DKC Diamond Scarf FO

Pattern: Small Tilting Blocks Scarf - DKC Newsletter - January 2009
Yarn: Diamond Luxury Collection - Mulberry & Merino 50% Silk 50% Merino
Colour: 7025 Lot 2012
Start: January 14 Finished: April 24,2009
Modifications: None

I'll get to the story behind this scarf but first, the knitterly details. The pattern is 2 sets of alternating 4 row repeats. Its easy to memorize, easy to rip back and easy to see where you are in the pattern if you do happen to nonetheless lose your way.

I love the linear regularity of the pattern combined with the kind of juggled alignment that adds movement and interest. The little points that naturally occur at the ends aren't too shabby either!

The yarn is nothing short of magical. Its shiny but also fluffy. It feels great in your hands and knitting with it is effortless. Despite its fairly bulky size it slides through and around as each stitch is worked. It holds a dropped stitch until its easily retrieved while still yielding if you do have to rip back. I had no trouble with splitting.

Post blocking it drapes very nicely and feels great against the skin. Many of these aspects are of course due to the silk content but to look at it, it doesn`t scream `silk`to me and unlike silk, it stays put around the neck.

I have looked for more of this yarn in every LYS I`ve visited since I first encountered it last fall at a DKC meeting where the story behind this scarf begins...

I detailed the events of that particular meeting, featuring presentations by 5 local yarn companies where the guys from Diamond Yarns stole the show when they literally threw yarn into the audience. This post, so cleverly titled `Men throwing Yarn`, sums up what all went on at that meeting but it doesn`t explain that the knitters around me, when they saw I had one skein literally gave me two more! There was a woman in front of me who, as soon as the yarn stopped flying, started brokering deals to give any one knitter enough of a single yarn to really do something with it. She spied a skein of red yarn I had in my hand that I guess her friend really wanted - her friend of course had a skein of the Mulberry & Merino. In a flash she had switched our skeins so that I was left with a second ball of the the Mulberry & Merino and her friend had two of the coveted red. Then the woman behind me just handed me her single skein saying ìf you have three you can really do something with it! To be honest the yarn didn`t really `speak`to me at the time and I felt a little awkward taking it because I had nothing left to offer her but she insisted and I went home that night with 270 meters of lovely lavender potential.

The thing was, I didn`t have a plan or even an idea of what to do with it until the DKC January newsletter arrived in my mail box. The monthly pattern featured on the back jumped right out at me as the perfect way to put that yarn to use.
So that`s what I did!

My plan is to share this tale during `Show and Tell` at the May DKC meeting and thank all the assembled knitters for their roles - direct or indirect in facilitating this satisfying little FO!

BTW thank you all for your kind comments on my earlier post today! After re reading it I just wanted to clarify - I'm not literally seeking Glenna's approval or worried she would look ascance at my work. Its that I'm striving for the kind of knitting confidence that Glenna exemplifies, and I linked to her recent posts re "Autumn Rose" because they so perfectly demonstrate that confidence I'm striving for but was feeling worried I'd never attain.

I Have an FO!...

...But I have no camera!

(Its at my sister's place - pics of her youngest celebrating his First Communion are on it and its easier to download right off my memory card than to send them.)

Anyway I've already drafted the post so I'll try to get the camera this morning and put it up sometime today.

Most exciting is that I've been knitting! The FO is something that has been in the works for quite a while so it feels good to move it out of the WIP column at long last. I also started and almost finished a wee quick project with one of the balls of Manos I picked up at the DKC Frolic on Sunday.

The other projects I have in the works are pretty close to completion and all of this progress is making me feel brave enough to venture into the baskets that house them with an eye towards kicking them across the finish line too.

To a non knitter the idea of bravery probably seems utterly unrelated to knitting. The "muggles" I know seem to regard knitting as just slightly less taxing and a bit more of a bore than sleeping but in my little yarney world I've come to recognize bravery as an ingredient in successful knitting second only to yarn, needles and interest.

I never realized this until I actually started to feel brave about undertaking projects like I'd never before attempted.  The speed and success of last year's output made me brave enough this year to plan to crank out a sweater a month. Each would have to also challenge me as a knitter. So all at once I bought yarn for a sweater that had a dozen and a half colours, steeking and a zipper; yarn for a twisty, cabley, body hugging hooded cardigan; I dove head first into my first attempt at a pattern by Eunny Jang. I could see myself sooner rather than later feeling sufficiently capable to look someone like Glenna C in the eye and confidently say "yeah, I'm a knitter!" instead of "I love knitting and I'm very keen".

