The Saturday Update: Week 16, 2021

What a week it has been! I managed to get to 4 medical appointments on 4 different days which used up a lot of my available energy and time, but now that I’m vaccinated I have turned the Blue-Lipped Zebra loose again and it is absolutely determined to get to the bottom of what is going on! (What is going on, you ask? Check out these posts from the BLZ before it went quiet in lockdown: The Blue-Lipped Zebra Report! and The Blue-Lipped Zebra Goes on Oxygen.) This week I met my new pulmonologist, got some lung testing, saw the orthopedist, and started physical therapy for my hip. Whew. It was a rough week with lots of exhausting recoveries but also some great knitting action. Anyway, the BLZ is getting ready for some blogging updates and hopes to share what’s up soon.

In the meantime, here’s all the great stuff that was going on this week:

Knitting

Right after the start of the year I lost control and cast on lots of projects. You know, if you cast them on you have to do them, right? My head was just swimming with ideas and I want to make sure that everything was captured in yarn right away before I was distracted by the latest great potential project on Ravelry. A very dangerous place for people with huge yarn stashes, Ravelry… I’ve been steadily working on all of the projects depending on my mood and interests for weeks; this week several projects finished up at once.

My Goldwing is finished!! We had several rounds of snow over the last two weeks so I buckled down and knitted myself right off of sleeve island in just a few days to get to the final wearable product. There I am wearing it on its first outing to my pulmonologist’s office. Hey, they left me alone in a room with a full length mirror on the door with my new sweater? How could I let an opportunity like that slide by? I made some minor alterations to the pattern as I worked so that the sleeves and the body would be almost the same length and also used a smaller needle then the pattern called for in the sleeve colorwork because I wanted the sleeves to be wrist huggers. The end result was the perfect project to wear on a snowy drive across town. Here’s my notes on Ravelry.

This shawl is Age of Gold by Joji Locatelli; a simple garter stitch shawl that is easy to knit, has good coverage, and sports a showy lace edging. I *loved* this yarn when I bought it, but fell out of love while working on it sometime in February. Ugh. Light blue. What was I thinking. Maybe I was struggling with cold-induced depression, but I was not motivated to work on it at all. Then I realized a couple of weeks ago that it is exactly the color that my grandniece loves, took it back out, and got it finished off to gift to someone who will give it a great home.

The first mitt is done of the Mando mitt set. I’m making these for my exceptionally knitworthy niece who loves The Mandolorian. Of course, in my family I was immediately informed that the little green guy is named Grogew; the left hand mitt does feature Mando. Since I am mailing the shawl to California to my grandniece and think I should get these mitts done and mailed off to her mother in the same box, don’t you?! These mitts have been pretty darn challenging and I plan to post more about the journey later on when I get the second mitt done.

In the middle of the week my favorite LYS posted a message about having all of the assigned pooling yarns in stock. What is this, I wondered and went to Chasing Rabbits Fiber Co. to check it out. Oh, this is knitting designed to make use of skeins that are mostly one color with a section of another color inserted into it that is about 1/4 of the length or so. Chasing Rabbits is developing patterns to make use of the yarn with clever treatments of the color sections that are intriguing; in short, there is a specific stitch or treatment assigned to the short color strip. Here I was knitting some socks with yarn like that from Chasing Rabbits that were… boring and unimaginative (picture on the right). I ripped my sock out and reknit it with an assigned pooling idea that I would purl the colored sections and leave the grey knitted. The other idea that I had was to do something to force the color sections of knitted fabric to be more random so I threw in random PSS stitches to add some fun and change the length of the color sections. I learned the PSS stitch while knitting The Sharon Show in the section called “Catnip Garden” so these are obviously the Rainbow Catnip Garden socks. I’m thinking of using a bright pink yarn for the heels and toes so I can make two pairs of these!!

Gardening

Things are stalled outside because of the never-ending march of snow storms, but all is well inside. My orchids are in a second bloom that is making things really cheerful in the craft room.

The photo on the far right is of my monster orchid last year as CosmicKnitter asked me to show my orchid set-up and this picture did a good job of it. I like to keep the orchids in pots that “breathe” like unfired clay; I prefer the ones with holes in them but they are getting hard to find. It is dry here in Colorado so I keep water below the orchids with the pots suspended above the water on pebbles if the tray isn’t already designed with channels that keep the pot above the water. Anyway, the orchids seem to like the extra humidity and they are putting out more blooms this spring.

