"Respect the earth, live in harmony with nature, spend time with your family, be good to your neighbor, and value the dedication, skill and care of the craftsman."

Pantone Fall 2018 Palette

February 8th, 2018

Here's the fall 2018 palette from Pantone. There's a broader range of neutrals than we've seen in the last few seasons. Purple is back, and along with it some ugly clashing oranges and yellows — but that's just me.

Quetzal Green is a blue-green shade a bit more green than teal, but I feel that it will allow me to continue in my teal phase and do some stashbusting when I sew my fall wardrobe.

There are a couple of nice straightforward blues, a bright red, and a deep red that could easily read brown.

It doesn't seem like a harmonious grouping — maybe it's time for a clash, or perhaps we need to pick just a few from this palette. Maybe it's a symbolic representation of our divided world… or, from a more optimistic viewpoint, our increasingly diverse society.

Speaking of stashbusting, this combination will be perfect for a Fall SWAP. It's enough like last year's Spruce and Shark (I may be mixing up years here — teal and gray have been on the list several times) that I won't feel out of date at all. I definitely have plenty of fabrics in these color families.

The red and blue are more interesting than a primary red or blue, but fresh looking alongside the silver and teal. Actually, it makes me think of stewardess's outfits, so that might not be the direction I'll go in.

A couple more neutrals, both of which I already have in my stash, and perhaps I'll bring in purple accents. I've been seeing a lot of navy and aqua in spring collections, after all. What harm could a bit of Crocus and Ultraviolet do?

Ft. Worth Road Trip

February 6th, 2018

My husband's nephew, a man a decade or so older than we are, is nearing the end of his life.

Many members of the family joined in Ft. Worth to honor him, and we went down, too.

It was a dismal winter drive.

The Baby was a trooper. She cried very little and only for good reasons.

#1 Daughter, The Baby, and I stayed in a hotel. We did some work there, and otherwise hung out with the family, talking with those who spoke English.

Sometimes we felt as though we were creating effort for the family. They had to babysit us, #1 Daughter said, finding people to speak English to us. My husband spoke to us in Lao most of the time, and didn't translate for us. That was fine; this was not about us.

But I did make some low key efforts to see the sights. At least the ones we happened to pass by. I should probably have made more of an effort. Ft. Worth has some museums well worth visiting, and probably some top flight restaurants. They even have a couple of yarn shops. We didn't manage any of these these.

It was good family time, even if it was for a sad reason. I'm very glad my husband had the chance to get a couple of solid days with his brother and the myriad cousins.

Also that the girls got to meet some of their many cousins and to see their great-uncle again.

We got a little big city experience.

But Ft. Worth never lets you forget the cowboy heritage.

Like Another Country

February 5th, 2018

Going to visit our in-laws in Ft. Worth is in some ways like going to another country. Some people spoke English, but mostly we didn't understand anything people said.

The furniture, food, clothing, and nonverbal language was different, and people seemed to be talking about us. "Maycan," people would say, and then everyone would laugh. 

They translated a few things for us. They were saying that The Baby looked like a porcelain doll. They were talking about the temple.  They didn't explain the Maycan parts.

We saw a little bit of Texas, too. Cowboys and cattle were the primary themes. It was a little bit of a different country, too.

My husband's nephew was slipping out of this world and into the next, surrounded by loving family. A good death, I would think. But also a different country.

Goethe on Color Theory

February 3rd, 2018

I've written a lot about the emotional effects of color for a client. There's lots of data on the subject, but I was never able to to find an original source or any scientific support.

It's widely agreed upon, though — blue is calming, green is healthful, red is stimulating, yellow can increase creativity and irritability.

Goethe might have been the guy who made this stuff up.

Of orange ("red-yellow," he said, since perhaps the word "orange" was not yet invented) he said, "The active side is here in its highest energy, and it is not to be wondered at that impetuous, robust, uneducated men, should be especially pleased with this color. Among savage nations the inclination for it has been universally remarked and when children, left to themselves, begin to use tints, they never spare vermilion and minium."

