Moths . . . not adored creatures like butterflies, even though they go through the same life changes and wear beautiful prints and patterns like their daytime, sunshine counterparts.
Sometimes existence feels like this. The dark side of a shiny life. There’s beauty and purpose, although it is all somehow shadowy, darker, less attractive.
And then there is the searching, the endless quest – for light. It’s not always seen by the others, the day-dwellers. Sometimes it is hidden deep within where it is seen by no one. And sometimes it is wildly displayed right out in public with a wild flapping of wings. Desperation in motion.
How can one come through this seeking for the light of life without some damage? Some ripping apart of the fabric? And how does the mending begin? Many voices give advice, sharing ways to reach the light. Can any voice know the way but the one inside the seeker?
The year 2012 was difficult, to say the least. While this year may be just as taxing, my attitude has adjusted to the tasks at hand. We are carrying on.
Today, things are going well. The sun is shining, and I spent some time napping on our deck listening to the wind in the trees. It was such a peaceful and pleasant day, a day that feeds the soul.
Of course, there was yarn involved in this day, too. I didn’t achieve much, but just moved in and out of my fiber world as the mood moved me. First, I looked at Berrocco’s pattern Dickens and thought about buying yarn for it. Lo and behold, I found just what I needed in my stash. Having a few things going that I’ve promised myself I would finish soon, I didn’t cast on — maybe I should have but it felt right that I didn’t.
After my sunny nap, I moved to the hand-painted scarf on my loom and finished a few more inches. I want to whip through it and see it in its final glory, but I am taking my time to make it as good as I can. It has been a trial, just like this past year. Warping took too much time and learning; the warp was disturbed and tangled; the first foot of warp was lost. It is going along well now, so I am doubly thankful that it survived.
Next, I moved into my stash again, searching for a yarn for my LYS’s next knit-along. I’m hoping to use half the yarn for the shawl from my stash — it seems a shame to buy more when I already have some to use. I found just the right skein for one part and will see if buying the second yarn will satisfy the requirements.
I also put together my weaving and spinning guild’s newsletter. The articles and notices went together like puzzle pieces, all fitting in nicely. I enjoy the newsletter job and it keeps me involved with the guild. Sometimes I can’t attend the meetings, but this job can still be done from home.
My fiber art endeavors are just as active as ever and I really do like to keep a record on my blog. I refer to it often. I have tried to post a few times, but it is strange to go so long and then start back up as if no time has passed and nothing has changed– but that’s what I’ll do whenever I can manage. My dear husband and I are carrying on well in spite of the shadow of his illness. There is still much hope, so we have learned to be calm and accepting as much as possible. And we carry on.
So much has changed in my life in the past few months, yet so much is just the same.
While my husband has been ill for some time, he reached a point earlier this year where there is not much more the doctors can do for him. It wasn’t one thing or another, just a progression of new problems that leave us with less hope for recovery than we had before. The most difficult thing has been adjusting to this disappointing news. Physically and emotionally, there are good days and there are bad days, but each day is a gift to be appreciated. We both hope for many days and months and even years left to enjoy. Que sera, sera.
Working through the fog, I still have been knitting and taking classes and trips related to knitting, spinning and weaving. For a time, I didn’t even feel like knitting, but some project commitments to my LYS kept me working on a few projects. Today, I’ll start with one of the classes that leads to some fun news.
A month ago, the illustrious Ann Budd came to The NorthCoast Knittery. On Friday night, we learned about sweater design. The next two days were spent knitting a small sweater, putting to practice the things from Friday and learning more in the process. The weekend also included an evening at the yarn shop with Arts Alive, a local monthly art walk through the downtown area. And the local radio station joined us live at the yarn shop as well. What a busy hub of activity! Ann marveled at the crazy that swirls around town just before our infamous Kinetic Sculpture Race, now known as the Kinetic Grand Championship. (This is the weekend of the race, but the husband and I are spending our time at home with family, friends and each other.)
It was great fun taking classes from Ann and I managed to finish my sweater just as class was ending. I plan to get a teddy bear to wear the little sweater, but in the meantime I just couldn’t resist using the model at hand. This is Huckleberry, the husband’s new puppy. Doesn’t he look dignified in the sweater? This will definitely be the only time he wears anything other than his own thick coat.
