Tuesday, August 31, 2010

There Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens

There ain't nobody here at all.
So calm yourself and stop that fuss
There ain't nobody here but us...

Chickens are funny creatures. Alan opens the door to their coop every morning. By the time I leave for work they are standing on the side and in the middle of the road. I slow down and they look at the car and peck the road. I honk and some of them run alongside the car or right in front of it and stop and peck the road and grass some more. I honk again and inch forward. Somehow I get past all of them without anyone getting run over. They peck the road. They weren’t worried in the least!

So what came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, I don’t know about everywhere but around here it’s the chicken. We didn’t have fresh eggs before they got here. When they came they were cute little chicks. It was a mixed batch so we didn’t know if we were getting hens or roosters or what. We got mostly hens but there are three roosters. I really like the fresh eggs. We have all colors of eggs; light tan, brown, white and green.

The roosters act like typical males, strutting around thinking they are really something. All three roosters wanted to be in charge. They fought for dominance. One gets to be the boss rooster and bully the others. After all the posturing took place it seemed like the flock divided into three groups, one for each rooster. I think of them as chicken harems. The head rooster is called a Production Red. He’s kind of pretty, for a chicken anyway.

Chickens were domesticated about 8000 years ago and there are over 150 kinds of domestic chickens. In fact there are more chickens in the world then any domesticated bird. Different breeds have different characteristics. These run from how they look to the color of eggs they lay. They have funny names, too, like Transylvanian Naked Neck or Waki Waki Hawa. In the bunch of chickens that we got there are Buff Orpingtons, Columbian Wyandotts, Production Reds, Golden Laced Wyandottes, Black Australorps, and Light Brahmas. There was a Speckled Sussex as well, but it died. According to Alan we still need more chickens that include Welsumers, Barnevelders, and Cochins. The Cochins are the chickens who have the big balls of feathers on their feet that look like shoes. To me they all just look like chickens!

It is thought that the nearest relative of the Tyrannosaurus Rex is a chicken. This was decided from research on collagen that was extracted from the thigh bone of a 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex. There were similarities between the dinosaur collagen sample and the bone collagen of chickens. This gave support for the hypothesis that birds as we know them today are descended from dinosaurs. I didn't know collagen would last 68 million years. Before that, there was still the thought that there was a relation between the two. The dino-bird connection was based on physical similarities in the creature’s body and bone structure.

You can knit or crochet a chicken. My friend from LSSK made a great purse. She experimented and came up with the pattern herself. There are other chicken patterns as well, like chicken potholders, magnets and stuffed animals. If you can’t have the real thing you could make a fitting substitute!

Chicken Clutch from Gari. http://www.etsy.com/shop/garilynn
Close up of chicken's head on Gari's purse. http://www.etsy.com/shop/garilynn
Chicken potholder Gari made. http://www.etsy.com/shop/garilynn
So, were there really Dinochick-Rexes or Chickosauruses running around millions of years ago? I don’t know. What I'd really like to know is did dinosaurs taste like chicken?


Knitayear goes on. August 26 is day 148. I helped a school district and actually was included. They asked my opinion and asked for suggestions. I felt like they really wanted to know what I thought. I chose a purple mohair. The purple is a royal color and the mohair binds it all together and makes it strong. Day 149 is August 27. It was a busy day but I got a lot accomplished. I was very industrious and chose a yellow variegated soy yarn. I did a slip stitch pattern that makes this section look industrious too! Day 150 is a lazy day. I chose a light green from sock yarn for this day. Day 151 is an ambitious day. I have plans and actually get some things that I planned done! I chose a very thick turquoise yarn, for my big plans! Day 152 was not a good day. I was invisible. I suppose I let it happen. Anyway, I picked a beige homespun, kind of nondescript, like I felt all day today. August 31 was a lot better day. Got a haircut and got to go to the wine dinner. I also helped some people who appreciated it at work. I felt a lot more useful than yesterday! I chose a rainbow Noro, and used an orange/green section. I liked how the colors twisted together. They twisted to make a new color. I need to remember that experiences twist together and make new ones. And tomorrow will be a better day. I don’t suppose there are any orange and green chickens. Unless it’s Easter!

