9

Whales Before My Window

As much as I deride myself for my self-proclaimed reigning status as Queen of Unfinished Objects, when I pick up an old project that has lingered too long in limbo, there is so much more to that act for me than simply returning to a forgotten piece of knitting.  Though I may initially feel the burden of finishing what I have pushed aside, in time I feel myself returning to the scent and sensation of memories buried deep within the fibers of my work.  My fingers gently tease out the strands of time and weaves them into a subtle mantle of remembrance, transporting me to another time and place.  What begins as work becomes a reminder of a sliver of time I have forgotten.  Cherry Fizz has been such a project.
 

Sunset on Bullman Bay - October 2009


 
It is October 2009 and I am about 4 months pregnant as we make our way to the coast.  We ride a ferry I’ve never been on, something not difficult to do here in the Pacific Northwest, where water travel is the norm.  We pass miles of lonely coastline, all jagged boulders and slate-grey froth beneath a sky that perpetually hints of rain.  Scattered clusters of dilapidated homes sprout from the earth like mushrooms, moldering under lush carpets of poison green moss, a gift of the damp twilight that is their birthright.  As always, I wonder what people so far from urban life do for a living.  Are they lonesome in this isolation or have they desperately sought it?  I watch them pass and I mourn for those who don’t belong here but must stay, with a sadness that overwhelms me, despite not being mine to claim.  We are driving to Bullman Bay, where my husband will be taking a three day intensive kayaking class and I will relax, walk the beach, and generally rest myself and incubate our baby.
 
When we arrive at the Bullman Beach Inn I am amused.  I don’t know what I thought I was expecting, but this isn’t quite it.  Our room will be at the far end of what looks like an outbuilding.  We have paid for the “Waterfront Full View” room, which is a song in October – only $75 per night – and we find that the view is fantastic.  Stepping through the sliding glass door into our room, we find what is really more like a furnished apartment.  There is a living room with a recliner and small love seat, which leads straight into a small kitchen with a dining table and two chairs, both rooms flanked on one side by that stunning ocean view.  Down the short hall to the left is our bedroom, complete with two twin beds, and a bathroom to our right across from the bedroom.  All this is furnished in an eclectic mix of 60’s surfer chic and 70’s basement, complete with dark wood paneling.  I’m instantly charmed and imagine the distant day when we might bring our child here and tell him or her about the time we visited before their arrival.  The only hitch is the twin beds.  We are snugglers. Yes, I’ll admit it.  But my belly has started to swell a bit and my back, hips and knees often hurt even though I’m early in my pregnancy.  So it’s really not so bad if we have our own space at night, and it’s just for a couple days anyway.
 
I get up early with R. Darling in the mornings before his class.  We have coffee or cocoa or tea and a little something to eat.  Then he prepares to battle wind, surf, frustration and exhaustion, from his kayak on the turbulent waves off the coast of Cape Flattery.  Sometimes I go back to bed after he leaves, but mostly I curl up in the recliner and read, looking up periodically to savor the panoramic view of sky and sea through my front window.  I have brought 4 books and Cherry Fizz.  I end up reading all 4 books in the 3 days of our visit and I work on Cherry Fizz half-heartedly in between.  Yet, it is this trip that I associate Cherry Fizz with the most.  For the first trimester of my pregnancy I was so exhausted and so ill all the time that I had to quit knitting.  For some reason the activity made my nausea unbearable and I resorted to spending most of my time that I wasn’t asleep, reading books.  But by October, I was feeling better and I had missed my knitting.
 
Each day I would walk the beach once or twice, buffeted by cold winds that whipped my hair into a dark froth.  I had to remind myself to look up at the sea and savor its swirling kinetic force, because my eyes were continually searching the sand.  Sea glass, pitted stones in gloriously misshapen forms, and the rare agate, made their way into my pockets, reminders that I was indeed here and it wasn’t just a dream.
 
