Baby Shawl and a Great New Journaling Idea!

Thanks so much for all your comments. I love getting them!

Knitting: Tomorrow I’m off to Long Island to visit family and will be driving back on Monday. Since I’m both the driver and the only passenger I doubt I’ll get much knitting done on the way. Ca va sans dire, n’est-ce pas? May wee!!! However, while there I expect I’ll be spending lots of time watching my two wonderful grandsons doing things. These things sometimes involve me–playing Star Wars with Lego figures, for example. (I’m usually the bad guy. Fair enough.) Can’t knit when I’m involved. Sometimes these things don’t involve me–as when the guys are playing video games. When we’re doing the latter type of thing I also knit. It’s very like watching hockey with DH. Very good knitting time. I’m not going to bring the intarsia-horse-sweater sleeves though. They require counting along the lines of “add a stitch at each end every third row for nine rows and then every fourth row for twelve rows,” etc. This confuses me at the best of times and I know I won’t be able to feign watching anything if I’m counting it out. So instead I’m bringing a baby shawl that I’ve been working on. Alas, the baby it was planned for has been born but I had another very nice blanket in my Finished Projects Bin. Babies do keep coming don’t they, so this be useful eventually. I’ve knit this shawl pattern so many times I could do it in my sleep. I noticed last time I was in California one I knit years ago for a grandson is presently being used as a cat blanket. He’s a big boy now and these things wear on and on. The cat’s name is Bernice, incidentally. I named her when she was a tiny bit of a thing. Now she’s enormous and is able to defend herself valiantly against the two huge boxers (dogs not kids) that have been added to the household. However, I’m digressing frightfully. There’s a very nice edging to go with this shawl. It’s knit once the middle section’s done and then sewn on. I suppose in time I’ll be showing you that as well.


Thinkering:  I can feel my obnoxious side rising up as I begin this bit. And when I have written it then you’re all going to hate me and stop reading my blog. I just can’t help myself, however, because you were all so nice about my rubbishy hand-made journal earlier. So then squirreling around in my mind has been the thought: Well, gosh! If they liked that one then they should see my other truly fabulous ones. OK, OK. I’ll just show you one. I took Mary Ann’s “Remains of the Day” course (see her fabulous blog–Dispatch from L. A.) and learned how to make magnificent journals like this!


Yes! I actually made this sucker! I sewed it and bound it with 60 lb paper and everything!

Well, enough about that. I wanted to tell you another great idea I had for journal entries that don’t trail your guts all through them. I call it “Travel on Tuesday” because (you guessed it!) I try to use this prompt on Tuesdays, having other prompts for other days. One of my dreams is to travel all around Europe. I am, as I mentioned to you, going to Scotland in the fall–lucky, lucky me! Still, I’m not sure I’ll get to do anything like that again. It’s probably going to be a once-in-a-lifetime thing. So, instead of actually traveling I do this.  I choose a place I’d like to visit, download pictures of it and information about it, and pretend I’ve gone there. I write it up in my journal as if I’d had a fabulous little trip! Sometimes I go so far as to mention what I’ve packed. Sometimes I let DH come with me and make comments– and sometimes I don’t. It depends on whether it’s a place where he’d behave well or not. You know how that is. I’ve scanned my trip to the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, France. I “went” there last year some time. Here’s my entry.




What do you guys think of this idea? Of course, I’m not entirely sure about it myself. Always thinkering.

Intarsia Knitting and Observation Journaling


Knitting: Here’s what’s on the needles now. It was requested by one of my granddaughters who’s into horses. As you can tell I didn’t simply knit this project up since I last blogged. The truth is I had to put it away for a while and take a rest. It was the horses. Intarsia isn’t my strong suit. I’m a bit of a neat-freak and intarsia creates a mess as those of you who’ve tried it know well. I can barely bring myself to look at the back of this piece of knitting. Added to all this is the fact that the sweater and horses came together from two very different patterns. This involved a lot of math in the planning stages. Now, however, all I have to do is knit up the horseless sleeves, add the collar, and sew on the buttons. Scary question to self: Why do the sides look so long at the top? Are they supposed to be eventually sewn up and over to the back? Will the back be knitted up to them before the collar is introduced? Either of these solutions would be weird. If I have to frog (rip-it, rip-it, rip-it) those two sides and do the horses over again I’ll need a vacation in Hawaii first. Or at the very least a couple of glasses of wine. (The latter is far more likely.) I’m freaking out. Must. Not. Think. About. This. Just. Now. On to the sleeves.

