Saturday, May 30, 2009
Tomorrow I head off on an adventure of sorts: after many failed summer plans I decided on a whim to take off to BC for a few weeks. I'll be at Joybilee Farms exchanging my labor for a place to stay, and hopefully some lessons in spinning, weaving, homesteading, animal rearing, and whatever else I can get my hands on. Joybilee is a fiber arts farm, run by a husband and wife team who rear their own fiber-bearing animals, spin the fleece, and dye their yarn using natural methods. They also do some other nifty things like making their own cheese and goat's milk soap. I've been wanting to learn how to spin for quite some time now, so hopefully this will be a good chance to get a firsthand look at how it's done. I also have a pipe dream of moving somewhere out in the country and having my own hobby farm with fiber animals and dogs and vegetables... for now I'll just escape to my dream life temporarily:)
Not much knitting has been going on here lately. The gathered pullover now has a sleeve, but I'll admit to being a bit bored by all the endless stockinette. For the trip, I'm taking along a mystery project (it's a gift, so I'll add a Ravelry link later).
I'll be back in three weeks, hopefully with lots of pictures and stories. Here's hoping to get a healthy dose of dirt, animals, fresh air and sun before returning to the sterility and order of the hospital!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Pacific Northwest Shawl By Evelyn A. Clark. Yarn: Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk
This shawl has sentimental value to me for several reasons. I first saw the pattern knit up by one of my college peers as a sample at WEBS. It was one of the most stunning things I had ever seen (having not had much exposure to lace), and on my last visit to Northampton a few years ago, I picked up the yarn and the pattern to make the shawl. This was to be a long-term project, and was my first go at anything beyond a simple lace pattern. However, in the year that followed I couldn't find a good reason to cast on, as I didn't know the right person to fit the shawl.
And then I met her: a bold, striking, intelligent woman who lived on the west coast, who looked like the shawl-wearing type. She also happened to be the mother of my now ex. I loved this woman dearly - we had many frank and wonderful conversations, and she treated me like part of the family. Having finally found the right reason to cast on for the shawl, I began knitting, thinking of giving it to her on a happy occasion somewhere down the road in our relationship.
Did I in some way insult the knitting gods so as to prompt them to smite me? Had I found myself some perverse permutation of the legendary boyfriend sweater curse? No later than four days after I had cast on for the shawl did I receive an email ending my relationship. Darn it. After that email, I just couldn't stop knitting. Counting YO's and k2tog's was so much easier than thinking. The shawl provided a source of comfort and focus during the months that followed when being alone with the thoughts in my head was too hard.
I shall certainly be more wary of knitting for future relationships, having also knit three lovely pairs of man-socks into the cavernous hole of no return. However, when knitting is for some of us one of the strongest ways to say "I care about you", that's easier said than done.
The shawl is still going to the originally intended recipient (it's not her fault things turned out the way they did!). Part of me doesn't want to send it off knowing that I'll never see it again, as it reminds me of those marvelous Northampton days, and because it's been a fixture in my knitting basket for so long. At the same time, it also reminds me of less-good times, and clearing out the closet might just be best.
Now that the shawl is done and blocked (what a cool transformation), I'm itching to start a new lace project. What should it be?
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
In the past, (and present for some schools), students were required to learn the pelvic exam on rubber models or anesthetised patients. Or, they may be required to perform an exam for the first time on a random patient in clinic who is just about as scared as they are. The GTA program was developed in the 1970's by the Boston Women's Health Collective. This group worked to bring women's reproductive health issues out into the open, and made it a misson to educate women about their bodies so that they could be advocates for their own health care. The GTA program teaches us how to do "educational pelvics", which I had only read about in the Boston Women's Health Collective's seminal book, Our Bodies Ourselves. I've never seen anyone do an educational pelvic in practice. With an educational pelvic, the examination table head is raised so that the woman can make eye contact with the examiner, and observe the exam with a mirror, hopefully building a sense of participation and empowerment with respect to the exam and her health.
The whole session was wonderful, and got me ruminating over the idea of an educational pelvic. Arguably, most of us never get to see our cervix. Perhaps if women have the chance to see a vital part of their anatomy that remains perpetually hidden and mysterious, they would be more motivated to seek health care on an annual basis (pap smears, STI testing, well-woman exams). Would this be an extra 5 minutes well spent on the part of the physician?
If you've never seen a cervix and are curious, I'll direct you to The Beautiful Cervix Project, bravely made by a midwivery student who did a daily photo documentary of her cervix over an entire menstrual cycle.
To end on a lighter note, I've started the Gathered Pullover by Hana Jason. The yarn is Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light, in Peat Mix. So far, so good!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Yoke Pullover by Krisien Cowan, knit in Cascade Eco Wool
The yarn is Cascade Eco Wool, and it only took 2.5 skeins making this a very economical knit. I love the yarn, and don't want to block the sweater because it still smells natural! The only problem with this sweater is that it turned out to be very, very warm (this coming from someone who is ALWAYS cold), making it difficult to wear anywhere. Stay tuned for more!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
So, I leave you with today's lunch: a Mediterranean chick pea salad on mixed greens, with whole wheat pita crisps. The salad is simply a tomato, cucumber, 2 peppers, garlic, green onion, parsley, chick peas, and a few olives, with a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. I use stale pita to make the crisps, simply tear it into pieces and microwave on a paper towel for 2 minutes!
PS- Happy Mother's Day Mom! I feel so blessed to have a mother who is both my best friend and a great parent:)
Thursday, May 07, 2009
I'm prone to knitting socks during times of stress, such as exams. In fact, I probably think more about knitting during the weeks leading up to exams than at any other time... Exams can be a pretty isolating period for many, as there is a certain (large) number of hours you need to spend on your own studying. That, combined with the stress of knowing you can't learn everything makes sock knitting an essential pacifier.
While I was home over March break, mom gave me a ball of Handmaiden Casbah, perhaps the most scrumptious yarn (both in feel and in color) I've ever used for socks. So, I present the exam socks of 2009- started right at the beginning of the descent into study madness, and finished a day or two after exams. These are my new favorites - thanks mom! Now on to some of those other projects I was dreaming about....
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Knitting content to come soon- I've finished up a bunch of projects and have started some new ones- oh, the joys of being done exams!