Samosas and Lace

I’m in vegetarian foodie heaven.  I have three dishes of food from the Grit, an acclaimed Athens, Georgia, vegetarian restaurant.  I’ve been trying to get there for several days, but the area is very congested and I can’t park close enough.  My legs and back can’t manage a two-block walk just this minute.  Today my lovely daughter fulfilled her end of a bribe and picked up food for me:  sauteed tofu and veggies on rice, Indian samosas with the thinnest, flakiest crust, and a spelt cheese sandwich.  I haven’t tasted everything…I’ll savor it for the next two days.  Thank goodness there’s a frig in my room-don’t know if my daughter would make another Grit run. 


The taste of familiar food, cooked like home only better, makes me feel wonderful!  It is so satisfying.  I have no desire to overeat or abuse food like this.  I have to get a Grit cookbook.  They claim to divulge the secrets of all their well-known dishes.  I’d be happy for one or two.  I can put it right up there with my tofu quiche.  Speaking of quiche, my child announced today that she must buy some tofu so she can reproduce that.  I think I’m in mommy heaven, too.


The lace tee that I began about fourteen years ago (well, it seems that long!) is back in my hands, and I’ve worked out the obstacles that kept me knitting on the edge of disaster.  I can concentrate and confidently get through all the lace pattern without the odd mistake, and the growing front panel is beautiful.  By the time I start the front decreases I will have all the intrinsic feeling for this pattern, and recognize when I miscount a starting place for a pattern repeat.  Funny how it starts to be a visual recognition rather than a calculated one.  I’m not a visual person, but it does eventually get through. 


I’m beginning to look forward to returning home.  The body is getting there. 


Meanwhile, one big HOOORAY for the Obama-Biden ticket.   




A Lace-Ripping Vacation Dream

People who don’t knit often say “I could never learn.  I’m not patient enough.”  The standard knitterly reply is “Knitting will teach you patience.”  Lesson time!  Remember that lovely green lace I showed off last week (  Today I finished the straight part of the back and started the decreases which take place on either side, leading up to a point.  I was a few rows into the decreases, and had about 8 inches completed.  I noticed that I had two right sides.  Not good.  Actually, half of the “right side” of the knitting was on one side, and the other half was on the other side.  Somewhere in this processs I knitted two lace pattern rows without the intervening purl row.  I could see exactly where I went wrong, but I couldn’t just ravel it back to that row.  Lace is notoriously hard to pick up when you try to do that.  I had seen one lace knitter use temporary yarn to mark rows periodically, but I’d never asked how she did that, more’s the pity.  (I didn’t ask because I couldn’t see myself knitting lace any time soon.  Hah!)


Starting from the beginning is not so bad.  The pattern is familiar, mostly memorized now.  My speed with the classic lace moves has improved.  I’m sure I’ll get back that eight inches in half the time of the first attempt.  And I’ll know this time to make sure which side I’m knitting on.  No.  I am not posting a photo of the inch that’s on the needles right now.


I’ve been seeing a trip in my future.  Today I decided to make it happen.  I made a reservation, and in the not-too-distant future we’ll head for the Gulf Coast.  The house will be taken care of, the dog has a sitter, and I have a specific date to dangle in front of myself.  Sometimes a carrot helps me keep moving forward.  This particular carrot comes with sand and ocean air and new territory for exploring yarn stores.  A bit of peace. 


Yeah, peace. 



Knitting Lace on Father’s Day

Well, this was a day.  I’m watching Design Star.  It is the beginning of the season and I get to watch these people walk all over each other to make the hippest, chic-est, most elegant rooms (and yeah, those qualities may not co-exist well).  These are decorating features that I like:  thick carpets with no sculpting; hardwood floors; pewter; bronze; bright colour; walls full of paintings; uncluttered mantels (you might not be able to see this in my house, because one sister has loaded me up with dustable objects that she takes out of their hiding places and displays on my mantel when she visits); boxes, carved or rustic; musical instruments; bookshelves (lots); things that have more than one use; ottomans (no tacky covers); ceiling fans; living plants; high ceilings; and, of course, yarn.  I can list things all day.  The fact is, my home is not a magazine spread.  I have family members who dread coming over because there is evidence of my work and my play all over the place.  I don’t see the point in putting stuff away when you’re going to use it again tomorrow.  Unless it’s soy milk. 


