Autumn 2013

Autumn 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fathers and Daughters

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket!
This week, I will tell you of current goings-on, upcoming events, and as always, knitting and books.

So, last Sunday was a full day. We left home at 6 am and drove to Copenhagen to attend a Baptist service that included the reason for it all: the blessing of Kajsa, the daughter of my cousin Lasse and his wife, Anne.
After that came a sumptuous brunch with the family at Café Sult (= Café Hunger), and then we drove back home. A full day, and a lovely day. And for some reason, we were exhausted by sitting in the car, sitting in the church, sitting and eating, and sitting in the car again. Weird.

I have been to several Baptist services, including a baptism, and they are so much more enjoyable than the regular Lutheran state church services. The physical proximity and modern casual garb of the minister, the live music, the song and psalm texts projected from a MacBook to a screen on the wall, the friendly familiarity and welcoming smiles of people who have never seen you before.
Even an old sceptic like me can feel and partake in the palpable joy and sense of community in the room, particularly on this occasion of welcoming a new child belonging to God, to the parents, to the family, and to the community. I was reminded of the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, as everybody present was asked to support Lasse and Anne in raising their daughter – and maybe this is what it’s all about. Whether there really is a transcendent being holding everybody in his hands is less important than the coming together of caring humans believing in the principles of love, mutual support, and joy.

In the FWG group on LinkedIn, the August short stories are all in, and the votes are cast. Right now, we are waiting for the count, and then will come the feedback in small groups.
Victor joined the group and submitted a story: as soon as I mentioned the August highlights, he had an idea and wrote a story, made a profile and did his thing. I read his story – but I haven’t helped him otherwise: he does it all on his own merits.

We have some upcoming events around here: next weekend, on the 6th – 8th September, the big annual craft fair, Husflidsmessen, takes place in Viborg. I will be going on the Saturday to check out the stalls, mostly for the yarns.

And in a few weeks’ time, on 14th – 21st September, is the Viborg Festival (Festuge) with lots of things going on. On the Thursday is a knit & crochet workshop that I am going to, primarily as a story teller – but I will bring my knitting, of course.

I realised that it’s been a while since I talked about my running; this is not because I haven’t run at all, though it hasn’t been all that much this week. I am up to 5-minute intervals now, with 1-minute breaks and usually a 6-minute run at the end (and, of course, 3 or 4 minutes of cool-down walk).
I am hot when I run – as in ‘too warm’, mind you, not in any sense even remotely approaching ‘sexy’! – so the ambient temperature has a significant impact on my well-being and performance. The summer heat (and yes, around here, 22 C is heat) in July made running tough, and even the 17 C we had this Friday, with an unfulfilled promise of rain in the humid air, was a bit much for me. Today, it is 12 C, grey and wet – and much better. The longer uphill stretches aren’t killing me, and I am even planning 6 or maybe 7 minute intervals for my next run.
We’ll see how that goes; I will be experimenting with running in the afternoon, too, as my teaching on Tuesdays and Wednesdays is from 8 to 12 am, and after driving to and from Aarhus around that, I need air.

The Knitting
With the long drives last Sunday, to Copenhagen and back, and with my dad doing most of the driving, I got quite a bit of knitting done; so I actually finished two things this week. On top of that, I frogged an old hibernating project to re-purpose the yarn. And I didn’t cast on anything new – so my wip count is going down. Yay!

What did I finish, then?
 First, the Charm tee, for which, as it turned out, I had lots of yarn; enough for long sleeves and even some leftover.
Because the hem is curved, I did a stretchy cast-off, the k1, [k1, k2tog] that can be useful for a lace shawl. But that one was too stretchy, making the hem flop outwards, so I undid it and replaced it with the ‘usual’ pulling a stitch over a stitch-method.
I can see, now that I’ve tried it on properly, that if I use this pattern again, I’ll want to move the raglan increase rows a bit towards the centre, leaving more stitches for sleeves.
One more top for work done; with students, I need to be aware of wearing different things, because they notice. I have five usable tops now, one on the way, and two or three more planned.

