First up. Finished pair of socks! These are my standard sock pattern in Lightweight Socks that Rock (Blue Moon Fiber Arts) in the colourway Zest.
And they make me happy. They are like a tequila sunrise or something. I love that they don’t match. I think they look exactly like the end of a great day. I can almost smell the heat slipping out of the air as the sun slides out of the sky.
Two days in a row of finished projects. I could get used to this! I picked up the closest work in progress when I finished my cardigan, something that wouldn’t require much thought to pick up and work on. It turned out these only needed the toe on the second sock which took not even half an hour to do. I think the stumbling was I’d lost one of the needles and I had to go find one. Sigh. So easy to put something down and find a stumbling block to prevent you just finishing it!
I’m intending to do an “airing of the stash” a la Cast On which I’m hoping will both catalogue all my works in progress into a nice neat spreadsheet of to dos for next year but also find a bunch of projects that I might get excited about. I’m thinking of being a bit more stern with my stash management. I’m thinking of *gasp* culling some of the stash I may not like or prioritising gifting finished pieces to those who might appreciate the colourway etc. I thought it might be fun to set those up in kits going into 2013 and then having them as things to work through over the year. *If* that doesn’t make “fun” into “work”.
The thing I’m starting to realise is, I tend to knit socks a lot because they use 1 skein of yarn and they justify the accumulation of random skeins of yarn that I love. And that’s what my stash is – a huge pile of single skeins of yarn. That you can only then make what? Socks, mittens, scarves or hats in. And jumpers etc are scary cause you have to invest more money in the yarn (and that makes it harder to justify changing your mind or going off a project idea …) But the stash itself has guilt attached – I feel like I can’t really buy more yarn that I like cause I have so much I have accumulated and done nothing with … I’m still wrestling with this guilt.
Let’s not even extend it to see how it works with the book stash. Or the fabric one. Or …
Today’s tea: T2 Strawberry Bliss Chai 1 star out of 5. (I *want* to like this tea so much more than I do. I think I just do not like chai. Or perhaps just cloves)
Today’s craft project: Blackberry Socks
, new years resolutions
Here it is! My very first completed adult sized jumper! Sure it’s a cardigan. Sure it’s still got to have its ends sewn in and buttons sewn on and be blocked. But still! Finished!!!
I cast this on as my Olympic Knitting project way back in was it July? And for me, this is pretty focussed effort, really. Finished in the same year I started! Obviously not worked on continuously ahem. But yeah, it’s got me excited about the potential of knitting more large garments ie other than socks.
So, this is a pretty happy tick in my knitting bucket list book – first sweater knitted.
I also knitting I-cord for the first time. And button holes. And struggled with the cast on which drove me crazy! It was knit top down all in one piece and then the arms knit in the round, casting on to stitches that had been placed on hold. Pretty fun!
So details – Ravi Cardigan by Carol Feller in Aubergenius colourway, Socks that Rock by Blue Moon Fiber Arts.
Today’s Tea: T2 Chamomile
Today’s Craft Project: Finished!
Tags: blue moon fiber arts
, socks that rock
This is a couple of things in one – multi list ticking!
I decided I wanted to have a knitting project to take on our honeymoon. Sometimes I feel very industrious on the plane. Sometimes I feel over tired and need something to keep me focused. And I also feel like, as well as the site seeing and the hanging out with C, I want to do a few things that just make me happy – after a whirlwind year (of awesome) in which I haven’t really felt like I’ve had a lot of time to do downtime things, like knitting.
Coupled with this, earlier this year I bought a copy of The Knitter’s Life List and had a skim read. Something I really was taken aback by was that I’ve been knitting for over 30 years and whilst I love what I have made, I’ve actually not been as adventurous a I might think I have in terms of my knitting. I taught myself to knit socks with double pointed needles. I’ve made some shawls. I’ve knit in the round and so on. But here’s this big book of things that actually I’ve not even thought about trying. And it encouraged me – yes via the favourite tool of a tick-off-able list – a whole bunch of new ideas of things to go out and look for and try. These include trying new patterns as well as different textiles.
I’ve been on the lookout for these so I can tick them off my list, trying them out first, of course! And I came across this little KAL (Knit A-Long) with a partnering with my favourite yarn dyers – Blue Moon Fiber Arts (ie discount voucher) – Sartorial Cowl. Basically, the idea is you get a clue – or part of the pattern – each week and you knit along and find out what you were knitting at the end. Sounds like heaps of fun. It usually takes so long for the yarn to reach me that mostly the KAL has finished by the time I can start. And so it has again this time. But that’s ok.
I don’t think this is a usual pattern for me. Firstly, it’s a different yarn from what I normally buy from Blue Moon – this is a superfine merino in a bulky weight. When I was browsing the site for colours I thought I might like, I came across this one, called The Kracken, and knew that was the one I had to have!
I’m not normally into cowls – I’ve not knit one before but they always struck me as well .. headbands for your neck or something. So… not something I’ve knit before and in a yarn I’ve not tried. Seems to tick some boxes. And then it seemed small enough a project for a short trip and then I could wear it on said trip too. Seemed like a win all round.
The yarn arrived today and I’m so tempted to knit it now. And I would have started tonight if I wasn’t still working on my first cardigan which I am hoping to have finished to take with me as well.
Ah Monday. And we started out with such high hopes and good intent.
Let’s see. I managed to get up and out the house in time to run for the early bus. And still arrive at the train station to catch the same train as usual. It’s uncanny how many different buses I can take between 6.55 and 7.20 and still get the same damn train! I had a good day at work – I finished up the first document I’ve been given lead to coordinate and handed that in this afternoon, as per my target. And we had a meeting with the boss who was happily surprised by how far along we were on main project. I visited my physio who told me I was very tense this week and I think that meant I didn’t have to have any rehab exercise homework assigned. And apart from a slight bus hiccup at the train station home, my work day was delightfully uneventful.
One of my workmates is joining me on the Round 3 12 Week Body Transformation and that’s really helping me to get psyched up about starting that next week. I’m even – and let’s see how this goes before we say it’s a thing – thinking about getting up at 6am and exercising before work each day. My job this week is to start getting myself up earlier and then we’ll see how it goes from there. I have the treadmill in the other room and I could even sleep in my workout gear so it would only be a matter of getting out of bed and walking over *there* to do it. And as much as I deny it and argue with Michelle, leaving exercise to the end of the day means it doesn’t get done or it gets compromised in lieu of any other thing that’s on.
This evening I was supposed to do the rewrite of the speech I’m giving Sunday night (holy crap, don’t wanna). And I also was to start fleshing out the calendar for wedding planning to dos for the rest of this year. Instead, I treated my wicked heartburn with icecream (works) and started this knitting project which I have been procrastinating on for three years.
This is a Baby Surprise Jacket in Blue Moon Fibre Arts Sock Candy. Currently the borage and green apple colourways. And it’s for my new niece who is arriving in 4 weeks. I was talking to my sister today about some wedding plan things and this kickstarted me into Better Hurry Up already! I’m pretty sure though this particular pattern will count for the Knitting bucket list book when I go look to check it off. So that’s an extra tick. I also might have cleared about 20% of the Foxtel IQ queue this evening as well. Ahem.
