Monday, September 25, 2006

dear friends...

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I just got home from the vets...Sausage died on the operating table at 9:15. This photo was taken at 8:00 am this morning. He will be so missed.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rainy Shaker day...

9/24 5 34 pm

It was wool day at the local Shaker village, so I went with a couple of friends yesterday while Sausage, who is not very well and is having surgery on Monday, was having his afternoon sleep. It was so beautiful, I thought you'd like to see....

It was a rainy day - dark with intermittent heavy showers. We started out at the entrance, where the green house is:

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and where the purple house is:

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At first, all the Shaker Houses were painted white, but then, a few years ago, when they were excavating one of the houses they hadn't fixed up yet, they found something that showed them that the Shakers had used colours in their paints - both inside and outside - and some of the colours were quite vivid: yellows, golds, lavender, and greens... I don't know what they found, but it might have been paint samples, or plans...

Next we went to the Farm Stand, and I bought some chrysanthemums to put by my door.

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The Farmstand was watched by a young girl about the age of my sister, and since the barn was open-sided, she was shivering in a red hoodie. I asked her if she was going to be there all afternoon, and she said yes, she was the only one and wouldn't even get a break. I thought, "I wouldn't want my sister to sit for 5 hours in the cold and rain without a break", so I went to the Summer Kitchen cafe and bought her a big Orange Spice Tea and chocolate cookie. When I brought it back to her, she got tears in her eyes, and said "that's the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for me!" (which is pretty sad when you think about it). It made me think how much I love my little sister, that I would be kind to strangers because of her... She's such a wonderful person who inspires goodness in others.

Across the street and up the hill were the sheep and wool exhibits! Here is the lovely red storage bin where you can see the huge sunflowers drying... a very autumn scene:

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At the top of the hill was a pen for the sheep dog exhibition. The sheep dog was young and frisky but so obedient. When the shepherd wanted to call him away from the ducks, he said gently "that's all good now" and the dog would run and lay at his feet. It was so gentle and kind. The ducks were pretty too! Here in this picture are the shepherd's children walking the sheep on leads...

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And here is a closeup of Miss Ellie the sheep:

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My favorite views were at the top of the hill; when you stand beside this house, overlooking the pond, you can see a swan pair glided serenely.

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And of course,
here is the herb and flower garden. Both are used for natural dying of the yarns:

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Yes...I confess. I did buy yarn - just a little handspun and dyed from the lovely flowers. But I can't show it to you, because its going to go in a special package to Nad, in Germany!

Sausage is not very well today and not very happy. I spent a long time sitting with him outdoors at noontime, while he lay in the sun. His white muzzle and squinting eyes scanned the neighbourhood - always watchful and protective of his beloved Mum (me). Now he is sleeping. I want to get a photo of him in the flowers tomorrow morning before he goes to his surgery.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

walking on water

This morning I went outdoors with the dog while it was still half dark and was enchanted by the dew on the grass:

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I thought it looked like I could walk across it on the top of the blades of grass, like walking on water... the drops of dew so shiney they looked like they would support me! :-)

Oddly enough, someone sent me this in e-mail this morning:

Walking on water

~Hazrat Inayat Khan

Very often it is one's outlook which changes a person's whole life. It can turn hell into heaven; it can turn sorrow into joy. When a person looks from a certain point of view, every little pin-prick feels like the point of a sword piercing his heart. If he looks at the same thing from a different point of view, the heart becomes sting-proof. Nothing can touch it. All things which are sent forth at that person as bullets drop down without every having touched him.

What is the meaning of walking upon the water? Life is symbolized as water. There is one person who drowns in the water, there is another who swims in the water, but there is still another who walks upon it. The one who is so sensitive that, after one little pin prick he is unhappy throughout the day and night is the man of the first category. The one who takes and gives back and makes a game of life is the swimmer. He does not mind if he receives one knock, for he derives satisfaction from being able to give two knocks in return. But the one whom nothing can touch is in the world and yet is above the world. He is the one who walks upon the water; life is under his feet, both its joy and its sorrow.

Well, I don't mean to be superficial, but knitting lace is like walking on water....very, very carefully...

