Saturday, June 10, 2017

Knitting With Owls

For the next several weeks, I will be working on different projects.  I've completed the Goody Prymm Tombstone sampler and I've only three more episodes to write before laying that goode lady to rest.  So, not being one to just sit around idly, I will be typing my GP it up and connecting the literary dots, so to speak...which I will continue when I return from Iceland in late July.  Then I shall set about writing query letters to publishers and seeing if anyone is interested.  Fingers crossed.

I do have a wool appliqué project swirling around in my head, as I've been commissioned to create a piece for Christmastime, and I also will be busy knitting my vest!

And that brings me to this topic, "Knitting With Owls."  Knitting does not come easily for me.  I enjoy it and have knitted a few lovely things, lace knitting especially.  But it's a love/dislike thing for me.  I love choosing a new project, I love creating something from scratch, I love the selection of wool yarns from which to choose, and I love the feel of those yarns between my fingers.  I think most of us who create are very tactile by nature.  I know I am.  If someone I know is wearing something inviting to the fingers, I will politely ask them if I can touch it.  They always acquiesce and I think they enjoy the compliments bestowed about their garment.  I enjoy the peace of knitting quietly of an afternoon, though I must confess my hands and fingers tire much more easily than they do with embroidery.

On the whole, I enjoy embroidery and appliqué work much more...and these thoughts led me to analyze myself more deeply.  Knitting is very's's, well, mathematical.  Many knitting designers are also engineers, I've discovered, so there you have it.  I am not a precise person by fact, I'm often openly defiant of precision when it comes to creating.  I'm more intuitive.  Embroidery allows me to be this way.  Knitting does not.  This is not to say that I can't be precise...oh, that comes in my writing!  I will sketch out notes for a chapter ahead of time, just to know where I'm going, and then put my fingers to the keyboard and let it fly.  THEN I go back, and back, and back yet again to rephrase, to clarify, to add, to find just the right word.  In essence, my language needs that precision to communicate precisely what it is I want to communicate.

I think stretching one's self...moving out of one's comfort zone is very healthy, so long as it is not a harmful thing.  And knitting is stretching for me.  When I complete this vest (notice I said "when" not "if"), I will wear it with joy, knowing that I created it and that it was something that was challenging for me to complete.  The yarn comes from my friend's sheep farm in Central Sweden, the wool of which is processed in Denmark.  My yarn happens to come from the Wensleydale and Jacob breeds that she raises there.  I have for a number of years "adopted" a Spelsau ram on her farm, meaning I help to pay for his survival.  He's gorgeous, an ancient breed of sheep from the Viking Age.  So I know where the wool comes from, where it has been processed, who knitted it...and you just can't say that by buying a machine-made sweater from some department store.

So what does knitting have to do with owls?  I sit in my special chair, where all of my creating happens, open the windows, and listen to them hoot, and trill, roosting right outside those windows.  It is so calming.  Knitting with owls.  You should try it some time...

© 2017 Nancy Duncan


  1. Oooh I wish I had owls to knit with! Though I do sometimes knit with crows, which makes me happy . . . and I love knitting but do sometimes struggle with how structured it is, it's less forgiving than most other crafts I enjoy!

  2. Hi, Michelle! Crows are nice company...I always think of early autumn when I hear them. They have an amazing "vocabulary." These owls outside my window are the sweetest birds. They trust me wholeheartedly! I have a feeling that the one you see here in the two pics was hatched and raised here last year. There is a Mama in the owl box, too...I'm wondering when I will get to see the new hatchlings! :)