Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A birthday about Knitting.

I don't recall who first got me started with a Dual New Year tradition. Finish a project (begin the year as you mean to go on.) Cast on a project for yourself (commit to do a least One thing for yourself that year.)

I don't recall what I cast off last year, but I did cast on a gorgeous project. Wendy D. Johnson's Tidepool Shawl in a custom dyed Apollo yarn from Black Bunny Fibers.
This was a big commitment to myself. To spend the money to have yarn dyed just-for-me/just-how-I-wanted-it. Sometimes mental images disappoint in real life. Carol, however, translated it beautifully.
As many of you know, the last couple of years have been a maelstorm of a journey. Making life look something like an unblocked shawl, gathered up on the needles and plopped down in bad lighting. Hence the blog silence.
Tidepool was meant to be one of those Epic projects, the kind you point to when you want to brag about your work. At the time Big Orange was still a seedling, I had just started the beads in it and while I wanted sparkles in Tidepool I didn't want to fiddle with beads. The photo doesn't do it justice. The Apollo base has a slender gold hued thread contained within it. I was concerned that it would be scratchy, but it's not. It's the right touch of "sunlight on water." A delicate and fleeting beauty that doesn't detract.
In the end, Tidepool wasn't the Behemoth my mind had made it out to be. Yes, I made errors, no I don't care. It was a relaxing & relaxed knit, that is somehow less impressive than Big Orange. It's practical, warm, and beautiful; yet, when a friend had a recent cancer scare I seriously considered gifting it. It's not that I'm dissatisfied. It's more in the flavor of a birthday...you can let go of the past when you have a future to look toward.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Many the Miles

2.7 to be exact. With 1500 beads.

Many the Miles from Sara Bareilles' album 'little voice'

I made up my mind when I was a young girl
I've been given this one world
I won't worry it away
But now and again I lose sight of the good life
I get stuck in a low light
But then Love comes in

How far do I have to go to get to you
Many the miles
Many the miles
How far do I have to go to get to you
Many the miles
But send me the miles and I'll be happy to follow you Love

I do what I can wherever I end up
To keep giving my good love
And spreading it around
Cause I've had my fair share of take care and goodbyes
I've learned how to cry
And I'm better for that

Red letter day and I'm in a blue mood
Wishing that blue would just carry me away
I've been talking to God don't know
If it's helping or not
But surely something has got to got to got to give
Cause I can't keep waiting to live

How far do I have to go to get to you
Many the miles
Many the miles
How far do I have to go to get to you
Many the miles
But send me the miles and I'll be happy to follow you

Last August I went yarn shopping with friends and scored 2640 yds of cobweb weight in a gradient orange from a sale bin. Surely that was enough to make an Epic project. A once in a lifetime pi shawl? I fell in with a bad lot of Estonian Lace Knitters, who convinced me that it needed beads, it wouldn’t be truly fabulous without beads. I agreed with the caveat that the beads couldn’t be where they would be cold on my neck.

When it came time to cast on…I had to face the truth…this was cobweb weight, truly, I would never finish something in cobweb weight. But 1300 yards would still be a lovely shawl, I would simply double it.

So taking this chart from there, and that chart from here, I set out on my adventure.

And then I fell down a deep dark well. The stress from the past year finally cracked me. Depression set in. The only bright spot was an orange tangle of yarn in the knitting bag. Quietly, steadily, I knit and added beads, and ripped, and knit, and knit and knit, and … ran out of yarn. The shawl was “probably” big enough; but I didn’t have the mental strength to knit anything else. And my last pi shawl was cast off at a stage of hatred and loathing, only to be that much too small. Better to keep knitting.

I hunted down 2 more balls, and started another chart. More beads, more knitting, slowly I started to look around at the world again. I set down Big Orange and knit some other projects, tidying the WIP basket, dating some garter stitch. Then it was time to pick her back up. Not because I was depressed but because I wanted to prove that I could. Could start this, could design this, could finish this. Prove that I wasn’t beaten, hadn’t quit, wasn’t as defeated by life as I felt.

Finally it was “enough.” Even bunched up on the 32” Chiaogoo Red, it was obviously done. One last border, (ripped 3 times) and I would cast off.

Of course, I ran out of yarn in the cast off, and had to crack open a sixth skein. 4480 yards and 8 months later it was time to block her.

All lace knitters know the magic of blocking. How it turns a giant orange jellyfish into geometric swirling lines of grace and glitter. She blocked out at 84”

And while she isn’t the most complicated lace there is, or even that I’ve knit, I’m proud of myself because I did do it. Not perfectly, not without errors, but without being beaten. And as much as I love that shawl, for the right person, I could give it up. Because I know, if I wanted to, if I had to, I could do it again.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

No Words

No words, too tired. But here are some finished objects since I last "spoke" with y'all.
Stripe Study in 'Play at Life Fiber Arts' Screwdriver for Breakfast
and 'MadTosh' Composition Book Grey

Serpentine socks in 'Stroll Sport' Hot Rod  

'Sundara' Dahlia Colorway
Socks for a Friend

BFF socks in 'DIC Smooshy' ?Blue Lagoon? yarn from a
Destash & she had lost the tag.  Sadly, I forgot
which toe I did on the first one, and so the toes
don't "match" ~ have to keep for self.

Baby socks in Malabrigo Tizano Red
Color Affection Wrap in 'Plucky Knitter Primo'
I loved the knitting of this, the wearing, not so much
it's very scarf-like.  In fact,
it may become my go-to-scarf-pattern.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Receiving - and other growth opportunities.

I am pretty good at gratitude ~ generalized gratefulness for life in general~ however, I’m not good at receiving.
Lately I’ve been given opportunities to learn. Some I have done well with. Some demonstrate how far I have to go. And some teach me about other people.

Some people give because they are givers.
Some give in order receive attention back. I’ve done this; given for the pleased “thank you” at the end.
Some give because when you have to ask them for something, they feel good about “doing a good deed.” –And they’ll make you ask every time. {To someone like me that feels like begging; feels like shame, so I don’t ask anymore.}
Some give, but begrudgingly; letting you know they’d rather say “no” but they’re “such good people.” {And that sting of guilt stops someone like me also.} Something else, I’ve done myself.
Some give – verbally – but Utah will become frozen tundra before they actually follow up on it.
And the whole spectrum in between of “small things but not big things;” “time vs effort” etc etc.

Which makes the “Receiving Challenged” more nervous than a cat on Cracker Barrel porch:
Was I effusive enough? Too effusive? Too needy? Ask for something too stupid? Too big? Misunderstand when they offered; because now I am getting the begrudging vibe? Too touchy? Too sensitive?

Bottom line: It’s easier to do for – for others, for yourself – than to be done for. Easier to retreat than to move onto that potential firing line. But I’m slowly poking out a feeler, as a hermit crab tests the water, trying to learn.
At this rate; I’ll probably still be trying to carry my own coffin at the funeral.

On a brighter note, I found this the other day:
And I wish we all were.