Friday, November 30, 2007

Best Friends

My best friend just left for the airport. I miss her already. More than almost anyone except my immediate family, she can kick my butt out of a funk. Sometimes, even more than my immediate family.

This is how old we are: she was in town this week to have an operation, and was supposed to stay with me to recuperate a day or two. But I'm recovering from my very own, unplanned operation, and so in great fatigue, I took her up on her offer to take a pass on staying with us. We've known each other since strollerhood, and we're still best of friends, along with a third friend who lives in California now. We all went to grade school together, and this summer we celebrated our 50ths together.

She has taught me a lot about having a positive outlook. Whenever I start to feel too sorry for myself, I think of the sign that she had on her dashboard several years ago. "Attitude is everything." I'm not a big self-help consumer. I read way too much existentialist literature in high school (Camus will kill all optimism, and Sartre's No Exit, or Huis Clos, is definitely a downer, and what does it say that the best high school play I went to see was Waiting for Godot at the boys' school that was "partner" to my all-girls high school?).

But between the yoga, which is one of the world's best ways to realize what are your habits and what you want to change, and getting older, and seeing other people go through bad stuff, and seeing other people go through good stuff, I've found a tiny bit of perspective. My favorite moment (which I think I blogged about at the time) at last year's managers' meeting for my company was when a manager from another state came up to me and said "you are such a positive person." Who, me?

No great insights to conclude this post with. Just feeling better than I did this morning, and gonna try to stick with that plan. Need to call back the friend form California, and then some knitting, and some All Things Considered, amd hoping that the final disc of Project Runway comes very soon.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nathamuni's Yoga Rahasya

Today's still-at-home-activities:
Nathamuni's Yoga Rahasya. An ancient and lost yogic text, reputed to have been recovered by T. Krishnamacharya, a direct descendant of the original author as well as the grand-father and teacher of my teacher's teacher.

I picked this up today off my shelf of yoga books. I'm looking for a book that says something interesting about faith and scepticism and how to unearth any meaning from the chaos and uncontrollable mess of life. Something readable and interesting on faith, and that's a tricky order. But this is surprisingly readable, and has some really smart things to say about yoga, the mind, and the human condition in general. (I like the 14th statement, which says that women "when compared to men, have a special right to practice yoga." Keep in mind that this is an ancient text, and the rest of the statement will seem more understandable: "This is because it is women who are responsible for continuity of the lineage." Bothered me at first, but now I'm thinking of how interesting it is that a male author, from the 9th century, would consider the gender rights of yoga students as well as ascribe women as the more significant practitioners.)

I'm also swerving off-course from the Minimalist Cardigan to work on hats for my husband and older daughter. Classic watch caps, pattern (scroll down to find the pattern at the link) from the International Seafarers Ministry and the last of the Jo Sharp DK Wool in two shades of blue. This was one of the very first yarns that I bought when I started knitting a few years ago. The project was a Jo Sharp gansey which grew to fit a being roughly the size of an elephant. Not sure where the almost-done sweater went (I think that I threw it out in one of my cleaning-organizing frenzies), but I have a few balls of the variegated yarn and a few balls of solid navy left. This is great yarn - easy to work with, a little bit hairy for warmth, and the pattern goes fast, fast.


And listening to Kelly Petkun's interview with Laurie Perry on her Knit Picks' podcast. Very restorative. Lots of laughter and discussion of shopping and, more importantly, the importance of women taking care of themselves instead of always being the giver/non-receiver of good stuff.


Tonight, I'm gonna watch Survivor. Not because I care about the cast or any of the sad-sack challenges of this season, but because it's good knitting TV. Much better was Disc 3 of Season 3 of Project Runway after lunch, but I can't knit while watching because I want to see the fabrics and the models and the sewing and the champagne and the design challenges and the group becoming snippy with each other. Laura's red lipstick? In my next life, must have.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Progress on the Minimalist Cardigan

The Drawer of Knitting. Where all the pieces and projects go while awaiting finishing or final destination.
And a quick post while my husband is out picking up the egg-lemon-and-rice avogolemono soup from the Greek restaurant where I love the portobello mushroom sandwich and before Charlie Brown starts.

There is a reason that the designer called this the Minimalist Cardigan. It's not supposed to be long. I realized that after finishing the back and the right front.
Now I'm on the left front, and I'm stopping where the pattern says to stop. What I didn't realize, or more to the point, take time to notice, is that after you reach the specified length, you still have the whole armhole and shoulder to do, so that the sweater is longer than where you, or I, at any rate, thought it would stop.

