Thursday, December 31, 2009

here's to 2009

Sometimes you can't see something well unless you see it in sections. Small parts. Things that you didn't expect to see are better illuminated that way, and the whole is better appreciated. That's sometimes how I look at things, in details, and then, well, I can lose track of the big picture. Oddly, the photos I shot of my new knitted hat fit this metaphor, and helped me reflect on the year, too.

This hat isn't my design. I had some oddball yarns and thought it might be better all round to rely on someone else's ideas for a starting place. Melissa's Hat is a Green Mountain Spinnery Pattern, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. The pattern itself is a very spare one which I figured out, but then had to adjust. (You know, like most well laid plans...spare at the outset, and then adjustable!)

The yarns were special odd bits. The white is a Belfast Mini-Mill yarn, made of Samoyed (dog fur) and a small amount of Merino. That accounts for its warmth and the amazing halo. The black and purple are both Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran yarns, they have merino and silk in them, I think. Then, there's the cranberry colored yarn, a Polwarth/Leicester blend from Rovings. So, two out of 4 of the yarns are Canadian made, but the wool here is Australian. No point, I figured, in designing something out of this, because no one would likely be able to replicate it in these yarns!

The gauge was off. That resulted in a hat that was too big so I gave up on what I'd begun and ripped it out and started with a smaller size. I also suspect either the row gauge was off or that this hat is designed to look like a church with a Ukranian onion dome. It's hard to tell from the photos. Never mind. Once I get into a stranded knitting groove, I'm along for the ride! Also, it's hard to rip out a Samoyed yarn. It has quite a halo--just like the dog.

Many people claim that dog fur is super warm (true), stinky (false) or a lot like angora rabbit. (sorta.) This yarn was well made and the Samoyed was spotlessly clean. I know it didn't smell stinky like some other dog because I left the yarn lying around on couches and coffee tables. Neither of my dogs attacked it, licked it, or showed the slightest interest. That is likely because it doesn't smell--because they've gone after way too many other dogs, cats, rodents, snakes, etc. for me to believe that they have a poor sense of smell. Dog blend yarns have lovely drape, but isn't very elastic or springy in texture.

At the end, I found the hat needed a sturdy hat band to stay on my head, which definitely wasn't in the pattern. (I then improvised, cast on with more black wool, knit a hem casing, and added elastic.) I also found that without an "inner hat", it wasn't warm enough in a winter prairie breeze. (par for the course) Finally, I discovered that I kinda liked what the hat became, and I'm enjoying wearing it.
Note that the horizontal lines across my face in this photo are from the old mirror inset on our kitchen door. I'm older, but not that much older!

So, in conclusion, I would have to say that this hat is a good metaphor for my 2009. It's been a huge year for me. I've had my first two books published. I've moved to another country. I've shifted from doing a lot of freelance writing and design to some freelance editing and occasional teaching. I'm only doing a little writing and a little design, and it's a good break.

I tend to get absorbed in the details...whether it's knitting a hat or something else. I find myself bemoaning the fact that while I wrote two books, I haven't earned anything much yet...and I may never earn anything past the advances. (the sad fact of book publishing these days) I get too absorbed in the negative interactions/experiences that occasionally pop up and follow me around as I became a more public figure. (That's sometimes rough and surprisingly unexpected.) I focus on the book reviews, the personal comments, the details. If you too are interested in those things, Knit Green got a great review here in the latest Library Journal. Oops. never mind...

The big message for me is that, like enjoying the new hat (and not focusing on the gauge issues, the hat band issues, the Samoyed fluff, etc.), I need to remember the big picture. I've had a super year, with great changes and lots of excitements. I can only hope 2010 will be so good.

Oh, and today, the last day of 2009, I'm off to take a look at a loom. Cause, you know, I don't have enough projects and fiber arts gadgets around here...and it's been a 24? year hiatus since I had a floor loom. Maybe time for me to think about it again.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, productive and exciting 2010. May it include lots of joy, including seeing the big picture and--fluffy onion dome hats!

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Blogger Nancy said...

Happy New Year!

The hat is a great project!

December 31, 2009 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Donna D said...

Happy New Year. I LOVE that hat!!


December 31, 2009 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Wishing you a very Happy New Year -Here's hoping 2010 is a year full of fun, good health and prosperity for all :)

December 31, 2009 at 4:34 PM  
Blogger Willow said...

Happy New Year! The hat is beautifully knitted and looks lovely! Here's to a year in 2010 that is quieter and simpler!

December 31, 2009 at 11:22 PM  
Blogger Jame said...

Happy New Year! That looks like a cozy hat. I know what you mean about using a pattern as a starting place. Sounds like me with a recipe; I usually use it as a guideline with substitutions par for the course.

January 1, 2010 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Clare said...

Love the hat

Happy New Year

January 2, 2010 at 7:29 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Happy New Year!

January 2, 2010 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

I have a LeClerc loom I wish I could just give you.

--AlisonH at

January 4, 2010 at 2:28 PM  

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