Sunday, February 5, 2017

And I Finally Listened

Hell is just resistance to life. -- Pema Chodron
I took a course last autumn called Mindful Self Compassion, where a recurring theme was, "What you resist, persists." What that means is: those uncomfortable feelings that you keep shutting out and trying to tune out and distract yourself from, well, unless you learn how to sit with them and feel them and examine them, they just won't ever go away. Ever.

So, I've been doing a lot of listening... a lot of gentle pulling myself back from running away, like a mother cat with her kittens. I'm still working on it. And I'm noticing how this idea has been crossing over to lots of different parts of my life.

Like yarn. Because, let's face it: yarn is life.

So, I've been trying to force this skein of yarn into some kind of garment. I love its colours, the tones, and the blend of them all together has enchanted me since the first time I laid eyes on it.

Yet, every single attempt I have made to make it into a garment has failed. I've tried cardigans, pullovers, skirts, cowls... absolutely everything I have tried has been pulled apart and rewound. I've read all my magazines, searched through Ravelry, taken photos of clothes in stores for inspiration. I've even collected paint chips with the same colours and put them on a table and stared at them to try to figure out what I could make.

And this week, it finally came together. I made a thing.

I'm very, very happy with the result. I had struggled for ages trying to think of something to make with this yarn, and it had sat for over a year would up in yarn cakes, waiting for me to figure it out. Casting on to knit a blanket was sort of a resignation for me. I never knit blankets, and I consider it kind of a cop-out, sort of like saying, "Well, I can't make anything else with this so I'll just make it a blanket."

It was though the yarn knew something I didn't, and it was just waiting for me to finally listen:

I'm entranced by it... and I can't help but wonder if there's more to this blanket knitting than I give it credit for.  I am especially happy with the border. It's not geometrically perfect, but I'm very proud of how smoothly I picked up the stitches and attached the selvedeges together. And I impressed myself with how I had enough foresight to leave long enough tails of yarn to sew up any gaps in the connections (and yes, there were gaps in there):

This week, I came across a simple sweater pattern, the design of which I really liked. I've been looking for a cream-coloured sweater all winter, but this pattern inspired me to make one for myself. I shared it with a few people, but the weather has been so sunny and dry that I actually said aloud, "By the time I knit it, it'll be too warm to wear it."

That appeared to jinx the weather. I take responsibility. I'm sorry, Westcoasters... I think that was my bad:

So, I've cast on for a sweater using some more yarn I've had stashed for years. I changed the gauge, because I am not convinced that a sweater knit with DK weight yarn will fare very well when knit with size 8 needles - I think it will be too droopy and the stitches may stretch. Honestly though, I've had this yarn for so long that I can't even remember if it is for sure DK weight, and I can't remember what yardage it is. All I know is that I bought ten of them with the intention to dye them for another project which never happened.

Maybe this yarn has been waiting for me to listen to it as well.

Today, I'm also listening to my body. I feel kinda run down and tired, with the slightest hint of a sore throat. I took an hour-long nap yesterday afternoon, and then proceeded to go to bed at 9pm on a Saturday night. I woke up at 7am this morning, and only because the hubby switched on the light. So far, I've had a hot bath, did some yoga, and had another long nap. And I think I'll enjoy a couple of slices of this lovely bread I made yesterday:

It's a Dutch oven version of wholemeal soda bread, which is called Wheaten Bread in Northern Ireland. It brings back memories of living in Belfast, for which I feeling particularly nostalgic these days. The bread itself was so good that I decided to make another loaf today:

Because, well... it's still snowing out there, and it's hovering around freezing, so the roads are pretty bad. No telling when we'll get out of here...

Aw heck, there's no running away from winter, even from here on Vancouver Island. I think I better quit resisting and do some listening here. I have a feeling I've got some learning to do...


thecrazysheeplady said...

That turned out great! And your bread is beautiful too. I'm just starting to try baking bread. Maybe I'll try this one sometime!

AdrieneJ said...

This bread is really easy, since you don't have to rise it. I made another batch today!