Tuesday, July 12, 2016
This seems to be the year of re-discovering my knitidentity. I've been answering these questions of for whom, what, where, when, and how do I knit almost instinctively this year. I am usually the kind of person who does things first and figures out why afterward, so it makes sense to me that I would dig into this now, 10 years after I started falling in love with this craft. When I saw that Melanie Fallick was writing a book on making things by hand and wanted quotes for the book (see her blog post here) it made me stop and think. Why is making things by hand so important to me? It's never been something I asked myself. Growing up I was attracted to art. I colored, I drew, I made latch hook rug things. My father's mother used to collect shells or coral (before we really knew that it was a bad thing to take coral from its natural environment) and she'd bring these back to us when we were little. I don't quite know how or why it started, but we began to color the shells with markers. My father's sister used to create pottery (we had her wheel for quite a while. I always kind of was hoping to get to use it but didn't get a chance to before my parents did something with it), and my grandmother used to love to draw. But I suspect my mother's side is more where the compelling drive to work with my hands comes from. My mom dabbles in many fiber crafts, but hasn't really gotten obsessed with any the way I have. My grandfather worked in textile mills in Massachussets (In Lowell? Near Lowell?) before going to the Korean War and then school on the GI bill. My grandmother, though, has always seemed to me to be an expert in all fiber arts. She knits, embroiders, sews, weaves, and crewells as well (those kits are HARD to find these days!). So I've not only had an example of handmade around my whole life, but I've always had some sort of creative influence flowing through me as well. I make things with my hands because I need to. Making with my hands is, I would say, such a part of me that it almost defines who I am.
I am a doer.
I am a creator.
I am a maker.
I'm not honestly sure what I would do with my hands if they weren't working on a project. As it is, when I'm at work or driving anywhere I pick at my fingers, the nail (unless they're painted), the cuticle, the skin around them. I destroy my fingers when they aren't otherwise busy. They sometimes bleed and get painful.
TL:DR: I make things with my hands to prevent auto-canibalization.
Saturday, February 27, 2016
It's taken me several years, but I think I finally understand how to choose a project for a tropical vacation. 2009 - Hawaii I know I checked the weather before I left. I think I even knew it would be hot. I brought a shawl project because I figured I'd have a hard time finishing a whole shawl in a week. I started a Seraphim out of some beautiful Briar Rose Angel Face. I did not complete it in a week. In fact, it was rather gross to knit with in Hawaii. Don't get me wrong, I love the shawl and the yarn. But Alpaca yarn, even lace weight alpaca yarn is not the best yarn to knit with in 80 degree weather. I pretty much only knit in the room before bed or on the plane.
2011 - Cruise to the Bahamas
My needles were almost taken from me. Not just any needles, all of my Addi Clicks! At the last minute a different TSA officer came over, realized what they were and let me get on the boat. I brought all of those with me because I was planning on knitting an Ishbel with beads. I think I did manage to get all of the beads threaded onto the silk/cashmere yarn, but I think that might have been all I accomplished on that trip
2012 - Orlando, Disney World
Honestly, I know I brought a knitting project with me, but I don't even remember what it was or even knitting on it.
2014 - Jamaica
After our wedding, I was really excited to go to Jamaica and to do absolutely nothing. I remember reading a book on the beach, and I think I tried to finish knitting a pair of wool socks, but had the same experience as in Hawaii. It's pretty gross when your fingers start sweating.
2015 - Jamaica
This year, I got a bit smarter. I knit a sock of wool, silk, and a strand of sparkle. It made my fingers sweat a lot less, which was good. However, I guess they don't really need socks in Jamaica because the cabana boy was completely confused when I told him I wasn't knitting a bag!
2015 - Orlando, Disney World
Yeah, there was a lot of travel last year. I brought a hat with me to knit and really enjoyed knitting it, but finished it rather quickly. I also brought a sock with me this time, so i was fine. I managed to knit quite a bit while waiting in lines. It didn't seem as though we waited in as many lines in 2012. I could be misremembering, but I think it was busier there this past year than in 2012. I feel like I would have remembered knitting more.
All this leads to...
