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May 31, 2009

Knitting bags

From RoseKnits Etsy shop:

:: One to keep ::
Anna Maria Horner Knitting Bag - RoseKnits Etsy
:: One to share ::
Anna Maria Horner Knitting Bag - RoseKnits Etsy


I love Anna Maria Horner fabrics so I'm enjoying my knitting tote very much. It slips on the wrist like a market bag and allows me to carry my purse on my shoulder. I'm picky about knitting bags and this one has all the features I love - it's roomy and deep and everything I put in it is easily accessible.

Annie of Rose Knits is from Tulsa, Oklahoma and in addition to Etsy, you can find her bags at Loops (online or at the shop in Utica Square). The fortune cookie bags are adorable and handy for your notions and accessories.

What's your favorite knitting bag?


May 29, 2009

Cultivation

Kristen's Pink™ Albutilon Hybrid
Kristen's Pink™ Abutilon hybrid

Thank you all for the kind comments on my previous entry . I appreciate (so much) the emails from all of you and the incredibly helpful advice and encouragement. Thank you!

I needed some quiet time on Wednesday, so I went to Lowe's to visit their garden center. I intended to just look and write down some ideas for a large bed in our front yard, but there were a few plants that had to come home with me after all. Although I'm not planning a lot of vibrant color in the beds, this pink and yellow flowering plant (above) was irresistible. Details are linked in the photo caption.

About three years ago, I was with my dad at his favorite garden center:

Dad at garden center

I don't remember what he bought that day (if anything), but he enjoyed strolling through and looking at the plants and talking about them. We knew he was declining due to dementia, but he was still very much at home with his plants. I don't have much of a green thumb, but like my sister mentioned to me last night, gardening is something that reminds us of him and perhaps that's part of what led me there.

My aunt has emailed me snippets of stories and memories about my dad's childhood and it's been such a great reminder to me to keep moving forward -- to remain connected and in the present. When I'm self-absorbed (whether through grief or distraction), I'm not connecting with anybody and that's not healthy, is it?

cul⋅ti⋅vate - to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention.


May 17, 2009

Lacy crochet and the state of things

Allhemp 3 Sprout Green Crochet Lacy Flower
Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts!: Lacy Crochet

I haven't had much of an opportunity to do much of anything, much less knit or crochet, although I think about it all the time. One of the things I want time to do more of is thread crochet. Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts!: Lacy Crochet is an excellent source for thread crochet patterns that go beyond doilies and into functional and useful accessories. My friend Chica in Japan saw what I was up to and sent a care package that included another Japanese crochet book, some Japanese yarn, accessories, and edible goodies.

Care Package from Chica

I was able to try out some of the yarn she sent to make a simple tawashi - tawashi are basically Japanese "scrubbies." It was enough of a project to help me feel slightly more relaxed and less anxious - focused on what was right in front of me instead of things that haven't even happened yet.

Through the force of sheer will, I've been trying to decrease the anxious feelings I've been having for the past several months. I'm finally acknowledging that I probably need to check with my doctor about some of what I'm experiencing, so thank you to those of you who've gently reminded me to do so. Part of what I'm panicky and anxious about is the fact that my dad (currently in a nursing home in Washington state) is in the final stages of Alzheimer's and we've had to make some decisions regarding next steps. I'm conflicted about so many things because of geographical distance and my plans to either travel at all, travel alone, or travel with my family. Then there are the decisions regarding how much to share with my younger children and whether their going along would be upsetting to them in any way.

For those of you who've gone through this process and care to comment, please know that although your comments are welcome and appreciated, I'm a wee bit fragile right now. This is a process that could take weeks or months for my dad and I'm already dealing with some negativity from others about some of the things I'm considering with regard to travel and timing. I have peace about my dad and awesome memories of him -- his creativity and sense of humor, his love of gardening, the joy he got from fishing, and how much he loved all the stray cats he was forced to adopt. There's so much more of course - but those things immediately come to mind. I wish I knew whether he was disappointed he only had four daughters and no sons. I wish I could ask him about his childhood and about his parents and grandparents. I wish I could tell him one more time that he had the most beautiful handwriting I've ever seen.

But you know what? I had a dream about him last night and in it, he was jovial and happy. He was getting ready to do yard work. He was just as I wanted to see him. Selfishly, I don't know that I want the images of how he is now to replace the ones I have or the man I see in photos like this one:

My Dad the Airman - in Japan, 1949

I assume my mom took this photo because she was in other photos taken by him on the same day. I love his wistful look and the jaunty air he had about him. At 22 years old, he had his whole life ahead of him and I truly believe that sixty years later, he would say he's had a good ride.

May 08, 2009

Knit plain socks

Just a plain sock

Last week, I had an urge to knit a sock -- a plain sock -- to compensate for way too much unfinished business (both in fiber and in my life). Instead of my usual 2.25mm double-pointed needles, I opted for the 2.75mm to knit these (2" ribbed cuffs were knit with 2.25mm) in the spirit of this great Elizabeth Zimmermann quote:

“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.” – Knitting Without Tears


It worked.

Plain socks are no-nonsense knits. There's no fiddling with patterns or endless choices and decisions. And for this sock, I didn't even set out to knit them for a particular person. I just wanted to knit socks. Halfway through, I realized that this is the best way to get socks done. So, I'm thinking now about my "precious" sock yarn collection -- all of those skeins of sock yarn awaiting the perfect sock pattern before I use them. Why not just knit it all up? It's the process of knitting plain socks that I enjoy so much, so does it matter if I take the easy way out? I knit the first sock very quickly -- a personal record of 2.5 days of actual knitting time. And this was accomplished during a busy and stressful week. It has energized me too, so I am passing this idea along to you and giving you permission to knit plain socks.