Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On Earthquakes and Blue Holes

Here's another, "I pulled up the blind on the skylight and this is what I saw" photo, taken this morning.

Last night we had another earthquake, our second in less than an month.  While not that uncommon considering fault lines run along both the Ottawa and Saint Lawrence river valleys and we're located right at the confluence, having two in such a short period of time does seem note-worthy.  Personally, I like years between earth tremors, not weeks.  One on October 10 measured 4.5 and was located near Saint-Hyacinthe, and the one last night measured 4.2 and was located near Buckingham.   The first one was a surprise at 19 minutes past midnight, but last night at 4:06 AM, it was pretty obvious considering the earlier one was still fresh in my memory.  Cooper didn't budge from his dog bed, so to compensate, I hurled myself out of bed in a panic and did what most reasonable people do - namely stare out of the window.

The rolling and rumbling seemed to last much longer than during the first.  By the time my heart beat regained a normal tempo, the rest of my night was fitful.  Every time a freight train passed by, I kept one eye and one ear open, which obviously doesn't make for the best quality sleep.  Also, the cats didn't get the memo regarding the time-change, so my wake-up call has been a bit early the past few days.

I've been knitting what I've nicknamed the Blue Hole Shawl.  That's like a black hole, but involves yarn, prohibitive amounts of it.  I'm in a love/hate relationship with this project, and while part of me would just like to keep knitting, the other part of me whimpers every time I pick up the needles to knit a few rows on the most interminable project I've done in a while.  I think it's time to cast off, considering about 450g of sock wool has passed through my fingers in the past month.  If we consider that 100g of sock yarn is 420 metres - then I've knit about 1890 metres, or over a mile!

The whole premise of this project was to be "random" and to "let go". Considering I have issues with those concepts - especially when knitting - of course I cheated.  I was pretty sure the Knitting Police weren't about to show up at the front door and arrest me, so I did exactly what I wanted. You're "supposed" to stick your hand in your yarn bag and knit whatever you pull out, regardless of whether you think it matches or not.  As to how many rows, you're "supposed" to pull a number between 1 and 8.  I mean, who even made up these so-called rules?  Why not just, say, roll a die and make 6 your maximum row count?  I don't think I would have made it beyond 20 rows without deciding what colours I wanted to knit with, how much of each, and in which order.  It was strangely satisfying to see little balls of wool on the table in front of me, and get excited about seeing green next to pink, and blue next to orange.  To assuage my guilt that I wasn't "letting go", I'd let Capucine choose the colour from time to time.  Problem solved.  She got excited each time I plunked my orange grocery bag down and pulled out the shawl.

The best part of this shawl?  It cost nothing, just time.  All of the skeins of sock yarn were left over from other sock projects, and hailed either from my stash, or were donated by a few of my knitting friends who made similar shawls.  I decided the colour scheme would be primarily blue, but with orange, green, fuschia and purple accents thrown into the fray for added punch.  After my lame summer knitting only neutrals, it was so nice to get back to something colourful.  It's unbelievable just how inspiring knitting with colour is, and how it gets the creative juices flowing.

So I think I'll cast this baby off, and get busy blocking the heck out of it.  I know I'll get a lot of use out of it this season, as colder temperatures descend upon us.  It's presently -4C, which feels like a slap in the face since our spring, summer and fall have been magnificent.  Winter, here we come!

Even the cats are feeling it.  I found Tessie and BobCat snuggled up the other day:

BobCat's not in the most relaxed position, and with Tessie's heft sliding down onto him, I'm sure it's not.  But BobCat is a gentlemen as far as cats go, and tolerates Tessie's, and Cappie's and Schatzie's various moods with good nature.  He wasn't in a hurry to move.

So with one more project off the needles, I can go to the yarn store tomorrow and pick up my order of Rowan which just came in.

The timing couldn't be any better.


Ron said...

There's a major earthquake fault, New Madrid, not far enough away from us, and I wonder sometimes if we'll see a big one in our lifetime. I guess there have been minor quakes around here, but I have never felt them.

Shim Farm said...

Hi Ron, I think we're both on pretty solid ground where we live. I'd be way more worried if I lived out west, for example. But there's something about an earthquake at night that is just that much more disconcerting. I've been looking at the USGS stats, and man, there are lots of tremors all over the place. I don't know, but this sort of stuff fascinates me to no end. I checked out the New Madrid seismic zone on wiki, it's pretty interesting.

Ron said...

I cannot believe the number of tremors they record! Us humans are such insignificant short-lived critters in geological terms.

Miriam said...

I totally understand why an earthquake at night is so much more disturbing: it's dark outside! I don't like going out into the pitch dark of the countryside at the best of times, never mind when I'm escaping danger.

I've been in three earthquakes, none of them more than a distant kind of rumble and a brief vibration - so minor they took confirmation of a news report on the radio for me to believe they were really quakes. But I live on Vancouver Island, so of course the possibility is part of my consciousness.

As my honey always says, be grateful for the small ones for relieving some of the seismic pressure!

P.S. I think your shawl is just beautiful.

Shim Farm said...

Hi Ron, I always say the more I know about nature and history, the more insignificant I feel. We are but a drop in the bucket! But that USGS website was a real eye-opener. There are tremors all the time!

Hi Miriam! Yes, it's dark, and that's what freaked me out! We had a larger tremor about 3 years ago during the day, and it didn't phase me. In fact, it was actually fascinating to watch hydro poles swaying, and things moving underfoot.

I am about to cast off the Blue Hole. Will I ever be happy to get it off the needles! All joking aside, it was one of my most gratifying projects to date, and I can't wait to get it blocked and to start wearing it. It's getting positively freezing outside!

Robin said...

The colors in your shawl look very pretty. How many odds and ends balls of yarn do you think you used? I have a neighbor who is a huge knitter and quilter and she has enormous stashes everywhere. Somehow that doesn't stop her from finding new and exciting pieces to add to her stash. hehe :)

Shim Farm said...

Seriously Robin, it's sick just how much crap a good knitter can add to her stash. I'm not even a real "shopper" in the true sense of the word, like, I never go to the mall for instance, but wool? Like a moth to a flame...

Now, as to how many colours went into that shawl, I'm putting my guess on a conservative 60. It's rare that you finish knitting a pair of socks without leftovers, so all those little bits and bobs were saved from previous projects. It was the most enjoyable knit I've done in a long time.

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