What I remember most is the morning R. Darling and I saw a whale from the kitchen window.  The sky had pinkened from pre-dawn grey to early morning lavender.  We were eating breakfast and chatting before R.Darling had to leave for the day, watching the light change across the open ocean before our window.  R. Darling saw it first; a plume of water bursting free in the cold morning air.  He pointed when it happened again, and I squinted but couldn’t see.  The whale moved back into deeper water and I was disheartened I did not get to see it.  Later, after R. Darling had left, I scanned the sea again, hoping I might catch a glimpse of something, anything, and I was rewarded with a momentary eruption of air and water to the left of my field of vision.  I watched the whale spouting for a while and felt a connection to this gentle creature and the rhythms of nature.  I touched my stomach and thought of my baby and wondered about our future.
 
Now, Cherry Fizz is finished and whenever I look at it, I’m transported back to that long weekend at the beach.  What a wonderful gift I have given myself.  This scarf will always evoke happy memories for me and I will remember forever the whales before my window.
 

 

  • Pattern: Cherry Fizz by Kate Gilbert  (Ravelry link here; Twist Collective Spring 2009 link here; My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn:  Approximately 1.39 hanks of Dream In Color Classy in “Absolute Magenta”
  • Needles:  Size 8 bamboo straights
  • Mods:  None

 

 
I love this scarf!  It was worth the nearly 2 year wait (I started it in June of 2009, let it idle until October 2009, and then dropped it again until January 2011).  The charts were complicated and I actually really enjoyed that aspect of it.  Watching the medallion shapes grow and change was really thrilling, especially when I picked it up again after my long hiatus and really dedicated myself to finishing it.  I had a little trouble with the double increase (dinc) in the pattern and realized I was most probably doing it wrong until January when I started it again.  I think there is a video now that explains how to do it, but I figured no one will probably notice except for me and I wasn’t about to rip out all of a 2/3 completed scarf just to suit my OCD tendencies.  Blocking was a pain because I didn’t have enough pins and nowhere to lay it out (Knittymunchkin’s room used to be the blocking zone) but I made do and it doesn’t look too bad.  I think I’ll get lots of use out of this and even if I don’t, it will always remind me of a special trip and a wonderful time in my life, waiting for the arrival of Little Mister.

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10

Doula Oblongata

Chameleon Scarf In Progress


 
This past weekend we attended our intensive weekend Parenting & Childbirth class through the local technical college.  As always, I approached this kind of thing with my usual trepidation.  You know the drill: they make you introduce yourself, ask/answer questions and participate.  I hate that crap.  Just give me the info and I’ll ask my questions when/if I feel like it, thank you very much.  Please don’t force me to talk.
 
The absolute worst part was the forced hen party on the first day.  Get together Moms, and talk about how you’re feeling physically and emotionally right about now. Oh puh-lease. I let the group go ahead and figure that one out on their own because honestly, I felt almost nothing like any of the rest of them said they were feeling this far along.  I don’t throw tantrums or get angry for no reason, I don’t have any weird cravings, I don’t expect extra help, nor do I resent it when I get it and I don’t watch A Baby Story incessantly for my daily dose of pregnancy and childbirth info.  Not that there’s anything wrong with all that stuff. Everyone is different. Though I do feel tired and my joints ache, and I occasionally cry for unknown reasons (I did that before anyway, so nothing new there), not much has really changed other than my growing belly and a little bit of that nesting instinct coming on.  I feel very very normal.  Maybe this is weird and I should be worried.
 
As I looked around the group at all the bright, shiny, young, eager faces, I wondered what I was missing.  These kids – yes, I say kids, because most of them appeared in their very early to mid-twenties at most (no offense to you readers out there of this age group, just sayin’ that compared to me, you guys are young ‘uns!) – these kids looked so excited and unworried about the way their lives were about to change in just a few short weeks.  What do these kids know that I don’t?  Is it just blissful naivete?  Because, frankly, I’m pretty much scared shitless.
 
Though much of the class was spent going over things I didn’t really find entirely useful, we did learn a few really interesting and valuable things that I think made our time worth it.  For one thing, I had no idea that a large portion of your labor can be experienced at home.  You don’t really need to go to the hospital until things are pretty much imminent, but you could spend 12 hours or so chillin’ at home with occasional, and then periodic, contractions first.  Meaning I could knit a couple baby hats during the first part of my labor and  not think twice.  The other thing I really didn’t realize was that the doctor (in a hospital birth, which we’re having) is really only there for that last few minutes of action when you are finally pushing the baby out.  The rest of the time you are on your own honey.  I had heard of Doulas before but really had no clue what they did, being under the misconception that it was sort of a hippie thing I wouldn’t be interested in.  Turns out, I was incredibly wrong and I am very sure now that I want one present when I give birth.  I think R. Darling might be even more inclined to have one than I am!  We have an appointment with one on Monday, wish us luck that we like her.
 
