Thursday, November 29, 2012

Once upon a time, we were children

Dear Ricky.

   Do you still go by that name, or is it Rick now?  
I remember when we were kids, you and your brother were so close, it was as if his and yours were one long name.  I think my sisters were probably that way too, although mostly what people told me was that the one was so shy, they only remembered the other, and didn't realize there were two.

Your name came up the other day, as you can imagine, and made me stop and think about way-back-when.  Made me think I have some things I want to share with you.  Keep in mind, it's been nearly 40 years since we first met, I have no idea what's been going on with you.

I remember your Mother.  She had me over one day ~ something about having a girl around for a day, instead of all those boys.  We made cookies, I think.  I had never heard of Oleo.  Your Mother was a very different person from our Mother.  I didn't really get to know her in the time I spent with her.

It was your Father I learned more about.  Probably because of all the time we listened to him, in the congregation, but the story of our father was sad, so to listen to yours was a comfort that we needed at that moment.  In person he was very kind, genuine and was heartfelt.   I can still hear his laugh.  So many others were too stiff to laugh, but he could and did.  I wonder if your laugh as an adult is anything like his.

I got you in trouble once or I got myself in trouble, I guess.  Somehow I met you and your brother at the mall, looking at 45's.  You guys had a pretty extensive collection at home, I remembered.  We didn't buy records then, unless they were at yard sales or the thrift stores.  I remember one song you guys showed me, I said I'd heard it on the radio before.  You bought it, but it apparently gave one of you nightmares.  Do you remember?  I think it was you that told me about bad dreams, but I don't recall if it was you or your brother that had them.  I don't even remember what song it was, but I always felt bad about that.  One of those recollections that always cause me regret, occasionally a sleepless night, wondering what I could have done differently.  I have a quite the selection of memories that do that, I suppose being human we all do.

What has been going on with you?  I can't even begin to guess.  I'm sure there was some gossip going around about you, I'm sure there is some about me too.  I'm not a big fan about that kind of drama, so I truly have not heard anything.  Life has not gone the way I'd hoped, but my expectations were thin at best.  

If you are where I've heard you are, I'm sure that life has not gone the way you've planned, that you've made every kind of mistake any normal human could make.   I do hope that you, in your heart, still talk to God and know he's listening, like your father taught you, that He truly is the only being you can rely on.  I hope you are standing tall, like your dad.

I also hope that someday, you and I, your siblings and mine, will find ourselves happy to be in each others presence, and make each other laugh and show our children how to be grown ups, that you and I will be close as brother and sister, too, and that in our old age we can be content in each other's company.  

That is the definition of hope, isn't it?  The idea of something seemingly unlikely, but yearned for just the same.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ribbed Hat Pattern

I've been making a few hats to donate for charity project, thought I would share my pattern. The great thing about hats is that you can try out something new on a small project PLUS when you're working in the round, you only have to worry about going the one direction!

This is for worsted weight yarn.  Most donation programs ask for acrylic yarn for easy laundering, but how great would it be to make as a quick gift of wool!

Size needles:  I'm using a circular size 6, which is too long so it has a loop at the row end.  If you can find a 16" or dpns, your preference, whichever is easiest.  I find the circular needle most convenient for a take along project, fits into my purse.  For instance, when we leave the house to do grocery shopping, I can get three rows done before we get to the store.

Stitch Markers: at least 4.

Mine takes about two ounces of yarn.  With 2 three ounce skeins of acrylic, I can get three hats, with a tiny bit leftover.

Cast on 96.  

My preferred method is a Tubular Cast on, I learned many years ago from a magazine article written by Lily Chin.  I cannot find a video that does this exactly -- this is pretty close. Creates a Knit One, Purl One rib.

For a Knit Two, Purl Two rib, I saw a suggestion (I thought was on Knitting Daily, but of course I can't find it) where you are actually cabling on the first round so that it changes from 1x1 to the 2x2.  So, in this case I always start with a knit stitch in my cast on....  Then the first working round, or the first round after casting on, goes like this:  K1, P1, either put the next stitch which should be a knit on a cable needle and work it after the next purl or leave on left needle and purl THE NEXT STITCH, then knit the first and slip the two stitches off the left needle.  Repeat these four around and you have changed the 1x1 rib you cast on to a 2x2 rib to work with.  This would be a great opportunity to learn a new stretchy cast on. 

Another thing that is very cool, is that it is very easy to see and correct if your stitches are twisted.  You'll notice I did not say, 'Cast on being careful not to twist your stitches'.  At the end of the second row, if your work has twisted, simply untwist it, no one will know.

