Knitted in the Winter: Lemongrass, Kaellingesjal 1897

We are having a much-needed spring snow storm, so obviously it is the perfect day for modeling knitwear, right?

After I made Wingspan, I still had thousands of yards of the recycled yarn.  So I made another shawl:IMG_2447

IMG_2450Pattern:  Kaellingesjal 1897a Danish work shawl recreated by Mette Rørbech.

Yarn:  Recycled Reynolds yarn from the 1980s, in jewel-toned colors.  I still have enough yarn to make yet another shawl . . .

Modifications:  I made the lace points (on either side of the central spine) symmetrical, and knitted-on the upper lace band.  This made life much simpler 🙂

Thoughts:  I applaud Mette Rørbech for recreating this lovely (and practical) shawl, and generously making it available to the Ravelry community.  I rather miscalculated how many points I needed — I have this problem where I think I am bigger than I actually am — so the shawl is big.  Really big.  The tail is so long that I tie a bow in the back when I am wearing the shawl.

IMG_2456Pattern:  Lemongrass, by Joji Locatelli.

Yarn:  A purple Karabella Yarns Soft Tweed yarn, recycled from the Sunrise Circle Jacket by Kate Gilbert.  I knitted that jacket years ago (along with hundreds of other knitters) because it was gorgeous and had unique construction.  But that same unique construction made it difficult to adjust the size, so the jacket was always too big and I never wore it.  The yarn itself is beautiful and soft, but will not recycle again because of its loose ply.

Modifications:  I made the back longer than the front because I had this idea that I would wear the sweater while cycling . . . .  I haven’t yet, but it may happen.  I also put in two buttons on each side instead of one — I think it makes for neater sides.

Thoughts:  I love this sweater; it is soft and cozy, and casually slouchy without being sloppy.  About the only thing I would change, were I to knit this again, is make the circumference of the sleeve cuffs smaller.

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Now, About that French Revolution . . . .

Last September, DH and I splurged and stayed overnight at a new bed and breakfast in Denver, the Patterson Inn.  It is a late nineteenth-century red sandstone “when-I-grow-up-I-want-to-be-a-chateau” residence, lovingly renovated into a luxurious urban inn — what’s not to love?  We did in fact like it, though I do have quibbles with some of the interior restoration work.

But then there are the descriptions of the rooms, in particular this rather mind-boggling mangling of history, in which the room was linked to “the decadence and femininity of Marie Antoinette’s French Revolution.”  Really.  The French Revolution was many things, but it was NOT decadent, it was NOT feminine, and it most assuredly did NOT belong to the hapless queen.

Someone must have pointed out the problems with that particular description, because the current description invites guests to “think back to the French Revolution and the decadence and femininity of Marie Antoinette.”  I suppose it is a tad better, since Marie Antoinette no longer owns the revolution.  But do the innkeepers really want their guests to think about the French Revolution at all?  I mean, it was a revolution — there was nothing romantic about it: it was messy, it was bloody, and there was a reason why during the chaos, the radical turn for the worse became known as the Reign of Terror.

I know nothing about the owners, Kerri and Travis McAfoos — but this much I know: they clearly need to go borrow a book on the French Revolution, or failing that, at least to take a look at the Wikipedia entry.  Sheesh.

Spring snow!
Spring snow!

Letting Go, One Body Part at a Time

Having a teenager means thinking — a lot — about what “letting go” means. It is about letting go of control over her person — when she no longer needs you to clean her up, feed her, carry her around, when she does not need you to buy her clothes and shoes, when she goes to get her own haircuts, when she has her own ideas (no matter how erroneous) of what to put inside her body . . . .  The letting go, one body part at a time, has been ongoing for a while, but has become so much more visible of late as I realize how tired I am of doing certain things.  I am tired of hearing about her foot problems, so I have decided that what she chooses for footwear — aside from running shoes, which we agreed to subsidize until she is 18 — is no longer my financial responsibility  And I really wish she would go ahead and shave her head, as she has been “threatening” to do for a couple of years now.  I would love to have clear drains and clean carpets!

The biggest body part, and obviously the one I am most ill-equipped to let go of, is of course the brain.  It is my business in some ways — I mean, we have set up a very healthy college fund for her — but in the most real sense, her brain is none of my business.  A few months ago I had the minor epiphany that her failures and accomplishments are hers, and how she defines “education” is also hers.  Last night we had the latest round in the “what is education” argument: the Teenager’s  AP Human Geography teacher wants her to take the AP exam because she is convinced that the Teenager will score a 5.  Do I think the teacher has the Teenager’s best interest at heart?  That is debatable.  The whole AP industry is about making money, and the schools and teachers collude with the testing service because success on paper translates to more education dollars for their schools and programs.  Truly top tier colleges are not going to give a damn that an applicant got a 4 or 5 in AP Human Geography, while the schools that may give brownie points would admit the Teenager anyway.  So . . . .  I backed out of the whole argument and let DH decide, and being a Dad, he gave in and wrote the check for $89 (!) for what we both agree is actually a rather useless test.  I think the Teenager will in fact do well on the exam, but as with her grades, I hope she does not take the result (whether “good” or “bad”) to heart and assign it greater meaning than it merits.

In the meantime, the lines of the day:

Me: Have you fed the dog?

TT:  No; I am having issues with her.

Me:  I have issues with you, but I always feed you anyway!

Red Chair Reads: The Rope of Fear

The Speckled Band, the Rope of Fear …  sheesh, why don’t these people just call the damned thing a snake?

In this story, a bank manager consults Scotland Yard (and unknown to him, Hamilton Cleek disguised as Mr. Headland, supposedly a colleague of Superintendent Maverick Narkom) after discovering the body of his most trusted guard, killed during the theft of a vast sum of money.  The only clue?  The guard manages these last words in the throes of death: “The rope — mind the Rope — the Rope of Fear — the Rope of Fear.”  That is an awful lot of words, when he could just as easily have said, “Snake up the trouser leg bit me.”  But then, what would be the fun of that lucid utterance?

I suppose “The Rope of Fear,” a short story by Mary E. and Thomas W. Hanshew (1857-1914), may be a homage of sort to Arthur Conan Doyle.  If so, it is so bad that it is actually entertaining — and that, of course, is why it is a Red Chair Read.  The Hanshews were responsible for the creation of Hamilton Cleek, “the man of the forty faces,” famous far and wide as the consultant detective to the mysteriously inept Scotland Yard.  He can assume any number of impenetrable disguises, indulge in death-defying derring-do, and sling slang with the best of the aristocrats.  What else do we need in our amateur detective?