It is true that a synthetic sweater can be washed and dried in machines, but to me this rather reduces it to the level of a sweatshirt.”
- Elizabeth Zimmermann
I might as well get it out of the way, and have done with the mid-winter knitting blog post.
We’ve broken the back of one of the dreariest months of the year. The February blahs have passed me by so far, or maybe I’ve passed them by, as it’s been a month of non-stop concerts and rehearsals. Lots of interesting music this month, from a four day tour of Chopin, Hetu, and Beethoven to Jenn Grant’s indie-pop to a stellarBaroque concert, and on Sunday, a mixed-media presentation of orchestral chestnuts with an unusual soloist, the silk painter Holly Carr. While we played, she worked on a vast panel of silk placed behind the orchestra so the family audience could watch as she painted from behind. Spectacular, and a great way to involve different senses while listening to and “seeing” the music. Or maybe it was seeing and “listening to” the painting. A great way to bring on a little synaesthesia.
With all this going on, writing has taken a necessary back seat. But I’ve had my wits about me to knit a few things, and with a couple of successes under my belt, I recently undertook to knit a hat. The pattern was easy enough, and I had in my stash some chunky wool, just the thing, in a most glorious pallette of blues, greens, golds and browns. As I cast off I realised the yarn, beautiful though it was in colour, was too stiff to make a decent hat. I sat it upside down and there it rested like a bowl waiting to be filled, but not with my head.
So I threw it in the washing machine, extra hot, with a tennis ball and a towel, everything my mother told me NOT to do with a woolen garment (sorry, Mum). It came out a wet, blurry, mis-shapen mess, just as I’d hoped. There was nothing to do but toss it in the dryer and let it tumble around, cooking, for a while.
With a little persuasion from an upside-down pasta bowl, the slightly damp hat-that-wasn’t dried overnight on the radiator. Next morning I removed the pasta bowl, which had left a flat bottom in what was now a beautiful felted basket which now sits near my knitting chair loaded with balls of yarn.
The concerts continue – later this week a joint performance with the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra, for which we’ll play some BIG stuff. Between rehearsals and bouts of practising, I’m making my way through the yarn in the felted basket as I try to conquer a circular shawl in the style of Elizabeth Zimmermann. At this point it more closely resembles a blob than a shawl, but it keeps me going.