Thursday, September 13, 2007

Prairie Hay colorway

This is real prairie hay, up close and personal. I love the colors, the muted greens and the blush of brownish red from the gamma grass. (At least I THINK it's the gamma grass - I'll walk over to my neighbor's prairie patch later today to cut a handlful of what I know to be gamma grass so I can see if it dries and cures to a similar color.) I would love to knit a sweater in this colorway - which is not, to my knowledge available in any fiber suitable for knitting. I just can't imagine myself mastering the complexity of the colors at the dyepot, not at my current skill level.

So how did I get on this train of thought -- aside from my usual obsession about colorways in nature? Recently, my husband and I bought a trailer load of prairie hay from a farmer a half hour's drive from us. My lucky husband went back to work in the city for the week, and I spent a lot of quality time up close and personal with this gorgeous, sweet smelling hay while I unloaded it and hauled it into the hay loft. All by myself. Every last heavy bale. (And I did not lose a single pound either. Not fair!) While I lifted, sweated, and cursed, I also inhaled and savored the scent and just kept thinking about those colors. And the niggling itch started -- not the one from the scratchy hay bits in my shirt -- the fiber fanatic itch, which had gone dormant somewhere around the time the thermometer started hitting 90 degrees Fahrenheit on a regular basis.

All summer I've read about everyone's terrific projects and even admired the yarns in the sale notices I keep getting. But I wasn't knitting. I had knitter's guilt, but I just couldnt' get myself motivated to do more than look at the needles and sigh. During the hay moving week, I even got my simple fuzzy scarf out, did a couple of rows, and lost interest. Not even the physical therapy aspects for my aching fingers could motivate me. I resorted to the old hand exercises the physical therapist taught me.

I’m apparently just not a summer knitter. Oh, I think about it plenty, but it’s a back burner, mulling-it-over, JUST THINKING kind of thing.

But why? How can I go so predictably, every year, from rabid interest in all things knitting to a state of near disinterest? That just baffled me, so I spent a lot of garden weeding time mulling over that particular aspect. Analyzing it from all sides – gawd knows it was more interesting than analyzing how many different kinds of bad bugs had infested the garden that day. (Bad bugs, grab a couple of ducks, toss into garden for a bug snack session, end of story – and possibly the end of the tomatoes, too.) But I digress.

It must be an associative thing. I most associate knitting with the comforting warmth of lush wools. What I love most is the tactile sensation of soft fibers sliding through my fingertips. As I knit, I imagine wearing that particular softness against my skin, and it’s a pleasure that outweighs even chocolate. Except in summer.

For perspective, consider that I spend my summers doing a lot of hot, sweaty work outdoors while wearing as little as possible, given the task of the moment. Bottom line, the summertime vibe doesn’t mix with my knitting vibe. I’ve tried to fight it with cotton and linen, and I’ve half-heartedly knit a few dishcloths in the past, just to keep my fingers nimble. But the joy just isn’t happening.

But fall – oh my. Once a bit of crisp touches the night air, I’m up in the attic, practically rolling in my fiber stash like Demi Moore in all that cash in that movie? This year, I managed to restrain myself and only tossed down a bag of washed Shetland fleece for spinning. It should be wonderful blended with the Angora I’m harvesting from my bunny stash in the barn this week. I don't know yet what I'll knit from it, but I'm sure I'll have an idea or ten. On the needles I have the beginnings of an Aran sweater I started last spring, but I’ve decided to frog that and start over since I’ve lost track of where I was in the shirttail increases. First, though, I’m going on a half-mitt binge. The season of chilled hands at the keyboard approaches, and I want a soft new pair for myself. And then there’s the Christmas knitting. Suddenly, almost overnight, I’ve regained my knitting mojo.

‘Isn’t that great?” I exclaimed last weekend to my ever-loving husband. He rolled his eyes.

Sigh. Only a fiber fiend could understand this, eh?

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Blogger Nicole said...

Well, if you want understanding, you've come to the right place. :D We understand.

I still love the thought of a bunny stash! I WANT one... though I remember cleaning up after my late bunny, and (while not as bad as other animals) he could certainly make a lot of mess...

(About the colorway: KnitPicks has one they call 'Oregon Coast' which is fairly close. I just knit up a shawl in it, and it's lovely. Not quite so much red or true green, but it's close.)

11:21 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Here is a link to the yarn I mentioned. I don't know if they carry this color in any other weights though, or if it's only lace-weight.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Dallas Schulze said...

When I saw your picture, I thought it looked just like some sock yarn I ordered yesterday. I'm not a brown/tan/beige lover but there was something about the yarn that just called to me. Maybe it's the change of seasons.

Congratulations on the return of your knitting mojo.

11:44 AM  
Blogger georg said...

Knit tiny things in the summer. no one wants to hold the huge weight or warmth in the summer- it's also why I will piece a quilt in the summer, but do asembly and quilting in the winter.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Carol said...

Mojo congratulations. You are not alone. Mine is returning s-l-o-w-l-y. Sigh!

1:26 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Laura, I love your photo! And your description of the smell of fresh, sweet hay transports me back to the wonderful summer days of hanging out with my pony practically 24/7. Those were happy, happy times....

My MIL is a hooker (the rug kind!) but she only hooks in the winter. She's also a gardener so the call of the outdoors lures her away in the summer but I think it's also to avoid handling heavy wool in hot weather. It makes perfect sense to me not to knit much in the summer. There are other things to occupy us.

Wow, Nicole, that Oregon Coast is almost an exact recreation of the prairie grass colors. What an eye you have!

4:45 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

nichole - That Oregon Coast is pretty close - that shawl must be gorgeous. And oh my, the Lost Lake is a must-have . . . like I should be buying more yarn!

georg - knit tiny things - it makes so much sense, and I wish I could've stuck with it this year.

7:30 PM  

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