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raven alice starmore from glamourie

This is Raven by Alice Starmore from her book Glamourie.¬†This is what knitting can be in the hands of a talented designer. If I were only thinner I’d make this in a heartbeat and have fun wearing it.

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I keep meaning to write, but put it off because I haven’t taken any of the photos I want to share with you: new yarn in corriedale, one finished sock for The Skipper, and the Forever Shawl. Frankly, my life is not my own at the moment and I don’t get around to all the things I want to do in a day. Yesterday a friend looked at me and asked “Are you doing the things you need to do for yourself?” I just laughed. The answer being of course not.

To make matters worse my WordPress reader’s site has been down for weeks and I haven’t been able to keep up with all the blogs that I love. It’s miraculously back up now. But for a bit there I felt like a castaway on an island all by myself. Actually, at one point I began to question whether my need of yarn and knitting needles was indicative of some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder that I should seek therapy for. That’s how alone I felt without my favorite blogs.

Yesterday I had to take Dad to an appointment with a doctor. As I was driving to pick him up I see this lost dog roaming the road and into the woods around the area I live. I am an animal lover to the nth degree. I couldn’t just leave the dog there. Long story short, I needed to find the dog’s home and get my father to his appointment all at the same time. It was stressful. I walked the woods with the dog, knocked on the doors of homes we came to asking if he was theirs. In the meanwhile the time for taking dad is getting closer. I managed to somehow lose my footing and fall, landing on a rock on the knee I recently hurt. The pain was bad. The dog thought I was playing and came over to romp beside me. I told him he had the sensitivity of concrete, but I wasn’t going to leave him in the woods alone.

Once I managed to stand up and hobble a little I decided I would take the dog in the car, pick up my father and sit in the car with the dog until the appointment was over. Then I would go back and try to find his owners. There was one last house I hadn’t noticed as we walked. I went up to the door and knocked, and yes, thankfully they were the owners of the dog. They couldn’t imagine how he got out. I hobbled my way out of the woods, only losing my bearings one time. Dad made it to the appointed albeit 10 minutes late.

Today my mother has an appointment with a doctor. So I am going to have to cut this writing short. But I swear I am going to try and get those pictures done this week.

 

What I Am Knitting

First, it’s wonderfully cold here. 19 F / -7 C. With the wind chill it is 6 F / -14 C. I love the way it makes my bare skin sting. I am probably alone in this appreciation, but it is so much better than hot and humid. I’m sure I was a penguin in another life.

The other day The Skipper came out of his man cave to show me a pair of socks I had knit for him a few years ago. He was shy at first. Holding the pair up and looking like a six year old boy who did something really bad. At first I didn’t recognize what he was holding. Then I looked closer and realized it was socks.

“What did you do to them”, I asked. They were so misshapen and large, too large even for the Jolly Green Giant.

“They were always a bit large”, he said. To which I pulled out my laptop, booted it up, and showed him the pictures of the perfect fitting socks when they were first made and on his feet. “No they weren’t”, I said.

He looked chastened.

“I’ll have to look in the stash for some yarn,” I said, remembering all the complaints he had about the size of my stash. “Maybe Yarn Rascal and I can find something.”

It was at that moment I realized that I now thought of the stash as “ours”: mine and Yarn Rascal’s. It felt right. After all, Yarn Rascal is in the stash every night, making sure everything gets rotated.

Yarn Rascal came up with a dark, dark blue partially used skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. Of the various sock yarns I’ve tried with The Skipper, Shepherd Sock holds up the best to the beating he gives them. The Skipper’s feet are rather large. I only used about 100 yards of the skein for a hat project which roughly leaves me with 300 yards. I wonder if it will be enough to make a pair of sock for him.

So I have interrupted knitting the scarf I was so enjoying to play yarn chicken while knitting a pair of socks. If my luck goes as it usually does, I’ll get one complete sock and two-thirds of the second done then run out of yarn. The yarn was bought years ago. I think the colorway was Peacock. I don’t know if they still produce the colorway or not. If they do the chances of it matching unobtrusively are minimal. I have that feeling this is a doomed project, which makes knitting on it less than enjoyable. Additionally, I like working toe-up socks, but The Skipper’s need to be worked cuff down because he needs the heel flap and gusset for it to fit him properly. Yes, I can knit a toe-up sock with gusset and heel flap, but for some reason it doesn’t fit as well as the cuff down.

If this works I hope The Skipper will show the proper appreciating for the stash in the future. I don’t ask him to love it the way Yarn Rascal and I do, but I would like him to realize it’s importance. Especially now that so much yarn is on sale everywhere and there will be packages and packages of yarn arriving in the mail for the New Year.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

It’s been awhile. I’m having a difficult family time at the moment that will not get better just worse. It’s clear that my parents are both at the end of their lives. My responsibility is to shepherd them through to the end. I didn’t understand that part about shepherding. I was trying to make it all better, fighting against what naturally happens at the end of lives, trying to “turn back the clock” so to speak. That all came crashing down around me and I kind of crashed along with it.

Mom and Dad both fell. They are 87 and still live in their own home. They are desperately possessive about their independence. When I got the hysterical call from mom that she and dad were hurt, Skip and I both got to their house in under 10 minutes.

Head wounds bleed a lot. Head wounds of people who are on blood thinners due to previous heart attacks bleed a copious amount. When I arrived I called 911. I tried to stem the bleeding. By the time the emts and the police arrived I had gone into shock. I was still functioning but in shock.

I spent the evening in the emergency room with them. The hospital said it would admit them. Of course. At 2 am I went back to their home and proceeded to clean all the blood up and out. I washed, scrubbed, scoured, made sure there wasn’t a speck of blood anywhere. I was still in shock of course.

