Friday, February 15, 2019

Seeking Perfection

I spent the last few days and a great deal of time looking for a special knitting pattern.   I browsed through hundreds of patterns on the Ravelry database, dismissing many because they just weren’t right.
The pattern had to be interesting, but not too complicated.   It had to fit the type, color and amount of yarn I had on hand.  I wanted a pattern that hundreds of others had not knitted.  I wanted to find an unexplored gem.  I would know it when I saw it.   And then there it was, the perfect pattern.

I excitedly cast on with silky merino yarn in a lovely shade of  blue with specks of green.

I was quite pleased with the way the pattern was written.  Even though there was a section of lace stitches, which can sometimes be tricky, the designer wrote clear step by step instructions.  The font was large so when I printed the pattern out, it was easy to see as it sat on a stand on my side table.
I happily knited along, stopping every so often to ooo and ahh at the results.

I posted a photo of my WIP (work in progress) on Instagram.  My knitty friends commented, “lovely”, “beautiful” and “love the color”.

Because this pattern has sections of lace, stitch count is important. The designer was kind enough to include the number of stitches the knitter should wind up at the end of each row.  Each row of each section of this pattern is different.  The end of row stitch count is also different.
I carefully knit my way through all of the three sections of the pattern.

Then this happened: “Work from Chart 3 five more times until you get (the specified number of stitches)”, This instruction was without any of the details of stitch count, etc.

I was taken aback.  It was as if the designer quit on me.   I felt as though the designer was saying to me, “okay now you figure out what to do now.”

I tried.  It was much too complicated for me, though.  The reason I buy and download patterns that other people write is because design and particularly the math of design is not my thing.

I still love the design of this pattern.  I think the designer is creative and I’m sure spent many hours perfecting the work.

I am disappointed, but mostly I am sad because I won’t be able to finish this beautiful design.

This pattern, this design was going to be the project I was going to knit for the third annual “Joey’s Scarf Memorial” MAL (make a long).

I’m sure I will find another perfect pattern.  There are over a half million available patterns just on Ravelry alone.

I host a YouTube podcast called “Joey’s Scarf”.  It’s a podcast about knitting and crocheting and colors and patterns and beautiful things one can make with yarn.
Associated with the podcast is a group I created on Ravelry.  It is also called “Joey’s Scarf”.

 In case you are not familiar with Ravelry, here is the description according to Wikipedia:

Ravelry is a free social networking service, beta-launched in May 2007. It functions as an organizational tool for a variety of fiber arts including knittingcrochetingspinning, and weaving. Members share projects, ideas, and their collection of yarnfiber, and tools via various components.
For the past three years I have hosted a “Memorial MAL”.  The idea is to craft an item in memory of someone you have lost or in honor of someone who you might think of while you are crafting.
The name of this year’s MAL is “2019 Joey’s Scarf Memorial”.
  A MAL or “Make a Long” is where a group of crafters get together, virtually, to knit on a project. 
This MAL is running until April 4, which is the anniversary of my son Joe’s birth.  Typically, at the end of the MAL the host will award gifts to a couple of crafters who have completed their projects. Those selected will be randomly selected from the group.

If you are interested, please come join in.  I will gladly answer any questions.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Thank you Pink!

My MacBook Air laptop is about ten years old.  The battery is shot, so I have to keep it plugged in when I am using it.
I’ve been thinking about what to replace my laptop with for about a year now.  It’s a large purchase and I wanted to make sure about my decision.
I always thought I would just get another Apple product laptop computer.
We periodically pay the Apple store a visit. Well, Ross likes to stop in.  Me?  Not so much.  It’s always crowded, especially since the Mac Genius  to customer ratio seems to be 1 to 1.  That means there are as many customer service reps as there are customers.  Well, it appears that way to me.  I guess that’s a good thing because one rarely has to wait for service.
So, on one of these drop in’s, as I was checking out the new laptops, a Genius stopped by to ask if I needed help.
She was obviously born to work in an Apple store.  She was pretty tall, about 5’8”.   She was dressed in pink from head to toe, including her hair.
She introduced herself, “Hi, I’m Pink, can I help you?”
Really no kidding.
I told her that I would soon be in the market for a new laptop.
“So, what do you do with your laptop?” she asked.
After a brief distraction with her glittery pink eyeshadow, I explained that I write a blog, and edit my podcast using iMovie.
Then Pink went into full “let me convince you that you should really consider an iPad instead” mode.
She was very good at showing me all the bells and whistles of the iPad versus the limitations of the laptop and “not to mention the prices comparison,” she said.
I think the thing that sold me was when she showed me the Apple Pencil.
You can’t use a pencil on a MacBook Air.
My interaction with Pink happened about six months ago.
Last Tuesday, I decided it was finally time to go get my laptop replacement.  Even though Pink did a good job with her iPad pitch,  I was still vacillating between a laptop and iPad.
But, Pink wasn’t there this day.
Leroy, the Genius we had this time was very nice,well informed and spent as much time with us as we needed, but, he just wasn’t Pink enough for me.  He kind of left it up to me to make my choice.
In the end I suppose Pink was with me in spirit, though, for here I am, writing my blog on my new IPad Pro II, 256GB in silver, fully accessorized with a keyboard folio, and

