Monday, September 18, 2017

Cats forever



Hi you all!
For days, I have been hunting for a perfect, quiet time to sit down at the desk and share some of the things I have been making and to share pictures of them… To find the right mindset, to gather thoughts, to collect right words has been almost impossible. There never seems to be long enough stretch of time for that. Today I realized how long it has been since I updated the blog and decided just to gather up some words and then hit publish. I do realize why Instagram is so popular, there the word count is smaller, but then again, there should be really good pictures. I seem to be lacking both. Small part of the problem has been the fact that I have been mostly making more cats and it feels like I have said enough of them already.

As always, I have treasured each one of your comments. Thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart. xxxxxx
I was searching for some inspiration about cats the other day and came across Dr Seuss’s Cat in a Hat movie. I watched it and I really liked the tiny bits where the teller read the book. I loved the rhymes, I need to get a copy of one of his books. I don’t think they have been translated into Finnish. I searched the Lapland library database and found one book and ordered it. 

While talking about books… I find historical mystery books quite entertaining and I listened to C. J. Sansom’s books some time ago. I was lost for a bit what to listen to next. Last week I bought D. K. Wilson’s The First Horseman and am quite happy again to roam around the dark alleys of the Tudor times London while knitting soft kittens. It might seem a bit strange for me to be enjoying something like that, but there is knitting connection there… AliceStarmore brought these Tudor (Roses) women into my life. Then I had to find some reading around them, that lead to Alison Weir’s books and Hilary Mantell’s Wolf Hall and then to Renaissance English History podcast. Now that I know more (which is still quite little) of those times and the real personnel, it is easier to read the fiction and it becomes more interesting. Tudor times aside, enough good words cannot be said of CraftlitAt the moment Heather is explaining and picking apart and pointing out interesting things of The Count of Monte Christo by Alexander Dumas and I am truly enjoying it too. I am not caught up yet but making a good progress. What could be better than to have a good book in the ears and an interesting knit/crochet/sewing/drawing in hands.
There have been more cats… The house is getting crowded little by little and the words “crazy cat lady” might just be very fitting nickname for me. In a way, I have enjoyed staying loyal to one design. Often, my mind rushes into something new and I drop the first idea without really considering it or taking the time to explore the theme for more. Some time ago I read from somewhere that if you want to design, I think it was to design, something, draw 100 pictures first because it is only after the first 100 are out of your mind, you come up with something unique. I have a long way to 100 cats, so I might just keep going.
I have played with yarns and I made one cat using yarn held double, I think my yarn is Jamieson’s Spindrift, but I am not sure, as I got a bag of very little balls without labels. I used several different shades to make this one; when one tiny ball was used up, I added a new little ball.
Then I made two as if they were using onesies, as I wanted to embroider something, but the little dots were the only design I could think of (the pink cat).
The one I am making now, has two strands of Jamieson’s and one strand of silky mohair and the feel is again very different. Using different yarns for the bodies has been interesting. Some yarns just flow into stitches, round up to fill the space and are soft to touch, while others have their own minds, feel odd, have no interest in turning into soft cat bodies, it feels like their stitches have corners and would like to keep their straight form, never to become curvy stitches. I found some black yarn in worsted weight from my stash last week. I must make one black cat, since Halloween is just around the corner and it would be very fitting to have a black cat.

How far into the fall or spring are you (Hello dear friends there Down South!)? My morning routines don’t include building the fire yet, and I have not been lighting the candles, but this week I am going to buy some when I drive to the town to buy groceries. There have been few walks when I have been truly freezing and then few when I have been too hot, as the weather is different from day to day. Dressing up just right seems to be impossible in this time of the year. But, I have used gloves and a hat few times already.
The fabric work continues. I have been quilting here and there. There are days when I quite like my stitches and am proud of them, then there are days when the stitches come out wonky. I know why this happens. I can knit more or less the same gauge; my state of mind does not seem to affect the quality of my knitting stitches as much as it affects the quality of my quilting stitches. I need a peaceful mind to be able to quilt, if I am in a hurry, all goes to pieces. (This quilt in progress had fallen off the chair to the floor and I found him sleeping inside. The batting is wool and it must be cozy and warm, perfect for an afternoon nap.)
Fall would not feel like fall without socks on the needles. I am knitting plain socks (2mm dpns, 18 stitches per needle to start with, long ribbing k1tbl/p1, 50 rounds, then plain stockinette for 60-80 rounds at the same time decreasing down to 16 stitches per needle around the ankle, heel flap for 30 rows, normal heal turn, then decreasing to15 stitches per needle around the foot, plain stockinette until toe decreases, and finishing with grafting the stitches) out of Austermann Step.
There is no name for the color, just humble number 309, mixture of greys. This might be discontinued number. My left hand (around the knuckles) still hurts from the fall last spring when I hold small needles for a long time. I seem to grab my needles as if they were my lifeline. Last night I switched to 2mm wooden needles, they break easily and I cannot hold them quite as tightly and this seems to help. I just need to concentrate all the time that these needles won’t stand any stress.

