Sunday, December 17, 2017

Wings vs. Whinge

And then one day I realised I had scars the shape of wings. --S. C. Lourie
This is not what I had planned.

It was an impulse purchase. It was on a day when I hadn't planned to be near a yarn store. I was there with a friend who needed some materials, and I just came along for fun. My stash is of such a size that impulse purchases aren't exactly exciting as they are stressful. And yet...

It was the colours that attracted me at first - soft, gentle tones of beige and cream and grey... colours that I normally pass over, but this time they tugged at me to look more closely.

Then, it was their softness. Loosely plied and puffy, rounded strands held together with a thin nylon thread. It was acrylic, which some knit snobs turn their noses up at, but each ball was so smooth and cool to the touch.

Then, it was their price. They were in the bargain bin. Discontinued yarn, marked down, and in short supply. How could I resist (insert snerky sarcasm here)? I dug through the bin pulled out as many balls as I could find, seven in all.

I had visions of a loose-knit cardi or vest, long and drapey, worn over a cream-coloured long-sleeved t-shirt... elegant and comfortable, with some soft 80's lighting and bossa nova playing in the background.

Yes, my knitting dreams include music and video effects. Don't yours?

I held onto the yarn for a while, pulling it out of the bag every so often to muse over it before tucking it away again. A few weeks ago, I decided it was time...

But nothing would work. I cast on and ripped out and cast on and ripped out over and over again. I tried some experiments with short rows, then some simple garter stitch squares, then a short stint with the Ten Stitch Blanket Pattern, which I thought I could somehow twist and turn into some kind of garment.

Nope. Nothing.

I can't remember how I decided I'd try the Pincha Shawl pattern. It's designed to make the best use of more variegated yarn, but something in me decided to try it with the long colour changes in this yarn. I struggled a bit with the stitch counts and the wraps-and-turns, and was pretty sure I was just going to through the whole lot into the garbage.

After the first repeat, though, I was surprised to see how much it looked like a feather:

And now, I have a group of feathers... nearly a wing:

I can't help but feel it is all somewhat symbolic. I'm at a time in my life where I'm forced to look at familiar things differently, to shed old ways of doing things, and to try to see things in a different light. I suppose I'm growing. Even my legs hurt right now, mostly because I've been doing a lot more walking lately than I have been doing over the last few months and my muscles are a bit shocked, but even so... they remind me of the growing pains I had when I was a teenager going through my awkward growth spurts.

This project has been difficult: each repeat is different, the stitch counts are out, and I've had to fudge it over and over again. And the yarn is shedding, which is odd for acrylic, and it's pretty annoying to get up to brush myself off each evening. More than once I've wanted to give up on it, but I haven't. After all, growth is not easy, and it sure isn't that easy to grow a wing.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to grow in other ways. I've been playing around with watercolour pencils:

Trying my hand at some folk art (I don't think it's for me):

And sustaining my growth with just a few homemade ginger and molasses cookies. Growing takes energy, after all:

By the way: that cup was handmade by a local artisan, Blackbird Studios. I was so excited to land one at a market yesterday that I had to show it off. Thank goodness I had the cookies to test it out.

The holiday season has snuck up on me, and it's only just hit me that it's only just over a week to Christmas Day. I have some things I need to get ready for the holidays, but I'm loathe to put my project down to do them. I think I'll have to grow up a bit and gather my wits together and get on with it. I might be whining. Just because I'm growing wings doesn't mean I have to give up whining, does it? Is it ironic that winging and whingeing have such similar spellings?

Onwards, I suppose... and Happy Sunday!


Anonymous said...

As a yarnstore widow myself I can't tell you how many times M has come home telling me the same sad story (she's happy, I'm a little sad, ok not really) that she came home with unintended yarn. Of course I have a dresser full of amazing socks and sweaters that I love to wear and brag on....

-Portland yarn widow

AdrieneJ said...

You have a fantastic sock stash, my friend. If I lived in your neighbourhood, I’d be stealing them off your washing line!