Just a place where I can sit and write my thoughts on my newest passion. . . . . knitting. Hopefully, I will better document my progress throughout knitting and get in touch with others as obsessed as I am!

Friday, June 03, 2005

I'm not usually very political, but . . . . . . . .

Oh, oh. I think this is a soap box speech coming out. For those of you with opposing views or beliefs, feel free to share and chime in. Everyone just PLEASE remember to be respectful of everyone else's views and opinions when commenting. My sincerest gratitude in advance for listening, commenting and respecting all others in this forum. So here goes. . . . . .

Ok, so as the title of this post states, I am not usually very political. I pick and choose what issues truly matter to me and they are usually topics that touch my heart. One of the issues that touches me the deepest (because of my own parents flight to freedom from Cuba in 1961) is the issue of freedom. What freedom means, how very little it seems to be appreciated (or understood?) by some, and how selfless and honorable I feel those who fight for our everday freedom are. (bad sentence but you get my point). The following article was printed in the Miami Herald on June 1, 2005. I feel that it is important to let others know that these things DO still happen, this truly IS what is occuring in Castro's regime and that we must all strive to preserve, protect and honor the freedoms that we all are given here in the good ol' US of A! At the end is a beautiful quote from the cuban patriot Jose Marti. I have made an attempt (pathetic I am sure) to translate it in english for you all.

`Our only luggage was hope'

As a child I had an experience that taught me the price that individuals are
willing to pay for freedom.
I was only 7 years old and living in communist Cuba. My parents yearned for
freedom and dreamt of coming to America. They secretly planned to escape,
along with 72 others who shared their dream. We embarked on a wooden
tugboat. Our only luggage was hope, but in that attempt, 41 lives were lost.
Among them, my mother and brother. My father refused to give up hope, and a
short time later, we risked our lives in a second attempt, but on this occasion,
aboard a raft.
It began on the fateful day of July 13, 1994, as we embarked on the 13 de
Marzo tugboat at about 2 a.m. About 13 miles off the coast of Cuba, we were
suddenly attacked by three Cuban tugboats. They rammed us. Pressure hoses,
normally used to put out fires at sea, were used against us. Their impact
was so powerful that children were swept to sea from their parents'
protective embrace.
Those on the tugboats shouted insults over loudspeakers. In a frenzy, they
crashed into the ship, damaging the hull, which caused the tugboat to take
in water rapidly. Within minutes, the ship sank. People were screaming and
begging to be rescued, but those on the tugboats showed no pity. They
circled us and made whirlpools in the water, causing men, women and children
to be lost forever in a black sea of despair.
After what seemed an eternity of brutal abuse, the tugboats finally stopped
and began picking up survivors. My mother and brother were not among them.
Those of us who survived, more dead than alive from the ordeal, were not taken
to receive medical assistance. Instead, we were taken to prison, where my father remained. I was later sent home in a small van and handed over to my aunt, to take care of me.
A month later, my dad was released from prison, and we were more determined than ever to attempt our search for liberty once more. It took about two weeks to build a raft. One night we embarked on the raft along with seven others and began navigating the seas with wooden paddles. We paddled for a whole day and suddenly we got caught in a storm. We tied ourselves to the raft with ropes and fell asleep from exhaustion. When we woke up, we noticed that we were being taken back to the coast of Cuba by the rough currents of the storm.
At that instant, it seemed as if all our hopes had been lost, but again with all the strength within us, we continued paddling assured that freedom awaited us. We were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and eventually taken to the Guantánamo Naval Base in Cuba.
On Jan. 21, 1995, we finally arrived in the United States. At that moment we felt happier than ever, but there was sadness and anger and disappointment that in our search for a new life, my father and I had lost our most valued treasures -- my mother and brother. Yet the first thing my father and relatives did was fly to Washington and testify before the U.S. Congress on
what has come to be known as the Massacre of the Tugboat 13th of March, perpetrated by the Castro regime.
Two months after our arrival, life showed us how generous it can be. My father met an incredibly loving woman who has been a mother to me. A month later we moved to her apartment and started our new life in the United States, supported by her unconditional love and guidance.
I will be graduating from high school today. Another dream has been achieved. To this day, I remember that awful tragedy and I still struggle with the memories. But I know I have another dream to accomplish for myself and the memory of my mother and brother. I will go to college. I will do it in the land where everything is possible -- in the land where I found something so valuable that people are willing to risk their lives to obtain it.

It is called freedom.

Sergio Perodín Jr., a survivor of the 13 de Marzo tugboat massacre, is
graduating from Coral Gables Senior High today.

"Solo la opresión debe temer al pleno ejercicio de la libertad. Libertad es
el derecho que todo hombre tiene a ser honrado, y a pensar y a hablar sin
hipocresía. Un hombre que oculta lo que piensa, o no se atreve a decir lo
que piensa, no es un hombre honrado. Un hombre que obedece a un mal
gobierno, sin trabajar para que el gobierno sea bueno, no es un hombre

{"Only oppresion should fear the simple exercise of Liberty.
Liberty is the right of humankind to be honorable, and to think and speak

without hypocrysy. A person that hides what they think, or who
does not dare speak what he thinks, is not an honorable person .
A person that obeys a bad government, without working to make
that government good, is not an honorable person ."}

- José Martí

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

My Secret Pal 5 Questionnaire is as follows. . . . .

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you? I must admit that I am mostly a yarn snob. I think that quality work (and time) deserves quality materials. With that said, I do own and use some Lion Brand but no Red Heart. Lion Brand seems to be pretty good quality. I do not like the feel of Red Heart products. Does that make me awful?????

