Fibercandy for the Eyes

There used to be, once upon a time, a blog called "Knittingmomma". This was about 2 years ago, but even though I already then devoured blogs of all sorts and desperately wanted to be part of this community, it just never materialized. Eventually, it ended the way it started, a slow, quiet, unnoticed death. It was a time when I didn't think the blog could be a medley of things, but was about knitting and being a mother. Huxley was but a couple of years old and since the Yarnharlot had been my doula and seen him born, I thought I should join the ship. 

Knitting and fibre dates back to my childhood. Actually, once when I was reflecting upon it at OCAD (Ontario College of Art And Design), I realized that already my father's life had revolved around fibre, as he was a tool and die maker for Sulzer Rüti (or as it used to be known Maschinenfabrik Rüti), the factory made high-end looms. One year he started to bring old weaving shuttles home and in his workshop devised a way to wind them with very fine sewing thread. These shuttles still live with me and are waiting for the house renovations to finish so that I can display them again. My mother, who I still can see in my inner eye of sitting after all the dinner tasks of washing up and putting away had been done, was sitting on a straight-backed chair at the dinning room table, watching TV and knitting. She used to work in a garment factory sewing on buttons. That was her only job she ever held, before she married my father. She never really sewed after she had us children, but she told me that she used to take courses that used to be held at the old post office. 

So my own love of fiber is almost as old as I am myself. I remember always having known how to knit. I don't remember who thought me, but it would make sense that it was Mami who did. I do still possess one of the first things that I knit when I was in needlework classes with Frau Brändli in Grade 2, a little duck. Amazing how these things have survived the move across the ocean from Switzerland to Canada. 

Growing up in Switzerland, I was blessed with receiving 8 years of solid training in all forms of needlework, with the intention of making us into good homemakers, so that we would be able to sew, knit, embroider, mend, and otherwise keep our kindreds in nice, tidy, clean clothes. Even as a child I was so easily excitable about a new skill and project. If we started something at school, I almost always started the same thing at home too, so that I was not only limited to working on it during classes, but could devote all my free time to it. From crocheting ballerina dresses for Barbie, to spray painting old bedsheets to be sewn into pants for myself, nothing was safe. As soon as I had any spending money, I started to stash building. 

When I started studying at OCAD, I wanted to learn real art skills, sculpture, painting, design, but after focusing on a lot of fibre arts at OCAD (paper making, dying, weaving, surface design, fibre explorations), I realized that all the skills that I had learned in school where just as valid to express myself as are the "real" arts. 

My work as it is now, is really a melting pot of many skills that I have learned, as a good friend (hi James!) has remarked, "Your work is more constructed than painted". That is so true, and has become a way of mine in describing what I do. 

Being at the studio, there are many times when I need to sit and stare at a painting to see where I need to go with it, in addition, I don't seem to being able to find time at home to knit, so I always have some studio knitting projects on the go. And this, my dears, is what I want to show you today. 

My go-to knitting, a shawl from 50% silk and 50% merino that I dyed about 3 months ago. I'm hoping to get something about 60 cm by 180 cm with all the yarn that I have. We'll see, as I will just keep knitting until I run out. I originally wanted to have meandering leaves, but then realized that it would not allow me to look up form the knitting while I was doing it, hence defeating the process of helping me with the paintings. 
Waldorf-style horsey for Huxley, knit sometime last winter, but never finished. I've got to rectify that, because I don't think it would make a very sexy graduation gift. Then again, if I'm blessed with longevity, it puts me ahead of the game when the grandchildren come along.
This shot I love, I just walked around the studio with the camera and shot these skeins in their plastic bag in a dark corner of the space. When I bought them, they where off/white/beige. They got sold to me as a linen mix, but the following year, when I spoke with the vendor, they told me it was rayon. Although I don't mind Rayon, it took the wind out of my sails with this project, the hexagon coat from Knitting Nature (I think that's the right name). I used fibre reactive dyes and batched them for 2 days. Still love the colour and really must continue on them. 

This summer I also knitted the Harumi scarf out of some Habu goodies and a mobius scarf out of quivit/merino mix. Both need to be finished, i.e. ends sewn in and washed and blocked. 

Okay… ranting done… on to bed.

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