Wednesday, May 28, 2014


As I was about to start typing this post about the genius of Cookie A's sock designs, I got a text from my mom about my uncle who is in ICU ...and then as I was texting David  (who is in NC this week) to let him know I saw on Facebook that Maya Angelou just passed away.

And really, it's all related through the concept of genius.  My uncle is a genius who worked for NASA and could build computers before computers were something people had at home and taught himself to play violin after he retired.  He's young in the grand scheme of things, so I hope they can stabilize him and get him healthy to come home and have a good life.  When I stayed with him and my aunt the week I learned to weave, he stored up a good number of weaving puns to scatter on me each day as I went to my lessons.

Maya Angelou...what can one say about the beauty, complexity, and phenomenon of that woman.  I took my daughters to see her speak when they were only 9 years old despite the fact that they decidedly did NOT want to go and I think we got the last 4 tickets to the show because we were in the very back row and in the middle seats.  "Phenomenal Woman" (which I linked above) and "Still I Rise" were two of the most powerful experiences of my life.  She also had this refrain during her performance of "the walls of Jericho came tumbling down."  It was chill-inducing (though I honestly can't remember what it was connected to other than a breaking down of social barriers, which is important enough in and of itself).  Despite being in the very back middle seats, I was mesmerized (and so were my little girls) and felt like Dr. Angelou was speaking right to me. (In fact, I think Elizabeth said something to that very effect when we left)  I have cherished every piece of writing of hers that I've run my eyes across and will miss the potential of new work to come.  I will also miss the regular updates she posted on Facebook...she had a way of cutting to the core of things and exposing the heart (and sometimes cutting that up a little too) to make us THINK about our actions, thoughts, words and ways of living.  She is indeed an American Treasure, and my little memory of her is but a speck of sand on the seashore to her talent and amazing abilities.  She will be hugely missed.


Cookie A...Cookie A is a genius of the sock design kind.  I have not met a pattern by her that did not (almost instantly) captivate me and make me want to finish it.  I even like doing stitches that I don't typically like doing if she wrote the pattern...this is something I'm having trouble understanding.  I really find 1x1 ribbing tedious unless I'm working on a Cookie A pattern and then it's amazing.  Go figure.

As I was working on my Drogon sock (pic below) I was fascinated by this very thing.  1x1 ribbing with a twisted knit stitch in a pattern that I was really struggling to understand.  There was this reverse yarn over thing that was NOT turning out right and looked strange on my needles and I couldn't seem to manage the pattern repeat and was having to look at the chart every three or four stitches. dawned on me how much of a genius Cookie A is.  As I was working on the difficult part and said, "what's happening here and why am I having trouble with it?" I realized that the reverse yarn over was moving before the stitch it should have been after.  I know it has something to do with the way I knit and I though "this is really inconvenient and I need to just do it 'this way'" and fixed how I was doing the reverse yarn over to a regular yarn over and then twisted it around when I stitched it on the next row.

I should have read the pattern notes because that's exactly what Cookie A suggested we do...if the reverse was causing problems, then just twist it when you get to it.

And you know what happened then?  EVERYTHING fell into place with this pattern.  It was at this point I realized there was an 8 stitch repeat that I could separate with markers on my needles and that the yarnovers moved in a logical pattern that helped me remember how to do the pattern.  Twisting was part of the nature of it and I FLEW!  Simply flew.

It actually reminded me of learning to play Mozart.  Mozart wrote sonatas with rules...there are lots of scales, arpeggios and key changes, but there are rules and expectations to all of those and once you know what they are learning to play and playing them well are just a matter of practice and time.

And that's when I realized that Cookie A is a genius.  I think she spits out sock patterns like Mozart spat out sonatas!  Just think it and there they are!  And the beauty of her work is that while it is difficult, it's accessible and you learn something every single time you work on one of her patterns. (kinda like playing Mozart, huh?).  As I worked through this pattern it became so much easier and so much more fun and so beautiful.  I think this pic is about when I realized how much of a genius Cookie A is...I'm past the heel turn and well into the foot by now.

Yarn is Dragon Sock by Dragonfly Fibers in colorway "Tree of Life" (June Club color).  The pattern is Drogon which is one of the Cookie A April club patterns.


Daddy's Story:  Daddy could talk like Donald Duck...and he would also make this noise that would make cats jump to the ceiling.  I particularly loved it when he did it around Oliver (or sweet, dumb orange beauty) because he would just keep walking like nothing happened and it was SO funny).

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