I’m Back

I arrived back in Portland a day and a half ago. It’s among the last days of March. It snowed this morning. The snow didn’t seem to stick, but was a little bit odd, nonetheless.

The rabbinical convention was fabulous, and therefore left me a little bit short of sleep. It was great to connect with old friends, make some new friends and generally catch up with colleagues, mentors, teachers and friends. It was fascinating to see some of the directions we’re all heading in. There was some great learning, some thought-provoking sessions and some playful fun.  We prayed together, and it was lovely and spiritual, and I even got a new melody out of it.

It is great to be home, however, and I’m looking forward to having most of this weekend off. Sleep is very high on my priority list.

Gone to the Convention

I’m heading out to Baltimore for a rabbinical convention, and suspect I won’t be blogging between now and Thursday.

I’m hoping to get some good knitting done on the plane, as well as planning the Congregational Seder.

Knitting and Purim

I have a special kippah (yalmuke) I wear for Purim: muppet-kipah.jpg

I made a it a few years back out of some Fun Fur, back when the only thing I knew of to do with yarn was to make a kippah.

Purim is a holiday that makes the most sense if one gives oneself over entirely to its frivolity of spirit. With this in mind, I give you an entirely frivolous post, which may be funny to no one but me, since it is a parody of rabbinic literature on the subject of knitting. The following is an excerpt from masechet seruga:

How long should one knit as a preparation for writing? Rabbi Hillel says one should knit until the words flow smoothly. Rabbi Shammai says, two rows.

“Two rows?” asks Rabbi Abuah, “not all rows are equal. How can it be two rows.”

Rabbi BagBag ben BarBar explains: it is the length of two rows for a scarf.

If it is the length of two rows of a scarf, why did Shammai not say how many stitches? Rabbi HooHaa replies: It is two rows of whatever project you are working on, because it is the turning that counts, not the stitches, as it is written, “turn it and turn it and you will find everything in it.”

Rabbi EZ* say: but I am knitting in the round: how do I know when I am to stop.

The rabbis teach that no rules apply to Rabbi EZ. But for those of us who are not of her merit, how do we know when to stop if we are knitting in the round.

The School of Shammai teaches that one should never knit in the round.

Never knit in the round? What about socks?

Rabbi Heyouse says in the name of his master, Rabbi Heyouguys: When I was young, I would go to the School of Shammai and they were all wearing argyle socks.**

“Are they then to be called Clan McShammai?” scoffs Rabbi EZ.

Anyone may wear Argyle says the school of Hillel.

Only those whose Torah learning is great and whose knitting knowledge is greater says school of Shammai.

Only those of Scottish ancestry may wear Argyle says the School of EZ.

Rabbi Hoohaa taught, “in the days of old, any might wear Argyle, but today, we do not wear it out of respect for the Holy One of Blessing, as it is taught, ‘ah, what a tangled web we weave.'”

Happy Purim Everyone .

*For the non knitters: Elizabeth Zimmerman (who is as Hillel to the knitting tradition).

**For the non-knitters: argyle socks are knit flat, and then sewed up the back: they are persnickety beyond belief are require handling between four and eight balls of yarn simultaneously.

Everyone’s Tired

I don’t know what it is today, but everyone seems tired. Not just me and Eva (we’re used to that), but a lot of the people at CubeSpace. Not only that, but there are fewer people than usual at CubeSpace today, making me think that many people just didn’t have the energy to come in at all (it is possible that I’m projecting here).

There is a profound lack of energy today. It’s quiet, as though making noise requires too much work. The phones are ringing less, suggesting that pushing the buttons might be excessive labor for the mood of the day. People are so tired that this is what I’m trying to pass for humor.

It’s sort of a shame that there aren’t more people at CubeSpace today, because we are dying eggs and doing an Easter Egg hunt. I sort of have a feeling I may be spending a lot of time trying to find the eggs which we hid yesterday.

OK, I just tried and failed to add some pictures of hidden easter eggs, but it completely failed. In fact, it crashed my computer. So we’re done with that now.

I apologize for the lack of material in this post. In the meantime, be amused by the idea of the rabbi with a business filled with Easter Eggs which need finding.

ParaSox

I am, once again, working on Eva’s socks. And I find myself increasingly confused by how they are turning out. I like them, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t understand how they are doing what they are doing.

evas-sock3-18a.jpg

Two key issues are confusing me: 1. how is it that when I spiral the ribbing, the purl stitches stick out further than the knit stitches? 2. I reduced needle size to make the calf a touch smaller…why does it not appear to have changed my gauge at all?

I could point out where I changed the needles on the picture, but really, what’s the point? When people looking closely in person can’t tell the difference in gauge, I figure there’s no way to see it from the picture.

So I am left with the knitters final option: acceptance. I accept that I do not control the knitting, but that I am the vehicle through which the knitting flows. The knitting will be as it wishes to be, and I will help it come into being. (It might be worth pointing out, Purim happens later this week; Purim is a holiday of frivolity, joy and humor).

And so, I wait as I knit to find out what is going to  become of these socks.

Shabbat is Here!

Woohoo…it’s shabbat. I’m done with work for the week. A tequila improves sanctity.

This would be a sabbath of rest (and maybe a little yarn shopping). Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks has a  cool event tomorrow,  and Martin and Larissa Brown will be there in the afternoon for the release of their new book. Very exciting book (I’ve seen the proofs, and Martin reviewed them at CubeSpace.

The Heel is Turned and there are Pictures

At long last (at least it feels that way to me), I’m done with the foot of the first sock, I’ve turned the heel, and I have pictures of Eva’s Birthday Socks: evas-sock-foot.jpg

That is the sock in its current state. It has ribbing on the foot, which is being put into motion (swirling) around the calf. In the photo below you can better see the transition from the ribbing on the foot to the swirl on the calf. You can see the swirl better than the ribbing.

dscn1031.jpg

The really exciting thing about this is that I feel like I’ve finally made some real progress on this sock.

That