Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why it's worth learning to spin

I've been kind of down the last few days, which probably has nothing to do with Halloween frenzy and the inevitable sugar crashes that result from close proximity to more candy than 50 trick-or-treaters could possibly want, plus cold weather, plus an in-theory beautiful knitting design that kept going wrong, plus an unfinished definitely beautiful knitting project overlooked in favour of the aforementioned design. Or - wait, yeah, it's probably those things. Plus the other stuff.

So yesterday, seeing as how I'm in my last few days of what passes for loose ends before a big urgent project starts, I thought I'd better put my house in order, literally. I took a nap, and I vacuumed, and I tidied up my work space, and planned a healthy supper that was not supposed to include Halloween candy and then did anyway.

But I didn't feel like knitting.

I always work on a knitty thing I can pick up and put down in the last hour or so before I have to make supper - possibly owing to a subconscious need for an excuse to burn at least one part of it or at minimum delay the whole - and it was either the now decidedly not portable Clockwork thingy, or the More-Miss-Than-Hit froggable project I have admitted defeat about until I brew up some other idea for it, or starting something new, which is unwise in the face of the aforementioned big urgent project.

And then I noticed my spindle and the undyed Polworth I'm spinning with it, just sitting on my desk, waiting.

It's so peaceful. And soft. Drafting it out involves, essentially, petting fiber. There are no stitches to get wrong and rip out - only spinning. And I don't have to come up with some great use for it, because even the parts I've already finished are still just unplied singles, though actually this is destined to be a cuddly toy some day.

The Polworth reminds me that it is very good for knitters to learn how to spin, and keep beautiful fiber to work with, for stress relief between (or instead of) knitting projects. And I am very grateful to all the people who have kindly put me on the path of doing it with reasonable success. You know who you are and I thank you enormously.

Meanwhile, I mentioned the cold weather, right? It's cold here. Today I accepted that we are officially past the date at which I can get away with my microfiber glove/felted wool handwarmer combo, because my fingertips are freezing ten minutes from my house, every day. I even had to move into my warmest wool/alpaca blend hat, which is sort of a beret shape.

At this point in my story I would like to ask:

How many times have you seen berets worn like Brambles in the current issue of Knitty?

Lots, I bet. I see them looking like that all the time in pictures, and on freezing cold teenagers in the dead of winter. Where I live, you just can't get away with wearing a hat on the back of your head unless it's for purely decorative purposes. Once you actually need a hat

(which is about when most of the local teenagers deign to wear one, unless some clever person gave them the kind with a monkey face on it in which case they can not wear that hat enough, and rightly so)

you're well beyond the point where you can safely expose your forehead. Plus, the wind would just rip one of those back of head things right off you and carry it up into a tree for a next-spring bird's nest.

I know all this; I know I will freeze and get ice cream headache just from breathing in the cold air; but those pictures are all


Which is why I decided yesterday that I had to wear my beret-like thing on the back of my head. I put my hair in ponytails, the better to hold it in place. I went outside. There was no wind, so it didn't blow off. And most of my looser hair stayed out of my eyes, being decoratively pinned under the brim by the sheer force of rib stitch.

But I froze.

Which takes me back to the drawing board about how to wear a beret. And, incidentally, back to swatching.

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