"The eye experiences a distinctly grateful impression from this color," he says of green. "If the two elementary colors are mixed in perfect equality so that neither predominates, the eye and the mind repose on the result of this junction as upon a simple color. The beholder has neither the wish nor the power to imagine a state beyond it. Hence for rooms to live in constantly, the green color is most generally selected."

His book, Theory of Colors , was published in 1810. Basic principles of the physics of color were established by then, but Goethe completely ignored them. He was just writing down his feelings on colors, based on personal observations. He included things like the yellow badges Jews were forced to wear and the supposed effect of red flags on bulls.

He made the interesting point that color wan't just light. It was also our perception of light. Does color even exist without our brain's interpretation of the light?

This was quite fascinating to me. It's my February Chapter 1 KLL challenge, part of the section on color.

Color is very important to me in knitting. Today I received a set of vintage buttons I'm considering for Ketch. The color is very close to the darkest shade in the Lambspun Prism I'm using to knit Ketch. Overall, the effect is much lighter. Will the dark buttons be the perfect contrast, or will they drag down the lightness of the pink? Are the spiral curves a good fit for the lace?

Deep, important questions, right?

I'm working on the two sleeves together. I'm at 83 stitches; I'll increase to 100 over time and then begin the sleeve caps.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

February 2nd, 2018

This months' KLL challenges include finishing my sweater and knitting a toy, but also watching movies that include knitting. I started with Grace and Frankie, which includes a scene in which Saul unconvincingly shows off a basket of knitting in the form of a pussy hat.

That however was serendipitous and not on the official list. The first item on the official list is Breakfast at Tiffany's. Can you see that Audrey Hepburn used a lamp sconce for a yarn bowl in the picture above?

She's knitting, though she might have mixed up her knitting pattern and a blueprint for a ranch house. She's listening to Portuguese lessons at the same time.

She has a very nice sweater on, too, a boxy raglan with a wide turtle neck. A good style for a skinny girl.

I'd never seen the movie before, nor read the book. I knew several young women in college who related to Holly Golightly. Having seen the movie, I have to say that I see no similarities.

I had never heard from anyone about the racist Mickey Rooney scenes. They made the strongest impression on me.

DNA: Great-grandparents Robert and Eugenie

February 1st, 2018


Joe’s parents were missionaries. His father, Robert Allen, was a bit famous… if missionaries can be famous.

The Missionary Review said this:

“One of the recent losses due to the war is the death of Rev. Robert Allen Haden, the American missionary who was drowned when the French steamer Athos was torpedoed in the Mediterranean. Mr. Haden was one of the influential Presbyterian Americans in China. During the thirty years or more that he spent in Suchau, he built up the Elizabeth Blake Hospital, which originally consisted of a small one-story building, into a great hospital set in beautiful grounds, with all kinds of wards and a splendid laboratory.

“Besides being a hospital where thousands of Chinese were treated, it was a great school for teaching Chinese women nursing and Chinese men to become physicians. Mr. Haden spent most of his time making tours of the country preaching and instructing Chinese. His works in educating and civilizing the Chinese were so well known that he could go to any of the great American and British companies and get anything he wanted in the way of labor, engineering help, transportation and raw materials.

“He lived in a small bungalow, eating meals as meagre as those of the Chinese with whom he worked. He spent nothing on himself, and all of his money went to his family in Switzerland, where his children were being educated. The Chinese converted by him numbered thousands.”