A Charlie Brown Christmas tonight. Seems just like yesterday that I blogged about my favorite part: the scene where all the kids do their own dances, including Snoopy. I am completely opposed to new Charlie Brown specials. If you ever start a petition drive, count me in.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Dessert for a Lonely Evening

"Such a good dessert on a lonely evening," says Irma Rombauer of Apple Custard in The Joy of Cooking (my book doesn't have a publication date, but it's the volume done by Becker and Rombauer after the 1943 edition).

Not a lonely desert, but a lonely dessert. You wouldn't be too off base in the assumption that I got it wrong. Champeen speller that I am, I did misspell the word wish twice earlier today, but first, I have the excuse of a poor. addled brain, at least for a few more days, and second, it looks better that way. Reminds me of Ben and Jerry's Phish Food.

Yes, this will be a post about food. Food is a really big deal - and I promise that I'll not say this again in 2007 - especially at this time of year. No, not Christmas or Hanukkah. Winter! It's dark out there. It's cold. It's dreary. It's grey. You have to get all bundled up and stick a hat on your wet head and then you end up with weird hair and you can't find a matching pair of mittens without holes to save your life. And, oh, the thoughts of the ocean and the beach and the sun. I need to invest in a sound CD of the ocean. Now, or I won't make it through the winter.

And while I lie on the couch, imagining the whoosh of the waves and the sound of the tides coming in and out and the seagulls but watching the finale of Dancing with the Stars, I'll be eating Apple Crisp. The Apple Custard moved to the sidelines when I started thinking about my tradition of fruit crisps in fall and winter. Every year I make a double or triple recipe of the Apple Crisp topping from Chez Panisse Desserts (by Lindsey Shere). I use about a third on top of apples and pears growing tired in the fridge, and put the rest of the topping in the freezer so that we can make crisp easily and quickly on a few more winter evenings. This topping works with apples, pears, peaches, plums, almost any kind of fruit but citrus or banana. Or maybe strawberries - they might turn to mush. And you can make as little or as much as you want. As Irma Rombauer says of her Apple Custard, you can even cut the ingredients down to one-third for a single serving. Oh, lonely dessert, you need the friendship of ice cream or even milk out of the fridge, poured over while the crisp is still warm.

Here's the recipe, slightly adapted - go to the source if you want a great book on desserts, from fruits to chocolates to ice creams to the only pastry crust that I've ever mastered.

Topping
Mix 1 3/4 cup flour, 2/3 cups brown sugar, 4 teaspoons granulated sugar (add more if you like things very sweet), 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. Work in 2/3 stick of salted butter, cut into chunks, until mixture forms crumbs. Add 1/2 cup walnuts (slightly toasted and coarsely chopped).

Crisp
Peel, core and slice about 6-8 pieces of fruit. You can mix fruits, or be pristine and stay loyal to just one fruit. If you're using blueberries, add a little flour to them. Place fruit in bottom of casserole or baking dish. Spoon topping over until you have a nice layer about 1/4" thick. Bake at 375 degrees for about 35-45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes. If top is browning, cover with aluminum foil and turn heat down to 350 degrees. Bake until fruit begins to bubble juice up to the topping. Let cool a bit before eating.

This is good warm for dessert, cold for breakfast, and rarely lasts in the refrigerator for more than 12 hours. Whatever topping you have left over, throw in in a covered plastic container and into the freezer until the next dark, dreary evening that calls for dessert. It's not the beach, but almost as soothing and full of promise of the future.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Comfort Gauge

There are three different schools of gauge, or finding the right number of stitches and rows to create an appropriate fabric. First, there is the gauge specified on your pattern. Second, there is what we could call personal gauge, or the way that you obtain pattern gauge by your choice of size of knitting needles, yarn selection, and the way that you knit, either tighter or looser than the archetypal knitter of that pattern. Third, there is what I call comfort gauge, which is the confluence of yarn choice, needle size, pattern, and your style of knitting so that the work is pleasurable, smooth both physically and mentally.

For me, there is a vast cavern between personal gauge and comfort gauge. Although I am hitting the pattern gauge of the Snap Cardigan dead-on by using size 8 circular needles and Malabrigo wool, I am struggling each stitch both to assure myself that I'm on the right size needle and to finesse the stitch so that it feels comfortable. Looks good, but doesn't feel so good to knit:
Knitting should be enjoyable, right? It should have a flow and a smoothness, so that your brain has enough to occupy itself, your arms and hands and fingers stay loose and relaxed, and the completed fabric has a good balance between structure and drape.

