Thursday, December 18, 2008


Well, aunt, really, I suppose. But uncle's what I'm crying.

To be honest, I cried it yesterday, and was going to post about that fact but didn't.

On Monday night, I cast on for my aunt's shawl. In veryvery fine, veryvery black, veryvery slippery yarn. I wasn't having fun, but I believed that I'd get far enough to make this whole thing work. On Tuesday morning I woke up knowing that I really just didn't want to be knitting this right now. What I really wanted was to be working on all of the projects that I'd set aside so that I could do holiday knitting, most of which are really simple stockinette-focused projects, the kind of projects that bring sanity to an insane week, rather than one more degree of craziness (and yes, a lace shawl on slippery black yarn would be an added checkmark on the crazy list; that way lies madness).

I wrote to a few people, all of whom were supportive and each of whom kindly told me that choosing sanity was not a cop out (I love you guys). And then Anne came up with the brilliant suggestion of giving my aunt a shawl pin as a sort of promissory note; the shawl will come for her birthday in September. By chance, I was going to Balboa park to some museums, and then to La Jolla for some holiday shopping, and I was sure I could find something in one of those places; if not, then I could rethink the giving up of the shawl. Long story short, I found a shawl pin, and a small pretty scarf (woven, not knitted), and I'm now covered.

My friend and I and our two older kids had originally gone to the park because this past Tuesday was the Museum of Man's free entrance day this month, and she'd thought her son might like the Egyptian exhibit there; I know that Older Daughter always does, so we went along. I like that museum (it's the anthropologist in me; they once had an exhibit on body art around the world, and it made me want to run out and get a tattoo instantaneously; gorgeous photos and beautiful art are a far worse influence on me than alcohol), and I think the mummies are pretty nifty, so that was all good. Then I saw a huge banner advertising an exhibit of kimono as art in the San Diego Museum of Art, with some on exhibit in the big museum, and some in the Timken, and it turned out that it was their free entrance day, too, so off we went.

People, those kimono were magic. Stunning. Rich and textured and layered in color and full of depth. I could have stood staring at them for hours. I wanted a bench, and for everyone to just Go. Away. so I could look at them as long as I wished. The artist used tie dye and overdyeing and hand painting and gold leaf and embroidery, all on textured silk (some of the silk was woven with thread-of-gold as the weft). I developed a case of covet like I rarely do in museums. I want those colors in my everyday life, I want to be able to rest my eyes on them and draw inspiration from them. Part of the exhibit is a set of some 30 kimono which are part of a larger group depicting all four seasons; they had fall and winter arranged around the edges of the room, each kimono's colors and themes blending into the next. Older Daughter was awestruck and kept commenting on how that's exactly what the real seasons do. The colors. Oh, wow, the colors. The exhibit closes on January 4th, and I think I'm going to try to get Rick down there before then; he'd like it. And I want to see them again.

I've been getting my checklists together for all of the things that need to happen between now and next week, and I was starting to feel like I could see how all of it was going to get done, when I got slammed yesterday by one of those really yucky head cold jobbies; you know, the kind where your head feels like a balloon, and your throat feels thick, and it hurts to swallow. I took a nap and had a yummy dinner (a soup made of baked mashed pumpkin with turkey broth and hominy, with tomatillo salsa and sour cream on top, and cheese quesadillas on the side), in the hope that I could drive this thing off post haste. I failed to get magically better over the night, though, so I'm downgrading certain expectations. A cookie decorating party on Saturday is now right out, and I'm giving myself permission to buy the dessert I'm taking to a friend's for dinner tonight if I don't feel like running to the store and then baking today. This is sanity. I'm going to do some knitting this morning, and then maybe take my puppy for a short walk (she's dying with all of this rain and no walks!), and then we'll see where we're at.

In the meantime, I've finished the sleeve cap of the first sleeve of Rick's sweater, which took forever. I finally got to spend some time last night with my drop spindle and the lovely Bunny and the Beast batt that Fuzzarelly sent me (that yarn, I think, is destined to be soft cuddle pillows for the girls' beds). I also found a couple of edgings in Nicky Epstein's first edging book (which may have accidentally slipped into my bag when I was buying my aunt her shawl pin -- oops) that I want to swatch for The Sweater for myself. And I think I'm going to knit myself a kimono from Knit Kimono (wonder where that inspiration came from?) out of another mess of yarn I have while I play around with swatches for The Sweater; I might even need to spin myself the yarn for the little bitty trim bits. That should keep me busy. (List O' Things To Do Before Christmas? What list? Shhh.... I'm knitting...)


Anonymous said...

I hope you will feel better soon!
The Kimonos exhibition looks very interesting, it's a pity San Diego is not a bit closer :)

Jane said...

These lists just seem to keep getting longer. Hope you feel better soon and make good progress

Willow said...

Please don't mention the word list again! It makes me cry. Thank you.

Good idea to readjust the expectations, especially when working with fine,slippery black yarn which is beautiful but needs to be worked mid day in mid summer for maximum light.

Mary Lou said...

The black lace stole for my sister in law is waiting for her next birthday. Maybe we can start a black lace shawl support group! Go for sanity -- buy dessert.

Anonymous said...

What list? Why would you need a list?

I'm so happy to have rain. I wish we'd had more and I hope we get more. Even though I like being in the clear cold and frosty mornings better than damp, wet feet mornings.

the boogeyman's wife said...

very wise of you to choose sanity at this time of year (i'm a wee bit jealous). the kimono exhibit sounds like tons of fun.

Anonymous said...

Feel better soon! Colds always stink, but especially when you're supposed to be able to enjoy yourself.

And getting your aunt a shawl pin sounds like a great solution to me! I am literally giving some of my family unfinished presents, and that's just the way it is this year. They'll still love me.

Hang in, knit your kimono, and find your sanity.

Take care.
Sarah (scienceprincess)

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I'm exited to hear that about the Kimono's - they're coming my way next, and I've been looking forward to them. This just makes me even more excited!

Hope you feel better soon and find your sanity.

Anonymous said...

I think that's the kimono exhibit I saw in D.C. a few years ago - it's gorgeous!

Good for you, taking care of yourself and readjusting expectations.

Anonymous said...

Get better, go back, and when you do, I want to go with you! (I wish!)

Nana Sadie said...

The shawl pin idea is pure genius! And yes, insanity list-ways lies...

I'm staying away from lists, too. And buying the desserts (or fried chicken) for parties...
hang in there!

Anonymous said...

I think you should just take the original kimonos. You could promise the museums you'd let a few people see them. Occasionally. :)

Yay for sanity in the season! Boo for head colds.

I love Nicky Epstein's books, even if some of the are car-raze-ee.

Anonymous said...

You are an excellent role model for all of us. This may become my motto for the season..."choose sanity!"

EGunn said...

The shawl pin is a great idea! You're right...sanity is stepping back from the Christmas knitting and enjoying the season.

We went to a craft fair a couple of weeks ago, and there was a woman selling scarves made of old kimono. They were gorgeous. Only their rather large price tag and the fact that we were supposed to be shopping for other people saved me. (And, to be honest, it was much more the former...). They really are incredible works of art.