fearless knitting bag inventory

i’ve got WAY too many projects underway! why do i do this?!

You hear it a lot on television these days, where it seems like every show has at least one scene in an AA meeting: you have to take a fearless moral inventory. Although I think it’s a good idea for everyone to take a fearless moral inventory — AA or not – today I was thinking about taking a fearless knitting bag inventory. It’s a version of WOTN Mondays, but on Tuesday.

So what’s on the needles? There’s one I can’t reveal here, the wedding shawl, but here we go:

2nd Kai-Mei, ready to work the heel

My Kai-Mei socks – I’ve been sneaking little wearings of the finished sock because it’s so dang wonderful. Madelinetosh sock, in crow – feels kind of hard when you’re knitting it, but as the fabric flows from the needles, it’s softer than you think it’ll be. And when you soak it and block it? Really so nice. The pattern is clever and fun to knit, but when I was knitting the first sock I was just going on faith (Cookie A faith) because I couldn’t see how it was going to work. I highly recommend the pattern and the yarn.

OK, next?

oh, my dearly beloved Ishbel, languishing....

I do love this Ishbel, knit with madelinetosh lace, in lettuce. It’ll be my 3rd (why do I think “she’ll be my third”?), and the pattern is fun and the color is great and I love the whole deal but it’s been set aside for so long that I struggle to pick it up again. Once I finish the wedding shawl I’ll return to this because it’s going to be fantastic.

Next?

what is wrong with me?!

Stop it, me! Stop! Why did I start this one?! I had plenty to work on, the last thing I needed to do was to start another project, but I did. This is Baktus, and I got about 1/3 of the way through it with Noro Silk Garden Sock (pictured above, the yarn cake) when I decided that I’d rather alternate the Noro with a black yarn. So even though I had no business starting this one in the first place, I frogged it and started over, alternating it with a KnitPicks Essential Kettle Dyed, in soot. [Lori, do not start another project!!]

such a 3-D blankie!

Totally Autumn, which I’m knitting with Cascade 220 Heather in chocolate, so it’ll be more like a blanket. The photo represents the length I get from one skein; since we want it to be ~6 feet in length, I’ll need 7 skeins and of course I’d bought 6. Luckily the sale is still on at Webs, so I bought additional skeins.

Next?

hanging my mondo head in shame and denial

This project, the Mondo Cardigan in madelinetosh merino (graphite) has been so painful. I had enough yarn to complete the sweater, but I foolishly didn’t look at all the skeins before I started. One of the lovely things about madelinetosh yarns is the variability in color, but this time it bit me in the butt. When I got to this point on the first sleeve, I noticed that my last two skeins were quite obviously blue. That would not work. I couldn’t find any graphite in any of the online stores, so (to use Yarn Harlot’s phrase) I threw up the Bat Signal in the rav forums, pleading and begging. Very kind raveler Glennae offered to sell me two of her skeins, which looked like a match to mine, but that would leave her with an insufficient amount of yarn to knit a sweater – the reason she bought it. I didn’t want to leave her in that spot, so I basically just went into denial and ignored the problem. Then, last weekend, I “randomly” decided to look through ravelers’ stashes to see if anyone had any of this yarn, and found Jenny – boopersin on ravelry. Jenny, O Jenny, my new BFF and savior. I wrote her asking if she’d sell, told her my sob story, and she quickly agreed. Isn’t she wonderful? Friend her immediately if you’re on rav, she’s a keeper (and Glennae too, if you don’t know her yet). So Jenny’s two skeins are winging (or brown trucking) their way to me, which means I’ll be able to finish my Mondo Cardigan. Whew.

Next?

froth and beads

Is this technically “on the needles,” given the fact that I’ve obviously pulled out the needles? Apparently not. It’s gorgeous. It’s Liquid Silver, by Rosemary Hill, with Elann Silken Kydd, a luscious and halo-ey mohair and silk blend, with glass beads. I started knitting it when I first returned to knitting a couple of years ago, and honestly, it was beyond my beginner’s skills. I struggled with the very thin yarn on the very slippery needles, with nothing on hand to thread the beads onto the yarn. So I got this far and then put it away. Apparently at some point I pulled the needles out – to use them for another project, probably? – but I don’t remember doing that. The pattern would be very easy for me now, so I hope to frog this and just start over with the same pattern. After all, I have the beads. 🙂

I know this is supposed to be a fearless inventory, but I’m not being fully honest here. There’s a sweater in progress, halfway up the back but I don’t like it so I’ll frog it and reuse the yarn, and a Christmas stocking for one of my girls, just begun and set aside.

