I have not knit much in 8 months, which is something like a personal record. A piece of my ideal life has been strangely absent in order to prevent work injury. My mojo is most happy when I do two things: Get even a brief walk every day somewhere in nature and knit a bit every day. If someone should offer to pay me to knit and walk so those could be the core of my life, that would be even better, but not likely going to happen.
After reading an inspired article about physics and knitting in the New York Times, I encountered this lace designer’s work, Sharon Winsauer. So I bought a pattern and suddenly felt the return of that excited buzz of joy of creation. My mojo was back. I knew without a doubt, I have to attempt this piece of lace, no matter if it takes a year or a decade. The size will be big enough to cover a queen bed, a mandala of a bedspread. And it just so happens, I did enough test knitting last year to obtain hand-dyed, lace weight silk/wool for this in exchange.
Then my brother sent me another great knitting idea where someone took data from his child’s first year of sleeping patterns and turned it into a baby blanket. And “poof” a vision was born for what I would really like to do if I won the lottery. You know that mythical brainstorm board titled “When Money Finds Me”? Mine has gone through a gazillion revisions. This is gazillion and one.
The vision: Host hiking/knitting retreats for nerdy folks from around the world based on nature connection and knitting. Transform data from nature observation (bird songs, fern frond math, Fibonacci, etc.) into blankets or wall hangings, with an option of giving an item away to people in need, like sand mandalas that get blown away, only in yarn. I would invite guest teachers like math nerds who can explain more than I can about mathematical structure, and knitting nerds who focus on a specific expertise of design, while I lead groups traipsing about the woods gleaning nature’s beauty, data, and spirit.
And then this feather fell from the sky literally in front of me. It’s always a sound idea to have a good dream for when money should find you.
As someone who never takes vacations (truthfully, two 4-dayers off work in past decade), on April Fool’s Day I created a 24-hour one for me and daughter while she was on spring break. I had to photo document a bit, since who knows when the next day will be that I’ll not be working. Eking out a bit of time with my adult daughter before she heads out into the big wide world on her own is wonderful. She took a great photo of both of us, but I honor her preference to leave her out of my blogs.
We drove 30 minutes up to walk on the Port Townsend Ferry, where we meandered in the olive store, tea store, spice store, chocolate store, spiritual book store that sells a gazillion types of incense and abundant oracle decks I love. I’m quite sure my rational-minded daughter thinks I’m over-the-top woo-woo, but yes, I am. And since we neglected to check our favorite Japanese noodle place was closed Mondays, we enjoyed some wonderful Thai food.
There are two lovely yarn stores in Port Townsend, and I forced myself to only pick up one item, a needle.
I’ve given up knitting for months now, in order to protect my arms from injury while typing 70 hrs/week during 2019. I miss it. For a year I’ve been gathering the above wool for a wrap design that exists only in my mind. Thanks to a generous gift certificate to Woolly Thistle from my sister, a few awesome sales and a gift from a local shepherd/hand dyer, my collecting is complete and I’m one step closer to getting my nasturtium project going. When all a person can do is one little bit at a time toward a creative endeavor, it still is satisfying to gather and dream. The colors and quality, hand-dyed fibers came together beautifully, and I look forward to 2020 (or winning the lottery) to make it a reality.
Meantime, the first month I increased my hours of typing to 80 hours/week, I started to feel physically similar to descriptions I’ve read of people getting paid to lie down on a bed for two months for NASA. Thankfully, I committed to myself that I would work in my food bank’s garden 10 hours/week on top of my work-trade rental yard work, and now I feel more human. Satisfaction of planting rows of spinach and kale babies, carting wheelbarrows and digging in dirt outdoors with awesome people one full day each week allows me a bit of balance. Earth is a forgiving, restorative place.
Knitting is code. It’s a thousands years old human craft transforming fiber into fabric. Some of my earliest childhood memories are dreaming in code and texture…I know, I’m an odd duck. A while back, I learned textile mills used punch cards to determine shapes of fabric by 1800, long before our first computers used punch cards. Check out the Jacquard loom.
Observing loom punch cards was essential for Ada Lovelace‘s understanding to create the first computer program, solving for Bernoulli numbers and having a programming language named after her, I believe used by air-traffic control even today.
It all comes down to three factors: the “bendiness” of the yarn, the length of the yarn, and how many crossing points are in each stitch.
