days until we move. I might be a little panicked at the sudden drop into the forties were it not for a very productive day yesterday. Yes, the 10 bags did get filled - five flew over the fence, two into the recycling, and three to the Goodwill pile. And I did some knitting in between: Just look at that baby grow - this sweater is so much fun to knit. Much much more fun now that the Addis arrived - I was getting serious tendinitis after only a few rows with the cheapo plastic needles. What an amazing difference. I didn't mention before that I have elected to knit this guy all in one piece, rather than separate back and sides as per the pattern - I just couldn't bear the thought of those huge lumpy seams. Also, the whole thing is only 86 stitches around - seemed silly to split it up three ways. It does have set-in sleeves, and I'm going to do something I've always wanted to try - knit the sleeves in the round and fit the set-in seam with one round piece inside the other. That will eliminate the lumpy junction under the arm.
Such a nice round number. It sounds big, and comfortable in a plenty-of-time-yet sort of way. Almost, but not quite, big enough to assuage my growing sense of panic. I'm going with a round number theme for today's tasks: 10 green garbage bags of stuff will leave the house today - destined either for the dump or the Goodwill. Number one has already flown over the back fence to the garbage spot.
With a little knitting between bags, this guy should grow substantially today:
Look how big he's gotten already, with just a few minutes here and there - the magic of super bulky yarn.
days to go. This being one of my marathon office days, the blog will be short and the packing prep non-existent. Here's the project slated to come after the big blue cardigan: The silk arrived yesterday, and I was relieved to see that it is a lovely dark olive green, just like the color sample on the monitor. I am completely taken with the Roundabout Leaf Tank - in fact, I bought Knitting Nature largely for the love of that pattern. The ability of handknit garments to conform and grow seamlessly around an individual body fascinates me - there is something primal and organic and deeply satisfying about it. I have a persistent image of vines twining up a wood nymph's supple frame - one day I shall design a cabled sweater to bring that to life.
That's how many days until we head for Whistler. (Ten of those are 12 hour long insanely busy office days, so they don't count as prep time.) In that span, all I have to do is condense 38 years and a couple thousand square feet of accumulated possessions into a tranquil, uncluttered 800 square foot condo's worth. Since our last three military moves have been rush jobs, complicated by newborn babes and such, decluttering never quite got done - in fact there are boxes in the basement unopened from two moves ago. It stops here. Hubby retires from the Air Force this summer and we take back our lives. Just as soon as I get a grip and break out of this insomnia / exhaustion / brain fog / overwhelmed inertia thing I've got going on.
Well, if you can't beat it, blog it. Or something like that. Decluttering is actually rather visually entertaining - we have collected some seriously weird stuff over the years. Surely it would be more fun, and way less lonely to chronicle the process. There will be knitting, of course, because that's how I keep myself motivated: "fill that garbage bag and you can do 3 rows on the blue sweater". (Which at this gauge is like, an inch - this baby will be done before I've made it down the first row of boxes.)
Here's what I accomplished today: (Crocheted silver, and the card was designed by photoediting one of my yarn photos.) Can you see a pattern of avoidance developing here? Actually, this is a very worthy project - a thank-you gift to my daughter's kindergarten teacher, and since this is the last day of school, it had to get done today. I leave the house in 5 minutes to pick her up and drop it off.
The lacy tank is coming along, but the fiddly bits are more tedious than transcendant, and with all the upheaval and change happening, I really need a soothing and meditative project to unwind with. So I permitted myself to dive into this: Tahki's Baby Tweed, in a rich navy blue with flecks of turquoise and sky blue - soft luscious wool wrapped with a viscose thread. And knits at.... ahem *blush* 2 stitches to the inch. Consequently, I anticipate it will not take an inordinate amount of time to produce one of these: It's not a wildly original cutting edge design or even particularly challenging (although IK gives it a 3 out of 4) but it immediately caught my eye. This is the comfort cardigan I've wanted, well - all my life really. It will be soft and warm, with a homey, unpretentious nubbly texture, and is saturated with my happiest, most serene colors.
I know it's summer now, but we're moving to the coast mountains in a little over six weeks. This is what I will wrap around me in Whistler, when I creep out of bed before everyone else (because since having kids I can't sleep in to save my life) and there's just a little chill in the air, and I take my knitting and a cup of strong dark coffee and sit on the patio to listen to the birds and gaze at the mountain.
But first, the lacy tank: After an hour or so with the stitch dictionary and the ever-growing swatch, I settled on KISS - keep it stocking stitch. I'm very pleased with how it's coming together, although this is my least favorite bit of any sleeveless garment. So flimsy and fiddly, and multiple balls of yarn going every which way. The bamboo and the Mystik DK are particularly tangle prone - once released from their ball bands they instantly disassemble themselves and attempt to throttle one another.
I'm leaning towards applied i-cord for the edgings - tidy, with a bit of body to it for structure.
The waist shaping is coming along nicely and, thankfully, actually fits my waist. It's always gratifying when the swatch really does translate into real life.
I'm so pleased with how subtle the integrated shaping looks. Here's a close-up:You can see the fan going from 6 eyelets down to 4 without any fuss or puckering. The bodice is going to be tricky because that's the part where the knit needs to cling and support and this bamboo yarn is the least elastic fibre I've ever worked with, the Mystik DK (cotton/viscose) being a close second. I swatched some stockinette and then some 2x2 ribbing above it - the ribs just splayed out limply, disinclined to provide so much as a hint of a pucker. Clearly "drapey" will be the order of the day, but there's a fine line between drapey and saggy. Judicious application of crochet may be in order for the edgings. Also a careful search of the stitch dictionary for something purported to produce a "firm but elastic fabric." Fortuitously, I'm long waisted, so there are several more inches in which to ponder my next move.
