Saturday, March 01, 2008

Quiet Week


How have you been? I’m just fine. The whole month of February went mostly in home activities. Since January there has been lots of snow and I have been out shovelling more times than I care to count for. It has been cold too, so add firewood to the snow business. Right now the world is blue outside, it is slowly getting dark but would you believe it is almost six in the evening. The days are so much longer already. The sun has been a frequent visitor during the past week, sunny and bright days and beautiful starry nights. I am alone at home if you don’t count the furry friends. It always amazes me how different the world is when all alone. There is so much room for my own thoughts and I can follow them and hear them so clearly. And really, most of them do make sense.

The family left yesterday and I get to enjoy this quietness for more than a week. I don’t have big plans for this week. Well, I have this one big plan, to take time and not haste in anything; even when doing the very little things, like putting boots on when going outside or preparing meal for myself or the dogs or the cat. For once I intend not to be in any kind of hurry.

I have knitted a little bit. (Is it knit or knitted? If I recall correctly from the grammar book from some! years ago, it could be both… but every time I write knitted, I feel I am doing something wrong.) Some time ago I started Anne’s Moth Shawl and I have finished it. It is absolutely lovely, it is light and airy and the lace is beautiful. I wish you could feel it. I know I must be quite alone in this crowd and am a bit afraid to tell you this, but I don’t enjoy knitting with these light mohair yarns (kidsilk haze or similar). The outcome is exquisite but the process is not enjoyable. The yarn is too light and it gets static in this cold and dry climate and it clings and flies and just does not seem to behave in a nice and quiet manner. Well, the yarn does have diva qualities and maybe that is the reason it is so difficult to tame but as said, the outcome is heavenly. I will take pictures when it is not too cold for the camera outside.

Last night I read from Yarn Harlot’s blog how she was feeling in the wilderness and how she was little bit scared of the surrounding dark forest. I have lived both in the city and in the country so I can understand what she is talking about but all my girls have lived here in the country most of their lives. We moved up here from the south when they were small and they don’t remember what it was to live in the city. So all three of them are through and through country girls. They are used to sharing their paths with big reindeer and even bigger moose. The only thing that they seldom mention being unpleasant is the odd shape in dim light that resembles a bear. And I have seen both bear and wolf tracks so for sure they are occasional visitors, but very rare.

The twins turned 10 on that horrible day in September some years ago. The media did not talk about anything else and the fear spread into the children’s worlds as well as into the adults. I will not talk about world politics here or don’t want to raise any discussion about that sad day but just want to tell you how one of my girls felt that week. One night one of them came to me and looked at me with big eyes and asked for my confirmation for the fact that since we live in the middle of the forest we are in the most safe place in the world because no one can find us from here and that the forest hides us. I had never thought of the forest that way before, it was totally different view that I had had previously.

The dogs truly are good companions but sometimes their behaviour does not calm me down one bit. There are times when they bark for no good reason and then I start to look out of the windows trying to spot something there, I turn on the lights outside but can’t see any good reason for furious barking and then the atmosphere can turn quite nasty. And I absolutely hate when they insist on coming to sleep with me upstairs because they feel that something is terribly wrong and it is me who has to be the bravest.

Tonight all seems to be at peace. The dogs are sleeping; the cat is washing himself on the couch. It is very quiet and it is already very dark. I hope you feel safe whether you are in a city or in the country.




  1. Nancy D.20:08

    You are not alone about not enjoying knitting with mohair. I prefer smooth yarns which don't stick to my hands when they are a little dry during the winter.

  2. Linda M.20:46

    Thank you so much for the view of your woods, and for narrating the return of the light to the north. Here in north Florida the trees are beginning to bloom, the daffodils are out, and the azaleas are also opening. We are at one of the best times of our year but will pay for it with a hot, steamy summer that lasts almost seven months. I am knitting the Peacock Feathers shawl in Zephyr and it is a delightful project.

  3. Beautiful post. I live in NYC and there's been many times over the past six years that I've longed to be able to run away to the woods and feel safe. I envy you that feeling.

  4. I love your little drawings, with a huge passion.
    I also love hearing your voice about your life so far up north... when you first mentioned being alone for a few days I immediately thought of Stephanie and her first night...
    I love being alone but admit when one is not familiar with the rhythms of an area it can be rather.. frightful at times...
    I'm not crazy about the mohair by itself, I know the end result is worth it but knitting with it alone? not so much although I love adding a strand of it in with wool, for warmth.
    Looking forward to seeing the Moth shawl, it is a Beauty.

  5. grannypurple21:35

    It is always such a pleasure to hear from you, and your drawings just intensify that pleasure!
    Re Kidsilk haze--a gorgeous product, but it does interfere with the process, being so demanding! I have a stash of it which may take decades to use up, though the designs for it are so enticing..But I understand why Jean Miles has sworn off it!
    Enjoy your week of solitude, in spite of "dogs barking at nothing".

