Somebody (I feel badly I can't recall who, but I'm also not inclined to search the archives of every blog in my roll) blogged these the other day. (Edited to add: thanks for the comment, Caro, now I remember!) Which is the only way I ever would have discovered them, since the link is tucked in fine print at the bottom of the Flickr page. Anyway, I've been casting about for a nifty, artsy business card idea, and this fit the bill nicely. Here's what I sent off last night:
The cold front has brought windy temperatures well below what Whistler is used to (though still mild compared to the prairie winters we endured for the last 6 six years), but with that came the sun. The (happily abundant) snow is transformed from soft dove grey to dazzling, blinding white, last week's enormous, delicate snowflakes covered up by dry powder that wisps and swirls off the drift crests.
I am beginning to understand why Scandinavian sweaters are primarily two toned, white and blue / red / black designs. This is not weather to inspire subtlety and shading. But neither, in my experience, does this particularly blustery cold call to mind primly stylized snowflakes and rows of dancing children. It's beautiful, but it feels wilder and less orderly than that.
The sampler pack sweater is ticking right along, and the great sleeve race is on.
Will the yarn last to the wrists, or will I have to settle for some sort of fractional look? More to the point, will I be able to make the "best" colours last? Because I have plenty of mouse gray, carrot orange and anemic lavender left, but I'm not going to use those exclusively for the last half of the sleeves. I sometimes think I should learn to love all colours equally, but I am savoring my bits of blue, and the nice dark cranberry. It's a bit like when I was a kid, hoarding the last bites of chicken to assuage the discomfort of finishing the plateful of rutabaga that we had to eat because it would be wrong to waste food even if the original veggie was the size of a small car, and woody enough to construct a house with (and why oh why did those prairie church ladies with farms never gift the economically challenged with edible produce?)
But I digress. Here's a closer look at the shoulder shaping, in which the short rows form a bit of a design feature in their own right:
I should have been knitting FIL's socks, creating motifs for DS's Christmas stocking, sewing a funky patch over the hole in DD's jeans, or preparing for the artisan market I'm showing at in three weeks time (more on that one another day). But all these deadlines and obligations have been seriously drying up the creative well, so this weekend I took time out for a little infusion of happy.
I am in love with short row shoulder shaping. It is much like turning a heel - elegant and clever, and best of all, I can line up the stripes by eyeballing as I go, rather than spending hours with the calculator extracting hypoteneuses from curvy lines.
OK, the thing about drawing spontaneously with needles and yarn is that it's a heck of a lot more work to erase than the flickering pixels.
Lesson learned: when stranding black yarn behind white over very long intervals, weaving it ever so sparingly is still too much because it shows. A lot. Actually I knew this, but opted for a bit of magical thinking regarding the power of blocking. Also some reverse logic about how maybe it wouldn't show so much once I stretched it over my head. Right. My deluded state extended right through weaving in all the ends, darning with white between the stitches and the black strands (not successful enough), and complete wet blocking. I'm not quite ready to tackle the frog job yet.
So I started this.
Remember a few months ago (spring? summer?) Knitpicks had a very brief half price sale on the sampler pack of Andean Silk? I succumbed. The ill fated hat above was constructed from the black and white balls, and this is most of the rest. I'm working up a little cropped cardigan along the lines of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Kangaroo Pouch sweater (so named for the steek and short row construction method, not any pouch like attributes of the finished garment.)
The thing is, I really want a blue cardigan, and I have exactly three balls of blue: navy, turquoise, and sky. The trick is to arrange them so as to pull out the blue hues in the other colours, which I am doing according to the purely intuitive method of how the mix feels as I proceed. Spontaneity (as already demonstrated) is not without risk, but I find the emotional connectedness in this form of colourwork satisfying on a whole different level than mathematical planning. The one concession to quantitative reality is the kitchen scale, which helps me ensure I save enough of a given colour for the sleeves.
I found this week that I just couldn't bear to sit in front of the artificial flickering screen and graph more delicate shades of gray. I won't wallow in introspection, but suffice it to say that this sense of uprooted, unsettled, uncertainty will take as long as it takes - in the meantime I crave whatever bits of solidity I can find, and I elected to play with tangible yarn and needles this time around.
I've taken to walking in the mornings lately, while the temperature is still low enough to transform the precipitation into a soft white wonderland. Contrast is the dominant theme now.
I did a whole bunch of swatching and fiddling yesterday, and finally settled down to begin this:
With any luck I should be able to photograph the FO later today. (Hint: it's for me, and just in time for opening day on Blackcomb.)
Requested for Christmas: one pair of fine gauge, very warm, snug fitting, ankle-length bed socks, made to measure.
Pattern: my own (sort of - these are basic ribbed socks, top down heel flap construction. I took the opportunity to experiment with using the heel flap as a miniature colourwork canvas - this is a traditional Shetland FI motif.)
Yarn: Knitpicks Essentials sock yarn - superwash wool with a dash of nylon.
Gauge: knitted at 8 stitches per inch on 2 mm (US 0) dpns.
Notes: from my perspective, this was a successful project (although I still don't really enjoy doing stranded colourwork flat.) Christmas morning will reveal whether they are quite up to snuff.
It's getting harder and harder to feel creatively motivated in the dim gray light, so I went for a little walk yesterday to soak up the few rays of natural illumination filtering through the interminable deluge. And received this gift with great delight:
There's not much gold at the end of our rainbow, but a good bit of silver to play with:
And a flawless droplet of citrine soothes the soul like condensed sunshine.
Despite a week of pouring rain, Whistler mountain is opening today (a week early) and DH is off to fulfill his lifelong dream of attempting to ski every single day of the season. I on the other hand, being a far less experienced skier, plan to wait until Blackcomb (the mountain on whose slopes we live and with whose runs I am at least moderately familiar) opens next weekend.
It's been seven years since I last strapped on skis and now that we have kids, DH and I will be skiing solo until their lessons start in mid December, so I think I'll stick to familiar terrain for starters.