I have been back-and-sometimes-front-of-the-mind frantic about the TIF this month. The question was “what do you remember”, which in the context Sharon though of it was kind of a “what do you remember that has changed drastically” kind of theme, although obviously interpretation can be wide.

My problem has been that what I remember is simultaneously ‘too damn much’ and ‘nothing’. My sequential memory starts at age three, and I have spotted memories from two years before that. So you’d think there would be plenty to draw on for a project like that, right? Except that I’m a kind of introverted, even self-absorbed person, and children are the centre of the universe anyway until a certain age (Stalkermom suggests age 22) so the bulk of those memories were not presenting themselves in any useful project-oriented way. I did a lot of thinking about memory itself, and the nature of what and why we remember, and based on my own experience I did some wondering about the degree to which what we remember forms who we are versus the degree to which who we are decides what we remember. All very interesting, but almost totally digressive. (There was a developing nostalgic mood associated with all this thinking, which comes back into play later.)

Long and boring story short, I was stuck. I really thought I was going to punk out on this month’s challenge, which I did not want to do. So finally, last saturday, I thought “Ok. The only thing you’ve been doing this month other than helping take care of lambs is spin. This month, you are a spinner. Make some damn yarn.”

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making yarn, it’s fibre, it’s pretty… but it’s meant to be something else in the end, really. And there is so much fantastic fibre manipulation going on in this challenge, that just producing a ball of yarn felt kind of lame to me. I dunno. Nothing else seemed to be getting done, however, and at least dying it in the blues and tans that are this month’s color theme would be a challenge, so I began to spin.

In order to add a level of personal challenge, I made myself use “The Good Stuff”.

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Silk and merino. I’ve been saving this stuff in case Prince Phillip called and asked for sock yarn, or something. Haven’t been able to make myself touch it it’s so pretty. So I decided that I should just use it. I made a loopy yarn, and I added shiny beads. (Again with the shiny beads, what is that?)

Digression: I do not have pictures of the white spun yarn. I tried to take a picture of it, and discovered that the camera batteries were dead and the camera itself was full of cute pictures of my cat. Apparently she and Raven did a photo shoot. It looked like a bunch of loopy white string, though, I mean you’ve all seen yarn. And anyway, thanks to the cat pictures I can at least give evidence that I’ve done some work on St Brigid this month as well:

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/digression.

So Saturday and Sunday I spun the yarn, and Monday I broke out the dyepots. I believe it was at this point that the yarn started to take control of the project, although it was a subtle transfer of power and I didn’t really notice until much later that the yarn was running the show.

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What happened was I got some lovely blues, a variety of interestingly mottled shades, the occasional pink tone that you almost can’t see, but that acts as a contrast… it’s a lovely yarn, the kind of thing that I feel totally dissociated from because I can’t possibly have made that myself, it’s too pretty – but it has no tan. None. The yarn utterly rejected the idea of having tan anywhere in its length. The only brown tones in the entire skein are the copper beads I spun into it in the first place.

What, me worry? I still didn’t know that the yarn had taken over. I thought I had control. I’d already decided that since it was “just yarn” and I was feeling kind of weird about that, I would knit up a quick project – on of those mobius cowl things, I thought – which would show the yarn to advantage and make me feel like I’d done something with the project. And I have a wide selection of scraps of tans and browns right now, since almost everything I’ve dyed since before Christmas has been in those shades, so I figured I’d just grab some of that, knit the two yarns together, presto! I’m back in the color scheme.

The yarn had other ideas. By the third round of the cowl, I finally woke up and realized that I had nothing to say about this project at all. This was the yarn’s project. Hell, I thought the project was finished, I was just knitting to show the pretty colors. But the yarn had aspirations. It wasn’t finished, it was just getting started – and my tan sock yarn was not invited to the party. The cowl was frogged.

I have to say, I didn’t put up much of a fight. The yarn is pretty, it seemed to know what it was doing, and heaven knows I hadn’t had any bright ideas this month, so I caved. I agreed to obey the yarn, and see what happened. Tuesday and Wednesday I knit the yarn into what it wanted to be, which turned out to be a big rectangle. Not very exciting, although it did sort of show the colors and beads and stuff. But then the yarn went digging through my silk bin and pulled out an old blue silk shirt!

I did protest a bit at this point. I argued with the yarn. “There is still no tan!” I cried. I tried to convince it to look at a brown toned chunk of microfibre instead, but the yarn told me to shut up. I offered it some silver-shot sari silk, which it did at least consider, briefly – but then declared it too “scratchy” and picked up the blue again. And then it told me to grab the chrome, and I started to understand. As I’ve mentioned before, chrome is photosensitive and what it basically does is burn the exposed fibres. So we sun-printed the blue silk.

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Which now has tan. (Colour in that pic isn’t great, it really is a browny-tan)

Now I am applying the silk to the knitted fabric, along with some other stuff the yarn found when it was rooting and liked the look of (a blue ribbon-yarn that came from the IYS a while ago). And may I just say, thank the good people who invented freezer paper, what would we do without them? I believe that is the last step, and the yarn will then release me from my bondage. I hope so. With luck I will have a FO to post later today, but right now I have to go. The yarn is calling.

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