Hi. I’m a little ashamed at my erratic posting behaviour over the years. I have this dream that I’m very consistent: I’m knitting up a storm, posting all the time, wearing sumptuous, complement worthy, hand knitted gear daily. But I’m not. In fact, for now, I’m just aiming not to be ashamed. I’m here. Good enough!
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been knitting up a storm. I’ll spare you the play by play, but in short, I had gone back to music school, finished semester one and at my return to semester two, had a wee bit of a breakdown. The breakdown showed me that I want to go about life differently, which has resulted (so far) in a lot less doing, a lot more being, and thus a glorious reunion with knitting.
I always seem to come back to knitting…
The first project I picked up was the tunic (well, maybe I knit a few rows on the armwarmers). I had one sleeve to finish, and it was nice to just knit. But then as I neared the end of the knitting part, I got a little restless. This ‘sweater’ has been ongoing for… 4? maybe 5 years? I bought the yarn in 2011? It was going to be this: Mahonia by Marie Wallin (Rowan) (photo credit Marie Wallin / Rowan because I erased mine in a fit of photo tidying one day):
I got just past the pouch (it’s knit from the bottom up) and realized the poncho would weigh a thousand pounds and probably fall right off my body. So, I tried this:
In 2014. And I’ve been knitting it ever since. So, I feel restless. I’m skeptical of something good coming good coming out of the yarn. Also, I’m not sure that the whole thing is really my style anymore (classic, right?!) I’ve tried it on… and it doesn’t exactly spark joy. Ugh. It makes it such a slog to finish! Today, it’s not done-done, but it’s at the blocking stage. So, voila:
So I’m hoping that the sleeves block a touch longer, and the hood a little bigger. And maybe with the right jeans, and the right boots… we’ll see!
Back so soon? I know. I made a huge deal out of this sweater. Honestly, I don’t even know why I was so worried. It knit up like it should be and it looks just about right. I put it on and it was way to big. Perfect. He might pass out from heat exhaustion… but he’ll have a sweater. Perhaps I will bestow upon him some belated (or early, depending on your perspective) Christmas cheer when we head on our camping trip to Tofino.
Et voila. My mostly symmetrical Seamless Saddle-Shouldered Sweater, by Elizabeth Zimmermann (pattern from Knitting Without Tears). Inner sweater ends to be sewn in after it’s dry, hole patched in sleeve, and more pics to come when it’s had its first wear.
What to choose next… maybe my tunic, then we can be wool buddies
PS: I have also come to notice that most of my photos are missing from the blog. They used to be on flickr, I guess (don’t know what I was thinking really) and I have since deleted a lot of my knitting photos, thinking they were safe on the blog. Wrong. And so, I’m beginning the slow process of finding the photos I’m talking about and putting them in, or commenting them out. I’m so irritated.
Yup, it’s been a while, blah, blah, blah, I made work my life, blah, blah, I was blind and now I see, blah, blah. Let’s focus on the important: I have a lot of projects sitting on my shelves, all at various states of difficult and I’ve decided to finish them all.
This sweater, for example, was a christmas present for Jeff last year. I am at the point where I have to decrease for the shoulders, but I don’t know how fast to decrease and I risk knitting a bunch of sweater that I will have to rip out. And, this sweater has a hole in it. A HOLE. As in, a knitters nightmare kind of hole.
Then there’s this sweater, who is a blend of Wisteria and Idlewood. She has been on the needles for so long it has suffered previous incarnations. I am not sure if she’s too long or not – I am strongly against sweaters that bunch around my middle – and I have no idea what to do with the arms.
And, while we’re on the sweater train, I might as well introduce this guy, who’s been struggling into existence for… a year and a half maybe? Mmmm. He’s a weird pattern I found in Vogue, and I have a fear that I won’t ever wear him. Also, the construction is strange and scary.
So instead of working on any of those, I started a handspun blanket – an adult sized Tweed Baby Blanket – that should take just about forever. I’m enjoying the process of combing out and blending different fibers then knitting it. Very satisfying. However, I feel guilty when I work on an easy project when there are so many hard things rotting on the shelf.
Another cheater project is this scarf, which I justified starting due to the age of the sock yarn that never got made into these mitts because I’m impatient with my ability to carry two colours at a time.
And of course knitting isn’t all that I use to spread myself so thin! Voila, my first quilt. I have been working on it a little over the last month, but it’s hard. I made the pattern myself, and it’s impossible to piece without bunching up the corners.
Finally, allow me to introduce my needlefelted dragon. The problem here is that his neck isn’t very strong, because I didn’t felt the inside densely enough, so now I’m having to refelt it… which is boring and not pretty. The dragon is an attempt to use up all sorts of fiber I had on hand so that the thing-we-shall-not-name has less stuff to carve holes in.
Which brings me to the motivation behind all of this productivity: if I can’t have the yarn, nothing can. Not even little flying destroyers of dreams. Not to mention that I’ve sort of grown out of the stash phase… I know, it sounds a bit crazy, but I am not mobile when my craftroom is this full….
And I’d like to be a little more mobile. So clean though, right!? Let project Finish All Projects begin!
