marc jacobs

This is a design by Marc Jacobs 2016. The price is probably high. The sequined skirt adds to the over-the-top feeling. Have you ever sat in a sequined dress? Sequins don’t take to being sat on. So you never sit. Wearing something sequined is like being the sparkly center piece of an overly decorated table.

But the sweater is the best example of why a knitter with a migraine should not knit. Dropped stitches? Who cares? They’re a “design element”. The neckline is what happens when a knitter doesn’t think the design all the way through. Hmmm, what to do about the neck? Maybe a little one by one ribbing….No I want something that says holiday sweater! Now where did I put that sparkly yarn? Yes, a bow round the neck in sparkly yarn and the one by one ribbing should do it. Those dropped stitches will never be noticed now.

And I worry that my designs might be too much. Fact is, I’m just a migraine headache and a bad day away from creating something like this.

I am so happy to say that Finn, The Infernal Computer, has decided to play nice with my new photo software, which means I can finally include pictures again in my posts.

Here is the picture of the finished First Point of Libra Shawl.

first point of libra shawl

It is a generous size, perfect for cozy wrapping. The Yarn I used is Miss Babbs 2-ply Yummy. The background color is Oyster. The blocks and stripes of color at the borders is also Miss Babbs 2-ply Yummy in the Gem Stone gradient.

I love the yarn and I love the pattern. How can I not love a pattern that honestly says, “Don’t bind off loosely”? By the way, the pattern is well-written, a pleasure to follow.

While I love the project, the shawl seems very metropolitan in feel to me. Perhaps it is the color combination I chose. I keep seeing this shawl being paired with a well-dressed, fashion-wise woman in knee high black leather boots with high heels and a black well-fitting coat, walking down a city street. Trust me, what I just described is not the life I live. High heel boots where I live and play are just not appropriate attire. Neither is a well-fitting cloth coat. I need a storm parka that protects me even in 65 degree below zero weather. For my European friends that negative 53 degrees.

So while I love it and I love the size of it, I am thinking of giving it away to the hospital charity that raises money to help fund cancer programs. The charity is based in the hospital where I received and continue to receive treatment for my breast cancer. Part of me thinks this shawl needs to be with a more upscale, fashionable woman. Not someone whose idea of dressing up is putting on a pair of clogs, rather than sneakers. Many well-heeled city women shop this particular charity store for its hand knit items. Yet I know I will miss it if I let it go.

I have an appointment to see my oncologist later today at this hospital. I am taking the shawl with me to see if I can part with it. How awful will it be, if I can’t?

A Little Update

I am writing this on the infernal computer, which I named Finn. Naming things is not a good sign for me. It means I am becoming attached to them. Finn is certainly not my kind of computer, so why the growing attachment I am not certain. I say turn on, it says shut down. I say open Word, it says no, no, no.

In between fighting interfacing with Finn I’ve been chasing Hank the Heron. I know Great Blues don’t migrate, but for a spell there he wasn’t showing up. I love animals, but it was nice not to see him. Then his royal featherness reappeared. After much debate with The Skipper and a lot of searching on my part, I opted for two Great Blue Heron statues that I hope will deter Hank. Deep down in my soul, the place where the little voice of reason and truth resides, I believe the bird is too smart to fall for the statutes no matter how life-like they appear. The place Where I purchased the heron statues also sells an assortment of alligator replicas in a variety of sizes and poses. Just what I want to look at, a fake alligator decorating the lawn.

Amid all this, my oncologist gave me until May to drop about 20 pounds. So I am now enrolled in work-out boot camp with my very own drill sergeant. It’s a two hour round trip drive so I can be annoyed for 75 minutes. At first I thought I will either die or get in shape, but it’s not what I eat that is putting on the weight, it’s the cancer medication. So the truth is I can die and still not be in shape. Then why do it? If I live, I need to off-set not only the medication but the negative effects of radiation on my left lung and heart. Aerobics (such a nasty word) will help delay the ongoing radiation damage. I could just weep when I think of how nicely I was slowing down as I approached 60. The doctor claims it isn’t my age slowing me down it’s the medication. I said even Olympic athletes retire.

