Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Didn't Buy Any Yarn

I am in the middle of dejunking my office because it will become a combination office and yarn room. I cleared away all the rubble, then I put everything loose into boxes and next I will move those boxes plus whatever furniture I can out of the room so the floor will be cleared for the hubby-bubby to come in with our steam cleaner and clean the carpet. The we will move in yet another computer stand and figure out where the boxes of yarn will go. I started this yesterday and yesterday evening I announced I was going to Joann.

"Why?" The H-B asked rather suspiciously.
Now, he has never asked why. He's never said anything. He has accepted the fact that his existence is now yarn based in the same way a cat lover's spouse must accept hair balls.
"Not to buy yarn. I just bought yarn. I am going because I want to make my own stitch markers." (This is the truth) "I'm not even going to look at yarn." (If God were Zeus, I would be struck by a lightening bolt.)
So, off to Joann I went. Got the stuff to make the stitch markers, picked up The Prayer Shawl Ministry II and Knit With Debbie Macomber - Back On Blossom Street book of Prayer Shawls. But not one ball of yarn. Oh, I looked and Lion Brand was on sale for 25% off, but I wasn't at the Super Store; I was at the regular store and they were practically wiped out. I did see some Paton's Melody that was tempting, but I have nothing to knit with it. (Though I could have looked in the patterns books and found something.) I felt it more important to be a good wife than an impulsive buyer. In truth, our house is a wreck and it is the yarn that has tipped the balance so I must reign it in. So no yarn.

I did make my stitch markers which will fit needles up to size 13. I will buy more goods to make them for size 13 and up. I don't often knit with 13 and up needles, but just in case.

I don't know when this became an obsession. But it could be worse - mebbe - I suppose it could be drugs or booze or young boys. Yeah, better that it's knitting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Craze Phase

So, what's up with me having seven projects on the needles? This is what used to happen then I switched to working on one project at a time and now I have come back to multiple projects.

There is a method to the madness....

I have a ton of tote bags - I love tote bags. Don't ask why; I've learned to accept it. I went to a library convention last year and collected about 15 tote bags and I've received three from people in my sister's Baha'i choir this year and last year, plus all the others.

Here comes the logic....

I have two tons of yarn all through the house. The only rooms in the house that do not have yarn is the kitchen and the bathroom. And that's because the hubby-bubby moved the yarn out of the kitchen last night.

Do you see it coming.....

I have two sales coming up. One day in November and a week in December. I always worry that we won't have enough even though we do sell a great deal, we always come back with boxes of stuff, but the fear gets the needles clacking.

Now it all comes together.

Yarn in tote bags are WIPs which means less yarn cluttering around. The project goes into a tote bag which goes into a newly cleared shelf in the lawyers bookcase. The projects won't all be done for the sale in November, but there should be 1/3 to 1/2 of the seven done in time for the December sale.

So to conclude the logic end of our journey...

The house is less cluttered. More items are available for the sale. I actually use the tote bag collection and I have variety and diversity in knitting.


On the other hand, I usually have more than one project going when I feel things are a little out of control. Now that the funk is clearing away, I will probably work on one project a day and alternate the WIPs. But it's good to have an explanation ready.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Past Five Days.....

I've been living in the ordinary world. No big major ups or downs. No projects completed. Just worrying about the economy and thinking I will go and vote early. I didn't vote yet because I hadn't made up my mind until last night how I was going to vote and I figured it out last night. Being a past member on the Board of Directors for the League of Women Voters of Chicago, I look at politics with a different eye. Things are never as clear cut as they seem and for me I knew who I wasn't going to vote for; I just didn't know who I was going to vote for. (It makes sense.)

I have several projects going. Though I think I will probably frog the sweater because it isn't feeling like it's coming out right. I'm rethinking Bernat Softee Chunky. It's not really a bad yarn. I still like Herschnerr's chunky better because it's a different feel but it's always good to have options.

We priced items for the big sale coming up in November. We have about eight big boxes of stuff and the sale should be a good one. We also have a sale coming in December. These are usually the two biggest of the year, so I need to get cracking on some projects so we have enough for both sales. (I always worry we won't have enough. Hey, one day it could be true!)