Tags: baby surprise jacket
It’s a tradition now that stems back to the days of the early 2000s when the Yarn Harlot came up with the idea of starting an ambitious or challenging knitting project at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games and then pushing yourself to complete said project by the Closing Ceremony. Many many many of these projects required great tenacity and commitment to the task and very long days into the nights of knitting whilst watching the Games. And it became a thing – where knitters bonded with each other and their love of the Olympics – faster, stronger and higher and all that. There were badges of honour to win for those who completed their challenges and there was much bloggage.
This year, the fabulous (I mean seriously fabulous, other hobbies WANT a site like this) website Ravelry where knitters hang out, manage their projects and their stash, trade and sell and buy patterns and advice and hang out in the forums, was gearing up for this round of the Knitting Olympics with groups and teams being formed on the site for a group Ravelympics. I’d been getting together with my friend Sim to set up a Twefth Planet Press team
This morning, I discovered that the US Olympics Committee served Ravelry with this lawyer’s letter (taken from the Ravelry Forums and posted in full below, my emphasis in bold):
Dear Mr. Forbes,
In March 14, 2011, my colleague, Carol Gross, corresponded with your attorney, Craig Selmach [sic], in regard to a pin listed as the “2010 Ravelympic Badge of Glory.” At that time, she explained that the use of RAVELYMPIC infringed upon the USOC’s intellectual property rights, and you kindly removed the pin from the website. I was hoping to close our file on this matter, but upon further review of your website, I found more infringing content.
By way of review, the USOC is a non-profit corporation chartered by Congress to coordinate, promote and govern all international amateur athletic activities in the United States. The USOC therefore is responsible for training, entering and underwriting U.S. Teams in the Olympic Games. Unlike the National Olympic Committees of many other countries, the USOC does not rely on federal funding to support all of its efforts. Therefore, in order to fulfill our responsibilities without the need for federal funding, Congress granted the USOC the exclusive right to use and control the commercial use of the word OLYMPIC a and any simulation or combination thereof in the United States, as well as the OLYMPIC SYMBOL. See the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, 36 U.S.C. §220501 et seq. (the “Act”). (A copy of the relevant portion of the Act is enclosed for your convenience.) The Act prohibits the unauthorized use of the Olympic Symbol or the mark OLYMPIC and derivations thereof for any commercial purpose or for any competition, such as the one organized through your website. See 36 U.S.C. §220506(c). The USOC primarily relies on legitimate sponsorship fees and licensing revenues to support U.S. Olympic athletes and finance this country’s participation in the Olympic Games. Other companies, like Nike and Ralph Lauren, have paid substantial sums for the right to use Olympic-related marks, and through their sponsorships support the U.S. Olympic Team. Therefore, it is important that we restrict the use of Olympic marks and protect the rights of companies who financially support Team USA.
In addition to the protections of the Act discussed above, the USOC also owns numerous trademark registration that include the mark OLYMPIC. These marks therefore are protected under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051 et seq. Thus, Ravelry.com’s unauthorized use of the mark OLYMPIC or derivations thereof, such as RAVELYMPICS, may constitute trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution of our famous trademarks.
The USOC would like to settle this matter on an amicable basis. However, we must request the following actions be taken.
1. Changing the name of the event, the “Ravelympics.”; The athletes of Team USA have usually spent the better part of their entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them. For many, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of their sporting career. Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete in an event that has come to mean much more than just a competition between the world’s best athletes. The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony.
The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States. Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect. We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.
It looks as if this is the third time that the Ravelympics have been organized, each coinciding with an Olympic year (2008, 2010, and 2012). The name Ravelympics is clearly derived from the terms “Ravelry” (the name of your website) and OLYMPICS, making RAVELYMPICS a simulation of the mark OLYMPIC tending to falsely suggest a connection to the Olympic Movement. Thus, the use of RAVELYMPICS is prohibited by the Act. Knowing this, we are sure that you can appreciate the need for you to re-name the event, to something like the Ravelry Games.
1. Removal of Olympic Symbols in patterns, projects, etc. As stated before, the USOC receives no funding from the government to support this country’s Olympic athletes. The USOC relies upon official licensing and sponsorship fees to raise the funds necessary to fulfill its mission. Therefore, the USOC reserves use of Olympic terminology and trademarks to our official sponsors, suppliers and licensees. The patterns and projects featuring the Olympic Symbol on Ravelry.com’s website are not licensed and therefore unauthorized. The USOC respectfully asks that all such patterns and projects be removed from your site.
For your convenience, we have listed some of the patterns featuring Olympic trademarks. However, this list should be viewed as illustrative rather than exhaustive. The USOC requests that all patterns involving Olympic trademarks be removed from the website. We further request that you rename various patterns that may not feature Olympic trademarks in the design but improperly use Olympic in the pattern name.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. We would appreciate a written reply to this letter by no later than June 19, 2012. If you would like to discuss this matter directly, please feel free to contact me at the number above, or you may reach my colleague, Carol Gross.
Office of the General Counsel
United States Olympic Committee
1 Olympic Plaza
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
Now, knitters are a mobilised and technosavvy bunch of people – there are 2 million users on the Ravelry website for example. So I have no doubt they will act in an interesting and powerful way. What I do find quite fascinating is the bits I have embolded. In one written letter response I read this morning, a knitter commented that the USOC could have just issued a trademark infringement. Nothing about this letter or their request would have been altered.
But instead of that, they felt the need to go that step further and belittle the activity and I think knitters everywhere. And I wonder whether they would have seen that as quite as necessary had the activity not been a stereotypically female one. If it were a drinking and dart board competition, for example, I wonder whether the word “denigrate” would really have come up.
And looking at the “true nature of the Olympic Games” of “ideals that go beyond sport to encompassa culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony” that, by the way, are not owned by the USOC, let’s see. The Knitting Olympics is a shared focus where knitters from all over the world come together in one place (online), at one time of the year to participate in or to support from the sidelines as others challenge themselves. Knitters exchange patterns and techniques, skills and advice. It crosses language and culture – just take a look at Fair Isle or Japanese patterns that English speakers follow the graphs instead of the written directions. It becomes a means to meet new people and build new friendships. And um, sorry but I can’t remember ever seeing knitters behave in ways that were not tolerant or respectful. Knitting provides comfort and warmth. And many many knitters will gift or donate the product of their efforts.
I’m sorry, but just what about that *is not* in the Olympics Spirit? Cause if it’s not this, then I’ll cancel my Foxtel Olympics special subscription and go do something else next month.
I’ve never actually successfully finished my Knitting Olympics project before. It turns out, if you’re still working full time over the Games, two weeks is not enough time to reasonably finish a sweater. But, you know, now I’m fired up, I think I might just knit myself something. And maybe with those trademark rings.
Knitters might mostly be women, USOC, but I wouldn’t want to piss off people who know how to wield sharp pointy sticks.
I mentioned on last episode’s Galactic Suburbia that I’m reading a lot of nonfiction at the moment. It’s quite weird for me as I haven’t really read nonfiction for fun in a few years. It’s going through a bit of a reassessment of aspects of my life and my reading is one of them. Basically, I’ve discovered you don’t have to force yourself to do or like things and that (revelation ahead) if you choose not to, you are much happier. Sounds obvious, and yet, not actually how I was running my life for the last decade or more. And so I realised that the reason I’m not finishing books is I am not reading the books that I need to be reading right now – are you a mood reader like me? I have to be in the right frame of mind for certain books and it’s why I tend to travel with more books than I can read in case I’m not in the mood for some. And right now, nonfiction, and nonfiction about craft, seems to be really appealing to me.