Knit around in two by two rib for a minimum of 6 inches.  My preference is to go longer, 7 to 8 inches, because less barely covers the tips of the ears, and of course some folks like to fold the hat so a double layer covers the ears, which means knitting for 9 to 10 inches.  

Place a marker every 24 stitches.  This should be in the middle of 2 knit stitches and divides the body of the hat into four sections.

Decrease round:  Slip one, knit, PSSO (or a left-leaning decrease), work to two stitches before next marker, K2tog (right leaning decrease), repeat three more times around.  Decreasing this way leaves knit ribs primary throughout the crown at the marker.  Continue decreasing EACH ROUND until you have two stitches between markers or 8 stitches total.  Cut yarn at about 4" and with a large eye needle, thread tail through all stitches.  Weave in end, block and done.

For acrylic yarn:  I recommend washing on the gentle cycle in the washing machine and drying on low temp with a dryer sheet until mostly dry, to get the most softness and less likely to pill.   I block mine on a Styrofoam head, like you see in my pictures.

Once you've done one hat, play around a bitI've done some of the hats with cables throughout, just like how I suggested in the change row to create two by two rib knit the second stitch then the first and slip off both. Cable done!  I cable every other rib, every fourth row, then two rows later, cable the skipped ribs.  This way if the cable rows are tight, the alternate ribs keep it from being unwearable.  

UPDATE: 10/27/12
Have just completed a 1x1 rib version of this, adding note here in case there's interest (it turned out nearly reversible!)

Same cast on, 96 stitches.  Work for 7 inches in the knit 1, purl 1 rib.  Mark the four sections of 24 stitches.  (Should start with knit stitch and end with a purl, or at least mine did.)
Crown decreases:  K2tog, work to two stitches before next marker, p2tog.  Repeat for each section, around.  Repeat for each row, until you are down to 8 stitches.  Cut about 4" tail, and weave end through all stitches, weave in ends.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dori, 2012

This is a link to recent video of our rescue girl, Dori.

We have had her now for more than three years.  Change has been slow, but there has been change, and we rejoice with each incremental sign that there is a dog in there somewhere, such as this little bit of footage.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No apologies

You may have noticed I don't say 'I'm Sorry' anymore.

I have always felt that if I had to say so, it had to be from the heart.  It always has.  From my heart, I have sincerely apologized for being wrong.  When I wasn't wrong, I was apologizing for hurting you.  I have always thought that doing so was taking a pass, fixing everything, reverting all things back to the way it was.  A 'Get Out of Jail' FREE card, if you will.  Another fairy tale, another dream life, dashed and cursed as stupidity.

You have taught me otherwise.  In your eyes, my apologies are evidence of weakness and proves you were right.  Regardless, I have to be punished with your silence and unforgiveness, sullenly unforgettable.  I am thankful it does not last weeks and months, silent but for slamming doors, but it still feels terrible, like you're going to leave me.

Don't demand I speak up and then get upset if I'm shouting.  I, for one, can't tell if you couldn't hear me or weren't listening because your focus was elsewhere.

Stop picking fights with me.  Who do you think I am?  You seem to forget I'm the one that loves you, would do anything for you, only want your happiness.

Where is your happiness?  Why can you not find it?  If I am your world, like you say, live like you love it, like there's no place else to be.  As if you love me.  

I'm not playing at loving you.  I'm not 'being that way' whatever that way is.  You are breaking my heart.  When you walk away, I need to know you're coming back, because this life would be over without you.  Note: I didn't say I won't survive.  We both are very practiced in getting by in survival mode.  I'm saying I don't want to go back there.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It means something

Thirty years ago today, I got married the first time.

I really don't have anything important to say about that, beyond what I've said before, and what I do have to say I want to be thoughtful about, so let me compose that....  Unfortunately, I've been swamped and pooped out and haven't finished.  Stay tuned if you need to pay attention, otherwise, see you around?  
Edited 9/16:

I've said before, the important thing, in my opinion, that happened to me during all those years, was my daughter.  She has been the sunlight in my everyday, and I probably would not be the person I am today without her very existence.  She is my future as well, and I realize, she has great importance in the universe, so I am content to share her with others.

I have been changed since that day 30 years ago.  That probably is an understatement, I've probably been changed in many times over, but there are some things that are very obvious that I can share:

Things are not so black & white at nearly 50 from nearly 20.  I think a lot of the rules we learn when we are young do seem to be black and white, right or wrong, happy or sad, but as we get older there are a lot of shades of grey that also become blatantly apparent.  Perhaps the rules of youth are guidelines to make decisions by as a protection until we figure things out on our own later.

