Knits & Purls

Around and Around

(To set the tone, click here for my project soundtrack.)

I've got a song
I ain't got no melody

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Last month, I decided to jumpstart my knitting (which had sort of . . . faded . . . of late) by adding some fresh tricks to my repertoire.  I joined A Year of Techniques (because there's always something new to learn) and decided to bring some (ahem. . . ) balance to my knitting.

While I don't plan to try each new technique on a monthly basis (my life is just too full for that - and I don't need any pressure to keep up), I do think I'll really enjoy learning some new tricks.

I've got a dance
I ain't got no steps, no

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I really enjoyed learning the helical stripes technique.  Simple.  Fun.  And it made so much sense once I got going that I can't believe I never figured it out for myself.  (But I didn't.)

My mitts are very "fraternal," although I did force things a bit to get the cuffs to be all in "dark" shades.

Will it go round in circles
Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky

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I was happy to switch out these mitts for my garden gloves yesterday, and pack them away for another season.  

(Ravely details here.)

 

 


Sign of the Times

I have to admit . . . when I first saw the Pussyhat pattern I thought . . . No.Way.  

But it didn't take long for me to, well . . . see the charm!  I jumped right on the Pussyhat bandwagon and churched out 6 hats in a little over a week before the Women's March on January 21.

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I love that KNITTERS have created this incredible symbol of feminism, freedom, and resistance.  I get goosebumps whenever I see the ever-farther-reaching impact of the Pussyhat Project.  

I gasped out loud last week when I heard about Missoni using Pussyhats (and super awesome Pussyhats, at that!) on their runway models at their Milan Fashion Week show.  (They also provided Pussyhats for all in attendance at the show to wear.)

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A knitter on Ravelry has already duplicated the cool Missoni hats (pattern here), so now you can make your own version of the Catwalk Pussyhat.

I mean, really.  How cool is that?


Glide on the Peace Train

Click here for today's soundtrack.

Back in December - eager for peace - I climbed on board the Peace Train (aka Project Peace).  I got a bit waylaid for a while. . . busy with this, that, and another thing.  But, eventually, I got caught up.

Last weekend, I finally finished my peace cowl.

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I'd say . . . just in time.

For out on the edge of darkness
There runs the peace train
Peace train take this country
Come take me home again

Glide on the peace train!

(Ravelry details here.)

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PS -- Don't forget -- the Month of Letters begins today!  Let me know if you'd like a letter this month and I'll be happy to write to you. 


So Complicated

If your house was anything like my house back in 2002, this song was probably blasting from your kids' boomboxes all. the. time.  (Right up there with Pink's Get This Party Started and anything by N'Sync.)

Anyway.

As soon as I read through the cable chart for my latest knitting project, this "golden oldie" from Erin's middle school days popped right into my head!

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Because 17 symbols in an 18-row chart is . . . well.  Complicated.

Plus . . . changing stitch counts.

And "borrowing" stitches from the next round.  (Sometimes 2; sometimes just 1.)

See what I mean?

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But nice hat, huh?

I'm not so sure about the pompom, though.

I think I'll pull a Tom + Lorenzo here . . . 

IN or OUT?

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I knit this hat as part of a quick-and-informal knitalong with Kat and Juliann.  Ravelry details here.

 


Finding the Right Song

Back in October, I decided to knit a warm and cozy sweatshirt-of-a-sweater.  Kind of an (ahem) instant gratification project.  Simple.  Big needles.  Chunky yarn.

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And I cast on during one of the Cubs games . . . on their way to the World Series.  I knit through all the games, and my knitting soundtrack seemed to be David Bowie/Queen's Under Pressure.

I was planning to finish up the bottom ribbing a week later . . . as I watched the election results.  But.  That night I couldn't knit a stitch.  I just sat there.  With my knitting in my lap.

Weeks of angst.  No knitting.  I couldn't bear to pick up any knitting - let alone that particular sweater.  I was dealing with my election grief -- while also hosting my entire family for Thanksgiving and my Mom's memorial service.  My knitting soundtrack switched to grunge . . . insert any Nirvana song here . . . but let's go with Smells Like Teen Spirit.

I started knitting another project - Project Peace, in fact.  Which brought be back to my needles and away from my angst.  After a few rounds of Project Peace, I decided to put it aside temporarily -- and finish up the sweater.

This time, a new knitting soundtrack emerged . . . Foo Fighters Times Like These (here's a nice acoustic version for you).

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I, I'm a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight
I am a little divided
Do I stay or run away
And leave it all behind?

It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these time and time again

And then . . . well.  I finished the sweater easily.  

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Sometimes you just need to find the right song.

(Ravely details here.)

 


The More We Are Seen, The More We Are Heard

Okay, Knitters.  It's time to take ACTION.

Get out your pink yarn.

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And join the PussyHat Project!

Knit a hat for yourself . . . knit a hat for a marcher . . . knit a hat for your daughter . . . knit a hat for your friends.  Just . . . knit a pink Pussyhat.

You can read all the details on the PussyHat Project website, including information on where to send hats (if you're knitting for marchers).  There is also a Ravelry group.

Knitting . . . can be a powerful action.
Power in numbers.

