02 March 2015

Insomnia Art Project

Sometimes I wake in the middle of  the night and can't get back to sleep. As I age, this is happening more frequently. Rather than fight it, I've taken to using the time on random odd projects. Sometimes I knit or write a journal entry. Once I sorted my underwear drawer. Four-thirty AM a few weeks back found me sitting on my hall mat polishing all my shoes. 

Last night I made art.

I've been clipping and keeping images for years. When I'm feeling inspired, or more often, uninspired, I arrange them into a collage in my notebook. Late at night is the best time for this because that's when the inner critic is asleep. Usually I add little passages from whatever reading is my current obsession (in this case it's John Ashbery's Flow Chart, The Noonday Press 1991). Text as visual art; the link between words and pictures, is something that deeply intrigues me. Marcel Broodthaers is a favourite. There was a great show at The Power Plant on the subject a few years ago called Postscript, that I went to see twice. Did anyone else catch it?

Anyway, I like this one so am sharing it here. Usually my assemblages are dark and broody. This one feels light and hopeful to me. It reminds me of the approaching dawn.

26 February 2015

Sonnet 74

You can remember when it was and where
but it just so happens what happened is a blank
A sudden pang reminds you that once again
something nice had happened, it truly had, 
but whatever it was has become a blank.
It was a foggy day on Featherstone Point.
Many things happened on that same day, 
and you remember those things very well.

Everyone was making comments about the lovers.
Some of it was ribald but respectful.
And five minutes later, just around the corner
something much more interesting happened -
a woman in a red wool sleeve-length sweater? -
much more worth remembering --but she's gone.

David W. McFadden
Be Calm Honey
Mansfield press 2008

19 February 2015

Down Time

Pattern:  Jack-in-the-Box Mittens by Robin Melanson
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Worsted
Well, I've been dreadfully ill for weeks now. I blame all that time spent in hospital wards and offices. Nasty, germ filled places, hospitals are. First it was a stomach flu that flattened me for days. That was followed by a persistent pink-eye infection. Currently I am getting over a feverish hacking cough/cold contraption that keeps me up night after night. Seriously?

One tries to keep one's spirits up. 

Attempts to take advantage of the enforced down time have included knitting (naturally) and continued internet job searching. Unfortunately, the hat I was working on turned into a disaster and had to be frogged and job searching is extra disheartening when your face is all red and blotchy and your whole body hurts.

Enough complaining. I am a firm believer in tomorrow being another day. In the meantime, on my few necessary outings, I have been enjoying my latest FO. Cables plus Rowan worsted wool equals warm and attractive hands. This is my fourth knitting of these mittens from Knitting New Mittens and Gloves and I don't expect it to be my last.

A bit of cheer in the cold. The neighbours have left their holiday decorations up.

09 February 2015


Yes, colour is glorious. One of the reasons so many of us knit is because we love colour and such a variety of it is available in today's yarns. Yet, once in a while, it's nice to return to neutral. This is Noro Silk Garden Sock in 269 - a colourway some call Natural. It slowly grades from beige to ivory to pale, pale gray. Noro is not my favourite to work with. It sticks to itself and the centre pulls rarely pull. Still,The Daughter requested another pair of Noro socks and I have to admit that the last pair are still going strong after several years. The silk makes this stuff STRONG.

The Daughter wears a largely neutral palette these days. Beige is her main colour with navy and/or burgundy providing the accents. This pair of plain socks with just a little rib down the front sides, should go with almost everything she wears.  I am enjoying the calm of this knit.

One odd observation. The yarn on this skein seems to be thicker than every other Noro Sock in the store though the labels claim the exact same weight and gauge. Is it because less dye makes the yarn fluffier?

07 February 2015


Re-reading my last post it occurs to me that it might be perceived as being just about me, me, me! After all, it wasn't me with the traumatic incision. the loss of movement, the future weeks of recovery. Who am to whine about being "stressed out" and crying in the bathroom?

It begs the question: Where is the line between self aware and self centred? Between conscious introspection and navel gazing? Conversely, when am I simply telling my story and when am I intruding on another's privacy by presuming to tell his?

I've come to the conclusion that, in the end, the only experience upon which I am qualified to comment is my own. I am constantly surprised and intrigued by the odd, unexpected, thoughts and feelings that arise in the circumstances life decides to throw. It is about the observation of such things that I choose to occasionally write. This in no way diminishes the experience of my people. Their stories are their own and are precious. My story is one that is sometimes a part of their's and it is consequently more precious because of that.

Also I knit. My 2014 Gift-a-Long Sagano Shawl was 5 weeks late. In that time I fell so deeply in love that it is no longer a gift. (Not to worry, I already have another knitted gift project in mind for the intended recipient). 

My new shawl has come in handy. Recently, I returned to the tradition of long walks in the park. It was bitterly cold, cold, cold last week and I had to wrap my new shawl tight around my nose and mouth while I walked. The Indigo Dragonfly silk/wool blend yarn knit into the dense daisy stitch pattern, kept me very warm. The unblocked ribbed pleats of the border makes a striking frame around my face. I love lace as you know but I also love that Laura Chau designs these thick, warm, decidedly un-lacey, shawls.

My camera has a mind of its own and randomly takes these blurry, over-exposed photos. 
I've decided to go with it. It's a design feature!

04 February 2015


Where you get off when you miss your stop on the 172A bus.