Despite all this, knitting has occurred. The First Point of Libra Shawl is complete. Picture forth coming, Finn didn’t feel like opening the picture software today. I also completed the hat. Again, picture forth coming. I am almost done with the front of my sweater that I am knitting off the top of my head. Patterns go so much faster when I don’t need to write everything down. Just a few numbers jotted down here and there on random scraps of paper. Of course it does take time to find the pieces of paper with the jottings and time is taken to puzzle over what the hieroglyphs mean, but still it’s faster than writing it all out.

I’ve gained an new appreciation for just sitting quietly and knitting. Nothing moving but my hands and the yarn.

Just Had To Share

herons in the snow mittens

Herons in the Snow by Natalia Moreva. I could make them as an ode to Hank the Heron who has eaten every fish in my pond.

Dear Yarn Manufacturers,

You need to pay greater attention to the way you wind your skeins. I fear sadists have inserted themselves in your winding process, turning out skeins that take entire evenings or more to detangle, wrap into a ball, and ready for knitting. As a knitter, I want the process of taking the yarn from skein to ball to go as smoothly and quickly as possible so I can get on with the knitting. Lately, the smooth and quick part has been agonizing and slow due to the tangled way you wind your yarn.

I have one such skein that is in its second day of being detangled and wound into a ball at a I-think-I-am-going-mad rate. The only thing that prevents me from taking the scissors to it and cutting it up into little snippets is that it is the perfect color for the next project I want to knit. But as the second day is coming to an end, and the skein is still not a ball, I am looking at a third day of detangling. This is way too much for anyone knitter to bear.

How in heaven can you so totally screw up winding a skein unless it is intentional? Be aware that I have a list of yarns that I no longer buy because their mills couldn’t get their winding right and I am about to add yet another name.

Please get your winding skills together so at least it appears that you care about your customers and their sanity because from here on in I’ll be returning the tangled messes directly back to the manufacturer for recompense.

dacapo jacket by hanne falkenberg

dacapo jacket by hanne falkenberg

dacapo jacket hanne falkenberg

dacapo jacket hanne falkenberg

dacapo jacket hanne falkenberg

dacapo jacket hanne falkenberg

So I think I’ve found my next project, I just need to figure out how I’m going to pay for it.

The jacket comes in 14 different color combinations. I think the favorite color combo is the first picture.

The jacket can be found here. I hope the instructions are not just in Swedish, but if they are, I am highly motivated to learn the language.

By the way, last night Yarn Rascal decorated the craft room for Halloween in my mother’s chenille yarn. He’s garnered yet another Golden Paw Award.


I Am Slowing Down

I am slowing down. While it feels strange not racing around, I think a slower pace could lead to a richer experience of life and the things in it. For instance, I am on the border of the First Point of Libra Shawl and I am not racing the knitting experience. By not hurrying the knitting I am able to knit for longer periods and not have the aches and pains in my hands that I get from rushing the knit.

In slowing down I am more present for the knit. I am not obsessing about the next part of the knit or already knitting the next project in my mind. I am focused on what I am doing, which allows me to appreciate the creation of the fabric as it unwinds in front of me.

This slowing is extending into other areas of my life. I am no longer in a rush to get things over and done. The time it takes is the time it takes and I am fully present for the duration. I guess I am learning to be where my feet are instead of being somewhere else in my mind. It’s rather amazing how much less stressful things are when mind and body are in the same place, working on the same things together.

I don’t know whether this change is from the experience I had with the hives or whether I am just getting older or a combination of both those things. But I am tired of race walking through my life.

Now, I’d like to share some photos of knitwear by Thea Sanders, a Nottingham Trent student who won a coveted knitwear fashion award in Britain.

(Photo by David Baird - www.david-baird.co.uk)

(Photo by David Baird – http://www.david-baird.co.uk)

(Photo by David Baird - www.david-baird.co.uk)

(Photo by David Baird – http://www.david-baird.co.uk)

I’d love to see more color work used in hand knitwear design that are not stripes. Ms. Sanders said the inspiration for her collection came from tiles. While her collection is machine knit, more hand knit designs that explore colors and shapes could liven up the knitting scene. Of course color work in hand knits takes time. It’s a slower process. But maybe that’s just what’s needed: everyone take a breath.

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