Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year .. and my word is........

The main subject of this post really has nothing to do with these photographs - but I did want to share a couple of my latest fingerless gloves with you. These are gauntlets actually. I never thought I would like the longer size but I do ! I found a ball of an Heritage yarn from Australia in my stash and made the first white pair from it. It's 50 % wool and 50% mohair. Yet another thing that I had not thought I would care for much is the mohair but I am astounded at how extra warm this pair of gloves is! Most unfortunately, this yarn has been discontinued  or I would buy more of it. I've been looking for another similar 50/50 yarn to use instead but have not found one yet. This is a light sport weight and I knit them on size 5 (metric 3.75) needle. If you know of something that might work please let me know!  The pink pair is made from Cascade Cloud 9,  which is a yummy, super-soft blend of 50% merino and 50% angora - which is what the pattern called for. The pattern is a freebie from Dancing Ewe, where they carry all of Cloud 9's colors. The pattern is called "Susie's Reading Mitts". I love this pattern! There is just enough of a simple design on top and bottom to look pretty and add interest but it's also just enough boring knitting to be able to sit in front of the TV and stitch away.  I have ferreted out several new fingerless glove patterns - and I am excited to get started on them. Yes, I know - it's the little things that make me smile! I am planning to add some beads the the white pair for a little bit of bling - they look like princess gloves to me!

Now on the main reason for this post! Sorry for the longer than expected knitting detour!

Happy 2010 everyone! I realize that I am a day - or three- late for passing along my New Year salutations but I have been doing a lot of pondering since the calendar turned. I have never been one for making New Year's resolutions. They generally seem to be forgotten after the first week of the New Year and I dislike making resolutions unless I think that there is a fair chance that I will actually be able to follow through. The new thing this year - or perhaps it's just that I have only noticed it this year - is to choose a 'word of the year' - or is it, in my case, 'words of the year'? Whatever. I even found an interesting questionnaire from Christine Kane designed to help you focus in on an appropriate word. I liked this and, although I am not terribly good about filling out pithy forms, I actually used this to help me weed out words that immediately jumped to the surface of my mind like create!, loseweight!, domore! None of those words, however appropriate they may be for me in the short term, felt quite right.

I have been considering this 'word of the year concept' for several days now. Rolling words around in my head to see what felt right, to feel which resonated as real for me this year. My problem is that I cannot limit myself to just one word. I've tried to - really I have. The issue that I continually struggle with is whether or not I need to constrain my hobbies in order to focus more on only one or two things. I go around and around with this. In this sense my "word" would be simplify, but I must look at that in a second light in order to decide if this is "the" word. Simplify might certainly mean condensing my hobbies - or it might not. I suppose that might depend on what being able to follow all of my paths means to me and what goals, if any, I might have, for the things that I make. There was a time when my goal in making quilts was to be an acknowledged quilter - not well know necessarily - (a psychologist would no doubt have a field day with that last comment!) but decently acknowledged in the field. Over time I realized that wanting recognition was my ego talking pure and simple and I had to ask myself if I wanted recognition because of my ego or for the benefit of my inner artist. I think that there can be a difference.

When sought acknowledgment I did, pretty much, only quilt. I did not know how to knit at that time, nor did I know how to paint, do calligraphy or make soaps an lotions. I made some things that I knew were not my best - but they were deadline pieces... you see where I 'm headed with this perhaps? Deadline work and work that is made specifically for a show entry are not necessarily my best work.  My best, most authentic, work comes for being able to make art just to please myself, being able to go slowly when I want or need to and not having to work on a timetable. My best work comes from my heart - from a place deep inside that has no road maps and follows no rules. I have pretty much given up on the idea of acknowledgment in the quilt or quilt art world. If it comes it will thrill me but if it doesn't it won't upset me any longer the way it once would have. There are just so many things that bring me joy. Knitting is the evening, as I already mentioned, practicing making a perfectly rounded unical letter, getting gesso and paint in my hair -or feeling the rich pieces of roving flow under my hands when I felt. I think I am ordained to be a "jill-of-all-trades, master a none". I just like to have fun and follow the muse where she wills me to go.

My short list of words  are:
1.   Strength
2.   Simplify
3.   Stressless
4.   Uncomplicated
5.   Faith

The questionnaire goes on to ask "why is this the perfect word for you this year?"

