SPQ Part Deux and Angelina's Sweater

Scroll down to the next post for info about my contest to find a women's sweater pattern--deadline for entries is Sept. 5!!

Here are answers to some more probing questions from the SP11 hostesses:

1. What is the one knitting accessory you could not live without?
My Visa card. ;^)

2. If you're heading on vacation, do you take knitting with you? If so, how much and what type of project?
Yes, I take knitting on car trips (using dramamine makes this possible) and most other trips as well, unless it might offend a host or something. It does, sometimes. Go figure.

3. Where have you traveled to that you'd consider your favorite spot?
Here's a contender: Horsetail Falls, near Lake Tahoe. This picture is looking away from the falls. Did you kno-tice I was knitting?

4. What is your favorite knitting book at the moment? Do you own it?
I don't have a favorite but I love reading anything in Mason-Dixon Knitting, since the writing is so good, and the authors' voices come through and make them real people.

5. Do you listen to podcasts? Which is your favorite(s)?
Haven't done this yet--I'm still a bit of a tech neophyte. I am hearing more about them so I think I will figure it out--KnitPicks has one, and I know there are many others out there.

6. If you could only knit with 1 color for the rest of your life, what color would that be?
Gray. So many shades! Just like life!

7. If you were far into a project and then noticed a mistake near the beginning what would you do?
I have a great answer (I think!) to this problem and have done it once before. I unraveled the cast on edge and tinked back from the beginning, fixed the mistake, knitted back the first rows and cast off at what was the original cast-on edge.

8. Where is the most unsual spot you've ever knit?
I wish I could say something truly hilarious like the gynecologist's table or something but really . . . nothing comes to mind.

But Much More Important, and Newsworthy . . .
Here is a picture of Angelina, the Angel Baby, in the sweater I made her. Her mama has been really sweet about the present and also HELPFUL about the ways the sweater wasn't sized quite right. For next time, I know I can make a better-fitting kimono! Meantime, I am still pretty proud of it!! And Pat should be proud of what she made!!! Ain't she sweet!

Photo Heavy Catch-Up!

Like to Win Stuff?***
Scroll down to the gorgeous blue yarn to find out details of a little contest I'm having! You could win!

***And if you've already entered the contest but I don't have your email addy, how can I contact you to tell you you've won?? How about emailing me offline to let me know, and then you can remain a bit more anonymous! My email contact is: keramoso@yahoo.com

The end of summer finds me back at meetings, getting ready to start a new school year, mourning a bit the end of luxurious stretches of free time, looking forward to the return to routine. But first, a summation, and a reminder to self of all the knitting that I will enjoy in the near future.

WIPs (or soon to be WIPs)
From the left, I'm working on a child's hat done in stockinette and doubled over, sewn so it's two layers, and quite warm and soft. It's about 2/3 knitted and is mindless repetition for times when that's what I need. The yarn is fuzzy though, so I can't knit it in any place that's warm. Next, the three skeins of grays I'm going to use for the bobble scarf. In the green and brown bag, my white mulberry silk, in a tank I started that I have set aside for a bit. Peeking out of the Pottery Barn bag is the ruffled edge of a scarf I started, hoping to finish up some Homespun I had. Never want to knit with that again! Then the two cones of Habu, one maroon, one navy, for the kushu scarf. Last, the double-knit slipper I started last week. I also have that brick red scarf I'm doing for the Orphan project that I've shown you enough pictures of!

New Obsession: Vintage Books on Knitting
Because of some threads on knitting novices and the knitlist, I have gotten on an antiques kick this summer, finding vintage knitting manuals and historical books online through eBay and other sources. While some of it is just the cool factor of having something I can read and through it imagine life in another era, I also think some of the patterns are ones I might use, particularly for vintage-minded* people I know and love. This one is from 1948.

Not this dress, though, no worries!
*by vintage-minded, I do not mean senile!!

Here is a booklet from 1934. This was apparently like Lion Brand at the time--one of the biggies. It has all sorts of patterns in it, most of which make perfect sense to me!

