Sunday, March 22, 2009

Acting our Age
I've been taking weaving lessons. My teacher is a retired Home-Ec teacher who told me to just come over straight from work every Monday night - she would make me dinner. I was so there.

When she told me I'd be sleying the reed on the loom. I got all excited. Wow! This hobby is way more exciting than people give it credit for I thought. Turns out...THIS is sleying - in weaving terms anyway.

The great thing about my spinning and weaving guild is that I feel so young. The average age is about 62 so I clock in on the low end. That is...until "the kid" showed up. No, really...she's thirteen years old. When she arrived at the guild meeting with her mother, I thought "poor kid's been dragged to this meeting by her fibre addicted mom." Turns out it was the other way around. This young lady is willowy, blond with intelligent deep brown eyes and the soul of an artist. As we were weaving together at our last lesson I was thinking how beautiful she would be in about 2 or 3 years. Let's see - bright, polite, pretty and loves the fibre arts. Why she'd make a perfect daughter in law. I began plotting in my mind how I could convince my twin teen aged sons to drop by the guild meeting when I suddenly realized that at age 18 they were too old for her! My babies were too old!!! That makes I was processing this horrible realization, she asked our teacher a question that blew me away. "Could I bring two of my friends to the next guild meeting? They're 12 and want to learn to weave."

These fibre arts that we love so much are quite trendy with young people these days. My 13 year old guild mate is not an isolated incident. She's part of a trend. What's really touched me most is the absolute joy on the faces of the older guild members as these young people come to the meetings and take their first tentative steps towards becoming weavers, spinners and knitters. These people have buried husbands, sold their looms to go into retirement homes and struggled with aging eyes and hands that don't quite work so well when you need them to. Most importantly, they know that these arts aren't taught in schools or even within homes any more. They are the keepers of the crafts and these young people represent the future. This blanket was woven in four hours by a guild member in her eighties. You don't make magic like this in four hours without decades of practice and love.

We're seeing this passing of the torch in many ways and some of us are better sports about it than others. Some of our beloved magazines have a younger, hipper vibe. They feature designs flattering those in their twenties. A woman "of substance" wouldn't be caught dead in that stuff. The styling has an edge to it and everything comes with a hood. Ah, for the good old days when knits were classic and each issue of our favourite magazine had scores of patterns we couldn't wait to start! Drat that new editor. It just hasn't been the same since she took over.

We need to take a different view. Yes, things may be changing but if we're honest, so are we. Let's support those young designers and editors who are reinventing the craft. All of the designs may not be for us but if it brings new fibre artists into the fold - hurray! If you love knitting, weaving, spinning enough then you'll be wistful yet a little glad when next you look at a new set of designs. It's the way things should be. After all - every woman has three distinct stages to her life:
  1. Babe
  2. District Attorney
  3. Driving Miss Daisy

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Feeling Blue

We're in the bottom of the ninth inning of this long, cold winter. I have warm comforting projects - mostly in Alpaca chugging along. Roam has been ripped back and I'm almost back to where I was before. There's something about March however that makes me yearn for colour and this year - I'm all about the blues.

There are several young designers that I think have a true ability to create garments both fashionable and wearable. Connie Chang Chinchio is top of that list and her newest design Varese pullover gave me my latest "gotta have it" moment. I ordered the Silkie Wool 2 ply from One Planet Yarns and received the package Thursday. The yarn came beautifully wrapped with a sachet of loose tea and a tin of hand balm. What a nice touch! Connie's prototype was made in a chocolate shade but I've opted for the salt spray colour. It's grey, blue and pale aqua. The hand is to die for. I think this will be very wearable.

After paying a visit to Julie at the Needle Emporium last Friday. I also scooped up the latest Noro book "Flowers" by Jenny Watson. This lovely shrug cardigan caught my eye. It's made in Noro's new cotton/merino/silk blend yarn called Chirimen. A great all weather piece for cooler air conditioned buildings in the summer yet still appropriate all year round paired with chocolate trousers and a turtleneck.

I'm not sure what this obsession I'm having with shades of blue means in the greater scheme of things. To me it's all about blue skies and sunny days. Oh lord let them be just around the corner!

Phoebe's ready to frolick in the fields!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Bad Seed

I'm thisclose to completing the main pieces of Roam. All that's left is the assembly, hood and finishing. I say "all" but we know that finishing can take as long as the darn knitting does. Psychologically however, it feels like the home stretch.

Imagine my chagrin (just cause I like saying chagrin) when I casually glanced at my knitting today as I was waiting for Sundance to finish his marital arts class and noticed THIS! If you look at the knitting beside the green lobster claw you'll see "where knitting attacked" (credit Knitmore Girls). For about 8 stitches I wasn't in seed mode - I was in rib mode. NUTS! That was a good 5 inches ago. I briefly considered dropping down the 8 stitches to reset them one by one but picking up seed stitch again appeals to me about as much as knitting more seed stitch does right now.

This yarn is Lisa Souza hand paint Mahogany colourway in Baby Alpaca Silk. I've been alternating skeins to ensure there's no pooling. I went to one skein only about the time this boo boo happened because I want to blend on the hood too and I'm concerned I won't have enough of the second skein left. I did get some pooling I wasn't pleased with so ripping back will allow me to mix again. I'll simply divide the last skein in half and alternated from either end.

There - if you have two good reasons to rip back it's not so bad...right?