I bought myself two Christmas presents. First of all, I finally became a member of MetaFilter - still the best community weblog the internet has to offer. I have been lurking on MetaFilter for almost ten years, so it was definitely time to take the plunge and cough up those five bucks. My second gift to myself has also been a long-time coming. For years I have been circling Garthenor Yarns and their organic, sheepy goods. Their yarns are produced from sheep kept on organic lands and the yarn is spun with minimal processing and no dyeing. I finally cracked earlier this week and now my Shetland single ply laceweight in 'light oatmeal' has arrived.
Oh, but it is beautiful. It reminds me of the Faroese laceweights I have been using: the same self-assured simplicity and honesty that says 'this has worked for centuries, so why change anything?'. This yarn is as far away from novelty yarns or instant gratification yarns as you can get - and for my money it is all the better for it. Although I'd love to see Karise knitted up in this sort of rustic yarn, I think I'll end up writing an entirely new pattern for it.
Okay, I have also bought fabric but it is less an indulgence than a response to 'oh dear, I have just thrown out half my wardrobe'. I did try to find tops I liked on the high street, but eventually I just went to Mandors and bought several yards of pretty polycotton in their January sale.
I intend to make several Art Teacher tunics - I'll be tweaking the pattern, though. The original Art Teacher tunic had a zip which I confess never using as the tunic easily slips over my head. I'll also lengthen it a tiny bit, make it slightly more A-line and I'll try very hard not to have ironing mishaps during construction. Scout's honour (I was never a Girl Scout).
Finally, I'm going to read James Joyce's The Dead tonight. Why? The story takes place on January 6.
Joyce is one of those authors with whom I have not really made peace (having said that, I think that is everyone's relationship with Joyce). I have read Dubliners from which The Dead is taken. I have made headway into Ulysses and Portrait but never attempted Finnegans Wake. I could happily drown in a sea of Joyce's words - Listen, a fourworded wavespeech: seesoo, hrss, rsseeiss, ooos - but I never connected with him the way I connected with TS Eliot.
Having said that, if you have not read any James Joyce and you recoil at the very idea, sit down and read The Dead. It is a fairly quick read, you won't need a spreadsheet to help you understand it and - best of all - it is wonderful.