These two booklets hail from 1944 and 1951 respectively, and have wonderful patterns in them.

This is my especial favorite, Knitting and Sewing by Maud Churchill Nicoll. It's from 1918, as WWI was ending, and had all sorts of patterns for making soldiers warm clothing. That is what the one above was as well, just for WWII, but this one, with its great drawings and photographs. For the worst winter conditions, soldiers needed clothing like doddies, knee caps, trench stockings, puttee stockings, all sorts of things I think sound familiar, and which I should know, but don't. And for gunnery soldiers--wow. There are the fingerless gloves, the rifle mittens (no index finger or thumb), the thumb-less half-mittens, the hand protectors. And it turns out that doddies are those fingerless gloves with a mitten top one can pull down over the fingertips when needed.

I also find myself thinking about every second page, "Yeah, war is hell."

I am certain I'll make some of the men's caps in this book, and I'm thrilled I found it. It is in fabulous condition too, so I feel very smug.

Recent Acquisitions--Stash

A handspun skein of delicious scarf-worthy yarn from YoYo Knits (on etsy). It's made of wool, alpaca, tencel, angora, and mohair. I also got four skeins of that cotton Berroco "Love It" from the destash blog to use for baby things. I am going to try the baby kimono in this next, since the yarn is the right weight for the pattern.

Now for the latest yarn acquisition and THE CONTEST

Back story: Here is enough Green Mountain Spinnery yarn to make someone a sweater. It will not be a next-to-the-skin type sweater, but it will rock!! The blue is what they call Yarn Over, and is supposed to get softer with each wash. The off-white is their Mountain Mohair, the same type out of which my MIL made my DD2 a sweater for her graduation gift, a sweater that is to die for. [Most certainly not to die FROM (at least not from hypothermia!) because it will keep her tres tres warm.] That girl had better keep a close eye on her closet when I'm there next week. ;^)

Contest: Now as for MY Green Mountain yarn, I need a woman's sweater pattern that is of about medium difficulty (Knitty would say "tangy"), and it could be top-down or seamed, either way I don't care. Not a cardigan, but any type of pullover would be in contention. I guess I'm thinking of the cream yarn as a contrast edge or stripe.

If you have a suggestion and you leave me a comment on this entry, with a link to a pattern or a reference to a specific book's pattern that I can easily find at the bookstore, I will put your email addy in the hopper, and on September 5, I will draw out a name for someone to win a PRIZE! Your pattern suggestion the one I choose? YOU win TOO!

Recent Acquisitions--Gew-Gaws and Tchotchkes (but better!)

I have found my knitting related paraphernalia mostly on cafepress.com. In the US, that's the best way, and these are artists and crafters who use cafepress to get their stuff out there. For example, these many buttons came from various sites. Couple bucks apiece, max.

Then there is this stationery (I don't think "exquisite" is too strong a word for it--great watercolor work always gets me) that I first found through Jejune's blog, but which, if you're in the US, is more easily purchased from her cafepress site. She has SIX images in this series (and another on the way), with different types of warming drinks and different types of knitting lying to the side just waiting to be picked up and worked on some more. I esp. like the cutwork lace tablecloth on this one with the coffee. Below is a blank book (sketching ideas? writing important info? keeping a "To-Do" list?) on the cover of which her designs can also be reproduced.

And, drumroll please, here is the last acquisition of Summer 2007

Got it from KnitPicks, and as a knitting bag, it is ideal! Not a huge suitcase of a messenger bag, not clunky. It has three zipper compartments, other zippers on interior sides etc., and a clear pouch for supplies. I am already in love with it.

If you read to this point, you should win a prize regardless, because this has been one flipping long blog entry!!

Now what sweater should I go for???????????????

Ravelry Update--Just Might Get an Invite Someday!

  • You signed up on June 26, 2007
  • You are #11147 on the list.
  • 1302 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 16727 people are behind you in line.
  • 35% of the list has been invited so far
Everything I've explored on ravelry convinces me this is SO COOL, and I can hardly wait. It will probably take a ton of time to get up and running, and the inventory of my stash could be a bit revealing. But I love the many options and the idea that the first thing I'll see on my site there is all my UFOs. Motivation!

