Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 Gallery

Thanks, everybody, for being part of my knitting life this year!



SHAWLS:

1. Swallowtail knit with 100% silk yarn


2. Shetland Triangle knit with Knit Picks Gloss



3. Adamas in Knit Picks Shadow



4. Icarus, knit with Jade Sapphire's Lacey Lamb



This shawl can fit through my wedding ring



5. Feather and Fan Stole knit with Euroflax linen yarn





6. Laura Ingalls (pretending to be Snow White) shawl knit with Lamb's Pride




SWEATERS:

1. Castle Sweater knit from Paton's Classic Wool



2. Must Have Cardigan knit from Paton's Classic Wool




TOYS:

1. Fairy Tale Mice



2. Fairy Bed Coverlet



3. Mouse Friend



4. Rabbit




SCARVES, HATS, and MITTENS:

1. Seed Stitch Scarf from my handspun cabled yarn



2. Beethoven Scarf knit from 50% merino/50% silk yarn



3. Simple Little Scarf knit from my handspun merino-tencel singles



Later, accidentally dyed pink



4. Hat from a mix of my first spun yarn and my 7yo son's first spun-and-plied yarn



5. Irish Hiking Scarf knit from Paton's Classic Wool



6. Sparkly Scarf knit from handspun with fiber blended on a friend's drum carder.



7. Rib and Cable Mitts




SOCKS:

1. Hill Country Sock Yarn, Cowboy



2. Lisa Souza's Wild Things



3. Magic Stripes



4. Knit Picks

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Taking Stock, Making Socks

I have not gotten a whole lot of knitting done over the holidays. The alternately cold and moist weather that we have had recently has made my hands hurt enough that reading seems significantly more appealing than knitting.

The coming of the New Year always seems like a good time to pause, tie things up, reflect on the choices one made this year and the choices one will make next year, breathe. See one's mistakes and missteps. Imagine what one can learn.

I did finish socks I started quite some time ago:



They are so soft! I'm not crazy about the pooling in the cuffs and ankles--but so be it. While I love to wear handmade socks, they are really more about the knitting (portable and mindless enough to do anywhere) than about the wearing.

I have a couple of other small projects, as well as a conference that will provide some mindless-knitting time. And then--on to one of the dream projects!

Celebrating the Holidays



There is very little more beautiful than the 8th night of Hanukkah with all the candles burning brightly against the dark.

Of course, there are other holidays with nice traditions this time of year, too.



After indulging in a bit of egg nog (fortified with a bourbon that seemed appropriate for this raven), we headed south to visit my parents at their hometown.



My parents celebrate Christmas. I always love seeing their simple tree...



...decorated with pinecones, straw, small brushed-gold balls, and my Great Aunt June's beautiful crocheted ornaments.



And there was knitting, too--the Christmas stocking I grew up with, knitted by my Granny...



...and the rest of the family's stockings, knit by my mother many many years ago. I have not seen these in several years.



When I was a girl, we always celebrated Christmas at Granny's house--and we still do, even though she has been dead for more than a decade. Her house has no chimney, so the stockings are hung on an ancient dresser in her front hallway.

I loved watching my family open their gifts:



...an Irish Hiking Scarf for my father, still recovering from surgery and cancer treatment and preparing for probable further surgery in January



...a linen feather-and-fan stole for my mother, knit on Granny's slippery old needles



...the felted Satchel that David knit for my brother



...and the Adamas shawl for Rebecca, by far the most photogenic model of the group. (The thing she is wearing that looks like a nametag is actually a PhD button that Son drew for her!)


Son received a wonderful present from his grandparents--and he hasn't stopped playing for a second since he opened the box:





On the day after Christmas, the temperature plummeted. We went to visit Granny's grave, intending to take some shells to lay on her marker in our effort to combine our Jewish memorial practices with her coastal identity.



When we arrived, we found that my uncle has brought her a wreath--exactly the kind of wreath I remember her hanging on her front door when I was small.

I miss her every day and do not knit a single stitch without thinking of her.

I hope that all of you, regardless of your traditions, found meaning this holiday season.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Midwinter Night's Dream



"Who will not change a raven for a dove?"
--Shakespeare



May we all have a season of peace.