Tomorrow is a busy day.
We got things to do, we got eggs to lay.
We got ground to dig and worms to scratch,
It takes a lot of sittin', gettin' chicks to hatch.
Oh, there ain't nobody here but us chickens.
There ain't nobody here at all…

Thursday, August 26, 2010

If I Leave Here Tomorrow

Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on, now,
’cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.

And then there were none. We have an empty nest again. According to Google Maps, Bryce is a 5210.33 miles away. Ty is 958 miles away. Callye is only 100 miles away, but sometimes it seems like 1000, too. Point is none of them are here. Well, except for Junior of course.

Bryce is in another country. 5000+ miles is hard for me to picture. But I’m happy for him. He’s on his big adventure! He’s working on a master’s degree in geophysics in Europe. It’s a two year program. He starts off in The Netherlands and goes to Switzerland and then Germany. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. For me that is! I knew, at least, while he was in the states I could go see him if I needed to or be there if there was an emergency. I don’t have that comfort now.

 We helped Bryce move from Tulsa, where he’d been for three years, back to Crane so he could prepare for his big trip. It was a hard trip to Tulsa. We left at 4:00 pm and got there around 4:00 am. We did stop and eat Chinese food in Abilene, but other than that we didn’t stop. As soon as we arrived we went to bed, for a while anyway. Alan and Junior slept in the living room. Yes, Junior was there. I slept in the bedroom with Bryce. The little bed in the extra room was already packed up. It seemed like we’d just lain down and it was time to get up.

He had worked. I was skeptical because I know my kid. But he had done some packing. Quite a bit really, which made it a lot better then it could have been. He and Alan went on a speedy breakfast run, while I got a quick shower. Bryce’s friend James came over and the fun began. They got started on loading the big items, the couch, table, chairs, etc., and I was relegated to his bedroom to start on the clothes.

My job was to pack up Bryce’s clothes and stuff in his room. I looked in his closet and I felt a kinship. He likes shoes and clothes. I do too. And neither of us think you can have too many! His clothes are hung, grouped together by color. I have more clothes than him but I like mine grouped the same way. He doesn’t like to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. I don’t either. He wants enough underwear and socks available so he doesn’t have to go to the laundry every week if he doesn’t want to. I think that’s a necessity. He likes his quilts and afghans. I love quilts and made the afghans!

 I start to pack. He doesn’t have any wire hangers, which for some reason I find humorous. I take the shirts off their plastic hangers in the order they are hung. The color grouping is transferring to the suitcase. I can’t help it. I’m rolling each shirt and placing it in the suitcase. Next are his pants, rolled as well, and put in a suitcase. I even set his shoes, pair by pair, into another bag. It occurs to me that I’m packing the last three years of his life into suitcases and bags.

 Soon, his apartment is almost empty. The warm rooms, the bright colors, home as it’s been for the past three years, is fast becoming a memory. As I am packing I think about what I’m doing. I’m not just packing belongings. I’m helping Bryce get ready for a new journey along life’s highway. It’s a long way ahead and he’s ready. And I’m reminded that it wasn’t all that long ago when I was the one getting ready for the journey. And it makes me a little sad.

But, if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn’t be the same.
Cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you’ll never change.

Day 144 of knitayear is August 22, 2010. I called mom, a day late, and wished her happy birthday. She sounded good. It’s Sunday and I’m tired. Seems I’m always tired. But it’s a good day, taking things easy, getting some things done but not stressing. Rested at the end of the day, I’m ready to face the week ahead. I chose a ribbon yarn, a blue/black/orange and green colorway. It’s peaceful to me, colors that meld together and remind me of sunset somehow. Day 145 is a typical Monday. I’m busy, with a lot of things to get done. I’m tired by the end of day. Again. I chose a brown and green sock yarn, doubled. I’m trying to remember what I made out of it and it’s slipping away, just at the edge of my memory. I give up. Tuesday, August 24 is day 146. I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for 146 days. That’s a long time! And what is it? I still don’t know. It’s just a year of my life. I am still tired. Drained. I visited two schools today. The visits were productive. I chose a black/gray flag yarn. I can’t perk up. The white part is the energy and the gray, sinking til it’s finally black with no energy left. Day 147 is August 25. I’m helping some schools who are having trouble with their accountability. It’s a state rating thing. I’m not sure why I was asked. But I’m here, nevertheless. I have a lot to do and I’m satisfied when all the schools are settled and I can go back to my desk and get my stuff done. I chose a purple/green/blue variegated wool. It’s pretty and a great combination. It makes me feel better for some reason. I’m ready for the rest of this week’s journey. I think.

