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11  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Knitting metaphor eulogy (sorry, long sad post with FO pics) on: December 07, 2005 08:34:01 PM
I don't know why I've been thinking about this lately.  Perhaps with the holdays coming around, I've been thinking about these people and these projects and this whole situation.  I guess it's best to start at the beginning.

In April of this year, one of my best friends, Chaz, committed suicide.  He was this amazingly talented guy, and was going to finish school this year with a degree in Music Education.  He played the trumpet, conducted the marching band, taught marching band and drum corps to high schoolers, and in general, was one of the dearest people I've ever known.  He had been dealing with depression for several years, but this still came as a total surprise to all of his friends and family.

But enough about that...maybe it's the colorway in one of the Christmas projects I'm making, or maybe it's the Lion Brand Homespun I just used for another project, but I keep thinking about the sweater I finished just after his passing.  I had begun it two summers before, abandoned it because the weather was miserable, and just didn't want to finish it.  But in that week after he died, I did nothing but knit on that sweater.  I knit like my life depended on it...and in a way, I think it did.  It kept me sane, it helped me overcome the shock and stress of the whole debacle.  My good friend Heidi sat next to me on her couch with her crochet work, and we just sat together, tears running down our faces, working, and not saying a word.

I was asked to speak at his memorial service, and tried for days to write something down, but nothing sounded right.  The day before the service, I finished the sweater, and the next morning, the words flowed like water.  Here's what I wrote:

This thing Im wearing today is a sweater I started knitting last July. Ive been working on it off and on since that time, putting it away when something more pressing came to my attention. But in the last couple months Ive made it a goal to get the darn thing over and done with, before it gets too hot to work on it.

The last time Chaz and I spent an evening together, about two or three weeks ago, I brought the sweater along. We went out to dinner and returned to his apartment to watch a movie. At that point I got out my project and set to work. Now about that time, I was just starting work on the backside of the sweater, and I had, maybe, two inches done.

What are you making? he asked me.
A sweater, I said proudly. Ive been working on it for, like, nine months.
He looked at me, looked at the little piece of fabric in my hands, looked back at me, raised his eyebrows, and said, I think youve got a ways to go yet.

I finished this sweater yesterday morning. Its my first attempt at a project of this size, so naturally, I did a lot of screwing up. Theres a hole here in the front where I dropped a stitch, and the back flips up weird, and this one sleeve is just barely shorter than the other. But despite its problems, I love it and wear it for what it is: comforting, soft and warm, perfect for chilly nights. Its real, and human, and not so artificial and perfect as a sweater youd find in a store.

I look at my experiences with Chaz in the same way. He was human, to be sure, far from perfect, but that was part of his charm. He was unashamed of the person he was, and made no excuses for any part of himself. He loved a good meal, a good drink, a good movie, a good cigar, a good joke, a good debate. He was passionate about marching band and drum corps, and if anyone poked fun at it, he could defend it until the cows came home. His political opinions left no squeeze room; there was no convincing him he might be wrong. But he also had this unbelievable heart, and he loved a great many people very powerfully, holding nothing back, even if it meant getting his own heart broken. He would defend a friend against anything, and could always be counted on to listen and give advice.

I find myself unable to dwell on this final unfortunate event in Chazs life. When people see this sweater, they can only say how much they love the colors, or how soft it is. If I, being the perfectionist I am, point out the hole or the too-short sleeve, everyone dismisses it, saying, The rest is beautiful. This last hole in the story of Chaz is nothing short of tragic, yes. But when I step back and look at the big picture of this person I loved, I can only say, The rest is beautiful.

So what I ask of you is this: Look at the big picture. Right now, its okay to be sad, but dont spend the rest of your life focusing on this one moment in Chazs life. Remember the restthe colors, the softness, the warmth. The rest is beautiful, and thats whats important.

The sweater (which I don't seem to have a picture of) sits packed away in a chest at my parents' house.  I can't bring myself to wear it much since that day.

