Posts Tagged ‘Her Grandmother Used to Knit’

I’ve started reading again

I’m currently reading Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things.  I was wondering whether one of the poems in that might work for the young man I was tutoring yesterday, if I should have him again next week (I volunteer), as he should probably be working on summarizing and pulling the ‘main idea’ out of a work.  I might try it, if he’s a comic book fan and has at least heard of Sandman.

Not that I think Gaiman’s inaccessible, but I don’t want to miss the mark completely.  Many of these students are (or claim to be) as ignorant of pop culture as they are of what I would view as the educational staples.  A poem about alien invasions, zombies, genies and multiple apocapolishould be fun, but I can see (intellectually at least)  how it might not work for everyone.

But this got my brain hopping again.  I once heard someone say that Sandman was the first sympathetic portrayal of Death personified.  Easily dismissed, as Sandman began it’s run in 1988, and Death didn’t even show up until the next year. Terry Pratchett’s Colour of Magic came out in 1983.  Although DEATH is f nowhere near as cute and cuddly as Death, he’s clearly a nice enough guy.  Incidentally, Alan Dean Foster’s On a Pale Horse also came out in 1983.  His Death is much more accessible than Pratchett, as well as being the protagonist, I would even admit that he’s a nice enough guy, but I really like DEATH as a character.

Peter S. Beagle came in years before that, in 1963, with his short story “Come, Lady Death“.  As always, I can’t say enough good things about Peter S. Beagle.  Gaiman is the only author who comes close to creating dreamy worlds rich with humor and love.  Going back to 1962, there’s the Twilight Zone episode  “Nothing in the Dark” where an old woman locked herself into her house, hiding from Death personified.  It turned out he was a really nice guy, (a very young, golden haired Robert Redford) and she needn’t have been afraid.  Both these stories affected me deeply as a child, and I think in a positive way.

I’d have to track it down to be sure, but I seem to recall that Death Takes a Holiday also provided us with  pretty sympathetic portrayal back in 1934. Earlier than that?   I think there’s a story or two where a personified death is referred to as ‘old friend’, but I can’t recall any in particular.

Of course, the original remark may have been intended to refer to death in comic books only, but that seems to be a pretty ticky-tack differentiation.  They’re all pop culture images, and I can’t imagine a world where books, films, TV and comics don’t all borrow from each other.

Actual Knitting Content

I publicly declared the baby blanket “the most boring project I’ve ever worked on”, then finished the second set of squares in the doubleknit section and have decided it’s not boring anymore.  Also, a woman in a waiting room asked what happened to the Les Miserables shawl which I put on hold, so not only am I kipping along but people pay attention, which is kind of cool.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I entered the Knitbot Essentials giveaway from Quince and Co (April 20), Phat Fibers Sunrise Sparkle Lace giveaway (April 23) and Lantium Ex Machina’s Hypocrite Sock Yarn giveaway (April 22)

I didn’t win According to Matt’s Y.A.R.N. giveaway, or the Color Guys giveaway.  The Lionbrand Meaningful Handmade Gift Contest ends April 29th (not the 16th).

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I took a few pictures of the family Easter celebration.  Here are the ones whose subjects did not object to being posted online.  These two were at M-i-L’s house

Poor Walter was traumatized by S-i-L and B-i-L’s puppy Ernest Jackson (who didn’t really pose for any pictures himself).

Adlai on the other hand, was totally at ease.


At home the situation was much more settled.

The holidays were very nice.  The oldest came home from college to get in on the baking and egg dying.  My mother declined to host the Sedar this year, but youngest and M-i-L went to B-i-L’s parents for theirs, and the girls went to M-i-L’s Easter service (hubby and I were supposed to go, but it didn’t work out that way – maybe next year).

In Other Blogs

Stacey reviewed the Knook (crochet hook for knitting), which I’ve been mildly curious about for a while.

I Love My Ott!

I got this little baby when I ordered my  Amigurumi Knits book.    It seems almost overpowering, doesn’t it? It’s not actually that bright (and I don’t set it down on what I’m working on anyway). It has a little bank of LEDs which give a great quality of light.  I really like how it brings out colors.  I like to bring it with me on yarn buying trips, so I can really see what I’m getting (the other option being to take the yarn up to the front of the store and look at it in actual daylight).

