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Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

I have recently had the time – and inclination – to carefully follow my Twitter feed, tweeting occasionally, re-tweeting in bursts, and replying on a variety of topics. It’s been a luxury to wallow in, as well as exasperating and hilarious at times. I’ve built up my feed from a diverse set of topics, from professional to personal interests. As a result, I get updates on #impinv (impact investing) and #socent (social enterprise), #climate change, #collecon (collaborative economy), #sharing and #susty (sustainability) to updates from PBS NewsHour, The Economist and The Atlantic. I get posts from authors Anne Lamott and Diana Gabaldon, people focused on providing capital to women, and the San Francisco Giants. I’m also following the production team and cast of the new Outlander series. Sometimes it makes my head explode, but all the different inputs stretch my thinking and give me numerous “squirrels” to chase. Speaking of which, just a second ….

Sorry, I just had to respond to a post on how depictions of rape in film are/aren’t helpful on a discussion form that I found through my Outlander thread. Then I started to consider whether I should write a post on how interesting the forum discussion is, ranging from gender bias in the workplace to depictions of women and sex on TV. Then I had to check for updates on Twitter, and look at some naturally-dyed fibers, think about knitting projects, and read a post on whether to write longhand or using a computer. And while I do both, I am using a computer right now ….

Did I mention that I started the initial notes for this post almost a week ago?

Still Waters, Tuolumne Meadows

Still Waters, Tuolumne Meadows

Anyway, sometimes my “squirrels” take me into interesting little eddies of the flow, or little pools where I can stay for a bit, before letting the currents take me further. And sometimes, I connect unexpected dots, both serious and fun, whether gender empowerment (too numerous to mention) or the San Francisco Giants. Who knew that @RonDMoore and @TheHealthPolicyGroup are also #SFGiants fans?! And I learned a little bit about baseball scorekeeping. [squirrel!]

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Squirrel! Tuolumne Meadows

I know this luxury of time won’t last, but I’m enjoying it while it does. I’m @elizlk, if you want to join me.

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Taken by her only dog-walker/alternate caretaker, Jenny (aka Doggrrl)

Phoebe on Bernal Hill

For the first time in many years, I won’t be taking Phoebe to church this weekend. The celebration of St Francis with the Blessing of the Animals is something I enjoyed before I had a dog. I attended the celebration at Grace Cathedral with friends (one of whom had a dog) when Jane Goodall preached the sermon and my friend’s dog Riley got his special prayer. I know I could attend this year, too, with or without Phoebe’s ashes, but it’s too sad to contemplate, and I don’t want to sob in public, which is what would likely happen.

Phoebe was a blessing to me in many ways for nearly 15 years. The regular prayers she & I received during the Blessing of the Animals acknowledged that bond. I’m recalling those blessings, and that bond today, with love.

June 2014

After many months, I picked up my spider’s web lace shawl again. I finished the last 2 rounds yesterday. (I know now that they’re called rounds – not rows – when knitting in the round.) The final round had 1092 stitches.

Since I started it in 2010, I had managed to keep working on the project sporadically, and knit a couple of small projects in between. Nearing the end of the pattern, I knew I’d need help with the binding off, so I set it aside until I knew my knitting-expert friend could help me. He removed the belly-button start and showed me how to do the crochet bind-off called for in the pattern. It’s designed to make the ruffly, open edge. Turns out, it calls for 14 crochet stitches for every 2 stitches that get bound off.

Yep. To bind off the final 1092 stitches, I’m going to have to crochet 7,644 stitches.

I did find that knitting the pattern could be a meditation. In fact, when finishing the last pattern round, I found that a mantra of “all will be well, and all will be well, and all will be well, and all will be well if I put some effort into it” worked for the repeating series of knit 3, yarn-over, 3-stitch decrease, yarn-over pattern. (If you’ve never knit, just take my word for it.) Partial credit to Julian of Norwich.

See photos for the lacy, curvy edge, and a sense of what the whole thing looks like – remember, it’s a full circle. In the photos, I had bound off 39 stitches.

A bit more stretched out to show the shawl pattern.

A bit more stretched out to show the shawl pattern.

Detailed shot of the edge. For scale, the bright green tip is about 3/8" at the widest point.

Detailed shot of the edge. For scale, the bright green tip is about 3/8″ at the widest point.

Because the piece is still mostly on the round needles, it can't be spread out much, but this shows the edging effect nicely.

Because the piece is still mostly on the round needles, it can’t be spread out much, but this shows the edging effect nicely.

I am not finding that this bind-off lends itself to a mantra, so far. It takes too much concentration to keep the slippery silk fiber on the slippery crochet hook.

So.

I have 1053 stitches left to be bound off, and it seems to take me about 2 1/2 minutes to complete one 14-stitch set when I’m focused and working pretty smoothly. That’s 1,316 minutes or 21.9 hours of pretty focused work.

I would like to think I could do this during the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament games, but I know I won’t be able to if I want to actually watch the action. (Doing needlework like this while watching TV is good, because it forces me to look up and focus at a distance regularly, and reduces eyestrain.)

Unless I increase watching TV that I’m fine with mostly listening to, it may take me another 2.5 years to get this done. Stay tuned – but don’t hold your breath.