30 June 2006

Little Lost Lamb

I cannot for the life of me find my copy of Weekend Knitting. Where did it go? It's not on the coffee table in the stack of knitting books. It's not on the shelf where the knitting books actually belong. It's not on the floor of the basement where the knitting books eventually wind up. Where is it?? Where???

In other news, I have finished the knitting of the SCJ. Now I just have to sew it all together. I have never actually had to sew giant pieces of knitting together before: every other sweater I've ever made (all two of them), I've knit as one piece so that I wouldn't have to sew them together later. So I really don't know how to do it. Also, I think I'm going to felt the jacket slightly, if I don't like the final fit (I haven't liked the way it looks on actual women in actual photos on their actual blogs, but it may be the women and not the jacket, you know?) and as a way to help firm up a few of the thin spots that resulted from using a thick-and-thin yarn (does that work?). What does all this mean? It means that I'm venturing into uncharted "I'm confused about how to proceed" territory, and I may have to call in the big guns.
After all, what are girlfriends for?

27 June 2006

You Can Go Home Again

...you are just older when you get there.

I am happy to report that I have been home, visiting my parents, and that (a) I accomplished a lot of behind-the-scenes career stuff, (b) I still like my folks and they like me, and (c) I did a lot of knitting. Oh, and I got to watch a baseball game with my girlfriend Jennifer and watch twin baby deer(s) frolic in the back yard. And pluck cabbage worms off the Brussels sprouts in the garden.

But back to the knitting. And the relaxing. And the church. And the new yarn store.

My home church has a new minister (new since the last time I was home long enough to go to church, anyway -- he's actually been there for a while now), and he's the guy who oversees the bunch of programs that includes the Shawl Knitting Ministry. So I'm trying to convince him to learn to knit. He actually seemed pretty cool with the idea, what with the good-deed-doing and the fun and fellowship and the earning-points-with-the-church-ladies, and the fact that most of the time he sits there and hangs out with the knitters anyway. So that's a project. Convince the man my mom calls "our new whippersnapper preacher" to learn to knit. Who's with me?!?!!? If I still actually lived there, I'd totally sit down with him for twenty minutes and have him knitting before he even realizes it. But I don't live there, so I guess that's not going to happen.

NEW (to me) YARN STORE in my hometown. Within walking distance of my house. Across the street from my elementary school. In the shopping center where my first coffee shop job was. Amazing selection. Totally friendly owner. Did I mention the great selection, and how it's all good stuff and no crap? And I found good things in the 20% off bin. Bought a singleton blue Reynold's Lopi, so knitted a hat for Joel while in a meeting that weekend. Nice way to connect to him from a distance of 1000 miles. And the hat is beautiful -- I'm totally going to steal it if he doesn't wear it this winter. Or even if he does. Or at least, I'll insist that he shares it. I'll wear it inside, even. Great hat. If I even knew where I could buy Reynold's Lopi in Atlanta, I'd buy another skein and knit a second hat so I wouldn't be forced to arm wrestle my boyfriend for the good one that, um, I made for him. So yay for that new yarn store.

So every morning I woke up ridiculously early (sometimes I went back to bed, but not every time) and tromped downstairs to watch the baby deer frolic in the backyard. Yes. Baby deer. Since deer is a tricky singular/plural word, let me clarify: there were two. Twins. Little white spots, too young to jump over the fence. Lots of frolicking. Lots. And then the nursing. The cuteness-o-meter really couldn't go much higher. Then we'd eat breakfast. Then I'd curl up in a chair and knit for a while and talk with my mom. Lots of knitting. Lots of talking. Lots.

I've been working on the Sunrise Circle Jacket. I started with the left arm/front, rather than the back, and did the whole left side during my spring break, way back in early March or whenever. Started the right side, got through the arm and up to the increase-y part, and had to stop. Had to. The eight-or-so days of nonstop knitting was too intense, and I had to work on smaller stuff for a while (finished a pair of socks that I started last August, tho', so that was a good thing). Picked up the SCJ again for this trip home (airplane knitting! car knitting!), and breezed through the right front and most of the back in the ten days I was there. And! knitting the hat in there provided a good break, so I didn't get SCJ burnout. I'm still finishing out the raglan on the back, but I still like it. Months later. So that's good.

