Pairs of socks knitted in 2014

  • Roxanne's socks
  • Brian's Cascade socks
  • Shirley's lacy socks
  • striped Meredith socks
  • striped stranded #1

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lake of ghosts

I grew up about five miles from a popular local landmark called Rock Lake. It's a nine mile-long slit of a lake that was carved by retreating glaciers, and it's ringed by hundred-foot cliffs. There's only four places along the entire lakeshore where the cliffs ease enough that you can get a boat in the water.
Living so close to it, we drove by it a lot. The school bus drove past it four times daily, and the family I baby-sat for lived a couple of miles on the other side of it. Some lakes have seasons, but this one has moods.
It is so deep in parts that the bottom has never been found. The spring floods which feed it each year also bring enough silt that one can only see about a foot into the water before everything is obscured. The frigid water is about 45 degrees year-round, and the glacial gouge that forms the lake acts as a wind tunnel for its legendary sudden storms.
This lake has always reminded me of Elizabeth the First of England: strikingly beautiful, an heir to and participant in a fascinating history, majestic--and very dangerous to take lightly.
Much of the early history of the lake has been lost. The majority of what remains is known only through tall tales, folklore, and the ramblings of old men. Before the white men came, the Palouse Indians who called the land home would camp on its shores. Their legends speak of a fearful monster living within the lake depths, able to overturn entire canoes with one flick of its massive tail.
Chief Kamiakin was buried not far from here. After the white men desecrated his grave, his people reburied him in a secret place near the lake. And a century later, some say he walks the shoreline still.
The generation before my grandparents spoke of the trials of building a railroad along the cliffs above the lake. According to more than one story, feuding between Irish and Chinese railway workers led to uncounted lives being lost to the lake as an entire train sank in its waters.
My parents and grandparents spoke of the prosperity the railroad had brought to the area--and the desolation when it left. And for every happy tale of idyllic fishing trips and beautiful picnics, there was a cautionary tale of those who had misjudged their own abilities in light of the lake's treacherous power--"and were never heard from again."
But what I remember most about Rock Lake are the Easter services. Every Easter Sunday, the various churches from the outlying communities would gather at the lake at sunrise. And amid the slicing wind which always keened like the voices of the souls lost in the lake, we proclaimed the eternal truth: "Christ is risen!" And even the wind would answer back: "He is risen indeed!"

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Families that lead to insanity

We visited my parents and family in Washington state last week. Now, I love my family, but the fact remains that they will drive you crazy if you spend too much time with them. And after spending the first 18 years of my life with them, is it any wonder that I'm a bit off the wall sometimes?

When I say "parents," I really mean "Mom and Aunt Tig."

Aunt Tig (on the left) is Mom's older sister, who helped raise my brother and I after Mom and Dad's divorce. Voila...parents! (Although I've gotten many uncomfortable looks from friends over the years when I introduce these two women as my parents. I guess the fabled open-mindedness of college students only goes so far.)

Nope, no pictures of EJ from this trip. Following his latest Army-sponsored surgery, my favorite Purple Heart recipient is using his convalescent leave to visit Dad's family in Wisconsin. I'm sure he's having fun with them, since they're just as crazy as Mom's family, but with more aunties and uncles and cousins to increase the noise and insanity levels.

I did get to see my little sister Christy (we adopted each other in first or second grade, a la Brian, Billy, and Brad) and her little girl Brooklynn for the first time in two years. Did you ever stop to think about just how hard it is to take a picture of two adults when the only other person in the room is a two year old?

Christy is, of course, the one on the right. She's far more photogenic than I am, but she's such a wonderful person it's impossible to hold it against her.

And I bet you don't need to be told who this is:

Doesn't Brookie look just like her mother? I swear she's Christy's little Mini-Me.

Unfortunately, even though we were going to Washington for five days, Brian still had to do his grad school work. So he spent much of the time we were there sitting on the couch typing on his assorted assignments. (And getting cornered into sharing hunting stories with my grandfather for two hours, but that is a story for another day.)

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Socks that lead to insanity

I finally finished Jessica's socks.

The picture doesn't show it off particularly well, but in addition to the 5-rib cable running down both sides of the cuff, I ran a 2x2 cable down either side of the instep. When I got to the toe, I had yet another lapse of sanity, and managed to coordinate my decreases so the cable continues and becomes partof the toe shaping.

They took five weeks, which makes them the second-hardest pair of socks I've ever designed and knit. The grand prize winner in the "Nomi Went Nuts While Knitting" competition is this pair of socks:

(it does have a mate, I'm just too lazy to get up and take a picture of them together.)

They were my 2005 Christmas gift to myself (and I seem to recall someone asking if I could do cables that were two-colored...) and like many other small good things, they took nine months to complete. I started them in December 2005, and I finished them in September 2006 as I visited my brother in the hospital.

And what am I doing now? I'm working on a pair of socks in a self-striping yarn that I hand-spun from superwash roving.

They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step...