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win Techno Hookers copy of  “Custom Crocheted Sweaters“, but I did enter Sandra Singh’s Spring Maple Shawl Kit giveaway (drawing 21 April), and the Yarn Exploder’s drawing for Vampire Stitch Markers from Decor Noir  (end of April)


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I am an Election Judge

Twice every two years, I spend a day at the polls, helping my fellow citizens to do their part to ensure the continuation of democracy.  Yesterday I acted as a ‘check in’ judge in Maryland’s primary elections.  It makes for a very long day.  I got in at six in the morning, the polls opened at seven and closed at eight, and verification of results and integrity, and clean up, were finally finished at nine.

Mind you, this was for the primaries.  In an overwhelmingly Democratic district.  A district which encourages early voting and mail in voting.  We handled 316 voters all day.

As you can imagine, I got a lot of knitting done.  A lot of reading as well (a book of Neil Gaiman short stories I got for my birthday) and catching up with my fellow judges, most of whom have worked this precinct for three or four cycles at least. The elderly couple who said last cycle was their last was back.  They seem to be doing better health wise, and Maryland always needs more Republican judges.  The young lady with the thing for pink – she got married over the summer.

It’s always interesting.  This year was particularly so, because the elementary school we were using is in the midst of rather extreme renovations. We asked the construction workers to take down the bar between the double doors to make sure that we were wheelchair accessible (they put it up again when we closed the polls).  I didn’t even know they could do that.  The woman who suddenly decided that she had changed her party affiliation a week ago but ‘it hadn’t gone through’ because she wanted to vote in the Republican primary was given a provisional ballot.  If they find her ‘lost’ paperwork I’m sure it will get counted, otherwise, probably not.  There was also a Republican who was bothered that we didn’t ask for his identification.  I explained that we had never had a case of two people claiming to be the same voter at this precinct, and he seemed surprised.  We agreed that Marylanders ‘are just better’.  Seriously, half the precinct goes to church with the ‘Queen Bee’  judge, and most of the rest were neighbors of one of the other judges.

People’s reactions to me knitting were interesting, and universally positive.   The Provisional judge (who handled the last-minute Republican) had an ‘oh, yea, I should have brought mine!’ reaction (she made a lot of headway through her murder mystery though).  One of the judges from the other precinct which meets in the school brought a project as well.  One voter told me his wife has just learned, and that he thought there was something addictive about it (I agreed).  Only one voter confused the knitting with crochet.  I told the story of why I was knitting the blanket a couple of times, and got to explain the process of double knitting a few times as well.  Dozens of compliments on the colors and the piece as a whole.  Did wonders to my ego.

Anyway, we locked up around 9.  I thought I’d be ‘clever’ and cut across the dimly lit maze of ‘portables’ which surround the school to get to the parking lot where my car was (we’d moved them so that voters had easier access).  By the time I got home it was nearly ten.  A long day indeed.

FO Highlight

Mom loves her mantis (I knew she would).  Now we just have to hope it doesn’t become a very complicated cat-toy…

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Simply Sockupied giveaway or the iMake Toft’s Pattern Book giveaway. I entered a poem in According to Matt’s Y.A.R.N giveaway (April 15).

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Some friends are expecting their first baby this spring.  I had already made a baby hat, but haven’t given it to them yet.  My husband heard the mother-to-be talking about a handknit baby blanket which her grandmother made years ago, and how much she wished she had more like it (with a lament about how people don’t ‘do that anymore’ I believe) he made a point of steering my knitting in that direction.  Since I’ve just finished the Mantis it was time to buy yarn anyway, so that’s the next project.


I rarely work the same pattern more than once, but on occasion I come back to something.  I’ve crochetted two or three of Betty Saxon and Luana Nelson’s Dragon, all but one pre-ravelry days. I will quite possibly come back this critter. (I think my Mother-in-Law might need one).

I made Knitty’s version of the Hoover Blanket, doll sized, two and a half years ago, using Lion Brand Homespun.  It was a doll blanket for my niece.  I liked it, but didn’t find it particularly interesting to knit, and I wasn’t happy with the yarn choice.  Homespun is a fun yarn.  I love the softness, the interest, and the price, but it’s a bit overwhelming for some projects.

So it’s the Hoover again. This time in sport weight yarn, in baby-pale colors.

I got a gauge of 22 st/4″, so I cast on 121.  17st for the border left 87 to double knit.  I opted for three blocks of 29 stitches, which I will pattern in various pastel ways.  Five rows of blocks ought to do it, I think.   We’ll see how fast I can work this baby up…

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Bernat Mosaic giveaway.  That’s OK, because I entered the Knit a While giveaway for “Knitting With the Color Guys” by Kaffe Fasset (deadline April 6), and the Lion Brand ‘most meaningful handmade gift‘ contest (April 16)

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