Thursday, February 7, 2019

It’s Here I Come to Feel

Once, when I was participating in a therapy group, the moderator suggested an idea for our consideration.

“Change a thought, change a feeling” she wrote on the whiteboard.
It sort of made sense to me at the time.  At the time I would have grabbed onto any lifeline thrown my way.

On Monday of this week the doctor called with the kind of news that sucked the air from our bodies.

No amount of thought alteration could have changed that feeling.

We have a long road ahead.   More tests, more waiting for results.  Perhaps months of treatments.

Today I am wobbling between thoughts of despair and feelings of hope.

Once, when I thought that my feelings would overwhelm me and command me to despondency, someone suggested I write.

During the last seven years, this space has been my safe place.   It’s here I come to explore and express all of my feels and thoughtfully send them on their way.

It’s the lifeline that makes most sense to me.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

I’ll Gladly Knit You A Hat

Thursday, January 24, 2019

This weather!

Yes, I’m going to start off by writing about the weather.  So far the pattern this winter has been typical cold weather temperatures for a few days, then a rise to unseasonably warm temperatures, with down pouring rain.

The latter is happening today.  It’s pretty depressing.

But, thankfully,  number 1, I don’t have to go out of the house and number 2, I can stay in my night duds all day if I choose.

I’ve been in a knitting quandary lately.   In case you didn’t know, I am an obsessive knitter.  I knit every day.  I knit hats, scarves, socks, shawls, cowls and occasionally a sweater. I do wear what I knit and I also  give knitted gifts for Christmas and birthdays. I’ve been doing it for years now.  And just like the recent weather, I have saturated myself and the family with my wares.

So what do I do?  I can’t imagine myself stopping my knitting or even taking a break. Besides I have enough yarn in my closet to last a life time, even if I live to be a hundred.  
I know what you are thinking, “How about charity knitting?”   Yes, I suppose I could do that.
In fact yesterday, I dove into my knitted items dresser, and pulled out 10 hats, 4 shawls, 2 scarves, and 3 cowls.  My sister was visiting, I asked her if she wanted any of them.  She kindly took a shawl and hat.
I decided to donate the rest.  Ross, who champions my knitting, assured me that the Ladies Auxiliary from the local hospital thrift shop would be thrilled to have such beautiful items.
I carefully placed each give-a-way item in a pretty shopping bag and off we went.
When we got to the shop, the woman at the counter was very friendly and directed us to follow the arrow on the “Donation Drop Off - This Way ” sign.
We found our way to the back room.
No one was at the counter.   Ross rang the bell, but got no response.  We waited another few minutes.
Ross called out, “Hello?”
A woman popped her head out from one of the aisles of shelves and said, “Oh, hi!”
“Are you dropping off a donation?” she asked.
I proudly held up my pretty shopping bag, smiled shyly and nodded my head.  
She went behind the counter, handed me a tax donation receipt, and took the bag.
“Thank you,” she said.   She placed the bag on the floor along with a dozen other bags.
Ross, said to her, “My wife knits.”  "The bag is filled with beautiful hats, scarves, shawls…”
She said, “How lovely” and again thanked us without looking in the bag.
One of the most rewarding pleasures of knitting for others is the same that a gift giver might experience.
A thoughtful gift giver takes the time to choose just the right item.  The reward is the anticipation of seeing the look on the face of the recipient, hopefully a genuinely excited and happy look.
I admit I was disappointed.  In my imagined trip to the thrift shop, I could actually hear the ooo’s and ahhh’s as each time was lifted out of the bag.
As we left the shop, I said to Ross, “I hope they (meaning my donations) keep someone warm and dry this winter.  Especially with this crazy weather.