At the backtoschool party last evening, I got to talk knitting with my friend Kathy who is far beyond me in skill and experience, and who knits a damn fine clapotis. She showed me her latest, whereupon I wondered, "Now why do I never knit myself a shawl I can wear on the chilly evenings we get in NoCal?" I smell a new project.

When I get a minute this weekend, I'll take photos of my newest stash acquisitions--some purty stuff. I also forgot to update on that super secret project I was working on, which has been given as a birthday giftie now, to DD2, a scarf in her new school's colors blue and brown (how cool is that? a college with those colors? not something hideous like orange and black?). I discovered doing that project that there's something I need to learn, but it didn't hinder me from finishing the scarf whilst I was underway--and when I do figure it out (how to switch colors without the odd jog and messy stitching), I'll make her another, better one!

Enough of this flipping insomnia. Time to try to sleep for a few more hours.

Happy knitting, wherever you are in the world!

Thanks, Kate!! [My sister hit the nail on the head!]

For everyone who orders yarns, needles, and other accoutrements via the internet:

Why I Have A Crush On You, UPS Man

you bring me all the things I order
are never in a bad mood
always have a jaunty wave as you drive away
look good in your brown shorts
we have an ideal uncomplicated relationship
you're like a cute boyfriend with great legs
who always brings the perfect present
(why, it's just what I've always wanted!)
and then is considerate enough to go away
oh, UPS Man, let's hop in your clean brown truck and elope !
ditch your job, I'll ditch mine
let's hit the road for Brownsville
and tempt each other
with all the luscious brown foods —
roast beef, dark chocolate,
brownies, Guinness, homemade pumpernickel, molasses cookies
I'll make you my mama's bourbon pecan pie
we'll give all the packages to kind looking strangers
live in a cozy wood cabin
with a brown dog or two
and a black and brown tabby
I'm serious, UPS Man. Let's do it.
Where do I sign?

--Alice N. Persons

SP 11 The Questionnaire--a Tad Tardy

I signed on late (thanks for letting me in, ladies!) and lo and behold, they had someone who already needed a new match-up!! Yay for me! So I hereby answer the questions posed by the SP 11 moderators.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely NOT like?

It's hard to answer because I can find redeeming qualities in most yarns. Here are all the yarn fibers I have ever made something with: banana fiber, silk, lambswool, wool, camel, alpaca, cotton, mohair, angora, acrylic, bamboo, linen, nylon blends, soy, microfiber, buffalo, yak, and blends of many of these. I've tried corn fiber (soft! light!) and am about to embark on the Habu thing with stainless steel/silk, so you can see I like to adventure. I'm even collecting from my four cats so that I can have it spun (medium gray with a brown undertone) into some sport weight skeins soon. (Some fibers I've heard of but never run across: jute, hemp, cupro, pine, pineapple, tencel, and possum.) I guess BEST though I like alpaca, camel, and all soft wools--when I have a project going with something like this, I think of it as "knitting a kitten." I don’t do fun fur and novelty yarns anymore--got worn out on that the first year. And anything with too much mohair makes me itch like mad, but I find a tiny bit is OK to knit with, and I like the halo.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

Vases, a couple needle rolls (e.g. for the few set of DPNs I own--I use them for i-cord), a fishing fly case for various circulars, and the Denise case I use for most of my circular needs.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate, or advanced?

I have been seriously knitting for about three years. I learned Continental in the 90s; before that, I first learned just the basic knit stitch in English style as a child, but dropped the hobby. I think I would best be categorized as an intermediate knitter, but sometimes I slip back into advanced beginner on some things, such as shaping and lace-stitches.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?


5. What's your favorite scent?

I go for flowers of various types--they're all good!

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

[Homer Simpson:] Mmmmmm. Dark chocolate. Mostly I'm a crunchy/salty kind of gal, though, which is my downfall.