Full disclosure: I didn't do a gauge swatch for this project. That means working up a fairly large sample of the fabric as a test ground; the idea is that you should be working out the gauge bugs before you start on the big, and more invested, project. But I'd used this yarn before and I felt lazy. I am way too product-focused, so I took out my old gauge swatches, found the Malabrigo examples, and extrapolated from there. Ooh, bad knitter! As a result, the sleeve ribbings are on size 7 circulars and the body of the sleeve on size 8, because I'd realized that size 7 was too tight for this sweater.

A few things happen as I knit. I believe that I knit more tightly as I go along. And, more significantly, I knit more tightly across longer areas of the garment, so that what is comfort gauge on the sleeves almost always feels too tight as the gauge for the back.

There are a few solutions available to me. First, I could do a gauge swatch. Second, I could try working the fronts on size 9 needles and see how that feels. That's what I've started, but it looks too loose and floppy and feels mushy as I knit.

And my brain keeps fussing: too loose, too loose, now you'll have to rip out the sleeves and all that you've accomplished on the back and rework it. Shhh, I'm trying to knit. Or third, I could soldier on with the current choice of size 8 needles, accept that this won't be the most comfortable knitting that I've done but that the result will be great - a soft, warm cardigan of burnt orange with Concord grape details (read a paean to the Grape here!) - and try to push through.

Any thoughts on your gauge solutions, send 'em my way. I'd love to hear how other knitters find the place where the pattern gauge and personal gauge become comfort gauge.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Road Trip

Sorry to have gone without a post for so long. It wasn't the flu last week. It was a complication from previous surgery that finally had me making that long walk from the car into the emergency room at about 2 or 3 am last Wednesday morning. Super nice ER people - never anything like the frenzy and emotional overdrive and hyperspeed gurneys and cute girl residents and interns with low-cut scrubs (must be a store in Hollywood called Sexy Scrubs Are Us)that you see on Grey's Anatomy or ER. (Yes, Janet, but why would you expect television to reflect life correctly?)

Here's a little verbal tour of my hospital. No pictures, because A. that would be wrong and B. the digital camera's on the desk at home.

DAY 1
Wednesday, about midnight. Trying to convince myself that this pain and physcial sensations are not symptoms. Nor is it stress, though I'm willing to out my hand up first when the teacher asks for volunteers who have or are able to manifest stress within a drop-of-a-hat time frame. Nope, time to drive to the hospital. Definitely not as good as time to make the donuts. Mmm, donuts. Glazed plain from Dunkin' Donuts. And I thought that a Pillsbury Crescent roll with butter was my number one fantasized food since in the hospital. Broken open, steaming, buttery crispy layers. I would not offer half to my brother, be aware, and I don't even have a brother. (Yes, I have been watching more TV than usual. You know the commercial I mean? And then Mom comes out of the kitchen with a fresh batch, and No-One-Has-To-Share. Yahh!)

Days 2,3 and part of 4
Blurryish. Tests. Calls to my mom and daughters to let them know that the fun and games are back on.SUGGESTION: STOP HERE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ A SENTENCE WITH THE PHRASE NG TUBE AND START WITH DAY 5. The most attractive NG tube around. I'd never seen myself wearing one before - the last few times I was too sick to have looked in a mirror, and can I say, it's not an accessory that everyone can wear. My favorite part? The white tape on your nose that makes you look like a tiny elephant. It really sets your eyes off nicely.

Also good: wearing pajama pants and t-shirts and SmartWool socks and fleece jackets instead of the dreaded hospital gown.(Though I do want a new set of PJ pants before I come back the next time. Three years is enough for one fashion parade from Old Navy.) It's psychologically-interesting, too, to see how others respond to the lack of someone in the gown. Techs or dietitians who don't know me come into my room and look around, finally giving in and asking "who's the patient?" Do those gowns serve as conveniences, making the body more accessible to the practitioner, or do they stand as a giant flashing sign, an arrow pointing up that represents PATIENT HERE! My way is more comfortable for me, more humanizing, and at least in my situation, doesn't seem to cause the nurses or doctors any concerns.

