Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Monday, 11 May 2015

Take Me To The Mountains

I am not good at multi-tasking. Efforts to accomplish several things at once end, if not in tears, at least close to the possibility. I either feel like a headless chicken or that I'm ready to bite the heads off chickens. People tell me things multiple times, but whatever is said never sticks in my head. I lose track of what I'm doing, misplace items, trail off my train of thought in mid-sentence. I'm simultaneously annoyed and annoying. It's not pretty.

We've been packing for our extended road trip back to the mountains and forests. Our little camper is looking cozy, a hand spun and dyed blanket on the bed, a couple of hand woven dish towels tucked away in drawers and my art supplies and fibres stashed everywhere. (I claim that I take so much in order to have extra protection against the jostling that happens when you pull a camper through the mountains. I'm not sure Mr. DD is buying that, but that's my story.) We'll be away for a while and, in the mean time, I have supplies to order and more planning to do for Level 4 of the Master Spinner programme. A good part of our time travelling is spent in campgrounds which have few or no services. Internet access is out of the question. That's the way we like it, but it does mean that I have to get as much done as I can before I leave.

On top of that, there were medical appointments to keep and yoga classes to teach. On Saturday, I led two stretch breaks at a "Spice Up Your Life" event hosted by The Canadian Cancer Society. It was a first for me in several ways. There were approximately 75 people attending; I'm used to teaching a maximum of around 20 people. I had to wear a microphone pack, which for a moment, made me feel as if I should be leading a hot yoga class in a fancy studio somewhere. (The phrase, "When Hell freezes over," springs to mind here.) I had to devise two practices which would allow people to move despite the fact that they were in street clothes, sitting in rows of chairs, with limited space between them. Some people had mobility challenges; many people were balancing plates of food on their laps. I went in feeling pretty darned nervous, but everyone played along and we did quite well, although I must apologize to Thich Nhat Hanh for my Simon Says/Hokey Pokey version of The Ten Mindful Movements.

By yesterday, I was toast. When I feel so overwhelmed that one more thing will send me over the edge, what do I do? I do one more thing, of course. In this case, it's a good thing - I choose some hand spun yarn from my stash, cast on some stitches and begin to knit. Whatever I knit to calm me is simple, with a basic shape and a stitch pattern that is easily memorized and rhythmic, calming, meditative and relaxing. For this piece, which will also be my road trip knitting, I chose a silk/wool yarn, fairly fine at approximately 25 to 28 wraps per inch, firmly spun and plied with a twist angle of about 25 degrees. The stitch pattern is from my Iris Meditation Wrap, which has only one simple pattern row. I've cast on 61 stitches and I've used a provisional cast on to allow for more options in what I make from the fabric - it may be a rectangular shawl or it may decide to be a more structured wrap or garment. I spun the yarn a couple of summers ago and dyed it a rich golden colour with my brother in law's marigolds.  The gold, stunning as it was, was not my colour, so I over dyed it in a leftover cochineal dyepot to produce the brick red colour you see here.

The yarn crunches pleasantly between my fingers as I knit; the sensation soothes and calms me, as does the colour which shimmers in the yarn. The pattern is simple, but that one pattern row forces me to pay attention; there are rows of tinking to pay if I don't keep my mind on my work.

Here she is, all packed up for her road trip, tucked in the bag my daughter gave me from the Humane Society Cat Rescue benefit we attended a couple of weekends ago:

Soon she'll join me on the road. Morris knows something is up; he's seen his giant dog house (as he seems to view the camper) in the driveway. I'll be away from televisions, phones and social media, which is calming in itself. I can smell those mountain forests already. See you on the other side.