There is no doubt in my mind that this is the best time of year. A phrase I recently discovered is Winter Finding — the time between the autumnal equinox and the first of November.1 The intolerable heat and humidity of the summer is over and we’re running headlong into frost. Light becomes muted. The days smell cleaner. I keep telling myself that I need to get out and photograph the changing leaves, but between doubting my ability as a photographer and the swiftness of the season, I don’t think that will happen.
Said a blade of grass to an autumn leaf, “You make such a noise falling! You scatter all my winter dreams.”
Said the leaf indignant, “Low-born and low-dwelling! Songless, peevish thing! You live not in the upper air and you cannot tell the sound of singing.”
Then the autumn leaf lay down upon the earth and slept. And when spring came she waked again — and she was a blade of grass.
And when it was autumn and her winter sleep was upon her, and above her through all the air the leaves were falling, she muttered to herself, “O these autumn leaves! They make such a noise! They scatter all my winter dreams.” —Kahlil Gibran, The Madman
There’s nothing like autumn and its soft decay to bring out the pseudo-gothy Miss Havisham-y part of my personality.
This is the Vintage Velvet scarf I’ve been working on the past two weeks. I cranked it out in record time — record time for me, in any event. One of the reasons it went so quickly was because I truly dislike the yarn. I wanted to be done knitting with it as soon as I possibly could so I wouldn’t have to handle it any longer than I had to.
It’s Muench’s Touch Me, a rayon microfiber and wool blend. It sheds like a mangy cat, has no stitch definition to speak of and, being chenille, it worms. While chenille yarn is pretty and plush, it is a bitch to work with — its tendency to worm being the major problem. I can’t explain exactly why chenille does what it does, but there’s an explanation here.
In a fit of pique, I stayed up until all hours one night last week to finish this scarf and felt it. I had never before thrown yarn into soapy hot water with such heartfelt abandon. I was ready to drown this thing. It was loose and loopy going into the washer,2 and I was praying that the Felting Gods would work their magic.
For this pattern, you need to use the yarn it calls for — not any chenille yarn will give you the same effect. 3 The wool core of the yarn constricts and tightens, and the fluffy rayon bits come together to give the scarf its crushed velvet patina. A trip through the dryer lifts the nap on the velvet.
Project Notes – Vintage Velvet
Pattern: “Vintage Velvet” from the book, Scarf Style
Size: After felting – 54 inches by 5 1/2 inches. Since I stretched and pinned it for the final blocking, there was remarkably little shrinkage.
Yarn: Muench Touch Me, 5 balls, in Slate Blue
Needles: Denise Interchangables, U.S. Size 8. They are my least slippery needles, which is important when working with chenille.
Other Stuff: I would gladly pay through the snout to buy this yarn in another color for the same project.4 However, before that happens, I need must let the horror of my first experience fade.* * * * *
- I’ve seen the phrase attributed to specific feast days, too: October 14th and the actual day of the equinox. [↩]
- In a lingerie bag; unless you want to plug up your washing machine with lint, always felt in a bag or zippered pillowcase. [↩]
- I note on Ravelry that a few people have tried using Plymouth Yarn’s Sinsation Solid, with varying results [↩]
- This is a $75.00-80.00 investment in the specific yarn needed for the pattern. [↩]