Thursday, January 28, 2010

Smilla's Sense of Sweater

Some time ago, my friend, Mary, asked if it would be possible for me to knit her a sweater. I balked a little... it's a big commitment, and when there's a deadline or someone else to please, it's a little nerve-wracking. She said she would pay me handsomely, but I chose not to accept money for the project. Instead, she paid me in yarn. I also told her that it would probably take me a while to get it done. Well, embarrassingly, it's about two years later and I'm finally making headway on the project. It's turned out to be the kind of challenge that presents plenty of learning opportunities, and it's been quite enjoyable rising to the occasion. Why? Because there is no pattern for the sweater of Mary's dreams. In fact, she ogled the sweater in a favorite movie of hers, namely Smilla's Sense of Snow. Following is a link that you can click to see more about this movie. There's even a trailer to watch that shows a few, fleeting glimpses of Smilla's sweater.

Click here for more information on Smilla's Sense of Snow

Two years ago, when all of this began, I searched and searched for pictures and/or patterns for Mary's desired sweater, to no avail. So, Mary sent me the DVD and I watched the movie. I took notes on which scenes contained the sweater and then popped the DVD into my computer, queued up the scenes and used the zoom-in feature to see this beauty up close. I started sketching and taking notes and pretty soon I came up with a concept for Smilla's sweater.

Here are two photos I took of the sweater during a paused scene while watching the DVD on my computer, just so you can get an idea of what it looks like.

Following are some pictures of my work in progress. At this point, I'm pleased with how the sweater is turning out, and I'm pretty sure Mary will be, too. Although I'm a bit sorry to have taken so long to get this baby out of the starting gate, I'm really pumped up about seeing it reach the finish line. And I've learned a lot along the way, as well. I hope Mary enjoys the final product as much as I have enjoyed the process of designing it.

It's a cold, yet sunny day here in Ohio, and the sun is streaming in my southern-facing windows. There is a nice fire in the wood stove, and my chair looks warm and inviting in the morning sun. My knitting basket beckons, and I do believe I will be sitting in the quiet this afternoon, enjoying the rhythmic meditation of the wool sliding through my fingers and onto the needles, as I motor on to the finish line of Smilla's Sense of Sweater. An apt name, I feel, to capture all the aspects of this project.

Smilla, I hear your call, but first, back to my tasks at hand...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Messengers of God

Living in the country, growing and eating my own food, working the land, burning its wood... all of these things have a heartbeat of their own. And after several years, all the heartbeats around me become one with my own and we all share in the rhythm of life and the cycles of nature. When I lived in the city, I sometimes would drive out to the country to spend a day or two, as so many city-folk do. I would feel a longing, a yearning, a sense of peace that I could never really get in the city. And once I finally moved to the country, I thought, "I'm here! Now, I can feel this way all the time! Nature is my back yard!" And I thought, at the time, that I was really in touch with Mother Earth. But now that I've lived in the country for almost five years, I realize those feelings were only scratching the surface.

It's like any other union. It takes time and commitment, investment of yourself, to realize the rewards. The longer the relationship, the deeper the rewards. The relationship becomes an entity of its own, fed and nurtured by its partners. I feed the land, the land feeds me. We take care of each other. If one party stops caring, or ceases to feed the relationship, it suffers. I can't expect my land to continue to feed me if I don't feed the land with compost, water, and nutrients it so willingly gives up to my harvest. An intricate balance, yet pure and simple.

Now that I've lived here for a decent chunk of time, I am given reminders of my relationship with Mother Earth all the time. Whether it's the great blue heron I saw in the creek this morning, the diamonds sparkling on the sunlit snow, the herd of deer loping across the meadow, a field mouse and her babies nested in the bee hive, a giant sunflower burgeoning with seeds, or a hawk circling its prey, I am perpetually witness to, and part of, the circle of life.

These moments are Messengers of God. I embrace and treasure them.

It's time to order seeds and plan the garden. Soon, the busy work of growing food will begin. But for now, there's a fire to be stoked, pumpkin bread to be baked, laundry to be folded, and a sweater to be finished. I will highlight the sweater I've been knitting in my next post, but for now...

...back to my tasks at hand.

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Beginnings....And a Free Pattern!

In honor of starting my first ever Blog today, I am opening with a free pattern.

I enjoy using the raw materials I have on hand to create something useful. I feel happy and content using things I have made, while performing my daily tasks at hand. I've been making dishcloths, towels, and potholders for so long now, I have an entire kitchen drawer devoted to them. Perhaps, as you waltz through your daily routine, you might also like to surround yourself with your very own handmade beauties. Perhaps you already do!

Whatever your desire, here is a simple pattern to get you started.

Click here to go to the Ravelry Pattern Page for the MItered Ballband Hanging Towel

I have enjoyed knitting this Mitered Ballband Hanging Towel, and hope you will, too.

For now, back to my tasks at hand...

P.S. If you are not a member of Ravelry and would like a copy of this pattern, please leave your address in the comments and I will e-mail it to you.