Wednesday, April 30, 2014

the colour of comfort

There has been something about turning 40 (which happens tomorrow, whether I want it to or not) that has compelled me to make things for friends near and far. And the elegant, but comfortable shawl has become my go-to thing to make.

This simple red version is for someone who has been very dear to me since we met at overnight summer camp 26 years ago. We weren't from the same town, but happened to meet again at a different overnight camp two years later (it was an arts camp for our school region). And shortly after that we moved to Kingston, starting our BFA at the same time and living in the same residence. Ours was destined to be a lifelong friendship! We've lived together, sewn together, run a business together. And the most magical thing is that we were born on the same day. It's pretty neat to wake up every May 1st as excited to wish my best friend happy birthday as it is to celebrate my own. I'm so thankful our 14-year-old selves crossed paths.

Kristen lives a province away and so this shawl is in the hands of Canada Post. Red has always been a shared favourite colour and when I saw this wool I knew it was perfect for her. The yak down/cormo blend has a lovely smell (where does that come from?) and the semi-solid is nice and subtle. After blocking the shawl, it was everything I had hoped for: a warm, red, wool hug.

Travelling in the same package is a little lavender sachet with some small scale cross-stitch that made my eyes hurt (clearly they know I'm turning 40). Shawls and sachets - I feel like we could all use them in our lives, whatever age we are.

I'll catch up on reading reviews next week - starting with The Light Between Oceans. I finished it last night with a few tears and a sad heart. I need time to digest it!

For more stories from other knitters and readers, visit today's Yarnalong.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

grey skies

Another shawl, another gift. This time Veera Valimaki's Blackcurrant Shawl using two skeins of Rhichard Devrieze's fingering weight wool. I rarely use fingering but it's really surprising how far it goes. The pattern was simple but interesting, creating a fun, drapey shape at the front. The semi-solid colourway of the wool is sophisticated and I imagine the merino will soften over time. The colour suits this elongated winter perfectly - not to mention the eye colour of the recipient! - but hopefully some warmer weather will appear soon to inspire a brighter shade for my next knitting project. I won't count on it though. 

And more books! These two novels took place on opposite sides of the world, in different time periods - but even so, I can't say which I preferred more. Linda Olsson's Sonata for Miriam was characteristically sad, but a little less haunting than her Memory of Love. Olsson tells such an emotional story full of rich and heartbreaking characters. In this case a father loses his daughter but in the process of healing finds a way back to his real family and eventually the mother of his child. From Australia to Poland to a lonely island in Sweden, it was a tough but really memorable journey. Sally Armstrong's The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor starts with a journey, but once the main character makes her way to Canada the bulk of the story happens in the young country. The novel takes place in the late 1700's/early 1800's and the description of life in that time period was fascinating. Armstrong has written about her great-great-great grandmother but even with liberties, she created a realistic, formidable character. I loved Charlotte, her gigantic family, the true love of her life Wioche and the rough, developing landscape of New Brunswick.

For more knitting and reading suggestions, visit today's Yarnalong.