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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  1. I so feel for your brother and such tragic circumstances!! I do because I know. I can't explain it hurts too much. Families can be so complicated and it shouldn't have to be like that. The unity of family can offer so much love and security....there should be no need for deceit.

    Amanda :-)

  2. I'm so very sorry for your loss Sue, and for what you and your family are going through. And how sad that a family member is behaving so badly. You are in my thoughts, I know it will be a very hard time. I'm so glad that your father's surgery went well, I do hope he recovers swiftly. The bowls and shawl are lovely, I really like crochet bowls. I hope you have as good a weekend as possible. Hugs, CJ xx

  3. Prayers and love to your brother and the rest of the family. We have a family member that sounds much like yours. She's in her 40's now and hasn't outgrown her self absorbed life. Many of us have just finally chosen to distance ourselves for self preservation. On a brighter note, congratulations on your magazine fun! How exciting. Love the bowls and the shawl very much.

  4. I am so very sorry for your loss and for your poor brother. All of your family really. I have a nephew that could be a clone of the relative you described. I have chosen to stay away from him. That being said my father passed away just before Christmas and now I am trustee of the family trust and dealing with said jerk al the time. I am wits end. Hope your brother does better. So glad your Dad is doing ok after surgery. Love your patterns. I will have to go find the magazine. Inspired by you I have doing some crochet myself. Each daughter got a large throw and they were so happy. Made me feel good to see them smile. Take care of yourself.

  5. So sorry for your loss and Lord help us, I swear, every family has a member like the one you mentioned. Unfortunately for us it's our sister and I never write about her.
    Your work is wonderful! Love the shawl and someday when I can more than piddle with my crocheting I'd love to attempt something like that. The pots I might manage. Need to look for the magazine.

  6. Beautiful patterns! It is always odd what pulls a family together (and apart) as time rolls along, isn't it?

  7. Sorry for your loss. It's sad that one of your family is making things harder than they are already.
    I absolutely love those bowls and this is the second time I've seen this stitch this week so the universe must be telling me to use it! Take care,

  8. Wow. I had no idea you were facing brashly complications again. I'm so sorry for that and the death of your brother's wife. You wifi all be in my prayers again. In the meantime I'm reminded of a favorite quote sent to me when my sister died: it's always darkest before the dawn. Then today I read another: the most difficult climbs are rewarded by the most spectacular views. May dawn and socectacular vies shine on you and your family soon.

  9. Family strife is so troubling. We have our share for sure I'm so sorry
    Huge congratulations on your being published. Well deserved praise

  10. It seems like yesterday, but it was a year ago that I experienced disappointment and great heartache when My Special Man passed away. I am not combative and just stayed quiet but the behaviors of others was appalling. I always try to take the "high road" and I have worked hard to forgive.

    I love your crochet patterns. Congratulations on the publications.

    My condolences to you and family.

  11. Sue, I'm glad you shared the ups and downs.. we're real friends and that's what friends do... is support you when you need it. So sorry to hear of your SIL passing. And worse to hear of the person behaving badly. My husband's parents passed away and his youngest sister was left EVERYTHING... and instead of taking the opportunity to share with her 5 siblings.. she kept it. She gave them a pittance to assuage her guilt but kept a huge amount.. worse yet.. she was the richest of the siblings. So.. we all have cretins in our families. I'm glad the good ones in yours are pulling together. LOVE your bowls and shawl. Congrats on being published again! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  12. Dear Sue, I am sorry for the loss and difficulties you are experiencing, but in the midst of this, I am so glad your family is able to unite to work through the destructive relationships. I pray that the one who is at the center of the problem has a radical change of heart for the better. I'm also praying that your dad continues to heal and be healthy.

