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.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wonderful weekend

There was a meeting of the Spinner's Flock --

I hadn't been there in a long time. I mean, a reaaallly long time. I was warmly welcomed -- and I got to show off my Irish Diamonds shawl during show and tell. The group is growing --we're at member number 800 and something.

And yesterday, it was 82 degrees. It was short-lived, but gave me hope that yes, indeed, somewhere out there is spring.

I'll know it's
really spring when there is a sighting of these --

fleece fair 031 by spinknitty

But best of all, I had both of these in my house this weekend --

Doesn't get better than that.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Not my grandmother's knitting

My grandmother didn't knit. But she did sew. If there was a scrap of fabric lying around, Grandma made into something beautiful or useful, or both. My Skipper doll (Mom didn't believe in Barbie) had the best outfits in the neighborhood. My favorite was her fully-lined red wool suit with bracelet-length sleeves -- it would have done Coco Chanel proud.

I think of my grandmother a lot around Easter -- a time of year that usually meant a new outfit from her Singer. I still have a few of the dresses, and a gorgeous designer suit. My daughter wore them on her own Easters, and, like my mother before me, all I had to provide was the round hat and patent-leather shoes.

I am sure my grandmother would have been thrilled if I had learned to sew. She tried -- but I was not only abysmally untalented with a needle -- I also loathed it. As a mother, I made sure my kids learned early how to sew on buttons, mostly so I could avoid it myself.

But mostly, Grandma was a maker. She took next-to-nothing and made it spectacularly "something." And she encouraged me to find my own way to be a maker too.

When I saw a neighbor girl knitting, and thought I'd like to give it a try, Grandma got me needles, cool flecked yarn, a pattern for two -needle mittens and a little workbag.

She knew enough to show me a backward-loop cast-on and the basic knit and purl stitches. And she knew enough not to nag me about my little project.

I didn't finish the mittens -- and I don't know what happened to them. I didn't take up knitting again for 20 years, when books taught me all the techniques and tricks my grandmother didn't know. And then you couldn't stop me from making things -- baby sweaters, Christmas stockings, Aran sweaters, intarsia, lace -- even the top to my wedding dress.

So, my grandmother didn't exactly teach me how to knit ...

But I still have at least one of the needles she gave me

and the pattern book -- somewhere.

and have acquired the love of making things that my grandmother passed on as her legacy.

For that, I am forever in her debt.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Starting over in the frog pond

I spent most of yesterday turning this, the Mirage pullover from More Big Girl Knits,

into this

and then this

and finally this

Now, it is becoming Mr. Greenjeans.

When I began the Mirage, I weighed 30 pounds more than I do today, so I knew it was no longer going to fit the way I'd originally envisioned. Not that that is a bad thing, you understand.

As the swift was spinning, and the sweater was raveling at my feet, Scott asked me if I had regrets about all those hours of work being undone.

Yes and no. I'm sorry to lose the work -- it does feel a bit as if it's time wasted. But I learned something from the process and I'm fired up with the vision for Mr. Greenjeans, so I'm looking ahead more than looking back.

I've done that a lot, I realized. With education, with work, with marriage. Once upon a time, I began each of those things with a vision for the finished product, the happy ending. Eventually, though, I looked at them and realized, "That just doesn't fit right." I pulled the loose thread and raveled. And then made something new -- I went back to school, I got a new job, I met Scott. I learned to take nothing in my new life for granted -- having experienced the worst, I am grateful every day for the best.

I had a vision for this sweater when I began. I knew what pants to pair with it, what jewelry I would wear. I could see myself wearing it. Then I couldn't.

Now I am imagining a new sweater--can't wait to try it on!