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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Happy 250th Birthday Mozart!

Enjoying my public radio’s tribute to my favorite composer this afternoon…I only wish I didn’t have to work, as I’d be drinking Earl Gray and knitting through it all…

For those who don’t realize it - tomorrow and Sunday are the Star City Cat Fanciers Show in Roanoke! If you’re nearby, stop and see me - I’ll be in the vendor section with Nana Sadie Rose bags!

Oh, and today is also the one year blogiversary for Knitnana!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

To Frog or Not to Frog?

When do you decide to frog? When do you decide to leave an error as is and continue on…

In the past several days, I’ve frogged more than in many months of knitting. Last summer, knitting the first lace shawl, in my online class, I frogged constantly. But since completing that, I tend to tink, stitch-by-stitch back to whatever error.

I think that when I ripped out the second lifeline in the lace shawl by too-forceful frogging I became just a tad skittish.

Three weeks ago, I began an on-line socks class, learning to knit socks toe-up (Mind you I’ve never knit socks before in any manner). I’ve frogged that sock 4 times. I’m hoping not to again. And today, into the 3rd repeat of 12 rows per repeat on the Traveling Vines Lace Scarf, I realized I’d failed to knit the 6 set-up rows. This is my second time knitting this scarf. The yarn I picked for it the first time was a wool sock yarn with acrylic. Lace and acrylic don’t mix. I learned that with the first lace shawl (the hard way).

In the second lace shawl, my beloved Queen of Hearts, I didn’t catch a major flaw in the knitting until it was blocking. I did not frog and reknit - it was more than half way down the width of the shawl and I would never have recovered emotionally. The “broken hearts” on one row of the Queen of Hearts shawl is a loving reminder of my own mended heart and imperfection.

Because this is such a lovely yarn that I’m using for the Traveling Vines Scarf (my prize from Wendy’s birthday contest), I decided I needed to do the pattern right this second time I cast on for it. So this time, I frogged it because I truly was seeking perfection in the lace.

I have always been a perfectionist. I consider that I still am. January is that month when all my perfectionist tendencies come tumbling forth: as an accountant there are many payroll-related tasks that make my perfectionism a gift to any employer or client I have. Then I usually have a large show where my “perfect” totes and bags are showcased. And of course, there is the New Year, the “perfect” time to set up goals to be “perfect!”

So what is it in me that makes me decide to frog or not?

Because it’s not just that I want my work to be perfect - I want the Navajo way of allowing a mistake in my craft so my soul can leave the work to become second nature now. But one mistake is not missing 6 set-up rows. One mistake is not having multiple holes along the reverse short rows of the toe of a sock.

For that matter one mistake on a W-2 is one too many - and the IRS would agree, as would SSA.

So maybe my knitting is like my accounting work. I can have an error in the
minor stuff, things that can be easily corrected without a major fuss, or that “a blind man on a galloping horse” won’t see (to quote friend Jane). But like the W-2’s, my lace knitting has to be as close to perfect as possible now. This is too big a deal to screw up. Yes the IRS will let me file a corrected W-2. And that blind man (like this partially blind knitter) may miss an odd little error in the lace.

But in art, which my lace is, I must reach for the unattainable: Perfection.

I’ll frog.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Welcome New Year!

While 2005 was a truly amazing year for me, I always look forward to beginning anew, to new plans, new goals, new projects! A new year is always exciting to me, even tho’ I do not make resolutions, I make PLANS.

Today, I’m sitting here as I write, with a new coffee mug showing a pile of hysterical kitties called “Caterpillar,” a Christmas gift from my niece who actually asked for help with learning to knit! Do you know what that did to this crafty aunt’s heart? Here is an important plan for me in 2006…to be available to help her learn this craft that has become a lifelong love affair of mine.

Then another treasure of the moment is the delight of laughter - the cat mug for one, and Yarn Harlot’s book, both of which were gifts this year. I’m savoring the book, an essay at a time, laughing till the tears pour down my face. What a gem! And this teaches me I must plan for much laughter in 2006.

My other plans for next year? You’ll see a new bag join those already available on Nana Sadie Rose, designed especially for teachers. There will also be a special offer on Heart-themed bags during Heart Month with a portion of the retail price going to WomenHeart. Then a new concept here at Nana Sadie Rose, the private party (similar to those home parties we enjoyed so much a few years ago) which is the brainstorm of my sister (one of my best customers!).

Of course, I’ll be at the Star City Cat Fancy Shows in January and July as well…and probably a few others during the year, so keep checking the website calendar, and stop by if you can. I’d love to meet you in person! And don’t forget, you can order your own custom made Nana Sadie Rose bag here, too.

So those are just some of my plans…But as to knitting? Shawls and Lace. Socks! I’ve only just learned to “knit while holding a porcupine,” and now it’s time to learn to knit socks. Whether that becomes a fascination of mine is yet to be determined, but I certainly adore the yarn, which is a first major step in becoming a compulsion!

Will I break down and move to cobweb weight yarn to knit a lace shawl? Or stop at lace weight? I haven’t decided. “You must do the thing you think you cannot do,” Eleanor Roosevelt said, and I try very hard to remember that when fear creeps in…Am I afraid of cobweb weight yarn? - umm, yes. And teensy needles, too.

There are other plans, too. To nurture and grow a relationship from years past, newly reborn. To nurture two grandsons and a daughter. To be a source of strength and support to family and friends (emulating a generation of women friends and family who came before me and have been such special role models). To continue my “day job” with as much devotion as the lady boss who leads us (blessings upon her, she is a treasure, and a good friend, too!). To continue to develop my personal spirituality of which craft is such an enormous part. To try to live in healthy balance of activity and repose. And to continue to write, here and on Knitnana about the various aspects of my knitting and crafting life.

My wish for everyone in 2006? That we may all learn to listen and understand each other, to work hard to develop patience, and to strive to live in peace with our neighbors on this earth. Agitation incites stress, so may I suggest that you pick up sticks and string and join us in counting stitches? Stress will fall away, the cares of the day will, too. And the work of your hands will warm you and whomever you pass your product on to. Happy New Year!