At 1:00 a.m. they were asleep. He, on his right side, a single line from head to toe, his face relaxed; she, on her stomach and sprawled like a child with one foot dangling off the edge. But her head was near his, and her arm reached out to his, and they held hands through the night.

It had not been an easy evening. In fact, it had started on Friday when she came home to say that she might be laid off from her job due to budget cuts. From that moment the weekend was a like working with a knotted hank of yarn: a few yards of “normal,” interrupted by a tense spot (again!). It meant carefully working backward; it meant leaving lots of ragged ends to weave in later, when the fabric was more secure; it meant walking away sometimes just to get some emotional distance from the problem.

The problem wasn’t that there were knots; the problem was that this was an expensive hank of yarn in which they both had invested everything for more than 20 years. There had been other knots. Good grief, there had been other sections with many knots and there had been times when they both wanted to just rip out everything. But they had worked through them, learning to be gentle and patient. It was never easy, but they were committed to coming back and trying again.

Earlier that day she had been afraid again that they were at the end. He had walked out. He had never walked out before. In the past he withdrew into a huge shell and stayed there for days. But this time he had actually gotten up and walked out the door. “I have to leave,” he’d said.

He had felt overwhelmed by the reality that they both were growing older. There might be another 20 years of work to do on the blanket of their lives, but she was worried over the devastation that would likely follow if her job were gone. They had lost so much of their savings in the economic realities of the last 10 years, and they both were of an age considered “too old” by potential employers. She felt they needed to downsize themselves: clear out the clutter and find a small house in a little town where the taxes were not as high and the mortgage payments would be smaller. But he couldn’t face leaving. His family had moved around so much when he was young, and then he had moved around so much as an adult, and each time he had found it hard to make new friends. This house they had bought together was the first place he had ever felt was HOME.

The future is still uncertain. She does not have a definitive answer on whether she has a job, and she may not have an answer for another week, but yesterday a small miracle happened: he came back. He was gone only about 30 minutes, but he came back; and when he came back he didn’t withdraw. He said, “Let’s NOT talk about this for a while. Let’s talk about something else.”

So, they talked about other things. They pretended everything was normal, that the upset of the past few days had not happened. And then another little miracle occurred: He was willing to talk about it. He asked if she was willing to work with him. He asked if she was willing to help him find a way that they could continue to live in this house, and she said yes.

At 1:00 a.m. they were asleep. He, on his right side, facing her; she leaning to the right, leaning into him and holding on: it wasn’t a decrease so much as a new direction for the whole work. Do they need to increase somewhere else on the row to keep the number of stitches even, or is this one of those rows where the stitch count would differ from the cast-on edge? They don’t know, and it’s OK.


How an Omaha knitter became integral to a British WWI documentary

Well, the headline isn’t exactly correct. Tell Them of Us wasn’t a documentary so much as it was a film based on the letters, diaries, and other writings of a Lincolnshire family in WW1. But it was a joy to be involved in the project, and I’m quite fond of this story that appeared in the local newspaper. http://www.omaha.com/living/hansen-how-an-omaha-knitter-became-integral-to-a-british/article_1a226646-033f-512d-b4a8-25e0810acaf6.html

Try, try again . . .

Center Star smallThis little star has been kicking my ass.  There are 16 pieces, each with a finished size of 2″ x 2″.  When stitched together (at last!) it is 6.5″ square before being inserted into the quilt top.

Part of this construction is fairly easy.  It is comprised of 12 half-square triangles and 4 squares.  Even with something as small as 2″ squares, half-square triangles are fairly easy, but a little bit of slip even by 1/16″ can throw off the alignment over all.

I’ve used this technique (half-square triangles) in larger dimensions with good results.  Especially if you use a small-scale print, it’s an effective tool for creating the illusion of more complicated piecing.

But on this little star I’ve ripped back and readjusted three times in several places.  It’s still not perfect — I think that is an accomplishment only for gods (and people more patient than I am) — but it is very, very close.  It is good enough that I will use it as the center block of the bridal quilt I am working on.  It is the hardest part of the whole quilt top, and now it is done.

I can move on. 🙂