Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Things I did while on mental vacation from Holiday Knitting....

If you've never dipped your foot into the river of denial, be forewarned - it is a truly orgasmic experience. If you could suspend yourself there, at that moment, you would be at peace. Unfortunately, like any escape, bathing in this river is addictive in a primal sort of way. I always attribute this to the withdrawal of the soporific effects of the waters. There you are, all relieved of your burdens of silly ole reality, free flowing and out of reach of the grip of potential disastrous consequences, and, then, you plummet into this cold, dark, wet hole that is the 'WTF, I thought I was going along fine but then someone stole a couple of weeks off the calender' place.

I've dipped a foot, as I'm sure you know. But, at the time, the foot just wasn't able to provide the hefty dose of 'good vibes' I was needing so I stripped on the bank, jumped in, and have been dodging the calendar frogs all week. I am astounded at how slippery I've become - and how quickly I learned to trick the calendar bearing frogs ribbiting their mocking songs from the banks whist hoisting calendars in the air and ripping the pages off flamboyantly and tossing them into the water. I just kept ducking under and letting the days float past me - walking the fine line between still getting my work done and keeping appointments but detaching myself entirely from conceptualizing that the 5th of December on an invoice or package meant that the 'knitting projects' penciled on the calendar BEFORE that day should have been done. I'm not doing what I've done in years past and staying up all night to knit feverishly, I am going to be a grown-up and do the right thing - I'm finishing the socks and giving away I.O.U's for the sweaters. What? Why are you looking at me like that?

Finishing the socks is not a small feat and I promise that this compromise has nothing, I repeat - NOTHING to do with the fact that I am currently caught in a rabid state of desiring a handspun sweater or 20 for myself RIGHT NOW. I will admit that, instead of working on Thing 1's rogue this morning, I fondled two sweater's worth of handspun all caked up and we talked about how soon they could be made into something warm for me. I've pretty much worn out 2 of my sweaters and I feel like I'm in a crisis shortage of warm stuffs. I can't imagine what fuels this madness - apart from the two days of howling winds and our triumphant group cheer at noon today when we finally topped the single digits (got to a whopping 12 degrees F today). I may not be staying up all night to knit holiday gifts - but it will be a night of tandem stove loading as we're not expected to get out of the single digits until tomorrow afternoon - when it is reported we will go from single digits to a balmy 40ish degrees. Am I the only one who's wanting to pull a Dorothy and stomp over to the curtain, pull it back thereby exposing the man behind it, and give him a good talking to? I mean, two days after this - we'll be back in the single digits. So.Not.Funny.

spinning batts 008The sock problem is also not funny. See, I don't know if you remember that I had this brilliant plan last summer. Instead of waiting until December-summit-or-other to realize that the holiday knitting was in big trouble, I decided I'd start on some socks for gifts right away. Uh, okay - I got three socks made for three kids (yes, one each because I am no brain sturgeon, doncha know?). To further substantiate my claims of conspiracy - every single child has had a change of dramatic proportions in shoe size. So, those first three socks? I had to rip the toes back, re-knit a longer foot, and contemplate my boring idiocy at choosing to knit the same stockinette ribbed sock for EVERYONE - dooming myself to tedium as if that would ensure I wouldn't wait until December-summit-or-other to finish them. I am dutifully working on them everyday....promise!

spinning batts 001Still, though, I must rebel sometimes. I've found myself huddling next to a warm-making device dizzing batts with unnatural cheer for it. Partly because I have come to understand and appreciate how much easier it is to spin a fine thread from a batt if you diz them first and also because I can do it whilst sipping coffee under a warm blanket. I tear the batt in a sort of zig zag - about 10-12 sections for a super fine lace. If you don't tear off the ends but leave them slightly connected, you can pull the roving strands through your diz and have a great big fluffy ball of roving when you're done. I know it's silly but, I couldn't help myself, I had to see if I could tear the whole batt without breaking it and then pull it through the diz. I got the whole 'fern' batt done in one noodle. It gave me immense pleasure which only proves I'm still mentally 12 to achieve this - sort of like that phase when I derived such pleasure from peeling the label off a bottle of beer all in one piece, before I was apprised of the fact that that meant something I didn't know it meant. You can always count on me to be a total dork.

spinning batts 018Aside from the aforementioned 'compromises' of the holiday knitting, I am pretty home free. Not really, I know you know that but, please, I've been out of the water too long and my fins are cracking. I really should make something for the other half but I can't seem to come up with anything beyond that joke set including poison sea urchins disguised as a pillow with fluffy knitted borders so I'm still on the fence on that. I'm supposed to make my dear friend of 20 or more years a hat with one strand of the 'silk road' roving and one strand of the vardo batts and, as you can see, I no only haven't knit the hat but, uh, haven't even spun the yarn. No worries, she know me well enough to know that the knitted gift comes in late January. In all fairness, I did offer her a gift card to the bookstore but she picked the hat, so.......

spinning batts 003Then, there's the roving and batts that are whipmering in the basket going, 'you never, never pet us anymore' and I heard them squeal REALLY loud when I put this package on the 'top' of them this afternoon. MMMMMMM, comeinspinner is really my sweet David and these batts are truly divine. Polwarth....yum. Alpaca....double yum. Silk.....Swoon! sparkle? I'm so in trouble! I want to spin them right.this.minute. When you cross David with batts with luxuriously smooth fibers, I may have made some inappropriate noises and moaned a little as I put them back in their wrapping and opened the Pandora's box (also known as my 'to be spun immediately' basket) of howling voices.

spinning batts 009I did actually spin and make something for gifting. Remember that winterberry roving that my dear friend JudyMac sent for my birthday? And that gorgeous roving of alpaca merino, and silk from Loribird? Well, upon receiving them I decreed they would be for a fine, lacey yarn. Not true. When the time came to spin them, I was not in a 'lace' place and I have learned that when a fiber breaks rank and tells you to change YOUR mind about what it will be when it grows up, you should listen. I wanted to use the yarns made from these rovings with some of my own batts and make a sort of 'infused' yarn - strong with the power of the feminine. So, I spun the winterberry merino into a single, coiled some silky 'lady of the lake' batts around it, and plied with the the singles from the alpaca yarn. I had a great, big skein with which I made this urchin (and probably have enough to make another one and then some) for my dance instructor. I've been thinking much, as we approach the space of time before the holidays wherein we take a month long break from classes, about how grateful I am that I've started dancing with her, again. I also made her this little 'zill pouch' belt from some black magic woman batts that I'm hoarding for a sweater. I love the urchin pattern - such a quick and easy knit that fits really well.spinning batts 012 Here's a 'zoom' shot of the coils, which are surprisingly soft because they are mostly silk. I love the shimmery, silvery rainbow of color in this yarn - so cool and subtle but chock full of magical shimmer. So, I'm getting something done, at least, in between feeding the wood stove dragons and wondering just what funny twist of possibilities could be around the corner.