One of the things weaving and writing share is unweaving and discarding false starts. I didn't love the twill enough to keep it. Too many things I should have done differently in the set up. Unwove it and started over, adding in the left over self-stripping sock yarns. I'm liking it. It will be simple but the yarn is soft and I think it will make a good scarf after all. I am pushed now to remember how to properly set up the selvages, providing double threading the reed at the margins to get a nice solid edge. The twill was a bit of a mess with too many floats and I just couldn't bring myself to finish it because I knew I would be always looking at the messy edge.
On a funny note, my fitbit step tracker apparently thinks pounding the treadles all afternoon is the same as walking and awarded me 10K steps by mid-afternoon.
I am happy with the soft grey wool and the inserts of self-stripping sock yarn that feel very calm and at home among the warp.
Sometimes its really fun just to knit something small and easy and have it turn out lovely. I knitted this for my 2yr old grand daughter --a little summer sweater "In Threes" from Kelly Herdrich done up in beautiful Spud & Chloe wool/organic cotton yarn, in luscious melon. After knitting socks in fine wool on skinny needles, it was fun to work a project that was done up so quickly. I started at home one day, and finished it up at the coffee shop the next.
I have been washing and gently bleaching all the beautiful, but soiled bits of lace and scraps salvaged from farm after it was vandalized. It is amazing to see how beautiful and white it becomes once cleaned and hung to dry in the desert sun. I marvel too at the sheer variety of lace -- from wide cuts of embroidered batiste to the thinnest bands of tiny patterned lace. But when I started washing the women's shirts, I realized that all that lace was sewn, sometimes strip by strip, together to create the blouse, an elaborate geometrical design of subtle, intricate patterns, that viewed from a smoothed into a complete and seamless design. Satisfying, like a well written novel, a well cooked meal, a well planted garden, and other mysteries of the universe.
I am always astonished to see the new directions modern embroidery has taken -- such as Michelle Kingdom's small embroidered scenes of life, Jillian Tamaki's gorgeous book covers, and Stacy Page's photographs wonderfully embellished with stitches. So, oh how I love this work of Philadelphia artist Matthew Cox -- transforming the imagry of an x-ray into beautiful color and life -- from bones to flesh and nature.
For me, stitching has a nurturing aspect and acts as care giving or healing to the injured, a socially feminine sort of action, while the x-ray itself can be considered masculine and unemotional. Finally, my own recognition of what is beautiful [these separately became appealing to me at about the same time]. As an artist who takes on tedious, labor-intensive projects, I am also reacting to the ever-increasing presence of photography in contemporary art – by introducing the process of labor over the quick, slickness of film.
And you can read a short interesting interview with Matthew Cox at My Modern Met. (Also get an eyeful of more of his amazing work.) Also, among his portfolios is a splendid collection of mythic avatars (such at the bottom most image of Mercury Avatar), fairy tale characters and comic icons-- have a look here to see them.
How beautiful is this 1833 Irish book of needlework instruction, created with great skill and thought. I do wonder about the needlewoman who took the time to create it, providing gorgeous miniature examples as a reference -- perhaps to remind herself of how she constructed something, or perhaps to pass on to others seeking to refine their technique. We are so used to seeing these days pattern books in paper with stamped or charted patterns -- but this old school version in needle and thread, in linen and muslim is just so remarkable and materially faithful to the craft.
I am hoping today to finish up this twilled scarf -- the first project of several lined up on my loom in many years. It was a re-learning experience and while I really like it, there was much to learn from it's making. Handwork is always about refining skills, each project a lesson in how things are made -- and then made well. My salvages are not as I would want them, but next time, they will be tidier. I worked in simple colours this time, but next time will be bolder, more confident. I do not assume perfection -- that would be folly and to worry about such would keep me from doing more work -- but it will get easier, more confident, and more I hope adventurous.
Here's the start of sock two -- this time I am going great guns with the magic look technique, though still haven't figured out how to get both socks on the same needle -- oh youtube, help me out please. Love the colors of this subtle self striping. And at least this time, they will both be the same size!
Trying out a new pattern usually means figuring out the "vanilla" version where you test how many rows for the leg length, how many rows for the foot length, whether you should knit it in a small or a medium. Once discovered, such a pattern becomes a good friend and it's a whole lot easier to start a production of the same basic pattern with a variety of yarns and even customised flourishes.
Here's the first pair in two sizes! The left sock is a small, the right sock a medium. Both socks are a wee bit short -- and I will be adding another 5-10 rows to the medium sock. But that both fit more or less, and they are very comfortable. So even though they are not really matching, I'm good for now.
I have begun this new blog because I am intrigued by the tradition among many knitters and weavers to undertake a variety of personal and communal challenges with their handwork. It seems in some ways a better idea than coming with the New Year's resolutions which we seem to abandon all too soon. And I like the idea of creating something -- many somethings -- that will worn, draped, and often times given as gifts. For myself, I want to include in this list of delightful challenges -- the pair of socks a month. I love the idea that I could have 12 pairs of handknitted socks come this time next year. I am also working more and more on the loom now that it is fully functional again.
My study is full of books, cached yarns and cones, storage bins of fabrics, and more toys -- ball winders, new reeds, sley hooks, and bobbins. Handwork and writing are very similiar, each requiring a kind of daily diligence, each intellecutally demanding, and each providing rewards in the doing, not just in the finished work, but in what is learned in the process.
Midori Snyder is the author of nine novels for children and adults. She won the Mythopoeic Award for The Innamorati, a novel inspired by early Roman myth and the Italian "Commedia dell'Arte" tradition. more>>