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Knitting in the Shadows
Wednesday, 4 January 2006
A is for Anna and Arches! and Abalone
A is for Anna

Anna is was is my paternal grandmother. Today is was is her birthday. She would have been 104 today had she not died in the spring of 1997.

Anna was an extraordinary scrabble player despite having "only" an 8th grade education. She regularly whupped not only my butt, but also my father's (PhD in Physics who likes to do the New York Times Crossword Puzzle) and my "wicked-evil-stepmother"'s (PhD in French Literature who is one of the most delightful and bright women I've known).

Anna was also a fine bridge player, but didn't take bridge nearly as seriously as we all took Scrabble.

Anna was firm but gentle and loving beyond measure. She taught Sunday school until she was about 92, and turned to the Bible to help her solve her problems. But she never forced her Bible on anyone who wasn't interested or ready. She believed in God with an open heart that seemed to have plenty of room for folks who followed other paths.

She also made a mean fig preserve from the figs we picked from the tree in her yard. I fear that Katrina ripped that tree down...

She thought I didn't swear.

Anna brought me to yarn. She crocheted more afghans than I can count. So many of them so lovely, that I can turn a blind eye to the unfortunate number of Sunbonnet Sue refrigerator magnets she made when afghans grew too large. She taught me to crochet, and didn't bat an eye when, having learned and made my first square, I declared that I was going to make a ripple afghan next.... she took me to the store to buy yarn. You're saved from a picture of that bit of artistry in 70's shades of orange, as I finally donated it after about 20 years of dragging it from place to place.

I have an exquisite full sized bed coverlet she crocheted in thread....

She kept, and then gave to me, her grandmother's thread crochet hook. It was many years before I felt I'd earned the right to actually use it.

But mostly... mostly... Anna smiled, and loved, and laughed. I miss her still

A is also for Abalone

Abalone is a fun game I bought for myself and my secretary ... We've just started our first game... and we're playing it sort of like long distance chess. Each of us takes a turn, and then puts up a wee sign to tell the other person it's her turn. It lives on a table in my office. Whenever we have time, we pause to ponder the board.

Abalone brings a bit of levity to the day.

There's even an online version, if you'd like to try if for yourself.

A is also for Aggravating

I bought this lovely yarn:

When we were in the store (Needlework's), this yarn told me it wanted to be Jay's hat.


Now that I've gotten hit home, cast on an appropriate number of stitches, and started to knit, it's clearly saying that it refuses to be a hat.

Not for Jay (who did ask for yellow) ...

not for anyone.

Now that I've spent all this money on fancy schmancy cashmere/merino/micorfiber... it's starting to say things like "baby sweater".


Is it insane?

It got me to knit up a nice wee hem, join the hem even, and now it's murmuring baby sweater at me?
No one in her right mind knits a pullover for a baby -- babies hate pullovers. They don't like that pulling over part. Besides, you have to make the neck so big to get it over the wee bairn's head that it gapes at the neck ....


Baby sweater indeed.

Perhaps if I knit a few more rounds it will change its mind?

A is also for Arches --

Ever notice how many Arches there are around you? Here are just a few of the Arches I see as I walk from my office to my car:


There are even some crafty arched windows, through which you can see still more arches on the other side:

And then there are more arches within arches.. whose beauty is withheld from those of us on the outside looking in:

There are Famous Arches around the world:

The Arch of Constantine

the Arch of Titus

Mezquita Arches

and other Cathedral type arches:

Amiens Cathedral

Giotto's Chancel arches

Dunkfeld Cathedral's arches

Wells Cathedral's Retrochoir

Natural Arches


and even fanciful arches

I don't know about you, but I've even got arches in my house

Why do we care? Because arches help us build strong buildings with wider open spaces than we could otherwise.
Besides, they're beautiful!

They even used arches in knitting patterns now and then... What's YOUR favorite?

Posted by shadowdancer105 at 5:44 PM CST | Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, 4 January 2006 10:05 PM CST
Tuesday, 3 January 2006
Now Playing: NOT Christmas music
Topic: Holidays
It's gone.
They're all gone!
Yesterday I took down every Father Christmas in the house, and packed them safely away for next year.

I put away all of the candles that smell so Christmasy you can't quite fathom burning them any other time of the year. (When else does one burn Bayberry, for example?) I packed up their candle holders and put them away too.

I put back the "regular" candles and candle holders. (We're not getting into a candle discussion right now).

I put away all the snow globes. They're safely in their boxes, upside down to keep the water in.

I brow beat the kids into helping me un-decorate the tree and carefully wrapped each ornament and put them all in their box. I gently took the strings of red beads off the tree. Dan took the lights off.
I put it all away, and we hauled the tree to the curb.

We went outside in the 50 degree weather (??) and took the lights off of the bushes and arbor vitae. I coiled, Dan tied and put each strand in its own plastic bag (thus clearing out the back log) and then put them all in a box in the garage.

I took all the Christmas/Holiday/Solsticey music out of the CD changers in the house and in the car, and replaced them with other stuff (like Tom Leher).

Sometime today, the tree disappeared.

All that remains are the wreaths hanging from the sides of the garage.

Christmas has officially left our house.

Deep breath.

Posted by shadowdancer105 at 4:35 PM CST | Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 1 January 2006
New Year Weather Report - Fickle
Two days ago, it was snowing clumps.