The best part though?  We were doing some modified breathing exercises with R. Darling laying on his side in front of me, pillow between his knees, and me laying behind him, my leg on top of his legs, and Knittymunchkin kicked him in the back.  He nearly jumped out of his skin!  “Was that the baby?”, he asked.  I laughed and told him that’s what I feel all day long, only from inside too ;)
 
By the way, Bruno/Deuce has a new name, along with a sex change.  R. Darling, in all his infinite cleverness (which is really quite abundant) has renamed our vehicle Ros (pronounced Roz).  That is R-O-S: Result Of Sex.  So appropriate!

9

Humbled By A Lowly Scarf

Where The Locals Go

Your Friendly Neighborhood LYS


 

Last Saturday night I gathered my wits & my knitting needles & met my knitty pal Troy at our usual weekend meet up place, namely Starbucks and then the LYS.  We had our high-priced-yet-can’t-live-without caffeinated beverages of choice & caught up for about an hour, then headed over to the shop for the luxury yarn retreat.  The door opened with a whoosh and were at once inside the warmth of the shop where glittering piles of silk lay winking back at us from the table like stranded jewels.  We claimed our seats and then wandered around the shop waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.  There were goodies, small talk, pawing at yarn and more goodies.  This kind of atmosphere sends me into shivers of negative anticipation, though I know it’s good for me to mingle with other humans and I should really do it more often lest I become even more hermitous than I already am.  I am awful at small talk, and intolerably shy, so any kind of activity that involves having to make polite chit chat with strangers makes my stomach hurt.  But leave it to me to jinx myself.  I had told Troy during coffee that if they asked us to do that age-old first day of class thing where they make you stand up and say your name and a little something about yourself, I would probably run out the door on the spot.  But be proud of me.  When they did this (and, oh.yes.they.did.) I just flicked Troy under the table and waited my turn.  Guess making a scene and running out the door like my ass was on fire seemed far worse than choking out my name and a few words about myself, while nodding politely to everyone staring at me like I had suddenly sprouted 6 eyes and a tail.

 

The Boise Cashmere Scarf in Chocolate Urban Silk from Skacel

The Boise Cashmere Scarf in Chocolate Urban Silk from Skacel


 

With introductions out of the way, we were all told to choose 2 balls of Skacel’s Urban Silk from the sparkling pile on the table.  I was drawn to this lovely boysenberry shade, but ended up choosing chocolate brown, feeling it would fit my wardrobe much better.  The pattern we would be working on as a group was The Boise Cashmere Scarf from the book Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders, though we were knitting it in silk rather than cashmere.  So, we cast on.  I knit the first row, then I knit the second.  I tried the third and the stitch count was off.  Craps.  Frog and try again.  Repeat entire process at least 40 times all while muttering curse words unintelligibly so as not to draw attention to oneself.  Once, I said “W.T.F.” rather loudly under my breath and Troy laughed out loud.  Now, I would not say that I know everything there is to know about knitting.  In fact, I’d rather guess that I know very little about knitting really.  But I am most definitely NOT a beginner.  A scarf with only one line of instructions should not, as a rule, be something that stumps me.  Yet apparently I am not hot shit after all.  Oh and p3tog – you are not my friend.  And your friend YO, as long as she’s with you we just can’t hang.  So deal.

 

Alas, after finally (finally!) figuring out the pattern, I was cruising along rather smoothly on my scarf when lo and behold – my second knot appeared in my ball of silk.  By then, I’d about had it anyway and was quite convinced I wasn’t going to wear the scarf in real life, so I laid down the needles and took myself off to look at more yarn.  All in all, it was a lovely evening and the LYS owner as well the staff were fantastically helpful as well as welcoming, something that’s always important in a good LYS.  Though I may not make the scarf, the event was fun and I’m really glad that Troy dragged my sorry ass out for some social interaction.  Thanks Troy!  I know that crap is good for me even if it’s a tough pill to swallow at times :)

 

Goodies!

