We’re fine
Monday October 25th 2021, 10:13 am
Filed under: Knit

This is the first year we’ve gotten more than a single Page orange on that tree and yesterday’s storm blew nearly all the leaves off the thing.

I don’t think that works.



One and a half skeins to go out of nineteen
Saturday October 23rd 2021, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Food,Knitting a Gift

Our local forecast now says 2.73″ of rain tomorrow as the atmospheric river tries to play a game of Noah with us. That’s a huge amount for California and the biggest storm in two years. It’s badly needed.

And so it came to me as I knitted above the top of the redwood that I ought to memorialize that.

Which is why the section above where I’m working now, where I will repeat the lace pattern that frames the beginning and sides of this thing, will be done in Malabrigo’s London Sky, a lavender-ish blue. My skein is a nice deep shade of pouring rain.

The afghan is so close to being done.

Meantime, the last chocolate bars to be poured from the melanger are the most fun because you can swirl them and it shows better than the ones that were hotter coming out–but you can’t see the effects till they set. You have no idea what they’ll look like.

A whale mid-dive, a parrot looking askance back over its shoulder: Hey! No splashing!



No more monitor
Friday October 22nd 2021, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

This is long and meandering but it’s late and I don’t have time to edit it.

My cousin Virginia cut her beautiful shoulder-length hair very short and posted pictures on Facebook and got lots of compliments over her new look.

And then she quietly sent out a note to her cousins that she’d had cancer nine years ago, had long since beaten it… and the haircut was to make it seem less abrupt when it starts falling out again.

All those hats knitted as carry-around projects, a moment here, a row there, they were ready.

She said she had a blue one from me from years ago but yes, she’d like a soft white one, very much, thank you.

And so today, I–

Waited till 3 pm. On the nose at the two week mark, off with the heart monitor and into its box to ship back to its manufacturer so they can report to my cardiologist. My skin had a fierce enough reaction to the adhesive that I’m amazed it stayed on. I hope I don’t have to do that again for awhile.

So that got mailed and the white hat, and also one in purples and another in greens. She hadn’t wanted to ask for too much. I had wanted to give her all.the.hats. I compromised.

Andy’s dried slab Blenheim apricots in another box for my mom, the ones picked so ripe they go smush when cut. The best.

And a warm winter outfit to my niece’s baby girl.

But before I headed out for the post office, one last note on the diary notebook to return with the monitor: yes I pushed the button at 3 a.m. this morning but, um, ignore that. I was asleep. Pushing it woke me up that wait, I did what? No. Nothing to see there. I was dreaming.

If only we could solve all health problems that easily.

And then at the end of the day, finally, I knit and got past the tree.

And then said, But what I really want is to go make a batch of chocolate, darn it. We’re out, and the pre-pandemic Trader Joe’s bar doesn’t count.

Wild Bolivian Mix, in the melanger now.

I said to Richard, I calculated wrong so I didn’t put in all the sugar I measured and now I don’t know how much I did and is this sweet enough?

He took a taste and considered thoughtfully: it was good, and yet, “Seems a little too sweet to me.”

And it’s not enough to me, even though I like mine quite dark. Good. Right in between. That means we hit the sweet spot.



Maybe I do too art, just a little
Thursday October 21st 2021, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

(Daytime photo that gets the colors right.)

Somehow, when there were only four pairs of branches done, it looked like a rib cage. The last one helps.

I wanted to give that sense of looking up and up and up that happens among redwoods and I think the angle and vanishing point help.

By the way, here’s a house that left me instantly smitten. Knit and watch the boats go by. Not too close nor too far down towards the shore and rising waters, but on a hill looking over the homes nearer in. Gorgeous. The fact that there are two painter’s easels set up tells me the people who’ve lived there have taken in that view with the eyes of an artist. I’d love to see what they’ve painted.

I’d be knitting it in no time. I imagine in less of a rush than this project and with more detail. All the time in the world.

 



When they’re little
Wednesday October 20th 2021, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

There was a baby shower by Zoom Sunday for two nieces who are expecting: the idea was, order baby books mailed to them in advance and then let’s all celebrate and talk about our favorites!

I sent Sandra Boynton board books. As one does.

One cousin, whose youngest is about five now, told them, There’s always some lady at a grocery store who will tell you, Oh! They grow up SO fast!

I think that’s a pretty universal experience for young moms, often when the kids are not being their stage-presence best and so trying to get the simplest things done takes forever; I remember when, for a month, I had four kids under age six.

I answered, The days are years and the years are days.



Don’t ask me, I don’t know how to art
Tuesday October 19th 2021, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

49″ and ready to start the fifth set of branches. It’s getting there.

Then, for the fog rolling in as it comes over the coastal range every morning here, the question is do I seed stitch the transition between white and pale fog blue, alternating colors in a transition? Or long horizontal lines alternating and stacking irregularly? That sounds a whole lot easier to do than seed stitch in two colors, but I’m not entirely convinced it’s the look I want.

Or I could do the color change brutalist fashion like the earth tones below: it’s this color here and that color there. Bam. Done.