This is all for now. Hope you are well,
Wool with you, as always,
Lene

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Little pants


Thank you for the welcoming wishes, it does feel good to be here again.
As you know, I live in a remote place, and I don’t get to talk about my creative life much outside this blog. This blog truly is the place where I share my thoughts of creating and creations. When I make something out of nothing, I mean, when I come up with something out of my own heart and head, it has much invested in it, or at least it feels like it. I don’t mean that it is artistic or grant, that is not what I mean, but that it has my voice, in good and in bad.
If something I made is not good, I am back into my very humble place, and if I have managed to come up with something that is not bad (see how hard it is for me to write good…my inner critic is still going strong!), for a bit I get a little bit of shine and glory. When I put my work out into the Internet, in a way it feels like it is a straight way into my mind and at times it feels a bit scary. When I show something, like these kittens, here in the blog, I am never sure how it is received, I can never be sure how it looks when someone else is looking at it, if he/she sees what I see. After I have uploaded the images, I realize that after all, I should not have done it.
Or it can be just these words… Am I making any sense at all? I have been my worst critic over the years, but the older I get the less I seem to listen to this critic of mine (I hear her but I ignore her more), and I am not always sure if it is a good thing or not… (Please tell me to shut up, when I have totally lost my self-control and start to share something that I should not… although at that time, I hope I cannot find the password to my computer any more…)
But truth to be told, it is very freeing to realize that nobody needs to be perfect, it is okay to make mistakes (and I mean this), and really it is like those kittens of mine… they are not perfect, their noses are crooked, their whiskers are not all straight, their bodies of big stitches are wonky here and there and the fact that they prefer to go through this life with eyes closed, that is just fine.
They have eyes closed… what does it mean? Don’t they want to see what is outside? Do they want to ignore everyone else? Are they so self-centered that their own world is just enough for them? Are they scared? Or… maybe they have their eyes closed, because then maybe they can hear more, even the tiniest of whispers and footsteps. If you listen to the music, have you tried closing your eyes... How much more of the world one feels/hears/smells when eyes are closed… (Or maybe the kittens have their eyes closed because I don’t know how to make them if they are open. See, I can be quite poetic, but the inner critic always hits the nail.)
When my small cat boy Väinö curls next to me in the morning and his little but strong motor goes on under his skin and the purring begins, he has his eyes closed always. One could say that he is enjoying the moment at its fullest in a catlike selfish manner, or that he is still tired, and there is nothing wrong about that, but I prefer to think that we find this morning moment full of trust and we have a strong and sound understanding of each other.
Thank you for being out there, without you and your encouraging words I would not come back. It is you who make this place such a good and safe place to be.
I have started to write a pattern for the kittens. But it will be a long process as you can guess, the making of one takes lots of time and there are many steps to go through before the kitten gets her/his bow and is born. Eventually the pattern will be done. Thank you for proposing to buy my kittens. I had not thought about it, but it is something to think about.

After a very rainy night, the sky has closed its drains for now, it is supposed to be sunny in the afternoon. This might turn into one glorious fall day.

Wool with you,
Lene

PS. I have been knitting little pants, I have tried to figure out the best way to make them and adjusting few sticthes here and there, but I think they are just about right now. Anyway, the little dresser is almost full now. I need to get a new dresser.
Other than knitting little pants, I have been trying to teach myself big stitch hand quilting. I have discovered that it is very much like knitting, one stitch at a time. I could not yet say that it is relaxing, because it is not, every now and then I get a very big stitch, and that is not the aim. They should all be even and nice. (Goes without saying that I took a picture of the best place, I am not showing the very wonky stitches here.)