Monday, April 24, 2006

Hope For The WIPs

The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

We can learn to be the catalysts for our own change.
- Sarah Ban Breathnach


I’ve been working on bonnets and booties as of late so there is no need to reshow the same pictures in different colors right?

On Friday a wonderful thing happened, my LYS asked me to teach a bonnet class. Everyone loves the bonnet so much that they demanded a class! I am so happy!

On Saturday I had to move the WIP bags that sit around the table and when you pile them all together they make a nice little mountain-o-projects. Why I just can’t sit and finish one thing and move to another is beyond me…but the important thing is to “know thyself.” And I know that this is how I am, so I accept it to a degree…

On Saturday night I had a dream where I sat down and organized all the WIPs into categories and set them out on a calendar and completed each one as scheduled. At the end of my dream new yarn came in and I started all over again but that was okay because it was exciting to reward myself with new yarn and projects.

I woke up pumped. Why couldn’t I just finish all the WIPs that only need a few rows, seaming, or weaving in the ends…why did I just leave them there and start something new? Well, we know the why…I’m a self starting…never finishing Aries…but I want to see these projects done…so yesterday I finished my crochet blanket I started at last Fall Fair…it only needed one more skein and the ends woven in and I was able to move a big bag off the chair…that blanket fits a twin bed!

Then I finished the bonnet I started on Wednesday…all that needed was 2 rows, the neck finished and all those ends woven in…that is…count ‘em…2 projects in one day! Then I cast on some booties and they are half done!

The thing is I really didn’t spend a lot of time knitting either…maybe four hours all together spread out over the day…

Why do I have all these WIPs then? Because dear readers I lack focus. My friend Sallee made me think maybe what I need is to focus on my WIPs. It seems I am now stashing projects just as easily as I stashed yarn before. I took an inventory and just like in my dream there a bunch of things that are almost done and I will work on those first and get them out of the way. Secondly I will only use the two chairs behind the table for projects.

I know myself enough to know I will always have more then one project going on at a time but I also know that I follow my own rules. So if only two chairs can be used then no new projects can be cast on if those chairs are full. That will be my new rule…after I empty another chair. ;)

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Zen of Froggin'

An old adage says, "There are three items you can’t take back—a spent arrow, a word spoken in anger and a lost opportunity.” As I sit here lounging at the frog pond, I realize that isn’t it nice we can tink and frog and correct our mistakes?

Don’t get me wrong I get as teary eyed as the next person when I have to destroy something I’ve worked so hard on. But isn’t it nice, if you want to, you can redo it the right way?

The “inner knitter” has been trying to teach me this lesson all week and I have been resisting with all my might. But yesterday I had to ask myself, “Why?”

Is it really better to stubbornly try and fix a mistake that I know I will have to come back and rip out later? So yesterday I accepted tinking back five rows with a smile knowing that this too is part of the process.

I may not still like it…and I may still cry from time to time…but it is nice to know a mistake in my knitting is one of the things in life that I can take back and fix when the need arises. And that knowledge makes me smile. :)

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

When the Knitter is Ready, the Pattern Appears

As I try and find or create the patterns that I have in my head, I am amzaed by the resistence I seem to find to each idea until it is ready to be birthed into existence. They say that pulling on the shoots of a plant will not make it grow any faster and it seems to apply to my creation of the Laurene shawl.

I am desperately enjoying the challenge though. My mind is being forced to work in ways that it usually avoids. I feel freedom in trying stitches that create a pattern out of disorder.

I've been working with these twisted stitches all week and finally yesterday I swatched something I liked. The alternating pattern of knit into back of second stitch on left needle, do not slip stitch off needle, knit into first stitch on needle, slip both stitches off needle and *deep breath* knit 2tog but keep them on needle, knit into first stitch on needle and then slip them off was very comforting...but not at first.

At first I was ripping my hair out because the directions that I had for these stitches were reversed. And silly me I expect the pattern to be right. But in doing that I took me out of the picture. I was relying on the pattern to guide me when I should have been looking within.

Instead I blamed myself that I must have done something wrong and searched on the web for twisted stitches and learned a whole lot of things in the process. Now I came at the pattern with knowledge and I understood that this pattern would not work the way it was written.

And suddenly the little voice in my head said, "Now you're ready, check the updates for this book," and "poof" there it was confirmed for everyone to see...the pattern was backwards in two places.

I felt giddy as I cast on the only needles that I had with me and swatched. I watched the yarn form the pattern I had been seeking...how could something with only three stitches have vexed me so?

The spiritual "ah ha" took hold and I saw what I could not see before. Elated I took note of how each stitch twisted and turned the fabric into the image I had held onto in my head.