    I am celebrating your new articles and especially want to get a copy of the magazine to see if I can crochet some bowls. :)

    May the Lord bless you and yours with His comfort and peace. xx

  13. I'm so sorry for your loss, Sue. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. I, too, deal with a close family member who is just like yours, a narcissist through and through who wreaks havoc everywhere she goes and with every person she ever encounters. It's a very difficult situation and I can completely understand what you're going through right now because it is the same type of behavior I have experienced and will continue to experience until she is no longer with us. Sad to say, but there it is. I will be thinking of your dad too. Congratulations on your articles and patterns, you have much to be proud of!

  14. Love and prayers for you and your brother. I am glad your father is better and congratulations on the publications of your beautiful patterns (I also know the bowl stitch as faux knit stitch) or is another?
    May God give all of you strength and support.

    Bear Hug Dear Mrs. Micawber

  15. So very sorry about your sister in law, my sincere condolences to you and your family and especially your brother. I am sending all good thoughts and hugs across the air to you too. I hope that all goes well for your Dad with his surgery, again, sending good thoughts and hugs for that too. Congratulations on your patterns and being published, that is wonderful good news. Isn't it odd how the good is often paired with the sad, I wish that didn't happen but I guess it is better than all bad. Thinking of you. xx

  16. Thank you for sharing your family story. I had a nearly identical experience when my mom was dying. Since then I have felt as though I failed her terribly. After reading of your experience I realize I never could have foreseen or suspected such horrible behavior. I feel more at peace now. Congratulations on your professional success. Your patterns and techniques are fabulous!

  17. Dear Sue,
    So very sorry for the death in your family and the relative casting a shadow. I pray for your brother in his grief and for all your family.
    Hope your Dad is also doing better.
    I love your crochet work and I love that you have the piece in the magazine. It is cold tonight and I shall wrap myself in your robin's egg color shawl that you sent to me, it will be like a hug from you, consider this comment as a hug right back to you! Take care, my friend. xx

  18. My heart aches for you and your family. I will pray for all of you, especially your brother. Your patterns are wonderful, and I will have to get the magazine.

  19. I'm so sad to read of your family's loss Sue. But it does sound as if you are all strong enough to come together and get through x

    As to the crochet, well as you know, I can't. But I can recognise consummate skill when I see it. Well done you!

  20. I'm so sorry for your loss Sue, my condolences to you all. It's horrible how family can wreak havoc on you; at least you're all aware of this family members behaviour and hopefully karma will come back and bite them sharply on their bum.
    I'm glad to hear your fathers surgery was successful and he's recovering well.
    As to the crochet - absolutely lovely and I'm now inspired with another project to try; the shawl looks divine, so delicate; perfect for that Venetian wool I've been hoarding. :-)

  21. I too, am sorry for your loss and for the trouble being caused by a family mamber.

    Good news about your article and patterns though, they look lovely.

    And more good news about your father, I hope he goes from strength to strength.

  22. Firstly, I love both your bowls and the scarf. And very well done with the article, such good timing that the magazine arrived when it did.

    I'm horrified to hear what has been going on with your relative, I can imagine how difficult it must have been to realise that you had to believe the worst rather than the best in someone. It is good to hear that the rest of the family has been able to pull and work together though. I do hope your poor brother is able to protect himself.
    Best wishes to your dad for his recovery. Hoping you have a more stable time of things for a while at least. Juliex

  23. I am so sorry for your loss. A friend's mother had that same sort of money thing going on when her husband died ---- her middle daughter took the opportunity to take advantage. :::sigh::: So sad for your brother. Luckily, he has family members to support him up while the times are hard.

    Hope your dad is feeling better soon.

  24. Oh, Sue. I'm so sorry that you have lost your sister-in-law - and so sorry for your brother. It's unthinkable, unspeakable, to imagine that someone would take advantage of the situation for personal gain. I'm glad your family can find some good in it and dearly hope your brother doesn't get injured by this bad family member.

    Congrats on your yarny successes - beautiful patterns!

    And glad to hear your dad is getting great care. Is he in your area? I somehow thought he was on the west coast (maybe I dreamed that).

    Hugs to you, Sue.


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