Monday, February 13, 2012

lace knitting as therapy

Well, the shawl bug has definitely bitten again. I made one last week and I've started another.

First, Evelyn Clark's shetland triangle. Super easy-peasy pattern to work, though I managed to screw it up because I was watching television - that's where hubris gets ya. "Oh, it's so simple I can watch TV while I knit it!" Hahaha...tink.

This is without flash and it's the best I could do. I think my camera needs batteries. 

Here I used the flash so the pattern shows up better. However, you can see many, many, many versions of this shawl on Ravelry. Nearly 4000 of them! 

Mine was knit from about 1 and 2/3 skeins of Knitpicks gloss yarn (fingering weight). Last spring I made the flower basket shawl using this same yarn in a different colorway. This color might be called cocoa, but then again, it might not. It's been marinating in stash since Christmas 2007 after all, so this colorway may not even exist anymore. Like the yarn from the other shawl, this was part of a sock sampler kit, and again I thought there was a better use of wool/silk blend yarn than getting all pilly on my feet as a pair of socks. The silk content makes this yarn so interesting to knit with because it's almost crunchy. But it's still quite soft. Then, once washed and blocked, that crunchiness goes away and it's just drapey and lovely. 

I used a US 6 needle to knit this shawl, which is my favorite for fingering weight. Right now I'm enjoying making lace from fingering weight yarns, as I like the look of more "filled-in" stitches, rather than the really open look you get with lace weight.

The minute I had the brown one pinned out to block, I went searching on Ravelry for the next pattern. Sure, I could use one of the twelve-bazillion books I own, but no. I knew I had some fingering weight wool hanging around from nearly 10 years ago that I really wanted to use, so I searched for shawl patterns by weight and yardage required. 

Again, Evelyn Clark came through for me. The two balls of Nordic Blue Nature Spun fingering weight that I bought for $2 apiece in 2003 are just right for the swallowtail lace shawl. (Look at all the pretty F.O.s - nearly 10,000 of them!)

It's so addictive to knit these triangles. I finish and block them, admire them, and then fold them away in my cedar chest because I have no use for a lace shawl at this stage of my life. But they are just such an enjoyable knit for me. 

But wait, what's that you say? The last time I went on a lace-knitting bender it's because I was super duper stressed out and the obnoxiously detailed patterns kept my mind occupied so I didn't panic over life stuff? Ah yes, it was true then and it is true now. My son's speech therapist informed me that she was given the date for his annual CPSE meeting (committee on preschool special education) and it is in May. Our dear, darling therapist who I love is having a baby right then and will likely be unable to attend. Not cool! Also, we have to make some decisions about what to do regarding preschool and then kindergarten for AJ. 

My sweet boy will be turning 4 in September and is therefore eligible for Universal Pre-K, which would be 5 days/week at no cost to us (it is through the school district). He could continue to receive therapy services through UPK and/or, I think, in our home. (I want some sessions done when and where I can observe them.) The problem is his speech deficit is still such that we don't dare send him out on his own yet. 

Also, while of average height, he is a lightweight and looks younger than some of his peers. If he went to pre-K this fall he would be with kids who are turning 4 right now...some of them would be up to 8 months older than AJ. So we're discussing keeping him out of UPK this fall and sending him to a program on our own a couple mornings a week, then maybe three mornings a week for the second half of the year if it goes well. He would then go to a full pre-K program at age 5 the following year, and start kindergarten at 6. 

Everyone I've asked says this is The Best Idea Ever, even for boys who have no delays or problems but who just have late birthdays. It's what we're leaning toward right now...I think it would be best for him to have some extra time. After all, he spent the first 18 months of his life just learning how to eat. How can we expect him to be ready for everything all at once just because the calendar says he should be?

When we have the CPSE meeting I know they will ask what I am doing for his socialization needs, which up until now has been basically nothing. We have therapy at home 5 mornings a week. It doesn't leave much time for anything else. But our library does have story hour that we can get to, so I bit the bullet and signed up. We went today and he hated it, but we got through it and he will learn to sit still and listen, and to participate with the other kids. He will. It doesn't help that my social anxiety ratchets up to about a hundred in these situations...anyone remember my problem with Daughter's playgroup years ago?

So yeah, I'll just be here obsessively knitting lace shawls to keep my brain from eating itself and to squelch the panic and anxiety that keep creeping up. At least in the end I've made something pretty.

Monday, February 06, 2012

filling my cup

Yesterday my friend and I ran away. Thelma and Louise! Hahaha. Sadly, no Brad Pitt in the back seat.

We went over the border to the nearest Ikea, in Burlington, Ontario...yes, that's Canada. We have no Ikea where I live.

I KNOW, right? No Ikea. Tragic.

Also not located in Buffalo: Trader Joe's, Crate & Barrel, and Costco.

Until recently there was no Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters but now at least we have those. I actually got to go into Anthropologie for the first time ever on Saturday night, as Hubs and I dropped the kids off with Grandma and went on a little date. (Our date consisted of: getting our taxes prepared, getting the car washed, walking around the mall, going to Five Guys for a burger, and stopping by the grocery store. HOT.)

Anyway, I can see why everyone raves about Anthropologie so much. What a beautiful store. The clothes don't do that much for me, but the "doo-dads" knocked my socks off. I'm a sucker for beautiful and functional items and they did not disappoint...from the dishes to the lovely measuring cups/spoons, latte bowls, and wee butter dishes meant to hold a half-stick. Thank heavens Hubs was there to stop me or I'd surely have bought one of those. I can definitely see myself heading there for unique gifts for friends and family (and, maybe, occasionally something for me).

So that was that, and then on Sunday morning my friend picked me up bright and early, we hit the Starbucks drive-thru, and headed for the border with passports and shopping lists in hand. The American dollar is at par with the Canadian dollar right now so the prices were what they were, no exchange rate math necessary. We had so much fun combing the store top to bottom. Again, it was the "doo-dads" that got me the most. I just loooooooved browsing around all the kitchen wares and kid stuff.

You can bring back $200 worth of stuff duty-free but we were good and didn't spend nearly that much. I got a bunch of kitchen items and this duvet cover/sham set for AJ's new big-boy bed, which should be here in a few days:

So cute! I'm excited to change his room over from baby to little boy. 

It was also really nice to have a grown-up lunch with my friend and talk with no interruptions from small children. I got Eggs Benedict. It was awesome.

Now my house is a hot mess, and I can't seem to gather my thoughts for the week ahead, but at least I had a really relaxing and fun day. I simply must do that more often. It's unhealthy to neglect myself, I get that now (finally, after nearly 7 years of parenting).

As for craftiness...I'm a hot mess there too. Jumping around from project to project, unable to focus. No one really needs anything made at the moment, so it's all self-indulgent knitting. Too cold to sit at the sewing machine. It's all curl-up-under-a-blanket crafting right now.

Rainbow socks!

And the shawl bug bit. This is an easy one, which I can work on while waiting for Daughter at swimming lessons. More to come.