Monday, August 23, 2010

Knitting Memories

I find that certain projects have memories knit into the fabric. For example, the scarf I'm wearing will always remind me of Simcha and how he came into our lives. It's a scarf I've knit before so it was easy to get lost in my thoughts as I knit and purled my way through the pattern as events unfolded around me.


I haven't told you how Simcha came into our lives. He almost wasn't the one. Life is filled with so many "almosts". The step that you didn't take that would have taken you in a different direction.

I knit on this scarf during two flights that eventually resulted in Simcha coming home with us. As a preface, the criteria for our new puppy was primarily focused on good health as our first German Shepherd (adopted 20 years ago) had a lifetime of surgeries and health problems. Steve found a breeder in North Carolina who had healthy dogs and a new litter of "working" German Shepherd puppies. We were almost positive that one of these puppies would come home with us. We paid a non-refundable deposit, we were that sure. But we hadn't understood that difference between a working German Shepherd and a show German Shepherd until we saw the dogs in person. Working dogs are bred primarily for protection and police work and are not well suited to be a family dog. That became clear once we met the dogs in person and spoke more with the breeder. We almost made a misstep there.


So we took another flight, this time to Dallas, Texas and I knit more on my scarf. On this trip we found the puppy we wanted. A healthy, highly intelligent, and beautiful show dog. He was almost what we had in mind not understanding at the time that a pure blooded West German Shepherd would be so different than a domestically bred German Shepherd. It's almost a different breed. Almost like a wolf, some say. Do we have regrets? We did in the beginning, when he first came home and was biting like a wild animal and rampaging about the house. But not now, even though he will still go on a rampage unless supervised at all times. But life has settled into a routine and is back to normal, almost. I have time to knit once again and, finally, I finished my scarf.


PS Steve took the above pictures on the San Clemente pier after we had dinner at the Fisherman's Restaurant in San Clemente, California.


Particulars: A Very Nice Scarf, Designed by Linda Romens, purchased as a kit from La Lana Wools, 2 skeins La Lana's Phat Silk Fines. US 5 needles ~I used special short needles (9 inches long) specifically for scarfs (seen in the picture above). They are particularly light weight and enjoyable to knit a scarf on. Finished Dimensions: 5" x 56." I love this yarn but it is handcrafted and highly variable with "flaws" within the skein. I like the rustic appearance of the yarn and am not bothered by the slubs of silk and thick and thins spots. My first version of this scarf is blogged here and a shawl I knit also designed by Linda Romens is blogged here (both projects use the same yarn). I find this an interesting pattern to knit and I particularly love the serpentine cable which is unlike any other cable I've seen in patterns for handknits.


Simcha at 7 Months


I would have liked to have had Simcha model my new scarf which reminds me so much of him. Except he's still a wild thing and knitting and yarn are not safe anywhere near him. You'll just have to use your imagination and pretend he's wearing it.


She Plays With Fiber


I don't believe in hiding myself under a barrel. At my age, it's more about expressing my personal style than anything else. I love the drama element this flower adds to my plain black top. Plus I made it myself and therefore I wanted to wear it and (trust me) it looked better pinned to my top than any other conceivable way of wearing it.

I made this flower by following a tutorial I bought on Etsy from Ingermaaike a very talented fiber artist who writes the blog Daily Fiber. Her instructions are wonderfully clear but I've so much to learn about felting that it even resembles a flower I think is a huge achievement! I'm new to the experience of playing with wool tops and roving that the spinners swoon over. Now I get it. The love of playing with fiber. Maybe someday I'll even learn to spin.

Until next time, be well and love well. I know it's hot out there, but it's almost Fall and time to assess what you will be knitting to wear come the cooler days of October!

37 comments:

Allie said...

Beautiful scarf, Claudia - I really love that pattern.
I had no idea there were different German Shepherds. Simcha is so beautiful, he reminds me of ours that we had long ago. Raider was so well-trained that we would say, really quiet, "watch" and he would go out the door, stand for a moment, then do a silent walk around the yard. He didn't bark unless there was a need. Oh how I miss that dog. HOWEVER. The puppy years were not so fun - I wasn't around for them, but I certainly heard the stories!

Your flower is gorgeous - I think you found a new hobby, girl!

yarnlot said...

A lovely blog post! The story is touching, the scarf is beautiful, the flower festive and the dog has impressive looks...

Sue said...

Awww look how cute he is and so much a part of your family already! Love the scarf, very pretty and even more special with all those memories knitted into it. Your flower is so beautiful too and it does look nice worn on your top! I am sure in no time at all that you will have some cooler weather, it is dark here at the moment from all the wind and rain blowing around outside!

