Crowz Nest

Because it's time... as it was once before.

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Location: Port Murray, NJ

I'm a bit old to be starting out in life again, but that's where I am. Sadly. Or gladly. It's where I am. Come along. Watch the fun. Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Hair of the dog

Now that Christmas has come and gone, I can safely blog about the thing that was my huge excitement this season. In October, I attended the NY State Sheep and Wool Festival with Lauren. Lauren and I met on Canine-l. So, we already knew we shared a love for German Shepherds in particular and dogs in general. Slowly, we became aware of another shared passion - for knitting. But Lauren goes beyond knitting. She spins. She is also, as I understand it, determined that I am going to become a spinner as well, and has generously loaned me a wheel to practice on. I'm not very good at it, and I've been knitting so much recently that there hasn't been much time to practice it. The festival gave me a glimpse into a world as broad and deep as the dog world is. It was a feast of fiber, which translates into an eye-appealing sea of colors, and an orgasmic tactile orgy of textures - softness, bounce, drape, warmth. It was seductive on so many sensory levels, and clearly a world into which I will venture further as time goes on. It has already, in ways both subtle and pronounced, altered forever my love affair with knitting.

I've always loved knitting, and I love making gifts for people. A long time ago, I discovered the magic connection in knitting; I never feel any closer to anyone than I do when I'm knitting a gift for them. When I'm knitting for a baby not yet born, by the time they've arrived, I feel very much a part of their new, fresh life. And when I'm knitting for someone I love, it makes me feel as if I'm wrapped around them as surely as the garment will be. I love knitting as a dynamic, creative act of love.

I was already making my sister a shawl for Christmas, and my increased focus on knitting had already made me determined to make as many Christmas presents as I could. A pair of handmade socks I received as a gift last year reminded me how special it can be to be given something so simple, but so thoughtful and full of love. So, I had this notion of what to give my friend, Suzanne, for Christmas. Suzanne has one of everything, I think, and little room among the many animals in her household to put even one more knick-knack. She's someone I love very dearly. She also bred Crow and Hudson. I wanted to give her something special, unique. I always do, but sometimes just come up really dry, and can't come up with an idea that really seems to hit the right note.

All of these things started to gel in my mind early in the fall. My increased interest in fiber and yarn, my new interest in spinning converged with my search for an idea for a Christmas gift for Suzanne, and finally, I got it. I asked Lauren if she'd be willing to spin fur I'd brushed out of Crow and Hudson into yarn for me. She agreed to do it. When we were at the NY show, I looked for fiber to blend the dog hair with, and found some wool that was a good color match. I bought a batt, and sent it home, along with a bag of German Shepherd hair, with Lauren. Lauren would transform these ingredients into the raw material I needed to make Suzanne a gift that was from all of us, and hopefully, would show her how much she meant to us.

A few weeks later, I received a box of doghair yarn (along with goodies for the dogs and me - don't you just love a friend who does you a favor and then sends you gifts on top of it? Lauren's the best!) There was a little 2 ply, a little more 3 ply, and even more 4 ply. There wasn't enough of any of them to make a big project, but there was plenty for something small - a hat, a scarf, maybe a cowl, mittens, or gloves - something meaningful, something warm, something useful, something, ultimately, symbolic.

I finally settled on a hat and some fingerless gloves.

I had some beautiful grey heathery alplaca from my friend Janie's son's animal. With that in hand, there was more than enough doghair yarn for these items. (Nothing worse than getting halfway through something only to realize with a sinking feeling that you're never going to have enough yarn to finish!) The result was more than gratifying. After I made the gifts for Suzanne, I couldn't bear to part with them. So, though they were done well before Christmas, I wasn't able to make myself put them in the mail. I couldn't force myself to send them off, and I finally realized that part of the reason for that was that I needed to make myself something with the yarn I had left. Once I figured that out, they were packed up and on their way. I altered the pattern slightly for my own hat, so that Suzanne and I would each still have something unique, but I'm so glad that I, too, have something made from the very first yarn that was spun from Crow and Hudson.
Here I am, wearing the hat which was made for Suzanne. Don't I look like something from the Blair Witch Project?

I haven't had so much fun getting ready for Christmas in a very long time. I'd write more about it, but my knitting marathon (making these gifts ignited a wildfire of knitting beyond description. I was a mad woman, churning out pair after pair after pair of Fetching gloves, one pair per evening over the entire holiday break!) brought on an acute case of repetitive stress injury to my hands, and I shouldn't even be on the keyboard!


Blogger sibtigre2 said...

Wonderful! Gorgeous! I love making gifts for people too. It makes me feel like I'm giving them something of myself and not just an object.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Sharon, in San Francisco said...

I am in awe! What wonderful gifts! Just amazing!

1:29 AM  
Anonymous catslave said...

You are a talented lady!! And yes, you do look like something out of Blair Witch project, lol.

12:01 PM  
Blogger dephal said...

Let me know how the spinning goes! I want to learn how myself. Meanwhile, I have 3 skeins of Ruthie yarn and 2 of Billie waiting for inspiration to strike.

11:49 PM  

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