Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Little Bit Each Day

As I've posted elsewhere on the interwebs, I've come to a conclusion about my Knitting in Red.

I am in the process of establishing new, healthy routines for myself. My change is slow, steady and deliberate, rather than lightning-quick.

I very much have a tendency to get excited about something and to focus on it very heavily for a little while, and then to either get bored and wander off, or to get excited about something else, or… anyway, I’m as inconstant as the moon. (Long time readers and the observant among you will note that this explains my little WIP “problem.”)

Since I am knitting this shawl as a piece of representational magic -- something that physically embodies the changes that I am making, I can not, must not abandon it. My decision, therefore, is not to worry about doing a lot of the shawl at any given time, but rather to pick it up every single day and do just a little.

I need to touch it, to add a row or a few stitches regularly, consistently. It will grow slowly over time, but slowly is okay. Slowly is good even, as slow steady change will last longer.

I'm working on new habits. To walk each day, to eat healthier foods in reasonable quantities, and knit a little bit to remind me of what I'm doing and why.

Kadollan's Knitting in Red

Sunday, March 18, 2012

And by then I was knitting red.

It became apparent that as I knitted yarn, I was also naturally knitting myself together and also nurturing myself with one of the most appropriate metaphors, and also physical realities, that I could have chosen for myself. I was not only knitting together a garment, but also the seen and the unseen, the solid and the evanescent, the conscious and the unconscious and the light and the dark in myself. 
And by then I was knitting red. (Bergman 31)
Red thread or yarn—physical, literal, red yarn, and it has to be red—helps to retrieve souls, and memories and energy. (38) 
Red thread or yarn is a tremendous ally for those women who are in transition, finding lost pieces, giving any kind of birth, or needing protection of any kind. Working with or wearing something made of red yarn, preferably hand spun or dyed, and, if at all possible, worked by one’s own hands, is a tremendous ally when moving from one level to the next. (39)
I first read and reviewed Deborah Bergman's The Knitting Goddess back in 2005 (the original post can be found here).   Overall, I remember that I enjoyed the book, although I was initially surprised to find that it was more about the author's spiritual journey than it was about knitting.

But the part about knitting in red...that part really stuck with me.  When my dear friend's daughter started her period, I bought her some red yarn and some knitting needles and gave them to her along with the quote.  If you aren't going through a period of transformation during puberty, when are you?

I thought of the quote again very recently when another friend was talking about her own (sometimes painful) period of transformation.  I was suddenly moved to find the quote and to give it to her -- I try to pay attention when I have an instinctive reaction that strong.   I am glad that I did, as it was as meaningful for her as it has been for me, and she herself decided it was time to knit in red.

When she and I talked about the quote, I started wondering again if it was time for my own red project.  For all that I found this quote that resonated for me so strongly seven years ago, I've never acted on it with my own project.

Once she stated her intention to start her own transformative red knitting magick (although I am not sure that she would use those exact words) she very graciously offered for others to join her in that journey.  It has been amazing how many women in our on-line community are in a place of change right now.  And how many have responded to the shared experience of making a red project in community.

My own project is born out of a need to move myself out of this place of Stuckness that I find myself in.   I have a happy life, I'm successful in my chosen profession, I have beautiful children and an active spiritual life.  And yet.  And yet I am disconnected and sullen and withdrawn.

So, the question is why?  I am hoping to find the answer as I knit.

Madrona by Rosemary (Romi) Hill
March is for Making Mates

And lest you think I forgot -- I am also working on some Mates for March.   I have my second Nemesis sock cast on (although I confess me I've done little more than knit the first 20 rounds or so), and I cast on Kirsten Kapur's Sweet Maize Anklets for Morgan.

Sweet Green Tea Anklets
 (I also just got a new camera.  I love my HTC phone with every fiber of my being, but I could NOT get good knitting pictures with it.)

Monday, February 27, 2012


I am pleased to come to you today to report great victory in the field of battle.

The Absolutely Fabulous (aka Ab-Fab, aka Blanket of Perpetuousity, aka that Damned Rag, etc.) is complete.  Donezo.


Actually, let me just say that again.


I am trying to remember when I really bought this kit.  It could not have been earlier than 2001, nor later than 2004.  In there somewhere -- so at best I've been not finishing this thing for 8 years.  At worst, for 11.  That's a long damn time, yo.

But now it is done.

Afghan on Coffee Table
I've put it on every "February is for Finishing" list since the first one.  And until last year I never even touched it.  I listed it, and then ignored it.   Last year I decided to get serious about my abandoned projects problem, and I finished or flung all sorts of things (taking my original 25 projects down to 6.   I worked on the blanket a fair amount, but didn't really catch tail-wind on it.  I trotted it back out occasionally all throughout 2011, but I was not yet half-way done when this February started.

