Friday, August 05, 2005

Rotten Week

Words fail me and that's probably a good thing when it comes to this week. I'll spare you the miserable details and simply say that today was the first time since Sunday that I managed to sit down and pick up the needles. I only managed an inch on Sock #2 but it felt like more. Actually it felt like very necessary therapy. I need something mindless right now (and what's better than the long march toward the toe on a man's sock) to take the mind I'm trying to lose away from the problems gathering here like storm clouds.

(Do the words "eminent domain" mean anything to you?)

I managed to make a hash of picking up the gusset stitches. Well, not exactly a hash because all I had to do was slip the stitches off the needle then back on again but I know there must be a way to do it correctly the first time but I, in my spatially dyslexic haze, can't seem to retain the knowledge. I'm working with one 40" Addi Turbo circ and ended up with the working needle in front instead of in back. Imagine lots of slipping and rearranging and you'll have an idea of how I solved the problem but I'll admit here it still doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Some of the books I consulted recommend breaking out the double points to get the gussets going but I rebel at the thought of needing a "crutch" like dpns. (Then again I'm the idiot who thought using stitch markers was a sign that I was an inferior knitter. I honestly thought that a "real" knitter kept all bits and pieces of stitch/row/pattern information in her brain and never ever relied on stitch markers, stitch counters, row counters, pen and paper, to keep track.)

Talk about stupid.

Anyway, the sock is rolling along and I'd love to be done with it by the end of the weekend so I can move on to something else. There are some new babies on the horizon and I'd be thrilled to get a head start. I've been dying to use some red speckled Wildflower DK for baby socks; now I have an excuse.

D sent me a box of fabulous knitted goods for me to inspect. We do that sometimes. It's like a long distance Stitch 'n' Bitch. (We live on opposite coasts.) She's a gift needlewoman and this gives me a chance to sit and carefully inspect the construction and admire the workmanship. She sent a Pi shawl, a fabulous single sock with contrasting toe and heel, Branching Out, another lacy shawl whose official name escapes me, and a multidirectional scarf in Noro Silk Garden that's to die for. I fully intend to take photos and post them. (I just wish I could claim that I knitted them.)

Those socks over there? Seabury, knitted with Noro Kureyon almost two years ago. My very first socks . . . and almost my last. They wore through the sole in one week. Yes, one week. I wore them on our ceramic-tiled kitchen floor and I think the rough grout chewed right through the soft and tender wool. Lesson learned. Felted they might have survived but unfelted they didn't have a chance. But, oh, they were lovely while they lasted.

Sunday, July 31, 2005


One of the things I loved most about painting (both in watercolor and in oil) was the magic process of blending colors. Oh, I know there really isn't any magic involved. It's actually a very logical process. Red + Blue = Purple. Blue + Yellow = Green. Sure, there are a thousand variations within the formula but the principle remains the same.

When I started knitting again in August 2003 I greatly missed the fun of setting out daubs of paint on a palette and seeing what I could make with them. It never occurred to me that the same kind of magic could be found with yarn. I mean, yarn is . . . well, it's yarn. It isn't liquid. It can't lose itself in another liquid and become transformed.

Or can it? I picked some beautiful pink mohair and some equally beautiful orchid mohair from my stash. I knitted a small swatch of pink just to see how it handled. (A knitterly test drive, as it were.) I knitted a small swatch of orchid. To be honest, I wasn't particularly overwhelmed by either one. But when I took a strand of each and knitted both of them together -- Wow! They blended together into something brand new and gorgeous. The fuzzy bits of each color collided together and locked like Velcro and I was enchanted.

I know it sounds simple. Ridiculous, even. But it's part of the knitting journey I seem to be on this time. I would never have tried that years ago. I saw yarns as separate entities destined for separate fates. I didn't use dpns or circs. I never ripped back. And I lived in terror of dropped stitches.

And yet I sailed off into Fair Isle land when I was 17 without a care in the world and had no trouble at all. Go figure. Nobody told me it could be problematic and it wasn't. I can still see the front of that ski sweater in my mind's eye: Red Heart when it was 100% wool. (The year was 1967.) Midnight Blue, Yale Blue, White, and another blue whose name escapes me. An intricate band of snowflakes across the chest that seemed to spring from the tips of my needles effortlessly.

Oh to be that young and fearless again!