But I can see more elements to add to the equation. How many times and how tightly any fiber is plied when spun impacts how the yarn will behave. Whether a knitter throws the yarn or picks the yarn (English versus Continental) will shift the twist in the fiber. Even whether the yarn is pulled from the center of a cake/ball or from outside the ball can impact tension in the fabric, something beautifully described in this Mason Dixon Knitting post, a go-to source to learn about anything and everything knitting.
I hope I am not overstepping bounds by posting this photo from their March newsletter, but I had a lot of fun test knitting this beautiful linen garment for Fidalgo Artisan Yarns last summer, and this is my first time seeing it blocked and worn. Thought I’d pass along that the designer is hosting a two-Saturday class (today, right now!) 10:30-12:30, on this Everyday Fancy pattern. Even if you live nowhere near Anacortes, Washington, I highly recommend Fran’s gorgeous and well-written patterns that can be purchased online.
Satisfying to finish a project in my own time, a “Fall KAL” in Winter. The moment I saw the Drums of Autumn pattern, I envisioned a giant sunflower medallion on fall leaves.
I had no idea the twists and turns it would take me on though.
First, I had trouble with achieving the lace medallion from the pinhole cast-on, so I constructed it flat and joined in round after a few inches.
Then, as often happens when you set down a project for too long to remember how you started it, I created a slightly different lace for each side of the gold side sections. In the center double decrease where you wave your magic wand and turn 3 stitches into 2 (slip 2, knit 1, pass 2 over), on one half I slipped 2 knitwise, the other slipped 2 purlwise. Very different appearance (above images).
As I was blocking the wrap, one of my blocking pins slightly grazed a ply of the center lace medallion enough that I woke the next morning to find a large hole had emerged in the center from one strand breaking. If left to its own devices, it would have unraveled all that lace. So it’s sewn together in the best way I could.
Moral of story: As long as you don’t look too closely, this wrap is a glorious sunburst of learning to overcome.
“A pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process .”
Other than accepting commissions, I am putting myself on a knitting diet as I work to create a different future for myself. Just wanted to give a heads up, in case anyone who follows this blog wonders if I have withered away after a certain gap. Should anything fascinating in the knitting world cross my path that I’m compelled to share, I will.
I have taken on extra freelance work in order to create an ounce of freedom of choice when my current housing is no longer available, anticipating move by year’s end. To meet my financial goal, I transcribe 10+ hours a day, 7 days a week. When not typing, understandably, it becomes imperative to move my body rather than knit … though from time to time I do knit and walk. I will, however, continue sketching design ideas and playing with yarn whenever my arms can handle it.
Part of my financial survival plan begins a month from now when I’ll be working alongside apprentices 10 hours a week in the Food Bank Garden through growing season, and receive most of my food there.
I’m bypassing anything that is not aligned with my financial goal, including spending no money on my craft. I have quite a bit of stash to work from yet. One of the most amazing features of my character is ability to focus, so I intend to use it. After looking at all my options for financial gain, holding a fundraiser, crowdfunding, I decided the one that fits me best is to use my super power to work more intensively than I ever have to carry me to a next phase in life closer to where I’d like to be, in a tiny space of my own ideally without housemates, as my daughter transitions to college life.
I’ll leave you with one designer’s just released pattern I absolutely love, and a little slide show of some past knits I forgot I’d made two years ago.
I love snow. And when a weather forecast is for greatest snow dump in Washington in decades, I am both super grateful I can work from home to pay for heat AND get myself out in it as much as possible. “Sidewalk” becomes a relative term.
And trees look extra amazing.
Then there’s lichen ornaments, a sign of healthy air.
And a bench for snow lovers to sit and knit.
In gaps I carve in my usual 7-day work week, I will be picking up stitches on this square and hope it turns into the baby blanket I’m envisioning. If we get a power outage with 60-70 mph winds predicted, I will be unable to work (Yay) and I’ll wrap up in blankets and knit to my heart’s content by candlelight. I’m close to completing several projects, just need more time…and a break from icing my overworked typing arms.
Happy Lunar Year of the female Earth pig. May you be blessed by grounded abundance…I’m working toward that for sure, but it’s all around us to see.
Our abundant elements.
Almost 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Only about 0.85% is composed of another five elements: potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. All 11 are necessary for life.
During our rare West Coast snow while most of the US is buried in it, I took myself away from work for two hours to walk to woods and make a snow angel I haven’t done since I was five. More knitting later when I have something to share.
To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
Abundance can be simply had by consciously receiving what has already been given.
Everything you need will come to you at the perfect time.
Root yourself in this Earth, and it will root itself in you.
The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.
Ernest Woods, Zen Dictionary (misattributed to Buddha)
You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just weather.
Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.