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April 30, 2007

Transitions

I'm in a state of flux right now, but it's not a bad thing. It's just necessary.

My sister left yesterday and we both feel inspired and ready to reach for the changes instead of running from them. While our parents are making adjustments in their respective life stages, we're considering some changes to their care, and we daughters are continuing to work as a team. When we get on the other side of this, I might feel better about sharing some of the things we've been through. I know my blog has been quiet lately and that's why.

Thanks to Sallie, I have new information regarding my Dad's genealogy. My sister also found an envelope containing our mom's Japanese family history -- a certified copy provided by my uncle, circa 1988. Now all I need is a translator (we're working on that), to figure out which one of my ancestors was a samurai. My uncle had mentioned a long time ago that he was working on getting the family history together for me but I didn't realize he had sent it to my mom.

I'm almost finished (still) with the Dragon Scale Scarf and have chosen my next knitting project -- it literally came to me in a dream. It's a project I've had at the back of my mind, but didn't really think I'd actually KNIT it or wear, but I dreamed that I just needed to knit it and it's very plain and unspectacular. How do you like how vague I am?

Also in the works -- a design project. I'm hesitant to even put out there that I'm designing something -- but I am. It's something I'm hoping to teach as a class in the Fall for beginning knitters who are new to knitting in the round. Sometimes simple is best.

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April 27, 2007

Habu Kusha Kusha Scarf

Kushu Kushu
From the Habu Trunk Show

April 20, 2007

Furoshiki Kerchief

FuroshikiKerchiefBlog.jpg

Kerchief from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, (p.45)

It's wearable gift wrap & furoshiki

Yarn Used:
HABU 2/10 Kusaki Zome, A4, Color 24 (100% Silk)
HABU 1/12 Silk Mohair Kusa A32B, Color 23 (60% mohair, 40% silk)
(both yarns carried together while knitting)

Needles:
Size 6 Clover Bamboo Circular

Finished Size – 20” across top edge, 10” high from bottom point to top edge

Here's a Washington Post article about Japanese Gift Wrapping and another at Whip Up: Gift Wrapping, Japanese Style. I love the idea of using fabric or knitting to wrap gifts. Last Minute Knitted Gifts offers several ideas throughout the book for using your knitting to embellish your handknit gifts.

In the past, I've knit i-cord (scroll down) out of yarn scraps and used it to tie a tissue-paper wrapped bundle. Hemp and linen are great for making tassels. Fuzzy wools make wonderful pom-poms. Use your stash to create your own eco-friendly gift wrap.

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April 11, 2007

Detoxify, Purge & Renew

I've stopped reading and watching toxic material and I've purged some unpleasantness in order to make room in my mind for new and better things. (The things that I find toxic might not be an affront to anybody else, so I'm not sharing my list here).

Since ridding myself of those things, I've been craving color -- vibrant, bold, energizing color. Things have been gray and neutral in my thoughts for far too long. It finally occurred to me that some of the things that I choose to watch and read have been contributing to that.

Color might not do for you what it does for me, but it injects energy into whatever I'm working through. For instance, collaging some big changes in 2003:

Print of 2003 Altered Book Spread

Exploring some possibilities in 2005:

Colored Brads

Taking some joy in something simple in 2007:

eggcolorblog.jpg

And for all points in between, there's knitting:

knitscolorsblog.jpg

I don't know if I'll ever get used to hearing bad news. Yesterday we found out that Sassy has heartworm disease (most likely she had it before we adopted her in late October). She's a young dog and otherwise very healthy. I'm sure the reason she's now a member of our family is so that we can be the ones to see that she gets the best possible treatment (which won't actually begin till November 2007).

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts regarding project monogamy vs. project A.D.D. I'm in both camps. I won't say that I'll always be project-monogamous, but for now, I see the value. If it's lace, there's a rhythm. You don't want to set it aside too long. If it's a garment, same thing. For lace, I'll definitely stay focused because there's such a wonderful payoff.

April 06, 2007

Dragon Scale Scarf Part Two

These are the last in-progress shots I'll share till I'm finished:

DragonScaleProgressBlog.jpg

I've mentioned to some of you that I'm trying to stick to ONE knitting project until I'm finished. I am allowing myself to either work on swatches or socks on the side, but for the most part I am remaining project-monogamous.

DragonScaleScarf2Blog.jpg

The in-progress shots help ME to see that I'm keeping a decent pace and staying on track. Otherwise, it just feels weird for me to stick to one thing. If it gets too monotonous (rarely), I get up and wind some yarn or clean out my knitting basket. I daydream about what to choose for my next knitting project. I haven't made a final decision yet, but I want to choose something that won't require the purchase of more yarn. I'm not ready to go completely stash-less, but there are some things I've been wanting to work on and finish. Should it be another lace project?

My own little exception to this project monogamy rule is that I can allow myself to start or work on socks at any time -- limited only by the number of free DPNs I have in my knitting basket. There's my Twisted Yarns sock yarn that I keep admiring -- I can start it guilt-free if I want to:

OkiTuffetBlog.jpg

So do you knitters prefer sticking with one project or would you rather have several going at once? My own practice has been to enjoy several knits at once. However, I'm starting to see the appeal of having one at a time to focus on. And FOCUS has been the key -- even though I daydream about my next knit, I've stuck with this one project long enough to get a rhythm and not have to rely on the pattern while I knit. And the most amazing thing is that my mind and hands seem to know what to do next. I can feel immediately when a stitch isn't right and I can correct it quickly (within no more than five errant stitches) and I'm not getting as frustrated as I was when I started this scarf. I know that to some of you, none of this is new! But I just had to share that I do see the appeal now.

It's about to be the weekend again and I hope yours is wonderful. Have a Happy Easter if you celebrate it!

April 04, 2007

Swap thanks!

A big thank you to Chris for this package:

swapblog.jpg

The chocolate sheep almost didn't make it to the photo shoot. It was consumed immediately after! The booklet is excellent. There's a wide range of great patterns for baby knits along with illustrated instructions for beginners. Thanks again for your willingness to get me a copy.

Your package is on its way, Chris. Meanwhile, I can't wait to see a photo of you holding the Yarn Harlot's sock!

April 02, 2007

Dragon Scale Scarf

I first cast on with the blue Malabrigo laceweight to start the Dragon Scale Scarf on Friday night; then again on Saturday night; finally again on Sunday morning. I lost count at seven failed attempts to get past the first repeat. The pattern was straightforward, the needles are wonderful, and the yarn is awesome. But apparently I shouldn't knit in low light or when I have too many distractions.

So with great lighting, by Sunday afternoon, I had a tiny bit of progress to show:

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And by this afternoon, I had noticeable progress:

dragonscale2blog.jpg

So I learned that I have to stick to knitting lace during the day when the lighting is best and the kids are at school. I also have to keep track of my glasses.

And every night, I read this at my son's request.

eragon.jpg

For some reason, I think it inspires my knitting.