27 October 2009

and then there were cables

I played hooky today and skipped class, but I think my critics should deal with me lightly. Anyone who stayed indoors today, on such a gloriously fall day, at least in my neck of the woods, would have to be labeled an idiot.

Blue skies and falling leaves. This may be our last mild day before winter. The last day when the color is still in the leaves on the trees and not down in the gutter or being swept away by a cold November wind. We've already had snow this season in Minnesota, so my irresponsible behavior can only be called sanity.

And I don't think its strange at all that I took my camera and my half-way finished pair of socks with me on my wanderings. I kept finding similarities between the color on the trees and the color in the sky with the happy stripes in my socks. One red stripe in particular at the ankle matched perfectly the hue of one fallen leaf that skittered across my path. And another stripe, this one a golden-amber color, matched perfectly the flaming bough of a friendly maple tree. All these stripes set against a background of blue-gray-green that reminds me of the sky today.

The warm autumn sky before winter.

I chose to end these socks with a cabled rib. Something about this technique reminds me of the braided trunks of the maples and oaks, or maybe the twining stems of the ivy that climbs the brick walls of the buildings that march along the side of the path where I walk. Or perhaps the bobbing seed heads of the fancy grasses that also line this path. Have you ever studied one up close? The seeds fit against the stalk in a staggered pattern that calls to mind a braid.

Any description will work I guess.

I gathered a bouquet of dried grasses and slipped the stems into the jar that holds my pencils and brushes on my desk at studio.

22 October 2009


This morning I shuffled out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen to grope around at the coffee pot only to reach up and open the cupboard door directly into my face. My nose actually. I'd misjudged the distance between the door swing and my face, and well, there you have it: I didn't need half a pot of coffee to wake up this morning.

Right there, in that moment, I tried to remind myself to slow down and watch what I'm doing. My life has been pretty busy as of late, and it's been difficult to find the time to do the things that used to be 'everyday events.'

But I have rallied, as you can see. My spinning wheel hasn't been allowed to get dusty. The fiber above comes from my mother's sheep. I pot-dyed it about a month ago, and found the time to spin up three ounces in the evenings this past week.

This should be enough for exactly one and a half socks.

I'm gonna label that progress.

12 October 2009

dreaming osmosis

I woke up to snow today, but the fragile accumulation of wet flakes on my bike seat is nothing compared to the pile of work teetering precariously on my desk at the studio. This change in the weather (wasn't it a week ago that I was sweating in my flip flops?) also calls for a change in my wardrobe.

What knitter isn't secretly pleased to pull out her woolens after a summer of lightweight cottons, even if it is at the threat of a hard frost or a blizzard?

Today I'm wearing my Koolhaas cap and I can't help but remember two years ago when I gritted my teeth over this lovely design. I had to have it, but each time I cast on and finished the ribbing something went wonky with the way I was working the stitches. Those of you Brooklyn Tweed enthusiasts (and who isn't?) will know that the pattern is based on the Seattle Public Library, designed by the architect Rem Koolhaas.

We're studying Koolhaas at school right now. Reading his essays and drooling over his work. The fact that I have knitted a half dozen Koolhass hats doesn't seem to give me an edge. And I think it should.

Some of you may wonder what cured my initial confusion over this pattern. I was enlightened by a more experienced knitter who took one look at my twisted first cap and asked me what direction I was reading the pattern from. I then realized that I was reading the pattern backwards, the way you would read a book, not a knitting chart.

Knit and learn, I guess.

As far as my Koolhaas cap goes, maybe I'll have to start wearing it to bed. Osmosis may be my only chance.

04 October 2009

barefoot in the street (not me)

This morning my friends and I woke up bright and early to meet for coffee. Talk was chipper and jovial around the wrought iron table located on the sidewalk outside the cafe under a stand of goldening trees. I ordered a Mexican mocha, and the blend of cayenne, cinnamon and cloves, combined with the crisp breeze, made my checks feel warm and rosy.

Three things made me very happy this morning. One, for the first time in a string of long days I woke up to sunshine and a dry bike seat. Two, I'd pulled out my Lady Elinor entrelac stole for the first time this season, and its intricate pattern and textures kept drawing my eyes and hands as I sat in sun. And three, blessed number three, (which reminds me why we were at this particular cafe in this particular part of the city in the first place) I congratulated myself on being smart enough not to have entered in the marathon we were there to watch.

Several of our friends were entered in this race, and it was fun to cheer on strangers and familiar faces alike, but I couldn't help but feel that all of us standing on the sidewalk were a brew of mixed feelings. Perhaps a little bit envious. (Why couldn't we be that fit and spry? ) And perhaps even more so (in my case, at least) : smug.

Boy, I thought to myself, am I glad I had the foresight nine months ago, not to sign up for this torture. As I congratulated myself for my wise prudence I happened to witness a person run by barefoot. I think we may have all gasped in unison. Barefoot in Minnesota in the first week of October!

Anyway, the reason I'm retelling this tale is because I instantly felt the need to knit a pair of socks for that poor misguided person running down the street barefoot. You can bet I had on a pair of my hand knit socks this morning.

Something that I had the foresight to knit nine months ago, as well, when I was not signing up for any marathons.
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