When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The heart of the difference is not ability or even talent, but desire

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

What's knitting

As I said earlier, I am mostly on re-do frenzy. So, this picture-filled post is to show my latest work, from Christmas time until February 1st. That's it, no deep contemplation, no training miracles, no travel (or its plans), and surely no political ruminations. Just knits.

This cardigan is knitted from Alpaca wool purchased during one of the first trips to Front Range CO in Longmont a few years back. I always wanted to re-make the sleeves as they came out too long and wide, so I finally got to it. Not much changing, but what a difference.

My second sweater for Larry from the Alpaca Twist bought in Beaverton yarn store, OR, got shrunk in length yet stretched in neck. Just before our Christmas trip to Oklahoma I unwound it all (!!) to ground zero, added a thin grey wool thread brought from Russia for added resistance to stretch, and introduced grey wool of Iceland origin (from Dublin Yarns in Portland) to spice it up and make a bit longer. It is surely plenty warm now! And a v-neck line should stay put for years.

A fun blend of alpaca/cashmere/silk from Colorado Spring's Entwine store dash made in July of 2015 was quickly assembled into a very simple sweater. But the yarn was so thin and fragile, I kept catching corners and pulling thread. Finally, I got this one down to nothing, added a lacy-thin wool thread yarn from Soviet times my sister gave me, and came up with a new pattern too. Also, shortened sleeves allow me to wear it to work (I need naked elbows).

This is a 50% yak wool/50% merino, and the yarn - 2 of each colors - was purchased at various stores, last one at Gauge in Austin on the day I learned about my dad's cancer. I made a dress because it seemed fun to make, and I wore it a few times, however, living in TX does not provide for many opportunities to utilize it. So, this one went to nothing as well, and I also added a ball of brown camel mixed wool from Tulsa to complete a cardigan I can quickly throw on for a somewhat chilled mornings, and easily take off as the temperatures warm up. I am satisfied.


Of course, despite "quitting" beanies knitting business, I managed to use-up some yarns for these fun hats. One is gifted to a co-worker, one is waiting its turn.

I said previously that my MIL asked me to knit a poncho for her, and this was the most exciting validation of my work. Everybody can praise, not everybody shows that they like it by wearing it. I was thrilled to work on it, and Belinda loved it!

Of course, I often ask myself - and many ask me - why do I work with wool so much if I do, indeed, live in TX for the time being. Yes, I have enough sweaters to move to Colorado, and while I do my best to give each a "whirl" at least once a year, I recognize the weirdness of those projects. However, if one held in their hands a good quality of wool yarns, was introduced to variety of them from all kind of animals and with all kinds of add-on's, and tried to knit with amazing bamboo needles, moving hands like threading soft butter, one would understand. Therefore, as my yarn collection is moving along swiftly, a couple more projects in the making. One that I take to work as it is an easy long vest for a friend's birthday from linen/silk yarn, and one for home pleasure, when I spend my mornings in a sun-lit back room, playing with wool. This particular one was re-made 4 times as soon as started, as I carefully tried different yarn combinations in style and colors. I am in the midst of knitting, but here are the yarn jumps, where white was replaced with blue then green and finally fancy soft grey with a hint of brown. :)
And just when I think I need a break from knitting (do I ever???), I turn my attention to cross-stitching, a hobby I was addicted to a long time ago as much as knitting, made a number of framed works (most of which went as gifts, and only two included below the new work stayed with me throughout the years) and gave up shortly after moving to TX (my last work was a gift to Belinda, my mother-in-law, on our first meeting back in 2009, how appropriate). Anyway, I am trying my hand back at it, little by little.
And just to bore you to the bones, I also managed to finish two huge books on Russian history - written by American writers, and may I add written absolutely astonishingly fantastically. I love my mother-land more than I ever thought I could, and I also recognize things in our/my heritage to the roots now, not to mention I am even prouder to be of Russian blood (which, I hope, confirms fully soon enough by those genetic labs sprawling around lately). I had spent a lot of time thinking about my birth home and came up with explanation why here people are not as proud - they are proud to be Americans as a society but not as people of the land. That is left (and all that's left) to Native Americans, and somehow I realized I can relate. We, Russians, the real ones, are proud of our LAND. Our society changed hundreds of times in over a thousand years the country had existed as a name, we had been under random powers of foreigners, from wars to just "absorbing their ways", yet the people, the land - had always stayed Russian. I hope it does for all the times ahead. As Tchaikovsky was known to say once: "I passionately love Russia, the Russian language, the Russian way of thinking, the Russian facial beauty, Russian customs..."

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