In Sweater Quest, Adrienne Martini spends a year trying to knit an Alice Starmore jumper. If you’re a knitter, you already know about the complexity of the fair isle and the holy grail that is the Alice Starmore projects. And if you’re not, you probably don’t really care. So suffice to day, in some ways this challenge is akin to the Julie Julia cooking project. And I kinda like me a craft related quest. Maybe if epic fantasy involved some kind of quest across country for maiden silk yarn, I’d like relate more?
This book is written in a very friendly tone – similar to the way online knitting blogs are written. Again, if you’re a knitter, you know what I mean, and if you’re not, well, knitters are pretty tech savvy and have many an online community. Because of course, knitting is deeply fascinating but noone said knitters didn’t love to bond over more than just the gorgeous yarn and pattern you’re working on right now. In Sweater Quest, we get to know Adrienne and a bit about who she is as a knitter and a person.
I enjoyed the quest to knit the Starmore but what I enjoyed even more were the truly crunchy questions Adrienne’s journey threw out. The thing about the Starmore is, according to Alice Starmore, you can only knit a Starmore if you use her specified yarn and colour combinations. If you deviate, she (and her lawyers) might just ask you to not call it a Starmore. And the problem is, they don’t actually make the yarn for many of her older patterns anymore. If you aren’t aware of the Starmore controversies and you like yourself a bit of internet drama, then this book is a great introduction to some of the goings on from the early 2000s and will point you in directions to chase up a bit more of that story.
Adrienne goes on a journey, both in writing her book and physically as she visits lots of the big name online knitters, asking the question, if she isn’t using Starmore yarn (she had to substitute one or two as she couldn’t chase down all of them), is she knitting a Starmore at all? I don’t know that I every really felt like I got an answer to that question. But I loved the thinking beyond that – a designer dreams up a knitted item and writes the pattern, knitters tend to pick that up, change the colour and/or the yarn brand, maybe change the cable here or there, add length, reduce length, change the collar or the sleeve… at what point does the end product no longer resemble the intent? When is it no longer the pattern? And more than that, what does a designer own?
I loved thinking these ideas over in terms of how they translated to writing and publishing and plagiarism. But I also loved the ideas as they applied to knitting. For years, I have been laughing at new knitters online who would never even have thought that you could look at a pattern and knit it in red instead of yellow – that they would hunt around for red jumpers if that’s what they were intending to knit, rather than find a pattern they liked and then just change the colour of the wool. Here in Australia, it’s only been really recently (and even more recent here in WA), that the yarn brand specified in the patterns was available to buy, let alone the colour. We are used to substituting not just the colour but the yarn and thus swatching before knitting is obviously a must (nonknitters – first you must work out how the yarn knits out – in terms of tension and so on – by knitting a square of a set number of stitches and then comparing the resulting dimensions to those of the pattern to figure out if you have to add or subtract stitches to be able to knit the resulting size garment). Basically, we are used to *not* using the same colours or yarn brand for knitting. So for me, the idea of Starmore’s, that to knit her jumpers you had to use her wool, was mindboggling. And before the internet and ebay, basically meant you would never be able to knit her work at all.
I dunno that I’ve finished thinking through a lot of the ideas from this book. I really enjoyed the food for thought. Recommended to my knitting geek friends.
Tags: book review
A big shoutout to Sim who knows me and how I think. It was her comments on a previous post about this stuff that really helped me move past my paralysis and guilt relating to my crafting/not crafting/stash/huge number of WIPs. She suggested I put away the charm quilt that was squelching my crafting mojo, be cool with the project lying on hold for a while, and then audit my entire WIPs.
So this took me a while, both due to limited time and also having to actually face both the mess and the unfinished objects. But as one of my tasks I have tackled in my 5 day break, I actually spent a good couple of hours on this. I both created order and more serenity with my craft WIPs and space and I also found the spare bedroom bed. (I then was encouraged to sort out all the clean washing in that room the following day and found the bedroom floor for bonus points. A couple more smaller tasks to go in that room and I can sign it off as Completed. It’s funny how once you break through the paralysis, you just keep eating away at the elephant. And it’s all so much less insurmountable).
I took photos of everything. All my knitting works in progress have been uploaded to my Ravelry page. And yeah, I can see how in that form it’s all a lot less scary and horrible and a lot more encouraging to work through. My name over at Ravelry is girliejones if you’re then and want to be friends.
There doesn’t seem to be an equally useful quilting equivalent so I opened a spreadsheet and loaded all my quilt projects before folding them neatly up and putting them away in my craft cupboard. I also put all related bits and pieces for each project in its own labelled box. This killed two birds – 1. everything is neat and grouped and easy to pick up and put down and 2. it put use to all the little boxes I can’t part with.
Here’s an overview of the quilt projects. You’ll be able to see the gradual reduction in mess on the bed underneath as the task progressed.
The only thing I have left is to sort my fabric scraps. I’ve been picking up a few scrap quilt books and it turns out, saving every last morsel of fabric is ok and perfectly normal and you can make really stunning quilts from them. And you don’t have to only have one scrap quilt for all your scraps. Thus my dreaded scrap quilt which was getting me down can be finished off with the blocks made, I can feel good about drawing a line under it and feel excited about looking into other possible quilts. But first I have to sort them. So – more boxes to be put to work as I sort these according to colour. Another ongoing project but easy to go into the room and do a few and then move on.
Now I just have to decide if I feel up to cataloguing the rest of my yarn stash into Ravelry …
But I feel *so* much better now! And everything is far less daunting and confronting and doable again. And I have a few finished pieces to show! I am interested to see if my catalogues will be used by me – it can be really easy to file that stuff away and then it’s out of sight so you don’t feel bad and then you never go looking for it so you can continue to not feel bad. But the interesting thing in all this decluttering has been to let go of the guilt of having to finish something – a book, a project, whatever – just because I bought it or started it. It’s very freeing to say, “actually, I don’t like this” or “I’m not enjoying this” or “it doesn’t work for me” or “it’s not what I thought it would be” and to then act by giving yourself permission to … gift or donate the book or unravel a started project. So much future time freed up for new and other things!
Wednesday I finally managed to get to my post office box. It feels weird after it being the regular detour on the way home every day to only make it once a week or once a fortnight! I kinda hate not knowing what mail has arrived. On the other hand, whenever I go now, I get to stagger out with a huge pile of parcels and ephemera. In this batch, all but one of the boxes of books were not for ASif! and instead were the random book buying purchases I did for a week a while back in a blur of online shopping and then forgetting. I had to actually stop completely when I couldn’t remember which sites I’d visited and what I’d actually bought. Just as well I stopped because I totally didn’t remember shopping at Fishpond at all and the evidence says differently!