Goodies!

6

Christmas Shopping & Friday Fill-In #102

Seen through the window at The Gap this morning in my local mall

Seen through the window at The Gap this morning in my local mall

 

This morning I knocked out a bit of my Christmas shopping while R. Darling was out testing a new kayak. It’s horribly dark and rainy outside, and I have no idea what could possibly be so interesting about sitting in a little tippy boat out there getting drenched. But that’s fanaticism for ya. And I seem to remember myself, freezing my ass off in my kayak last January on a snowy river anyway, so I guess I don’t have room to talk.

Anyhoo, back to the shopping. On a day like today, it’s good to be in a place where it’s warm and things smell good, even if everyone has to walk about 3 mph slower than you want to walk and obliviously amble along in front of you blocking every possible route around them. But what’s this? Much to my wondering eyes appeared a little yarny vision in the window of The Gap. My thoughts raced back to my stash busting plans for the upcoming year. This would be the ultimate scrap scarf! So, rather surreptitiously, fearing I might be hauled off for taking photos of proprietary fashion at the mall, I snapped a quick photo. What do you think? I loves it. Now, just to figure out how to make it! Oh and what is up with Abercrombie & Fitch anyway? I didn’t even go in there but for some reason I keep catching whiffs of myself and I smell like the prepster teenagers who shop there. Mall osmosis?  Yikes – what’s next?

 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday Fill-In #102

(get yours here)

 

1. Friends, really true ones, are one in a million.

2. Good health; it’s so easy to take for granted.

3. I’m ready for a weekend without any running around to do (2010?).

4. Hillary Duff’s “With Love” is one of my favorite perfumes.

5. The oldest ornament I have is probably the ceramic Ernie I’ve had since I was about 4.

6. Take some cocoa & Bailey’s, mix it all together and you have one of the best holiday treats evah!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to decorating the Christmas tree with R. Darling, tomorrow my plans include sleeping in, and Sunday, I want to knit knit knit

 

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Happy Holidays Bloggy Peeps!!

10

Something Scarfish This Way Comes

What is it about WIP’s?  Why do I feel I must keep them secret until they are full fledged FO’s?  Maybe it’s because I am too dang lazy to take in-progress photos.  I mean, how exactly do I pose a half inch of knitting?  Would it even look different to you?  Maybe I like to feel I am cultivating an aura of mystery by keeping you guessing what I am working on (nah.).  More likely it is the feeling that if I admit that I have started something, you, thoughtful bloggy peeps that you are, will ask me how it’s going.  And all I’ll be able to say is – wha?

So I can wager that most of you didn’t know I was working on a scarf for R. Darling for our 4th anniversary (which was September 26th).  Though I have had the yarn and pattern for this scarf for freakin’ ages, and though R. Darling picked the pattern out himself, I still managed to make it a surprise by not telling him that I had decided to make this for him (finally).  I started it in August over several weekends where he was running marathons or kayaking or some such.  Then I dragged it with me to Orgeon and worked on it for the entire train trip down south (about 6 hours or so), and for an entire day inside our tent at the Nehalem Camp Ground near Manzanita, OR where we were staying during his kayak building class.  I knit.  And I knit.  And I knit some more.  And the damn thing never grew, I swear.  Next time I decide to double knit a 6 foot long scarf, restrain me.  Do whatever it takes to keep me from repeating this folly!  Just as I was getting bo-red with this tiresome thing, I realized it was only about 2 weeks until our anniversary and I had better get that fire under my ass lit or I was not going to have a gifty to give him on our big day.  Feverishly, I knit all my lunch hours away at work (when we were slow enough to get an hour), and on September 25 I finished the last few rows and resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to wrap R. Darling’s scarf up with the yarn still attached.  As crappy as that felt, it was wonderfully worth it when he opened up his gift and his eyes lit up.  Double knitting torture? For my man?  Bring it on!

 

Notice how Mr. Wonderful is completely unafraid of wearing 2 hand knits at once!

