Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Day After Thanksgiving!

Ahhh, I am stuffed with turkey, stuffing, gravy and and pumpkin pie. We had just my folks here for Tday, and they left this morning. We had a lovely day, and I actually got a bunch of stuff done! I've had a big pile of projects sitting on the ironing board, and I finally got motivated to finish. I put velcro on two hats for my daughter. One is this wild pseudo-animal print, which I don't like at all, but she picked out and loves. I then put together another hat which will probably go to a friend's daughter, it's the perfect color for her. I put together a stocking cap for DS2, in his most favoritest color: green. I made a simple hat (for some reason I call them envelope hats) for DS1, which has monsters on it. It's tricky, he's at that age where I'm starting to wonder if he's too old for cute little-guy stuff. I don't think so, but I also feel like I don't have a great handle on how big a deal it is at school, you know? Ugh, not my favorite part of parenting. Then I made a cape for DS2. We bought this fabric ages ago, and today I bought a lining for it. I confirmed for myself that I do NOT sew well with slippery polyester fabrics! It's a terrible job but he seems to like it. Mainly I'm just feeling happy that I got some things DONE! I have several pairs of socks cut out that I need to sew, and then I think I'm going to put the fleece away for a while and maybe focus on knitting.

Today I am grateful for the time to do my projects.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Here and There

So, I finished the hat. I really like this pattern. It's Lotus Hat designed by Third Base Line, and it's just gorgeous. I ended up knitting this on size 6s, using my Denise kit (which I always do for adult hats now because my KP Options doesn't have a short enough cord). The yarn is Malabrigo, so soft and wonderful. I don't have pictures that really do the hat justice, that's for sure. I knit it as written, 96 stitches, and it did fit me.

It turns out, sadly, that the question of whether it will fit the intended recipient is moot. This was sent to the mother of a good internet friend of mine, who was diagnosed with cancer, and was designed to be a chemo cap. Unfortunately, things are progressing much more rapidly than anticipated, and the wonderful woman will not be needing it for this part of the journey after all.

I don't know if it's something about 2010 or something about the fact that I'm 40, but everywhere I turn, lately, it seems someone's losing someone dear to them. Many, many friends have lost parents this year. Beloved pets have died. Deeply wanted pregnancies lost. It seems like for so many, it's been a hard year.

In the midst of all that, I'm feeling profoundly grateful. We came very close to losing my father, whose life was saved by a quadruple bypass, and now he's fine - as sassy as ever. I'm so blessed, so unbelievably blessed with my family. I had the opportunity this weekend to go celebrate the wedding of two dear friends. I went sans kids and husband, and was reminded of how much I love all of them. My daughter wiped out last week and ended up with three stitches in her forehead. Even though it took about 4 hours at the ER to get the stitches, I'm feeling lucky - *all* she needed was stitches, and we're lucky to have good healthcare. Though there are challenges with my kids, they're good ones to have.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I'm sending love to all my friends who are missing someone this season, and holding my own family near to my heart.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Not the post I thought I'd be writing.

So, I've been knitting up a storm, and *loving* it. I offered to make a hat for a friend's mother. I've been knitting along, it's a fairly easy lace pattern and I've been enjoying it so much. I've been thinking about the whole Purpose part of knitting with a purpose, and feeling like service knitting done on my own time frame is something I just love.

There's just one, teeny tiny little problem. So, the hat has a two-part lace pattern. The body of the hat is worked over 6 stitches, the decreases over 12. When I cast on, I did the math wrong in my head and cast...I'm not even sure. They recommend 96 stitches, I thought that was going to be HUGE so I cast on 96-12 which in my head came out to be somewhere around 85. Which is so isn't. It must have been an even # because my 1x1 ribbing was fine, but when I finished the first round I was 3 stitches short. I blithely worked a couple of increases in there, figuring they wouldn't be noticeable. Except I was thinking in multiples of 6, not 12, so now I'm at the decreases and there's NO way to make this work because I am 6 stitches short. I had planned to send this out overnight tomorrow....I think I can still make that deadline, but I'm just aggravated with myself. I was even feeling so complacent about how easy I was finding the lace and thinking how that showed that some of my brain power has returned post-childbirth. HA!

So, now the question. I've been told the lady in question has a larger head. Do I got down a needle size or two, cast on the 96 stitches? Yeah, I think that's what I'll do....except of course I don't have the size 6 tips.

And, I just looked at the tips I have on, and I have knit the entire hat with one 8 and one 9.

Okay, this hat needs to be frogged and redone, that's all there is too it.

But, not tonight. I don't want any negative energy near it. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where did the year go?

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner! This year is flying. Which, given the number of awful and sad things that have happened to many people I care about, is not a bad thing.

I think since Thanksgiving is coming, I'm going to dust off my gratitude journal. I think spending some time focusing on the good things is a really good practice for me.

So, in that interest - today I am really really REALLY grateful that my kitty who got out only went about 100 feet away and was interested enough in the food container to let me just grab him and bring him in. *phew* We live right next to 100 acres of woods that have coyotes and fisher cats in them. This kitty would make a nice tasty dinner for someone. I'm so glad I kept looking for him. Another trusting my gut moment - I *knew* he was out, and I knew the cat crying out there had to be him. I've not heard anything else like it around here. So, thanks, Universe, for sending my fluffy buddy back.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Loyalty and Moving On

I've said this before, I'm sure. I believe that often our great strengths are also our great weaknesses. In my case, it's loyalty. I am intensely loyal, even when it's clear that the time to be loyal has passed. I had that lesson given to me again today. Its time to let something go. I should have let go months ago, when I realized the situation wasn't right for me, but held on out of fear of hurting others. Who, it turned out, were doing the same thing.

