Monday, give or take an hour of daylight


Last post, I was debating the all-consuming First World Problem of Clasps versus No Clasps on my Sandrilene:

Yes, the clasps themselves are pretty.  Yes, I was incredibly clever and added glass flower beads to each sewn point. Yes, they showed off Indigodragonfly‘s gorgeous yarn even more gorgeously.

However.

I’ve been wearing the sweater constantly for the past week, and noticed three things: (1) The clasps kept coming undone; (2) they would then get caught on my sleeves as I moved; and (3) I kept wanting to wear the sweater open and see #2 above.

I took a good look at some photos I had taken of me wearing the sweater, with clasps closed, and noticed the final sign of the apocalypse: When closed, the clasps pulled at the cables, distorting them.

DISTORTING CABLES. KNITTING HULK SAYS DISTORTING CABLES, BAAAAAAD.

Within about ninety seconds, my sharpest wee scissors had become quite snippy with the front of the cardigan (which I was wearing at the time), and the clasps, clever flower beads, sparkly seed beads, and sewing thread remnants were quickly strewn about the table before me.

And that, as they say, is that.

I’m re-blocking the fronts, just to pamper those lovely (and now claspless) cables a bit. Perhaps also to offer my apologies for the distorting.

I mean. I distorted hand-knit reversible CABLES, people. How can I ever live with myself?

Thanks to all of you for your input in the comments. You helped wake me up to reason, once again.

It takes a community to knit a sweater sometimes.

Spinning My Wheels

Hee. That, folks, is what several nights of insomnia will do for one’s sense of humour.

Maybe it’s the weather change, as we had our first snowfall this week. Maybe it’s my old sensei, Pain, come to make sure I’m up on my homework. Whatever it is, I’ve been up in the wee hours more nights than not lately, and it turns out what I really want to do in those wee hours is spin. And spin. And spin.

Last week, I finished spinning the singles of the Jacob/Polwarth/Silk tweed blend that had been wending its way through my drumcarder throughout September.

Left: Silk from Chasing Rainbows. Top right: Jacob. Lower right: Polwarth.

Batt, one pass. These colours are more accurate than above.

Two nights of insomnia later, and I had 775 yards of sproingy tweedy 3-ply yarn.

This photo has the ODDEST colour/light balance ever, and the only reason I am still posting it here is to show off the tweediness, the details and textures, of this yarn. (The true colours are closer to those in the batt photo above as well as the photo of the yarn with the plying ball bowl.) The matte purple is the Jacob; the shiny highlights of blue, green, and turquoise are the silk, and the variations in the base colour are from the multicoloured Polwarth roving.

Yarn Design

I am discovering that I LOVE designing a yarn from start to finish. I am entranced by imagining a yarn, a yarn that does not exist yet, and then going about the process of bringing it to life. I toss my stash for likely bases and additions; should my stash fall short (perish the thought!), I consider all the dyers and fleece-folk and batt-makers and fluff-producers that are within the reach of my internet browser, and I go fluff-hunting. (Hey, fluff-peeps. If you have unusual stuff, let me know. Or if you have stellar examples of The Classics, that too. Clear, interesting colours, ditto. Thanks.)

The biggest joy is that every single thing I have been taught in my fiber and spinning classes is now coming together. Thanks to Robin Russo (who first got me started thinking in this way), Sheila January, Deb Robson, Abby Franquemont, Beth Smith, Sara Lamb, Sarah Sweet, Judith Mackenzie, and all the spinners and knitters in all my classes (hedging my bets here, just because I KNOW I have forgotten someone important), I shop for spinning fiber in a whole new way these days. I spend a lot of time looking for Just The Right texture, fleece, colour, property. I don’t want just any old silk. I want THAT silk, for particular reasons: surface finish, hand, colour, texture, blending qualities, the role it will play in the finished yarn, and ultimately, in the finished object.

I don’t know why the process of blending fiber and spinning it into a yarn that previously existed only in my mind’s eye thrills me so, but it does.

I’d say this process is more fun than six barrels of kittens, but c’mon. Nothing is more fun than six barrels of kittens. (You know I’m right. Tile floors, of course, because of the clean-up and the fun of watching them sliiiiiide. Felt mice liberally strewn about. Me sitting in the middle of it all, grinning like an idiot. And you think YOU are a crazy cat lady.)

