Tuesday, January 31, 2012

There will be no complaining about work ...

I have not actually given my blog address to many of my friends. I figure most of them won't care about knitting. And some of them will just think I'm crazy.

But today, one of my friends -- the recipient of the travelling sock -- got his hands on my blog address. Since he is also my boss, it means I have to say nice things about work. Like, he is the best boss ever. I am so lucky to work for him. He brings joy everywhere he goes. (Even though he makes me cry every day.)

Actually, he is the best boss ever, and more importantly, he's a great friend. I'm blessed to have him in my life. Really.

On a knitting note, I've actually been pretty productive. We'll pretend I didn't wait more than six months since my last post. As promised, there were brighter socks in warmer weather. Scott and I went to Florida for our 10th anniversary.
We went here:
The socks are brighter:
My brother's daughter-in-law had a baby this summer -- so there was a sweater:
Starts like this, and then
Origami magic!
The whole clan went camping up north --
Next post, through the magic of fast-forwarding -- Christmas!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The sock goes to camp

Since my last post, I finally got a chance to go camping. Over Memorial Day weekend, Caroline and I went to Ft. Custer with my brother and his family.

It was cold.

And I got to spend some quality time in the shower house with about 75 new friends. We were invited there by the tornado warning on Sunday.

The sock was shocked when we got back to the camper. And grateful that socks are not required attire for wading back into your campsite.

The sock and its mate were finished during this trip, and delivered to their new owner, who has assured them that they will never, ever have to go camping again. His idea of roughing it is a three-star hotel.
During the camping trip, my dear sister-in-law Dorsey took a break from knitting to crochet a scarf. Although I've never really taken to the process of crochet, the speed factor is certainly attractive. She finished the scarf in a day-and-a-half --

and then she gave it to me!!!

As my friend, the aforementioned sock recipient, would say, "She's the bestest!"

Next post -- new sock, warmer weather.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New York, New York ...

After the last few weeks, I really needed a break.
A change of scenery ....

And familiar faces ...I spent a few days in New York, visiting my sister and my son -- both of whom work and live there.

My travelling companion was, with a nod to Stephanie, the sock. The sock is a gift in progress for a friend who had foot surgery. What better celebration of recovery than handknit socks, right?

The sock enjoyed the sleeping compartment on the train ...
And brunch at The Farm on Adderley. The chocolate brioche with butter and sea salt was amazing and the Bloody Marys were the best I've ever had.

I dragged the sock to the Poetry House in Battery Park. For a word nerd, it is like a trip to Paradise. Books, journals, tapes, CDs -- all poetry, all the time.

The sock lit a candle at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

But wisely stayed far from the flame.

It walked across the Brooklyn Bridge -- with a little help.

And it found its dream bicycle parked under the bridge.

The sock visited yarny kin at La Casita and Knitty City. There was only one purchase, some gorgeous lace-weight in shades of red. Destined for a shawl, just have no idea which one.

And while the sock rested in its knitting bag, and I walked around a chilly New York in the sweater I'd made my brother 17 years ago, Cecelia and I remembered him with tears and with laughter. We talked about how family bonds are reconfigured around a gaping hole. We celebrated having each other and having time together.

We reminded ourselves that love really can see us through.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Knitting Memories

Thank you to those who wrote or posted comments to express sympathy on the death of my brother. It is much appreciated.

This has been a week of memories, some of them related to knitting.

At my brother's funeral, his partner gave me a bag that contained almost everything my brother owned -- a stuffed toy soldier my grandmother made him when he was 2, an afghan my mother had crocheted, and this --

an Aran cardigan I knitted 17 years ago.

He loved it, wore it often at his office and took really good care of it. It was in close-to-perfect shape -- after a quick bath in Eucalan, I've worn it twice.

It moved me to realize that a man who'd lost almost everything, who'd been through bankruptcy twice, who was living a life tormented by addiction and had few possessions kept these three handmade things. It speaks to me of the power of emotion and memory that can attach to the things we create.

When I look at this sweater, I remember what was going on in my life when I knitted it -- at that time, knitting was my refuge. I would stay up half the night knitting -- everything from a stuffed jellyfish for my daughter's kindergarten "under the sea" project to a knitted snapping turtle for my son's nature studies homework. Anything to keep my hands busy and my mind off the husband passed out in the next room, and the rum bottles hidden around the house.

It sounds as if this sweater should call up a host of bad memories, but it doesn't. When I see it, or wear it, what I remember most is the pleasure the knitting gave me more than the pain I was trying to escape.

Some knitting memories are simply happy -- no angst, no hidden sorrow. A couple of weeks ago, my nephew sent me a text message with this photo -- he was cleaning out his baby things. Or as he calls it, his "box of repressed memories." This is the very first sweater I ever knitted. It was from Vogue Knitting's premiere issue and I thought it was adorable. I still do.

But I'm glad the photo is taken from far enough away that I can't see the finishing. I'd probably want to take it apart and reseam everything.

As he prepares for his wedding, it makes me smile to think a child of his may wear this some day.

Also as promised, here is Mr. Greenjeans, which went from this --

to this --

This is one of those very few patterns that I know I'll be knitting again. Next time in wool, with long sleeves instead of bracelet length -- and a full complement of buttons instead of a single.

I wonder if I'll always look at this sweater and remember that I was finishing it on the day I got the phone call my brother had taken his own life. I hope that instead I remember better times -- when we were happy and life was filled with promise.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Today, I had planned to post something about Mr. Greenjeans. It's finished, it's blocked, it's lovely.

But I don't really care. Today, I received news that my brother David died during the night. Since my mother died a couple of years ago, David has been a lost soul. He attempted to soothe his hurts with alcohol and medications. Sadly, they are the things that took his life last night.

At one point, David and I talked every day. Although he's been in his own world for a while, I will miss him every single day.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Remember this?

We are almost there --

I have about 3/4 of a sleeve left to do before Easter. Because of course, for Easter I want to wear something springy -- like the cotton/silk blend of this yarn

But when I woke up this morning --

I wondered whether I need to dig Mom's fur coat out of the back of the closet instead.

I'm trying to keep a hopeful thought:


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April is Poetry Month

And so ... a poem about spinning --

A Spinner's List
The old woman whispers -- come to me
and I will tach you to make magic,
cast the spells of Gideon and Arachne.
She folds my fingers around a stick
of warm basswood with a maple whorl
and slides wool across my palm,
shows me how to draft each curl
into a feathered fan, and feel the balm
of thick fragrant grease
and breathe the incense of lanolin.
I flick the spindle and release
the fragile fibers into thin
air, where they embrace emptiness and make it whole.
Now, she murmurs, chant the spell --
qiviut, bombyx, tussah, merino,
rambouillet, jacob huacaya, suri.
She whispers again, be slow --
the spider at her web does not hurry.