7. What other crafts or DIY things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I don't spin. I use my knitting for felting projects quite often. I'm learning a bit of crochet, and sometimes I try a small sewing project.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I love a bunch of music, from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and now—rock and pop. Also fond of 70s RnB. I can do mp3s.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

Aqua and brown at present are my favorites. Can’t stand rust or olive green, though I have been known to knit with them.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Married for 28 years next week 8^); three daughters ages 16,18, and 20 as of early September; 4 cats (two sets of brother/sister pairs).

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

All of the above. Don't need hats and mittens much in Northern California though.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I like to learn new stitches, so it’s often a scarf to learn the skill. But I think from my blog here you will see I like to try lots of new things. I’m hoping soon to do two sweaters for certain daughters.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Two scarves and a pair of child's slippers.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

You betcha!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I love my rosewood straights. I also like circulars for the projects that work well in that form—and I usually use Denise (plastic) for those. While metal works well in certain circumstances, I find that it's usually too slippery and that people are irritated by the sound, for some crazy reason!

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

I have a tabletop swift. It’s cool!

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

Less than one year old. I will let something sit for months, but then I either frog it or finish it. I've recently frogged one, and who knows if I will attempt it again.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas, with Thanksgiving a close second.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Unusual paper clips (other countries do them differently—I find that fascinating--and sometimes novelty types come out, like in the shape of a dog bone, or in various colors). OK, now do I just seem weird? I don't keep my collection in a cigar box like Bert on Sesame Street though. My collection, such as it is, is strewn through four different desk drawers--two at school in my classroom, and two at home here.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

KnitSimple is my favorite knitting magazine. I also get Simply Knitting from Great Britain at my local book chain sometimes, for the freebie it comes with, and for the refreshingly different "voice" in the text--it's more friendly, chatty. I really like them all, but those with too many complex patterns intimidate me.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

Needle felting! I'm going to take a class soon.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Don’t knit socks (yet), but I love the idea. I cannot imagine someone not liking real, hand knitted socks. My shoe size is women’s 8.

23. When is your birthday?

January 15--me and Martin Luther King, Jr. 8^)

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

Not yet, darn it! Are you? I'm jealous!

Plugging Red Scarf

I'm hard at work on that Yarn Harlot stitch scarf--red tweed, and it's getting longer! I'm almost done with skein #1, and think I will use about half of #2, so it's long but not ridiculously long. It's for the Red Scarf project, a cause I think is really deserving, and for which I intend to go whole hog when it comes time to ship it--

[Sorry about the funky "button" I have had in my margins for a few weeks now. Melissa designed it last year (that's not the funky part!) but I have still not learned how to import the info and create a working link-button. Need to get one of the DDs to help me past this bit of a learning hump.]

Here is more info about the project from their website:

The Red Scarf Project, a project of the Orphan Foundation of America, or Orphan.org, collects red (and other unisex-colored) scarves to send in Valentine's Day care packages to college students who have aged out of foster care. These brave young people are going it on their own and trying to improve their lives and the community by attending college. The care packages are welcome tokens of encouragement to young people who otherwise receive little to no mail. Your scarf should be soft (any material), unisex design, and approximately 60 inches long by 5 to 8 inches wide. Machine washable is a plus, but it is not absolutely necessary.

In other news, I am also working on slippers I started last night in a great yarn, and with a NEW STITCH. Can't stop with the Yarn Harlot scarf stitch--I am climbing my learning curve fast now. This is what the book describes as double knit (but it's not two layer knitting--I don't know why they call it that) and it makes a really pretty pattern. Having said that, I may frog this and start again so that I can get it totally right--see the parts where I seem to have messed up the pattern?

Hope you're getting in all the knitting you desire!

I'm puffed up and proud!

The sorting hat says that I belong in Ravenclaw!

Said Ravenclaw, "We'll teach those whose intelligence is surest."

Ravenclaw students tend to be clever, witty, intelligent, and knowledgeable.
Notable residents include Cho Chang and Padma Patil (objects of Harry and Ron's affections), and Luna Lovegood (daughter of The Quibbler magazine's editor).

