Decision

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Yep, still knitting the green blanket. The pattern is named Sea of Dreams and it sure seems like a big sea. A big green sea. Well, I’ve knit at any opportunity I’ve got today and I can see the horizon. Actually, I’m getting closer to the horizon, I feel it. I measured it. It is now Thursday evening and I’m decided on this blanket being just a block away from finished on Sunday evening. So, head down, knit on.

Peril everywhere you look

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I knit on the blanket. I knit every I have an opportunity and I keep on knitting dutifully. And even though I know that I’m making progress with every row, and I can even see that I’m making progress, I feel an itch. Everywhere I look there is some beautiful yarn or a nice pattern and I just want to cast on. Sometimes it feels like the project on your needles is never as nice as the next project. The project you’ve just finished can be really nice too but frankly, once it’s done, it looses it’s interest.

I know I should just keep on knitting, because I know there are beads in the mail (thank you, Lynds) that will help me finish the grey and raspberry red shawl and it makes no sense to start a new project now that I’m so close to finish two (one of which should really be finished soon or I will end up on December 26 knitting four projects for myself due January 1). Maybe I should isolate myself and just knit, knit, knit, without any input through TV or Internet, till the darn thing is finished. If I log on to internet I find nice things and pretty yarn and if I only even meet people (aka knitters) they all have something nice to knit that makes me jealous.

On the other hand, if there is no pain, then where are the sweets? I think the glory of finishing will probably be a little less shiny if there has been no pain to get there. That doesn’t mean I will embrace the pain, I will still fuss about it, but sometimes, in my wiser moments, maybe I’ll remember these intelligent words. Or, I’ll just go and cast on something new.

Turn a corner

It’s been a while since there was any bobbin lace in this blog. Somehow last fall I just couldn’t find neither time nor room to do it while we lived two people in one room with only one table (which means that every time you want to eat, which is every day, you need to move your bobbin lace pillow to the floor and then be careful not to kick it so the bobbins will fall out of place). Then we moved to a bigger apartment and got more than one table but, again due to lack of time and a bookcase, my study was a mess for a long, long time. Also, even though bobbin lace is awesome and should be top priority always, people start looking weird at you if it turns out all you have to wear is one skirt and three tops and you keep wearing these clothes. A lot. Especially your co-workers might have an opinion, since they meet you everyday. So, because society obviously doesn’t understand the importance of bobbin lace, you kind of have to sort out your wardrobe before you sort out your study. But, once the wardrobe was sorted and the boxes containing clothes were unpacked, nothing could stop me from sorting my study.

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Once that was done I could finally start making some lace. Do you remember the Corn flower and Ear of Ray lace? The one where I learnt how to make a corner? Well, I’ve decided to clear up some pillows and this was first.

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It turned out I was almost at the second corner so I did what I remembered Heléne doing on the first corner. First I secured my bobbins.

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Then I removed most of the pins.

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Then I turned it, 90 degrees and quickly pinned it down again.

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It’s kind of a mess once it’s turned and before you’ve started in the new direction.

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In the end it turned (pun intended) out pretty nice I must say, and I was able to finish the whole lace. Now this pillow is empty and I’ve moved on to a chicken.

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A pretty nice lace, don’t you agree?

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Close up on my corner. Again it strikes me how cool bobbin lace is. And, I always think it takes a long time to make but it doesn’t, a few hours and this lace was done. Hopefully my new study will enable me to make more of this because it’s great fun at the same time as it’s contemplative.

Beatrice – I Want to Love You but I Better Not Touch

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When I was 17 years old, me and some friends decided we were going to do a play. I had earlier only played old ladies and housekeepers and I thought it was time I got to play a young woman, preferably somehow romantically involved.

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I my mum’s bookcase I found a play called Rappaccini’s Daugther by Octacvio Paz. That play built on the Gothic short story Rappaccini’s Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne about a girl whose scientist father raised her in his poisonous garden, thus rendered her poiseoous as well.Giovanni, a young student, moves in next door and through his window he watches the adorable Beatrice as she walks around in the garden, talking to and caressing the flowers.

Giovannis teacher, also a scientist, comes to visit him and tries to warn him about Rappaccini and his garden. Gowever, Giovanni is already too smitten by Beatrice to care about what his teacher and friend says.

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Giovanni jumps the balcony that separates his window from Beatrice in the garden and starts talking to her. She has never had any friends and is quite charmed by the handsome student. She knows her father won’t approve of her new friend and keeps it a secret from him.