Then my knitting time evaporated and my fantastical timeline went with it.  In pretty short order I stopped looking at the sweater yarn or the cardi-in-progress. Then, started doubting whether I could ever get back into the swing of things again.  I began to think I'd been crazy to imagine I'd be able to undertake all those challenges, rise to them and move past them.  It occurred to me I could never, ever, really be a full blown, Glenna C.-type, "I know, I think I'll whip up "Autumn Rose" but only after changing all the colours in the chart" knitter.

One of the mantras I try to live by is if I fear something I force myself to go towards it.  Maybe not immediately but ultimately.  I try to only turn away from things I reject rather than fear. Its not easy but boy does it help me sleep at night! So once I recognized fear had seeped into and around my knitting, there was only one thing to do...sneak up on it! (Bravery doesn't always look pretty you know!)

So that's how I came to have something for an FO post (later today - fingers crossed) and another to draft and get organized. I'm not back in fighting form yet but I'm getting closer. Now if I can just get close to my camera...!


A Reluctant Frolicker

Bright and early Saturday morning I headed to the DKC Frolic - the big annual yarn bazaar organized by the Toronto Downtown Knit Collective. I lucked into the last parking spot in the main lot and I was in the show within a few minutes of the doors opening.

Once inside...I looked around...waiting for the magic of so many knitters and yarn and patterns to engage me...but all I felt was...nothing.

I'm a reluctant shopper at the best of times and My Beloved had admonished me to "be sure to buy something!" so I dutifully bought Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Knitter's Almanac"within minutes of walking in the door. It's been on my list for a while...The little pocketbook features the typical Zimmermanesque - colourless newsprint - not instantly inspirational but it was on my list so a practical victory could be claimed. Still I was waiting to feel that lift I was so sure would come from a Yarn Frolic!

But still, my mood stayed flat line.

To actively boost my spirits I thought I should leave the books behind and look at yarn. I soon found myself seriously considering a lovely skein of grey fingering weight from the adorable Tanis called "Storm".  Tanis offers 25 wonderful colourways across her four weights of hand dyed yarn. The only one that drew my attention was dark grey, frankly stormy coloured "Storm"?! Hmmmm my choices just might be reflecting my mood. I forced myself to consider her other colours and seized upon this slightly more cheerful substitute...

Its called "Shadow". Hmmm. Still you can't have shadow without light somewhere right? It was certainly better than Storm! I bought it and dove back into the growing crowd.

Next I saw a fabulous display of  Cookie A. socks at the Sheldridge Farm booth. I had several Cookie A. patterns on my list - "Twisted Flower" being at the top. Somehow though I ended up buying "Stricken".  Hmmmm.

Okay I thought to myself, I've walked around this whole show four times, I've seen bloggers I recognize that I should be saying hello to but instead I'm just trying to avoid, I'm buying the knitting equivalent of a cry for help - ENOUGH!  I'm here to frolic so lets get frolicking!

With that determination to shift my mood I almost immediately saw someone I knew, strode right over and said "Hello". Smiling and laughing and knitting talk ensued - much more frolicsome - don't you think?

On the strength of that brief visit then I started my final turn around the marketplace, with a forced focus on cheery pink yarn - a pale pink sock yarn to be specific and/or a bulky weight pink mix for a pair of "Grown up Booties" by Ysolda.  I did consider quite a number of lovely skeins for socks but none that I really loved. At the Purple Purl booth  I did see some Manos for the slippers though - in a bargain bin no less! Soon two skeins were mine - maybe I'll make mittens too!  
The Purple Purl Booth was right near the entrance. On the strength of that high point in my 2009 Frolic I headed for the sunshine and the first day of summer like weather we've had all year.

As I drove home through the sunshine with the warm wind swirling through the car I smiled thinking that while my Frolic shopping bag on the seat beside me did contain "Shadow" and "Stricken" I had left "Storm" behind and I had a couple of skeins of colourful bulkiness to look forward to knitting and a book that highlighted a whole year of knitting adventures ahead. Not a bad outcome for an admittedly reluctant frolicker!


'Hard to Believe But...

Last evening I spent a couple of hours KNITTING! This morning I treated myself to 20 more minutes!

