The Simple Things

I am reminded time and again of how much inspiration and beauty I find in the simple things…

Mondays are refuse collection day. I rise and dress without showering as I have learned from past experience that lugging bin bags down the drive when my muscles are fresh from the shower is never a good idea. I’ve gone twang all too often in the past. (The dogs now know that instant dressing means an extra morning walk and they become very excited when I reach for shoes rather than towel.)

The bin bags are collected around 08:30, so I try to get them out by 8.00. At this time of year that means crack o’ dawn and it is such a treat to be out and about then – as a normally slow starter, I rarely get this treat. On days like today it is especially good. It was calm and still, and thus feeling warm despite the fact that a frost was forming underfoot. There was a pretty sunrise, making a silhouette of the buildings at Elsness. The sea was halfway in/out and flat calm – sea birds bobbing about, little waders on the shoreline, and a couple of seal heads keeping their watchful eyes on my comings and goings. I paused, as is usual on such occasions, to take it all in – along with a good lungful of fresh air… and a hefty dose of inspiration.

Mornings like this always leave me with a burst of creative energy, though I rarely know how to direct it. It’s that old voice inside me, saying “I want to paint!” and arguing back  “but I can’t!” So today I am pointing that energy at the kitchen. Just simple stuff – making milk rolls and a pan of carrot and ginger soup for lunch. The weekend’s food has been rich and complex. Time to savour a few simple delights, I think -  to cleanse the body and the spirit.

There is simple knitting on the needles too. I am knitting a small shawl by The Shetland Trader, Gudrun Johnston. Simmer Dim is completely unfussy and makes a good match with the Malabrigo Lace yarn that I am using. I am enjoying every. single. perfect. garter. stitch. of it. There is such a purity about this shawl that I  love it to bits and back. I was originally completely unenthralled by the Malabrigo when I received it because it looked dull and flat in colour –  but it makes the perfect marriage in this shawl and it both looks and feels entirely magical. Synergy.

I love lace and am often inspired by the sheer beauty and complexity of it, but creativity need not be complex. It took Gudrun to show me just how wonderful simple garter stitch can be, and how effectively it works with just a touch of simple lace. I made her Aestlight shawl, then another. And another. And… I have now made five. I also made her Crofter’s Cowl. It was her Slipped Hours and Vaila that first brought her to my attention, and I have long wanted a Moch Cardi. More recently I have been eyeing up some patterns from Gudrun’s forthcoming book – there will certainly be a Norie in my future! possibly also a Laar

The beauty of Gudrun’s designs lies in their simplicity and functionality and those characteristics are amply demonstrated in her latest published design, spotted in the new Twist Collective this very morning. Skalva is just the perfect sweater for my lifestyle – simple, functional but beautiful, and it looks immensely warm and comfortable too. I need a Skalva in my life soon. It looks like just the thing to wear on frosty mornings for putting out the bins and seeking inspiration from my muses: sunrises, sandpipers and seals.