Huckleberry was born March 8th and we picked him up on April 29th. He is a brown Newfie (Newfoundland) from Teddy Bear Newfs in Newport, Oregon. His father weighs 160 pounds, so he will be a big ol’ bear. Although he is a lot of work, sometimes a bit overwhelming, he is a good distraction and motivation for the husband. It keeps him active even when he would rather not be! Of course, puppy care takes time away from my crafting, but it is temporary. He is growing up fast.
Our grandson and his friend went with us to Oregon, so we started off in Eugene for the Oregon Duck’s spring scrimmage. The boys, who are football players and big Ducks fans, had tons of fun and came away dressed head to toe in Duck’s gear. It was a sweet weekend.
I suppose that is enough for today. I will be trying to catch up with the things I’ve missed — if I can remember them! One of the best things about this blog is that it records some things I want to look up later. Another best thing is the people who I have met in writing it. I hope to get back into the habit of using it.
Just stopping in to wish my poor neglected blog a Happy New Year. I am looking forward to new crafts, new travels, and a lot of the good ol’ things, too.
There’s not much to report in the crafting area. That seems strange, but most things are not reaching the finished stages. There’s also been little time to knit lately. I did make a few hats, mostly for the chemo group, but one was for a birthday in October. It’s from the pattern Le Minou and is made in the colors of the recipients cat, Sadie. She’s a part-Siamese and I thought she’d like her Mom to look like her!
I used Paton’s Divine in Light Earth and Dark Earth. The hat runs big, but Sadie’s Mom wore it to the beach and really seemed to appreciate it.
Misti Chunky Ribs & Ruffles Scarf
A couple days ago, I finished a scarf made for “Pay-It-Forward.” I really enjoyed this pattern, Misti Chunky Ribs and Ruffles Scarf. It has a slipped stitch ridge and a little ruffle at each end. If I make another one with the ruffle, I will use a provisional cast-on so that both ruffle match. As it is, one is made with decreases and one with increases, and they aren’t the same degree of ruffly-ness.
The Misti Alpaca Chunky Landscapes Collection yarn in Pride Rock is so very soft and lovely. It was a joy to work with. I will make more scarves with this pattern, and hopefully other projects with this yarn.
I have lots of plans for crafting this year. A couple are in the works, but still in stealth mode. There are a couple unfinished projects, too, but nothing too worrisome. All-in-all, it has been a good year.
Wishing anyone who stops by a very happy and healthy new year! May it bring you many blessings.
Today is the MoonFrog blog’s sixth year birthday. It’s not as active as it used to be, but what is as the years go by? I thought I’d drop by and share some recent favorites — or just whatever tickles my fancy.Check out Google’s cool tribute to Jim Hensen. Each muppet is interactive. Be sure you press the 2nd and 5th buttons lots of times. Very entertaining! (Keep in mind that I am very easily amused.)
** For those of you who missed it — here’s a video that shows the best parts. **
On the home front, I’m really enjoying my newest plants. I bought some Red Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia sanguinea) seeds on eBay and the babies are doing great. My son and I are growing these together since he wants some, too. He planted the seeds and asked me to wait until he comes over to transplant the sprouts to bigger containers. They will grow into a tree-like bush with long trumpet flowers in a lovely red-orange.
Two weeks ago, we had our local Natural Fiber Fair, which has moved closer to my house and is bigger, too. I worked the entrance on Sunday, but on Monday I took a painted warp dyeing workshop with Linda Hartshorn. I learned some new things and came home with this lovely scarf warp. I’m hoping it will motivate me to finally warp my big loom, which intimidates me a bit.
My knitting at the moment consists of chemo caps for a special round of collections at Caps for a Cure. We are returning to the first treatment center from when the group was started. In January 2006, I set up a yahoo group to start a knit-along with Mandy, a fellow blogger who was battling cancer, and we invited our friends to join us. (Here’s my first blog post about CFC.) Since then, the 400-plus members of Caps for a Cure have donated over 3,000 hats to centers across the country.
North Coast Cancer Care is the first — and last –center that helped Mandy in her fight. Tragically, her cancer returned and she passed on August 3rd of this year. We are making hats in her honor, a young woman who made an impact on those around her. If you want to donate caps for this special round, email me or go to Caps for a Cure for the address.
