Monday, January 23, 2012

About the Knit

Photo is 21st day of Sky Scarf. For those of you paying attention to that.

I've been giving a lot of thought to knitting and it's value and importance to me. I suppose it's like a lot of crafts that a person could pick up. Why didn't I crochet, or cross stitch, or (bohemian 'hippie' that I've been called) macrame? I do still have that 5 gallon bucket of beads to play with too.

I told you before that my mom was a crocheter. It has it's place, I do crochet at times. I prefer blankets that are meant for warmth to be crochet. I have serious hotpads in the kitchen ~ those are crochet. It could be that in my youth to choose my own path, to stray from my mom I deliberately opted for knitting as different from my mom's craft. I don't remember thinking that way about it. She had knitted once upon a time, there's a picture of my brother in an argyle pullover somewhere to prove it. There's an on-going discussion on Ravelry over the choice to knit or crochet.

Knitting creates a finer fabric. If you look closely at it, there are rows of UUUUUUUU to a knitted fabric. Crochet makes a denser fabric, close examination and person experience of the stitches show the thread looped around and pulled through to differentiate between each stitch, making the knitted U's more delicate by comparison. Really, knitting is only one stitch. First you learn the knit stitch. Then you learn to knit it backwards, which then becomes a purl, but if you turned your work around, you'd see the purling is really knitted from the other side. So you knit, frontways and backways, knit an purl. You can change the color, the order of the stitches, decrease a few, add a few, drop a few deliberately accidently on-purpose, thosands of stitches later you have... something.

I do remember thinking about how precise knitting is. When I was in high school, they were just starting to look at computer programming as a topic to teach. (Pay attention: this is the Star Trek: Next Generation portion of this post.) The first thing I looked at was binary code. Binary is computer language, a language of 1's and 0's. 0000111110000011111. How fun is that. But it's precise, like knitting is. If you were to look at knit and purls like 1's and 0's, they are very similar. It can be mind numbing, if you're not doing something interesting once in a while like a cable, or lacework, or changing a color.

So, after a time, the mind starts to move on while the hands are repeating the same motion again and again. My husband finds me often sitting at the computer, playing with my Nintendo DS, texting on the cell phone with double pointed needles and sock yarn in a whir of motion in my hands. He used to be amazed, now he just starts taking things away, saying I hog all the electronics (not really fair as I did leave him the remote and let him sleep) but he never takes the knitting.

But without the electronics, you can get obsessed with what your working on. Usually, I'm knitting for someone else. I don't usually keep anything I knit for myself. I believe it got to be that way because the project was TOO well known to me, I knew everything that was wrong with it and not enough about it was right to be as perfect as it was precise. Having been there through every last stitch, perhaps I was just fatigued with it by the time I cast off. When it's for someone else, every stitch becomes a wish: Wish the color is right, wish it fits them well, wish it keeps them warm, wish they became aware how beautiful they always were, wish they knew how much they were thought of with each stitch, for their happiness, their health, the joy of being thought of THAT much.

With that much thought, one can only set themselves up for disappointment in the recipient. The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee wrote a post around Christmas time about the proper way to receive a handcrafted item, even if you don't know what it is. Here is the link if you missed it: it's quite funny and applies to any gift to be received, in my opinion but if you don't want your favorite knitter hero to risk their needles on your eyeballs, it might be a good idea to remember this post:

There are some tactless people who have only ever received one handcrafted gift and wonder why it never happened again, just as there are people who go through life behaving as if they were dropped on their heads as babies and never behave without stupidity.

However, I think I've given away enough of my projects not to really be too interested in what they think at the moment they received it. After all, couldn't it be that what they received is just an example of the depth to which we are loved, and when confronted with that without notice, who CAN wax elequently enough? For example: My Dear Lord God, when I think about how wonderfully I'm made and how much thought you must have given to creating me and those things that make my life enjoyable and me happy.... Well, I'm overwhelmed and beyond speechless and thankfulness cannot be adequately expressed. After all, this isn't a gold statue at an showy awards show, this is real. So is my knitting.

When I knit and I'm beyond the point for the Health, Fit and Loved parts of the brain, I roll around to the good I'm doing in the world. For awhile, I've caused no disturbance to humanity, I've not indulged in anything that dulls what is real, I've allowed time to pass and at the end of time I've made a pair of socks to keep toes warm that are deep down in the boots, hands warm enough to wiggle a text, warmth to the electrons of the brain functioning, a shawl to wrap around and know it was really a hug for the hard days, a cape to twirl about and make the last dance never end, my favorite dogs keep walking with their heads high and tail wagging.

I think what it gives me, especially in the dark days of winter ~ is mostly a crystal clear HOPE! I can focus on something good to come if I just keep working at it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Middle of January

I have been knitting. Trying to keep my head above water, I've realized I have an excessive amount of Works In Progress (better known to Ravelers as WIP's).