I hate quoting Dr. Phil on this one but I know for a fact it is a truth ~ We're not grown or adult when we are out of school or married or have driver's licenses or whatever is the drinking age.  A study Dr. Phil pointed out shows that there is a part of the brain that can see the result of decisions we make that is not developed until about the age 25.  For my part, a lot of things became apparent right about that point.  Of course there were a lot of things happening about then, the birth of my daughter, the loss of a sister-in-law close to my age to breast cancer, the loss of another in-law in a tragic accident exactly four months later...  Making a simple statement to my mother of my determination not to raise a daughter to hide from the skeletons in the family closet or to condone (making light) of those issues, and thus not having her a part of my life for a couple of long years.... 

All of those things were very hard to bear, but the toughest complication came from how I was treated by the mental health profession.  I came to realize I was in a relationship that I was unequal to, and the 'experts' determined I was clinically depressed and put me on drugs that eventually landed me in the hospital psych ward for two weeks.  Those two weeks were the longest of my life.  They were right at the time my daughter turned one-year-old, and her first steps happened right there on that nasty carpeted floor.  Each different person who wanted a piece of me there had a different definition of why I was there (ranging from Post-Partum depression, unresolved issues with the abuse received in childhood by my father and others, poverty, unemployment, etc.) and a different pill to cope with it, but it is my opinion I was sad or having a difficult time dealing with a sad situation.  Plain and simple.  No pills required for that, but a decent  friend would have been really helpful.

People are not usually what they say they are, but they are what they prove to be.  I've found out that I tend to believe everything a person tells me, but the older I get, I tend to shelve that information for corresponding proof.   With that, People cannot be depended on (including myself) and if you needed someone to depend upon absolutely, you have to look higher....

I don't have much regrets:  There are a lot of people I miss, many who have admirable traits that I wish I had.  However, the world relishing drama and reality television like it does, it seems that most would rather let the world go along that way.  We seem to expect certain people to behave a certain way, when in real life we are entirely capable of better behavior.  In that same vein, if we are of a moral or religious view, we should be emulating whatever higher being we worship.  Most people seem to have a faith but don't tend to behave that way, which is beyond sad ~ it's deplorable.  We should all be better than that.  Often makes me wonder at what age we grow out of school yard childishness.

So, I tend not to look back at those years as lost.  They're not lost, I have some very good memories.  I don't have much beyond that so I tend not to look back at all.  I don't wish to stand still, not much can be done about the past, I can only move forward with those who would move forward with me.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Comfort but no joy

This week one of my co-workers lost her son.  He was murdered.

I first heard about it on the news, not sure why but I thought 'Some poor mother's son...'  I never have that thought about any other similar item on the news.  

The next day is when we heard through the workplace gossip chain that this was the son of one of the ladies we work with.  It was our day off, so we went out to her home, gave her hugs, shared some tears, not sure what we could say at that moment that would truly be consoling ~ although my husband has lost his son, who could somewhat know what she was going through.

That night, I had several recurring dreams.  Actually it was a tv episode that replayed.  My husband enjoys watching the psychic mediums John Edwards and Lisa Williams who had a show for two seasons some years ago.  There's one episode of Lisa Williams I've seen multiple times, where a woman comes to see her who has lost her son, murdered, and has had no answers from authorities.  Lisa takes her out to where it happened and tells her it was a drug deal gone bad, and comforts her.

Isn't that kinda the point?  When people lose loved ones, aren't we as good neighbors to attempt to offer solace?  I don't personally believe in mediums, psychic or otherwise, but I understand that they are attempting to give comfort.

In this situation, every time it gets brought up, the person I'm discussing it with, thinking they too will have some comfort to give, or HELP ME COMFORT SOMEONE, they say well, (based on the location) that was a drug deal, and what can you expect, and they shrug it off. 

How does that help?!?  Really.  A mother lost her son.  No matter the situation, a child is not supposed to pass before their parent.  That is a grief beyond compare to be endured.

I have other things to say about this, but the inner Tourrete Syndrome in my head is kicking into overdrive and my ability to be nice to people-not-nice is waning...

Friday, August 10, 2012

The subject of storage auctions burns me.

Every once in a while, I find reviews of storage facilities just like this:

... lost everything I owned. Can you imagine losing pics, videos of your children being born and their life, blankets and furniture that was handed down for years, all your kids clothes, toys, movies, memories, all my clothes, dishes, jewelry, very nice stuff. I fell a little behind on payment. I think when they auctioned my unit I owed not even $300 it was like $250. Totally heartless!!!  I was trying -- it wasn't like the unit was abandoned!....

(NOTE: I edited this so as not to post personal identifying information, and also because the spelling was so bad.)

