Transformation

Growing up I always thought that eventually I would reach some magical place where I’d arrive. You know, a place where I’d be done, all set, where I’d reached my full potential. I think that’s largely because I was terrible at envisioning what being an adult in middle-age would really & actually be like. Of course, especially over the last 10 years, I’ve learned that the arrival I thought was out there in my future existed only in my imagination. The truth is we are all constantly changing, less like someone driving from point A to point B and more like a river that flows along, constantly and naturally adjusting course. We meander. We make new discoveries that change us. We grow. We transform. And it is on-going, forever and ever. Writing it, I feel like this is something I should have grasped much earlier in life. I do think it was always in me, in how I’ve lived, but I definitely had never really articulated it.

In my crafting life, once again it took me a long while to make this same realization. I was so focused on learning the ins and outs of knitting and spinning that I never really pondered the long-term. Sure, the goal is and always has been to be able to create any project I want. I started steadfastly as a knitter. And then I became a knitter who spins, with simple goals like making consistent yarn, yarn that turns out as I envision it. I wanted to perfect my skills as best as I was able. Of course that’s where I saw myself going with this craft. Of course it was. This past month, though, as I started to feel a real intrinsic click in my spinning, instead of settling into it I decided to dive just a little deeper, to meander on a slightly less direct route. And somewhere along the way I transformed from a knitter who spins to a knitter and a spinner.

I pushed myself a little outside of my comfort zone and did some studying so I could better help a friend with a new wheel this month and as I did something was changing inside of me.

img_2667Then one day I found this highly recommended and out-of-print book in the web shop of a spindle maker and ordered it straight away knowing how hard it is to find these days.  While I was there, I ordered a spindle as well. I’ve been rekindling an interest in my spindling skills as an easy-to-pack, day-trip tag-along and Golding Fiber Tools happen to come highly recommend. I managed to pass on the incredibly gorgeous and intricate options as well as the one made from 5000+ year old Russian Bog Oak (that one slays me) and instead opted for one of their more basic spindles. When it arrived, I simply could stop myself from spinning up the little sample of green fiber that came with the spindle. I had made some inroads with spindles during last summer’s Tour de Fleece, but this spindle was something different. This little spindle — at 0.85oz it’s the lightest I’ve attempted — flew. And for the first time in my life, I flew with it.

When I’d burned through the sample, I remembered I had a little sample braid of fiber that I’d gotten from Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber a while back that I thought would be of similar weight and would look cute plied with the green I’d just spun. And I got spinning.

img_2675-1I left it in the kitchen and spun here & there in between other tasks.img_2681-1And before I knew it I’d spun through that braid, too.

Just as with spinning with my wheel, I’ve found a real peace in this little spindle. Equipped with more confidence and more understanding of the mechanics of what I’m doing, I was able to make this little 75yard skein in only a few hours.

whole skeinSure, it’s far from perfect, but considering I was using a new and unfamiliar spindle as well as new-to-me fibers, I think it turned out pretty darn well.

detailI plan to throw it in with my on-going knitted patchwork blanket tidbits. What a fun addition it’ll be!

And just like that, as I turned this tiny skein over in my hands, I knew for a fact that I’d never arrive. There will always be a whole new world just around the next bend. I’ll discover a new tool or a new technique or be introduced to a new perspective that will forever alter my course. I’ll change constantly; from knitter, to knitter who spins, to knitter and spinner, to who knows what’s next. I’ll change. I’ll grow. I’ll transform. It will go on forever and ever. And it will be a beautiful trip.

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WIP Tuesday? Sure, Why Not?

I just put the finishing touches on my ‘must-see list’ post for the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival (it’ll go live here on Thursday) and I have a little extra time while the kiddos finish lunch so I thought I’d take you on a little tour of the projects that I currently have in progress.

First, I finished spinning the singles of my Dyeabolical Fate, PhD.

dyeabolicalThese are resting while I spin another project or two of singles so I can ply all in one go.

This is what I picked up to spin next.

grey woolA couple weeks ago my family and I spent our Saturday down to Madison & took a go-’round of the famed Farmers’ Market. At Mr. Knitting Sarah’s insistence, I got some fiber from the Wisconsin Highlands Farms stand. I totally spaced on asking what kind of wool this is (whoops!) despite the fact that I chatted with Ann, the owner, for quite a while. The wool is hard to describe for me – soft like merino, but still kind of rustic like a Romney. Whatever it is, it’s spinning up wonderfully.

grey wool spunI originally I thought I’d spin up a bulkier weight yarn for a hat, but I did manage to buy 7oz so in the 11th hour I decided instead to spin light singles intended for a light-ish weight 2-ply for a shawl should the yardage be there. I have a pattern in mind, but I don’t want to get my hopes up (or yours either) should the yarn not turn out light enough. I will say I’ve been having epic delusions of me wearing this as a gorgeous, perfect handspun shawl his winter. It’s going to be beautiful, in case you’re not having the same visions I am.

Currently I have two projects on my needles. First, Guston by Ann Budd knit in Valley Yarns Northhampton.

gustonI’m 5 or 6inches into the body of this sweater and it’s going well. I’m kind of in that uninspiring stockinette desert right now, so I threw my fantastic project bag from The Fawn and The Fox into the photo to make it more interesting. Lara, the lady behind this great little shop, sews up project bags, does prints, paints, and makes all sorts of cool stuff. She also hosts the podcast, The Fawn Knits, where she showcases the things she makes and talks in general about her crafting. I’ve come to really love her project bags because she has a great eye for choosing fun and funky fabrics and she sews them just a little bit bigger than what I’m used to using. This bag, for example, is big enough to fit everything I need for this sweater. Seriously, 5skeins of worsted weight yarn plus the pattern on a clipboard fit in this baby with room to spare. When you’re on-the-go as much as I am, this nice big bag is awesome for making even large projects easily portable. And fun. I mean, really, just look at those goofy birds!

 And finally, I finally got rolling with my next pair of socks.IMG_0636I’m making this Narwhal Needlework skein of Squishy Sock in the Chocolate & Raspberries colorway in a pair of Atlantic Current socks. I’ve seen a couple slipped stitch sock patterns recently and I just thought it would fit nicely with this skein. I’m very pleased with how these are looking as well as how easy the pattern is.

 I have one other WIP, apair of socks that I cast-on in March (eep!) for which I need to make some critical decisions. This is an old photo, but you get the idea of what it’s like.

It’s a Cookie A pattern so it’s very beautiful, but kind of intense. I made the grand mistake when I was cleaning in thinking I wasn’t yet to the heel and that I’d just rip and restart something a little less involved to get this gorgeous yarn out of my project bag and onto my feet. I went ahead and recycled the pattern copy I had made from my book. A week or so later, I opened the project bag up to realize I was awfully close to the toe of sock number one.

Now, do I try to figure out where I was in the pattern and just get these done? Or do I wind it back into a center-pull ball and find something a little less intense? Decisions, decisions. I’m just going to knit on the other two projects while I think about it (hopefully not for another 6months).

I’ve very stoically succeeded in not casting anything else on despite a primal urge to cast-on all the projects. The desire will only get worse as the temps plummet over the next few days. I see the potential for a bulky sweater in my near future. And maybe a super bulky one, too.

And…

and….

and…

Oh, a knitter’s work is never done!