Friday, January 20, 2012

Excuses, excuses ...

Between job interviews and baby J, I haven't had much time to knit -- let alone blog -- these days.  I'm happy to report that I've made progress on the first of these problems, though:

J is happy to nap all day -- as long as someone is holding her.  I discovered that, at least on my parents' couch, there's a sweet spot:  a way to sit so that friction keeps her in place on my chest, and my head is sufficiently elevated that I can knit comfortably.  Cuddling my baby and knitting at the same time:  is there a better way to spend a winter morning?  Oh, and I also got to watch my parents' nutso cat chase his own tail.

What's that?  You want some AKC along with cute baby pictures?  That's fair, I guess.  On the needles above, I've got the beginnings of a daybreak shawl. 

I've never made a Stephen West pattern before, and I'm excited about this one.  I love knitting shawls even though I never seem to wear them.  Recently I decided that part of the reason for this is that most of the shawls I've made are just too lacy for me.  So I hope that the awesome colorfulness of this one means I'll actually wear it.  (My contrast color -- which I get to start in only twelve more rows! -- is a fabulous deep blue-green that perfectly matches the blue-green bits in the first color).  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The story of my holidays

It's 2012, so I'm kicking off my self-imposed spinning club. In December, I was trying to finish various spinning WIPs from 2011, but I had a little stumble. A dear friend bought a batt for me at Rhinebeck for my birthday, and then as a reward for running a race on Thanksgiving, I bought myself a hot pink turkish spindle.

So, this happened.


Luckily, it was so much fun to spin that the whole batt had been spun before Christmas. I was hoping to ply it all up over holiday travel times, but instead I got really into the socks I was knitting (more on that later). Today, however, I finished plying and once I give it a wash and whack, we can call this one done.


Now I can move onto my randomly selected first fiber/spindle pairing of 2012, which is this Bosworth mini spindle in curly koa with 2oz of merino/silk/yak from Corgi Hill Farms. It's as delightful as it looks.


OK, so back to the holidays. Christmas Eve of 2011, I spent the time with my husband, my parents, and my brother. Food was eaten, stockings were unstuffed, and while we all hung out I finished these, the last on-the-go stockinette socks of 2011. Seven pairs!


On Christmas Day, things started to fall apart. On the way out the door to head to my grandparents', I get a text that my grandmother has been sent to the hospital. My husband, brother, and I visited her there, bringing our Christmas presents and spending a little time trying to cheer her and my grandfather up. At that point, the nurses thought she might just be there for a few days.

My husband and I continued our travels to his parents' house, and although it was great to be with all of his family, I was preoccupied with my grandmother's condition, to say the least. I did a lot of just sitting quietly and knitting. To me, the comfort of knitting plain stockinette socks is simply immeasurable. All of this worrying resulted in an entire sock in just a few days, which is probably some sort of record for me. These socks are in Sanguine Gryphon Bugga!, in one of their special nudibranch colorways.


You might know where this story is heading. My grandmother died on December 29, and I'm still reeling from the loss. I'm a very fortunate person to have had such a funny, generous, supportive, and generally awesome grandma for so much of my life.

So the travels continued. My husband and I met up with my brother to take us back to my mom's hometown. My grandfather, who is also a funny, generous, supportive, and generally awesome guy, was already in purging mode, wanting the family to take lots of her personal effects with us. I didn't want to be too grabby for a host of reason, perhaps mainly because I hit the mother lode years ago: my grandmother gave me her engagement and weddings rings when I got engaged. Yes, while she was still alive and married to my grandfather when she gave me those. Also, she told me if I didn't like them, I should "sell them and see what I can get." Sentimentality: not my grandmother's strong suit.


There was one thing that I saw and knew needed to come home with me (Well, two. The heart pin with BINGO on it is just too awesome for words). I don't recall her ever wearing this, but given her aforementioned lack of sentimentality, she must have liked it for some reason. It probably speaks to my obsession with fiber arts that this thought cut through all the grief I've been experiencing: this will make an amazing inlay for a spindle.


And it will. Tom Golding of the incredibly gorgeous Golding Fiber Tools is going to make it for me. Stay tuned for how it turns out.

As a final image in this rambling ramble, I wanted to share one of my favorite photos of Grandma, one that I saw for the first time just a few days ago while going through some of her old stuff. This is her on her wedding day over 65 years ago, and yes, that's my grandfather leering at her. It perfectly captures her sassiness. That last time I saw her, she was sick and frail, but the sass was all still there.