Boom
Sunday October 17th 2021, 10:38 pm
Filed under: History

One of the speakers at church today (if only there could be a link to our own ward’s talks!) mentioned Corrie ten Boom, whom I had heard of before but this story I had not.

She and her family hid Jews in the Netherlands during WWII but were eventually caught and sent to a concentration camp. Her father, sister, and nephew died; Corrie was released by mistake and made her escape.

Having preached forgiveness as a moral imperative and a means of spiritual and even physical survival in the camps, she continued to do so after the War, speaking far and wide on the subject.

At the end of one of those talks, a man approached her.

I can’t even imagine. She knew exactly who he was: he had been one of the SS guards in that concentration camp.

He told her how grateful he was for what she had said–and he reached out his hand to shake hers.

Forgive him, she told herself. Practice what you just preached. Live it.

Her hand utterly refused to move.

Help me forgive him, she prayed hard.

But she knew exactly what he had done.

Finally, in agony, her inner cri de couer was, I cannot forgive him. Father, You must because I cannot–and with that her hand was suddenly freed and she reached hers out to his and in the moment they connected she described an electricity going through her to him.

And it healed him.

And it healed her.



Musings on an evening where I pushed the monitor button to record the moment
Saturday October 16th 2021, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

There was an article on Graves disease in the Washington Post today. I found it very timely, because that diagnosis is in my chart but nobody’s ever told me much about it beyond the word itself. One endocrinologist retired after ordering the antibody tests, one went on maternity leave, one filled in temporarily, and I haven’t gotten back there in so long–covid being most of that time–that it kind of dropped through the cracks because I simply didn’t need to go in.

My autoantibodies for both hyper and hypo thyroidism generally duke it out pretty much to a standstill.

But it would explain some of this stuff, including the almost two pounds lost these past two weeks. And here I was thinking juggling yarn balls all day long was proving a surprisingly good if implausible diet.

If it is the Graves, it would be quite treatable.

A text came in as I was typing this: I just promised the friends who stopped by last night that I would call them if we need any help whatsoever. She’s young, but she’s had heart experience, successfully treated and fine now. Some people are just easy to turn to anyway, and then you learn more and more why.

*To clarify: the heart monitor’s recording for two weeks straight. They want me to push the button to footmark my notes on it.



A good way to spend a day
Friday October 15th 2021, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden,Knitting a Gift

Twenty-one rows and the start of the third set of branches, a trip to Andy’s Orchard where I got some of the last of the fresh figs of the season–SO good–and some dried Blenheim apricot slabs for my mom, and a visit this evening by friends bearing homemade goodies.

I went outside and cut a pomegranate off my tree and told them to come back for more later–they’re good now, but they’ll keep ripening and get even better.

I sent them home with a bunch of those figs, too, because they love them as much as I do and there were so many in that box and it would be criminal to have them not be enjoyed at their newest and best.

Meantime, I’m hoping the (already stratified) cherry seeds sprout that their son decided needed saving for me because the cherries I gave them from Andy’s were so good a few months ago. They haven’t yet. They’re in nature’s time zone. I’ll just have to wait.



33″
Thursday October 14th 2021, 9:27 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Life

So I got the first set of branches done, remembering again why one should always do such a thing on needles that are long enough that you can spread the whole thing out to really see what you’re doing to get perspective as you go. These aren’t.

Darn if it didn’t look like a penguin flapping its flippers.

The only antidote to that was to add another set to give a better sense of tree-ness.

You know those cell phone towers along the freeways that are supposed to be mistaken in passing for pines but instead look like someone electrocuted the Christmas tree?

I kid, I kid, it’s totally fine even if not entirely how I thought it would be. (And a little bit of this is the camera angle.)

I’m better at learning from my mistakes than not making them.



It’s only natural
Wednesday October 13th 2021, 9:23 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Life,LYS

The yarn came.

It’s an exact match. That never happens. But it is. Probably came from the same batch at the mill even though I bought them at different times and different San Francisco-area stores. Twelve inches of afghan recklessly knitted in the previous undyed white wool, suddenly totally justified. Man, that feels good.

The tree is branching out now.

And in the strange, strange house department–the pouting telephone stays. The bears stay. (Just sell me one of those and we’re good.) Everything does. Except not the tractor nor, inexplicably plain after all that other stuff, the table under the gazebo.

I’m thinking the ladder for the kids to bypass the stairs to the second floor with would disappear if I had any say in it and having a gun overhead much less in earthquake country is unfathomably Darwinian (did they think the kids wouldn’t figure out that ladders can be moved?)

But should one ever want to put one’s head in a lion’s mouth (scroll halfway down to read where Amy did on a live one) there’s your chance.

I’m not even sure what one of those animals once was and I am so not into carcasses on the wall.

And yet if the power ever went out and the temps were decidedly unCalifornian, you could definitely stay warm.

But first you’d have to drag the ladder over to them.



Speed bump ahead
Tuesday October 12th 2021, 10:23 pm
Filed under: LYS,Politics

Twenty-six rows today, maybe a row shy of twenty-six inches. Serious progress.

