Friday, August 27, 2010

Old ladies and a knitted shawl

The annoying part about blogging is that, as another blogger recently pointed out, the times when I am too 'busy' to write a blog are the times when I have stuff I want to share.  I have had much I've wanted to share, but it seems like I'll always be playing catch-up if I take that too seriously.  So I'll just jump in with something from this week.

I finished my Boneyard Shawl over the weekend.  It's made with Elsebeth Lavold's Hempathy, which is comprised of cotton, hemp, and modal.  It's not the loveliest knitting experience, but I knew it would soften up upon washing--and besides, a little 'grit' can be a great thing.  It helps me feel more butch.  That said, it's really a far cry from gritty.

Just yesterday, I brought the shawl into work with me, where one of my daily activities is to run a sensory program with a group of lower-functioning elderly women.  Recently we played "what's in my bag?" and found that I was carrying a knitting project, a pattern page, a fork, toothbrush and toothpaste, wallet, keys, and ... drumroll please ... Taco Bell sauce.  One lady's observation was that I must be staying over.  Yup, I think I'm ready for anything.  I have my knitting, my toothbrush, and my condiment packets. She hit that nail on its head.

But I have digressed.  I was speaking of yesterday, in which I brought my Boneyard Shawl before each of the ladies and asked them to describe it to me.  After looking, feeling, and sometimes having it draped over their head or shoulders, they told me their impressions.  "Soft" and "beautiful" were common responses.  One I really thought a propos was the word "comforting."  As the shawl adorned each woman, I began to notice how versatile and elegant it had turned out to be.  And that's not to mention that it really is a lovely thing to handle and wear.  In the slightly air-conditioned room, the fabric had a distinctly cool touch that I enjoyed.  This shawl may have to become a gift.  Or maybe I can squeeze out another one with the remaining yarn.

I just watched the documentary entitled Young @ Heart, and loved it.  If you follow the link, you may see something fun and knitting-related.  There was absolutely no knitting in the movie, but it was included on the cover artwork because of the wonderful stereotypes that surround my hobby.

My thoughts are especially with the elderly this week, more than usual, perhaps.  Maybe that's partly because I got to play for the memorial service of one of my ladies on Monday, and it still lingers with me a bit.  There's something really beautiful about the elderly.  Endearing, perhaps.  And I think beautiful.  Maybe it's mushy, but I'll just put it out there...
for all you women (and men) who worry about growing old and wrinkled and hair thinning and teeth being lost and whatever you fear might happen to your figure, it's not worth the worry.   Perhaps growing old is not so much a thinning of the hair as a thinning of the exterior that masks what's inside a person.  Those things you fear might uglify you are quite often things that make you more endearing, even at times irresistible.  I know I probably sound a bit creepy, but that's just been my experience.  Those that don't see it are not really looking.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wedding at Dawn

No, I didn't get married. But you may remember the stormy romance of my first Daybreak Shawl, which never actually got finished; instead I ripped it all out and started over.

One morning on my way to work, I stopped by the lake for a photo shoot for my newly finished Daybreak, with the Malabrigo sock married to a new yarn.

I think these yarns are gonna live happily ever after!

Llamas II - Bath Time

Boy, I've been busy!  Or something like that.  Anyway, here's a little more from my trip to Wunsupana Farm near Albany, NY.  

Here we have the lovely Liesl taking a bath, using all of her charms to lure in the local royalty.

Just look at those legs!  Cat whistles heard offstage

Why can't I look this nice after rolling in the dirt?

Come to think of it, have you ever seen such an adorable farmer?

Meet Teri.  I think to know her is to love her.
The same could be said of her llamas.

* * *

Projects update

I'm currently working on my cotton/hemp/modal Boneyard Shawl, and I think I'm almost ready to begin the final border.  I can't wait to get this one off the needles and washed, so I can feel how the fabric softens and blooms.  It's actually in a natural bone kinda color, which besides turning out to be a terrible (though coincidental) pun is actually one of the few projects I've done in a natural-looking, solid color without any crazy shots of color.  I love my color.  I'll make a separate post to demonstrate that point.  

Monday, August 9, 2010

We interrupt our normal programming...

...for pie.  It's in the oven.  Peaches and nectarines.

Before you get too excited/jealous, I must warn you: this pie is even more thrown-together than my knitting.  Maybe that's not saying much, as I do stay up late some nights dreaming up new things to knit, but still, I've been known to change course mid-stream.  This pie's no exception. I started with a trip to the grocer.  Next thing I knew, I was picking up some of the only produce I've gotten all summer.  Make that all year.  As I roamed the aisles, I decided to commit a cardinal sin of pie-baking, and picked up a pack of frozen crusts.  Did I mention I still have not eaten dinner?  That is, unless you count peach and nectarine skins, with some bits of pie dough.  It is now after ten o'clock at night.  But I digress from my tale of impending disaster.  As I read the recipe, I found myself doing what I've always complained my mother does when she's baking; when I found I didn't have everything the recipe calls for, I grabbed whatever I had in the cupboard and threw it in.  So that came to adding to the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon some chili powder, ground pepper, and crushed pecans.  I'm hoping my additions enrich the flavor.  Enh, we'll see.  I never professed to be a good baker.  In fact, I've hardly even managed to make my macaroni and cheese much this year.

But my tale is not yet ended.  After making this sloppy, soppy mixture with my hands, I dumped it into one of the pre-formed crusts.  Wanting a two-crust pie, I attempted to remove the second crust from its tin.  I got some of it out.  Nearly half, in fact.  The other half came fairly easily after that.  I know that I could have thawed the dough and rolled it out, but forget not that I have not eaten yet.  (This is the point at which I ingested some of the remaining pieces of dough from the tin.)

I artfully arranged my top crust over the peach mixture, slid the jiggly mass onto a cookie tin, and delivered it to its purgatory.

Now you are caught up with me.  I'm waiting for the fires to work their magic on my pie's impressionable soul.

Since I'm off topic from my llamas, lemme show you how one of my latest shawls has turned out.

The Traveling Woman shawl is done, and I've decided (how appropriate!) that it is like a tropical fruit salad.  There's honeydew and cantaloupe, limes and oranges, mangoes and passionfruits.  Maybe even some cherries.

I love how it blocked out, and the yarn is delicious.  It's Blue Heron Sock Plus, and it's got a lovely touch, not to mention great colors.  There's a recommendation for ya.  A bit pricer than other yarns, but very satisfying, and I daresay worth the extra few dollars.

Hey, whadda ya know?  The pie just came out of the oven.  I missed the timer going off, but it looked great when I checked it, considering all. 

 Now comes the hard part...waiting for it to cool.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Llama Lovin'

Why waste words when pictures can tell all?

Since I'm having trouble narrowing down which pics to share, I think I may use these in a few posts.  Y'know...that 'blog fodder' I've heard tell of.

On my recent use of vacation time, I got to visit my friends up in the Albany area.  
One of the highlights of our time was a wonderful afternoon with a whole mess of llamas (and one alpaca) at Wunsupana Farm.  

Griffin, the resident alpaca, is the funny-looking one.

The afternoon was quite therapeutic.  

I'm trying way too hard to commune with the animals. But I think they were onto something!

You can't get a llama to give you some lovin' by chasing her down; you have to be 'chill.' 
 How do you think I managed?

It took some time, 
but by the end, 
I'd say I managed
just fine.