Sunday, March 16, 2008

Back in the Blog Business

I’ve decided to get back into this blog business again, for a couple of reasons. First, because I’ve been spending an awful lot of time on Ravelry, and sometimes I feel like writing more—or at least more generally—about my knitting/crochet work than I can there in the notes area of each project. Second, I have ignored the existence of in dreams awake for a few years, but I made my way back for a visit the other day and remembered again how much I enjoyed writing these little essay-like entries as a form of writing complementary to other things I happen to be working on. So here I am again.

These are my knitting/crochet obsessions and projects of late:

(1) Amigurumi—I just added two books to my library in the past few weeks, Amigurumi World and Mr. Funky’s Super Crochet Wonderful. Claudia is cutting her teeth on crochet learning how to do this, too, make cute little animals with mostly spiral single crochet. Last night I finished my first creature, a funny little elephant made with two different colorways of Noro Kureyon. I picked this yarn because I wanted to create a creature reminiscent of a dream I had recently, on February 27:

Going outside. Weather is getting gray and ominous. I want to walk by the pool. Maybe we can bring the kids here later. All these little critters are around, and they come up to me and some of them bite my toes. They are colorful and fanciful and there are many different kinds. People sitting near the pool laugh at me. When one bites my toes it feels like an electric shock. They're so cute, but it's unnerving. I don't want to step on them. They are colorful and fanciful, not like any creature I've seen before. There are many different kinds of them. They are small. One looks like a little pig with an elongated snout, almost a little trunk.

So I attach a picture of my creature. It looks strikingly like one of the cute guys in this dream, and around the same size, too. The pattern is free on Lion Brand Yarn’s site.

I plan to make another creature from a dream from a few years ago, already bought they yarn, and I have an octopus pattern I can modify. Here’s the dream (from January 1, 2002):

I was sitting with a group I was going to Paris with around a large rectangular wooden table. I was sitting near one end, on the side next to the head. We weren't leaving on the trip until March. We were planning for it. I noticed under the table this creature, turquoise blue with eight thick furry legs and a trunk that looked like one of the legs. It was the size of a baby rabbit. I was really scared of it, didn't like it. I put my legs on the chair and told the others. It scurried away before the others saw it, though someone acknowledged that they knew about it. I didn't like being in the room anymore, tried to focus, but was afraid it would crawl on me. Then I saw an icon of it on a brochure. It was supposed to be a friendly, cute image, but still I didn't want to come into contact with it. At some point I remembered with alarm that my passport had expired. I was relieved I had until March to get a new one, hoped it would be enough time.

Another really cool offshoot of this amigurumi obsession is a collaboration with Rowan. He makes all these really interesting drawings of made-up creatures, always with pencil. He was explaining some recent characters to me the other day, and it struck me that for the most part they’d be really easy to create in yarn with amigurumi. I told him this, and he was interested. And then this morning he discovered my elephant, which I finished last night after the kids went to bed, and he said, “Hey, are you still going to make my characters for me?” I said, “Sure, I’d love to.” The first order of business is a spaceship pillow. I bought a 14-inch pillow form at Joann’s today and got the yarn at Borealis (was disappointed to discover they don’t sell Lamb’s Pride Bulky, just worsted—I don’t want to go to The Yarnery for that. I wish they’d reconsider). I’d like to whip this up for him for an Easter present. We’ll see. That gives me a week. Next on the docket is this triangular guy with a round mouth. I think I know how I’m going to do it. He should be easy, too. Maybe I should make him first. I’m sure I could get him done this week. So anyway, I do love this idea—bringing to life characters from the imagination, whether his or mine.

(2) Claudia wants me to make her some arm warmers. She, too, has a very specific design in mind, and I’ve actually written up my pattern based on several things I’ve looked at and modified. We’ll see how they go. Once I get going on them, I’ll post the pattern. I know she’s disappointed I haven’t started them and am now talking about Rowan’s creatures. So many knitting projects, so little time. I do like that my children are pushing me to become a designer, or at least a design modifier.

