Friday, 17 April 2009

lines in the sand

We've been at the beach. Drawing in the sand, building castles and hunting eggs. And being cold, and thus appreciating all the more the patches of glorious sunshine.

Wil delighted in the easter deal for the first time, Amy spent a good many days absorbed in a puzzle book. She's getting a taste for both crosswords and crochet, a girl after her mother's heart.

Feedback on the hair cut has been good - most commonly that it makes me look younger, which I guess is something I could do with. I remember with nostalgia a time when all I wanted was to look older.

There has been much knitting. A few lines crossed here too, lines I didn't imagine myself crossing not so long ago.

Firstly a piece of knitting that is well, just about the knitting. The start of an enormous 1x1 rib scarf in plain cream. Not so long ago I would have thought this was such a waste of time and the very definition of boredom - scarf! cream! rib! And while it could not be considered remotely challenging to knit, the yarn is the single most amazing thing I have ever touched (like a cloud I tell you) and the giant knit stitches are so incredibly pleasing to me that the experience of knitting it is more sensual than anything I have ever done before. A celebration of the utter simplicity, the essence of knitting.

The yarn is an experimental run (read: may well pill or fall apart or who the heck knows) from Shiloh Wool, made using their superb silky wool (that's regular 100% wool that's had the crimp removed and any hint if tickle along with it) mixed with mulberry silk. I bought both the giant skeins they had at the Bendigo wool show and I've been stroking it for close to a year now with the plan for a scarf just like this brewing in my head.

More test knitting. Getting there on the new pattern.

I also finally finished the Hey Teach! cardi. This a project that has been a real education for me - combining both challenges relating to the project itself and challenges about the knitting process. This is a project which has ridden the full gamut from near obsessional pattern stalking (as Nicole from Stash and Burn terms it) through frustration, excitement, despair, abandonment, martyrdom and finally triumph - talk about a freaking roller coaster!

I've thought out several blog posts along the way about the hardship of living in a country where the dominant yarn weight is 8ply/DK when you love pattern designers from a country where the dominant yarn weight is 10ply/worsted. Like a cross cultural marriage made in compromise hell.

Then there was the one about finding myself knitting a lace garment and how much I have grown as a knitter to find myself sitting on the tram with my laminated annotated lace chart balanced on my knee whilst working on a real life adult garment. Such a leap.

I could have written a whole post about gauge when I cast off the back, realised that my gauge swatch (I swatched! Lots!) bore no relationship to the gauge I had achieved in the garment and the back was several inches too small. Oh the humanity. And then the elation of seeing the yarn totally flop on washing thus bringing the garment bang on back to gauge.

There was a lesson or two about technique too when my observation about the smallness of my eyelets led a fellow knitter to observe that my yarn overs were wrong (really you are supposed to bring the yarn UNDER the needle which should be totally obvious from the term yarn OVER, right?) and so I started doing them right so now the lace on the back and the fronts is completly different. And how I told myself that would be OK.

And then the post where I realised it was not OK, it was delusional to think it was OK. And how I decided to cut my losses and stop right there and call it a learning experience - hey teach! I learned OK? - and be thankful I didn't invest too much in the yarn and so on and so forth.

But even as I wrote that post in my head I knew that I couldn't stand by that kind of talk. Persistence would teach me a whole other kind of lesson, so I decided to carry on and write about getting as much learning as one can from a project, that even if the finished object was already a dead loss there was still stuff to be learned.

But hey, just to prove than in education there is always more to learn, it turned out the whole thing worked afterall. So there's a whole evolution there, a whole chrysallis and another line crossed.

And I really like the finished product. I like the lace and the set in sleeves and the buttons and the colour. It isn't perfect, there are things I'd change and I know it would be better in a lighter weight yarn, but it worked and it is more than wearable. So you know, yay me. I'll post all the mod and yarn details over on Ravelry as soon as I get a chance.

I knocked off another cross over neck warmer for my MIL, using up the other skein of Colinette Jitterbug I had in my stash that I will not ever use for socks since the bugger wears through in nothing flat. Quick and satisfying - a great pattern from 101 designer one skein wonders.

I've made bugger all progress on the crochet toy monkey.

I had both kids with me in crap-mart the other day to get dye for D's linen trousers (which came out perfect by the way) and left with hot pink zip up knee high suede boots and a Lightening McQueen T-shirt. It crossed my mind that somewhere I got possessed by someone who was not me and I wasn't entirely comfortable with that. But both kids were freakin rapt and Wil has worn the shirt and keenly followed it through the washing process and got it back on the second it was dry. And Amy has worn her boots all day every day since.

And I could write more about that - I should write more about that - because branding and consumption and all that are actually really really important, but I'm afraid I am all out of time. D is off again - Aceh this time in case you were interested - and with school holidays I am highly sought after right now.


ginevra / red_swirl said...

And you're clearly learning what shapes look right on your body, hey teach looks absolutely excellent on you!!

DrCris said...

It looks fabulous. I never manage to wash/block swatches, so you have really impressed me with your story. Maybe at some point I will start doing whole-hearted swatches. I keep thinking that is what the first 10cm is for.

And I love the scarf. It is lovely. My knitting career has been always about knitting from the stash, or from the mill. I have only just started to realise knitting is something I do for myself. So here come the fancy fibres, and giving into "I must someday." I betcha you are not knitting a scarf because you need one. You are doing it to achieve, and experience. Looks fantastic.

Leonie said...

The test knitting looks interesting. The scarf looks so soft and squishy what a nice treat when it's finished. The yarn over thing? I just think of them as a knit stitch or purl stitch without the second needle in place, so the yarn does the same movement for a yarn over as a normal stitch.

sueeeus said...

Gorgeous kids, gorgeous knitting!

Those marketers know what they're doing with those awful licensed character children's things. My niece had a nightie with a decal of Cinderella on the bodice that she wore until it was literally shreds. In her mind, she WAS Cinderella, as long as she had it on. So... you have a Lightning McQueen of your very own. Vroom!

Janet said...

That cardigan looks fabulous, both as a piece of knitting and as a garment on you - well done for staying with it.

Hurrah for good Easters too.

Jodie said...

and even though I don't speak a word of knitting I just read every single one of yours replacing knitting with sewing and yarns with fabric and it is totally exactly and perfectly the same. The thoughts, doubts, self talk - all the same.
I wish you were free next Tuesday sis

travellersyarn said...

The carigan looks fabulous - beautifully knitted and really flattering and wearable. What yarn did you end up using?

Ali said...

I needed to read this as I have royally messed up the lace on my current Juliet project. I have no idea where I went wrong or how to correct it or if it really matters. Aaaargh.

Ren said...

Very pretty sooz.