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Giovanni’s visits become more and more frequent but he also experiences the danger of the garden. He reaches out to touch a flower but Beatrice, knowing the plant is poisonous, stops him and accidentally touches his hand. It burns and he runs off. His teacher comes to visit again, telling him that Rappaccini is a crazy scientist who has poisoned his own daughter. Rappaccini himself cannot walk around in the garden without protective gloves, but Beatrice can touch anything she wants.

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Without Beatrices knowledge, Rappaccini has noticed Giovanni’s visits and secretly makes Giovanni part of his devious plan. Enough exposure to the garden will render also Giovanni poisonous and the boy also discovers that he can make a flower dy by breathing on it. Giovanni accuses Beatrice for making him poisonous and she is devastated but also thinks that he should stay with her in the garden. Giovanni’s teacher comes visiting again and finds out about Giovanni’s poisonous tendencies and gives Giovanni an antidote to give to Beatrice. Giovanni gives the antidote to Beatrice but her father interupts, saying that she will die if she drinks it. At the same time it’s shown that Giovanni’s teacher might have his own agenda and wants to hurt Rappaccini, who is his rival in science. Beatrice drinks the antidote and the play ends.

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I can’t say that I’ve been playing girls that are lucky in love much on stage. There is always some degree of complicated. They are either poisonous or in a non-sex pact to stop an ancient war or their husband died before the play started or whatever problem might occur. I did fall in love once though, in a man who had dedicated his life to mourn his dead wife. Yeah, that one got complicated too…

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Beatrice has always been one of my most dear characters though, probably because I had to fight so hard for her. I was the only one in the ensemble to believe that she would survive the antidote – I had to believe that, why else drink it? She was an interesting character to play, in her first scene she is still a child in many ways but the meetings with Giovanni and the realization that there are other people besides her dad and that her dad might not always be right, made her grow into a confident woman who dared to stand up to her father. Then of course there might me some things to say about this play from a feminist view and also probably from a psychoanalytical one as well. Interestingly enough, when both the play and the original story are described, the plot summery Always start from either Rappaccini’s or Giovanni’s viewpoint, never Beatrice though she is’s obviously the main character (I mean, check out the name of the play).

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To show how Beatrice matured during the play, I played with clothes. In the beginning she wore a girly dress to the knee, that later became longer and ended with a beautiful chiffon “over dress”. Her maturity also showed in her hair, she started with a braid and then in the end her hair was up in a nice coiffure.

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I always connect Beatrice with the color blue. Her dress was a sky blue and the over dress was a darker blue, like a midnight blue. When I found the pattern for Rappaccini’s Garden Shawl by Anne Podlesak, I realized three things immeadiately.

1. It had the wrong name, it was obvious is was Beatrice’s shawl.
2. I had to make it.
3. It had to be blue.

This is my finished, lovely, shawl. It’s beautiful and as a tribute to Beatrice I wore it on stage in February when I, also dressed in blue, played yet another girl where it was “complicated”.

Yarn: Malabrigo Lace, color Indigo.

Halfway mark

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Yep, it’s been proved again. Knitting happens when you actually knit and that’s the ony way, no matter how knitters world wide have tried to Volcan mind melt the project into knitting itself, or somehow become bigger, while being tuct into it’s project bag. It doesn’t work (which obviously won’t stop me from keep trying).

I’ve knit quite a lot on my blanket this weekend. I knit while we were entertaining on Friday evening. I knit at a cocktail party on Saturday night. I knit at book club tonight. It turns out I’ve come halfway. I’ve made 44 cm out of 81. This should mean it’s sort of downhill from here but I’m not going to fall into the trap of thinking I’m almost done, there are many, many rows left but at least I’ve done more rows than I have left and that is great for the mental picture of the project. A lot can still happen but right now I’m pretty confident I will actually finish this blanket. Knock on wood…

GLP update #3

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Today I held in my hand a cone of yarn. 500 grams of cobweb wool. I was fortunate enough to find a place where I could order more yarn to continue my lace (I still have a small amount of yarn left from the original ball). I’ve never held a cone of yarn in my hands before, it was quite big. And just the thought that I probably need more of this yarn than only this cone, well, it’s dizzying.

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On my way home from the post office I became a little suspicious about the color. I ordered the natural/undyed and I became afraid that it was too yellow.

