Happy New Year

Zoom Blanket at this very moment

I want to wish everybody who participated in the making of this blanket a wonderful Christmas and a very special new year.

2009 has been a difficult one for me, as you know, but you all pitched in to ensure that something good came of it, and I love you for it. Your kindness still touches me.

This blanket is an ongoing source of comfort – both physical and emotional – for me. It symbolizes something very special. I have trouble putting it into words, but it has something to do with the whole unifying nature of knitting. Women’s communal effort. Women knitting communities together. (Argh. I’m mangling it. I’m usually better than this  at words! But maybe some of you know what I mean even though I’m having trouble articulating it?)

I know I’ve been delinquent in keeping up this blog, and I apologize for that. I’m not even sure if anybody’s still reading it, but if you are, I want you to know I haven’t abandoned it. I’m just blogging very very slowly for some reason. I think it’s because I’m having trouble writing profiles of people I don’t know.  I’ve been thinking about changing the format in the new year – more pictures, fewer words. What do you think?

My very best wishes to all of you for a healthy, happy, and relatively prosperous new year, with lots of kindness flowing in and out of your lives. And may lots of happy knitting flow from your needles in 2010.




I’ve never been one to start a blog post with an apology for not posting for so long, but I’ll make an exception this time. It’s been exactly a month since I last posted here. I’m blaming a combination of factors, but it’s pretty much your standard laundry list of excuses so I won’t subject you to the details. But I will say, for those of you who don’t read my other blog, knitnut.net, that I finished my cancer treatments the day before yesterday and I’m back on track with my plan to live happily ever after. And I want to thank all of you square-knitters for your part in making that happen!

And now, without further ado, we’re just going to leap into the next profile of Zoom Blanket squares and the people who knit them.

These four pink ribbon squares were knit by a mother-daughter team in a small town in Eastern Ontario: Joanne and Roxanne Renaud. The daughter, Roxanne, heard about the Zoom Blanket first. When her mother, Joanne, saw her knitting them, and heard the explanation, she decided to pitch in and knit a couple of squares too.

Joanne is a breast cancer survivor. She had a tumor “as big as a man’s fist” removed from her breast in 2001. According to Roxanne, Joanne is “one hell of a fighter and the worlds best mom.” Joanne says breast cancer is “not a disease, it’s just a pain in my ass.”

You can visit Roxanne’s brand new blog here: Organized Chaos.

Life under the blanket

I haven’t abandoned the Blanket Blog, honest! I’m just spending more time snuggled up under the Zoom Blanket than I’m spending documenting it. Those of you who read my other blog, knitnut.net, probably already know that I’m under doctor’s orders to stay under the blanket. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate….but he did order me to stay lying down almost all the time for 42 days.

And, since Autumn has reached into Ottawa with its frosty tentacles, and since I’m too cheap (and too well-seasoned a Canadian) to turn the heat on before mid-October, I really am spending most of my time snuggled up on my couch, under the Zoom Blanket, with Duncan. We have podcasts and books and knitting and  Mars Bars and a laptop, and life is very good here under the blanket.

However, it is my intention on the next semi-warmish day, to defy doctor’s orders and sneak out onto the front porch with the Zoom Blanket, and photograph some more squares, and then come back inside and write another post.

Thanks for your patience. And for the blanket!

The Other Iris

My name is Iris and I live in RI with my husband and three angora rabbits.

I’m a piano teacher – been doing that since I was 12, and a medical transcriptionist – just got called back to work after being laid off last November – yay!

I’m surprised I’m not a Gemini because I seem to be two people in everything in my life, my jobs, my hobbies, my moods, etc. But no, I’m a Capricorn, a mountain goat; apparently one that keeps climbing and then reclimbing alternate paths to the peak of the mountain that is life.

I have a son and a daughter in their 20’s – he lives in Brooklyn and does IT for a PR firm, loves to bike and loves all kinds of public transit.

My daughter just spent a day (out of her usual job as a jewelry designer) doing a photo shoot for Berroco, and the featured patterns are being introduced one at a time right now. Both my kids have long-term significant-others but no one is in a hurry to marry which is just as well.

I’ve been knitting since forever but will sometimes be passionate about it, and then at times not knit at all, alternatively for years at a time. I could only recently afford the really nice yarns, so I might have gone a little crazy this last round of knitting fever. I also have been a spinner for 30 years.

My husband took up spinning two years ago and weaving one year ago and he’s really enjoying himself.  He was spinning a fleece a month his first year. Now it’s more like a fleece in three months, and a major weaving project each month. He’s been using spinning to get himself unwound each evening after a stressful day at work, and as an alternative to hanging out on the web each evening getting riled about U.S. politics. Let’s just say, spinning got him through the final days of the Bush administration.

Iris Westcott's Lime Green Square

Iris's Lime Green Square

Gosh, about the squares – they were in my hands and then out of here so quickly, I have to scratch my head to remember what I made. And I forgot to take pictures. But I think I made them both out of Dream in Color Classy, a maroon mitered square design and a lime green simple lace pattern.

There’s a story about the Dream in Color: two years ago I accompanied my husband on a business trip to Chicago and at the time I was obsessed with the Tulip Jackets that the Yarn Harlot had made out of that stuff. The yarn was as yet unavailable anywhere around here. So I spent one afternoon in Knitwerks mixing and matching skeins of Classy for baby sweaters and wound up buying a skein of each color. It’s all in a big bag that I loan out to friends from time to time to make whatever multicolored project they wish. So far the bag has produced seven baby sweaters and several other little items.

