Day 159

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The shawl is *this close* to finished. I’m halfway through the border along the top then there’s just the 10 or so ends to sew in. It will be finished tomorrow in time for the afternoon knitting group but I need sleep right now.

And along those lines, tonights music is by a former contestant on the UK’s Fame Academy. I don’t actually watch reality TV so I don’t know how he was selected for it or how the show worked or who won. I do know that I’ve enjoyed the music he’s produced. This song was beautiful the first time I heard it. It’s still beautiful.

Lemar – Lullaby

Day 158

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I’m going to embarrass myself with today’s music choice but first… I’ve been looking forward to today’s square. I’m trying to do a large square in each of the yarns I’m using for the blanket and today is the Step ‘Türkis’ which is one of my favourites. Turquoise with orange is a colour combination that particularly appeals to me so I really like knitting with this colourway. Also, I really like how the striping of this colour way looks in garter stitch. Not all striped yarns work knitted this way and of those that do, there are those which work better than others. In this case, I think it is because the colours are uncomplicated – by which I mean that they’ve got a little bit of variance in the turquoise but the orange and white are solidly single colours. For whatever reason, I really like it.

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I haven’t achieved as much knitting of the pink/green shawl as I had anticipated today. I was slow getting out of bed, had a late morning osteopath appointment then spent the early afternoon in Waterstones with the friend who is buying the shawl. By the time I got home it was about 4pm. I lasted about an hour before I fell asleep. The week after a weekend with my son is often filled with long naps. It is partly sadness about the situation and partly a response to the anxiety of the lead up to the visit. I am more than halfway through the second length of border and being that it’s only 15 stitches I’m working on, it grows quite quickly.

So you’re probably quite curious about the music choice. I’ve managed to shy away from cliches and cheese for the most part but this song has been drifting in and out of my thoughts for a few months now. I’ve never learned to roller skate (though I have very clear memories of my older sister skating to ‘Xanadu’ blasting from a boom box) and I managed to avoid the worst of the ’80’s fashion by being too young to do my own shopping but I wanted a walkman for the longest time. My son is barely aware of CDs as most of his music is digital so he’s never going to know the awesomeness of the first time you have portable music of your own choice and not whatever is on the radio.

Have you guessed the song yet? I have rarely been without portable music since my late childhood. Thank goodness we can be wired for sound ;-)

Cliff Richard – Wired for Sound

Day 157

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Turns out I had almost got the join right last night. I was about ready to take a pair of scissors to the whole thing last night though so even though I got it right first time this morning, it’s probably just as well I didn’t keep making attempts.

On the plan, today was a large square. No idea why when it needs the rectangle I did knit today for half of one of it’s sides.

Long story short – trapezoid sorted and rectangle knitted.

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Random pet photo time. This is my dog Fox using my legs and a duvet for his midday snooze… Eyes squeezed shut, tongue poking out. Apparently this is all very comfy.

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He’s curled up very small at the end of the sofa now. I’m always surprised how small he can get and yet how much of the sofa he can cover when stretched out.

System of a Down are an awesome metal band. Though they hail from California, the four members are Armenian-American and the influences of Middle Eastern music can be heard particularly in the vocal performances. I am always eager to hear new musical influences within established musical genres. This is their debut song ‘Chop Suey!’. The video clip is a performance video so it’s nothing extraordinary but the music caught my attention immediately and continues to every time I hear it.

System of a Down – Chop Suey!

Day 156

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Had to redo the corner of the shawl twice more before I was finally happy with it. And I wrote it down so I’ll be able to do it when I’m done with the other side.

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The stitches need some redistributing to make them look nicer. Either that or I’ll run do it with a better short row technique.

I worked on the blanket too today. Had to redo day 154 because I knit a rectangle but should have done a trapezoid, so that’s fixed now. I did yesterdays small square in grey and have started and restarted today’s trapezoid because I can’t remember how I picked up the stitches neatly the last 3 times I did it. And I’m starting to panic about it. I’ve tried several different ways and none of them are right. I think that it’s time to put it down and try again tomorrow. Not sure I want to though. I hate being defeated by something I’ve conquered before.

Here’s where I’m at right now…

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Am trying to remember that this is a project to find my calm. It’s not working yet.

So we’re listening to Cecilia Bartoli because she was once my inspiration. Her voice is exquisite, capable of lyrical heights and full-bodied depths. And of course, she makes it look and sound effortless. One of my favourite things about her performances, and the reason I prefer to watch her on stage to listening to a recording, is her expressive face. Every song is a performance regardless of the setting. I confess to not always knowing quite what expression she is trying to convey but her pleasure in her talent and that she is able to share it is obvious.

Though she is well known for her ability to interpret Rossini’s more complicated direction, this piece of music is by Mozart and you will likely recognise it. It is from ‘Le nozze di Figaro’, and while the character who sings this is male, he is always played by a mezzo-soprano woman. No idea why this is. For whatever reason, ‘Voi che sapete’ is a beautiful piece.

Cecilia Bartoli – ‘Voi che sapete’, Mozart

Day 155

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After spending the day out and about with my family, I focused on finishing one side of the shawl border. And I did but being that it’s a triangular shawl, the end of the side border is at a different angle to the top of the shawl. I’ve worked short rows to fix it but I miscalculated and am a couple of rows short of what I’d planned. This makes one corner of the short row triangle a bit squashed so I’ll rip back tomorrow and redo it.

Not that it looks bad but it can be better and given that this design is made up of squares and triangles, it deserves to have that continued in sharp corners.

Also, I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my knitting.

(No, photo I’m afraid. My phone/camera battery is sleeping and doesn’t want to cooperate.)

Day 154

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So I had the decrease ratio right for yesterdays triangle but I could not manage to pick up the stitches on the side connected to the trapezoids in any way that looked nice. To save my sanity and to move on, I sewed the angled side to the trapezoids. I think it works nicely.

Today’s rectangle was a cinch by comparison…

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Our son is with us this weekend so posta are likely to be only blanket updates. But today you get the Tenacious D track I mentioned the other day because it rocks.

Tenacious D – Tribute

Day 153

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No blanket photo today. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I created the plan to have a triangle worked in this direction but it needs a new pattern and I can’t think it through tonight.

I had a good day at knitting including selling the green and pink shawl I’ve been knitting. Got some food shopping done, bought some awesome new false nails and pink hair dye, and had a surprise visit from friends after dinner. But my neck and upper back won’t relax and I’ve had a headache developing for the last three days. It’s not very strong but it’s persistent and distracting. There will be graphing and calculating tomorrow to make it work

Oh! And I got the motor details wrong the other day. We’re looking to get a brushless motor for the e-spinner, which I think is going to need yet another reworking of the housing. It will be worth it. And we still haven’t spent half of the cost of a commercially made one.

Heard an old favourite while shopping today and I fancy something uplifting tonight. I really enjoy singing along to Des’ree. India Arie is very similar I think. Uncomplicated music with positive, melodic vocals. This song in particular was a positive for me during my teens when I felt most isolated from my peer group and alien in the world around me. It’s about the same time that I decided I was who I am and that I wasn’t going to change. But more than that, I refused to be told that who I was and how I felt was wrong. It’s not that simple in the moment to moment but it’s a desire, and a determination at my core. And when it comes to my precarious grip on my mental health, this is desperately important. It’s hard enough working through that mental mine field without also having to negotiate the lies we tell ourselves.

Anyway, Des’ree – You Gotta Be