  6. I love your wonderful drawings!!:-)

  7. quinn22:45

    It is so pleasant to find a new post - and a new drawing. Lovely!
    I understand about your dogs. My dog is sometimes helpful but doesn’t have good judgement about potential threats. She barks with exactly the same urgency if there is a tiny red squirrel in a tree or if there are four bears right at my door. (This happened.)

  8. Hi, I look so forward to your posts, they just bring there into your world. I have tried to get through your older posts, and found them inspiring and lovely! I live in a small town and not in the country, though I grew up there. Different life for sure. Miss it in many ways, though now I would view it differently being an the mohair, but feel the same way. Can't wait to see your shawl, for all your knitting and embroidery embellishments are gorgous!! Are you weaving still? I have a loom that "speaks" to me as I walk by too...Ha Ha! BUT if I did not have my knitting I don't know where I would your illustrations also! Yes, the days are getting longer, thank you...still cold here, but sun has been out and looking so forward to spring for sure this year!!

  9. I wish you peace and quiet, Lene, and plenty of time to be creative as you wish.
    My birthday also falls on that September day; I can imagine how your girls must have felt their secure world was at risk.
    Give your good companions the dogs a pat from me!

  10. I understand your post completely. I live way out in the country. Farm land surrounds me. I feel the safest here. Our barn sits about 800 feet from my home. It is so quiet at night that I can hear the sound of my horses chewing on their dinner. Sometimes on clear nights we have the most beautiful star show.

  11. I understand your post completely. I live way out in the country. Farm land surrounds me. I feel the safest here. Our barn sits about 800 feet from my home. It is so quiet at night that I can hear the sound of my horses chewing on their dinner. Sometimes on clear nights we have the most beautiful star show. P.S. The drawings are so sweet!

  12. I love your writing. I live quite near to NYC but as a child we had a summer home in the country. Your descriptions bring back such vivid memories of a time that felt so long ago until now. Thank you.

  13. Your drawing is wonderful. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    I lived near Washington, DC on that September day. My children were sent home from school, for fear schools might be targets. I had to find someone to cover me at work so they wouldn't go home to an empty house and be alone.

    I now live in the woods in Maine, in a community of 1200 souls. We have four acres, and my dogs alert to the deer coming through, but not to the owl watching us through the window. It is lovely, and I much prefer the aloneness and quiet.

    I love your writing, your knitting and your drawing. Thank you so much for sharing them with us!

  14. loved to read this post. It made me travel, I imagine the beauty or nature around you. A bit of dream in the city life. I could smell the perfume of wood... Have a very good week !

  15. Is fear not a product of the mind rather than a response to actual predators, animal or human?
    I was brought up on a remote farm but, of course, was not alone there. I lived alone for many years, but was rarely afraid, as it was my customary state. Now, would be a different matter, as I am used to having my husband here.
    I do love the images of your lifestyle which you project in your posts.

  16. Lene - you write a lovely blog. Thank you.

  17. Last fall my mother sold the family farm far in the country. It was necessary but recently I have realized that now I will not have the occasional chance for sweet natures night music to lull me to sleep as found only in the country when on a short reprieve from my city life. Already I miss it so dearly. That magical moment where the night creatures stir and sing and your soul joins them as it drifts off in blissful serenity. This you cannot find in the city and it to be much cherished by country folk.

  18. Anonymous17:24

    Lene, your drawings are just delightful! Thank you for your wonderful descriptions of life in the far north country.

    Enjoy your week of solitude.


  19. For me, the cat is my guardian when I am home alone (which is often, since my husband travels a lot.) If I hear a strange noise but she doesn't react to it, I know I'm safe. But when she sits up with wide eyes and pricked ears, then I really worry. Unfortunately, she has a vivid imagination and gets spooked very easily. ;-)

    Is your mohair Moth shawl enormous? The point of mine reaches all the way to my knees. I might like to knit another one someday with very fine wool and smaller needles, so it will be a more wearable size.

  20. Anonymous20:41

    I', too, do not care for Kidsilk Haze and those of that ilk. Thank you so much for sharing your life.

  21. Lisa W22:34

    Your words and artwork are beautiful.

  22. Tina22:38

    We live not far from town, but far enough to be alone. As much as I enjoy having my dog around he too can create more panic than calm. The smallest b u n n y (even the word said aloud will get him barking) can create the biggest commotion.

    enjoy your week, thanks for the update.


  23. I look forward to your posts; they transport me to a lovely place, not only in your world, but in your mind. Do you sell prints of your drawings, or perhaps notecards you could print out from your digital pictures of them? They are wonderful!

  24. It is so good to hear form you! I'm glad you get to enjoy some time alone and I know you will be glad to welcome family home on their return.

  25. I just arrived here at your lovely blog this weekend having a followed a comment someone made to the Harlot. Oh my! It's been a wonderful weekend of reading, going backwards, writing finnish words on scraps of paper (I didn't realize there would be many); and enjoying all your word paintings of your life..not only your knitting, but embroidery and small beings and pets and children. It's all super. How have I missed you all this time?

