Saturday, November 29, 2008

you never know...

So far, it's been a wonderful holiday weekend. I've gotten to sleep late (8:30 is the equivalent of sleeping til noon in my world!) and I've had time to knit and rest. My Thanksgiving meal on Thursday night was wonderful--good food and two good friends to share it with us. The best compliments happened then: One friend didn't feel well, but he came anyhow, explaining that eating a good meal with us was as good a medicine as he could imagine. My other friend told us it was the best Thanksgiving she'd had in many years. She even complimented Harry and Sally, the dogs, on their good behavior. (HAH! I think she had too much wine...)

The odd thing about my saffron O-wool knitting project is that I'm nearly addicted to it. My bottom has been pasted to the couch for longer than usual! This allowed for reflection...even as I polished my new Great Wheel with beeswax and orange oil, even as I cooked, I thought about it. Many of my projects don't feel this way. I focus on owning the sweater at the end, finishing the sample for a knitting design, sending off the knitted present. While I always like knitting, I don't always like the projects I knit!

I can't predict this ahead...I can't look at the yarn/concept/pattern and say "This one will be a joy." I just can't tell. Today, I happen to be blogging on an older computer, with older photos to cruise. A year ago, in November, I was knitting this. A Finn/crossed with something else wool sheep breed, very soft, that I spun up relatively lofty and bulky.

It took a while, but it became this shawl colored sweater. I've won the sweater once or twice this year. In retrospect, I remember I loved spinning this yarn. The slip stitch sweater pieces were pure joy. I struggled mightily on how to do the collar. And so far? The knitting itself gives me more pleasure than the sweater. The sweater? It's just not as compelling to wear as that spinning and knitting was!

In comparison, there are these two sweaters that I knit in graduate school. I wrote about this for The Inside Loop's first issue. The handspun began as odds and ends I dumped into a dyepot or two. I was freezing all the time in our drafty old house (we couldn't afford insulation or high heat bills) and these sweaters were knit up quickly in 2000. These-one a blue roll neck, the other a scarlet boat neck--are not masterpieces. Warm and bulky, with a sweatshirt shape, they are comforting... parts of my wardrobe that I pull out again and again. I don't remember knitting them to be enjoyable. I can't remember knitting the blue one at all! This happens to me. Hey, I knit a lot! The scarlet sweater was knit second. I remember knitting all too well, for sad reasons--I was knitting it when my mother-in-law, z"l, died. Yet, it's a sweater I gravitate towards even now.

The more I knit, (and you can substitute in here cooking/gardening/dyeing/spinning/anything with an end product as well as a process), the more I realize that it's a crap shoot. What we enjoy may be the process of creation, and it may be the product. It's like, say, Thanksgiving dinner. Good food is important, but so is the company, the weather, and myriad other things we can't control. We can throw seeds into a garden, tend it carefully--but you just can't control the weather. It's up to me (up to us?) to try hard. It might just come out ok. The process might be fun in itself. That might be good enough to focus on...cause you just never know.

In other news: I'm almost afraid to mention it, phew phew phew (I'm getting superstitious) my baby nephew is making slow improvements again.

My heart goes out to the people of Mumbai who've lost loved ones this week. The tragedy felt very close to home when I heard of a young rabbi and his wife who were killed. They worked hard to provide home hospitality to Jewish visitors to Mumbai...just two among many, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, who died. May their memory be a blessing.

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Blogger cyndy said...

Great post, full of great insight!

I had to laugh when you mentioned not remembering knitting something...I was recently presented with a pair of mittens that needed repair after 4 years. I had no recollection of knitting them, however I did recognize the yarn ;-). I chalked up the lack of memory to a "holiday knitting" frenzy. That is my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thankful for the news about your nephew!

November 30, 2008 at 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw someone wearing something I'd knitted, vaguely remembered the yarn only when I saw it, and tried very hard to remember making it. I knew I had, at least. I still can't remember anything about the yarn, where I bought it, what pattern I used, or who the manufacturer was. But at least I can say she loves it and it came out pretty!

So glad to hear there's good news. We'll take all we can for whatever time we can.

My word verification, by the way, is "restrut," as in, "You can get anything you want, at Alice's restrut..."

December 1, 2008 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Love this post - nod nod nod.

So glad to hear good news about your nephew.

December 4, 2008 at 9:52 AM  

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