One more thing that I am excited about is Banned Books Week. There’s a special YouTube channel for the Virtual ReadOut that has people reading from banned books.
One of my favorites is a selection from A Prayer for Owen Meany, a book which has been marinating in my iPod for a while and will be my listen for the week. As a former English teacher, the ReadOut of this book amuses me with its warning of not using certain words in class.
There you have it! A tribute to my blog. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
“Ten on Tuesday” is a blog-along by Carole Knits that has been around for quite a while, and I’ve decided to join in the fun.
This week the topic is headlines from the year you were born. Boy! is this one going to take us back to the dark ages – but it was a golden year, including some arches that have proven to be tarnished gold.
My favorite event of 1955 (besides my birth, of course) was when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, becoming a major symbol of the Civil Rights movement.
The Salk polio vaccine was introduced, lessening the incidents of polio. We went from the injections to the sugar cubes in the 60s.
On the entertainment front, Disneyland ® (click for video) opened in Southern California. My first trip there was when I was five years old and in our photos I look totally frightened. At thirteen it was a much pleasanter experience –with me and my sister in our matching, homemade dresses. This really shaped our view of the world, yes?
Along the same lines, The Mickey Mouse Club and Captain Kangaroo joined the TV lineups. I loved the Captain, although I find that a bit creepy nowadays. Frank Zappa even wrote a song (instrumental only) called Mr. Green Genes and shares his feelings about this show when introducing it. And we all know about Knitty’s lovely pattern for Mr. Greenjeans, right? It’s on my long list of things to knit.
Scrabble™ was introduced, which is fortunate for me as I’m using the game on my iPod to ward off dementia. I play it while waiting and before I go to sleep. Oh, and the computer player cheats, just saying. *
A few unfortunate headlines also happened in 1955.
McDonald’s ninth restaurant was opened by the man who would take it viral. How about Mickey D’s oatmeal?
Microwave ovens were introduced, although not used by households until a smaller version was available in the mid-60s. I don’t know if this is unfortunate or not, the jury is still out.
Polyester cloth was introduced, which I believe is unfortunate, along with a lot of other plastics that have become all too common.
Albert Einstein died. The pathologist at the hospital removed and preserved his brain for study, with some interesting studies being done on it.
I also want to share a project that was finished a couple Tuesdays ago.
It’s the Storm Cloud Shawlette in Alchemy Haiku. I started this pattern a couple months ago (during World Wide Knit in Public Day) with a lovely Indigo Moon sock yarn that eventually became this scarf. The yarn was just too busy and I really had my heart set on a fuzzy lace mohair scarf like the blue one in the pattern pictures.
I was waiting until I found the right yarn, and then it hit me. The Haiku (which was a recently acquired yarn pet) would work well. And the scarf would put this lovely yarn in just the right place for petting and cuddling. So I cast on and didn’t look back. Actually, I didn’t look at much of anything while I knit this. The fuzzy lace-weight took all my concentration in order not to drop stitches (lots of yarn overs!) because this mohair doesn’t frog. I’m so happy with this little scarf that I’m going to make another one. Actually, maybe I’ll sign off right now and cast on!
* (You can play Scrabble on Pogo.com without an iPod.)
I can feel it. Right around the corner. Knitting season, that is. The days are shorter. School is in session. Sip-n-Knit was packed again. It’s the time of year we start turning to indoor pursuits. I’m sure there will be some lovely warm, sunny fall days. (There will be, right? ‘Specially since we have had so much fog around here. Mother Nature owes us some sunshine!) There is no denying that summer is fading fast. So, I return to my neglected blog to share what I’ve been doing in this last month of summer.
Funny as it seems, I’ve been making scarves a lot this summer. I rarely make scarves, although this is not so true nowadays. My LYS has a design contest going, so I’ve been working on a scarf for that. So far I’ve done one whole scarf and two half scarves. Same pattern, over and over. It takes longer to knit something that must be put down to save the brain from becoming bored. I’ll share more of this project after the contest is complete.
Two colors alternated for weft.
