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I thought I was so close…finished the placket and the sleeves…so close to finishing the sweater I’ve been working on for nearly 2 years. What is wrong with me? I love to knit, but this past year has been so filled with other life stuff that I find I’ve been barely-able to do more than stare blankly at a tv in the evening after work and then fall asleep.

The sweater was a challenge, knit in a pattern called Modern Lace Henley from knitty.com. It seemed do-able at the time I started. I’d made a lace shawl in wonderful Ritratto, which wasn’t the easiest to knit with so I knew I could do this sweater. Little did I know that increases and decreases in lace pattern are incredibly challenging. There was way more counting than I care to ever do again.

Along the way during this sweater so much happened in my life, my daughter graduated from high school, I became president for this local professional organization I belong to, and on top of all that my job situation changed quite a bit with more responsibilities and even less time to accomplish them in. I should probably have been knitting a simple scarf or something else, but I really wanted to do this English Lace sweater. It was lovely and I’d chosen a spring green. This was a short sleeved sweater and it would be the first I’d done that was a non-cardigan. I remember like it was yesterday (instead of nearly 2 years ago) that I bought the full bag of the yarn color-way at my local yarn store. It’s been so long since I started in fact that my local yarn store has gone out of business.

Over Thanksgiving weekend I made up my mind that I would finish the sweater and so I began the task of fitting in the cap sleeves and sewing up the sides. I’d finally finished all the knitting so sewing things together was all that was left (well if you don’t include blocking, which I still FEAR and DREAD!). Thanksgiving was almost a month ago and here I am still with a UFO…(un finished object). I sit down to do this, but just can’t seem to finish. Exhaustion, work, lazy couch potato-ness all over take me.

Christmas is now on the horizon. There are all the holiday to-dos piled up too. I know I should just give myself a break, but I am a doer…a finisher. I don’t start things and quit them. That is not me.

I have now accomplished the side seams. They have been sewn together. Now just need to get to all those loose ends and weave and sew them in. Then BLOCK. Then try on.

Maybe I fear finishing because it will bring the end to the pleasure of knitting? But there are so many other projects to do. Must finish…get off the computer dammit and SEW!!!

At last spring is here. Color has returned in the hues I love. Daffodil yellow, blue-violet hyacinths, periwinkle scilla, cotton candy pink tulips and more. I love spring. The other day I was out in pursuit of new yarn (not that I don’t already have piles of yarn yet to knit). It was one of those blustery spring days, but with each gust of wet drizzly air I could see the flowers bulging with life and the grass greening and swelling. I passed by Lake Michigan on my way ’round town and the turbulent inland sea was so exciting to watch green waves crashed in all directions. I imagined the days to come with sail boats and swimmers, but for now the day belonged to the wind and rain and the necessity of water to bring back the life that slept all winter. Strange that I would so love a stormy day. Spring makes everything seem beautiful and bright and full of hope. Of course the next day when I woke to a dusting of white powdery snow I was not as amused!! I had planned to plant my vegetable garden, at least the lettuces, but I’m glad I waited. The snow was quickly gone and the greening continued.

Farewell to Summer

Field of Queen Anne's Lace that became my obsession!

Field of Queen Anne's Lace that became my obsession!

I became obsessed with my vision of the field of queen anne’s lace and decided to bring my camera on the next bike ride. Of course the towering blossoms were chopped down as I lamented in the previous post, but I still found plenty to photograph. I am enthralled with these images not so much because of their beauty. I do think they’re lovely, but they’re not really like an Ansel Adams photo or anything that great. I think however, I am clinging to them as I cling to the last days of summer before I return to teaching. These morning bike rides have been more than merely exercise and trying to get in shape. They have been meditative, a time to allow my mind to wonder and perhaps caress an idea or two, a dream about a queen anne’s lace holding court in midsummer perhaps or just an idea for the day. I never felt this imaginative stimulus when I was riding a stationary bike at an athletic club with the 4 TVs droning on about God-Knows-What! I am going to continue to try to ride the bike when I get home from work, but I know it won’t be the same. I will be stressed from the day and tired and who knows what else. The promise of a clear summer day ahead will be replaced by the worry that I need to get the ride in before the waning autumnal light gives way to darkness. There have been signs of fall the past few days on my ride…goldenrod is starting to replace the Queen and many of the Queen’s blossoms have curled up into skeletal formations that house the seeds that will spread the wonder for next year. Wild asters are popping up too, scruffy and short compared to their tamed cousins in the garden. I saw too, the newly formed chartreuse seed pods of the milkweed plant. These will dry and release a dreamy cloud of seeds in another month or two. So there are some lovely sights to look forward to as the cerulean sky and fresh greens of summer give way to the golden grasses and burnished leaves of autumn. Still I am a child of August and bidding adieu to my month is somewhat sad.

