Thursday, May 21, 2009

All My Little Words

Words cannot possibly express the beauty in things so simple as stacks of books, fresh fiber, spindles, and time to knit. Thank you, long weekend.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I've Got Mail

And it's yarn, no less!

Okay, so my family might not have been so excited, but I was darn thrilled. If you've been reading my blog for any time at all, you'll know that I rave and rave about how wonderful Malabrigo is. Because of how amazing and incredible this Uruguayan treat is, I haven't really branched out much lately. I buy a lot of Malabrigo. But recently, I got to thinking - do my yarn 'icon knitters' specify that they've got a favorite yarn? And they don't - they experiment with all kinds of yarns, and test new yarns, and see what the buzz is about. Which is why I've been inclined lately to *gasp* branch out from the Malabrigo and try some new stuff.

First up, I wanted to see what all the fuss is about with Madelinetosh, an indie dyer who just seems to be all the rage on Ravelry. Her colorways are gorgeous - and the yarns, from what I'd heard, equally exquisite. I found the right color at Eat.Sleep.Knit some time ago, but just couldn't really pony up the money. When I did have a bit more cash, I went back to find that the colorway I wanted - violin - was sold out. Go figure. So when The Backwards Loop announced that they were having a 10% sale in honor of their anniversary, and they carried Madelinetosh, I had to check to see if they had it. And they did. It arrived to day and was, well, incredible. The hand of the yarn in the skein is very nice, sort of a mid-weight worsted. It's plied, and the colors are certainly handpainted but not streaky. I'm interested to see how it knits up - going to do a review, of sorts! (My first review, as if anyone's going to be that interested in it, ha!)

The second yarn I've been wanted to try was the Shibui Knits Sock yarn. My friend Ivy, who is one of the most sunny people I know, is on the list to receive Christmas gifts this year. And yes, for once, I am starting early. VERY EARLY. I will not be held back at crunch time this year (literally, last year, was finishing a sweater in the upper bedroom the day before Christmas. Not cool.) So she's getting a pair of socks in Shibui's bubbly colorway, Finch. I know Ivy will take care of them - she handwashes a LOT of her clothing already - plus, they're superwash, so if an accident happens, there's a good chance they'll survive. I don't know what pattern I'll be using yet - let me know if you have any ideas!

Last, but not least (since obviously I can't have any yarn days that don't include Malabrigo!), my good friend Tricia sent me a skein of Malabrigo's Merinocash that I traded her for. It's in the testing stages, but I'm sure they'll release it soon, especially since everyone's gone so crazy about it. The colorway is Pearl Ten, a sort of deep gray with touches of purple, and the yarn is 70% merino, 30% cashmere lace. I'm making a Featherweight Cardigan (Ravelry Link), using mostly the Pearl Ten with some stripes of Malabrigo Lace in Sapphire Green. She was so generous to trade - and even sent a novelty chocolate bar with it. Have any of you had bacon-chocolate? I'm not sure which way I feel about it, but I'm willing to keep trying as long as I've got the bar in my fridge!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In Transit

The school year is over, and most everyone is traveling home, if they haven't already gotten there. Not me. I moved back home mid-March, when I decided that sorority life wasn't really for me, and I've been making a commute from here to work at the University Library every day since. My summer is probably going to continue along that path. My summer is definitely going to continue along that path.

This is always a time of year where I'm filled with a lot of hope. For a while, I'll have some time to do things, to make things, without the pressure of a deadline or an assignment. I'll be able to draw again, and paint, and add knitting and embroidery and cooking once more into my weekly lifestyle. The weather will be warm and the plants will grow and I'll have things to talk about. I'm really looking forward to writing blogs again. To having something to write again.

I took a seminar with songwriter Carrie Newcomer a few months ago. The seminar was about discovering who you were and who you wanted to be, and how to get there. It wasn't really about mapping out a path for that - just for figuring things out. Or, at the very least, reading into your own mind far enough to have some idea of what you'd like to figure out. We did all sorts of interesting exercises - talking about our childhoods, writing for ten minutes about what we'd like to communicate through ourselves to the rest of the world, and even something the Quakers do called a "clearance committee" (I hope I got that right, for any of my readers who might be Quakers). In a clearance (it could be 'clearness') committee, you pick the people closest to you - church leaders, friends, relatives, teachers, anyone you feel like you could receive advice from - and present them with a question. The committee then comes up with other questions to ask, based on that question - they are not allowed to direct you, or offer their wisdom, only help lead you to your own conclusions and answers.

Through the writing and the clearance committee, I discovered some things I knew, and some I did not know, about myself. I have always known that what I love is best communicated through the making of objects. It's not that I'm a particularly materialistic person. There is something wonderful about the tactile, about encasing your experience into a single object, and handing it to someone else so that they too might experience the same feelings, or at least some division of them. I have some deep-seeded desire to share the world with people in an enclosed way. I think this is because, at this point, the world seems so large. To close it off, to pull it into a little space that you can hold in your hands, or wrap around you - this appeals to me.