Wednesday, July 23, 2008

There are days ...

You know, it's amazing what happens when you let $350 worth of parking tickets accumulate over, say, a six-month period.

Want to know? Ask my son.

I spent more than a fair share of today bailing his car out of police impoundment purgatory --sent there by the nine unpaid parking tickets he'd accumulated. And then, of course, there was the tenth ticket he was receiving when he called yesterday -- as the tow truck driver was hoisting his battered little VW onto the winch. What with the towing charges from the city, the towing charges from the company, the state charges, the unpaid tickets -- we were looking at a $610 bill.

And how does one finance such a bill when one is broke? National Bank of Mom, of course.

So now, the car is in a different impound lot -- ours. The fee for release? Lots and lots of hard labor -- painting, mowing, gardening, and so forth. Ad infinitum.

I did go to my "Ladies Who Knit" group this evening -- and actually got some knitting done. On socks for me -- fall will be here before we know it at the rate summer is going.

For those of you who have requested poetry, I can only post previously-published work, or I lose a lot of ability to submit it elsewhere.

So, I can give you this one --

First Supper

Burgers glistening in grease
cheap fry – no steak
Table not set for four, but three
three forks
three plates
three milks, no scotch
at table or sipped
surreptitiously at sink
We eat – our first words clumsy
mouths lumbering
We’d forgotten how
not to sit in silence
not prompting rage
We’d forgotten how
to pass salt without
waiting for head to fall to plate
In this new empty space
our bruised voices
swell to chatter, staccato laughter
raucous peace.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The good old summertime

Is clearly not a time for me to blog.

In fact, other than work, I have not even been online at all. I do check my Ravelry messages every so often, but I am finding myself spending no time in the forums.

Of course, this may be because I'm also experiencing a bit of a knitting lull. I haven't really done much with the pink pullover from More Big Girl Knits -- and I just need to finish sleeves and yoke. I've knitted a little on socks, but that's about it.

What have I been doing instead? I seem to be in a writing mood -- right now, in my world, it's all poetry, all the time. When I'm not writing it, I'm reading it. Or listening -- for our anniversary, Scott gave me a copy of Poetry Speaks. It is amazing to hear poets read their work -- especially old recordings of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Yeats, and so many others.

We went to Berea, Ky. for our anniversary in June -- the craft studios were wonderful and we bought some handwoven table linens from the students at Berea College. If you like crafts, it's worth the trip.

And for the first time in years, we went on a full week's vacation -- to Glen Lake and Sleeping Bear Dunes.
This was the view out the back door from the porch --
I kayaked -- We watched the sunset from Sleeping Bear Point -- The moon made dizzying circles in the water -- I didn't want to go home.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Where exactly has May gone?

Obviously, not to blogging. May is one of my busiest months -- we have an annual gathering of all our editors to plan the upcoming year. Getting ready for it and hosting takes more time and energy than I thought I owned. I'm also on the committee for our local historical home tour event -- so I spent last weekend dressed like this -- I got more spinning done in two days than I've done in two months. And thank God it was not too warm. If I had actually lived in the 1800s, I think I would have gone quietly mad with the clothing. The thigh-high woollen stockings, the petticoats (plural), the hoops, the separate sleeves and collars, the voluminous dresses ...

And as a side note, I love how the clothing adds about 30 pounds. Charming.

Memorial Day weekend means a trek to Alma, Michigan (Scotland, USA) for the annual watching-guys-in-kilts event otherwise known as the Highland Festival. The bands were great -- sorry I don't have sound, but hum Scotland the Brave to yourself.

And really, is there anything sexier than a man in wool knee socks?

Monday, May 05, 2008

I am the worst blogger ever ...

Yesterday, I went to ThreadBear to take a class with Susanna Hansson on Rovaniemi mittens. But did I remember my camera? Of course not. Because I am the worst blogger ever. See title above.

You'll have to make do with the photos of my project in process.

We started with worsted weight yarn as a practice piece ---
And then we moved to the fine weight Finnish yarn and smaller needles. In my case, 0000s. It's like knitting with fettucine.

This technique is fascinating. It's intarsia -- see the little skeins? Eleven little skeins. It's stranded. And it's weaving -- look at the inside.