Speaking of pondering, this is what's rattling around in my fevered brain at the moment:
DD's flaming coral dragon dress. Still working on the specifics of the dragon and refining the exact dimensions of the dress.
More Dulaan sweaters, experimenting with using my color wheel to choose combinations I don't normally work with. This will also be a good place to try out EZ's various in-the-round sleeve and neckline shapings.
A blue and cream Scandinavian cardigan, incorporating traditional motifs from my Swedish heritage, as well as original motifs reflecting the Whistler area, such as bears.
Something with wide knitted tartan borders. (The other half of my ethnic heritage is Scottish).
A cardigan utilizing the Baghdad Blue that recently arrived from Peace Fleece - with a complex two stranded mosaic pattern for the cuffs and borders, incorporating the two skeins of handpainted blue / green I bought to accompany it.
A cabled outerwear vest from recycled Sari Silk knitted along with grey wool.
More explorations into innovative cable and knotwork designs - resolve to thoroughly learn Elsebeth Lavold's techniques.
A traditional Fair Isle cardigan, with authentic Shetland jumper wool, utilizing a colorway chosen from one of my botanical photographs. Gnarled tree bark with colorful lichens comes to mind.
A black lace slip dress.
Patterns pending to knit:
The Roundabout Leaf Tank from Knitting Nature, in Estelle's aran weight silk. I'm going to knit this one as written because I love the design, but I envision dizzying possibilities for the theme of coiling a knitted strip up the body.
The big comfy cardigan from the cover of last fall's Knitscene - in a yummy dark blue.
The flouncy skirt from the Louet Sales ads. (This will be my first knitted skirt - I am fervently hoping it will not sag in the shape of my bum-print when I get up from demurely sipping wine on the sunny Val d'Isere patio.)
I realize, thanks to Charity, that I may have been overly cryptic about the origins of my most recent project. It was originally supposed to be this, from the current issue of VK: It was also supposed to be mostly in a variety of Louet Sales wools, (plus a bit of mohair and linen). I choose bamboo and cotton/viscose (as well as the mohair and linen): Pretty much the opposite end of the elasticity spectrum. I had my doubts about the pattern too, as it went along - the crocheted seams stick out quite a bit more than they seemed to in the photo, and to my eyes looked more lumpy and unfinished than fetching. I may be a purist, but I like the bumpy bits in my knitting to be stitchwork, like cables and such, not seams. If something is going to be patchwork, I prefer to pick up stitches along the edge to knit with, or at the very least graft an invisible join.
I persisted though, until I got to the bodice. Despite matching the weight of the recommended yarn, the pattern gauge had the bodice knit like armour.In retrospect, I think the printed gauge may have been wrong, because the bodice was also knitting up to be about right for a six year old. By that time, however, I was sick to death of the thing, and not the least bit motivated to do a bunch more swatching and calculating, so the bag went to the back of the stash and I moved on to happier things for a while.
Thing is, they are nice yarns, not overly cheap, and I still really wanted a sleeveless summer top from them. So I decided to design my own:
(Clearly, I have no training in fashion sketching, but you get the general drift). I chose a traditional Shetland lace pattern from Barbara Walker's first Treasury of Knitting Patterns and after playing with the swatch and the calculator for a while, worked out that I could start with the 18 stitch repeat as written, in the circumference of my hips, and by contracting the repeats down to 12 stitches, would attain my waist circumference. Like Eunny, I am presently fascinated with the idea of using stitch patterns to achieve seamless shaping.
And there you have it - I am presently working on the waist shaping. The bodice will be solid - probably plain stockinette, to contrast the busyness of the lace and to have the option of wearing it with just a bra on hot summer days.
Truly, I need a dress form. Because stretching my free hand as far in front of me as I can get to snap an upside down shot of my waist while the kids try to jiggle my arm is simply not as entertaining as it looks. DH believes there will not be room in our (admittedly small) new digs for a replica of my headless torso. I'm trying to think of this in a positive light - ie. he is clearly not pining to add a live-in mistress or a third child to the household. On the other hand, it sounds awfully like the wrong answer to the question: Do you think my torso looks fat? Think about it.
Nevertheless, it was clear to me that I have reached the iliac crest and am ready to leave the pelvis and head for the waist. I am accomplishing this by contracting the wave motifs from 18 stitch repeats down to 12 - this allows the flow and line of the waves to continue uninterrupted, and according to my swatch calculations will bring the circumference down to precisely that of my waist. The stitch pattern has so much give, I could probably get away with contracting them all at once, however I have elected to do the ones on the sides first, and move in towards the centre over the course of several pattern repeats.
A slightly belated Father's Day gift all the way from England. Who could resist a cheese recommendation from a guy whose dog knits?
I was reading the Village Knittiot at work yesterday, and just about fell off my chair. And then had to shut down and leave it to read at home, because profound personal epiphanies are inconvenient things to have in the middle of a busy work day. I've been circling the same conclusion myself, just not quite ready to look it square in the eye in such a clearly articulated fashion.
This phrase: "sometimes when your path is so clear you don’t necessarily have to know your own self because you know your path" is absolutely, painfully true. In fact, I have used the certainty of my path as a substitute self. A great deal of badly needed external approval was generated by knowing what I was going to be, and mine was one of the "big three" success professions approved for the academically gifted. Growing up, I clung to the supposed superiority of having a certain destiny as a way to assuage my perceived lack of intrinsic worth, both spiritual and social.
It all leads inexorably to the terrifying question: If not for this, would I be Good Enough? And it follows logically that "until I am satisfied with just being me, I will never be satisfied with any path I take, because at that heart of it all, I am my path."