There's food in the house (more than just one meal's worth) The laundry is done and enough shirts have been ironed to see both resident males through the middle of next week!

The carpet installation that has held the completion of the work in the lower level up for about a month now is booked for tomorrow afternoon.

Turning back to the usual old routine after all that's gone on feels fabulous. It doesn't change anything but it makes it so much more bearable.

We started work on the lower level the middle of February and my brother's need for significant support re-started mid March after he enjoyed a few weeks of relative independence so life chez Sel and Poivre has been lurching along for quite a while.  The world, still at top speed, flew along just above what felt like the hole that became our life. I was aware of it flying past the top of my head but around me there was no evidence of it at all! Given Brenda's comments to my last post I guess I'm not alone in that sensation.

Now starting to peek up out of that hole and even to venture for a very few short minutes on line, hard evidence of life - knitting life in particular is fabulous to see...
  • The wildflowers are blooming all around the home of Acorn to Oak knit blog
  • The Knitty Spring Issue went up as did the Spring Issue of Twist
  • Brenda and the knitters in Brenda's knit group have produced (another) massive quantity of garments in what seems like the blink of an eye (again!)
  • My DKC buddy "China Doll" has started to add pictures to her Ravelry workbook!
  • The VK 360 video clips of the Spring '09 patterns are up to fully compliment my enjoyment of my copy of Spring Vogue Knitting that arrived sometime over the past month I think.
  • I suddenly realized that the DKC Knitter's Frolic is THIS WEEKEND! (This is both thrilling and depressing as I fully planned to have completed 3 cardigans and two scarves before the Frolic presented more yarn buying opportunities.)
And in perhaps the most stunning news I've seen in my quick foray into my favourites...
Another sure sign of life marching right along regardless of where my attention is focused - the ice has gone out up at the cottage, making it once again possible for us to to boat in to our water access getaway.  My sister's son is having his First Communion this Sunday though so we won't be able to head up there until next weekend.  This delay is really a good thing because by then I should be able to finish the garden clean up here in the city before adding a second residence to my spring cleaning list. 

I'm making a few contributions for the First Communion celebratory dinner - my poor sister is really under the gun to be ready for it after being out of commission for the last couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to reaquinting myself with my kitchen and even cooking and baking from unfamiliar recipes rather than just the favourites I know by heart that have been my choices as I've flown through here week in and week out of late.

Ah comforting routine - you're almost in my sights!


So What Day is it Anyway?

Rather than days of the week or weekends, morning, night or evening, the last three weeks have been a succession of challenges, events, moments and occasions punctuated by eating and sleeping.

Yesterday morning, when everyone at my house slept in and no one went to work or school, felt just like a Saturday. The afternoon, with the funeral and reception, felt like a Sunday but then last evening's celebration of my brother's life for 75 of his closest friends and family felt very Friday - ish.

Yesterday is a blur of hundreds of hugs, even more photographs (My brother may well have enjoyed the most well documented life in history!) and more of his hockey memorabilia. The Eulogies (there were three) prompted many tears but also lots and lots of laughs. The Priest who presided over the event couldn't have done a better job in his characterizations of this still young man's life and death. The food at the reception - expertly organized by my brother's girlfriend and a small team of his buddies wives even featured his favourite desserts and framed photos of his house and the yard where he hosted many gatherings for his friends. All in all the funeral marked an ending to his death and a point of beginning to focus on our memories of the life he truly lived to its fullest. What more can you ask for in a funeral?

Now I've heard that today is Tuesday but it feels utterly Monday-like. as we put this train we call our life back on the rails.

I told my mom last week that this day - the day after what feels like "everything" will be our chance to try to turn back a bit to our own household routines. Once underway, routine can be very comforting in its predictability and require very little effort to keep going. After weeks of working on graciously living in the moment while being ever ready for the challenge of the next development - on high alert and mellow all at once, all the time - my mom, in particular, will need to stand down and take a break. As ever, I'll be keeping a close eye on her as will her wonderful sister. Between us we'll make sure the sadness of the days ahead doesn't utterly overwhelm, as all of the impact of the new reality sinks in.

Mourning will go on - I know from experience there's no stopping it. Work must also continue to close up the home come hospice of my brother's house. Nonetheless we all need to take a breath, figure out what day of the week it is, what time of day we find ourselves in and reacquaint ourselves with living after so much time focused on dying.