Monika said...

Ah Simcha! You and Denny are the same spirits! He is a gorgeous looking dog, and I'm sure he'll settle down a little when he gets older.
Lovely scarf pattern. I've knit with this yarn, and was not so forgiving as you are. I really didn't like it at all. Not even my handspun yarn is spun so badly, and for the money it costs, I just want more consistency. But the feel of it, and the colors they offer are wonderful.

CelticCastOn said...

Awww glad the little rampager has calmed down some. I like to refer to them as keeping us on our toes. Boston has calmed down some from when we brought him home but he still likes to keep me on my toes everyday! I love him.

Andrea said...

Our first dog, Hazel, was a crazy wild thing when we adopted her. Growing up, my family always rescued dogs (and apparently always had good luck) so I figured I should do the same. Once we got past all the health issues in the first three months, I thought things would be better. But Hazel had some real dominance issues and would snap at me or my husband if we were annoying her or trying to get her to do something she didn't want (like get off the top of the couch). I finally realized I didn't want to live with a dog I couldn't trust so we had a reckoning and things have been much better since then. She can still be a handful but after some training, I trust her now and she listens to me. But for a moment there I thought I might have rescued Cujo!

Denise said...

I love the scarf and the color of it. Simcha sounds quite the handful, hopefully he will settle down with age... will he be neutered? That is supposed to calm them a little too, or have you plans to breed? He is a beauty that's for sure.
Love that flower too.

Kate (KnitsInClass) said...

Simcha is a beautiful dog - you would never guess puppy craziness from the picture :)
Love both the scarf and the flower - I do spin, so I've got roving all over the house, but I've never tried felting anything.

knittergal said...

I love your story about Simcha and how he came into your lives. Not everything is easy, that's for sure! I'm sure he'll settle down as the puppy in him matures, and he looks very intelligent, so he'll catch on!

Love your scarf too, and Steve sure knows how to capture gorgeous pictures of you!

Channon said...

Neither you nor Simcha should even joke about hiding under anything!

He's growing more handsome, and losing a touch of that puppy cuteness, but I'm glad he's becoming the dog you wanted. I didn't realize there were different lines of bassets either, and DEARLY as I love my Sissymonster, we'll be going back to the show dogs for our next basset. I would have thought the hunting line would have been healthier, and maybe the jury's still out there, but boy is she naughtier and sillier than Fred ever even DREAMED of being!

Jules said...

I like your scarf very much--especially the color and rusticity of the yarn. Very nice! Thanks for sharing your story about Simcha. What a beautiful dog he's turning into, so intelligent looking. My in-laws went to the shelter and rescued what they were told was a Sheltie. "Victoria" has since blossomed into a fine German Shepherd! But they couldn't love her more.

Bridget said...

Beautiful scarf! I can picture it around Simcha's neck. He is a very stately looking pup, I have to say.

And I LOVE The flower - good work!

Rebekah said...

The scarf is very pretty, but my goodness Simcha is beyond gorgeous. He's definitely a show dog. I've never seen such an impressive looking animal.

Brenda said...

Simcha is gorgeous! When my children were small, we had Eddie -- who looked just like Simcha. Eddie was out of a pair of attack-bred champions from Germany. Although Eddie was never trained as an attack dog, he was exceptionally protective, while also being a big old loving creampuff. We all mourned when he passed on.

Rainey Day Knitter said...

Thank you for sharing your Simcha story. Not only did you get a beautiful dog but a lovely knit scarf as well. Don't you think Smcha will settle down after his puppyhood? He looks so smart I'm betting he will.

Tracy said...

How grown up Simcha looks now at 7 mos! Very much enjoyed hearing how Simcha came to be yours. And I like how your knitting is incorporated into his/your story. So much about our stories go into our knitting! The scarf is wonderful...love the soft, almost oatmeal with cinnamon color. That flower is FABULOUS! You should be proud to show that off! Gosh, I've not done any felting in a loooong time. You look happy in these photos. Steve's a great photographer. ;o) Happy Day, my friend ((HUGS))

Renee said...

Such a chic scarf, you wear it so well! Your blog posts are always photographed to well. Love the colour and memories you have attached to that scarf. I have a "Nina' scarf on the needles now - the dried puppy drool in the skein she brought me I suppose will wash away in blocking, almost sad it will. lol :)

Simcha is turning into a very handsome, regal and distinguished looking gentlemen.

