Friday, February 29, 2008

Odessa

photo by Judy Baxter (Old Shoe Woman on Flickr)

The Southern live oak is a common sight here in the south. The gnarled branches reach far from the tree, growing to the ground before turning back up to the sky. Here, live oaks are a symbol of strength. The tree grows in a twisting fashion, essentially knitting its fibers like a suspension bridge cable. The fibers are so strong these trees that live from 500 to 1500 years old can survive hurricanes, tornadoes, and even the occasional canon ball.

Christie* mentioned a friend in need of warm hats for her journey through chemotherapy. I immediately thought of the strength one would need and Odessa reminds me of the Southern live oak's twisting fibers. I hope this hat brings her strength, shelter, and comfort.


Pattern: Odessa by Grumperina

Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style, hollyberry: less than 1 skein

Needles: US size 6

Knit to pattern except I did not add beads since they might rub. Quick, easy , fun to knit.

*She is drying from a long bath and will be on the way to you next week.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sublime Socks


Pattern: My basic sock recipe

Yarn: Fearless Fibers super wash merino 'sublime'

Needles: US #1 dpn's

I really like this yarn, the end fabric is sturdy and soft, although it is pilling a bit. I am not put off by pilling since all of my sweaters and socks receive a good amount of wear time. Holding a 30 pound toddler has slightly felted the front and sides of almost every sweater I own. The wear and tear on a mother's wardrobe is loves collateral damage. I digress. The socks haven't left my feet for a couple of days. Yep, that is how much I like them.

Speaking of sock yarn, Ashley has opened her own Etsy shop and I am so excited to have ordered some of her lovely yarn. She has an eye for color combos. I had a tough time deciding what to buy since almost every one called my name. I also struggled with the idea of telling y'all about her, because I want all of the yarns for myself, but she needs more than one client. Check out her hand dyed goodness at Enchanted Fibers.

I chose two colorways for the Project Spectrum months of April and May that represent the element earth. I want to take my time with these yarns, so instead of my usual stockinette, I want to knit a patterned sock. Please help me choose a sock pattern that meets these requirements: no cables, easily memorized pattern repeats, relatively quick, not jaywalker (have done those). Thanks for your suggestions! I am also open to any finger weight shawl or scarf ideas.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ring Ring: Dorothy Gale Calling


Is everyone still here? We were up with tornado sirens around 3:30 this morning. My baby boy hid under the covers chanting, "me hide, me hide". I hope all of my south eastern readership is safe and sound. This season has proven hard already and we aren't even out of February yet. I am a tornado veteran; the worst was when I emerged into the light of day in Atlanta a decade ago to see a hundred pines ten feet from my door snapped like matchsticks and the entire side of the two story apartments torn right off. The kids and I are taking a day off. I kept Miss A home from school since she only slept a few hours and we are all in pajamas, eating ice cream with sprinkles for lunch, and watching videos. (Honey, I am sincerely sorry you have to read this at work.) In any case of duress this is really the best medicine.

I am knitting a couple of gifts. I started a pair of socks for my friend's son as a going away present. They are moving back to Germany soon and I will miss them very much. The second gift is for Christie's friend who is undergoing chemotherapy. I chose the Odessa hat pattern for many reasons, but will save that for a post of it's own. I also finished the Sublime socks. I'll post a photo on a sunnier day. So I guess I'm just checking in to say I'll share another day. By the way, Larkin has updated her shop. I absolutely love her stitch markers.

I took the picture last week. I loves these birch trees. They stand guard between the lake and the cemetery. I imagine their roots are fed by both the worlds of the living and the dead. They must be very wise trees indeed.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Naturally


On Wednesday, my father drove here to watch the lunar eclipse. Clouds blew in at the same time and made themselves at home directly over my house. We took the kids out and blew at the clouds as hard and long as we could and wouldn't you know, it worked. The lung capacity of the average 2 and 4 year old is a mighty thing. The clouds would part for a moment, affording us a glimpse of the most beautiful clay moon. Dad said having to blow the clouds away every so often to catch a glimpse made the eclipse that much more exciting. I agree.

Rain came yesterday, soft and constant like an old friend's embrace, for an entire 24hours or more. I had a riotous cottage garden at my old house in soil like chocolate cake, but here my house sits on 1 inch of pitiful sod clinging to the back of a mountain. I garden birds instead. They never cease to amuse me and the fact they do not require weeding (a chore my Grandma likens to penance) is enough to satisfy my gardener's soul.


The house finches are cropping up in droves. This guy studied me intently. I'll add the eclipse and the male finches to my Project Spectrum reds and leave you to ponder the wisdom in this Chinese proverb:

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Friend


Sandra knit me these awesome ( yes, awesome) Noro socks for my birthday. I can't even begin to say how exciting it was to open a pair of hand knit socks made for me. I am always knitting and giving and well, I was touched. After reading the ordeal she went through to get these to me, you have to know she is a very good friend indeed.

Friend is partly defined as :
1.a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard

Sandra must have incredible amounts of affection and regard for me since she could have just said to herself, " crap, I give up, Heather doesn't know I'm making these anyway." But, she persevered and I get to dance around in my rainbow socks. So, really, she is more than a friend. She is my sister.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Puff- Sleeved Feminine Cardigan



Pattern: Puff- Sleeved Feminine Cardigan from Fitted Knits (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style, hollyberry 6.5 skeins (1.5 more than pattern called for!)

Needles: US size 6 circular, size 9 to bind off

Size: 34




Notes: Go get a beverage, we'll be here awhile.