(3) I’m making myself a forsythia scarf. I’d like to get it done before the forsythia’s bloom. It’s based on a Nagano Sakura, Remix, by Emily Jan. She doesn’t felt her version of the scarf, but instead of cherry blossoms I’m going to make forsythias, which I've loved to see in spring since I was a little kid.

(4) I’m excited about being a part of the Knitter’s Treasure Swap on Ravelry. The deadline for people to sign up to participate was yesterday. Tomorrow we should get them names of our partners. We have one month to get our package off to our partners. This is what we’re supposed to include:

2 Skeins of yarn (at least 200 grms. total)
Knitting or Craft Magazine
2 Knitting items
Hot drink and goodies mix
One handmade item
A surprise

I’m of course starting to plot what I’ll include in my package, but I don’t want to buy anything or get started on making a gift for my partner until I know who she is and what she seems to like. How exciting! Have I said how much I love Ravelry? What an amazing place.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Why Blog?

“So who reads your blog?” my husband asked me recently. It was just after I’d posted the last time and was trying to express to him that satisfaction of having completed a post.

“Well, no one,” I said. “At least not as far as I know.”

“Why do it then? What’s the difference between writing in a journal and posting stuff publicly on a blog no one reads?”

Well, after a slight pause to reflect as I got ready for bed, I had an answer for him. I’ve been thinking about it ever since, too, and thought I’d just weigh in on the topic in this public space that no one seems to visit.

Why post to a blog, indeed. Let me list the reasons:

1. If you’ve always wanted to be a writer and you happen to be a shy perfectionistic sort of person, you tend to hold what you put on a page or screen pretty close. Right now, for instance, I happen to be writing this on an airplane for posting later. I can’t stop looking around me, over my shoulder—is anyone reading this? It makes me cringe to think they might be. There’s this temptation to change my working font size from an easy-on-the-eyes Times New Roman 12 to about an 8 or 9. So the thought of being read, my labored-over thoughts scrutinized by strangers, makes me break out in a cold sweat that is entirely unrelated to the turbulence we are currently encountering over Salt Lake City. But I’m supposed to be a grown-up now. A grown-up who, although the dreams of youth are fading, still wants to be a writer. So although I could decide to fantasize about becoming the next Emily Dickinson posthumously, I think it’s a much better idea to just take a deep breath and get some stuff out in a place where there’s at least the possibility that someone might read it and respond as they are so moved—to gripe, praise, ridicule, send me an invite to a lurid porn site, or whatever.

2. Because I am a perfectionistic sort of person, I can’t blather on without a clear sense of organization as I likely would in my journal. Or at least I should say that I feel the obligation, if I am blathering on while writing something for the blog, to form a point, a thesis to my blathering, if you will. So although I may start writing a post with a less than 100 percent clear purpose, I will labor over it until a theme seems to emerge. At least that’s the way it seems to me. Maybe some of you nonexistent readers would care to disagree? I didn’t know this would happen when I first started doing this, but that is what happened right away. Writing for a blog forces me to form my thoughts as mini (or sometimes not so mini) personal essays. That’s harder work and more time consuming than writing stream-of-consciousness style in a journal for one’s own eyes only, as valuable and therapeutic as that may at times be. But I’ve found that to be a good thing. When you force yourself to write personal essays, you make those fleeting inspirations work themselves full circle. I’ve found that by the end of most posts it’s (A) taken me at least two times as long to write as I would have thought when I first sat down, and (B) surprising conclusions are sometimes reached, or at least are fleshed out more than they were when I first started.

3. Although I have come to consider posts crafted pieces of writing, they are nevertheless crafted quickly. I like the pressure of writing these pieces in a short period of time. I haven’t thus far started a post and then come back to it for days at a time, carefully rereading and revising. No. It’s something in between writing a formal paper and writing a journal entry. Write something coherent, hopefully entertaining, and with a clear theme, but do it in one sitting and get it published.

