I'd say that those three words are a fairly adequate description of the fiber-related activities of yesterday and today, although the last is, as yet, more of a projection than a completed task.
Friday was, overall, a stressful day at work, at the end of a stressful week. Lots of politics, lots of intrigue, and it turns out that I just don't enjoy it. I'm going to have to start shutting my door and telling people that I'd rather not know what they know. So much simpler.
On the other hand, having things like that happen also give me a chance to realize how much better I handle them than I did even a year ago, which in turn was already exponentially better than I would have a year or two before that. A lot of things have happened in those four or five years that make the difference, including that painful back surgery I've mentioned, which certainly served the purpose of making me rethink a lot of priorities, but knitting and yoga have, I think, made it possible for me to implement that rethinking. Among many many other changes that those two activities have brought about, possibly the single thing that makes the most difference to me is that I now regularly get a reasonably good night's sleep.
I know that most women, at some point in their lives, have trouble sleeping. And I also know from talking to friends that there are lots of different ways to have trouble. Most of my friends have sleep troubles of the variety which involves going to sleep just fine, sleeping for a few hours, and then waking up and finding it impossible to go back to sleep. That has never been my problem. If I can get to sleep, then I can pretty much be guaranteed that I'll sleep until someone makes me get up. It's the getting to sleep that has been a problem my whole life. I remember as far back as high school lying awake in bed for hours, fretting and worrying, completely unable to go to sleep no matter how tired I was. That pattern lasted through the fatigue of the early baby years, right through grad school and into my new job. Exhaustion had no bearing on my ability to get to sleep. Trying hard just makes it worse, because if there's one thing in the world that doesn't respond to effort, it's sleep. And then I started taking yoga classes, and after a year or two, I found that I could lie quietly in bed and do sun salutations in my head, breathing along with the imagined poses, and that I would then fall asleep in (relatively speaking) no time.
The back surgery changed some things for me, making it near-impossible to take any kind of yoga class, or to easily practice at home, but as my teacher has always pointed out, one can always breathe, and those imagined sun salutations got me through a lot of post-operative pain and fear. More recently, I've found that knitting serves the same kind of purpose. Not just to help me go to sleep when I would otherwise be fretting over the day's events ("I should have said...", "Why didn't I...?", etc etc), but also to give me some space to calm down and step away from that fretting during the day. It's almost like having a mantra to mull over quietly, "knit knit knit purl purl knit".
Perhaps the weirdest thing about all of this discovery of peace is the part of me (the waiting for the other shoe to drop part of me, apparently) that thinks that there must be something wrong with me that I am not stressed out and losing sleep. As if it's somehow wrong and abnormal not to be in a constant low-level state of stress. And isn't that a sort of sick statement about what my life used to be like? I think I prefer it this way, my sense that I'm failing at something in some way because of my lack of stress notwithstanding.
So, what did I do to meditate the week's stress into a place where I could observe it more peacefully? Well, I started in on Anne's latest foot-covering beauty, the woodsmoke sock.
I'm knitting it in some STR lightweight from this year's sock club (I never got to the pattern for this particular one, although I will someday, but the colorway seemed perfect for this pattern). The greens there are more emerald and gray than they show in the picture. Look at those lovely scrolls:
I love the deep texture of this pattern. In the long run, I think that I'm more of a texture person than a multicolor person, although there are times when lots and lots of wild colors make me happy (like Kauni). But right now, it's all texture, all the time (think about Laura's sock that I just knit -- lovely lovely texture).
This is the project that needs some frogging, though, alas. My computer failed to save the latest version of the pattern, and I missed some of the nifty stuff that's supposed to be going on in the heel flap, so even though I'm almost done with the gusset, I'm going to rip back and try again. I am going to wear these a lot, I can tell, so they may as well make me entirely happy.
I've also been spinning. I suddenly decided that I wanted to finish the Sanguine Gryphon roving that I got at The Loopy Ewe so that I could concentrate entirely on the Fuzzarelly roving (what can I say? even I sometimes get overwhelmed by too many projects at once), so I've been pounding away at that, and have finished the first bobbin, and am halfway through with the second. Once I finish the last bit, I can ply those two bobbins together and pet the yarn while I move on to my spindle again.
I realized as I was spinning why I love this colorway so much; it's almost exactly the colors of the silk in the sari that I wear each year for my friend's Diwali party, and I adore the colors of that sari with an insane passion. I'm not quite brave enough to post any pictures of me wearing it, but imagine a whole nine-yard swath of silk in that gorgeous burnt orange, with green and gold in the trim, and you've got it.
Meanwhile, it is miserably hot and dry here. I know you're tired of hearing it, but people, it was over 90 degrees yesterday, and the humidity levels are below 10%. That's just fundamentally wrong for November. And the results are some terrible fires in L.A. and Orange counties. Please send wet and safe thoughts to the folks whose homes are in the way, and to the firefighters who are battling those blazes.
It does mean that I can do this, though, which is a small consolation.
So, it's off to the frog pond for me, with intermittent stops involving the clothes line.