Sunday, February 20, 2011

Meditation on a manscarf

If you've been reading along, you may recognize the longer Matthew Shepard Seaman's Scarf.  This pattern is dedicated to a gay student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten and died as a result back in 1998. 


The pattern is offered freely, but we knitters are asked to turn our gaze beyond ourselves to people different from us.  Perhaps the fact that I knit much of this scarf on bus rides has helped me to consider my prejudices within the same context.  I must admit that it's easy to praise the thought of good will toward others different from me, but lately as I've ridden public transit and sometimes worried about my own safety, I begin to realize that moving past my fears and prejudices really takes thought and effort.  It's so easy to shut out the world with a pair of headphones, and even easier to keep to the insulation of a car.  It's easy to become so busy with my own life that I don't allow my heart to expand to include others.  In a way, I'm grateful for the circumstances in my life that put me in the same space as people different from me, even though those circumstances often come in the guise of inconveniences.


And now for an exercise in stepping into territory of the 'other':  

To a woman in a nursing home

Your eyes are ageless.
I squat so I can look into them
free of superiority
You must hate when people 
talk over your head
leaving you to stare at their navels
as if you don’t hear them
When I see your eyes, I am reminded of
the girl inside you
a myriad of experiences
a person whose long-past decisions 
          and haunt 
a person whose nightmares have become real
a person with no comfort
     beyond this moment
a prisoner of now
When I see your eyes
I wonder if I, too
will look out at a shrunken world
from the confines
of a chair
When I see your eyes
I see things I cannot interpret
My eyes reach out to yours
This moment is light
is love
is tenderness
And I offer you my thanks.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

And something to show for it

After a longish hiatus from spinning, I decided to try spinning my own yarn for one of the patterns just released in Stephen West's new book.  I figured that its simple use of a little over 100 yards of yarn in stockinette stitch would lend itself well to handspun yarns.  Here's my version.

I used a 50/50 silk/merino blend dyed by Beata over at Hedgehog Fibres.  Coincidentally, I first encountered (and subsequently fell for) her work through Stephen's projects.  I don't presume to be a good spinner, so I'm glad to have a nice fiber that kinda makes up for it.   


For the grey, I used Jamieson & Smith Shetland Aran, having been itching to use it since I encountered it.  That's about the only itching involved, for while it seems almost rough compared to the silk/wool, it's actually really soft.  However, it seems like it could felt easily, so I opted not to use it for the i-cord drawstring.  Instead, I experimented with chain-plying a thicker-spun single.  


Oh.  And for those who care, happy Valentine's Day.  For those who just want chocolate, eat your heart out.