Knittinginatree's Blog

Interwebs found poem for the day…

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Fear

Rumi

Finley Fingering

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A little preview of my knits, finally, finley fingering . Brought to you by three irish girls –whooping and dying it up near the borderland of MN, my homesake. I snuck into their dying head quarters a few summers ago when I was home visiting. A lovely woman, whose name now slips my mind, gave me a little tour of their studio located just off Superior Street in downtown Duluth. I was traveling with my dear Aunties who have little patience in general let alone for fiber arts related activities… So my visit was brief, but I will say it was amazing to see the dying process in action. They don’t sell their yarn directly at the studio so I made my way up to Yarn Harbor and chose two skeins of what you see here ~ 100% Merino, Colorway: Ryan. (Of personal note: I often associate Duluth with my high school boyfriend who went to college there, and my first real memories of Duluth are of going to visit him. Coincidentally, his name was Ryan…I think he reads my blog from time to time…Hi Ryan!) Anyway, I wonder if there is a story behind The Three Irish Girls choice of Ryan for the name of this rich combination of greens, burgundies, and browns.

*Keeping with the theme, Lively Lilac is the name of my nail color.
*The Three Irish Girls sell their yarn online too @ http://www.threeirishgirls.com/

It’s December

Oh, I miss this space. But, how many of you really want to hear about life after a divorce versus knitting? The truth is I haven’t been knitting nearly as much as I should be…and instead my thoughts and energy are more directed toward the process of reclaiming and reinventing my identity. Don’t worry I’m still very much me…but the question looms, how important is knitting to me? (Shutter to think!) I’m finding the need to write about other things and knittinginatree feels like the right space for me to share. I do apologize to those of you who have joined in for the pure knit of it. However, please know that I am choosing this space to share because you all have been very gracious and kind in accepting me at any state of being. That being said, the focus of this blog might shift a bit, but I hope you’ll stick around I do have a little bit of knitting porn to share from Thanksgiving break, but mostly these days I just have words. Stay tuned.

To the socks…

Thank you all for your kind comments on my previous post. It’s good to be back here and to have your support. I’m hopeful for the future and look forward to continuing to share some of it on here with you.

Today is the birthday of Pablo Neruda. I’ve been taking some time to revisit his odes today. Inevitably I stumbled upon Ode to My Socks. I’m sure this ode has made it’s way on many a knitting blog, but I thought it was time to share it on knitti1nginatree. But, first, did you know he wrote all of his poems in green ink? He believed green to be a sign of hope. So many of Neruda’s odes were about the ordinary–watermelon, onion, and artichoke. Now I’m thinking of his praises for the ordinary as being marked with hope.

Here’s to hope and to socks translated by Robert Bly.

Ode to My Socks

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
Violent socks,
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.
Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.


There has been so much I’ve wanted to say in this space. And, I find that the more words and thoughts that I gather, the farther I get from the chronology of what I want to share. What I mean to say is that there have been a considerable amount of changes in my life, so I will find it hard to explain the ins and outs of how my existence managed to forge away from January to July and how it is that I came to be here, back in Anchorage, Alaska.


As much as I’ve tried to maintain the theme of a strictly knitting blog, I know I’ve etched in a bit of the personal. I’ve shared here and there about my master’s work in public health and the life I was building with my partner S in Anchorage, Alaska and the hope of transitioning back to the Midwest. Knitting for me has always been about self-expression and embracing the creative process, which ultimately means that I must sit and let my mind explore and go where it needs to go. And, inevitably sharing about my knitting journey means sharing a bit about life. As much as I like to keep this space light because, well, so much of life isn’t light. I do want to be honest about my successes as well as my losses.


So, it is with that in mind that I want to publicly share that S and I are no longer married. It is still hard to say it aloud and just as difficult to type it out. The important thing to know is that we are both okay. I believe that we tried as best as we could at the time to part on amicable terms. And, I hope that I will always be able to say that my life and world expanded from our time together–I never regretted a day that we shared together even the hard ones. I feel lucky to be able to say that because I know many people who go through separation and divorce aren’t able to say as much. This of course doesn’t mean that there weren’t challenging and difficult things that led us to this decision. But, I don’t write to gather sympathy; it is more that taking the time to put this in to words helps with processing where I am with it all. And, again, I think it’s necessary to let you all know that I’m still here and haven’t given up on this space yet. Also, I know that some of my dear but distant friends keep up with me through knittinginatree, so I apologize if this news comes as a shock. I’m trying to take my time and slowly reconnect with you all individually but I also felt that it’s time everyone knows about it.


As with every major life event there is always an element of the bittersweet. This is a really delicate time in my life, and as much as possible I’m trying to embrace it with openness, presence and honesty. With all of the transition going on, my knitting gusto took a hiatus this spring. However, the need to create has returned and I feel grateful to be inspired to return to my craft. Also, I feel very fortunate to be in a place and space that feels right, yes; I’m back in Anchorage, but more on that later…


For now I’ll end by sharing a poem that has been following me around the past few months. I think it represents quite a bit of where I am now.


Love After Love by Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

& say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine, give bread. Give back your heart,
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you.

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your Life.

