29 November 2011

Coming (almost) Clean

Right now, as I look at the calendar, the past year seems simultaneously one of the longest and shortest of my life. I can't believe it's a day away from December, and I know I owe you all an explanation for disappearing off the face of the Earth.

I came into the shiny new year of 2011 with the best of intentions, planning hard work and efficiency. Life kind of derailed me, I have to admit, but I am so not here to complain. So many people are going through so much, and I am so freakin' lucky that I am knocking on wood every minute or so as I write this.

A very few of you know about the health issues in my family that have been ongoing, but that's all I can really say. It isn't my story to tell. What I can say is that sometimes the cure prescribed turns out to be just as bad – or worse - than the ailment was in the first place, and once you start down that track it is difficult to stop and get bearings. This past year was one filled with little niggling issues, like a trail of dominos. Things that could turn out to be as bad as they could possibly be, or innocuous in and of themselves. Wake-up calls. One after another, and difficult to ignore. So, instead of spending that extra hour working on my pattern or my pins or my knitting, I put it down. Because the one thing that I finally realized was that I have it really really great right now. These are the Good Old Days. And I am going to enjoy each and every moment that I can with the people I love.

I am so lucky to be able to say that, although things have been unpleasant and long lasting, they are livable. And probably not even chronic in the end. :knockonwood: Everything just takes longer, if you know what I mean. It's one of those years – we had one about 5 years ago too – when we joke about having our own wing at the emergency room. And right now, I am in the happy position of looking back on it and believing that we are moving into a calmer period of time.

Looking back on those problems also makes me realize just how utterly behind I am in everything at this point, all of my plans having gone by the wayside. Although I have my muses designed and sketched up, most likely I will not make my deadline of having them all knitted by the end of the year. I can't even begin to tell you how upsetting that is to me. The sad thing is, I was stressing so terribly about it that I wasn't even enjoying the knitting of them. As soon as I accepted it and began mentally writing this tome of a blog post, though, I felt a sense of relief and started enjoying the process again. As Mr. Romi says, I was too "wrapped around the axle." Now it's time for me to move on and concentrate on finishing them. But you all know...they have to be perfect. :) I hope you can all bear with me, and I thank you for your patience.

Speaking of the muses - I have finished another one. Would you like to see a few little pictures to tease you?

This one is knit from Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in Sundown Orchid (I could only find some here; others seem to be sold out). I love the cable that runs down the back. It's a little asymmetrical, but not too much.
There's a little bit of shoulder shaping using a mock cable in the upper stockinette portion, and it moves straight into the border.
There's some twist to the edging, and a little eyelet.
But I mostly love the border.
It ruffles a little.
And I just want to touch that rich texture every time I see it. I am thoroughly enjoying passing this one by on the mannequin every time I walk into my studio.

Remember when I told you that I had a secret project I am working on? I had planned to have that one all ready for you too, to knit for the holidays. But I am terribly behind, so instead of getting the whole thing out as planned, I am working on getting one of the projects to you for some fun holiday knitting.

The secret? I'm putting together an eBook called "Doily Heads" and filled with lacy hats. (There's a Ravelry group by the name of "Doilie Heads" btw, and I made sure they were ok with the title first).

I'm going to be releasing a tam, and hopefully some wrist warmers and perhaps a cowl to go with, but really? I have been sort of over (under?)-shooting the mark lately, so I will just say the tam for sure. One of the versions is in this lovely black alpaca from Misti.
I decided to line it with some magenta Silk Cloud from Shibui.
It keeps your head warm if you happen to live in Canada and not California. This is the inside.
And the top. I showed everyone in my knitting group and they were wearing it inside out. :)
But I also have an unlined version. Don't you think the pattern looks like a Poinsettia? I do. So I dug out some gorgeous red Sunna in Garnet from Spirit Trail Fiberworks.
I love the stitch definition.
And the color is perfect!
It's a nice light hat for a day with a little chill in the air. Or for someone with a hot head. Hee.
I love the way they turned out!
The pattern is in testing and will be available soon.

I feel like my post is so long already, but I can't leave this out. Jürgen in Germany sent me some beautiful hand spun silk!
Try as I might, I couldn't capture the luster of the yarn. It positively glows. And look at how incredibly even it is! He did this on a drop spindle!
So gorgeous....
Thank you Jürgen!

Oops! One more thing...Monika asked about the black background in the photos of Melpomene and Cåliz. In order to get a black background, I photographed outside in direct sunlight, with the shawl in full light, but against a background that was in shadow, and I metered on my subject. The shadow area in my photos is not actually all that dark in real life. There's a grey stone wall and trees back there (but most importantly, they were in shadow). I also positioned the mannequin rather far away from the background - about 8 feet. I shot with a macro lens at f2.8. I Googled around, aNd Step 4 on this page is a nice and simple explanation. It's really fun to do with flowers. :)

Well. Off to bed with me. I'm feeling too energetic right now!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juergen is an incredible spindler!! Love your hats! and the tease!

