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  • Knitting, as a journal.

    These are the first of two pairs of Hearth Slippers by Dianna Walla I knitted during the awesome KAL that Anna and "the Fancies" (Jamie and Amber) hosted a couple of months ago.

    When Anna asked me to write a blog post about the experience, I was delighted to have a chance to think back to the knitting of them. Fancy Tiger Crafts Heirloom Romney is really wonderful yarn, stunning colors too. I particularly enjoyed knitting Dianna's stranded motifs, so fun and rewarding to execute. I'd actually never knitted a pair of slippers before! And I've been wearing these practically everyday since they were done... Finished both pairs around Christmas time and a family vacation to Bend, Oregon.

    These are some images that come to my mind's eye when I think about knitting my slippers. And looking through these photos reminded of something my favorite photographer/teacher Jay Maisel once said: that we all assert our own perspectives, experiences, feelings, ideas… our hearts! into the pictures we take, no matter whom or what we decide to focus our cameras upon … The images will always act as mirrors, small reflections of ourselves.

    I think you might know where this is going... of course the same goes for the knitted things we make! From the yarn, to the texture of the fabric, to the difficulty or ease of the project… we reveal things about ourselves and leave clues about our lives in our knitting. “Stockinette, ribbing, cables,… instantly evoke places, times, people, conversations- all those poignant moments we’ve tucked away in our memory banks.” –Clara Parkes, The Yarn Whisperer.

    For me, the Hearth Slippers KAL happened along at the perfect time. Wintry nordic motifs and rustic-y Romney worked perfectly with the vision I had for the holidays. As I knitted, I dreamed about wearing those slippers in a cozy cabin, going on a family road trip, having our daughter home from college. I decided to knit the second pair for her. Specifically, to take on a camping trip she'd planned with friends. It was a bittersweet knit, knowing that our daughter would be spending the second half of her Christmas break away from us, with her friends... I am happy for her new found independence and I was happy for the chance to knit my feelings into those slippers, to be able to give her something useful... that would make her smile when she looks at them.

    I’ve never been good at journaling… I just don’t have the discipline and I’ve always felt a little guilty about not putting pen to paper. But good news!! I’ve just started reading Clara’s book today, and it’s made me realize that as knitters, we are all journalists! And the things we make with yarn can sometimes “communicate far deeper meaning than could be put into words.” “Swatches and garments… when deciphered, tell stories of their own.” I had to giggle when my daughter told me later she actually burned a few holes in her slippers from toasting toes too close to the campfire...

    Knitted textiles certainly do tell wonderful stories...

    photo, Karen Templer

    photo, Ashley Yousling

    photo, Anna Dianich

    What are you knitting/journaling about now? As you hold your knitting and peer into it, what do you see? What does it make you remember? I’ll bet it’s something delightful.

    -Kathy Cadigan


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