This was an actual review of a facility managed by someone I know and respect.  If they knew this was posted about their place they would probably be saddened....  But then again, this particular reviewer also stated this happened years ago, and was probably even before the person I know is the manager there was placed at that facility.

Still.  I find postings like this everywhere for storage facilities.  In light of all the television programs about self-storage units going to auction, you would think it was something that happened all the time and that it was a lot of fun.  As is terribly apparent in this reviewers post about my friend's property, there's a very sad element.

Here's the actual lowdown on how a unit falls to this fate:

1.  I haven't found anywhere in this industry where someone's storage rent isn't due on the first.  It's just like rent on an apartment.  Due every month, like clockwork.

2.  A storage facility manager that believes in customer service will try to reach you before any late fees happen, as the charges are adding up, more insistently as the auction day draws near.  

Unbelievably, though, I find people have a careless attitude toward maintaining contact with me.  Often the information I have on my tenant's expires, they move, change the cell numbers, don't check that e-mail anymore, etc. and the avenues I have for contacting them evaporate. 

Part of their attitude is to treat this as another bill.  It doesn't really apply that way, though, because most cost-of-living expenses are necessary and can legally be negotiated.  As an example:  A customer service representative for the Power Company has the ability to work with folks when they are having a hard time.  Credit and loan companies also can work with their customers.  

The luxury of being an American is the ability to acquire.  Buy more!  When you can't get around your house, put it in storage!  That works until you don't have the income to pay for a dozen garage size units and your mortgage anymore.

There are probably folks who hate me or drive past my property, throwing hexes in my direction, because they lost stuff they've stored here.  Cherished memories or collected articles from generations passed.  I can show that person that the attempt was made (literally) a thousand times to reach them by every phone number, address, e-mail, researched them on google or Facebook trying to figure out where they could have disappeared to...  

... and in the end I have to just let it go.  It breaks my heart every time that it ever got out of hand and fell through the cracks that way.  In the end, I have to hope that that person 'threw off every weight that entangles' so that they could keep running, with their head held up, not burdened by this load anymore.

~ I have a relative who doesn't speak to me anymore, since I started in this field.  The person had lost a storage unit about 20 years ago.  I do take this subject a little too personally, I know.  When it comes to losing someone you love, you just do. ~

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tragic Kingdom

The events in Aurora, Colorado, this last week have given many pause for thought.  We are all going through the stages of grief, shock, anger, questioning why and not receiving adequate answers.

I heard one young lady who survived say 'I guess God was watching out for me.' Pretty arrogant, don't you think?  Wasn't he watching out for those who were victims?  The heroes who laid down their lives, shielding their loved ones from the flying bullets....  

Kinda made me angry, to hear her.  As if she personally was protected by a higher power than anyone else there.

God was there, all right.  As he was there at neighboring Columbine a few years ago, as he was at Oklahoma City, when the Federal Building was blown up, as he was at the Twin Towers on that September 11th, as he was in Europe during World War II, during the Crusades, during every human tragedy.  He was doing the same thing we were doing at every instance, loving us his creation and mourning our losses.  

He can't interfere, as much as he would like to, because many, many generations ago, we said we didn't need him.  We can do it alone.  Like a petulant child who we try to help by tying their shoes, we trip and fall and blame him because we got hurt.  But if we didn't get hurt, we take the credit because we were the ones standing.  

So many innocent have fallen, who didn't even know of his existence, children perhaps, or those who were taught that things happen because of fate, or just the way of life.  Do you think he doesn't remember every one and the way they each were special?  Do you really think someone powerful enough to create someone as unique as you, is likely to forget you?

Some say he doesn't exist, nobody has ever seen him.  He sent someone to live among us so we would see what he was like and what did we do?  We put him to death, cruelly and by torture, we ~ his fellow humans ~ thought him unworthy because he wasn't what we wanted, he was humble and we couldn't elevate him, so we destroyed God's messenger, his envoy. 

The same way we destroy each other today.  We are also created likenesses of God.  We were created to be like him, with wisdom, power, a sense of justice and an everlasting capacity to love.  Everyday we tear each other up, financially, physically, mentally, in every way possible.  We do nothing to demonstrate we are worthy of his love.  

And yet, everyday, he lavishes us with the love we think we give ourselves, Daylight, air, water, food, time to spend on what we love, rest, beauty, variety, imagination, warmth in cool seasons, a breeze in the heat, friends who respect us, family who love us.  So much, in fact, that we recklessly squander it.

It was very sad, it is still saddening, what happened there, what's happening everywhere.  The saddest part is when someone thinks God had anything to do with it.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Do I matter or have value?

It occurs to me that the economic times, not just since 'the crash' in '08, but maybe for years or decades earlier, has taken the love factor out of the employer/employee relationship.  