Too cool. And Susanna is a great teacher. Particularly for those of you, like me, who are former Catholic school students. She kind of reminded me of Sister Jean Albert.

On other, larger needles -- the Mirage pullover is moving along.

Slowly, but at least it's moving.

Lastly, I leave you with a photo of one of the two most beautiful things I have ever made --

Oh, ok, and here she is with her boyfriend

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Where does the time go?

The Mirage pullover is coming along nicely -- finally. I ripped it out three times, thinking that the double sets of K2tog in the center of the mock cable panels just didn't look right. Of course, that would be because I was working of a photocopy of the pattern, instead of out of the book. (Yes, I own the book -- I did not make a pirated copy.) Once I looked in the actual book, I realized that the little / symbol on the chart was in a gray square -- purl 2 tog.

Easy peasy. I've got about 1/3 of the body done and the pattern is memorized -- for now, anyway. If I go a few days without knitting, it will disappear. It is the frustration of my existence that stuff like that will go away just when I need it -- but the phone number of my best friend from second grade? Right there, baby.

Most of my recent writing has been poetry -- hence the lack of knit blogging. Also, I've been struck by an essay in the current issue of Poets and Writers. In it, the author talks about the increase in technology creating so many distractions that we don't have time to let our minds wander and create. He suggested the value of mindless activity such as walking or looking at the ocean ---I simply don't understand how he could have overlooked knitting. Or spinning.

But I realize that once I turn on the computer, I can fritter (nod to my grandmother for that word) away huge, irreplaceable chunks of time. Mostly on Ravelry. I love Ravelry, and the stash organization and project queues are great for me. But really, how much time do I need to spend reading the threads about the indie dyer who allegedly faked her own death?

I am, in my extraverted way, mostly thinking "out loud" here -- what do you think? What distracts you, sucks away time you could be spending doing other things you'd really like to do?
Like knitting?

Friday, April 18, 2008


I give you ...


And thankful am I to finally see it.

So, being fickle and constantly lured by the siren song of new projects, I have momentarily abandoned these --

wool socks. Because on Monday, I went to Thread Bear and got this --

As promised, Rob had asked Jillian and Amy to sign a personalized copy for me, which was waiting at the counter with a chocolate cupcake/mocha buttercream frosting. The perfect lunch!

After licking my fingers clean, I went to fondle yarn. (Just kidding about the fingers, Rob. Really.) I was pretty sure I wanted to make Lisa Rowe's Mirage pullover from the book, so I actually bought the recommended yarn --

Classic Elite's Classic Silk in a pretty salmon pink. I think this may be the first time I've bought the yarn specified in the pattern. As soon as I got home, I abandoned my poor woolly sock and cast on --

The color is better than the picture, really. The yarn is a silk and cotton blend, which I'm liking a lot better than 100% cotton. I really am all about the wool.

The pattern is easy, and I'm knitting it on size 5 needles. After all the socks and lace, these things feel like broomsticks in my hands. It's probably hand-healthy to change back and forth -- preventing cramping and carpal tunnel, right? Yes -- this is my justification for having many projects on many different needles.

I'll be on the train to Chicago on Monday morning, so I'm sure I'll be back to the sock for the trip. And I get in to Union Station about two hours before my meeting --hmmm, I wonder how early Loopy Yarns opens?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

When you want a camera ...

Yesterday was our Spinner's Flock meeting. I thought about bringing the camera. And then thought -- "Oh, hey, it's just elections; I don't really need it, do I?"

So I left it home. Heck, I didn't even bring the spinning wheel -- I just knew it was going to be a busy meeting. And it was -- but we had a full slate of officers, so the election went quickly and smoothly.

Of course, when I don't bring the camera is exactly when I want it. Because yesterday, Amy Singer and Jillian Moreno showed up at our meeting. They were in the area for the worldwide launch of their new book, More Big Girl Knits today at Threadbear in Lansing. One of our guild members, Lisa Rowe (spinsterrowe on Ravelry) has a design in the new book.

I introduced them during the business meeting, but do I have pictures? Of course not -- that would involve having the camera.

But I did get my very own button from Amy Singer.

And Rob at Threadbear has promised to save me a signed copy of the book.

And maybe a cupcake.

Life is good.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I got to hold the sock!

