Cheers Everyone!

Non-sensory knitting

Knit night at the wine bar….

It was dark at the bar and I couldn’t see.

It was loud at the bar and I couldn’t hear.

It was smoky at the bar and I couldn’t smell.

I’d had one too many drinks and I could no longer taste.

But… I could still feel enough to knit – and people – I knit lace! Uncomplicated lace – but lace nonetheless.
And there is proof.

Here’s to another year of Good Life, Good Friends, Good Wool, and Good Wine!


My good friend Cathy…

…and I toast to the good life!

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I know he didn’t mean to make me cry.

But I have – and will again.

Paul, Christopher’s father, gave me several books for Christmas. He knows my tastes well. I seldom read fluff. He also knows my passion for knitting. He has socks and a hat as evidence.

One of this year’s books is The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood. The plot is very similar to the author’s life experience. She lost a young child to a rare illness and suffered the unbearable grief that accompanies death of a loved one. The author and the lead character both discover knitting during their grief as a soothing means of coping.

Being at odds with the book I was reading, I picked up Knitting Circle the other night. Maybe I should say the other morning – at four. Hood’s writing is elegant and from the heart. As I read I kept thinking about my sister and brother-in-law. I learned to knit the first week of December 2006. Within a week I was teaching my sister, Londa, over the phone how to make her first stitches. They were in the car and driving to a spend a few days away to consider their options. Roger’s cancer had returned.

Over the next few months I remember sitting with my sister in the hospital knitting. In the chemo suite knitting. She went quickly from scarfs to socks on dpns. In the hospital she never left Roger’s side. When a nurse accidently broke one of her five #2 needles I went to Loops, the yarn store conveniently located across from the hospital and bought a new set. My sister called the time she spent knitting her “sanity moments”. Her hands stayed busy turning heels and kitchenering while she and the love of her life fought to spend a little more time together.

I can’t imagine knowing what she went through. I know this though – Roger was always in my life. They met when I was five and as she fell in love with him, I did too. I think we all did. He was as much my brother as my sibling Eddie. Roger and Londa taught me to swim. When I toured a college campus, it was with Roger by my side. So many memories….Pickles at the Skyline Drive In. The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Halloween. The nickname that no one else is allowed to use.

Last week Hillarey and I went to spend a few hours at Londa’s house. She had yarn in skeins so I took my swift and winder. Londa had on great socks, a soft tan and cream in a simple rib knit. Her classic pattern.

My sister knits socks almost exclusively still. December 20th would have been Londa and Roger’s 39th anniversary.

I miss him. More than words or tears will ever convey.

(xmas 1976 – from left to right Denise, Sheresa, Roger, and Londa – as I recall we were wearing new socks)

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Stealth Revealed!

The holiday is over and now I can reveal the stealth knitting project that I’d been working on for Hillarey.
Druid Mittens pattern by BrooklynTweed
Knit in Berroco Ultra Fine Alpaca
DPN’s 2.5mm (Knit Picks Harmony Wood)

As a hoot I joined the Seasons of Lace, Winter of Lace knitting group. I know I’m going to be knitting lace anyway. I bow to the addiction – no fighting it. It wins. I gotta knit lace.

Being a dyed-in-the-wool Pagan I decided to celebrate the Solstice by casting on a new/old pattern. Ozark Autumn by Kay Meadors knit this time using a lace weight Malabrigo, dyed by Kay, in reds and greens. I’m adding green beads for a bit of twinkle. It’s much better in person. Not a great photo but everyone knows I’m not the photographer in the family.

I’m also back on the Fiore di Melazana by Anne Hanson. This is a great pattern and I’m completely in love with the yarn! It’s Tupelo Honey Whisper Merino by Woolen Rabbit. The center panel is about finished. Will post more photos soon.

And lastly – I cast on socks. I wouldn’t say I’m the only sock knitter yet to make a pair of Monkey socks by Cookie A because I know for a fact my sister hasn’t either. The yarn of choice? Socks That Rock in colorway Tide Pool. They’re very busy – call ’em Funky Monkeys.

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Rogue River Journal

This evening I finished reading Rogue River Journal by John Daniel. By this I mean I read the final page, and the Acknowledgments.

But I’m not ready to put it away.

I’ve been told by enough people that I don’t quite fit in. In fact, it happened again this morning at Panera. Scary Man (I assume he has a real name but I do not know or care to know it.) chatted me up at the trash can by asking how things were at the farm. My response that it was beautiful elicited a “but it’s winter and cold!”, to which I tossed out a line about the warm wood fire and liking the winter as I edged slightly away hoping to end the discussion. He asked where I was from, and being born right downtown I answered Tulsa. “You’re from here and you don’t like the hot summers?” he asked in a shocked fashion. (I don’t know if he was really shocked or just trying to prolong the dialogue. Neither idea thrilled me.) I answered in the only way I knew how, “I’ve always been a freak of Nature.”

In Rogue River Journal Daniel spends an entire winter in a small cottage secluded in the Klamath Mountains of Oregon. On purpose.

I love this. I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to spend winter in the woods without encountering another human. A deeper inner knowledge surely must begin to grow from the solitude. Without other people present you wrestle with questions and have no one to bounce your ideas off of. The resolutions, if they happen, are all your own. Depending solely on yourself would you have to face your true strengths and weaknesses, not as society sees them but as they are? What about your internal schedule? Does it tune to daylight and the sounds you hear?

