Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Knitting, Technology, & Me...

Sure, I guess I should say "& I". That would be correct but it doesn't sound like me:)

Anyway, I thought maybe it be time I share the fact that it's not unusual for me to have on average 5 knitting projects on the needles at one time. I've thought about this as my need, curiosity, excitement, etc takes over the logical/ reasonable part of my brain. With the onset of Pinterest, Facebook, Etsy, and blogs, the way I research (aka peruse) has sparked my creative confidence and therefor enhancing my process in such a way that I've now gone from having maybe 20 new ideas in a day (way back in my awkward tween years of only thinking about painting, sewing, boys, sheep and cream) to the now Me, 35 years old, having 100 new ideas a day and all the while thinking about still; sheep, cream, and now a twinkle in my eye (a someday baby). And also enjoying very much being a newlywed with the most adorable man in the entire Universe. I am more than super lucky.

I love seeing what others make as it sparks a lot of confidence as I mentioned above to help me think outside of "my" box. Though I'm inspired often by others, it's usually for the texture, color, or whimsy. But not the whole package. Having trained in the visual arts, I learned early the importance of originality. I do enjoy using patterns in knitting for my own personal use because I want to wear them or gift someone with an item. And sometimes I want to push myself to learn new techniques that I don't often use. Patterns and books and guides and websites and pictures are all great and they have a nice place in my work, but what I love more and thrive on is thinking things up from my insides. Normally it's how I get to sleep. Tonight however, with a little *too* much caffeine, a little *too* late in the day and a little *too* much sugar, and a husband snoring just a little *too* soon.... I'm here pecking this out. It was what I was thinking about anyway as I tried my foods a-z trick to get me to sleep. The thing is I got to M and when I get that far I know I'm not going to go to sleep anytime soon. It's usually J when I don't remember in the morning.

So back to all these 100's of ideas.

This is what I think about on a daily basis;

embroidery- maps, flora a-z, favorite lyrics.

watercolor- flora, still life, nature, my two hens, nature studies- particularly the mushrooms I've been OBSESSED with collecting.

oils- landscapes of Maine and Ireland, still lifes, studies, color studies, my almost finished painting studio.

nuno felting- all the silk scarves I've foraged in thrift shops, landscapes, pillow, cowls, head bands, classes, stitchings, curtains...

dyeing- I have a grocery bag full and stuffed with smaller bags of dehydrated mushrooms waiting to get dyed up. I have sachets of kool-aid waiting to bond with the beautiful naked rovings I just purchased at Portfiber, the several leftover dye baths on my porch waiting for a 4th go around. And then there's the deep orange and rich brown that my heart is begging me to figure out. It's like my soul is craving this rich burnt orange. My eyes are thirsty for it. Or maybe I was once a maple tree in a past life. And more classes.

spinning- the plant dyed green cashmere, the plant dyed soy silk rovings, the creamy cinnamon icelandic fleece, the white finn fleece, the irish texel fleece, the sheltland fleece, the...OMG do I have eneough WOOL!?!?!

And then there is the knitting... Oh dear lord the knitting that has yet to be knitted!!!! When I get to this place I have to take a deep breath and rock myself to slow it all down.

I've gone through many guilty feelings, starting when I was younger feeling like if I started a second project when the first is still unfinished, I'd be neglecting the first. When I learned to spin then dye & then forage local flora, discovering beautiful local yarn shops, meeting local people who also made beautiful threads.... well, I gave up the guilt game, cast on a new project at the slightest whim. And like there was no tomorrow.  What a relief it's been to see some one knitting a delightful pattern & being so moved & inspired by the colors, shaping, texture, I'd go right out, get what I needed or dig through my stash to get 'er started. I realized with more of a liberating delight & less of a debilitating guilt that it felt exhilarating to have 5-6 projects going. Little thoughts of ADD did pop into my mind but I've since pushed them away with a reminder, usually saying out loud, I'll finish it! You'll see! It is a good way to live. 

So, with that said, what I've been working on of late. 

The rainbow mitts. So far have not found a proper name for them. And this, none of these are the best pictures. But here, the rainbow started from curly locks that I dyed while still working at Portfiber using acid dyes. After dyeing them up for the shop, I then couldn't help myself and bought about 9 ounces worth. I used the carder there and created a rainbow batt. I then spun the batt into a continuous rainbow repeat yarn. As I had just finished Bristol Ivy's Picot! Picot! Cowl I still had picots and eyelets on the brain and thought I'd incorporate a little of it into these mittens. Soon to be in my etsy shop, these are large, toasty playful mittens. Seeing two men try them on this weekend right as I finished them, not only did they fit them well, but they had a certain delightful look in their eye as the rainbow-ness filled their soul. It was quite enduring actually. Especially because the mittens have a sort of frill on the cuff. Will be in the shop by the end of the week:)


My Bill mittens, I call them because both this Climbing Vine pattern and yarn came from Hope Spinnery. For the past 4 years I've had the lovely and peaceful pleasure of teaching with Bill Huntington at the New England Fiber Arts Retreat in Washington, Maine. You can read more about that in another post here. Knitting this pattern was such a joy and crunched my brain in just the right spots as I haven't followed a pattern like this before. I'm in love the two color rib, the color change of the yarn and elegant design of the vine, thumb and how the top comes together. They are mine for keeps.  

Last week I cracked open my sock book to knit the Uptown Boat Socks. Using nature spun Lemon that I purchased for sale over a year ago in NYC at Knit City. It was on sale and I bought a ton of it. I love using this yarn too as its soft, sturdy and bouncy! And I've made a commitment to myself to start knitting all my own socks as socks from Target do not last one day. Very boring story of a tow making a premature appearance. This pattern is a simple twisted cable leaving an elegant honeycomb effect. I'm enjoying the slow procress and the "i need to concentrate just enough but not so much where I will bite your arm off it you make a noise while I'm knitting (like the fist pattern I knit from this book that included trelisis and traveling stitches and I was so damned determined to do something really hard because it was actually really satisfying. You can see those here.

I will insert a better and finished picture of the Picot! Picot! Cowl shortly. For now, Elsa is enjoying it. 

Here are the Maple and Birch fingerless mitts. Finished now and in my shop waiting to warm someone's hand up! Hand spun camel and silk. Dyed with madder and fustic dyes. Spun on my masurka wheel. 

As I've said before, these are my favorite favorites! You can find them here. The Squam Lake fingerless hand spun maine raised pygora and garden grown indigo will be an ultra elegant gift for yourself or a sweet someone. They are pure luxury and class. Also with an extra long cuff.  

If you feel moved, please share in the comments below what you've been working on. Feel free to include links to your raverly page, website, whatever. 

Damn.... I forgot sewing and weaving. 

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