Knitting

What is he up to?

Spike and Moe love the little mousies we get at the pet store. They love that they are fuzzy. He and Moe bite off the tails and ears and carry them around. And now look where they are putting them --

Magical, lethal, loving...

She was magical, lethal, loving, a sorceress, a barbarian, and had a savage truthfulness in her heart. – Brendan Kennelly

That's Medea.

And here she is slowly unfolding --

P1030815




Among women, Medea has the most cunning mind of all.
She is fox and badger, ferret and stoat,
eagle and hawk.
She can master seven kinds of talk,
using the same words.
She is the clouds the sun cannot penetrate,
she is the sun the clouds cannot resist,
she is the voices of the rain,
she is the silence of an unread book, she has a tongue to flay anyone who bandies words with her – Brendan Kennelly




Someone asked me if I would make the pattern available for sale when I finish. I hadn't thought of this, but certainly could. Interested?

Look -- it's GREEN

Look at this -- GREEN --

GREEN

And the appearance of spring moved me to get somethings done today -- like put away the DVDs we never watch and use it instead to create my little altar to Colourmart --


Now I can look at it and sigh happy sighs.

A little more progress to show you, on Medea and on Arabian Nights, v.2 --

progress2

P1030793

And since a picture is worth a thousand words, with those 4000 word-equivalents, I am out to enjoy some of the sun!






Talk about sloooow

This designing thing is a slooow process!

As I have tried to find a stitch that suggests Corinthian columns, first there was this --

but I decided I didn't like it enough.

So I looked at other stitch patterns, like fluted columns, but they did't work well either. Then this morning in the shower it occurred to me that maybe a lace ribbing stitch would do the trick. So I did a search and found this lace rib and it looked like it might just work. And I think it will work. But finagling the stitch count and figuring out this and that and another thing took a good part of the afternoon. I've got a start and maybe you can begin to see how it is coming along --

P1030778

These columns are a lot wider, spanning 20 stitches ad I think ill allow me to make some kind of ornamentation at the top, which of course I have not yet worked out -- because my brain just couldn't do any more figuring today. I also decided to work in the yarn I want the finished stole to be in, so this is 2 strands of Colourmart cashmere/merino/viscose. And I a using a 3.00 mm KnitPicks Options needle.

She's got me

Medea -- she's got me. I am becoming a woman obsessed with this stole. 

Working this design out is a new thing for me. I am used to being able to intuit my way, to "see" what I want something to be, how I want to shape a piece of writing for instance, and then it just happens But this is different. I cannot see it as a finished product in my mind. This is a journey to an unknown destination. ll I can do is start with basic parameters -- how long and how wide and what shape and then step by step find and put together the pieces. 

So last night I laid out the beginning -- decided on an edging, at least for now, and the bottom motifs. Then the number of stitches and repeats of each motif. I can't see how it will work without knitting it -- the graphs don't tell me enough, don't let me see how the color and texture and stitches work together.

As soon as I got home from teaching this morning, I sat down and cast on for the first look. I used a beaded cast on -- here it is just started 

I don't have anything other than a few rows of garter to serve as a base for the columns that will come next. And the fluted lace that Denise found ended up not looking column-ish enough for what I was hoping for, so I am back with what I tried originally for that. Maybe someone knows of a fluted column pattern that suggests corinthian columns? And I still want to work out something that suggests maybe acanthus leaves at the top of the columns, but I have a ways to go before I am there.

Looking at Medea

Thanks to Denise, I think I have found a better stitch to use for the columns -- Fluted Lace looks more like what I had in mind, so I'll be starting another sample this evening.

Other motifs I have in consideration are: Print o'the Wave as an edging to reflect the sea and its part in her journey with Jason, and flames, because she leaves in a chariot of fire, is a granddaughter of Helios, and the cloak she makes for Glauke sets her on fire.

For those not familiar with her story, here it is:

Medea, daughter of Aeëtes, king of Colchis, and the niece of Circe, falls in love with Jason when he comes to Colchis in his quest for the Golden Fleece1. Medea and Jason exchange oaths of fidelity in exchange for which she helps him with the trials devised by her father as a condition for winning the Fleece.  Jason's task completed, he takes Medea back with him to Greece, in accordance with their agreement. Medea’s brother, Apsyrtus, pursues them.  Medea murders her brother and cuts him up, throwing him overboard limb by limb to delay the remaining pursuers who have to stop to recover Apsyrtus' body.