I think the situation was part of why knitting hasn't been giving me joy. This was a knitting group, a group of women where it was very clear, I really didn't fit in. Which is fine, I don't have to fit everywhere. Given who I am, in fact, there's no way I can fit everywhere. I am who I am, these perfectly nice women are who they are, but we're really, really different, and who I am just doesn't work with them. After an honest conversation with a good friend, we both agreed no harm, no foul, and I'll step out of the group. I came home and thought about knitting. About how this group has felt like such an obligation, and by extension, my knitting has felt like an obligation, something hanging over me that I *had* to do. I don't think it's coincidence that I came home from being with my friend and immediately cast on a hat I had offered to make for a friend's mother who is going through chemo. I made the offer two days ago, but couldn't bear to get going.

As I cast on, I began to reconnect to how much I love knitting. I love the feel of the yarn, the sight of my hands holding the needles and working the stitches. I love looking at a beautiful pattern and thinking, sure, I can make that.

So, what can I take away from this? A very different lesson than I would have taken while in my 20s. Then I would have been crushed and hurt, and felt like there was something terribly wrong with *me* and I would have turned it into another excuse to be cruel to myself. Now, though, I'm taking it from the perspective of someone who has a pretty good idea of who she is. I usually like who I am, and this isn't going to change that. These women don't get me, and who I am is not comfortable for them. That's fine.

And I also am thinking about what's important to me. Sure, my friends are important to me, but I don't think most of these women are really true friends. We couldn't connect enough for it to get to that, and the one I really do connect with, our friendship is fine. As important though, is knowing that other things matter to me as well, and knitting is one of those things. Any group that sucks the joy in my craft from me is not a group that's good for me. I didn't realize just how much until today and I want my joy back.

So, to that end...I've cast on The Lotus Hat from Third Base Line. I'm using a skein of Malabrigo I had left over from another project. I don't know this woman at all, but her daughter has been one of my on-line friends for over 10 years. I cast on 88 stitches, which I am a tad concerned won't be big enough, but I need a bit more length in the hat before I can really tell. I'm excited to knit this and to give it away. I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, November 05, 2010

In which I return to the minutiae of knitting.

So I had playgroup over here today, and oddly enough, 2 3-year olds and a 2.5-year-old are easier than just 1 2.5-year-old. They played upstairs so I brought out the knitting. I thought I'd ease back into it - I'm almost done with yet another Noro scarf, so I pulled that out. This one is ostensibly for me but I'm not loving it. It's not like I really *need* another scarf, though I do want one of these striped scarves for myself....So, I don't know. I may keep it, I may gift it. I think I've come to the conclusion that I love the *idea* of Noro more than the reality of Noro. I think I'll do another one in Boku. I think I can find yarn that's more right for me.

It was really enjoyable to just sit and monitor the kids and knit. It's been a long time, several months I think, since I've really sat and knit.

I've had some thoughts swirling around in my head about women, women's work, and being a feminist, but I don't think I have anything coherent to say about it yet. Also about being a big geek and how awesome it is to be 40 because I just really don't worry that much about what the general population thinks of me, because really? THEY'RE NOT.

I think I need to spend more time communing with my stash to see if a new project leaps out at me.

Monday, November 01, 2010

And back to the Mundane...

*whew* I don't know when Halloween became a week-long celebration, and I don't love it, but we survived! It started with the town parade last weekend, then costumes at gymnastics all week, then a parade and party at school, a party at the gymnastics place (that was Out of Control), a friend's birthday party, and, of course, the Main Event, the Trick or Treating on Sunday night. Not to mention that all three kids were also baptized (this occurrence driven entirely by the boys), so my sister came down for the weekend to be Godmother, and DH's parents came for the day yesterday. CRAZY WEEKEND. It was wonderful, but I'm tired. And we've got a CRAZY month coming up! Fancy wedding next weekend (complete with overnight visiting from the grandparents for babysitting), a big fundraiser the weekend after, I'm going to New York the weekend after (ALONE) for a dear friend's wedding reception, then we're hosting Thanksgiving...DUDE. So, yeah, life is awesome but tiring.

I was wearing handknit socks today, the Felici ones, and they're getting really thin in the heel. No holes yet, but soon. They're just wearing out. Which is fine, what with the impermanence of life and all, but it made me realize that I am missing knitting. A LOT. So, one might wonder, why aren't you, in fact, knitting? I'm not sure. I have a ton of fleece and LOTS of planned projects looming over me. I think another issue is that I have too many things of needles, and I've not been knitting at all in months. I think maybe if I just started knitting something easy, that didn't require too much brain power, that might be a good re-entry. I love knitting, and I love having handknit things. I think sometimes it just takes me too long to finish stuff, whereas I can make a pair of fleece socks in about 35 minutes...

I am feeling very, very scattered these days. We've got some...not even bad stuff, just really challenging stuff with one of the kids. I'm volunteering in both boys' classrooms, I'm on the board of the PTA, I'm room mom for both boys, I'm doing a babysitting coop with two friends, I've gotten addicted to puzzles, I've got fleece in piles all over my house, and every where I turn, there's something I need or want to be doing.

Hmm. Maybe it's time to slow down a bit. Take some time just for being. As I'm writing this, I'm pondering the fact that I haven't done any yoga in a month. Perhaps the first step would be to go to bed earlier, so I can get up at 6 and resume my practice. Yeah, I think that's a good thing.