in which cashmere quells anxiety

Posted on Posted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

the noble mustard greens enjoy fresh coat of snow.
last year we ate garden greens into january.

so, i guess you all liked that shawl, eh? hahahaha!
thank you for all of those wonderful comments—they mean a lot to me.
i unpinned it this morning, and i twirled around a bit in it (before tripping over my feet of course), but we didn’t get to do modeling shots yet. it’s freezing here, and i’m holding out for a hopefully better day over the weekend.

the pattern should be ready some time next week; one test knitter is virtually done and the others are hot on her heels. i am thrilled that basically, the pattern was in great shape when it went to them, and that we are making only minor adjustments and fixes, mostly to the wording of the instructions. yay.

and . . . we have names. double-yay!
thank you again for the hundreds of names you suggested. many of those were already being used by BMFA for either color names or projects in their upcoming book, so i had to dig a little deeper to name my pieces. and my heart just wasn’t really leaping at many of the names i came across.

i wanted something light and pretty, but with spiritual depth too, and i wanted to be able to link it in my mind with something meaningful. something for right now.

then i started an email conversation with kate who planted the seeds of a good idea in my head, and then, josiane chimed in, and everything solidified.

here’s what happened: kate is a scholar of arabic and sent me a couple of beautiful arabic words related to concepts i was looking at for a name.
i was like, you speak arabic???
(i mean, how jealous was i? i can’t even speak canadian.)

so i proceeded to barrage her with email queries about how to say this or that phrase. because they are all so beautiful.

i began to think, this is what i have to do—i have GOT to link up with the beauty of arabic culture, which so many people associate now with pain and anger.

and then josiane sent me some persian words, too, with a link to a beautiful story, and the deal was sealed.

so . . . the faroese shawl will be named Irtfa’a which translates to english as soaring.

and the rectangle stole will be named Simurgh, which is the modern Persian name for a fabulous, benevolent, mythical flying creature (you really need to go read that story—it’s fantastic).

and i keep feeling that just maybe, if everyone who knits one of these pieces would whisper the name now and then, beauty and good karma would be lifted into the heavens and rain back down in the form of world peace.

i mean, hey—we can try it. you never know . . .

(anther naughtay picture of the sexy pattern writing . . .)

today i got the pattern for the rectangle stole off to the test knitters; the lovely rachael and jocelyn (another linguist—how lucky am i??) will be making the pioneering excursion through that knit, and hopefully it will be good for them.

this is my swatch from some sample yarn that tina sent me way back; the actual colorway i will be using is completely different. i’ll show it to you when it gets here.
we are knitting the stole in geisha, a silk/kid mohair fingering weight blend.
it’s heavier than the laci yarn used in the faroese shawl, and has a nice iridescent sheen.

i don’t know the name of the colorway yet, but tina said it has rusty undertones, which will be a nice change of pace.

while i am waiting for my own stole yarn to arrive, i feel like i have a little free time. woo-hoo.
i am turning to another bird project in the meantime and i know i can get a good jump on that one over the weekend.

last night our power was off for a couple of hours and almost as soon as the lights snapped off my hands started to itch. i had been working at the computer, which was now not an option, so what could i do?
i started to feel anxious.

this is how demented i am: i sat and knitted stockinette swatches by candlelight while david read through catalogs. i mean, they were swatches i needed, but still . . .

i was terribly relieved when the power went back on. with no shawl to work on (incredible how empty one’s hands can feel with no knitting in them), i decided to reward myself with a little treat, and start a pair of new everyday mitts just for me.

just a wee something for my always-frigid digits.
i’m using the CMF handspun cashmere that klaus sent me about a month ago.
it’s nice and soft, and it does say “handspun” all over. i know these will get worn a LOT—i am keeping then right by my desk once they are done.

and so now, i am going off to work on another bird and maybe curl up with this long-awaited tome which arrived today

nothing like a book about knitting tradition to start the weekend off right, i always say.
especially when it looks like this outside

34 thoughts on “in which cashmere quells anxiety

  1. Beautiful names, Anne. I want to knit them both! I’m really excited that the stole is heavier and I can hardly wait to see it! Your designs are so beautiful! Now I’ve got to go look at the Geisha yarn…

  2. i guess i’m a little late to the shawl loving party! every time i look at it, i see something new in it. the image shifts just like the colors of the yarn.

    and the names? wonderful! one of the best things about my college education was the opportunity to meet people from different cultures and backgrounds. i had one classmate who was half iranian and always a little hesitant to admit to her heritage because of the attitudes she might encounter. too often, we get so caught up in our ideas of other people and us vs. them that we miss the wonderful cultural traditions/heritages that are not our own, so focused are we on the negative. i’m glad to be reminded of the positive and to learn such a beautiful story

  3. Persian culture is so beautiful, and has an incredible tradition of florid poetry and delicate art. And Persian food is pretty darn incredible too! Wonderful choices, Anne.

  4. The names are lovely, and my Laci yarn arrived today and the color is just perfect: Thraven like yours but the steel blue seems really visible in the skein… I love it. I’m busy clearing the decks (coffee table) of lace WIPs so I can be free to start Irtfa’a and concentrate on her alone when the pattern is ready.

