Saturday, October 22, 2016

Coloring way outside the lines--knitting as art

Both art and life are usually messy.


I'm sorry the blog is late this week. I used up all of my energy yesterday. It was Aunt J's funeral and everything went beautifully. Family and friends shared great tributes both over the pulpit and informally.

Due to firm belief in Heaven and the Resurrection, Mormons usually have very positive funerals. There was as much laughter about happy memories as tears of loss.

Funerals also tend to be the most effective family reunions. Aunts, uncles, and cousins had the chance to reconnect.
Aunt J's guys know cars. This unique hearse was perfect.
My responsibilities were minimal. Lots of hugs, but mostly sitting and listening. Nevertheless, being "on" (meaning dressed, conscious, and publicly acceptable) for 5 1/2 hours was enough to do me in. I've been mostly resting ever since. Now I'm hoping to get the blog finished and posted before dinner time today (Saturday).


Leaves falling and snow on the mountaintops make me want to run away from winter before it arrives. I can't afford a tropical escape physically or financially, but I can pretend.

So I'm reading a travel book called In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. I read two books he wrote about England--Notes from a Small Island and The Road to Little Dribbling--which I found entertaining, but maybe too nostalgic and critical.

But this book, about Australia, is much more positive. Bryson is delighted by almost everything and draws readers to share the delight. I'm 2/3 of the way through the book, then I'll need to search his other works and hope he's visited Tahiti or the Bahamas. 

I've also been traveling through art. Jenny Lawson, one of my favorite writers issued an invitation. She has created a piece of art for us to color together and share. (You can find a full-sized, printable copy by clicking on the link in the drawing's caption.) This should be a relaxing activity and a way to connect with fellow fans, butI'm highly competitive and stubborn about doing things my own way.
My handwriting has always been sloppy and my coloring less than precise. Shaking from pain or weakness makes it worse. So I've found adult, "stress-relieving" coloring books pretty frustrating. 

But the text, and the theme, for the picture is perfect for me right now. In the circles around the sailboat it says, "Through calm waters and stormy seas, I will find my way."

I decided to knit the picture and promptly announced it in the blog's comments.
(I never quite trust my motivation.  Am I being a quirky, creative type or a show off? Am I displaying talent or hiding its absence?)

On the first night, I ordered a sailboat brooch through Etsy and dreamt of a pattern. I have two colors of handspun Icelandic wool ready to knit. It will only take a couple of days to process more white. I have a bag of grey Finn wool that I may be able to spin into compatible yarn. 

So I pictured a circle with wave motifs in four colors--mostly tropical and calm in the center, then getting bigger and stormier towards the outside. But even during the early stages, I discovered that I wasn't succeeding in the combination of circles and color work.
 This could also be a problem for my next sweater, which will be a traditional Icelandic Lopi pullover. But I have patterns for that. My artwork is improvised. I finally gave up on color work and switched to lace because I've done circles that way before. For the backing and other colors, I bought a piece of foam board and a set of Sharpies.
While knitting and coloring, I pondered the meaning of the original picture and how it applies to me. Am I in calm waters or stormy seas? Which do I prefer? I know that during my teaching decades--first with small children at home, then with a chronic illness (and larger children in school)-- I longed for the stillness of my current existence.

There are scary pictures on the internet.

But now I'm less sure. Today's calm feels more like the doldrums. I'm becalmed in the Sargasso Sea, desperate for a breeze to get me moving. I could use a storm.

Maybe this little boat and I just need 

My project is mostly finished, but the sailboat is still in the mail. I'll take a proper picture of the whole thing hanging on a wall when it arrives. 
All I need is a boat!

This looks quite nice when I wear it, but is currently soggy from its first washing.


My orange sweater is finished and ready to wear. It's debut will probably be next Sunday. It will look good with my black dress and quite Halloweeny. I have a nice scarf with spiders on it too, but that may be too much for church.

The blue square shawl, which I started the night we went to visit Aunt J, is currently consuming its third ball of yarn and is about half the size it will ultimately be. I'm planning to keep it.

Next week I promise to show some new knitting for my shop.

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