Just after I posted my first Creativity Dysfunction post, Amazon sent me a book recommendation that looked gorgeous – Sunday Morning Quilts. It got me thinking about quilts but then I deleted the link. Then I was auditioning some quilt related podcasts maybe two weeks ago now. One of them was American Patchwork and Quilting Radio (still not sure I like this one). The episode I listened to had the two authors of Sunday Morning Quilts on as guests. I was actually more interested in them talking about their blogs and the communities they’d built around them and how. And then they spoke about the book and I realized a) it was the book I’d seen and b) their thing is scrap quilting and in fact, playing with colour and scraps. I was INTRIGUED.
I went straight home and spent *quite some time* on the webs looking at options, their blogs and also some books. It had not occurred to me until that moment that scrap quilts – plural – was a thing. That I could in fact make several. Or that they are ongoing projects rather than one ongoing project and I could finish the one I’m making and then move on. That I need not feel the weight of the ever-increasing- with every other project – pile-of-scraps. That scraps could be a great thing, just like stash. I got excited. And then, for some reason, I did not buy that particular book but these.
I’m really excited by the uniformity that lots of small pieces of non uniform fabrics can convey. I’m ready to get started!! (except for that pesky in progress and queued queues of projects)
And so now I do not know why I didn’t get Sunday Morning Quilts. A look on Fishpond has it quite expensive, which could be the reason but it’s not as expensive on other sites. Hmmm …I also had a great peek around the book online last night. I think I’ll start sorting my scrap stash in the meantime, anyway.
I also got these knitting books. Guess why?
Yup – 1 point for Knitting and 2 points for LISTS!!
And the other is Elizabeth Zimmerman, who is Knitting. The book inside seems to be The Opinionated Knitter and she’s grumpy and fabulous.
I had a quick squizz through Knitter’s Life Lists last night. It’s a combination of lists of things you should do before you die (love!) and also all kinds of interesting factoids and resources to go chase up. I’m definitely one for setting goals for lists of things I want to do, less on the execution of (you may have noticed …) Though I also quite like the idea of just setting aside a small portion at a time/year to look at.
I hunted through to see how part of the knitting zeitgeist I am – in their research for the book they asked lots of knitters what their goal patterns and stitches and techniques and so on were and that was used to compile some of them. I tend to not really *apply myself in knitting. I like the monotony of known patterns and stitches and I tend to knit to switch off. Except, actually that’s not really true at all. When I looked at, for example, all the yarns you should aim to try at some point in your life, I thought that wasn’t something I was really interested in, flicked down the list and thought, “ooh but bamboo! And seasilk and soy silk!” – materials I’ve been wanting to try for agggges. And then when I looked at sweaters and the holy grail and very long list of things to try there, I saw I’m already working on a couple of them! – the kimono jacket, which is my first ever sweater, and also I have the Baby Surprise Jacket which I bought all the yarn for when my niece was incubating and then didn’t make. I’ve since tracked down the pattern (it was hard to find as basically out of print) and now I have a new nephiece coming so I was intending to whip that up for them. So I’m already working on these and I realise do get adventurous at times. Only need a little bit every year and my lifetime of knitting will always be new and challenging.
And then I noticed that the list has Alice Starmore on it.
And look what also arrived in the same book haul, talk about yet more synchronicity.
I’ve not really ever had a desire to try fair isle other than … maybe if I’m stuck on 6 months holidays somewhere and really had no tv to watch or something… But I came across Adrienne Martini on Cast On a while ago (yes, it’s the same Adrienne Martini, the world is this small and I LOVE it) and she was talking about this book that she wrote which was based on her one year quest to complete an Alice Starmore sweater. That’s all I know about the book but I was instantly drawn to it and wished I’d known about it to follow along her journey of it. I can’t wait to read all about it. I just love these kinds of things (similar to the Julie and Julia blog etc). I wish I could be consistent for a year and commit to one thing that I could obsess about (oh! Nevermind! Stop judging!) Anyway, these sweaters are really hard to make and also, really hard to find the yarn, I think. I’ll tell you more when I’ve read the book which I’m dying to start right now.
And finally, I got Redwood and Wildfire from Aqueduct Press which is very funny because in the morning I’d gotten a refund on postage for a book I’d ordered the night before (Brit Mandeolo’s new book on Joanna Russ) and was swooning about how much I love Aqueduct Press books and then one of the packages had their sticker on it and I thought … huh? What ELSE have I bought! This is the Tiptree winner for this year and Tansy raved about it on Galactic Suburbia as well. I’m thinking if you liked The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman, you might like this. But I’ll let you know.
So many books and craft and things and so fricking little time!
Tags: adrienne martini
, alice starmore
, andrea hairston
, scrap quilts
Well, there were very good arguments put forth, so I peeked! Very excited!!! Socktopus yarn! In River Styx colourway. So pretty! And nautical themes for the two choices of sock pattern – one of which is called turbulence. Am I over fluid dynamics enough to go for that option ?
Tags: Cookie A socks
So. The timeline has expired. I have not completed my Cookie A socks and look what came in the mail today.
Yup. That there is package number 2 of the sock club.
The question is – will I open it and peek inside to see what the next one is or will I make myself wait til I’ve finished the first pair?
Tags: Cookie A socks
, sock club
As I said, still not with the sitting still and doing one thing. I am *supposed* to be finishing my first lot of socks for the Cookie A sock club. Here is how much I have done of the first sock. Nearly the cuff. And I know that the second round has been posted to me so I am knitting against the clock here. I chose the pattern that is going to knit up like fortune cookies but that lace repeat is starting to get to me. Any second now, I get to turn the heel. And yet.
And yet, even with the deadline, I mostly knit on the kimono jacket.
And that has its own story. When I was cataloguing my WIPs, I pulled it out. I guess it was about half done and not touched for a good five years. I realised what was stopping me from finishing was that I had no idea where I was up to on the pattern. I know realise it would have been only a matter of measuring the sleeves and continuing on. However, actually when I measured it, I decided I was knitting it one size too small for me. So I unravelled the whole thing and started from scratch with one size up. But. Either the wool had sat for so long under a window in the sun and perished a little, or a moth or two had gotten to it. Or my knitting was not all that flash hot. Because the yarn is frayed to broken in some places. In more than a few places. So this has been a process of joining broken yarn and so on all along the way.
At first this was really hard and I realised that it was because I want this piece to be perfect. And I also want it to look exactly like the picture in the pattern. Except for two things. 1. Its not the same yarn as in the picture so it’s not going to look like that (why I didn’t buy that yarn when I purchased the it is a mystery for the ages because I no longer remember) and 2. This is the first sweater, and in fact non accessory sized adult garment, I’ve ever knit. Its probably not going to be perfect. And I’ve realised I need to give that up and get over myself and knit the damn jumper. It’s just a jumper. So I am nearly back knitted up to where I started when I unravelled it. And miraculously, most of that knitting happened this weekend. It was only just maybe 10 or 20 rows in when I took it to Swancon on Friday. And now I’m halfway through through the sleeves. I’m not sure if it’s going to be long enough but I’ll see.
The exciting bit about this project is that it involves a dropstitch when you get to the end. Yup, you purposely drop a bunch of stitches across it – and that, I reckon probably will make it might lighter and longer. So I’ve been waiting for that moment for about 5 years. I’m all about the delayed satisfaction.
