Friday, October 10, 2014

Sleeping Beauty


“His mind now misgave him; he began to doubt whether both he and the world around him were not bewitched. Surely this was his native village which he had left but the day before.”
"Rip Van Winkle," 1994 edition, 17




In recent days, Rip Van Winkle seems a kindred spirit.  Like this long-slumbering fellow, I have woken up to find that time has eluded me.  I’ve been jolted from summer-in-the South’s numbing reverie, and suddenly there are cracks in seemingly endless searing days.  Mornings are cooler; some positively brisk.  And when I do find a moment to hang my laundry outside, the shirts and socks have come to life, snapping back and forth in the wind, rather than lolling about listlessly in the summer heat and humidity.  Their merry dance reflects my mood, as I am happy for the end of what is always a long, hot season in North Carolina.  I’m especially pleased that the last few difficult months spent utterly absorbed in navigating the ins and outs of my new job are behind me.  During that time, I did a bit of knitting and had moments of creative design inspiration, but had to do the very grown-up thing and put executing those ideas on hold.  I can’t, however, let fall slip me by without taking a moment to pause from my daily grind to pay homage to its simple pleasures.
  






While the leaves haven’t turned here yet, mums and pumpkins and Indian corn grace roadside stands, and I am fortunate that there is such a farm market around the corner from my house.  In the past, I stopped here maybe once or twice a year, always too intent on my next goal—pick up children, drive to sports practice, race home to cook dinner and throw in laundry to take the time to drive in, park, and spend a few moments perusing seasonal fare.  But, in the last couple of years—whether a result of more time on my hands as my children get older or a greater appreciation for life’s simple pleasures as I advance in years—I have made frequent stops to buy homemade jams, vine-ripened tomatoes, sweet Silver Queen Corn, and even some okra, an item I can’t recall cooking (but since my southern husband was raised eating this, I assume he cooked it up for the family, and I probably ate some).





Fall is also the time when thoughts turn to knitting cozy winter garments.  The yarn shops gear up, replenishing their stocks of cotton and silk yarn with infusions of woolly fibers.  And, here in the Charlotte area, shop owners join forces for our area Yarn Crawl.  While I didn’t make it to the thirteen or so shops which took part in this event, I did have a great excuse to visit a few, emerging from the experience with a book of mitten-and-glove designs by designer Amy Gunderson (who lives in the Charlotte area and works for nearby Universal Yarns) as well as The Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits and some yarn to craft a roaring twenties inspired Modular Lace Blouse in this magazine.   I hope the final result isn’t too youthful for me, as the text accompanying the pattern describes this garment as suitable for "devil-may-care" flapper Rose, a character who epitomizes the free-spirited mood of the Roaring Twenties.
           



Waxhaw, NC knitters outdid themselves by yarn bombing numerous lamp posts in honor of
the yarn crawl.  I hear that, for next year, this creative bunch have set their sights on
transforming a trestle bridge  that spans railroad tracks.  







This is the start of the Lady-Rose-inspired Modular Lace Blouse.  
I’ve also been planning a fall weekend getaway to the mountains.  Two former co-workers and I dreamed up this trip over coffee on a hot Saturday morning in August.  We now have seven people going, all former co-workers of mine, some retired now.  We will be staying in a house in Black Mountain (no picturesque mountain cabin, but, rather, a vinyl-sided rental replete with 1980’s décor with a school-teacher-friendly rental price).  We can still soak up some atmosphere, though, as on Friday night, will be taking part in a haunted tour of the historic Terry Estate, also known as  In-the-Oaks.   And their is a good view from the back porch of our weekend lodgings.  

This shawl is a gift for one of the women going on the the knitting retreat.  The yarn I used
belonged to her mother.  


Of course, I wouldn’t be traveling to the highlands without having some ulterior motive related to knitting in mind.  On Saturday, I, along with others on the trip, will be making a trek to SAFF in nearby Asheville.  This huge event always provides an indulgent fiber fix, and I always make a point to take some time to pet and cuddle at least some of the woolly animals on display there.  I have to show some self-restraint and not arrive home with a fluffy angora bunny  . . . or maybe a llama!


A beautiful fall Sunday merited a walk outside at my mother-in-law's house in the country.  Her pomegranate trees were weighed down with fruit.  

This mocking bird was frantically jumping up and down in front of a window at  my
mother-in-law's.  He must sense a change in the air and has an inkling of winter's impending descent.  

In the South, camellias bloom throughout the fall and winter.  




      The changing season also turns my thoughts to Christmas.  How will I ever finish the numerous projects on my needles and knit up gifts for friends and family?  I will probably have to put the Downton tunic, along with other projects, on hold, and get knitting.  I have, however, almost finished seaming a cute sheep pullover for a Christmas gift for a baby in the family.  And I plan to skip Vogue Knitting Live this year and devote that weekend to my own personal knitting staycation/retreat.  I’m forgoing VKL as I’ve been provided with a wonderful opportunity for my husband and I to travel to England this coming summer, so I need to refrain from shopping and traveling for a bit to save up for lots of yarn shopping (and good eating) abroad.  While my journey to the UK seems far off now, it will invariably creep up on me, much like fall has, and then usher in a frenzy of activity in preparation. 




I'm almost done with this sheep sweater.  I want one for myself!

I'm making progress on my cropped cardigan.  The pink yarn will be used for a hat.  

I certainly didn't need to cast on another project, but this Malabrigo called to me
this morning--perfect for the tulip lace shawl in Brooke Nico's book.  

3 comments:

  1. That yarn bombing is so, so cool! I'll have to go see it myself next time I'm in that area. It has been a pretty hot summer here in NC, although last week felt so much like Fall. I love all your projects, especially the sheep sweater, it is so inspired! I'm also so excited that you are going to visit England! I have a feeling you'll love it!

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  2. I would love to visit the Carolinas, it always looks so lush :)

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  3. Wonderful pics Liz! So atmospheric! I can't imagine having a pomegranate tree in one's own garden with fruit ready to pick and a mocking bird to boot - absolutely magical! Love all the those quirkily shaped pumpkins and gourds too - one of my favourite aspects of fall is eating pumpkin in various forms! You'll never believe this but I've been knitting this weekend too! nothing nearly so exquisite as all your lovely makes though. I just don't know how you tackle such complicated patterns - even a simple one I find taxing almost to the limit! Will be in touch via email shortly. E xx

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