Been working and re-working this new pattern.  The pattern itself is easy, but not fun when all the bumping and bouncing on the road causes my needles to jerk and a stitch goes flying and I cannot regain enough fine motor control to pick it back up (because of the bouncing).  I flew into frustrated rage more than a few times, having to rip it all up and start all over again.

In the end, I decided to forsake speed knitting for very careful, one stitch at a time completeness.  This helped with the yarn’s constant tendency to split, which was another factor in my crankiness.  Sigh.  So far, the front and back of Susan’s pullover are done and I started the sleeve.  I tried decreasing to make arm holes for a more fitted sweater, but the pattern didn’t lend itself well to an even reduction, so when I had to rip it up I decided to make it all rectangles to preserve the pattern.

Susan’s name is still on the cusp.  I am not sure about changing it, I’ve looked at many names, and several continue to stand out, just as they did when I was looking for one before she arrived.  Yet, looking at her and saying the name, well it just doesn’t sing.  She needs a name as delicate and as quiet as she is.  Ivy was a near contender when I suddenly realized that it was so close to Evie.  How funny that is to me.  Evy and Ivy.  Perhaps my other companions could be called Avy, Uvy and Ovy.  *giggle*.  I guess you had to be there.


Nisse's Try a New Holiday

Olwen:  Wake up little ones, it is Thanksgiving Day!
Hammie: What’s that?
Olwen:  Thanksgiving is a holiday.  I don’t know much about it.  I had to read a book!
Audrey:  I know!  I got to wear a Pilgrim dress last time.  You have to get dressed up!
Hammie:  I don’t want to wear a Pilgrim dress.
 Olwen: I guess I can put on my white dress.  That is festive.
Audrey:  I like dresses!  You have to wear a bonnet too!  Like me.
Olwen:  Lay still, Audrey, I can’t unbutton you when you wiggle so.
Hammie:  So after you wear dumb dresses, then what?
Olwen:  Well,  read that there is a turkey bird that is made into a dinner and you eat a lot of food, like a Nisse feast.  And you say thank you for a having food to eat.
Hammie:  Do we have a turkey bird?
Olwen: Well, no.  But you could paint a picture of one.
Audrey:  What do they look like? 
Olwen: They are brown with a colourful tail, and BIG!  They have long legs too.  They say “gobbling” or something like that.
Hammie:  I can paint one!
Olwen: Well, here is some paper and paint.  Make a turkey while I put together our feast!
Audrey:  Make it brown!
Hammie:  Yeah, I know.
Hammie:  Big and round! and Gobbling.
Audrey: And a red tail feather too!  And a blue one, and a green one!
Hammie:  I already got a blue feather!
Audrey:  I write “Hapy Bird” on it.  I think that’s what you are suppose to say.
Hammie:  What a silly thing to say.
Audrey:  Where is the turkey?
Olwen:  Well, there wasn’t one in the pantry, but I found TURKEY FRANKFURTERS.  So I say “thank you” for finding food that is good for us to eat!
Hammie:  Thank you for yummy cranberry juice!
Audrey:  I like turkey frankffurdies!  Thank you for nummies!
Hammie:  I like them MORE that you do!  YUMMY!
Olwen:  There is more salad if you would like some.
Audrey:  MMMMM cakes!
Olwen: (thinking to herself) I think I did that holiday right.  At least a Nisse version of it!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I teach myself a new knit pattern

I can knit.  Very simply, very plain.  I can knit, purl, rib, seed, basket, and garter.  I can do multicolour patterned knits.  I learn cabling when I was much younger, but have forgotten that one.  The one I have never tried is lacey type knitting.  Yesterday, I said the heck with it, and knit 2, pulled the yarn in through the gap between the stitches, knit 2 together and repeated.  I purled the same on the next row.  After a few rows, I started to see a LOVELY pattern, alternating stripes, smooth ones with a knarly row and holes in between.  Wow!  I was getting a open work look!  YAY!  How EASY it was.  I did end up dropping a stitch during a horrible bump in the road, and I could not figure out how to re-weave that lacy part back up, so I unraveled what I did and started again.  It’s hard to see the pattern, but here it is:

I felt so confident that I looked up a bunch of knitting stitch patterns and copied a few.  I think I can do them!  I am going to make a pullover type sweater for Susan out of this one, and if it turns out, I will make something pretty and lacy for Audrey too. 