4. I find it interesting to see what voice emerges. I like to feel myself taking a risk and letting that uninhibited writer side take over, knowing that sometimes my critical side tries to censor it and say I can’t possibly commit whatever it may be to a public place because it’s just too whacky and yet forging on rebelliously, typing away about the alchemy of crochet or about warrior horses that represent some inner drive or about Seth and just letting what's true to me actually be expressed.

5. This one’s more personal, less about my concern about invisible readers. I love it when something really magical happens and I discover something and it works. I’m thinking particularly of my very first post. I loved how I was reading Thoreau and found that great stuff about him and his journals. Looking back, that very first post pretty much summed up why I blog: because I hope that my mini essays become the basis of my life’s work, that they will help birth something larger.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Alchemy of Crochet

I've been obsessed by crochet, and also obsessed with being daunted by the thought of learning crochet. What? you ask. I'm a good knitter. I've been knitting on an off for about--can this be true?--fourteen years now. More on than off during the past two. Nothing scares me about knitting, anymore. Stitches might fall off my needles, but I'm pretty confident I can fix them again, though I might lose a row or two in the process. And then crochet entered my life.

My friend Anne crochets. She's the type of person who just picks up a skein that catches her fancy and starts embellishing the bottom of some tired old sweater and makes it into something uniquely hers. I'm not like that, as much as I might wish I were. But from time to time I'd catch a look at her handiwork. One day last spring Anne gave me my first lesson with the old hook. I liked it, it was interesting. And then I started seeing crochet everywhere. For a long car trip to Michigan last summer I bought myself a crochet book (Kid's Crochet, you have to start somewhere) and thoroughly taught myself the essential single crochet. I also taught myself to single crochet through the front or back loop and thereby make crochet ribs. I was literally hooked, fascinated by the fact that there was only one live stitch in a piece of crocheted fabric, so much less danger than knitting. And you could branch off in any direction, add to it, make circles, and those things from memory lane that I began to covet in their elusiveness--granny squares.

But then, for a bunch of months, I started obsessing about not knitting. I felt like I'd forsaken an old friend, and I turned in my hook for my needles and relegated my newfound passion to the far recesses of my mind. But then this fall my mom gave me this gorgeous granny square afghan that my great-grandmother, my grandma's mother, crocheted. It's got a black background, but the centers of each square are crocheted in a multitude of colors and combinations. It's like a bursting kaleidescope of color, no two squares alike. Again, I began to think about crochet--why oh why had I forsaken her? I was ready to begin our relationship again. I went to the bookstore one day and found, to my great delight, that Debbie Stoller, that hip knitting maven whose book Stitch 'N Bitch I refer to over and over, had just put out a new volume, on crochet, no less--The Happy Hooker. I was ready to reenter the world of crochet.

But despite Debbie's funny and encouraging tips and techniques, a strange and disturbing thing happened--I could not make myself progress beyond the tried and true single crochet. It began to verge on a mania of self-doubt and envy. I would never make a granny square. I even started dreaming about it. And I know enough about dreams to know that if I'm dreaming about being blocked and unable to learn to crochet, it must be talking about something else entirely. Let's review the facts: I try to pick up a new skill. I have some success. A voice says, "No, you don't want to do that, what about your old friend knitting? What will she think? Why do you want to learn something new?" And then, a long reprieve (a victory, that is, on the part of that voice who wanted me not to crochet). But suddenly I'm drawn back, determined once again, desirous of that elusive accomplishment--the granny square (and beyond that to lacy bolero jackets and the like). I find the perfect teacher (Debbie You-Can-Do-Anything-with-Yarn-and-Have-Great-Fun Stoller). Yet I balk. That voice again, "You can't do it, you can't learn, no, no, no, don't even try. It will be boring and frustrating and take too long." I began to long for this thing I feel will never be mine--the ability to read a crochet pattern and make whatever I want, just like with knitting. The first thing I will make, I think, is a granny square scarf. But no, this will never be because I am stupid and too old to learn and too lazy and, and, and...