A little it of this...

One of my favorite blogs to read is Endicott Redux, with its wonderful posts and links on art, myth, fairytales and other delights. And yesterday's contained this poem for knitters, along with a lovely painting --

Eve's Design

BY MOIRA LINEHAN

Then there's the Yemeni legend
of Eve in the Garden knitting
a pattern on the serpent's back,
the snake unfinished like the rest
of creation, the first woman
thinking to add design, a sheath
of interlocking diamonds and stripes
along that sensuous S,
knitting giving her time to learn
what's infinitely possible
with a few stitches, twisting cables,
hers a plan to mirror the divine
inner layer that can't be shed
no matter what it rubs up against.

I played a little with some red zephyr that I have to see what I could do towards developing motifs for Medea. I want to make something that looks like Corinthian columns, given that she was in Corinth when the play unfolds. 

Now there is no way I can or will make something with all these elements, but I did come up with this, using beads to make the fluted parts stand out a bit --


P1030751

That red is not true and in any case I will use a deeper red for the stole when  get a design together, but that maybe gives an idea.

 This is all a bit haphazard for me at this point. A thought about a possible motif comes to mind, I look to see if I can find a stitch suggestive of that or one I can modify and then I try it and then to the next one. I suspect it will be weeks before I can begin to actually attempt to make anything. Or maybe I won't get there. This is where being a process knitter may pay off for me.

The clue phone was ringing...

My husband and I decided to drive down to Rockland for lunch today. We had a hankering for Chinese food and thought we could try the other Chinese restaurant to see if it is any good. The place we went, China Jade, serves a buffet -- that should have been clue number one. The second clue was   that the music playing was classic country -- not Chinese country either. And the final clue that this was not a great Chinese restaurant -- they had macaroni & cheese on the buffet. We counted it as a lesson learned. The mid-coast still needs a good Chinese restaurant.

Still it was a beautiful day. And all over people were out doing things, like this was the day to come out of hibernation. In Camden, one of the windjammers came in -- the first we saw with its winter wrappings removed.

In Bayside in Northport, people were bustling around getting cottages ready to open --

bayside

And in my front yard, the lilac buds are swelling --

lilacs

So despite the decidedly mediocre food, we had a great day.

I am working away on Arabian Nights, 2.0 while I await the arrival of the stitch dictionaries I ordered. When they arrive I will begin playing with possibilities for my Medea stole.

I think I can...

This is what greeted me today --


When I was little , I just adored The Little Engine That Could. And as I was growing up, my father always told me I could learn anything I wanted to learn from books. He wasn't altogether right on that one, but the two things combined have made me confident that I can do most things that I really set my mind to -- even when I start filled with anxiety and doubt. Like about designing lace. 

So I start this process with some anxiety -- because I have never designed anything. But Medea is a passion of mine -- I write about her and teach about her and now I have this urge to knit about her. I can't , yet anyway, visualize what I want, except that I know the shape -- rectangular -- and some motifs are starting to come to mind. Flame. Waves. Columns. 

At first I thought I would see if I could work with someone whose patterns I admire, but why not, I decided, take the plunge and try it myself? So last night I spent a long time looking at blogs of people like Susan Pandorf who blog about their design process. Doing this was encouraging because I began to understand something about the process and as I went to bed last night the motifs started to come to me.

Up with the sun

I was up with the sun this morning and oh what a sunrise I was able to see!



I was awake early partly out of excitement. You know the kind of excitement that comes when a new idea creeps into your consciousness and you let it stay and grow and then you realize you could do but oh my, what a journey it will be to get there. It was that kind of excitement.

Which started last night when I saw, and purchased, the pattern for the newly released Hecate Stole. The design itself is lovely -- I will make mine wider because 18" just does not work as a stole on me.

Now Hecate is an important character in the mythologem of Medea. And we all know I have a thing for Medea. So as I was looking at the Hecate pattern and figuring out how i would make it wider, something began to creep into my mind. A Medea stole. Blood red, with beads, and a flame motif. But wait --though I have been knitting for 50 years, I have never designed anything! I don't have a clue about where to begin!

I am putting out calls for help and consultation to any of you who design lace to help this novice. I really want to make this. I have images and words in my mind about her. Any good resources that I an consult to help me, I would dearly appreciate. I promise to show and tell along the way in this journey.

In spring a young man's fancy ...

