Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A little of this and a little of that

I've not been blogging much lately as you may have noticed. The end of the summer has turned me into an isolationist. How did the summer come to such a precipitous ending? It was just June and now it is simply September. My mind is still back in June, when possibilities are endless, when the sweet summer smell convinces you that all is within reach. And suddenly, September springs on you from its hiding spot--evenings are shorter, the heat of August dissipates and the projects planned in June are embarrassingly incomplete.

In my defense, I plead a rush of family activity. I attended my 40th high school class reunion in mid August and all of a sudden school planning stared me in the face. Trips to Kohl's, Target, Macy's, back to Kohl's and two more trips to Target. My 16 year old had a hard time deciding what to buy--from folders and note books to tops, shoes and T-shirts. Unfortunately, she doesn't yet have her independent driving license so I have to accompany her on each and every indecisive trip.

Daughter #1 purchased a scuzzy condo earlier in the summer. She knew that a lot of work would be required to turn the disgusting place into something habitable, but she vastly underestimated the amount of work necessary. This wasn't her fault--she is short on cash, she bought a condo built in the late 1930's, in an up and coming location, that was cheap because it needed work--a lot of work. She had the eyes of youth and promise and saw through the scuzz to something beautiful. I (mother that I am) saw the scuzz and saw a mountain of work. It has been the entire Himalaya range of work. We are trying to do it ourselves. All of us are complete neophytes at ripping out carpet and installing a bamboo floor; at patching rotting concrete and plaster and painting over; at determining whether the wiring is good or rotten; at every possible task required!!!

Maybe this has something to do with my magnificent lack of good taste in planning an Elizabeth Zimmerman baby sweater for a new baby in my husband's department at the University. I decided to work from my stash--and I didn't have much good in washable baby yarn. I didn't have enough of any color to make an entire sweater. But, I held up some baby blue, some baby yellow, some white ------and some avocado green. Oh, I know, avocado green just doesn't go with the first three colors. But, I thought it might be funky, cool and creative. (note, I am a child of the 60's and 70's--decades of terrible taste in color and style). The yarn was fingering weight and I wanted to finish this little sweater fast, so I doubled the yarn. I had faith in EZ--nothing done in her style could possibly fail. Right?? Wrong!
The result?? An inflexible, ugly, ugly little thing, but I plugged on. I finished the first sleeve.

Finishing the sleeve didn't help. Both of my daughters told me the sweater was "just ugly, Mom". I stopped. Finally, I realized that I knew it was ugly from the get-go. I went back to the stash and found some pink yarn I purchased 17 years ago for daughter #2. I never finished that sweater. So, the pink yarn became:

Earlier in September I dug out the Dale sweater I started 18 months ago for my husband. I stopped and put the thing in the back of the closet when I became dissatisfied with how the lighter yarn showed through when I twisted it so that the carry wouldn't be too long. I had been trying not to carry more than three stitches.

Ugly, ugly, ugly. Something needed to change. Then the light dawned. At Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp she and Joyce Williams displayed some of their projects for their new book on Armenian knitting. I recognized my Norwegian sweater for what it was--an example of Armenian knitting where the floating yarn is "trapped" every few stitches. The result is a tweed-y texture. Now I felt better; I had used an Armenian technique for a scandinavian sweater. Why not return to a scandinavian technique of long floats?? So I frogged....

And I re-knit.

As you can see I did some trapping when the carries were about 7 stitches long. Much, much better.

Maybe I'll actually finish the sweater for this Christmas!! Two years after I "gave" him the idea of the sweater for Christmas!

The socks I knit for my Sockapalooza sock pal, inspired me to knit a similar pair for myself. Because I wear my home made socks year round, I need something suitable for summer. I made these short socks out of a cotton/wool blend using my favorite pattern of all time--Feather and Fan from Socks, Socks, socks. The snug fit, the cute little scallop on the cuff--perfect!

OK, a success. I decided to start another pair of socks for myself for the approaching fall. I like the self striping yarn, but I get bored with stockinette stitch. And, I just finished Feather and fan. I decided to do something new. How about Canal du Midi from Knitting on the Road?? Sure, let's go to France!
Next time, I'll go to France with a solid color yarn. The wonderful patterning of the travelling stitches is not shown off by the striping yarn. The stripes of the yarn are blurred by the traveling stitches, and the traveling stitches lose their definition due to the stripes.

Oh well, I'll make the second sock. The socks are for me and I like the pattern and the yarn.

Knitting is kind of like life these days--I take two steps forward, then one or two steps back with each project....

Hope your projects are perfect the first time!!


sherriknits said...

Your sweater is beautiful. I try my hand off and on with fair isle and sometimes I like it and sometimes I don't. Practice is what I need, though. Your socks are beautiful!

Kate said...

I love the little pink sweater. The first one definately takes me back to the 70s!!
The cotton/wool blend socks are cute as can be. I have yet to make a pair with cotton, but am hoping to ... after the Christmas list!!

Muir said...

Me gustan tus proyectos, sobre todo el sweater escandinavo. :)
Y no creas que sé siempre qué hacer con mi stash, también compro por impulso pensando que ya sé me ocurrirá algo, así que lo que he enseñado en el blog no es ni la décima parte de lo que atesoro. No sé si me atreveré algún día a enseñarlo porque te aseguro que aunque tejo mucho podría tejer todo un año sin tener que comprar ni un ovillo ;)

Michelle said...

Thanks for visiting my webpage! I'm enjoying persian tiles although it is slow going. I order the yarn and book from the virtual yarns website. I'm enjoying reading your recent posts. It's funny how birds of a feather find each other :)
Nice to meet you!

Pilar said...

Hola preciosa :)
Tengo un pequeño evento en marcha, y me preguntaba si puedo contar contigo, esta vez para que participes :)

HPNY Knits said...

wow! you have been busy!. yarn from 17 years ago. awesome. and what a cute sweater. its a very tempting project. there are a few babies in my families horizon.

Knitnerd said...

Wow... you have many nice projects to keep your hands busy! happy knitting.