Another scarf served as a warping demo at the Farmer’s Market. It was fun to string out the direct warp in the sunshine with all the shoppers buying veggies and my guild friends spinning and weaving with me. The sun even came out after a while. I used some Indigo Moon merino fingering for the warp and alternated what was left of that skein with some Great Northern Yarn (40% yak 10% mink 35% baby merino 15% soybean) in burgundy and black.
Soft, drapey, wonky scarf. Of course, I placed the wonkiest part center-front for your viewing pleasure!
My goal was to make a drapey, soft scarf and that is indeed what I got. It will feel really lovely around my neck. Unfortunately, I forgot some of my weaving lessons and left out the paper between the layers of the finished cloth. The threads rubbed together and spread apart in wild ways, making my lines wonky. This was repaired to some extent during blocking, but not fully. I bet I’ll never forget that again! The Indigo Moon also pooled more than I expected, especially since I was alternating it with the Great Northern Yarn. A little pooling never hurt anyone, right? I do like the scarf, in spite of its faults, and it will stay with me rather than being given to its intended recipient.
There have been other events over the summer, but the latest was the Humboldt County Fair. Our guild members had the usual fun of the spinning competition, the sheep to shawl (or fleece to fabric), and demos in our guild room. I managed to spin quite a bit in the few days I was there. I added a bobbin to my two teal bobbins, which is destined to be a three-ply, so I’m ready to start plying. I’ll probably spin up the rest of the singles just to be sure I have enough to go with the three-ply. And I started on some very colorful merino, trying to spin it a bit heavier than my recent yarns. The colors are very entertaining.
I’ve also signed up for Dish Rag Tag again. I really love this race, but haven’t been able to fit it into my schedule for a few years. I’ll be knitting up a dish cloth like it’s do-or-die one day in the next few weeks. That will put some intensity in my crafting for sure.
Are you feeling the urge to knit more, stay inside lately? Or are you squeezing the last bit out of the summer?
My latest “can’t put it down” project is done! After wanting to dabble in my old favorite — crochet — for quite a while but not finding the right pattern, I finally found something that captured my attention.
This came after a bit of a dry spell with knitting — almost four weeks of minimal progress. I knit half a shawl in that time, but ripped it out, so really that’s zero progress. I was tossing around trying to find an easy project to take to our annual stint at the Kate Wolf Festival and found this lovely pattern.
There were other projects before and after this that needed my attention, but the siren call was strong, so this one is the first completed. The last project to inspire me like this one was completed a few days after my last post, but didn’t make it to the blog yet.
My Insouciant Socks were accomplished in less than a week — that’s a record! I can’t wait to make another pair. They don’t have the usual stumbling blocks (gussets and picking up stitches) that keep socks on my needles for months.
Speaking of needles . . . I attended The Northcoast Knittery‘s World Wide Knit in Public celebration and won a set of Lantern Moon rosewood straight needles, complete with needle case. How cool is that!?
For my birthday, I got the LM circular set at a tremendous discount. Our LYS really knows how to help a body celebrate! I love the feel of rosewood and am using these needles whenever I can. Right now, I’m writing up a pattern for a striped scarf that will be entered in a contest at “The Knittery” as we affectionately call it. I’m enjoying that scarf, too and will share it in another post. With any luck that will be sooner than two months!
Several months ago I made a promise to myself that I would make an effort to be more sociable in my local surroundings, rather than through the interwebz. I enjoy both, but can be a bit of a hermit sometimes if I don’t watch myself. I’ve been trying to attend knit night more often and have been enjoying it. Of course, that means less time on the blog and Ravelry. I’m trying to reach just the right balance of real world and cyberspace connections. It’s a fine goal, and I’m sure I’ll reach equilibrium one of these days.
This has been quite a month for doing fun things, which is fitting since it will end with my birthday. Who said you can’t celebrate all month long?! This weekend’s fun was two classes with Cat Bordhi put on by the Northcoast Knittery. Anyone who has taken a class with Cat before knows that she is curious and enthusiastic about her knitting and about life.
A really interesting thing she taught us about designing is that if you mirror an image, it will make it pleasing to the eye. She did one design that turned into a bird when mirrored, which delighted her.
This was during the Insouciant Sock class on Saturday, which was the main class I signed up to take. I had already taken the New Pathways Sock class three years ago, so was looking forward to this one, thinking it would build on the first one. This way of making socks is nothing like the other one! I love this method. It suits me.
