Thursday, September 6, 2007

the current state of affairs and a theory

The tally since last time is, one finished Red Red Scarf, Serious Stash Enhancement, a foot of a sock, a bit of a cuff of another sock, and lastly, the pattern, yarn, and needle finally decided on for a second shawl for my Auntie in England.

First up, the Red Red Scarf (don't forget to donate to the Red Scarf Fund and tell me you did to get entered in my little contest for the lovely Handmaiden Sea Silk and Victorian Lace Today book) which looks just like the Gray Red Scarf except for actually being Red. And being knit in doubled "Aran" weight (which didn't look like aran weight to me) instead of a real bulky weight yarn. I wouldn't do that again, btw. I spent so much time untwisting the two balls (still not sure how they got twisted either) that I could probably have just knit it single and used more stitches and not had it take too long to finish in time. Live and learn. Anyway, here it is modeled by my super model.
Red Scarf knit in a 3x3 rib alternated every 3 rows to prevent draw in using two strands of Rowan Classic Yarns' Cashsoft Aran in "Poppy" knit on a size 11 circular needle.

Serious stash enhancement has also occurred since last post. Last weekend was the anniversary of my birth so my mum gave me some money I could use for whatever I wanted as my birthday gift. (Here's a question, shouldn't I be paying her, not the other way around?) Naturally I spent it on stash enhancement. I spent it more than once, frankly. The thing is, when she gives me a check for my birthday I often find myself conveniently forgetting that I already thought "Oh I can get that with my birthday money" on an earlier occasion. Something about yarn fumes that transcends even the Internet. So, I probably ended up spending it locally as well as at the Loopy Ewe. But who can blame me really?

After all, one of the localish LYSs around here was having its annual sale. So of course I had to go. And they were having a trunk show of Habu yarns and kits and a talk by Takako Ueki, the owner of Habu Textiles, on how to read Japanese patterns. So naturally I had to attend. It was a very interesting talk. Both scary and inspiring at the same time in a way. Like I imagine standing at the top of a cliff in a hang glider ready to make your first glide might feel. I'm alternating between now thinking I can do a whole lot more and being afraid of the possibilities almost. It could be incredibly freeing if I could just get myself to embrace that freedom. It's a pity I'm not braver. I must work on that.

If you get a chance I highly recommend attending that talk. It was so interesting that naturally, I had to buy some Habu. I fell hard for a jacket kit. So I said "Thank you Mummy" (and hubby and daughter and...) and I bought it.

And then Sheri did a sneak up and put up the Perchance to Knit yarns. And I got this:
and this:

Thanks Mummy! Oops. Oh well. With luck I will manage to get something that is on the needles done before I start the Habu jacket. Although, it would be a perfect fall jacket for here I think. Drat... Must resist startitis... And the Perchance to Knit yarns are so nice that I'd really like to start a sock with them too soon. Must resist startitis...

I got more knitting done than just the scarf since I last posted although not as much as I'd have liked. I got the foot done on the first of my Wendy's Sportweight Sock despite the fact that I ended up having to tink back because I had gone further than I should have for the point to start the heel. Actually, I ripped back part of that, taking my courage in both hands and pulling out all the needles and pulling out at least 8 rows of work before picking the stitches back up again. I was amazed but it actually worked.

I also had to drop down some purl stitches and bring them back up as knits. I had popped in a little ribbing on the sides (6 stitches total in 1x1 rib on each side of the instep instead of stockinette like the rest of the sock) to snug it up a bit. But I ended up having to drop some of them down and switch it back to stockinette because my foot gets bigger around toward the heel despite the fact that looking top down it actually narrows quite a lot as it goes back. Live and learn. So in this photo it looks a little funky on the sides there, but I think that the first wash will smooth that all out just fine. Now I just need to write down what I ended up with for the snugging up ribbing that remained so that I can make the other sock match.

Wendy's Sportweight Toe-up Gusset Heel Sock in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Icehouse knit on size 2 wooden DPNs.