Take the most scientific Harry Potter
ever created.

Get Sorted Now!

While I might have wished to be a Gryffindor, I love those adjectives used above. ;^) I also admire Luna Lovegood, though she is a trifle spacey. Come to think of it, my DB used to love to call me "Spacey" instead of "Stacie." Boy that pissed me off! Hard to hear the truth!

Tea Cozy and a Trip to ImagiKnit

Here it is, the finished tea cozy that I made from a smallish skein of Yarn Rescue's handpainted yarn.

I felted it just enough that the stitches would hold together. Then after forming it around the tea pot and letting it dry (never a problem in my neck of the woods--it's a rather dry climate!), I positioned it on the teapot, pinned markings for myself, took it off, and then used my slicer/dicer wheel to cut the general outline (the rows make a perfect demarcation for straightness--a bonus with stitch definition). Then with scissors I completed the cutouts and used embroidery floss to finish the edges just in case. Funny how a needlework badge earned in Girl Scouts in 1972 could leave me with such a clear memory of the stitch needed (not that I did it perfectly, but I knew how to do it!). However, I am going to go over the spout stitches a little more to even them out.

Now I have a qualm: I think I made this out of the wrong color yarn! It's going to get tea stained, right? And at best it can be hand-washed, right? Sigh. But the pattern is basically a keeper (with more yarn, a higher top closing over the lid will be nice), and there's plenty of dark wool in the world!

So on Sunday I got the bug--Habu Textiles, and the Kushu-Kushu scarf. This is what comes of browsing through other people's knitting blogs--the next big obsession. Well, from reading about this amazing Japanese company, and their designers of really different knitted art (clothing that is art--it's truly different, I think--using wool, cotton, linen, pineapple fiber [fique i think it's called], mohair, paper, steel!), I decided that I just have to try my hand(s) at this yarn with stainless steel in it. Sounds like chain mail, no? But I've touched an item made with it, and it isn't stiff at all, though it does hold a shape more firmly than something knitted with regular yarn. Here, take a look at the scarf done in this "fiber":
(Thanks Olgajazzy for this illustration and many more at her flickr site.)

Thus was born my search for a LYS that was 1. open on Monday 2. a purveyor of Habu Textiles 3. reasonably nearby. I live in the vast metropolis known as the San Francisco Bay Area, and nearly all the suburban yarn shops are closed on Mondays. Learn something new every day! The few that were not closed didn't even carry any Habu, let alone the steel silk "yarn." So, being on vacation and all, having the freedom to do anything I wanted, I got directions to ImagiKnit in the City (what we all call San Francisco, and don't ever call it "Frisco"!).

My thinking went like this: Theirs is always one of the hugest and coolest displays at Stitches West. They carry lots of yarns that are not typical, such as Be Sweet. They are in The City as opposed to The Suburbs, so their foot traffic can support a store open 7 days a week. It was truly open, as opposed to the 90% of other LYSes. [I guess at this point I should refer to it as a DYS]. I could use an adventure. So I got direx, hopped in the little car, and cranked up the Sirius Channel 10. Drove 45 minutes and RIGHT TO IT (with great directions off their website) at a time when traffic was reasonably light. Found parking exactly across the street. OK, this was meant to be.

Digression: I walked in and couldn't take it all in. First the scent of clean sheep (at first it was startling and I started to find it stinky, but then a few seconds later, it was just homey and inviting). Then, a room full to the high ceilings it seemed with shelves full of yarns. Someone very kindly pointed out the system--start at the door on your right with fingering weight, go around the room counterclockwise with it ending on chunky to my left by the door. Oh, and just animal fibers and mixed in this room. Then, the next room (there's more? OMG!), same sizing arrangement for plant and synthetic fibers. The feeling was something I can't describe without resorting to cliches involving kids/candystores/pigs/manure/etc. Add to that antique furniture fixtures and knitted items FOR SALE (which isn't done much around these parts). And cool global-market looking accoutrements of various kinds.

