Saturday, November 04, 2006

Out of the Mists

As is the way of the coastal mountains, the snow turned to heavy rain yesterday. We mostly couldn't see past the trees across the road, but for a brief magical moment:

Friday, November 03, 2006

Snowy Comfort or How I Made Peace With Red

I have decided to press on with the scarf. Two things helped with this decision: firstly, all the very thoughtful comments (thank-you!) and secondly, the fact that it snowed yesterday.

I feel colour in a very visceral way, and I realized that indoor lighting on a rainy day made the scarf look like 70's shag carpet, which (for me) is a lonely and dowdy and sad sort of colourway. But softly overcast natural light reflecting off brilliant white snow transformed it into lichens and berries, and treasures on the forest floor, and this:

rose hip

These are colours of comfort and harmony. So all is well, and the scarf will go on.


Thursday, November 02, 2006


I am fretting - to a ridiculous degree - about the colours of the Turkish scarf. Here's yesterday's beginning:

It is a complex and ornate pattern, so I really wanted it to show clearly, yet not be so contrasty as to seem overly busy. I was hoping for a rich red/gold tapestry sort of effect. I'm worried the values of the two colours are too close, the brown/gold is too green, the whole thing is too hideous.... It goes to show how strongly oriented I am towards blue / green and neutrals - my confidence goes completely to pieces when I have to work with red. (I wouldn't have done it at all, except this person loves the red / gold / brown range.)

I found myself late last night poised over the "buy" button for this (another colour in the same yarn as the red, which could be an advantage):

And then I backed away from the expensive-handpainted-who-knows-what-this-colour-will-turn-out-to-be-in-real-life ledge and went to bed. Where I dreamt tormented knitting dreams, and this morning am still no closer to making a decision. I could also get a fingering weight yarn in a solid colour - I think it would need to be a pale gold - darker than cream, but light enough to contrast clearly with the red. Or maybe what I've got is just fine and I am losing my mind.

Honest opinions? Ideas? If I'm going to order more yarn, I need to make a decision soon, because time is running out. (Next year, I'll start Christmas knitting in January. Definitely. Or give everyone dishcloths. )

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Colour of Water

The dominant impression of autumn invariably seems to be the brilliant oranges and reds of the foliage, but there are also subtler hues hidden in the rainy shadows. Last weekend we took a little family hike:

lost lake

On the way, we crossed one of the glacial creeks that feed Lost Lake:


I was struck by the contrast between the turbulent bits and the silty gray-green of the still water.

fall creek


fall creek pixellated

The palette:

fall stream palette

And the pattern:

fall stream pattern

The geometric pattern is adapted from an authentic Kurdish sock found in Anna Zilboorg's book. (I've been spending a great deal of time in that book while designing the scarf, and though this pattern won't fit in that project, it's one I've always admired.) I tried not to overthink the arrangement of the colours - I find I can easily get carried away with the mathematics of sequence and contrast.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Feel Randomish - How 'Bout You?

Parents of children in the Zoboomafoo age bracket will recognize the reference. (Sorry if you only just got that song out of your head.) Facing an evening of trudging about in the cold and dark with a small pink flying unicorn for the express purpose of collecting a sizeable bag of simulated food substance containing every chemical known to turn said unicorn into Attila the Hun, I feel.... distracted. (Just call me the Grinch of Hallowe'en.) So, here are a few random ramblings:

1) You may have noticed I took the plunge yesterday and installed Haloscan to host the comments - primarily so that I would have the capacity to reply personally to comments, especially questions. It was pretty much painless, with one huge exception - contrary to their assertion in the pre-installation blurb, the old blogger comments DO disappear. Apparently they would come back if I were to uninstall Haloscan (which kind of defeats the purpose) but otherwise they remain locked in an inaccessible corner of cyberspace. This makes me sad. I have them all in my email archives, but the blog now looks all bare and lonely and monologue-ish - it's the warm and funny and caring interactions that make a blog real. Sigh.

2) I have Sixteen gift projects lined up (maybe 17, but I think I've pretty much talked myself out of that one.) As of today, I have completed 2 1/2 (I'm supposed to be on number 8).

3) Progress on the Magnificent Turkish Scarf:

yarn in scale

I plan to knit the scarf from each end and graft in the middle - no upside down motifs, and no wastage of precious yarn.

4) Progress on DD's gift:


Kind of Hallowe'en-ish as is, don't you think?

5) Sneak preview:

string bag

I originally intended to work up a string bag pattern for Christmas that would be a masterpiece of holly leaves or silver bells, or some such. Then I came to my senses. What do knitters (me especially) really need at the beginning of November? Something fast. This fits the bill perfectly, and looks good. I just have to test knit it one more time, and will post the pattern (along with a list of ideas for environmentally responsible things to put in it) later this week.

6) Sarah asked (though you can't see it any more, so I can't even retrieve the link) whether I intended to post a pattern for the sari silk shell. Truthfully, that particular garment was made long before I really thought about anyone else being interested in my designs. (But I wouldn't rule it out :)) I can tell you that the key to sari silk is knitting it along with another, more "regular" yarn. In the case of the shell, I alternated rounds of SS and Estelle's aran weight silk. If you don't mind a bulkier weight, you can also strand it together with another yarn - in the case of the vest, I used a worsted weight wool.

Monday, October 30, 2006

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Free Spirit

It's Monday, and time for a bit of metal:

I love the challenge of creating fluid waveforms with knitted silver "fabric". This particular piece grew out of my present internal struggle to define my path, and come to terms with my inability to plod forward in a straight line. Society places great value on folks who have an unwavering direction in life, working at a single profession for decades, always at peak productivity, invisibly absorbing child-rearing and loss and illness, never questioning whether there is any other way to live. But life - real, organic human life - is about cycles - circadian, menstrual, yearly, lunar, birth and death, health and illness - and diversity - one child could raise themselves, another needs focused moment-by-moment parenting to thrive. Surely living in harmony with these rhythms is more than just weakness and acquiescence. As for veering side to side - how else does one discover the extent of being without testing their limits on all points of the compass? I cling to the belief (backed up both by faith and chaos mathematics) that this seemingly random oscillation is, in reality, a cohesive whole, with meaning and identity, and a strange, complex beauty.