Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wool Gatherings - Mid-January

I feel confident that I have chosen realistic and positive goals for the new year. It took me half a month to confirm that, but there's no rush. Eleven and a half more stretch before me.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Self-care = self-love, and that means finding love in the body I'm in now, not putting it off for some runway-ready bod that won't happen. Really, I'd just love to be able to run again, regardless of my weight. What will it take to be a runner again? I need to build up muscle in my ankles, legs, and pump up my cardiovascular. I'm already surprised how quickly I can get back into my favorite breathing rhythm when I speed-walk a mile on the treadmill. Listening to Led Zeppelin or P!nk always helps. Getting back into yoga will also help reach that goal. 
  • I want to learn to crochet this year. No grannie-squares, thank you. I'd prefer to learn on a practice swatch and then maybe dive into a super easy cowl, like Daina Mickus's Quick Classy Cowl or  Elizabeth Trantham's Effortless Cowl
  • I want to learn to spin fiber, particularly on a wheel, but maybe a drop spindle, too. The spindles look like they'd be more difficult. 
  • I have a knitting challenge that I've committed myself to completing with the Smoky Mountain Knitting Guild. I am really excited about this. One of our Board members came up with this fantastic idea: the creation of a 2015 Popular Designer Club, consisting of 8 selected knitwear designers, and a Challenge that calls for participants to complete a minimum of 4 patterns by 4 different designers by November 31st. There's a drawing for one of three prizes, but I'm not even interested in that! The whole concept just lit my fancy like wild fire. The designers are Martina Behm, Ysolda Teague, Stephen West, Jared Flood, Veera Välimäki, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Cookie A, and Tin Can Knits. Of course I'm going to knit 4 patterns from 4 separate designers, but I personally hope to make at least one from each before the year is out. In the process of pulling out particular types of patterns by these designers to showcase for the guild, I've come to appreciate each designer's particular styles and the flavor of their work. I never would have been able to do that if not given a reason to pay closer attention to their collections on a one-on-one basis. For example, Stephen West is known for combining unexpected colors and challenging techniques. Once I began looking more closely at his patterns, and also at how other knitters took his designs and personalized them with their own color schemes, I gained a new appreciation for his flexibility. I couldn't have done any of this without the wonders of and the ability to see the whole body of a designer's work in one spot. I love Ravelry. 
  • I want to attend more of the KnitWitz knitting groups that meet each Tuesday and Thursday at the public library.
  • Last year's goal with Goodreads was to read as much as possible. This year I hope to read for quality, but also look closer at what exactly I personally like in a book. 
Six good, solid goals.

Guess what? I can already provide an update. Hot damn.
  • Goal to learn how to spin: Last Monday I took a class taught by Julie Wilson of Jehovah Raah Farm on beginning spinning and I spun my first two bobbins of Shetland wool, taken from sheep that Julie herself raised, and plied them together. Here's the proof:

The skein on the left is mine. It is about 30 yards of hot mess, but it is beautiful to me. I think I'm going to use it in a simple, chunky cowl. Julie gives her students those cute tokens / medals as "graduation" presents once they've completed their first skein. I'm now a real spinner! 

(Note to self: New goal for the year is to lay hands on my own Lendrum spinning wheel.)
  • Goal to attend KnitWitz: I've been to two knitting gatherings already. One was to kick off the beginning of a KAL (knit-along) for Laura Aylor's Exit 0 shawl. Here are the three colors I've chosen for the pattern, in Loops & Threads Woolike (85% acrylic / 15% nylon, but heavenly soft and fine):

Charcoal, Mauve, and Cool Gray
  • Goal to read more mindfully: At the beginning of January I read Zadie Smith's Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays and loved it. She is an excellent writer and I found that I had a lot in common with her (not the writing part particularly, though I wish). She's a super Katharine Hepburn fan, too! My mother introduced me to Hepburn's films when I was young and we love to watch them together, especially if Cary Grant or Spencer Tracy shows up. For me, when I hear "Hepburn," I always see Katharine, never Audrey. Smith's essays on writing and the novel were particularly astute. (Yes, I used a fancy word, but it is perfect here.) I love how she described how different novelists approach what she calls the architecture of a story, how the process from the get-go can shape the end product. Her essay on George Eliot had me scrounging around for my unread copy of Middlemarch. She offered me a glimpse back to my days of college literature analysis, which I loved. I'm still a total literature nerd. Love it!
I'm currently reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and plan on re-reading it for notes on nonfiction writing structure and narrative. I became particularly interested in Hillenbrand after reading about her research techniques in "The Unbreakable Laura Hillenbrand," an article in The New York Times Magazine. Read it! 
  • The Knitting Challenge: I've begun the first pattern towards this goal. I dyed yarn specifically for the pattern, which is the Low Tide Cardigan by Tin Can Knits. The yarn is Miss Babs Tarte base (75% Merino / 15% nylon / 10% Tencel), which I immersion dyed using ProChem WashFast dyes. 

It will be for Alex, who has decided she loves blue. 

There's one more goal. But I'm approaching it like it is an unbroken horse. That goal is to blog weekly, at least. For now, I think I've made a pretty significant start to the year, eh?

1 comment:

Thank you for reading my blog and providing feedback! I love to read your comments and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!