What's it like to withdraw from reality and move in with someone you love to take care of him after major surgery? What's required? How does it work?

Well, you get less knitting done than you thought you might. There's the odd row here and there but mostly there is just too much else to do. What with all the laundry and the food preparation. The bandage changing. The linen changing. The bathing. Managing the medication schedule alone takes a surprising amount of time and energy. Five different drugs all with different timetables!

I missed my cats less than I thought I would. The Daughter took them to her place and I had expected to be constantly worrying about them. I wasn't. See above.

I've always been remarkably good at the nitty gritty bits of life. At heart I am a deeply practical and organized person, especially in moments of crisis. Still, in the midst of all the pragmatism and the "getting it done", there was a myriad of emotions. Big ones like the terror of early morning fever and uncontrollable shaking. "Should I call 911?" There was that warm feeling of gratitude toward ER staff the day we did have to go in with scary post-op complications. There was the evening I found myself sobbing in the bathroom for no apparent reason. There were also some embarrassing, seemingly petty worries. "I haven't worn makeup or shaved my legs in days. He's never seen me like this." And there were spontaneous silly outbursts like when I said he made that walker look sexy. "Ladies!" he cried, and we laughed and laughed.

Thankfully, he's out of danger now. I've moved back home. I still go every day and spend some nights but I'm slowly emerging back into reality. The thing is, "reality", such as it is, doesn't feel very real. Buying coffee, sending emails, even shaving my legs - it's all very nice. It just seems a whole lot less important right now.

Except for the cats of course. The cats are important. They told me so the day I brought them home.

08 January 2015

Aus Einem April

     We dust the walls.
     And of course we are weeping larks
falling all over the heavens with our shoulders clasped
in someone's armpits, so tightly! and our throats are full.
     Haven't you ever fallen down at Christmas
     and didn't it move everyone who saw you?
     isn't that what the tree means? the pure pleasure
of making weep those whom you cannot move by your flights!
     It's enough to drive one to suicide.
And the rooftops are falling apart like applause

of rough, long-nailed, intimate, roughened-by-kisses, hands.
Fingers more breathless than a tongue laid upon the lips
in the hour of sunlight, early morning, before the mist rolls
in from the sea; and out there everything is turbulent and green.

Frank O'Hara 
Meditations In An Emergency
Grove Press 1957

05 January 2015

Meditative Knitting

Well, it's a new year and  I am still picking away at the 2014 Summerworks Socks. With every knit stitch twisted and every row being one of a 20 row repeat, this is slow going. Sock #1 was completed in the car coming back from Rhinebeck. Sock #2 is about half done. Of course there have been other projects - Christmas knitting comes to mind - and yes, I have more things on the needles concurrently (a cardigan, mittens, The Sagano shawl). This sock however has become my meditation knit. The pattern is quite geometric with yarn overs and double knit stitches moving along in one direction and then the other. One needs to count. Rather than being annoyed at the complexity, I've embraced it. I've taken to knitting a row or two first thing in the morning while I wait for my caffeine to hit. Or I pick it up when job hunting becomes too frustrating and I need to calm my brain by patiently counting twelve stitch repeats. At this rate it's going to be a while before I have new socks and this is perfectly fine with me.

Every knitting project has its purpose. That's one of the wonderful things about the craft.

30 December 2014

Another New Year

In a little more than 24 hours a new year will arrive. I guess that means it's time to reflect and write the year end blog post. Recently, going over old posts, I see that I have written less and less about my personal life here. Now, I'm a private person at the best of times but I've been positively silent lately. Perhaps there is some sort of odd inverse relationship at play. It seems the more that is going on, the less I am likely to say.

Much happened in 2014. My daughter moved out on her own. I turned fifty. I lost a job under difficult circumstances resulting in great financial hardship and an uncertain future. I met a man I have grown to love and who loves me; the one who is my person. 

Unexpectedly, the event that should have been the most demoralising, is the one that has been the most empowering. Being wrongly dismissed from my job in a humiliating manner, instead of crushing me, rallied my strength in a way I did not know was possible. With the help of a great non-profit organisation, Worker's Action Centre, I've been fighting this wrong and actually winning some small victories. The support of my daughter, my friends and my wonderful boyfriend has buoyed me, made me feel strong.

Another first in 2014? I knit a scarf for a man! The linen stitch, Sherlock inspired, coat scarf was done in time for Christmas. The full 164 cm was achieved and my fella wears it all the time. It turned out pretty well I think!

I am looking forward to 2015 and all the challenges it may bring. My Freewill Astrology horoscope says this is the year I will "learn more than ever before about what it's like for all the different parts of you to be united". How very exciting! Bring it on.

Happy New Year everyone!

27 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

It has been a wonderful holiday season here so far. There are good people in my life and I have been so fortunate to spend time with many of you over the past several days. 
Happy Holidays to all my friends, those close to home and those I know from afar via the internet.
Peace. Joy.

Notice the photo of my beloved cat Wendell in the upper left. He passed 17 years ago but every Christmas we take time to remember him when we decorate the tree.

17 December 2014

Counting Down

According to Sherlockology, the Season 1 scarf is 164 cm long. Is that with or without fringe I wonder? 
I have about 50 cm of knitting left to attain this goal. With 6 knitting days left until the gift is due and factoring in the average rate of 7 cm knit per hour, plus fringe and blocking...Ahhh!!!!