Saturday, February 25, 2006

Life is a blossoming rose

Today is likely to be a day out of time…for many reasons. I am going with my childhood buddy Lori to a day spa, (a gift from a friend) and before that to a yarn shop, a book store, and a vegetarian lunch. It sounds like the ultimate pampered mini-vacation to me! I can use the relaxation and, yes, the endorphin-producing spa treatment!

Having the strength to move through stress is something we pretty much take for granted in our culture of five-day 40+ hour work weeks and crushed, errand-filled weekends. How many people work until 5 on Friday, hurry to the grocery store before going home, only to realize, week after week, that the Friday night crowds will keep them there until 7, when they rush home to make dinner and fall asleep in front of the TV by 9 pm – or drag their weary bodies out to the obligatory Weekend-starting night out with friends? I had a visit from a friend who is living in Europe now, and this got me thinking about this culture of stress we endure. For her, 2 hour lunches are the norm – a break in the middle of the day for chocolate and a roll and a chat with friends, energizes her for a few more hours of work. Thursday night is the common night out for everyone, and Friday at work is a relaxed day because of that. Fewer cars on the roads and lots of walking encourage healthy relaxation to and from work, to and from lunch, to and from the clubs. Shopping is done – just what she’s able to carry - on the walk home from work and in just a few minutes. Leisure is an important aspect of the culture – it’s the fabric of life, the bonding of love. For us, here, leisure is the snatched kiss in the copy room closet – too fast, too impatient, exciting but infrequent. No wonder stress-related dis-ease is so prevalent. Another friend related to me a story of his time in Switzerland, where hours were spent leisurely chatting with friends and toasting cheese over a fire. When was the last time I….? Well, never. No, never.

My life: I wish for the precious blossoming rose that is my life a little more leisure, a lot more love, a gentle presence, long conversations, meals of communion rather than fast food, and a pleasure in work well and carefully done.

The knitting:

Here is the single leg warmer (right leg). I *am* working on the second one! Perhaps not with the same fervor, but its coming along….

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These are two of Holly’s Story-Hour finger puppets. As you can see, the Wizard is a bit giddy and the Witch needs her face embroidered!

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I heard yesterday that I’ll be meeting another Pisces artist at a mutual birthday party on my upcoming trip to the West coast, so I have started this Old Shale shawl for her (she’s a potter and lives on an island, so Old Shale – or Old Shell, as its more ancient name reads – seemed right). The yarn is a spool I got at the thrift store for $2 and is marked 100% mohair. It’s a very light blue mixed with grey – like mist on the ocean….

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

A bag for the little finger puppets

Pictures of the knitting:

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I didn't use a pattern but I think I cast on about 64 stitches and knit on size 7 needles. The yarn is cotton. The top hemming was done with 3 rows K, 1 row P, 3 rows K. I did a simple K2tog, YO, K2tog to make the eyelet for the ribbon drawstring and then knit every stitch the row after that, switching to stockinette stitch until I got the the band of Garter Stitch, then switched back to stockinette after a few rows. The grafting was especially hard - I must have frogged five times! Finally I used the bind-off graft, where you bind off half and have only half of the stitches on the needle. Then you can do the Kitchener stitch more easily because you can see the stitches on the bound off side.

Today I am going to look around for the right colour yarn for the bodies of the little finger puppets. I have all these ideas in my head and I'm exciting to bring them out onto the needles! (Oh, the obsessions of knitters and crocheters!! LOL)

Going to meet a friend at a little European-style Cafe today - ooooo! And there's a bookstore!

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Happy when it rains

I *am* very happy with today and it is a beautifully rainy day here - not cold but Spring-like with a light rain that makes the fire in the fireplace and the peachy bread pudding in the oven seem very cosy! (if anyone wants the recipe, let me know :) The little dog has been Hoovering the floor looking for spare bits, and unknowingly picking up little snipped off ends of yarn from my knitting, so now he looks like he has a black beard!

Bits of yarn on the floor? Yes! I finished the Rose Leaf Gloves for Karen and mailed them off a couple of days ago. She wrote a poem about how she felt like a rose bush that was waiting to bloom, and it inspired me to design these: {don’t look any further Karen if you want to be surprised}

"Sophia Roseleaf Gloves">
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For the cuff detail, I used a pattern from an old, old booklet from the early 1900’s (I collect these, though they’re getting more and more scarce – I haven’t found one for several months) but then had to cross-reference it with a more modern book to figure out how to do it in the round for a glove cuff. It was fun working on the design and then bringing it into being!

Today there are so many possibilities before me. I do need to prepare for my class on Tuesday, and see if any students have emailed with homework problems. A while ago a couple of people wrote about how past problematic students had enrolled in their classes this semester. The same thing happened to me! A student I had in a different class who I had to speak to about being “disrespectful” and who then refused to say anything for the rest of the class, joined this class! So far, she’s been just fine and her work is excellent. Whew! I was worried for a while. I think that teaching is so self-revealing. Every time I am confronted with this group of minds, my own “growing edges” come to the fore, and I have to work on myself and develop myself in order to help my students grow and learn. I know it’s supposed to be that way, but we should get paid *way* more for this much inner work!!

Other things to do:
Watch America’s Next Top Model and knit on the soft blue legwarmers that are going to bridge the gap between my nightgown and my slippers when I’m on the computer late at night;

Go to Borders Books for the Superbowl Sunday live music alternative with my friend P; bring my knitting; We might also wander around to other shops that are having special events.

Update my farm (Luminous moon Farm) in Harvest Moon, More Friends of Mineral Town. I have a puppy named Danny and a Pony named Shawnsie and I give them lots of attention but I haven’t had enough crops harvested in order to buy a brush for them, so they haven’t grown up. I also keep forgetting to visit the Harvest Elves and bring them flour so I don’t have any help on the farm. I really want to bring them some cookies. I brought them some flowers and they said “we don’t like those!” Ha Ha!

Draw pictures of the finger puppets I’m making for my Librarian friend, Holly, to use in her Story Hour. I wonder if I can make the Wizard look anything like Snape????