Books

I put off writing this post for a day hoping that I would get to the end of the book that I’m currently listening to while I knit: Hamnet. I still have three hours to go so I’m not there yet… but this is quite the book so I’m going to talk about it now anyway.

We learn right away that this is a book about a young boy, an only son, named Hamnet, who dies of the plague. Two years later his father writes a play called Hamlet.

So this is a book about Shakespeare and his family. Oh, that can’t be all that intimidating to write, right? I mean… Shakespeare. Did you every wonder what type of environment produced the man who had such an impact in his field and on his actual language that hundreds of years later we still celebrate his work?

I mean, if you write about this you need to make it kind of believable, and this book does that for me. It is mostly about Shakespeare’s wife, a gifted misfit with an eerie insight into the natural world, people, and the environments around her. The language is rich and descriptive, the story slow in the enfolding, and the events cling to me through my day. Shakespeare wasn’t alone in his extreme giftedness; at the heart of it was his wife Agnes and his children who provided the essential context to his life. Through chance these two found each other and the rest is quite literally history. Shakespeare’s wasn’t an easy life; he did not have a happy childhood and was basically viewed as a failure by traditional standards until he found his niche in London. How hard it is for those among us who view the world through a different colored lens and hear the sounds of music that no one else notices: this is Agnes and her husband. These people, some of whom were in my classroom or even my coworkers, can be viewed as “slow”, “underachievers”, or “at-risk” when the actual truth is they are processing information and viewing the world much deeper than we are. They don’t respond well to the usual pressures and deadlines, but what they produce when they are ready to show their work can be remarkable. The author captures this so well in the book; misfits and geniuses, aware of everything, and yet, oblivious to the obvious. Agnes and her husband.

The world in this book, so far from us in time, is also strangely familiar as international travel and the trade in goods has brought a deadly disease to Stratford on Avon. Shakespeare is hard to locate when illness breaks out because the theaters in London are shut down for plague season and they have taken the show on the road. There are strict rules about burial because… plague. The doctor wears a… mask. There are misunderstandings and lots of misinformation including bogus cures (as in… use this toad).

Well, that’s it. I need to finish the book because it continues to haunt me. Maybe I can get that second Mando mitt started while listening to it this evening.

Have a great week, everyone!

Read a little, knit a little, and garden like your heart can’t live without it.

PS: I got my degree in biology. I am a biogeek!! Please forgive me it I botched anything about Shakespeare…

Author: Midnight Knitter

I weave, knit and read in Aurora, Colorado where my garden lives. I have 2 sons, a knitting daughter-in-law, a grandson and an exceptionally spoiled kitten. In 2014 I was diagnosed with a serious rare autoimmune disease called systemic sclerosis along with Sjogren's Disease and fibromyalgia.

20 thoughts on “The Saturday Update: Week 16, 2021”

  1. Your sweater and shawl and mitt have all turned out beautiful! Your Goldwing looks great on you, and what striking colorwork! I have also been bitten by the assigned pooling bug – I got a couple of the patterns and yarn to make them. Now to fit them into the schedule…

    1. There is an assigned pooling shawl that I really like that almost lured me into buying the yarn… I am so loaded with specific project ideas and the yarn to make them that I am literally drowning in indecision on what to make next. I mean, I have only have two small projects going at the moment and I want to get two sweaters cast on, but which ones… The truth is I love my yarn so much I have trouble committing it to a project in case it doesn’t work out. Nuts, huh!

      The sweater is just wonderful to wear. The fit is just perfect and it doesn’t pull across my shoulders at all. I have never knitted any of Jennifer Steingass’s patterns before this but now I am a fan! That purple yarn has little flecks of red-violet in it; how fun is that!
      I look forward to seeing your assigned pooling stuff. I’m totally having fun and bought another of the yarns in red and blue.

  2. You look great in your Goldwing. I love the colour and it looks cosy too. My orchid still hasn’t flowered…still just one bud. I don’t think it’s every going to open and there’s no hints of any second buds coming. Ah well.

    1. Those darn orchids… they just move along on orchid time. As long as the bud doesn’t turn yellow and fall off you are good. Maybe you should feed the orchid some nice liquid fertilizer like Miracle Gro? Mine get fed every month.
      I always feel like sweaters are high risk items because of fit and gauge issues, but I’m starting to get more confident after a couple of good fitting successes that I can use to measure future sweaters against. I kept measuring this sweater against one I like that I knitted a couple of years ago and then just adjusted the pattern to the length and sleeve fit that I knew had worked before. It’s hard to ignore a gifted designer but I’m getting better at following my own instincts.