When I went out for my walk today I saw a couple of unmistakeable signs of spring --

lovers1

Ahhh, youth!

When I was in college, we would leave for spring vacation with the campus still looking kind of dreary and when we came back 10 days later, the whole place would have burst nto bloom and the air would be filled with the scent of magnolias. It was intoxicating! And then the gardens would fill with couples "studying". I confess to having enjoyed some study sessions under one of the old magnolias that are now gone.



On a clear day...

On a day like today, with not a cloud in the sky, it really does seem like we can see forever --

Now, if only the wind coming in off the water weren't so chilly, it would be close to perfect!

NB: If you're looking for green, you won't see much for another month or so.

While cruising through my blog reading this morning, I finally took notice of what Melanie has been knitting. So off I went to checkout the patterns at Knititude, especially Chinese Lace because, you know, I have those two cones of soft pink silk/bamboo yarn I got the other week from Elann. Was it the lace? The pink color? The influence of Melanie? Who knows? But I decided I like it and best of all I have enough yarn in the right weight. I plan to make the sleeves about 3/4 length. I think maybe I will start it in the next day or so.

I've decided that there must be a parallel Ravelry to the the one I read and post some to. Because I keep seeing references here and there to controversy and stressful topics. Somehow the topics I am interested in don't seem to raise a lot of hackles or elevate stress -- I like it that way!

A seed planted

Denise planted an interesting seed yesterday in the comments --

"I would love to read insights based upon Jung's ideas that are related to women at midlife...I would especially enjoy it if you designed a lace pattern at the end of each chapter!"

Well now -- wouldn't that be interesting! I have no idea how I would do it or even where I want to start, but the thought certainly intrigues me and I will keep it in mind. Be sure to read her whole comment to yesterday's post. And if you have thoughts on this, let me know.  Hmmm, Jung, midlife and knitting.

On Ravelry, someone asked me how I put beads on the YOs that form the edge of Arabian Nights. So I figured I would use the macro setting on my camera and finagle a way to show it. But look what showed up in the last picture -- 

Moe is everywhere even when he is in another room!

What shape?

I made a start on Dem Fischer Sin Fru --

And I like it. At least I like the yarn a lot. But I am wondering about the shape. I decided to knit it because of the Faroese shape, because I have never knit one in that style. 

One thing I am learning from knitting lace projects is a clearer sense of what I like and what I am more iffy about. I really like stoles -- rectangular wraps. And I know I like them wider than many patterns -- 30 inches seems a good width to me, 20-24" seems more scarf like. And I like generous length -- 84" at minimum, 90 " long is even better. Not because I am tall but because I am wide.

Which brings me back to the faroese shawl. Will I wear it? Or would I be better off using the yarn in a stole design that I really love? That question leads me to place it in hibernation for a while so I can ponder this a bit.

What shape do you prefer? 


I am within sight of the end of the course I have been teaching this term at Senior College. I find Jungian typology interesting but not so easy to teach, so I don't know if I would do this one again. Coming to the end means I can start to think about other projects. And right on top is doing a lot of reading in mid-life to see what other people are doing with it. And then looking at putting something together from a Jungian perspective, probably for women. 

Look -- it's GONE!

It happened. The snow is gone!

Right now clouds have moved in and it's going to rain. 

Arabian Nights, 2.0

I thought you might like to see how the silk Arabian Nights is coming along so here you go --

silkarabian

And a detail of the edge --

P1030645

I think it is a more open lace in the silk and the added weight of the beads only enhances the drape of the silk. I think I like this a lot.  On the sides, instead of stringing the beads, I have decided to add them as I go along. It is a slightly different look but again, I am happy with it. I can't say often enough what  a pleasure this pattern is to knit.

And just to prove that I do knit things other than lace, I bought some of the silk/bamboo from Elann and I plan to make a nice summer sweater with it. I think pink will be the color for me this summer.

The warm weather has brought the ladybugs out from their winter hiding place so Spike is again being a fearless hunter --

spike2


And finally, though it is sunny now, it was pretty cloudy when I took my daily photo this morning, but look how little snow remains!