So what with all this excitement and deadlines. Yeah I totally spent yesterday on something completely else. Remember my panic about moving over to knitting and not quilting? Well I’ve been listening to a bunch of podcasts on my drives all last week – both on knitting and on quilting – and following the lead on one of the quilting podcasts led me to a New York Beauty quiltalong. I only first came across the New York Beauty blocks last year but I fell in love with them and I fell hard. I love the art deco feel you can get with them and I love the sharp contrasts of points and circles and I love the amazing effects piecing them can bring. But I’m scared of them cause I’ve never done circular sewing before.
But I stared at this quiltalong all the rest of last week. And even though I’m not going to join and even though I’m *knitting to deadline*, I printed out one or two templates. And then today I went rifling through my stash. I kinda wanted to use the Paris cats fabric for it but I don’t know how much of that is still committed. And then I remembered/found this gorgeous set of fat quarters called something or other Noir. And I had bought it for liking it but with nothing in particular in mind. And it has Eiffel Tower fabric in it and …. and I started another project! Oops!
It feels terrible to be so utterly unfocussed right now. But it also feels fantastic to just follow creative whim. And this turned out so much better than I thought it would. It’s not a great semicircle (it has a bit of lineaity in it) – but first try! And I love how the points came out. I’m so suckered into the New York beauty! There are nine different blocks in this quiltalong.
I think I’m in!
Tags: Cookie A socks
, kimono jacket
, new york beauty
I’ve been sitting here all day with the intention of writing up a bunch of posts I want to make. There are a few on a bunch of topics, so many in fact I thought, well, I could queue up for the week so as not to deluge the blog. I have though in fact started only this one. Mostly because I couldn’t decide where to start. And that’s been pretty much most of the day and in fact my week. And it’s not even been too much to do, no idea where to start. I have a list, comprehensive lists, breaking things down into bite sized tasks. Any task to suit any mood. Alas my mood has been to flit with no desire to sink my teeth into anything or indeed to sit still long enough to sink at all.
Take today, I’ve half cleaned the kitchen, half started the laundry, cleaned a bit of my desk, folded some laundry, and sorted a bit of my in tray. But I’ve completed nothing, really. And instead I’ve been sort of consumed by my knitting and the internet. And I still don’t feel much like doing anything even though I have TONS to do. I just don’t seem in a settling into anything type of mood.
I made it into Swancon on Friday and Sunday – Friday was unexpected as we found ourselves with 6 hours to kill between Easter breakfast with C’s parents and Seder night with mine. And I wanted to pop in and see Marianne and drop her in some books. I settled into her interview panel with the beginning of my knitting (above) and thought I’d just stay for that. Zoe interviewed Marianne and I believe it was recorded so perhaps available for listening at some point in time. And it was a really great interview, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I mean, yeah, really lovely things were said about Glitter Rose, and Kendra asked a fantastic question about the book (always so freaking awesome when readers get what you were trying to and/or really think about the work – Marianne described Kendra as a “thoughtful reader” and I instantly decided that’s what I want to be when I grow up and also how lucky I am to have thoughtful readers of the work I publish) but it was just really energising to hear Marianne speak. It’s kinda rare now that I think about it to sit in a big room, for it to be really well packed and for just one woman to speak about her experiences as a writer. An she had so much of interest to say.
After that, I ended up kind of conning – I believe it’s called? I just sort of floated around, got into conversations with people and had not a care in the world. It was great. And C had headed off to the gaming room when we got there and I got a text asking if I was ok and if it was all good to stay and I was happy, he was happy and it was good. I had a brief chat and debrief with Marianne just before we had to head off to dinner and that was that.
Sunday we headed back in – I had two panels on and C played in the magic tournament thingie. I managed to persuade Jonathan to come and join me on my first panel with Helen and Satima on what to do once you’ve finished your manuscript. And then we headed off to lunch with Kathryn and Terri. And after mooching about, I had a second panel which I don’t think went very well and then I headed back to the dealers room where I managed to successfully win the fan art pictured with my knitting above! It’s by Susan Margaret who also painted the Glitter Rose glasses from last year. I think I might love her work I’m looking forward to drinking lots of cups of tea whilst knitting and reading in a winter with this cheery set. It was part of a beautiful installation which I would have bought more of but I had no more money on me.
And then I could dodge it no longer. Marianne sat me down and gave me the hard questions to “check I was still on the straight and narrow.” How lucky am I to have such awesome mentors? Something that’s a real struggle is finding publishing mentors in Australia – there’s lots of avenues for how to learn your craft as a writer or editor, all manner of courses and workshops and societies. But so much less, to almost nothing, on how to grow an independent press. I think it would be fair to say in the SF/F scene, most small presses stick around 5 to 10 years. And very few make the leap from small to medium. I’ve been lucky to be introduced to a bunch of people who have been willing to help by answering my questions and to offer guidance. But I’ve been luckier still to have good friends who throw ideas at me and let me bounce off my crazy. Marianne, though, is the one to whom I confess *everything* and who has been keeping me honest and on track so I don’t get too crazy. Or that I at least keep the crazy on the back burner for now. She knows a lot about the business and anyone who had the chance to hear her talk or to talk with her this weekend knows just what an honour that was. I for one am glad I had nothing hidden I had to confess to her face!! I would not have enjoyed that! And it was instead great to talk through with her my plan with the upcoming novels and everything that goes along with trying to make this a real thing.
Tags: glitter rose
I’ve been doing research for the Craft Ebook line that I’m working on. I forgot research was fun! I also forgot research is vital, but never mind that now, I got there in the end. Anyway, one of the things I’ve been doing is going back and listening to old episodes of Cast On podcast. I stopped listening for about a year, I suspect some time in the last bit of my relationship with the ex. Brenda took about a year off and so once she was back podcasting and I rediscovered her, I wanted to go back and listen to the episodes I’d missed. And then I was enjoying listening to her so much on my long drives that I started working my way back through older episodes.
The old format of the podcast aimed to sound like how a magazine read so it included news, and announcements, a regular feature called Today’s Sweater, other features and then an essay. The essays started as Brenda’s and then were sometimes were written by listeners and read by guest readers.
A couple of weeks ago now, I was listening to one such essay that made me cry and made me really think about what knitting means to me. A woman wrote about a scarf she’d made. She’d picked it for a long road trip, something complicated enough that she wouldn’t finish it in the first hour or two, but simple enough to not need to pay too much attention. And then she talked about how she’d knitted it on the journey, about the scenic backdrop of the trip and how happy they were and what a great time she’d had. She didn’t finish the scarf on the trip. However, not long after the trip, she fell down the stairs in her house and broke her neck. So immediately after this trip, she’d gone through the worst time in her life. It was a very dark time, she was lucky enough to be able to be operated on and regain her mobility but her recovery was very slow and painful. And she talked about all the days filled with pain and not being able to sit for very long. And how she then thought that knitting her scarf might be something she could do. At first she could only knit one or two stitches at a time and that she couldn’t sit for very long as well. Eventually she gained more strength and the pain lessened and she worked at the scarf and was able to wear it, finished, by the time she was well enough to go on a gentle camping trip again. She wrote about what that scarf, and knitting, meant to her. That project had been with her at the best of times and then kept her company in the worst of times, giving her something to focus on, to mark her recovery and to immerse herself in.
