Day 43

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I love the Disney movie ‘Mulan’. At a time when I struggled with not being what everyone else told me I ought to be (well, my teens in particular. I’ve never been good at doing something if I don’t see the point in it), Mulan was a character that ‘spoke’ to me. In particular is the sentiment, even the words, from the song ‘Reflection’. Being out of my teens has not been a magical cure. I’m still not what I’m “supposed” to be. But then, despite all of that I am 14 years married to a man who loves me as I am, who supports my efforts to improve myself and demands only that it be a change I want for me, not one to please someone else – not even him. Then came my son who loves me even when I’m grumpy and despite my best efforts, refuses to be embarrassed by me.

I still have trouble believing them some days. Self-esteem and -confidence are fickle things. But I’m getting better about it. And still there are days where my reflection isn’t what I expect…

 

Sweater Update Body and one sleeve are finished!!!!! I am now working on the button bands and collar and will start on the other sleeve tomorrow. My friend J loves it which is fantastic because it’s going to live with her when it’s finished.

driftwood v2 - steeked and sleeve1

And of course, the blanket… today I have returned to Step in ‘Beere’. This might be one off my favourite colourways. Though in truth, I like them all.

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Day 42

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I’ve been going back over blog posts to make a list of yarn and music from each post and have noticed that there are quite a few pieces I’ve mentioned but not linked to. We’re fixing that starting with Yvonne Kenny singing Dvorak’s ‘Song to the Moon’ from ‘Rusalka’ which I mentioned on day 3.

There is Muse and Holst and Handel and Bach coming up as well as AC/DC on cellos as promised.

I also noticed that I had used the Step colourway ‘Vulcan’ only once so far and it’s the only yarn that I’ve done that with so it is today’s yarn choice. I’d probably have chosen it regardless. It works very well with the colours around it.

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I need to tidy up the lists but am planning to share/update them in the pages section. and yes, I am still fussing with the patterns page.

Day 27

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Today has been a special brand of ‘What sort of frikkin’ idiot thought that would be ok?! You arse! Thanks for making this all so much more difficult than it ought to be.’ The lack of thought or effort some people put in to their actions can be utterly flummoxing, even when it is neither a surprise nor unexpected.

Bah!

After the Second World War, the Powers That Be were trying to work out why an entire nation followed a mad man into committing atrocities even they couldn’t explain their involvement in. One of many of the experiments done in an effort to make sense of this was done by a man named Milgram that studied whether people will continue beyond their comfort zone in an assigned activity if there is an authority figure giving them permission and offering reassurance that all blame will be theirs. The results were alarming. It showed that if there was an authority figure giving instruction, giving reassurance and absolving guilt, the participating person will continue with the activity well beyond the point they would have stopped if they were on their own. In the recordings of the experiments you can see people muttering their protests and displeasure, or giggling with nervous hysteria but they don’t stop.

There are a lot of things in life that we do that we wouldn’t otherwise when we are emotionally or mentally removed from a situation we are in. The anonymity of the internet allowing the unbelievable unpleasantness that is found on forums and Twitter is one example. There is no guilt or blame because no one knows who you really are, thus the Internet becomes the authority figure that absolves you of guilt or wrongdoing.

But this can also be used in a positive way. I find this happens with guided meditation. It is easier to relax more deeply, and possible to let go a little more than during my own meditation because someone is telling me it’s ok. I trust that the guide will take me ‘there’ and ‘back’. We all crave that ‘good boy/girl!’ pat on the head from others after doing good work and having even a recorded voice as encouragement makes a difference. I believe my meditation is more satisfying and satisfactory because of it. (go to getsomeheadspace.com to see what I mean.)

And now for something completely different….

Bill Bailey (on the guitar) is primarily known as a comedian but is as likely to use a piano to make a joke as not.

Did you recognise the music? Did you know you should know it? It’s ‘Duelling Banjos’ from the movie ‘Deliverance’. I’ve never seen the movie (and have no intention of changing that given what I’ve heard about it.) but still love this piece of music but the level of Epic went up with this version.

Turquoise rectangle today!

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Day 23

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I can’t say that I had ever seen anyone use PVC pipes as percussion before the Blue Man Group. I was introduced to them during a kids program that my son was watching a few years ago in which each episode showcased 3 pieces of music usually centred on a theme – pets, ‘cheer me up’, that sort of thing, and today’s song was one of these showcased pieces. I can’t find the video they used but this one is pretty close. Blue Man Group don’t just use a single length of pipe but use several to vary the tone they produce and it’s fantastic.

Sweater Update! The body is finished!!! As soon as I’m finished with this post I will be starting a sleeve.

driftwood-finished body

Revisiting the yarn I used on days 5 and 7 – Austermann’s Step in ‘Beere’ –  I added a mostly pink rectangle to the blanket.