  5. What a great looking book you’ve got to bite into! Your everyday mitts are looking so warm and cozy too. Those are really wonderful names for your soaring creation that you came up with, names must be really difficult (almost like naming a child LOL 😉 )

  6. Oh, Anne, that’s so great! I’m really happy you liked my suggestion! I hadn’t even read your post before emailing you tonight, so you bet I came here straight as soon as I got your answer! I can’t wait to see your Simurgh taking her flight!
    Well, the link to the entry about the Simurgh in Wikipedia was just something I found quickly to give you an idea of what I was talking about. I am glad it has been useful and you enjoyed it, but I’m sure I could have come up with something better if I had spent more than three seconds searching. If ever I take the time to look a little more and come up with other interesting links, I’ll make sure to send them your way. Who doesn’t love a good story? 🙂
    The everyday mitts you have started are lovely. I really like the stitch pattern, and the fabric looks so cozy!
    Oh, and to answer Lynne’s question, the best approximation I can give for the pronunciation of Simurgh is see-moorg (or see-morg; both are used, and I’d say that what I think is closest to the most common pronunciation is somewhat in between the two). I hope this helps!

  7. Irtfa’a is pronounced Eert-FA-ah (except this final ah is pronounced more like you’re choking, very back in the throat).

    I’m really glad you’re taking this opportunity to spread a little love in the world. God knows we need it.

  8. What a wonderful idea, those Persian names. Perhaps every time time the wing of the bird gets thrown over a shoulder some peaceful energy will drift out. All the way to Washington, I hope. We frequent a Persian/Iranian restaurant, I’ll have to get some pronounciation guidance.

  9. I love this shawl! I can’t wait until the pattern is up. I’m so impressed (moved) by the time and care you put into, not only designing but naming.

  10. Anne, I am so happy that I found your blog a couple of years ago. I love how you work so hard to make sure your design has a meaning and a message. You really feel your work. You inspire me!

  11. Anne- You can’t speak Canadian, eh?

    The names are truly inspired- and we can all use good karma in our lives.

    I have to find out more about that book.

  12. Hi again, I just remembered I have some fire colored Handmaiden Merino two ply that may well need to become Simurgh. It will pick up on the associations with the Phoenix and fire in some of the legends… I love all this bird and wing imagery!

  13. wonderful names, Anne. Love the story too. – I am going to practice trying to pronounce it. I might even have to make the rectangular one out of a golden yarn to fit the story line(grin)and The farose is so amazing – I might make one of those, even tho I do not wear that style of shawl (another grin)

    And boy do I know what you mean about getting itchy fingers when you can’t knit! I’m glad I’ve been able to do some once again.

  14. Cairo Kate got to name your shawl! How cool is that! And it’s just so beautiful.

    Hey, throw a snowball for me, would you? I’m living in real-weather exile in California.

  15. You tease! Making us wait yet another day for shawl pics.
    Do you realise that you are way too productive, I can’t even begin to *try* keeping up with you 😉

  16. Oh I adore the names you chose. What a lovely glimpse of the Persian language! Now if I could just decide on which color of the Raven clan to use. This could take awhile…

  17. wonderful names and lovely sentiment! I think I’ll wisper a wish just now and then for the purpose of a happier world!
    Will you get the stole pattern with the shawl pattern or is that separate? (I actually have some lovely Piece of Beauty silk just right for the stole too… hmmm it seems my Christmas knitting list just got a bit longer – thank you!)

  18. Love the names. Love the reasoning even more. With the knock-out power that shawl design of yours has, how can it NOT release some good energy into the world?

  19. I have been awol from blogging for a while and I come back to see you have been very busy designing YET more gorgeousness. Look forward to seeing the patterns. If you want any Welsh names remember me LOL

  20. OMG, I’ve been away from the blog too long! Raven is stunning…you do know the legend of Raven? Raven bought fire to man, and thus hope to a frozen world. Whichever name you call it, I’m sure it will spread knitted love.
    I am in the queue for this one, it will join my other bird shawls, Dove and Peacock 🙂
    Thank you for designing such a masterpiece for us to enjoy knitting!

  21. What an exciting project. I love the names, even though I know I’m going to blow the pronounciation. Names, concept and design are stunningly beautiful. See, I found a few more adjectives 😉

  22. Beautiful names and a lovely wish for the use of them! I don’t think it’s a bit odd that you’d think perhaps we knitters might have the power to change the world thru knowledge and acceptance and the click of our needles along with our prayers.

    I agree. Completely.

  23. Love the names. Wow you have snow?!! We had a few tiny flakes the other day in the midst of some drizzle, but that is all.

    LOL about knitting in the dark. I was there last year when our power was out. I ended up making a wash cloth. 😉

  24. I so love those mitts! Is there a pattern? I don’t really do shawls but I just took a pair of mitts off my needles and now I’m spinning up a gorgeous batt for another pair. Mitts are almost always on my needles since they are a perfect gift item.

  25. I love the names and your reasons for choosing them — yet another reason I love knitters, period! I keep trying to resist shawls & stoles but Simurgh is calling me. It isn’t loud, but boy is it persistent.

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