DAY 4
This is the day that I knew that my yoga works. Even if I haven't been able to do much of a practice in the last week and a half. Much anxiety all day, much of it coming from my nurse, who was befuddled by the new computer system (they now log their notes directly into a workstation so that hospital can go paperless). At one point, I walked by her, rested my hand on her shoulder and said "breathe." "Now whose taking care of who?" she asked, but she looked like she was about to erupt.
The ultimate moment was the appearance of the orderly to take me down for a test. I knew that I was supposed to be doing the prep, but the nurse was sure that no, I drink a little of this, and then I wait for the lab to call to give me an ETA, and then I drink the rest of the prep. At 130 PM, right on schedule, the orderly arrived to take me down. But following my nurse's instructions, which I'd even questioned gently a few times, I was not ready.
Much stomping about ensued. Angry phone calls going between the lab and the nurse's desk. My nurse clearly spelling her name for the person at the lab, then slamming the phone down to announce that she was being written up. Now we were in the land of ER Drama.
And here's where my yoga stepped up. I wrapped myself in my shawl, trundled out to the hallway, and caught another nurse's attention. I don't care what mistakes have been made, but we all need to take the anger down about three levels, I said. I'm the one whose going for her third operation in two years, and all I care about right now is trying to be as efficient as possible in getting ready and having the test so that I can get into surgery before 10 or 11 tonight. Everyone with a brain cell calmed things down. And everyone was professional and kind and I now have a yellow Smiley face mug of white and yellow daisies for my troubles. Flowers do cheer me up.

DAYS 6 AND 7 AND 8
Giving special names to hospital places. The rooms where they have the fridges of juice and the ice machines and the frozen IV bags: the Nourishment Room. Well, it's actually called that, but it reminds me of Harry Potter's Room of Requirement, like, if I needed a Pillsbury Crescent roll really really badly, I could go there and find one.

Other Pleasures:
KNITTING the Blue Sky Alpacas Snap Cardigna in two different shades of Malabrigo, Fixing a mistake 9 rows back by dropping down the ladder of stitches and then picking them up correctly. Thank you, Kelly Petcun. LISTENING TO AN ELIZABETH PETERS MYSTERY ON MY IPOD! INTERNET INVESTIGATING DIFFERENT KINDS OF DOG BREEDS FOR WHAT WOULD BE BEST FOR US (AND US FOR THEM)! laughing hard enough that my incision hurts. (Okay, might not seem as funny to you, but my younger daughter was describing how her friend, who is a concierge, is great at remembering names. Acting out what he DOESN't do, she said, in a funny little voice, "I look like a camel. . .Hello, Mr. Camus!" Don't ask, maybe it's the residual morphine, but Camus and camel and existentialism and high-end boutique hotels all came together in that one sentence. WATCHING BALL OF FIRE WITH BARBRA STANWYCK AND GARY COOPER. ONE WORD: WOW. WATCHING THE FIRST 6 EPISODES OF SEASON 3 PROJECT RUNWAY. PLEASE MAKE THE WHINY ANGELA GO AWAY. . .

and that's the round-up. No turkey dinner tonight but maybe I'll see some vanilla pudding? Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Just wondering

  • why the laptop won't connect to the site that I've Googled because I "may not be connected to the Internet." But if I wasn't connected, how could I have worked the search engine?
  • why my stash of yarn never has exactly the right yarn for me to able to jump onto the tail ends of another blogger's project? I'm sure that knitting a 4-inch gartered stitch square for a blanket organized for charity by one of the Mason-Dixon duo should be doable during Dancing with the Stars tonight. But the only sock yarn that I own is brown Lorna's Lace and I'm looking for something colorful but mindless to work on.
  • why I have the flu when I had the ^%$*flu shot two weeks ago? Well, I do know, because A> there are many strains of evil flu bugs out there and B> I broke my rule of never snacking in the back unless I've washed my hands first. Money, lots of people-traffic, and grabbing a piece of fudge with your bare paw is a good receipe for getting the flu.
  • why two women, shopping together,would want to spend over 45 minutes debating the fit of the jacket one is trying on. Here's me shopping: I walk, I grab, I try my choices on very very quickly, I discard the no's and proceed to check-out with the yes's. Done. The virtue of the method is its efficiency. The drawback is that I don't allow enough time to ponder my choice, and sometimes I have to make a Horrid Return. This is my least favorite part of shopping, because I know that I'm taking money out of the sales in their hard-earned till and because I'm forced to admit that I made a bad decision. I hate that.
  • why I'm nervous about doing my scuba certification dive in a quarry about 45 minutes south of here. No fears in the pool. But just thinking about a quarry makes me visualize a cold, dark, deep hole with very poor visibility. And cold! It's fall in Illinois, guys. Who'd want to get in the water, even with a wet suit and hood and gloves on? I'm a cold person, and even in the pool at my last lesson, I was starting to shiver after an hour or so. And more to the point, Dark. Deep. Cold.
  • why there is, and the capitalizations are theirs, a Hugging Dispute in the news at four o'clock. One little girl hugged her fried. Uh oh - violation of the code against public displays of affection. Sad and amazing. Remember how we used to squeeze each other really tight on the playground in same-gender pairs, and no one got sent to the principal's office?