Bye, bye, it’s been a sweet love.
Though this feeling I can’t change.
But please don’t take it badly,
cause lord knows I’m to blame.

Cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you’ll never change.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Very Superstitious

Writing's on the wall,
Very superstitious,
Ladders bout' to fall,

It’s Friday the 13th. I have to fly home. I wouldn’t mind if it was just Friday. Or just the 13th. But it’s Friday the 13th. And I’m a bit superstitious and I don’t really want to chance it. But I want to get home worse, so I fly. And nothing happens.

I’m not overly superstitious, mind you, like my mother. I’m just superstitious enough to be cautious. I don’t want to push my luck! If the salt spills, I’m throwing some over my left shoulder. If there is a ladder, I’m not walking under it. I turn around if a black cat crosses my path. I don’t open umbrellas in the house. I usually will leave a penny on the ground if it’s found tails up. If there is a pole or something that people I’m with have to walk around, we both have to go on the same side. If we don’t, one person has to say ‘bread and butter’ and the other has to say ‘butter and bread’. I eat black eye peas on New Years, along with pork, cabbage and spinach. I’m not sure why the pork, cabbage and spinach but that’s what my mother did, and hers before so that’s what we do. The Christmas tree stays up til after New Year’s. But one year I did take it down before and nothing happened. And I’m not sure where my superstition ends and my OCD tendencies begin, but I like to eat things like M&Ms or grapes in even numbers. I’m not sure it’s bad luck if I don’t but I have an uneasy feeling when it isn’t even. I know…weird.

So what is a superstition? According to Webster's dictionary, superstition is any belief that is inconsistent with the known laws of science or with what is considered true and rational; especially such as belief in omens, the supernatural, etc. Superstitious means of, relating to, or swayed by superstition. You probably know someone who has a good luck charm. Maybe they have a rabbit foot or a lucky coin. Athletes seem to be particularly superstitious, with all kinds of rituals they perform for luck. There may be a lucky shirt or a lucky pair of shoes or certain actions performed before each game.

In general, women are supposed to be more superstitious than men. When was the last time you saw horoscopes in a men's magazine? But I’m not sure the male athletes with their lucky socks are being counted. I would think it’s probably about equal. Intelligence seems to have little to do with partaking in superstitions. For example, on the campus at Harvard, there are most likely a lot of intelligent people. The foot of the statue of John Harvard is often rubbed as people pass by. It’s supposed to bring good luck. In a way, a superstition helps people bond together, especially when it becomes part of a campus or community.

I remember one time, when I was an early teen, still in junior high, a group of college boys had moved into a house down the street. My friend and I would try to catch a glimpse now and then. My mother and I were going to the store. We got in the car and headed down the block. She drove a 1963 fastback Ford Mustang, a bit of a hotrod. The college boys were out in their driveway, shirtless, washing a car. I was enjoying the view! They looked our way as she was driving closer. A black cat crossed the road a few houses in front of us. Oh no! I knew what that meant! She pulled into their driveway! I was mortified! She waved, hollered out the window there was a black cat so she had to turn around and was on the way. I just sunk down in the seat and pretended to be invisible! I had never been so embarrassed in my life. My cool factor was in the negative numbers. And all for a stupid black cat!

I ran across some knitting superstitions I didn’t know about. I’ve heard about the sweater curse, of course, but not the boyfriend sock curse. You aren’t supposed to knit a pair of socks for your boyfriend or he'll walk away from you. So what if the guy is the knitter? Can he knit his girlfriend socks or sweaters? What if you want to get rid of your boyfriend? Should you knit him socks? Hmmm…I wonder.