I'm coming out of a little bit of a funk. Maybe I don't like ordinary days. I'll feel better once I have another project completed. In the meantime, I know if I don't find anything exciting in the world, it's because I'm not being exciting in it. So this is on me. Sigh.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When Is An Afghan Not An Afghan - con't

Remember a while back I knit all these squares to make an afghan and when I started to pull it together, it didn't work? I made two of those squares into a pillow, but I still have plenty of squares left and now some of them have become this kiddie scarf! There are still enough squares to make a matching hat and possibly mittens.

But here is the Take A Ribbing scarf from "Getting Started Knitting" I couldn't tell you how many colors are in it, but it's made from the Herschnerr's Chunky weight yarn which is really yummy to me. (I wouldn't know what to do with yarn that actually cost more than $7 a skein!) It's a nice yarn with lots of colors (obviously) and very lush. It's the shipping charges that kills the buzz for me. I wait until they have free shipping which they do a couple of times a year and then I buy a bunch of it.

If I get the chance, I will try and whip up a hat or mittens to go with it but the scarf will go on sale at the bazaar next month.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Project Updates

So, you see the weird hat. I tried this thing on and I thought my head was going to topple over. The knot makes it so heavy; but I swear, it looks just like the photo in the patten. I may have to take the knot out and do a weave through or something. I can't sell or give it away - it could hurt someone!
The scarf is folded-4 times. I had someone 5'7 drape this over their shoulders and it still reached the ground. They could fold it over their neck several times which made it very warm. It's the Sunset Strip scarf. Someone wanted to know if it was a pastor's stole and I had to laugh because I had the idea the StitchCraft group should make one and give to the three pastors in our church. I still may look up some stoles on line for inspiration and do one in stockinette stitch then duplicate stitch the symbols in. Of course, I will let you know if that should come about.

Does she really have 5 projects going? Yes, she does. Don't know what she was thinking, but there you are. And for all the projects I have going and all the yarn it takes. My house still looks like Yarn Warehouse, LTD. It breeds in the dark when I'm not looking. And it will never end.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Prayer Shawl Gathering

Our group, StitchCraft, was invited to attend a Prayer Shawl gathering in Naperville. It was hosted by the Prayer Shawl ministry of Grace United Methodist Church. There were maybe 30 -40 women who attended for a day of prayer, sharing stories, patterns, books, etc. There was even a little bit of knitting.

It wasn't what I expected, I thought we would have a few hours of knitting and taking together but this was a complete program and it was a fun and interesting time sharing something we all had in common and seeing the different ways we did things.

I brought my camera with me and didn't have time to take a single picture. They did have a photographer there so I am certain I can find some pictures if I really put my mind to it.

What I discovered about our group is that we are somewhat unique and expansive. What I found out about other groups is that they have way more people in their knitting group than we do. It all works because it's all for a greater cause to serve and for the lesser but important cause, to spend time building a fellowship of women. It's amazing how much you give when you give as much as you can.

I look forward to the next one. And I should tell you to mark your calendar: the 2009 Sit & Knit will be April 25 from 10am to 2:00pm.

I finished You Know Better by Tina McElroy Ansa (I give it 2.5 of 4 bookmarks) and I've begun a new read: Evelina by Frances Burney. Eclectic, I know.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oh Yeah, I Knit

Here are two of the scarves I recently completed. I just wanted to do something easy and mindless and these certainly fit. They were both completed sometime last month. The one on the left is the unixes scarf. Same pattern on both sides - it's kinda long (not nearly as long as my sunset strip scarf which could fit someone seven feet tall) but it works for both sexes.

As does the simple garter stitch scarf on the right. Here's the thing about that scarf. I was using yarn which was donated to our knit group and this yarn is so old it's marked with the Venture store logo. Venture has not been in business since sometime in the early nineties. I pulled out to skeins of green yards and gotta knittin'. It wasn't until I was almost finished when I noticed the greens were two different dye lots and were not the same. I had already started using the second ball -what to do?

I bound off the green on one end, picked up stitches on the other end and so it looks like the scarf is trimmed in one color and the body is knit in the other. - That's right, folks - that's what the price of a college education will get you!

