Under Angel Wings


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Oh, Fiddlesticks!

Have you ever wondered what that expression, "Oh, fiddlesticks!" originally meant? According to Google, it is a style of fiddling where one person plays the fiddle, doing the bowing and the fingering, while another taps rapidly on the fingerboard with a pair of sticks in order to get more sound out of the instrument. 

Click on this web site to hear a song performed with "fiddlesticks."  

Somehow, "Oh, fiddlesticks!" became a way to express frustration about something...I prefer to use it in my knitting! To me, these long needles seem more like sticks, so I call them my fiddlesticks.

A few years ago our daughter, Olivia, got really interested in knitting with a group of friends down in the Bay Area. She got me a cute little book, Knitting, by Anne Akers Johnson, that is for beginners and has some easy projects in it. It's actually one of the Klutz books for young people, but it worked fine for me!! :D 

One of the first projects I made was this beautiful, light blue shawl in cashmere...pricey, yes, but I wanted something very, very soft for my mom, Mary, on her 88th birthday in 2005. She was so pleased with it, and had it wrapped around her constantly in that last year of her life. I liked it so well I made myself a scarf just like it to remember her by.

Mom was a knitter in her younger days, around the time I left for college when she had more time for a hobby. She actually progressed to the point where she could make a sweater or two, which turned out very nicely. She did crochet around the edges of the sweater, and around the cute little pockets. I hope someday to be able to make a sweater that turns out so beautifully! Mom and her mother, Pearl, were both excellent seamstresses as well. 

In 2007 I was ordained as a deacon in our church, and I decided to start knitting prayer shawls as part of my ministry. I looked around our parish for a woman who was struggling with illness, and then picked a shawl pattern and some yarn. 

There is quite a bit of information on the internet about making prayer shawls which can be knitted any way you want to do them...the important thing is to say a prayer for that person during each row. The look of thankfulness on their face when they receive their shawl is so heartwarming, and I love making them.

This is my dear friend, Carrie, who received my first prayer shawl. It was a simple rectangular shape in burgundy color, long enough to wrap all around her.

Sometimes I just make up a pattern, such as this shawl for our pastor, Joy, which is basically just knitting with yarn overs to create a 'lacey' look.

In June 2007, both my dear friend, Judy, and I retired from teaching. She and her husband were moving to Oregon for their retirement and I wanted to knit her something to take with her.She has a really nice wool blazer in the light green color above, and I was lucky enough to find some matching yarn. We were so busy in that last week of school, that I forgot to get a photo of her in the scarf!! This is the first scarf I knitted with the cable stitch which I find challenging and fun. Thank you to my daughter for teaching me how to do it!! :D Recently I have completed several projects. The blue scarf I made for my teacher friend, Nina, in her school color to help keep her warm out on the frigid playground. O.K., so we live in California, but at 7:30 a.m. in the dark of winter, when the north wind is blowing, it's frigid to us!! I added another cable to the pattern to make double cables. 

This is Carol, who is wearing the prayer shawl I just finished for her. Carol is especially dear to me because she helped take care of my parents for a year or two. She is a wonderful caretaker and friend, so I was honored to create a prayer shawl for her! She is helping take care of my Aunt Dorothy, my dad's sister, now.

Candy is my friend who was born one day after me. I just finished this incredibly long cable scarf to help keep her warm up at Tahoe and Reno. She happened to have this darling hat that matches quite well. Go to my May 31, 2009 post to see Candy working with her beautiful horses in Reno, Nevada!