Sunday, March 28, 2010

Two events have reminded me again of the losses I experienced as a result of WWII and the effect these past losses have on me even as I near another milestone in my life.

The first event was reading a novel: "The Cellist of Sarajevo" by Steven Galloway who teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia. The book follows four individuals "whose lives have been upended" by the Bosnian/Serbian civil war in the nineties, but who are "ultimately reminded of what it is to be human". I was laid up (1995) from my car accident when the first television reports came from that area of Europe. The daily news reports were affecting me on a level that was hard for me to grasp. But the pictures of emaciated humans behind barbed wire started to remind me again of things I had wanted to forget, but couldn't since they are part of my very being. And that was the beginning of the emergence of a delayed but full-blown case of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Oh sure I always had some symptoms. We all snickered at my jumping after a loud sound went off behind me and my kids knew not to ask Mother to take them to the fireworks. The standard operating procedure was Mom stays home, Dad takes the kids. I was lucky that he was just as much of a kid as our three children were. And, then, there were the occasional flash backs, but the Bosnian war brought all of this with a vengeance to the foreground.

The second event happened when I read a German blog. I came upon Ulli's blog through one of the sock knitting groups to which I belong. Ulli is a sock knitting fiend. But Ulli also comes from my neck of the woods in Germany, the wonderful, enchanted land of Schwaben. She also has two children, a boy, Bennie, and a daughter, Marina, who has Downs Syndrome. She freely shares photos of her family and the activities of her children as well as knitting. On Friday, March 26 Ulli showed a newspaper clipping in the Stuttgart newspaper, highlighting a local school in which special needs children are integrated into various classes with class mates who are not special needs children.

And that's when my tears of loss started to flow. After 60 years, I finally started grieving for the cousin I never met in person. She was my favorite aunt's, my Tante Emma's, child. She too had Down's Syndrome. One of my favorite past times was going through the boxes of photographs my aunt had. And that's where I found her picture. And when I asked, all I got was "Hitler took her." And then she stormed out of the room. This, a woman, who never got angry, who was all-loving and understanding. I knew better than to ask again and at the end of the day I had forgotten about my cousin. After all, I had better things to do, such as frittering the day away in the woods surrounding us with my cousin Walter. I was too young to understand the meaning behind the terse "Hitler took her." In the photo she was old enough to understand what was happening to her. The sheer terror this child must have felt. The terror is beyond my understanding. Thankfully.

But my tears are still flowing, selfishly, for all the days missed playing with her. I don't even know her name and no one left to ask.


The Kissing Cousins came for a second visit.

The Kissing Cousins came to visit again and with them another pair of socks. I found the pattern on the Web, probably on Ravelry. The pattern is named Broken Ribs Diagonal Socks and the designer is Vicki Reed. The pattern is quite simple; even I could memorize it after the second repeat. And some days that is saying a lot considering all the Flexeril I have been taking these past few days.

You just shouldn't crawl on your belly underneath your mobile home to "see for yourself" when you are out of shape and have weak stomach muscles and four weeks away from being 70. Yep that's what I did and my lower back is telling me that this was a nono. But the German genes in me cannot stand it when someone says "it can't be done." I know from experience that there always is a way, if the person just becomes inventive enough. I didn't find a way to unplug the heater that defrosted our water well line, but miraculously a way was found to turn it off. A little imagination can go a long way. Thanks Angie for thinking "out-of-the-box."

These socks are the second pair knit from Angie's left-over yarn. In it's previous incarnation it was going to be a shawl and if you read my last post, you can see it's first incarnation as a shawl. These are also pair no. 33 for the 52 pairs of socks challenge. I'm pretty sure I won't make it this time around. But at least I have had the joy of knitting 33 pairs and some folks besides my daughter and me had warm feet this winter.

As far as my Snow Queen shawl is concerned, I only have about 8 rows to go. The beads are making it really look classy. I have also started another smaller shawl with one of Monika Eckert's designs. Yes, folks, I have currently too many projects going at the same time. So I better get off line and continue to knit.

Knit on Merrily!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Things that didn't float my boat

I consider this blog to be a diary of all my knitting history, not just my successes. The last few weeks I have been on a mission to undo projects I have started at one time and never finished for one reason or another. I am finding that the reason for not finishing something is mainly divided into two categories: The started piece just doesn't give me that tiny lift that says "gee, I like that" or "it's too small, too big, too..."

