I knit. And I cook, write, take pictures. All for one low price.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I was reading my friend Leah's blog - please read her post from March 27 before you read this one - and it reminded me of my own grandmother's work. I have a few of my Oma's tablecloths and tabletoppers, and put one out this past Easter. It is genuine vintage and has the permanent stain to show for it.

I have always loved this particular one.

Here's one of the bunnies, eyeing the eggs.

I think he is in a bit of shock. You want me to do what? Deliver these? What size easter basket are we talking about here?

His buddy in the other corner is trying to help out. I don't know, man, these look awfully heavy...

And so they stand there and debate.

I can literally hear my grandmother chuckling when I look at this.

She passed away 20 years ago this April, and I will always miss her.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More on Tibet

I have decided to keep writing about this, and by giving you an obvious title, you can decide whether to read that post or not. Please bear with me while I am pre-occupied with these horrific events, while I am trying to work through the reason why it is affecting me quite so much.

I can fully appreciate that some of you have other approaches, or simply do not have emotional room for this issue. I know that you are all very caring people, and your arms and minds are wide open; I can see it every day. You take loving care of your children, parents, pets, and neighbors. I am not trying to get anyone upset, all I am trying to do is raise awareness.

There WILL be knitting content again, and more photography, but I am waylaid by a lot of what is going on with work and in my family, so unfortunately I have not had any time to knit more than a few rows here and there.

Here, then, is another link, if you choose to read it. Human Rights Watch.

PS: when I left the house this morning, the damp air hit me after the night's rain: it smelled like Spring!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

if you're interested...

I am not sure. I can't tell, as I have gotten no feedback from any of you...makes be a bit sad...thank you to Ellen for writing.

Here's the link to the blog of the person who had posted the updates about Tibet to ravelry. Her name is Joy.

You may go there and get the updates as you see fit.

My knitting is still on the back burner, though I am this close to finishing the Ski Lodge Scoop. I sure could use it tomorrow, as Easter is so very early in the year. And it's freezing cold out.

Thank you so much for your feedback -- it helps me a lot. Besides, I was truly hoping that the focus not be on me, but on the plight of the Tibetan people. I just read that Nancy Pelosi went and visited with the Dalai Lama in India. That certainly is good news and a step in the right direction.

More knitting news will be forthcoming. Be well!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

more news and tragedy: Tibet

I am just going to keep writing about this for as long as I can find news about it.
More news from the poster on ravelry, in the Mindful Knitters group. For those of you on ravelry, I am giving you the link.

I’ll write more later when I can think. I’m sitting here now
asking questions of a friend who came to fill us in on the latest news and
it’s pretty bad. This is someone who has been talking to Lhasa this week.
This is someone who is personally passionate about all of this. He himself
escaped Tibet a few years ago, was captured by the Chinese army, beaten
brutally, tortured and left for dead. He survived, badly damaged and he has
just recently some of his strength and confidence again. I am not even going
to give names here anymore.
I’ll post what he has told me when I can.
Right now I’m going to copy and paste the text of another e-mail I just received. It is from a dear dear friend of ours, A Tibetan nun in Nepal who is extremely involved in her community. I
wrote her a couple of days ago to tell her we were concerned about her and her kin. Today I received this reply:

Dear Lena and Joy
Thank you very much
for your mail. I don’t have any news from my viilage and Zigar monastery. I am
so happy to know that you are alwasy there for us. I am extremely glad to hear
from you at this very time. Nobody has any clear news from Tibet. I went to the
UNO’s office yesterday and I was put in the prison for the whole and we were
released at around 6 pm. I reached at home at around 7 yesterday
We are very sad what is happening in Tibet. Many Tibetans were
killed and many more are injured badly. About 500 people are still in the
police custody and most of them are being sentenced to death. Nobody knows
how many people are missing and how of them were killed. Some people say
that more than 3000 Tibetans were killed. We need the whole world’s support
to have some peace in the country. Many Tibetans go to the UNO office every
day in Kathmandu and some of them are injured badly by the police. Two ot them are seriously injured. One of them has been broken his both legs. We are not allowed to knock the UNO’s office also. We are helpless until we get the international support. Many Tibetans were killed
in many places around in Tibet. I don’t know what to do. Should we cry or die?
Every day Tibetans in Kathmandu try to go the UNo’s office but we are always
rejected and we are put into prisons. I know every body looks down upon us
because we don’t have any passports. We have lost many of our brothers and
sisters in Tibet. Here all Tibetans cry and cry every day infront of Boudha
stupa or in the streets. Sometimes I don’t know what to do. I can’t think also.
The Red Chinese have been practising marshall law in Tibet. They are blaming its
on H H the Dalia Lama. They are shameless. They captured our country plus they
don’t give jobs and rights for the Tibetans in Tibet.
I look forward to
hearing from you soon.
Yours dharma friend*
Ani Y*

