Thursday, December 19, 2013

As I Was Saying

Seventeen weeks in a row on the road, kids. Seventeen weeks.

It all went well, I am pleased to report. But I confess to being a smidge tired. 

I started in Florida (with a private engagement in Key West) and ended in Florida (sailing to Central America with Melissa Leapman and a jolly crew of knitters). There were multiple trips north, south, east, and west in between. Looking at the calendar, my longest unbroken stretch of at-home time since September was four days.

It's nice to be needed, but it's also nice to put the suitcases in the storage room and firmly shut the door.

Meanwhile, blog topics have stacked up on the worktable until they've blocked out the sun. I could dump the whole lot in the trash and pretend I never saw them, like I do with the annual I-still-love-you Christmas card from my ex; but I don't want to start 2014 feeling like I'm in arrears.

Better to see what I can do about lowering the stack over the next few days.

Mind you, it's going to be messy. I'm just going to pull items off the list at random and do a couple a day until I run out of the new year arrives, whichever comes first.

Thing One.

When you saw my Tour de Fleece 2013 challenge I had sleepily increased and increased on the intended improvised hat until I wound up with this.


That got ripped out, and re-knit into this.


The hat's not for me. It'll go to somebody, I dunno who, with a slightly larger head than mine and who looks well in these colors. (I do not.) I'm also not much of one for novelty shapes like that pixie point in my own hats. I am insufficiently whimsical to carry them off.

Looking at the finished piece, I am astounded at how easy the Smoothie Batt from Lunabudknits made it for me–who had no previous experience of this sort of thing–to make an acceptable color-change yarn. I enjoyed it so much that at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival, between classes, I bought another Smoothie Batt. This time around maybe I'll detail the process, since I now I know what I did. Which is not be confused with knowing what I'm doing.

The yarn itself is distressingly imperfect. Yet it turned into a hat. I suppose I need to keep that in mind. Imperfect yarn is yarn nonetheless.  If nothing else, you can tie up wrapped gifts with it.

Speaking of gifts.

Thing Two.

houseofmusic My niece is growing up and developing opinions. She will no longer always agree to wear whatever you shove her into, even if it's made by hand. I was warned this day would come.

So I was hunting around for other gifts she might enjoy, and found a hidden gem on the Schoolhouse Press Web site. Among the offerings for children is a sweet book-and-CD set called A House Filled with Music, by Margret and Rolf Rettich. It's a lighthearted introduction to the instruments of the symphony orchestra, originally published in German. The fluid English-language edition retains the lively original illustrations, and includes Meg's new narration on the companion CD.

If you're a fan of Meg Swansen's knitting videos–the ones she did with her mother, Elizabeth Zimmermann, or her solo output–you know Meg's got a notably musical speaking voice. She does such a superb job with this book that I'd enjoy hearing her do more audio books. I wouldn't mind a few for grown-ups. Are you listening, Meg? Please?

Quite aside from that, I recommend the book as being simple enough for kids to enjoy without being simple-minded, sweet without being goopy, and cute without being sticky. It'll entertain a child on her own, but adults who listen along won't be tempted to rip off their own ears. It's especially useful if you want to instill a love of good music, but know that if you have to listen to Peter and the Wolf one more time you will develop a syncopated twitch over one eye.

Thing Three.

Travel or not, I had promised to contribute new designs to a potpourri of projects and here is one of them.


Yeah. Another hat. I'm in a hat phase or something.

It's called Meliorus. It's very simple. It's also very colorful, because nothing lifts me out of gloom like vivid color and I figure you can't fight cancer if you're full of gloom. The e-book in which it appears benefits Breast Cancer Connections of Palo Alto, California. Here's a link to their Web site, in case you'd like to learn more about them.

While I'm on the subject, I'd also like to mention Calendar of Hope, a knitting and crochet calendar (available both electronically and in print) also supporting the fight against breast cancer. I didn't contributed to this one and I'm not part of the group; but I heard from the publishers last year because the 2013 edition featured designs based on antique patterns. It was too late for me to mention them then, so here they are now. This year's edition is a selection of original designs, and benefits Army of Women.

That's all for today. More things tomorrow. And yes, one of these updates is going to include the reveal of the knitted bathing drawers.


Unknown said...

Meg is a goddess. I was completely intimidated by her. Now I must get that book and CD for my nephews.

Also, I disagree about your whimsical-ness. I think you are perfectly whimsical and could pull of whatever you see fit.

Are you going to model the swimming drawers for us?

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for the bloomers! Welcome back.

Connie said...

I always enjoy your blog; never fails to bring a smile a smile to my face. And since you always rocked in a kilt, I'm sure you'll do the same in a pair of swim drawers :)

Northmoon said...

So glad to see you're back to the blog! I've been checking regularly hoping you would return.

Can't wait for the bathing trunks reveal. Were they function tested on your travels?

Anonymous said...

"Weird Al" Yankovic made a parody of Peter and the Wolf. Try to slip that one by the niece.

Christine65 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine65 said...

Your blogging hiatus has been missed, but it sounds as though you've been busy, busy, busy. Looking forward to The Big Reveal :D

roxie said...

Good to see you heard again. Looking forward to blogging on the cruise.

Cara said...

How could I have forgotten about the knitted bathing drawers?!?

Anonymous said...

Yay! So glad you are back! Can't wait for more updates on hat you have been up to.
RavID: violingirl76

Connie said...

Great you are back! I know how it feels to be around so much... never be in your own surroundings..

so enjoy the time at home now and have a good christmas / chanukka / holiday time


knitmomma said...

Welcome home! So glad I was able to take your color work class this round of crazy travel - I tackled a hat with minor stranded color without fear!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back!!!! Just wanted to let you know that you and your blog were really missed. I can't wait to see the swim suit!

Anonymous said...

Happy Holidays and I missed you. Get rested and definitely model the swimming drawers.

Patti said...

You were missed Franklin, Welcome back. and about that spinning, don't fret about "perfect yarn" there is plenty of that at a yarn store. handspun needs to be delightfully imperfect!

Anonymous said...

Very glad to see you're posting again.
Um, about that 'reveal' -- hope the knitted drawers didn't reveal too much.

Gracey is not my name.... said...

So glad you are back..I'm the one that waylaid you at Stitches...and the "cute" pic is posted here:

Z - But Not a Diva said...

Ah! di speme un raggio amico! The blog is alive again. There was some serious withdrawal but it was alleviated through rapt attention at Franklin's wonderful Stitches classes. Glad to see you're settling back home and looking forward to stories from "the cruise". A very happy holiday to you, Franklin!

Mrs. A said...

Welcome home! So glad to be hearing from you - it's like my own little online Christmas gift to be reading your blog again!

Gail said...

Welcome back.

Your voice was missed.

Hope there are tales of the cruise ...
and many years later, I can still recite "Zin Zin a Violin," about parts of an orchestra.

Andrea said...

Hurrah! You're back! Welcome home and happy holidays.

FiberQat said...

My mom would contend that nothing compares to repeated playings of the "In the Hall of the Mountain King" at full blast from a child's room. She went to the basement, put on the opera, and sewed to her heart's content.

Christina Bowers said...

I'm in a hat phase as well - it sucks you in.

Can I just say that I would be delighted to spin with you/give you spinning lessons? I wish there were more spinners looking to challenge themselves. Your yarn is beautiful!

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