Sorry for the whining. It's been a tough week. In the next few moments, I'm forcing myself to commit to something, anything, hopefully colorful, "comas knitting"-worthy, and quick.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Summing up some progress

Above: Sleeve #2 of the Snap Cardigan. Malabrigo yarn in the colors Velvet Grape and Rhodesian. I just like saying that. Almost as much as saying "wine and chocolate," which I've been repeating often as I tell customers about our event at the store this week.
Below: Glove#2 of Fetching. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. Halloween and fall influenced my yarn choices on these projects. And the coming season of Grey in Chicago, which erases all appearance of sun and substitutes heavy, saddening overcast skies until March or April.
Close-up of the picot edge binding. Doesn't look like much as you're working it, but lovely when you're done. A life lesson?
The latest bag of scarves from work for the Knitting for Compassion project. I think that we're up to about 245 scarves against a goal of 300. We can do this! We're almost there. I tried to post a picture of some individual scarves but Google ate it, so next post I'll show you some of the lovely things submitted. Thank you again to everyone who's helping make warmth and beauty a tiny addition to the lives of some hard-working women at HOW.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Scuba Diving is the new Yoga

Things to recommend about my second scuba lesson:
  • being underwater, thinking only about breathing, no sounds but my regulator wheezing as I inhale and the air bubbles jostling and popping as I exhale. Nothing to take care of but my breath.
  • fitting into a scuba suit designed for a teenager. The dive master, Sergei, kept asking me, "what grade are you in?" and then smiling as he enjoyed his little joke. I decided not to look at my reflection in the window and just to imagine lookin' good. I know that I felt sleek.
  • getting out of the pool with my regulation vest and full tank of air on my back. At the last step, I doubted whether I could make it, but I was committed to live up to my teacher's expectations. Earlier, when Sergei was being gentlemanly and offering to put the women's tanks into the pool for them, my teacher Michelle, cordially thanked him but cautioned him, no, not to do that. "They're divers," she said. I'm a diver.
  • learning new and useful skills, such as trying to emulate Sergei, floating at a few feet off the pool bottom in lotus position, holding on to his fin tips, while using his inhale and exhale to make him rise and lower slightly with each breath. And learning to tow a tired diver by having him lie on his back, put his flippered feet on my shoulders, and swim/push him to safety.
  • finding a miniature Three Musketeers bar in each pocket of my down jacket. Giving the good one to my teacher, Michelle, and giving her the flattened one to her to give to her husband, who was teaching some of the other students. I believe in saying thank you with food, especially chocolate.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Amazing Race!

Nuff said. Except that if you're reading this, Debbie, we need to have a debriefing session every few episodes.

Felted Mittens

Pattern: Felted Mittens
Designer: Theresa Schabes (yes, she (works and - EDIT: an anonymoued out that she does not work there, just teaches there) teaches at Knitche, as does the lace designer Karen Joan Raz and lots of other very talented and kind people)
Yarn: Malabrigo, worsted weight, 216 yds/skein, color: Purple Mystery
Source: Knitche, for pattern and yarn
Needles: size 10.5 circular for palm section, size 6 double points for cuff
Gauge with size 10.5: 14 st and 18 rows to 4", before felting

Knit flat from wrist to finger tip, with stitches picked up for the thumb, and then seamed. The cast-on is a crochet cast on (much easier than it sounds) and the live stitches are held on the crochet chain until you've felted the mittens. You then unravel the cast on chain, pick up the stitches and knit the ribbed cuff. Eh voila. Felted where you need the warmth, not felted where you need the knitting to hug around the wrist so that the cold air stays out.

