Cast off Birch just before the bell on January 1, 2007 at 11:30 PM. I wanted to start the new year with a finished object. Pre-blocked:
Blocking in action (wires from KnitPicks).
I belong to the "stretch the crap out of it" school of lace blocking. When I finished this thing was elevated 1" off the floor from the tension.
The wires are well worth it. They allowed me to pull each side to a very even line and adjustments were easier. Been eying these things for a while, but wasn't sure they were worth the money. I vote yes.
Did add to the kit by ordering fork pins today. This kit didn't have enough long straights and my sewing pins on hand didn't hold up well to the task. Also, as the tension increased the wires would jump the pin. Learned to turn them perpendicular so the T-top caught, which helped some, but I think the U shape will be better.
OK, another gratuitous shot, but I'm amused.
Post blocking shots to come when I'm appropriately dressed for modeling. Need to stop wearing my red bathrobe as a "house coat" but I'm not really compelled. I've always felt a certain connection to The Dude on this matter.
Kids have been off two weeks and we've all taken to spending inordinate amounts of time in our pj's. Four days in a row of playdates coming over have been the only thing knocking us into regular clothes (and not always then, as shown here).
The rill is serving its purpose as our personal woodland stream. As long as
no not too much (I'm a realist) foreign matter gets added they can play. Yesterday Ems put on her swimsuit for a while until even she had to admit is wasn't that warm.
I'm enjoying putting this post together. Last week found me in a mood. Decided it was better to keep things to myself so I hibernated. In our world of "get it out there" I've found some things are better kept close. Things you can't change, or don't want to - really - but want to today. Things for which radical change would actually not be an improvement, but minor, manageable change is not immediately interesting (because your mind is having more fun with thoughts of radical change). Experience ... not grand wisdom per say, but just plain ol' years alive ... has taught me that when I feel this way I'm better off taking a wait and see approach. If I call every friend, startle every acquaintance (way too much information thanks) or bore strangers - or blog readers - with my frustrations I'll regret it. With some things talking is great. Therapeutic. Beneficial. The path to understanding. But with things like this I know that next week I'll find my way to that manageable change, but if I've talked, everyone around me will be expecting an explosion. No explosions forthcoming.
To some degree I might attribute some moodiness to the time of year. I know I'm not alone (chin up Moni), but most of it's related to my own personal calender rather than the Gregorian one. We all have those moments of change - events that redirect our lives forever. If the work of countless poets and writers is any indication, I'd say I'm not alone in this human condition of melancholy reconsideration. Makes me envious of August and Raven. Cats understand what's important.
Yes, the photo is accurate. Raven is getting little white hairs all over her body. My vets haven't seen anything like it and they noticed it at the animal shelter too (took her back to get fixed). Her face has remained the darkest - she's gone pepper with a good dash of salt on her back. And yes, I'm such a sucker for this cat that I let her sleep on my swatches. Found her yesterday at the top of my shelves in another basket full of yarn. This kitten is no fool.
So, since I can't live lying around all day like a cat or dog, I'm a crafter. If the brain's running in circles, one might as well put the hands to work.
I've found for whatever reason I can't watch TV and knit this pattern. The back and forth movement is not a hard pattern, but I found myself, to abuse the metaphor, swimming against the current.
Still undecided about the beaded scrunchy thing Rowan shows holding the wrap across the front. Did any of you River knitters make one? Do you use it?
From the lost and found files:
Jan had great thoughts on starting the new year off fresh. Well worth the read. I like her attitude. Though you must finish those blocks Jan - if only to show the rest of us what the whole quilt top looks like.
So, in the spirit of new beginnings I went to put it away and found this. Oh. Would you look at that... an unfinished Christmas quilt. At least four years old! Guess I'll finish them both in 11 months. This one makes me proud of how far I've come. Cut this fabric about 4-5 months after I got my machine. No one told me it was hard to sew to points on bias cut flannel (what's bias?). I was going to do Christmas trees - how difficult could it be? Cut out a bunch of triangles and sew right? Who needs a stinking pattern? I ended up just crazy piecing all my bits and pieces after I discovered the pack of fat quarters I'd picked up didn't necessarily add up to a full quilt top. But you know what? I kind of like it for its naive energy. It will get finished in due time.
This one's time will come sooner. My first quilt top. (That box in the bottom of the closet held so many secrets!) What really makes me laugh now is remembering how I thought that dark green with the light flower stencil print was so ... bold! This from the woman taking a Kaffe Fassett class this coming weekend.
It reminds me of fields seen from the air. I even found it with the borders already cut. Fear of quilting stopped me then and ... well here we are. I intend to overcome my fear of free-motion on this one. It's not a showpiece. It's been languishing all this time. No fear.
For those of you who don't do both, quilting and knitting patterns share common phrasing at the end ... "bind and quilt as desired" and "finish and block as desired". Time-consuming, technically challenging and often tedious processes all wrapped up in five simple words. Make-or-break steps referenced with a vague wave of the hand. Run along now, this pattern is finished. It's taking me several years of knitting and quilting to even being to understand my "desires" for finishing. ... Please know I type this stuff innocently, but see my own allusions and metaphors when I proof. Too much art. Wow, that phrase takes me back! After a semester full of lit, art and philosophy classes EVERYTHING became symbolic. "Too much art," was our cry for release from the mortal coil. Time to go out to the bars kids - there's a good band playing.
BTW, I understand now why patterns end the way they do and I know there are myriad books to fill in those technique gaps, but that's an understanding developed over time. In the beginning this self-taught knitter/quilter went numb when the pattern ended ... What now? Lot's yet to learn, but at least I'm no longer frozen.
Happy New Year!