Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reflections on Sutra 1.7

1.7 pratyakșānumānāgamāh pramānāni
Comprehension is based on direct observation of the object, inference, and reference to reliable authorities

I have no debate with this sutra, I think it's fairly straight forward really and ironically doesn't require too much reflection on my part. I've always been one to delve further down the rabbit hole in search of information closer to 'the source'. More often I've had trouble remaining focused on the original enquiry and get lost in/on tangents. This was probably quite infuriating for my mother when I was young - she'd ask me to look up a recipe and I was gone for hours. I've always had discreet book collections, mostly reference material of whatever I was into at the time. I've usually been quite fortunate too, to have access to some fine authorities and mentors in relation to most of my past and current interests. In yoga there is high importance placed on knowing who your teacher's teachers are/were and to know your yoga lineage. I think this is a good approach to take with many other aspects of life. "Don't Believe the Hype", said Public Enemy. It's all part of having a credible source of information and a good reminder to seek out reliable authorities. Wikipedia can be a good start, but is not always reliable. Google is a pretty good modern guru, always ready with an answer or pointing me in a direction that may be closer to what I'm looking for. I've always liked the Sherlock Holmes stories with their lessons in deductive reason and logic.

This coupled with my own practice and experience has helped me fine tune my understanding of what I observe and what I can deduce, as well as what I don't know and what I need to learn more about. And if all else fails, as is want to happen with knitting projects, consult my Elizabeth Zimmermann's, or Barbara Walker's.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

(isn't she) Pretty in Pink...

Molly Ringwald has a lot to answer for, for some of us growing up in the 80's, even if her career kind of collapsed afterwards (the curse of the Time magazine cover). Apart from showing you can do wonders with a sewing machine and a few funky bits of pink material, she also gave those of us with a fair complexion and reddish hair hope that we could one day pull off wearing pink! Hope should never be understated, Viva los Chilean Miners! I digress, this is actually about my very pink socks and how appropriate I thought the combination was of the sweet sixteen (candles) 'pinkyness' of the yarn with the sweetness of the Hearts & Flowers design. I am also fairly realistic and most pinks don't look good near my face - purples yes, but on my feet I can get away with anything.

They are made from Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM) 4 ply yarn (say that fast out loud 3 times), which is a delight to knit with, so soft and squishy. I used 2mm needles which are the thinnest I've ever used and I was frequently reminded of their fineness throughout when I stabbed myself in the fingers as a result of being quite a tight knitter. I started them on 2.5mm, then down to 2.25mm but I eventually capitulated to the pattern suggestion and picked up the 2mm. It was going to take me longer to knit them (took me 6 months to get around to finishing them anyway!) but I could see the result would be far more satisfying, and it is. It just took me a half a sock's worth of knitting to conclude this, hence I started knitting the second sock on the smaller needles and gave myself a break before ripping the first 2.25mm sock out and started again. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I've successfully turned a heel too, though it can be most frustrating when you stuff it up and have to rip it back a few times to 'get it'. It was at this point a few months ago my sock mojo soured and into the naughty corner they went.

Even though I don't find myself wearing socks much these days living in the tropics, I still like making them, so portable and not 'hot' in your hands. Lately, there's a day every couple of weeks when it gets cool enough for socks and handknits get to strutt their stuff on my feet. Even more enjoyable now that my 'sock knitting mojo' has returned. You see, I actually began these socks in February this year, after deciding to make them last October on the way back from Knit Camp and Webgoddess had begun her Sherie's Posies socks from Wendy Johnson's book, Socks from the Toe Up. It's a great book, I could happily knit all the socks from this book, if only I knit faster or didn't have so many other projects in my knitting pipeline. All the lovely patterns, and most heels are to be turned the same way reducing time spent on redo's. I do try to stop myself from starting the next sock project before I finish at least one of others on the go. Alas, I've already started winding the next lot of sock yarn (more KPPPM in blues) and it's only due to pattern indecision I haven't started them yet.

I was also spurred on to finished these in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness month, taking on board all the recent comments about the commercialisation of 'Pink October' (ie. actually finding a cure and doing away with the need for it - same goes for Prostate Cancer Movember). Once upon a time it was hip to be Green. It's also well as Rocktober, Blocktober, Oktoberfest...