Your flower is beautiful!

Ally Johnston said...

So many paths to take, life is sure an adventure. Simcha is growing into a beautiful dog. Love the scarf, you can tell how scrumptious the yarn is just from the photo so it mustbe lovely to wear.

raining sheep said...

Such beauty in your life - gorgeous scarf, vibrantly stunning flower and absolutely fabulous Simcha :) even if he is a wild thing. Makes me think of that rather bad song:
Wild thing
you make my heart sing
you make a everything, groovy (as enshrined in the history books by the ever immortal Jimi Hendrix)

Lisa said...

Is it okay if I covet your denim jacket instead?

Love everything you've posted recently, just very behind in my comments. Simcha is a dear. :)

Rachel said...

I love hearing stories about how knitting and memories are intertwined. Every time I pick up my Rogue hoodie I'm brought back to a specific time/place. Your scarf is a beautiful reminder of how you found Simcha. And it sounds as if he was worth all the effort and issues of finding him. Such a beautiful animal (even if he still does rampage a bit!).

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Beautiful scarf! Thanks so much for sharing Simcha's story I love getting little glimpses :)

gMarie said...

Love that scarf and the story. Simcha is beautiful. And you - are one very classy lady. Enjoy. Hope life is truly settling down for you. g

subliminalrabbit said...

lovely all around! crazy molly kitten won't let me knit, either... it's been a long few months. i'm hopeful that i'll be able to pick up the needles soon too!

Elizabeth said...

Simcha is a beautiful dog. We had one like that when I was a little girl and her name was Angela and I am still glad she was a part of my life.

More that gorgeous scarf you made.

Have a lovely weekend.

xoxo E.

knittingdragonflies said...

Beautiful story about Simcha! I like the scarf, I'm thinking I could make one out of hand spun. Oh yeah, I can see you with a wheel!!
Take care
Vicki

t does wool said...

I do love your stories,Claudia.
and that certainly is a very nice scarf~!

betty said...

You always make the nicest accessories!

Our Large Dog was quite the handful when we adopted him at 6.5 months. He's much calmer now at 4.5 years, but he still zooms around the house almost once a day.

amanda said...

Beautiful scarf, and I know exactly what you mean. Often I pick up an FO and remember what was going on in my life when I made it. Another added bonus of knitting!!

Hilary said...

I loved reading the story of Simcha...thank you for sharing! He is such a gorgeous guy, WOW. And speaking of gorgeous, your flower brooch and scarf are fantastic! The brooch looks perfect -- I would never guess you were a beginning felter! And the scarf...so, SO pretty (that yarn, gah!) and I love that it is so connected with your pup!

Windyridge said...

Puppies are tough. We adopted a dog that we almost ran over last winter. her owner had abandoned her. We were never little dog people, or so we thought. We adore her...and now we have a big dog and a little dog. They play together and are so much fun to watch. Your new dog is very beautiful. Enjoy!

kim said...

What a beautiful scarf, Claudia! I love the design. It's funny how you mention that different items bring back memories from the times when you are knitting them. I think of that all the time. I have a cowl I made when I had the flu last Winter, and it always comes to mind. Simcha is a very regal boy. You were smart to know what to look for. Although, I think that over the years, I now know what to look for with my little Yorkies as well. Hope you have a great weekend.

ZKNITZ said...

For myself personally, I have only knit three scarves so far, and from what people have told me, I had knit them too long. I don't know why I did that, I just wanted them to be long. Maybe 8 feet is too long, but that's what I did.

One of these days though, I would like to do what you have done and model one of my scarves and show off what I did just for me.

Anita said...

Awww, I would have loved to meet up with you guys when you came to NC. :) Simcha is such a gorgeous dog! And I'm so glad he is settling down a little.

Your scarf is lovely, & you look lovely wearing it. And your felted flower came out wonderful! You did a great job with that.

Hugs to you!!

zees5 said...

I found your blog looking for cotton sock yarn in San Clemente (I live in Dana Point). I love your S. Cal. knitting style. I really like your He Said, She Said entry. That tunic is the bomb and one of my fave styles! I'm mid 40's and found by personal style in the last decade - isn't it freeing to not be a slave to fashion, but feel fashionable on the same? God bless you and keep up the great work on your awesome so cal blog! ~Page

Nantucket Dreams said...

i love love love the flower! and love how you express your own style! and thanks for sharing with us simchas story!

Nantucket Dreams said...

i love the flower! and like how you express your personal style. and thanks for telling us simchas story...such a regal looking canine!