Well, the three remaining days of Thanksgiving break were full of delightful crafting activity… none of which I can share since it’s that time of year! No doubt the finished products will eventually appear, but for now I’m keeping them under wraps- and I’m happy to do so because, quite frankly, I’m a Christmas fiend. It’s an understatement to say that this is my favorite time of year. It’s nothing short of an affirmation of all that I value most; family, friends, good times and good food. I doubt many would disagree.
Yet the first day back on campus didn’t exactly make for an easy transition. Though my thesis presentation went well, professors offered their ever-so-helpful feedback which has sent me on another round of researching and, ultimately, some significant reorganization of my work. Given that Christmas break is just right around the corner (officially it starts on December 15th) I’m not overly worried about it. I can handle a few more days of hardcore academia, with holiday festivities in between, of course.
Now, hardcore academia does not by any means imply an absence of knitting. I long ago mastered the art of reading (even ‘actively’ reading) while knitting… which may be the only reason I actually do have quite good grades. If I’m knitting, well, I can just keep going and going. Which means I’ve inhaled several articles on Conceptual Art and made excellent progress on Gordon’s cashmere sweater! The back and front are done, and one sleeve about halfway through.
Admittedly, it doesn’t look like much right now- particularly not by my usual colorful patchworky standards, but it’s a joy to knit. I mean, if baby alpaca is luxurious, cashmere is… I’m sure you can imagine. Plus, I love my little (well not so little) brother and know this won’t go unappreciated!
The picture isn’t too accurate, but I love the colors. Like I said, this may be my companion project for many, many months…
I should probably mention that I’m currently taking an art class with Steven Prina that is enabling me to quilt and knit (on a very generous budget) and get credit for it. This is the sort of thing that makes me love Harvard. But even this isn’t enough to satisfy my crafting urge. I manage to squeeze it in like no other ‘assignment’ I’ve ever had. Now, the closest I get to serious spiritual endeavors is my love of yoga which, though I now find meditative, I have to admit started with an interest in becoming more flexible… not exactly enlightened. But I have nonetheless become interested in the meditative- yes, even spiritual- implications of my fondness for crafting. Two recent reads have helped me make sense of this, Janet Catherine Berlo’s fabulous book, “Quilting Lessons,” and Susan Gordon Lydon’s “The Knitting Sutra: Craft as Spiritual Practice.” They’re quite different (and I’ll admit I was a little more touched by Berlo’s though not due to any intrinsic preference for quilting over knitting) but they do have a theme. It’s that achievement of ever-elusive balance in life. Sounds simple but it’s a tricky negotiation. And basically, knitting and quilting help me maintain that sense of equilibrium. First of all, they remind me to slow down. As someone who thrives off of efficiency, the carefulness- and even tedium- of these practices is perfect counterbalance. They also enable to tap in to creative aspects of myself that simply aren’t satisfied by nonstop reading and writing. And so I pursue them unapologitcally.
Speaking of balance… As for one of my other great loves, fine dining, I had a lovely dinner with my Dad two nights ago at Rialtoin the Charles Hotel. Unsurprisingly, it was a fabulous meal. I would recommend the scallops with squash ravioli. Egg custard with poached pear was also delightful (and for me, new) culinary experience. Tomorrow night my boyfriend and I are reuniting after two weeks at Harvest, also in Cambridge. Like EVOO, Harvest is big on the locally grown, fresh ingredients… and fall/winter seasonal food is my absolute favorite. But even better is all the traditional homecooking that I have to look forward to in just a couple of weeks!