Saturday, August 29, 2015

A whirlwind week

Let's just say there have been a few surprises of late. One was finding out that one of my coworkers was working her last day yesterday. When the announcement was made, I had not been present. This is the same coworker for whom I had been knitting Little Bunny Fufu. 

By some bizarre coincidence I had finished the toy Thursday night, and just happened to have brought it in yesterday morning to show a few knitters. Instead, it worked out that I was able to gift it to the mother just in time. 

It felt pretty good, like it was meant to be; my only regret was being unable to take better photos of the lamb. It turned out quite darling.  

Again, how fortuitous that I had already had a nice photo shoot with the bunny portion of the toy!

This week has been a week for finishing things. Just this morning, I finished the knitting on the Timberline cardigan! WOOOOT!

Steeking feels like an event worth recording, and the weather was agreeable to taking some photos as I worked outside. Who says you can't work on a sweater in the summer?

My partner talked me off the ledge when I announced that I was going to seam the sweater without wet-blocking it as called for both in the pattern and in accordance with good knitterly sense. I relinquished my dream of finishing today, and gave the sweater a well-deserved bath. After all that spit-splicing, it's only appropriate.

The pain of delaying was only momentary, and once I had a few key parts pinned down, I became quite pleased that I had opted to follow the way of righteousness.

Originally, I had been anxious about the applied i-cord edging being too tight on the button band, and there's no easy fix. Even if I had the nerve to rip out the entire button band, I couldn't well fix it, since the bottom section is actually knit initially, in one piece with the rest of the body ribbing. I know better than to assume blocking will solve all of life's problems, but in this case it seems to have worked out well.

It's actually a very snappy touch, and it looks great from both sides of the fabric - perfect for a cardigan that may be worn unbuttoned. I'm impressed with this detail. Yay for Jared Flood.

I still have a good bit of yarn left over... let's tally it up:

435g remaining - that's not too shabby! That's almost 900 yards! So this sweater took about 1800 yards to knit. 

I seem to be on a finishing kick, and am very near the border of my Pterotactyl shawl. I do have one caveat, however; due to running out of yarn, I added a different color for the last stripe before the border (and that is even a stripe less than the pattern calls for). I really wanted to keep the long wingspan, so I am trying to make it work. There is a possibility that I may finish and hate it. If that happens, I am prepared to rip. 

Even if this doesn't work out, this incredibly crazy week has had at least a couple wins. It's certainly not all been easy, but at least the knitting seems to be turning out... sometimes you look for the little things. Honestly, though, it hasn't just been the knitting; there have been some good moments borne out of adversity as well - and I'm sending you some of that healing and positive motion that I have encountered this week, and wishing it will multiply. Thanks to those of you who pop in to send some encouragement. I love that knitting gives us a way to share with each other.

Happy knitting!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

From the Harp Side of Things

Timberline Update: 
Happy knitting included a week in the park with a public reading of C.S. Lewis's The Silver Chair.

This is not a trick of the camera. These sleeves are different lengths, by an inch or two. One was knit just recently, and the other was knit about a year ago. I ripped out the smaller/older sleeve and reknit it in all its spit-spliced glory. Because of this, it knit up fairly easily. Now I have two sleeves that might pass for similar gauge and size.

Having completed the first sleeve a second time, I spent Saturday working on the button band. It went quickly at first, but the added stitches in the shawl collar really slowed things down. I plugged away at it, though, and managed to finish the right half by dinner. (So for inquiring minds, half the button band / collar on this sweater = a full day of dedicated knitting.) It's pretty easy knitting, though, and still a quicker time than the body of the sweater. Now I just have the left half of the button band/collar to knit; after that it's finishing time!

Other Knitting:

Blender Socks

I have been working in a baby knit on the side for a bit of quick-fix cuteness. Oh, how rewardingly darling it is! I couldn't stop taking photos of this guy, even though it's only half completed.

A friend observed that this quirky bunny looks alternately coy and cheerful or thoughtful and melancholy depending on which way his head is lolling. To my thinking, that's a win.

From the Harp Side of Things:
A couple weeks back I was fortunate to attend the graduation ceremony for the Bedside Harp program. I hope to be walking next year, so this was a chance for me to soak up some mojo and redouble my efforts.

Roses of different colors were given to past graduates, employees, current graduates, harp students, and harp therapy interns. As a member of that last category, I got to be the only male walking up for a flower this time around, although I'm not the only man in the program currently or in the past.

There was something encouraging in being recognized in this ceremony. The journey toward certification can often feel pretty lonely, and this time gave me an opportunity to realize that I am part of a community. I generally do things better in community, even though I also need space to work through things on my own. I love being able to bounce thoughts off others and feeling the synergy of concerted efforts, even if it's simply to know that someone's listening. In light of that, I'm thinking I'll more frequently blog occasional thoughts about my harp journey than I have in the past.

Today as I drove to the hospital to play a few internship hours, I mulled over my intention that my playing would be transformational, even if only in the smallest sense. Hospitals can be fraught with so many negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Sometimes the healthcare provider ends up being the 'bad guy' and everyone ends up feeling alienated and tense. I get the unique privilege to stroll in with a harp and be present with people, offering something that I hope is uplifting and calming for whoever I encounter, be they patients, visitors, or staff. As much as I like to think my playing might make a difference for people every time I play, some days I just don't catch a lot of feedback, and it's more about showing up.  Today I was aware that my playing is as much for the staff as for the patients - they are all my clients, so to speak. So even though a patient doesn't typically have a dramatic response, I can trust that the music is going to good places.