Somehow on that Chicago trip I got ill with what became a double pneumonia and I was pretty sick about two weeks later when in my delirium one night I dreamt I had died but had not yet designated a recipient for my piano, my stash, and specifically the Dream in Color. So the next morning I quickly emailed my daughter with my final wishes. They still tease me about that.

Iris Westcott's Burgundy Mitred Square

Iris's Burgundy Mitred Square

Zoom, I found you online awhile back while hanging out on Ravelry, and I fell in love with your sense of humor, and Duncan. I was actually born in Canada to parents who were emigrating from Germany, so things (and people, and cats) Canadian are dear to my heart.

I also enjoy learning about your local and national politics. And what with our intense health care debate at the moment, I’m also very interested in hearing of your current experience with your medical care. It doesn’t sound very different from our own. Except that you don’t have to fight with your insurance company over treatment. And just today when I visited my own breast surgeon I had to hand over a new insurance card since my husband’s company just changed insurances, which required a few extra minutes of the clerks’ time, and then my surgeon had to compare my coverage with this company versus coverage with the old one, and then he had to fill out the appropriate paperwork required by the new company for upcoming diagnostic testing.  Waste of his time and mine. But I got a clean bill of health and that’s all that really matters. (Lumpectomy three years ago for abnormal cells, no further treatment necessary.)

I was glad to read about your clean bill of health today. I don’t have an opinion on Tamoxifen, although my personal philosophy is always, less is better. It is certainly a wonderful thing for those with more aggressive cancer histories where you want all the help you can get. My uncle is taking it (or a relative thereof) after having been treated for a very aggressive breast cancer a year ago. Anyway,

I have a LiveJournal account:  http://beetsie.livejournal.com/ but I don’t post very often.

I guess that about sums me up.
I’m thrilled with the final outcome of the afghan and I’m very glad you like it. I’m also quite grateful to the wonderful ladies who got together and did the sewing. And most of all, I wish you and yours many years of good health. Give Duncan a rub on the neck for me.

Iris Moon

First off, I just have to say I love her name – Iris Moon. It’s her bona fide real name too. If I were going to choose a brand-new name for myself, it would be Iris Moon. It’s short, but so original, playful, dreamy and clever.

Iris Moon loves my name too. When she decided to start a blog, she wanted to name it Knitnut. She checked around and discovered it was taken – by me. So Iris Moon named her blog Bumps and Loops instead, and started reading my blog.

Iris Moon's Pinky-Purply Magenta Square in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino

Iris Moon's Pinky-Purply Magenta Square in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino

Iris Moon has been knitting for about four years now, but is currently more interested in spinning than knitting. She knit two squares for this blanket. The pinky-purply one (magenta?)  is a Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. The stripey one is a handspun merino, but she doesn’t remember the fiber source. They’re both lovely and soft.

Iris Moon (see how much I love that name? I can’t stop saying it.) lives in the mountains of Virginia with her husband, Jim, who is a psychologist in a local mental hospital, two parakeets (Poppyseed and Skittles) and a cat. She has a grown son, John, who works as a graphic artist and who bought – and lives in – the house that Iris Moon grew up in.

She says she was her  ‘father’s son’ in that he taught her all the things he’d have taught a boy – woordworking, knot tying, animal husbandry, gardening. As a result, there’s not much she can’t do for herself. In addition to knitting and spinning, she can sew, do watercolor painting, stained glass work, metal work, and pottery.

Iris Moon's Handspun Merino Square

Iris Moon's Handspun Merino Square

She used to be the technology director for an international boarding school for young people with learning disabilities, and she and her husband plan to retire in the not-too-distant future to a condo in St. Pete’s, Florida.

She says she loved working on the Zoom blanket project, “because  I had a chance to interact with a bunch of really nice women for a project that may have meant even more to me than to you.”

Thank you, Iris Moon.

The Zoom blanket gets a blog!

The purpose of this blog is to share my extraordinary blanket with the wonderful women who made it for me.

Most of the women who helped make this blanket have never seen the final product, other than in photos. I want to give them all a better sense of how truly lovely it is. It’s gorgeous. It’s infused with so much feeling, and I derive a great deal of happiness and comfort from it.

My plan is to showcase a different square every few days. Since this blanket is as much about the women who created it as it is about the final product, I’d like to showcase each knitter along with her square. I’ll post a photograph and information about the square (eg the type of yarn and stitch used and whatever else you can think of), and a profile of its knitter, along with a link to her blog if she has one.

I’m going to have to ask for some more help from the knitters in order to do this well. I have names to go with all the squares, but beyond that my information is a little patchy and inconsistent. It would be really helpful if each of you were to email me (zoomery@gmail.com)  and provide me with some information about your square, your yarn and yourself.

Just share as much or as little as you’re comfortable with – a paragraph or three (or five) about you and your life – for example, where you live, what your life is like, why you knit, what else you do,  your philosophy of life, your favourite joke or quote, what you like best about yourself, what you want to do with the rest of your life, why you got involved with the Zoom Blanket project, your most comforting comfort food, your eccentricities, your cat’s eccentricities, a list of things you love, your To-Do list – anything you want, as long as it gives us a sense of who you are. You can do it in point form or in paragraphs. Attach a photo of yourself, if you like. Please don’t forget to include the name and address of your blog – I want to list them all over there in the sidebar.

There’s no rush, but hopefully there will be one or two of you who are willing to go first, so we can get started.

Thank you!