Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nobelian aspirations?

My friend Tammy recently celebrated a birthday. What do you get for a brilliant and lovely eco-friendly designer. Particularly one you are about to be separated from for only the second time in eleven years of friendship?

This had to be special, this had to be a gift worthy of remembrance. I settled on a meditation shawl. How does a meditation shawl differ from it's drab cousin, the ordinary shawl you ask? The ordinary shawl is meant to be worn as an accent or compliment to an outfit. Providing a mild amount of warmth and a pinch of glamour to an ensemble. The meditation shawl is meant to be worn during meditation or at meditation retreats, such as the ones the lovely Tammy tends to escape too. Also, I had decided that this meditation shawl would be infused with the good juju (read karma). I would knit this shawl only while I myself was meditating (lest some strict Buddhist become incredibly enraged by meditative knitting I mean mindful knitting). This meant that this garment could only be knit while focusing (mindfully) on the wool in my hands, the way the needles moved, and if all else failed, on my breathing while knitting. My intent was that upon creation of this shawl it would harness love, warmth, and lots of positive energy.

The pattern choice was perfect, the yarn a tranquil green color, I was set. I chose the fiber trends Peace Shawl . I loved the symbols and description which you can check out for yourself. However, to me this shawl just seemed to represent Tammy in a way that other lace did not (she is not so much the first person you would choose a lace project for). Furthermore, her presence in my life has always brought a sense of tranquility. She is earth that manages to contain my fire.

So I begin knitting. At first, I am mindful and chugging along. Then, as tends to happen, deadlines set in. I start taking the shawl out of the house (sure way to abandon mindfulness). Next thing I know I am knitting it at meetings, coffees, lunches, while driving, etc. This was not the mindful knitting I had intended. I felt sad that I could not create the mindfully knit item I had intended. Yet I pressed on, because I figured a non-mindfully knitted meditation shawl was a better birthday present than the idea of a mindfully knit one. At last it is finished

This is the full view of the shawl, it is much bigger than I had originally thought it would be. It is really funny what happens to lace when it is stretched!

Detailed picture of the stars and trees. I particularly liked this aspect of the shawl because my friendship with Tammy (like the trees) has always been something I could lean upon, one solid thing I could trust. Yet because she is my friend I have reached for more stars than I can count.

Detail of the men and women holding hands and the Peace banner.

Alfred Nobel managed to reconcile his invention of dynamite with his views on peace. This ability to balance two ideas so fundamentally opposed to one another led to the creation of a prize that honors only those that make extraordinary contributions which further those ideals (peace not massive fiery destruction). As I finished knitting this I began to believe that without a contrast our ideals are lost. I didn't complete the entire shawl mindfully, despite my best efforts. However, by trying, I became more mindful than I was before.

"Never discourage anyone who makes progress, no matter how slow." - Plato

Friday, May 18, 2007

Option paralysis

I tend to overeat at the buffet of life. Just like it's eating metaphor, this sometimes leaves me with a quesy feeling knowing I have taken far to much on my plate and there seems to be no way to finish it. Today I hit one of those moments. I am going to spend a few moments on non-knitterly things just to process and breathe.

The NEVER ENDING story - We are moving, and to do that we need to sell our 1860's victorian we have been remodelling for 6 years. Our house will be listed next Wednesday which means they are coming to take photos on Tuesday. I still have what seems like 3 weeks worth of work to do. Not to mention getting the house clean enough to take pictures of.

The dissertation - 39 subjects left to go before September 4th. It's unlikely that I will actually do that, however, I just keep trying to believe it is possible.

The snag - this is still in the highly preliminary stages so shhhhh! The hubby has been (sort of) offered a very nice promotion with the company he works for. However, this has caused a lot of stress because we currently live in Iowa. I have to go to Minnesota for internship and the job is in Chicago. Therefore, it is possible we may live apart for a year. This has started to turn into a logistical nightmare, and I am not so big with the loving of those.

But, when life hands you lemons........... sometimes it also hands you lemonade! I was standing with a can of white paint (pictures of the completed house next week I promise) when there was a knock on the door. STASH ENHANCEMENTS via certified mail! I love it love it. So since then I have been neglected anything that resembles real work in favor of playing with my new yarn. Sometimes a girl just have to say "enough is enough."

First, my noncertified package. Earlier this week the hubby bought me some "try to relax" sock yarn. I think he feels I am ready to implode and is trying to tie me back together with string. This may be the most brilliant idea he ever had.
Fabulous new sock yarn (this isn't counting the big package I have coming later this week *grins evilly*)

Lorna's laces in "flame." I know many people love this yarn. I am only lukewarm on it, but we will see if that changes. Cherry tree hill (one of my personal favorites) in "spanish moss."

But onto the the certified package! From our neighbors across the pond I recieved, 10 balls of yorkshire tweed aran in the color "maize" (this baffles me, more in a second.......... first the pictures).

My pile of yorkshire tweed on my completely restored fireplace.

This fireplace has been the bane of my existence for a year. It used to be covered in very small (1' x 2') glass tiles............ and try as I might I could not get the mortor to come off of them. So I finally gave in (in the interest of selling our house) and retiled the fireplace in modern tiles found at our friendly Lowe's. It turned out to be very pretty and I think if you didn't know what you were missing you wouldn't notice.

Now why maize baffles me. Here is a picture of the yarn up close and personal.

I always associate the color maize with an almost corn brown. However, this is an incredibly brilliant green color. Am I wrong about my maize association? Have I lost my mind? It doesn't really matter I adore this color. So much so I had to take a picture outside to do it justice!

Now what am I going to do with my 10 skeins you ask? I am going to make a sweater of course, the lovely juno sweater. I saw this on Yarn Harlot's web page and I knew I had to have one (with the modifications of course). here is the original picture as features in Rowan's magazine. Here is a picture of a completed Juno modelled by the modification goddess, herself, Vanessa .