Secret Garden

If you keep your eyes open when you walk around the District, you’ll see many beautiful little nooks and crannies like this. My grandmother would have said these are the places where fairies live.

On another note: The thing about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is that it saps your ability and desire to do anything at all. And focusing or concentrating can sometimes be a real chore. Unfortunately, my health has been declining a bit in this area…I’m pushing myself way too hard.

That’s why the Gentleman’s Socks with Lozenge Pattern are taking me a bit longer than usual…I’ve been feeling particularly ill, so I’m not enjoying keeping track of the knit/purl pattern. Too much counting involved, and I keep losing my place. For now, I may just cast on a plain old sock–the kind I can knit without having to count anything at all.

Well, there’s lots of rest in my immediate future (like, this weekend!). I hope yours is relaxing, as well, and that you have lots of time to do the things you enjoy with the people you love. Happy Friday!


Inspiration is in the details…

How many details do you see? When I took this photo, I didn’t even notice the little checkerboard pattern beside the window. So when I downloaded the photos into my Mac, seeing it was a lovely surprise. Isn’t it funny, how we “see” or fail to “see” things, and simply imagine others?

Being an artist–of any kind–is about Seeing. Because artists are human beings, and therefore individuals, I imagine each has his or her own “tricks” or philosophies or practices to help improve and enhance their ability to See. On the other hand, I know some people who look at the world every day and seldom really See anything. How about you? What have you done that’s helped you learn to See?

By the way, I have a legitimate excuse for not posting much this week…SPRING FEVER!

We’ve had the weirdest spring in D.C. Wonderful weather early on, then snow in April. Then wonderful, then days and days of gray, damp, and windy. But this week has been glorious. Everywhere I turn gardens are lush, trees form thick canopies over the streets, and people are soaking it all in at outdoor cafes and restaurants with sidewalk seating. This weekend, thankfully, is expected to give us more of the same. Yay!

By the way, don’t forget to spend a little time on Monday remembering those for whom Memorial Day was created. From World War I to World War II, from Korea to Vietnam, from Bosnia to Iraq…Regardless of politics, they’ve given us the gift of their service and, often, their lives. A few quiet moments to say thank you is worth more than you can imagine. Then…

Bust out the BBQ!!! Hope you all have a gorgeous Memorial Day weekend, filled with fun, friends, and fiber :-)

Bad Yarn Karma Reversed!

First things first. Here’s some belated eye candy:

The image quality sucks–I snapped this with my cell phone camera yesterday–but those colors were just gorgeous.

Anyway, I’ve been away for a few days. Not feeling so hot. I had a medical issue last week (Maggie wasn’t the only one) and followed up with a doctor’s appointment yesterday. I’m sure it’s nothing, but it might be exacerbating my usual complete and utter exhaustion…

OK, enough of me. Let me show you some more cell phone photos:

That’s right! The striped hat is actually DONE. Bad yarn karma (BYK) banished. And just in time, considering we went out to a Phillies/Nationals game the other night and it was COLD. Actually, I finished it just minutes before the DC United game I went to last Saturday, when it was cold and rainy.

You see, when DC had its faux spring a few weeks ago, we packed all my hats away with our winter stuff. So when the day of the football (soccer) game dawned chilly and damp, I was a bit worried. That afternoon, I rushed home, wove in ends, made tassel, and caught the Blue Line out to RFK Stadium just in time.

That makes two cold RFK visits in one week. And both times, I was thankful for this hat. For months, it’s languished in a bag, slung over a chair back (all the doorknobs are taken). This is the pattern you have to knit to accomplish Level 1 in TKGA’s Master Hand Knitter program, and I’m not very excited about it. It’s OK. Just not the kind of hat I’d choose to make on my own.

But once I got going with the new pink yarn–which extinguished the BYK–it basically finished itself. All stockinette in the round. Knit, knit, knit, change color, knit, knit, knit. Needless to say, I made it in front of the television, watching BBC mysteries from Netflix.

Here’s a blurry photo of Pat Burrell’s butt–the same way I saw him when I used to go to Reading Phillies games in PA. Funny to see the same view five years later and a few hundred miles away ;-)

As for the Master Hand Knitter program…I’ve completed all of my swatches and the hat. Haven’t answered the questions yet. But for some reason, I’ve lost interest. Now that I’ve done the work, I’m just not all that concerned about having the Master Knitter title. I’d rather knit for myself, for fun, for art. Not to adhere to someone else’s subjective ideas of perfection.

