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Feel Good Knitting – Knitting for Charity

There is nothing better than showering knitted love on people who really need a dose of love in their lives.

Through my Twitter friends I heard of Gabe.  He’s a darling boy of all of four years and was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.  My “tweep” J___ is gathering knitted squares for a quilt for Gabe.  When I read this I just knew I had to send her a square.

A square for Gabe's Quilt

I used leftover Crazy Zauberball sock yarn and the quilt is being made using the Barn Raising Quilt pattern.  I hope this little square helps ease Gabe’s suffering and I hope the funds raised help his family.  Here is his family’s Facebook page.  He’s an adorable little boy and I send him and his family all best wishes and strength to beat this cancer.

If you feel you can spare something, donations to the family can be made via PayPal to Prayersforgabe (at) yahoo (dot) com

Then, I heard that one of J___’s friends is expecting a baby in September, but when her friends shared their joyful news they started receiving hate from family and their community.  Why would such great news evoke such hate?  Because her friend is gay.

Can you imagine?  A loving couple happily sharing news that is the highlight of their life and the reaction is one of hate and recrimination.  J___ said she was going to knit this baby girl “everything” and I felt moved to ask if I could knit her something too.

Here’s my little bit of knitted love for this little girl, the Wave Jumper, I call it the Cherry Blossom Wave Jumper because this yarn reminds me of the Cherry Blossom Festival we just had here in San Francisco.  Sadly I lost the ball band to this yarn, but it sure is gorgeous wool superwash sock yarn.

Wave baby dress

If anyone recognizes this yarn, please tell me, I would love to get some more.

Does anyone recognize this sock yarn? I lost the ball band. It's gorgeous!

Many years ago one of my recipe swap friends had a brain aneurysm and because of the surgery lost her gorgeous long blond hair.  I offered to knit her friend a hat, the Selbu Modern in Shelridge Farms yarn.  Years later her friend found out I was the one who had made the hat, which she loved, and now we too are lovely close friends ourselves.  We still haven’t met but we chat online many times a week and knowing her has added so much to my life.

Catherine's hat
This year I planned to focus on knitting things just for me, but then I realized just how happy it made me to knit these few little things for people who need love, even if I have never met them.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

The Ease of Distraction

Spring has arrived in San Francisco. As I sit in the sun at a roof garden next to my namesake blooms, the sun kneads my shoulders with warm fingers and I tune out the sound of the city on the streets below.  The sky is soft blue and I gave away at the high rises around me.

Vitamin D break. Ahhhh....

 

I am breathing deeply and knitting a sock and admiring my jewelry flashing in the sun.

Knitting provides the ease of distraction of a busy day. My mind wanders as my fingers create perfect tiny stitches, a sock for foggy nights grows in my hands.

In my purse is a warm scarf for later tonight, but for now the sun and knitting is lulling my nerves and filling me with peace.

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Crazy Blue Socks and Bacon Socks

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It’s Easter and I am up at my parents. My stepdad’s newly diagnosed dementia (discovered at Thanksgiving) has suddenly taken a huge downturn and he is temporarily in a convalescent hospital. My mom has been living at the hospital at his side and while it seems the crisis has passed he is not well enough up come home. We ate together though, now, for this weekend and that is the best thing.

Last weekend my sister and I visited and took care of a lot of things that had piled up over the 3 weeks my parents had been at the hospital. This weekend mom is sick and I’m not feeling well either. We can’t visit the hospital, their rules, so there is nothing to do but to be at the house and try not to worry. We are all a bit manic with worry. My only salvation, besides comforting and amusing texts from friends, is knitting.

I finished a pair of socks I started last year. This is the longest I’ve ever taken to make a pair of socks, particularly since its just a simple ribbed sock pattern using the Zauberboll Crazy yarn in shades of blue.

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I brought a ball of bacon striped yarn and started a pair of toe up socks right away. This is the Skew pattern from Knitty. I thought its design would really let the bacon effect shine.