After I finished wiping away tears from the happy story, I thought a lot about the last time I had really thrown myself into knitting and what knitting means to me. My grandmother taught me to knit. I don’t know when. One of my earliest memories is dragging an old round plastic bag, that had contained a small ottoman, around my grandparents’ house, filled with white acrylic yarn and lots of knitting needles. I was about three and I would pretend, though think, I was knitting like my grandmother. I couldn’t have been that much older when she finally taught. I feel like I’ve always known how to knit. I don’t remember not knowing how to. I love to knit and I love doing something that my grandmother taught me. Now that she’s gone, I love that I continue to do something that she taught me and that she loved to do. I love the bringing a part of her with me into the future. My other grandmother taught me how to crochet and I feel the same way about that. And I guess there is something very nurturing and comforting in it.
Some time around when my relationship with my ex (I really need to find some geological reference word to refer to that period of my life. Answers on a postcard) started to head south, I took up knitting in a big way. Like A BIG WAY. I got really engrossed in the online knitting world which was starting to take off. All these personal blogs with gorgeous photos of works in progress and hand dyed yarn, and groovy modern patterns. And etsy. And paypal. And sock yarn clubs. And podcasts. It was a heady, frenetic time. I was in my first serious grown up day job. The ex would spend exorbitant amounts of money on ridiculous things (like private golf club memberships, boating and my favourite, oops I wanted a brand new car. Again) and I figured, why not do the same (on so much smaller an order of magnitude)? I fell into a new fandom, of sorts. I stashed like hand dyed yarn was going out of fashion. I joined sock yarn clubs. I ebayed. I ogled and leered and drank in colour and fibre. And I knitted so much. I would literally stay home on a Saturday night, in preference, to knit. (Sure the choice was usually to go and sit in a cold damp stadium and watch really poor basketball played poorly.) I knitted. A. Lot. I knitted so many babies booties, I’m still gifting them in large piles to every baby that has been born since. And I still have a huge drawer full. I tried my hand at an etsy store, to little success. I even tried stalls at craft fairs. I was in this obsession waist deep. I had knitting on sets of needles all over the place and I was always starting new thing. I was immersed. I must have knit about 30 pairs of adult socks. And scarves. A few shawls. And those gorgeous hot water bottles (that yarn I used was just divine).
It got obsessive. And looking back on it now, I think maybe I understand why. I didn’t really knit like that once I moved out into my own place. A lot of the projects I’m cataloguing now, I started before I moved out and then never really picked back up again. I packed away most of my stash and didn’t look at it til I moved last year. I picked up a new craft – the patchworking – and got into that, but in a much less obsessive way.
It occurs to me now that the knitting was a way of finding love – of surrounding myself with something I associate with someone who always comforted me. Getting involved, no matter how much from the (consumer) sidelines, in the online knitting world was a way of coming home, of being understood, of being wrapped up in a nostalgic love. Because I wasn’t even being overly creative with my knitting. I knit a lot of plain socks and straight scarves, with fabulously colourful yarn. Teaching myself to knit socks was possibly the most adventurous thing I did during that time. And I never got sick of knitting stockinette. I just knit and knit and knit. Like my life depended on it. And maybe it did.
And last night I wandered into the TV room and looked at my bag with my sock yarn club yarn in it, all balled up and ready to go, and I felt that feeling again – of coming home. Of warmth and fondness. Of belonging again. And I guess that’s different to how I feel about patchworking – which is filled with creativity and invention and experimentation. And I actually mentally checked myself when I felt that way – like to be cautious that I don’t fall into that big knitting hole again. Almost a don’t enjoy this too much, kind of thought process. Don’t get consumed. Why not? I wondered? Am I scared of the obsession? Should I not feel at home with my online knitting peeps? Is that so wrong? I realize now, after writing this, that that won’t happen – it can’t happen – because I am in a very different mental space. That it will be ok even if I do enjoy it too much. Because this time, I’m doing it because I love to knit and not because I’m trying to kit over (or out of) a hole.
That said, I still am a *little* bit scared of the siren that is knitting online.
Thanks to those who left feedback on my craft post of anguish. I am terribly behind at answering comments. I took all your advice and packed up and put away the Charm Quilt project. I packed up all the pieces that I had laid out and put them in a ziplock back and made a box just for this project. And that alone made me feel so much better. I’ve got a few pieces of that project still out on my sewing table – a few of the hexagons all pinned and ready to go – and some of the scraps. I’m mostly just mildly contemplating them from a distance. I feel like I could finish them off so they’re still out. But I am also very aware that I might feel completely better if I just packed them all up and put them away for now. Of course as soon as I did this, another little batch of fat eighths I’d ordered from a Jinny Beyer sale as a reward for something I finished came in. I took a photo of them and then popped them in the box as well. I’ll figure out what I’m doing with all that another day.
Tansy says I always have this panic and I always move in cycles. I dunno though – this quilting thing is pretty new. I only really started collecting fabrics just as my relationship with my ex was breaking up. So – oh. What’s that? 5 years ago now. Hmm maybe it’s not that new after all. Maybe I should just chill out about this and let go and let the cycles happen on their own. This forcing business only makes me feel bad anyway. It’s just that I have so many beautiful projects that I want to get to and I also want to actually finish the ones I have started. Anyway. This is not the point of this post. In any case, this time round, I really want to hope to believe that I can somehow be immersed in two crafts at once. Just like you can be immersed in two books at once. Oh. Nevermind.
I took up some very excellent advice from Sim in the comments to my last post. She suggested that I audit my projects. I’ve only partly started this. I’m hoping to have finished it by the end of the week. However, this exercise was very interesting because I found where all my sets of DPNs (double pointed needles, come in sets of 4) were. Yes, they were in various stages of different pairs of socks.
I decided that what I really want to focus on is starting and finishing the socks from the Cookie A’s sock club before the next skein of yarn comes in. So I went in search of the right needles. I found them in a sock project I had stashed in C’s glove box for those times I’m with him and we’re driving somewhere (we live 45 mins to an hour from stuff). I was maybe 25% away from finishing the pair. I’d started them on a couple of days field trip in the last job, oooh what? Last June? Last October?
Yes, well. I pulled out the project and assessed it. It was close to being finished but very quickly, I also discovered that the second sock was a little bit shorter than the first – I’d put the heel in too soon. So I ripped back the half of the gusset and the heel and started over. I was a bit annoyed at that, creating more work etc, but the stripes, they didn’t match and I’d made a point of casting on the second sock exactly at the right point so that they would. And it would only annoy me every time I wore them if I didn’t fix them now. What’s an extra day of work compared to be annoyed every time I wear them? These socks wear really well – they are a commercial self striping sock yarn and about 15% nylon so they machine wash and wear great. The first pair I made with them, something like 8 years ago, still look fantastic.
So in summary, I ripped back the sock to almost halfway, reknit it and finished these off over the weekend. A weekend in which I was out for most of Saturday and did various work things as well. A couple of hours and a new pair of socks. Makes me eye off the other socks in various stages on the needles. How long would it take me to have all new socks before winter? I suspect some of this has come about because I am so used to knitting for other people. I’m not sure why I am like that for knitting but a vast majority of what I have knit I have gifted away. And that sort of taints how you feel about it, I think. I mean, I love knitting and it might be that I am more process than product focused. Thus as long as I am knitting, I am happy. And how many of any one craft thing does one person need? Etc. But at some point, if you never enjoy the spoils of your labour, you must lose enthusiasm. So, whilst I do have a list of projects I want to gift this year, I think I really need (and I think I already had done so?) to set aside this year and craft primarily for myself. You know, til I have too many hats, scarves and socks etc.