I managed to knit two mittens and cuffs 4" long and still had a small ball of yarn left over. I note this because the pattern calls for 250 yds, which is just slightly more than one skein of Malabrigo. Keep in mind that I have smallish hands and did not knit the ribbed cuff the full 6" suggested, so if your hands are larger or you're knitting for someone who plays the piano or you want a cuff that stretches a good way up the arm, you'll need two skeins. And don't skimp on the yarn. Malabrigo is the Platonic ideal of yarn for felting: soft, drapey, flexible even after felting (which you want to do lightly for mittens so that you can grip the steering wheel and not emulate a ping pong paddle), and colors that will bring pleasure both in knitting and wearing.

The Malabrigo cheered me up so much that I spent much of the weekend working on a Velvet Grape and Rhodesian version of the Blue Sky Alpacas Snap Cardigan. Thank you, Lori. You were right. Burnt orange works great with deep purple. I'm throwing away the color wheel. Maybe.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Things to recommend about last night's Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert

  • Arabella Steinbacher. A whiz violinist and beautiful, to boot, with a Stradivarius violin that is over 300 years old. Four hundred years old. And the second-best name I know, after that of Arianna Leibovitz, a baby that we met years ago in Philadelphia. (Arianna, if you're reading this, I'd love to know what - with your name - you've become since you've grown up. Maybe a violinist?)
  • Sibelius' Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47. With Arabella Steinbacher as soloist.
  • But not Bruckner.
  • Particularly not the fourth movement of Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major. How many times can you listen to the French horns sound, then trumpets blare, then trombones chime in, then all the stringed instruments do the rest of the heavy lifting? Each time the trumpets started up I thought, all right, we're in the home stretch. Then all the instruments started noodling around again, and it was another stretch of cello and violin interrupted, finally, by the trumpets blaring. Well, and you know the rest. I grabbed my husband by the sleeve of his sweater and whispered, "When will it end?"
  • The program notes. At the end of the notes, Philip Huscher is identified as the program annotator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I think that he has a future as a stand up comic, or at least an essayist for the Sunday NY Times magazine. Describing Bruckner, he writes: "A tall, awkward man with a severely cropped Prussian haircut and a wardrobe of seriously misshapen suits, his very appearance seemed to invite doubt and scorn, if not ridicule. (Beethoven, once arrested as a vagrant, had already proved that fashion plans no role in musical greatness.)" But my favorite sentence is this one: "It is useless (though accurate) to note that the first movement. . .is twice as long as any opening symphonic movement in Mozart or Haydn. . ." Feel free to borrow that one in conversation. For fun, finish the phrase your own way: "It is useless, but accurate, to. . . ."
  • Trying to amuse the ushers. They've heard every bad joke about climbing eight or nine flights of stairs to get to the top-most gallery, including any statements involving the terms "oxygen" or "more stairs." But I did think that my husband should have gotten at least a grin for asking the usher if he should call "on belay" when the tiny old lady in front of us started picking her way down the 90-degree incline of stairs to her seat.
  • Hearing a symphony. Sitting still and taking in the music. Taking the train into the city, knitting all the way there and all the way back, while my husband did a crossword puzzle and I eavesdropped on all the conversations going on around me.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Progress on the Knitting for Compassion Project

218 scarves.
4 pair of gloves.
11 hats.
2 little handbags.

Amazing. Good job everyone.

Only 82 more scarves, and we'll have achieved the goal of providing some warmth and beauty for every client of Housing Opportunities for Women in Evanston, Illinois.

That's nothing. We can do this - I know it.

Here are some pictures of what we've done so far:

A box arriving from Pittsburgh. When's the last time that you saw waxed paper? This set the 50s theme for many of the scarves in this box.
A blue and red mohair scarf. Heavily corrugated. Should be standard issue for a Chicago winter.
The Retro Four. I loved this box; I could imagine the ladies of the sisterhood chatting, crocheting, using up odds and ends of donated yarn.
A very purple bobble hat.
Another lovely hat: a traditional tam. This one reminds me of my mother-in-law.
What I like to think of as the Focused Five; five individual scarves of the same yarn. An interesting shift and it made me wonder if they were all knit by the same person, or by five different knitters?
Is it wrong to choose a favorite? If so, this is mine from this batch. (My last favorite was the fuzzy pink scarf knit by a little boy, from the last bag that I picked up at the Knitche.) This one is a large rectangular wool shawl with embroidered details that echo the colors of the leaves changing in autumn.