Patience and FO: Symetrie

The last week and a half is not what I planned. God is making sure to let me know that I am not in charge. Let’s review:

  1. I did not plan to spend 9 hours in the ER with my mom.
  2. I did not plan for my mom to spend a week in the hospital.
  3. I did not plan to eat Thanksgiving dinner alone in the hospital cafeteria. (Note: I was sick, so I declined a lovely invitation to have dinner with a friend and her family.)
  4. I did not plan to help my mom dance a little in the cardiac unit of the hospital.
  5. I did not plan to finish a sock, start the next one, finish a gift sweater, and knit an entire beret out of my handspun.
  6. I did not plan to meet a nurse who is a real knitter, who completely understood why I was distraught at having left Mom’s handknit sweater in her previous hospital room, and why I raced up to get it immediately.
  7. I did not plan to coordinate my Mom’s discharge from the hospital to a rehab center on a Sunday, which she hates.
  8. I did not plan to get a sinus infection in the middle of all of this, making it all the harder.

So, it’s been that kind of time, and thank goodness for the knitting.  I only have a very close to completion photo of the beret:

Symetrie Beret1b

I’m thrilled with how it came out – it’s the Symetrie beret pattern by Woolly Wormhead. One new thing I learned was how to do the alternate cable cast-on, which is way easier than a tubular cast and looks almost identical. Woolly Wormhead’s tutorial is excellent and free!

Next step is to work on a matching cowl with the remaining 50 grams.


Still Thankful

It’s been a busy time, with more than the usual share of heartaches.  A seminary classmate’s cancer is worsening.  An organization whose board I serve on is dealing with a crisis.  And this week, my Mom is pretty sick.

On that latest front, I took my mom to the ER on Monday, where it took nine hours before she was admitted to the hospital.  There wasn’t any one thing – but she didn’t seem right to me, and she’d been falling.  Although she had denied the caregivers urgings where she lived to go to the hospital, when I pushed, she relented.  It was a good decision.

We thought we knew what was happening, which was fairly minor and easily addressed, so today we were on a plan for her release. But when I walked into her room, I immediately noticed she was on oxygen, and then I realized that she couldn’t talk. the nurses were on it, and lot’s of things started happening immediately.  So began what has been an emotionally draining day.  It involved one meltdown (mine), a few tests, and some perfectly timed medical interventions, like you see on TV but rarely happen in real life.

The short of it is that we think we know the immediate cause of her symptoms, and the doctors will be trying to get them under control.  But it means that the two of us are not headed up to my cousin’s for a holiday meal with family tomorrow.  Where I’m eating tomorrow is unclear, although a couple of friends have offered food or joining their feast.

But I am still thankful:

  • for the nurses and doctors at Marin General (now a locally owned hospital out of the clutches of Sutter Health) who have shown us hourly that my mom is more than a number to them,
  • for friends and family who tweeted, emailed and Facebooked so I didn’t feel so alone in all of this
  • for the lovely fiber artist who is selling her work to support the hospital, shown below

Weaving outside the CT scan roon

  • for the One who created all and loves us so immensely.

And just so you know that I’m taking care of myself, I am using my handspun as some comfort knitting tonight:

BFL handspan fiber spinning

I leave you with these words for your holiday tomorrow:

For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food, 

For love and friends, 

For everything Thy goodness sends.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)


FOs: Mysterious Disappearing Dots Scarf, Butin Collar, and socks

It’s been a fairly good run this year at knitting Christmas gifts – I’m mostly done with holiday knitting — only a pair of socks to finish, and a sweater that’s really due at Thanksgiving (need to compute the math for the sleeve caps, knit them, then finish the sweater).

It feels good that I’m not in a rush, or agonizing over what to knit.  I’m backing off previous year’s knitting of major garments (except for the sweater) which makes it easier, and I think I’ll appreciate this most in December.

With that said, here are the most recent FO’s:

The Mysterious Disappearing Dots scarf  (a great Lucy Neatby design):
Disappearing Dots Scarf 1e
Disappearing Dots Scarf 1d

The Butin Collar – the pattern was a gift from a mystery exchange, yarn and beads my own – I’ll probably make a couple of more.  I shortened it because most of my friends are short or wear higher necklines. Project details here.
Butin Collar 1a

and a basic pair of socks – always reliable travel knitting, these will be enjoyed by their Christmas giftee.  Mix-and-match rib sock recipe by Chrissy Gardiner. Project details here.
Curtiss' Socks 1b


More Learning (at SOAR)

A week ago I was able to attend the SOAR (Spin-Off Autumn Retreat) up in the Lake Tahoe area.  Actually, it turned into the Spin-Off Winter Retreat as a couple of feet of snow fell just as the week began.  Fortunately for me, I wasn’t due to come in until Wednesday afternoon, and my trip, other than good car prep – oil change, lights fixed, tire pressure adjusted, new wipers – was uneventful – I didn’t even need to put on chains over Donner Pass (yes, named for that Donner Party).

One of my classroom views was this – very inspiring!
Granlibakken view

This was my first time to hang at a spinning event – with spinning wheels and spindles everywhere, and where the weavers pretty much equaled the knitters in numbers.

First up was my one-day workshop with Maggie Casey on beginning spinning on a wheel.  I used my friend Judy’s Louet S-10, which is slightly different than almost all other wheels in the US, but worked just fine.  I learned how to adjust the wheel and cleaned it up, and learned to do three different draws – (short forward and back, and long draw), and even made real yarn – this looks wonky because I was doing a lot of different things in various parts of the yarn)

Before finishing:

unfinished yarn

After finishing:

Finished yarn

Then it was onto the retreat portion, which was a series of 3-hour workshops.  I learned out to do Andean spinning from a lovely woman Nilda, who told us folk stories and gave us whiny 1st worlders a reality check on our issues with the snow and weather. She told us, with gentle clarity, that she was impressed by how cold it was outside and warm inside the lodge. And that if as much snow that we had gotten had fallen in her community in the Andes, all the livestock would have died for lack of cover. It made me realize my position as a privileged 1st-world person.

She was a true and lovely woman, and I also learned to spin a bit Andean style from her.
Andean Spinning 1

Then it was on to camelids (basically all the animals that come from the camel family, including Llama and Alpaca). Our instructor, Robin Russo, was very affirming, and I learned a couple of basics on how to card and comb fibers in addition to spinning them. We came away with a lovely sampler card:
Camelid spinning sampler

And finally I ventured off into the cotton world – one that I had not had any experience in before. Apparently, knitters tend not to spin cotton, as I found myself in with a bunch of weavers. Oops! But our teacher was absolutely fabulous, and I learned how to spin on a Takhli spindle almost in spite of myself.
As with all such events, the marketplace is a dangerous place – so I managed to buy some fiber that has slow gradient changes in color in a merino/silk blend (swoon!), some alpaca and other stuff.  Hey, while I spent some money, I hold that I totally was good because I didn’t throw down over $800 for the spinning wheel I am lusting over.

Goodies from Marketplace at SOAR

Gradient fiber:
Fiber Optic fiber 2Fiber Optic fiber 1

So much fiber to play with – good thing that I finally spun the fiber I bought last year at Rhinebeck!

Into the Whirled Fiber

The singles are spun, it’s time to ply~