Archive for September 2009

Give this song another listen

September 30, 2009

Pattern: Cabled Rangoli Hat by Desiknitter
Yarn: Dream In Color Classy (100% merino), colorway In Vino Veritas
Needles: U.S. 5 Harmony wood 32″ circulars (magic-loop style)

Oh, those beautiful skeins of Classy. They feel like a cloud, and they look like a painter’s palette. And this hat took just over half of one. I almost can’t commit to make anything in particular out of Classy. Nothing seems like it will use enough of the yarn and show it off to greatest effect. But I must say that this hat comes close.

The kids at my knitting group believe they could never do cables. I believe I can never stop doing them. Slip, knit, then switch places with a stitch (or two or three) magically hanging in midair as you accomplish it. So fast and so utterly beguiling.

Those are my first bobbles, and half-hearted little bumps they are. Rather than attempting p5tog, I did p3tog, slip back to left needle, pass next 2 stitches over, sl back to right needle, continue. The texture is there, but I wouldn’t call it a bobble, exactly. More like a nub.

It’s kind of ridiculous to be able to make something so luxurious, so subtly shaded, so textured. But that’s not all I made.

Pattern: Not Quite Straight Scarf by Nicole Hinds (Rav link)
Yarn: Knit PIcks Andean Silk (55% alpaca, 23% silk, 22% merino wool), colorway Fedora
Needles: U.S. 9 wooden straights

This was my don’t-have-to-think-about-it knitting for a few weeks. It accompanied me to church, to class, to meetings, to the library. I had to start it three times to get the tricky knit-purl-knit-knit-purl-knit repeat down, but once I memorized which rows were which (purl on 2 and 5, increase/decrease on odd rows) and as long as I kept my StitchMinder handy, it practically flew by.

The idea was to make a manly scarf in a manly color. But now what to do with it? Is there a gift recipient in my circle of gift-giving that would appreciate it? Or should it go to the Red Scarf Project?

Not to worry. Whatever becomes of it, whoever receives it, the important thing is that I produced it. I enjoyed myself thoroughly doing so. It’s soft, warm, and stylish. The value is in the accomplishment more than in control over the recipient. A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Send her my love

September 27, 2009

Pattern: Checkmate by Emily Ivey (official dishcloth pattern of Son of Dish Rag Tag 2009)
Yarn: Lily Sugar’n Cream Stripes (100% cotton)
Needles: U.S. 8 alumnium straights

For want of an early mail delivery, an advantage was lost. Anxiously did I await the little box containing my Son of Dish Rag Tag assignment. It had been bouncing around the country for more than a month, and I was its second-to-last stop.

But when it finally arrived at 2:30 pm on Saturday, the post offices had long since closed. I had all weekend to knit, even though I only needed two hours to turn the enclosed stripey yarn into a Neopolitan ice cream sundae of a dishcloth.

So I had plenty of time to peruse the blog and Ravelry profile of the intrepid anchor of the Peaches & Speed team, who shall remain only S.G. and linkless until she’s received the surprise Stephanie from Columbus, Ohio. Hm, she likes elephants. Do I have any elephants around the house that will fit into a Priority Mail small flat rate box? No?

Wonder if I could make one?

Pattern: Little Elephant by Christine Landry
Yarn: Lily Sugar’n Cream leftovers
Needle: U.S. 4 Harmony wood Options 24″ circular

It’s my first ever toy, and it turned out really cute. My sewing-up skills are negligible at best; the Kitchener stitch on the back is pretty bad. I almost ran out of green (one of her favorite colors) leftover dishcloth cotton, and had to dig up another leftover ball in my leftovers bag to finish the second ear. I wanted to do French knots for eyes but gave up after not really understanding the internet instructions I found, and ended up with some improvised embroidered dots.

I call her Raggie. And now she’s stuffed in a box that’s almost more tape than cardboard, guarding a treasure trove of goodies for the aforementioned S.G.

We might not win, thanks to the enforced weekend delay. But we had a great time. Go Peaches & Speed!

From a mess to the masses

September 19, 2009

Pattern: Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon
Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Treasure (100% baby alpaca), colorway Olive
Needles: U.S. 9 Harmony wood Options 36″ circular

Everyone’s wearing these triangular scarves these days. And I’ve been dying to knit one. Here’s a cloud of alpaca lace to drape around the neck and over the shoulders, a perfectly addictive little project.

Once I started making my way back and forth across the chart, increasing steadily and forming beguiling leaves and shapes, I could hardly make myself stop. In less than two weeks, I was finished.

And I find myself imagining a new style for myself, one that includes beautiful lace tossed casually over a t-shirt, tank, or blouse, under a coat or jacket, anywhere, anytime. I imagine myself as a woman with accessories, with insouciance, with comfort and adornment. Knitting has given me quite a gift — a new vision of self, a new sense of accomplishment, a belief that I can remake myself with sticks and string, fabric and air.

That’s my speed and direction

September 4, 2009

Pattern: Enjoyable Rib Scarf by Anne K.
Yarn: Yarn Bee Bamboospun (77% bamboo, 23% polyamide), red colorway
Needles: U.S. 9 bamboo straights

Things are not good at my workplace. No, I’m in no danger of losing my job. But the control I have over the conditions of my job seems to be dissipating.

At times like these, knitting is truly redemptive. Especially when you are knitting for someone who has not had as much control over their lives as I have enjoyed.

My first Red Scarf Project scarf for the year, and I hope not the last, is the therapeutic Enjoyable Rib Scarf in plush, cushy Bamboospun. The fabric produced by this combination of yarn and pattern feels like chenille. It’s comfort food for the neck. You just can’t help stroking it, burying your fingers in it.

The Red Scarf Project sends Valentine’s Day care packages to orphans attending college. Could there be any more perfect charitable cause for me? I work closely with college students. I adore and feel very parental toward my students. I love my children, and my highest ambition for them is that they feel loved and valued.

Life is unpredictable. Sometimes you have to ride the waves; sometimes your head is barely above water. A little thing — a handmade scarf, a warm embrace, created out of love — can be all you have to hang onto. Each stitch is a tiny moment of control. Each gift is a relinquishing of the need to have control.