Last June after our spring concerts my fellow soprano Joanne announced that she had breast cancer. They found it early and she immediately went in for surgery. She sang with us at our Gala Concerts in September and then went on hiatus. Not knowing what else to do, I started knitting. I chose the Shaped Triangle Shawl from A Gathering of Lace and Rowan Cash Soft 4 Ply in Redwood for the deep, powerful red and the luxurious softness. I asked members of The Choral Project to send their prayers and I read these and held the intention of those prayers as I knit.
This afternoon I bound off the shawl. I sewed in the ends. Tonight was Joanne's first rehearsal back with us. After we sang I asked her to come to the front of the room to be welcomed back. I gave her a huge hug and then presented her with a hug she can have any time. As I lay the shawl across her shoulders I felt the power of all those prayers. All the love I have for what we as a choir do together flooded through me and I literally felt it enveloping Joanne. We may not be able to cure her cancer (though the chemo and radiation do seem to be doing their job), but I hope that the shawl will be a reminder of the love that we have for her.
When we knit for those we love we do more than present them with a garment. We embrace them with our love with every stitch.
It was quite the party weekend. Saturday evening Kevin and I attended Britta's annual Mardi Gras party. We'd been moving last bits of stuff from the condo for most of the day and I was dead tired. I almost decided not to go, but Kevin persuaded me. Since the party is traditionally a costume party, he decked out in beachwear while I pulled on my pink pjs, fuzzy slippers and grabbed my teddy bear. I got a write in vote for the most comfortable costume.
Then last night it was medals all around! A dozen Knitting Olympic athletes gathered chez moi to celebrate the Closing Ceremonies. Pretty sure that everyone finished (Spinnity was well on her way to it when she left). Front row L to R: Kristi, Emy, Sandi, me, Chloe. Back row: Kathy in San Jose, Cookie, Mary, Briana, Jeni, Kaye and Sheetal. We ate lots of tasty junk food, Kevin served tea and a merry time was had by all. Turns out the new house is just perfect for entertaining. Even with all of us gathered around, there was plenty of room and we could've had several more folks comfortably in the room. We will be doing plenty more knitting events. Count on it.
I ended up wearing the Bolaji Hat that Kaye knit for Kaelyn most of the night. Kaye finished her first hat and couldn't get enough. Now she's knit 5 of them, including one for each of my girls as well as her daughter. We commuknity girls showed them off. Chloe was most pleased that her pattern has been so popular. Now I think I need a pink one too.
While I was pleased to have finished the shawl with more than 24 hours to spare, it was rather exciting to have people racing for the finish line. Mary was seed stitching like there was no tomorrow. Sheetal was clamoring to finish the neck on her beautiful green sweater and Kathy bound off her baby blanket as the American athletes were streaming into the stadium.
Kathy and my new fellow Lacy Knitters Guild members Cookie and Kristi stayed later than the rest. It was great to spend some time with relatively new acquaintances and to see their amazing projects. I am completely in awe of Cookie's knitting. She has the same adventurous spirit that I recognize in so many of my favorite knitters. I'm really looking forward to Guild meetings!
All in all a wonderful weekend. And stay tuned for another FO to be revealed tomorrow!
Hercules ain't got nothing on me, baby! I finished the knitting on the shawl Friday night during the skating exhibition. I barely looked at the screen, my needles were flying so fast. I wasn't in the usual finishing frenzy. I knew I had plenty of time to finish, but it really felt like an accomplishment to finish the last fourteen rows, the longest rows on the shawl, in a single day. The cast off was slow going though. My right arm was already fatigued and the crocheted cast off required crocheting right-handed, as opposed to my usual left-handed manner. I only made it through one side before I had to knock off for the night and go to bed.
Up early this morning, I finished the cast off amidst curses about the crocheting as I tried to find the right tension and rhythm. I finally completed the cast off at around 11 and then searched for a way to block it. Since I don't yet have a set of blocking wires of my own, Kevin and I had to get creative. Kev found some PVC coated copper wire, Romex, usually used for home wiring, at OSH. We threaded it through the chained loops and then pinned out the edges.