This is not just about crochet, dammit, this is about giving up on myself. Not believing that adage that I want so much to live by--you create your own reality. All I know is this: by learning to crochet, really sticking with it and trying out the stitches one by one, making my way through the world of hooking with Debbie, and it all culminating in the successful creation of a granny square scarf will transform me somehow like some alchemical process. I will have fought some battle within myself and come out the other side that much stronger and more capable. I will be that much closer to embracing my life, taking its reins, doing the work I need to do. Yeah!

So last night I began my journey. I knit three fab swatches--not a granny square yet, but we're getting there. First, the single crochet (yes, I know, I already learned that one, but I was just warming up, and I made it in all the colors I'd purchased of this loverly Tahki cotton. Next, I branched out and tried my hand at a new stitch, the second Debbie recommends, the half-double crochet. It was pretty! (I'm a natural, I began to think.) And then, the big time--double crochet, my favorite swatch yet. Finally, before getting too sleepy, I attempted something really cool--a circle. I had to rip it out a few times, but I did it.

Still no granny square to report, but there was this: last night I dreamed of making granny squares, and for the first time it was flowing and easy to understand. I woke up thinking, "It's all about the double crochet--that's what gives you a little height!" I got up and flipped through Hooker to the granny square page--I was right! It is all about the double crochet. (Interestingly, I think I've diagnosed part of the reason for my slowness to advance--that darn Kid's Crochet book, lovely and useful as it's been, doesn't ever introduce double crochet [or the granny square no less]).

Yarn is a metaphor, isn't it after all, for life. A wound skein is potential, balled up. It needs to be woven into a fabric, into stories and connections and a unique pattern. Knitting is linear and back and forth and steady, and vulnerable, too. I like to think I am moving into the crochet period of my life, more free form, more whimsical and unpredictable. But sturdy and relatively secure, not easily unraveled. Through crochet, knot by knot, I will form a new foundation for myself.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Trashed on Friday Night

Trashed as in bone tired. It's that end of the week thing. Why do I feel so much more irritable, impatient, and downright agitated on Friday nights than on any other night? Once upon a time, Friday nights used to be exciting--dinner at some restaurant with friends, maybe a movie, a party that started no earlier than ten. Now, I'm lucky if I can keep my weary carcuss out of bed until ten. I feel old.

I haven't written in such a long time. I got into this frame of mind thinking each entry had to be an essay, all polished and perfect. Tonight I just feel like posting a little update--yes, I'm still here, still writing down my dreams, still knitting, still working at the same old job, still living in the same house with the same husband and kids.

Now I'm going to retire to a scalding hot bath filled with lavender relaxation salts and read my book, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, one of the best-loved books in Finland, I'm told. Anyone out there ever read it before? It's a great book, set in ancient Egypt during the rein of Akenaten. The main character is an Egyptian physician named Sinuhe. I'm at this part where his "sister," the first woman he's really loved, has given herself to her god in Crete. He wants to rescue her from the god's house, but I just know he's about to find her slaughtered.

And that's really all I have to say for now. TGIF.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Checking In

A taste of fall, this photo, taken yesterday--home-grown tomatoes lined up on the next-door neighbor's back patio. Where has the summer gone? Where have I been? In my head, mostly, to tell the truth. Lots going on up there, contemplation of many things--Should I quit my job? (And then I got a hefty raise.) Should I have another baby? (Husband against this idea.) Should I go back to school and get an MFA? And then recently a deeper commitment to my inner work, which means that to any outsider observer, essentially nothing has changed. But it has and is. I do think it is.