 

Pattern: Recycled Scarf by Mary-Heather Cogar from Greetings From Knit Cafe (pattern on Ravelry here)

Yarn: MC #1- Knit One Crochet Too 2nd Time Cotton in Irish Linen (approximately 1.5 skeins); MC #2 – Knit One Crochet Too 2nd Time Cotton in Glacier (approximately 1.5 skeins); CC – Knit One Crochet Too 2nd Time Cotton in Istanbul (approximately 0.5 skeins);

Needles: Size 8 addi turbos

Mods: Zip. Zero. Nada.

New Techniques: My first time double-knitting an item.

Time Lapse:  August 9, 2008 – October 13, 2008

Comments: I was really intimidated by the idea of double-knitting at first, so that’s probably why it took me so long to sit down and just start the thing already.  But after the first couple of repeats I didn’t need the instructions anymore to know where I was in the pattern.  I developed a few little mental tricks to help me figure out where I was and that helped a lot.  That being said, you really do have to pay attention to what you’re doing even if it is only stockinette.  There were a couple times where I started the first stitch slipping the color the wrong way, or knitting/purling the wrong color and as a result, there are about 3 small mistakes on the edge of the scarf.  It was only 1 stitch each time and the two main colors are close enough that it’s not overtly obvious.  I wasn’t too keen on going back and ripping my double-knitting, especially as it was taking for-freaking-ever and I was on a deadline.  So the mistakes stayed.  R. Darling knows they’re there only because I told him so, he can’t really see them :)  The other issue I had was with the stitches on the side “seams” being too loose on certain rows of the pattern.  I tried everything I could to fix this, but I was never able to figure out how.  To me, this looked terrible, but once blocked things evened out a little and it’s not so obvious anymore.  I feel this is probably the most amateur-ish looking thing I’ve ever knit, but R. Darling adores it and wears it voluntarily (no coaxing!), so that’s good enough for me.  He’s worth all the time and sweat I put into this thing!

 

Mr. Wonderful hates having his photo taken!

 

 

I love this big smile!!

9

Silence Of The Blogworthy FO’s

I think we all know I’m not anything close to perfect.  I’m quirky and more than a little bit of a dork, and I’ve got bad habits.  I drink too much coffee.  I don’t take my vitamins.  I eat too much candy, drink too much coke, and don’t exercise enough.  I spend too much money, and I hoard (but it’s too nice to use!).  I laugh too hard at my own jokes, sometimes even before the punchline gets delivered.  I say I’m sorry even when something isn’t my fault; I’m mean to myself.  At one time I pulled grey hairs the second they stood up and waved haughtily at me from the dark depths of my hair.  But this came to a screeching halt one morning when, tweezers poised above the offending pale strand, I asked R. Darling if he would still love me if I was completely grey.  “Of course,” he replied, “but I won’t love you if you’re bald.”  You never saw a pair of tweezers drop so fast in your life.

But with the arrival of Ravelry, a new bad habit has entered my rhapsody of odd behaviors: Silence of the Blogworthy FO’s.  I’ve been working on a lot of small projects lately and for some reason, all I care about is logging them into my Ravelry notebook and promptly forgetting them.  The pics are there, the details of the yarn and pattern and what I liked or didn’t like, I just can’t seem to remember to blog about them.  It seems enough that they’re recorded in Ravelry.  But why do I do this?  No idea.  It’s not like I have tons of things to blog about.  I should be blogging about FO’s more than anything.  I should be proud and want to share.  And my WIP’s have been getting the same stiff arm treatment.  So what gives?  It’s truly a mystery why I do the things I do.  Maybe it’s time to break the cycle.

 

 

Pattern: The Perfect Baby Bib (on Ravelry here)

Yarn: Approximately 50-75 yds (0.5 balls) Lily Sugar’n Cream in Swimming Pool & Lily Confectionary Colors in Marshmallow for 12 month size

Needles: Size 7 addi turbo 16″ circular, size 9 dpns, size 7 bamboo straights 

Mods: Zip. Zero. Nada.

New Techniques: Nope.

Time Lapse:  About 1-3 days each (they’re quick!)

Comments: These bibs came out pretty darn cute. The pattern was easy and I could see myself making a ton of these if I ever have a munchkin myself ;) Next time I’ll add a design to the center panel. But these are for my SIL who I don’t know very well so I didn’t want to make them too crazy in case she isn’t down with the design action.

