Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer scenes

Monkey sock in Rowan Fine Art yarn in progress

Rowan Fine Art yarn loose on the campsite

St Mary's, Chipping Norton

The Apiary, Chipping Norton

Beautiful cottage garden, Chipping Norton

Guard dog, Chipping Norton

Solstice sky

Unfurling roses in my garden
Gorgeous days. We went on a camping trip in glorious sunshine and made the most of the longest day. Actual summer weather continues!

Friday, June 20, 2014

In my hands

Rosewood US7 DPNS from Fringe Supply Co

Rosewood DPNs from Fringe Supply Co close up

Brooklyn Tweed Shelter - Button Jar - leftovers

Fingerless mitts in Shelter

Rowan sock yarn
Deciding to learn to knit involved remarkably little thought. I'd seen a friend knitting and it looked so fun. A few months went past, winter was setting in, I wasn't very well at all and I was spending a whole lot of time on the sofa watching tv and feeling that I wanted to make something to show for that time. So I ordered a kit from Amazon. Just what they had. Zero research. Little ambition to be able to make anything more than a scarf. And then reader I married knitting. My whole world changed in ways I could never imagine - and truly that is no exaggeration.

Somewhere in the last few years I've managed to get so far from that impulsive, just make something instinct that it drives me more than a little crazy. Now I spend so much time thinking about making things I often don't ever get started on them. I've either convinced myself they won't look as good as I want them to or I've taken the fizz of excitement out of a project or I've told myself that it's too hard/the stuff is inaccessible/it's not worth doing - fill in the crushing reason of the day. The unimaginable never gets a look in. This is not a revelation from Squam, more something that has been dogging these past months when not enough time has been cleared out of the excuse roster. I am hoping though that the hit of inspiration from Squam will be what finally gets the crafts from head to hand.

Spending time with my cabin mates - eight fabulous, obsessive, awesome, accomplished knitters made me remember how it felt to be a knitter like that. Not just someone who knows how to knit but someone who feels the magic of where a pastime becomes a passion. So when it comes to  dwelling in the feeling of bubbling creativity there was only one place to start. Knit more!

At the Squam Art Fair I picked up a couple of beautiful souvenirs to grease these palms. The loveliest needles I've ever owned - rosewood DPNs from Fringe Supply Co and a skein of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter (having been utterly convinced  of its splendidness by a wonderful talk from Jared Flood and seeing this lovely stuff in person). 

So for the hands, mitts of course. Sadly the softness of the yarn and the chunkiness of the DPNs left me unable to pull the yarn tight enough to prevent annoying ladders at the needle joins that just take the edge off the joy of the FO (along, perhaps??? with the Mr's christening of them as my 'down and out mitts' and his offer of a photo shoot while clasping a bottle of booze - so much for poetic musings about the wonder of crafting for your hands with your hands!!). Dreams of an annual pair of mitts in all the shades have been shelved! I'll just have to bend my thoughts to other delicious one skein or less Shelter projects. The leftovers are already calling out for friends to stripe with them, the blends in the colourways are just so enticing.

Thinking about knitting is definitely fun but in this brave new world it must of course be accompanied by knitting itself so I turned to the easiest of my WIPs to re-engage with. Rowan Fine Art  socks that had been languishing not far off the toe of the first, I thought I could just pick them back up but a quick review made it clear why the needles had slowed - the sock felt too big and the leg too short - I'd persisted but eventually got the blahs for good reason.  Pictured in its kinkiness above is the now twice frogged yarn. I jumped quickly from Just Rights to Simple Skyps. Love that pattern but this yarn is too noisy for a happy pairing there so with not even a photo to memorialise the second incarnation I'm on to the third. Hoping that the classic Monkey is the charm. Yarn this pretty deserves a good knitting.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dwelling in the Squam feeling

Well no surprise here - my first Squam at the Lake was such fun! Days simply playing like kids at a camp. I haven't been this excited by knitting since I sat under some olive trees, and I didn't even take any knitting classes at this Squam! Just spending time with my lovely cabin mates and taking in all the knitting conversations have me feeling the way I used to about the special stitches. Oh wool, just in time for summer, it's a date!

Trying a little video of some of my pictures - with a cheeky little soundtrack courtesy of my old favourites Air. Despite the evidence of these images there were many other people there with me after the first couple of days. Too busy making stuff, crying with laughter and feeding my face to take many photos after my first walks in the woods apparently!

It seems a given that it will be a wonderful time staying at the lake and participating in the workshops with so many fellow creative creatures. Every need is take care of by the hoards of camp staff, Elizabeth and Kaitlyn. There is so much care and love lavished upon all the participants. With so many delicious ingredients it's a recipe destined for success. The retreats I've been on these past two years have taught me that trying to capture the essence of it within you and carry it with you out from that fairytale bubble and in to the harsher setting of the real world is a trickier business. My hope is that I am becoming more practiced at cultivating feelings of deep contentment and bubbling creativity, that I can replenish them regularly so that every day has a sprinkling of the Squam magic about it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sensations gathered from Providence

Red adirondack chairs in Providence yard
A guest bed piled with gifts of welcome
Wooden houses in a spin of colours beneath glorious trees
The beauty of home
Garden gate under trees
Red cardinals
Wind rustling through leaves
The thump of raindrops pouring down
The poppoppop of corn
My own heartbeat
Very pink pinks
Warm dogs
Glorious blooms
Books of paper and pixels
Soft hollows of sea worn shells
By longing for the arms of my Mr
Dogwood blossoms, May, Providence
Fresh linens
Scented baths
Lily of the valley
Friendship from a group of women catching up over coffee and buns
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