At a more mundane, less poetic level I need to reacquaint myself with the washer and dryer - Monday, Tuesday, whatever - in our house today, its GOT to be laundry day!


A Moment to Post!

Its quiet. No one else is clamouring for the computer. I have a couple of hours before I need to be ready to head to the funeral.

I wanted to grab this chance to post a heartfelt thanks for all the kind comments you have left for me. I will respond to each but in the meantime please know what a wonderful difference they have made!

We spent yesterday at the funeral home. It was a blur of kind faces from the past and stalwart friends from daily life punctuated with numerous amazing collections of mounted photos, digital frames and a huge screen featuring hundreds of photos of my brother`s life and adventures. The double A hockey team my brother coached and on which his youngest son is a player all arrived en masse in their team shirts. It was heartbreaking to see these boysbecomingmen trying to face the hard evidence that life doesn`t always end in old age. This man had been their Coach, their team mate`s Dad!

We had a home cooked dinner here last night between the afternoon visitation and the one in the evening.  My mom, her sister and her eldest son, here from NYC for the funeral and more like a brother to me, joined us. It was a great and much needed break that made the evening session seem less difficult than the afternoon had been.   

The service today will feature eulogists, readers and pall bearers from my brother`s legion of life long friends and fellow minor hockey parents and players.  The priest who will celebrate the service was a Flying Father - a group of Catholic Hockey playing priests who play to raise money for charity and are considered the Harlem Globe Trotters of Hockey. How fitting!

Speaking of fitting - the lengthy and sometimes tense ;) negotiations with my offspring as to what they should wear today and what they wore yesterday were all wrapped up earlier in the week. (Apparently I have no idea what is considered `too dressy`)`. Anyway since its all sorted out I needn`t deal with anything of issue today on the domestic front. Whew!

The weather forecast is utterly funereal - rain, rain and rain. Fortunately my hair cut from last week hasn`t left much to get messed up by moisture!

As for everything else, the funeral programs my daughter and I put together and had printed are ready to go, the childhood hockey pictures of my brother I assembled for the hockey corner at the reception are mounted and waiting by the door with his childhood hockey jacket and his current Coaching jacket that will also be part of the hockey display.  Very soon we`ll soon go to my brother`s funeral. 

Just typing that sentence is surreal!  


Is anybody still out there?

Its been so long since I've dropped by this place, or any place on line - including my inbox. The various aspects of my regular old daily life are similarly neglected.

Before the utter disruption of the work we've been doing on the house was quite finished my 44 year old brother's health began to decline as the cancer he's been fighting for a decade began to get the upper hand on things. My brother lives on his own but thanks to his extended health coverage at work, he was able to receive extra nursing support for the last couple of weeks. There is also a very good system through our provincial health care system for supporting patients in their homes. My tireless sister managed this piece to ensure adequate but not excessive attention to allow my brother to be as independent as he was able to be. Nonetheless, facilitating his care in his home has meant all hands on deck, full out, full time.

In the course of doing my share I've witnessed heartwarming, inspiring and even surprising things as a large and somewhat unlikely group of his family and friends came together for everything from hands on care to keeping his household running to moving furniture as more equipment was needed for his comfort. Just feeding the army of volunteer helpers and myriad visitors has been a full time job! The energy, commitment and genuine care his friends showed him is fitting testament to the quality of my brother's character and the nature of his life among the people he enjoyed the most.

Then yesterday morning, as the sun was rising, he took his last breath. Peaceful, free of pain, and in his own home.

Everyone is of course sad, frankly quite tired and I hope feeling some satisfaction at having done literally everything possible to support him as and when he needed it most.

There is now much to do in the wake of his passing - some quantity of it on my own plate. Because of the Easter weekend, there is a backlog at the funeral home that will mean his service won't be held until the start of next week. Its a long time to wait but also does mean the necessary preparations don't have to be made in a frantic rush. (It also means I can work in a very long overdue hair cut tomorrow!)

Under the circumstances I know the fact this post hasn't a spec of knitting fodder won't be earth shattering for anyone but in case there is anybody out there still visiting this little neglected knit blog, wondering where all the knitting and posting went I wanted to let you know what had been happening and that I will be back to the old routine soon!

In the meantime I do hope all the bloggers and commenters I so enjoy are happy and well and you're all knitting to your heart's content!