I've been reading Seth, the first book he "wrote" through Jane Roberts, Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul. I bought this book a few years ago yet had only skimmed it before. Now I'm reading it all, and sometimes have trouble putting it down. Not many people I know are familiar with these books, or of Seth, the self-described "energy personality essence" whom Jane Roberts channeled from the late sixties until her death in 1984. I've mentioned my choice in reading to only a select few. Many, I know, would find it weird, nonsense, suspicious, crazy. I have to say I have been profoundly moved and inspired reading this book. I intend to move on to The Seth Material, which Jane wrote about her experience of becoming a medium and channeling Seth. I also own two other books about Seth/Jane Roberts, both of which I also bought a few years ago. One is also by Jane Roberts, The God of Jane. The other, Conversations with Seth, is by Jane's friend Susan Watkins, who attended Jane's ESP class and witnessed the Seth personality many times. I'd like to read more from Seth, too. He "wrote" many things through Jane (her husband, Robert Butts dictating while she was in a trance state). One I'm especially curious about is The Natural of Personal Reality, whose chapters correspond very closely with the major arcana of the tarot.

Just before I was drawn to pick the Seth book off my shelf to really read this time, I had an experience that moved me in an unexpected way. I still puzzle over it, and yet the Seth book, amazingly, as if suggested to me to add further depth to what I had felt, has made me believe there was indeed a deep meaning in it. (I find that with books: I sometimes buy them with a clear interest but then put them away virtually unopened. The "right" time to read them seems to need to ripen, much like the tomatoes on my neighbor's patio. I am always so pleasantly surprised when that time arrives. A well-stocked book shelf can be a treasure trove. I take exception to my husband's belief that I "just like to add books to the shelf." Oh, how he misunderstands the draw of books. They often speak to me initially of somethin I need, but they may also equally need to be on the shelf until I ripen mentally and am truly ready to appreciate them.)

So, I had this experience of a member of my dream group making a sudden decision to sell his house and all his belongings and move with his wife to another part of the country. He had his reasons. I didn't want him to go. I felt sad about it. I hoped it wouldn't come to fruition. This drama playing out over about two months. His plans became more and more solidified. Finally, his day of departure was upon us. He came to group for the last time.

Now, I really liked him. I felt a connection to him. I felt a deep understanding to his dreams, and I think he felt the same way about me. It was a funny thing because I didn't have a "crush" on him in a traditional (for me) sense. And perhaps as a result, I didn't understand how much I cared about him. And then, that last night, we all went around the room and took turns saying something to him, about him. I offered to go right away. I felt myself prepared to say some nice things to him, to tell him I would miss him. And yet when I opened my mouth to speak I completely lost it. I sobbed and sobbed and couldn't get any very intelligible words out. The whole time I kept thinking, "Get a hold of yourself. You don't do that kind of thing. What is going on?"

I consider myself a sensitive person, but a pretty buttoned up, in-control kind of person in situations like that. It blew me away. Everyone was surprised. He was surprised. I was embarrassed, of course. But also inside, I was simply stunned. We all went out for drinks after group, and I acted chipper, pleasant. Yet inside I was stunned, worn out. I've mourned his leaving ever since. I feel as if some part of me has been hacked away. And yet, again, a more rational rooted-in-this-reality of ours side of myself tries to say, "You didn't even know him that well." But now, reading the Seth book, I of course wonder, how is Dave connected to me? Is there some deep beyond-this-life connection? Is there more history there than I am presently aware of? I at least acknowledge with great confidence that we understand only the smallest tip of what flows beneath and between us all.

I was going to speak of my knitting, which I've been obsessed about again. I have some pictures, too, of projects finished and in process. Perhaps I will sign off for now and tackle that topic later--but soon later, not in another month and a half.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

An Insight Comes in the Form of a Voice and a Warrior Horse

How does this happen? Nearly a month of not posting? It's a constant struggle, keeping one's self on track. What interferes? What excuses do I have?