It has been some time since the employee was beloved by a company.  The employee represents the face of the company and the quality of the employee is a large factor in repeat business.  How inclined are you as a customer to go back to a business where you were treated poorly?  That feeling is based on your interaction with the one person you dealt with, not with the business owner.  But, I'm thinking it has been a while since you heard of an employee who was treated as if they were one of the family.  

I think there are a lot of contributing factors.  Financial cost of business goes up, but what consumer expects to pay for product does not rise as quickly.  

Myself, I have never wanted to be a business owner.  I am able to find contentment in putting in my hours, doing my shift, and going home.  I have learned by necessity I can get by on very little, my needs I am well versed in minimizing.  I just want my family and to be creative, and I find my creativity limited if I have to focus on the paperwork.  Paperwork zaps my soul power.  I don't think my soul functions when it spends a lot of time focused on paperwork, my nightmares usually have to do with a lost note.

However, I am empathetic.  I have been someone's employee for about 35 years, never anywhere for very long.  As someone's employee, from behind the counter you do hope to put down some roots.  You hear all the pros and cons of your company and the longer you are with the company, the more you defend them, the more your heart breaks when you decide to leave, even more so when asked to leave.

So, when I mention an employee being part of the family, I am trying to depict employees who are cherished, encouraged to grow, cared for when down or mourned when lost.  I don't mean the low kind of people, who would steal from the company or expect what they hadn't earned, but the ones that showed up for work early, skipped breaks or minimized lunches, stayed late and went out of their way and invented new ways to contribute to the business.  The humane person would want to make sure that employee had what we all need for benefits ~ the assurance that when something catastrophic happens, things will work out, because steps were taken to minimize the impact and to prevent them from happening in the first place.  In this way, insuring that the face of the company always greets the public with a smile as well as a great product.

In the Self Storage industry, being an employee is a very lonely business.  You almost never see your co-workers, because you actually work miles away from each other and when you do, it's most usually in a training forum.  Personalities are never learned.  The time you spend with your supervisors is also for training and/or discipline.  The supervisors I've had have been unable emotionally to attempt to bond with me for fear that they'd have to let me go, someday, and it's hard to fire a friend.  

Another factor is communication. Not everyone has the same level of desire when it comes to offering customer service.  It's really hard getting to know your co-workers when they can't understand why you are going out of your way to offer their information to someone you are communicating with about their property.  With supervisors there is a huge amount of time is consumed 'putting out fires' but when a message isn't returned or a proposal takes months to acknowledge (regardless of acceptance or denial) alienation between employer and employee is an ever widening chasm.

When we left the last company, it was a huge effort not to do so with any bitterness.  We showed up to give our notice with an afghan I made for the new grand-baby.  She expressed a shocked disbelief.  It was heartbreaking to realize later that it was an effort wasted to attempt to tip-toe away, but really, we had been existing in a 'low state' for a long time.  Partly because we'd been led to believe this would be a family atmosphere, where we could be a contributing factor and partly because our attempts to contribute were so ignored and rebuffed.  

We are now with another Storage company and in some ways it's better, but in others it much worse by far.  We are getting answers to questions for the most part, so that's a good thing.  The company has been passed down to someone who only expects the negative outcomes, so the answer is most often 'no'.  The kinds of communication that keeps everyone on the same page is lacking, so confusion flourishes and is a massive effort to fix problems.  Gossip is also a massive problem to the extent that the men are the major spreaders of misinformation, which was a surprise to me to see.  Usually guys have better things to do!

The reason this all comes to mind is because we have a company, non-training but for social, gathering coming up.  My husband and I are having an unproductive discussion about attending as we always have.  He doesn't tolerate insincere-ness very well, and I have a problem with crowds that has triggered panic attacks in the past, so he uses these as reasons not to go.  My feeling, however, is to shelve those reasons, to go and be as friendly as I can make myself be, hoping that sitting on the edge of the crowd, smiling and waving at those I can make eye-contact with, is enough to let everyone know that we hope to be here for a while and that we sincerely are striving toward good things for everybody we meet.

Whether or not that helps anyone in the long run is hard to tell at this point.  In the here and now, is the only place it seems to matter, so we take the warmth to remember in future.  In the meantime, we all matter to someone.  It may not be at work anymore, unless it's to make a customer's day with a laugh, but as a means to an end, you matter to you, first, and to me, next.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fiber Train Festival 2012

So, I moved from Portland, Oregon, to Boise, Idaho, early last fall, did you know that?

I realize now that I must have taken the creative atmosphere for granted.  I loved going to knitting groups, especially at Wynona Studios in Oregon City, various fiber events and gatherings like Sock Summit, meeting the Seattle to Portland Yarn Train and the Spinning Guild events.  I went to a couple of Knitting Guild events, too, but they were a little stiff.... perhaps that's a story for another blogpost.