The next day I was told by the hospital that dad had vascular dementia. Progression unstoppable. The forgetting, and misplacing of things was not something little. It was part of a bigger disease that would take him down.

When the hospital released them I took them home. Things I hadn’t noticed about dad became more apparent. The vascular dementia was moving along. On the second day out of the hospital, dad started running a fever. Whenever he does that we have to get him to the hospital right away because it is a urinary infection. In the recent past, the infection has caused him to lose a kidney. Another night spent in the emergency room. He is still hospitalized.

Mom and dad work like a unit together. What one can’t do the other can. With dad in the hospital, mom can’t really function. She is in the middle of heart failure and all the symptoms associated with that. I have to be there for her most of the day. I run between her house and the hospital.

Yesterday I was so tired, I myself fell on the steps coming up into my own home. I thought the knee cap was broken, but it just seems to be terribly banged up. Today, I will do the same thing as I did yesterday. Take care of mom, then go the hospital and see dad.

Shepherding is not easy. It is so full of emotions I don’t want to feel: loss, fear, panic, despair. But I remind myself it is not about me. This is their time and I need to be fully present for it in a calming, soothing, positive way.

This is what I’ve been up to lately. Just trying to keep it together.

Yarn Rascal has been heavily into rearranging things in the Yarn Vault of late. He seems to be doing it by grouping like colors. I know what they say that dogs “can’t see color” but I don’t think that is true. Every dog I’ve had knew colors. The other night Yarn Rascal was into the browns and russets. I don’t have a lot of these particular colors but he managed to separate the few I have from the rest of the herd.

One particular skein he pulled out was Jill Draper’s sock yarn in Violin. It’s a lovely russet and it has a touch of cashmere in it. I used to stock up on Jill Draper sock yarn, but since she’s changed her base the colorways don’t seem as vibrant and clear. Needless to say what little I have left of Jill Draper I absolutely cherish and would only use if the pattern perfectly matched the yarn.

Well I did find a sock pattern on Ravelry that was just made to be paired with the Violin colorway. It was in the Free Pattern Testers and I almost applied to be a tester except that I have such difficulty getting 8 stitches per inch. I usually modify sock patterns that catch my eye to fit my usual gauge of 7 stitches per inch. I didn’t want to modify a test.

Last night I went on Ravelry thinking I would ask the designer to earburn me when the pattern was up for sale. No matter where I looked I couldn’t find the pattern. I thought the deadline of the test was early December, but I couldn’t find it. Naturally I don’t remember the name of the pattern but I tried all kinds of tag words that might call up the pattern. Nada. I even scoured the closed tests and came up with nothing.

I’m a wee bit disappointed because the forever shawl looks like it’s going to be complete this weekend, providing the knitting gods don’t get involved, and I wanted some small project to transition to. For now the Jill Draper stays in the yarn vault as one of those precious museum skeins.

Just when you think everything has been said or written about yarn and its relationship to a knitter or crocheter another issue pops up. This weekend I came to the conclusion that there needs to be a book of etiquette for non yarn lovers. A little tome on what not to say and how not to act in the presence of the yarn lover’s stash no matter how big the stash nor the number of rooms it appears in. For the yarnaholic, that stash represents a life time of many hours of thought and searching to acquire just the right yarn, weight, color, and composition. The stash is symbolic of possibilities, aspirations, safety and security, not to mention sanity. Every skein, cake, ball of yarn has a story behind it and a future of endless promise.

When in the presence of a yarnaholic and her stash do not glance about and say “Look at all this yarn. What are you going to do with it?” The answer is use it of course, but maybe not right away. It stands between me and the abyss of nothingness. As long as I have yarn I have hope. For if all else fails I still can knit and create. Should the apocalypse come I’m going to be the one with the socks, shawls, hats, gloves and sweaters and the ability to make more. What will you be wearing?

Another comment the non yarn lover needs to avoid is “Why don’t you sell some of this stuff. Do you know how much money you could have?” The answer is if you think the stash is pricey you haven’t been acquainted with the cost of owning and running a sheep farm with five alpacas and cashmere goats and angora rabbits. As far as selling any of it I would no more consider doing that than I would selling my dog or nephews.

Despite The Skippers attacks on the yarn stash this arrived this weekend much to the delight of Yarn Rascal and myself.

Twisted Fiber Art Yarn in Muse in the colorway called Mirage. Composition is merino wool with a hint of cashmere. I bought it with cashmere because Yarn Rascal so does love a good merino cashmere mix and he helped pick it out. What am I going to do with it? Appreciate it for awhile and then work it up into a scarf.

The Forever Shawl

Of course that is not its real name. The shawl is called Carol’s Frequency.

When I first saw the pattern I could imagine it in autumnal colors that were a touch rustic. I found the yarn to suit that vision in Schoppel Woole Zauberball Crazy. I don’t remember the name of the colorway.

The shawl is worked entirely in short rows, wave by wave. While the pattern promo says there is no wrapping, what the designer has done instead is create a one stitch float which you pick up and with the stitch it floats across you knit both through the back loop. Most of the time this closes up the holes created by short-row work. However, at least once or twice in a row of waves a large hole appears which is due to the short-row work. I have this thing about holes. I hate them existing where they shouldn’t and would knit hanging upside down from a chandelier even though I am afraid of heights if it meant getting rid of them. I had to address this hole problem.

What I did was pick up the float and then go into the small cross bar of the stitch in the row below and pull that up. Then I knit the float and the stitch, and cross bar together through the back loops. It closed up the holes nicely.

So this is what I am currently working on. I still have a bit of a way to go before I can start the bind off and while this has been a frustrating knit at time, I do really like the way it is starting to look.

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