Clarification: UNO means United Nations Organization.

My knitting projects are on the back burner right now, I have been working a lot more hours lately (outside the house). I hope I am reaching at least some of my readers with these posts about the injustice being done to the Tibetan people.
Evidently, the Washington Post's coverage is more comperehensive. Start with this one, for example.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

5th anniversary

Cost of War: $720 million per day.

Almost 4000 soldiers dead.

I hope you have a peaceful day today, and I really mean that.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

a letter from North India

I belong to a group on ravelry called "mindful knitters". Today, I found this post by a fellow mindful knitter. She gave me permission to quote her post in full. (I aplogize in advance for any funny linebreaks -- blame blogger....)

Hi All,

The situation there is, indeed, serious and tragic. It’s also
frightening how little information is getting out to the “official” media. I
live in the Indian Himalayas, essentially within driving distance of the Tibetan
border (if there were roads open.) The village in which I live and work is home
to many Tibetan refugees who have been come here since 1959. Everyone is worried
and frightened at the turn of events in Lhasa. Most of us have family and
friends inside Tibet and we are holding our collective breath, waiting to hear
some word of them, some sign that they are alive and well. There are people we
have been expecting to return from visits “home” who haven’t yet arrived and
whom we can’t reach by phone now. What word we do hear confirms that hundreds of people have been arrested, that much of Lhasa is burning and that many have died in the past few days at the hands of the Chinese soldiers.

For the past several nights, there has been a candlelight protest/vigil/ceremony around the lake that is the center of our town - Tso Pema - the Lotus Lake of Guru Rimpoche and Mandareva. The lake has been ringed with the fire of hundred of candles and the impassioned chanting can be heard well up the mountains as monks and students and villagers show their solidarity with the people of their homeland.
There are three monasteries here as well as the cave community at the top of
this mountain, a community of yogis, yoginis, lamas and nuns of which my partner
and I are a part and have been for many, many years. There’s a lot of fear, a
lot of tension, a lot of anger. We are waiting to hear more. Waiting to hear the
whereabouts of people like Dorje Wangdrak or Sogyal or Kunchok who should have
been home by now…
During our time here, we have started an emergency fund and
free medical clinic to provide help to Tibetan refugees. Most of the people we
see are monks and nuns, the very elderly and the children. Most of them have
walked out of occupied Tibet to be free to practice according to their tradition
and culture. Almost all of those who actually make it out (we lose hundreds
every year. This year’s count is 300+ missing somewhere in the Himalayas) are
malnourished, sick and badly traumatized by the time they get here. In our
makeshift clinic we see nuns and teenaged girls who have been raped and beaten
by Chinese soldiers. This is… commonplace. We see groups of little kids who
walked out through the snow mountains without their parents and old people who
saw their children die. We see monks who were once strong and sure who were
captured, beaten and tortured until they are emaciated and frail and flinching.
They come here and they try to make a life for themselves.
All of them are connected by ties of culture, history and - most important - kinship - to Tibet and its land and its people. We hear what is going on. We’ve known that things were bad there and going to get worse. It’s been a topic of conversation in the
tea shops and backroom bars for months. I understand some of the politics, some
of the cultural pressures, but I’m not going to try to explain and analyze here,
just tell you what we see happening. I’m afraid that, for every one of the
refugees that does make Kathmandu (actually, they’ll end up in Bouddha) we’ll
lose 2. I’m bracing for more to reach her by the year’s end. First they’ll land
in Nepal, then they’ll figure out how to get here to North India (we’re actually
north of Kathmandu where I’m at.) If they have kin in India, that’s where
they’ll go. Some to Bir, some to Dharamsala, some to Dehradun or Tashijong. Some
of them will come here to Tso Pema and we’ll fit them in and help them stay

