Previous month:
January 2010
Next month:
March 2010

Posts from February 2010

As the women sat knitting, knitting

Malabrigo_liquid_amber I can't stop knitting this soft Malabrigo merino yarn from Uruguay in Liquid Amber / New Jersey / Feb. 2010

“Darkness closed around, and then came the ringing of the church bells and the distant beating of the military drums in the Palace Courtyard, as the women sat knitting, knitting. Darkness incompassed them. Another darkness was closing in as surely, when the church bells, then ringing pleasantly in many an airy steeple over France, should be melted into thundering cannon; when the military drums should be beating to drown a wretched voice, that night all-potent as the voice of Power and Plenty, Freedom and Life. So much was closing in about the women who sat knitting, knitting, that they their very selves were closing in around a structure yet unbuilt, where they were to sit knitting, knitting, counting dropping heads.”

~ Charles Dickens, 1890, A Tale of Two Cities

Quieten the nerves

RedflowerAnd lately, I need my nerves quietened / New Jersey / Feb. 2010

“Knitting is very calming work; it quietens the nerves, and helps people to take a philosophical view of life. It is easy to get rid of worry, ruffled temper, and discontent, when we can knit these disagreeable companions into a pair of stockings.”

~ Phyllis Browne, Hot to Knit a Stocking, 1888

Up-rushing winds

Feb112010 And are we also embellished by our continual warring contact with the elements of life? (I think so, I hope so) / New Jersey / Feb. 2010

“Far above the clouds,
in the vast silences of space,
in thinnest air,
supported solely by up-rushing winds,
the little snow crystals form and multiply,
embellished and enlarged by their continual warring contact with the elements,
until at last they descend earthward.”

~ Water wonders every child should know: little studies of dew, frost, snow ... by Jean May Thompson, 1907

In a tumultuous privacy of storm

Snowyellowhouse At the garden's end / New Jersey / Feb. 2010

“Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.”

~ Emerson, The Snow Storm

Brightly colored, patterned knitwear

Yokedogs Bringing an old design back to life: Staffordshire ceramic dogs (popular in the 19th century) updated with "sweater detail" by British designer Donna Wilson / New York Times Home Section Feb. 4, 2010

This is the day of the dogs venturing out into the snow-white blizzard in colorful, stylish hand-painted Fair Isle-style yoke sweaters.

To all the spirits of places


A length of ribbon and a bit of thread hide the sweater's secret: a big moth hole / New Jersey / Feb. 2010

This is the day of the ancient Inca-like characters that marched across the wool sweater, keeping its secret...

“Creator, end of all,
who rewards and grants:
Let the communities and peoples prosper
and also those who journey outside or within.”

~ An excerpt from To All the Spirits of Places, one of The Sacred Hymns of Pachacutec (ancient Inca poetry)

Eddie did all that

Pappyremembers Stories passed down / Mountain House / Aug. 2008

This is the day of finding the piece of paper with scribbled notes of stories that Dad told me about his father (Pap):

  • When Pap's parents (Frank J. and Katherine) were older he and Grandmom (Eddie and Edna) would take them for a drive on Sunday afternoons to get them out of the house. They'd drive past a building and Frank J. would say, “I built that Building” or “I did all the work on ...” and Grandmom would respond, “Eddie did all that.”
  • Every crafts-person — electricians, bricklayers, masons, etc. — had a great opinion of Pap; he was always respected by everyone he worked with.
  • Dad worked with his father as a plumber's assistant during the summer from the time he was 12. One day he cut a thread on a pipe and then when he and Pap installed it, the pipe was slightly off. Pap took it out and measured the thread and it was off by 1/4". Pap made Dad cut it again. Pap said: “Even if it's in the wall and nobody will ever see it, I'll still know — it must all be plumb.”

That which joins or unites

RuthandtoniRuth, 79, and her sister Toni, 85, once worked as milliners; originally from Neustrelitz, Germany, they survived concentration camps and Soviet labor camps and now struggle to survive in Brooklyn / New York Times photo by Michelle V. Agins / Jan. 21, 2010

Ruth's sweater (not to mention the beautiful faces of the two women) caught my eye. A lovely example of a seamless yoke sweater. It is my favorite style to knit — done in the round either top-down or bottom-up using a circular needle. A design element that radiates out and encircles the neck in a yoke-like fashion. It makes for a comfortable sweater, it's not fussy, requires very little finishing work, and there are millions of different colors and patterns to be knit — what could be better?

One of the definitions of yoke is “that which joins or unites; bond; tie” as in the yoke of friendship.