June 10, 2010

Dishtowel Ditty

Do you ever purposefully prolong a project because you love knitting it?

I do.

I am enjoying the hand-painted shawl/wrap I wrote about last so much that I am finding ways to knit sparingly on it so that the project will last longer. It seems like a silly idea, but I find myself only knitting on it when I can pay attention and fully enjoy the project. If I can’t, then I pick up something else to work on. This has led to very chaotic knitting over the past week or two. I work a little here, a little there, and nothing gets finished.

I’m ok with that. In fact, it’s feeling pretty good. Normally, this makes me feel frazzled and anxious, but right this instant, it feels like I am comfortably busy and that I am an accomplished knitter who can juggle all these various projects with ease and smoothly move among them. I hope that proves to be true, or else I will have a lot of messes on my hands. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So besides my great wrap, I have a pair of complicated toe up bayerische socks, my two log cabin blankets (1) (2), Michelle’s sweater (which I am kind of secretly avoiding) , and a pair of knucks. I feel rich with options!

I didn’t need to start something new to keep my occupied, but in a moment of feeling down, I decided to stop by Michael’s and grab a final ball of grey wool for the log cabin and indulged in a little retail therapy. I proceeded to purchase several balls of cotton and cotton-ease yarn and a few things to make stitch markers. The great thing was that I only spent $35 on all of it and it made me feel even richer.

As I said, I have been really enjoying the wrap and part of that is that is the cotton in the yarn. I love the cool feeling, the non-hairy yarn, the smoothness. So I thought it might be nice to work on some other cool cotton projects too. Hence the spree. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I got home and immediately cast on a dishtowel pattern in summery lemon and lime. It was very satisfying and has inspired me to try all sorts of combinations and colors. The entire time I am knitting it I am envisioning other versions. I am also thinking ahead that these could be great gifts, as in Christmas gifts for the family. I might end up giving this color combo to my sister as a house warming gift when they move to San Francisco next month. And I have another couple planned as surprises for Keith to go in our kitchen. So many dishtowel varieties to consider!

While sometimes it is great to knit lovely, gorgeous knitted items and get admiring looks and compliments on them, it can be equally rewarding to knit useful, un-glamorous work-horse knits. And where it used to be hard to part with, or even use these kind of items, it has grown easy and exciting to think of my entire extended family scrubbing their dirty dishes or wiping their greasy hands on my knitted goods.

June 1, 2010

Shall I Knit Another Shawl?

I think my knitting now has a mind of its own. And that mind is demanding more shawls, of varying sizes, patterns, and yarns. It’s something I can’t seem to control. I specifically decided I was done with shawls after the last one, which I managed to finish without killing myself or others and looks pretty damn good OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         (others have expressed this besides me, so I am quoting it as fact).

I decided I would try to use up the rest of the Very-Splitty Alpaca that I knit the Springtime Blues with and be a good, economical knitting woman. Ha! My sneaky knitting brain has other ideas and threatened me with my worst nightmare – an unsatisfactory project. There is almost nothing worse than a project I just sort of like enough to keep going for a bit. It’s a sure sign that I will a. hate the finished project, and b. never actually finish it if it requires anything else to be done to it after casting off. Those projects just kill my will to knit.

I tried, I really did. I cast on several different things with the stash yarn. Yes, many of them were still shawls, but they were meeting the requirement of using up the yarn, so I looked the other way. Each thing just didn’t inspire me. I don’t know what it was, but each time I cast on, after the first row I would lose all interest in whatever it was. I thought perhaps I was just getting spoiled by so many great projects lately and I would force myself to carry on. So I kept knitting Bitteroot all through a whole evening at knit night before unceremoniously frogging it the next morning.

I don’t know what was wrong with me, but my knitting mojo was temporarily lost. I decided I was bored with shawls, and bored with the yarn, and maybe just bored.

Saturday morning dawned and as I planned the rest of the day after a wonderful 35 mile bike ride, I decided that it might be time to swing back by Balls and Skeins in Sebastopol and use up my gift certificate. This in itself wasn’t a bad idea, but several subsequent decisions made it less great.

Keith came along. Even though I know the consequences of this one, I seem to make the mistake of bringing him a lot. He becomes impatient, he rushes the decision, and I end up with odd things. Plus, he doesn’t help with the decision making process as he doesn’t much care what or how or when I knit as long as I am happy. Nice, yes. Helpful, no.

So I went in with the vague idea that I would either get some new yarn for something completely different (no socks, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         no shawls), or I would splurge and by myself some nicer needles. Did I do either of those? Of course not.

I have trouble with that store on a normal day. Something about the layout, combined with the type of yarns and the kind of hap-hazard design of the store make me indecisive and not fond of the place. So I wandered aimlessly. Keith became impatient. I ended up buying a lovely and insanely variegated skein of Misti  Alpaca Cotton Silk hand-painted, in a colorway called Ambrosia.

In itself, a nice item. But, I only have a single skein, it’s so outrageously hand-painted that it’s not suitable for many small projects, and the weather just turned very warm, making the thought of things like hats, scarves, and gloves unbearable.

In my dilemma I of course cast on another shawl.

I did think it through a little. The colorway will work with the pattern, I can use a whole skein up, and the cotton/silk will make a nice, lighter shawl/kerchief. I’m just not thrilled to be knitting yet another one when I set out specifically not to.

I’m not sure how far the yardage will go on this, but I am hoping it will be long enough that I might be able to use it as a sort of beach sarong for around my hips/waist with a bathing suit. It seems like it would work well like that.

The funny thing is that I am enjoying the knitting of the thing immensely. I love the feel of this yarn, it’s not hot and sticky to knit, it has just enough pattern interest to make it fun, and watching every stitch be a different color and the crazy patterning are mesmerizing. And it made for perfect beach knitting over the Memorial Day holiday when we took an impromptu trip up the coast.

I can never seem to figure out how this process works. My brain likes to keep it all a big mystery.