We’re heading off next week to the West to see family and so that my
partner, who is a lama, can visit some of the many centers around the U.S. that
have invited her to come and teach meditation. It’s a hard time to go away. On
the other hand, we hope we’ll be able to raise some money to help the refugees,
both the ones already here and the ones who will be coming soon.
If I have any concrete news that isn’t already public, I’ll try my best to post it to my
blog. That’s where I do talk about this place where we live, about the Tibetan
people and culture here, the events, the places. There are lots of pictures and
information about what we’re doing with the Tso Pema Medical / Emergency Fund
and how that works and who we’re helping. Things have been hectic the past few
weeks, so I’m behind in posting there, but I will stay in touch with my Tibetan
family here and try to keep things updated. You can read it at www.customjuju.com/joy/joyblog
Any help - from your prayers, your political support on petitions and at
demonstrations of solidary, to your donations of time or supplies or money to
the organization or cause you support - will make a difference to the Tibetan
people and their allies. Hard times for everyone, we’re all doing what we can.
Thanks for caring enough to read this.


Okay, so from the phone call our family member got this morning, ALL the deaths have been Tibetan (or maybe a few Chinese.) The body count that the Tibetans are “sure” of varies between 120 and 300 depending on who you talk to. I know someone who has lost at least 2 monks from his remote home village. But the Westerners who were there when the troubles began are supposed to be safe and getting escorted out of the country quickly. Both sides of the conflict - Tibetan and Chinese - do not want the foreigners to get hurt so they are taking some care. The California contingent and all others actually, should be fine and should be surfacing soon. If they were going through Nepal they will probably get delayed as Nepal is seething right now, though the protests there are supposedly much calmer than in Lhasa. Nobody is sure how the Nepali government will react - will they let the refugees in easily or will it be a mess? Nobody is saying yet. However everyone is gearing up to receive an influx.
The word on the street (in Lhasa that is) is that the protests will continue through August (that’s when the Olympics happen.) Also that suicide protests are beginning now among the monks.
Here in Tso Pema the air continues tense. Last night’s events left the air very smoky so that everyone is wheezing this morning. The monks from all the monasteries ringed the little lake, invoking Guru Rimpoche’s aid and attention on the plight of Tibetans. Enough incense was burned to be smelled all the way in Lhasa and the lake looked like it was aflame with butter lamps and candles. Wish I could take good night pictures. It is really interesting to hear OM AH HUNG BENDZA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG chanted in a martial war-chant sort of way! Others drove trucks round and round the kora path on the lake, flashing lights and also chanting. The village is almost empty today. Every Tibetan, who was able - that is, everyone who has legal papers, is physically fit and can possibly afford not to work for a day - piled into one of four trucks to drive into the local district headquarters for a more visible political demonstration. Those who have vows, are too old or infirm and those who wish to emphasize their spiritual practice over their political one, have gathered in the Nyingma monastery’s courtyard for three days of intense puja and prayers. Tibetan owned shops and businesses are closed if there are no Indian friends or partners to help run things. The silence on the streets is eerie.
And yes, the other word on the streets is that we’ll be seeing an influx of refugees here by the end of the year. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.


As some of you may know, one of the things I do here (and have done for the past 18 years) is administer a voluntary sponsorship programs that matches Tibetans in need of help here in India and Nepal with individuals in the West who offer to sponsor them by sending $20-25 US per month directly to that individual. Most of the people being sponsored are practitioners (monks, nuns, yogis and yoginis) children and old people and those to ill to work. The goal is to make sure that nobody starves or freezes and that the sick can have medicine and the children can go to school. Over the years, I feel like we’ve done a good job and, living here now, I see the difference it has made in this village. We don’t limit ourselves to just this place however and we’ve found sponsors for Tibetans all over India and a goodly handful who are unable to leave Nepal due to lacking papers or health to travel.
A few minutes ago I received an e-mail from one of the long-time sponsors of a Tibetan refugee family who lives outside of Kathmandu. Attached to that e-mail was a letter from the father of the family. I think it’s worth sharing as it’s written very directly and from the heart, so I’m copying it below for you all to read. This is the unaltered words of a Tibetan in exile about what is happening, right now, in his homeland:
Dear K…….., Thank you very much for your mail. We are so happy to hear from you. We are also so happy to know that you are always there for us. I(Paya’s father) is seriously ill and we are also so worried about his bad health. We are praying for those who lost their lives for the nation and its culture and religion.
We are very very sad now that thousands of Tibetans were killed in Tibet without any mercey. We can’t do anything and we need the whole world’s support to have peace in Tibet. Many more are injured. Hundreds of Tibetans are put in the prisons. I think UNO is sleeping soundly. If they can’t do anything for people in the world then why did it start? Today we all Tibetans are going to ask help for the UNO but we they are afraid of Chinese power. Now who is going to support us? Chinese didn’t allow any medias in Tibet. The people in Tibet can only see the smoke and hear the gun shots everywhere. I think whole world is watching but no one is dare to say anything. We look forward to hearing from you soon. With best wishes and warm regards. Yours sincerely
Paya and Penpa