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And was I right! My lace is snow-white, this cone is beige/yellow sort of. It’s not possible to start over, I’ve come too far, more than half of the border lace. So, I’ve sent it back and hopefully the yarn company can replace it. Soon…

Kiss and tell

Well, I’m not the one to kiss and tell but I will tell you about what happened last night.

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That’s right. I did indeed finish the green cowl and it’s now blocking. Since last night I’ve also knit three rows on the green blanket, so there is still hope. Also, the green cowl did come out in the wash. I think it will be gorgeous and especially so when resting casually around Ingela’s neck. In the pattern magazine this pattern had a difficult level of three out of four. I’m surprised at that but congratulate myself that I’ve somewhere become a good and experienced enough knitter that I don’t find three out of four that difficult. Now, that’s really something.

Tonight’s the night we’re gonna make it happen

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I’m pretty sure it will happen tonight. I’m going to go for a run (hopefully), make a lace repeat and then, friends, I’m going to finish the green cowl. At least this is my intention but pride goeth before a fall and I might fall, and fall hard. (Actually, if I don’t finish it tonight I can finish it tomorrow or Saturday or pretty much whenever. It’s just that I want to be done with it.) When the cowl is finished I will continue on the blanket that is green and not pink. Also, I have ordered some beads to my grey and raspberry red shawl so that will happen soon, I hope. I will knit and knit and knit on the blanket and then it will be done and I’m never going to look at it again. Or something like that, it’s actaully not a bad blanket but for some reason I keep screwing up the lace.

So, I will finish the green cowl, because that’s the responsible thing to do and it’s what will give me most pleasure. And hopefully it will give Ingela some pleasure too, to come back from summer vacation to a lovely green cowl. Or, at least I hope it will be lovely once I block it, right now I’m a little suspicious about the whole thing, it is not what I hoped and it doesn’t resemble the picture in the pattern. There’s always the block though. As Willy Wonka says in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it all comes out in the wash. In this case, quite literally.

August is Red

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that fall is in the air. It’s barely mid-August and it’s not like I’m in mid-January is starting to see signs of spring – hence, no signs of fall yet. I have been wearing a sweater three mornings in a row though and I’m back to work. Schools start next week and there is some kind of preparation in the air. I want to harvest. I don’t know what to harvest but I want to harvest.

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I also want to make sturdy bread and cakes and cookies, things with corn in them. Things with apples and marmelade, jam and other stuff you do to take care of the deliciousness that summer has given you. It won’t be long until I look very deep into the reds and the oranges and yellows instead of green and light blue.

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It seems like it’s time start preparing people for cold air by knitting them warm things. Fall is a time for new beginnings (oddly enough, shouldn’t it be spring? I think it’s because you are used to start a new school year in the fall). Also, I don’t think it helps that my synesthesia (I promise, I’m not crazy) makes the word August red (in both Swedish, English and French. Not in Polish. Maybe I would not start thinking of fall if I was constantly talking and thinking in Polish?), a very fall color.

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No matter what color August is and wether it’s fall or not, I usually feel the urge to cast on new things by mid-August and early September. I have a vest and a dress in mind and have had that for quite some time but right now that doesn’t thrill me. I want to be creative, cast on new things, use new yarn, shop the stash to take out all the really lovely stuff.

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I’m thinking pink. During spring all I wanted to make was blue stuff, now I’m casting long and longing glances at the pink department of the stash. I want pink. What can I knit in pink? Something delicious (it is usually easier to find delicious things in pink, maybe because a part of the word delicious is pink even though none of the letters are, or rather, it’s connected to pink somehow even though I think the word is grey).

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I’m trying to be brave though. I want to finish things before I can start something new. I remember last August when I had the same urge to cast on and knit two baby sweaters and then completely disregarded the cardigan I was making for myself (in pink nontheless) and I still haven’t picked it up again (it might be because of the sleeves, I’ve made a half).

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I knit dutifully on my GLP, one rep a day and I’m slowly getting there. I cast on a cowl last week which I also knit on and I should really finish the gray and raspberry red shawl and, most of all (since it’s the project most likely to be forgotten), the green blanket.

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The green blanket is not pink though.

Pattern: Modular cardigan and Star-Topped Hat by Doreen L. Marquart. Yarn: Drops Safran from Garnstudio, colors 20 Rust and 06 Denim. Mods: knit the cardigan top down with long-tail cast on instead of yoke up with a provisional cast on.