Work is always a good one. I have been stressed there, with increased responsibilities, including the need to mentor a new staff person and also cover for the resignation of another. And I have needed to do this while (1) continuing to serve as managing editor of a journal that publishes every other month (I do have two coworkers who are veterans of that with me, though, and who have been carrying much of that weight); (2) trying to create new online educational programming with that new staff person who, though her heart is in the right place, needs lots of coaching and steering in a social sense (some people inherently understand the boundaries and accustomed work style of the environment to which they are hired to contribute; she doesn't, but we're working on it); (3) becoming the lead on our residency examination process--working with a consultant and a new committee chair to improve the quality of the exam, overhaul the database, and retrain the committee of volunteers who write the exam; I was doing this already, and then the coworker who had worked on it longer than me, who was the main liaison while I was her supervisor and the editor, was offered a new job and took it; her last day was a little over one week ago, the day before my grandmother died (that's another recent stress factor, which I will get to momentarily); (4) continuing to serve as the overall manager of publications in my department, which means all the material for our Annual Meeting; that cycle is beginning again (on the plus side, I have another staff person working on that with me; he is approaching his first full year on the job and is eager and conscientious).

Those are my main responsibilities. Some say it is more than one person's job. It may be, but I am also expected to stay up on a perch somewhat, to learn the art of delegation, to remain sane and figure out how to grow those who work under me, giving them more day-to-day responsibilities. This is a constant personal challenge. What if they don't do things as well as I would and the quality slips? (This is often my perception.) What if they think I'm pushing my responsibilities off onto them? (This is often my paranoia. But come on, they see I'm busy. They can and should do as much as they are capable of doing, too. *A point to debate sometime, perhaps, but that is the culture we're part of [and that I certainly perpetuate, for better or worse, with my own work ethic.*) What if, what if, what if. Those "what ifs" also contribute to my stress level.

So I was struggling with all this at work. The more I struggle at work during the week, the less I keep my focus on my innerwork, the less I know what the hell I'm supposed to do to maintain any balance in my life, to grow as an individual. I lose all energy to be a creative person. I begin to resent my lot in life. What happened to me? I think. I thought I would be a novelist, typing away at my inner thoughts and obsessions, transforming them into something meaningful and entertaining. I would be an attentive, nurturing mother and garden and knit and make my home a haven for myself and my family all after a good six hours of daily writing.

There's still this strong part of me who thinks I could succeed at this if only given the opportunity. Given the opportunity. See, that's the catch. It's just not like that, is it? It's a fight, those dreams. Do you really want it or need it that badly? If so, you will find a way to get there and make that your reality. But you don't have what it takes, do you? You obsess about work and come home beleagured and with responsibilities to your family. You will never accomplish that dream.

Whose voice is that? That voice berates and exhausts me. That voice has no charity or perspective. A different voice inside me is in control right now, for instance, as I write. "Voice" is perhaps not the best word. It's a different side of myself. The side in control right now says, "Look, you do have a lot on your plate. There is no indication that if you quit your job your life would be all roses and sunshine and well-acclaimed books. You need to acknowledge that the horse you are saddled into is tall and lean and powerful and complicated. A warrior horse at the height of its powers. [Ed: Not sure where this side is going with this image.] Yes, a warrior horse at the height of its energy and powers who CAN handle many things. The trick, I see in this moment, is to give that horse a compassionate rider who acknowledges the horse's drive, who steers it properly or at least consciously, and also makes sure it gets proper rest and grooming and nourishment and praise. Praise and love and kindness for its many and various accomplishments, not just certain ones. The rider must not be biased, must not judge the tasks and battles and journeys and loads that the horse is carrying."

"Also, that other side, that critical one, can't get over the fact that I wasn't "given" a certain kind of ideal life. To be more accurate, that voice thinks I blew it and made the wrong choices, jumped into the wrong job, altered my path irretrievably. Well, whether or not that is true, I have to make the most of my path. And, as I see above, I have a pretty damn good horse. It's the riders who are too changeable."