There is a great new book, Craft Activism by Joan Tapper after a wonderful chapter about Ravelry, she describes Portland:  'Portland, Oregon, may be home to more than half a million people, but to outsiders it sometimes seems as if all of them are artists. "Portland is the kind of city that fosters creativity"...'  Oh, yes, I miss that.

Boise is a whole other place, craft-wise.  Before I got here, I was scoping out Ravelry to find what events happen or where the shops were, hoping for a knit group close to me.  The posts I did find weren't very current, and some out-right outdated.  Not to worry, I would be bold and figure it out.  I hope.

Turns out, as far as knitting gatherings go, knitting together was a new concept.  There are a couple of gatherings, one that meets every other week at various restaurants around town (I went once because they had decided to meet at a place not far from my post office, so I could find it.  Haven't gone back yet, because a.) they have been meeting a places I couldn't find and b.) food seems to be as big or bigger deal than knitting, and since food is one of my least favorite topics, well.... ) and a Knitting Guild meeting.  There was a stitching group that met at a library.  That was disappointing too because they meet once a month, and I was the only knitter.  A yarn/quilt shop relocated to within 10 miles of me after I'd been here a couple of months, so, finally, I found a regular hang-out. 

As far as events, things haven't gotten too far there either.  There is a minor league baseball team here, but as of yet, the season hasn't started (don't they know it's summer?!?) and I wait and search and hope, but have not heard if there is a Stitch & Pitch. I've heard rumors that at the farmer's market, someone is selling alpaca yarn, but the details on that factoid were iffy too.

And then finally there was this:
  This event took place over the Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend, located where the usual Saturday Farmer's Market happens. The website is still up if you wish to look at how fun the event was going to be.
I have not seen my Ravelry button since the move, but they had them there for the first (number) of people who showed up so now I have two.  I guess when I find my other one, I will have a pair to make earrings out of them or maybe wear them front and back so other Ravelers will know me coming and going...      But clearly, I was under-dressed.  I did not know this was a pink tutu event.  I would have worn my purple tights, too, then me and this little girl could have been twins!

Two alpacas (I think the lady said they were a year old) and a mohair goat made star appearances.  The chocolate colored alpaca was singing in a low tenor voice.  I would have sung along, but did not know the words.
I met a lady who was displaying her hobby of turning grocery bags into other, better, bags.  I hope she can get stocked up before they are banned everywhere.  One of the gals that I see at knit-night here picked one up and loves it, lightweight and stands up for holding her current project.  I loved to see her product and told her when I was in elementary school and lived in Seattle, my mom made a rug from plastic bread bags that stayed by the back door as a great mat for wiping the mud off your shoes!
There were lots of ready-made products to see, a blacksmith was there with his fire smoking.  These yarn bowls were from the local shop that was instrumental in organizing the event.  I liked the leaf designs, and the
way the 'Y' on the YARN bowls made the natural slot for the fiber to flow through, but my favorite design was the ones at the top that also had given place for your needles to rest.

One vendor I went there to see was Knit Girl in Idaho, who I had not met before, but whose stitch markers were displayed in the first Jane Austen Knits magazine.  I picked the one that says 'An artist cannot do anything slovenly ~ Jane Austen' and she gave me a freebie marker for being there early.  It's the little sheep one on the right.  She has her product on Etsy but she is also on Facebook as Knit Girl in Idaho.  Her website/Etsy page is:

The rest of these images are of the yarn bombing done in honor of the event that we saw on the way home.

Many thanks and deep appreciation to Superman for taking me, driving me so I could knit en route and not get lost either. This was the first time he and I went together. I think he enjoyed seeing everything and he was the one who pointed out the yarn bombing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When I was a preschooler we drove across country.  We stopped to see a great-grandmother in Idaho and I remember as we left there were rolling hills of green, and nothing else, forever. 

I have often dreamed of those hills and as an adult passing through, I couldn't find them. It's made me feel as if I imagined them.  Turns out, that earlier memory did not occur on the interstate which is now the way to go, and has been for the last 40 years. 

And, thus, another mystery is solved....

Monday, January 23, 2012

About the Knit

Photo is 21st day of Sky Scarf. For those of you paying attention to that.

I've been giving a lot of thought to knitting and it's value and importance to me. I suppose it's like a lot of crafts that a person could pick up. Why didn't I crochet, or cross stitch, or (bohemian 'hippie' that I've been called) macrame? I do still have that 5 gallon bucket of beads to play with too.