My friend Brenda's socks from her own homespun yarn

I didn’t know it's supposed to be bad luck to leave a project unfinished. If you do, the intended recipient will get bad luck from the unfinished item. You might too. So it could be a double whammy. I wonder what happens if you don’t have a particular person in mind for the project? When you finally decide who it’s for are you giving them bad luck as well because you hadn’t finished it right away? If that’s the case can you intentionally not finish projects for certain people in order to give them bad luck and take your chances? Does the bad luck go away when the project is finished?

Stabbing your needles though your yarn also brings bad luck to anyone who wears something made from that yarn. It also splits the yarn and can mess it up, but that’s not part of the superstition.

If you knit one of your own hairs into a garment, it is supposed to bind the recipient to you. So if you give someone something then can’t get rid of them from now on, you must have accidentally gotten your hair in your knitting. What happens if you knit a hair into a pair of socks? Does the boyfriend go ahead and leave but stays bound to you forever?
From Neatorama: Knitting things with hair. http://tinyurl.com/298wdy5

This is a morbid superstition I think. If you knit for children you may have, before you are pregnant, it’s bad luck. It may keep you from getting pregnant or bring ill health to the baby. But if you are already pregnant and knit for the baby it’s okay. And you can knit for someone else’s baby whether you are pregnant or not.

Then there are mitten superstitions. Mittens and socks should be knitted in summer, so they will be soft, warm and strong. You should not wash new mittens when there is an old moon or they will lose their color and let the wind in. An old moon, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, is in January, after the Yule or after Christmas. If you don’t want to have any money just wipe your nose in a mitten. You’ll never become rich. And if you do have a boyfriend, you should never give your hand in marriage to him with a mitten on. If you do, you also give away your luck. If you find yourself in that situation make sure both of you have at least one mitten on. That way the luck should transfer, shouldn’t it? But if you’ve wiped your nose on your mitten and then give him that hand it probably wouldn’t matter anyway!

I’ll go now, without stepping on any cracks on the way to the car and I leave the penny, tails up, for someone else to find. On the way home I see a white horse so I have to do the hand stamp thing that my Mamaw taught me, for luck. As I go under the overpass I touch a screw and make a wish, and when the hay truck passes me on the other side of the road I’ll say the rhyme my mother taught me, “load of hay, load of hay, make a wish and look away” and won’t look in the rearview mirror until I’m sure I won’t be able to see it. It’s dusk and as I see the first star I make another wish. I’ll say ‘bless you’, when someone sneezes, even if I only see them from the next car. I’ll make it home in one piece, I’m sure because of all the precautions I’ve taken, and wait to see if maybe one of the wishes will come true.

Very superstitious,
Nothin' more to say,
Very superstitious,
The devil's on his way,
Thirteen month old baby,
Broke the lookin' glass,
Seven years of bad luck,
Good things in your past