2016 - Jamaica
We're about to head back to Jamaica tomorrow morning and I think I've figured out the perfect project to knit on while there. This past summer I knit a couple of tees. I really LOVE the Flex I knit. The Kestrel from Quince and Co is so breezy! So instead of just bringing it with me to wear while I'm there, I thought I'd bring yarn and knit another to wear this summer. Kestrel is a knitted linen yarn and is rather affordable. I remember this to be a rather quick knit, too, so with any luck I'll come back with a whole new shirt (unless I get distracted with comics and Clara Parkes' Knitlandia...
Monday, February 22, 2016
How do you choose the colors you want to knit a sweater from? While I start choosing a shawl based on the colors of the yarn and how much I love the yarn, when I choose a sweater project I tend to start with a pattern I love and a yarn I think would work and choose a color of that specific yarn. This has lead to the following stats: I've knit...
I'm also contemplating a yoke sweater from Elizabeth Zimmerman that I've been thinking about for several years now. In my head, this sweater is navy blue and has a ring of white stars around the yoke. I think they'd be hand drawn stars, though, not perfect ones. I got this idea after seeing someone with an EZ Yoke sweater the first time I went to Rhinebeck. Hers had a yoke that had a kind of Greek wave pattern on it. At some point after that I started thinking about this kind of sweater (I feel like it was very close to having met that woman, actually, on the benches of the food court part of the fairgrounds). I've thought about this sweater quite often throughout the years, and I think this might be the year it becomes a reality.
At Rhinebeck in 2014 I bought some worsted weight blue yarn and white yarn from Green Mountain Spinnery. I'm just not sure if I actually have enough white to accomplish the stars as big as I'd want them. I might need another skein of the white, which due to dye lots, I'd probably have to buy two more and add the first to the PILE of white yarn I have on hand for whenever someone decides they need a bouquet of white pom-poms again.
All the talk this year seems to focus on Icelandic yoked sweaters, but that cabled sweater is so pretty and I already know I have yarn for it that would work. What do you think I should do first?
Also: How do you choose the colors you want to use to knit a sweater?
- 3 green sweaters
- 3 red sweaters
- 2 purple sweaters
- 1 1/2 white sweaters (I have one in progress)
- 1 blue sweater
- 1 brown sweater
- 1 gray sweater
Saturday, February 13, 2016
I love to knit shawls. I don't, however, love to wear shawls. Very few of the shawls I've knit have actually been worn, I'm sorry to say. Why am I thinking of this now? I've been reading that book everyone else is reading, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and it's somewhat at odds between my desire to create and my burgeoning desire to liquidate my items. You see, I really want to cast on for a Doodler shawl after seeing so many on Instagram. I have some rad yarns picked out to knit it in!
But when I started thinking of casting on, I realized that I rarely wear any of these colors. I don't even think a shawl with these colors would match any of the coats I own (I actually don't have a plain black or navy coat because I find them boring and hard to pick out from a pile at parties). I have outfits it would go with, to be sure. But since I'd rarely wear it with any of my coats, it's unclear if it would actually make it to my destination for me to wear it.
While I've always realized I am mostly a process knitter, I think this kind of project really brings it home. If I won't wear this shawl that I really want to knit, who will? Also, there must be a shawl that I will actually wear that I can knit instead. What does that shawl look like!?
I thought I was knitting that shawl when I started Lida. I thought I'd wear it at my wedding, but then it was 58 degrees (never thought that would happen in Rhode Island in early March!) and wearing a shawl was not in the cards.
I thought I was knitting that shawl when I was knitting a Stripe Study Shawl. I wear those colors all the time. But the shawl ended up to small to be anything other than a scarf.
The only shawl I consistently wear is a Rhodochrosite I knit from some black cashmere (that I don't even have a completed photo of).
Maybe I should just set up an Etsy shop for shawls I knit but won't wear so that I can continue knitting ridiculous items for fun.
Or maybe I should just shift my focus to color-work yoke sweaters as seems to be happening naturally. Maybe the lesson here is that when I get an itch to knit a shawl I should just wait it out.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I wrote this on Monday and while typing it up today I had to enter all the stash into Ravelry and while I'm still rather focused on color-work yoke sweaters, I'm also now still feeling the Doodler shawl so maybe that Etsy shop is a good idea...