FO: Snow Cowl


Lake Vermilion January 24, 2012

With the start of a new year and a new beginning I’ve been taking a bit of a respite on the borderland of Minnesota. While my life is in transition it has been good to reconnect with some of my oldest and dearest of friends and to find them here, nestled into the familiarity of roads, lakes, trees and landscapes that are deeply a part of me. In the transitory it is important for me to have these touchstones. I’m very grateful to be here with the intention of being restorative yet present and focused on the future.

And, of course there is always knitting by my side. We’ve had a wonderful dose of snow and I designed this simple cowl pattern. The FO is reminiscent of the season and keeping with my goal for the year, I hope… In my rush to get north I promptly left my yarn labels at home. What I can say is that it is a silk blend with sequence! I’ll update the blog when I return to the city. But, for now here are some photos from my homeland and me with my new cowl. Let me know if there is any interest in the pattern, I’d love to write it up and offer it for free on here. 


what are your colors of winter?

In preparation for solstice,for winter celebrations, for the impending start of a new year, and for a new place to call home, I thought I would take some time this upcoming year to focus on working with the colors I find in the seasons and landscapes I’ve been lucky to explore.

All of my yarn has safely arrived in Minnesota except for these pretties that I couldn’t part from…They are the colors I’ve chosen to focus on for the winter season. They reference the colors I’ve been seeing these days. 

…mostly black and grays with faint yet vibrant blues, reds, yellows and white. My challenge for the upcoming year will be to work on de-stashing the array of yarns I’ve collected while in Alaska, but also focus on using colors that represent the colors of each season. This year I want to remember to celebrate where I am and do so with color.

Something that needs to be said without pictures.

Now that you know I’m still knitting behind the scenes, I have some news to share.

My absence from the blog is not only the result of the extreme number of hours dedicated to completing the research for my thesis project and finish up my masters program by Spring, but it is also because we are moving out of state. It’s happening so soon (mid December), and while we always new we wouldn’t be in Alaska forever the move comes unexpectedly.

It is bittersweet. We are so excited to move back to our lower 48, to our midwest, to our Minnesota. It’s our home and it’s where our bones seem to belong as much as our hearts. But, Alaska has changed us, it has weathered out some of the midwest perspective we’ve always clung to and expanded our understanding of the world, our commitment to humanity, the environment, and passion for life. Alaska has been kind to us, through making friends, helping people, and building community. I know these things will follow us to Minnesota as we nestle in to the new and the old, but I hope to be mindful and intentional about making sure they are present as we build our future in Minnesota.

As I’ve been packing up boxes, particularly when packing up my yarn stash, I tried to take some time to think about this space and how my love for knitting has evolved since moving to Alaska. There is no question that the Alaska landscape, climate, and seasons are a perfect mix for the inspired knitter. I’m so grateful that 5 1/2 years ago when we packed up our little van with all our belongings and headed north to Alaska that I thought to bring my knitting needles and a few skeins of yarn. I’m also thankful that I decided to start writing and sharing my knitting adventures here, and low and behold to even have readers! I hope you’ll continue to read as I continue to share the upcoming adventures of life and knitting from a new locale.

FO Hell, second floor. Pay It Forward Take Two

Pattern: The Destroyed Cowl

Yarn: Banana Silk by Frabjous Fibers 

And raveled: here

The destroyed cowl was made for a one of a kind roomie from my first year in college. Perhaps you had a roomie like mine. She would answer our phone by saying, “hell, second floor,” and do a number of things to make my terribly shy constitution extremely embarrassed–like flashing her under garments at me across the dining hall…in front of all my friends. Ha! But, I lived through it. Now I have a lot of laughs when I think of our first year of college and our crammed little room that we shared. She made that year so memorable and interesting in many ways. Thanks RaeAnne.

While considering a pay it forward gift for RaeAnne, my old roomie, I couldn’t resist the bright orange banana silk yarn together with the destroyed cowl pattern. It seemed so fitting for the phrase I remember her best for–“Hell, second floor.”

Working with banana silk was a fun experience but a little tiring on the hands. The fiber is rough, twists up easily, and will suddenly break off at the most inopportune moments. The perk is that it is a fair trade yarn spun by women in Nepal and India. I do love the sheen, the hand spun mixture of bulky and lace, and the fact that it is hand dyed also provides a nice variation between skeins. Now I want one for myself…

I attempted to instagram my FO. It seemed like a good idea at the time…ah well. Lesson learned.


FO: Eco Stripe

FO: Doric by Cecily Glowik MacDonald 

Yarn: Cascade Eco Duo

Needles: US 8 

Raveled.

When Cascade Eco Duo is knit up one skein at a time it creates a large stripe effect. As one reader, Skrapyram, eloquently shared–it almost appears as though a pot of coffee had been spilled across the fabric. While some may adore this effect, I tried to tone it down by alternating skeins after every row. I’m pleased by the more subtle striping that resulted from this process. 

Let it be known that Cascade Eco Duo is wonderful to knit with and so soft. I love wearing my new cardi.

This is my first Cecily Glowik MacDonald pattern. Some of the instructions were a bit wonky, and felt like they had been written in a rush, but I trusted the designer and followed along much to my delight. I look forward to trying out more of Cecily’s designs. I like her simple aesthetic.

My stitch gauge was off–too large. But, I really liked the drape of my swatch so instead of using smaller needles I just knit the smallest size. And, somehow it worked! I’m always happy when my knitting intuition comes together and produces happy results.

A special thank you to Kate for taking these photos and for being willing to work with my old point-and-shoot and the limited light.  

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