Master Knitter?

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I just started a program with The Knitting Guild Association to become a master knitter. It is the strangest sensation to be doing this, and also the most comforting thing I have ever embarked on.  Unfortunately, I do not trust myself.  I know how I am, how I get really into something and then later get bored and move on.  And really this is only the beginning of one step.  Oddly I have tried everything all the way through to the last part of the program, and yet here in the trenches, starting fresh and new, I am learning somethings.  Like how to capture stitches before you rip out to a mistake.  (As you knit so shall you rip).

I have been reading, already, about the history of fiber arts, and about world textiles.  I am absolutely fascinated by the first archeological record of fiber, woven fabrics, knitted string skirts, embroidered and knitted things found in various digs.  I am curious about the way indigenous people create their traditional arts, like Navajo blanket weaving, Mayan (Guatemalan) blackstrap weaving, Thai story cloth,  mud bark paintings from India and parts of Africa, String” fabric from Myanmar and Tapa cloth from Hawaii. I am, and always have been, fascinated by traditional patterning and motifs, going deeper than Fair Isle and looking at the Sammi people.

I was interrupted in my knitting fever, and now am fully in remission.  I went through a phase where I knitted all the time.  I don’t want to always go back to the giant rift in my life, but it had such a significant impact on my life I don’t know what else to talk about.  While I was putting my ex through graduate school, I added 20 hours a week of waitressing to my full time teaching job.  The only thing left that I could do creatively was knit.  And knit I did, I designed several sweaters, failed at a few too.  And I think my ex was disdainful of it, like hanging laundry on a clothesline, I think he viewed my knitting as something loser country people do.  Maybe that is why he left me?  I will never know.

When he left though I mostly stopped and didn’t knit for 8 or 9 years.  There was a brief layover period where a friend and I knitted purses and sold them, and I started a blanket as a wedding gift for a friend I lost in the divorce, I was heartbroken when I wasn’t invited.  And I never finished the afghan.

I did buy a spinning wheel, and I love using it, the rhythm of the wheel, is soothing and calming.  But it is not something that ever drew my interest deeply.  I adore and love weaving, but a large and complicated loom necessary for intricate patterns hold no interest for me.  Warping my little rigid heddle is hours of work and pain in my lower back, makes it hard.  Knitting however has jumped back into my hands, knowing you will never be an expert weaver at this late stage, leaves a prohibitive feeling in you as you work it.

One could say that perhaps I should return to painting, and perhaps I should, in time I might with the same vengeance I am embarking on with knitting.  I have many ideas swarming in my mind.  image

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You Have No Idea

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This beautiful doll has been long in the making, it has taken me over two years to complete, with many tear outs, and several give ups.  But finally I think she is done.  She is a survivor and one cannot even imagine how strong she is, stronger even than one might give her credit for, she has survived the worst fires.  I once heard that the only living thing to survive Hiroshima were the ginkgo trees at a Buddhist temple so the outside of her cloak is blackened ginkgo leaves, but the inside of her cloak is the stuff of life, leaves and spirals, and passionate purple flowers, the spiral a symbol of enduring life.  And yet she is an homage to death, her belt is made of silver leaves and white skulls, and the skeleton of a dead fish.  And as a nod to Kali the goddess of empowerment, of death and destruction, but also of time and change. The closure of her cloak is two daisies, side by side, right as they should have been.  Her shirt is made of handspun yarn, a nod to her origins, her craft, her intellect, and her inner belt is made of a silk ribbon, a gift from one she holds most dear to her.  Her necklace is the actual vertebrae, a symbol of having back bone, strength against adversity, great inner strength.  She stands with her arms outstretched, here I am, as I am, with no apologies.  Mouthless she does not speak, but she has eyes to see, and in the palms of her hands the eyes of wisdom, such as it is.  In her hands she holds two talismans, with secret messages.

You have no idea how strong she is.  You have no idea what she has endured.  More than you can ever imagine, she was knocked off her feet, and struggled to regain them, knocked again and again by the crashing of the ocean waves, and yet here, she stands strong.

Behold.

New socks for an old friend

Socks

I love knitting color patterns into socks.  I use these lovely size 3 bamboo needles from the Clover company.  The variegated yarn is from Hot Socks Sockenwolle, and the other yarn, I have no idea but it is good quality yarn store sock yarn.   I used a pattern book from Philosopher’s Wool to create some of the patterns but the checkerboard pattern is one I love to incorporate into my designs, whether they are are wool or if it is just printed fabric in my animals.  I personally cannot stand “check” designs in clothing but love to see it added to a pattern.  I just discovered a remaining ball of green that I though I had had when making these socks, but couldn’t find.  It was of course right on top of the other yarns in the sock yarn drawer.  Alas the socks are happy being purple with that accent of yellow, white and the variegated.  I have another pair of these socks and they are warm and comfy.  One thing I do with all of my wool socks is double knit the toe.  I do this by knitting two yarns at the same time, knitting alternating stitches which carries the yarn between each stitch thus creating a smooth inner surface and this striped outer pattern.  I knit it for one inch before beginning my decreases which makes for a good long toe surface.  I think it looks pretty, but in the end, in snow country it is all about the warmth.