Knitayear is coming along. I’m seeing a lot of lighter colors than I used for the spring section. I’ve checked and I don’t always use the same color for the same mood. I mean blue isn’t standard for sad, etc. I do seem to have a lot of blues and greens and teal type colors in this one. Also seems to have a lot of pink it seems. I wonder if that means anything. They way I choose a color isn’t scientific. I decide how I feel and look at yarn and pick the one that appeals to me. Or I look at the yarn first and then decide what the feeling is. I just thought it was interesting that it’s not always the same color for the same emotion. Day 137, August 15 was a fairly peaceful day. Just took it easy and did some stuff I had to get done. I picked a navy blue ribbon with gold pieces in it. It seemed a tranquil color, reminding me of a dark night with the gold seeming like stars twinkling in the sky. Monday, August 16, day 138 was a hectic day, getting things ready for a workshop and also trying to get the grant finished up, or started! I picked a magenta fur, one of the original furs before fun fur became popular. I doubled it so it wouldn’t be so thin. The fur going every which way was exactly how my day seemed to go! Day 139, August 17 was spent again, partially getting ready for the workshop but mostly working on the grant. Another busy day, I chose my old standby favorite yarn color, variegated, primary multicolor yarn. I love this yarn for some reason. Plain old acrylic, Mexicali I think it’s called. Day 140, August 18 was an anxious day. I had to go to Balmorhea to do the training but I needed to get back because this was the day Bryce leaves for Europe. The training went well. I’m not sure how I got to be the substitute teacher trainer but I like doing it actually. So that’s a good thing. I chose a white yarn today, with little threads coming off of it. I was anxious about Bryce leaving. It’s a sad day but a happy day too. It’s sad because he’s going to be so far away but happy for him because he’s so excited to start this new adventure. Day 141, August 19 was a catch up day at work. Trying to get all aboard for the grant and get everything done that I need to do. Barbara was so nice to stuff the packets for me for the sub training on Friday. I worked on the grant all day, staying persistent even though the grant system messed me up more than once. I chose turquoise boucle with dark navy spots in it. It is the same texture, color and weight throughout. The little boucle bumps stick out but work into the yarn. Much like the grant system messing up, I knew it would be fixed and I could continue. Friday, August 20, day 142, was another successful substitute teacher training. Maybe that’s what I should be doing all the time! Who knows! Afterwards I went to the superintendent’s office to, yes, you guessed it, work on the grant. I chose pink variegated cotton which seemed to symbolize useful to me today. I felt useful because the people I trained were interested, thankful and wanted to be there to learn. I gave them my best. Day 143, Saturday already, was not a bad day at all. I cleaned, or tried to dig out from under, fixed a couple of dishes to take to a party and generally just hung out. I picked an aqua boucle cotton, with big lumps this time, which seemed to be comfortable, like my day was. It was also my mother’s birthday today. I didn’t call her but will tomorrow for sure. Who knows…it might be bad luck if I don’t!

When you believe in things
That you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happiness Runs in a Circular Motion

Floating like a little boat upon the sea…

It’s a great day. You’re smiling. You’re happy. Then something happens. It might be as innocent as teasing. It might be something you overhear that you weren’t meant to hear. It might be something like a flat tire. But it hits you wrong and there goes your mood, and quite possibly your whole day.

How does it happen? Why can one little thing make everything change? Boy, if I had the answer to this I might be rich!

According to Steve Schwartz, in The Science Behind “Having a Bad Day” (and How to Solve it), there is no such thing as a bad day. He says a bad day only exists in our interpretation of reality, therefore becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. He suggests reflection on the negative feeling you are having and asking yourself what caused it. Then he’d like you to label it in three words. No more. After that you’re not supposed to think about that feeling or event(s) anymore. It’s time to move on and only refer back to the label if necessary. Very interesting idea.
So if something happens or I perceive something happens, and now my day is heading south I’m supposed to describe the reason in three words? First I have to try to identify the feeling; anger, hostility, frustration, etc. How about frustrating rude bitch? Or undeserving stupid coworker? Maybe irritation at assholes? Or incensed by ignorance? Then there’s always, as the website says, plain old FML! Actually, it was kind of fun when I was trying to think of examples. So I can see how this might make you feel better. The not thinking about it anymore part? That could be a problem.

There has been a lot of research done on happiness. Some studies say that happiness is genetic. As much as 50% or your happiness level can depend on genetics. Supposedly each of us is born with a pre-disposition to happiness. It’s determined by characteristics inherited from our parents, especially temperamental and affective traits. Life circumstances also play a part. Things like personal experiences, career, health, income, age, gender and even marital status are said to be 10% of our happiness level. The last 40% of our happiness level comes from intentional activities or things we choose to do.
We can’t change our genetics and often life circumstances are beyond our control. But we can change our intentional activities. We are influenced by a lot of things but ultimately we can control what we do.

Gretchen Rubin wrote a book called The Happiness Project. She said she was basically happy but let little things start taking control. She would feel dejected after a minor professional setback, she drifted out of touch with friends and lost her temper easily. She suffered bouts of melancholy, insecurity, listlessness and guilt. One day she had a realization: she felt she was in danger of wasting her life. The years were slipping by. She asked herself just what she wanted from life. Then she answered: “I want to be happy.” She began, what she dubbed, The Happiness Project. She decided to dedicate a year to trying to be happier.

