Still needs washing, fulling, etc. but chalk one up for the woefully small Getting Stuff Done This Summer score. (The less said about that chartreuse mohair that was hogging the loom for the last two months, the better.)
The yarn is a luscious new blend of silk and camel that will be showing up in the webstore soon.
Sometimes epiphanies are magical moments of superconsciousness, pulling together hitherto undreamed of insights. Sometimes, however, they may be obtained via an obvious form of due diligence that one has inexplicably failed to perform for a ridiculous length of time. Like this (Ysolda Teague's enormously helpful compilation of knitwear industry sizing charts):
I blurred the details a bit, but here's the gist: Bust, waist and hips - medium, progressing gently pear-wise towards large, with a wee bulge in the middle, but nothing that can't be dealt with via a) dietary restraint and a few sit-ups, or b) judicious selection of positive ease and silhouette. No surprises there. Arm circumference and armhole depth: also medium. Now here's the kicker: Shoulder width and sleeve length - 3X. Nape to waist length - off the chart. I was always dimly aware that my shoulders are wide-ish but it's a little shocking to see just how disproportionate they are to the garment industry's statistical norm. (And yeah - I checked it against a few different scales and measurement methods.)
It does explain why the only tops of any kind that have ever properly fit me are either sleeveless or have such widely scooped necklines as to permit the shoulders extra width. And why my shirts are never ever long enough, and why menswear works so much better for the shoulder/arm fit, even if it doesn't flatter my curves.
What it doesn't tell me is how to reconcile the dream of designing flattering sweaters for myself and writing them up to fit other people, or for that matter, how to make other people's designs fit me. Sleeve and body length are a no-brainer, but shoulder width that is grossly disproportionate to both torso width and armhole depth could be tricky to configure. Nevertheless, it's a start - Know Thyself and all that.
I was on a stockinette kick for a while - something simple for the fingers to do while the brain was otherwise engaged. But sometimes multi-tasking isn't the way to go. Sometimes, when the brain has been running frantically in a thousand different directions for far too long, it starts to melt down a bit, gears clunking out of alignment, steam whistling out the ears, and a nasty screeching sound escaping through clenched teeth. At times like this, recalibration is in order, and cables are just the thing. If I still had my piano, it would be Bach, but cables will do. Complex enough to fully engage the mind, yet comfortingly mathematical, undulating and twining with careful symmetry, moments of exquisite tension resolved with sweet precision.
I've finally acquiesed to the time-honoured method of running a business while being a mom: Getting Up Really Early. (The other standard technique - Staying Up Really Late - hasn't been a practical option for years now, a side effect of aging, I suppose.) I guess I could have done that all summer, but I'd accumulated a serious sleep deficit by July, and caved in to fatigue for a few weeks. It helps that Eowyn has now settled into a routine of asking to go out at precisely 0600 every morning, and I find it easier to stay up once I'm on my feet, rather than summon the willpower to obey an arbitrary alarm. In any case, since she makes a beeline for my spot in bed on returning from the garden, I don't really have anywhere to go back to sleep even if I did want to wimp out.
I've been thinking again about cycles and rhythms, both macro and micro - about flowing with, rather than against them; accepting them as legitimate presence rather than irksome intrusion. I've made some progress incorporating personal moods and energy cycles into my workflow, but I've never really accepted the family cycles, haven't entirely shaken that pseudo-feminist guilt trip that says I ought to be able to do it all, maximal productivity, every day, all day, all the time, or else.... Or else I've proved the misogynists right all along, given up, given in to to hormones and child-bearing and second class achieving.
But this is my business - I make the rules now. There is no glass ceiling, no ladder to climb - only my own ethics, wits, imagination and relationships. I regularly try to ask myself, "does it have to be this hard?" and it occured to me in a sudden flash of insight that I could plan for a light summer workload. Not this year of course, but with some lead time, I could plan my year's goals and production based on the reality of the other people in my life. Imagine if I could give time to my children easily, rather than anxiously, free myself from the soul sucking sense of time poverty, of robbing the business to mother. (Never mind the self-care thing - I'll get there, but guilt-free school holidays would be a major start!)
Of course, I remain utterly inadequate compared to other mom/artist bloggers (whom I think I won't link after all, for fear of sounding churlish, but I long to be like them nonetheless). My house is not an immaculate oasis of idyllic childhood and hand-made chic, and I rarely shoot photos indoors due to a complete lack of uncluttered sightlines, but my routines are coming back on line. I've made a good dent in the Blackberry custom orders this week; Dark Water is next, then back to a delectable new colourway that was interrupted for the trip to Creston. For practical batching purposes, there will be a few extras of the Blackberry and Dark Water for the site, so keep an eye out for those.
We popped up Blackcomb mountain with the kids this afternoon for a wee hike, and I brought along some yarn to see if inspiration might strike, my Rav ads being due next week. I'm not sure yet whether I'll use any of the photos for that purpose, but one worked out rather well as a new blog header. What do you think?
Sometimes it isn't easy being a greyhound. The creek looks so inviting on a hot summer's day, and the kids of the pack are clearly having enormous amounts of noisy fun, so she wades in to join them.
For fifteen glorious minutes, she splashes and frolics and leaps about in chest deep water, chasing the children, and seriously impeding their frog hunting efforts, but generally having a grand time of it. And then, like a thunderclap, the awful realization dawns: "I'm...... WET!"
She races for shore and commences to shake, twitch, wiggle, and worry in a vain effort to rid herself of the awful stuff.
Finally, she gives up - a shivering, deeply reproachful bundle of misery.
Of course, being a warm day, it's less than 10 minutes before she's dry and comfy again, and looking wistfully at the happy antics still taking place in the water.
We've been away in Creston for a few days for the annual visit to my folks, which consists of jamming kids, dog, and cat into the truck for a 12 hour mountainous drive each way, with two days in the middle for extreme gorging on my mother's excellent cooking. (There was also some dog walking and the usual adventure to Corn Creek - more on that another day.)
At my mother's request, I took along the partly finished FLS, and am happy to report that the issue was not that I made it the wrong size... I just didn't make it for me! Here it is:
Modifications: after some frustration and frogging, completely rewrote the raglan yoke to my own dimensions (also, as it turned out, my mother's). Skipped the eyelets, substituting m1 increases just above the beginning of the lace in front, and spaced out increases down the sides to gradually bring the back stitches up equal with the front. Would not ever do that again for my own figure, but it worked perfectly for my mom's. Made short sleeves on request.
Returned to the library, unopened at the end of three weeks:
Perhaps in September.....
First though, hubby and I have to finish up Frankenstein with CraftLit. Until school let out, we had begun to listen through past series of the podcast - first Jekyll and Hyde (fantastic reader for that one) and then Frankenstein - he skeining, me dyeing. It was quite lovely - a date of sorts, even if we did have to turn the volume way up to overcome the din of the stove's extractor fan. I'm guessing Thoreau might be more appropriate for quieter work.