I repositioned Susans wig last night and gave it a trim.   I made the bangs a bit shorter and trimmed about 1/4 inch across the back.  Not that it helped that much.  She looks so fragile and delicate in her face and countenance.  Her manner is so different from any of my other companions.  Almost like she is a little lady.  We looked at delicate names last night, she was very interested in some of the flower names, namely Wisteria.  I think it’s a strange name.  I suggested that she might look at French names, so we will continue the hunt.  Susan, is a wholesome boisterous kind of name, and doesn’t fit right.

She didn’t turn out to be my old childhood doll, as much as I felt it was about to happen.  My old Susan was different.  My new companion has a different soul.  I am okay with that.

Red Sweater and Cap for Susan

I finished the red sweater and cap.

The sweater was made without a pattern, just measuring against her as I went.  I made 4 button holes and will wait until I am on home time to sew on the buttons, as I have a huge button tin full of lovely and vintage buttons.  The yarn was thicker than I wanted to use, but I loved the muted red colour and so it makes more of a winter coat type sweater than a sweater to wear with clothing or as a top.  I will make similar sweaters for Hammie and Audrey too before Christmas.
I am having a hard time with her wig.  It smells heavenly (still has the conditioner smell) and it feels silky.  But the wig leaves a thick edge around her head, the hair wants to go in a certain way, so that it is hard to style.  Human hair on this small of a head also seems a bit course. I love the colour, but it also seems to lack depth.  I talked to my mother on the phone and asked her if the wig I had ordered arrived, and asked her to open it and tell me what she thought.  She said it looked like puke colour.  Sigh.  The last lambs wool wig I ordered from this seller, called the colour Antique Gold and it had a definite greenish tint.  This wig is called Honey and mother says it is a golden brown.  I asked about a green tint, she said not that she could see.   Well, I guess it doesn’t matter, if the colour is not right, I will dye it.  Either way, Susan needs a different style and colour.  I searched eBay yesterday, but I can’t go with $30 wigs at this time, and if I liked the style, the colur was wrong, if I liked the colour, the stlye was wrong.
I spend a lot of time in the evening looking at my 3 companions.  They are so endearing and comforting to me.  Susan is blooming, but seems a bit hesitant, like she is waiting to be herself out loud.  I love their perky faces and shiny eyes.  Yesterday, Hammie took his turn to come and sit with me.
I noticed something different about him, and as I looked more carefully, I realized that his tan skin tone had darkened!  YAY!  I had suspected he might not have been a “tan” to begin with, because there was a significant difference between his skin tone and Audrey’s.  Now he seems to be darkening, and I love it.
I’ve been stressed about my dolls for over a year now.  Just not knowing quite what to do or who to have in the truck, or even whether I should just keep a couple as my companions.  I don’t think I can let any of them go at this point.  When I see Evie and Noah, I long to have them in my life, when I look at Nanny, I smile at her quirky self, Aloe Vera is such an imp, Miriam is so serious.  Charlotte is perpetually optimistic while Lizzy is well, in a tizzy.  I think I do have a wonderful family of companions.  I like them just as they are.

So in Love

We had our first breakdown on the road.  We were climbing the mountains in Utah and the engine light came on and we smelled burning rubber.  It was the engine belt, snapped in half.  So we sat on the side of the road for 3 hours waiting for a repair service to come.  I made lunch and sewed on snaps on one dress I couldn’t get comfortable enough on the bunk bed to sew more and the passenger seat was in the hot sun.  I then started knitting a sweater for Susan, something just to have something to do.  She wanted to learn how and so I showed her a few stitches.  She caught on pretty quick, but wasn’t sure it was something to learn more about.

At least she was very happy to get one of her new dresses on today.  It suits her so well too.  When the repair guy finished, I sat Susan down very quickly and jumped into my seat so we could get back on the road.  I looked back at her on my bed to make sure she was secure and saw her glimpse at her doll, Mai.  I was taken by that.  That tiny moment of magical realness. 


Last night I was taken with a moment when I was carefully cleaning Audrey’s dusty eyes with a Qtip, that she looked at me with such intensity, that I had to kiss the top of her head.  Susan lay in her cubby as I went to bed, and I saw a glint in her eye, another moment of realness that caught my breath.  I have never been in love with more than one companion at a time, now I am feeling so much love for them all.  I hold each one and listen to them with my eyes and heart, for they are such gentle little souls with love to give.  Some women end up cat ladies, some go  gaga for their dogs, I am a doll nut.  I can’t change that.  I am doomed to be dotty over dolls the for rest of my life.