 

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 Pattern: Grassy by Larissa Brown (on Ravelry here)
 
Yarn: Approximately 0.5 balls Cascade Sierra in Lime – #48
  
Needles: Size 6 Crystal Palace bamboo 16″ circular 

Mods: Zip. Zero. Nada.

New Techniques: Nope.  But this is totally my first cowl ever.

Time Lapse:  June 27, 2008 – June 29, 2008

Comments: I love this pattern! I wasn’t sure about knitting it in a cotton blend, but I’m really happy with how the stitch definition worked out. It’s slightly floppy but I think that’s o.k. in a cowl. The recipient lives somewhere very warm so I thought something non-wool might be a little more practical, and might come in handy during whatever kind of winter warm clime folks get.  The coolest part about this FO is that the designer asked to use my photo on her pattern page!  I get all melty when someone likes my photos!  And I actually took this one myself too, which makes it even better ;)  I think I may be hooked on cowls now…….

 

************

 

So, what about the WIP’s?

 

 

I’ve been working on this.  But like any victim of bad knitty behaviors, I haven’t touched it in over a week…..

 

So how about you?  Do you have any bad Ravelry habits?

10

It’s Beginning To Look Something Like Christmas…..

christmaspresents2007 

 

For the last 4 days I’ve done nothing but shuffle around the house with my box of kleenex and pocketful of cough drops, drinking cups of tea and exhausting my Christmas movie supply.  My boss brought some nasty bug to work last Wednesday where it got busy with the other bugs in our humid laboratory, and proceeded to launch a full on sneak attack on my normally iron-clad immune system.  So I didn’t make it to the Deception Pass Dash yesterday to cheer on Mr. CrazyPants (R. Darling), which I felt pretty bad about, but he managed to complete the grueling 5.8 mile race in high winds and miserable conditions where many others dropped out.  Hooray for Crazy!!  I’m proud of you honey :)

Saturday we had a little taste of the holidays as we woke up to a dusting of snow and a day filled with soft white flurries.  For once the snow came on a weekend when we didn’t have to drive anywhere so I could just smile and enjoy the fluffy white marshmallow world outside.  Nothing inspires the latent photographer in me more than a fresh snowfall.  So I dragged my photography assistant (R. Darling) outside with me to snap a few photos of one of my recent FO’s while the light was nice.

 

orchid fetching 3a

 

orchid fetching 1a

 

orchid fetching 2a

For knitty specifics, you can visit this previous post

 

I love how these photos turned out.  If you look closely, you can see R. Darling and me reflected in the ornament.  I guess we should have smiled for the camera! 

In typical Pacific Northwest fashion, the snow disappeared by Sunday afternoon and now we are back to the rain and wind that characterize winter here in our little corner of the world.  Between sniffles and hacking up a lung once or twice, I was able to finish the Valley Yarns’ Falling Leaves Scarf that I’ve been working on since last weekend.  That was a relief because I expected it to take me much longer to knock that one out and with it behind me now, the future of The List doesn’t seem nearly as bleak.  It’s not blocked yet, but I hope to do that soon with my nifty little Knitter’s Block.  I’ll let you know how that works out.  But for now here’s the Frosty Falling Leaves in its unblocked glory:

 

frosty falling leaves scarf 120307

 

frosty falling leaves scarf detail 120307

 

I started the Holiday 2007 IK Clutch yesterday and it’s going fairly quickly, so that’s encouraging.  I also expected this one to take me some time but I think the most complicated part will be hand sewing in the lining and zipper and that shouldn’t be too bad since I’m starting on this one early in the month.  Then a couple more Fetchings and a hat and I should be set for smooth gift giving. 

 

 BTW:  Whatever idiot made up that law of the universe that says you will have some kind of nasty skin eruption the day you are scheduled for a dentist appointment, needs a severe spanking.  I can just hear the dental hygienist behind his magnifying glasses, staring at my volcano sized pores and saying to himself, “Eeeewwww.  Gross.  Hasn’t she ever heard of Benzoyl Peroxide?”   

 

So…….how was your day?