Monday, March 31, 2008

Hanami


Hanami translates literally in Japanese to mean flower viewing. Traditionally the viewing is of cherry trees in bloom . My personal hanami will pass without me this year since I don't live in St. Louis anymore. The Botanical Garden there is home to the largest Japanese garden in the western hemisphere (Seiwa-en). The cherry trees will bloom and after a week or so, drop their delicate blossoms like snow blowing off a mountain. One tree in particular rooted on the edge of the lake will shower white blossoms over the foot bridge onto the water to be nibbled by the hundreds of glittering koi. Heaven on earth. I may miss those cherry trees, but the signs of spring are here and the early bloomers are waking up. The loropetalum shrubs that lead you to my front door are exploding with fringe that my daughter calls cheerleader pom poms.

I was in Athens, GA this weekend walking with family and friends for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. We had a great time and raised a ton of money. My aunt and uncle made t-shirts for Team Kristen which had this quote by Anatole France (you know how I love qoutey goodness):

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe."


Let's get started right now.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Grandma's Charade Socks


Grandma's Charade Socks

Pattern: Charade by Sandra
Yarn: Karabella Lace Merino
Needles: US #1 dpn

The pattern and yarn worked well together. I like the fact that Charade is easily memorized and doesn't require notes, pencils, or attention. I am curious as to what a large scale item knit with this pattern would look like ( maybe a scarf). The yarn is soft and very stretchy, like the other Karabella yarns I've tried. The color palette is beautiful. These are for my Grandma, who I exchange letters with on a regular basis. She deserved a pair of socks as romantic and lovely as she is. I can't wait to visit her this weekend and see the look on her face. Surprise knit gifts are my favorite kind.

My mojo was hidden under Ashley's hank of woodland gnome. I cast on for some simple socks with it and am flying again. What a relief. I was worried I'd have to start making things up to keep y'all entertained.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Zen Garden Smack Down


Upon hearing some disturbing growls and screeches that for once did not originate from my children, I discovered my zen/rock/succulent/garden was invaded by dinosaurs. The kids and I watched through our fingers as the fierce *Spinosaurus hunted the badly in need of an exfoliant Ankylosaurus. We couldn't take our eyes off of them, like a bad wreck on the side of the road. I am not sure who won since Clifford came on and stole all of our attention away.

I am on a hunt myself. It would seem I lost my knitting mojo somewhere between last Thursday and today. Can't find it for the life of me. I have the foot left on the second of the Charade socks to finish, but every time I pick it up the line, **"and miles to go before I sleep" runs through my head. ( Nothing against the pattern- it is now one of my faves)

I also cast on for the Woodland shawl and knit about 6 rows in pattern when I realized it was too wide. I am of the height that if I were a dinosaur, I would have been named Halfpintosaurus and would have evolved a permanent step stool appendage had that pesky meteor not killed me first. So, stoles wider than 18 inches tend to fit me like afghans. I'll cast on again soon when I dig my mojo out from under the couch cushions and lint roll the life out of it.

* Would my large paleontologist readership please correct me on the names? Thanks!
** Robert Frost's Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring


Happy first day of Spring. I found a quote that describes the exact weather we have here today:

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~Charles Dickens

Since the March winds are howling, I have decided to knit a wrap and chose the Woodland Shawl by Nikol Lohr. I think I will use my Fearless Fibers sock yarn in Deepest Forest. I'm off for a few days to celebrate the season with family. Happy Easter and Happy Equinox to you all, see you next week.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Impermanence


I've been thinking about impermanence lately. Specifically, how the philosophy of constant change presents itself to me more frequently than I can ignore. This is the most holy week for Christians and while I have been immersed in the pagan fertility rituals like egg dying and bunny drawing, the crosses draped in purple cloth keep catching my eye. As a child I didn't like Easter much. Having to sit through the entire stations of the cross, especially the crucifixion, still freaks me out inside. Then came the dreaded fancy dress up for Mass on Easter Sunday. I look forward to any opportunity to wear dressy clothes now that my wardrobe consists entirely of "jeans" and "date jeans". My child self though, she hated getting dressed up.

Anyway, past issues, memories, and emotional baggage are, according to practitioners of impermanence, just that: past. Gone, finished, over. This moment is all you have, this moment is all that matters. Worrying about the future? Don't bother, it will come regardless. Stuck in the past? Let go of the ropes, it does not exist except in your mind. Shelve the hurts and welcome the new moment free of judgement. I know, much easier said than done, but no thing worth doing is easy. I realized I am worth the hard work and so are you. My lesson in impermanence came from a weed that I had cursed and blamed for making my yard look bad until the next day when my daughter picked these perfect flowers from that weed's stems, set them on my knitting and exclaimed, " here Mom, I brought you a gift." Oh, if only she knew.