I'm not entirely sure why or how I finally decided "No really, this is it," but I am so glad that I did.  I feel really good about it.

It doesn't hurt that it's pretty either.  (These photgraphs don't really do it justice.  My camera phone can only do so much indoors and at night.)

Afghan on Couch

I also finished up the Wee Scarf for a Certain Miss.  It's really more of a neck tie than a proper scarf.  But that's okay too.  I think she'll like it.  (Pooh likes it.)

A Bear and a Wee Scarf
The scarf is a simple pattern of my own designing, made from a clearance "tape" yarn that I found in the bottom of a bin at Hancock's several years ago.  The fiber fumes had clearly got to me.

So, it looks like I started February with 8 projects (which is a miracle in and of itself) and I'm most likely leaving it with 5.  I don't have any else close enough to pull out at this point.

But you know what?  I'm really okay with that.

Here are the current standings:

Ravenclaw Socks
Ab-Fab Afghan
Wee Scarf

Nemesis -- 50 % (on hold until March is for Making Mates)
Dr. Who Scarf -- 40%
Amelia -- 20%
The Lotus Blossom Tank -- 5%
Watergarden Cardigan -- 5%

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Finished Something! Finally!

Finally!  Progress to report!

I've finished my Ravenclaw socks - they are a perfectly serviceable and handsome pair of plain-jane socks.

I can't seem to get a picture of them that's at all true to the colorway (I swear I'm not crazy!  They have blue and bronze.  Really!)

I heart my new phone like a hearting thing that hearts, but I do miss my camera sometimes.  Its screen went all blinky, so now I get Surprise!Pictures, since I can't see anything when I use it.

The Blanket of Perpetuousity (or the Absolutely Fabulous Colinette Kit Afghan, as it likes to call itself) is getting so much closer to done.

I lack one of the half-squares, and then the top row of three.  After that it's some crochet work to make the sides less wonky, and to hide the edges across the top and BOOM!  Blanket!

I haven't worked on Amelia much lately, and don't expect to finish it this month.   If I do end up finishing another of my projects (other than the two above, I mean), it'll be the wee scarf that I'm knitting for some Miss' birthday.

So, here are the standings as of right now:

Ravenclaw Socks
Ab-Fab Afghan -- 85%
Wee Scarf -- 70%
Nemesis -- 50 % (on hold until March is for Making Mates)
Dr. Who Scarf -- 40%
Amelia -- 20%
The Lotus Blossom Tank -- 5%
Watergarden Cardigan -- 5%

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hippy Valurmtimes!

It's half-way through February, and I have no new finishings to report.

But!  I am making some goodly progress, so I'm not too fashed.   Having put away Nemesis, I've settled my focus on three other projects.  Of those, I expect (plan, intend, will, etc.) to finish two.

My Ravenclaw socks are my go-to plain knitting project.  I've turned the heel, decreased the gussets and am early in the "go go go" stage of finishing the foot.

Ravenclaw ~75%

 I'm still chipping away at the Absolutely Fabulous afghan.  In fact, as soon as I post this, I'll be going to work on it.  By the by -- there is actually more blanket here than there was last week.  It just doesn't look like it.  I apparently did not manage to take a picture of the new bits.

Ab-Fab Afghan ~66%
 And then when I get so tired of the Blanket of Perpetuousity that I'm ready to do something desperate, I switch over to Amelia.  I'm about an inch or so north of the waist at this point.

Amelia ~25%

I wanted to have more to report, but then most of what I have left on the needles are large projects, so I'm trying to bear that in mind.   And heck, if I just (WHEN I just) finish that afghan that will be such a huge relief.   It has been running in the background for so long, who knows how much of my metaphorical RAM will be released once it's done?

Monday, February 06, 2012

Aptly Named

I've finished the fist of the Nemesis socks.  I just... I don't love it.  This damned sock was such a pain in the ass (not really the pattern's fault, the pattern's pretty easy)... the stars just conspired against me, yadda-yadda.

But anyway, it's a sock now, which is more than it was before.

The sock is really much "redder" than this picture implies, btw.  My new phone is lovely, as is its camera, but we're still getting to know each other.

Cuttin' it close

I used up pretty much exactly all of the yarn from one skein of Plymouth's Happy Feet.

I'm putting this away until March (which, as you know, for Making Mates.)  

Back to the afghan mines...

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

List, List, Oh List!

Wherein we discuss (in detail, and with pictures) the projects that require accomplishment, in order of age, though not necessarily of import.

Item the First:

Absolutely Fabulous Afghan Kit from Colinette

The oldest of projects, this afghan (henceforth to be known as the "Blanket of Perpetuousity") has been my bosom companion for near a decade.  It is detestable in its unwillingness to finish itself, and if familiarity breeds contempt, then this rag is held in deepest scorn. Also it is very pretty.