Sunday, March 16, 2008

more tragedy

T I B E T !
I only have very basic cable, so do not watch CNN or MSNBC or any of the other news media besides the major networks. In an effort to get a more comprehensive picture of current events, listen to public radio, and I look things up online. I am giving you a few links I found.
Much more detail here: Save Tibet
This article in Der Spiegel finally mentions the Olympics, and how China is having trouble in presenting itself in a good light. No kidding. International Herald Tribune talks about it, too.
Did you see the part about the protest marchers who want to march 900 miles from Dharamsala to Lhasa? I know I wish I could just up and go and participate. Just imagine it: hundreds of thousands of people showing up in Lhasa, in support of the Tibetan monks. What would the Chinese do? Shoot all of them?
There is a documentary, Cry of the Snow Lion, which gives insight into what happened since the Dalai Lama went into exile in 1959. I want to highly recommend you set an evening aside this week and rent that movie. It will get you up to speed on the changes that took place in Tibet.
I would like to know your reaction to what is happening in Tibet.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ski Lodge Scoop

Not to be deterred by some disturbing political news in our fine state of New York, I am posting a Progress Report.

This is going to be the Ski Lodge Scoop from the book Twelve Months of Knitting, by Joanne Yordanou.

I had some Noro Silk Garden, and some Blackwater Abbey yarn in my stash. Each yarn quantity was not enough to make anything but hats, or a scarf, and I didn't want to do that again. Lo and behold, they go together really well.
The Irish wool actually has all the colors of the Noro yarn blended in...

I am striping them in 2 row stripes.

I changed the pattern from knitting a front and a back separately, to knitting it in the round. A lovely stitch marker, of which I received a whole set for my birthday from my friend Sharon, is aiding me.

I am using size 8 needles. The front and the back have since been separated at the armhole and are being finished separately.
To be continued!

Friday, March 7, 2008

knitting without a deadline

Once again, you are witnessing an historic moment.

I finished the project (which cannot be blogged about) for the book last week, and mailed it out.

For the first time in 10 years, I have no deadline.

You see, ever since Crafty Girl was a little one, I have been knitting, dyeing, or designing for others "on the side" while I was raising my kids. I have been part of handwork galleries, have my work on consignment, made things for people, shops, on commission, for exhibits, shows, and others' special occasions. I had my own yarn shop for almost 4 years, somewhere in there.

While you might be freaking out that the next project-for-hire isn't all lined up, I feel strangely liberated. And I am getting so much done!

Wednesday last week, I finished the project for the book. On Saturday, I finished the Hemlock Ring Blanket. On Sunday, I finished these socks which had been started over Christmas vacation.

Fortissima 6 ply, by Schoeller/Stahl, and size 3 needles. I am keeping these.

Next up, I started this hat Sunday night, and finished it Monday night. Two evenings of delightful 2 color stranded knitting.

One skein of Noro Kureyon, one skein of Berroco Peruvia. I seem to have enough left over for another hat. Size 8 needles, 96 sts.

The pattern was a class hand out at Trumpet Hill, given to me when I bought the yarn. I am not sure they still have it, I would call and find out.

Here's a testament to my shaky photography skills. I kinda like this picture because of the zig-zags.

I changed the brim to something else from what it says in the pattern, because I didn't like the pattern brim either. I will have to cut off the brim and do something else again.

