Proceed boldly on

Have you ever been completely starstruck? You know, when you get so excited just thinking about seeing the star that you can’t stop bouncing. This happened to me today. I was to go to a lecture with professor Jack Halberstam from University of Southern California and just to think about it made me not being able to stand still nor talk coherently nor listen to anything my friends tried to say to me. With that amount of excitement built up it would have been almost impossible to calm down enough to be able to listen to the lecture.

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Luckily I had my knitting. Usually I would have picked something simple in garther stitch for an occasion like this but today lace was the perfect thing. I needed something hard enough to make me focus and keep me from levitating from my chair and slowly float through the room (I’m pretty sure that would have been frowned upon). I actually made good progess too, at the same time as I took notes and listened carefully to every word.

Jack Halberstam even signed my book.

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I wonder if the recommandation to be bold came from my not very bold but completely silly behaviour when I handed over my book rambling something about epiphanies and life-changing insights… Well, I’m going to follow the suggestion and proceed boldly on. I’ll start by picking up my knitting.

Between bird cherry and lilac

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There is a story about a Swedish shoemaker who never went on vacation, never closed his workshop except once a year. Every year in May he put up a sign on the door that said “Closed between bird cherry and lilac” and the day the bird cherry burst into bloom, he closed his workshop and didn’t come back until the lilacs were blooming, no matter how long or short amount of time passed in between. This phrase, closed between bird cherry and lilac, has since become an expression meaning this particular enjoyable time of year. The expression has a few different tellings, all including shoemakers and a closed workshop, but this is how I prefer to believe it since this is how my mother told it to me.

I like to picture him, the shoemaker, lying in a hammock in the sun, inhaling the lovely bird cherry scent, sleeping with a hat over his face in a well deserved rest after all the work he’s done since last time the lilacs were in bloom. My mum and I usually ponder over how long the shoemaker gets some time off every year and this year I think it’s about a week. The lilacs will be here any day now.

Summer is not even close to being in full bloom yet, summer hasn’t even truly started yet, and I’m a little less withered than yesterday. My lace still looks like withered lettuce though, but there is much more of it now. It’s a little weird that in order to get full blooming lace, I need to knit more and more withered lettuce, but then again, it’s hard to block a finished project before it’s actually finished.

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I got some more lettuce done at theater practise and soon both lace and lilacs will be blooming.

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I woke up yesterday morning with a sore throat and I’ve spent most of the weekend in my armchair, watched TV series and knit on this.

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I feel it apropriate to knit lace when you’re ill. Lace before it’s blocked looks a lot like lettuce, withered lettuce, and withered is just about how I feel too. So for now, me and the lace are just going to enjoy each other’s company till it’s finished and I feel better.

Have a great weekend!

Sweets for a sweetie

A few days ago I made these lovely chocolate and cheesecake muffins. My friend, fellow kitter and co-worker Helena had her birthday so I wanted to treat her with something sweet. Helena is one of the nicest people I know, she is kind to everyone even when she has a bad day, she makes friends everywhere, she listens and comes with good advice, her laugh is never far away and she quite often brings cookies to me and Jenny. That kind of sweetness deserves sweetness in return.

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Obviously I had to try one so as to know they where not poisonous or tasting bad or so. Everything was fine, they were actually quite delicious.

Only so much I can make

I wish I was knitting more. Not in a way that I want to try new yarns and new patterns and have a lovely new sweater, no, not that even though that is a big reason why I knit too. No, I wish I could knit more and faster because I feel there are so many that need knitwear.

I wish I had time to knit three sweaters with matching bonnets for every baby there is in my proximity. I wish I had time to knit a shawl for my friend who is worried about a thing she’s about to do and could really do with something cosy and comforting around her that feel like home. I whis I had time to knit socks, wrist warmers and scarfs for a friend with a cronic desease. I wish I had time to knit something stylish for my friend who is a mother and who doesn’t have time to go shopping but really wish she did.

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I wish I had time to knit so much more for all the people I love and care about but I don’t. I knit almost everywhere when I have an opportunity and I try to make up as much knitting time as I possibly can but knitting is a slow process, which is part of why a knitted gift is so valuable. Of course I could go into a store and buy all these people a present in ten minutes and be done with it, but that’s not the same thing. No, that it is a slow process is part of the comfort, love and warmth of the gift. I knit love into every stitch (even the occasional dropped one, my love for it shows in the fact that I actually bothered to pick it up again) and I believe and hope that the receiver can feel that when wearing it.

Even though it won’t be possible to knit everything I want, I’m going to at least try.

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For starters I’m going to make something delicious with this.

