Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Knitting Funk

I've been in a knitting funk since the new year. It stems from trying to make a sweater for my older son's fiancee for Christmas. I chose the cute sweater from Interweave Knits' Spring '06 issue called "Sunshine Circle Jacket." It was a fun design to knit, and quite creative in its use of partial circles for the fronts of the jacket to give a bolera shape to the garment. But it turned out WAY too big, in spite of my knitting the smallest size. So I partially ripped it out and made those circles somewhat smaller and re-did the ribbing around the whole thing (I had decided that ribbing would be better than a bulky hem as called for in the directions). Still, again, the sweater just swallows her up. So, for the third round I marked various key spots while it was on Lauren. It's just sitting near my favorite knitting chair waiting to be re-done yet again.

You may wonder why one little set back would cause such a funk, lasting over two months now. I have lots of other knitting projects (not to mention weaving and spinning projects) to take my mind off this one knitting fiasco in the long span of my knitting history. I can't say for sure why this is so traumatic for me. This is certainly not the first project to turn out less than perfectly for me!

I think it was the knitting "tight rope" I'd strung for myself this holiday season. I have been spinning and knitting a sweater for my younger son. I ordered roving from one of the Orkney Islands off Scotland, from sheep called Ronadlsay that I'd never known of before. I never intended that sweater to be a Christmas present for Chris, but I had hoped it would be done in time to give him for Thanksgiving. As Christmas approached and Lauren's Sunshine Circle jacket dragged on, I realized I'd be lucky if I finished Chris' sweater by the end of January when he returned to college. Then there was also my little niece's Christmas sweater, a wonderful Dale design called Marihone.

It has adorable little red and black lady bugs interspersed with multi-colored stripes of different widths. Back in Dec. it was just zipping along lickety-split. When Lauren's sweater went down the path of (I'm tempted to say failure, but will refrain!), the path of do-over I had to put both Madison's and Chris' sweaters aside. When I returned to Madison's sweater, it had lost it's zip. Somehow it's become a drudgery to work on it. There really is no time to dawdle with a toddler sweater if one expects the toddler to wear it for more than a nano second. But now it's March and it's still not finished! Help! I did plan for it to fit her next fall/winter as well, but I was sure hoping she'd get two seasons out of it. Now the first season is ending.

So, back to Chris' sweater. He's home for spring break now, and he's asking me to work on it. I had finished the body and started one sleeve. The steeks on the body were still closed so today I decided to cut them open so Chris could try on the sweater. I was practically paralyzed with a lack of confidence about this sweater fitting. Also, although Chris would fervently deny it, I think he is quite picky, and I was almost certain he'd find something not to his liking about the fit of this sweater. While I was spinning the yarn (for months) we had discussed very carefully what this sweater should look like. Chris had very strong opinions about what this sweater should NOT look like! Anyway, on to the punch line!....
I cut open the steeks, and he tried it on and loved it. I mean really loved it! I wanted to faint from relief. Something has turned out very well. Now I have just the bit of impetus I need for tackling those sleeves. I don't know if he'll be taking the sweater with him this weekend at the end of his spring break, but surely he'll have it another week later. It's a good thing he's in Rochester, NY, where it won't be truly spring weather for some time to come!

And so I did finish it! Less than a week before Easter! A friend of mine took it to him on Maundy Thursday since she was going to Rochester. Rochester has had two snow storms since then, so he has gotten to wear it a few times!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

This is a little out of order, going back to the lunar eclipse that happened on Saturday, March 3. Losing those two posts interfered with my writing about the eclipse, but now I've made peace with the disappearance of those two entries I can get back on track.

My friend Elisa called me about 7.30, and told me to go outside to see the eclipse. I grabbed my cell phone (so I could call my two sons and my husband since everyone was out of town that evening) and went out on the front porch. This porch is the best feature of my whole house. It sits quite far back from the road, so our front porch is a private place, and since it faces East, there have been many wonderful evenings to watch the moon rise. The moon was still rising Saturday night when I went out on the porch to see the eclipse. The eclipse was more than half way done already, but it was still a wonderful sight. I watched until the end, which must have been about half an hour.