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Tomorrow, Monday night, we will have our Easter dinner if mom is feeling better. I’m hoping my sore throat is better then too and I’m not starting the same cold. Meanwhile, knitting is keeping me relaxed and my mom and sister love watching the bacon socks grow.

It’s normal for me to be up here, plopped in the orange Danish chair that was my childhood favorite, knitting and chatting with my stepdad while he watched whatever sports was on the tv. Now, even though the couch is empty and a cooking show or old movie is on tv, to my family it looks normal. I’m doing my little part to keep normalcy by knitting, although on the inside I’m a matted skein of yarn.

Sunday Mornings

Peaceful Sunday mornings….

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…don’t get any better than this. A huge cappuccino, my Crazy Zauberball sock and Good Neighbors on the iPad.

Stitches West and a Gentle Return to Knitting

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A weekend ago or so was Stitches West, the giant yarn, fiber and notions conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center. For quite a few years I have been attending with E___, my friend and knitting mentor (and also my fellow baseball buddy), and lately with my artist and crochet sisterfriend L____ and A____ have been joining us for shopping and ramen afterwards.

This was my first real weekend post flu and post ankle surgery where I felt almost like a normal person. Walking and standing is still cranky but we scheduled lots of tea breaks and the gals brought lots of snacks to keep our energy from flagging.
20130302-080226.jpg(tiny chocolate mushroom cookies!)

This year the convention center seemed rather quiet, we went on a Sunday, which is the last day of the conference and perhaps people were done for it but the crowd was thin and the shopping was even thinner. It might be a sign of the tightened economy, or perhaps because it was nice weather out but there wasn’t much going on that day. We all were on tight budgets and that never helps with shopping, but we enjoyed being able to visit every booth and have time for breaks.

E____ and I both found some great sock yarn for the San Francisco Giants games, a cutely dyed sock yarn from Miss Babs in a colorway called Pumpkin Apocalypse. E___ might be making a shawlette but I am going to make socks.

There was a very pretty pattern for a Cedar Leaf Shawlette in a green silk and wool blend but sadly there was no yarn anywhere within the convention center that was right weight with a little silk in it and in the right verdant green. I will need about two to three skeins to make the shawl and will save this pattern for when the budget allows more yarn shopping.

We spotted a simple sweater by Olga Jazzy, the Sakasama Jacket. I would like to try this pattern since I have boatloads of kid mohair but the booth was out of the pattern. I can get it online however.
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At another stall was selling mink yarn in jewel-toned colors at mink-like prices, but ooh, so very soft and lovely. All animal fiber yarn is from animals where they are either shorn or combed for their hair/fur, how does one shear a squirmy mink? It doesn’t bear thinking about overmuch.

This stall also had a sample scarf by Alchemy using their paper yarn which is surprisingly soft after washing. The scarf is combined with Alchemy kid mohair yarn that I’m obsessed about but the scarf is felted or washed vigorously after knitting to shrink the mohair part. I’ve seen it before at the Interweave Knitlab marketplace. I am still tempted to try this someday. The coir palate is pretty on me and they have a longish bolero which would be very nice to wear over all my inevitable black wardrobe pieces.
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(the ubiquitous Feather and Fan pattern again!)

It was always great fun to see Tina Whitmore of KnitWhits and I snatched up a ball of her Freia ombré yarn that changes from a deep grey-black to an Aegean teal. Tina explained it was a new color direction for her ombré yarns. She had only made a little for the New York show she attended and they were snapped up, I wish I could have seen all the colors she had made! Hopefully, in future, she will make more. The winking green-blue eye for this yarn really called to me and I couldn’t wait to make something with it.

20130301-203106.jpg(the hue of the grey truly is much darker than captured here)

We putzed around for a little while longer and then went out for dinner at Ramen Club. This is the second best ramen I’ve found in the Bay Area.
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It was a lovely, full day!

The moment I got home I pulled out my two purchases plus the pretty pattern and I did not resist the incredible urge to start knitting.