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This is the Swallowtail Shawl in its inception. I've made a million mistakes already and have tinked as much as I've knitted (tink - to carefully un-knit, stitch by stitch, as opposed to frogging, in which large sections are pulled out at once. If you look closely, you can see my "lifeline", a smooth black yarn that I thread through with a needle, every six rows, so if I mess up the pattern too badly to tink, I don't have to frog back to the beginning, just back to the lifeline... I think the pattern is worth the work and concentration though. The colour and lace design Kicks. Serious. Butt!

I'm not a water-walker yet. Not only do the vicissitudes of life cast me down on a regular basis, but the lace knitting is still a serious and painstaking venture. Maybe when I conquer one, the other will fall into place too.

What I'd love today: I wish I was sitting in the Burdick's Choclate cafe in Harvard square, sipping a dark iced chocolate from a tall glass...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

tea and marmalade

I have been so very busy these first two weeks of classes... one of my freshman classes is over its enrollment limit, but the senior class is more manageable. So far, both seem pretty good - no students going nuts so far!

The weather here is so crisp and cold at night and all the stars are out. In the morning, the grass is wet and the birds are singing and Canadian Geese are on their way to wherever they winter. The daytime sun is beautifully clear and bright, and with just a slight breeze to ruffle the trees, these are the best days of fall. An instinct rises inside me for fires in the fireplace, pancakes in the morning, and tea - with toast and jelly - in the afternoon. Deep garnet red raspberry jelly is my favorite, but recently I was enchanted by a different type of jelly.....

Yesterday I visited a college in the northwest of the state, a small and early-founded town with beautiful 1800's mansions behind miles of New England stone walls. This little college town has a lovely little yarn shop...and here I found my jelly:

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Haha! This yarn is "Jelly" Kidsilk Haze from Rowan. It goes well with my green koigu sock yarn, so I may have jelly socks soon. The silk in the Haze makes everything softer! I couldn't stop there, though. I also bought "Marmalade":

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As you can see, I'm planning to pair it with an autumn gold in the same yarn and make the Swallowtail Shawl from the recent Interweave Knits magazine.

While I was in the store, the postman delivered the big box of new colours from Manos Yarns, and I got to be the first person to have one of the new fall dyes. I chose a blend that looks like Brambleberry Jelly, (but it is really called Mulled Wine - another nice autumn tradition on these cool evenings) and I plan to pair it with yet another silk Haze for a scarf...

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Saturday, September 2, 2006

across the wide ocean!

Another mysterious box was waiting on my doorstep this afternoon - the one I have been waiting for, that my friend Nad in Germany sent so many weeks ago! How exciting! This box was nicely intact, no crushing, no big holes in the a grand lady, it had been treated delicately during its long boat ride!

The Contents:

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This is the marvelous sock yarn that creates its own pattern when its knit up: stripes, or fair isle, or subtle blending from one colour to another. Many of these skeins will make two long socks (or gloves) or even a short-sleeved blouse!

The green and yellow yarn in the upper right is a lace weight - and will be just right for the Swallowtail Shawl in this season's Interweave Knits; next to it, the light intense blue one, is Silk! Silk sock yarn! You can't imagine how soft it feels!

There is just so much! Tibet colour, Treking in a gorgeous hue, cotton-wool, skeins that are limited edition colours designed by Frederic Zwerger (the two in the front row leftm - you can only get these in Germany, they aren't exported), and all the other colours that I love so much: dark amd mellow greens, blacks and creams...and one that looks like Zebra (Opal makes a line with the colours of various wild animals that I've been absolutely craving: Owl, Zebra, Tiger, etc...).

I'm over the moon with all these yarns. They represent not only a paycheck's worth of premium yarn, but many many weeks of joyous, satisfying knitting!!

I'm in love with all of them.... and especially this one:

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See the little chestnut on the label? That says that the yarn has been infused with Chestnut Oil, so that it is antiseptic and healing! Isn't that marvelous? I can't wait to make these socks!!

(You can see the swap box I sent Nad, here - - by clicking on her August 2 archive. If you click on the photo, the image enlarges!)

Thank you, Nad, for the most wonderful swap box!