Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Too Frazelled to Knit!!

Making a mistake in real life is much more difficult to repair than a knitting mistake. No "frogging" in real life!! No ability to simply rewind, and love the moment over, doing the right thing on the second go around.
We (husband, 14-year-old and I) were supposed to leave for Barcelona Spain last Saturday. Friday night we were copying our passports and discovered that our daughter's passport had expired!! Last month!! Take note, all of you international travellers. Children's passports are issued for only FIVE years, not ten years like adult passports. What to do?? Besides feel incredibly, incredibly stupid!! Daughter held up well; no weeping or carrying on. Husband was the one carrying on, anxiety ridden, etc., swearing, wondering whether the trip was doomed, etc. etc.
Unfortunately, nothing could be done until Monday. I did the best thing possible--convinced Husband that he should take the scheduled flight to Barcelona and I would sort things out on the home front.
So, husband took the Sat. a.m. flight . On Sunday I called the passport agency's hotline for making appointments to get emergency passports. I got an appointment for July 3. Not good. Not at all good. But, I kept my cool and my daughter and I went to the zoo!
On Monday morning I called our U.S. senator's office. By 9:00 they had arranged an appointment for me at the passport office in Chicago--a three hour drive away--at 12:30. By 9:15 I had awoken the 14 year old and we were in the car heading for the Windy City. By 4:00 p.m. we had her passport in hand. Also by 2:30 we had new reservations for tomorrow at no extra cost and with no penalty!! We couldn't believe it.
The trip home from Chicago was at a modest and relaxed 65 m.p.h., unlike the mad dash down there.

Normally, in times of crisis I knit. I was too upset to knit much this weekend. I couldn't even concentrate on garter stitch. Nevertheless, I made two more squares for my full body sock blanket--it now has 56 squares!! When finished, it should have 108 squares. I need to find more knitters with left over sock yarn to share!!

I am now running last minute errands, packing yarn for the trip and getting ready to start my new Violets by the River shawl.

I will provide a travelblog here along with Violets by the River progress at various European sites. I figured a sock in the photos would not have enough "class' for Barcelona and Paris. (Sorry, Stephanie!). Rather, a lovely lace shawl would be just the right thing....

Oh, about the cow--The Cow Parade has come to our town. We saw Cows on Parade in Barcelona in spring 2005. Here in Wisconsin, the cows are decorated more on a cow theme--since this is the Dairy State!! The Barcelona cows were very artistic. These cows are, well, cows!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

To shape or not to shape, that is the question

I recently read someone's blog (I'm sorry, I don't recall which one) and she was commenting on how her toes are oddly shaped. She wondered whether she should make "anatomically" correct socks to fit her toes. Someone responded that anatomically correct socks wear out faster. Well, I'm adding my two cents to the discussion. I have weird feet, according to the common sock shaping. After making dozens of pairs of socks, I have concluded that my feet prefer shaping that reflect their idiosyncrasies. I dislike socks that pull on my toes, as do all store-bought ones. Plus, I figure that if I take the time to make socks for MY feet, they should fit perfectly.
Therefore, I shape the toes for my right foot,

and for my left foot. And, after four years of doing so, I can attest to the fact that they do not wear out any more quickly than non-correctly-shaped socks. I use wooly nylon under the ball of the foot (running it along with the yarn) and then, once I begin shaping for the asymmetrical toes, I hold the two together for the entire shaping. No problems. And my feet love them. (by the way, these socks were made with Regia ocean color, the cotton/wool/nylon yarn, using the feather and fan pattern from Socks, Socks, Socks.)

Last post I talked about the neighbor who has brain cancer and is undergoing both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Her spirits are high and she even walks to the hospital for treatment!!! Now, that's a dedicated woman. Here's the chemo hat I made for her. It turns out that on the very same day I gave her the hat, another friend gave her a lime green blouse that matches!! Who says knitter's aren't karmic??


Oh, I love the flowers of summer. We have spectacular botanical garden in our city, that has been named one of the best botanical gardens in the U.S. I took my mother there yesterday. The acres and acres of gardens are all handicapped accessible and the center makes battery operated "scooters" available, at no charge, to people who otherwise couldn't visit the gardens. My mom opted to wait for the scooter, rather than be pushed in a wheelchair. My youngest daughter, age 14, looked at all the displays through the lens of her camera. Can you guess what this is??

Does this next photo help?? Yes, it's a photo taken through the kaleidoscope situated over a revolving basket of flowers!! We could spend all day looking at the everchanging views!
This is a splendid little white flower, name unknown. It looks as if some embroiderer found a plain white flower, and added a little embellishment!!
And these bells! Every exhibit takes my breath away. Next week I plan to take my knitting to the garden, to simply sit in the splendor and meditate while knitting.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Curing pain

Last week I learned that a mother in the village where I live was in the hospital for brain surgery--a large tumor. She has three children, two boys and one girl; the youngest is in 6th grade. When I started piano lessons at age 50, the six-grader was in first grade and she and I were the oldest and youngest students at the recitals. One of the boys is in my 14 year old's class. the village women have rallied to provide meals, laundry service, carpooling for the kids, etc., for as long as necessary. I have been making a chemo-hat, using a pattern from Rowan's Calmer collection. Calmer is such a soft, soft yarn. I hope Nancy likes it and wears it with healing thoughts in her mind.

Two months ago we learned that a former neighbor's cancer had returned, this time in more locations. He is the father of two little boys, ages 3 and 9 months. I knit a christening gown for his youngest son. Although family members have been helping out, I also try to take care of the boys for the afternoon sometimes to give the mother a rest--or an opportunity to do something without interruption.

How I wish that knitting could cure their tumors and their pain, the way it eases my anxiety and softens my spirit. How fortunate that Neither I nor my family members have cancer. (Although, my husband's oldest child died of AIDS at age 40). We tend to think that we are tough, that we can fix any problem with life just as we fix our knitting mistakes. Cut out and re-graft a knitting error and all is fine. Cut out a tumor and tiny little bits remain, requiring painful and debilitating treatment.

Knitting is a restorer of and cure for the spirit and the soul. But, if only I could also restore and cure bodies as well.