Saturday, October 07, 2006

My Sky

A brief flash of blue sky on an otherwise grey day last week:

7 October 2006

Our task for the Thanksgiving weekend: tidy the condo and move all the furniture up against the walls in preparation for Tuesday. I'm (uncharacteristically) optimistic, whereas Rob, who actually watched the truck load in MJ, keeps pointing out that the boxes from the kitchen alone will occupy about 1/3 of our present living space. Thankfully this moving crew did a better job of labelling than the last one, who wrote "miscellaneous" on almost everything, although with boxes jammed six deep floor to ceiling, one can't exactly pick and choose which to open first.

In any case, it should make for entertaining blogging. One of the best things about having a blog is that life events that would otherwise be merely aggravating are magically transformed into Amusing Personal Anecdotes. Assuming I can find the computer, that is.


Thanks so much for all the lovely compliments on the Greek Chic sweater. There's a tremendous sense of satisfaction and self-sufficiency in finishing up a garment, snipping the last thread, and walking out the door in it five minutes later. I've kept careful pattern notes for future consideration, and I may develop it in self-published form at a later date.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Greek Chic

Finished at last, and just in the nick of chilly fall time:

front Greek

side and back Greek

Pattern: my own - in-the-round construction, seamless except for the set-in sleeves.
Yarn: navy - Softball cotton (mill end cone from Grand River Yarns) cream - Jo Sharp DK cotton (not the easiest stuff to work with - I wish I had had some of the Softball in cream, but I'm on stash-only for a while).
Comments: I set myself the design challenge of a perfectly form-fitting cotton top, as well as conquering the combination of stripes and set-in sleeves. I could have made my life considerably less tedious by not making half the stripes in a fretwork design, but all in all, it turned out exactly as I envisioned (how amazing is that?)and I couldn't be happier. (OK, I would be happier if the fretwork joined up at the seams in perfectly unbroken fashion, but I'm not sure that's mathematically possible, so I will accept Good Enough as just that.) It is a perfect fall sweater - warm but not overly so, and fitted enough to layer comfortably under a quilted vest.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Single No More

Rob made it safely home last night. The kids were thrilled, the dog was ecstatic (an ecstatic Irish Wolfhound is more than a little alarming), the cat glanced up momentarily. As for me - well.... you know. It's a family-friendly blog and all.

The more I see of life, the more firmly I am convinced that a great marriage, ripening and maturing over the years, is a magnificent treasure above all others. For many reasons though, it feels awkward to say that publicly. So many folks have not found someone, or married what turned out to be the wrong someone, that to celebrate my own great blessing feels like an affront to all the grief and disappointment and longing in the world. But life is uncertain and treasures can be snatched away in an instant, and surely the greater sin would be to take it for granted.

The coming week will be extraordinarily busy, as we prepare for the arrival of the moving truck next Tuesday. Apparently, despite all the radical culling of the last six months, the stack of boxes that landed on the truck takes up roughly the same volumetric dimensions as our present living room. While generous quantities of packing material makes up much of the bulk, it's still going to be a juggling act for a few days.

On the knitting front, I hope to finish the last cosmetic details on the Greek Chic sweater today and get it photographed. (I finally got sick of calling it "that navy and white striped sweater with the alternating plain and fretwork stripes". It was inspired in part by the blue and white sweaters for sale when we were in Crete, and when Charity said it looked like a Greek fisherman's sweater, the decision was made.) The Cape is back on the needles, and I am debating whether I could knit up a super warm cardigan in time to get DD through the shoulder season, or whether I should just cop out and go to the store. (I know, I know - I'll likely get the cardigan half finished and have to buy her a jacket anyway - then again, I'm not writing a book and planning my wedding at the same time, so this ought to be a piece of cake.)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Patterns in Nature: Pink Daisies

One of the outcomes of this project of looking intently at the natural world has been a new appreciation for wildflowers. The flashy blooms resulting from commercial breeding are striking, but they lack the subtle range of hues found in their wild cousins. Nevertheless, sometimes it's fun just to play with crayons....

