Saturday, August 23, 2008
I have to say that I am delighted with the enthusiastic responses for the pattern and all the lovely examples of Hibiscus socks that are popping up on Ravelry, and for the warm and generous the support everyone has shown for this fundraising effort.
I've received a tremendous outpouring of support for the walk and also many notes from people about their own battle with cancer or that of a loved one, and some about their loss of close friends or family members to cancer. I wish you could read some of the moving personal stories people impart in the messages with their donations. I will try to figure out the best way to share them here.
P.S. Please stand by for further action here regarding the KAL and related contests (yes, my darlings, there will be prizes). I'm a bit behind on my plans for this, occupied with some personal events at present that require all my immediate attention and have assumed slightly overwhelming proportions:
In short, I am trying to (a) plan my wedding, (b) train for a 60-km walk, (c) unclutter my home life, and (d) sort through 4 years of financial records for tax returns, all in the next two weeks.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Hibiscus for Hope Diary: August 10, 2008
Yesterday, my husband and I decided on the spur of the moment to rip up to Jasper for the afternoon. Jasper is four hours away in the Rocky Mountains. It’s been twenty years since we saw Jasper and we were both very excited to be going. The drive up and back afforded me hours of time on my socks. I had one toe done and was keenly working my way up the sock toward the pattern part.
There I was, singing along to the radio, knitting away, enjoying the feel and colour and action of every stitch, watching as the prairies turned to foothills, the foothills began to be dotted with small rocks here and there, and suddenly seeing and being in the middle of the mountains. The beauty and sheer size of these rock formations really take your breath away. They remind me that I’m but a small part of this earth. They exude a solid strength and I take great energy from them.
Back to the sock. It was around the time that the prairies turned to foothills that I reached the point in the sock where I could start the patterning. How exciting! When I reached into the Ziploc bag that held the sock accoutrements for the pattern I realized the pattern was sitting on my dining room table at home. Sigh. I had pulled it out of the Ziploc bag the night before to read ahead in the pattern and had forgotten to put it back. In our spontaneous dash out the door I didn’t give it a thought. I had the Ziploc baggie with the wool and partial sock in it. I threw in an extra ball of the yarn because I wouldn’t want to run out. There was paper in the bag but it turned out to be a Movie Gallery print out. Isn’t that the way it goes? Throw in a Crayola “burnt orange” for marking rows and you’ve got the full domestic picture.
Luckily, I brought back-up knitting. I worked on the Victorian lace scarf I’m making for our adopted daughter who lives in Inuvik. In winter, the kids wear their parkas in school all day because the building can’t be heated enough. She’s actually a friend of my daughter’s but we love her too and consider her one of our own. The pattern is “Scarf with a wide and handsome border,” found in Jane Sowerby’s Victorian Lace Today. I’m knitting it with Fiddlesticks JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk in the colour Jade.
My Hibiscus for Hope socks’ journey will continue. I may print out a few extra copies of the pattern and place them strategically in both our vehicles, in my purse, in my knitting bag, and anywhere else I may be inspired to look for it the next time I leave it sitting on the dining room table.
Best wishes to you MezzoDiva in your walk, and thanks for championing this important cause.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Because I have a shocking confession to make:
It's my pattern, but it's not originally my design.
I was fiddling with ideas for the pattern off and on since mid-winter, but to no satisfaction. Though I unwittingly managed to reinvent any number of lovely sock patterns that are out and about these days (aaargh!), I just wasn't able to make any of my original inspirations comply with my requirements for a new pattern that would: keep the basic construction of the sock fairly simple so that sock-neophytes won’t be scared off, but hopefully introduce some new structural ideas to a few people in a simple and fun way, while letting an intriguing but still easy to accomplish lace do most of the talking so that sock-experts will want to play too.
I did give it several valiant tries, but frankly in recent months all my creative juices were flowing in musical directions, all my brain cells were otherwise occupied and in overdrive (preparing for the then-upcoming opera performances) so that all I could do competently with sticks and string was knit rounds and rounds of mindless stockinette. Even the simplest short-row toe was truly a challenge because my brain was just too full.
Meanwhile, way back in Januray I came across That Logan Chick's gorgeous Agatha shawl on Etsy, and I fell hard. I was completely enthralled. I immediately ordered the pattern (as well as a couple of her beautiful beaded shawl pins). Though unable to commit to a shawl project at the time, I was nevertheless besotted, completely under the spell of that pattern, unable to stop dreaming about it, scribbling its name lovingly in the margins of my opera scores, sketching its motif in my diary...
In late spring, as I wrestled with the umpteenth idea for my 2008 Knitters for Knockers sock, I started tinkering with ideas for using the Agatha shawl motif in a sock and couldn’t think in any other direction. After much frustration (and the near demolition of a perfectly lovely skein of Fleece Artist sock yarn from frequent ripping and reknitting and ripping and reknitting...) it occurred to me that really I was (oh, fer heaven's sake, again?!) trying to reinvent and codify something that had already been created beautifully by someone else - and I love her version of it so much that I could never be content with any poor imitation I would make.
I wisely decided to put it aside and sleep on it.
I woke up the next day and realized I'd been operating under a false assumption. I mistakenly believed that because it’s my fundraising program, I have to be the sole designer (pardon the pun) for this endeavour. Of course my ego was egging me on, whispering insidiously that I had to come up with something brilliant and beautiful like last year's pattern Campanula for the Cure and I had to do it all by myself.
Well, I'd been reading a lot of Eckhart Tolle lately. Somehow, his words of wisdom afforded me just enough detachment to see through the egoic trap of my non-existent dilemna. Aknowledging the simple yet profound error in my thinking was quite liberating! (Though I am still sheepishly succumbing to an ego-driven desire to state that I bought the book last year, before the big Oprah-induced phenomenon, but I had a few other books on the night-table ahead of it and I only got around to reading it this spring).
I promptly sat down at my computer and sent an email to Rebecca, the brilliant creator of that shawl I love so much, asking her to be my guest designer for the Knitters for Knockers 2008 campaign and I'm thrilled to report she was happy to oblige! Rebecca not only generously allowed me to borrow the motif, she pointed me to her own prototype Hibiscus sock AND graciously sent me her notes (for a size 11 sock - gulp!) and all her charts.
I must admit the road from there to a clear instructive pattern for public consumption that would allow most sock knitters to make their own was still a long and occasionally arduous one as the conceptual steps were easy to imagine but a lot harder to articulate. But now that it’s done, tested and vetted by my faithful team of experts, and revised and edited to within an inch of its life and mine, I am SO proud to reveal it to you in all its glory.
I know I am biased, but it's a beautiful sock pattern and I hope you'll love it as much as I do. If you're intrigued, please sponsor me now for the 2008 Toronto Weekend to End Breast Cancer. I'll send you the pattern as soon as I get notice of your donation. Or, better yet, go check out Knitters for Knockers, and join us for for this profoundly empowering life-altering experience.