She designed a calendar of sorts, to record her resolutions and evaluated daily, good or bad, for each resolution. She focused on a different subject each month. Happy people are more humane, more productive, more helpful, and more likable. Research shows happy people are even healthier than unhappy people. They make better friends, colleagues and citizens. She wanted to be one of those people. She knew she was more patient, more forgiving, more energetic, more lighthearted and more generous when she was happy. And she realized that working on her own happiness wouldn’t just make her happier, but also the people around her. Her project was successful. Enough to write a book about anyway. She encourages others to start their own happiness projects. It might be worth looking into.

Even our states are ranked as to how ‘happy’ they are. Texas is ranked 21st of the happiest states to live in. I guess that’s kind of in the middle. Does that mean that people are medium happy in Texas?

I ran across 5 Reliable Findings from Happiness Research. I found the information interesting. What do you think?

1. You control about half your happiness level

I think that’s mostly true. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And if you don’t feel like you are worth something, chances are you aren’t happy. And the genetic part mentioned above makes sense to me. That part you can’t control.

2. Money doesn’t buy happiness
I don’t know about that. I guess I agree that it isn’t the be all, end all, but I think it could contribute to happiness. Especially if you don’t have any!

3. Lottery winnings create only temporary, short-term happiness

If you spend all the money it’s temporary, short-term happiness. But if you can plan and make it last surely it could contribute to happiness. And if you can keep all the deadbeats and relatives begging for handouts away, it might even keep you happier.

4. Relationships are a key factor in long-term happiness

There is probably some truth to this. After all, if you have to spend time with people you dislike, all the time, chances are you aren’t happy about it.

5. Focus on experiences, not stuff

I can see both sides of this. There are memories that make me smile. But sometimes stuff can make me happy too. I guess though, the memories will always be there. At least until I’m old and forget everything! And the stuff, even though it made me happy, wore out, got lost or broken or isn’t important anymore. So experience is long-term and stuff is probably short term.

All in all I think happy is a relative term. Being happy, or happiness, is a state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Contentment and intense joy vary from person to person. What brings me contentment, yarn for instance, might not bring someone else contentment. I don’t think happiness can be generalized because it can’t really be defined. But as they say, you can get glad in the same pants you got mad in. In other words, happiness runs in a circular motion…

It occurred to me that if someone happened to read a post they might not know what knitayear is. So I’m updating! What is knitayear? The recipe is basic; cast on some stitches, knit at least two rows every day using a color that fits your mood or feelings that day. If you want, you can journal or blog, like I’m doing on this blog, as a kind of documentation of your feelings, ultimately creating a personal record of the year. I started in April and have decided to divide mine into seasons. I finished spring, April, May and June. I’m in summer now. It’s been fun and interesting too. I have no idea what it will be in the end or what I’ll do with it. But I’m keeping on keeping on! Day 130 is August 8. It’s such a hot summer. But the rain we had at the beginning of the season should have been the clue. It’s a comfortable day, though, relaxing and just hanging out. Boys are here or on the way and it’s nice to have them around. I picked a light blue with dark blue spots. It had a ‘comfortable’ feel to it when I was looking. Day 131, August 9, I took off to spend some time with the boys. I’m just so tired though. I don’t have energy for anything. Just weary. I chose a variegated yarn with gold, purple, pink, green and blue. Sounds ugly but it reminded me of a sunset out here, right before it’s dark. It’s the time of evening when things are winding down. And I’ve felt like that all day. Just dragging. Day 132 is another day off. It would have been okay but someone said something and just messed up the day. Oh well. I couldn’t shake it and was pretty much depressed all day long. I chose a gray wool, actually part of a variegated yarn, SWS I think. It was perfect. Day 133 is August 11. Just another day. Not happy, not sad. Back at work and trying to catch up. I sat through the world’s longest TETN, which is a meeting on TV. Kind of disenchanted with the whole day. I chose a pale green fake mohair. It’s really old yarn. Seemed kind of blah, like my day. Day 134 is August 12 and I have to go to Austin. I don’t mind but it’s a short and fast trip. Kind of a pain. And I’m apprehensive for some reason. Just nervous. I chose a pastel ribbon mix yarn. It’s different colors and different yarns, kind of busy or nervous yarn. Day 135 is Friday the 13th. I hate to fly on Friday the 13th but I usually end up doing so. Kind of superstitious I guess. Anyway, it took forever but I got home fine. I was relieved to get home and just relieved in general. Sometimes after trips like these I’m not. But this was all okay and I even learned some things. I chose turquoise colored worsted. It’s actually part of a variegated as well. It’s a nice color. Day 136 is Saturday. Ty went to the airport and flew back to Colorado then Utah. Sad to see him go but know he’s grown now and that’s what they do. It was a calm day though. Bryce got back in from Houston. We ate coming in from Odessa so no supper. I was just in kind of a mellow mood. I picked some orange/turquoise/yellow wool. It’s mellow colors to me and reminds me of the southwest colors. I noticed there were good days and there were bad days and it all goes around, happy, sad, happy. That’s a good thing.

