You remember this fellow:
Well, yesterday my darling charmer did this:
That's right-he ate my favourite, most useful footwear. A bored bull terrier, especially a quiet one, is never a good thing. I don't know how he managed it because I was sitting right there, absorbed in writing, while he chewed the clog to bits. I didn't notice a thing. Mr. DD found the chewed rubber and mentioned that he "thought" Morris might have done something to my shoe. Sigh. Sometimes one-pointed concentration is a double-edged sword.
There was a time when I would have been wild with anger, raging at the dog, the fates, my stupidity. Instead, I muttered a few choice words, shook my head at my foolishness for leaving anything within jaws' reach of a dog who loves to chew, then went about my business.
It's moments like those in which I become aware of the benefits of meditation. Meditation is not relaxation, but practising meditation regularly can help you relax and gain perspective on challenges. You may not notice changes on a daily basis, but when a car cuts you off, or you make a mistake in that complicated cable 20 rows back or the dog eats your shoe, you may find you're not so quick to anger. You can be annoyed but remain calm.
There are benefits to helping your spinning and knitting relax, too. I've been working on a small version of my Prairie Sunset Shawl. I had several hundred metres of a tightly spun superwash Merino singles waiting for a project. One of my shawl samples is knitted in a very loosely plied yarn of 1 strand hand spun Merino/silk and 1 strand of Noro's Sekku; I wanted to see how a hand spun singles on its own would look and feel.
I used 2 mm needles, smaller than I would normally use for this yarn in a lace shawl. That and the strong twist in the yarn made for tight knitting with a hard hand to the fabric. When it was finished, the shawlette was a sad sight-small, shrivelled and unattractive, much like we feel when we're tight and angry:
After giving the shawlette a relaxing hot bath, I blocked it from 33 cm deep x 76 cm wide (13 inches x 30 inches) to 50 cm x107 cm (20 inches x 42 inches). This was a severe stretch, so when the piece was almost dry, I unpinned it and let it dry back to its finished size of about 41 cm x 104 cm (16 inches x 41 inches).
The shift from tight to stretched to relaxed made a remarkable difference to the fabric. The relaxed garter stitch shows off the yarn colours; the lace patterns opened up. The shawlette feels soft and cozy around my shoulders. It's a great improvement from the shawlette as it was worked to its final state. You can click the photos for a better view:
My new clogs are on order. They're fuchsia. I intend to keep them far away from Morrie!
For anyone in my local area: I will be giving a run through of the sessions I am teaching at Olds Fibre Week 2011 on Sunday, June 12, 2011, from 10 am to 4 pm, at Bodhi Tree Yoga. The costs will be covered by donation only. Most of you know how to reach me on Ravelry. Anyone else who would like more information or wants to attend, please contact me here.