I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the fact of Tim Russert’s death.  He has been such a prominent part of my political observation experiences that I can’t imagine the coming presidential election without him.  As a matter of fact, his absence gives me a shadowy sense of foreboding.  I am always concerned about how the media portrays candidates and their families, supporters and campaigns.  Russert could be relied upon for fairness and thoroughness, and there isn’t much of that these days.  His interview questions often reflected what I’d want to ask, but would never have the political savvy to frame properly.  I learned a lot about documentation from those videos, articles, and speech transcripts he would whip out and show to individuals who had long forgotten their previous words.  I’ve lived with the hope that people would be reasonable in evaluating statements that had some data behind them.  I may be wrong in that, but it gives me optimism that our citizenry could, given enough information, choose wisely.  Who is going to pull out those facts and talk about them in plain language now?


I am sorry for Tim Russert’s family.  It is wonderful that he had a close relationship with his child, and that his son can go on with happy memories.  If my parents had died as soon as I graduated from college, there would have been so much hurt and unfinished business that I would still be in daily therapy.  I am grateful for the extra time, and the repaired relationship. 


I knitted another round of lace today.  I love the top I’m making.  I’d kinda like to go into a retreat for a few days and just knit and ignore the world.  That is why hotels exist, right?  I am months overdue in making that reservation. 


Father’s Day dinner was okay.  No catastrophes, good food, one or two stunts by people who shall remain unnamed.  Anybody who says I kicked my leg up higher than the table to show off my Sunday Crocs is just being mean-spirited.  (Yes, I had on long pants!)  As usual, we were the loudest people in the room.  It’s just hard to laugh quietly and really mean it. 


Hope your Father’s Day was good, whether you were celebrating or remembering. 




Bamboo, Lace and World Wide Knit in Public Day

Well, I’ve had an interesting weekend.  To say the least.  Wait, let me adjust the tv.  The fierce Chinese story I was watching ended and Dying Young (Julia Roberts in huge hair) had started.  Too distracting to be my writing background.

Okay.  All the extra folks are gone from the house.  We had the family of my graduate (three) and my son, who slipped into town and met us at graduation.  The couches were all occupied, but we didn’t reach the sleeping-bags-on-the-floor stage.  I cooked some and cleaned a little, but didn’t feel especially put out by chores.  My son did his usual whirlwind of errands and tasks, insisting on finding a recycle center open on Sunday and hauling our giant load of  paper, aluminum and cardboard.  (If anyone has had success with one of those catalog control sites, please let me know.  I have tried to no avail.)


Among the “extras” was the most charming 11 year-old I’ve met in a long time.  She was quiet-spoken but not at all shy.  She sat next to me at graduation and watched me knit with curiosity, asking questions.  When we were back home, I picked a ball of yarn and some needles and started her knitting.  She learned in about three seconds and worked on the beginning of a scarf for more than an hour.  She was comfortable knitting by herself, but could immediately see her minor mistakes and would bring them to me to correct.  When she gets home, she’s going to a class (Mom promised).  The knitting isn’t the only thing.  At 11 she’s going into 7th grade.  She hijacked my computer to look at my store, then to search Etsy for other interesting things.  Every time an unfamiliar name came across her screen, she jumped to Google it.  Her interest and persistance were far beyond her age.


This morning I checked out my skin in the mirror.  I’ve learned that it’s a necessary part of my care, with all the immunosuppressive medications.  I found a red spot the size of a dime under one arm.  Underneath, a tender lump, the start of a boil.  I started antibiotics right away.  I’ve learned that infections behave much more aggressively in these circumstances; if I waited a day, I would awaken with a fully developed, tender, fluctuant nodule.  No thanks. 


Two days ago I discovered that World Wide Knit in Public (WWKIP) Day is fast approaching:  Saturday, June 14.  Events where knitters can get together, called “KIPs”, are being planned all over the world.  There is a website where you can look up the KIPs in your area ( ) and see what kinds of celebrations are planned.  Our nearest KIP is 30 miles away in Dalton, Georgia.  That’ll never do, so we started discussion in knitting group to plan our own.  Stay tuned.  There will be public knitting in Chattanooga on the appointed day. 


So, back to knitting.  I finished both baby blankets this weekend and will show them tomorrow, if the thunder and lightning is gone.  I love them both; I’d wrap my own kid in either of these blankets, if she wasn’t 20.  Today my daughter reminded me that she loved the Leaf Kimono Top in the latest issue of Interweave Knits.  We found the pattern and I made a brief search through my stash.  We settled on a lovely shade of seagreen Bamboo by Southwest Trading Company.  It’s a discontinued colour but I have at least seven skeins, purchased in a great sale.  It will be almost the same colour as the sample in the magazine photo.  I have swatched.  Tomorrow, the cast-on.  I was going to make my wide scarf my first lace project, but this is a pattern that will knit up easily and be a nice introduction, not to mention making a certain young woman happy.