Started in the Year of Our Lord 2001, I will turn all my attention to finishing this beast post haste.

Item the Second:

The Watergarden Cardigan.  This fair isle sweater is designed as a pullover.  I, in my hubris, saw no reason that I should not convert my first full fair isle attempt into a cardigan as I knit it.  This beauty will no doubt bring me many hours of joy as I re-learn to simultaneously pick and throw.  The steeking does not bear consideration, lest my too delicate sensibilities be overcome with dread.

Begun March 13, 2008, this lovely sweater may be doomed to further languish as focus is placed on other, easier projects.

Item the Third:

The Doctor's Scarf
An infamous project, instantly recognizable.  This charming piece has everything to recommend it, and nothing to detract save its interminable length.  Veritable miles of garter stitch monotony, broken only the whimsy of sporadic, unpredictable color change.

Begun during the early fall of 2008.

Item the Fourth:

Amelia.  This dear cardigan is perfect in every way, save its proclivity for the dread "purl through back loop," a finicky and awkward maneuver at best.

This lovely green sweater was first begun during the year of 2010, although faulty record keeping shrouds the exact date in the mists of time.

Item the Fifth:

Aptly named, the Nemesis has eluded completion.  First cast on at a slight 64 stitches, the truth about my ankles was quickly made known, and the first attempt was doomed to disgrace and destruction.   Cast on anew, the first sock has now reached the heel, and may yet prevail.

The first, failed attempt was begun on May 1, 2011.  A day for lovers, but not, it seems, for that doomed sock.  The difficult decision made, a new sock was begun that June.

Item the Sixth:

The Lotus Eaters
Later that same month, another project was conceived and then, alas, abandoned.  The Lotus Eaters, a sweet summer top, was intended to be created in an act of camaraderie with the author's dear friend.  Each would knit their respective shifts in solidarity. All the best of intent went into the planning of this activity, but neither knitter saw her way clear to continue.  Perhaps they were distracted on some lonely isle, with naught to eat but Lotus leaves, their commitments forgotten and abandoned behind them.

Item the Seventh:

Ravenclaw Socks
Humble in both yarn and pattern, these socks appeal through their patterning.  The bronze and blue put one in mind of a certain, noble House, known for their ready minds and wit beyond measure.

Begun in 2011, one sock has already been complete.  It's mate cast on and resting in the author's reticule awaiting it's completion.

Item the Eighth:

A pattern of the knitter's own devising, this scarf will one day grace the slender neck of a young lady of good breeding in my acquaintance.  The colors are to her liking, displaying as it does all of the hues of a freshly shorn unicorn.

Begun during September of 2011, this was meant to to serve as a gift to display my Auntish affections.  Another project made itself known, however, and this scarf abandoned.  Perhaps her birthday?

The above contains a true and factual accounting of all knitting projects currently desirous of finishing.   February should many of these fine projects put, at last, to rest.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February Eve

It's almost February, and anyone who is paying attention knows that means that there's about to be a whole mess of finishing around here.

The month of February is devoted to the act and promise of Finishing.   It falls on the calendar during what ought to be the coldest (wtf January?  60 degrees?  Really?) time of year.  Days are short and nights long, but we are on the rising side of the Yule Solstice, and heading into spring.   It's time to clean out the old, and start making plans for Spring.

So that means getting some of those old projects off the needles.  (Hard to cast on three new shawls and some socks when all the needles are stuck into Auntie Mabel's old cardigan, eh?)

"Finishing" for the purposes of the February that I'll be having usually means actually, you know, knitting the project.  But it also means "frogging" (I like yarn, as the lady says, more than I like bad hats), and flinging (this dishcloth is made out of acrylic from 1978?  Gosh!).

Okay, I think I may have flung all of the projects that would have qualified under that rule last year.  And have not, thankfully, cast on any new ones.

I may have actually cheated some, and started a week early.

What?  I'm allowed to finish things.

Two weeks ago I finished a wee shawl and a hat.

Twig Lace Cap

Ginkgo Shawl (as of yet unblocked)
 But that was before I made my list.   Those of you who were around last year (and the years before that) will remember that I have ... a problem.  A starting things problem.  Without a matching "and then also finishing things" problem.

Last year I had 25 UFOs/WIPs on January 31st.

This year?   This year I got 8.   (Okay, yes, half of them were on my list last year too.  Hush.

12 UFOs on January 24
When this picture was taken I had 12.  I finished this:

Vegamot Cap
And I frogged these:

Doomed Forest Walkers
Unlikely Mitts
Terrible Headband

Which leaves me with 8.   Tune in tomorrow for a full listing.  And also a strategy!  (Of sorts!)