Miss Babs

1:59 AM  
Blogger kaykatrn said...

I am not into tams, but the stitch pattern is pretty. I LOVE the new muse. I think it might go to the top of my to-do list. That is, if I ever finish my Mother's Christmas gift. It is turning out to be a big project!! I am sorry life is pushing you around, and hope things are truly letting up on you!

2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally understand where you are coming from and can so relate to your post, as I posted something very similar a few months ago. Family is very important and time with them is so precious ... everything else, well sometimes it needs to take a back seat and don't stress over the small things :) I look forward to your new designs and this bump in the road makes it even more special to wait. Love all your new projects too...as always, gorgeous!!!! Hugs :)

4:34 AM  
Blogger Anita Figueras said...

I think many of us deduced some time ago that you were dealing with something important. I've remained confident that the Muses will appear when it's possible for them to be finished.

I know so well what you mean when you say "it's not my story to tell". There's a fine line that every blogger who writes about his or her life learns to walk. It's very good to read that your loved one's health issue is improving.

I love the tam! I'm drawn to the lined version, as I do live in the north, just an hour from Canada. Something to look forward to as the holidays approach.

4:51 AM  
Blogger Oneday Designs said...

Well, I think that it is just amazing that you have been able to produce such beautiful designs during your family health traumas. I am looking forward to seeing the completed new muse as it looks like my kind of design. However, please try not to stress yourself about the deadline - things will evolve eventually and the results will be stunning. Take care and I wish you and your family a happy and healthy future.

4:58 AM  
Anonymous MistySnow said...

Keep smiling! Here's to better things for 2012. I'm excited to see the glimpses of Muse #2. And the hats are stunning! Thank you for you for keeping us busy with your amazing designs.

6:25 AM  
Blogger ExecutiveKnitter said...

Don't sweat it! We are all doing just fine. Release your designs as you can - we have plenty to do in the meantime. Not like there aren't plenty of WIPs laying around.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Romi: Please don't ever feel you need to apologize for taking care of the people you love. Peace and health to you all.

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Kei said...

Romi --
Muse #2 is GORGEOUS. So is the tam --- lined in mohair/silk -- yummy!

And {{{}}} to you for your year. Seems like 2011 has been difficult for many, and I am one that is ready and looking forward to 2012.
Thank you for your designs, you have kept us VERY busy with our knitting, even if you don't think you've done what you've set out to do!

8:25 AM  
Blogger Carol Steel said...

I love your blog and am perfectly happy to wait in the intervals between postings. Whatever is happening for your life right now, don't add fretting about your blog to the pile. Take care of yourself and those you love. The rest will come.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Susan said...


Good on you for shifting your outlook!

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rosemary, I am sorry that your family is coping with so much, which can eat up both time and energy. And we have plenty of beautiful patterns from you to knit in the meantime.

And gorgeous hat - living in Northern California, there are times when I want a thicker hat, so don't discount the lining!

8:42 AM  
Blogger Judy (Nanajudy) said...

Wow! I love the new shawl! I have enough WIP's to keep me busy, so just go right ahead and make it perfect. hehe

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To echo the rest of the comments, I know I'm going to love the Muses when they are done, but don't stress over getting them done *right now* anticipation is half the fun!

I'm also glad that (I hope) things are starting to turn for the better.

As for the tam: from someone in that Canadian climate I am going to welcome a piece of lace that is lined because wearing a lace hat, in -20C with a wind chill, is not a good idea. Huzzah for pretty things that can be warn in deepest, darkest winter!

~ Kay.

9:33 AM  
Blogger margene said...

Taking care of yourself and your family should come first. You sound as if you've found peace with the situation and, from there, everything will fall into place.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Connie said...

You and your patterns are worth the wait...no problem here!

10:23 AM  
Blogger Andi said...

LOVE the hat and lined, it might actually work for me! I have a LOT of hair and hte last tam I made looked like a mushroom on my head. (Looks fabulous on my friend for her birthday, though!) Either way, gorgeous!

Remember to take lots of deep breaths. It's 'only' knitting and you'll be happier doing them the way you want even if they're late. Truly, no one will die if you make your patterns later than you planned!

HUGS for your tough times...

