitten hands. Should be off the needles in time for my retirement to Northern Arizona.

I nibbled away at the spinning of this - 4 ounces of Corridale/BFL, stripping the roving down to roughly it's single colours and then spinning each individually. The natural definitely had more grease/nupps/2nd cuts in it and came out thicker, so I presume that's my shortest yardage. My goal in early May was to get back to a little daily spinning. Just 15 minutes a day. Of course, most days the soothing rhytmn sucked me in and in some cases, an hour was happily spent "treadling" in time to music & letting the sheepy goodness engage my fingers.

Now that summer heat is upon me, I will have to move the furniture around so that the wheel lives in the room with AC, extreme heat & humidity can't be good for the wood, not to mention being a sweaty experience for poor 'dainty' me. The very things that make this tiny apartment nice in winter, make it a sweatlodge in summer.