Color in the Garden

I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately. I've started a half-time job as a psychiatric social worker at the hospital. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it's a big jump from the 8-10 hours or so and it's very regular hours. I do a little better working when I feel like it, but then don't we all? I have a wonderful supervisor who considers me a peer and, even more importantly, who is flexible with me. I just have to get my shift covered if I'm not going to be there. It's a great job for me and I feel proud to contribute to the family's income when we need it. All that said, between that and the usual mom stuff (because I'm still needed to be a stay at home Mom, too), I've had some difficulty figuring out where the fiber business fits in.

So, in search of balance, I went back to the garden. I've noticed that many knitters are gardeners. Clearly, that passion for working with your hands transfers from knitting to gardening. In fact, for me, it started with gardening. See, I'd decided by my mid-twenties that my outlet for creative expression was my clinical work. Indeed, I often felt that same energy in the room with a client. I'd just relax (in my head, I'd go into the "horse stance") and find a creative way to help the person move, change, or make a better decision. I was good and it was fun! I often felt like I was channeling something else - just by remaining open.

Then as I headed into my thirties, I bought a house with the usually lovely husband and felt my self drawn to the dirt and those things that grow in it. I read everything i could get my hands on, in fact, the year I was married, I read gardening books to relax. I ordered plants from all over, grew them from seed and double dug garden beds all over my yard. Jack commented more than once that he'd like me to stop digging up his grass.

As I developed other passions, the garden receded. I continued to enjoy it, but tended it less carefully as the years have gone by. As the pressures of life threatened, I returned to the garden. And, it was still here! All the loving care and hard work of the past continues to yield beautiful flowers and foliage. I planted this Lady's Mantle more than ten years ago.

That elusive calm is beginning to show its face. I know there is no way I can do everything I want to do and not turn into butter like Sambo's tigers chasing one anothers' tails. I'm not sure how it will all shake out, but it will, somehow. I do know I haven't dyed in over three weeks - there's plenty in the shop, though. I have not knit any felted bags or hats for Tiara Day. And I've missed a few design submission deadlines.

I have been spinning and plying and thinking about color. Remember this spinning? Focus on the roving in my lap instead of my silly expression.

I am in love with it's Noro-esque long color repeats and heathery blending. Sarah was so right about Navajo plying it. Sorry the picture is fuzzy - my camera is an older digital and it's lack picture clarity and color "trueness" has been a bit of a blog barrier, too. I can't wait to spin the rest of the roving and make some fab stripey thing. Yum!

I did some kettle dying for a stranded sweater I'm designing. Of course, I had to throw in some Romney locks just because. You'll have to see the yarn another day, but trust me, it's lovely in a Manos sort of way (but in super soft plied merino yarn). This Montana is wonderful to knit, and because it's plied, it will hold up better than Malabrigio. Mmm, Malabrigio.

I have continued to think about blending Fairy Dust. There is more sari silk in this batt, and it's almost right. I'd like to try half and half. And the interesting thing is that despite the number of passes through the carder (three or four, i think), the fiber is not neppy and drafts to a thinner, softer, "silkier" yarn.

And to spin it with: a Jim Wandell hand-made spindle. We met him and his lovely wife, and super fiber maven Mary Ann at the Fiber Fest in Snow Hill. I fell madly in love with his stunning drop spindles - jut when i thought all hope was lost for me and hand spindling. I ordered one with no clear idea of what I was going to do with it and he sustom mde it for me. It is lovely and it spins forever, in a slow and steady kind of way. I had it at the pool last night when I took the mermaid for swim practice and just walked around spinning. Kids and adults alike were fascinated. I think I seriously disrupted practice. OK, I did drop it few times, and at one point, it nearly rolled into the pool. Luckily, I'm well-established as the crazy lady in my community:)

Isn't it stunning?