"I recognize that knitting can improve my mood in trying circumstances."
— Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, a.k.a. "The Yarn Harlot",
from her marvellous book
At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
This past week, I've been making a concerted effort to "get me some happy", in advance of the onslaught of the Christmas holidays. For, as it turns out, it is impossible to "make merry" for those around you if you're not actually feeling merry, yourself.
I'm trying, people. In the face of all. this. mess. I'm really trying.
A good friend recently asked me whether I have been able to get back to doing any of the things that I have really enjoyed in the past. You know, for fun.
And it occurred to me, that "fun" is something I haven't felt capable of for a very, very long time now. The very idea of "enjoying myself" in the face of disaster just didn't seem right-- the guilt took any possible feelings of pleasure away.
How sad is that?
Too sad. Even for me.
There is no way out of all this but through, after all.
And if I have to keep pressing through, I might as well knit something while I'm at it.
I grabbed my friend by the arm on Saturday afternoon, and gave it a gentle twist... And the next thing we knew, we had swept ourselves over to our local knitting mecca, where we spent a surprisingly happy and relaxing few hours browsing through the stock, which is artfully arranged in floor-to-ceiling wall units that are always full to bursting. The owners know exactly what sort of stuff to put where-- what combinations of jewel-like colours will "sing" together, and which incredible textures will entice you to reach out your hand and stroke them... This is not just a yarn shop, but an other-worldly experience that awakens the senses, and entices you to imagine exactly what sort of marvellous creation each skein is crying out to become...
In spite of being on a budget, I confess. I came out laden with bags full of the most exquisite yarns, inspirational patterns, and beautiful bamboo needles that are easier on my hands and make a soft "swish" sound, rather than an annoying metallic "click" when I use them...
Yes, I had fun. Fun! And it felt great.
Almost as great as it has felt to start these projects:
Socks! I have always had a sock project on the go... and usually one on-the-needles and stuffed into my ridiculously large handbag, to whip out and fill time whenever I find a couple of minutes on my hands. The pair I am currently working on was actually begun in August, when all hell was beginning to break loose around here... We have dubbed them my "stress socks", and to be truthful, I'll probably have to throw them on a bonfire and get rid of them, once they're all done! No matter HOW gorgeous they may be...
A warm little sweater for Wee Three. She is my "sweater girl", and always cuddles up enthusiastically in whatever I make for her, without protest. The "Cabin Fever" pattern company has some spectacular designs that are available online from their website, and I cannot recommend them highly enough. Their "top-down" patterns are knit on the round in one piece, with nary a seam to stitch up when you're done! Miraculous. Easy. And gorgeous. What more could you want? Except perhaps the divinely soft green flecked yarn I bought to make it out of... I can't wait to see it on my littlest girlie, her brown eyes shining... She is already hounding me to "FINISH IT!!"
And last, but not least... The Scarf.
Anyone who is a true knitting devotee knows of The Yarn Harlot, a.k.a. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Canadian needlewoman extraordinaire. Well, recently she's been rhapsodizing on her blog about a certain scarf she simply cannot seem to put down, and after seeing pictures, I was hooked:
This is some of the most beautiful yarn I have ever had the pleasure of working with-- Noro Silk Garden; 45 silk /45 kid mohair/ 10 lambswool, and the colour that evolves as you work with it is simply spell-bindingly beautiful. The pattern is so simple, yet the results are spectacular. Like Stephanie, I simply cannot seem to put this project down, and if this keeps up, some lucky people are going to receive some very special hand-made Christmas presents this year... Or, maybe I'll feel so greedy and possessive of these divine, six-foot long creations, I'll just hoard them all for myself... It will be worth venturing out into the Great White North, simply for the pleasure of showing them off!
I may be more than a little nutty these days... but still.
"Knit's End" has never looked so good.