Friday, February 12, 2016

Happy and Sad

Like many bloggers, I prefer to write about the happy moments of life - but life is a mixed-up thing. Sometimes it ambles along quietly and contentedly, following established routines and patterns; sometimes it goes a little crazy, jumbling events and emotions into untidy heaps of happy and sad, lovely and grotesque, piteous and merely pitiful.

This week has been one of the jumbled ones - and so will this post be.

Recently, one of my sisters-in-law, who'd been battling cancer for years, took a turn for the worse. A close family member took advantage of this situation to wreak financial and emotional havoc, using lies and manipulation to try to gain control of my sister-in-law's money. There are no words fit to describe this behaviour. (Well yes, there are: narcissism and compulsive lying. They describe it perfectly.)

The pain and heartache caused by this person's actions cannot be imagined. It's not the first time she's acted this way; it's just one event in a long pattern of lies and self-serving betrayal that has left a trail of strife and emotional wreckage across the lives of many. As a family, we spent years being deceived by this person. Being more or less honest ourselves, we assumed that she was too. When her stories began to wear thin, we tried to be kind. We brushed her behaviour under the carpet, hoped for the best, talked about waiting for her to "mature", and encouraged her with words and with misguided financial help - all to no avail. The canker of narcissism is soul-deep; I doubt whether anyone but God can remove it.

My sister-in-law died a few nights ago, sooner than expected. My poor brother is bereft. The narcissistic family member remains, casting an ugly shadow over our grief. We hope my brother can (and will) protect himself from her.

So where is the happy in all this sad? We've been drawn closer as a family, both by my sister-in-law's death and by the open acknowledgment of the narcissist in our midst. Old lies are being laid bare; old wounds are beginning to heal; there's a new spirit of solidarity and a determination to be honest with each other. Those are good things.


Here's another: the day after my sister-in-law's death, a magazine arrived in the mail, containing two of my patterns and my first published article.

Love of Crochet Spring 2016

The article is a short treatise on Center Single Crochet (also known as Split Single Crochet, Shallow Single Crochet, and Waistcoat Stitch). It's got plenty of tips, helpful photos, and a good dash of crochet geekery, including a new, right-leaning crochet decrease developed especially for this stitch.

To accompany the article, there's a pattern for some little pottery-inspired bowls, worked in Center Single Crochet and edged with slip stitch. Here's the original sample bowl, in worsted weight hand-dyed superwash wool:

And here are the magazine bowls, worked in a chunky, colour-changing yarn:

Center Single Crochet makes these bowls extra solid and sturdy. The pattern will work for any weight yarn, and can be easily adapted to make a wider bowl.

Also in this issue is the Peapod Shawl, a soft and lacy confection made from joined motifs that feature modified Lover's Knots worked in the round, with thoughtful placement of back-loop and back-bar stitches for visual texture.

The motifs remind me of bicycle wheels (in fact my working name for this design was Wheels of Love). You can see the original swatch below (in green), along with the magazine shawl at various stages of completion:

The pattern is join-as-you-go, but rather than work and join one motif at a time, I used a production-style assembly - working most of the motifs to just before the first join, then cutting the yarn (leaving a tail long enough to join and finish the motif later). This streamlined the assembly, and minimised handling and friction.

Here's the finished shawl as pictured in the magazine:

Photos courtesy of Love of Crochet

The Peapod Shawl was worked in Paton's Lace Sequin, a mohair blend that gives good stitch definition and creates a cloudy-soft fabric.

Love of Crochet Spring 2016 has lots of beautiful and interesting patterns - check it out!


Another happening this week: more surgery for my dad. This is also a mixture of the good and not-so-good; we're so thankful for excellent medical care, though we'd much prefer he didn't need it. But all that sitting and waiting does give knitting time to the daughter/chauffeur du jour.

Dad came out of it well, and we hope this will be his last surgery for a long, long time.


How was your week?

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