A Handmade Rainbow

I have finally finished my Follow-Your-Arrow.  I cannot tell you how pleased I am with both the directions I chose to go, and the yarn I used.

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The blue is Bay Ridge Dye Works in colorway Ohana.

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The lovely rainbow edging is Lorna’s Laces Solemate in a limited edition colorway called “Bertha Palmer Honore”.  The best thing about it, I think, is that it’s light enough for me to wear through the spring months, and possible even on cooler summer nights.

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Here you see my two cats coveting it, and after a brief hissing match between me and them, they no longer tried to lay on top of it.

And now that it’s off the needles, I have a few projects that need small finishing touches, and I’m back to designing.  We are on a place this weekend, and I can’t wait for the time to knit.  I have one project for concentration and one for mindlessness, those moments I will be chatting with people or waiting in a restaurant.

All of the gears in my head are turning, and I’m looking forward to traveling once again, however brief the excursion may be.

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Last night, after my lyra class and the long commute home, with a friend chatting away on the couch and my muscles sore as can be, I had the strongest urge to knit – just pick up a project and knit.  But it wasn’t like I could pick up just any project, because there was some intense need for the project, which was, at that point, unknown.  I spent a while pulling out my project bags, peeking inside, spreading them out and showing them off, and then quietly stuffing them into the bag again, because for some reason they didn’t seem to satisfy the need.

This has happened before, usually those rare moments when I’m struck with an odd sense of boredom, and I spend some time roaming around looking for something to do that satisfies the intense need for a specific type of productivity.  Sometimes it’s cleaning, sometimes it’s walking and last night it was a specific kind of fiber project.

And then I landed on it.  Yesterday was the first day it was really above freezing in a long time.  The sun was shining and you could hear the pitter patter of melting icicles throughout the neighborhood.  Everything felt like it was waking up, and I couldn’t find the project that reflected what I was feeling, until I pulled out the Follow Your Arrow that I had made when the sense of winter gloom was looming overhead.

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I ended up staying up too late working on it, and I’m eager to get back to it tonight.  This colorway inspires me to be cheerful and bright.

Back then, I had named the project “Over the Rainbow” – and seems to have been entirely appropriate.  I’ve got my rainbow.

A Much Needed Quickie

I have several projects ongoing that feel like they are taking forever.  Truthfully, it’s more likely that they are taking so long because I’m jumping between several long projects, stretching out each already time-consuming task five times.  This weekend, anticipating spending most of the weekend in the car on a not-so-fun road trip, I wound a ball of yarn and started what I hoped would be a quick knit.

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The pattern is Autumn Leaves, and was so easy and quick to knit up.  The yarn is Linsilk – a nonwool, linen and silk blend yarn that I actually enjoyed knitting with.  However, I foresee it pilling if washed too aggressively.  All that is left is to sew the sleeve seams and add 3 little buttons and it’s finished – fast enough for me to regain some knitting mojo and keep trucking through some projects I really want complete, and some that I’ve promised others I would do.

The Follow Your Arrow shawl is stalled as I was trying to decide which option of the 5th clue I was going to use, and I was a little dismayed about those choices (more to come on this).  However, I am going to finish up the Over the Rainbow one starting this weekend so I can wear it for our trip to Seattle at the end of the month.

I have also promised to knit a shawl for an indie dyer to use as display, and I have the yarn, but not the pattern.  I’m hoping this will be on the needles for the plane ride and city wandering in Seattle.

And, I have one wee little sweater to seam up for a Ravelry friend, which I’m hoping will be completed by Saturday.

In between all of that is a bag design I’ve been working on for publication, and another little bag design that I’m trying to work out as a gift.

Besides all of that, Burning Man tickets will be on sale soon, and thinking about my summer plans has caused an influx of inspiration.  I want to get all of the necessary things off the needles and out the door so I can start working on those designs.

I Want to be a Hermit

This time last year saw many of my nights sitting on the couch, happily knitting away at various projects, writing up designs, and taking care of those little things that easily fill up your day.  Twice a week I would venture out for circus activities, once a month I would go out dancing, and once a month I would attend a friend’s brunch.  While I had visions of being more social, I was happy with that existence – I felt in control and satisfied with my efforts.

Over the remainder of the year, I forged deeper relationships with people and traveled more, developing my dreams into more complex goals that I was determined to achieve.  I added activities and attended more parties and gatherings, and my network of friends and colleagues widened, quite suddenly.