I told you before that my mom was a crocheter. It has it's place, I do crochet at times. I prefer blankets that are meant for warmth to be crochet. I have serious hotpads in the kitchen ~ those are crochet. It could be that in my youth to choose my own path, to stray from my mom I deliberately opted for knitting as different from my mom's craft. I don't remember thinking that way about it. She had knitted once upon a time, there's a picture of my brother in an argyle pullover somewhere to prove it. There's an on-going discussion on Ravelry over the choice to knit or crochet.

Knitting creates a finer fabric. If you look closely at it, there are rows of UUUUUUUU to a knitted fabric. Crochet makes a denser fabric, close examination and person experience of the stitches show the thread looped around and pulled through to differentiate between each stitch, making the knitted U's more delicate by comparison. Really, knitting is only one stitch. First you learn the knit stitch. Then you learn to knit it backwards, which then becomes a purl, but if you turned your work around, you'd see the purling is really knitted from the other side. So you knit, frontways and backways, knit an purl. You can change the color, the order of the stitches, decrease a few, add a few, drop a few deliberately accidently on-purpose, thosands of stitches later you have... something.

I do remember thinking about how precise knitting is. When I was in high school, they were just starting to look at computer programming as a topic to teach. (Pay attention: this is the Star Trek: Next Generation portion of this post.) The first thing I looked at was binary code. Binary is computer language, a language of 1's and 0's. 0000111110000011111. How fun is that. But it's precise, like knitting is. If you were to look at knit and purls like 1's and 0's, they are very similar. It can be mind numbing, if you're not doing something interesting once in a while like a cable, or lacework, or changing a color.

So, after a time, the mind starts to move on while the hands are repeating the same motion again and again. My husband finds me often sitting at the computer, playing with my Nintendo DS, texting on the cell phone with double pointed needles and sock yarn in a whir of motion in my hands. He used to be amazed, now he just starts taking things away, saying I hog all the electronics (not really fair as I did leave him the remote and let him sleep) but he never takes the knitting.

But without the electronics, you can get obsessed with what your working on. Usually, I'm knitting for someone else. I don't usually keep anything I knit for myself. I believe it got to be that way because the project was TOO well known to me, I knew everything that was wrong with it and not enough about it was right to be as perfect as it was precise. Having been there through every last stitch, perhaps I was just fatigued with it by the time I cast off. When it's for someone else, every stitch becomes a wish: Wish the color is right, wish it fits them well, wish it keeps them warm, wish they became aware how beautiful they always were, wish they knew how much they were thought of with each stitch, for their happiness, their health, the joy of being thought of THAT much.

With that much thought, one can only set themselves up for disappointment in the recipient. The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee wrote a post around Christmas time about the proper way to receive a handcrafted item, even if you don't know what it is. Here is the link if you missed it: it's quite funny and applies to any gift to be received, in my opinion but if you don't want your favorite knitter hero to risk their needles on your eyeballs, it might be a good idea to remember this post:

There are some tactless people who have only ever received one handcrafted gift and wonder why it never happened again, just as there are people who go through life behaving as if they were dropped on their heads as babies and never behave without stupidity.

However, I think I've given away enough of my projects not to really be too interested in what they think at the moment they received it. After all, couldn't it be that what they received is just an example of the depth to which we are loved, and when confronted with that without notice, who CAN wax elequently enough? For example: My Dear Lord God, when I think about how wonderfully I'm made and how much thought you must have given to creating me and those things that make my life enjoyable and me happy.... Well, I'm overwhelmed and beyond speechless and thankfulness cannot be adequately expressed. After all, this isn't a gold statue at an showy awards show, this is real. So is my knitting.

When I knit and I'm beyond the point for the Health, Fit and Loved parts of the brain, I roll around to the good I'm doing in the world. For awhile, I've caused no disturbance to humanity, I've not indulged in anything that dulls what is real, I've allowed time to pass and at the end of time I've made a pair of socks to keep toes warm that are deep down in the boots, hands warm enough to wiggle a text, warmth to the electrons of the brain functioning, a shawl to wrap around and know it was really a hug for the hard days, a cape to twirl about and make the last dance never end, my favorite dogs keep walking with their heads high and tail wagging.

I think what it gives me, especially in the dark days of winter ~ is mostly a crystal clear HOPE! I can focus on something good to come if I just keep working at it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Middle of January

I have been knitting. Trying to keep my head above water, I've realized I have an excessive amount of Works In Progress (better known to Ravelers as WIP's).

# 1. Majority of my time recently has been spent on a sweater for Superman. It is made with recycled yarn from a sweater by Banana Republic. Fine Italian Merino. It chills me to think I'm knitting with something so fine, but if it hadn't been recycled and available from my favorite little shop of wonders, I wouldn't get to do this at all.