Apologies for this and the next couple of posts I’m going to make. They’re a bit of a whinge and a self kicking but I feel like I need to get them down here before I can move beyond them. Not talking or writing about it is becoming a block and not helping with the working to move past it.
It’s not surprising given how I feel – frustrated and drowning – that I’m not getting much done on my craft projects. And that frustrates me even more – craft is my outlet. But not being able to face crafting? Makes me even sadder. I noticed that what I have been able to do is more of the scrap quilt. And worse, I noticed I was doing it with almost an obsessive quality. And … well … this is not a project that is going to have a quick end date which means there is no quick payoff or enjoyment to dedicating myself to it. I’m not even really getting scraps tidied up and reduced because there are just *so many* of them. And it’s an example of how I so easily get sidetracked and how I do it as an avoidance technique.
Once I identified this, I realised it was because I was stuck pairing the above triangles for my charm quilt project. So I spread them all out on the table, as you can see, to just, face up to it and start making hexagons. Mm.. I have a lot of charm pieces. And they don’t match. I managed to pull maybe 8 hexagons (6 triangles in each) out of these stacks last weekend. And then I just got kinda depressed with the damn project. I can’t make those damn pieces match. And … *deep breath* I kinda hate how the project is turning out. Here is just a small part of the pieced quilt top so far. I just. It’s not really doing anything for me. It’s not really going where I wanted it to go. And I can’t tell if this is just deep-into-project-fatigue or my general ennui or if it totally sucks. And none of these are really helping with the getting on with working on, and enjoying making, the quilt.
So that’s not really going very well. And neither is the rest of it. I was really inspired and loving the craft projects I had on the go. And the point of having the spare bed in the craft room was to have it as a working space to piece quilt tops and get them to the finished stage this year. This is how the bed looks at the moment – and this is after I cleared all the clean laundry off it and put that away. I can see 6 separate projects there in various levels of disarray and there is at least one more to the right of that box. Nothing about this inspires creativity.
AND. Course of course there is an And. I’ve been researching for the craft ebook project and listening to a lot of back episodes of Cast On podcast (more about the VJJ project later). And I am starting to miss my knitting. I have this terror of switching crafts – I’m sure I felt it when knitting about moving into quilting and now that I am here, ensconced in quilting, I don’t want to get absorbed back into knitting and abandon all these projects. But as much as I am kinda feeling I’d like to get back into knitting, or figuring out how to knit and sew at the same points in my time-space continuum, I think I’d like to try a sweater. I’ve never knit a jumper before. Which is not really 100% true – I have a kimono jacket which has been on the needles, possibly since the ex and I split. And this not finished. I’ve never embarked on a large knitted project and I’m kinda tempted. But at the same time, I feel like I need to finish the many many WIPs I have on needles about the place. And what’s stopping me? Not knowing where I was up to on most of them.
Can you say it with me now? AAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
Am I driving myself crazy right now?
Tags: charm quilt
, scrap quilt
I’m kinda hoping for a regular craft post. But for now, here is one, and I’ll hope to make another soon!
At the moment, I seem to be really distracted by these teeny versions of log cabin squares. I think technically they are steeplechase or some other name but the pattern is part of the log cabin family. And what this project is is two things 1) A fascination with using the scrappiest of scraps to make something useful/art that would otherwise have been thrown away and 2) an example of how I can distract myself, go off on long winded tangents and also create huge rods for my back.
This project is a long term one. It’s a scrap quilt. It’s using pieces of fabric I really didn’t want to part with – many of the scraps are from charm squares remainders after I’ve cut the piece for my charm quilt. But the problem is, I’m finding I’m acquiring these scraps faster than I can cut and sew them up. My mother threw in a bunch of her scraps from a few quilts she made last year. And I’m really collecting scraps out of my charm square project among other projects. It turns out, it’s not that hard to accumulate scraps. And in the interests of not having this get sucked into hoarding tendencies, I’ve been really trying for the last three months or so to get on top of it (I’m not really making much headway).
The squares are small – I’ve thrown my car key into the picture for scale. And they are a little fiddly to cut and sew. I have four ziploc bags filled with pieces I’ve cut out and then I work on some other project and use the spare thread at the end of a seam to sew bits of these together. Using the scrap thread for the scrap quilt.
Except, these little blocks are so colourful and fun to make, I sometimes get a little absorbed in them instead of working on other “proper” projects. It’s distracting! I’ve been playing around with lights and darks on these and intend to have a careful play with piecing the finished squares to see what I can do with the overall picture. I’ve learned a lot with my monochrome and charm quilts about colour, lights and darks and movement and I’m interested to see if I can pull something off with this little scrap project. Also, it’s based on an antique quilt I saw once on cable TV from a dressmaker who lived in an Australian gold mining town during the gold rush. She used silks from ties for hers but it looked spectacular. I’m hoping mine will be similar. Though I’m a bit worried it might be a really huge quilt (hers was a small wall hanging).
Lately though, I’ve been so pressed for time and so immersed in other things, I’ve hardly had time for crafting at all. I’ve mostly spent what little time I’ve had on cutting out pieces for this quilt rather than actually work on anything creatively. And I’ve actually been happy with that – it’s been “enough”. And what fascinates me about that is that rarely is the prepping for a project fun for me. I like the bit just after that, the starting. And I remember reading in Quilting Lessons that some days, all she did all day was cut out pieces for a new project, and thinking that there’s no way that would ever be my activity of choice and certainly not for extended periods. But it turns out, sometimes your head is just too busy to be able to do more than that. (Maybe I was just never this busy before in my life?) And that actually that’s totally ok. Because later on, all I’m going to want to do is sew and create and PastMe will have done all the groundwork to facilitate that.
And don’t even get me started on the *wanting* to get started on the first socks for the Cookie A Sock club I signed up for. We’ve decided not to bake the biscuits that came along with the yarn for just now. But I really really want to knit along with this one all year so as not to end up with 6 balls of yarn for my stash come Xmas. Stay tuned …
, scrap quilt
, sock club
I can’t believe it’s Friday already. This week has been one of those weeks where work has been full on and then I’ve followed the day of deadlines to a night of working hard or getting home late to only get an hour or two in before bed and all of a sudden it’s freaking Friday. And September.
I don’t have anything interesting to report. I think I recorded about nine billion podcasts this week and wrote and edited and all kinds of being on the grind stuff. This weekend is very jam packed too and then C is off to the east and I will be without him I have plans though for that period of time, which I will reveal and track when he has gone.
Meanwhile, tonight I was catching up on some knitting during Galactic Suburbia (in that I unpicked the same row over and over during the 2 hours we recorded. Sigh) and I remembered that I hadn’t posted about my current projects for a while. My goal for knitting whilst on the field trip was to knit myself a pair of socks. I knew we would be doing a lot of driving so I knew at least that time would be available but I forgot how much people faff about (doing what, I do not know. I am actually very speedy and streamlined when not at home).
