Archive for June, 2007
Ugh. I’ve had to frog my sweater all the way back to the shoulder. I was feeling good, knitting along, when this post over at Brooklyn Tweed made me stop and actually look at my knitting. I had this itchy feeling that maybe my gauge wasn’t working right, and I was gaining too many stitches on the sleeves. Investigation confirmed my fearful suspicions.
Here are the pics of my happy oblivious progress pre-unravelling:
And here’s the proof that I was well on my way to having a floral Star Trek outfit:
Ready to do the damage, I reread the section I’m following in Knitting From the Top – only to discover that in my, shall we say, enthusiasm, I had been increasing every single row, instead of alternate rows. The end result of which would be power shoulders worthy of Dynasty.
I am humbled, and back to this:
I’ve been thinking about things. Physical objects. How much I love particular tools and materials. A fragment of lace, one bead, my desk, a collection of postcards. Stuff.
Being the well-intentioned child of socially conscious parents I recoil from defining myself as materialistic. However the more I think about it, the more I’m finding validity in the word. I do love this material world, and the way the physical can carry a story and preserve meaning.
When I was little I played a game with myself. I would stare at my most cherished and familiar belongings, striving to make them unfamiliar. Something would pop and, rather like the description of switching from left to right brain in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, I would see my Teddy bear the way a stranger would, as a scuffed toy with a zipper across it’s back.
I don’t want to play that game anymore. Instead I’d like to explore more deeply the relationships I have with objects. See what comes up.
I love these two wooden spoons. The short one came to me in a batch of kitchen utensils when my ex’s grandmother moved into a home and distributed her belongings. It was already worn down on an angle from years of meals.
The large spoon was brand new when I bought it. I was working in a kitchen supply store, and for a while I oiled it, the way you’re ’supposed’ to. I like it better now that it’s dried out and stained. The burn down the left side just happened last week when I left it too close to the flame. Still works good.
Turns out that spirals are to be found everywhere I go, especially iron spirals. I’m beginning to think that there’s nowhere on this planet where I would be bereft of my twirly friends.
My favorite spirals from this trip were from the 11th century, covering a church door in a tiny French village.
Inside the sanctuary were a wooden Madonna and Child from the 13th century, of the kind I’ve only seen at the Metropolitan Museum, and a wooden Jesus on the cross, dressed like a monk and looking oddly friendly. He has been in this same church since the 10th century, with the first written account being from 1130-something when a monk came to see him on pilgrimage. Blows my mind – the longevity of handmade things, and the power of objects.
I had to take some handwork with me on our recent trip, so the weekend before leaving we rode the bus down to Red Hook to investigate Brooklyn General. Love at first sight! The store is delightful and old-fashioned and I wanted everything. Every. Thing.
Poor M followed me around patiently while I filled his arms with yarn, then asked him to return it to the shelves while I simultaneously shoved more, different yarn in his direction. It was the usual choosing anxiety attack since what I’d pictured in my head doesn’t exist and I had to reevaluate the whole sweater spur-of-the-buying-trip. On the ride home my mood swung wildly between delight and buyer’s remorse. Exhausting.
I had planned to make myself a sweater using the green and red colors and flower pattern of my fingerless mittens but there were no equivalent yarns in a larger gauge. Assisted and emotionally-supported by M and the enthusiastic shopkeeper, I chose a deep cerise Noro on a background of dark gray Morehouse Merino. (As I write this I am still swinging between delight and anxiety at the thought. Jeez.)
I decided to knit from the top down, following Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the Top. Turns out that while it really does allow you to check your fit as you go, this is not a technique devised with 2-color patterning in mind. Witness the chaos:
But I am nothing if not stubborn; this was taken the night before we flew home:
M refers to it as “your little shrug”.
I hardly took any pictures in our busy 3 days in Scotland, but here’s the cupola at the train station in Edinburgh, taken as we ate breakfast before catching the London train:
During our handful of hours in London I apparently only took pictures of the ground. It amazes me what variety there was in just a few blocks. I took a couple more when we visited Perpignan, in the southern tip of France. I’m loving them all together in the mosaic.
And yes, those are my shoes. Oh how I love them.