Forgive me a bit of a rant, though.

Imagiknit‘s email saying “Your package has been shipped” also says, and this is new, that if the post office is still claiming they haven’t got it yet, which is in fact what they’re saying on mine, they do, check with them, ie, they’re just not updating in a timely manner. I read that as, please don’t make us pay for our employees’ time tracking it down because of the post office’s screwups. I also know how immediately Imagiknit gets their customers’ purchases out there.

Postmaster General DeJoy made it official policy to slow down packages as of Oct 1–I guess not entering them into the system means they’re trying to dodge customer blowback against that slowdown on their part.

I don’t know why he still has his job. I think he’d have to be fired for cause but there’s definitely cause: a whole lot of people, especially in rural areas, depend on timely mail for their meds. My problem is just yarn but still, I do want to start the branches on my tree and I’m almost out of the white for the background.

And of course this turned out to be the first week where my husband has had to drive in to work, and he no longer works where I can just drop him off. We had planned to buy a new car for the commute whenever it finally happened but this has definitely turned out not to be the year to be in the market for one.

So heading out to the nearest yarn store in desperation is not something I can do for a few days either. I’ve been sitting here with my knitting needles chasing that roadrunner as fast as I can go and I’m about to smack right into that wall.

I’m just going to have to wait. Ah, poor baby.



Castle
Monday October 11th 2021, 11:19 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Meantime, last week the afghan was all of 5.5″ long and I was glad that at least I’d started the thing. I wondered if I would finish it this year. Seriously.

Sitting working on it today the thought occurred to me that since that divine towel snap culminating in the heart monitor Friday, well, it’s 20″ now by roughly 52+” wide.

Remember how I said I ordered all that white and was going to wait for it to arrive? Not only was it not going to arrive today, it hadn’t even been picked up from the shop in San Francisco yet because of the Federal holiday.

So I picked up the two I had, one to each side of the trunk, and ran for it. Will the new match? It’s going to be what it’s going to be, I was not going to lose  days of working time over it. The new will coincide with the start of the green branches, and colors interact with each other and change our perception of them and I’m going to blame any differences on that, or actually, I’m not going to say a word. Any difference will make it match with how the piece changes from the ground up with the three different colorways there.

Forty-eight rows in two days at the easy part. About 225 of the hard part to go.

Meantime, my cousin and her husband bought the house next door to them. (Their daughter showed a before video on Facebook: some of the walls looked like high piles of random snowballs as you walked in, they were crumbling that badly.) But they had always loved that grand old home–my 90 year old mother grew up in that neighborhood, in a house that was not new when her folks bought it–and my cousin’s husband, a doctor, promised the old man living in the basement of his childhood home whom he had looked out for that they would take good care of it.

And wow, look at it now.

I did do a double take and laughed on seeing that wallpaper: I saw it photographed in a mid-century modern in Portland. Circa 1915 is a much better fit.



Eyeballing it
Sunday October 10th 2021, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

This is definitely one that needs a daylight photo. I’m wincing a bit at this one but it’s what I’ve got.

On the right, the redwood was growing into the fence and the roots had tunneled underneath towards our house maybe four feet away.

I had k3, *(yo ssk k1) doing the diagonal on the right with a knit 1 at the center and then (*k1 k2tog yo) doing a reverse of that diagonal on the left–which meant that when they met up at the center bottom where I did a double-decrease every other right side row three times, it was going to push the fabric upwards visually and physically a bit in that spot, pointing an arrow at the tree above. It was where the roots lifted our sidewalk. But that change of direction at the center also balanced the side edges climbing pointing upwards towards each other, and I wanted that.

With no boughs nor needles nor hawks nor squirrels nor fog the stump is just a bit bare so far. But man does it feel good to be making serious progress.



Aftobering
Saturday October 09th 2021, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

(I took a picture… Will add when it complies.)

I measured how many inches I’d gotten out of the skein I was just finishing up, counted what I had, considered same dye lots vs changing in the middle even when it’s undyed, took a deep breath, remembered Dad’s sweater where my mom ran out near the end when I was a kid, and ordered–

–a whole bag of natural Mecha for the coming background sky to be absolutely sure. Ten skeins, with a small prayer upward of, help me be able to finish this after all this, could you/would You? I’d be much obliged. You know I want to get this to Kat and I apologize for all the time I spent not working on this for Kat and letting the intensity of the project get the better of me but I’m definitely working on it now. For Kat.

Not to mention, but it would be so cool to finish this whole huge project for Aftober: my friend Afton’s tradition of taking something that’s been bugging you because it’s not finished and sitting down and finishing it before the end of this month.

Twenty-two days to knit fifty more inches of intarsia afghan because I like them long. The gauge is larger and the design less involved than the fish afghan that took me six months.

I’m nuts, but I’m going to try.

I reserve the right to knit a small squirrel separately afterwards in finer yarns and tack it on and still say I was done in time if I get to cast off on the blanket.

After all that worry that I’d somehow do it all wrong I really, really like how it’s starting to turn out.