Sneaky Old Spring…

photoIt was pelting down, the rain was this morning. It seems just when one thinks “too much”, mother nature offers a glimmer if we look. Sneaky old spring. With apologies to all my family, near and far, who are still looking at snow melting. (Or not melting even yet, in some places.)

A little bit of spinning completed:

IMG_2054260 metres of the Gotland I wrote about last week. Spun in the grease and sitting here as close to a heavy fingering weight 2 ply. One can still feel a bit of the lanolin even after a good bath, so it may end up blooming after another wash. It was delightful to spin and ply up. This might be terrific as part of a fair isle project…


IMG_2050Ooh this is satisfying. The wheel freshly dusted, cleaned, rubbed with oil. All the moving parts with a bit of oil applied. And then the fibre, a local Gotland, purchased yesterday at Fibres West. It seems to want to be spun semi worsted, though you can see the little bits poking up, I hope this will bloom when washed. There is a bit of lanolin in this, between oiling the wheel and working with the fibre, my hands are suddenly very soft.

IMG_2053And the vest, seen blocking. At 2.5 stitches to the inch it flew along. The centre panel shows a double dorge, or vajra it is sometimes called. More often seen in Tibetan Buddhism than our practice, but it has particular meaning to the wearer. (Who is pleased with it. And, while it has yet to be finished completely, needs a zipper and some tidying up, it fits. Whew.) I am leaving the explanation of the dorge to the wikipedia article. (Pure inertia on my part, I am not up to attempting a description of what it means in a personal way. ) The waves upper and lower bracket the main panel in a deliberate manner. And it is a knitted vest, not a sacred object – the purpose here is to warm the wearer.

And finally – I got a shot of a Red Winged Blackbird. A good walk out at the bird sanctuary. Patience is paying off. (Bird seed helped.) Aren’t the colours gorgeous on this fellow?


Uncharted Territory

IMG_1992The Cowichan sweater is a Canadian icon. There is much written about the history of this beautifully crafted garment and its heritage interwoven with the Coast Salish people of this land. The project pictured above is NOT a Cowichan sweater. It could be described as a riff on the techniques for sure, given that it is a super bulky wool being used, with stranded motifs placed on it. This was a commissioned piece, a long wished for project that I have finally got round to doing. It’s a bit of a departure, as I don’t usually use such thick wool, nor do I usually do requests, but this is special. (Requests for sweaters just make me nervous. I would rather teach someone to knit, and then have them knit their own.) Anyhow, in future posts I may talk further about the motifs – just note that they are all hand charted, using a lot of different resources as inspiration. This is to be a vest adorned with Buddhist symbols important to the wearer. Stylized waves are what can be seen here.

There is a terrific book devoted to Cowichan sweaters, and to Salish weaving called Working with Wool, A Coast Salish Legacy and the Cowichan Sweater, by Sylvia Olsen. This beautifully written and photographed book is both a personal account and a thoroughly researched history of the craft, and I heartily recommend it if one is interested in the topic. It is a lovely book if all one wants to do is look at the photos.  For Canadians of a certain age, (ahem, sort of my age and older,) the replica Cowichan, or an original if we were lucky is a part of our childhood. My mom knit up the replicas РI vaguely remember a blue one that I wore till the armpits were too tight and hurt. Kind of a scratchy happy memory.

The yarn pictured above is Briggs and Little Country Roving, a five ply loosely spun wool that warms in the hands and as it does so the smell of lanolin emerges. I have to keep a wary eye on the cats as this yarn has been known to drive cats to distraction with them wanting to eat it, or roll in it. So far, the fur balls are indifferent.

IMG_1989Crescent Beach yet again. Looking out toward the open ocean.

Dropping Off

IMG_1967Canada geese at Crescent Beach, just before a massive rain storm.

Sometimes, as a friend wrote, the world loses a bit of its colour. Amazing how everyday life continues though. The last few weeks have been like a retreat at the Abbey. When the bell rings you go on to the next thing. What is important, the schedule teaches, is that you drop the one thing and move onto the next thing. Or I guess better put, let go and move onto the next. I am not sure I understand this letting go business entirely. All I know is that we don’t get to pick and choose what we let go of.

Colour is still very present though.


A young eagle, also from Crescent Beach, though a different day. This is a good time of year to see the eagles. We spotted more than a dozen on one of our trips to the beach.

And because this is ostensibly a knitting/fibre blog:

Socks. Lots of socks. Good old Lion Brand and my favourite, good old Kroy. Socks and socks and socks!