Monday, September 17, 2012

Cluster F&%k

I'm working on a really pretty piece of knitting.  The pattern is amazing, the yarn is beyond gorgeous and I am having such fun just tootling along on it.

Until row 58.

Suffice it to say that row 58 can suck it.  Big time.  In the very middle of the row the instructions say this:

Purl 7 together leaving them on the needle.
Yarn over and then purl the same 7 together again.
Repeat this 3 times.

Do you have any idea how effing hard that is!!!!!!!!!!

Earlier I had emailed the designer to ask her if the cluster was part of the engineering of the lace pattern or if it was there just to be pretty.   It was really a curiosity--not my inner child screaming please don't make me do this!!   She very kindly answered quickly that it was just for show and I could skip it if I wanted to.  Please note that I say she said it "kindly".  Not sarcastically or smarmily.

My answer to that was "oh yeah--IT'S BEEN BROUGHT".  There was no way I wasn't doing the stupid cluster now.

At this time, I would like to share with you the email that I sent to the group for this project::

So I tried the cluster. And then I tried it again. And again. And again. I was starting to feel like Liz Taylor going back to Richard Burton even though I knew it wasn't going to work but I kept on trying.

Then I got a really small needle and a really small crochet hook and I actually succeeded in creating a cluster. And it was so tight the yarn was actually screaming! Tight like my Aunt Geraldine at an afternoon wedding. Tight like Jordache jeans in 1983. Tight like Richard Burton that last time he married Liz.

So I ripped it out. And I swore. The nicest thing I said was "motherless whore". I won't get into where it went from there because it's pretty embarrassing. Brian actually took the knitting away from me and sent me to bed with a glass of wine and a cheap mystery novel.

I avoided my knitting this morning. I actually vacuumed instead of knitting. I went to work and pretended that it wasn't sitting at home mocking me. By the way, at this point I would like to thank all of you who posted pictures of your gorgeously and perfectly executed clusters. I have now forgiven all of you for your fabulous talents but last night I was googling all of you and planning out a road trip that involved a serious set of double point needles and a producer from "48 Hours". I had murder on my mind and fire in my eyes and not a single one of you were safe.

Until I realized that I could totally reverse engineer the whole thing. I got a darning needle and Brian's big yellow work light and did the whole cluster backwards and it worked like a charm. Took a minute to get my groove on while I was doing it and I had to apologize for barking at Brian "can you please shut up because I think it's really obvious that I am purling 7 stitches together backwards to make this cluster stitch and I can't do it if you keep talking to me and by the way talking with your hands right in front of the huge bright light that I brought over to help me with this is also really not helping because the fact that you can make a shadow puppet of a bunny rabbit talking to a chicken does not help me get all these stitches to do what I want to without calling them a motherless whore yet again".

Yeah--it was that kind of fun.  And I had to do the little bastard again on row 78.

Which actually worked out just fine because I used my totally cock-a-mamie backwards method and I loved it.

First I put the 7 stitches on a smaller double point.

Yes my double point is a little bit bent.  I occasionally have the claw of death when I'm trying to fiddle with something and I have no problem forcing my will on my needles.

Then take the working yarn and thread a loop through the eye of a blunt darning needle.

Instead of bringing the working knitting needle to the yarn, I brought the yarn to the working needle.  Slide the darner along the stitches on the double point and place the loop onto your working needle.  Yarn over and do it again and SHAZAAM!!!  before you know it you have a pretty little cluster.

P.S.  I know my photos suck but the light wasn't good and it been sitting around waiting to be photographed for so long that I finally just sucked it up and did the best my little camera could do.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I woke up this morning thinking of this poem.  It's my favorite poem because it speaks so beautifully of loss.  And yet, it makes me always covet, rather than mourn, the things that are gone.  And it always makes me remember the things that others are still experiencing that have become a part of my past. I find a deep and profound beauty in seeing someone experience magic while knowing that eventually it will become mundane.

So today, I decided that I just wanted normal back.   Whatever that means.  I was going to reclaim my past.

This is my normal.

We get up very early in the morning.  Actually, I should rephrase that--I get up very early in the morning.  And then I spend a half an hour waking my sweetie up.  And he bitches about it.  And that's just fine because it's our normal morning.

We stop at the corner store and he runs in and gets a bagel or a sandwich or a roll.  It doesn't really matter.  Suddenly the car smells like coffee and the man in the seat next to me gives me bites while I drive.

Driving at dawn here in the Y.O. will take your breath away.  You come over the tops of really high hills only to be greeted by the most amazing dawn light that you've ever seen.  This time of year it is golden (it will turn bluer and bluer until we reach the deepest of winter) and it takes my breathe away. 

We shoot down the east side of Manhattan.  I have the alarms on my phone set to make sure that we are on time.  From 106th Street to the job site is (at the most) 12 minutes.  I do that math.  I count the minutes to make sure we are on time. 

Around 6:20 the phone starts to ring and I start calling people into work. Brian helps. He answers the phone and he calls people back and he is just terrific. 

Just past 15th Street there is a hill in the right lane and if you hit it just right and you go fast enough it's like a roller coaster.  I hit it just right and give a very quiet "woo hoo".  Brian always laughs a little bit at me when I do it but I think he likes it.

I drop him off at the job and I always check to be sure that the two grey haired guys (turns out they are ceiling guys) are still standing outside drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.  If they are there, then we are on time.  This morning, the younger one had gotten a hair cut.

And then I turn around and go home.

The sun is always blinding by now and the traffic gets thicker and thicker but it's all on the other side of the FDR so I breeze up the river.  I try to ride in the right line so it feels a little bit like I'm in a boat.

Over the Willis Avenue Bridge and there is this stunningly beautiful billboard.  In all shades of orange it says "GRATITUDE". 
 And I started crying.

I didn't cry a lot.  I got home and did my little bits of housework and took a shower and left for work.  I had the car radio on and was listening to the news and the children's choir start singing the national anthem and I lost it.

I'm a sucker for the national anthem (actually--any national anthem--it doesn't have to be ours) on a good day.  But, man, if you give me children singing like angels on September 11th you might as well just kick me in the shins.  I was weeping.

I tidied up, got to work, and did my morning check.  And the Yarn Harlot had this.    Scroll down to the entry about the wedding flash mob.  Remember John? The guy who died?  He loved a flash mob.  So I lost it again. 

My day that was supposed to be about normal had beaten me down and become all about loss and grief.  Turns out that I don't actually have as much control as I think I have. 

I always really hate a column or blog post that ends with some sort of pithy phrase so please accept my apologies now.

I'm still trying that figure out what the gratitude sign wanted me to do.  I think I know but I do wish that it given me more specific instructions.