Friday, April 20, 2007

Confessions of an embarrassed knitter

OK, I know there is a code of conduct and truth-in-disclosure among knitting bloggers. We all have taken an oath not to mislead readers about the status of our knitting. In the past, I have confessed to having a LARGE stash of works in progress. Works in l--o--n--g progress. And, I have proudly posted photos of some of these objects after their completion. However, I confess, I have not disclosed one project. One project has remained hidden from your view because---well---it's been a long time since I've worked on it.

Here it is. A pile of dark yarn.
I know, what was I thinking?? A lace shawl out of dark, dark yarn. And a not-so-simple lace pattern from Gathering of Lace, still one of my all time favorite books.
Let me start from the hopeful beginning. I attended Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp (Meg is the daughter of Elizabeth Zimmerman and has continued her famous knitting camps) in October 2002. Needless to say, I was inspired by the time at camp. I was also dazzled by the array of drop dead gorgeous yarns available for sale at camp. In addition to all the yarn stocked by Schoolhouse Press, two or three vendors from Wisconsin attended. One was Joslyn of Joslyn's Fiber Farm. Joslyn makes outstandingly beautiful hand painted yarn in a variety of weights. Her laceweight (called Angel Hair) is perfect--nice and springy and thin. Lovely, lovely, lovely. And, I fell in love with the colorway that looked like perfectly ripe Bing cherries--a childhood favorite of mine. The slight variations in color, some inch long bits of almost coral and some inch long bits of blue, lent themselves to a lace shawl. I figured the colors would not overwhelm an intricate lace pattern. And, the yarn came in a 1700 yard hank. No ends to join or weave in!!!

I also purchased The Gathering of Lace book at camp, and had it autographed by Meg herself. My project was blessed!! No evil could befall the project!! Or so I thought.

The yarn sat in splendor in my stash until the summer of 2003 when it joined us in a four week cross country road trip following the Lewis and Clark trail from Wisconsin to Oregon and back. While in the car, someplace in Montana as I recall, I wound that yarn by hand into one huge cantalope size ball. And, I started the "little raspberry" part of the shawl.

Then, for some reason beyond my current recollection, the project was abandoned. I dutifully packed the project in my yarn suitcase when we moved to Spain for 2004-05. I am sorry to say that I never took the project out of its plastic bag. I made two other shawls and many other items, but for some reason I did not pick up this shawl. I brought the project back to the US in summer 2005 in my yarn suitcase. This is a well travelled project!!

Filled with guilt and remorse, I dug out the project this year. Now I remember why it was placed on a multi-year time out! I had reached the more complex diamond part of the pattern and somehow I made a mistake. I didn't keep good notes on where I was in the pattern. Or, as I like to think, the notes got lost someplace over the Atlantic Ocean!!!

It took a while to read the pattern to discover where I was, but I finally determined where I went wrong, frogged a bit, and started again. Then, Christmas knitting intervened and the project went back to the bottom drawer.
A few weeks ago, beset with guilt, I again dug out the project. And again, it appeared that I was off on the pattern. So, I put a grey lifeline in. Dear reader, in the interest of full confession, I admit that knit the segment between the blue/grey lifeline and the yellow lifeline (14 rows of hundreds, thousands of stitches!) THREE times!!!

I could have delayed posting about this shawl until the finished product was blocked. I could have bragged that I whipped this baby out in three weeks. I could have hidden the life lines and said that making the shawl was a breeze! But, I faced deep embarrassment and opened my heart to all of you.

I am now committed to finishing this shawl before I go to Knitting Camp 2007 in July. I can't possibly face Meg and the other knitters without completing the project from 2002!! I am at the stage where I knit on the lace edging. At the same time, I am trying to complete all of the projects for my graduate school courses so that I can graduate on May 20! My goal is to finish this elegant shawl by June 1. I'll keep you posted!

Sticking to the shawl will be difficult however. Susan, from I'm Knitting As Fast As I Can, read my last post about running out of left over sock yarn for my 15 year old's blanket. She graciously offered to send me her leftover yarn. In exchange, I sent her some new sock yarn and some other yarn. I got the best of the deal. Look at all this wonderful yarn!! I can't wait to get started on it!!! My 30 year old recently informed me that she was jealous of the 15 year old's blanket and she wants one too!!! The colors of the photo are not good--bad lighting. There are leftovers from Regia, Opal, Trekking and more. Reds, blues, pastels and others. Perfect, just perfect.

Finally, I have struggled to come to grips with the horror of the shootings at Virginia Tech. Here in Wisconsin the trial of a young man who shot the school principal and wounded others has just begun. In addition, the Colombine anniversary is today. I hold my children close and commit myself to supporting more treatment options for the mentally ill and troubled and alienated youth in our society. Although I was a junior member of the NRA when young, and did target shooting, I strongly support increased gun control. In what form, I'm not sure. But, I know that our troubled youth have easy access to deadly weapons when they should have easy access to mental health services. All in all, I feel helpless.


cybernekanekane said...

Muchas gracias por haber leido mi blog. Me ha hecho muchísima ilusión tener un comentario. No se demasiado inglés, así que no entiendo muchas cosas de tu blog, pero al menos me encanta mirar las fotos. Ya me gustaría a mí vivir en Barcelona. He estado en alguna ocasión y me apasiona. Muchos besos.

HPNY Knits said...

good luck with the shawl! you can do it! I love all that left over sock yarn. just fun. it can be distracting...

Pilar said...

That schawl is lovely dear, i love the colours you're using, and though it sounds like you have enough in your plate already i'm quite sure of that you'll have it done on time :)
About Sockapalooza, Alison will send you an email with your sockpal info. As there's so many people this year she might need a bit of time for the sorting. She talked about a week on her blog.
I can't talk about Virginia yet. Whenever i think about it my throat closes and my eyes floads with tears. Despite your by law rights, to have such easy acces to deadly weapons should be banned. I know it's not that easy, but so i see it .

betty said...

what a wonderful collection of leftover sock yarn! this blanket is going to be gorgeous!

doulicia said...

Just sympathizing and wishing you good luck with the completion of the shawl. It is gorgeous so far. I look forward to the finished object!

I ripped out two inches of knitting on a yoked sweater last night. Not the same as lace, I know, but I felt especially in synch with you when you wrote about knitting between the lifelines three times.

Anonymous said...

I do not know anything about knitting but everything that can be created by hand -handcrafted- is very valuable... is like magic... and can fuel yourself.

Siraporn said...

Such a Cool Woman!! You'r so creative and skillful in many things. I admire you!. Your things and your photos are so cool