I Am I Am I

Annual report time! I’ve been avoiding this for over a month because wild things have been happening. We’re having a winter without snow! My sisters and I have been fighting! The restaurant I work in part time is on the market! My office has gone full-metal weird, and in five years, it’ll be nothing but me and six Vice Presidents standing at my cubicle doorway, shouting, “MAKE MY PURCHASE ORDER BEFORE HERS!” Hahahaha – I’m on break! But let’s get this annual report into the books, shall we? To recap:

This started out as the Cat Blanket Project. The Lovely Georg, Ceiling Cat Remember Her With Fishy Treats, asked friends to knit or crochet blankets for animal shelters, which I did. But then people from all over – possibly including you – sent me yarn in large boxes; other agencies/organizations asked for yarny help. So! You trusted me with art supplies. This is what I did with them in 2014, in 2015, in 2016.cornery

In 2017, I was making blankets for the animal shelters, baby blankets for the hospital, lap blankets for veterans, etc., but in 2018, things changed. The hospital developed new rules that did not allow for baby blankets. My connection to the veterans in need of lap blankets moved away. I made lap blankets for the cancer treatment center but haven’t had the chance to deliver them yet. They will make my 2019 stats super shiny! Look at me go!

I made 56 cat blankets and 58 cat toys. They’re supposed to be 1:1, but as we know I cannot count and yay extra toys!

I made piles of pussy hats that will be delivered at a time when I can account for them, in the fuuuuutuuuuuuure!

The other thing I was doing with my hands in 2018 (watch it, you!) was writing postcards for Postcards To Voters. Last year was a crucial year in the history of our country and I started writing postcards to overcome my despair. Writing each postcard was an act of desperate hope in the beginning, and then the candidates I was writing for began to win races. I won’t lie. I needed them to win. I needed them to win enough that I wrote 405 postcards last year, putting a crimp in my 2018 crocheting schedule and making my hands, which don’t work well on a good day, feel like reheated crap. For 2019, I’m going to try turning out 30 postcards a week, but we shall see how desperate I feel and how many special elections fill out the calendar. By the way, if you’re feeling desperate, you too can write postcards. It’s easy to join up and it really does matter.

In 2018, two stitchers died and their projects, tools, patterns and materials came to me. Thank you for trusting me! Tiny, tiny crochet hooks went to a friend who teaches people how to crochet lace. Some of those hooks were smaller than any my friend had ever seen, and they were certainly too tiny for me to use or even see. Seriously: they were tiny. When my friend died, projects, tools and materials came to me and they were special, because that stitcher was my friend and mentor for decades. I sent her many knitting needles on to Georg, Ceiling Cat remember her with fishy treats! I finished one project and gave it back to her family. This was really emotional for me, because it’s hard to work in the stitches of another person and think of their hands touching the same project. Nearly all of the yarn has been made into blankets that will keep people and animals warm, and all of it will eventually move on.

So: 2018 was really different from previous years: productive, but really different. I haven’t got the faintest idea if I can keep turning out more blankets for the animal shelters each year. Anyway, I will keep trying. Thank you for trusting me!

 

 

 

 

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Faith And Hope And Charity

Wut?

I’ve always been afraid gravity would lose its grip on me.

Here we are in the dark of January. It’ll be another two and half to three months before we can quit thinking of murdering people who touch us with cold feet. They deserved it! No jury would convict us! COLD FEET!

But I hope you will curb your murderous urges. Spring will come soon and you’ll think you were out of your mind to take out the garbage in January wearing flip flops. Shoes were a hassle. You were just taking out the garbage and you couldn’t find your other boot. One of the cats was probably wearing it, to go with the gloves you find everywhere, migrating around the house at night like there’s some sort of glove exchange you don’t really understand. By you, I mean me, and I’ll bet my feet are cold.

The Rhythm of Your Heartbeat

Please fix your nails, lady.

One December afternoon.