Daniel invites the memories of his father, and his own history into the cabin. He is blunt about his escapes in the sixties, familial conflict, and love lost and found. His prose on the Nature that he shares his retreat with is lush and moving.

This book is not for everyone. But I found it moving. And inspiring in a way that makes me realize that I have a lot of work to do in my own journal before I fully understand myself and where I’m from.

Pardon me – but pen and paper beckon.

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Socks, socks, socks!

I have an overwhelming urge to cast on some socks. Fun socks. Colorful socks.

Everyone who knows me knows I’m always behind on the times so it comes as no surprise that I’m going to use Cookie A’s Monkey sock pattern for the first time. Now if I can just decide on the yarn….

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Breathing easier…on several fronts

The blog has been neglected due to some stealth knitting of late. That project is well on it’s way to being finished in time to tuck in a stocking. That’s all I’m saying….no more hints.

Last week I realized I had a problem with my lace project the Fiore di Melanzana or as I like to call it – Eggplant Flower – Eggie for short. The problem wasn’t with the pattern. Or the yarn. It was me.

Now I’ve reached a ripe middle-age (I refuse to say old age) in full belief that I can count with the best of them. I’ve been knitting for three years now and can read symbols pretty well, occasionally double checking when I encounter a new stitch, but that’s not unheard of. In fact, I feel pretty confident in my knitting skills. Maybe too confident.

I had just plunged forward from Chart A to Chart B without inserting a lifeline because the project was going so smoothly. I was flying and thoroughly enjoying Eggie. The yarn is lovely and a perfect choice –Woolen Rabbit’s Tupelo Honey. (It’s wonderful – go there – buy yarn! You’ll love it.) It has just the right drape and shows the stitch definition better than almost anything I’ve used lately. But as I said before I was perhaps a bit over confident. Anne writes an easy to follow pattern, clear and concise. I apparently can’t read because I had been knitting garter stitch and wondering why the wise Anne Hanson hadn’t made this Chart stockinette, which would really show off the lacewing motif beautifully.

It was Monday that I realized my error. Chart B is in stockinette. Anne knows what she’s doing and I’m a blithering idiot.

Remember I had been knitting commando – sans lifeline? Ever tried to add a lifeline, after the fact, to lace? Not an easy task. But I spent some time Monday and put in a lifeline. It didn’t look right. I took my stealth knitting to the farm for the week and left Eggie on the couch to miraculously cure itself while I was gone.

Some people believe it’s the season for miracles. Not being a religious person I didn’t really expect to come back and find Eggie in any state of grace other than the one I left her in. Friday I picked up Eggie and spent several slow methodical hours tinking back stitch by stitch thirteen rows. Yeah. I didn’t rip. I tinked. On occasion the brain engages and tells you not to trust yourself – or your lifeline in this case.

Eggie is now back on track and looking lovely. I’m breathing easier, and more humble. And I have a lifeline between Chart A & Chart B. Lesson learned.


On the new house front – Brady the Builder told Chris that we’re about six weeks away from completion! This spurs me to little happy dances whenever I think about it. Below are a few photos of the cabinets that Brady and his right hand, Justin, have made for us. These are talented fellows! The cabinets will likely be stained a nice honey color to show off the Craftsman design and wood grain.

Here’s a view of the kitchen cabinets and the island. The stove will be in the island with the backside housing cookbooks. Nifty huh?

These are built in bookshelves in the living room. That big hole you see will house the pipe for the woodstove.

And these are the bathroom cabinets, which I think are pretty awesome! These will probably be stained a darker shade to go with the slate flooring and shower.

A wood stove and radiant heat will be our main sources of warmth (other than the wool stash) in the new house. I love wood stoves and am eager to see what the radiant heat is like. I don’t think it will eliminate the need for hand knit socks though. Nothing can, right?

We’re anticipating a winter storm arriving soon. You can smell it in the air. As great as the air smells I haven’t been able to take big gulps full. In fact, breathing has been a struggle of late. Last week my doctor diagnosed me with asthma. It’s of the exercise and cold temp variety but nasty nonetheless. The wheezing and rattling are as disturbing as the coughing. I’ve never experienced this before and find it odd that at almost fifty I’m now developing asthma. But – I’m making friends with my puffer and have been breathing a little easier the past two days.

All in all – the week has been full of lessons.

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No more %@<#!!!

I’ve long thought it showed a certain lack of creative linguistic skills to curse all the time. (pointing honestly at myself) Besides the fact that it’s difficult to turn off routine cussin’ when in polite company or when small children (who at certain ages repeat anything that strikes their fancy) are around.

So dear friends (the two or three people who actually read this blog) I give you my new favorite curse word-

Hair Sheep!

It is my hope that neither my good friend Bibi – nor any other farmer – nor my neighbors the monks – take offense of my use of their beast as a blaspheme. I understand that they believe that this breed of sheep has less gamey better flavored meat. But I’m a knitter you see and feel strongly that sheep should have wool, lustrous locks of wool. Wool with crimp and softness. Wool that you want to drape all over your body and fondle. Now doesn’t that make sense?

Join me now – when you stub your toe – when you spill hot coffee – when you drip spaghetti sauce on a white shirt –

Hair Sheep!!!!

Doesn’t that sound better than those words you were spewing when angry?

…………………..

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