Almost, a few ways

Joe’s been gone six days now. It’s a long time apart for us, and as much as I enjoy time alone, I’m ready for him to come back. There’s a certain luxury and magic in time alone – I eat what I want, do what I want, keep the schedule that suits me, and for the first few days, I revelled in that. The fourth day I started bugging my friends, and by yesterday, the down side of this much time alone started to show up. One of the things I like best about alone time is the chance to think.  It might be the byproduct of all those years as a mum with little kids, with never a single moment to think things through, but I love it.  Too much time alone though? The result is too much thinking. By day six, I’ve become what I think of as “The Queen of What If”.  What if that squirrel comes back and eats another hole in the roof and we need to fix it?  What if I that thing I said to my friend was the wrong thing? What if I made a parenting mistake when Amanda was three?

Now, being the Queen of What If isn’t always a terrible thing. I like how it helps me think of problems before they happen, and how well it lends itself to imagination, but it can also be a sinkhole.  Too much time in that place, and I find myself agonizing all day, and laying awake at night examining every minor and inconsequential problem I’ve ever had in minute detail, and carefully thinking through every mistake I might ever have made, while simultaneously worrying about all the mistakes I’m very likely about to make, while synchronizing that with trying to solve problems like world poverty.

Usually, at some point in that scene, Joe comes home from work, and I tell him about the potential problem with the squirrel who hasn’t arrived yet, and how we’d better begin saving up for the roof, because it’s only one of about twelve situations that we’d going to have to start getting anxious about, and he’ll look at me and say, in the kindest, and most nonchalant way possible “You’re a crazy lady. You know that, right?”

He says that, and that’s it. I’m yanked right back into the real world, and we have dinner, or watch a movie, and he makes a thousand jokes, and I go right back to thinking about things like rogue squirrels the exact amount that a sane person should, and totally leave off with phoning my children and telling them that we should have dinner together because I’ve thought it over and we need to talk about the plan for the whole rest of their lives. (Our daughters will be especially glad of Joe’s return this week.)

Without him, the crazy train rolls into the station, and there’s not a lot to keep me from buying a ticket for a nice long ride, and I know this about myself, so this week I tried to make a few plans, to have some things to do, and to knit LOTS, because there is nothing that beats down the crazy better than a nice long stretch of knitting.  You’ve  heard the expression “I knit so I don’t kill people”? This is more like “I knit so that I don’t worry about things that can’t be helped anyway.”  Behold, the object of my intention:

little dress 2015-09-03

It’s that little dress I mentioned a while back, and despite that long, full, grey skirt being a bit of a long, dark, tea-time of the soul, it’s getting there. Another bit of knitting today and I’ll be at the border of the skirt, and that border is only 28 rounds, and even though the rounds have more than 300 stitches, how long can that take? (I’m me, and I’ve ben alone a lot, so I can actually tell you. It’s about 2.5 hours, if I don’t take any breaks for coffee, instagram, or texting all of my friends to tell them what in their lives I’ve been worried about too.)  When I realized that I was actually that close to the end of the knitting, which meant that I was that close to the start of the crochet, it occurred to me that I might want to get myself together in that department.  Namely, I wondered if A) I know enough about crochet to get that part done, and thought I might want to start looking up techniques and figuring out what exactly the European pattern means when it says Double Crochet – since the answer can vary, and B) I figured I should get a crochet hook.

hooks 2015-09-03

Now, it’s not like a little crochet doesn’t come up here and there in knitting – I hook when I have to, and I use crochet hooks as knitting rescue tools all the time, but because I’m not a crocheter, I don’t have a full company of crochet hooks. As a  matter of fact, all the ones I own are in that picture, and after giving the pattern for the little flowers a go, I was able to figure out three things. A) I did it wrong. B) I have the wrong hook. C) I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I think it would be easier with the right hook.   Off I went to the craft store, where I bought a hook that I think is both better, and the right size, and while I was doing that I think I figured out what the instructions probably mean, and so – I’ll give it another go tomorrow.  I think I got this.

flowerdet 2015-09-03

Now, another round of Karmic Balancing Gifts? (There’s still a lot.)

Helle wrote me with two great presents, the first is some Sandy’s Palette Coopworth fleece 4.6oz, a bar of soap from The Felted Soap Lady, and a dragonfly candle holder that she’ll be sending to Joanna S.

helleroving 2015-09-03

The second is for Celeste N and it’s Knitspot Regatta sock pattern and 2 skeins of Lorna’s Laces hand-dyed Shepherd Sock. Thanks Helle!

hellesocks 2015-09-03

From Deike, four amazing gifts! First, for Rhian D, 100 gr tussah silk roving, unbleached. and Deike says it’s amazingly soft.