So Hearts & Flowers will come to India with me, along with my Shantarams and a few other choice articles if I can finish them in time for next February. In the meantime they will satisfy my 'Pretty in Pink' teenager moments and not make me look sallow, given they are far away from my face, certain yoga poses notwithstanding.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

White Light....White Heat, aka Project India

I've booked myself on a 'Yoga Tour' of India next March. It begins in Delhi, then up to Rishikesh for a week at the Parmath Niketan Ashram for the International Yoga Festival. It then continues up north to various sacred sites and temples until we get to Dharamsala, hoping HH the Dalai Lama is in residence and concludes with a trip to the Taj Mahal. Of course I've begun planning my knitted garments for the trip. Some are already made courteousy of Knitabulous' Indian Summer Yarn Club I joined earlier this year. I have green Shantaram Socks and the purple Bollywood Shawl. I have a few other pairs of socks made and my nearly finished, very pink Hearts & Flowers. Any other socks I complete in the meantime will just be a bonus. Travelling Woman in Turquoise will no doubt be finished soon too. February Ladies Sweater in Ravelry Red Malabrigo Worsted is on its way down the Finished Object highway too.

But here's the thing, at the Ashram we are to wear white.

Anyone who knows me knows just how allergic I am to white, I'm far more comfortable and considerably less 'dirty' looking in black and other strong, dark colours. I reinforced this recently when I went to the movies and grabbed a (relatively newly purchased, hey, what can I say, I don't knit everything I wear and I just liked the lightness of the fabric and its drape - a circle with 2 cut out cicles for the arms) white wrap. Not for 2 hours could it stay clean after I dropped chocolate on it from my ice cream. How on earth will I cope wearing white 24/7 at the Ashram?? The tour operater's notes state that white cotton clothes can be purchased outside the gate of the Ashram for about $5 a piece, so there won't be any shortage of basic yoga wear (turmeric and saffron aren't exactly stain free) and I'll just have to try my best not to be needing a new set each day.

Its the knitted items that have me in a spin. I will endeavour to salvage my Shipwreck Shawl, even if I need to abandon the Madeira Lace and choose a stitch pattern that doesn't require 'jogging'. A suitable Lotus pattern perhaps.

I have New York Cardigan in my queue and I'm thinking the Margrite Karabella that's in my stash will be good for that one. It might be more cream than white, but I think it will pass the 'white' test. Its a lovely soft and squishy 80/20 combo of merino/cashmere and there's something a little poetic about taking a garment with cashmere in it 'back' to somewhere near Kashmir. This would be a good use of this yarn seeing as it's been hanging around for years after being a mistake purchase, when what I really meant to order was the red (pesky colour numbers instead of names!). This was the beginning of my current stash actually. Rosered may recall this as she ended up with the red without incident and was laughing at me being 'concerned' about having yarn in my house that didn't already have a designated project! How I've grown.

I also have plenty of white Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton (10&4ply) which could easily turn into something worth doing yoga in. I also want to try some reversible knitting and make the Flip Your Lid reversible beanie and Syncopation reversible headband. It will be Winter in India, which could mean anything, from cold to mid 20's celcius and I'll need to be prepared, or at least wrapped in hand knitted whites and plenty of white light...oooommmmm

Monday, October 11, 2010

Reflections on Sutra 1.6

1.6 pramānaviparyayavikalpanidrāsmŗtayah
The five activities of the mind are comprehension, misapprehension, imagination, deep sleep, and memory

As I contemplate, indeed, comprehend, this sutra I have noticed just how much the mind is responsible for in terms of my overall health and wellbeing. My thoughts can determine my moods, my motivation, how much I sleep, the bizarreness of my dreams via my imagination, the quality of my memory. Before I go to sleep most nights I reflect on what I did that day and what I would like to do the following day. I see it as trying to 'pre-program' the mind so that I have a better chance of doing half the things I want to try out or complete. Which is usually a mixture of the things required for living, like washing, cleaning, food shopping, paying the bills and things I enjoy, like knitting, reading, sewing, cooking, swimming and yoga. So why, oh why does this not always translate to the next days' activities like I want it to?

I don't yet have the answer/s, but I think asking myself these questions is a good start at working it/them out.