Friday, February 19, 2010

North Country mittens

I'm happy to have some knitting on the blog, since knitting blogs like the Yarn Harlot and Mason Dixon Knitting inspired me to start blogging in the first place. Actually, I also have to credit my friend Rachael's blog, which made me think I might actually possibly write something people would want to read.

Anyway, my DD (Darling Daughter) goes to college in what is referred to by we New Yorkers as the North Country. As you might imagine, it's mighty cold up there. She requested a pair of super warm mittens. As a knitter and as a mother, I had no choice but to oblige.

These are called Thrummed Mittens, in the Winter 2006 Interweave Knits magazine, or you can purchase the PDF for download here. (Ravelry link here.)

The yarn came from a yarn swap with friends, where we all brought yarn with which we'd made our peace and acknowledged that we were never ever going to knit with it. I love orange, so I snatched up several skeins! The fleece is from a local farm, though I've lost the tag now.

They were a lot of fun to make, although a bit slow, because I had to take the time to make the thrums. (The thrums are the white fleecy part.) To make them, you pull off wispy bits of fleece and roll them together slightly, then use the thrum instead of yarn to make the pattern. As you can see from the first picture, which shows what they look like when turned inside-out, the fleece thrums create a very warm layer. Also, wool felts (as you know if you've ever put a wool sweater in the washer), so over time, the idea is that the thrums will create a more solid layer of fleecy goodness.

Despite the bad dorm lighting, the recipient appears happy!

Friday, February 12, 2010

An hour for the earth, and each other

Last year, there seemed to be quite a buzz about Earth Hour. The concept is to turn off your lights for an hour, to demonstrate support for reducing energy use and minimizing human impacts on the environment.

Of course, it takes WAY more than a commitment of an hour a year to actually make an impact, and changing your food and transportation choices are some of the most important changes you can make on a daily basis to reduce your carbon footprint.

But what struck me about it, when T. and I participated last year, was not the effect on the movement to reduce climate change, but instead the impact on our relationship. With no lights on, just candles, there really wasn't a whole lot we could do other than sit on the couch and be together. We really do try to pay a lot of attention to our relationship, but this felt different.

We took it a step further and turned off all electronics and unnecessary appliances, with one exception--our stereo. We thought about the fact that, before electricity, people really had to be together in a very different way, once the sun goes down.

We have recently decided to have a weekly Earth Hour. Every Friday night, I make a quick dinner, something easy, like a big salad or leftovers. We turn everything off, again, except the stereo, because we love jazz in the background. We light candles all over the house and dine by candlelight.

Once we finish dinner, we usually move to the living room and just talk about whatever's on our mind. We might just chat about what's going on at work, or things in the news, but often it gives us the space to dream about the future, reminisce about the past, re-visit our goals as individuals or as a couple, and always to feel deeply grateful for the life we share. It's also a lovely transition from the work week to the weekend.

Tonight we had a little bit of excitement. We have 2 cats, and generally each of them chooses a lap while we sit and relax. Today our cat Alex was rather skittish, and she jumped onto the coffee table where we had small tea candles. Now, we've had those candles lit a million times over the years. But tonight, Alex waved her bushy tail, as she does when she's feeling annoyed, and it caught fire! Faster than we could grab her, it went right out, thank goodness!!

So, tonight our Earth Hour ended with the smell of singed cat hair! Fortunately Alex is just fine, though a bit startled.

I highly recommend a weekly Earth Hour...just remember that bushy tails and candles are not a good combination.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Poem for knitters

My friend Jason Crane and I share many common interests. We both cycle and blog about it at times. We both care about peace and justice and try to figure out what we can do about them. We both blog about parenting occasionally. He interviews famous jazz musicians and I listen to jazz. (Okay, he's got the cooler gig on that last one.)

He writes poetry that calls to mind crystal clear images and emotions we almost forgot we'd had. I used to write poetry, and he is inspiring me to do it again.

And, he wrote a poem for me. But really, it's for all knitters and handcrafters, and I think it really captures the essence of craft.

Read it here.


Bookmark and Share