This is photo from my parents' yard, which they sent the other day:

cropped to 400

It's an extraordinarily lovely picture, but the colour range is really only this:

daisy palette

The most striking pattern feature is those sunny yellow polka dots on a cotton candy pink ground - not something I'd wear, but perfect for a little girl's spring cardigan. Intarsia is (still) not my thing, however, back when my son was born, I played for a while with a modular garter stitch garment in brightly coloured cotton. He outgrew that particular yarn supply before I got anywhere with it, but I loved the way the cotton behaved in a multidirectional garter stitch.

Perhaps something along these lines:


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Girl Can Dream, Can't She?

No sooner did I type the words "not allowed to work on anything else," than the most delicious idea popped into my head. I haven't started, or even swatched it, but I did pull out the yarn:

alpaca collection

This is handspun alpaca, purchased at an alpaca farm on Thetis Island many years ago. The brown is a very firm aran, the gray would be a DK or light worsted, and the black is laceweight. I was not especially savvy in the ways of yarn back then, and didn't clue in to the vast difference between them (sadly, neither did the folks who sold it to me point out that this was inappropriate for the tricolor stockinette sweater pattern I was waving at them.) It is lovely yarn, however, and the fact that they are all undyed naturals from the same herd made me want to keep the set together.

With the profusion of soft, cozy greys and browns this fall, I've decided the time has come. I have a vision of a cropped cardigan with 3/4 sleeves (maybe even full length - depends how the yardage holds up), just loose enough to layer over a long clingy T-shirt. The body and sleeves will be knit from the brown and grey yarns, in a nubbly tweedy mixture - woven stitch, or perhaps one of the other tweedy two colour patterns from Barbara Walker's first treasury. Preferably something that doesn't eat yardage too fast, since I'm somewhat limited there. The black will be used for the borders - probably doubled for the button bands, with an interesting pattern (maybe even lacy - I'll decide once the main sweater's done) for the lower border and cuffs.

I may even get to start soon, since I finished and seamed in the second sleeve of the blue and white sweater last night - all that's left is the neckline. This is absolutely, positively the last new project (other than Christmas presents and sweaters and hats and mittens for the kids) before Christmas. Really. Seriously. (The white Aran is already in development, so it was grandfathered in before the rule. Also the silk scarf. And obviously I need socks and a hat and gloves, but those hardly count.) Not to mention putting my nose to the grindstone with the jewellery, so as to make a proper go of the business. No problem.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Another Metal Monday

Phase 2 of our migration west begins. The packers will be busy today in MJ, boxing up what remains of our possessions, the truck loads tomorrow, Rob arrives in Whistler Wednesday night, and the truck arrives..... they haven't decided yet. Probably within a week. Despite having no control over the process, I couldn't help lying awake pondering: What will get damaged this time? Will the piano make it safely to my parents' place? (The one real sacrifice I have made in this business of downsizing is the requirement to do without my beloved piano - a very painful loss which I'll talk about another time. That and my Maytag washer and dryer - felting now costs $1.75 a wash cycle, speaking of which, I've run out of quarters - must remember to go to the bank...) Did we cull enough - will there be any floor space when the stuff is unloaded? How the heck am I going to get the old fridge and stove out of the condo just before the new ones arrive? Why did the lady who was coming to see the fridge yesterday not show up, causing me to stay home all day with two kids who desparately needed an outing?

Cue deep breathing...


Today's silverwork is crocheted:

silver droplets

I have a longstanding fascination with droplets, both gemstone and silver. There is, of course, the whole symbology of water - birth, new life, feminine energy, Spirit - but more than that, the form of the droplet itself compells me. Such a perfect, curvaceous entity, yet so ephemeral - stretching gracefully from its origin, existing for only the briefest moment before falling to rejoin the whole. Perhaps it is the process of maturity and accumulated loss - both timely and untimely, that makes this ephemeral nature of the individual and the moment feel so acute now.