# 2. I realized I have a skein of MadelineTosh sock yarn. It was received in a package I got from a Purple Swap participated in two years ago. I think I forgot I had it because I went to Sock Summit I at about the same time and I was high on some kind of beautiful fiber overload. I started a little shawlette with it to take to a local knitters meet-up (more about that in a moment). The pattern is a knitted triangle, from the center of the long side, and should take just the one skein. I hope.# 3. The Sky Scarf, mentioned in the last post.

# 4. Sock yarn raglan of my own design, of Red Heart Heart & Sole, that I found at a dollar store not to long after we moved here.

# 5. Inspired by an article in Knitters Universe, for which I've received a free subscription after meeting Benjamin Levisay at Sock Summit II and having my picture posted on FaceBook by him in my sweater I knitted from their big K100 edition (because he's so cool he recognized it and named the pattern), YAY!, I've been making i-cord and knitting a chunky sweater. The spool of fine thread was gi-Normous and, amazingly, I'm thinking I may not get to finish what I'd planned on it, so I've come to a standstill on that.

But it's still sitting here bugging me and I'm blogging to ignore it.

#6 to infinity: Numerous other projects got packed in the move and have not yet been rediscovered.

There's a little shop that moved closer to my location (or to me!) here that I've been attending Thursday knit nights. FUZZ is located in Eagle, Idaho. It was in downtown Boise, but I still am struggling with finding my way around and from the passenger seat of the truck as Superman zooms past everything, I had yet to find it. One of the co-owners has been telling us that business is different in the new location. For instance, most of the shop visitors in the old location were morning shoppers and in the new it's become later in the afternoon. So far the knitting group is small, usually less than a half dozen.

Just this week I connected with another group that I've been following through Ravelry since before we moved under Treasure Valley Area Knitters, who are unaffiliated with any one shop. The moderator sets a specific place and each week they show up to a different spot, sometimes it's a coffee shop, a couple weeks ago it was a new Spaghetti Factory, this week's location was a Brew/Pub & Grill called Sockeye. (Funny story: a few weeks after we first got here, I noticed a sign out front that said 'Socktober' and assumed it was a knitting shop. Silly knitter self just assumes EVERYTHING is a knit shop!) Those gathered seemed to be mostly transplants to the area like myself, mostly in the medical profession, and varying skill levels of course. A sweet couple of young ladies across from me told me there are not usually any fiber or knitting related events in this area to look forward to (oh, Wail!) and that they're headed to the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival. I've not been to that event, but I'm sure it will be wonderful, so maybe I will at least hear all about it at some point.

Anyway, all of these projects are in my Ravelry profile, if you are on there. I've been keeping that fairly well updated. Blog you soon!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

January 1

All of last year kind of got away from me.

Things that happened for us where some exciting adventures in knitting, like Seattle Mariner's Stitch n Pitch, Sock Summit II, a Yarn Crawl and the first time I've participated in WWKiP day. (World Wide Knit in Public)

Lots of music events and new friends to meet... like every week!

Also, personally, there was one really big change, a move with a new job.

Some losses: We lost our little Maggie after we got to the new place. (This is one of the last pictures we took of her, on the last adventure away from the house, she's on the left.) That was so very sad for a long time, so eventually we consoled ourselves that we'd brought her home for a few weeks before she was gone and got another rescue pup, Joey.

He's kind of his daddy's boy already. They often nap in this fashion and Joey doesn't care much for being parted from him.

We do still walk as often as we can. The last few weeks have been mostly around the property we manage in the mornings and at the warmest part of the day in the late afternoon. On our days off we load the dogs into the truck and go over to a pathway next to the river. The dogs always know when we are going and get pretty excited.

I've been pretty busy knitting and think I may be connecting with a new knitting group here. New to them, too, because the store was moved and apparently if they had a group there, it didn't come with to the new location.

So, a few days ago I received a package from the home knitting group. It included a few balls and instructions to construct a Sky Scarf. (Here's the website: ) The idea is to take a moment and look out at the weather, particularly the type of sky, and knit two rows of a scarf to match.

Challenges for me: Well, two rows ~ That takes incredible restraint. Also, blue being the least favored of my personal choices for colors.

So, this means for 2012, I will be charting the skies above my new home. Looking up is a positive thing. Here is the cast on and two rows today, knit to resemble the clear blue of this morning and the cotton ball clouds with it. This does not match the sky of this afternoon, which is that first picture at the top there, when we went to walk on our pathway. Earlier was more textural anyway...

Hoping you're safe, well & warm and the next calendar year brings us all more to look up and see than last year.