  26. Anonymous02:12

    Thank you for this post! Your drawing is adorable, and your words are beautifully put. When I was little I used to go to a summer camp in the middle of the woods in Vermont, and I never felt as safe as I did there, out of reach of radio signals or cellphones, nestled among the trees and surrounded by mountains, with a few good people.

    Your comments about your dogs reminded me-- when I was a kid I was afraid of thunderstorms, until we got a dog that was more scared of them than I was. Funny how creatures in need of comfort can make us brave and strong when necessary.

    Oh, and I have the same birthday as your kids. When people ask me my birth date and I tell them September 11, many apologize. I remind them that I'm not one in need of an apology; I had birthdays before then, and I have more birthdays to look forward to, and I was lucky enough to not lose any of my loved ones on that day, though I know people who did.

  27. It is so special when you include one of your marvelous little drawings. They never fail to bring a big smile to my face.

    I have lived in both the woods and the city. I felt safer in the woods.

    Your daughter's question about being safe and hidden reminded me of a poem by David Whyte that I would like to share with you. I keep a copy over my work desk to remind myself that even in the corporate world, the forest will find us if we let it.


    Stand still, the trees ahead and the bushes beside you
    Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
    And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
    Must ask permission to know it and be known.
    The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
    I have made this place around you.
    If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
    No two trees are the same to Raven.
    No two branches the same to Wren.
    If what a tree or a branch does is lost on you,
    You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
    Where you are. You must let it find you.

    by David Whyte

  28. Lene, I always have the same trouble writing “knitted” that you mention! Looked it up several times but every time I want to write it I have forgotten… Must be the word!
    I feel a lot saver now in our new house right at the edge of the fields and with a real ground floor than before in the flat in the middle of a town suburb where the windows and the balcony were over 1.5 meters over the ground.

  29. My dogs are not the greatest of watch-creatures. They sleep through anything, and bark at nothing (or me, until they recognize me), but one firecracker and they are cowering under the bed. I'm fairly certain that if I brought them to your place for a week they'd never come out from under the bed again. Your daughters may be country girls, but I have city-dogs.

  30. Anonymous21:30

    It's knit - I knit that scarf. You can say "knitted" but not in that construction. Ah, English. I work in a library at a school with many English as a Second Language students, and I am profoundly grateful that I don't have to learn it.
    I grew up in the country and now live in the city. I feel it is safer here. One night in my childhood a bank robber picked the wooded area near our house to hide out in. the police told us not to go home. He was eventually caught aobut five miles away.

  31. DomesticShorthair06:37

    Thank you for your post, it's lovely as are your drawings. I live in a place that isn't remote, but has a remote feel to it, and it's probably as remote as I could ever get. I can't imagine being out in the wilderness; but maybe you get to know yourself better by being there.

  32. francoise11:39

    Your drawings are a joy to look at! We live on a small island south of England and my children too ask questions about the safety of their little world when they see horrible news on the TV. It is so sad that children and young people should ask themselves such questions.
    I am looking forward to see pictures of your shawl!

  33. Rita16:17

    I'm so enjoying the return of your drawings. They are what caught my attention when I first found your blog. I've stayed because of your beautiful knitting and your word portraits of a beautiful place to be. Thankyou

  34. knittinginmind19:28

    It might be, when the dogs insist on coming to bed with you, that they want to be closer to you to protect you.

  35. Knit: knitted? My instinct would be to say have knitted -
    'I knit' says what you do, like 'I sew', 'I cook'. If you talk of what you have done it would be 'I have knitted','I have sewed', 'I have cooked'. If you say 'I have cook', that sounds wrong to me.
    I don't think 'I have knit' is completely wrong, and it may be correct in American English, but in English English 'knitted' sits better in the phrase.

  36. Oh, I just love everything about your blog. I had planned on saying how much I love your drawings, but then I love your designs, your knitting, your writings. All are wonderful. Thank you.

  37. Lene, I love your drawings. Everytime I look at them I feel good all over. I love the whimsy and colour in them. Thank-you for sharing them. Are they paint or pencil?

  38. Good to see you again.

    I agree with Jeanfromcornwall - in the UK it would be 'knitted' but my sense is that it would be 'knit' in US English. So take your pick!

  39. Anonymous04:42

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    I just received an issue of Piecework I almost missed, Jan/Feb/08.
    I can hardly wait to try your fingerless mitt pattern.
    I really appreciate you designing this!
    Esther from a very snowy Ottawa, Canada.

  40. I just found your most wonderful blog this evening. I've been glued to your site and what can I say, your knitting is AMAZING. Beautiful works of art, my goodness. One of my knitting passions are 'purses'.

    I'm moving to the country this Spring to Montana, leaving Cali after working and living down here for almost 20 years. Philipsburg MT will be our new home soon.

    I will be back to visit and read more of your older posts, oh and your art work is just lovely Lene.