Wednesday, February 22, 2012

seaweed mentality

I may be romanticizing too freely when I see resemblances between yarn colors, stitches, and images I've captured on camera (I want to say film - that lovely smell, the perfect preservation of a well-fixed image in a darkroom), a shawl the color of pomegranates or seaweed. When I began a new sock recently I was transported to Pacific beach meanderings back in October, when I photographed the sock I was working on at the time, and took pictures of wrack and hand knits in the sand. As I worked I couldn't get the image out of my mind so went back to my stack of memory cards and found the picture I was remembering.
(FYI: Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn, color S184)

another vision
Once I knitted a lap blanket made from 25 different yarns. It sparkled in some places, was textured and muted in others, and contained a quantity of yarns that have since disappeared from shop shelves and my shifting stash. There was leftover blue-green yarn from the sweater I made for my small granddaughter. The handspun I bought too much of at the Taos Wool Festival and then didn't know what to do with. The gold metallic I couldn't resist because it resembled Miami Beach lame that was prevalent on women of a certain age and I thought would make a funky something to go with my new cats-eye reading glasses, both of which I never used.
The blanket manifested during a time that doesn't exist anymore except in wisps in my mind and more solidly in the pages of the journal I kept while making it. I know I worked on it during a week of snowfall because I wrote that cold fact day after day. Weather and recollections figure prominently in my notes, constantly shuffling according to moods and truths.
     Eventually the finished blanket made it's way to San Francisco where it was a prop in the window of a gallery draped over the shoulders of a vintage French mannequin (sans head, but lovely shoulders). The blanket started out as a scarf. Events that led up to its re-styling are vaguely boring now. What remains is how I felt like a true artist using yarn for the paints on my palette, and how I unconsciously adapted my vision to the yarn at hand.

Reading my notes again, I recall the emptiness of dark still nights knitting in the wicker chair near the lamp and how lonely and half-mad I felt. And then waking before dawn next morning, positive and eager to write in the journal and get back to work on the blanket.

we'll try this
In my next post I will include some suggestions and a highly modifiable pattern for making a Journal Blanket. It is an excerpt from my forthcoming book which I will tell you more about as publication gets closer.

Meanwhile, I wish my daughter and my best friend (both far away) a Happy Birthday. For the rest of us, Happy Tibetan New Year!