Happiness runs in a circular motion
Floating like a little boat upon the sea.
Everyone is a part of everything everywhere.
You can be a part if you let yourself be.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's Stitch Three Drop Four

Pitch that knittin' out the door right now
Just sittin' with your knittin' all day long
You know knittin's friendly
And knittin's fun
Knittin's good for everyone

I’ve been knitting for, well, for a very long time! My grandmother taught me one summer while I was visiting. She knew how but wanted a review so we went to ‘town’ to the yarn store and she got a book. We also got yarn and needles. Together we started. My first project was a red and white striped sleeveless sweater. It was knit in the round so there were no seams. I don’t remember exactly but I’m fairly sure when I got to the armholes she helped me because the stitches would have had to have been split. I wouldn’t have known how to do that. My mother probably still has it somewhere. From that point on I guess you could say I was ‘hooked’.

Favorite bracelet from http://www.etsy.com/shop/GemmaBeads

When Callye was born I would hold her and knit. There were many long nights spent that way. I suppose I must have said, “let me finish this row” to her, more than a few times. I don’t remember what I did to make her mad but when she was a little over two, she told me to just go ‘sew my rows’!

The history of knitting has never really been of much interest to me. I always heard that it originated from sailors who knit their nets for fishing. It turns out that the origin of knitting is puzzling and the experts don’t agree. Some believe that knitting started in Persia, but others think it started in Israel, or Jordan and Syria. Still others believe that it started in North Africa or Japan or China. Knitted articles have been found in Egyptian tombs, possibly dating as far back as the 4th or 5th century B.C. Some experts think that these weren’t really knitted but created through a craft called nalbinding. Nalbinding isn’t true knitting but it looks very similar. Many think knitting is relatively new, becoming popular in the 14th century. Apparently, though, even then it was widespread.


When you think of knitting you probably think of a grandmother, or a little old lady at least. But it’s not that way at all. Young people knit. Men knit. And you can knit almost anything. Designers have created things from ‘naughty’ knitting to knitted science. You can even find Knitting for Psychos which is definitely not your grandma’s knitting! The point is, if you think it, you can probably knit it. And if you like it then it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks.

Knitted bi-sected frog

When I was in college the sorority I was in had a winter social called Ski Party. I had the bright idea of making my boyfriend (now husband) and myself matching sweaters. I worked hard and finished both sweaters, just in the nick of time. They looked good, long sleeve dark green cabled pullovers, but they were hot. And his seemed to take an incredibly long time. Did I learn my lesson? No. The next year, same boyfriend, same party, I made matching vests. My thought was it wouldn’t be as hot because there were no sleeves. Wrong. I had one more chance, the third year, and again made matching sweaters. This time I made him a cardigan so he could take it off when he got hot. I made a pullover in matching yarn for myself. Mine had short sleeves because his was so big and took so long I ran out of time! But the third time was charm! He got hot, took his off and my short sleeves kept me comfortable. I look back and figure that was really a pretty dorky thing to do. There was a lot of time involved that could have been used studying! And I never knew I could have blown the whole relationship because of the ‘sweater curse’!

Blurry but here's the green sweaters.

