Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me...?

This shortest month is nearly gone. The older I grow, the faster the months pass; March 1 arrives on schedule each year, but it seems to have raced here from March 1 a year ago. As if there were no children in the world, time flew without stopping to acknowledge the advent of Spring, of Flag Day or the Fourth of July; without slowing at Autumn's arrival, and not even so much as a wink when it passed the big three, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day.

Time almost stands still for those tender young ones. Do you remember? When summer's days were nearly endless, when you were water-logged after a day of swimming, when you were actually ready for classes to resume? Can you recall the agony as detailed Christmas preparations led to family visits, and to feasts, and to dessert and coffee, and to more coffee for the grownups, and then to dishes being washed up in the kitchen? All the while, enticingly wrapped presents called to you, almost begged you to come and unwrap them?

Time was riding the back of a snail in those days, and you paid it no heed. That was something others did for you. When did all that change? When you were a teen, and eager to be grown? No, the pace was excruciatingly slow. When you were dating and ripe to set up housekeeping and start your family? No, there were more dates, and more broken hearts, before that right one smiled and said it was "forever." Did time speed up then? Was it when you were waiting for your first child? Those last two months were oh, so long....

Since then, there was the wait for the first home, for a promotion, or a move, that first day of school for your oldest; and the wait until they were "all in school!" They made it, finally, and earned diplomas. You got the last one through college - whew! - you were going to be free, right? Oops! One back home for a while...Then came the weddings, and time passed and there was that wait for the first seemed that it would never happen...and yet....

Did I say time seemed to be flying by? Now? I did? March is still 90 long minutes away! Time for a cup of tea, A Sudoku puzzle or two, purring and petting the kitties, a check of my e-mail, and, oh, yes...maybe the start of a brand new dream, before my birthday month, March, blows in!

Sweet dreams to you, too!


Thursday, February 15, 2007

At Another Crossroads

I have had these finished pieces waiting for me for several weeks; I am pondering about how to join them. The questions I wrestle with are these: Do I separate the four pieces and elongate the blanket by knitting panels between them? Do I enlarge it by knitting some panels at each end and then knit a border around the whole thing? Or do I just join these as they are lying on my studio floor, and place a border around them, resulting in something the size of a lap robe? It will be about 32" by 36" before the border.

And then, the question of joining arises. I have been wanting to apply what I learned about picking up stitches to the problem of joining finished pieces. Is it possible to knit a strip to go between these pieces, vertically, by picking up stitches along the first or cast-on edge and then, somehow knitting to the other two pieces on the other side?

A few from our knitting group went to The Folk Art Center Monday to see the marvelous tapestries made by a Southeastern group of 40 handweavers, Tapestry Weavers South. My, what talent! The displayed works were varied in subject matter; faces, flowers, a shell, trees and of course, the mountains were in evidence. The colors were magnificent and in a variety of yarns; some tapestries were three dimensional; abstracts were included. It was a worthwhile field trip for us. We enjoyed browsing the great crafts in other areas of the Center, too, and I found an exquisite miniature white oak basket for the dollhouse (yet to be built). Thanks, Martha! The trip was great!

What got me off track, above, was the fact that I browsed in the Folk Art Center's book section and turned a page in the Reader's Digest Knitter's Handbook by Montse Stanley. Inside I saw instructions for a technique called grafting. I wonder if it could be used in conjuction with a waste yarn technique to join the log cabin pieces above...

Hmmm...maybe I should fold up these pieces once again, and further research the ways to join them. Would you say that I am still not ready... ?

Time for Sudoku and bed! Sleep well!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Rainy Day

A rainy day is just my cup of tea! Perfect for curling up in an easy chair with a book, or a delicious bit of knitting. It makes me smile; it seems as though I have permission to forget the errands and just do as I please. These are the times I can get involved in researching a new technique; in making sample swatches, and going through UFOs - Unfinished Objects - of which there are many.

A rainy day indoors is usually filled with bits and pieces, the myriad odds and ends, the tidbits that get pushed to the back, or lost at the bottom of the pile. Their tiny voices call to me on a rainy day and I seem to be able to accomplish a great deal.

Often there are discoveries; like finding the book I was frantic about, sure it had been lost. When I saw it standing on a shelf, I realized it wasn't blue after all, but white with gold that I should have been looking for, and the bright blue was inside the dust cover. And after a few quiet moments with good instructions, I learned entrelac wasn't difficult at all! In fact, it was a lot of fun. I discovered that I should make a stashbuster lap robe; it would free me from guilt. Guilt?

Don't you have just a teensie weensie bit of guilt over some yarn still in your stash that you purchased, but have never found attractive enough to use for any project? Well, I certainly have plenty of those odd balls! The stashbuster is the way out: grab a couple of bags and go through your stash, pulling out all those small balls, those you really don't love, those you love, but have been afraid to use. Grab that hank and roll it into a ball and drop it in the bag. Keep going until you have poked through it all, and pulled out every single questionable bit of fluff, every scratchy wool you aren't fond of, and especially that beige you loved once, but cannot recall why. Toss in the gray, the fuscia, the mustard.

Now this is not what the folks say when they give instructions for a stashbuster throw, or blanket, or whatever. But I don't want rules at a time like this; I just want to get on with it! Make the thing, use up the yarn, and move on. After all, now I have spaces in my stash I didn't have before, and can go shopping again after this. So what I do is begin. Grab some fairly large circulars, a worsted or two, and cast on. Keep going, letting what emerges guide me. I did several rows of garter stitch at first and it was quite thick, heavy. So I switched to stockinette and it's working well. When one yarn had a bit of pink in it, I gradually added more pink until it was all pink; then it morphed into violet and then blue.

So as you can see, I have created a rainbow. A bright spot that elicits a smile whenever I lay it out to see my progress. I am tickled pink, and green, and yellow! Now if that doesn't take away any notion of gloom on a rainy day, I don't know what will!


Friday, February 2, 2007

Prayer Shawl Completed

We have completed the prayer shawl for our friend! I hope you think it is nice; we certainly do. The soft yarn and bright colors should be cheery and comforting. The fringe is 9 inches long on each end, so that gives you some idea of the length of this.

I have begun to learn Entrelac; what a delightful look, that woven pieces of knitting. So I am learning from Robbyn's wonderful instructions and photos on The Yarnpath (Google: All Aboard the Entrelac Express!) Entrelac is not difficult, and can be learned in an afternoon, if you are not trying to fix a sink, trying to watch a B&W movie, and herding three cats! Maybe things will quiet down this evening and allow me to finish the practice swatch.

Keep learning, gals! It will keep our old brains working!