Back to the tale. A kind young man asked me if I was looking for something specific, well, yes I was: Habu Textiles. He smiled sadly (I bet he's heard that a few times!) and said, "We are totally sold out, but I think we have a shipment coming in a month." He offered to check and came back verifying that indeed nothing would arrive soon, as it is all being produced in Japan, shipped to the US (slow boat?), and all I could imagine was a lot of Japanese textile worker bees frantically running machinery to keep up with the American hunger for their products. So . . . I was in SF without finding the yarn I sought.

But, knitting trouper that I am, I realized that no yarn shop excursion is without merit, so I perused, and absorbed, and fondled (the yarns, people, the yarns). I was thorough! I found some barn red tweed on sale--two skeins please, for a scarf Bells has advertised on her blog--so handsome. It's from the Yarn Harlot.

The red is not showing up as deep and dark as it truly is--it's not a pinky red at all. Ah well. See how I'm taming my yarn skein in a Kleenex box? I read about it at 3:30 a.m. when I couldn't sleep the other night in the Readers Digest Knitter's Handbook (which I "settled" for since the Vogue compendium was a bit too dear for my wallet). This book is full of great information!

I also got some chunky Stonechat (Manos del Uruguay) because I am just in love with the color combo and it looks perfect for autumn. Question: What is a stonechat??

So ends my tale of the trip to ImagiKnit, a fun day but a bust on the kushu-kushu scarf materials.

Never fear! I found it yesterday (when the LYSes all opened up) at Knitting Arts. They seem to have better connections with the sales rep because they were not out of ANYTHING. I got the silk stainless steel/merino cones in kit form with instructions, and I plan to start it very soon. 8^) I also got yarn and the pattern for a felted scarf that uses beads or wooden balls rubber-banded in spots (mostly on the ends, I think) to create a bumpy texture, sort of like bobble-knit. I'd noticed these scarves at Stitches West and thought the idea was cool, but I was seeing so much at the time that I just put it on the back burner until now. It'll be a three shaded gray tweed scarf, light to medium to dark, with the "bobbles" on the front parts. Sweet! And wouldn't a hat done in a similar bobble be pretty cute?

In other news . . .
Thanks for so many thoughtful responses to yesterday's post, both in your comments and emails. I love not feeling depressed, but it is a fact of my life that sometimes I will. I wish none of us had this propensity, this "industrial action at the serotonin factory," as Ginger-Nut calls it. But failing that, well, let's find out what works and keep at it!

PS If you've got a minute, visit yarnagogo who has been recovering from unpleasant surgery and is one of the most fabulous, funny bloggers I've ever read. She's a great writer, and seems to like company. You will enjoy her posts, and man, can she knit. I'm jealous!

What's This About a Black Dog???

If you noticed a new button here on my blog, in the right column, featuring the gorgeous Winston Churchill, you may be wondering, "WTF?" No, I doubt that Winston ever knitted, but he did coin the term "the black dog" to describe his struggles with major depression.

The rainbow button links you to Pierre the Yarn Snob's blog, in which she (Ginger_Nut) (Pierre being her gorgeous little Papillon dog, I believe) comments on dealing with the depression that sometimes bites her in the butt. From her posts and comments others have made linking to her post, or on their own blogs, it becomes clear that many of us are savaged by that black beast.

While I am keeping "it" kenneled with some excellent medications (probably necessary for a lifetime, given my own and my family's history), I admire those who can deal with episodes of depression pharmaceutically and then go off them and continue life. If another depression hits, they know they have the meds to return to for help. I may one day do this as an experiment.

All this is just preamble to say that knitting is truly my therapy: just what Ginger_Nut and others have said, and why the Winston Churchill button shows him dangling needles and yarn. He SHOULD have tried knitting! Not saying that every time I want to hibernate, I get out the needles instead. But it is a better alternative and keeps my hands busy.