Apr 10


Milestone

I reached a milestone today -- it is day 100 in my photo-a-day from my window. When I started on New Year's Day I had only the idea in mind that I wanted to take a picture every morning from my window. I had no idea why or where the idea came from; I only knew I wanted to do it. Now I am a person who did a 21 day shape up program at least 5 times, getting to day 6 each time -- which I suppose means I was doing a 6 day don't get in shape program. But you get the point -- following through on this kind of thing is not something I have done a lot in my life. I decided that all I had to do was take the picture each morning; not worry about the next day or the day before or how many days were left in the year. So that's what I have done. I don't use an alarm clock so the time I get up varies between 6 and 8 am, as do the photos. And going day by day I have gotten to day 100.

If you click on the Flickr badge there on the right and then look at the photos as a slide show, you will see the changes in the light, the direction of the sunrise, the snow, the clouds. And now, color has started to creep back in as the last of the snow recedes from the hill. In a few weeks, we'll start to see sailboats moored in the bay. 

The sun shines in my world again...

I'm back! And in honor of my posting problems being solved, the sun came out today!

I've not forgotten...

Some kind of technical problem is keeping me from uploading my posts. I hope this will be corrected tomorrow. I have not forgotten you!

Not much knitting was accomplished yesterday as I wrestled with this posting problem. I was a living breathing example of superstitious behavior as I tried all kinds of ways to try to "trick" it into working, but it would not be fooled. Sometimes a terrific application just gets really stubborn.

Last night we went to our county Dems fund raising dinner. I am still unhappy about all the sexism on the national level in this campaign, but here on the state and local level, things are much better and it was fun to be with so many who share my beliefs. The food could have been better, but you know, that was a minor point.

It is gloomy again today, but look how much more the snow on the hill has retreated --

apr6

If the forecast for the week holds, in a few days the whole slope should be bare. And there is a trace of green in the grass already.

I am still hopping from project to project. Here is the start of my Dem Fischer Sin Fru, hereinafter known as Dem Fischer --

One of those days

This is one of those New England spring days, the kind we have in mud season. It's grey and wet and the best to be said is that the snow continues to disappear.

Wouldn't that make you feel like just curling up and reading?

Today is the 13th anniversary of my divorce. I am one of those people who without wanting to or trying to carry awareness of anniversary dates of one kind and another in my mind. Thirteen years ago, I took back my name. I thought long and hard about what to call myself after it was over. I knew I didn't want to go further known by his name, not because of bad feelings about him or about my time as his wife, but because it felt really important to be myself and to have my name reflect that. When I got married, in 1970, it was a matter of course that I would take his name. So to give it back now felt right. But did I want my father's name? Or some name I made up? I knew several women who had done that and the names always made me giggle a bit. In the end, I decided to return to my maiden name -- isn't that an interesting way of describing it? -- and I again became Cheryl Fuller. 

A commonplace box


This morning when I got up, the clouds were already moving in --

and was in the forecast. Rain, not snow. In fact there is no snow predicted for at least the next week, so maybe we have seen the last of significant amounts of it. It started to rain around noon. Early spring rain seems different somehow, maybe because it eats the remaining snow revealing the ground which has been covered since early December.

 P1030611

It is grey and a little gloomy but look -- there is the faintest bit of color now.

I am making progress with my version of Secret of Chrysopolis and I continue to like what I ma doing with it. Two strands of this yarn knit together gives it more substance. I think this might be my favorite of the Colourmart yarns. I am eager for there to be more in more colors.

P1030609

So right now I have 3 active projects -- the navy silk Arabian Nights, The Secret of Chrysopolis, and today I cast on for Dem Fischer Sin Fru -- for this I am using a beautiful blue wool and silk from Colourmart. Not enough done yet to photograph.

MMMMarmalade!

Remember the pot of sliced kumquats from Saturday? Well, we were all ready to make the marmalade yesterday when  we discovered that oops! we didn't have any jars to put it in. So off to the hardware store to get some. Then came cooking the mixture -- and oh did my house smell wonderful! And voila -- marmalade! Twelve beautiful little jars of it. Mmmmmmmmmm!

marmalade

Here is a close up of the element from Arabian Nights that I imported into Secret of Chrysopolis --

The really observant among you will notice that the yarn doesn't show up the same in any two pictures -- such is the nature of trying to capture a color like this. I like how my adaptation of this pattern is shaping up. Who knows, maybe I wil eventually design my own!

At last the snow is disappearing in earnest. This morning I woke up to this --

April1

The fog condensed on the lilac and the maple tree in these jewel-like drops --

lilac

maple

Spring here is not an extravagant bursting into bloom but the slow and subtle coming of color into the greys and whites of winter.

© Cheryl Fuller, 2007. All  rights reserved.