Thursday, April 24, 2008


Last night, we all went to a wonderful klezmer concert on campus. A friend who is a fellow faculty member was playing soprano sax with Hot Pstromi (a klezmer group) and some other musicians from the Visual and Performing Arts department, so we headed off to listen. It was amazing. To begin with, I adore live music. There is something about watching musicians work together, on the fly, to make such gorgeous sounds that thrills me every time. I know exactly how much work goes into making something like this happen, how much practice lies behind every note, every phrase, and it's a pleasure to see it all come together. Good musicians make it look easy, but I know it's not.

The girls also had a blast. I just about had to hold Younger Daughter down, she was having so much fun dancing in her seat. Both girls have an extremely physical and visceral reaction to most music (I'm the same way, wonder where they got it?), and I'm trying to find that fine balance between letting them enjoy what the music does to their bodies and minds, and keeping that enjoyment contained enough to not have an impact on the pleasure of their fellow audience members. It's a work in progress, I think.

I find that I love klezmer music in the same way that I love jazz and the blues and Celtic folk music. There's something about those musical traditions that's minor and dark and joyous and raucous all at the same time that just appeals to me in a deep way. I adore the measured chaos of a jam session, the conversations that take place between musicians working together; it catches at my heart. I think that this is why I so rarely have music on "in the background"; it's almost impossible for me not to need to listen to it with a kind of full-contact engagement that doesn't leave a lot of room for other things.

I have also been knitting away on my two lace projects. I'm having almost as much fun with these as I was listening to the concert last night. The pictures of Boing! look very much as they did before, so I won't put any more here for now. I keep knitting on that as a palate-cleanser of sorts; I've done the repeats often enough now that it doesn't take a lot of concentration, and I can make measurable progress in shorter amounts of time, which is always satisfying.

I'm also working on Anne's latest pattern, which is a triangular shawl, knitted from the tip up. Progress was swift at first, as it always is on a pattern which starts with three stitches. I'm five repeats in now, and the rows are taking longer. It's a wonderful pattern, though. The body of the shawl has all the work on RS rows only, and the edging, which is knitted at the same time, has lacework on both sides. So I get these wonderful RS rows which require just a bit of concentration, and then, just as I get tired of concentrating, I get a nice long purl row on the WS, with some lacework on the edges for fun. And just as I get tired of purl, whaddaya know, it's time for a RS row again! (Clearly, I am easily amused.)

The yarn is a lovely bright fern green that just screams spring to me. There is just enough color variation in the dyeing to add depth to the yarn without in any way distracting from the pattern. I am dying to block this baby out!
Look at that green, isn't it gorgeous? It's even richer than it shows up in that picture, a bit brighter, and I am having such fun knitting it. I should really spend less time admiring it between each row; I'd get more knitting done. Here's the part that just about charms the pants off me (for reasons which are unknown to me, I am a huge fan of the bit between the body and the edging on shawls).

The pattern calls for five repeats for the scarf version, and probably 10 for the medium size. I'm aiming for 10 at this point, which I think will make a nice size. Of course, the rows go more slowly as I progress, so it'll take much longer to cover the second set of five repeats than the first, but it's going to be worth it, I can tell. I made great progress at yesterday's Senate meeting (who ever thought I'd look forward to Senate?). It looks like it's going to come in under one skein, even. This is particularly nice, as I think I'm going to be giving both this and Boing! away, so knowing that I have enough yarn left to knit one of each of those for myself at a later date (I have two skeins of the green) is a happy-making thought.

Sock progress continues, too. This was my knitting project at last week's very long meeting, and I think I'm almost ready to turn the heel; these won't be very long socks.
But these guys are on the back burner until I work some of this lace out of my system.

Last but not least, my favorite sign of spring: the sweet peas that my lovely husband brings home every week from the market for me for the duration of their so-short season. They smell heavenly.



Love the green shawl - yarn and pattern both!

And yes, the crack addict knew I was takings pictures; he must be one of the proud and show-offy kinds.

Alwen said...

I think you'd have to hold me down if you took me to a klezmer concert!

I love that green. Mmmm, spring. It already looks good before blocking, and that's a good sign.

twinsetellen said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely - music, shawl, husband.

Marianne said...

So much to comment on!
The klezmer concert... LOVE that music, we used to have a good local band, they ALWAYS had a good sized area for dancers.
Sort of the same deal here..but a bit different.... music tells me stories, I have to listen to the stories that are inside the notes....good for driving around but not for much else, very distracting.
YAY!!! I've been patiently waiting to see this green bit of lace, I LOVE the pattern and yep, that bit between the edge and body... sigh. I'm really REALLY chomping at the bit for this pattern.
Sweet peas. Your husband truly is lovely.

Gwen said...

Yum and Yum and Yum.

I turned the heel and finished the gusset of the kid sock during our case conference meeting finished minutes ago. (After I sorted out the three million pages of duplicate lab reports.) Socks are great for meetings!

anne said...

yay for the green shawl (it looks great joce!). and sweet peas!! you'll never believe this but . . .the next little nothing is inspired by sweet peas.

Anne said...

Love the shawl -- and I confess to being charmed that it's really the lacuna bit that gets you going, not the parts with the bulk of the actual knitting.

Lazuli said...

I came here via Sheepish Annie's blog, and wasn't going to comment, except that I was struck by what you said about the darkness of klezmer and Celtic music; I think that for me those two resonate in those ways - but I'm not as into jazz or blues. Maybe because they are more modern? Thanks for a thoughtful post!

KnitNana said...

hmmm...what's the pattern on the side of that sock? I'm "casting" about for an easy but interesting detail on my latest one...that's cool!
And I think, that "Anne" shawl pattern just might be a better one for The Meezer yarn! I like!

You do such pretty work...

adrienne said...

shawl is gorgeous. i, too, am in a total lace mood too...unfortunately, it cuts into sock knitting time.

Bea said...

Love that green shawl. I can't wait to see what pattern will emerge when you block it! The sweet peas are darling. I love pretty flowers. Just not roses!

Willow said...

Yes, knitting lace is really very nice. It's soothing and yet challening enough on the RS rows to keep us from stockinette hell, as you stated so accurately a couple of months ago.

Rabbitch said...

I love klezmer too. We're clearly long-lost sisters.