Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy Birthday to me....

New Year's Babies have been around longer than I have (click on the link to see just how long). However, as is often the case, I didn't get it quite right, arriving on the morning of New Year's Eve instead. So technically, I'm an Old Year's Baby. Oh well...

This should brighten things up a bit:

It's the warp I'll be winding on the back beam and threading through the heddles as soon as this post is finished. A version of these 8 harness twill towels were on the cover of Handwoven Jan. 2006. My warp colors are a bit different. And my weft color will be purple rather than the brown used in the magazine towels.

Although it's a gloomy, grey day, it has been a lovely birthday. I received a lot of music (cd's), a beautiful water color w/ calligraphy (thank you, carol), a pizelle iron with recipe(s), and Italian nougat Christmas candies (thank you, Janice..aka sis). As soon as the weather dries up a bit, I'll make a batch of pizelles to show you here. that I look the warp picture again it reminds me of "ribbon candy":

Another Christmas treat I haven't seen in a quite a few years. (Ahem...that's how I got the pizelle iron and the Italian nougats...giggle)

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Breach of Friendship...

Last night I realized that in the mad dash to our household Christmas chaos, I forgot to send birthday wishes to someone very special to me.

Happy belated birthday, Mary. Wishing you many, many more.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ornaments from Jackie and Traversing Thin Ice

These arrived in the mail a couple weeks ago, but holiday preparations got in the way of sharing them on the blog..

They are exquisitely folded fabric. And I believe the fabric is hand dyed (if not, it sure looks it.) Here's a close up of the lighter colored one:

Thank you, Jackie. They are lovely!

We safely traversed the thin ice of: too many family members, too close together, for too much time with out long term adverse effects. It appears that we provided the holiday celebration they were hoping to experience.

The 4 day event got off to a rocky start when one person arrived with a sore throat and fresh prescription of zithromax. The third car with my nephews was on it's way from Philadelphia...making it's way slowly because the older nephew with a bout of the stomach flu, required a visit at most turnpike rest stops along the way. They arrived after a 12 hour drive dehydrated and not stable in the digestive department. So we spent the rest of Christmas Eve eve making runs (no pun intended) for Immodium, Gatorade, and Vernors (for the "traditional" Michigan stomach cure) and then on the phone back and forth with urgent care. The mother of both sick cousins is a nurse...the nurse to nurse phone conversations got a little tense and terse. Inauspicious beginnings....

At this point, I was very glad that we reserved two motel rooms for part of the lot of the guests. Visions of a strep and dysentary epidemic were dancing through my head. After we got everyone shipped off to their respective beds, I scrubbed down the main floor bathroom, door knobs, etc. with bleach and threw all of the hand towels on the first floor in the wash.

Christmas Eve dawned and things proceeded smoothly from there. In addition to putting food on the table at regular intervals, I passed out decongestant, ibuprofen, and Chloraseptic throat strips upon request. Everything else is a blur. My husband was a trooper and a Godsend. He took over the kitchen for awhile on Christmas afternoon to set out a buffet lunch while I crashed on our bed for a half hour. Then he got everyone to the basement family room to watch Shrek 2 while I assembled Christmas dinner.

So the two of us are in recuperation mode. Now I have visions of new warps dancing in my head. Time to pull out the cones of 8/2's cotton assembled weeks ago for kitchen decor enhancing dish towels. Tomorrow I will be winding a multicolor, striped warp.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The "Twelve Meals of Christmas" and the meaning of blogging....

Just spent most of the day shopping for "The Twelve Meals of Christmas". Do the math: 8 houseguests + (4 day visit * 3 squares per day) = 12 meals of Christmas. Everything is purchased and planned. However, I've decided to wait until Friday or very early Saturday to finish purchasing the fresh produce needed.

The deal stands with the dh: I will sling the hash, but he will have to be the 'cruise director'. This year we will be living the sequel to Griswold Family Christmas

Sheila was looking for fruitcake recipes earlier. I was tempted to join her, since I am a fruitcake fan (now you may be asking: why didn't that show up in the weird things about me post?) but this year I'm afraid the brandy would never make it near the cake. Best for me to find a good group of Friars or Brothers (or whatever) and buy a tin of fruitcake!

And as if there aren't enough rhetorical questions floating around in the universe, here's a new one to ponder: what happens to your blogs when you die? Go read it and find out....

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Go read Judy's Christmas story now.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

6 Weird Things About Me Me-me....

I've been tagged for this me-me by Leigh

1. There's nothing weird about's the rest of you that have the weird quirks. Really...that was my first reaction.

2. Well...there is that thing I have about doors: Either open them all the way or close them (preferably latched). Nothing grates like a half open door or drawer. But there is a reason: after working in a residential school for blind children and seeing a blind child walk into the edge of half open door that someone carelessly left hanging out in the hallway, one recognizes that doors should be open or shut, period.