An article from the Paris (Texas) Morning News:Page 1 article text VOL. 46 PARIS, TEXAS, SATURDAY, FEB. 24, 1917.  “American Missionary Is One Of Sub’s Victims Washington, Feb. 22.—Robert Allen Haden, an American Presbyterian missionary stationed at Foo Chow, China, perished when the French Line liner Athos was destroyed by a submarine, 2 miles east of Malta, on February l 7. Consul Keblinger at Malta cabled a report of Haden’s death to the state department today and said that the missionary’s address was given as in care of the Presbyterian Mission Board at Nashville, Tenn. The consul’s dispatch gave no details as to other loss of life, how the ship was destroyed, whether she was warned or how the American was killed. The nationality of the submarine was not given, but may have been Austrian. Information is being gathered officially to determine the importance of the case in relation to the tense situation between the United States and the central powers. The report from the Malta consul is the first mention received here of the sinking of the Athos. The vessel was of 7525 tons net and sailed from Yokohama Dec. 26 for Marseilles, stopping at Haip­ hong January 8, according to latest reports. A later dispatch from Consul Keblinger said the Athos was carrying troops and may have been taken as a transport. No steps can be taken until this fact is definitely determined. This government probably will have no cause for action if such is the case. The later dispatch added that Haden was drowned while going back to the ship to assist some others and that the submarine showed neither flag nor number by which she might have been identified. The later dispatch, however, established that the Athos was torpedoed without warning. Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 2 3.—Robert Allen Haden, the Southern Presbyterian missionary reported to have lost his life on the French liner Athos, was born at Keatchie, La., Aug. 13, 1865, and graduated from Southwestern Presbyterian university at Clarksville, Tenn., in 1891, at once entering missionary work. He has been twice married. His family lives in Switzerland but he has a son, Julian, in this country. He left China Dec. 29 to visit Switzerland.”

In fact, Robert Allen had gone back in an attempt to save Chinese passengers, whom his brother thought might have been his servants.

He was born in Louisiana at the end of the Civil War, on a plantation where his parents lived with lots of kids and slaves. He went to prep school at what is now Rhodes College in Tennessee. He cared for the woman he called his “Mammy” all her life, and wrote books on the history of China and modern farming.

He had a bizarre episode before his marriage, while he was a missionary in China. An extortionist threatened — if he didn’t pay –to bury a baby in his backyard and tell people that he and his fellow missionary had killed it. The extortionist was captured and prosecuted. My great-grandfather insisted that the extortionist be provided with a translator so the trial would be fair.

He had a first wife, Julia, and a son, Julian. As a widower, he met Eugenie, who was doing mission work on the docks in Marseille. I don’t know how they met, but they married and seem to have enjoyed their life together. Both kept journals. They seemed to be thoughtful, devout, and broadminded for their time. Of course, they traveled a lot. My whole family seems to have been globe trotters, and these two were not exception. They returned to Louisiana during the Boxer Rebellion, and otherwise seem to have divided their time between Europe — Germany, Switzerland, France — and China.

Eugenie was left a widow with five children. Her life was hard after her husband died, but she ended up living with her daughter in New Jersey. In all the pictures I have of her from her time as a wife and mother, she looks serenely happy.

However, a photo from shows her looking rather sad.

Perhaps her life had been so adventurous that it was hard for her to settle down and be a nice little old lady.

KLL Month 1

January 31st, 2018

I completed the fronts of Ketch with their lace inserts just in time for the Month 1 Knitter's Life List deadline.

The lace is from a Japanese knitting stitch collection. Most of the stitches in there are combinations of cables, traveling stitches, texture stitches, and a bit of laciness. This is one of the laciest, because I really felt that this yarn is suited to lace, not having the crisp stitch definition needed for the fancier combinations.

I think the lace turned out quite well.

On to the sleeves now. Then I'll sew it up, add the collar, sew on some buttons, and have a nice new cardi for spring.


January 30th, 2018

I suddenly remembered the school I attended in second grade: Lugonia School.

I was knitting and binge-watching Monk, and there was a truck driving through the mountains. I remembered riding the bus from San Bernardino, where I lived, to Lugonia Elementary.

Strange, eh?