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, was in Ann Arbor today for a 7 p.m. talk. My sister-in-law and I got to the public library a little before 3 p.m. There was one other person there -- and a couple of others had gone to get lunch.

We scored front row seats and settled in to knit. Or, in Kathy's case, crochet.

By 4, it was a little more crowded. Everyone was exchanging Ravelry names, and Lisabai had thought to bring name tags so that we could all identify our ravatars.

Brenda brought the largest knitting needles I have ever seen -- the ends were like crutch tips.

I can't help but wonder how achy my shoulders would be if I actually tried knitting with those -- but look how much she's gotten done.
And is anyone else thinking, "Wonder what airport security made of those?"

By 5:30, they were sending people upstairs to the overflow room.

Stephanie was great -- she was witty and entertaining, and has great comic timing. We all left feeling vindicated in our belief that, really, knitters will take over the world. We may be the only ones with the brain waves to do it. (Go hear her talk, read the book.)

There was a huge line to have books signed, and Stephanie was warm and gracious to all of us.
I got to hold the sock!

Afterward, we went to Busy Hands --everything in the store was 20% off; how could we resist? I managed to get away with nothing more than a skein of Lopi Grignasco silk/merino laceweight. I'm going to use it for Sivia Harding's Shetland Garden stole.

This sums it up --

Today will be a good day

So far, this week has been ... interesting.

Here's a picture of the lace stole ...

Oh, right, I had to rip it back. Again.

And here is the clapotis I started in the leftover gold silk (handpainted, beautiful) that I used to knit my sister-in-law's wedding gift evening bag.

Oh yeah. Dropped an edge stitch. In silk. Ripped it out.

Now, I am going to go rent a car, since mine is still having the tufts of deer hair pulled out of it and the smashed bits replaced. And while I am grateful that I'm uninjured, etc., etc., I am still mightily annoyed at the deer. (Since it's dead, however, the annoyance thing only carries so far)

But, TODAY! Today will be a good day. I am going to lunch with another sister-in-law. (I realize that this designation is somewhat honorary -- we were married to brothers. We divorced them. But hey, I didn't divorce her - and she is more of an aunt to my children than some of their "real" relatives)

And then, I am going to Ann Arbor to listen to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka The Yarn Harlot. I am fully prepared to knit, to laugh, and then to go to Busy Hands to party.

Hope I'll see you there.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

In the absence of real knitting content ...

So the lace is gone. Well, it’s cast on again as one row. With a lot of markers. We’ll see if that works. This pattern is not that difficult – why do I keep screwing it up? I haven’t even gotten to the point where I’d normally put in a lifeline – there haven’t been enough correct rows.

Also, I hit a deer yesterday, so there was not a lot of time for things other than trips to the body shop, dealing with the insurance, etc.

And since it seemed to be the first question and primary concern of the 911 operator, the guy at the construction site where I pulled off, the deputy and others, I will tell you now:
No, the deer did not survive.

But I’m fine, thanks for asking.

In the absence of knitting, we turn once again to poetry. Week two of National Poetry Month. This one was written to describe a time just before I filed for divorce – which at this point, is more that 10 years ago, but hey, you get the idea.

Ten Years Ago, Out My Window

When no one is looking
I go to the window
smearing the smudges
trying to see the snow.

There is one small spot clear still
bright as new wine
a tiny clean place
protected from the filth of time.

My hand can conceal it
keep it shielded and safe,
I can look when I can
a child’s peek-a-boo game.

But my hand left a blot –
the corner I saved for myself
is gone.

My tears, clich├ęd, pass
over my cheeks like diamonds
and I remember what I knew
somewhere, long ago –
diamonds cut glass.

Reach out with my left fist
diamond flinging
refracted light
fingers clenching

I scratch the pane deep and hard
digging a keyhole.
If I press it with my tongue,
I can taste the balsam cold.

Someday, the hole will grow
larger still and I will be very quiet and small
and I will go through the hole like Alice
and walk in the snow.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The more, the merrier

Yesterday, a group of knitters who had mostly only "met" on Ravelry got a chance to meet in real life. And, you know, actually touch the projects we usually only see in little computer thumbnails.

