I've checked the deadlines, pulled the yarns, and made the commitment: I'm going to knit a sweater for the Dulaan project. It will be an all wool, knit in the round (thank-you Jacqueline Fee), make it up as I go along, multicolored Fair Isle style (I love working with color this way), with Briggs and Little for the the background and my stash of Lopi Lett oddments for contrast (love love love the colorways of that yarn). That combination should be both warm and durable. I'll size it for my 6 year old daughter - firstly, because it's easier to have a live model in front of me when creating from scratch, and secondly, because my DD thinks the concept of knitting for a child halfway around the world who lacks adequate clothing is the coolest thing ever, and making it her size will be that much more personal. I've never knit for charity before - primarily because it has taken me more years than I care to think about to trust myself enough to finish things - especially something on a deadline for someone else. And because (to be brutally honest) I was stuck in a perfectionist gotta save the world in a big way to justify my existence mindset that disdained a single sweater as too small a contribution. Coming to terms with drastically scaling back my Important Healing Profession in order to attend to raising "just" my two children has forced me to think about making a difference in a whole new way.
No, not the yarn - I've never actually been much of a fuzzy sweater person. My state of mind. DH and I did in fact get out of the house last night (last time was - let's see - the Christmas party. We're not that exciting.) It's not that I even drank very much - just that we stayed out (gasp) past midnight. Waaay past our normal 9:30 bedtime. And my body has been thoroughly programmed to wake at 0600, regardless of the fact that it only fell asleep 4 hours earlier. Normally I'd feel better after a nice long run in the warm spring sunshine, but I decided to wear these to the party:
Because I thought the slinky little white lace dress I bought deserved (for once) uncompromisingly sexy footwear and besides, how bad could it be? I endured the pain with good grace, and (heroically, considering that I spend 99% of my life in sensibly clunky Clarks and Rockports), managed not to fall down or walk like a skinny gorilla on stilts. All was well until the end of the evening when we hurried to nab a taxi and... here I sit, nursing my sprained ankle. I choose to see this as an excellent excuse for frequent knitting breaks.
Freshly baked muffins and strong black coffee on the patio offer some consolation, but you've got to mind your muffins carefully at our house.
In a little over five months, my DH is retiring from the Canadian Forces (at 43!) and we are going to "live the dream" and move to Whistler. To an 800 square foot 2 bedroom apartment. With our two kids, our Irish wolfhound and the cat. It will be wonderful for so many reasons - the climate, the natural beauty and outdoor athletics, the opportunity to purge our lives of clutter and unecessary possessions (the stash is NOT in this category), the blessed relief of not being looked on as freaks for eating organic food, attachment parenting and engaging in artistic pursuits. But.... we will be living on his small pension and whatever I (choose to) bring in from my burned out can't stand another minute of it but don't know exactly what I want to do next profession.
Which brings me to the point of this post - knitting books. I figure whatever resources I can't live without for the next few years have to be bought in the next three months. Yarn - well, that will have to go in the monthly budget, because the land of milk and honey know as the West Coast actually has such wonders as LYS's and organic sheep farm hippie commune things where they grow their own plant dyes and spin barefoot in the sunshine of the Gulf Islands while performing tantric yoga. Of course the down side with books is that knitters keep writing new ones that we can't live without (not mentioning any names) but I figure a basic library would be a good thing to have. I already have a few, but to round out the collection here is my final (ha!) wish list (bearing in mind that my DH reads my blog daily from work and was until now, blissfully unaware of my plans):
It's only $1.99 (why is this, I wonder?) And I already meditate (see yesterday's post), so it just seems like a good idea.
I've been eyeing this book for a while, but after reading some excellent reviews and checking out her website, I think I must have it. It appears to be funky, innovative AND fashionable (ie not shapeless.)
My daughter would LOVE these for Christmas. And we could have such fun inventing outfits for them together / teaching her to knit.
Because I don't own any EZ books and also the Harlot made me want the pattern for the baby surprise jacket.
Because the majority of my extended family has no interest in or appreciation of hand knitted garments but I still feel I ought to knit for them anyway.
Would I wear a mohair bikini? I dunno. It looks to have some cute stuff in it and DH will likely be appeased by the possibilities suggested by the cover.
So there I was yesterday morning - cross legged on my tranquil early morning living room carpet - and in toddles Liam. I generally suggest that we do "sitting" together when this happens, and he was content to hang out quietly in my lap for - oh - 10 seconds. Then he got bored and came back with something to entertain himself whilst waiting for Mom to attain inner harmony. His keyboard. The electronic toy wonder that a certain in-law thought would be a great gift since we are a musical family (never mind that we own an actual acoustic piano), the keyboard with the special button that plays Christmas tunes to a cheesy disco beat and the other button that speeds up said beat to a frenetic rate (so that kids will learn what, exactly? Button pushing? Bad taste in music?) I can rise to the challenge, I thought. Breathe through Jingle Bells. Breathe through Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Suddenly I understood why the vast majority of books on meditation (well, all the ones I've read anyway) are written by men. Men who either have no children, or have wives to keep them out of the way while Dad attains enlightenment.
