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Archive for January 4th, 2003

Music: “Am I Blue?”

Saturday, January 4th, 2003

OK, I did myself a favor and took a walk before the sun went down. Going for a walk is good for me sometimes. It was deserted, I didn’t even see the people who normally walk their dogs. It is not very cold, so I must have just chosen an unusual time of day.

What really made me feel better was listening to some music my husband and his friends recorded nearly 20 years ago at a performance. They used to perform once a week at a local restaurant, so the energy and connection on stage was fabulous.

What fun, what energy, what music! I’m in that band (Abbott Brothers) now, but we don’t perform much these days. We have two gigs scheduled between now and the Fourth of July holiday, but we jam a good deal more often than that. It is great fun.

I decided that tonight I’m going to give up the knitting entirely and ask Brian to help me work out a new song. I love Annette Hanshaw, whose version of Am I Blue? is just as wonderful as it gets. She recorded in the 1920s and as late as 1935, a classic flapper and expressive jazzy singer. (If you follow the Hanshaw link, you can listen to a good number of her tunes in Real Player format. I prefer her earlier recordings.)

I sing Am I Blue? but I have not worked up any more of her songs for performance. I think it will be a good exercise to pick a song and work on that instead of more knitting. I love knitting, but I get competitive with myself and try to finish more, more more more…!!! I don’t know why, since I’m not competitive in other areas of my life.

Right now the knitting is not fun, so I’m going to sing tonight, and eat good food with my very wonderful partner. The pumpkin bread just came out of the oven.

Starting Over?

Saturday, January 4th, 2003

Start of Mamluke sockI’m grumpy today. I just don’t like winter, and it sours my feelings about other things at times. I’ll be too busy to think next week, with two client deadlines and the beginning of my term at the community center, but right now I’m trying to enjoy a morning alone at home. I’m not enjoying it enough, I guess.

I just couldn’t stand to rip out the hat I talked about yesterday (from the yarn Mandy gave me, which came out too small). I had to let it “age” before I could bear to tear it out, for some reason. I am not always like this but I am this time.

So yesterday I cast on with some very yummy Dale Baby Ull, for the Mamluke socks from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush. I have been interested in these sox for a long time. As I wrote to the Socknitter list this morning:

“I used two colors of Dale Baby Ull, a light robins egg blue and a sort of soft peacock blue that is darker. I usually go for more contrast but I’m sort of in a turquoise mood and the originals were blue and grey.

“I had to make them at a much tighter gauge than the pattern calls for in order that they will fit me, but then if I don’t knit Baby Ull at a really tight gauge it wears thin more quickly than most other yarns (it’s not sock yarn anyway). So I’m on size zero needles, knitting two sox at the same time on two sets of DPNs. I’m halfway through graph B. It’s going to take a while but I really think I’ll enjoy these.

“These sox are much more than beautiful knitting in my mind. I dance in a middle-eastern dance ensemble and I feel a real connection to those who speak Arabic, especially in these times where we seem as a nation to suspect anyone with mideast roots as possibly untrustworthy. Ugh. I want to wear Arabic prayers (the sock says Allah in Cufic writing) on my feet to connect me to my Arabic sisters and brothers. I guess that was much more important than ripping out a hat, after all.”

Then, my well-intentioned and idealistic post inspired a reply letting me know that some modern Muslims believe that “walking on Allah” is disrespectful. Rats! I will continue knitting these sox but I will replace the Cufic writing on the foot itself with a zigzag band (they both have an 8 stitch repeat). That way I will not be walking on Allah to those who find this important. I can’t see God as that angry, but that again is my personal belief system, and the reason I wanted to do these sox was out of respect. Rats. After all, these sox were designed based on historical examples, so it was acceptable and perhaps common at one time. I had no idea.

Not only that, but I didn’t follow the graphs in the right order from the book. I don’t use graphs very often and these aren’t that hard, but I guess I needed to read through more carefully before starting. The picture of the sock is on one page, and then you have to turn the page before looking at the graphs so you can’t compare. I could see that I had too many stripes between stitch patterns, but that didn’t bother me enough to go back and rip. However, what happened was this…