Sunday, January 17, 2016

Prayer Shawl

Mummy dust, to make me old. To shroud my clothes, the black of night. To age my voice, an old hag's cackle. To whiten my hair, a scream of fright. A blast of wind to fan my hate. A thunderbolt to mix it well. Now, begin thy magic spell.
--Queen, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
As a kid who was fascinated with magic and spells, I loved this section of the movie and the idea of sounds and other intangibles made into ingredients. To create a magic potion, you literally mix metaphors.

The knitting project I'm working on brought this scene to mind. My library knitting group wanted to explore shawls for our February meeting, and I decided I was going to sign up for Josh Ryks' latest mystery knit-along. It was a fun evening, and Josh was great. But instead of getting into the new shawl design, my heart was captured by an old one, Urban Survival, which Josh admits is one of his favorites.

So what ingredients are going into my Urban Survival spell? The yarn base is called Fortitude, which seems like a good foundation for survival. The set I bought includes the colors "Slush" (something to be warded against), "Earl Grey" (for comfort), and "Gun Powder." While I personally don't believe that gun powder is necessary or helpful for urban survival, the friend who is the likely recipient of this shawl certainly does. I'm adding from my stash a bit of "Midnight Blue," symbolizing...what? Late night melancholy? Quiet romance?  There's something peaceful and calm--stable, solid, and subtle--about the dark blue worked into the dark gray. And playful too, like the blue in Superman's hair.

I don't believe in magic, and I don't believe my knitting is imbued with the energies of my intentions, but I find I'm enjoying the idea of casting a spell with my yarn.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Prepping for Christmas 2016

I hate shopping, and that makes Christmas an ordeal. I love my friends and family, and I love the feeling of having a gift for someone which is perfect for them. But I hate finding those gifts, and frankly, I'm not really thoughtful enough to come up with a different, perfect gift for every individual.

Arts fairs are cool, and I love supporting the independents who sell there, but it's too easy to find too many options for some people and nothing for others. When we went to Winterfair, I decided to just enjoy it rather than take on the shopping pressure: if I saw something cool, I would buy it, regardless if I had an intended recipient in mind. That's a strategy I may repeat. Perhaps not all the gifts I gave were home-runs, but none of them completely struck out.

You'd think a knitter would be at an advantage here, but I hate the pressure of required knitting almost as much as I hate shopping. (Every year, Yarn Harlot chronicles the escalating stress of her Christmas knitting. I've stopped bothering to read those posts -- she brings it on herself.) Still, knitting is impressive, and at the beginning of 2015, I resolved to knit a Christmas ornament every week, so I'd have a stockpile of little, handmade gifts. I think that resolution held up for 3 weeks, producing only a couple oak leaves.

I also had this idea that my sister and I should make limoncello and give it away in little gift bottles. My plan was to start in August. But when August finally came, I was in an emotionally wretched state from the twin blows of being offered a job I didn't want and then
not being offered the job I did want.

But it's a new year, and I've got 11½ months to prepare. Friends had scored 1.75l of 190 proof Everclear for me in the fall, and my family bought me the Microplane Zester from my Amazon wishlist. I spent the first morning of 2016 zesting 20 organic lemons while running the Everclear through a filter as recommends.

As for the knitting, I could take another stab at the "On Sunday We Make Ornaments" resolution, but I know it's doomed to failure. Maybe I could convince myself to do one knitted give-away per month?