Monday, June 19, 2006


So we are on week 6 without Air Conditioning. I am so proud of my kids, they have been such troopers. Little complaining, lots of resourcefulness in finding ways to keep cool, etc. What I have found, in the humidity, is that I can't knit with wool. So in desperation, I took a break from the landscape shawl and socks to make the Otis sweater from Knitty a couple of years ago. I have the fronts and the back done and because I knew I was short on yarn, I did the sleeves from the top down and converted the set in cap shaping to short rows. It worked really well. I will finish the knitting tomorrow and put up a photo. I was all prepared to put on a lace border to make the sleeves longer, but I am satisfied with the length and am going to leave them as is. It has been a fun, fast knit and has increased my confidence as a designer because I knew I had to make adjustments to get a whole sweater out the amount of yarn on hand, and I was fearless in my adjustments and modifications. Woohoo! Now to try and sleep. Two of my sisters are in crisis right now and knitting is much easier than sleeping. Even reading is not working in the heat. I just can't concentrate.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The saga of the Eight-Year Socks

Okay, so everyone has one...the project you start but don't finish but you can't abandon it because you really do like the process but there are oh-so-many other interesting things coming at you and hey, they're just a little pair of socks, I'll be able to finish them in a couple of evenings...
Yeah, right.
So, these socks have literally been floating around my house and my subconscious for 8 years. They were designed by a wonderful woman that I used to work with at Cloverhill named Jamie Flickinger. She was the knitting teacher there until I took over. I used to pet the sample in the shop and dream of the day I would have those cozy socks on my feet. The yarn got discontinued, so I bought it and cast them on, got halfway through the first leg and then...I don't know. They sat. Over the years I have forgiven myself of many started projects and just unraveled them. It is a very freeing process, I recommend it. For some reason though, these always got put in the "To Be Resurrected at Some Unknown Future Time" pile. Since this is my year of stash shopping, I was determined to finish them. I put them in one of my "active projects" baskets back in January and they continued to sit. Last month, I was spring cleaning and I had decided I was going to donate them to Children in Common so the girls in Russia could have the fun of knitting them and they would be out of my life. I couldn't do it! Then, it became a crusade. I would finish them or die trying. So, I worked on them during the driving home from Chicago. I finished the first sock on the road and got all the way to the heel of the second one before we hit Breezewood.
Last night I got all but the kitchener stitch on the toes done. It was a small triumph, the sort that is triumphant only in the mind of the conquerer. To everyone else they are just a pair of socks. To me they are a fascinating evidence of how my mind works, how my life is organized and how I participate in the art of knitting. I am glad that I finished them. The fact is, I finish most things, I just take the scenic route. That could be on my tombstone, that I would rather take the scenic route, and so I am okay with my beautiful socks that took 8 years and 8 hours to finish.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Back from Chicago

Here is the addition in its stark pre-insulation-and-drywall beauty. It is really coming together. The thought of sitting in a window seat to read and knit and daydream while the trees sigh above me just makes me so happy!
The other photo is the crew on the shores of lake Michigan with the truly beautiful Chicago skyline in the background. It was a good trip.
I am up working on my music again after a very challenging workout. The good news is that I have worked out hard for 3 days in a row now and am sore, but feeling strong. I am slow and heavy, but I somehow feel graceful and powerful when I run, so that is good. Tonight was 440 sprints. My times were laughable, but considering I haven't sprinted a 440 in twenty years, and considering all the life I've lived in that 20 years, I am happy I got around the track 4 times without throwing up. My goal is to see measureable improvement in my physical fitness by the big 40 in August. I have let my family own my body for the last 20 years, and I'm takin' it back! That sounds selfish. What I really want it to set a good example for my kids of taking care of myself and showing them that when I take that time, I am better for them. Now, at this stage of life, I feel like I can take 60-90 minutes out of my day for working out. 'Twas not always thus.
So, back to music and in a roundabout way, knitting...we did the Chicago museums while were there and museum shops always have a few worthwhile treasures. One of my favorite record labels is Putumayo. They do these totally fun compilations of world music from all over. I picked up French Cafe, Repubilica Dominica and, get this, Music from the Chocolate Lands! The last one is music from chocolate-producing countries, like Congo, India, Brazil, Switzerland ,and Peru. So, now we have music to eat chocolate by! Can life get any better?
In thinking about music to knit by, so-called "world music" is really nice because it takes up just enough mental space to keep things interesting, but I don't focus totally on the music and can concentrate on what I'm doing. Besides, I love imaginary travel, so I will enjoy "visiting" all these places this summer as I knit by the pool.