After a few rows of tweaking, I had my stitch. Next time instead of boldly ploding ahead when I should sit and listen to my inner self, I will be still and quiet and listen to my "inner knitter".

I say this as I begin the search for the perfect flower...a swatching I will go...

Happy Crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Right-Slanting Decreases



So I've begun the process of swatching for the Laurene Shawl. I was trying to find a pattern that worked for the hearts. I wanted them coming out from one another but the left side looked so much different then the right that I frogged the whole thing and began again...many times.

There are so many left-slanted decreases but most books say the K2tog is the only right-side decrease one will ever need. In this situation I disagree. So I tried this one and I have no snappy way to abbreviate it:

K1, Sl knitwise, return the slip to the left-hand needle keeping the stitch twisted, pass the knitted stitch in the same manner to the left needle, now PSSO the slipped stitch over the knit stitch, and finally slip the knit stitch purlwise back to the right-hand needle

Can you believe I can do that really fast now? But the main thing is, I really like it. Everyone I've shown it to likes it so these are the side hearts. Yeah!

I really like designing it is very freeing trying all those combinations until you find something you like.

I'm wondering if I should use that stitch on my Serenity Chain Lace Scarf design? I may have to try that. By the way I taught that class yesterday and it was so much fun! The woman enjoyed herself so much she gave me a hug!

In that moment I knew that this was where I am supposed to be...I am so glad I listened to my inner voice!

Happy Crafting and Happy Holidays,

Ruinwen,
:)

A Finished Set


Here is my Baby Butter Layette completed. Bet you were beginning to wonder if my Ariesness ever let me finish anything. :)

I really liked making the whole set. I was just making a sweater and then I had a ball of yarn left over and I thought why not booties...then the hat soon followed. I just love the hat!



This was the first thing I've made in a while that had no repeats just 50 line by line instructions on size 3 needles. I loved seeing it shape up...could it be the lace? LOL


But seriously, I'm going to make the whole set again in blue because it was so much fun!

My LYS liked the hat so much that she gave me a skien of yummy pink King Cole to make one for the shop! Yeah! I think I will throw in some booties too because they are that much fun to make!

Happy Crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Follow Your Heart


Praying Rocks, originally uploaded by Ruinwen.

There is an Irish folktale about a mortal who was given the chance go hunting with the "wee folk". He was given a fairy steed and the choice to have the horse become big or for him to become small to ride it. He chose to become small so he could ride with the fairies. He and the fairies went galloping around until he came to a wall so huge that he didn't think his tiny noble steed could carry him over. The Fairy King, seeing the mortal's hesitation, said, "Throw your heart over the wall, then follow it!" So the man rode fearlessly at the wall, with his heart already bravely past it, and went safely over.

_______________________________________

I’ve been feeling called lately to design knitting patterns. I ignored the summons for as long as I could because I thought maybe I had heard my inner voice wrong.

But finally the “voice” turned into a roar and now I am listening. I have thrown my heart into my work after much meditation and prayer and I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

Yoda said, “Do or do not there is not try.”

So this is not a whim that I will “try” and see how it works out, but rather I will give it my all and pour my heart and soul into it and see what happens.

I have been having fun working on the Laurene shawl design, which I am dedicating to my Mom. I have been working with different twisted stitches to honor her arthritis. I wanted to show how the shawl is still beautiful just like my Mom. I’ve also been working with different flowers to put next to the hearts.

It is fun to work out each piece and slowly see it all come together. I hope to make a swatch by the end of the month. I’m going to see what it looks like with lace weight yarn first. I hope that works because it is ideal for someone who doesn’t like a lot of weight on different areas of the body.

So as you see I really am following my heart on this one! My next goal after the shawl design is tested and completed will be something with more lace I’m sure!

Happy Crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Creating Time To Play


Cotton Drop Stitch Shawl, originally uploaded by Ruinwen.

"If we fail to nourish our souls, they wither, and without soul, life ceases to have meaning.... The creative process shrivels in the absence of continual dialogue with the soul. And creativity is what makes life worth living."

-- Marion Woodman

I didn't know what to do with my cotton/wool blend and decided on a simple drop shawl. The fabric is light and drapes beautifully. But most of all I've had fun knitting it.

Knitting is many things to me; but at the heart of it all, it is something I truly enjoy. I love seeing the colors join together in the fabric or a pattern emerge before my eyes.

Sometimes it is the simple things that give met the most joy. A smile on my child’s face, my DH excited at a new idea or knowing that today I will get to knit; all give me joy in very different ways.

But it seems to always come back to knitting. I love to knit. This love has never gone away over the years and I think at the core of my being, I am a knitter.

