Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Rhythm of the Needles

There is a time in knitting when I’ve memorized the pattern and suddenly I become one with my project. It is in that moment when my breathing slows and my heart follows the rhythm of my fingers.

It is a well known fact that your heart will follow a sustained beat. In shamanic drumming a beat can take you on an inner journey and reveal hidden knowledge. Rhythm is very powerful

In knitting I find there is an underlying beat. A song forms from the sound that the needles make when they “kiss” as they create a stitch, the quiet “swoosh” of yarn as it moves from needle to needle and the unseen element of muscle memory as my hands follow the pattern’s journey. The result is a lulling quiet place where my mind starts to furiously fill the void with to do lists and things I could be doing.

But I quiet my mind wish a gentle, “Shhhh,” and ask it to enjoy the moment of serenity and it sits and waits and speaks up again and once more I gently urge it to enjoy the moment. This time and so many others it tries to break in and muddle my thoughts and I take its hand like a small child and lead it back to the place of stillness.

My mind may be stubborn but my body is more then willing as I feel my breath slow and each muscle gives up its stored stresses. Finally my mind is quiet and I am totally serene and blissful as I sit and knit.

Soon my mind will wake up and begin again and this time I let it unload, surprised it cautiously hands me my to do list but now it has changed. There are things that no longer need doing or the way they need doing has changed. I think secretly my mind likes our little sparring matches and is more then happy to be at peace for once in the day…but I don’t let on that I know that. :)

As much as knitting is to make beautiful projects it is also a place to come to think or to let go. Either way take time once and a while to visit that place that comes out of the mists like Avalon when the knitter, yarn and needles are one.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

To Thine Own Self Be True

"Let the waters settle
you will see stars and moon
mirrored in your Being."
-- Rumi

I have nothing to show for my knitting efforts as of late since I have done nothing but frog my three attempts at lace. You see I forgot that knitting is my solace the balm that allows the stress to be erased from my being. I forgot the simple joy of creating and got caught up in the end result.

I could blame it on being an Aries because we are go getters with no follow through, but the cause of my forgetfulness lies not in blame but in falling back into old patterns where my needs come last.

I forgot about my needs being just as important as everyone else’s and that will not do. You see I crochet blankets (one a week) for my business and then I sell them twice a year at spring and fall festivals. I got so caught up in the joy of making my clapotis that I missed making four blankets. Now I am trying so hard to catch up that I have no time to knit. And with no time to knit I feel the stress kicking up through my being eating away at all the good I have done. It is akin to fasting for a week and then devouring something full of grease and fat and feeling it seep into your cell walls and clog up every artery. With one bad choice you can feel what you have done to your health.

This is what I have done to myself. Don’t get me wrong I love crocheting but I don’t do it for the same reason which is why I don’t usually mention it. It doesn’t give me the same joy that knitting does. I can’t explain it…but I find so much peace and connection in knitting and I really loved knitting clapotis. It was the finest thing that I have ever made and it taught me more then any other piece I have worked on has. I felt so in tune and serene (even when I was pulling my hair out) and my whole world seemed balanced.

But I haven’t knitted like that for a while and each time I try it is a “quickie” between an exhausting day and bed. The result is that since I have not honored my yarn and let it teach me, it creates a mess which needs to be frogged. When I was frogging for a higher purpose it didn’t bother me so, but now I am almost in tears.

So I have decided and you dear readers can be my witnesses: twice a week I will not even look at my blankets…even though I am behind…if I rush and suffer in the process then all will be for naught. So on Tuesdays and Thursdays I will give thanks, cast on and begin a new chapter in my life... Tuesdays and Thursdays will become devoted to my knitting so my life can have balance again.

When you find that one thing in your life that allows serenity to slip into your being and set your soul ablaze, hold on to it like a dear friend and cherish the gift you have been given…now I need to follow my own advice.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Broken Needle and Understanding Lace

Broken Needle, originally uploaded by Ruinwen.