I crochet as well as knit. Most people don’t know the difference. Basically it’s in the number of needles used. Knitting uses two or more needles and crochet uses one, called a hook. I do both, depending on my mood. I like the act of knitting or crocheting but I really think it’s the yarn I like best. I love the colors and the textures and tend to choose yarn with many colors, or variegated yarn. I like the variety and not knowing exactly how the colors will blend while the project comes together. I have a lot of yarn, probably too much depending on who is asked. And I have a lot of scarves, shawls and afghans. I know my kids will probably have some kind of huge garage sale when I’m dead and get rid of it all. I just hope some lucky yarnie comes along and gets to enhance their stash. I’d rest easy knowing it’s appreciated!

Bryce's Granny Squares

Knitting is a relatively safe activity. And it’s productive as well. I don’t have any idea how many afghans, baby blankets, sweaters, scarves and dishcloths I’ve created. I hope that some of the recipients think of them as heirlooms and worth keeping. I occasionally go to flea markets or garage sales and see knitted or crocheted item cast offs in the piles for sale. It pains me to think of the hours invested and the love involved in every stitch stacked on a table with a bargain price tag attached. But I’m probably too sentimental.

Lately knitting is making the news in the form of knitting graffiti or yarn bombing. This is an interesting phenomenon described as “an amusing form of artful anarchism. It's a bit of cockamamie crocheting and granny graffiti all rolled into one!” Granny graffiti? Hilarious! Wikipedia says the practice is believed to have originated in the U.S. with Texas knitters trying to find a creative way to use their leftover and unfinished knitting projects. Go Texas. But it has gained popularity and since spread worldwide. Of course some people are completely against yarn bombing and actually want to prosecute participants. Some people need to lighten up!

A knitter needs his noggin read
So don't come 'round and speak to me of yarn
You can k-nit all day and k-nothin' fits
'Cause only k-nitwits like to k-nit
And k-nittin' k-needles just ain't worth a darn

Knitting is part of who I am. There was a long period of time where I put it aside. It’s been good to get it going and become whole again. My husband accepts it. He doesn’t complain when I bring in yet more yarn. My kids accept it. If I don’t have it with me they wonder where it is. My friends accept it. They tease me and say I’d probably even knit in a bar. Maybe I have! Next time you are in a bar look around. If there’s a lady knitting…it might be me!

My knitting friends from our knitting retreat-Enid's picture

Day 123 of my knitayear is on August 1. It’s getting close to the start of school. All of the stores are having their sales and it’s getting busy at work. But today was a peaceful, tranquil day. Slept in and relaxed getting ready for the week to start. I chose a dark aqua. It reminded me of water. Day 124 was August 2 and the first staff meeting of the new school year. We are still going through some changes but it’s hopefully all for the better. I have one intern so far and I was trying to get him set up, and attend the staff meeting. All in all I was getting a bit flustered. I chose a variegated red/maroon ribbon yarn for today. August 3 is day 125. Again, lots of stuff going on at once. Instead of being two places at once today I had to be three places at once. But I’m feeling pretty secure today because I know I can get it all done. And I do! I have a purple terry cotton yarn for today. Day 126 and I’m scatterbrained. I forget what I got up to get and I can’t stay focused. I chose a thick teal boucle yarn for today. It’s got a thread wrapped around it and some blue spots occasionally. The thread is holding it all together. I’m looking for my thread. Day 127 is August 5. I sometimes amaze myself as to how dumb and clumsy I can be. I walked into a glass door. Thought I had broken my nose! I picked a pink yarn with ribbon flags off it. My nose is pink and will soon be bruised. Just hope it doesn’t make my eyes black! August 6 is day 128. I got everything done! I was attentive, focused and finished. Not with everything but with the most pressing. Yay me. I chose a pale aqua worsted. It’s solid and steady. And then there was day 129, August 7. I had to work today. I have one intern. We were lucky because we didn’t have to stay all day. I got a haircut and he straightened my hair. It’s different but it’s fun! I like it. Makes me feel a little frisky! I chose a bright color novelty yarn. It’s an eyelash yarn wrapped around a velour core. It’s fluffy and a little frisky! So I’m going to keep knitting, knit one purl two…

And that is why we sing this knittin' song
Well it's knit one purl two
It's stitch three drop four
Pitch that knittin' out the door right now