Power in pink.
Power in individuality within large groups.
Power in handmade.
Power in pussy.

Okay.  Let's knit hats!


Is It Genetic?

Recently, one of my mom's cousins in Canada sent me a few old photos of my mom as a little girl.  Here's one I hadn't seen before.

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That's my mom ("Little Vonnie") . . . with her mom (my grandmother) and grandma (my great-grandmother).  I love and treasure this photo -- because we only have one or two photos of my great-grandmother at all, and not many more of my grandmother.  (Both grandmas died before I was born.)

But look closely.

My great-grandmother is knitting a sock!!!  (Further, she didn't put the sock down for this rare 3-generation family photo-op with her daughter and granddaughter!)

Genetics.  It's a powerful force!


Finding Peace

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I don't know about you, but I could really use some peace in my life right now.

So . . . I joined Project Peace.  Knitters.  Knitting for Peace.  Thinking Peaceful Thoughts.  Sending our Peaceful JuJu out into the universe.  (And creating a lovely, warm handknit in the process.)

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Last night, I downloaded the pattern, settled on my yarn, and decided to wind it up.  Maybe I'd even cast on, y'know?  Let that Peace start flowing.

Well.

Let me tell you . . . I did not experience ANY Peace last night.

Because my lovely skein of yarn?  It turned out to be one of Those Skeins as soon as I put it on my yarn swift.  Knotted.  Tangled.  Two too many yarn ends.  A MESS.  I struggled on.  Swearing a bit and maybe throwing my scissors.  (No Peace.)  I wrangled the thing onto the ball winder, but it was uncoorperative every step of the way.  (Not even a Little Peace.)  Then, of course . . . it was wound onto the ball winder so tightly that I coudn't get it off!  (Forget all about Peace.)

I walked away.  Then I came back.  I took a deep breath.  

And started winding the too-tight yarn from the ball winder into a ball . . . by hand. 

I wound and I wound and I wound.  Around and around and around.  Once I relaxed - and stopped being so angry about the whole mess - I found the process to be (sort of) meditative.  Not Quite Peace, but closer.

Definitely better.  (But I decided to hold off on that cast on.  Because I didn't want to push my luck casting on 318 stitches.  Y'know?)

Want to join the Project Peace and knit your way to peace -- for yourself and for the world?  Find more information on Christina's website or here on Ravelry.

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(And with that . . . NaBloPoMo is over for another year!  Thanks for hanging around with me this month.)


Right Now . . . November 2016

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November has been a crazy-busy month for me, end to end.  Filled with stresses and emotions and too-long ToDo lists . . . but also with love and gratitude and turkey!

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(These gorgeous flowers are from my mom's memorial service last Tuesday.  Aren't they lovely?)

Here's what's happening in my world . . . Right Now:

Watching - I finished watching The Crown last night.  I loved it.  Tom and I watched Love Actually the other night.  Other than that, not much watching going on.

Reading - But . . . I do have plenty of reading happening!  I finished reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (and winner of this year's National Book Award) just yesterday morning.  This is a powerful book -- one I will be thinking about for quite a while.  I also recently finished Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  Again, powerful.  I have two books on library loan through Overdrive -- and I'm going to have to read fast because they're due far too soon (when it rains it pours, it seems): Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh and Hot Milk by Deborah Levy.  (Luckily, they're both on the short side.)  

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Knitting - I have been finding some time to knit a bit.  Not much, but some.  I'm knitting this sweater, and I'm nearing the end (just one more sleeve and the pockets).  On size 11 needles with bulky yarn, this one is clipping right along (so to speak; it's a relative statement).  I'm anxious to try some of these cute little guys -- and I'm still looking forward to knitting up some of these.

Drinking - Tea.   And plain old water-infused-with-oranges.  And wine.  (Natch.)

Humming - This one.  Four Strong Winds was one of my mom's favorites.  (She was from Alberta, you know.)  Erin sang it at the memorial service last week --- quite a bit different than Neil's version, of course.  Seeing that Erin's voice is classically trained.  And Neil's is . . . not.  Anyway.  I've been humming this song ever since.

Needing to - Resume my usual fitness routine.  Because my life has been so upside-down and inside-out lately that too many of my workouts have, well . . . pretty much disappeared.   (I also need to quit eating so much cheese.)  (But let's not talk about that.)

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Delighted by - Shhhhh.  It's kind of under the radar . . . but I'll let you in on a secret.  My knee has improved enough that I am running again.  Just a little.  And very slowly.  But I'm delighted.  (I'm also delighted by the shoelaces in my new running shoes.  Aren't they great?)

Looking forward to - Bringing light and winter comfort into my house during these dark times (seasonal AND political).  (Stay tuned.)

Celebrating - Something that I can't quite blog about yet.  But it's fun.  And I'll tell you as soon as I can.

Planning - A party.  The holidays.  My dad's move.  What to knit next.  Which book to load on my iPod.  Year-end tax stuff.  Pretty much . . . All The Things.

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Grateful for - These four goofballs.  I was so happy to have them all home last week.  I was happy to buy them drinks and take them out for dinner and laugh with them and listen to their banter.  It doesn't get much better!

How about YOU?  What's going on for you . . . right now?