OK. That insight came unexpectedly. I started out berating myself for my many "excuses." I see now they aren't just excuses. They did really happen. For instance, my grandma really did die. We really did pack up and drive back to Michigan (680 long miles) to spend time with our families (we saw my husband's parents, too, and our sister-in-law and kids).

I was discouraged in dream group on Thursday. I'd just gotten back into town, only hours before. Still, I wouldn't have missed it. I read a dream from late June, a dream I had the night after a private dream session in which I read a dream from the night before that was highly encouraging and in touch with the unconscious. This next dream, the one I shared Thursday, I knew was disappointing, showing that I had somehow gotten off track (again). How? How had that happened right at that time? Thursday night, as I took in this information more consciously, I knew that I had gotten even more off-track during the subsequent week, but how, I wondered, had it happened the very night following such a positive and progress-showing dream? I'll never get it, will I? I thought. In that dream I was supposed to be nurturing two plants. I neglected them and then gave them a special miracle grow treatment and trimmed them in an attempt to save them. But I covered each of them with a pastel quilted "cozy" top and gave one each to a different friend for safe-keeping. One of the friends abandoned me and left the plant. When I peeked inside the plant had dissolved into what looked like egg whites--lost potential? And then the other friend abandoned me. I need to nurture my own plants and not leave them to others to care for.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Tired, but Still Knitting

I've been too tired to write, working long days and trying desperately to catch up from being out of the office last week--not easy to do when my days are largely filled with meetings. At night, after the kids are in bed, I think briefly about getting back to work and invariably reach instead for one of my various knitting projects. In fact, yesterday, feeling exhausted and depleted of all sense of peace, serenity, and plain old fun, I snuck a visit to my new favorite local yarn shop (LYS), Borealis Yarns, before I went home. Bought three skeins of this Noro yarn I've been thinking about, Daria Multi. It's a cotton/rayon cording, a feast for the eyes in turquoise, green, purple, cranberry and brown. I spotted it a few weeks ago, and then when I was trying to teach myself to crochet a few weekends ago and failing miserably with anything beyond the first row of a single crochet, I kept thinking this might be the perfect "yarn" to use, since it is, in fact, cord, and I'd be able to study what was going on better than with worsted, or even cotton. I spent all last night playing with it, not attempting crochet, but knitting a swatch in garter, moss stitch, basket weave, etc, trying to find the perfect way to show off the color and sheen of the stuff. I think I'm going to make a bag--the perfect antidote to stress--and I'm leaning toward moss stitch though I did like the look of reverse stockinette.

I have other yarn projects in the works, too: the ribbed shrug from the summer issue of Interweave Knits, which I'm making in robin's egg blue Reynold's Morocco; a bag out of blue Cascade Quatro; a scarf using leftover ribbon from the red shawl I made during the winter (I'll probably give it to my mother-in-law--it's in her colors, rust and gold and brown). I forgot to cancel the monthly selection from the Crafter's Choice book club last month. The package was waiting for me when I got home Saturday. In a moment of weakness I opened it rather than writing "return to sender" and setting it by the mailbox. And, oh, what a shame, I discovered it was a new knitting book called Loop-d-Loop by Teva Durham. Decided to keep it and now am determined to make this gorgeous cabled riding jacket at some point. There's also a cute mock cable hat in Rowan Polar, and oh, what do you know, I just happen to have two miscellaneous skeins of the stuff lying around.

What is it about yarn and all things knitting? For me it's the colors, the textures, the endless fascination with the ability to transform long strings of yarn into fabric and shapes and wearable, usable goods. It's so nonverbal. As I knit I become absorbed in the stitches and am quite quickly lured away from the obsessive worried work thoughts that tend to follow me home. One of my favorite weekend pastimes is to sit on the couch in my upstairs window-lined office, knitting and listening to downloaded programs of This American Life. Ahh, the weekend. It's getting closer.