2. Do you spin? Crochet? I haven’t done crochet since I was a child. I would LOVE to learn to spin but I don’t know if I can afford another addiction. . . . . …

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.) NOPE!

4. How long have you been knitting? Almost 2 years now but I dove in head first, have not looked back and have not put the needles down yet!

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I think I might just have to start one. Will get back to you on that.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) “Clean” smells. Sage/Citrus, Grass, Meadows, etc. . . . and sometimes “spicy” scents. . . . sandlewood, etc. . .. I really do not like flowery scents very well.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Bring on the Dark Chocolate and raspberries, baby! (either alone or in combo – yummy!)

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? - I do cross-stitch on linen, pulled-thread and hardanger needlework.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) Swing dance music, big band dance tunes, alternative rock (evanescence, etc. . .), crooners (Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, the rat pack), pop, mainstream country (Shania, Garth, Faith, etc. . .). I also listen to a lot of new age/relaxation/nature sounds/meditative type music. VERY eclectic taste in music. I listen to CD’s and MP3s all the time.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? Growing up it was PINK! Now I enjoy the pinks, lavendars, soft greens and RED! Familywise, I would say either jewel tones or muted earth tones. (Olives + purples, Tans + Reds) etc. . .. .

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? Married (16 years in August), 1 son (8 years old) and a 2 year old Pomeranian.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know) Gosh, to be able to live comfortably and give my son his education without him having to go into debt as his father and I did. I would love to travel to other continents (have yet to leave N. America). Want to be fluent in French. I want to be ORGANIZED (I hate clutter but can’t seem to get rid of it). I want to be chosen, complete and WIN “The Amazing Race”. It’s my favorite show and a HUGE dream of mine.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? Right now I love to make self-striping socks but they do take me awhile. I love merino wool and other “soft” yarns. Love to make quickies with the newer yarns (ladders, ribbons, eyelash, fur, etc. . .) but I like to work with wool also (especially all those beautiful colorways like “manos del uruguay” overdyes). Karabella Aurora 8 is a great example.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Itchy wool. “Harder” fibers – I like my yarn to flow and have drape, even when I am going to felt I use the “softer” wools.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? SOCKs and collecting patterns!

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Anything that will make the recipient happy! OK, OK, socks again!

17. What are you knitting right now? Uuuh, socks?! I am also working on a glace neck scarf and blocks of the month from my LKS in manos del uruguay to be made into an afghan. I am also almost done with my honeymoon cami in Candy (cotton blend – blue/green colorway).

18. What do you think about ponchos? LOVE THEM! Made 2 for myself and wear them both! A LOT! Made a couple other ones as gifts.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? CIRCULAR ADDIs are my FAV!

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Bamboo (or really the rosewood and ebony from Lantern Moon – aah)

21. Are you a sock knitter? Tee hee (see above)

22. How did you learn to knit? Semi-self taught with a little help (about ½ hour from a friend) then I took an intermediate class (increases/decreases) and then I took a sock class – all within 2 months of each other!~

23. How old is your oldest UFO? 4 months (maybe 5)2

4. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird? Disney’s Thumper or Eeyore! I love puppies and I am a cartoon junky (right now my favs are Avatar, KND and The Fairly odd Parents).

25. What is your favorite holiday? I love to give things for Xmas but I also like Mother’s Day, Easter and Mardi Gras.

26. Is there anything that you collect? You mean besides yarn, right? I love precious moments figurines and nursing memorobilia (old nursing stamps, pictures, equipment, etc.) I like coke and coke products (I have the best 1952 add of a nurse holding a coke – YEAH). I also enjoy any knid of unique or different needlework accessories. I am a cardiac nurse and I love to collect anything with hearts or shaped like hearts. Ooh, I also collect sayings. . . . .inspirational little words or just great quotes of all times or silly sayings to make you laugh!

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? – sigh, I only get piecework by interweave press. Have yet to get a knitting subscription.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on? “Confessions of a knitting heretic!” “Knitting on the edge”. “Meditations for women who knit too much” (I think that is the title).

29. Are you a “girly” girl? OMG, I am such the “girly” girl. I love makeup and dressing up and looking pretty and sparkly stuff and so on and so forth. THAT SAID, I am NOT afraid to go out without makeup, get dirty, go hiking, fishing or the like.

30. If you could meet anyone, who would you meet? I think that I would love to meet Audrey Hepburn, Princess Di or Saint Therese of the little Flower. These women are very inspirational to me, each in their own unique way.

It's GOOD to be back. . . .

Well, after missing to separate sit 'n knits and 1 stitch of the month, I was back at my sit 'n knit tonight and it felt GREAT! It's so funny how the "little things" tend to mean so much. I loved sitting around with the girls just knitting and talking and laughing, etc. . . .

Found a new little "toy" that I just love. It's a set of 32" circular Addi's where 1 of the needles it a size 15 US (10.0 mm) and the other is a size 7 US (4.5 mm). How would one knit with such a thing you ask? Well let me explain. . . . . . . . .If you are doing stockinette (which I happen to be doing right now) you will end up with alternating rows of size 15 stitches and size 7 stitches. Very cool actually. I guess that you can use them as conventional 15 and 7 needles by just "sliding" your work over as you do for an I-cord. I guess these are used for a specific type of knitting. I used them for a pattern that called for alternating between size 15 and size 7's and then running a ribbon through all the rows of the larger stitches. The knitting them is basically a "lattice" for holding the ribbons and you get a beautiful ribbon scarf or shawl.

It was a class at the shop but I just did it on my own b/c I liked the class model so much. I will have to post pictures as the piece advances (I only have 4-6 rows down right now).

Always something new to learn and something new to buy!!! tee hee tee hee

Good night to all!