Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gone Away, Gone Ahead...

Asalamu alaikum,

I have just read that my favorite author, Anne McCaffrey has died. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi Rajioon.

My mother first introduced me to Anne's books when I was about 12-13, when she gave me a copy of Dragonflight . I have read almost every book she wrote, over and over again, so much that I know many of the stories by heart. These are the books that I can always return to and read again, no matter how many times I've read them before. Her work was so moving, I can remember that at the end of All the Weyrs of Pern, I cried when Masterharper Robinton died. The characters of her books feel so real, like family and friends.

I cry now, because she is gone, but I am happy that her books are here to remind me of her. Each time I read them I will remember her. Rest in peace, Anne, we all loved you and will miss you very much.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Knitting Wips

Asalamu alaikum,

Just a quick update on what I am knitting now that my Seascape Stole is done.

I started another vest for my father in law. He had a friend who was coming from Pakistan to UAE bring eight skeins each of black and white acrylic yarn, about three years ago. I just got around to starting this one, but I hope to finish it quickly. It is not from a pattern, but he had a sweater(different pattern) that the wife of a friend of his had knitting like 25 years ago, with almost the same gauge(same stitches to the inch but I had less rows to the inch), so I am basing it on that.

He was pretty specific about how he wanted it, with diamonds, and the diamonds must be two inches tall, and there has to be a black stripe between each row of diamonds.

I also started a pair of Jaywalker socks. These have been in my Rav queue since like 2008. I am making the smallest size and these are totally going to be MINE. I like the way the pattern is looking so far. I am going for the toe up version instead of top down, as I want to make them as long as possible.

I have been trying to post this for a week now, but I am having some trouble with uploading the pics. I have given up on trying and so you'll just have to imagine how they look for now ;-) InshAllah I'll be able to get it fixed soon. Also this is part of the reason I have not posted any sewing tutorials in a while, so once it is fixed then I can start posting them again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Feature-Importance of minding your own business

Asalamu alaikum,

I have never really been good at minding my own business. I always want to know what's going on even if it does not involve me at all. I am working on it though, as knowing all the stuff all the time is just not possible, and it is very stressful trying ;-)

A lot of the time all the conversations are going on in Urdu. I have been picking up more and more, but when the conversation is going at a faster clip, I have trouble keeping up, and usually still ask "What was that s/he just said?" Then the conversation will be gone over again by my nearest translator(aka-sister in law) to get me up to speed. Usually it is nothing all that important, and while it may be interesting it is stressful to have to always ask what's going on.

I have found that it is even more important to mind your own business in our little joined family. Sometimes the conversation is just gossip(which I have been trying harder to avoid lately, because it usually just leads to back biting). Other times conversations are part of a larger argument between two or more people, and not minding your own business is a sure way to get the glare of anger shown on yourself. Often during arguments, people that have no interest in the argument take one side or another. Then the opposite side gets upset over the person joining the opposition and so brings up all the recent wrongs of the person who was previously uninvolved.

It would have been better in the persons case to just mind their own business. They are now smack in the middle of the fight. If they had joined the argument because they felt that one party was being unfairly wronged, or to try to put a stop to the argument, they may have been better off to wait until the argument was finished, and then try to patch things up or explain what was going on.

So this is a reminder to myself first, and anybody who cares to listen;-)- if there is nothing really serious going on, sometimes it's just better to mind your own business!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Feature-Half filled journals

Asalamu alaikum,

I love paper journals. I have many of them but very few actually get filled.

I get so excited when I get a new journal. The plain paper, fresh, unmarked. What to write first? Sometimes I write a current favorite quotation, or bit of poetry, and almost always I sign my name very neatly on the front page.

I start out strong. I have a plan. I am going to write every day, even if it is just a few sentences. For a couple of months it works. Then I miss a day. Then two. Then weeks go by and nothing gets written. I have lost my enthusiasm for it.

After that happens the journal gets relegated to the being just another notebook. A place to scribble phone numbers, fitting measurements for my latest sewing projects, knitting patterns, and ideas for blog posts(this post was actually written in an old journal :-).

They are still a reflection of my daily life, just in a different form than I was expecting. Sometimes I think they are a truer mirror of my thoughts than the actual journal writing.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Feature-Oooh look another Masjid!

Asalamu Alaikum,

I love driving around in the UAE. Everywhere we go I always have to point excitedly and shout out "Look another masjid!", at almost every single masjid we pass. Even the little prayer rooms at the gas stations outside the cities.

It is a sense of child-like excitement that I feel. In the states there aren't masajid on every corner, and some of them are not originally built for that purpose, so from the outside they don't have features associated with masajid. Here though, there are so many, and they are all individual. I have not seen(that I can remember) , any two masajid with the same minaret style.

Just today we were in Mussafah, outside Abu Dhabi, and I saw a masjid with a minaret that was a swirling tower. The dome of the masjid was also in a swirl shape, like a shell. I love seeing all the different shapes that minarets come in.

Going over an over pass outside the city, you can see all the minarets in the area. In the city it is a bit harder, because of the buildings, but you can still spot them easily. Usually the sky will open up suddenly, because of the space around the masjid, and it will be at an angle to all other buildings around it. I love counting how many I can see in one minute of driving.

InshAllah I never lose this excitement at seeing a house of Allah(swt).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

FO-Pink Waves Stole

Asalamu Alaikum,

I know it's been a while, so here is a knitting update. I finally finished the Seascape stole I was working on. According to my Rav project page, I started on the 14th of April and finished on the 25th of October, so roughly six and a half months. I was working on a blanket and some other stuff in that time too, so not too bad I guess.

It is not as long as I had hoped, and a bit wider than I thought it would be, but I'm cool with it. It still sits nicely on the shoulders, and has enough overlap in the front to cover all that needs covering.

So final stats-
Pattern-Seascape Stole(Rav pattern page), from Knitty.
Needles-US 7(4.5mm), but the pattern called for a US 4(3.5mm)
Yarn-About 500 meters of random acrylic that I picked up in a market in Karachi

Mods-I added a pattern repeat to get more width, but as it turns out that wasn't necessary. After blocking it was wider than I had anticipated I could have left off the extra repeat and got a bit more length. If I make it again, I will follow the pattern as written. I also used a larger needle than called for, but my yarn weight was a bit heavier also.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fun Project! Hijab and Shawl pins

Asalamu alaikum,

I saw this post over on Witchy Woman(Chiton Pins), in which she made some pins from bits of copper wire. I loved the look of them, and wanted to make a couple.

So I ended up making one hijab pin(left side, with the point), two slightly longer shawl pins(minus points, don't want to accidentally stab myself), five finger rings(one each for three sisters in law, brother in law's wife and myself), and one toe ring.

I do like them all very much, but as she said in the original post, they make little holes in the cloth. I use the hijab pin as decorative only, and only in loose woven scarves where the weave can be mushed back into place after I take out the pin.