Deiketussah 2015-09-03

Second, isn’t this pretty?  It’s 100g of wool, dyed with madder that will be going to live with Andrea M.

Deikepinkroving 2015-09-03

Third – some of Dieke’s own beautiful handspun.  Two 2 skeins Wensleydale/Merino wool in rainbow colours. The skeins were spun to roughly match in colour progression, and I’m sure that Cordula B is going to thrilled with that.

Deikehandspun 2015-09-03

Last, but not least, Deike has inexplicably knit herself a Colour Affection shawl that she’s never going to wear. (Why we do these things, I don’t know, but we all do it.)  She’s going to trust Karma to find it a home with someone who loves it more – and behold, I really hope that’s Liz F.

Deikeaffection 2015-09-03

Diane got a Karmic Balancing gift last year, and so this year she’s paying it forward, and this gorgeous skein of Madeleine Tosh Sock in Tart is going home to live with Jamiee A.

Dianetoshsock 2015-09-03

Meredyth went on a stash dive and came up with three skeins of hand painted LaJolla superwash Merino. One Brazilian Emerald for Dee J,

meredythgreen 2015-09-03

My Sweet Valentine for Kate C,

meredythpink 2015-09-03

and Singin’ the Blues for Sylvia S. Thanks so much Meredyth!

meredythblue 2015-09-03

Emily also got a gift last year, and she’d like to pay it forward as well. She has a skein of Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in the Cognac colorway.  That’s for Melissa H and she is welcome to choose one of Emily’s independently sold patterns from her shop on Ravelry as well!
emilyirish 2015-09-03

Jenn and Meghan make  beautiful pottery at their beautiful shop JamPDX, and they’ve got a very charming yarn bowl to send to Beth R. Isn’t it lovely?

yarnbowl 2015-09-03

Cat, from CaterpillarGreen Yarns (you know how I feel about that one) has a generous gift for Diane T.  One large skein self-striping shawl yarn in “Concrete and Tulips”. (She points out that the gift is the skein of yarn, not the shawl beneath it, which is her precious baby.)

concretetulips 2015-09-03

Jane sent along this pretty picture, along with saying “I will send a spinner 6 ounces of roving from  one of my alpacas.  (That’s a link to her shop.) He is gray and I mixed his fleece  60/40 with wool (merino we think but not sure) that had white in it.  I dyed the whole lot in these beautiful colors and the pink is gorgeous, spins up to a lovely heathery pinkish.  I prepped the fiber at a small mill in Michigan where you work along side her.  It’s been picked and carded into roving. ”  I think it’s lovely already, and I hope that Anne M loves it too.
janeroving 2015-09-03

Steph at Three Fates Yarn has a gift of a beautiful gradient kit – It is 400 yards of sock yarn in “Museum of Contemporary Craft/A Very Aqua Fluevog” colourway, and it is going to live with Jerry D, who I bet feels like a pretty lucky duck right now.

threefatesgradient 2015-09-03

Sarah, over at The Martini Knitter, has a very nice present.  2-at-a-time Socks, and yarn to go with it! She’ll be sending that along to Cindy M.

sarahsockbook 2015-09-03

Maggie went for a wander through the stash, and came up with the perfect things.  She’s going to send this skein of Rohrspatz & Wollmeise Twin in  Merlot to Cheryl M. Maggie’s been saving it for something special, and I’m honoured that she thinks the Rally is special enough.

maggiewoolmeise 2015-09-03

That wasn’t enough for Maggie, so she went back into the stash and chose this yarn specially.  A ball of self striping sock yarn and the color is “Best Friend” with 3 rows “Lean on Me”, 3 rows “Bestie”, 3 rows “I’ll be there” all surrounded by 5 rows “BFF. ”  Perfect for a Karmic Balancing gift, and I hope that Penny B feels the love.
maggielollipop 2015-09-03

Finally, though I hate to end this party, but have got to do something else with the remains of the day… Kathleen has this very, very nice hand painted roving that she’ll be sending to Jessica F. Thank you Kathleen, you’re wonderful.

kathleenroving 2015-09-03

That’s it! Whew – that put a bigger dent in the pile… I can almost imagine the end is in sight – though we’re not done yet.  More tomorrow!