Last week I talked about paring down my life and finding out what is real and authentic to my personal self. I’ve decided that trying to do that in a season of growth and renewal is probably not good timing. So I will wait until Fall when it is time to let go of the seeds that went fallow even though they were planted in good strong soil. And I will continue to nurture the ideas that have good strong roots and pour my strength into them.

Aries don’t like waiting. It is one of my worst traits. I’m a go and plan and get a move on type of person. Being patient is agonizing for me, but I think this is best for now.

In the meantime I’m going to learn a lot of new things and grow as a knitter and a person…and I think that all starts with having a bit of fun and really enjoying the whole process of creating something from beautiful colors of yarn.

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Where Do I Go From Here?


This was taken at night with no flash because this is how I feel. Right now I feel that the light is outside of me because I have been spreading myself so thin that there is nothing left of me. It could just be a passing moment but I think it is more then that.

Have you ever woken up and felt different then the day before? Well that’s how I’ve been feeling this whole week. It isn’t everything that’s changed, just certain aspects.

One thing that hasn’t changed is my love of knitting. Knitting to me is like feather and fan; invoking serenity and peacefulness. Sure there are days of cursing when a project doesn’t work out, but that is all part of the process.

It amazes me that my skills as a knitter have been growing by leaps and bounds. My love of lace astounds me since a year ago I was afraid of YOs. LOL

I love designing lace patterns and it has become such a passion as of late it scares me. I even dream in lace. :)

Knitting seems to fulfill all the needs that aren’t fulfilled by family, friends and my job. I love being able to send gifts of yarn goodness to a friend who is down or making something for the needy. It is nice that this wonderful gift helps me to give back.

It also has filled the niche for community in my life. Every week sitting at the LYS I enjoy talking with the wonderful women who sit and knit around the table. I know that I can go in there any day and just sit and feel appreciated and loved. It is like entering a giant heart chakra. How can I not find my bliss?

I am happy that I am teaching too. It is so wonderful to share myself with someone else; to give back.

I think it is time for a Spring cleaning within. I can’t eek a little of me everywhere and survive anymore. I could when I didn’t have a child, but now I want to spend as much time with my son as I can. He is such a blessing to my life I try not to miss a moment of his.

So something has to go and it cannot be my knitting. My knitting weaves a thread through my being like a life line is used on lace. Take away my fiber and I might go insane.

No for me knitting is like breathing; necessary and automatic. No meditation has ever worked for me like knitting. Knitting can be done anywhere and any time. It is the perfect activity for me.

So for now I will knit and breathe and slowly clean out the aspects of my being that are no longer pieces of me and hopefully uncover my true essence in the process.

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My Dirty Little Secret

I hate to cast on. I know, how could a knitter even admit such a thing? It isn’t that I don’t like new projects, challenges and the feel of a new yarn between my fingers. That isn’t it at all. I just really have trouble keeping track of how many stitches are on my needles.

Have you ever counted CO stitches three times and each time you get a new number? This happens to me all the time. I started using marker rings to count off sections after making sure they were the correct number. But when you have 200 stitches to cast on this seems to waste time I could be knitting.

The Yarn Harlot, a knitting Goddess, IMHO, of our age, says: “I cast on the approximate number, then count them as many times as it takes to get the right number twice.

So it seems I’m not alone. But let me tell you that was little comfort when I cast on last night for a lace scarf. I was oh so proud that I had the correct number of stitches only to find the pattern was off by 10 stitches. *sigh*

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

You've gotta Have Faith


Butter Baby Socks, originally uploaded by Ruinwen.

Isn't it amazing how the mess on the left will transform into the bootie on the right?

Knitting never seeks to astound me! I remember the first time I knitted booties. I wondered how this (see left bootie to be) would ever become anything but a failed WIP. But after picking up the rows a little nubbly thing emerged. Somehow all that weirdness was necessary for the yarn to become a bootie.

Lace never stops confounding and amazing me also. You do all those YOs and K2tog and other decreases/increases and suddenly a pattern emerges from the fabric. Wow!

Kinda like Spring. See flower in picture for proof. it is really cold today and it actually flurried this morning but signs still point to the fact it is actually...Spring. There is a cold little robin on the lawn and even though the flowers have closed up, they are still there.

They believe while I am a bit unsure. I was doubtful that I would make it home today when wires fell over the road due to the high winds. But I had faith that my car at least has more sense then I do and hoped that the three people I asked (all with different routes) knew what they were talking about. And see, I made it home in time to spare to take a picture and post a bit.

I've found as of late that when a pattern is asking the impossible of you, don't look with human eyes. Look through the eyes of your inner knitter (that is if the pattern has been tested) and follow the pattern or your heart (a pattern is only a suggestion anyway) and you will achieve your goal.

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)