Happily a quick search on Ravelry led me to the adorable Elk Tooth pattern by Caitlin ffrench. The talented knittingnurse on Ravelry had made up this pattern in Freia yarn in the same weight and a slight modification to use up one ball of yarn. I am about halfway done now and simply love the look and feel of this yarn. I can’t wait to wear this scarf.

Can Knitters Save the World

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Think of all the people you know who create things with their hands. For the most part they are peaceful people who add value to the world’s beauty.

191(Me at Calico, knitting)

I found out today that there is a world-wide call for knitters to submit their work to an art project:

A WORLD WIDE CALL FOR KNITTING

Cirkus Cirkör’s performance, Knitting Peace, weaves together questions about striving and knitting with breathtaking feats of circus artistry. Can striving in itself make a difference? Is knitting our way to peace possible?

To highlight these questions we literally want to knit our way around the whole world – 40 075 km (24 900 miles). And to succeed we need your help! To connect people from the four corners of the Earth, we are collecting white knitted pieces from all over. Many little acts of warmth and kindness can create the awareness necessary to making a difference.

Send your white knitted pieces to Cirkus Cirkör, and please take a moment to answer the questions below! Your contribution may be displayed in connection with one of our performances.

– Why do you knit?
– What are you striving for?
– Is knitting our way to peace possible?

Please send your piece to:
Fanny Senocq, Cirkus Cirkör, Rotemannavägen 10, 145 57 Norsborg, Sweden.
Don’t forget to include your name, address and phone number as well as your answers to the questions above. And we’d love it if you included a picture of yourself knitting!

 

What a fun idea, do you want to participate?

It is a nice thought, gathering knitters from around the world and having them focus on peace. Ravelry had over 2 million members a year ago, there are no doubt more people registered now, and even more who knit and crochet who don’t use this site. Imagine harnessing this creative power for peace.

I don’t have anything white to contribute now, perhaps I can make up one of my mini sweaters over the weekend.

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Whatever you do creatively this weekend, please think of peace while you do it and visualize over 2 million creative, talented people doing the same thing on our little blue marble we call home.

Here’s to peace on Earth.

A Sad Month with a Revelation

January has been a sad month because I came down with the flu. Have you ever been too sick to knit?

Well, that is me this month, too sick to even do the one thing that provides me peace and comfort. I just lay there in a heap with mounds of tissues, cough syrup and bottles of over the counter remedies, unable to read or even focus on television. With the ear and sinus infection I didn’t even want to hear the tv or music. Yuk!

I didn’t even want to look at yarn.

I did, however, greatly enjoy my lovely knitted creations. I wore every pair of my colorful socks, kicking them on and off as the fever ebbed and swelled. The beautiful Oakland shawl kept me cozy when I was shivering and was a pillow when I wasn’t. At one particularly bad day, I was curled up like a cashew hugging the shawl like it was Linus’s security blanket. I twined my super long Santa Fe scarf around my sore throat when I had to go out.

The whole time I was wearing my knitted things, even though I felt awful, I felt like I was taking care of myself. I felt like I had a good dose of self love, in knitted form. My friends and family know that everything I make for them is a fuzzy expression of my love for them. One dear friend even calls her shawl “Heather love”.

It never occurred to me that I could apply this and feel love for myself from my own creations. Usually I feel like I am being selfish when I knit for me. I enjoy knitting because of the yarn or the design or the mastery of a technique but I never think, “you deserve something pretty like this”, or “you are going to feel so great when you wear this”, or “this is special, just for me, I am so lucky”.

My revelation was that I can knit for me, just because I want to and not feel selfish about it. I too deserve the love I knit into every stitch and should revel in it.

I am putting aside the mound of knitting that I feel obligated to do and am going to focus on just making myself happy for a while. If I get bored I will switch to my ongoing projects for others and enjoy them, instead of feeling burdened by them.

Now that I am finally starting to feel better today (in fact I made soup and pie just for me!) I hope to finish a pair of socks I started last fall and start a new pair with my bacon striped yarn.

Here’s to a new year filled with good things, for me, and without guilt.