Swallowtail is finished!

After all my ridiculous problems with this shawl, I started worrying about how it would look. I mean, honestly, the thing looked like a total rag.

I was knitting with 100% silk from Woven Gems, bought at the Virginia Fall Fiber Festival. How would the yarn block out? Would the silk hold the block? If this thing wasn't really beautiful, I was going to be annoyed after all we went through together...







I shouldn't have worried.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

One more down

There is no kinder gift than offering to do a dramatically-behind knitter's holiday knitting for her. And that is exactly what David gave me. He knit my brother's holiday present: the Satchel from Knitty.

Here is is felted:



What a great pattern! It flies with doubled worsted-weight yarn on size 13 needles. Beginning to knit in the round after picking up the base stitches was awkward enough at the beginning that David wondered if this was really a good project--but after a few rows, everything worked beautifully. The I-cord bind-off was a new skill for us both. (Isn't it lovely? It makes such a finished edge.)

I'm sure my brother will love it. Perhaps he'll carry his dissertation-in-progress around in it...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Let's Have a Party...

David and I spent a long stretch of Sunday afternoon knitting while our 7yo took a nap. By the end of the evening, both of us were very close to finished objects, although neither looks like very much yet:

I bound off Swallowtail!



And David finished up the body of Satchel. I loved watching him do the I-cord bindoff.



Blocking for Swallowtail and felting for Satchel are on the agenda. It'll be a party!

* * *

Speaking of parties:

When our son woke up from his Sunday afternoon nap, we headed over to Martha's for a lovely party of knitters and their families. In addition to getting some knitting done, we enjoyed trying out her very cool Knitter's Loom , drinking the wine her husband picked out, and receiving a couple of excellent presents.

Martha, the founder of Silver Spring Knits (SSK), gave us all appropriate bumper magnets:



And Amy gave us all adorable miniature sock blocker key chains:



Of course, the best part of the evening was the company. What a great group of people I have found!

* * *

I took my new toy to the party.




What is it, you ask? A little recorder for podcasting? A cell phone, maybe, to call knitwear designers with desperate questions?

An assistive listening device, the Pocketalker.

I am completely deaf in one ear and cannot wear a hearing aid on that side due to the lack of an acoustic nerve. Although I hear fine in quiet one-on-one situations, I have quite a difficult time hearing in loud places where there is a lot of background noise. I can read lips fairly well and David and I both can use ASL as well, so for years I've gotten along with one working ear and one ear just for show. But so much of the time, if I am meeting new people or simply not in my own house, I have trouble following exactly what is going on and feel like I am faking it all too often. Add to the hearing issues my profoundly introverted personality--and you get a recluse wannabe.

So, after years of having my mother suggest I try something out, having my partner's mother's first cousin's hard-of-hearing spouse suggest I try out this particular device, and having a colossal argument with someone I love about the fact that I don't even think about ways I might address my hearing issues, I ordered one.

With a 30-day return period.

And I'm testing it not just to see if it works but if I feel too weird wearing it. I thought it might feel strange to have to explain to the folks I am talking to what it is, but that is not the biggest issue. The earphone looks enough like a Bluetooth that I wonder if people think I am not really focusing on them. And someone else wondered if I was recording our conversation!

But gosh...!

We went out to eat at an especially loud restaurant that we have frequented way too often in the last few years. When we walked in, the person at the front desk asked us how many were in out party. Would you believe that she ACTUALLY IS SPEAKING ALOUD?! All this time, I thought she might just be mouthing the words.

One of the coolest things is that I can now eavesdrop without staring at the droppee in order to read his or her lips...

It is not perfect. Hearing sounds over the microphone is a little disorienting. Without the device, although I cannot locate sounds due to my monaural hearing, I have developed some ability to guess location a bit based on what is quieter, etc. But with the device, if the mic is on my right, sounds feel like they are loud and therefore must be on my left. Sound feels like it is coming from everywhere and nowhere. I suspect I can get used to the difference. Hm.

While wearing the device, I feel a lot less internal. David pointed out that I even go up to complete strangers now and say things to them. (I asked a woman if she knitted her sweater. Her mother had.) So much for my recluse personality. Hey--let's PARTY!

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