# 1. Majority of my time recently has been spent on a sweater for Superman. It is made with recycled yarn from a sweater by Banana Republic. Fine Italian Merino. It chills me to think I'm knitting with something so fine, but if it hadn't been recycled and available from my favorite little shop of wonders, I wouldn't get to do this at all.

# 2. I realized I have a skein of MadelineTosh sock yarn. It was received in a package I got from a Purple Swap participated in two years ago. I think I forgot I had it because I went to Sock Summit I at about the same time and I was high on some kind of beautiful fiber overload. I started a little shawlette with it to take to a local knitters meet-up (more about that in a moment). The pattern is a knitted triangle, from the center of the long side, and should take just the one skein. I hope.# 3. The Sky Scarf, mentioned in the last post.

# 4. Sock yarn raglan of my own design, of Red Heart Heart & Sole, that I found at a dollar store not to long after we moved here.

# 5. Inspired by an article in Knitters Universe, for which I've received a free subscription after meeting Benjamin Levisay at Sock Summit II and having my picture posted on FaceBook by him in my sweater I knitted from their big K100 edition (because he's so cool he recognized it and named the pattern), YAY!, I've been making i-cord and knitting a chunky sweater. The spool of fine thread was gi-Normous and, amazingly, I'm thinking I may not get to finish what I'd planned on it, so I've come to a standstill on that.

But it's still sitting here bugging me and I'm blogging to ignore it.

#6 to infinity: Numerous other projects got packed in the move and have not yet been rediscovered.

There's a little shop that moved closer to my location (or to me!) here that I've been attending Thursday knit nights. FUZZ is located in Eagle, Idaho. It was in downtown Boise, but I still am struggling with finding my way around and from the passenger seat of the truck as Superman zooms past everything, I had yet to find it. One of the co-owners has been telling us that business is different in the new location. For instance, most of the shop visitors in the old location were morning shoppers and in the new it's become later in the afternoon. So far the knitting group is small, usually less than a half dozen.

Just this week I connected with another group that I've been following through Ravelry since before we moved under Treasure Valley Area Knitters, who are unaffiliated with any one shop. The moderator sets a specific place and each week they show up to a different spot, sometimes it's a coffee shop, a couple weeks ago it was a new Spaghetti Factory, this week's location was a Brew/Pub & Grill called Sockeye. (Funny story: a few weeks after we first got here, I noticed a sign out front that said 'Socktober' and assumed it was a knitting shop. Silly knitter self just assumes EVERYTHING is a knit shop!) Those gathered seemed to be mostly transplants to the area like myself, mostly in the medical profession, and varying skill levels of course. A sweet couple of young ladies across from me told me there are not usually any fiber or knitting related events in this area to look forward to (oh, Wail!) and that they're headed to the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival. I've not been to that event, but I'm sure it will be wonderful, so maybe I will at least hear all about it at some point.

Anyway, all of these projects are in my Ravelry profile, if you are on there. I've been keeping that fairly well updated. Blog you soon!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

January 1

All of last year kind of got away from me.

Things that happened for us where some exciting adventures in knitting, like Seattle Mariner's Stitch n Pitch, Sock Summit II, a Yarn Crawl and the first time I've participated in WWKiP day. (World Wide Knit in Public)

Lots of music events and new friends to meet... like every week!

Also, personally, there was one really big change, a move with a new job.

Some losses: We lost our little Maggie after we got to the new place. (This is one of the last pictures we took of her, on the last adventure away from the house, she's on the left.) That was so very sad for a long time, so eventually we consoled ourselves that we'd brought her home for a few weeks before she was gone and got another rescue pup, Joey.

He's kind of his daddy's boy already. They often nap in this fashion and Joey doesn't care much for being parted from him.

We do still walk as often as we can. The last few weeks have been mostly around the property we manage in the mornings and at the warmest part of the day in the late afternoon. On our days off we load the dogs into the truck and go over to a pathway next to the river. The dogs always know when we are going and get pretty excited.

I've been pretty busy knitting and think I may be connecting with a new knitting group here. New to them, too, because the store was moved and apparently if they had a group there, it didn't come with to the new location.

So, a few days ago I received a package from the home knitting group. It included a few balls and instructions to construct a Sky Scarf. (Here's the website: ) The idea is to take a moment and look out at the weather, particularly the type of sky, and knit two rows of a scarf to match.

Challenges for me: Well, two rows ~ That takes incredible restraint. Also, blue being the least favored of my personal choices for colors.

So, this means for 2012, I will be charting the skies above my new home. Looking up is a positive thing. Here is the cast on and two rows today, knit to resemble the clear blue of this morning and the cotton ball clouds with it. This does not match the sky of this afternoon, which is that first picture at the top there, when we went to walk on our pathway. Earlier was more textural anyway...

Hoping you're safe, well & warm and the next calendar year brings us all more to look up and see than last year.