Right now I am working on a pair of socks.  The yarn is silvery and it sparkles.  And I am genuinely excited and happy as I anticipate how much I will love them.  

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Life’s Nexts

Thursday, January 17th.

💝Before I begin, today is my grandson Ryan’s 11th birthday!  How different times are.  This morning I sent him an Instagram voice message of me and Ross singing Happy Birthday :)

So, we are dealing with a life bump, or potential blip.   I don’t care to be specific, and we are hoping that the test turns out to be favorable.

The reason I have even mentioned it is because it has triggered uncomfortable thoughts and feelings about the stage of life Ross and I are in.

I am frightened.  Not of the immediate that we are facing, but of what’s to come next in our lives.

And it is a life certainty that there is going to be a next.  

When I try to imagine what it will be like to face these nexts, I get a clutch in my stomach and realize there is not a way I can envision that I would be able to manage.   I worry that my power-through stamina is not as strong as it once was.  

I’m perfectly aware that the horrible, unfathomable next we have already experienced, the death of my child, has greatly affected my outlook on all the future nexts.

I know, I know.  Stay in the present.  Focus on the now.  Honestly it’s a hard thing to do.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

They Clean So I Don’t Have To

Thursday, January 10, 2019

We employ a service to clean our house every three weeks.  The women are pleasant, show up on time and their prices are reasonable.
Before they arrive I run around straightening and clearing up any clutter that we have lazily left about.
I figure the least amount of stuff around, the more time they have to do actual cleaning.
Today is the scheduled day.  They arrived 20 minutes early.   I was in the middle of my frazzled "cleaning before the cleaning people come".
Now, this may sound strange, but I felt as though I had been "caught".  Yes, I was a little embarrassed.
I am giggling to myself as I write this because I suddenly realized the reason I felt that way.
Obviously,  I wouldn't want the cleaning ladies to think that my house needs cleaning.
Okay here is another admission.  After they are done and have left the house, I watch out the window to make sure their car is gone.  Then I examine the house.  I run my fingers across the furniture, window sills and top of the fridge.  In order to make sure they properly cleaned the bathrooms,  I check to see if the floors are wet.   I stop short of looking under the bed.   If and when I find something they missed, I shake my head and tsk, tsk.
But, then I stop and remind myself how much more time I  have to write and knit.

Thank you for cleaning, ladies!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

She’s So Vain

Tuesday,  January 8, 2019

Ugh, another gray day!

I think I may record a podcast today.  I have a knitting podcast on YouTube called “Joey’s Scarf”.
It takes a bit of time to prepare, record, edit and upload these podcasts.  That’s why I have to mentally prepare myself to do one.
I’ve been doing them for two years now.  In fact January 15 will be my 2nd podaversary  There are 30 episodes.
A change I have noticed since the first one, is the way viewers watch YouTube.   Instead of watching on their six inch smart phone screen or on a tablet with a nine inch screen,  a good number of people are watching on their smart TV’s.  I’ve had one viewer tell me that she watches my videos on her 65 inch TV.
I admit I have watched Joey’s Scarf on our 42 inch TV.  It made me uncomfortable to see myself. I found myself cringing a few times. I mean I hardly look in the mirror much. 😏
To be fair, it’s true that I don’t have a production team.  There is no hair or makeup staff.  The lighting is a 60 watt bulb in the lamp on the table next to the chair I sit in.
So, after each episode, I take a step back and have a little talk with Lyndagrace.  I remind her that there are many memories lovingly etched in her much lived face.
I encourage her to be proud of her ability to keep up with the latest technology in order to produce, edit, and present a pretty decent 30 minute video.
Lastly, I tell her to remember why she decided to do these videos in the first place.  If you want to know, watch the first one. Joey’s Scarf - Episode One
Oh, on your smart phone would be preferable.  Hey, I still have a little streak of vanity.