Thursday, December 31, 2009
No need to ask; my guests have departed leaving a vacuum of space and sound, and most of all, a time for knitting.
How little did I knit in the past month? Very little. I didn't finish the Advent Socks, but I created and finished a quickie "Little Miss Santa" in less than 24 hours. I'll try to be more prepared for Christmas Eve NEXT year... I'm not totally happy with my creation; I used stash yarn of 100% acrylic (thick: lovely; touch: horrible) with trim in off-white wool. The end result: Something that looked like it came out of a cedar chest from the '50's. It worked with the red tights and black shiny shoes. (Baby's first shoes!)
To accentuate the quiet, we have snow. Several inches in the past 24 hours: Wonderful crunchy snow. The only sound is movement on the snow, of the occasional car, and a few footprints. My own steps are shockingly loud as I move around the block with my dog. Tonight I awake to the glare of an almost full moon shining through the trees, making a beautiful scene.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Knitting has taken a serious backseat to sight seeing and eating. Even the Ivories haven't been tickled a whole lot. Remembering that I will be playing at least 11 familiar Christmas tunes on Christmas Eve tomorrow night spurred me to task by practicing yesterday and getting my ducks in a row this morning. (Getting ducks in a row is the technical term for putting my music in order so I can flip through a notebook instead of rearranging and looking for the next piece. Very helpful when there are more than 4 or 5 pieces.) So that's my secret: I feel organized!
Two days ago I made a trip to Bluff, Utah, to show the Norwegians the beautiful monuments of the area. They were very impressed first with the long roads that disappeared into the distance. We turned north then southwest and then west and at every turn they remarked how far and straight the roads are. They've seen such highways in films but were amazed that they really exist.
When we got home that evening, the rest of the gang were beside themselves trying not to spill the beans about a surprise for the next day, and by early the next morning, with a little nudging, I looked at the front page of the daily paper and there was our little 6 month old granddaughter! They had been to the library to see the sun come through a solstice window, and the cutest baby was there to play with the marking on the floor... That's how we celebrate 1/2 year birthdays!
The Advent Calendar of socks remains incomplete. The most I can hope for is 20 socks. What are the chances I'll have 24 when I put it away for the year? The answer: none.
What are the chances that I will have a red shift ready for baby in 24 hours? 80% chance, or higher if I end the blog here!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
For the past month, I've been planning the perfect Christmas, expecting guests from Norway any day now. Being semi-retired, and having so much time on my hands, I guess the dreaming got out of hand--reality is hitting hard. I'm hoping to accomplish at least one project: 24 knitted socks for Advent. See? I haven't even gotten anything up on the wall, and it's already Day 9! I'm a slacker... but I have a little person to smile at every day, and people visiting, and places to go, and music to practice and organize.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I am employed by the local Methodist church to accompany and perform on their organ and piano. The piano is a mediocre Baldwin, but the organ is a wonderful Casavant built in 1984. The Casavant builder is in Sainte Hiacynthe, Quebec, and I think they did a wonderful job of putting together a great sound. Full organ is perfect for a church FULL of singers on Easter morning or Christmas Eve. Otherwise, I get complaints about it being too loud (and without using Full Organ). I know that I've interrupted some conversations, and caused some hearing aids to malfunction! What FUN!
What is it like to be relied upon to lead and keep the service going? I try not to think about it. From June through September I was without leadership, relying on lay people to sing hymns, which was interesting every Sunday! Now I have a fine leader who really leads... I have to watch! (Imagine that!)
December is probably the most stressful time of year:
1. Everyone wants to sing carols. Well known carols that they only get to sing once or twice a year. With organ, and everyone else singing away, and candles... You know the ones EVERYONE knows. Unfortunately, there are a few minor places in these carols that written differently than many people "know" them, but you know, the organ is louder so it doesn't matter. What DOES matter is the pipe organ when it's cranked up (and not necessarily loud) is an unforgiving beast. How many times have I stopped playing but came a little too close to the keyboard below, where I've ever so slightly touched a key to hear a gigantic sound announced for all? Or a slip in the head when I've forgotten to push cancel and my foot has touched a pedal issuing forth a nasty blatt! It doesn't happen often but it certainly is memorable! (Last Sunday was one of those.)
2. Organists usually don't play these popular carols more than once or twice a year. So an untimely blatt is nothing compared to stumbling on a chord in a carol! Dang... I hate that when it happens.
3. Cantatas! Yes, every church has the "special program" where who is the star of the show? The director and choir, of course! And who could bring the mood down to a grinding halt? The accompanist, of course! I try not to think about how much is riding on it. In the past few years, I've been playing with other musicians who take on much of that burden, and can cover up a multitude of uncertain notes in my part. But this year, it's just me!
How do I do it? How does one prepare? I'll be writing about that in a few weeks, but I have to warn you... I'm not a pretty picture the day of the performance.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
There were musicians too. The wooden "lur" was used to signal the many courses. It was truly a "feaste" and good time. Most importantly we spent many hours at the table and enjoyed the conversations, huzzah's, and revelry! A strange planetary site occurred which gave our brains pause: Two bright objects shot across the sky, one chasing the other!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Welcome to the 00's...
Slipper Socks from Russia
Use Aran/Worsted weight yarn, and US #8 needles.
Cast on 26 st.
Knit 4 rows of garter stitch, and 12 rows of stockinette.
Knit 16, k2tog, turn. *Slip 1, p6, p2tog, turn, slip 1, k6, k2tog, turn* Repeat * to * until all stitches “live” (all stitches have been picked up and knitted).
At end of last knit row pick up 10 stitches along the side of piece. Turn and purl back. At end of purl row pick up 10 stitches along the side of piece. (27 stitches)
Continue stockinette until slipper is 3” less than the length of finished foot. Start toe.
Change to contrasting color and use short rows to taper toe.
Knit to last stitch. Wrap and turn (W&T) See below. Purl back to last stitch, W&T. Knit to one stitch before previously wrapped stitch, and next stitch W&T. Wrap stitches on each side until there are 8 “live/unwrapped” stitches in the center.
Next row (tip of toe) * knit 3, slip 1, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over [psso] (3 stitches=1 stitch, double decrease), knit 3, unwrap one stitch by knitting wrap and stitch together. Wrap next stitch (this will be the second wrap making it a “double wrap”) and turn. Purl 8, unwrap next (purl wrap and stitch together), wrap next stitch (dbl wrap) and turn. *
Repeat * to * until all stitches are unwrapped.
Continue in pattern (using double decrease in center: sl1, k2tog, psso) and pick up one stitch on each side in every other row on slipper side. At top of cuff, pick up last stitch and begin bind off row. At end of row pick up one more stitch from top of cuff and bind it off with last stitch of row.
Tuck in ends!