Alas, my plastic needles that are older then I am broke today. This is my little blanket that I carry with me to knit in the car or in a line and now I have to mix needle types and hope there are no problems. *sigh*

I have begun making lace. I have frogged, tinked and otherwise started over three times but last night I think I got it!

I always have trouble with YO. Some patterns they tell you what stitch needs to contain the YO and others expect you to magically fathom what they are thinking. But after three tries I think I understand that the YO comes before the K2tog.

So when I have more then 6 rows I will post some of my lace. When I have a good enough grasp of it I will make a shawl out of actual lace weight yarn! My sister gave me some beautiful angora hand-spun yarn for my birthday and it begs to be something beautiful. Also in my stash (which is down to 201 skeins) I found six skeins of beautiful lace weight yarn that I want to make the Falling Leaves Shawl from Lavish Lace,

So, I'm slowly being enveloped by lace. It is consuming me. I love the look and once I understand the pattern, it seems to flow. I think making the clapotis helped me in that department because I learned so much that helped expand my knowledge of stitches.

A whole new world has been opened up to me and I bravely walk through the gateway.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Feel of Yarn

"Too often, people focus only on results. But getting results without learning something or without having fun are incomplete. So is having fun without getting the results, or having fun without learning something new to help and empower you in the future. Accomplishment is all three: the result, personal growth and having fun."
-- Peter L. Hirsch

I was knitting away on a baby blanket today and suddenly I realized that my gaze was on the flowers coming up through the renewed earth and not on my project. Some how I had forgotten to look at my knitting and my hands knew just what to do.

I wondered if it was a fluke so I decided to “test” my new gift. Once again my hands knew how to finish the row. Suddenly it was if a whole new world had been opened up to me and the grass seemed a little greener and the world took on a brighter hue.

I’ve learned from knitting and watching movies how not really watching makes me hear things that I don’t notice when I am viewing the movie. Little sounds under the music come alive but when I try and find them again with my eyes, it is as if they have disappeared.

The same thing is happening as I knit. I suddenly “feel” the yarn. Now that I can’t see it with my eyes, my hands are seeing it as if for the first time. I can feel how it is thinner then my other yarns that I have been using as of late also it is not as soft. But it moves very well from the ball to the needles with little resistance.

I must admit I am drawn to a yarn by its color scheme. But now when I cannot see the color, I wonder if I would have picked it on feel alone. Maybe after my diet is up I will go to a yarn store and take home whatever feels good to my fingers…they deserve a treat after all.

I don’t know how much automatic knitting I’m going to do in the future but maybe once a day for five minutes I will allow my fingers the simple pleasure of sensing the yarn. Who knows what it will teach me tomorrow?


Sunday, April 03, 2005

Yarn Diet

I have decided to follow my friend Sallee and participate in a yarn diet. You see I was blessed by two Grandma's giving me their stashes and that alone fills up 12 copy paper boxes. I also have other various sorters and a dresser filled with left over yarn from projects.

Earlier this year I gave away two copy paper boxes full to charity...but I didn't really make a dent in the stash.

So, I Ruinwen hereby solomly swear to not buy any more yarn until I have used up EVERYTHING in my 12 copy paper boxes!

I have figured a way to do this you see. I will learn Fair Isle which has been on my list of things to do and this way I can strand the colors in projects. I will also use the thinner yarns together in projects that call for two strands...but I will use up the old stash before I buy any more new yarn.

I have even put a Yarn Diet button on my blog to remind me of my promise. Speaking of buttons, I now have some thanks to my DH and my sister drew our Vixenpath logo and I turned it into a button all by my self!

May you all be my witnesses to my pledge!


Saturday, April 02, 2005

Clappy Close Up

Red Clappy, originally uploaded by Ruinwen.

I was just so intrigued to see this all come together. Me and clappy have had some seriously tense moments but in the end she came out beautifully! Here is a close up for your viewing pleasure!

The Knit Red Knit Along Clapotis is Fini!

Red Clappy, originally uploaded by Ruinwen.

After long last my clapotis is done and I am so happy with it! I am going to make another in a few months with the rainbow Dreams Carron yarn in Rosy Forecast...but it will be smaller...this one is huge!