3. As I lie in bed, there are 3 doors on the wall facing me: the entrance to the room, the bathroom door, and the door to the walk-in closet. Any guesses about the last thing I do before climbing into bed?

4. My sense of humor. It goes over the head of quite few people, or they 'get it' after I've walked away. See #3.

5. I'm a pretty private person and am often amazed at: a.) the assumptions people make about me. b.) that people take it personally (and sometimes with hostility)when I don't choose to share my personal thoughts or feelings with them.

6. I don't mind being a group leader, but I hate being the center of attention, and especially hate surprise parties and surprise visits. IMO Surprise parties are the epitome of passive agressive behavior:
a. my husband and I had a small wedding with only immediate family. This drove my Mom crazy, she wanted to throw a shower for me with extended family members who were not invited to the wedding. I told her I wouldn't come...I didn't, she did...they had a wedding shower without me.
b. I was on bedrest the last weeks of my pregnancy w/ my son. After 3 weeks of bedrest our dear friends asked if I couldn't at least come over to their house for brunch one Sunday. I reluctantly agreed that perhaps we could come for lunch but I would have to keep my feet elevated. I trusted these people. As it turned out, my water broke the night before, we rushed to the hospital, my son was born 5 wweks premature at 12:15 PM on Sunday. My husband called our friends from the recovery room, to offer our regrets....there were 35 people there for a baby shower, waiting for us to arrive. They had the baby shower without us.
Moral of the story....if you try to throw a surprise event for me, count on it to backfire.

Now...I'm supposed to tag six people...hmmm....
Tell you what, if you want to be tagged for this, leave a message in the comments and I'll tag you. That way you're not surprised, and I'd be happy to tag the willing.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Feeling Edgy

Above is the Print O' the Wave Stole from Eunny's free patterns.

As you can see, I am busy knitting the interminable triangles around the perimeter of the stole with only about 1/4 of the edging completed. This has been one of the most joyless pieces of knitting in memory for me. So in my midwinter solstice, sado-masochistic state I'm determined to not knit on anything else until this is finished. Finished will be defined by knitting only, blocking will be another project by my terms and definitions.

There are a number of reasons this project has been joyless. A few have to do with the technical aspects of knitting:
- it's a dark color yarn for lace. Something I was aware of, but I do like the deep jewel toned teal yarn.
- although I like the appearance of the shawl, the pattern is interminably repetitive. (yawn)
- the main chart in the pattern is annoying. There is a bold line at the 10 stitch mark, then a red line marking the edge vs. the center repeat of the pattern. A defect that would fool my eye repeatedly until I could "read" the knitting and ignore that black bold line.
- the border is knit onto the stole with the body of the shawl on the right hand side when the right side of the shawl is facing you. This might sit well with a left handed knitter, but is just annoying to me.
- there is an error in the edging pattern that took me a week to figure out and correct.

But I've come to the conclusion that there's more to the joylessness than just the technical aspects. I started this shawl in July of this year. From the beginning of May, life in this household has been in tumult and full of uncertainty. I believe there is something about handwork that absorbs and reflects back the emotional state of the artisan.

I remember when a friend was spending time in waiting rooms while her daughter was undergoing treatment for a severe psychiatric disorder. She would only work on items that would be donated to charity. Her reason was if she worked on garments for her family or her home, every time she saw them she would be transported back to those dismal waiting rooms.

Another friend was with me when my stepfather died unexpectedly. We had a 6 hour drive shortly after where she put down the shawl that she had been working on and picked up a child's sweater she was knitting for charity. She wanted to finish the shawl and didn't want to be reminded of the sad occassion everytime she handled it thereafter.

There seems to be some of that going on with this shawl. Usually knitting is an enjoyable and relaxing activity for me....the rhythm of the repetitive movement, the feel and smell of the yarn, and watching the fabric below the needles grow are pleasures to enjoy.....something like chocolate. But this shawl has been more like....brussel sprouts. I like brussel sprouts well enough: on occassion, in small quantities, and with butter. But brussel sprouts are bitter and knitting this shawl has been one long diet of brussel sprouts.

So I'm feeling edgy right now as we wait to see how these changes in our lives are going to turn out.

Add to that the fact that eight of my inlaws are descending upon us for the Christmas holiday. These are people who tend to melt down after a 4-5 hour family get together. I can't wait to see what they do while spending 96 hours in close proximity....with 72 of them under my roof. Perhaps I'll include brussel sprouts in at least one of the meals!

So here are my conclusions regarding this stole:
- There are a number of works in progress that I haven't touched since last spring. That was probably a good thing and I will be able to return to them with joy in the new year.
- Once this stole is finished, I will work on charity knitting until things are brighter and more certain.
- I will make no hasty judgements about the disposition of Print O' the was originally to be for me. We'll see if I care to keep it after it is set aside for awhile.

And I will dream about the red swallowtail shawl that I want to knit and own. It will be a victory shawl that commemorates the good health we've achieved in this household by eating our brussel sprouts!