The Blending of Family Ties

Olwen:  This is a strange world we have arrived in, Mai.  I am glad I have you to hold.
Olwen:  Are you feeling lonely?  I am.  I have never lived on a truck before.  And I really dislike these clothes, they aren’t pretty.  I can’t wait until my dresses get done.  I will never put you into pants and T-shirts, Mai.  It’s just not pretty at all.
Olwen:  I hope we get ice cream today.  I really like strawberry!  I will give some to you, too, Mai.
 Olwen:  Yes, I hope for ice cream.
Audrey (suddenly tumbling down into Olwen’s lap) Hi!  Is that your doll?  Can I play with her, wanna play house?  You can be the mommy!
Olwen:  Yes, that is my doll, Mai.  She is a german doll. You have to be careful with her, she is a very old doll.
Audrey:  I will be careful!  I like dolls!
Audrey:  Are you going to be my big sister?  I just got my brother and now I have a sister.  Are you a Nisse too?
Olwen:  You ask a lot of questions and never wait for an answer!
Olwen:  Yes I am your sister and a Nisse just like you!  We come from the far North.  I don’t know very much about it, but we are suppose to join together and return to our homeland.  I think it sounds mysterious!
Olwen:  (Kissing the top of Audrey’s head) We are suppose to be together.  That is all I know.  I think Nanny knows more.  May be when we go back in December, she will tells us what’s to become of us.
Audrey:  I am glad you came to be here with Hammie and me!  Wanna play dolls now?
Hammie:  Can I play too?

Getting to Know Susan

We have been on the worst roads, bumping and bouncing so much I cannot sew or knit.  And there has been no internet service either.  We are in LA, so I am trying to get as much online stuff done as I can.  Soon, we will be up in the mountains and there will be no service.  So….no knitting, no sewing, no internet…..makes me crabby in no time at all.  Sigh.

Susan has lots of dresses she cannot wear since they need snaps and finishing.  She has been in her casual pants and a T shirt.  She hates wearing them.  So I put on the only finished dress she has, the green silk that belongs to Lizzy.  It doesn’t suit her tender age of 12, but she was less pouty wearing it.  She also put on purple tights and her black boots.  Sigh.  She really is self conscience in pants.  I think she is embarrassed having such long colt like legs.

In this photo, the bonnet actually is holding on her wig as it dries.  I had re-glued it and the glue had soaked through the wig and made a matted lump on the back of her head.  I removed it, placed it in a plastic container, added hot water from the hot pot, shampoo and let the wig soak.  When it was lukewarm, I shook the container hard to dislodge the glue (waterbased tacky clear glue) and then squeezed the water out, placed it back in with fresh water and repeated.  Why am I explaining this?  Cause I have no running water or sink.  I have to do things differently living in a truck.  lol.
During this process I had laid Susan down on my down comforter and when I saw her she was near tears being bald.  She is very very sensitive.  I put a knit cap on her, but she saw Lizzy’s green bonnet and that started the whole inappropriate green dress desire.  I tried to tell her it was too “old” for her, but she insisted.  I do believe she fancies herself as some frilly Jane Austen heroine. 
So far, I have learned that Susan is very tender, delicate, sensitive and demure.  She is not the spunky type like Audrey, nor sullen and moody like Evie.  She does get pouty when things don’t go her way, but not in a manipulative way.  She tends towards being introverted and prefers to retreat into her imagination when bored or stressed.  She loves her doll, Mai.  I took a few shots of her deep in thought and playing with her doll:
Susan’s wig is nice, but I am not sure it will be the permanent one.  Her delicate nature seems to beg for a delicate and wispy hair style.  I am hoping the one I ordered will suit her a bit better.
I love Susan.  Her gentle nature soothes me.  I have been experiencing more agitation again, moodiness that I am not always able to shake off.  Today is better, but these feelings seem to come in waves.  It’s been 6 months now that I have been homeless and living in this trucking life.  It helps when we talk about buying our home in Denmark, but whenever we find what might be just the house for us, we cannot do anything about it.  We don’t have the money just yet.  When I think of it taking 4 more years, I get depressed.  That’s sounds like forever to me.
I am glad to report that the combination of Susan, Audrey and Hammie seems to be the right one.  There is a softness of having just children on board, a gentle flow of play and comfort.  Hammie and Audrey seem to be so instantly bonded with Susan, often playing next to her as she watches their antics with a nearly hidden smile.  This is my favourite photo of Audrey and Susan:
Audrey see’s Susan’s doll and wants to play with it.  Susan is so lost in thought that she doesn’t notice Audrey is about to reach for the doll.