A couple of years ago I read that native American women thought moonlight was very good for female well being. Women should sleep with the light of a full moon falling directly on their faces. Well, even though glass cuts out the real rays of moonlight, I've felt very connected knowing that on those somewhat rare occasions when a full moon is rising late enough in the evening for me to be in bed, that light is falling on me as it comes straight through one of my windows! So I thought of all that real moonlight falling on me as I watched the eclipse. I hope I gained something good from it!

No weaving to speak of yet this week, but I have returned to my younger son's handspun, handknit sweater. I've started the sleeves! He'll be home tomorrow evening for a week (spring break). With a lot of luck I hope to finish both sleeves and get the sweater assembled for him to take back to school with him. School is in Rochester, NY, so he could still get some wear out of a winter sweater there before real spring weather arrives.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Lost Posts

I wrote two posts recently and saved them as drafts so that I could add pictures. Bob was out of town with the camera both times, and I was waiting to have access to it. Now both posts are gone. Obviously it's human error, but I can't imagine what I did since the "save as draft" button is as big as life, and the only other button is "publish" which certainly didn't happen since the posts are missing!

We are going through another bout of absurdly cold weather. It was only about 15-degrees F today, with snow. It's not the snow I mind at all! I couldn't bring myself to work in my basement studio. Even if the heat is on down there it just feels cold.

I've added another link at the bottom of the page. It's the online guild I joined at the new year. What a great group! Every month there is a new online workshop to join, with lots of online lessons and homework. I got a calendar with photos of members' work which is just lovely, and the calendar is perforated so that the photos can removed and saved when the calendar is no longer useful. And lastly, I received a printed journal from this group with interesting articles and terrific photographs. I had no idea that there would be a journal included in my dues. This is a great group and membership is quite a good deal.

Since this month's workshop is weaving Summer & Winter, I'm posting a photo of a project Bob and I did together a couple of years ago, in honor of both our parents' 50th wedding anniversaries. I wove the polychrome S&W cloth on my AVL. What a bear pegging the treadling sequences! I should have woven it on my 8H jack loom with a skeleton tie-up. I thought I was being so clever to put it on the AVL, but it was actually one of the stupidest things I've ever done! Well,"experience is what you get..."

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Late Winter

Saturday, March 3, 2007

I wrote a post about a week ago, and it is lost! That just shows how little I know about what I'm doing here. Oh well.

I have come down with a cold on these first few days of March. Perhaps that has contributed to my funk lately. In spite of my lethargy and less than optimistic attitude, I have been weaving. Sometimes I avoid the things I love doing when I'm down, and sometimes I find quite a lot of solace there, even when I cannot seem to cheer up. I am weaving what feels like acres of solid color plain weave on my historical tapestry. I should post photos soon, although who wants to see an acre of solid color plain weave?

I make very small progress on my fabric projects: runners in Monk's belt on a borrowed Norwood loom, a small hanging of autumn red maple leaves in Theo Moorman technique on my Baby Wolf, and those same red/tan, 8 harness, log cabin dishtowels on the AVL. I could be weaving a silk scarf, an 8 harness network twill on my small Purrington table loom if I would just tie on and get going.

A few more birds are joining the chorus these days as the light stays longer. On a couple of days I've noticed that spring-like bouyancy in the air, a combination of humidity and warmth, at least in the sun if not in shade. Hopefully soon we'll be in the midst of what e. e. cummings called "mudluscious," a time I always find ridiculously hopeful!

This photo shows a detail of a scarf designed and woven byBonnie Innouye. I took the photo during a class with her last fall. This is the type of thing I have on my Purrington table loom. I should get back to it....