About Me

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Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

No longer sadly blogless

For those of you who have been urging me to publish. Be careful what you ask for. You might get it!

Photos will come later, as I either acquire a camera of my own or bribe Secondborn with brownies. For now, you will have to be content with prose. Following are excerpts from recent weekly "gratitude" mailings. [God bless you, Sarah Ban Breathnach! http://www.simpleabundance.com/sarah.html]


Had a great time at the Church singles dance on the 7th. I actually got asked to dance a couple of times! I've decided that the secret to getting a man to ask you to dance, is to be happily engaged in something else: i.e., talking with another man, signing along to the music[ASL, or in my case PSE -- Pidgin Signed English], or that particular Friday night, knitting on my scarf while quietly rocking out in my chair and talking with my friend SisterSalsa. I was determined to have a good time, even if it meant sitting in a chair with my yarn and my circular needles.

One of the guys who shows up occasionally for the dances, but rarely makes it out onto the floor because he spends the nights circulating and making sure that everybody else is having a good time, asked me to dance. As he walked me back to the table, I grinned and said, "I've noticed you don't generally dance much. You're always friendly and sociable, but I don't see you out on the floor. Maybe the trick is to give all the women here a ball of yarn!" He laughed. I wasn’t entirely kidding, silly man!

Another guy who is one of my favorites and about my brother-in-law’s age, came up and took my hand and said, "Let's try something new." I grinned and said, "Oh wow, you want me to teach you to knit? No problem!" Instead he treated me to a lovely swoopy swirly slow dance, complete with half-dips and much laughter. If the man were only 20 years younger and not dating one of my friends...

And I got not one, but *two* dances with a friend I used to refer to as BrotherYummy. He's still yummy after all these years [humming my apologies to Paul Simon]; I'm just no longer interested in anything other than friendship with him.


Swatched my sock yarn and realized the size 2 needles [tiny, for you non-knitters] that I have are too big, and I will need 1's or possibly 0’s. I currently have only one project underway, but that’s about to change. I had a ball of Feza Kid Mohair, Shades of Orange, that I’d bought to maybe incorporate into the rust Fibonacci Sweater, but it wasn’t the right gauge to go with the other yarns. So I started a very simple scarf and have been knitting on it as the mood struck. Saturday the 8th, I bought a second ball of the mohair for this scarf and discovered a really pretty knit-along [South West Trading Company “Melody”, Arizona Sunrise], so I carefully and meticulously frogged 9" of stitching and started over. That night I put “Midsummer Night’s Dream” into the DVD player and re-knitted the yarn that I so painstakingly ripped earlier in the day. The fabric of the scarf is far more lush and interesting than with the variegated mohair alone. And the gauge is virtually unchanged. Very glad that I did this!


Four days later, I made two trips to the really cool yarn shop http://www.theshabbysheep.com/ near downtown. At lunch I picked up more itty bitty needles for when I am done with this scarf and am ready to tackle my first pair of socks in the Cherry Tree Hill Indian Summer [again for you non-knitters, wool that you can wash in cold water on gentle in the washing machine, without turning it into stockings more suitable for the youngest grandchild] that’s about the diameter of an cooked piece of angelhair pasta. During the day, the ball of Melody in my scarf imploded, and I went back after work to buy a package of Yarn Bras, which are tubes of a diagonal mesh plastic -- think old fashioned baby gates -- that you slip over your ball of yarn. They maintain an even pressure on the ball, and as you pull from the center of the ball, they keep the outside of the ball from slithering off into a tangled mess that takes two hours of precious knitting time to untangle (at $16 a ball for my knit-along yarn, I was not about to just grab the scissors and do a lumpectomy). Perhaps the only real bargain in knitting tools, a package of Yarn Bras is $4, for one small, two medium, and one large. I will forgive them that the large one is screaming blue and not some lovely shade of purple.


I had so much fun at the first singles dance this month that I decided to try the knitting experiment again. I did not bring the knitting out at an office party (it was held outside, and I forgot to take the camp chairs, and the scarf was getting long enough that it could drag on the ground if I’m not careful. So, no!)

I did take it into the dance, and promptly discovered a tangle, so I had to take it out to the foyer where the light was better. Who should follow me out but a man I met at my girlfriend’s Fourth of July shindig? I got my mess untangled, we chatted pleasantly, and then my girlfriends came out and found me and dragged me back in for a line dance.

Not only does the man know how to knit (a long time ago) and crochet (ditto), and have a great appreciation for Things Handmade, but he can dance. No, it gets better; he can lead! And – are we all sitting down? – he actually asked *me*. Quelle idée!


I finished the mohair and ribbon scarf on Tuesday. Meticulously picked out my cast-on stitches and tightened up that edge by binding it off properly. Ever so much better! Highly gratifying ooh-ing and aah-ing at knitting group that night.


I cast on the stitches for my first sock, using size 1 needles. After increasing to 48 stitches (12 on each needle) and experimenting with which increase I preferred, I realized that my knitting friend J was right: the fabric was “airy”, and smaller needles would make a tighter fabric and a better fitting – and longer lasting – sock. On Wednesday morning I ripped it all out and started over on size 0 needles. When I left for work, the sock in progress resembled nothing so much as a pregnant gods-eye.

I am really feeling the need for a digital camera. [Those of you who are photographically inclined and use one, which do you think is best to capture fiddly detail on needlework projects? And if it doesn’t cost more than $15.95 so much the better, because I’d rather spend my money on books and yarn, LOL.]

End-of-week note on the sock: I am about an inch away from my ankle bone on sock #1, and on Friday I went to the Dallas shop with Student Co-Worker #1 so she could buy her own teensy needles and her first skein of Cherry Tree Hill. Exercising incredible personal restraint, I left the shop with a second set of size 0’s so I could work sock #2 to this point from the other end of the ball of yarn (thus eliminating what J calls Second Sock Syndrome, which is the tendency to abandon a sock project with one sock remaining in order to begin a new sock project with a different yarn).

And one skein of Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon in Color#1 [screaming reds and oranges and just the merest hint of dusty plum to cool things down, and a sparkly gold metallic stripe the entire length of the ribbon; I would have maintained up to a month ago that I loathe All Things Metallic] with one ball of a Louisa Harding Impression, a companion mohair blend in Color #03 [just enough different from the ribbon in texture, size, and color to keep things interesting], to make yet another scarf to keep my neck and shoulders warm at switchboard. I am pondering Feather and Fan, and the further acquisition of some of those KnitPicks needles so I can put the needle for the mohair on one end and the needle for the ribbon on the other. But I digress…


Jeri said...

Very nice first post. And you must have a digital camera. I have owned two and may be ready to upgrade sometime. Both of mine were bought on ebay and were about a half-generation behind the times, hence a good deal. In the meantime, bring some stuff Tuesday and we'll take some pictures and email them to you. J2 is the photographer in the group but if she's not there, I'll loan you mine.


Lynn said...

Wow, thanks! I went to Secondborn's after church today (minus the brownie bribe, LOL), and she took pictures of the Fibonacci Scarf, the Rasta Scarf, the Louisa Harding yarns, and the sock-in-progress.

We are planning to shoot the Wilted Leaves Sweater and the Fibonacci Sweater next Saturday, before I take my knitting to Dance #3 for July and discover if my knitting mojo is still working. (The dance is being held in the building where she goes to church, so it's all very convenient. And if she has a cosmetics order for me to deliver, most of the mileage will be a legitimate business expense, woohoo!)

I will try to have a toe-in-embryo ready to shoot on Tuesday night; thanks for your kind offer.