Monday, May 30, 2011

Because I said it once and I still believe it.

Decoration Day (previous post) is upon us again, and I don't think I can say it better than I've already said it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

In the modern vernacular - Bling

“She would fritter it away of course, in small unimportance’s, so that, in the end, she would not know what she had done with it. But perhaps a series of small satisfactions; scattered like sequins over the texture of everyday life was of greater worth than the academic satisfaction of owning a collection of fine objects at the back of a drawer.” Josephine Tey

Since the universe is still wiping the floor with me I’ve been clinging to my resolution to notice the small things. The “Sequins” scattered throughout my life.

I picked up 2 skeins of Malabrigo Silky to pair with some Malabrigo Worsted to knit Colonnade, got to the lace part and discovered that all those double YOs were a wrist killer (too much like crochet). So I ripped that and cast on Pettine instead. Pettine is knit sideways with 2 different lace edgings with mismatched repeats. One set of instructions on page 2 and one chart on page 5. I went ahead and matched the chart up with the other edging on one sheet ~ it's the little things. The new "simplified" instructions mean I can enjoy an old favourite book in a new audio format with my cherished headphones. (Last year I bought audiophile grade headphones with inline iPod controls. Now I can Pause, FF, control volume from the wire without fumbling for the player. Especially nice if you want to pause the music & think for a moment.

Other joys in life include good tools. I sprung for a new pair of Blackthorn DPNs in the 2.5mm size for my sportweight yarns. They were such a tactile joy that these socks, which were invisioned for future airport knitting? Yeah, one sock done; the other already on the leg. This project also touched on other small treats in life. I used a channel island cast on; drawing on my love of learning new techniques. It's in a "Gulf" wool/nylon blend I've never used before. A breed just sturdy enough that I get to indulge in frequent hand lotion slathering. I think these will translate into warm cushy hardwearing winter standbys.

I've been seeking the contentment brought on by daily spinning. The yellow is a Falklands 56 micron that I am spinning woolen into a 3 ply worsted weight. I expect to have enough yardage to knit up the Brattleboro hat from New England Knits.

I finally bought a lazy Kate. I chose the Ashford one for portability. It's neither an inspired design nor lovely to look at, but with some tweaking I think I will get years of hard use from it.

In an effort to just feel like a "human" again I went to dinner with a friend. Had a lovely time eating fatty foods and laughing. Then we went to Target and I prescribed myself a new journal and pen for stress management. Even though I usually destroy my scribblings; the ability to "talk" to someone who doesn't interrupt, judge, blame or ridicule is very healing. I can be selfish, bored, moody, illogical, fearful or furious - all the things I can't be when people are watching. Additionally, since I have no expectation of a response, when there isn't one it doesn't hurt like the rebuff of silence from a friend after you've opened up and said something you immediately wish you could retract.

The other upside to multiple small joys is they are less likely to all be stolen at once. Someone can swipe your dream car, your heirloom jewels, and your precious StarWars memorabilia. You can lose your house, your retirement fund, your future. But it’s harder to collect up these little scattered delights and erase them all at once.

Oh, and if you receive a note written in Crayon? Well, Crayons are a little box of joy too.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's not food, drugs, or drink.

Several years ago Chelle and I had an interesting conversation about why it is when you are being kicked around by the big things, you become obsessed with the small things. We decided that it's a control issue. When you can't control the huge life changing events, you chose to lose all perspective about the little things: focusing on finding the "perfect" handbag, shoes, yarn, knitting pattern, eyeliner, tablecloth, Whatever.

After a week in which I was so miserable I couldn't stand myself, I self-medicated by becoming obsessed with some little things. And following the advice of Epictetus:
"Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope."
I opted for several small things.

I started trying to return to spinning 15 minutes a day - every day. And the Hobbledehoy is the perfect tiny amounts:
In keeping with my theme of fretting the small stuff I may have spent many hours searching for the perfect shawlette pattern only to decide to knit a stranded tam instead. Now I need to finish at least 4 of the colours before I can cast on.

"Little things" also decribe the tiny cables of Cookie A's BFF socks. Knit in Dream in Colour Smooshy. Which is a lovely yarn. But if I could only have one sock yarn for eternity I would probably chose Baby Boom instead.