Kind, thoughtful people send me scrap yarn by the bagful for the cat blanket project. I can’t thank those enough – or, in some cases, at all, since I have no idea who they are or were. Every year, though, donations arrive with unfinished projects, piles of knitting needles and crochet hooks, notions, patterns, shopping lists; these are the last effects of a stitcher. This year, packages like this arrived twice: once, from a very elderly hoarder I didn’t know, but the second time, the late stitcher was a friend and mentor. She was a much better knitter than I will ever be, and her unfinished projects were daunting. I put them away for another, braver day. Yesterday was that day. It was also Christmas Day, and Christmas cheer might’ve had something to do with it.

My craft room has been disastrous since these donations arrived. Yesterday, I took out a giant homemade knitting bag full of unfinished throw blanket and laid it out on my dining room table to look at it. If I thought I could finish it, I was determined to try. If I could not, I’d tear out the stitches and reuse the yarn, but I was trying to avoid that. After a few minutes’ examination, I realized to my relief the blanket was crocheted. I didn’t know my friend crocheted, so that came as a surprise. My friend was right-handed. I am left-handed, and that matters. I was unable to figure out what stitches she was using or how she had made the very pretty dual colored pattern. Pete said, “If you can finish it, why don’t you give it to her granddaughters?” That was the encouragement I needed, and I decided I would, if not finish the blanket at her degree of skill, finish it to the best of my ability. In retrospect, a strong holiday cocktail might have boosted my confidence.

The blanket was about 7′ long with fringe on both ends. I worked out how she did that, but not why. She had started a row with single crochet. Her stitches slanted right. Mine slanted left. I couldn’t do anything about that, but on the second row, I figured out a solution to the problem that blended my stitches with hers and made the two edges a closer match. No match would be perfect, but this was pretty good.

It was Christmas Night. I texted my friend’s daughter, who is also my lifelong friend Trout, to say the blanket was finished and did she want it? At that moment, her niece was plopping gooey green slime into her hands, so my timing was somewhat off. Trout burst into tears and we agreed to meet up next weekend.

A couple of weeks ago, Paulie Gonzalez and I renewed the blog’s domain name for three years. As a writer and artist, I am not sure where I’m going or what I’d like to be doing, but finishing the work of a beloved stitcher gave me a feeling of satisfaction I haven’t felt before, and this brings us to the photograph above. Here, I declare defeat.

Buoyed by yesterday’s success, I pulled a bunch of sweater panels out of a garbage bag and found my nemesis at the bottom: a zipper. As bad signs go, that one said “Bates Motel.” The bag contained no pattern and no clue how the panels should be assembled. Worse: one of the panels stopped a few inches in. I laid this out on the dining room table and waved the white flag: these cream-colored panels were beyond my ken. After that, I spent two hours pulling out stitches and rolling the yarn into balls. Two hours. Come to think of it, a refreshing adult beverage might’ve helped with that, too.

Three years offers a lot of possibility. I might finish yarny stuff, garden or string words together. I might think the funny thoughts in public places or say serious stuff where someone might hear me. The future is wide open.

 

A Movie Or A Measure

This afternoon, we had a break from normal November weather. I went outside to mail some postcards and found Andie wielding a shovel, a hole in what passes for our front lawn.

Tata: Whatcha doin’?

Andie: Nothing!

Tata: That looks planny. Planful. Plantastic.

Andie: Plantastic. I’m stealing that.

I walked about 40 feet to the mailbox on the corner. When I got back, some planters were empty, some plants had new homes and some soil had relocated to new places. Andie, working in a t-shirt and jeans, twirled that shovel like a like an extra in a Jackie Chan film. I headed toward the basement to avoid friction and rotor wash.

Yuck yuck yuck

New Brunswick has a rubber duck race every year. Unfortunately, one finds stragglers. Speaking of stragglers, some runoff elections are still up for grabs.

Feeling overwhelmed and under-enthused? Try writing some Postcards To Voters.

Ordinarily, by this time of year, I’ve finished blankets and toys for the cat blanket project and moved on to other projects, but the postcards had hard deadlines, which also kept me from blogging consistently. I crocheted blankets here and there to rest my hands, so there’s more to do. But I’m really close.

The finish line is in sight.