Sunday, November 29, 2009

A November Sunrise

by Anne Porter

Wild geese are flocking and calling in pure golden air,
Glory like that which painters long ago
Spread as a background for some little hermit
Beside his cave, giving his cloak away,
Or for some martyr stretching out
On her expected rack.
A few black cedars grow nearby
And there's a donkey grazing.

Small craftsmen, steeped in anonymity like bees,
Gilded their wooden panels, leaving fame to chance,
Like the maker of this wing-flooded golden sky,
Who forgives all our ignorance
Both of his nature and of his very name,
Freely accepting our one heedless glance.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Knitting conundrum solved. Simply.

Simply Embracing Simplicity

Several years ago, I finally took needles and yarn in my fists and applied the lessons of my grandmothers. I learned to knit. Like many, I began with the simple scarf in stockinette stitch. I don’t know what it was, but after several false starts in previous years, this time I was hooked. Soon I was pouring over my McCall’s Needlework Treasury and teaching myself different stitches and trying new patterns. I moved on to hats, mittens, and finally socks. Last year I even successfully knit a baby sweater.

If I’m sitting still, I’m clicking away with needles. While watching movies, visiting with family and friends, in the car, and on occasion, even in the dark! I’ve taken to keeping my headlamp, normally used only for camping and backpacking, in my knitting back. Just in case. I know I’m not the only one.

I love to peruse knitting sites like hunting for new, more challenging patterns. Like many of you, I am not content to knit the same pattern over and over. I want more difficult projects, pushing myself to try new things, to become a better knitter.

But recently I’ve been pushing harder and the needles have been clenched in frustrated fists, yarn knotting in thick snarls. I’ve frogged (rip-it! rip-it!) more sorry socks this past few weeks than ever before. And they were not a tough pattern, either. Annoyed and uninspired to pick up projects that were only bound to cruise toward disaster, I actually watched a couple movies, and the only stitches were in my ribs! When I did pick up my needles and yarn, I only knit a few rows before putting it aside. This was not right.

Then one day a friend hinted that I’d promised him a hat. I’d been putting off this simple project for too long. Knowing I’d be seeing him soon, so I grabbed some favorite worsted-weight wool from Scarecrow Farms in mountain berry red. Perfect for the avid backpacker who would wear it.

As I cast on the familiar number of stitches, I noticed a difference right away. The tension I normally hold in my shoulders eased immediately, I got into a relaxing rhythm of knitting. It was good. I finished the hat just in time to give it to my grateful friend, who put it on right away, smiling. It looked great on him, and I loved how the pattern of simple stitches let the nuances and more subtle hues of the red wool shine through. It was good.

I will never cast aside the simple knitting pattern again. There is just as much to admire in a lovely roll-rim hat as in a cabled sock. And that is perhaps one of the greatest beauties of knitting.

Check out other great fiber arts at Fiber Arts Friday!
(Original post at Hudson Valley Fiber Webs)

Sunday, November 1, 2009