Christians will be celebrating the change Jesus underwent, the Buddhists will be contemplating the change of seasons in the dew on a leaf, and I will be looking at this picture of that moment, already gone, when I changed a little, when I remembered to prepare myself for the day I too will bloom.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Innisfree


The alternate title to this post : I have a million things I should be doing, but would rather be at the lake watching the heron. I am swamped (pun egregiously intended) until early next week, so in the meantime, I offer a poem from one of my favorite Irishmen, second only to Shaw, William Butler Yeats. Have a Guinness on me this Monday.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lavandula


Lavender farm in Hokkaido


Purple equals spring for me. Lavender happens to be my favorite herb. I won't tell you my favorite flower, only my husband knows that. The article in the March issue of Living about the lavender farm about killed me. Really, the thought of living and working on a farm surrounded by swaying purple spikes as far as the eye can see is part of my intricate fantasy life. Especially one in Japan, where I think I once lived another lifetime ago. Don't we all have one of those? The life you keep a running montage of in your head when you are folding the laundry and searching for the lost toddler shoes for the third time in 20 minutes? Thought so.



So, here on the cusp of Spring, I am planning my container plantings, and since the weather is fickle, I am transferring all of my cabin fever to my knitting. I am making a gift pair from Sandra's Charade pattern in Karabella lace merino and the hand dyed hank by Madeleine Tosh will be for me.


Today's inspirational quote is from my daughter: What color is a burp? Burple.

Friday, March 7, 2008

J's Farewell Socks

This weekend I will be saying goodbye to a very sweet family who are headed back to Germany. I wanted to make little J a gift to let him know how much he is loved and will be missed.


Pattern: basic toddler sock
Yarn: merino from Pigeonroof Studios
Needles: US size 1 DPN

I am using babel fish to translate this, so I have no idea if it is correct, but to Annette and her lovely family, auf wiedersehen liebe freunde, vermisse ich sie.


This was some of the flutter by sock progress. I got to the heel, tried it on, and it was too tight. The leg fit fine, but pulling it over my heel was a struggle. Is it possible to have fat heels? Quelle horreur. I ripped back and am knitting them with 1/3 rd less butterflies. Still pretty and the yarn held up well to being frogged and re knit.

All of this bungling of other languages makes me want to watch Breakfast at Tiffany's and You've Got Mail. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Epistolary

I stumbled upon this gem, published by David Hogan in 1818, under the immoderate title:
The New Universal Letter Writer or, complete Art of Polite Correspondence.

There are earlier versions, but this one has been scanned into Google books in it's entirety and has given me great pleasure over the past few days. I agree completely with Mr. Hogan's simple guidance, and would like to think I put to practise in letters and posts this ideal:

"Letters are most agreeable when most familiar. But, though lofty phrases are improper, the style should not be low and mean; but let an easy complaisance, an open sincerity, and an unaffected good nature, appear in all you say; for a fine letter does not consist in saying fine things, but in expressing ordinary ones with elegance and propriety." pg.3

Even though this text is going on 200 years old, the information is still practical. I know email and cell phones have become the means to an end in communication, but never underestimate the important human connection a well written letter, journal, or blog, offers. For those of you who do appreciate the art of correspondence, this excerpted advertisement should bring you a laugh.

"...In fact ,this book,...ought not be rejected from the Gentleman's private Library- and deserves to take precedence on the Young Lady's Toilette, of most of the novels and light reading with which it is too often cumbered." pg.8

Monday, March 3, 2008

Would you like fries with that?


I received my order from Enchanted Yarn and Fiber (which I incorrectly called Enchanted Fibers in the last post- sorry!) and yes, I am very happy with this yarn. The colors are so pretty I just want to eat it. Anyone care for a platter of Woodland Gnome or Mystic Meadow?


These colorways are for my project spectrum earth tones to cover April and May. Since I love them so, I am tossing the guidelines away and have already cast on for the Flutter-by (pdf link)socks in Mystic Meadow. The pattern was a tip from Larkin who is knitting herself a pair and I couldn't help but copy her.

Ashley even supplied dessert: blueberry cobbler hand spun.