The current school was built a couple of years before I was born, so that must be the school building I attended. In the 21st century, nearly half the students are Hispanic. The next largest group is African-American. Then white, then Asian.

I don't remember the ethnic makeup of the school when I attended, but I was bused there. Since I am white, I suppose my role was to bring more white students to a school with relatively few.

Apparently the plan didn't work.

Busing was supposed to help desegregate schools. It's just about 18 minutes from San Bernardino to Lugonia school now. I remember a long drive through mountains. The map doesn't support that memory.

I remember being unhappy. Actively unhappy. I thought about my father a lot while riding on the bus. He had died. I am not sure how long before because I was skipped from kindergarten to first grade,so I would have been 5 in first grade and 6 in second. I was 6 when my father died. So it was sometime during that year that I lost my father. 

It probably makes sense that I was unhappy. I don't think I ever talked about it and I don't remember any teacher ever mentioning it. I suppose nowadays they would.

Such an odd, sudden memory to resurface.

Food, Habits, and Desire

January 29th, 2018

I'm reading You Are What You Love in Sunday School. I missed Sunday School yesterday, but I read the chapter. The author is talking about how our desires can go astray, and how we can fix that.

He uses his own experiences with food to illustrate his point. He describes how, over a period of years, he came to understand and believe in the value of healthy foods — and how that didn't keep him from wanting fast food burgers.

Instead, he worked against his desires by developing the habit of eating wholesome food and avoiding unwholesome food, not matter what he wanted.

Over time, he developed a desire for wholesome food. This, he says, is the key: practice those habits until they change your wants, and you will end up automatically doing what you really want — the things that are good for you, the things that lead to positive outcomes for you.

The author is assuming that these things are about devotion to God and cooperation with God's plans for us, and I agree.

But I also have been in a few conversations about wholesome eating. My family, brought up on wholesome food as I understood it back in the day and never having eaten the Standard American Diet, still has to work a bit at eating right. #1 son says he doesn't like vegetables, but he eats them because they'e good for him. He also says that when he eats sweets and treats over Christmas, he finds himself craving them. He has to resist until he gets past those cravings and back to his usual "No sweet tooth" state.

Then we all discussed the concept of a sweet tooth. I cop to it — I like sweets, and the amount of sweets I eat has to do with access. If it's in my house or available in a restaurant, I'll eat dessert.

I won't go out and get sweets, usually, but if it's handy I will eat it. I never go get myself a doughnut at the local bakery, but when the kids are home, I'll always go with them and will cheerfully eat those doughnuts. #1 daughter and #2 son are the same. The others aren't driven by availability, but they'll eat doughnuts if other people are doing the same.

Our desires are mostly changed by our habits. We want to be healthy, to feed our kids healthy foods, to enjoy the higher level of energy and wellness we know we get when we feast on salads instead.

But it's easy to go astray.

I'm finally getting back on track after a couple of months of holidays and hospitality. I don't feel as energetic now as I did before, and I have been driven by cravings and convenience to eat things that don't support my best and deepest desires. I've lost just one pound in January. I'm ready to return to healthy eating and more activity.

I know it won't be easy. But we can retrain our desires and we can certainly retrain our habits. I know this from experience.

Ketch Nearing Completion

January 28th, 2018

Too stripey? I don't know. However, I have completed the lace panels, a January KLL challenge, and in fact have completed the fronts and back of the sweater.

Lace looks like nothing at all before you block it.

So I'm blocking it. Bisi is helping me.

Bisi loves wool with a love that is deep, pure, and abiding.

This Lambspun Prism, a blend of wool and silk. Bisi is therefore more able to resist it than she usually can. 100% wool is absolutely irrisistable to her.

She still has to nuzzle it.

I'm working on the sleeves now.

I took a day to knit, to the accompaniment of Netflix, soaking up solitude in preparation for the new week.

Powered by WordPress. Theme by Sash Lewis.