Yet another sweater for some purpose- likely sale or gift- is finished. It’s a large, drop shouldered wool and alpaca casual style with some collar detail. I have (with the help of enablers in our local fiber guild) discovered over the last four years, the old flat bed knitting devices. I hesitate to call them machines, since that implies that the device does the work. The making is accomplished by you-manually sliding a rectangular carriage across a bed of latch hooks to knit row after row of stitches. Sounds simple? Well- iff all goes well, AND you have practiced umpteen times, AND learned how to start over, troubleshoot, fix on the fly and possess patience, then it is indeed simple. Overall, the time saved on basic stockinette stitch is wonderful. Ribbing takes a bit more effort. Garter stitch- well I don’t bother on the KM and instead stick with pointy sticks. The learning curve is slow and steep. Some amazing people have elevated using these KMs to a new form. The complicated garments made and the likewise detailed instructions are out there to make entire beautiful wardrobes. The 80s live again!
Let’s just say, I’m not into going that far. Knitting flatbeds give me another way to use the materials being grown in the field. Yarn is used by the miles, and with careful prep and measurement, straight knitting flat fabrics is joyful by the yard. When my hands cramp from knitting needles, I can move to full body knitting, since the KM uses full arms, shoulders, neck, back, legs and numerous positions from calisthenics like the old Jack Lelanne TV shows. It also involves steel weights, little sharp needle hooks, weights with metal claws, greased steel, tension springs and tools. Some days and some projects leave little reminders on the body, that KM use, just like little pointy sticks, can make one remember that knitting has risks and weapons potential. So cheers that another sweater is done! Winter will be warmer for someone.
Now on to the loss. Having a flock or a herd comes with risks and rewards. You get to see the fiber growing. You get to experience lambing in cold spring mornings. You get to make hay in summer, move it to storage, meet amazing people who live by the sun and seasons. You also get to carry that hay in deep snow and howling winter winds twice a day for years, break thick ice on water tanks and wonder why pipes have to burst and fences lose their boards, wires or chargers after a lightning strike- like this week. Also this week we had to say good bye to our flock guardian of twelve years. From playful fluff ball pup in training, to obnoxious, overeager teen, to discerning, coyote, bobcat and fox engager, he has been with us as a loyal defender. In his most recent year he has needed care and a boost to get up and going. His move into our house was pretty easy. Sweeping up all the hair and dog dirt just became part of living, as did the barking at any time of the night. But now the house has just a cat, the one Casey just tolerated. There is no greeter with a cold nose, no toenails on the wood floors. The outside cat wonders where his roaming buddy has gone, although he knows. He was here when we put Case back to the Earth. He’s running other pastures now.