United feelings about a mixed tape and mixed feelings about a united recorder

Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do’s and don’ts. First of all you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing. /High Fidelity

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A few days ago I happened upon some tapes on a shelf. Since we moved they have just been there, since I picked them up from a box and put them… somewhere, as you do when you move and don’t have designated spots for things yet (or, if you’ve taken a while to unpack boxes and have changed your designated spots like a hundred times and nothing is in what is now their designated spots since they don’t know that is their designated spot since you haven’t told them yet. I did find my passport though. Eventually. And it might not have been me who found it but I’m going with the important facts here that a) I have a passport, b) I know where it is and c) it has now a known designated spot. (I might have checked this morning that it was still there. It was)). Anyway, I found some tapes.

Julle has been bothering me for a while that we should really get rid of my CD-player and recorder (it also has a radio and tape player and it has been with me since I was twelve. I even saved up for it myself) since we mostly listen to music on the computer anyway. I have resisted this and said that there is music that I have that don’t go in the computer, like tapes and such. Julle has reluctantly let it go but these past few days I’ve come to suspect that this has been a scheme and just a big conspiracy to make me less intrested in the recorder.

Some time ago Julle said he needed some more space on a shelf and I suggested to move some boxes (not moving boxes but pretty boxes). He suggested we move the sewing machine. I asked him where. He suggested under the desk. I said no, that’s where my recorder is. He said we could move the recorder to the storage. I said no and moved neither recorder, sewing machine nor boxes.

Everything was quiet for a while and then I thought that perhaps I could listen to some of those tapes I found while I was bobbin lace. I pulled the recorder out from under the desk only to find that the cord was missing and I had no batteries. I asked Julle about it later and it turned out that he had hidden the cord inside the battery compartment, clearly in a way to prevent me from using the recorder. (I could have looked in the battery compartment but that’s not the point.) Now that I had finally found the cord, nothing was stopping me. Or so I thought. It seems like in the move, a button came loose from the recorder and it has been on my desk for a while. I haven’t really known where it’s from but it has been there. Now I noticed that one of the buttons where missing on the recorder and I started looking for the one on my desk, only to find out that Julle had thrown it away in a moment of extreme tidiness. I’m telling you, he’s after that recorder! But I’m on to him now and I won’t back down. After all, does he think that I will forget my friend because of a recent acquaintance? The recorder has been with me for 18 years, I’ve only known Julle for two. When he’s been with me for 18 years, he might get to have a say on what stays and what doesn’t.

To show off the greatness of my recorder I brought down some of the tapes and started playing them and I realized why I can never live with out a tape recorder as long as my tapes are still play-able. There is something about a mixed tape that can never be found elsewhere. I played the best mixed tape I have ever owned. It’s made by my old high-school friend Josefina, who was in my class for the first year and then moved away. I don’t even remember her last name (I think it starts with H) but I do remember her and she gave me a piece of her heart in that mixed tape, helped forming my taste in music and is still well remembered because of it, even if I haven’t seen her for 13 years.

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A mixed tape means someone has been thinking of you, has taken time to record song after song in a wellbalanced mix that says as much about them as it does about you. It’s a bit like knitting actually. It has parts of the maker and parts of the receiver. You only make something that you hope the other person will enjoy at the same time as you are using only things that you like. Josefina wouldn’t have had Mikabomb’s Super Sexy Razor Happy Girls on the tape if she hadn’t like it herself. And I loved it.

Now that tapes out of fashion and the CD is following it out the door, what are kids these days do to share music? Do they share playlists? I will never agree that is the same. A playlist is unlimited. A tape only has so many songs so you have to choose carefully. Only the best ones and only one of each artists unless there are extremely good songs. Also, you have to think before you record and you have to listen to every song while you record it and press the button at the exact moment when the song stops. A playlist takes no time to make, you can just add songs without listening to them, change the order a bit and then, bang, share it.

I remember long bus rides across the country to visit friends and listening to mixed tapes made by other friends, the same tape over and over again. You knew the songs pretty well when you arrived at your destination but that didn’t matter, a well made mixed tape can be listened to over and over again without being tiresome.

I have other tapes too. Tapes from friends who I don’t know anymore but once were so close to me that they made me mixed tapes to mark special events in our lives. Tapes to introduce me to a whole new style of music. Tapes that says so much about the years between 16 and 22. Tapes with songs that always makes me think of the maker of the tape whenever I hear them, just because. Tapes that show who I am and who my friends are. I’m not giving them away and I’m going to keep playing them.

So, the recorder is here to stay.