Meanwhile, I had good meetings with important people (important in that world), and I'm hoping that it means I actually get to get a job soon. Better than that, though, I reconnected with a bunch of old friends. I didn't see everyone I was hoping to see, but close. And I saw the people who are most important. Both of my brothers! My "adopted sister" and her new-to-me boyfriend! Jennifer-who-lives-in-Chicago! Mom! Dad! Neighbors! Church people! Oh, it was good to be home.

And I'm not just saying that because my mom now knows about my blog.

10 June 2006

Book Review -- Knitting Heaven and Earth: Healing the Heart with Craft

Susan Gordon Lydon's Knitting Heaven and Earth reminds me why I tend to eschew the whole autobiography/memoirs genre: because although I could sit with rapt attention and listen to her talk about her experiences for hours and days and weeks on end, I find it damn difficult to bring myself to care when her experiences are laid out on the written page for all to see. The moment the personal struggles and revelations are put into words and arranged on the page, they become flat and boring. It's also why I don't bother to keep a journal of my own, and why I prefer to write fiction, or to write real life into poetry rather than prose. Much as I love reading and writing, the written word is sometimes inadequate for storytelling. This book is an example of one of those times.

I had hoped things would be different with this book, seeing as how Knitting Heaven and Earth is supposed to be about knitting and spirituality, a combination which increasingly fascinates me… but no. This book quickly became bathroom reading, and then eventually devolved into a project I had to force myself to finish rather than allow myself to abandon altogether. Really, it's too bad, because I did begin to connect more with Lydon toward the end. Her story became more urgent with the suicide of a close friend and her own journeys through multiple cancers. Unfortunately, there was less knitting and more needlepoint at these times, too – which begs the question, why spend a huge portion of the book talking about your needlepoint if the book is supposed to be about knitting?

Meanwhile, her musings about knitting, while often insightful and underline-worthy, seemed to float disconnectedly amongst the stories she told. Her alcoholism, her unhealthy and abusive romances, her strained relationship with her father… all the knitting reflections she interspersed while relating these experiences seemed interchangeably unrelated to the stories in which she embedded them. Yes, if you knit a sweater for someone, you feel a greater connection to that person, and they may or may not reciprocate that feeling, and their response to your offer will affect how you relate to one another. It's the Boyfriend Curse writ large. It took you forty years to learn this lesson? Lydon phrases her spiritual knit-musings beautifully, but doesn't earn their discovery in the telling of her journey.

I wonder, though… this is the first book I have read by Lydon; would I have felt differently if I had read The Knitting Sutra first? I still plan to read that one, if it's still available in bookstores (I've never seen it on the shelf). I hope that it will help me to appreciate some of the writing of Knitting Heaven and Earth – rather than merely to appreciate having finished it at last. On the upside, as I finished the book, I had a sudden and inexplicable urge to knit one of those yummy flower washcloths from Weekend Knitting. Books that inspire me to specific projects are not all bad!

02 June 2006

I have not fallen off the face of the earth

...I have just been a bad blogger, that's all. But I've been a good knitter! So that's something.

Brief update (as I'm about to go to a friend's moving-away party):
(not that anyone cares, as probably nobody reads this blog anyway)

I'm reading a couple of knitting and spirituality books, reviews for which I intend to include as posts someday. One's not so great, one looks to be pretty good but I've only just started it.

I've been knitting lots of random things -- finished a pair of socks I started a year ago, got about halfway on the Sunrise Circle Jacket before putting it aside, am currently breezing through the Spiral Shell from WrapStyle. I'm sure there are other things as well, but those are the highlights.

My knitting has been very good for my soul, pretty much the only thing that has been good lately. Well, not true, but work was pretty miserable there for a while. Now it's over, and I'm relieved. As far as I can tell, the best benefit of working for a school is two months of summer vacation. I'm going to visit my parents in a week and a half, and that'll be good for my soul also. But there are several Big Projects (not knitting, unfortunately -- job-search related) that I need to complete before I can go home and enjoy myself without my own guilt combining with the guilt my mother will set upon me with every waking moment and causing my upper chest to implode.

'Cause that's where I feel all my guilt. In my imploding upper chest. Hopefully knitting the Spiral Shell will help to protect me like so much blue wool guilt-deflecting armor.