Treading So Lightly

I have been treading very lightly recently. The sudden and very recent lost of my mother should have caused the sudden shift in reality. But it has not. I’m still me and that seems strange.

I’ve been waiting for grief to come. I prepared myself with days off and lots of ice cream, but nothing. I have given myself complete permission to cry, but the tears won’t come. What gives? I see the rest of my family in deep and obvious mourning and yet I feel completely. . . normal. Am I too much in shock? Has my mind just not been able to process what has happened? Or, as my siblings would say, I’m wired differently? I have only ever cried at one funeral and that was the one for my son.  But I wasn’t crying over just the lost of my son. It was the accumulation of all my losses that caused me to cry. The loss of a natural childbirth, the loss of my liver, the loss of good health, the loss of my ability to ever have kids, the loss of my husband being able to pass on his family name, the loss of a grandchild for my mom and in-laws, the loss of what use to be my life.

Then it occurred to me why I haven’t mourned the way I thought I would or should. After my son died, the first thing I thought of was to finish knitting the sweater I was making for him before I got sick. Why would I make a sweater for a child already gone and buried? Because I had to. It was my way of grieve. In each stitch I held on to his memory and also I learned to let him go. It was a strange thing to do, but for me it felt perfectly normal and right. I finished the sweater for him and I have kept it with me.

A day after my mom passed away, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought yarn. I didn’t need any. I didn’t even know why on Earth I had even stopped at the store. I’m guessing I just needed some place that felt safe and quite where I could wander around and just be with my own thoughts. I saw the yarn, felt it and grabbed for skeins of it. It was soft and I wanted it- those were my only reasons for buying it. I came home with the yarn having no clue what to do with it. I didn’t even look to see what yarn it was until I got home. Diva Sequin yarn. I searched Ravelry trying to find a pattern to use the yarn, but nothing looked appealing to me. I looked at my bookcase crammed with knitting books and magazines. What was the use of having all that stuff if I never used a damn pattern out any of it? Shuffling through Vogue Knitting and Knitter’s Magazine I stumbled upon a book that I bought months ago. The Prayer Shawl Companion looked up at me from its space tucked between magazines. I flipped through its pages and fell in love with the Sabbath Shawl. I don’t do lace and had never done anything that complicated before, but I couldn’t take my eyes of the pattern. Why had I never noticed this pattern before. “Because I never needed it until now”, said a voice in my head. I started on the shawl that night.

Each day now I work on the shawl. I find that I feel lost if I go too long without putting in a few stitches. I need this shawl to be made. It is comforting to knit. It’s soft texture and colors are soothing. It is pretty to look at. This shawl has become my way of grieving. With each stitch I remember my mother and I let her go. Her memorial service will be this weekend. Will I be able to cry then? I don’t know. But I will know that tucked in my bag will be my knitting needles and this shawl.

 

My shawl of remembering and letting go.

My shawl of remembering and letting go.

Hoopla for the Hobbit

Well, among the many other things that I use this blog for, I see it is a virtual refrigerator door. And what usually hangs on a fridge door? Well, any school age kid will tell you, it’s the place to hang your best work. A showcase for bragging about your recent achievement. And with that in mind, I’d like to hang on this virtual fridge an achievement by one of my followers.

You may remember a while back I did an interview with sock designer Mary the Hobbit. Well, if you weren’t already a fan of her work back then, you’ll become one now. One of her latest designs,  the Uzu Sock, can be viewed in Knitty’s Deep Fall 2011 issue!

So, head on over to Knitty, knit the pattern and then run over to Ravelry and show the pattern some love. I’ve already got the pattern in my query. It’s on my ‘to-do’ list for 2012.

Uzu Sock by Mary the Hobbit

I Submitted to Knitty

Well, I finally did it! At 2:00 am this morning, I submitted a design to Knitty for consideration in their Winter 2011 issue. It took a lot of guts- and a good pattern- for me to actually submit a design.

I checked over the application process about twenty times and reviewed my work over and over again. The hardest part was to actually will myself to press the ‘send’ button. Prayers were made, good vibes sent out to the universe, faux rabbit foot rubbed and anything else I could think of was done before I could bring myself to sending off my design. (I also considered dancing around a fire and offering up a sacrifice to the gods, but my father-in-law would have been very upset if I started the grill at two in the morning and burnt one of his good steaks).

Why such the big fuss over this submission? Well, its Knitty! I mean, so many designers got their start on Knitty. They have helped to launch numerous careers with almost overnight success for some people.

