Saturday, October 21, 2017

Wading in the Estuary

And the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep and Autumn was awakened. --Raquel Franco
I think I've said it many times before, but I love autumn. I love the cooler days, the sleepy, cozy nights at home, and the colours... how I love the colours. I always think I love the reds the best, but I know how much I am drawn to the oranges and golds this time of year. I find myself stopping and gaping at the trees each day. Indeed, these days, anything red or orange or gold gives me reason to pause, and to take a deep breath.

And of course, there is the food... all of the hefty root vegetables and squashes, round and heavy with their deep-seeded nutrients, waiting to be roasted or made into the warming soups that I crave. I was wandering around a grocery store the other day and saw this amazing squash, which made me grin with delight. I nearly took it home, but I couldn't think of a thing to do with it. I found out later it's a turban squash, which is a pretty good name. I think it might be in the running for the coolest vegetable I've ever seen. I think others thought so as well because as I walked around the block, I noticed a few of them in the window decorations of a cafe. It's quite simply the most interesting vegetable I've seen in a while:

I finally finished my Estuary shawl. I actually finished knitting it last Saturday evening. I decided to soak it and block it out that night, and I thought it would be ready to photograph the next day, but it's been so damp that I didn't think it was dry enough to take it off the blocking boards until Monday afternoon. It was a big, big blocking job. I don't think it's technically the largest I've ever blocked, but I'm pretty sure it's the longest one. I sure as heck didn't want to waste all that effort by taking it off the boards too early:

My original plan was to use up two full skeins of the Indigo Moon BFL Fingering Weight I had, which would have been 860 yards, but after having to fix mistake after mistake, I lost track of where the centre of the shawl was. I ended up wimping out on trying for the full yarn finish and instead took heart in knowing that, for once, I was sure I wasn't going to run out.

I must say: I can't stop looking at it. The colour continues to mesmerize me:

The colour varies in different lights. It's actually quite difficult to photograph because of the warmth it imbues into its surroundings:

And dude: it's a long shawl. I'm glad I didn't try to use up both skeins. It would have been so long that it would be bordering on ridiculous. It's so long that I didn't even bother to stretch it out to full length for any of the photos because I knew I'd get tired after a while:

I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to figure out how I might actually wear such a thing. Most of the time, anything this long usually ends up getting twisted around and around my neck, which I think is a shame because the lace pattern is so beautiful in its simplicity. Luckily, it's deep enough to cover my back, which is perfect for when I sit in my frigid office at work:

And it's not bad wrapped around my front:

And long enough to get twisted around my neck without losing the lace pattern in all the folds:

But I'm pretty sure this is how it's going to get worn the most: just wrapped around me while I mosey around:

I find it interesting that I finished this shawl at this point in my life. In the pattern, it says:
An estuary is a fertile place, a junction between riverine and ocean habitats, where the mixing of fresh and salt water creates a graduated ecosystem which nurtures thousands of species.
And, right now, I do find myself at an in-between place in my life, not quite here and not quite there and not quite sure what is next. And yet, here I stand, with lots of things streaming past, full of things that may be opportunities or things that may sweep me away. And right now, I'm just learning to stand up in it all, and to be patient that I'll know when it's time to wade in and see what's there for me.

Despite what the photos show above, it's been raining here... raining all of the rain that the ground has been yearning for all summer. The ground is drinking it in, gulping and gasping and swallowing it up like a man staggering in from a long race in the desert. I find myself yearning for comfort, softness, to sink in and to be held.

I decided to pull out three skeins of Jacob yarn I got in Devon last month and do something with them. I searched and searched for something that would suit the wool, but as I paged through patterns, I had the distinct feeling of having "seen it all before." Everything seemed a bit too ornate, a bit too... much. In the end, I decided to experiment with stitches that would show off the heathered fleece of the yarn and would pay homage to the sheep it came from. So far, I'm liking it, but I won't give away what I'm doing until I'm sure it's going to work out:

For now, I'm content to test out the waters around me in as many ways as I can. I signed up last-minute for a workshop on Sunday that I'm hoping will be another way to stretch the creative side of my brain. I'm not sure it'll amount to anything, but I'm grateful to get the chance to try something new.

Sigh... autumn... so glad to see it come around again....