Friday, December 26, 2014


Finally, I have time for the blog!!! I'm on sabbatical leave for the next 8 months or so (!), which means I have work to do but will be able to write a bit here and there on my own schedule.  No classes, no committees, and so on.   Even better, so far I've only had one written complaint about grading for the past semester, which I think is a world record.

Yarn:   I'm celebrating Laura Bryant's Prism this month -- especially the gorgeous yarn called Indulgence, for which purpose we have two stunning accessories in the shop, a short-row shawlette that makes me weep every time I look at it (and not from sadness) and a shadow-knit brioche scarf.   For people in the neighborhood, come look.   If you make the mistake of touching either of them, you won't be able to leave without some of the yarn.

I also discovered a delightful little piece by Sally Melville, who has been doing a lot of work in recent years with competing gauges and yarns (as with a nifty pullover in medium-weight wool with a fingering-yarn insert in front -- or this fun thing with a shirttail hem in back, made with Aran-weight yarn for the body  and sleeves in lighter weight yarn (in this case, Skacel's lightweight Ambiente, which is a fair-isle patterning yarn).  I have some of the latter on order, and once I have it in hand, I'll find just the right heavier weight yarn in a stunning color, maybe Merino 12 by Trendsetter.  We'll see.  Merino 12 sets up in a slightly springier way than does Stonehedge's Shepherd's Wool.  We'll see..  Can be found on Ravelry (search for Ambiente).

I have been lazing for the better part of the day -- really tired, and slow to recover after the semester and all of the agony over a book manuscript.  Dear reader (pretend I'm Jane Austen!), I'm also worried about the world we live in -- especially at the holidays, when we should be infused with generosity and a sense of anticipation.  I am not having much luck fending off a creeping sadness.   This will pass.   It has to do in part with memories of holidays past -- the no-longer-living, adored mother and father; the dinners in Minnesota with family (even though we didn't always get along); the Christmas seasons spent in Italy with husband number one in order to escape the tensions at family dinners;  the certain knowledge that such trips likely won't be possible for as long as I own a business that continues to eat up capital. 

I also wonder about the sheer mania that I saw in people's eyes as they ran in and out of the fiber studio in pursuit of things to buy.  People are making themselves miserable.  Is this the triumph of capitalism once and for all?  Aren't Christmas and Hannukah supposed to be about family and quiet joy and global peace?  A time to be contemplative?   What on earth has happened to us?  I remember playing a pipe organ in small Episcopal churches -- those quiet evening services, a choir murmuring in the background (never loud, always secondary to the peace and sense of connection to a far-distant past) -- I remember quiet times sitting almost by myself in a small church (also Church of England)  in the village of Wallington, England, trying to figure out what lay ahead -- I had lost a husband and I had no idea what life would be about.  My friends at that church wanted me to play the organ, so I did -- and it saved my life.   The objective, after all, was peace, consolation, forgiveness of those who mete out injustice, some kind of salvation.  I do not understand this complete eclipse of the idea that used to animate the season, for all faiths.  

And I'm troubled as always by the guns.   The police, the young black men, the many other people in the Mideast, blown to bits with bombs and guns -- and, in America, a certain idiotic John Wayne mentality that refuses to attribute any part of it to guns.   No matter how many times I tell people that the framers of the Second Amendment did NOT have in mind having guns in every glove box, in every shirt pocket, in every mentally unhinged person's hand, it's somehow not heard.   We are the only nation on earth prepared to die at the hand of our own guns.   In my darkest moments, I wonder why 25,000 people go to the funerals of police officers and not to the funerals of the young men.  I know.  The police were assassinated.  But -- we'll leave it there.  The young men were unarmed.

Surely 2015 will be better, for all of us.   I plan to write books -- and knit and crochet.   The making of things somehow imparts a sense of hope:   It follows as night the day that, if you make something, you are imagining a future in which it can exist.       svb

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