After my twitchy finger over ruled my fear and the ‘send’ button was pressed, it was both a relief as well as a new fear- Rejection. Yes, there is that chance that my design, like many others, will be rejected by Knitty. So, I came up with a plan B for myself in case that happens. I will of course, use my reject as a great excuse to have a drink and then since I have pictures and a pattern all ready to go, I’ll just convert everything to PDF and post the pattern for sale on Ravelry.

I must say, it was very calming to receive that sweet autoreply message from Amy, (head honcho of Knitty), after submitting my design.

Don’t know Knitty? You can check outthe online magazine here: http://www.knitty.com

 

Knitter’s Proverbs and Sayings

We’ve all heard them. Those classic proverbs and sayings like, ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’. Well, I wondered how some of these saying would go if it was a knitter who first spoke them. Below are some classic sayings reworked in a way I’m sure all knitters will understand.

If at first you don’t succeed. . . hide the evidence in the back of the closet and pretend like you never knitted it.

The early bird. . . gets the last 3 skeins of discontinued yarn on Jimmybeanswool.com

Early to bed. . . early to VooDoo Donuts before Sock Summit.

A penny saved. . .means you’re one cent closer to getting that Cashmere/Mink blend you’ve been drooling over.

You can’t party with the sinners and . . . not learn the effects of drunk knitting the next day.

If the shoe fits. . . buy it and knit a pair of socks to go with it.

You only live once. . . so buy the yarn now. You may not be around for the sale.

Beauty is in the eye. . . of the knitter who just spent a month knitting that sweater for you. So put it on and say thank you or you’ll never get another birthday gift from them- EVER!

A fool and his money. . . will soon find his house taken over by his wife’s ever growing yarn stash.

Better to have loved and lost. . . then to have wasted good yarn knitting him a sweater.

All roads lead. . . to a great little yarn shop.

Curiosity killed the cat. . . and yarn was spun with the fur off his back!

What does not kill you. . .only makes your kitchener stitch even stronger.

Time heals all. . . remaining guilt from your last yarn shopping spree.

Nothing last forever. . . except Red Heart Super Saver Yarn.

A wise man knows. . . to give his wife the credit card and don’t ask questions.

If you can’t say something nice. . . stitch it in duplicate stitch.

You’re nobody. . . ’till you’ve got a fan group on Ravelry.

Behind every great man. . . is a happy knitter.

Money can’t buy you love . . . but it can buy a Starbucks frappuccino and several skeins of alpaca yarn.

What goes up. . . can usually be fixed by adding a three-inch knitted border to the hem. 

If  life is a highway. . . make sure to pack plenty of yarn for the journey.

When life bring you lemons. . . add vodka and sip while knitting.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. . . just use bigger needles next time.

Lovers come and go. . . but good knitting needles last forever.

When faced with a fork in the road, I take the road. . . that has the most yarn shops.

To thine own self be true. . . and let your knitting tell little white lies!

Oogaling Olgajazzy

I was on the Deep South Fibers website looking at patterns and just fell in love with the designs by Olgajazzy, aka, Olga Buraya-Kefelian. Her pieces are just wonderful to look at and many of her techniques remind me of couture fashion techniques. Well constructed and beautifully presented, her patterns are the ones you’ve been saving that special yarn for.

You can find more of Olgajazzy’s designs on Deep South Fibers, Ravelry and on her blog.

Design By Olgajazzy

 

April Is National Donate Life Month

 

As the title says, April is NAtional Donate Life Month.

This month is dedicated to honoring those who have chosen to be organ donors and the lives they have saved.

Donate Life is an organization that helps to dispel myths surrounding organ transplants and educate the public about the importance of becoming an organ donor. You can find out more about them at http://www.donatelife.net

I want to share a little story with you-

Cory was a loving brother, devoted father and proud grandfather. Cory loved to go fishing and was always the joker. On August 8, 2008, Cory , at the age of 44, died of a brain aneurysm.

A few states away lay a young woman in the hospital. She was 30 years old, a wife and mother. She was also dying. An acute liver failure had put her in a week-long coma, unaware that her life was slowly slipping away. The doctors had only hours left to find a suitable liver that could save her life. Two previously offered livers were not a good match. With only a handful of hours left before the high toxin levels in her body would render her brain dead, a liver was found. The transplant was a success!

That liver donor was Cory and the young woman’s life he saved was mine.

To honor my organ donor, Cory, I have made a pair of socks for him.

For the entire month of April all profits made from the sale of the sock pattern will go to Donate Life. If it was not for Cory’s decision to be an organ donor, I would not be here today. Everyday, I am thankful for the selfless act of Cory and all those who have chosen to be organ donors. Thank you!