Completed foot and second toe.
We started our socks in class and I finished the foot of mine that night. I just couldn’t put it down for long. Now I’m working on the second foot so I can do the cuffs together. This amazing, care-free construction involves knitting a closed foot, then opening a spot like you do with an afterthought heel, only this spot is for the leg. The leg!!
I’ve actually opened the hole on the first sock — it wasn’t too painful opening that hole — and knit a few rows on the cuff. Then I popped them on the stitch holders and got busy on the next toe. The fit is great with the help of a cardboard foot tracing that serves as a map of the knitting. No pattern is necessary for the basic construction; it is all recorded on the cardboard footprint. These will have my usual 2×2 ribbed cuff, nothing fancy. I’m actually thinking my next pair of these will incorporate the Swedish Fish sock design, which has been waiting patiently in my pattern stash. It think my sock-drought has ended!
Cat wearing Hermione's Rings Cowl.
My schedule opened up and I was able to add on Cat’s Moebius class for Sunday. It was fun and easy learning the moebius cast-on in class. Once I got that under my belt, I started making Harmione’s Rings Cowl. Cat was wearing one on Thursday, when she attended our Sip-n-Knit. (Did I forget to mention that she joined our knit night group? She really does dive right in!) I asked her about the cowl she was wearing and was very happy that it was an option for the moebius class. Mine is a practice version only, so I will start it in another yarn when I have time.
We talked more about mirror images in designs and more about the moebius than I thought was possible. The creative muses could be felt in the room as knitters’ brains worked overtime thinking of designs and possibilities. Each class was seven hours long, with a mandatory hour time-out for lunch, so there were also some very tired knitters when the weekend was over.
Harry Wells with Cat Bordhi.
Thanks go out to the shop owner, Laura, who is working hard to bring top-name knitters to our small town area. (The picture of her and Cat sadly did not turn out.) More thanks to Jo, who works in the shop and did not get to attend so that the shop could stay open. And special thanks to Harry, the shop manager, who works very hard to keep all his knitters happily knitting along.
Now I’m going back to knitting my socks. No matter that I have a sweater and gloves on the needles and designs to create for the shop contest. Today it is all about the socks!
Four years ago, I managed to root an avocado pit. Here it is where it lives now, in a big picture window. Along the way it got topped and made side branches. It makes a pretty nice curtain.
Although I’ve tried several times, the little avocado at the bottom right of the photo is the first pit I’ve managed to sprout since the big one. It also has an odd shape since the main sprout died, waiting to be planted, and it shot up five others to take its place. I hope that will make it a nice bush. I don’t know how long either of them will last, but they are my favorite house plants. There’s something about the challenge that makes them fun to grow.
With the sunny weather lately, knitting has taken a back seat, but I did take a class in mosaic knitting at Northcoast Knittery a couple months ago. Harry Wells took us through the how-to of using slipped stitches to form designs in our projects. Mine is a simple hat, called the Camden Hat, that I finished within a few days of the class.
I like the mosaic technique, which is simple, but requires a bit of attention. Learning new things really keeps knitting interesting to me. There’s plenty of variety and with each new technique I can try more complex patterns.
My other finished project is a return to a previous pattern. In early February I started a helmet liner for a young motorcycle-riding friend. I worked on it off and on at Sip-n-Knit until it was finished at the end of March.
It’s made with Berrocco Jasper, which I used for a previous hat that never made it to the light of day. It’s single ply and very soft and lofty. My friend loved it, so I’m happy.
And with these projects complete, I needed another small one for social knitting.
Cigar Gove Redux
The husband was happy to supply the need. He requested some fingerless gloves since his diabetes makes his hands cold often. So I resurrected a project that I started way back in 2005 when I first started knitting. At that time, I made a trial glove. It’s about time I started on a real pair! I’m using Jasper for these, too. Different color. I’ve made it to the end of the gusset, a bit farther than the picture shows. Since these are reversible, there’s no left and right changes to worry about. The hardest part will be those pesky half-fingers. I hope to work on these this weekend at the Conference of Northern California Handweavers, although I’m not really sure there will be time. However it goes, I’m looking forward to three glorious, fiber-filled days.