So … I managed to get this much done whilst I was away. I’d knit the first cuff previously. I got the heel turned before we had left the Perth metro area and cast off the toe before I think we left to come back home at the end of the three days.
I quite liked knitting socks in the car and I’m thinking I might have a project like this on the go for grabbing when we hop in the car, since for us most of our Perth stuff means a two hour commute. And when I say, “have a project like this on the go” I mean, *cough* progressively work through the various sock project I currently have on the needles. Maybe.
I’m a bit excited about these because I bought about three balls of self striping yarn way back when that was all the rage, like 6 or 7 years ago and I only ever got round to knitting myself one of these pairs. It’s a mix of fibres with a bit of nylon through it so, can go in the wash like a normal pair of socks and wears quite well.
The Shawl. I decided in the end to unravel the project I had. I just did not like what it was looking like. And then I cast it back on in this yarn – Latte by Sophie’s Toes. I’ve knit the shawl basically and am now working on the lace border which you can glimpse at the top. I added a repeat to each side of the centre because I knit it up first off with the recommended stitches but thought it was too narrow. So this shawl in the end has been quite a trial to get to the end of. I hope it ends up being pretty.
I used to read a lot of knitting blogs and knitting socks had just seriously taken off in the early 2000s. I used to watch as bloggers would knit themselves pair of socks after pair of socks and wonder how many pairs one person needed. They would casually say that woollen socks wear and the heels go first and some would even say they threw their socks out when they got holes. I guess back then my Crohn’s Disease was pretty made and as I ran a constant fever, I didn’t wear the socks I made for myself that often. Mine didn’t seem to wear out – I guess cause I didn’t wear the ones I did make for myself but also because I gifted a lot of pairs that I made.
I have noticed the heels do wear first. But the fate that my hand knitted socks seem to perish to is the shrinking of the washing machine. No matter how careful I think I am being, socks get into the washing! I had a lovely ribbed pair I made from Socks that Rock in something like Ruby Red which shrank soon after I made them. I gave them to my sister a couple of months ago – she has much smaller feet but I don’t know if she wears them.
My latest tragedy is the discovery this week of this pair’s shrinkage/felting. (Thumb included for sizing) I’m sad to see these go and feel they deserve a bit of a eulogy. These were knitted from my very first, and most prized, skein of Vesper Self Striping from Knitterly Things – hand dyed, self striping and all the rage probably in 2003. When she’d upload new skeins to her shop, you had to be online and buy them immediately or else they were gone. I think I never managed to buy the colourway I secretly longed for but I really really wanted to try the self striping thing so I bought what I could. This skein. Prized but yet I can’t remember the colourway (ha! Excellent email filing tells me it was “Sweetwater” and I bought it in 2006) and the colours are not quite my thing so I rarely wore them.
And now they are gone. I loved you socks, for the experience you offered. I’m sad they’re gone but on the other hand, they were fun to make, I did love wearing them and now … now I don’t need to feel so bad about making myself another pair to replace them.
I listened to an old episode of Cast On yesterday which might have clicked something for me. She was talking about the playful side of crafting – that it should be fun and about play. And that when you play, it’s just yarn, you know? The world doesn’t end if your play or experiment doesn’t work out. She was talking about her own holding back but it really struck a chord for me too. I’m currently knitting a shawl with a yarn colourway that I love but I’m not loving the product. It’s really very rare that I will bail out of a project. It’s rare I guess that I push beyond my capabilities, I suppose, so that mostly I’m used to my projects working on first go out. And. When you don’t risk, you don’t get any unexpected payoffs. When you don’t try, you don’t fail but you also don’t have the potential to grow beyond yourself.
So it is with this epiphany that I offer two things. One, I am unpicking this shawl. I love the colourway but I am not in love with the fabric that is being knitted up. From here one border of lace (34 rows) gets knitted. Some other versions of this shawl, with other yarn look lovely. Perhaps this is the wrong yarn for this project? And perhaps this yarn would work better if it was looser, maybe lacier. So. Instead of my normal process which would be to finish it off and hate it. I am unpicking it. I’ll find something else for txhis yarn.
I still like the pattern – Ginkgo Shoulderette Shawl so I’m going to try it with this yarn. I originally bought this for a pair of socks for myself. For ages I had a thing about socks in shades of brown. I don’t even especially like brown but I still have a yen for knitting myself socks in brown. I probably still have skeins around for that but I also think this will knit up as a lovely shawl. The scarf I made over the summer which was really lacey and in “Milk and Honey” by Lisa Souza looks so gorgeous and I love wearing it. I figured I’d give this a go too. Here’s the thing, still kinda really wanted this for socks. But, it’s just yarn. It’s playing with the yarn, the world doesn’t end when the yarn is used. Using up my yarn stash allows and permits me to not feel bad about buying new yarn. Knit the shawl already!
This yarn is called Latte (swoon!) by Sophie’s Toes. I love her yarn – I’ve made a few pairs of socks from her sock yarn. It’s very light and spongy.
I spent this afternoon catching up on This American Life podcast episodes and balled this skein up.
Second epiphany. Crafting is supposed to be fun. It’s the space I specifically put aside to be creative and playful. Artists don’t worry about schedules, or to do lists, or finishing works in progress. It’s all about flow, and going with being in the moment and doing what feels right in that moment. There’s no pressure to succeed or finish or excel, merely the pursuit of the act of creation. And if I want to have even a small amount of that, I can’t also apply guilt or pressure or compare what I do or don’t do to others. That is not part of the play. Or at the least, it detracts from the playfulness. And with that realisation, suddenly I didn’t feel bad about abandoning the shawl as it was, or not finishing my crossstitch before moving on to knitting. If one day I want to work on cutting pieces for a quilt and the next I want to knit and the following day whatever … it’s ok for all that to be part of a bigger process. As long as I finish something once in a while, I guess. As long as I don’t forever start things and don’t look back.
I really really hate packing. And I’m still procrastinating on it now at nearly 8pm. I’m off for 3 days in the field for work. Most of the work team will be there. It will be 10 hour days of field work, then probably 2 hours at night before bed and repeat. Packing should not be this big a deal! And yet, I’m always thinking how much I could do in my leisure time since I will have some! I keep thinking I’ll pack this book and then a second and then some knitting and my laptop to do editing and and and. When truthfully, I think one book, one pair of socks to knit (2.5hour car drive to the site and back). And that is really probably all I will have time for. I am still thinking I should take my laptop – I have much needed editing to get to. And you never know. It could bucket down one day and they cancel the work. Ooh maybe I should take 2 books then?
All I want to do is watch Doctor Who (yeah yeah I know) and continue working on this shawl I’m making (the drama of which I will save for another post).
Anyway. The long and short of it is that I will be offline (I KNOW) til Wednesday night – no phone, no internet where we’re going. I’m going to struggle with that, for sure. I’ve queued up some posts cause I was chatty this weekend so likely you’ll not even notice I’m gone.
This is a fantastic shot of the puppy this afternoon whilst I was manically tweeting the Hugos – I had Tweetdeck and email on my laptop, the ceremony (eventually) streaming through my iphone sitting just in front of it and I was working on my knitting. Pups pulled up the back end by napping through the whole thing. Poor thing. Not sure this weather agrees with him.