Queen Anne's Lace from WI DNR website

Queen Anne's Lace from WI DNR website

I have been riding my bike each morning for the past couple weeks. It is the height of summer, a very dry summer here in Wisconsin. These conditions have been perfect for what seems to be the most glorious crop of Queen Anne’s Lace I’ve ever seen. This flower has always been one of my favorites. It is technically considered a weed by some. I like to think of it as a wonderful perennial that blooms in fields around my house. I don’t have it in my garden, but have often thought of adding some. It supposedly will spread and take over, not sure about that, but what this post is really about is the experience I’ve had each morning on my bike ride.

I go for about an hour and there is a path that cuts through the middle of a field near the river. It is lovely and wild and I often feel I am an intruder here cutting through an area that should belong to the butterflies, bees, snakes, mice and whatever else might be creeping around or buzzing past. I have seen some amazing sites on this ride, which I choose to do the same each day because it changes each day. Some mornings there are yellow canaries clinging to the stems of the thistles, which also grow tall and wild around the path. The sweet scent of clover still wet from the valuable morning dew perfumes the air as I pedal by. But the best part is the Queen Anne’s Lace, it’s tall willowy stems supporting the exquisite lacy, white caps, which turn to greet the sun as it travels through the sky each day.

In one area of the path the Queen Anne’s Lace is so high that it feels like I am a visitor to the court of the midsummer’s fairy queen and these are her lacy sentinels guarding her court and welcoming me in to the kingdom. I ponder and day dream on this as I ride past each morning. One day however, I am horrified to see that the keepers of the park have decided to mow down growth along this path, cutting a 3 foot swath of prickly brown destruction on either side. The queen’s sentinels have been cut down, her minions further off in the field still visible, but not the tallest guards who watched over the path. I am truly appalled and mourn the loss as if a friend has died. There are no more canaries near the path, the monarch butterflies are far off in the field not up close where I can see them. I am saddened and then angered…should I tell someone? Call my alderman, the park ranger? They would laugh at me and say the park must be kept civilized for all users.

I must say since that morning I have hesitated on my ride, even thinking of going elsewhere. But I do have hope that soon the August sun and the two days of rain we had will help the late summer flowers spring up, the lacy blooms replaced by goldenrod and asters. This gives me something to look forward to. I wait eagerly!

Magnolia Finish




Magnolia Finish

Originally uploaded by bellafiore

Spring is slow in coming this year. There have been signs, but also a lot of cold weather. I just realized that I have never quite focused on the magnolia as flower subject. I was surprised on a recent nature hike in the woods to come upon a magnolia tree that had just finished blooming. They are so unusual in their finish as the flower gives way to the leaves, not a fruit. I am not a biologist so I’m not sure what this is called, but I found it to be fascinating visually.




DSC_0017

Originally uploaded by bellafiore

Socks are causing major issues so far. I’ve ripped and lost stitches and unraveled and reknit. UGH! I tried to use the four double points and then my knitting teacher suggested I just go with three. That seems to have helped a bit since there’s not so much to keep track of. Of course I could do this on a circular needle I’m guessing, but I want to learn to knit with these double points. It seems like real knitting; the stuff my mom used to do. I want to be able to call myself a REAL KNITTER.

Knitting Obsession!

Central Park Hoodie:  Finally Finished!

Central Park Hoodie: Finally Finished!

I’ve really gained confidence since finishing the Central Park Hoodie this winter. It took me a year to complete, but now that it’s done I have been able to really understand the process of knitting and putting together a garment, not to mention finally learning the art of cables. As an artist I am starting to experiment in my mind with how I could incorporate knitting into my work. I am interested in seeing sculptural examples of knitting and possibly exploring how to knit surfaces with photographs. I don’t really know yet how this will develop. If you know of things out there that could help me….artists you’ve seen or knitters who do this, let me know. I have gotten more into Ravelry too lately, updating my notebook with projects I’ve completed and started to better understand this process. My current projects are a pair of socks and a short sleeved, English lace sweater pattern by Pam Allen that I found on Knitty.It is a more sophisticated sweater with the lace pattern. I wanted to learn how to knit lace and this seems like a good medium range pattern to learn with. I also think there will be a challenge with the shaping and keeping in the lace pattern. Can’t wait. I am thinking about this project constantly. I think it ‘s the color of the yarn…a fresh spring green, that’s most appealing to me. The socks are another matter. Between trying to learn the tiny double points and how to handle them and then just using this yarn that’s too, small for a first time sock project. I don’t quite understand why people are so into sock knitting. I guess it’s supposed to go quickly or something. It’s not happening for me yet. Maybe if I keep at it.
Just Starting....Love the Green

Just Starting....Love the Green

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