Thursday, January 29, 2015

Easy Neck Warmer

I made this to match the evening mitts. You can wear it as neckwarmer, or double it lengthwise to wear as a head band.

Easy Neck Warmer

Worsted weight yarn
Size 5 needles -- straight or circular
Worked Flat

Provisional CO 32 stitches. Knit every row until you have 14 inches of knitting. Remove provisional stitches onto another needle, and work a 3 needle bind off to finish. Weave in yarn ends. This is a quick project!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Evening Mitts

Carlotta pulls a stunning pair of fingerless mitts up her bare arms as we head out for a sunset hike along the windswept shore. Her skin glows in the organic orange light; I lace my fingers into hers, and I feel the soft wool stitches warming my palm, the heat racing up my arm and lighting a fire in parts that have long ago settled into a resigned state of hibernation. I shiver.

"You're cold," she says. Her shy voice offers a promise.

I smile. "Right. My father's old beach house is just ahead. We'll find shelter there."

Evening Mitts

Worsted Weight, 150 yards for woman's average size
I used Classy Dream, Sundown Orchid
Size 5-8 circular or straight needles
This is knit flat, and very quick -- knit it in a day.

Provisional CO 55 stitches (or less for a shorter mitt) using waste yarn. Click to see a good video on how to do a provisional cast on.

Measure width of hand across knuckles, multiply by 2 and then subtract 1/2 inch. Add desired yarn and knit every row until you have achieved desired width (wrap around hand as you go to check width -- if you like them snug then you simply knit fewer rows).

Last row: Knit 2 inches and then BO (bind off) 5 stitches for thumb. Knit to the end.

Remove provisional cast on, and slide the revealed stitches onto a straight needle. Using 3 needle bind off, bind off all stitches until you reach the thumb gap, and then bind off 5 stitches on the single needle to complete other side of thumb. Continue to bind off remaining stitches using 3 needle bind off.

To finish, weave in ends.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Collateral Damage

The St. Paul Diocese of the Catholic Church recently filed for bankruptcy in the midst of sexual abuse lawsuits. This has been all over the news -- front page for several days.

Anyway, I hadn't thought much about it until I ran into a friend today, and she disclosed that she had been sexually abused by a relative, over many years, as a child. Then she said, "I am Catholic, but now I can't go to church. I am so angry and sick about the abuse, and I can't look at the newspapers without reliving all the nightmares I thought I'd put behind me."

Needless to say, she says she's now in therapy again, after many years of being "ok".

I suspect there are many members of the church who have experienced the trauma of sexual abuse. Do they feel violated and betrayed again, like this friend? How will the church heal these people?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year and My Life Path

Authentic living, for me, has always meant that one thing leads to another, in an unpredictable way.

The latest example of this is my uke playing. In my travels earlier last year I noticed that people play the ukelele in Australia. A lot. I've never played a stringed instrument, but my usual attitude of "what the heck" prevailed. I learned that a decent uke can be purchased for around $50-$100, so I bought one up at a little mom and pop music shop south of Brisbane. When I showed it to my daughter, who lives there, she picked it up and was quickly strumming, so I left the instrument with her, came back home, and bought an identical model.

A few hours -- and many youtube instructional videos -- later I had mastered "I've Been Working on the Railroad". Then I found out about a jamming group that meets at a local public library, and showed up to learn more. They've tolerated me pretty well.

One thing leads to another. A couple weeks ago I upgraded to a Les Paul uke that has a pickup installed, so now I can amp it. Last night our library jamming group played at a local establishment. We aren't half bad . . . .