I had lots of yarn left over after that, so I used it to make an afghan for his family.  I had just made him a basketweave patterned scarf for his birthday a month before he died, so I chose that pattern to make the blanket meaningful to me. I also made the blocks in groups of five stitches, since there are five members of his family.  Here's the result:

I don't know where else I should have put this whole thing, but I felt like sharing it with the wonderful people of Craftster.  You are all a JOY to my life, and I hope each and every one of you KNOWS what a treasure you are.  Tell the people you love how you feel every day of your life.

Mods, you can relocate this post if you feel it's necessary, just PM me and let me know.  Thanks. Smiley
12  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Crazy like a Vegan Fox on: December 04, 2005 05:45:12 PM
Here's my sister's Xmas present...she's the kind of girl who will appreciate this.

Start with one free ball of Bernat Disco in bright turquose (hmm, what can I do with this free gaudy yarn?)
Stir in Aurucania (sp?) Nature Wool in a variegated turquoise and Bernat Boa in another variegated turquoise from your stash, add a few teddy bear eyes and a hair clip, and you have

Knitty.com's Vegan Fox Stole!
Modeled by yours truly, who is REALLY excited about it.

Closer to the face.

Up close and personal with the cute lil' bugger.

All stretched out near my dirty overflowing closet!

http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEfall02/PATTveganfox.html There's the pattern for you guys and gals!

Comments, anybody?
13  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Mistakes I'm never making again... on: November 28, 2005 06:02:34 PM
Here's mine:

- knitting anything while carrying along a metallic thread.  The scraped and raw area on my pointer finger where I carry the yarn can't handle any more.

- knitting something for someone else without a specific pattern, especially when there are two of them (ie gloves) and not taking any notes on the alterations.

- knitting something I've never made before for someone else, with a deadline.

- knitting any of the above while you've got a swap going

- knitting any of the above just before Christmas!

Incidentally, all of these are in reference to the same project! Roll Eyes
14  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / vacuum packing your stash? on: November 11, 2005 01:40:41 PM
I got some of those vacuum storage bags for my birthday.  After I put away all my summer clothes, I wondered if I could do the same with my stash, since I'm not using a lot of it at the moment.

Has anybody done this?  Has it damaged the fibers at all?  Most of it is just cheap acrylic so I wouldn't be too sad but wouldn't like to see all that money gone down the drain.
15  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Like Fair Isle? Want to live there? on: October 22, 2005 07:05:01 PM
Just thought it was interesting.  HAs anybody heard of this?
16  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Misc. Gift Idea Brain Blockage / knitting for brother in Phoenix on: October 12, 2005 05:42:25 PM
Okay, Christmas is coming sooner than we like it.  My brother, who is 26 and works as a corrections officer/sheriff's department volunteer, lives in Phoenix, Arizona.  So, obviously, not needing sweaters or scarves or gloves to keep him warm.  But I've never made him anything before, and I'd like to, so I'm looking for ideas for warm weather items to make for guys.

He has a dog (a boxer named Bianca), loves fast cars and video games, and is single.  He lives with a male roommate in a house.

So, help me out here!
17  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / knitting related doodle on: October 04, 2005 07:27:48 PM
Look what my adorable boyfriend drew!  It's me, just after we returned from the craft store (he with new pad and pencils, and I with BAGS of yarn):
18  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Billy O'Duckfeet (drawn Tshirt) on: September 15, 2005 02:11:13 PM
I just drew this from my imagination today. I'm envisioning a whole series of random Billy O'Duckfeet shirts.
19  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / boobholder + using up stash = happiness! on: April 16, 2005 07:37:05 PM
I had a bunch of yarn I wasn't particularly enjoying, but when I saw the boobholder (especially the striped one on here!) I knew they were meant for each other.
The yarns are (blue) TLC by Red Heart (the first skein I ever purchased, more than a year ago) and (green) Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky.  I have a bit bigger arms and was worried about the gauge, so I moved up to size 11 needles and it came out perfectly.  I also cut some of the increases so the sleeves are just poofy enough!
I'm very pleased with the results. Smiley
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