Lately, I have been feeling exhausted and chaotic as I try to achieve everything in the designated time frame – design, socialize, work, train, make pretty things, clean house, spend time with family, take care of self.  Sometimes, I try to fit it all into one day.  Recently, I have recognized how listless it has been making me feel, and how I don’t feel like I’m doing any of it well, especially the last one – taking care of me.  I have been taking a stand a bit more – “I would love to attend the [insert event], but I’ve got something going on the night before and two days after, and I really need to have a free night or two this week to relax and reset.”  That is an acceptable response!  It’s ok to turn events down!  I still feel a bit guilty.

The thing I’m feeling the most is how little I have been able to knit recently.  There are many things in my queue and many more ideas piled in my head, but I can’t knit and drive, or knit and play certain games, and knit lace in the dark.

I’ve got Clue 3 of the Follow Your Arrow pattern done for one of the shawls (Version 2.0) and still have to work it up for Version 1.  But I feel that it’s taken me a ridiculously long time to work 12 rows of simple lace.

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Basically, if I flicker in out of the blogosphere over the next couple of weeks – know that I am trying to take that precious time to myself so that I can hit my reset button and face the world with a genuine smile, rather than the exhausted whimper that’s been quietly escaping my lips when  I think of everything I’ve committed myself to in the following week.

Spoilers!

Clue 2 came out today for the Ysolda Teague Mystery Knit-Along.  I’ve decided this is a good time to share clue 1.

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I like how happy the shawl looks so far.  This yarn (Unplanned Peacock Studios) is a delight to work with – colorful, soft, accommodating.  It can be a little splitty if I’m not paying attention, but overall, it’s been wonderful.

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The yarn conundrum has been resolved, and later today I will be caking two skeins for the other shawl.  I’m kind of giddy to see where this is going.  This second clue has been quite interesting, and several different directions lie on the horizon.

Wrapped up in Virginia

I fell off the radar when I hopped in the car and drove out to the Virginia countryside for the winter holiday.  It was beautiful, sunny, relaxing, and time stood still for a few days as I enjoyed the rest and atmosphere.  I did remember to photograph the Esjan shawl before deciding to give it away.

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In a moment of solitude, I walked to the top of the hill and laid out the shawl.  The colors really shined with the soft, setting sunlight hitting it.

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While the colors are beautiful and I love the pattern, the combination of it all didn’t feel like me.  It wasn’t quite bright enough or soft enough.  I will probably make it again, but next time, I will start with more stitches and create more of a crescent shape instead of the half circle.

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I can’t believe we only have one more day left of 2013.  I’m spending a lot of my time today thinking about the past year – all of the ups and downs, the tears, the laughter, all of the wonderful adventures I embarked on and the amount of personal growth I felt.  It’s been incredible.

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The shawl ended up with someone who truly appreciated it.  I have dozens of photographs of what I did in Virginia, along with more stories and thoughts about 2013 and the quickly approaching 2014.  I hope you are having a wonderfully festive time and gaining everything you need from it.

All of These Projects at Once

I have a few words to share with you, blogosphere, that my knitter followers as well as my circus followers will sympathize with.  I am injured.  A little over a week ago, I was working on the cyr wheel.  Everything was going great- I was internalizing my struggle and really catching on to the weird physics that exists within the wheel.  I eventually stopped practicing because my stomach couldn’t quite handle the sheer amount of spinning involved.  The next morning, my shoulder was in excruciating pain.  It was so bad, I couldn’t put my coat on, I couldn’t hold my purse over my shoulder, I couldn’t even pour a cup of coffee.  A week later, it still hurt, so I went to see a physical therapist for a consultation.  Basically, between training almost daily in my circus stuff, trying to knit a massive sweater in a month, and the projects I had going on at work, I have a repetitive use injury – an inflamed rotator tendon.

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So, my knitting/crocheting holiday gifts are slow going.  I actually cut out a lot of the gifts and reduced the size of others.  Ellette’s gift (pictured above) is the hardest for me to work on because it is a tiny and tight gauge and 100% cotton which has absolutely no give.

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These are other (secret) projects that have so far been less stressful on my shoulder.  The above is at a somewhat looser gauge and was simple crochet, which was easy to work on.  Below, I blocked some stuff that had been sitting in my finishing bag for a couple months.  The finishing bag is filled with completed projects that need ends woven in and blocking, and tends to be done in chunks rather than as projects actually get finished.

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And then I blocked Esjan, which had been sitting in that finishing bag since it’s completion in October.  I’m entirely in love with the colors!  It was completely dry this morning so I unpinned it and folded it up so my cats couldn’t get to it, and tonight I hope to weave in the ends.

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I am sorry that things won’t be completed quickly and the parade of finished things I was looking forward to will not be happening.  I am also sorry that I won’t have any awesome circus photos to share over the rest of the month, since all flying activity is mostly suspended until I heal.  Here’s to a speedy recovery!

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