When I knit, I am doing something that feels good (with few negative repercussions unless I get sore hands or a kink in my neck!), which results in something I am proud of, and which I can give to someone. Generosity being another fundamental part of my personality (as is depression, as is obsessing), well, this just seems so much more constructive and healthy! So I take up my needles proudly, and with them, I salute you all, depression-copers or not, and then I tackle my next row!

One more thing: I myself deal with mood disorders of the depressive type, but in my family tree, (which, as a friend also says of hers, is a nut tree!) other versions of mood disorders have sprouted, particularly "milder" (hah!) forms of manic-depressive illness. (Living in the 21st century is a huge gift to present generations. I only have to look at those in my parents' generations to see that the extremely negative cultural attitudes and the few medications available made it impossible really to transcend the disorder. The resulting debris of those lives is sometimes heartbreaking, and the limits of relationship virtually impossible to change or ameliorate. At least with us, there is the strong possibility to tackle things head-on and thus to work on the problems it can create in a relationship.)

In that regard, I am recommending a website about bipolar illness, by Julie Fast, an author and someone who copes frankly with her own bipolar (also known as manic-depression) symptoms. While her writings may not seem entirely relevant if you deal with depression, those on how to work with depression are very helpful, and several of her books or columns are focused on specific strategies. She has just won a major award for her writing about bp and has a book slated to come out next spring called Getting Things Done When You're Depressed: 50 Tips and Tricks.

I am pre-ordering the book because I need some real strategies. My tendencies toward holing up and becoming nonsocial are hard to combat. During the school year, when it strikes, I can even do my job relatively well (and I know that's something to be grateful for!), and yet when I'm done, it's as if I've given it all away, so I shut down and don't want to communicate with anyone. The phone rings--tell them I'm not home. My DH wants to go for a walk--no thanks, I'm exhausted. In the car with one of the kids, I don't say a word. I become a "veg," and while that feels good at some level (particularly in the refueling that I need under all circumstances in order to be able to be sociable again the next day), it takes its toll on relationships. Wanting to stay under the covers is not a way to live a life!

There's another whole set of problems that "dog" me in this state, including but not limited to overwhelming feelings of guilt, being "sure" that I know what someone else thinks/feels about something I've said or done, waking up in the middle of the night to a judgmental reckoning of everything I've ever done that I'm ashamed of, you get the picture. No way to live.

OK, I know this was a heavy post. Now, it's time to go take photos of some of those new projects and FOs that I'm busy with--and tomorrow, I'll post them, and tell you about my sneak-trip to San Francisco yesterday, to ImagiKnit.

And meantime, happy knitting, and I do mean HAPPY! 8^)

Knitting Neurotically, Felting Fanatically

Yep, I've been knitting purses and things, felting them, finishing up those pink booties (they need some adornments now--but what?), and otherwise indulging in my obsession.

That's because school meetings start up 8/20 and that means . . . the end of the summer. As I typed that, I sighed this h-u-g-e sigh.

I love my job, (or should I say "jobS" since I also have dept. chair duties?), and I always look forward to getting another year going, meeting my new students. I like my colleagues and the daily interactions--we have a great campus, and a great middle school community. I've even been getting a little "wiggy" this summer, as my sister would say, being home so much and getting hermit-ty.

But ah, the free time. The long stretches of unscheduled time. The perpetual feeling of Saturday mornings, and never a Sunday-Syndrome day. (Do you get this too? During the school year, by midday Sunday, I start feeling a little sad about how it's all coming to an end, how I didn't finish x, y, and z that I had hoped to, etc.) And I love not wearing a watch.

Ah well. Enough belly-aching, as my dad would say.

It's taking up valuable knitting time!! Before I go though . . .

Here are some pics--a purse (the Sophie Bag I recently mentioned),

the freeform "bag" that told me it wanted to be a tea cozy when it grows up (so I felted it too, and now I can make it a tea cozy),

And the most recent WIP:
another Sophie Bag in a similar scheme with a few improvements (mine, not the pattern's!)--I learned some things after the first go-round

Here are the mostly-done baby booties (slippers, really, for my 21-month old niece).