Lace is like magic. I love the way it blooms when it's blocked and this shawl certainly didn't disappoint. Though the color is most accurate in the first pic, I couldn't resist showing you the blossoms up close. I am just thrilled to have met the challenge and finished the entire shawl during the Knitting Olympics. When I cast on 16 days ago I didn't think that I could possibly do it, given the enormity of the other things going on in my life. I am on top of the world and now I can relax and enjoy the Closing Ceremonies with my fellow Olympians!
I have been knitting like a madwoman. Every moment that I don't have a box in my hands (yes, we're still moving stuff over from the condo) I've been working on my shawl. The rows are incredibly long now, given that it's a square, not the usual triangle, so the repeats take increasingly longer to complete. However, last night during the Women's Figure Skating Long Program I breezed past my milestone for the day and completed repeat 7 and then knit 4 rows of the last repeat. That means I've only got 12 more rows and then my crochet cast off and the shawl will be finished! Crossing my fingers to get it finished today so I can have it dressed and blocked well in advance of the Closing Ceremonies. Gold medal, here I come!
Hoo boy am I exhausted! Stitches West was a marvelous experience. Wednesday afternoon we packed up my car and a friend's van and hauled all of our display and merchandise over to the Santa Clara Convention Center. There was a bit of a SNAFU at the loading dock where no one seemed to be in charge. We had been told that we needed to have union labor haul all our stuff in. It became apparent that they weren't paying attention, so we proceeded. I introduced myself to Kaci from Blue Moon Fiber Arts and managed not to drool too much on the Socks That Rock. We got the layout of the booth set up pretty quickly and got home at a decent hour.
The show was great. We were pleased to see lots of our customers. Most of them were heading straight for the STR. I hightailed it over there early to make sure I got the colors I wanted. I also traipsed over to Lisa Souza's booth and picked up a couple hanks of sock yarn. I bought silk hankies from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks and spent a delightful hour making yarn without the help of a wheel or a drop spindle. I caved and bought 3 hanks of Four Play from Brooks Farm in a luscious pink on pink colorway to finally knit a Clapotis. I'd been thinking about it since Rhinebeck, so I felt only a little guilt about it. Emy gifted me with some Ashland Bay Merino Silk roving. Due to a camera malfunction there is no photographic evidence of the amazing beauty that now is in my possession.
The highlight of the show though was meeting Eugen Beugler, designer of the Spring Blossoms Shawl that is my Knitting Olympics project. He was so sweet, warm and generous of his time and his praise. I also had another marvelous chat with Fiona Ellis, who is turning out to be one of my favorite people in the knitting world. She, Chloe and I had a major mind meld. What fun!
Olympic Knitting did not suffer as a result of the show. I've finished 6 of the 8 repeats and I'm well on target to finish by Saturday in order to have it blocked for Sunday's Closing Ceremonies. Which reminds me, I'm hosting Closing Ceremonies at my new digs on Sunday from 4pm to whenever. Shoot me an email if you want an evite.
The Olympic knitting is going well, considering that most of the weekend was spent packing boxes and schlepping things to the new house. We have all the furniture in and most of the basics. The DVDs are all unpacked and alphabetized. Yesterday we went and bought a refrigerator. There's still a ton of stuff (including most of the stash) at the condo, but we have a couple of weeks left to get all that moved. We're hoping to have DSL by tomorrow and then things will really start to feel like home.
You may have wandered by blogs and seen pics from the Olympic Cast On Party that Kevin and I hosted Friday, the last night we were in the condo. CJ, Emy, Sheetal, Spinnity, Chloe, Sandi, Kaye, Robin, Juanita, Janine, Rachael, Amy and Kathy in San Jose (who you might recognize from the comments) all converged for the Opening Ceremonies. We ate a lot. We drank a little bit more. We cast on and knit our little fingers to the bone. I was too focused on knitting to snap pictures. I think Sheetal has some good ones and so does CJ. Thank you all for coming out and forcing me to get most of the living room packed and moved out!