So, the hat I scorned for so long will go into the box with my other woolies. It’s not the hat’s fault that someone wrote a dumb pattern. It’s kept me warm when no other hat was around…I think I’ve grown a bit attached to it. And all of my swatches will join their friends in my bag-o-swatches, and someday become part of…well…something. A throw, perhaps?

(I can’t toss a perfectly good swatch, can you?)

Where do you find inspiration?

I find it in the gorgeous colors of a perfect spring day: Robin’s egg blue; pale, sandy beige; tart, fresh green; and the glorious colors of blossoming trees illuminated by the golden morning sun.

Looking at these photos, it’s obvious I’ve been in the mood for pastels mixed with brown. Pink and brown, pale green and brown (like mint-chip ice cream), and powdery blue and brown.
Luckily for me, I didn’t have to look too far to find the perfect yarn to satisfy my cravings…It’s called Brightwood, from D.C.’s Neighborhood Fiber Company (owned by the lovely Karida Collins). I love all of NFC’s colourways, but this one–brand new for spring–really speaks to me. It’s begging to become a sweet little scarf, like this one.

I really would love to know: Where do you find your inspiration?

Finally, I have a request: This little one isn’t feeling well. She has a fever and won’t eat. We’re worried, because she’s about 13 years old. Please say a prayer, send positive energy, meditate on her healing, or whatever you believe in–it’s all good. Her name is Maggie, and she’s a gentle soul.

Thank you, from all of us.

PS. Comments welcome :-)

It’s Cherry Blossom Time: A Festivus for the Rest of Us!

The Cherry Blossom Festival is a yearly delight for those of us who worship long, balmy days, tender new foliage, the year’s first flowers, and all the other glories of spring…

Unfortunately (for us, that is) this delight is a bit tainted by crushing crowds of camera-toting tourists, but they’ve got a right to be here, too, I guess ;-) (Especially that lovely man who took such a good photo of Chris and I under a canopy of cherry blossoms–Thank you!)

Today we went down to the Tidal Basin and spent some time on the water in one of the paddle-boats. Under scudding clouds, with warm breezes ruffling the water, we floated and listened to live trad-jazz (our favorite) being played by a band in front of the Jefferson Memorial.
Then we wandered up the mall, camera in hand, playing tourist for a while (when in Rome, right?), and found a nice shady bench by the carousel in front of the Smithsonian “Castle.” Chris went to pick up some H2O while I chatted with a very nice couple from Mississippi. The husband wore a hat that read “WWII Veteran” (he was Navy, but I didn’t notice the name of his ship), so I assumed they’d been to the fabulous WWII Memorial during their stay.

When they continued on their way to the Metro, Chris pulled out his iPod and I…well, you know…(That’s “Orchid Sock” #2 on the needles. And yes, I’ve spent a little time out in the sun this past week!)

We found a little stuffed monkey under the bench. We both felt really sorry for the little child out there who lost his or her new friend :-( We waited and waited, but no one came back for him. So we decided to give him a good home amongst the other 50+ monks who live in our–ahem!–library (read: hallway).

Then we went out for Chinese food and came home to take a nap. All in all, it was a perfect day with mon cheri. XOXO

Grey Saturday…Warm Colourways

Hypothetical Situation: You have $60.00 to spend on yarn. What do you buy?
The answers (if you’re me, and, like me, you have a “sweet tooth”):

1) A skein of Sundara Yarns’ luscious Cherry Blossom sock yarn. I live in Washington, DC, so this is a must-have, right? (Oh, Purly, puhleeeze tell me I can still get some Cherry Blossom if I have to wait until post-rent-week!)

2) Two skeins of Claudia Hand Painted Chocolate Cherry sock yarn (Do you see the color pattern developing here?)

3) One skein of this Claudia Hand Painted “Pink Dot” sock yarn, to go with the orphan skein I rescued from my LYS yesterday
Now, if only I had that $60.00… Hmmmm. What can I pawn? I have lots of stash yarn and a ton of books I could sell–anyone interested? ;-)