No wonder we knit.
Oh, and while I'm in a curmudgeonly mood, why does Modular Knits consist virtually entirely of scarves, a couple of hats and 2 or 3 shapeless poncho thingies when the write-up in Vogue Knitting shows a darling little body hugging shell? Can it be true that every innovative color and construction technique out there is fit only for making long rectangles and "oversized" garments?
While perusing the Interweave site, I picked up the current issue of Knitscene and fell immediately in love with, well, most of the projects - but especially the cozy long textured cardigan on the front. It is precisely the comfort cardi I've longed for lo these many years. I envision stumbling out of bed on chilly mornings when the blood runs sluggishly and wrapping myself in this cardi while sipping that first steaming mug of coffee and stealing a few precious moments to myself before the household comes to life. Away with the dowdy grey fleecy that should have gone to the thrift store years ago, and the stained 10 year old robe that I ought to respect myself enough to throw away. Why shouldn't the mundane be beautiful?
I will not, of course, knit it in the illustrated fire engine red, which turns my complexion a sickly yellow color and makes every imperfection glow alarmingly. No, my comfort cardi will be dark tweedy blue - to delight my eyes and soothe my soul.
We made the trek to the big city and hit Old Navy yesterday to stock up on summer clothes for the kids, and this caught my eye. For $14, I think it will make a splendid knitting bag. It is deep and has a little toggle closure, and when slung over the head, sits on the hip very comfortably, so it could (if one were so inclined) be used for knitting on the go.
That's it for today - another 12 hrs of coughs and colds and cholesterol await...
Three days of hard knitting has netted me this:
And that's just the plain jane stockinetted back - there's still the complex lace patterned front to go. The worst part is that time pressure + kids = mistakes. Did I mention that knitting this stuff is difficult - well frogging it is sheer hell. You have to get every one of those devilish little threads (and none of their neighbours) back on the needle in a fashion that resembles a whole and unblemished yarn. My beloved DH pointed out that knitting was supposed to be stress relieving, and suggested (really!) that I pick up an alternate outfit for this week's function and wear the camisole to the next function, some 8 weeks hence. Truly I am blessed to be married to the most wonderful man alive. Here he is trying to get out the door yesterday - the kids were not impressed with the need for weekend flying.
Well, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself - just the upper bodice of the camisole to go and then I could start assembling it. Didn't look real closely at the gauge in which that portion is knit - yikes! The recommended needles were 3.5 mm, but by the time I swatched and reswatched I was down to 2.5 mm. The yarn I substituted for this portion is Mystik DK by Estelle, which splits and snags horribly on these little toothpick needles, so every stitch has to be painstakingly inspected for stray threads before sliding off the needles. It does make a nice looking fabric (thank goodness) but what a nightmare to knit. I can see I have my work cut out for me to finish this in time.
On a happier note, my Louet Sales order arrived yesterday and I adore the color mix. The one benefit to shopping the Internet rather than the LYS (which I would frequent if I had one - sigh) is that you never have to settle for your second best color choice because there's not enough of what you really wanted. I can never truly give my heart to a sweater whose yarn I "settled" for.
Sadly (for my thighs), I am still too sick to head out running. I finished the back of the simple tunic yesterday - holding it up, I'm beginning to think I could wear it without pants - the stillettos are still out, though. I didn't photograph it, because 31 inches of navy blue stockinette is not substantially more interesting than 8 inches. Got back to work on the lacy camisole, since the function I plan to wear it at (if I ever get around to phoning a babysitter) is exactly a week away. I still don't know whether I will look like a free-spirited fashionista or an afghan gone terribly wrong. Oh the suspense.
Since I have no knitting photos to post, here are some inspirational foggy morning shots from yesterday - I love foggy mornings on the prairies - they are rare, but they make me feel like I'm back on the coast. Either coast would do, although the West is warmer - I spent 2 years in Newfoundland and Labrador (not just politically correct provincial name dropping either, as I spent 7 months in Goose Bay, where I met my DH, and the other year and a half divided between St. John's and Cornerbrook) and 7 years on southern Vancouver Island. Where by now, my garden would have been a riot of color for weeks already, and the trees would be showering me with scented petals..... Never mind, the grass here turned greenish mere days ago.
There's really no knitting to show from yesterday - it was a long and painful day at the office, trying to keep up the usual earnest and perky pep talks in a hoarse croak - you CAN quit smoking, you CAN eat real food, exercise WILL make you feel better than expensive herbal stimulants, honest.
So, I thought I would post a shot of the other (shinier) side of my fibre addiction - that is to say, knitting with silver. This is a simple lace pattern - some of them are more technically feasible than others, but they do look quite lovely in the ultra-fine gauge fine silver. I crocheted pearls around the edge which gives it a nice Victorian air and also makes it considerably sturdier.