Friday, June 29, 2007

Checking in...

I'm knitting away on the prayer shawl for Cousin Margie. A couple of more repeats under my belt and I am enjoying it more and more. I've pretty much memorized the pattern, though I still use a lace book because it is the best row counter I've ever used! I'm now 30,336 stitches (prayers) into the shawl.

I'm going to have to stop soon -- just for a little while -- because I promised Norbert I would knit him a tea cozy by the middle of July. I figure it should only take me a week to knit, so I've got time, and you know by now that I work best under pressure! At least that's my story and I'm sticking with it!

Myfanwe and I have been empty-nesters while Norbert is away at camp. It has been fun to have some time alone together. And it's not just about gettin' frisky. We recently got digital cable, and we have this "On Demand" stuff...we can demand music. So some evenings while Myfanwe does a little work, I'll sit in the family room while she works and pull out my knitting and we'll spend the evening listening to classic country music or opera. I was a little disappointed that they didn't have a channel for just choral works, but I do now and then hear an opera chorus on the opera channel.

Sunday we are going up to visit Norbert at camp! It will be so great to see him! Amazing how much you can miss a kid, isn't it?

Other than that, life by us is pretty boring. I hope you are enjoying your summer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ride on The Peace Train

A friend of mine wrote a posting about the need to remain civil in the blogosphere...that this is a small world and knitbloggers are a tight-knit community thereof.

Within the comments to her post were a number of people who would have me believe that persons who frequent knitblogs are an uncharitable, uncaring, insult-hurling lot. And I am sure there are a number of people like that.

I'll admit, my first response was to write her and ask her if it was me. I mean, let's face it, I'm no saint. Even after she assured me that it wasn't me, I went back and read everything I've written here. And then I started reading the comments.

Even if there are a bunch of nasty arsemarmots out there trying to ruin a good thing, my experience of knitbloggers is that the vast majority -- 999 out of 1000, perhaps -- are the most wonderful, considerate, caring, forgiving, accepting, lovely people. (Yes, I'm talking about you -- don't blush. You know I am.)

I don't get a lot of negative comments on my blog. But if I do, I try to be honest and determine if it is deserved, if it is constructive, or if it is owned. (To paraphrase Abby Bartlett, "Don't bring me anonymous comments, C.J. Anonymous comments make me crazy.") If it isn't any of those three things, I delete it. And I don't feel bad.

And, while I admit to being a little harsh on Anna Nicole Smith's mother, and I have said some pretty strong things about some books or designs, upon review, I don't think there is much here that I wouldn't say in person.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


This is a picture of Norbert with my beloved cousin, Sister Clemente -- known to family as Margie. Margie is, without a doubt, one of the most wonderful, loving, caring, good, genuine, forgiving, accepting, and encouraging people anyone could ever hope to meet. She is smart and funny and quick and talented and generous and modest. It is Margie who keeps my language mostly clean here. I figure I shouldn't put anything into writing that I would be embarassed if she read it! (Thank G-d she teaches Chaucer -- I don't have to keep it too pure!)

Margie is a Dominican sister and lives in community in River Forest, Illinois. She recently "semi-retired" from teaching, though she is still researching a book, caring for the elderly and infirm sisters, and teaching one class a semester. Oh, and playing violin in a community orchestra.

The last time we were out to visit -- if memory serves me right it was Holy Saturday -- it struck me that, as much as I love and value her, I have never knit a single thing for her. Shame on me, right? I decided,then and there, to knit something for my beloved cousin.

I decided that knitting for Margie should be a prayerful experience. I settled on a "prayer shawl" -- a wrap that would keep her warm in chapel and was knit during and as a physical manifestation of prayer and meditation. I am not perfect -- occasionally my mind wanders, but I try to keepher in mind. I have had a wonderful time as I knit on her shawl, remembering the wonderful times we have shared, the tears, the laughter, all the good good advise and love and support and encouragement. I have been so lucky.

So far, this is what I have produced:

Each of the 21,488 stitches (to date) knit with love.

It is a simple pattern -- Margie tends toward simple, classic lines. Like most lace, unblocked it looks like so much canned ass, but I can tell it is going to be lovely. The yarn is so soft -- 100% baby alpaca given to me by my old friend Julie Pack who moved from Denver to work in a the wilderness of New Mexico. She had to reduce stash -- much to my benefit! I still have about 8000 yards of cashmere/merino lace weight that I haven't planned yet!

Anyway, I have been going through a rough time lately, and this prayer shawl has really been a good thing. It has helped to keep me centered, it has kept my mind focused on someone positive and wonderful, and it has kept my fingers occupied.

If you have a chance, pick up your needles and pray for someone you love.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Rabbitch Lexicon

I don't know if you read Rabbitch, but if you don't, you should. And if you do, well, you probably need to have your mouth washed out with soap. But taking into consideration the whole "glass houses" and "throwing stones" shit, I'm not the one to break out the Fels Naptha.

Rabbitch's writing is like a modern day Virginia Wolff...who knits. And dyes. And drinks. And curses. A lot. She doesn't seem to do anything in moderation. I like that in a person. I love reading her descriptions of mundane things. She makes them vital and universal and pants-wettingly funny.

Anyway, Rabbitch, bless her foul little mouth, taught me a new word today, and a perfectly glorious word at that. Knat. The past tense of knit. Knit, knat, have knat. Isn't that lurvly? It has a sort of Dr. Seusian ring to it.

I sat and knat and talked to my cat.

That's how I got fat.

You butt*%$^#@* little a&%wipe.

Wait. That doesn't rhyme. Oh, wtf -- it's modern verse.

Do you think Camel Douche is lace weight? (I'm only ever buying lace weight yarn. It goes a long way, knitting lace is challenging, and it is easier to hide small skeins of stash from the disapproving eyes of Myfanwe!) Camel Douche! Where does she come up with this stuff?

Rabbitch made me smile today. As Christopher Robin would say, "G-d bless Rabbitch and make her good." Well, maybe not good. I like it best when she is bad.