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Day 21

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Soooooooo, I was going to do a post about weaving in ends wasn’t I? Turns out, I don’t need to because Purl Bee has done an excellent tutorial so here’s a link to hers instead. Laura covers the usual sewing in techniques for garter stitch and stocking stitch but goes further with directional sewing in as well as others. Even if you are confident with your finishing techniques already, I recommend reading it. There way be something new for you.

driftwood3Sweater update! The body is almost done! 2 – 3 more stripes alternating dark green and white. And yes, I know. The button bands and collar are normally done last but I found the flapping sections to  be annoying so I did it early. I’m still enjoying knitting this and am looking forward to doing the arms. Isn’t it strange how the simple act of changing colours can take the boredom out of working so many rounds of plain knitting?

Tonight I’m introducing you to Ella Fitzgerald singing music by George and Ira Gershwin. You can thank me later. This is taken from the live recording of her 40th Birthday Concert in Rome that I’ve mentioned before. Originally, this song, ‘I Love You, Porgy’, was written for the musical ‘Porgy and Bess’. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve heard. Ella Fitzgerald is arguably one of the greatest voices ever and while her range and vocal creativity are not displayed fully in this song, it demonstrates the elegance of her voice, the depth of tone she is capable of and the fullness of every note she produces. Her voice ebbs and flows so smoothly through every note and every word with a gentle fierceness for her narrative. A very nearly flawless performance.

More Austermann Step added to the blanket today in the colour ‘Tricolette’. A rectangle added ready for the large square that is planned for tomorrow.

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Day 19

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Ah, Nina Simone. SkyArts 2 again. They’re broadcasting the footage of her last ever recorded concert, performed in 1990 at Paris’s Olympia. I infinitely prefer to listen to both her and Ella Fitzgerald live (Ella’s 40th Birthday Concert in Rome is brilliance).

Such honest music. An imperfect and magnificent voice. Watching her connect emotionally with her music is something wonderful and we miss out on it in so much of our music today. Only 5 instruments to accompany her. It’s enthralling and beautiful and wonderful.

No sign of ‘Pirate Jenny’ though and it’s macabre but I love that song.

Another simple square today. Another colour of Austermann’s Step sock yarn. Today it’s colour #3 – “Grass”. Not entirely sure why there’s a reddish pink splashed through the green though… Anyway, day 19.

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J suggested I do a post about sewing in ends which is a great idea, so that’s my plan for tomorrow. I have a knitting group in he afternoon and I ave some uni coursework I *really* need to do so it might not be done until Friday. But as always, please make any requests/suggestions in your comments.

 

 

Day 17

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My Travelling Companion is Off The Needles!!!!! Insert a happy dance here, to the tune of ‘Graceland’ by Paul Simon.

travellingcompanion-cast off

Things I changed and why:

* The rainbow section is about twice the length as the pattern calls for. I had half a ball of this yarn (KnitPicks ‘Chroma’ in Lolipop, if you’re curious) and wanted to use it all and knew that it wouldn’t complement the lace section. (Why wouldn’t it work with the lace pattern? Visually the rainbow yarn is ‘busy’. Lace is busy with texture and pattern. I chose to let the lace stand on its own merits in a solid colour).

* The second large section of black eyelet pattern is meant to be twice that width. I had already added rows in the stocking stitch section and didn’t want the black to overwhelm the rainbow colours but did need it to make them stand out.

* The purple lace section should also be twice this width. This was kept short only because I was running out of yarn. I do have more but it’s in the loft and I wanted to be finish the shawl tonight. I am exceedingly impatient. Also, I like it how it is. The rainbow section remains the feature this way.

What happens next?

Next I will wash it. I have a small bottle Eucalan leave in wool wash that has been with our laundry detergents for more than a year now. Time I used it. I’ll roll it in a towel to remove as much water as possible before I pin it into shape on foam mats where it will stay until dry.

The Verdict?

I am really pleased with this shawl and despite my changes, I really like the pattern. In fact, one of the reasons I like the pattern so much is *because* of its adaptibility. I used 3 different types of 4-ply yarn in this project – KnitPicks ‘Chroma’ which is only one strand of wool/acrylic, Austermann ‘Step Classic’ in black, and ‘Coton Fifty’ by Bergere de France in purple. I usually try to match yarn textures in my knitting but these have worked together really well.

Day 17’s blanket piece is a square, knitted in Step, colour #51 ‘Tricollete’. The pattern is on Day 1. Picking up the stitches on the triangle is a little different to what we usually do.

Because of the way the triangle is constructed you will have to pick up stitches between the bumps on the edge like normal but you will also need to pick stitches up through the bumps.

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From the point of the triangle, I counted 7 edge bumps down then picked up my first stitch in the 8th bump. From there I alternated picking up stitches  between the bumps and in the bumps until I had 15 ad had reached the corner where pieces 14, 15, and 16 meet. From there you pick up stitches as usual – 1 stitch in the corner, 15 stitches between the bumps as far as the middle of the rectangle (where you cast off).

Don’t worry if that makes no sense. I’m preparing a photo tutorial for how I pick up stitches in this project to post tomorrow.

Now follow the pattern on Day 1 from row 1.

FYI – I’m reeeeeally tired. as in, falling asleep mid-word. So I’m not entirely sure this all makes sense. I will check it when I wake up…