The Big Yarn Trip

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Not too long ago my family became decidedly more Polish. This made me, apart from very eager to learn the language, aware of everything Polish. Last fall I first found Malabrigo Yarn at my local yarn store and I immediately fell into deep irrevocable love. I needed more of this amazing yarn so I surfed their webpage and found they had a retailer, Magic Loop, in Warsaw. What a great way of combining my yarn interest with my desire to learn Polish! Włóczka – yarn – was the first word I picked up.

Now, I have good connections in Warsaw and close proximity to Polish speakers who were all willing to help me and a few weeks later I had yarn in my hands. Lovely, lovely yarn.
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Magic Loop doesn’t ship outside of Poland, I think, but in February I had another opportunity of getting my hands one some yarn. By now my knitter friends thought this was really fun and I promised them I would bring them yarn if I went to Warsaw myself.

In April it became clear that I would be able to go to Warsaw in early May and me and my friends started to search the Magic Loop webpage for yarn. We placed our orders and then we waited. It was such a long wait and it took some willpower to not start ticking off the days in my calendar.

Then, finally, we went. Warsaw is a sweet city which welcomed us with big arms, warm weather and blooming lilacs, good ice-cream and great architecture. But most of all it welcomed us with yarn. It turned out that together me and my friends had picked out 72 skeins of yarn that arrived in a huge box.

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It felt like Christmas when I got to open the box and line up the skeins on the couch. It was so beautiful and my heart took a little extra jump.

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Along with the yarn, sweet Agnieszka from Magic Loop had included some pattern books, candy and the oh, so treacherous yarn samples, lovely tied together with satin ribbons and handwritten little notes with punched out butterflies. I’ve already started to plan my next purchase because of these samples. Also, I actually slept with a skein on my bedside table the first night.

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To fit all this yarn in the suitcase was a little bit of a challenge but we managed. Luckily we brought two suitcases and not much more shopping besides the yarn was made and we arrived home safe and sound without loosing a single skein.

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When I came back,  me and my friends had a great time handing out everyone’s order and admire each other’s yarn. I can see some future masterpieces here.

This was the first yarn trip but I doubt it was the last.

Spring is in the lace

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Walking home from my bobbin lace course tonight I really felt the spring in the air.

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Remeber this? A few weeks ago that restaurant to the left was flooded. Now the river is more well behaved, so to speak. In the middle of summer that waterfall to the right will be more of a little drip. But right now there are some waves in the river.

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I’m not sure the waves in the river resemble my latest lace, Wind Ripple, but I understand from where it got it’s name (it might be upside down in the picture, if the more solid part is supposed to be water and the lacey (?) part of the lace (yeah, that’s not confusing at all) is the air. Or it could be the opposite). The picture is oddly yellow, the actual lace is crisp white. My favourite lace so far, in fact. It was fun to make and I just think it’s beautiful. I’ll get the pattern and make more to line a handkerchief or a dress hem or something. I think that would be lovely.

Now I’ve started a new lace, a cabled one. We are merely acquinted so far so I don’t know how I like it yet but I’ll find out.

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I just love how a lace pillow with a lace in progress looks. So intricate and complex in it’s simplicity. Just a few bobbins and thread and they create the most amazing things. It’s really exciting!

Status quo

Look what arrived in the mail today!

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I’m no longer two needles short and everything is back to what it was a week ago, at least regarding knitting needles. There might actually be additions too. It feels good.

Gone and lost forever

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I’m way behind on my knitting.

Not in a way that I’ve missed a deadline or anything, it’s just that I thought that I would be finished with a project by know so that I could start a new one but I’m not. I was obstructed yesterday afternoon and missed out on four glorious hours of uninterupted knitting time. The obstruction also made it impossible to continue today which means even less hours of knitting on this project being done.

The obstruction was due to a certain someone who took away my knitting needles, ruthlessly drew them out of an innocent almost-done baby sweater and a likewise innocent peace-making shawl while I gasped in horror (ok, there might even have been some tears)  because they were considered dangerous (apparentely in a way that a fountain pen is not) and now my 2,25 mm Knit Pro circular needles and my 4 mm circular needles are resting (at least I’m pretending they are resting) in a garbage can somewhere far, far away. I would say that I am a far more disagreable person when separated from my knitting than I am when it’s safely tucked in my purse, but the certain someone was obviously not aware of this.

I ordered new ones as soon as I had the opportunity but it will take some time before they arrive and I’m not a patient waiter without my knitting. Luckily there is other yarn in the world and other knitting needles.

I know this isn’t really a big deal but there is something very definitive about pulling the needles from a project and I don’t know any knitter who does it casually. It’s like a huge faux pas in the knitting world, a giant decision that you take very seriously. I was not ready for this to happen but now it has and by now I’m just about over it. I just hope the certain someone is cold.

Time to go

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This is how it looks when you put 72 skeins of yarn in one suitcase. Not much else fits. 

We’re going home now, the yarn and me. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.