Thursday, March 30, 2017

Love wool - respect the sheep

This morning when I gazed quickly at the outside thermometer, that is my custom when I let the dogs out and in, I could not believe the numbers: - 22 ÂșC!! Ok, so there is spring for me. Snow and ice as far as the eye takes you. But, I calm myself saying that these are the very last bits of winter, April is just about to begin, this cannot go on for long. Then again, I live in the Arctic where tobogganing is almost always good, so this temperature did not come as a total surprise. The weather forecast predicts that this night will be as cold as the previous. When the sun is out, the world is sparkling white here in the country side; the snow is hard in the mornings, so hard that you can walk on it. All through the winter you are hindered by the snow and suddenly, the world is there to walk where ever you please again. The dogs love this freedom, especially Ruusu. She has short legs and all through winter, she is like a train when she pushes with determination through snow and now she looks so happy when she can prance around.

I have not done much knitting or crocheting lately. I attended national quilting happening few weeks ago, and it was inspiring as always. Then got flu, battled through it with fluids and bed rest only to trip over on Monday on my daily, icy walk. No bones were broken but tissue damage on both of my hands, left hand got the biggest hit. I did feel old while I was waiting in the emergency room with blueish, battered hands. Seems like lots of complaining now, but this is what has happened…But on the bright side, all is well after all.
Since I have made this one little creature. He has a mission statement. It reads:

L O V E   W O O L ---  R E S P E C T   T H E  S H E E P 

This sentence has echoed in my head while I have been thinking of him and making him. He does not have companions yet, but he will have a herd. I will tweak the pattern too, I am not quite happy with the horns yet, so I will need to move them a bit at least and I am not sure if I will work on his face little more too. I am happy of the shape of the horns and little thrilled that I could turn them after sewing without breaking the seams, but the placement is not quite right yet.
I need to picture peaceful green meadows with flowers to get into the right mood to make more sheep, but all this snow is slowing me down. I wonder if I will just need to wait for a bit…
I did not intend to stay quite this long away from the blog. Thank you once again for coming back to see a glimpse of my world. These little flowers are reaching for the sun, and I feel exactly the same, my nose is pointing to the same direction.
Wool with you,

Friday, March 10, 2017

More cats, a cowl and socks

Thank you for your comments (so glad that you are not tired of the cats yet), and the feedback for what I should put inside the kitten’s pants’ pockets; they are still empty, although I made a pair of mittens.
Since last time, I finished one crocheted cowl, one pair of knitted socks and three little kittens. (Plus, I have one dog body without a face!) My focus has still been on the cats. The other things have provided a much-needed break from the cats, as they are labor intensive with all the different steps.
In my quest of going through the stash this year, I came across two balls of red Zauberball and crocheted a cowl. It is once again this lovely shell pattern that is well loved in knitting. I used 2,5 mm hook, had 170 stitches all around, kept going until I had almost used all the yarn, one full skein, the other almost full, crocheted crab stitches on both ends and called it done. I truly love this stitch pattern and will use it from time to time. This yarn was very easy, enjoyable to crochet with, no worries of splitting, the fabric has some shine, feels heavy, almost sturdy somehow. Most likely I will keep this cowl to myself, I have a red coat that will match the cowl very well.
The socks… Last fall I knitted the cuffs with this dreary brown yarn. I guess the color felt right during the fall when the leaves were falling, the ground was all brown… now… not so right. I had the cuffs on my desk; I looked at them often with a sigh. Finally decided to get them done; used one of my own hand dyed yarn to knit the rest of the socks. Every single stitch was a battle, I wanted to just rip them, do something else instead. I did not like the color at all, combining the two was a mistake. I kept knitting; the orange yarn felt very hard, like steel. Then here at the other end, I am happy, if the color is off, at least I now have a steely pair that will last forever…
The kittens… After every single one I think that this was the last one… then cast on again; all the way while knitting I keep telling me that this will be the last. I tried to make a dog, made him a face too, or truly two faces, ripped them both away and now he is waiting for a third one. For some strange reason, I am not able to catch the image of a dog, this because I don’t have it on my mind yet. I am not sure how it should look. I want it to have similar qualities to the cat’s face, it needs to be this mixture of two and three dimensional, but it cannot be too much like the cat’s face. For some odd reason, I keep seeing some other creature on my mind all the time I try to think of a dog. I cannot tell you yet what it is, because I am not sure it will work out, but I will need to try it sometime soon. I have the image, I know how it needs to look like, then I am not sure how to make it happen. There is a big question mark hanging in the air that needs to be solved. It is what really makes this making very interesting, let’s hope not frustrating.
I have been thinking a lot of this design process… why cannot I make the dog? Of course, I can, I know I can make a dog: at a moment, I am not able to make the dog with good spirit, meaning and mission. I know, grand words for something knitted, nevertheless, that is how I feel. The spirit, the soul; I have not been able to catch them yet. I keep thinking of the qualities of a good dog, loyal, loving, trustworthy; I need to capture those qualities plus I need to see what feature is essential in a dog. Not to talk about the fact, that it needs to be not just repeating something that has been done many times before; something that feels fresh, at least to me. It needs to be new to me.
I have 12 kittens altogether. I still like the very first one a lot. It is somehow a free spirit, I can well remember how I felt when I was making it, it was just letting it to be born, letting it to take the shape it was taking and watching it happen. Every single one after that, has been more like a row of judgement calls, even though them being handmade, they differ from each other, however, the more I make them, the more I know beforehand how they will look; they are somehow less of their own person. Do I make any sense here at all? I will need to make a distance to them for a bit, so that they will be born fresh again.
I have 8 of the kittens here at home, 4 are at my Mom’s. She of course is interested in what her child is doing (forget the fact that the Mom is over 80, the child is getting close to 60, it is still the same), responds to the familiar sentence Look, Mom! as mothers do in the best possible way. She wanted to have a few kittens in her place and the very first one is there too. Maybe he needs to come home again.
This last kitten I made, I tried to scribble down all the numbers of stitches and rows because now if I will proceed to make something else, am probably going to forget how to make this cat. All the details are now written down, including the pants, the information is there if at some point I need to make it into a pattern. The knitting part is just the beginning of the process, nonetheless, it needs to be right.
March… I cannot not talk about March.
Here at the Arctic, it is the month when life returns. The wind starts to shake the trees; they start to stand taller, it is like all the branches one after another stretch a bit, like you do in the morning, they shake their heads, take a pause and turn towards the sun again. They look welcoming, happier - the birds pick up their spirits and begin to open their voices. One chirp tentatively, then after a while, another one with little more strength and suddenly, along with the sun, you are in the midst of a concert. I notice that I am taking longer steps on my walks (snow permitting), the dogs roll over in the fresh, white powder, they dig deep because they can here sounds from underneath. There is life again all over, above our heads, deep down near the ground inside the snow. The weather keeps changing, one day (or few days in a row) there is snow, heavy snow and the next, the sky is bright blue, the sun is up there already quite high, and the world is glimmering with light as it bounces from the snow. Don’t forget the sun glasses when you go out!
It is a long way still to go before the snow is gone and the summer is here, however we are getting closer to May, my most favorite month of the year. Good-bye to the dark, cold Arctic Winter!
Wool with you,