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Red Wool, Witchcraft and the Shawl Problem

September 18, 2009

Red. Wool. A man with red wool is a frightening thing. And this red! Almost orange, almost brown, arguable better called “rust” than any standard colour. A red that was not really red at all.

In a period of creative stagnancy (more details to follow) I found myself pulled towards red wool. A ball of wool I’d inherited from an arthritic ex-knitter, this fine autumnal copper double-knit spoke to me of vibrancy, life, sensation. The colour made me feel alive.

It was not the brassy, blood red of a telly-tubby. Nor the purple tinged arterial colour of meat. The wool was more complex, more genteely vital. The colour spoke to me about living viscerally. This burnt-umber that was secretly red was like my life has been. Feeling strongly, but not noticeably affected. Like a furnace still
smouldering after the coals have gone.

When I say I was pulled, I mean I was pulled. I’d had the wool for almost a year, and I’d always loved it’s uncertain colour. But I knew I wasn’t to use it up on something trivial. It had to be just right. Last week, during a trouph of ennui, I saw the ball of wool poking over my stash bucket’s edge and I Knew (capital intended) that it must be used immediately.

I found the Boneyard Shawl pattern on Ravelry and decided I loved it. Not daunted by the fact that I had les than a third of the yardage recquired, and no chance of ever finding a matching yarn, I cast on and started knitting. I just needed to create something. To stop whining about how my life lacked creativity and actually set about rectifying the problem.

Thank God. This was completely the right choice. Now, in the hour whilst I ride to work, I’m doing something beautiful. I’ve maid a few fairly glaring errors already, but I’m choosing to see these as some bastardised version of wabi-sabi.The colour grows more wonderful the longer I look at it.

And, heres the part where you think I’m crazy, I thnk my knitting is magic. When I knit regularly, and do so with mindfulness, the universe suddenly starts to work differently. In the week since I cast on three of my long-lost best friends have resumed correspondence with me, and I making plans to meet them, and I might be moving away to live with one of them.

I’ll detail the details of my awful-ish job in another post, but it now looks like I will be leaving it into a brighter, more fulfilling stage of my life within the next few months. I’m not saying it was the wool, not exactly, but it does seem to me that if you make a step towards vibrancy, authenticity and joy then God rewards you. She feeds the little good we can generate and let’s it well up huge. Knitting, for me, has a strong contemplative element to it. And each of those little stitches represents (as, I suppose, everything might if I was so inclined) a potential meeting with the divine. And if you look for Her, She comes to find you.

My shawl grows apace, though I’m not sure whether to have it as a mini scarf, or to graft on a different wool. Opinions please. Also, check out the shawl designer’s blog and etsy, he is one handsome male knitter.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenna permalink
    September 19, 2009 1:36 pm

    I also think knitting is magic. I love how you can put a certain energy into a project and you can feel differences in your life. As for the project, hard to say. I think it more depends on how you want to wear it and if you could find a yarn that coordinates.

    • September 19, 2009 11:24 pm

      I’ve looked at the wool, and I’ve looked at the shawl, and I think there may be enough left for my purposes. I’m starting to suspect that what I thought was DK was actually some huge form of mutant 4-ply. The more I knit, the more wool there seems to be.

      Unless, *gasp*, the wool actually is magic? If I knit to the centre of the skein and find a fossilised leprechaun I will be a) shocked and b)delighted. Maybe not all that shocked actually.

      Thanks for the comments Jenna, I liked your blog and the socks in your photo ROCK!

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