Three weeks kind of fell into a black hole there. It wasn't anything tragic - a cold that brought with it weeks of aches, chills and exhaustion, a husband completely (and I do mean completely) incapacitated by a bout of back pain, and the need to spend my evenings walking on eggshells in the effort to buoy my daughter's spirits and provide just the right amount of prodding to get her homework load finished before bedtime. That last one feels like it uses up most of my capacity for creative word work right now.... or at least the cheerful words. A couple of months ago, someone in town who reads my blog (which is vaguely disconcerting in a small town) laughed and told me that she knows ALL about my neuroses now, thanks to the blog. And even though I believe passionately in authenticity, the cyclical nature of life and the value and validity of the whole of human experience, that comment initiated a nagging doubt that maybe I ought to self-censor more, stick with Enthusiasm and Good Cheer. And I promptly lost my voice.
While I'm not invested in the idea of misery as a prerequisite for art, I do believe that embracing and processing and grappling with the full range of emotion and energy and season is the best foundation for creativity. I find limiting my emotional range to Relentless Enthusiasm to have approximately the same effect as a diet consisting solely of buttercream icing.
I guess that's as good a way as any of saying: I'm back.
Where to begin - there's plenty going on. It has been a dark and rainy fall, which sets me to craving colour, and certain kinds of colour, in the same way I crave comfort food. Juxtaposition of hues in stranded knitting has captivated me right now, and is opening up whole new avenues of exploration. I've begun to think of each colourway as a musical instrument - some are pure and singular, some so harmonically rich as to be practically an orchestra unto themselves. Nevertheless, there is a world of difference between a solo and a duet... a trio, quartet, symphony. The qualities of a single instrument (or colour) are heightened in combination with another - sometimes in equal partnership, sometimes with one creating a backdrop for the other. Furthermore, there are any number of instruments that don't normally solo, but are indispensible to a full and richly layered sound... so it is with colour, and that little insight frees me to consider all sorts of new possibilities.
I'm working on simple duets right now, via an ever-lengthening swatch scarf... like so:
Copper and Coppergreen
Coppergreen and Pale Rock
Pale Rock and Beary Surprise:
As time permits, I'd like to work through each duet with a blog post of its own - looking at the components, their level of saturation, where they sit on the colour wheel... teasing out the inner workings of their partnership.
I've also begun to offer the duets as split skeins, because a significant majority (not all - check your pattern first!) of small stranded projects (mitts, mittens, hats, etc.) require a total yardage equivalent to a single skein of fingering weight yarn, and it seems a little daunting to purchase two skeins to be partially used for a single small project. It's a work in progress - I'm just putting up a couple of skeins of each duet at a time, until I get a better sense of interest levels, but I'm already having a lot of fun with it. (Actually, I would have published a collection of small colourwork designs of my own to go with them by now, if not for a mysteriously corrupted flash drive, but I'm trying not to dwell on that and think instead about the golden opportunity to make them That Much Better. The first is almost rewritten and once I send it out for TE and testing, I'll give you a sneak preview.)