    1. I slept all weekend recovering and am ready to get out there into the world again today. I’m still reading on in the book and we are now in the time after Hamnet’s death and the family has fallen apart. I’m quite frankly dismayed, but of course the trauma of Hamnet’s death took a huge toll on all of them and I suspect that the play Hamlet is the product of that grief-laden journey.

  3. Your Goldwing is beautiful and it looks great on you! I really love your color choices. If you have to do to the doctor, at least you look good doing it. I love the Mando mitts but it seems daunting to me so I’ll be anxious to read your notes. Your niece and grandniece will be so happy to get their hand knits. Hamnet sounds really great and I have added it to my wishlist in Audible. Have you read the “Book of Longings” by Sue Monk Kidd? It snowed here, last week. They had white-out conditions 30 minutes from me…crazy Wisconsin weather. Take care.

    1. I love Sue Monk Kidd! I will add the book of Longings to my list. The lady reading Hamnet has a really soothing voice and I love listening to her as I knit a quite frankly challenging knit (those Mando mitts) as she keeps me centered and calm. I struggle a lot with color choices before I finally settle on what I’m going to use and I do think that what I used for this sweater was perfect for me and the pattern. My wardrobe is now centered on grey and black so everything that I make has to go well with those two neutrals; this sweater nailed it. It was almost in the 80s yesterday but will snow again tomorrow. Spring is crazy, huh. We’ll finally get out of snow season and scary thunderstorm/tornado season will immediately start followed by everyone’s favorite… fire season. Ugh.

      1. Book of Longings was recommended to me and I didn’t know anything about it, when I started reading it. Maybe I need to stop listening to Northern Spy and listen to Hamnet. I could use a soothing voice in the middle if tax season. 🤞🏻for fire season.

  4. What a busy week! I took my mama on a number of medical appts and I know how exhausting they are. Your sweater is stunning and fits you so well. I am thrilled you have a recipient for the shawl. I don’t know that I have ever knit anything in that shade of blue. I am a green gal myself.

    1. It is exhausting! There is the rush to get there and checked in, then the appointment, and finally the fabulous drive back across town in the late afternoon traffic. Dealing with the doctors can also take an emotional toll but this time I was so happy with everyone I met. Changing doctors and going downtown to the Kaiser facility that is attached to a major medical/teaching center was a great decision. I am so happy with the fit of the sweater. I think that Jennifer Steingass is now my most favorite designer ever; she even tells you which hand to hold the colors of yarn in!! You know, I pretty much avoid all green in my wardrobe but I painted the kitchen and office green because I love to live in green. That light blue, tho…

  5. You are a knitter-extraordinaire! I’m always impressed with what you produce with a pair of needles. The sweater is gorgeous (I love that color) and the mittens, too. He’ll always be “baby yoda” to me. 🙂 My husband and oldest son have been watching the Mandolorian together, while I’m mostly on the fringes. I like the idea of an orchid on a tray of pebbles. That’s a good idea. I water mine with ice cubes, I tip I learned from someone a few years ago. They melt slowly and give the plant just enough moisture. In the past, I would overwater, with the now-expected result. I’m glad you were able to get so many appointments out of the way this week. They’re exhausting, but there is also a sense of accomplishment and relief when you can check them off the list.

    Great use of the full-length mirror.

    1. Thank you for being so positive in your feedback about my knitting efforts. I am so happy with the sweater. I have fallen in love with a couple of designers because I know the shaping and sizing that they use will work for me, and it was a personal risk to try something so ambitious from another designer,. The fit and shaping is just perfect and my gauge was exact using the suggested needles. I feel empowered to try out other new projects. My whole family is Star Wars oriented, but they seem to be more committed to all of the technical details than I am; he’s Baby Yoda to me, too. I did try the ice cube trick, but my orchids didn’t look as happy so I went back to my usual watering routine. After enough years, experiments with pots and potting material (and dead orchids) I think I have worked out what works for me. 🙂 The results of those appointments are in and I’m now waiting to go to the next round of appointments that were triggered by the first test results. It is good because… progress! but still slow.

      1. Progress is good, and slow is tedious, but in the end, I hope you see positive results. As for Star Wars, my guys are like your family, whereas I just have a passing interest.

        I’m really glad you’ve tried and loved a new designer. It’s a commitment of time and money, so you want a good outcome. Hurrah!

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