10:26 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I only know you through your blog and your Rav forums, but would love to have you for a next-door neighbor. We're both homeschooling sons in completely self-employed households, so we could commiserate and support and combine resources. (But you would have to move up HERE, so I could keep my horses and Shetland sheep. :-)

I'm sorry to hear about the health problems. My DH had a heart attack over a year ago, but all is fine (relatively speaking) now. Still, it changes your focus, and SHOULD.

I LOVE what I see in the glimpses of the new designs! Melpomene hasn't captured my heart yet; I think my heart has been set on cables 'n' lace from the first peek you gave us. So I will wait in happy anticipation for this Muse, and in the meantime I may very well cast on Elektra using a BIG skein of homespun BLF/silk. After all, I've only knit two of the Sisters so far; I should have plenty to keep me busy while you design and knit!

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Miggsie said...

I'm a long-time reader but first time commenter on your blog, and just wanted to wish you and your family well. My family had the rug pulled out from under us at the beginning of this year with a health crisis no one saw coming, and we've all been dealing with the short and long term effects of living with illness. I understand how draining it can be, and taking care of your family and yourself has to be your first priority. Yes, we're all anxious for more of your beautiful designs, but they will come when the time is right. Hugs and best wishes for health and joy in 2012.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Trista said...

I found it impossible to knit when my mother was in the hospital with cancer. I thought I would sit beside her and knit all day and I just couldn't. I don't know who you have that is sick or with what, but I do understand firsthand that you must be easy on yourself. All of us understand and are still, maybe even more so, amazed at your designs and productivity.

You really had me over the lace hats! I thought 'not warm enough for our weather' and then I saw your mohair silk lining. Wow, that is so very smart. Angora would be lovely in there too.

Best wishes to you and yours Romi and take good care of yourself. We will all wait patiently for your lovely designs.

11:59 AM  
Blogger GretchenJ said...

Romi, I think that people will be breathing a collective sigh of relief for a few reasons - 1) that said loved one is improving and you are on a smoother path with it, and 2) we'll all have time to catch up with your releases! I am a late-comer to even 7 Small Shawls, so plenty of projects, not enough time, is where I am at. Your work is worth the wait. And family always comes first, in the big scheme of things.

I have a 16 yo DS, and a 10 yo DD. Time passes quickly with our beloveds. Never apologize for making their health your priority. This coming from a mom trying to get DS gluten-free while he "heals". Glad you are seeing smoother sailing ahead.

12:11 PM  
Blogger marlie said...

From the snippets that you've given, I think you've had a year similar to the past 18 months that I've had, dealing with a serious illness that my mother had.

I hope that this Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year season bring you peace, rest, and joy with the people you love. That's infinitely more important than any deadline.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Monika said...

Wow-so much info in one post! I WAS wondering how long you could keep going like that, popping shawls out so fast! I hope 2012 will be much better health wise for your family.
Letting go is hard sometimes, but after you can't imagine why you didn't do it earlier, at least that's it with me.

I can't wait (but I will) for the next muse. I love it already!

Thanks for the explanation of your photography! I googeled after reading the last blog post, and found the same website with the explanation. I have to keep trying to get that effect! Thanks Romi!

3:37 PM  
Blogger daffynpooh said...

Never feel you need to apologize for taking care of you and yours.........I think the anticipation of your releases is so much fun anyway!

And maybe, just maybe, we can catch up with what you turn out in the meantime <3

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl Oberle said...

Romi, your beautiful work is worth waiting for. Take your time and enjoy the process. That's what makes the Muses smile.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hugs, hugs, and more hugs.

I have no need for you to do anything to a deadline -- I think you've self-imposed that upon yourself, and the rest of us will just happily knit anything you create :) We've got lots of knitting to be done from you, so we are so happy!!!

Muse #2 looks STUNNING, I cannot wait, and am soooo excited for this one. But of course, I've got lots to do on my gorgeous Melpomene too (and let's not even talk about Christmas knitting!) :)

Healthy and happy thoughts to you and your whole family, for the rest of 2011 and for 2012!!!

11:27 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Thank you for sharing. We are not in a rush but rather are with you for the journey how ever long it takes. Please do what you need to to have a healthy family. We will be here when you are ready to share with us.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Family should always come first and you should never have to apologize for that! On that note...while maybe not ideal, I'm glad that things have improved a bit in that area for you.

I don't know how I haven't knit any of your patterns yet (well...it's because I don't have huge amounts of time to knit!)...but many are in my queue and have yarn waiting for them to come next in line. And these 3 that you've given peeks of...from what you've shown, they will join the list whenever made available. So beautiful (and lovely photography!).

7:59 AM  
Anonymous dee said...

Dear Romi, I'm so late to read this post. I hope things improve quickly for you. You are such a kind and positive presence in the blog world.

6:26 PM  

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