Cory's Socks

If you would like to purchase the pattern you can click on the link here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/corys-socks

B.A. Mystery Solved!

I went on Ravelry last night to discover that someone on the Patons Beehive Fan Group had responded to my inquiries about the meaning of the mysterious abbreviation, B.A., that was found in a baby shawl pattern. The wonderful knitting angel, PurpleSage supplied the answer:

It defines B.A. as follows:
“B.A.=Broderie Anglaise – work as follows: slip next 4 sts purlwise dropping w.r.n.s. of previous row, slip 4 sts back on to left-hand needle, insert point of right-hand needle and work (K.1, P.1) twice into these 4 sts, counting these 4 sts as 1 st.”

After weeks of looking up information and following clues, I knew that one day the answer would reveal itself. PurpleSage, may the knitting gods bless you with lots of beautiful yarns, plenty of time to knit, and may all your knitting projects come out right the first time!

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: You Got Skills!

All this week my postings are a part of the 2nd Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week. To learn more about it, just click here.

My Very First Two Needle Sock

Looking back on where I was this time last year, I am just amazed at just how much I’ve grown in regards to my knitting.

If you had told me last year that by this time I would have a pattern available on Ravelry, I would have laughed in your face. What started off as just me taking on another knitting challenge to conquer by knitting my first pair of socks, has now turned into a passion of wanting to make and promote two needle sock knitting. 

I can still remember being frustrated at how I was all thumbs trying to knit a sock on double-pointed needles. And how jealous I was watching Cookie A working on her latest sock at the local knitting group. She could make almost any sock yarn her bitch and I wanted to be able to do that.

I watched every YouTube video I could find on how to knit socks using various methods. I tried toe up and top down, sideways, knitting loom and even crochet. It was some random obscure pattern that I ran across online that finally made it all come together for me. Child socks knitted on two needles with a seam down the back and on the sides. Pure magic! 

After knitting my first sock with this pattern everything just started to make sense for me. I studied other sock patterns, learning about sock history and sock construction. Soon I was able to read a top down sock pattern and be able to convert it into a two needle pattern. Now, I have sketch books  full of ideas and thoughts of publishing my own book of two needle sock designs!

A Recent Sock Design

I have learned and grown a lot. But I am nowhere near considering myself an expert by any means.  I am not ashamed to confess that there are still things I have yet to learn in knitting. My lace knitting is a true testament to resisting the urge to frog. I still have never done a cable pattern. My  I-cords look more like I-won’ts. And no matter how hard I try, I suck at Faire Isle.

The wonderful thing about the needle arts is that you are encouraged to always keep growing and learning and just when you think you’ve learned it all, there is always something new just waiting around the bin.

So, what new skills / techniques have you learned this past year?

Ysolda The Sweet

Ysolda Teague

 

I just got finished reading Ysolda Teague’s interview in the book, “Brave New Knits”, by Julie Turjoman. Ysolda is one of those knitters that makes you daydream about living the life of a knitwear designer.

Her blog is filled with beautiful pictures, her patterns are a dream to knit, (like the Orchid Thief Shawlette that she contributed to the book), and everything she does just seems this side of adorable.

I first learned about Ysolda through a tweet from Cookie A. I follow Cookie A on Twitter and when I saw her mention Ysolda’s name I became curious. (Any knitter with a cool sounding name has got to be knitting some awesome stuff, right?)

I went to Ysolda’s site at www.ysolda.com and discovered just how warm, funny and charming she really is. My next stop was on Ravelry, where I found her amazing patterns. With each pattern more lovely than the next, I can see why Ysolda has such a great fan following.

When you get a chance, stop by her blog, http://ysolda.com/wordpress/  and read a few entries. Soon, you will feel like calling Ysolda up and inviting her over for tea and beautiful knitting.

Mystery KAL

image

I just finished a mystery knit-a-long (aka, KAL), with the group Sisters Crocheted & Knitted In Christ on Ravelry. I had never done a KAL before, so I was excited to be a part of this one. Watching the piece form in my hands while trying to guess the image was a lot of fun. It is a great introduction into working on vintage patterns that don’t always have a picture to show you what you are making.

The pattern is by Rhonda White and can be found on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/3-crosses-cloth or directly here:http://www.knittingknonsense.com/3crossescloth.html

The yarn I used is Aunt Lydia’s Denim yarn. It’s been in my stash for years now. I was so glad to be using it for this project. It will be a gift for a dear friend this Easter.