Monday, September 26, 2011

Saturday Fun

Part of my Saturday was spent in the company of this lovely sunflower.
My brother and I drove down to Coon Valley to Norskedalen to see the Threshing Bee. I had never been there before, and the place is quite expansive. Many old homesteads have been moved to the site, and for the most part, it was like walking back in time. We saw the threshing, and corn picking, and then shelling and flailing and grinding. Lots of work just to get a little flour. It's one thing to spend time on a chore or a craft because you enjoy it, and quite another to do it because you need to survive, and feed a family and livestock.

There were also demonstrations of beekeeping, blacksmithing, butter churning, cheesemaking, lefse making and more. There was an antique steam engine turning an ice cream maker. All of the foods made that day tasted wonderful, and it reminded me again that simpler is often better.

It's difficult to live simply, and more slowly, when the concerns of the modern day are all around. Today I rushed through another busy Monday at work, made the equivalent of "instant" food, and will fast forward through commercials in a television program. The pace is frenetic. Not only fast, but frenzied. I try to grab moments of time, but they go by so quickly they don't seem to be enjoyed, let alone even experienced.

This is something to work on; to change for the better. Simplify, simplify.

I've got my work cut out for me...

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Charming Socks

I need to write about my current pair of socks in progress, and at first I wanted to say that they infatuated me, but a romp through the dictionary proved me wrong. An infatuation is a foolish love, and there is nothing foolish about these socks, or the way I feel about them. No, the word that I finally settled on is charming. These socks have charmed me.

There is a bit of serendipity here. I did not buy this yarn on purpose. I happened to stop at a big box hobby store last week, and found loads of yarn on clearance. I bought all the sock yarn, 11 balls, planning to use it for catnip toys and booties and such.

Then on Sunday, I finished a pair of socks for a friend; a pair that, while feeling nice and colorful, was not the nicest pair to make. The yarn was splitty, and it felt finer than normal sock yarn. And that afternoon I was going to a fiber gathering, and you can't go to an event like that without some mindless knitting on the needles. After much consideration, I pulled a ball of Kroy FX yarn out of the pile of sock yarn I'd just purchased, and cast on.

I knew automatically how I would knit these socks. 2x2 ribbing for a couple of inches, then switch to 3x1 ribbing. Simple and serviceable. I decided that these socks would be for me; something I could wear to work with my drab brown uniform.

I got about three inches of knitting done on Sunday, but the enchantment didn't set in until Monday. That day I was able to do a few more inches, and the leg really began to take shape, and the muted color shifts were becoming more evident. They remind me so much of crushed leaves, the kind you find when you walk along a sidewalk in the fall, and it's covered with leaves, and they've been trodden on and flattened, and the colors and textures meld together into a mosaic of brown and gold and copper.
Click to make larger

There's also something substantial about the way these socks feel. They are sturdy. The last pair of socks I knit was soft, and almost delicate in feel. This Kroy yarn, however, the typical wool and nylon blend, while not rough, feels firm and thick and warm. I'm knitting on #1 needles, but I probably could have used #2 needles and still had a decent fabric that wasn't too limp. There's something special about the way these socks feel in my hand, as if they hold a promise that they will keep me safe from winter's chill and be warm and relaxing and comforting.

And really, what more could you ask of handknit socks?