I also managed to get a couple of repeats done on the cuff for the August RSC socks but I don't think it looks like enough to blog about yet. I hope next time to have more done so that a photo would actually be interesting.

My other accomplishment, such as it is, this last week or so is picking the pattern, yarn and needle to use for the next shawl for my Auntie in England. I picked the yarn first, deciding to go with my mum's theory that cashmere would be good. So I chose Handmaiden 2-ply Cashmere in Marine. There were about 3 other patterns I was considering but the one I finally decided on was The Forest Canopy Shawl by Susan Lawrence. Since I wanted this to be a warm shawl for the winter and she's my absolute favorite Auntie and worth two skeins of 2-ply Cashmere if necessary I decided to go with the Forest Canopy Shawl since I think the pattern is slightly more closed than some of the other options so it will be warmer. But the pattern lookd like it is easy enough for me to get it done relatively expeditiously. Much more so than my initial desire to create my own pattern for the shawl. (Over-reach much?) Still, despite finally deciding on everything, I haven't gotten far enough yet for a photo to be worth it, but I think I will be able to post a progress photo within a week that will look like something. It took me an awfully long time to make all those decisions.

Which brings me to my current theory: Cassie of Too Much Wool had a fun post the other day about start-itis that got me thinking about why I don't get much done. Partly, it's just because I don't spend enough time knitting to get things done quickly. I started trying to think of ways to get more knitting time without everything else I'm juggling coming to a screaming halt. But, I couldn't really figure out where I had spare time I wasn't using wisely (except maybe web browsing time - heh). Then I had a mini-epiphany of sorts, it's not just a lack of time, it's also that I spend too much of the knitting time I do have in thinking and planning and futzing about. Trying to get the perfect combination of yarn and pattern. Trying to get gauge perfectly. Trying to choose the perfect next project. It took some thinking about it to realize that it was basically a perfectionism problem. Which is kinda funny considering how awful some aspects of my knitting look.

The proof is in what does get done. My projects that have been completed (well, the ones done in a more timely manner anyway) were all deadline knitting. I needed it done for a particular day for example. Like DD's poncho for Christmas last year. Or the Spring Things Shawl (except I actually missed the deadline for that one but I was far enough along that I kept keeping it active) this spring. Or the Red Scarf knitting. With a deadline I had to give up on "perfect" and go for "good enough".

But artificially imposing deadlines on myself doesn't seem to work very well. Even external ones that are "soft" like "the new RSC kit is coming soon so I have to get to work on the ones that aren't done yet" don't get me going.

I gotta figure out how to fix this problem because my yarn acquisition rate and project finding rate are still far out-pacing my yarn usage and project completion rates. I decided to devote the rest of September to working on the whole perfectionism thing. For example, last weekend, instead of rushing out to the LYS Saturday to pick up a ball of yarn I needed to finish the Red Red Scarf, the store I was going to be in anyway on the Sunday for the Habu trunk show and talk, I picked up my simple sportweight socks and got the foot done on those. Although again with the perfectionism and "correcting" the initial ribbing. I also figured out what I needed to do to get "close enough" to gauge on the August RSC socks (within the difference between my feet anyway) so managed to get those properly started. And I frogged the swatch for DD's tank because the fabric wasn't even close enough, let alone perfect.

Speaking of Perfect:
I'm so proud. That's my little girl. What you can't get from the still is just how fast those needles were flying. She still won't do more than knit. She's not ready for purl and she only did the needle manipulation of the long tail cast on for that headband not the left hand yarn manipulation half. But she's getting there. And for the few minutes a week when she is knitting, the needles are flying. Of course her attention span is shorter than mine so she doesn't knit for long before she gets bored. So it's gonna take a while for her to finish that headband. But she's only 8 so that's ok really. I'll be in trouble when she hits double digits and I end up being the one with the shorter attention span.

1 comment:

Sheepish Annie said...

Lookit that girl knit! I'm impressed...she'll be outknitting me in no time. Actually, she probably already is!