So I thought it be a nice idea to do Spring cleaning on my blog. This is definitely easier than doing Spring cleaning in my house since it only takes a sit down in my chair, my fingers, my mouse and a click through the graveyard or junkyard of my knitting projects.

This project fell into the "too..." category. It gave me a lift, particularly since the colors of the hand spun yarn seemed "just right" for the project, but it was just a tiny bit too small. It would also have been better if I had used a larger size needle. But then the largest size needle I own is US size 7 (4.5 mm). This yarn has since made it into a sweater for afghansforAfghans and two pairs of socks. The socks have that bit of an "umpf"; the sweater for afghansforAfghans ist just so. But then a kid in Afghanistan needs a warm sweater and not my "umpf."

This project definitely had the "umpf" factor. But it was going to be way too big. It is a Monika Eckert design called "Masked Ball." The yarn looks nice, but I really didn't like to knit with it. My hunch is that had I used bamboo needles rather than Addis, the knitting would have been easier. The yarn was too slick for the Addis. When I reknit it, not if I will make the smaller size.
This was a Yarn Harlot design named "Earl Grey." The yarn was at fault in this case. It was too old--a ball of Opal Uni in dark brown on which either one of our four-legged house guests, aka "eek a mouse." had feasted or Sammy, our Siamese, had carried it once too often to his food dish. When will this frugal German learn that some things should be thrown out. The pattern has since been reknitted in a very nice dark green Regia. I still have the one sock knit from the brown Opal. It has since become a sample for size 9-1/2 (US) men's socks.

This was a mystery knit-along. It was a Pi shawl design and, believe it or not, I was on the knitted on edge. It has lingered since 2008 in the unfinished projects basket. This just didn't give me that lift I want from a project. This may have nothing to do with the design itself, but I have discovered that I do not like to knit items where the instructions are "pick one from four" for this particular section. Only once did it actually work for me. I suppose the secret would be to make swatches of all patterns offered and then see what goes with what. But there are so many good designs out there that I really don't want to waste my time on it.

I actually found a whole sock knit with this pattern, complete with ends woven in. This falls into the very small category of "gee I don't remember knitting this" and having used the rest of the yarn in some other project, there is no way of knitting the second sock. Pity, the finished sock looks really nice, but no more yarn of this one of a kind hand-dyed sock yarn. This pattern named Christine by Kleine Hexorei was reknit with another yarn, and its new owner loves the socks.
As I do more Spring cleaning, I am sure I will come across other projects. Quoting CNN, "I'll keep myself honest."
Knit on merrily!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two fiber related videos

A cyber friend from one of my knitting list posted these two videos. They are such fun that I thought I would share them with you. One is from Belgium and the other from Scotland. Enjoy!

Knit on merrily!

Monday, March 15, 2010

An in-between knit

This small scarf was an in-between project. While waiting for additional beads for my Snow Queen to arrive, my eyes fell on an old issue of Piecework Magazine, the July/August 2009 issue. I found this little gem, designed by Nancy Bush just so I wouldn't get out of practice knitting nupps. It used just 40 grams (less than 1-1/2 oz) of fingering weight yarn. The yarn came of a cone of Jaeger Spun Maine Line 2/8 weight yarn purchased from . The color is turquoise.

And look, the snow has melted and we actually had about 3 minutes of sunshine. But not to get too optimistic. The weather forecast calls for more snow, later in the week. Let's all bow to the wheather god/goddess and say "enough." Let Spring begin.

The beads have arrived. Now I can go back to my Snow Queen.

Knit on merrily!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pairs No. 31 and 32

Only 20 more pairs to go by June. I wonder if I am going to have the fortitude to make the deadline?

I named these "Kissing Cousins." They were knit on 3.25 mm needles in size 7-1/2 to fit moi. Although they are knit from the same hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn, I did not plan ahead and used most of the yarn in a boy's sweater and, thus, was unable to knit "fraternal twins." These will be my antidote to the winter blahs. Besides, I like the poem by Jenny Jones "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me" and socks that do not match.

Pair #32 is also knit from hand-dyed, hand spun yarn on 3.25 mm needles with my favorite "Stino" pattern. The socks are named "Shades of Blue" for obvious reason. The size is a woman's small.
Update on the Snow Queen Shawl: I have started the 96 row section. There was a delay due to deciding that I wanted to add beads after all.
Knit on merrily!