Sunday, February 7, 2016

Why I Knit ~


This post should really be titled "Why I knit as Much as I Do."  Because I was a knitter for many years before I morphed into the somewhat prolific knitter that I've become.  There is a reason behind this. What happened about 10 years ago was I hit a really rough patch and for reasons that were unfathomable to me I was swamped with bad news on top of bad news.  Nothing life threatening but, upsetting nonetheless.  At the time I shopped for yarn in a traditional LYS using mass produced commercial yarns, but decided to treat myself to a splurge purchase and bought some gorgeous Noro silk garden yarn along with the pattern book to knit the Sursa shawl that I had seen made up as a store sample.  As I sat down and began to knit that shawl the beauty of the yarn and the soothing simple pattern was a healing balm to my soul.  It was the first time I had ever knit with a yarn like Noro that was handcrafted in beautiful colors and in a luxury fiber.  To this day I can remember how thrilled I was to see the gorgeous fabric the yarn created and I was happy when knitting despite everything else going on.  And that made that period of my life easier to bear.


To this day I rely on knitting to help me through stressful times.  I'll go back to the basics which is a simple garter stitch shawl paired with a wonderful yarn and that's exactly what the shawl I am wearing is.  It's the Stripe Study Shawl and I knit the majority of it over Christmas when I (along with my dad, sister and Steve) spent many days in the hospital with my Mom as she was recovering from an emergency surgery and during the weeks of ups and downs inevitable when someone is recovering from a serious operation such as she had.  Of course my mother who knit herself when she was young enjoyed seeing my progress.  There's no one who quite gives you the enthusiastic encouragement as a parent, bless her heart.  And I'm extremely happy to report that she's home now and recovering well and I feel once again able to tackle more challenging knitting.  But I'll always turn to a particular type of knitting as an escape during difficult times and I think in a way this also explains why I knit as much as I do even in the best of times.


Particulars:  Stripe Study Shawl designed by Veera Valimaki (Rain Knitwear Designs); US 6 needles; 2 skeins Plucky Knitter Snug (70% merino 20% cashmere 10% alpaca).  Yarn was purchased as part of a 3 skein "mystery kit."  I had less yarn than the pattern called for and only had enough of the Hudson (pink) to knit 10 instead of 12 repeats.  I had a fair about of the grey leftover and could have knit a longer border but felt the overall balance of the shawl worked best stopping when I did.  This yarn knits up beautifully and creates a beautiful shawl.

The Staff of Life  ~



I was happy to hear that Oprah Winfrey eats bread everyday.  I do too so I'm hoping this will help dispel the negative image it's gotten these past few years.  I think the key to eating bread, as with so much in life, is to eat it in moderation and as part of a well balanced diet.  Although as a caveat I am not eating brioche every morning.  Instead I have a slice of my homemade country sourdough loaf that has no butter or fat whatsoever as the wild yeast and long rising process gives it flavor and texture.  I also have along with my bread a bowl of steel cut oatmeal and fruit and a pot of tea.   But every once in a while I splurge and enjoy a treat such as freshly baked brioche on a Sunday morning as pictured above.  I made this petite brioche using the recipe from the Le Pain Quotidien cookbook (Amazon link) and I like them better than those they sell in the bakery.  Just wonderful and pairs perfectly with a tart cherry jam.

Until next time be well and love well and happy knitting.  May it help you through the difficulties you encounter in this life as it has me.

12 comments:

Bridget said...

I've seen some really pretty versions of this pattern, but I am particularly fond of yours - what a great combo!

Ah a fellow brioche lover! I love it as a special treat and we have a French bakery here that makes it better than any other I've tried.

betty said...

I love the pink color on that shawl. I'm glad that your mom is recovering nicely at home.

You know, I've never knit with Noro before, but a friend gave me 4 skeins for Christmas so I'm going to find a way to make good use of it.

Andrea @ This Knitted Life said...

A good tale...and so true that good yarn makes a difference...and knitting helps with hard times.

Kristen Rettig said...

Beautiful color combo. Don't you love garter stitch? I'm glad your mom is doing better.

Andi said...

It is hard to explain to people what wonderful therapy knitting provides. I think this post helps clarify it for those who don't get it. There is nothing more comforting than garter stitch, except maybe fresh brioche.

Your stripe study is beautiful!!

LORI LAWSON said...

You said it so eloquently. Working and creating with your hands is balm for the soul. It centers you and soothes you and in low times, it is more than therapeutic to see and hold what you have created with your hands. Such a simple thing and yet so powerful.

Willow said...

Yes! Like you, I knit easy things through the hard days, and hard things during the easy times. Knitting is my therapy (and so is walking!).
And now I need to pop over and get a whole wheat English muffin for snack.

Allie-oops Designs said...

Claudia it's just beautiful, as are you - I quilt when I'm stressed, so I understand this perfectly. I'm so glad your mum is on the mend hon, be well and be blessed!

Anonymous said...

Dear Claudia, So glad your mother is getting better! Sorry you had that scare. Knitting has also helped me through many challenging times. I don't know how people get through life's difficulties without something like this hobby/skill/obsession of ours. Incidentally, I also loved knitting the Sursa shawl but since it was a gift, will have to wait until the urge strikes again to make my own. In the meantime I will also continue to have bread - in the form of toast - every morning -- no matter what the God of Health says:-). Many good wishes, Chloe

susan Gagnon said...

Claudia I'm so glad your mother is recovering well. I from the bottom of my heart thank you for so eloquently saying what I feel. In December mom had a stroke and each time a nurse/Dr. came in she would say I remind her of her mother who always had knitting needles in my hand. Yes they were my comfort as my Dad went into hospice on the same floor she was recovering on with PT. I spent the nights with dad and part of my days with mom, until my Dad passed. Mom went into ICU the day of Dad's funeral and we stayed with her until her last breath 9 days after dad. Knitting is my solice, my peace, my comfort...simple garter shawls and socks stacking up waiting for blocking after I heal. Bless You and your family and Thanks for so many years of your blogging and sharing. Knittysue (with no blog anymore)

Julie Turcotte said...

I think I was meant to find your blog and read this post tonight. Thank you for sharing.

Elise said...

Just found your blog- it's lovely and since I also bake and knit it's perfect! Just perusing your post and I also am a bread enthusiast and I have been working on my own sourdough recipes for the past 5 years after assisting a Cooking Class for making your own Sourdough starter. I will give you a link to explain (it will take too long here), but sourdough is especially VERY healthy! The sourdough starter actually eats some of the glucose & gluten (not all) so it makes it more digestible, but also it binds an anti-nutrient in a process called phytase. This in turn releases a much larger percentage of some very important minerals your body needs. I started my baking experiments because my hair and nails started growing like crazy and I wondered why. But it's just not about nails- your nails are an indication of your health. In other words what great things the minerals that are released are doing in your body! I've been working on developing different whole wheat varieties of Sourdough bread and if it interests you- my favorite bread is from The Josey Baker Bread book. It is awesome and meant for newbies, but laying aside what I knew and starting over with him and his unconventional style I came up with amazing bread. I have several blogs on it- http://sweettobe.blogspot.com/2016/02/making-josey-baker-bread-step-one.html and I will be adding more sourdough recipes in the future. My own theory is the sourdough you ingest in the morning acts like a ferment in your digestive system for the rest of the day like yogurt. So when you eat your oatmeal, the SD is actually helping digest that! I theorize that because I only eat about a slice a day and yet I see such a big result in my nails (I stop- or go on vacation, they break!). My knitting blog is- http://lovelyyarnescapes.blogspot.com/ Happy knitting and baking. Thanks for your blog!