I added 7 stitches worked in seed stitch to either end to create the button band as I knit. I took Melissa's advice and placed a button hole every 15 rows. I followed the pattern to the peplum, only did one ridge row to mirror the neckline, left out the lace and worked in stockinette with increases in the same place as the waist decreases. The peplum is still flared out because of the increases. I did 10 rows of seed stitch on the bottom rather than the ridges. I also knit a single ridge on the sleeve to mirror the neck/peplum.

I used 9 buttons which I sewed to the band with a smaller backing button for stability. I swooned and cursed often during this process, but it was worth it.

I enjoyed the yarn except it did grow during blocking so I wish I had knit more decreases at the waist to compensate for that, but overall I love this cardigan.




collar folded down and me looking very proud of myself

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Almost Finished


Thank you all for the birthday wishes. I did have a great day and weekend with friends and family. I am also done knitting PSFC. She needs buttons and a good blocking. I will post a full description with a photo of me wearing her later this week.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sweetheart

A gift from my sweetheart


To the Lady Radegund, with Violets
By Venantius Fortunatus c.540

If 'twere the time of lilies,
Or of the crimson rose,
I'd pluck them in the fields for you.
Or my poor garden close:
Small gift for you so rare.

But I can find no lilies,
Green herbs are all I bring.
Yet love makes vetches roses,
And in their shadowing
Hide violets as fair.

For royal is their purple,
And fragrant is their breath,
And to one sweet and royal,
Their fragrance witnesseth
Beauty abiding there.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Retrospection


Do you remember the author Yann Martel and his mission to gift the Prime Minister of Canada with a new novel to read every two weeks while in office? I look forward to find what the next selection is as well as Mr. Martel's inspiring letters that accompany the books. This week he sent Meditations by the philosopher-king Marcus Aurelius. I was intrigued and wanted to read this book by the Stoic who ruled Rome in A.D. 161 and wrote things like, “Soon you will have forgotten the world, and soon the world will have forgotten you.”

I went to my county library web search immediately and found the system had one copy. I clicked the 'hold' button and was incredibly amused by the irony when the screen read, "LOST". Poor Marcus, he was right after all. Bless his heart.
I am reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee with my book club and have rediscovered the 7th grader I was when I first read this novel. She liked to circle the words she didn't know and define them in the margins. She wrote, "this is a good book" on the Part Two page. She learned that year the meanest girls are, through tyranny, the most popular and the teacher is not always right. This copy is dated 1960, so I assume it came from the dusty box of books in my Grandma's basement. I guess some of my aunts must have read this particular copy.

I may very well be forgotten by the world, but that matters little when I discover the precious treasure of remembering myself. Seems Boo Radley left more in that tree knot than I first understood.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Halcyon

photo courtesy of Geoffrey Gougion

I looked in vain for fire elements this weekend. This photo was the first thing I saw when I opened my email today. The elusive answer waited patiently for me to give up my search. As always.

Living in this world -
to what shall I compare it?
It's like a boat
rowing out at break of day,
leaving no trace behind.
Sami Mansei

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Well, it is the year of the rat now. I am not a rat in Chinese astrology, I am an ox. In case you were wondering. I hope all of you sexy, charming rat types have an auspicious year.

I finally separated the sleeves in the Puff -Sleeve Feminine Cardigan (PSFC) and boy, that couldn't have come fast enough. I had about 350 live stitches on the needles and I was having a time keeping them all moving towards the end there. This is the view from my knitting chair. I would like to think I will be sitting here all weekend, watching the last bit of daylight trailing across my floor, but I have a power weekend. You know the kind: out of towners, 2 preschool birthday parties to attend, dust bunnies to wrangle, and a hair cut for the boy who could use a barrette at this point.


I watched Memoirs of a Geisha last night. I adore this movie. The images, the colors, and the cinematography enchant me. Perfect movie for the Project Spectrum Elements theme. Following the thread of the color red woven through Chiyo's life added another rich and dramatic layer to already poignant imagery.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sublime

colorway up close


I have started a pair of socks, yes my boring old stockinette socks again, in really lovely yarn. Deb from Fearless Fibers creates the prettiest colorways. This particular mix of gold, rose, wine, and olive is aptly named Sublime. The yarn is very soft although a bit thinner than what I normally use for sock yarn. Her hanks are 550 yds so a shawl would also be beautiful in her yarns.



colorway when you squint


Speaking of the sublime, can you feel the inspiring energy surrounding this election process? I don't stump for politicians, but I do stump for change. We as a nation are greatly in need of a stir up when it comes to our politics and I think this year might be heralding a term that will be more productive and less divisive. How very exciting.

"Neither man or nation can exist without a sublime idea."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky




Sunday, February 3, 2008

Rubicund



Project Spectrum 3 has begun, the inspiring element is fire. The corresponding colors are red, pink, and orange. My knitting project is the Puff Sleeve Feminine Cardigan from Fitted Knits. I am making this in Knit Picks merino style in 'hollyberry'. My camera and I had a heated debate over the exact shade of the yarn and although my polite, but color blind, camera insists on a pinkish tone, the yarn is truly a deep cranberry. That is, if a cranberry can be deep. They tend to float about in cliques don't they?

I will be gifting this sweater to myself for my birthday which is very soon. I will also keep an eye out for fire colors in my environment and share what I find with you. If this dark rainy weather doesn't lift soon you will be viewing the jar of pasta sauce in my fridge that I keep meaning to throw out.

I am having trouble sleeping. I blame it on the impending solar eclipse. I wish I were unphased by the moon's antics, but I fall helplessly under her spell. So, I am more sleep deprived than usual and slightly anxious. I suddenly remembered a handsome foreign man read my palm when I worked at a pharmacy 12 years ago. He said many accurate things, but the one I recall vividly now was, " Your life will begin after you turn 35." Next week, I will turn 35. I wish he had just told me when I was going to die. That would be much less worrisome. At least then I would know what to expect.