We met at the Yarn Basket -- Soulbabe and Erksnerks, Catknittian,Forevermore (she of the amazing cookies) Ruanawoman, Mrs. Abi, Erksnerks, Kyrthira, Rynna (I think, so hard to remember Ravatars vs. real faces) and a couple more -- apologies to anyone I forgot. Senior moment.

And our hostess, Betsyboo --
There was yarn, there was coffee, there were cookies (thanks, Deb!) and a lot of sharing.

As others have mentioned, it is amazing how diverse people can be so connected through the medium of some sticks and string.

I got some knitting done on the lace stole. (OK, I made yet another mistake and ripped back. Cherry chocolate chip cookies, conversation and lace do not mix. But I fixed it and moved on later in the afternoon. )

I acquired yarn --

And, um, some Opal, too. I cast on socks with said yarn --

Then I went to lunch with my favorite non-knitter --

He and I went into Ann Arbor later -- I totally forgot it was the day of the Hash Bash. When I was at U of M, it was still on April 1. Now, in an amusing sort of mimicry of the federal government, it has been moved to the first Saturday in April.

While we were at West Side Books, we were treated to the police racing by to break up a fight at Conor O'Neil's. I stopped into Busy Hands, where the owner had almost hit her "drunk quota" for the day -- three and she's ready to close the doors. Ahhh, the Hash Bash. I had forgotten how much "fun" it is.

Busy Hands is partly sponsoring Stephanie Pearl -McPhee's visit on Friday evening, and will be open until midnight. With food. And adult beverages.

Who's with me?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Let us knit lace

I've been knitting lace a lot this year; right now I'm knitting a summer stole from some salmon-colored laceweight I bought in Chicago. The pattern is compiled from Shetland lace patterns in Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting. My plan is to knit the body from the Madeira and Diamonds pattern, and the Doris edging. I'm not sure if I'm going to include borders at each end.
I think it will be lovely.

Or could be.

I've knitted about 50 rows.

Of course, they consist of the same five rows 10 times.

Perhaps next summer.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I promised (or threatened) poetry, didn't I?

I'm sure I did.

And it's poetry month, so what better time to share? If you love poetry, or would just like to try some, consider Knopf's poem-a-day, which they present every April. You get one great poem a day in your e-mail, sometimes with an audio clip of the poet reading it.

It won't hurt, I promise.

And in the spirit of April ---

Angels in the Snow

In the throat-closing cold
across the empty snow
the air is still as a chapel
and house lights scatter chunks of gold.

I search for angels in the night,
listening for the silent flight
of wings or the sound of
glorias being raised on high

trying to call to mind stories
of angels bringing comfort and peace
but remembering instead Jacob wrestling
and shepherds on their knees.

I then recall that
angels always say 'fear not'
at each meeting with mere mortals
who may regret being caught

by this presence of fire and air
these heralds of our destiny and fate
I, too late, begin to wonder
did the shepherds fall not in awe
but terror?

I turn and see the sweep and line
of moon-sculpted shadow, a flying
messenger of God's desire
this towering angel-form -- mine.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I didn't actually intend to buy anything

But hey, that never stopped me.

I taught a Fair Isle knitting class this morning at the Yarn Basket-- we were covering knitting with a color in each hand, tension, weaving in ends. For Corey and Michele, it was also a chance to learn continental style knitting -- which they did in, like, a minute. They're busily making the White Witch mitts from Knitting Daily. Of course, having spent the morning looking at the mitten pattern, seeing the pretty colors people chose, etc. -- I'm feeling the need to make a pair. So I told Beth I'd take my earnings in yarn, please. I'm going in this week to pick out some.

I didn't have time to choose any today, because Scott and I drove down to Bowling Green to the Black Swamp Spinning Guild's Market Days. They had lots of fiber --

I brought some home --

It's Polwarth, tussah silk and angora from Linden Lane Farms -- Liz Cowdery is a member of my spinning guild, so I was happy to give her the business. (You can probably assume that I mean that in both senses of the phrase)

I also picked up a couple of magazines and some information about historical re-enacting events taking place over the course of the next few months. I've done a little Civil War-era demonstrating, and I like it. Except I don't really like the battle re-enactments, so that does limit things a bit.

I'm beginning to develop an interest in the early American/Voyageur era -- feeling the need for a new costume. I'm abysmally uninterested in current fashion, but hey, let's talk bonnet styles of the 19th century, and I'm right there.