To be continued!

Oh, and I also started another Hemlock Ring Blanket on Tuesday, and a vest yesterday.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

some of your questions answered

I need to catch up on some of your comments.

Vivian asked if I had to climb on a ladder for the picture of the hemlock blanket. Actually, I always climb on a chair for the birdseye pictures. And yes we do have good hardwood floors in our 1925 house...oak downstairs, pine upstairs. The floors are the nicest thing about this place.
(Go look at Vivian's blog. I love her pug!)

Then Debbie emailed me about the kind of yarn I used. (It must have been Funny Pet Picture Posting Day....between that cat and the pug...)

Here are the specs. (I need to be better about all that from now on.)
I used: 4 hanks of Harrisville Highland style 2 ply worsted weight yarn. Color: hemlock. While it felt a little on the rustic side, it washed beautifully and came out nice and soft.

A word of CAUTION from someone who just almost ruined this blanket: I rolled it in two bathtowels to get the water out after washing it. Then I walked on the roll for a couple of minutes. It worked great for removing the water from the blanket, but I pretty near felted the thing!!!! Please proceed with caution when you do this...

For needles, the pattern tells you to use size 9 for the center motif, and then switch to size 10 for the rest. I used 10.5 the whole time. I didn't swatch, either. You will need a set of dpns, and circulars in 16, 24, and 40 inch lengths.

I know this pattern has been all over the net and blogs, but it is such a big deal to me not only because I got to make a nice gift for a good friend, but also I have never ever made anything famous. I have never made an Alice Starmore sweater, or a Clapotis, or Jaywalkers, or Monkey Socks...you know, the patterns that everyone is talking about. It's weird, but I feel like I am now part of some club or something....or is that called a herd? :)

Jackie (blogless) asked me the other day what I get inspired by. I've been thinking about that ever since.
I get inspired by people and their skills. Take Jackie herself. She is an amazing painter. I get inspired by my kids and my husband. Tall Son plays the violin so well he is a member of ESYO. He wants to go to college and be an engineer. Crafty Girl is coloring my world in many different ways; she's also very very smart and at the top of her class. Dear Husband is one of the most intelligent guys I have ever met. His blue eyes aren't so bad, either.

There really is no segway for this, but I get inspired by cloud formations, ploughed fields, poetry by Naomi Shihab Nye, knitting by my friend Anna, quilting by my friend Amy, mothering and crafting by my friends Abi and Leah. Drawings, knitting, photography by Laura. Photography, I can never get enough of.

Then, I get inspired by radishes.
Case in point:

You can't tell me that they are not the most amazing thing you have ever seen.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

a gift

On Tuesday, February 19th, I took a class at Trumpet Hill. We were making this: any guesses?

Our teacher, Celeste, who had made 2 of them.

It's the Hemlock Ring Blanket, made, and made famous, by Jared Flood.

The class will meet again this Tuesday, but I had a deadline: March 1st was my friend Cathy's 50th birthday party, and I definitely wanted to give her this. I had the perfect yarn for it, in the right color (she loves green), the right weight, and the right quantity. The yarn was, in fact, so perfect, it's color name even was "Hemlock". It was meant to be.

The pattern is fairly addictive. You get through the center flower motif in a couple of days, and then it's off to the races with lots and lots of feather and fan including lots and lots of increases. If you make the smaller version, you end up with 472 sts around, which you have to knit 4 rounds.

The bind off is in a league of its own. It took me two movies on Friday night to finish it, about 4 hours. But it was really worth it!

Here it is, before blocking, an amorphous mass of stitches. I was seriously worried that this thing would block out correctly.

I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures. Before I had to go to work on Saturday, blocked it with my husband's help, a yardstick, and dozens of pins, put an oscillating fan on it to help it dry; then I went to work, came home, took a few quick pictures (and a shower) and ran to the party.

It's about 52 inches across.

Here's the center motif. The purple background is an old sheet we spread out on the living room rug.

This Tuesday, we have class again, and I am hoping I can steal it away from Cathy for two hours to show it off. Heck, maybe she'll even join me?

I am seriously tempted to make another Hemlock, I have another 4 skeins sitting in the stash that would be perfect for it. This time, a cream color...