Thinkering: We were thinking about journaling in a post back. This struck a certain response and I know why. If you journal at all you struggle with it. It’s that simple. Not all of us are Anais Nin, nor would we want to be. She let it all hang out and most of us want, at the very most, a kind of limited hang-out. A miniscule hang-out, actually. We don’t want to be pretentious nor do we want to be whiny. That’s already leaving a lot out. Try reading “On Keeping a Journal” by Alexandra Johnson. In it, among other things, she suggests moving “from I to eye” and keeping an observation journal. Writing about things outside ourselves will bring nothing but relief and anything we see and decide to write about might well reflect more of the real people we are than airing our joyless grievances and mercurial ecstasies would. She writes, “Successful journals break the deadlock of introspective obsession.” Ouch. Is overthinking (aka thinkering) a kind of obsessing? I think it may be. So here’s what we’re going to do. Let’s go to Starbuck’s with our journals, sit in at a corner table, and begin describing the people around us who will be locked into their iPads. We can go on from there and wonder about their lives, their loves, what they’re writing about–or move away from them altogether and on to the weather, the cars outside, the buildings. Whatever catches our fancy. It’s a way of pinning the moment down–stopping time for a little–and at the very least we’ll get a good coffee out of it.

PS: I often make my own journals. Here’s the one I’m writing in just now. I pasted the card on the front. It makes me laugh!


It’s Supposed to Stick Up. That’s the Style.

Knitting: OK. I finished it. It really helped blogging about how long this project was taking me. Somehow it concentrated the mind. Watching the Masters with DH helped as well. If I couldn’t knit during sports broadcasts I’d go berserk. Is that how you spell berserk? I’ve never written it before. I don’t care, actually.

OldShaleFilatura DiCrosaBrilla432FinishedIt’s true I haven’t blocked the shawl and the truth is I may never block it. Blocking is one of my many weak points. Also, I think it has turned out to be a scarf not a shawl. Whatever. It’s for me. I’m going to Scotland in the fall and it’s coming with me. Mostly, I’m planning to bring black clothes (black raincoat, black pants, black turtleneck sweaters) and this will give me a bright contrast. Bring out my natural coloring, which is. . . . . ?

Thinkering: When you get older, hairstyles become something you think about a lot. I was a teenager in the ’60s and I had the perfect hair. Very, very, very straight. I wore it long and aspired to look a little like Mary Ann Faithfull (yes, that’s how she spelled it) or Mary (of Peter, Paul, and…). Long hair made us all look earnest back then, and we were very earnest. “Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing.” Our mothers had perms–not earnest-looking at all. Well, that was then. Now, like many of my age I’ve chopped all my long hair off. It’s still straight and therefore has a tendency to stick up like straw. Like straw, for some years it was golden. Now I’m letting even that go and it’s silver (this is a comfortable euphemism). My granddaughter only this morning, while ruffling her fingers through my hair, asked why I cut my it like a boy’s. Of course, she’s never heard of Dame Judi Dench. But then, I don’t actually look like Dame Judi Dench either. If I grew it, would I look like mutton dressed as lamb? Do I presently look like mutton dressed as mutton? I need to know. I need to know what to do with my hair. Am I over thinking this? Yes.

Why “Thinkering”? Because I Can’t Stop Tinkering with my Thinking.


Knitting: Currently this shawl is on the needles and has been for far too long. Must. Keep. Knitting. So many other projects await. The pattern’s Old Shale and the yarn’s Filatura Di Crosa Brilla, Color 432. Oh that color. It almost blinds me. I love it so much. And wouldn’t you know, 432 has been discontinued! Will I have enough to knit it the length I want? I think so but it’ll be darn close. See the finished shawl on the left. That’s the length I’m heading for. Stay tuned.

FullSizeRender5I like that shawl on the left. It’s the Crow Waltz Rectangle made with uber-expensive Blue Heron Metallic yarn. The main body of it is Blue Grass (I even like the name), and it’s knitted in an uneven linen stitch. Yup, nice.  FullSizeRender3Thinkering: If you’ve ever thought about the passage of time do have a look at “Ongoingness: The End of a Diary” by Sarah Manguso. The author has been keeping a journal for over 25 years. She doesn’t quote from it in her book, she just writes about the doing of it. Apparently, when Manguso took time out to reread the whole thing she threw out all of one year because nothing really happened in it. Yikes. I’ve thrown out journals because too much was happening. However, the reason she keeps a journal at all is that she can’t stop. I hear you, sister. She sees her days disappearing down the drain without a trace, and it worries her. She wishes for fallow days with nothing at all going on so she can catch up. And all this has become more difficult for her now that she has a son. The journaling has switched from being about her to being about him. Where will this lead, she wonders. Hence her subtitle “The End of a Diary” I think. Compulsive? Overthinker? You bet she is. I so recognize all this. And the larger your family grows the more confusing the problem gets. What about when you have eleven wonderful grandchildren? Do you write their news out as well? How do you separate your news from their news? Do you actually have any news of your own anymore? Do you even have any thoughts of your own? Well, of course you do. You’re thinking about what to write in your journal, for example. Right?

Racoons Don’t Overthink Or Knit

Raccoon contemplates the night sky

My granddaughter drew this picture of a racoon contemplating the moon.

Racoons probably do think–but they don’t overthink. If they did they would never knock over trash cans and eat the contents. Overthinkers check sell-by dates. They look up how long you can keep asparagus in the fridge. They spend long hours thinking about thinking. They ask Siri what the meaning of life is. By necessity they need a hobby that will occupy their hands. I knit. I knit a lot.

This blog will mainly be about knitting. I think.