Saturday, November 16, 2013

Leaves of Grass - a time for giving thanks

Okay, here it is, off the blocking mats. (I'm trying hard not to be obnoxiously excited.)

Mel of GirlsInSheepClothing asked how this ranks among the things I've knit, and I think it's right up there at the top. It's certainly the most stunning thing I've managed to work up, thanks to the sheer size and a fortuitous combination of Jared's lovely pattern and Chris's excellent dyework. The yarn is Celebration by Briar Rose Fibers, and the 40% bamboo gives a sheen that makes the shawl light up when held at different angles. 

Photographing this was really fun for two reasons: taking pictures of newly blocked lace is always fun - playing with the angles and admiring the different sections - but there was the added "fun factor" of having two walls near my back door that worked like Velcro. I just slapped the blanket on the wall, tried to arrange it fairly neatly, and it just stuck there. First I tried this weathered shed, then a stucco wall, and both held this particular yarn with ease.

Against the stucco

Hanging on the shed

I love how the handdyed colors ripple like water on a lake
As you can probably see, I played with some of the photos to highlight different aspects of the lace that are hard to capture with a less-than-ideal camera. I know it's not purist, but I'm a bit addicted. The two photos immediately above are pretty close to the real thing, even though they are different; the appearance transforms when viewed from different angles. This shawl/blanket really catches light! I'm grateful that Jeff helped me decide on this yarn.

One of the special aspects of this yarn is that the guys at the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat blessed me by treating me to a spree at Briar Rose Fibers (and now I'm hooked). They did it under the guise of thanking me for helping do some work preparing for the retreat, but I think it's more a reflection of the kind of guys it attracts - talented, thoughtful, generous, and all-around fantastic. I'd go back to the MSKR in a heartbeat. The good Lord knows I keep trying.

The retreat is always a tough time of year for me to get away... and this year is almost definitely out, but for a good reason: I'm working towards taking a bedside harp therapy certification course in the spring. After years of my music being kept "under a bushel," I've gotten to a place in my life where I think it's time I did more with it. In fact, in just a couple hours I should be at my first harp lesson since my short-time harp teacher went off to college about seven years ago. I'm both nervous and excited to be reentering the world of music in this way. Probably the most nebulous aspect of taking this course is the "how to." For those on Ravelry, I am planning to destash some yarn in order to help defray the cost of the harp therapy certification, or at least the lessons. I'll post a link when it's up so you can take a peek or spread the word - any help is appreciated!

It's mere coincidence that as Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I find myself at a place where I feel the need to stop and give thanks to all the people who have shown interest in my life and in my work, and for the opportunities I've had to share the journey with people such as you. Thank you for being a part of my life! I could say more here, but I've gotta make tracks... I don't want to be late for my lesson! Happy knitting!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Beginning the Long Road To The Finish

I've finished Chart D on my Leaves Of Grass blanket!!!

Now it's on to that sprawling border!

In keeping with my LOG challenge to expose myself (and you) to more poetry, here's a video presenting a musical setting of a Latvian poem translated to English. The song is called "Long Road" - fitting, I think, for the idea of being so close and yet so far away. If you can take six minutes to listen, it's quite lovely.  I have been fortunate to hear this piece performed live several times, and I was struck each time by its soaring and wistful quality. The musical setting calls for a smaller choir that alternates with the larger choir, depicting the distance described in the text. You can read the poem's full text in the comments at this link. Enjoy!

"I love you night and day
As a star in the distant sky.
And I mourn for this one thing alone 
That to love, our lifetime was so short."
~ Paulina Barda