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Celebration of Mothers

So, here are the mamas. My mother's birthday was yesterday. She would have been 78 years old. This is my favorite picture of her and Joe. We buried Joe's mom on Saturday. Believe it or not, the man in the picture with her is not her husband. It is her fiance.
She was engaged at 81 years old. We were engaged together. They never married - Leonard passed away the January after we were married. This was taken at our wedding reception.

Yesterday was a conflict of emotions for me from sadness over Josephine and remembering my own mother. All that was left of me was exhaustion. I didn't grieve or celebrate much because it was all so overwhelming.

But today I can take a moment to remember two women with influence. My mother told me shortly before her death that my sisters and I were her best friends. How neat is that: to raise your best friends? That was especially important to me because I am seven and ten years younger than my sisters - the youngest and a decade is a long time. My sisters and I are close as well. We used to have a weekly sister chat and schedules have made that an every other week if we're lucky sister chat, but we are still together. We have two brothers as well, but you know, they're boys.

I came to see my mother as a woman - I truly believe that is a gift we can give to our parents - to be mature enough to see them as human beings after we've seen them as parents. That was the day I became her friend. Trust me, I heard "I'm not your friend; I'm your mother." when I growing up so I know what a transition it was from one to the other. It was during that time that most of the lessons came to roost. I'm still learning from my mother. From who is was and who she wanted to be but couldn't become. From how her own mother influenced her life to cycles that should continue and those that should be broken. She is still my greatest teacher.

Joe's mom was at our house after we came back from my mother's funeral. I don't know what we were talking about but I must have said something about my mother's being gone and she very gently but firmly looked at me and said: "I'll be your mother." And there were times that she championed me and defended me and called me just to chat. She had another daughter-in-law who is the uber daughter-in-law and who has been in the family for more than 30 years - she was closer to her than she was to me, but I have no complaints. She did right by me.

She came with me to one of my women's meetings at church and charmed all the women there. (At her funeral someone whispered to me they could still remember her apple slices.) We went on a trip to Phoenix together. She gave me a package of Joe's baby pictures. When I was the foreman for a special grand jury, she baked apple slices for the jury. When she said something I took offense to and told Joe about it - he went down the street and talked to her about it. She immediately called me to apologize and told me she was so happy I was married to her son.

I sang at her funeral on Saturday. Amazing Grace and The Lord is My Shepherd she did like my singing so it was a gift I could give to her. I actually made it through both songs. The final gift I can give her, of course, is to take care of her son. Both her sons spent a great deal of time with her. They weren't mama's boys at all but they were caring, devoted sons which makes them both devoted husbands. My sister-in-law and I are two lucky women - and don't we know it.

On the other hand; they are two incredibly lucky men - thanks to the mamas.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It Was Joe's Birthday...

yesterday. And yet, we did not celebrate. He says he doesn't even want to talk about it for a week.
For one thing, he still has a terrible infection. But moreso, his mother passed away Monday evening. The doctor called us Monday morning and said all she could do is make her comfortable and we should get there. Joe's brother was in New York and headed back. Joe and I went to the hospital and Joe's sister came along with his brother's wife. We were there all day - we never left her alone.

My mother-in-law spent the day moving her arms about and we finally figured out she was working. She was a coil winder during the years her husband was away in the war. She said many times it was that job that got her the pension she enjoyed. Before that, she had never worked. It gave her a sense of independence and spirit. Her hands moved throughout the entire day. She did not doze off or sleep. And I knew. I knew the moment she stopped 'working' she would go home.

Joe and I left after 7 that evening. He went back at about 8. They all left at 10:30. She stopped working at about 11:00.

My own Mom passed away in 1997 shortly before our first anniversary and someday I will tell you about the remarkable woman she was. After her death, Joe's mom showed me a letter my mother had written to her. Obviously, it was a letter I wanted to keep, and Josephine said I could have it only after her death. I could have the letter, and her wedding picture which I always admired. They will work themselves over to me eventually. And I will cherish them both.

She was an extraordinarily strong woman. Flawed, as we all are, but strong nonetheless. They are stories for another time. For right now, I am going to keep them between me and Joe. Just for the moment because it is what he needs. But I will tell you about both of them. Because there are things to say.


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