December 02, 2004


I've been feeling kind of bummed this week. Last Sunday, my girls were not able to have their riding lesson, as usual. It was because their riding instructor had gone into the hospital (on Thanksgiving, no less!), diagnosed with cancer. Now this woman, our riding instructor, was the third instructor we'd tried this year. She has been friendly and funny in teaching my kids. My teenaged daughter Jennie, for example, has had years of lessons in the past, so she needed a teacher who could meet her at her level and help her to grow in experience. One of those teachers we tried earlier would teach only group lessons; Jennie would be in an okay mood when her lesson would start, but would be grouchy and irritable by the time the group ended -- because Jennie didn't feel she was getting enough individual attention from that instructor. With our current instructor, though, Jennie is always happy and looks forward to her lesson, and is always optimistic afterward.

I just can't say enough good about this woman: Her teaching methods are positive, and she can really jolly my kids along. She has few material wants or needs -- drives an old Toyota Corolla, earns room and board by living and working at a nearby horse stable, earns pocket money by giving riding lessons. She's just a salt-of-the-earth type; if she were a character, she would be one of those wise peasants in a Tolstoi novel. Needless to say, she doesn't have health insurance.

Our instructor is home from the hospital, now. But she's on heavy-duty radiation treatments, and will start chemo next week, too.

This turn of events has me arguing with the universe: Why do bad things happen to good people? Really, it has cast a cloud over my whole week.

So here's just the briefest of recaps of knitting news:

Monday night, Ferals meeting: I made only negative progress, taking back about 6 rows of the gusset on Jennie's sock and also ripping out a bunch of rows on the Alba sweater. Why -- other than for the sake of my own perfectionism?

The problem with the sock was that I'd used lifted increases in the gusset. As you know, Dear Reader, you can only lift an increase every other row. But somehow, in one spot, I had managed to lift increases in two consecutive rows -- what a laugh! There is nothing to lift, if you try to do this in two consecutive rows! And, sure enough, there in the gusset at that place of mistaken increases, was the nothing -- a hole! Now that I've done the ripping, I am back on track.

With the Alba sweater, you'll remember that I'm using an AS pattern from Celtic Collection, but choosing my own colors for it. You'll recall also that this is a Fair Isle sweater. There were a couple of rows where I felt my color choices for foreground and background were much too similar in value. I felt that the stitch design was lost. So I chose to rip.

Fortunately, the Feral Knitters are good company to be in, whether one is knitting or ripping.

Today, I've blocked out the Karis poncho. Where else?, but on the dining room rug. I plan to wear it tomorrow night, at Scott's company party -- the first holiday part of the season.

This evening, I took Allegra to the local branch of the county library. And there, on display at the front shelf, shining like an orange, glossy beacon of hope, I found Stitch 'n Bitch Nation! I checked it out immediately. I didn't even know the book was available yet. (Allegra says, "Eww. There's a dude on the cover.")

You'll remember that I was such a fan of the first Stitch 'n Bitch, I reviewed it for the Seattle Guild's newsletter, and I bought three copies: one for myself, one for my 20-something niece, and one for my daughter Allegra. (As an aside, my blog hostess Becky has a sweater pattern I've admired in the first Stitch 'n Bitch, too.)

I'll peruse the pages of Stitch 'n Bitch Nation while taking a hot bath tonight, and that's sure to improve my mood.

Photos of Karis tomorrow, I promise.

Posted by Karen at December 2, 2004 09:32 PM

I'm glad the Karis is going to a party!
And hurry up with that book. (I've placed a hold.)

Posted by: Kit at December 3, 2004 06:56 AM

Hi, Karen, Just found your blog and am really enjoying it. I've ridden for years and was not exactly a good rider to start with. A good riding instructor is a rare and wonderful thing! I'd love to be of help to that nice woman. Is there anything I could do or contribute? Chemo cap, and scarf, a gift certificate to the local supermarket, or some other thing to brighten her day and let her know she's being thought of?
Thanks for a great blog.

Posted by: caroline at December 3, 2004 02:31 PM

Kit: have some patience! Doesn't the library system have more than one copy? And yes, Karis does get to go to the party -- here it is, 11 AM, and the clock is ticking, and I still need to sew up that back seam!

Caroline: I'm sure a chemo cap would be terrifically appreciated. Thanks so much for offering!

It is an art to match the temperament of the riding instructor, the rider, and the horse, and this woman has just been a gem! And surprisingly generous with her time, even going to the horse shows my kids rode in this year, to watch their performance and give them pointers. Surely this is someone who deserves a "day brightener."

Posted by: Karen at December 3, 2004 07:15 PM

You've got it. I'm thinking in a denim-y color? Or would she go for a red one? I'll give you an e-shout when it's done and you can tell me where to send it.

Posted by: caroline at December 3, 2004 09:27 PM

One of my favorite aunts had surgery for possible colon cancer the day before Thanksgiving. You're right, life just doesn't always behave the way it should.
Best wishes to your kids' riding instructor.

Posted by: Janice in GA at December 3, 2004 10:56 PM