Friday, February 05, 2016

Do your best work

Happy Friday, I really don't know why, but this just has been a great day. The walk was colder and harder today than earlier this week, but even that felt good. I was going to drive to town to run some errands but decided to postpone everything and just enjoy the day as it was spreading in front of me. I stole couple of hours, made coffee, defrosted some cake and spent those hours reading an old Finnish book. When I picked up this book, I did not expect anything, it is very old Finnish classic (published in 1933), has lots of words that are unfamiliar to me, but it is really interesting and every now and then I find myself laughing out loud. (For my Finnish readers; the book is Alastalon salissa by Volter Kilpi).
My daughter chose for me another bag from the personal sock yarn club and this is what the bag revealed. When I looked at the skeins, both of them, I was wondering who had brought them to my stash, I mean, I was in no mood to knit with dark grey and bright turquoise. I looked at the skeins for couple of days and decided to make two pairs of socks; I was not going to mix them; thought that I would just knit two vanilla pairs and be done with them and look forward to the next month.
Then from somewhere I heard someone saying: Do your best work. I am not sure where I read this, it could have been Uppercase newsletter (by the way, I love Uppercase magazine) but I am not sure. I am not even sure if this is the exact wording, but this is how I kept hearing it. 
Furthermore, I started to think about those two skeins and knew if I tried my best; it would make an impact on the making but also on the outcome. If I tried little harder, the whole project would be more interesting, I might learn something new, and I might even love knitting those yarns. I thought some more. I was not going to make socks to be over and done with this yarn, I was going to knit a pair (or two pairs) of socks, that would need to be well shaped to wear well, long to be warm, and preferably nice.
What does it really mean to do one's best? Does it mean that I become my worst critic and keep ripping and ripping until I have exhausted myself and end up miserable with worn yarn. I don't think so. I feel more like I need to stop and think, appreciate the material,
try to bring out its best in a pleasing manner; that I will stop and think and choose right methods and make reasonable decisions; that I use my best tools and take use of all the knowledge I have; that I will take time to consider all the known facts, will not compromise and that I will not be satisfied too soon but will make this extra little step needed to make the end result special.
This is so working, I am in love with this project. Beautiful grey!

(Ok, if this thought does not carry me through both of these skeins, and if I fail, I am sure I can find another quote for that.)

Wool with you, xx
Lene

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Candlemas


The length of the day is longer already. I checked to see how long it is up here and it is more than six hours, the sun rises at 0916 and sets at 1545 (0345pm). Then I looked at the old almanac to see what is said about February and I came across the little bit of information of today, February 2. It is the day of the candle (in Finnish), Candlemas in Christian calendars (since the Middle Ages). Further reading revealed that the old knowledge, if I set aside the religious content, states that this very day ends the mid winter in Finland and marks the beginning of the spring. This was the date when most of the mid winter chores had to be done (like the fleece should have been washed and flax cleaned).
Oh well, to say that this marks the beginning of the spring sounds little bit daring above the Arctic Circle (when we at its best have two full months of snow and cold ahead of us) but I think it is safe to say that we are at the threshold of the spring winter. We got taste of that couple of days back when the wind picked up and started to build snowdrifts (kinos in Finnish). Definitely a sign of spring winter! To forecast the summer weather has always been an important topic and if February 2 is cold, the summer will be good; then on the other hand, if the temperature is mild, the summer will be warm... Plenty of snow means good crops. I didn't realize this day had all this significance.
Walking gets harder and harder for a few coming weeks, as the snow gets packed onto all walkways and you are always walking on snow more or less, which is like walking on a beach in the sand, more work than walking on a hard surface. I cannot wait for the time when I can finally kick off my winter boots and use something lighter for my walks. The snow has piled so high on trees that some of the branches have snapped. Next week it is supposed to get warm (anyway over zero for a bit) so there is hope for some relief for the poor trees.
I decided to set aside my search for a new design. It will come when the time is right... but I am not having idle hands. I am making another scarf with the same crochet trellis pattern, with small improvements and hoping that while I am keeping my hands busy, my mind will have time and peace to wander around and maybe pick up something new. I already started this last week right after the green/grey one was finished but sure enough I did not pick the right yarn from the start and had to rip back and begin again with different yarn. I think I am good now. I am using Finnwool again, not handspun, but similar and now in light browns. For a while I thought about real colors, with February the color palette is shifting towards the spring, but for some reason I could not picture this change yet. Maybe it is still too early for brighter colors or... maybe I just need little bit of sunshine first. But overall, I am good now.
This is what Priscilla had to say about the transition from the old project to a new one and I really love that comment, it is so true, thank you.
"Dear Lene,
It's true that finishing a successful project makes it more difficult to start the next one. There seems to be a period of appreciation and reflection when the work is finished, and this is an integral part of the whole process of working creatively. Just as the project didn't 'begin' when you picked up the hook and wool - it started much earlier, in your mind. So, when you've made the last stitch, the project hasn't actually ended yet.
And if you're looking for inspiration for crochet projects, you might google Sophie Digard. "

Sophie Digard (this link takes you to Pinterest)! Her work is stunning! Even if you don't usually look at crochet, you should check this out. Amazing, truly amazing.

It is getting late, I have been two steps behind me for the whole day; you know the feeling when the clock seems to run its own course and you don't have a clue where the time is slipping. No matter how hard you rush, you cannot quite get there. Good night's sleep is probably bringing my boat to even keel as it is getting late.

I hope you have a good week, wool with you,
Lene