Friday, January 23, 2009

Right now, the radiator is hissing in my little room, a comforting sound that nearly drowns out the wind whipping through the evergreen outside my window. Yesterday, there was a bright red cardinal hunkered down in that tree, and I wonder briefly if he's still there, just fluffed up and hiding so that the wind won't catch him. I have no idea how birds manage to stay on the branches of trees in this sort of weather. They're so lightweight and fragile, really, with their feathers and little hollow bones.

It's been a very pensive week for me. A lot of my time has been spent observing, rather than commenting, and I find my mind wandering everywhere I go - on the bus, in class (though I am managing to tame it long enough to get the notes down) and especially when I return home in the evenings. My thoughts lately have been largely about the moving film of my day-to-day life. I feel like there's so much strange beauty in the way the row of mittens and gloves grasping the bus bar tighten on the curves, or the way listening to music while moving seems to spur you in the rhythm of the notes themselves. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Death Cab for Cutie - it's been a winter staple of mine for a few years, now - and the music seems to fit the slowly shifting cold of Iowa. The way there's an occasional gust that sends glitter into the air. But especially the way that not many people seem to notice these things.

Texture and textiles become very important to me when the weather turns to mid-January. I crave the heavy weight of a blanket, the softness of wool between my fingers and the slight roughness of a wooden surface. It's no surprise to me that I've been knitting from stash more than usual lately - I get nostalgic about buying things, when I bought them, and I feel a need to experience that again. I've joined a destash effort on Ravelry to knit only from my stash.

Recently, I've been reading a lot out of Kate Davie's blog, Needled. She has really true and exacting insights on many things. Recently, she completed a year of just making things - her clothing specifically - and that's an experiment I want to give some thought to. While I cannot possibly make everything I own, I am trying to take up a more handmade approach when purchasing or creating clothing - I want everything I own to be a reflection of myself in the best possible way. For me, this means using largely natural fibers (except when it's impractical, simply because a polyester-blend coat keeps the wind out so much better than my wool pea coat), and perhaps choosing to sew myself a new dress or shirt instead of buying one online. In an economy like ours I find myself relating more and more to the History of 20th century class that I'm taking - the women of the wartimes who 'Made do, and Mended'.

My projects after Valia include Coraline, out of some buttery Malabrigo merino silk/wool blend, and then something with this alpaca, produced locally and even sold out of a tiny LYS near my college. I think it wants to become a lovely cowl for the fashion show this spring - I'll be sure to keep you up to date on the entries. The thing I have in mind will highlight some of the buttons that Devin gave me earlier in the year, or perhaps it will simply highlight the nature of a soft, luxurious, and completely natural fiber.

Who knows?

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