August 22, 2015

Pardon the Dust!

Cough, cough! Wheeze! I've convinced myself to blow the dust off the blog and start out afresh. I can come up with plenty of excuses for why I was off line, but I'm already bored with my own excuses, so I'll skip those.

My Grandpa, 1942
You may remember back in February my grandmother died after a long time of just slowly diminishing. My grandfather felt so very lonely, no matter how much we tried to keep him occupied. They were married for 74 years. Last June, the day before Grandpa's birthday, he took a bad fall and passed away on his 95th birthday.

My grandpa was many things. Such a long life creates many opportunities. He was a man of simple faith who lived his beliefs, a man who enjoyed hard work and job well done, who seemed to like everybody, and was in turn well liked by everybody. I never heard him curse, never heard him yell, gossip, or wish anyone ill. He liked a good practical joke, and was a terrific story teller. He believed in taking care of small problems before they became big problems, and treating everyone fairly and with kindness. He grew up on a farm, during the depression. He didn't worry too much about what he didn't have, he was too busy enjoying what he did have. And if he thought something in his life needed improving, well he went to work on fixing it.

I am so blessed that he was my grandpa. So much of him is woven through who I am. The very best parts of who I am. I am so lucky that he lived as long as he did, that I could spend so much time with him. I wish everyone I know could have met him, and has someone like him in their life. I wish there were more people like him.
My grandparents and my mother

June 4, 2015

Blame the Weather

And another long break. Its just be too nice to sit inside at the computer during the day, and too busy in the evenings. Although I've managed to find some time for knitting and spinning.

Travel. I went to Mexico City with a friend. Myriam lived there for a while as a young woman, and we went to visit her daughter, who was finishing up her residency at a hospital there. I had just the best time ever.

Mexico City is huge! And very populated! And Old! So much more history than any place I'd been before. And so many more people. (I'm not a city person, I was concerned over how I might feel about being around so many people. But it was okay. )And ancient ruins and artifacts. And traffic and crazy drivers! We walked or took mass transit almost everywhere we went. There's the Metro (subway), Metrobuses, regular buses, buses going every where. One night we took taxi's, because we had a fancy dinner to attend. Between all the walking and being so busy we seldom stopped to eat, I lost 6 pounds in 5 days. Don't worry. I gained it back.

We stayed in or near the central district, not too far from Monumento A la Revolucion. One night there was a massive bicycle rally, so many people of all ages, and so many different types of bikes. The major avenues in the area all had dedicated bike lanes.
 The riders getting ready to start. Bikes of all types, people of all ages. It was a very festive and friendly atmosphere.

Monumento A la Revolucion. Lots of bikes in the foreground.
And Bikes in the water feature.     

Another day, an organized protest was beginning.
And, without the protesters.
Okay, I need to go to bed now. More later.

April 19, 2015

A Cavalcade of Cowls

Well, that was a long break. I did some traveling. I do have stories to post. And, honestly, the weather is so nice I hate to spend anytime indoors in front of a computer.

Cowls. Still knitting them. The next few are made from hand-spun camelid fibers, from a sampler pack I spun up a few years ago. The fiber came from Abstract Fibers.

White Suri alpaca (this wasn't from the sampler), 50/50 silk and baby camel, and 50/50 merino and baby camel. The merino/baby camel is light and squishy.

100% camel. Please pardon the neck wattles. (oops, I deleted the picture, wait, I found another to take its place!)

One more in the making, with black alpaca and brown llama, but I have no pictures.

March 16, 2015

The Promised Pic

Getting Back to It

After much simple knitting, I have these;

Two scarves, heavy on the green. Just in time for St. Patrick's Day. They sure do look cheery.

I've put another simple project on my needles, this one a cowl. I've had cowl on the brain for a while now, and knew which stash yarn I'd use, I just hadn't decided on the pattern had no idea which pattern to use. Random chance came into play; I was looking for something else, and found this pattern that I'd fave'd some years ago. Helleborus.

It is more simple knitting, of a different sort. For some reason, I have no pictures of the yarn, something I hand-dyed at the same time as the green and yellow yarns in the picture above. I'll get a picture soon.

February 20, 2015

The Need for Simple Knitting

Knitting makes me a better person, at least when it comes to being patient. Or even just being. I value this greatly, especially now. For the past several months, my grandmother had been bedridden, and mostly disconnected from the world. Partly from dementia, and partly from something else I guess. For months, my grandfather could only get a few words a day from her, before she drifted back into that in-between space. Sometimes, during her alert periods, we could see she recognized us, but sometimes not. I don't know how she felt about her circumstances, she never complained. But my Grandpa, this was really tough for him. It was hard, he always thought he would precede my grandmother in death. Of all the things he had lived through, this thing affected him more than any.

My grandparents were a huge part of my growing up. My brother, sister and I spent most school holidays and a good chunk of summer at my grandparents house. In a shifting world, their home was our stability, the place we were always welcomed and loved. Most of my childhood my mother was a single parent, so my grandparents were my example of how married people behave. Indeed, adults in general. Cross words were seldom heard, nor raised voices. Other than the exasperation that comes along with 3 (or more, if the cousins were over) rambunctious grandchildren around. The older I get, the more I appreciate them, and the role they've played in my life. I knew I always had a lifeline if I needed it.

During this time, with my grandmother slowly fading away, all the major details were taken care of. They didn't need me to clean or cook, my uncles had all the financial details covered. But the thing I can do best is sit and listen to Grandpa talk. About his grief, his worries, and listen to his stories. Grandpa is a gifted story teller. And so the need for simple knitting.  No fussy counting, or complicated stitch patterns. Just steadily linking stitches, and listening to Grandpa. More often than not, after a few sentences his anguish would lift and he would brighten up. But knitting filled the  silences in between, filling the space like the sound of gentle rain falling on the roof. Something comfortable and undemanding that seems to free the mind and ease the spirit.

My simple knitting project; Easy . The yarn is Socks that Rock Lightweight, dyed by me during a Knot Hysteria workshop.

My grandmother finally slipped away last Monday night. She was 93 years old. January 24 was my grandparents 74 wedding anniversary. Grandpa is 95. Grandma didn't knit, but taught me sewing and embroidery and a little baking. I was mostly interested in licking the spoons.

February 3, 2015

Silly Chenille

What do you do with a beautiful yarn that is peculiar? I found this yarn on sale some years ago, when I'd been a knitter for only a short while. When I was still so easily swayed by a lovely, single skein of yarn that had no project in mind. I love the colors, and oh-la-la it is 100% silk.
But, it is chenille. Like a sheep that's just been introduced to a halter, it balks and bucks at the idea of an even tension. And, it doesn't really feel soft, or plush. Rather, while lovely to look at, in the hand it feels softly obstinate. Like it doesn't want to be told what to do.
Still, I love how the light shifts and plays over the colors, silvery in some places and deep jewel toned in others. What shall I do with this beautiful, difficult yarn? Maybe it would be happier as a woven project?