This tweedy yarn is going to become some sort of vest (or “waistcoat,” as my U.K. friends would say). I believe I even have the perfect handmade polymer clay buttons to match. (Oh, darn. That means I have to go stash-diving in my button stash. How terrible. Poooooorrr meeeee.)

Help a Master Teacher Rebuild

I mentioned Judith MacKenzie above. Judith is an internationally known spinning teacher and mentor; she is, frankly, an international treasure whose knowledge of certain indigenous fiber traditions is without equal.

Judith awarding Laura’s (TinkerTots) skein a blue ribbon!

As many of you know by now, her studio in Forks, Washington burned to the ground last week. Everything is gone: wheels, looms, class samples, the fiber work and collections of a literal lifetime spent studying and teaching worldwide. More information, as well as a link for donations to help rebuild her studio and replace her equipment, is here. If you can help get the word out in any way–tweet the link to your followers, post it on Facebook, let everyone in your guild know–I personally would appreciate it very much. Judith has taught me so much about the deep sacred joy to be found in fiberwork; my hope is that that joy can continue spreading to help heal our world, one batt, one spindle, one spinner at a time.

Chispas

Small sparks for inspiration

OK, let’s get the cute hedgehog out of the way right up front: Hedgehog getting a belly rub.

Oh, wait. I lied. Hedgehog cute not out of the way yet. A little late, but still deadly adorbs.

Clever, clever, and also a great way of making harmony happen: London’s houses that aren’t.

These are birds made of paper. I have to tell you that right up front, because if I didn’t, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you later.

Has anyone ever told you that depression is all in your head? Show them this.

If someone you know is depressed, show them this. (And let them know they are not alone. Show them my blog and tell them I’ve fought clinical depression all my life, and I know it sucks, and they are NOT ALONE.)

We had a suicide in our community last week. I feel like it’s time–past time!–for those of us who battle depression, starting with me, to step up and reach out and say that we’re stronger together in the light than we are alone in the dark.

Life hurts sometimes. And if the only balm and surcease I can provide is a damn cute rice-eating-slow-loris video, then that’s what I’ve got.

If life hurts you too much right now, please, find the courage to tell someone, even if by text message or email. You won’t be bothering us or burdening us, you will be giving us a chance to save someone special and precious and unique. YOU. (We get our knickers in a knot about saving baby snow tigers, after all. You’re just as important as that baby snow tiger. You don’t have to believe that. You just have to believe that I believe that.)

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About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Almost 2-yr-old kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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6 Responses to Monday, give or take an hour of daylight

  1. Arla says:

    Bless you Sandi for speaking out about depression! You are absolutely correct when you say we are stronger together. I don’t remember who said this but it still holds true today as it did when the person first said it…”United we stand, divided we fall.”
    Crafting of any sort is a good diversion for us who suffer, regardless of our ailments…
    Thanks again for sharing all that you do…with crafting, the chispas, the errors in judgment when it comes to embellishing our finished projects, and also the triumphs in our finished projects!

    Thanks again!!!
    Arla

  2. Rachel says:

    First — your Sandrilene is still gorgeous and the batt/yarn is as well
    Second — thank you for being open about depression. I’ve battled it off and on for years, chemically and through talk therapy. There have been days when the only reason not to commit suicide was that I was more scared of what I might find after.
    And last — thank you for the Slow Loris video! Those eyes!

    Rachel

  3. Mary says:

    Sandi, thank you so much for being open about battling depression. Too often, we sufferers tend to closet ourselves. Just knowing that there are other people out there, people we admire, like yourself, who deal with this too, helps.

    I loved your sweater before, but love it even more without the clasps.

    Mary

  4. molly says:

    mary is quite correct that knowing other people, ones whom we admire, who deal with depression helps. it may take a village to fix a sweater, but it also takes a village to help with depression. sometimes we are the people who help, sometimes we are people who are helped. thank you for sharing – your struggles with depression, your struggles with your sweater and your chispas. my life is better for living in your village!
    molly

  5. Deb says:

    I’m with Molly that my life is better for living in your village too. Thank you for trusting to share with us.

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