Monday, September 21, 2009

It's just a hotpad...

This was our mantra as we struggled through learning the technique of double knitting up at Big Lynn. When the workshop started, the table was covered with a rainbow of balls of cotton yarn, a bright contrast to the dreary gray weather outside. We each chose two colors to work with - I picked lime green and lavender.

So, you cast on your stitches with two strands of the first color, increase them on the second row, pick up your second color, start knitting with two strands of it, slip with yarn in front, with yarn in back, purl, knit, color A, color B... I think the pattern is really some kind of secret knitting incantation, because what you end up with is two interlocked fabrics, one solid and one striped.

The magic at my end of the table fizzled at first. We couldn't figure out where we were in the pattern, or our rows ended up opposite of what we were certain we had done, or our hands ached from working with so much cotton. It's just a hotpad, we told ourselves and one another as we wondered whether we would ever warm up to the project. We decided our mistakes wouldn't be noticed by our stoves, and stuck with it through the end of the workshop.

A new friend invited me to visit a nearby lavender farm the next afternoon - more purple and green! The Mountain Farm folks grow lavender and blueberries, care for goats and angora rabbits, and make soaps and sachets. On top of a mountain, with breathtaking views of Blue Ridge beauty. Surely it is God's residence on earth, where God breathes deeply in the lavender air, bakes blueberry cobblers (pulled gently out of the oven with a double knit hotpad), walks the lavender labyrinth, and knits cozy angora sweaters. We didn't get to visit the farm, unfortunately, but I'll think of it every time I pull out my hotpad!

She's no angora (which is a good thing, because she surely would have felted in the rain), but this little bunny and her friends visited the lodge often while we were there, her whiskers and cottontail twitching at the thought of an entrelac shawl all her own...

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