Friday, July 24, 2009

Square 40: Passionate blue

Square 040

When my friend Daniel went shopping for this blanket, he was attracted to some pale blue-grey yarn, but says he was afraid I would associate it with winter, cold, ice: "And I didn't want to be associated with those attributes." No question, the first season I associate with Daniel is summer: active, passionate, engaged.

Nevertheless, my friend chose that skein along with an intriguing green one. They are called "Shadow" and "Moss", made by Tanis Fiber Arts based in Montreal. He purchased them at The Purple Purl, which I had recommended, a knit café in his neighbourhood. This is the first square I have made from fibre someone sent me specifically for The Yarn, and I am excited about how the blanket will begin to unfold from this point. I have many more stories to tell, but also look forward to including stories from my friends.

After Daniel bought it, this yarn went through an adventure of its own. He parceled and mailed it to my box number at a UPS store. A week later it had not arrived, so I let him know. He contacted Canada Post; they said it had been successfully delivered. I asked the UPS store to double-check for it, but to no avail.

I feared it had had disappeared forever. Words fail to express my heartsickness at the thought that a dear friend had chosen an unique, handmade gift for me and for this project, but that we would never see it again. That day I made Square 14 for him, a story about how our friendship began.

But a few days later the parcel was returned to Daniel with an explanation that my address did not exist. We checked the address; it was correct. I have held that box number for more than fifteen years, but never has such a thing happened. We were puzzled, but dutifully Daniel sent the yarn again.

A few days later a parcel slip showed up in my mailbox. I took it to the counter. The clerk disappeared into the back and retrieved a parcel for me. But when I looked at the address it was for someone else, wrong box number. I couldn't believe it!

"Could you please check again," I said, "because I really was expecting a parcel."

So she looked once more and sure enough this time returned with a small white box addressed to me. Matthew wrote in his Gospel:

If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.

I suppose the good shepherd would feel the same about lost wool. Daniel had asked me to record my first impression when I saw the yarn. I hurried to my car and opened the package.

That morning Paula and I had been building a patio, but a thunderstorm rolled in and we had to stop working as heavy raindrops began to fall, and I had stopped to check mail on the way home. Such was the weather when I unwrapped this blue and green yarn. "Shadow" was precisely the heart of summer storm clouds, and "moss" was the silvery undersides of maple leaves whipped by wind along the roadside as I drove home. I was alert, my senses sparking. I love a good summer storm, and this image will always remind me that blue and green can be energetic and passionate, too. Just like Daniel. I added two stockinette rows of deep wine red wool-mohair from Wellington Fibres to underscore the warmth.

Daniel said the green yarn reminded him of forests and ferns, which calls to my mind a very specific place. I will tell that story in another square.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Square 39: Chocolate

Square 039

I was browsing at All Strung Out when I saw the dark auburn Tupa yarn from Mirasol Peru. It was like smelling a fragrance that takes you to back to a particular time and place; in this case, the first time I tasted Soma Chocolate.

It is one of the most memorable taste sensations in Toronto, at the historic Distillery District. Soma's boutique offers all kinds of chocolate confections, but I recommend a shot of the Mayan hot chocolate. It actually comes in a small glass like a shot of espresso or Jägermeister. It is rich, thick and spicy, and goes down like velvet fire.

Soma products can be bought at artisanal food boutiques outside Toronto. I purchased a bag of the Mayan hot chocolate mix at Ouderkirk and Taylor in downtown Guelph. The ingredients are, "cocoa liquor, organic sugar, cocoa powder and our unique blend of spices." You blend one cup of the mix with half a cup of hot water (yes, it is very rich) and whisk in a saucepan over low heat until smooth.

A portion of the revenue from Mirasol yarns funds a children's centre in the remote Peruvian mountain community where the wool is produced. I alternated rows of Tupa with Noro Kureyon evoking the spices in Soma Chocolate.