No, not flakes, clumps. Practically snowballs already.

I tried to get good pictures of just how big the flakes were, but at least you can see the streaks as they fell.

By yesterday evening, it looked like this outside

Can you say "Fickle Weather?"
Sure, I knew you could.

Between those photos, we went to see King Kong. For reasons beyond my comprehension, DH decided this would be a perfect movie for the whole family.


If you excise the middle stuff, where Peter Jackson evidently felt compelled to insert a wee bit of Jurassic Park followed by some sort of Revenge of the Giant Bugs sequence, it would have been okay. But that middle chunk kept at least one child's head buried in my shoulder for the duration, and added nothing useful to the plot.

I managed to make some headway on the Jaywalker Socks during the film -- before the kids got scared. I've also done dome knitting at home, and they're actually starting to look like they might BE socks in the foreseeable future (knock wood)

Project List, Short Form
I start the year with the following knitting projects actively on the needles:

1) Jay Walker Socks for the KAL

2) Dan's Sweater

3) The second of the Celtic Wedding Shawls

Armed with great instructions for a PVC blocking frame from MatthewI have, lined up to block, the first of the Celtic Wedding Shawls.

I have passively on the needles, waiting for me to give them some attention:

1) The Prue-Columbian Shawl
2) The Guitar Socks (who are still in the dog house for not telling me I'd made two left ones)
3) A gorgeous top out of Tess' Designer Yarns microfiber ribbon that will not sew up the way the instructions say it will
4) A ribbon dress for summer

I have panting to get on the needles

1 hat for Jay, now that I've finally found the appropriate yellow yarn (he asked for it!)

New Year's Resolutions?

None yet. Vague ideas about clearing the clutter out of my house, knitting more, finishing more, exercising, interacting with my friends more, etc. etc. I wonder, would vowing to go to Knit Night or Saturday Knits regularly help me toward one or more of my goals?

Posted by shadowdancer105 at 10:49 AM CST | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Updated: Sunday, 1 January 2006 2:00 PM CST
Friday, 30 December 2005
Celtic Wedding Shawls Progress Update
The camera is being nice today...


Here is the almost finished Wedding Shawl for my DSIL's spouse.

LJ agreed to model it for me so that I could:
a) take its picture, and
b) see whether it might be large enough after all.

It has not been blocked -- nor indeed have I grafted the top edge. I think she's close to the same height as the intended reciepient... this gives me hope that it might be long enough.

However, I continue to worry whether it's WIDE enough. However, though I KNOW I took that picture, I can't find it. So, you get a closer shot of the lace on the back instead (lucky you)

And just to prove I'm not slacking entirely, here's the second shawl on the needles. I find the difference in texture very interesting:

I'm thinking that blocking will likely allow the first shawl to be okay. I'm still leery -- it used about 1/2 the yarn I expected it to! But we'll see what we see when the baby's been stretched.

Wish me luck

Posted by shadowdancer105 at 12:00 PM CST | Post Comment | Permalink
Tuesday, 27 December 2005
Bad Blogger Confessions
I'm a bad blogger.

I finished the alpaca pulse warmers. I cleaned and blocked them. I gave them to my mother, who received them with surprise and glee, as she'd recently discovered a need for such things while practicing the cello or working on the computer. (she thus revealed that she does not read the blog.... we must do something about that). My mother packed them away in her box of goodies to take home. My parents got on their plane and flew home.

Notice anything missing in that history? I do ... the part where I take the picture(s). Bad blogger.

For the record, here's the last picture I took....

Jaywalker update

Meanwhile, the poor Jaywalkers have had an unwanted hiatus. While working on the Pulse Warmers, I was toting both projects around in a little bag I bought for myself while shopping for others (shh).

Something bad happened, leaving me with these:

Those, my friends, are the jagged ends of three broken Brittany 2.25 mm dps that once held the stitches of my lovely Jaywalkers....

As you might imagine, this slowed my progress a bit.

Finally, I rounded up three more Brittany dps in the right size, and have resumed knitting..

The remnants of the dps are there for artistic value.

Shawl Progress
I've come to what appears to be the end of the first of the Celtic Wedding Shawls. I fear I will have to send the whole lovely thing to the frog pond -- it seems much too small suddenly. (Pics when my camera recharges)

I've started the second shawl, this time in Elann's Peruvian Collection Baby Cashmere (60% Baby Alpaca/ 30% Merino Wool/ 10% Cashmere). I've knit one row past the the row in which I cast on forever. This time, I added about 8 more stitches to the cast on for each side... I think I will like that better.

We're not discussing Dan's sweater. I know ... I know... first I said I would finish it for his birthday, and now the major December Gift Giving Fest has passed me by, but it remains unfinished, waiting for inspiration for the center 1/3 of the front. We're just not going to talk about that right now.

Are there any more projects I'm supposed to be reporting progress on?

Finally, a word to my readers:

I got several lovely Christmas Holiday cards with comments that my friends enjoyed following my escapades via this blog. While I'm tickled to discover a wider readership than I thought I enjoyed -- I'd be even more tickled if some of y'all would comment -- or maybe Email Me

Posted by shadowdancer105 at 3:02 PM CST | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Updated: Tuesday, 27 December 2005 11:12 PM CST

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