Knitting on a Deadline

I volunteered to work on a secret project, a commission for a knitting sample and I am excited about how it is coming out.

I am not excited, however, about the feeling of knitting on a deadline. Time is running out! I am making good progress but I feel the pressure and the strain of it all. This is not what knitting should be, for me, nerve-making.

I realized that I have quite a few unfinished objects that I would like to work on, but lack the time/focus/energy.  To keep myself honest and to out myself for my Unfinished Objects (UFO’s), here is my list:

  • Weaving in the ends of the Craftsman Afghan, a very late Christmas present.  This has been gathering dust on the back of my settee, so I will probably have to wash and reblock it. 
  • Finishing the final 1/4 of the back of the Sea Tangles sweater, a gift that is a surprise.
  • Seaming the Sublime Sweetheart sweater
  • Blocking the Sublime Ruffled Edge sweater (I would really like to be wearing this now, it’s cold out!)
  • Knitting the collar for the Fog Chaser jacket, another late Christmas gift
  • Another commissioned project, the Brain Hat. I bet my friend thinks I totally failed on this request.
  • I should start up the Foggy SF Sky Scarf too, since I bungled it last year.
  • Then there is my albatross, the sleeves for the Kauni Rainbow Cardigan by Ruth Sorensen, from 2007!
  • I would also really like to knit socks with my new bacon sock yarn, I think the Skew pattern will be perfect for this yarn.
  • Socks needing darning. Would you believe I have six pairs of socks that need darning, and one that needs a moccasin sole created? I only have 3 pairs of socks to wear and we are in the thick of winter.

I am ashamed these projects have lingered so long, but this year has been an unusual year for me with the ankle surgery and the accompanying brain fog and lack of interest in doing anything.  Last year’s shoulder repair also hampered me greatly, I am so glad it is better now.

Struggling with fatigue and burnout from the persistent SSS (stiffness, soreness and stabby pain) of my healing ankle is not helping my knitting time.

Meanwhile I look at the clock and watch it tick, tick, tick, and worry that I won’t make my upcoming deadline.

Worrying about knitting, no bueno.   Sigh.

Socks for Comfort

It’s just past Christmas and I’m up in the Gold Country visiting my parents for a very quiet holiday. The rain has been off and on, cloudy skies, chilled valley fog and bone-chilling cold have been outside the nicely double-paned windows.

Inside, I have been making pot after pot of hot soup and the teapot has been very busy. Right now we finished off the chicken soup for lunch, filled the bird feeders, and the duck stock from the Boxing Day roast duck is simmering away.

I retired to my favorite orange chair in the family room to work on the second sock out of Zauberball Crazy yarn in blues and purples while my stepdad snoozes over his newspaper.

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Wishing you and your family a very Happy and especially healthy New Year!

Finished Objects: The Oakland Shawl

Before I finished my medical leave I finished my gorgeous Oakland Shawl.  I love this shawl so much!!

Something I do on the weekends

The Oakland Shawl lounges on my antique rocking chair when I am not wearing it, and it is keeping yet another pair of Turkish Bed Socks company.

The Kauni yarn really is perfect for this pattern.  It’s made from one ball of the EQ or rainbow colorway, and one ball of the EC or gradations of grey yarn and is just garter stitch with a yarnover and added stitch at each end to make the triangle shape, easy enough to do while healing mind and body.  I was quite pleased that the color combinations of the last rows were orange and black (almost black), the colors of our San Francisco Giants!!  They won the World Series this year too, perhaps good yarn juju had a part?

I cozy up in it on cool days, drape it over a coat or wear it like a scarf.  On cool weekend days you might find me propped up in bed with tons of pillows and a flask of hot Earl Grey tea and this shawl draped over my feet while I read magazines or knit something delicious.

I have encouraged my friend A___ to try her hand at this one because I think this shawl in a combination of browns and other mushroomy shaded yarn would look divine on her.

It’s tempting to knit another one, perhaps in a blue? What colors do you think?  Here’s a link to where I buy this gorgeous yarn, and all the colors they have available.

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