In short, yes. I have knit… have I finished any knitting? Yes. I finished one scarf. Do I have a picture of it? No. Have I started any new projects? Yes. A sweater for Jeff. Do I have any pictures of that? No. And I think there were a pair of socks from the winter as well. And no, no picture of those either. So um… what exactly have I been doing?
Well, working. I started a business is January of 2012 and it kind of… took over my life! Not in a bad way, just in the sort of way that when they say it takes about 5 years to get a business off the ground, they aren’t kidding. I’m on year three now, and while the traction is consistent, it still takes almost all of my attention!
So, onto today. Today I finished winding on some handspun so that I can finish the centre of that blanket I started in 2012! I also started combing the contrast colour (Silver Silk, Silver Blueface Lester & Black Shetland). It’s a lot more work than buying the roving pre-combed, but it is sooooo much easier on my hands when I’m spinning! I’ll post some photos of the contrasting colour when I get a spool or two. For now, here’s the handspun and I’m off to knit away at the centre…
When I first started knitting these socks, I hated them. I hated the pattern and the colour and the stiffness of the yarn. But now… now that I have one on my foot, I love them (it). I love the pattern, and the colour… and it really hugs my ankle and instep. What if… what if I like knitting lace socks that take me twice as long to knit up?
I checked it on my calendar and asked one of my clients today and it’s true; it’s for sure the 26th of September 2012, and look:
Behold my pretty lace September Sock. Singular. Which means that my second sock still looks like this:
I’ll be going now. Talk to you on the 30th.
As of late I have experienced an insatiable need to do things for myself. And by for myself, I mean instead of doing it to please others. It feels like a matter of personal power and integrity that is developing inside me. I could feel the need simmering under the surface during my three weeks in Alberta, which resulted in destashing before I even unpacked (which is done now, by the way, all YARN stash fits into my trunk and my small project basket AND is entered into Ravelry along with all of my magazines and books.)
It was by persevering through this sorting that I realized my To Do list and the depth of my commitment to it. Everything in every aspect of my life fits neatly into two broad catagories (simple is good)
- Sift through the shit: The stash is a perfect example, I had no idea what I really had in there, and it was mixed up with so much yarn I didn’t even like that is was actually menacing to be in the room with. Sounds OCD. I do feel that unfinished business makes it more challenging to move forward. So I’m going through it: Yarn stash, fleece stash, fabric stash, tools, clothes, books… love it or let it go.
- Finish unfinished business: I am sick of having all the things I wish I had done, wish I was good at or delude myself into thinking I do pulling me in all different directions. I feel an intense will to persevere through the beginner stages now with the goal of enjoying the flow of doing: quilting, spinning, tapestry weaving, cello, colourwork, herblore, etc. etc.
- Do what I need to do. Simultanious with finishing up old work, I’m noticing a direction toward new work. It feels like this direction is filling the empty space left by all the banished junk, and serves me a lot better.
Latest results? A pair of socks per month, here are my finished August socks.
And the beginning of http://www.ravelry.com/projects/MavenKnits/tribute…
It strikes that this willfulness coincides with Michealmas the season, mentioned here by Magic Onions. Anyone else feeling especially willful?
I’m sitting on my living room floor in the middle of all of my yarn, which is much better than yesterday when some of my yarn was in the living room, some was in my cedar chest, some was in the closet, some was in a pillow case, some was in my miriad of baskets and still more was outside on the deck in a pile as the sky conspired to dew on it.
I’m destashing. I’ve never done that before which indicates two things: first, I have awoken to the fact that it is impossible to knit up all the yarn that my mother finds for me at thrift stores, and second, that I have a brain wrinkling pile of yarn to go through containing more than one tangle involving entire balls of yarn and kidsilk haze. Damnit.
And every once in a while I come across a distracting little project… like separating a ball wound with two strands of yarn into two single strand balls. So I made a movie. After which, I was searching around for others who had made a similar discovery of yarn separation techniques, and I found this TECH blog post that explains the whole science behind ball/yarn twist. Note: if you have the utilities available, a lazy kate would be a real timesaver – but for those doing it by hand…
Today I woke up with renewed inspiration. I am not sure whether it was the New Year’s Eve I spent quarreling with my shamelessly moraless and self interested coté noir, or the dramatic triumph of sobriety at 1:17am as I looked pitiously at the drunken chasseur and turned tail to find myself swaddled in my (Kate’s) north face barrel bag. ALONE. Blessed be.
I am inspired to forget about some things and focus on other things. New Year’s resolution (however arbitrary) is to live so much during the day that I don’t feel the need to stay up long into the night pining for a way to make up for what I wasted pressing the refresh button on my facebook page.
Ergo, I am all tied on. The first photo depicts where I made the mistake of shoving 4 warp strings through one dent, and the second after the mistake is corrected. I’ll be seeing you soon Leola!
Not in my knitting… but in my life. I just watched my Ashford Joy walk out the door and thus am spinning wheel-less. One might think this would be liberating, what with all the white thumbed yarn clenching… the uneven twist… slanted stockinette sweaters… But no. It’s not liberating. It sucks.
And what made it even worse was the fact that I had some singles on the bobbins from the silk I spun… and so, I had to USE the wheel. That’s like sleeping with a dude one last time before you break it off ‘for reals’. STUPID.
So, now I’m looking for a new wheel… maybe something a little bigger, a dark hardwood or… wait.
How is this like my life?