Strength:   I would like to have the strength to be able to deal with whatever the year's challenges may be. I want to try to stand up for myself more and develop more confidence both in my work and in myself.

Simplify:   I had been noticing that when friends called me I would multi task. and I felt that I was not honoring them with my full attention. I don't want to do that. I want to be fully present when I am speaking with my friends - after all I am blessed to have the ones I have and I don't want to lose them through neglect. I want to take time to smell the roses, take decent photographs, listen to the birds, sing, ponder on a piece of art before I begin it, enjoy the simple pleasures of life that tend to slip by on a daily basis because other things compel me more loudly and more stridently. I want to knit in the evenings without having a pang of guilt that I should be doing my 'artful' things at my desk or sewing machine. I want to fully connect with life in a less hurried, more calm way.

Stressless:   I guess this sort of has parts of 'simplify' in it. There are times when I can sit in my chair at work and listen to the cacophony of sounds swirling around me - everyone's energy levels at peak performance and I can almost feel the the world slip-sliding away. I get an image of the Tower - for those of you who know Tarot cards. The world crumbling around us all and yet we don;t take the time to notice. It seems like yesterday that my friend's beautiful and talented daughter was leaving for college in New York - now she is beginning her last semester! How'd that happen?! I don't believe that our lives can be entirely stress-less and, indeed, some stress is a good thing. I just don't want to have to look back on my life and remember only a blur because I was multi-tasking and too stressed to be able to stop and appreciate the moments of my life.

Uncomplicated: Again, bits and pieces of the words above are also pertinent to this one. Life these days is just too darn complicated to begin - I shouldn't add more complications to an already full stew pot!

Faith: In myself, in my work, in my life's worth. Faith too that there is, somehow, order in the chaos of the world and that the will rise tomorrow

There is more to this questionnaire and, although I am usually not at all good at filling these pithy self-examinations out, I found this one to actually be a useful tool. Part 2 calls for awareness and elimination and to learning to know your 'triggers'. Awww heck do I have to go back to the whining little child waiting within me again?! I haven't done that part yet .. and I may not !

My friend, Maria, called me yesterday and during our conversation we discussed the time warp pace as we get older. She reminded me of one of our favorite books written by Baba Ram Das in 1971 and  called "Remember, Be Here Now" (I wish I had my original copy of it and , in fact, I best go order one!). I got off the phone and realized that I had found not only my word, but the concept for my year ahead. It had been staring me right in the face all along! Remember, Be Here, Now. 
Nothing else matters and nothing else really is. Namaste.
I do have one resolution! 
It's to take the slow road. It seems that nothing I make falls into the fast,fabulous and fun category - so I'm going to go for gold - slow!

These little gems are made from cashmere and merino - I forget which one .
Either Cashmerino from Debbie Bliss or Cashsoft from Rowan. Either way they are soft, colorful and useful!


phonelady said...

Oh your proects are always beautifull and of course creative . I love the burgandy colored ones . I think you are one crafty lady . God bless dear .


Hi Marie,
great, I like your short list - wish you the best

judy coates perez said...

loved your post, i can so relate. thanks for posting the knitting link too, after I finish the fingerless mitts i am on now i will have to make some of those.

happy new year!

Jeannie said...

The mittens are beautiful and look so soft and cuddly. I laughed when I read about your troubles picking a word because I was struggling with the same thing! I would think I had the perfect word and then "oh, what about xyz?". Have a wonderful week.

Juanita said...

Truly loved this current entry. I sometimes feel the same way. Here but not really here. When my husband died a year ago I was lost and sitting in limbo knowing how to proceed yet frozen in time. By mid year I realized that I am powerful, resourceful, and moving forward. This year my word is "Fearless". I want to try new things with confidence and always with the ability to laugh at myself when things don't go my way.Life is not a rehearsal; it is to be lived.

Tammy Freiborg said...

You are a woman of Words! Let it flow! Love how you arrived or were led to your word of the year!

Gretchen said...

I also found the site for "Word of the Year" and realized I liked that idea much better than a long list of resolutions. I think I have settled on immediacy for my word. You know, there is no right or wrong for anyone. Maybe in your case, choosing more than one word would work for you. Good luck. And thanks for your blog. I really enjoy it.

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