Friday, May 19, 2006

Sexy Little Knits arrived in the mailbox today. I can honestly agree with the word "little", and there is definitely some knitting in it. When I ordered it, I harbored delusions that it might be along the lines of White Lies Designs. It is decidedly Not. The write-up at Amazon mentioned that she had "celebrity clients" - not normally something I take into account, but VK has of late been mentioning celebrities who knit - ie. Sarah Jessica Parker, Courtney Thorne Smith, so I thought perhaps there would be some classy, fashion forward, shapely (my definition of sexy) designs. Turns out, according to the book jacket, that her celebrity fan club in fact consists of Brittany Spears, Christina Aguilera, and the Hilton sisters. I could have used this information back when I had my credit card out.

Angora, if you were wondering. I'm trying to tell myself that I could learn some terribly useful shaping techniques from the pattern. Just as long as I don't have to actually make it. I quote "..doesn't a soft, fluffy camisole and panty set sound ten times more intriguing to knit than a winter sweater?"

For the record, the caption says "Faux suede is super sexy." I like to think I learn something with every new knitting book.

No. And I actually have long skinny legs - but.... No.

And you thought that 1/2 skein of yarn leftover wasn't enough for a garment.

I particularly like the "not for use in water" disclaimer on many of the bathing suits.

In spite of that extended display of cattiness, I am not in fact, going to return the book. (Postage back to Amazon would make it not worthwhile for one.) It does actually have a couple of cute mesh tops that would be OK over a camisole, and - hey - perhaps my DH will be inspired to take up the needles when he finally retires from blowing up stuff.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

What I'm Looking For

It was gloriously sunny and hot today, with just a hint of a breeze to carry the delicious scents of spring across the fertile fields. Running into the wide blue sky scribbled with soaring contrails, a driving beat blaring in the ipod, I felt, for that moment, strong and optimistic and happy.

The truth is, right now I deeply envy my husband his profession. To leap straight into the sky with all that speed and power at the command of your fingertips, to blow stuff up - loudly, decisively and to unmistakable effect - well, it has a certain appeal.

What have I done for the last decade and a half? I've been Nice. Day after day, I've practiced Active Listening and Infinite Patience. I have educated, encouraged, pleaded, cajoled and begged patients to eat real food, quit smoking, exercise, ditch the jerk and generally DO something - anything - positive for themselves. And when they came back visit after visit to complain about how they still didn't feel good and their lives sucked and they hadn't taken even the most elementary step we'd talked about - I would patiently educate, trouble-shoot and encourage all over again. With very few exceptions, it was in one ear and out the other. I totted it up once - thousands upon thousands of hours of my life spent earnestly saying stuff that nobody listened to. It's enough to make a girl feel ineffectual.

As far as Good Listening and Empathy go - lets just say I still believe on some level in that lighting candles vice cursing the darkness business - but the darkness doesn't look any less dark then when I started, all the candles I lit seem to have gone out in a hurry, and I'm just about out of matches.

So what's a liberal peace-loving, gay-friendly, feminist, tolerant, breast feeding, kind and sensitive girl to do with all that righteous fury boiling a hole in my gut? Not this, apparently.

"But", to quote a song that brings me to tears every time with its way too close to the bone truth, "I still haven't found what I'm looking for."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Short and Sweet

As always on Mondays and Wednesdays, my marathon office days, this will be brief. Yesterday, while continuing the daunting process of sorting and decluttering in preparation for our upcoming move, I ran across this:

It's one of my very first garment designs - I believe I must have been 6 or 7 at the time, and decided my teddy needed a vest. (Actually, I still have the teddy - one of only two childhood toys I have kept for myself. She is in a rather delicate state, having undergone considerable love over the years, so she lives in the Christmas trunk and sits under the tree every year.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bags and Sleeves

First, an update on the progress of the Dulaan sweater. I picked up the front loops of the first column of steek stitches, which makes the steek flaps fold back nice and neatly against the body of the sweater. I am inordinately pleased with how easily this is coming together, despite being my first attempt at steeking. Assuming I have not called down calamity upon my head with that uncharacteristic display of hubris, I think I might try writing out and posting the pattern once I've finished. (Not that I have many readers, being new to blogging, but if I can work out how to put the link in the sidebar, someone may eventually find it useful). It lends itself well to using up leftover yarn or experimenting with two color patterns; in essence, it could be a sort of large swatch to play with. The two stranded format is a particularly good choice for the Dulaan project because of the warmth factor; I also expect it would be more wind resistant than a single strand bulky knit of comparable thickness because of the layers created by the inside strands. (Having been marooned on the prairies for six years now, I am painfully aware of the effects of a howling wind at -30 C).

Now, the bags. I've been looking for a knitting bag that would hold a small project (socks, or a baby sweater, or a little lace scarf), have pockets for the scissors and other bits, sling comfortably and unobtrusively over the shoulder while chasing the kids or going for long walks, and be dirt, water and weather resistant enough to drag around anywhere (pubs, playgrounds, mountain tops) while keeping its contents safe and pristine. Also, be inexpensive enough that I could have more than one and still afford to buy yarn to put in it. Drum roll...... my favorite gear store....... Mountain Equipment Co-op had the answer. These were $15 each, exactly the right size with a long adjustable shoulder strap and loads of useful pockets. MEC products are always top quality, I have the satisfaction of knowing that the materials and labor were responsibly sourced, and it's a Canadian company. (No I don't work for them, I've just spend the equivalent of
the GNP of a small country there on backcountry camping / hiking / running gear over the years.)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Guinevere Knits

The lovely and talented Guinevere, the Irish wolfhound.

Perhaps feeling a little intimidated by the virtuosity of her hero, the inimitable Gromit.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

Today was a lovely Mother's Day. Mimosas in the tub, with a little treat from LUSH to perfume the air and soften the skin, while the DH cooked brunch.

Despite the "help," it turned out spectacularly: Eggs Benedict with lox and Hollandaise sauce - made by the Man himself, from scratch - smooth and creamy and perfect. No, you can't have him.

No Mother's Day post would be complete without a tribute to my own mother, although I won't encroach on her privacy with pictures. It was she who taught me to sew, as early in life as I can remember. She invited a friend over to teach us both crochet when I was six, and encouraged me as I taught myself to knit a few years later. Most importantly though, she taught me not to be afraid to try anything that caught my eye. She instilled in me the notion that there was nothing I couldn't make if I just took my time, read the instructions and worked at it patiently. And if there were no instructions, or we couldn't afford to buy a pattern? That just meant some careful measuring and a bit of figuring, that was all. Although she delegated the task of math teacher to my father during the early home schooled years, it was she who taught me the "can do" approach to problem solving that resulted in my aptitude for algebra. Her seemingly inexhastible stash cupboard always yielded up just the right bit of fabric or yarn for my projects, and though money was tight, she was unfailingly generous with materials.

Arthritis prevents her from doing much needlework any more, but as always, she has adapted and moved on - painting now. I hope with all my heart that I can pass on her legacy to my own children.