The last of the small obsessions: tiny little dachshund legs. This will be a small project that will take a long time. The gauge is knit sooooo tightly that it bothers my forearms. So a couple of rounds a day and I'll have it finished in time for the recipient's birthday. Tofu by DangerCrafts. (In a sidenote, if you want to see the sweetest baby feet photo of all time...stop by Rebecca Danger's blog)

If you were on the shoreline of my life this week watching me dash myself against the rocks, I apologise for any stray splinters that might have hurt your feelings. I'm still chewing on it all, but the incipient madness seems to have abated somewhat.

Sunday, May 08, 2011


This is why you go to Festivals with people: I would never buy this on my own; but divvied betwixt us, it was worth the money. I did not share the Scotch; which was also worth the money because 300ml left a middlish sized woman with no ill effects the next morning.

It wasn't all food and games.

My modest haul included the Lucy Neatby angelic chorus newly revised Finishing book, a cute button that reads "I was a nice girl before I started all this knitting," and 4 ounces of Merino-Tencel 50/50 top packed as 6 colours. My plan is to spin a light fingering 2ply and knit a shawl, hopefully by MDSW 2013.

The weather was lovely today so I took the wheel outside and spun up the first .66; the denim blue tone. I think I'll knit Alyssum again because it's well suited to multi-hued knitting, but would welcome any ideas.

Now, if you'll pardon me, there's still Scotch in that bottle...

Friday, May 06, 2011


A little bit ago I realized that it was getting to be time to think about my annual Mother’s Day post. Or as I mentally label it…my Mother’s Day Wallow.

Except it’s not really a wallow.  To me wallowing is all noise and splashing around creating a messy scene while you sit on a stable foundation.  It’s the kiddy pool.

This place…this place of solace and peace? It’s different. Harder to explain. Harder to share. It’s the place below the chop of the water; after you’ve gone down the last time and discover what’s below the waves.   When you’ve learned to live with what you miss.

It’s a cool, smooth weightless space.  So encompassing that you’re not even aware of it until you struggle back to the surface and get a cold splash to the face, drowning once again. It’s peace, not dependent upon fortunate circumstances, present even when things are “not going your way.”

When my son died that November there was pain, despair, all that you would expect, but there was also the emotional life preserver of my daughter.  There was a certain amount of “turning everything off so you can get through so much pain” because a 2 year old will not let you dissolve.   Then I lost her that May and life became the type of insult from which you think you’ll never recover.  An incredible tsunami that destroys everything in its path, with a continous flow of aftershocks and waves.

Of course, the first few times you struggle to stay afloat, fearing drowning.  That fear separates you from the strength that lies deeper. You cannot conceive of anything other than drowning. Some people even manage a careful back float, maintaining equilibrium, not buoyed by the waves but not buffeted by them either.  The disadvantage with this is that it steals the good as well as the bad.  You can’t have any emotion or memory about the situation without upsetting the balance and beginning the struggle again.  

I am a coward; I can’t live in that type of pain. Eventually I stop flailing around and sink.  As time goes by withdrawal begins, not wanting to be brought back to the surface with its struggle.  In these cool depths I’ve come to learn that loss can stop being a soul-crushing sharp-edged blade that lashes a thousand cuts with every breath.  It can eventually become something that lets love return to your life.

If you let it.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Lord Peter and Harriet...

Whoops, wrong Wimsey. I meant WHIMSY.

I've been drug through GrownUp Land for the last few months and finally in mental exhaustion I rebelled. I started this about 10 days/2 weeks ago.

It's not strictly anatomical. There's no vena cavae, and the aorta loops around to form the illusionary cutaway of the pulmonic and aortic valves, but it's all for fun anyway.

And not content to stop there...I treated myself to Rebecca Danger's Book of Knitted Monsters. Soooo Adorable. And after a couple of days of looking, cast on this little gal:

As you can see, she's ready to vacation with FAW next year. She's the Lydia monster, but FAW wanted ears and preferred the snaggletooth. She's also in the Colours of FAWs new HEMI Challenger, hence her name: Hemi.

But all that tight gauge worsted on 3.75mm needles is hard on the forearms, so I've been lunchtime knitting: Cookie A's BFF socks in Dream in Color Smooshy in ?Blue Lagoon? I got the yarn in a destash and it was unlabeled. (also covered in animal hair, blech)but it looks like Blue Lagoon to me. What I really need is a nice garter stitch project, but there are Monsters calling my name....