Harp therapy is a very different type of work than a music therapist would typically do, and I plan on elaborating more in posts to come on some of the nuances that distinguish music therapy from the work of a therapeutic musician. Both are beautiful and incredibly valuable, and both fill different needs in a world of healthcare that treats the whole person with more than a mere litany of drug prescriptions. There is some overlap, but it is a common misconception to call a therapeutic musician a music therapist. I hope I can offer some clarity over time, since both fields are still fairly new to our modern healthcare, even though they are in some ways more ancient and traditional than what we call medicine today. And I hope in the process that I don't bore you too much. Then again, it's not like I've developed an amazing readership, haha! Just a few good and faithful friends. That's fine with me. Thank you for reading!

Monday, August 3, 2015

The UFO Confessionals

I have a mess of mostly UFOs, and today, I'm gonna tell it all!

Several years ago, I got to sing in a friend's wedding. Being a bit of a vagabond at the time, I did not come with a grand wedding gift. Instead, I knit a set of dishcloths. I felt badly that I had such a measly gift (it happens a lot with me), so I had to get creative on how to make its value greater than the face value. My solution was to include a note, offering to knit replacements when they needed... a gift that keeps on giving. So when my friend looked me up and asked if I could indeed knit some replacements, I was delighted, partly for the excuse just to stay in touch. What I haven't told anyone is that as a part of the wedding, I was seated on the stage in the church, finishing up the knitting during the ceremony.

A design I got to testknit for Marc Smollin, and still a favorite of mine. I love the handdyed purple from Myra at Woolbearers; I need more purple in my life. The combination of two very different yarns makes a tactile experience I enjoy each time I pick this project up. I have knit this pattern several times before, and never to the specified number of repeats.

Hedgehog Fibres Sock... I love the feel of this yarn, and Beata's colors are always fascinating. This sock is just not moving fast enough for me, though. Can I blame it on pointy needles?

There was a time when Lorna's Laces sold Shepherd Sock in two little skeins; at the same time, they created a colorway called "Franklin's Panopticon." These little balls were rather naughty back in the day, and I took them to their namesake to teach them a lesson. Franklin was gracious enough to hold my balls and awkwardly rub some good karma into them. 

I think it's working. The yarn/pattern combo is great - and I'm not knitting them toe-up this time. 

I'm gay. Surprise.

My Neldoreth sock has grown just a bit since it made a cameo appearance in the Knitty blog.

Despite it's being Tolkien-inspired, this is as far as I've gotten with it...for no good reason, really. I guess I've been craving other knits. Easier knits, mostly.

But these gorgeous socks have made even less visible progress than Neldoreth.

And this sock has made even less progress.

Technically, this Ludlow is not overdue... the Flood's Flock KAL at Girls in Sheep Clothing started this year, and did not have a finish date. When the weather gets cooler and less urgent knits move out of the way, I'll be sure to pick it up again.

This is bound to confound my knitting priorities. Just look at those colors! Some BRF and some BFL. Good thing it's in bite-sized pieces.

Tincanknits' Vivid blanket is very appropriate for these colors, I'd say. So excited to continue knitting with them.

Some delicious Rambouillet from A Touch of Twist. This was my self-challenge to learn to spin long-draw. It's too wonky for a sweater, but it should make a decent enough throw blanket.

 The colors remind me of trees in the best way - very entish, I'd say

 I always say I'm gonna knit more toys...then never do. This is taking me way too long.  Now that I look at it again, it's adorable. I still don't think it'll get done any time soon.

Jared Flood's Timberline is where my focus has been of late. It was supposed to be completed by Rhinebeck last year. I had even convinced my knitting group to make the house color for that year green because I had just blown all my yarn budget on this sweater's worth of BRF.

Armhole steek just waiting to be prepped and snipped 

I've embraced switching skeins in this sweater. I still think my solution for keeping track of them is brilliant.

Skeins freshly rewound used to fit the hats quite nicely. I should have a good bit left over for... oh... a hat or something? (I didn't even realize the irony in that statement until a later read-through.)

I have a couple other current WIPs I neglected to photograph: 

My blender socks - I kinda resent these. They're just stockinette, and they're gorgeous, but I feel the need to do them two-at-a-time on a shared magic loop in order to keep them the same. And that makes for really messy yarn during the color changes, which is all the time. And the tails will be annoying, too. But they will be fabulous. 

A second Double Entendre Cowl - it's my own design, and I'm too lazy to pick it up and knit it. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because I started in the middle with a provisional cast-on, so that satisfying lace near the edge isn't there to make the rest of the fabric as much fun - or stable. 

And speaking of design, here's a last one I'm sharing just because I'm tired of keeping it a secret.  You can see how the design goes, though I doubt I'll get around to writing it up formally. It's nothing original, of course, except maybe the arch. Thank you, Barbara Walker, for this and many other knitting patterns out there. And yes, it's also Tolkein-inspired.

I have a sneaking suspicion it won't block well.