I've now finished 2 repeats of the 8 the pattern specifies. If it looks like I'm coasting toward the deadline I may decide to add a repeat or even 2 to make it a bit bigger. I have a whole cone of the Zephyr, so there's no need to worry about running short on yarn! Since the edging is not complicated it shouldn't add too much work to the finishing. I'm excited to meet Eugen Beugler this weekend at Stitches. My friend Alice tells me he'll be tickled to see it in progress.
Yesterday Kevin I spent the afternoon at Pinewood High in Los Altos watching Stephen Schwartz give a master class for my friend Kristina's students who are performing Stephen's show Working this spring. It was wonderful to watch him working with the kids. He had some profound insights into character development. Both Kevin and I got a lot out of it and found the afternoon very inspiring. In the evening Stephen came to our choir rehearsal and we worked out details on Keramos. We made some adjustments and came out with a piece that really works. I can't wait to get to the point when we start staging the production. It's so exciting to help pull a show together.
The packing has begun. We packed about half the books (my box of knitting books is the heaviest of the bunch!) and all the DVDs. We've started staging boxes and small furniture in the garage until the movers come on Saturday to move all the big furniture. It's a bit odd to look at the living room without the bookshelves. And good lord, what a terrible lot of stuff we own.
The goal for tomorrow is to get as much of the living room packed as possible to make room for the Olympians who will be arriving at 7pm. Saturday morning I'll pack up my car and take a bunch of stuff to the new house before teaching a Beginning Lace class at noon, then the rest of the day is about getting the most essential stuff set up: the bed, the bathroom, a set of dishes and some cooking stuff. The rest we'll move gradually over the next couple of weeks. Ah, the luxury of overlap.
Meanwhile, I'm fighting the dust allergy and remembering not to try to do too much. As for the Olympics, I know there's no way on God's green earth that I'll finish the shawl by the closing ceremonies, so I'm just going to enjoy the process and get done what I can.
Those of you who frequent commuknity know Chloe, my adorable assistant manager. When I first interviewed her the first thing that I thought was, "She sure is sparkly!" Little did I know that she is, in fact, Chloe Sparkle. Yep, Sparkle is her middle name. (For real. It's on her driver's license. I checked.) We have an amazing number of things in common. She was a voice major at San Jose State too! And we know lots of the same people. She gets my quirky sense of humor and our old souls just feel right at ease together. She has brought great joy to my life with her Cheerfulness, her Creativity and her love of Collaboration. I feel very blessed to have her in my life. I look forward to many adventures with her.
C is for Chocolate
Last week Chloe introduced me to Vosages chocolate. This, my friends, is heaven. The finest chocolate is blended with exotic flavors, gray sea salt, black sesame seeds and ginger, curry.... The Naga Bar, curry and coconut, is my current favorite. You wouldn't believe what a delicious sensation it is to feel the chocolate melt on your tongue with the aroma of the curry and the slight crunch of the coconut. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!
C is for Claudia's Handpainted Yarn
Several hanks have stowed away and come to live in the stash closet. Behold the loveliness. We're bringing this to Stitches West, folks. Get there early. We don't expect it to last long! Meanwhile, I'm dreaming up a lace shawl in three colors of Claudia: Chocolate Cherry, Plumlicious and Just Plum. It will graduate from plum to burgundy. It's my new favorite yarn. And the colors! Oh, the colors. They make my eyes ache from their loveliness. You should have some, you really should.
C is for Choral Project
With whom I have found love, laughter, fun and friendship. I count the experience of singing with The Choral Project as one of the most important and profound in my life. This is a huge part of where my heart lies in community and I pour as much as I can into it to make it soar.
C is for Cyd
Whose picture is sadly missing. She and I met thanks to Robin and we enjoy tea, movies, West Wing, cross stitching and long talks together. We don't see each other as much as we should these days, which is a real shame. Must make more time for that.
And finally.... C is for commuknity
The answer to a prayer, the realization of a dream, the manifestation of a vision. This is the work I was meant to do and I love it. Every minute of every day I send up my prayers of thanks for this amazing opportunity.