Having finished knitting the Silk Garden scarf, I’ve turned to another form of stitching to keep my hands and mind active. In a rare flurry of exuberance one snowy weekend this winter, I pieced together some fabrics from my stash into pillow tops, intending to machine quilt and do the rest of the sewing up over the following week.
And of course that didn’t happen. While it would have been nice to have the finished projects by now, the delay gave me time to consider the quilting, both in terms of what I wanted as a result and what I wanted to get out of the process. I realized I’ve become more drawn to hand-sewing lately. I tend to look forward to hand-stitching hems of garments, and have even turned some silky fabric remnants into scarves with hand-rolled hems. So hand-quilting seemed the way to go with these as well.
It was the right decision. I love the look of the stitches, their smallness and their imperfection. I have been calmed by sensual details of the making of them — the syncopated rhythm, the movement of the needle, the sound of the waxed thread as it slides through the fabric. This will take longer than the original plan, but eventually these pillows will be complete. And when they are, I will have all these memories of their making.
I made a trip to WEBS in Northampton last December to to pick up some Berroco Remix for my annual make-one-for-everyone project. (This year it was hats — gotta remember to post about those, too.) It’s an incredible store — easily the largest yarn shop I’ve ever been in and really well organized to boot. And then there’s the Back Room, the similarly huge and somewhat less well-organized home to the clearance and “yard sale” yarns — in balls, skeins and cones on row after row after row of industrial shelving. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool bargain hunter, so this is clearly the best part of the visit for me.
This trip I found a single skein of Noro Silk Garden Sock in the yard sale section and knew immediately that the soft gray, aqua and periwinkle would make a perfect scarf to pair with the pale gray wool coat I wear in early spring. A few weeks ago I found the perfect pattern — a simple lace scarf that was nearly made for the yarn and a teeny-tiny bit more challenging than my go-to garter stitch comfort knit. I had to rip it back a few times — okay, quite a few — when I lost concentration and botched even the teeny-tiny challenging part. But it was worth it, both in terms of the product and the impact on my mental state. Seeing a simple effort grow row-by-row into something beautiful gives me comfort and confidence — a sense of self-worth.
The knitting’s done, I will wet-block it tonight — can’t wait to see its fully-stretched lacy glory.
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If it did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. — Charlotte Bronte
Things have been a little rough for me the last couple of months, both physically and mentally. In the midst of the record-breaking snow this winter here in New England, I’ve had a frightening flare-up of a chronic medical condition, and our beloved 21-yeard old cat died of her own chronic condition. I’ve kept my head above water by continuing to make things, but feeling a little bit too vulnerable to share. I woke up this morning wanting to start sharing again, so I think I’m coming out of it.
There’s a light at the end of this tunnel.
See you soon.