And I finally finished the striped socks that do NOT take four months to knit, regardless of what the Ravelry project page for them might say – unless, of course, you have 15 other projects running at the same time and only do a stripe or two once in a while.
These toe-up socks have arch-shaping, which I love, hugging the sole of your foot, and an unusual, fitted, short-row heel, as well as (optional) decreases around the ankle.
I am going for a fitted sock that doesn’t bunch inside shoes.

The next phase will be wearing the socks to see how the heel works out; if it is good enough, I will try out the Free Pattern Testers group on Ravelry before releasing the pattern. More on this in due course.

My current main project is a fingering weight cotton cardigan, an adult version of the Laura cardigan. The working title is Leaf cardigan because of the leafy lace border at the bottom – I do intend to come up with something more imaginative.

Anyway, I am once again using the contiguous sleeve method invented by SusieM, but with more shoulder stitches. On the driftwood 
jumper where I first encountered this method, you have two stitches running from the side of the neck to the shoulder, with increases on each side.
Now, that is all well and good – but it makes the back of the neck rather high, and my jumpers have a tendency to creep backwards over the shoulders. So, on the Laura, I made 7 shoulder stitches to give a bit more room for the back of the neck, and on this adult version, I have 11, making the shoulder somewhat resemble a saddle shoulder. The choice of uneven numbers is dictated by the stitch pattern I use for these cardigans: the leaf stem ribs are spaced by 11 knit stitches.

I am almost down to the divide for body and sleeves; the pattern is simple enough to be worked on while reading, so it is coming along nicely.

The Books
As mentioned last week, I have been listening to ChopBard on The Tempest, and of course reading the text of the play.
Apparently, this is a difficult play to pin down – what is it all about? Magic and the use of it, power over yourself and others, crime and retribution, redemption, revenge or forgiveness. As it is a comedy, nobody dies – though several characters are thought to be dead and/or fear for their lives – and a young couple are to be married.
There seems to be a line of critique that focuses on colonialism and slavery, simply because some of the characters are white Europeans (from Milan or Naples), landed on an island in the Mediterranean (not Bermuda) that was formerly only inhabited by the son of a North African witch. And this son, Caliban, is put to hard labour by Prospero, the duke-turned-magician.
I get the sense, once again, that particularly white US citizens want to interpret anything and everything in the light of a collective guilt over having used black Africans as slaves. Not that I would ever condone slavery as such – but it has been widely practised, historically and globally speaking, not only in North America, and not only by white people using black people.
Get over it. Shakespeare was not burdened by this guilt when he wrote his play, for very good reasons, so insisting on this interpretation is a huge anachronism.
And anyway, Caliban is the son of a Tunisian witch, not a Sub-Saharan black African, and he is a convict, not a slave. Prospero is punishing him for the attempted rape of his daughter, Miranda, who at the time of the play is 15 years old. Who can blame a father for that?

I mentioned to my boys what goes on in The Tempest: a storm and a shipwreck, people are thrown ashore on a magical island where strange things happen – and so, we decided to watch Lost again. The whole redemption or forgiveness theme in Shakespeare has resonances in Lost, as well: practically everybody, at least the main characters, are given a second chance to straighten up their lives and come to terms with themselves.

And, by the laws of synchronicity, I finally got started on the August group read in the Ravelry Book Club on Goodreads: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. So, more magic and poetry – this is a lovely book.
The first named character to show up in the book is Prospero the Enchanter – stage name – and next, we meet his daughter who is very explicitly NOT named Miranda. Isn’t that great? See, if I had started this book sooner, say, around the beginning of August, those names would not have resounded the way they did for me.
Sometimes, the universe just aligns.

And on this happy note, I will leave you for now. Have a wonderful week, and I will be back with more chat on knitting, and yarn, and books, and students.
Take care!

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