There. Now I’ve been really fearless, I’ve confessed my excess. I feel much better. 🙂 And I just noticed how many of my projects are made with madelinetosh yarn. I love her.

drawl, y’all

on accents

Although I can quash it with a great deal of focused effort, I have a pretty thick Texas accent. People in NY usually say “oh, you have such a great southern accent” which would horrify southerners and Texans, equally. But that’s ok, I can’t tell the difference between Staten Island, Long Island, Bronx, and NJ accents. I don’t blame them. People who are well-versed in Texas accents would immediately identify mine as the north Texas/west Texas/hick version. It really is awl, not oil, frah not fry, and if I’m very tarred (not tired), it can even be aint not ant (with a nod to this brilliant poster by a wonderful artist I know). But anyway, over the years I’ve loved and hated my accent, accepted it and tried to eliminate it – mainly because Yankees tend to think you’re stupid if you sound like me. My ear is so finely tuned, I can hear the residual Texas accent underneath the voices of actors who have undoubtedly trained for hours and hours to eliminate it. Ha – gotcha.

No surprise, when I’m tired or when I talk about Texas or when I talk to other Texans, my accent …. well, it expands. That’s a nice way to say it. It deepens. It gets thicker. And the muscles in my face that form words feel familiar again, and something clicks in my deepest self. Ah, I’m back to me. I actually think my very self changes a little when I talk to a Texan; when I dropped the last daughter off at college, I started talking to a Texan and the people with me kind of stood back in surprise, and told me that I’d changed while talking to her.

So today, in a desperate quest to locate my GRE scores, since ETS only keeps them for 5 years, I decided to try my former graduate program to see if they kept them as part of my application package. I emailed the generic Graduate Office Person, described my request as a likely wild goose chase, and clicked send. Within a few minutes I got a call from Chris, who said she did indeed have my scores. And she was a Texan (no surprise, since I was calling the University of Texas at Austin). And I felt happier than you can imagine, like I’d returned to the groove of my familiar. It’s such a funny thing, the way we can feel at home with sound, and smell, and the rhythm of an accent. I didn’t want to let her go, and stretched the conversation out as much as possible.

bah y’all (translation: goodbye everyone!)

KTRN flash…..back!

flashing back to the great year of 1977 via photos

I graduated from high school in Wichita Falls, TX, in 1977. The local radio station, KTRN, did this thing where randomly, at the end of a popular song, they’d play “KTRN flash….back!” and then play the song again. I remember driving to my job at Treasure City one afternoon, listening to the Captain and Tennille singing Love Will Keep Us Together on the radio, and as the song neared the last few notes, I said out loud the KTRN flashback deal, and then that’s what happened. I was so thrilled by my anticipation, mostly because boy did I love that song.

The day after I graduated, I moved to Austin (which is really the only place to be, in Texas, if you’re a thinking person). I’d lived there a number of times before, and loved the hippie vibe, the weirdness of Austin – immortalized for the last many years in t-shirts saying “Keep Austin Weird” – and the strange characters like Leslie, the cross-dressing homeless guy who looked damn good in his bikini and high heels (from the back, anyway). When I’d lived there three years earlier at age 14, my dad would take me to the Armadillo (Armadillo World Headquarters, if you weren’t a regular) where we heard live music by Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, Willie Nelson (duh), and Linda Ronstadt. When I’d lived there even earlier, around age 9, my mother would take me to The Broken Spoke with her, a dive-y saloon where Janis Joplin got her start. Armadillo is gone, but the Broken Spoke is still there, and it still looks like the same dive-y saloon.

So this morning, when I saw this idea to search flickr for a particular year and post my favorite photo, of course I immediately thought of 1977 and Austin. I can feel it on my skin and in my bones, I can smell it, I hear it in my mind’s ear as clearly as the traffic below on Madison Ave. I couldn’t limit myself to one favorite photo, I found two that captured a couple ways of being a Texan.

This one is from a chili cookoff in San Marcos, a small town just south of Austin (now, it’s more like a far-flung suburb). What’s more Texas than a chili cook-off! This one isn’t at all self-conscious, like the fancy ones in Terlingua. The cowboy hats, those make my heart race. The very un-PC (now) “Indians,” what were they about and what did they have to do with chili? Whatever. I know just how it felt to be there, even though I wasn’t there. Thanks, Don Hudson, for sharing.

chili cook-offs should all be like this

And these, from Austin in the summer of 1977. Every year since 1963, there has been a party celebrating Eeyore’s birthday, on the last Saturday of April. It’s something of a free-for-all, a big costume party, a day to eat and drink and play silly games like sack races and egg toss (adults attend, by the way, it’s not an event for kids brought by their parents). There is a photo set on flickr of the 1977 party, courtesy of digitalmovie. I went to the party that year, but didn’t see myself.

What year would you pick?

update-ey stuff

hard yarns and fun places to go

I had a wonderful weekend – got a lot done on the wedding dress (but not too much, since Marnie is coming for a fitting at the beginning of May), had some great food, got outside a bit, and did a bit of knitting on my blanket:

love the pattern

I do love the pattern – Totally Autumn, by Anne Hanson – it’s great fun to knit, and the scrunchy dimensionality of it is fun to touch. The yarn, though, not as much. I’m using Cascade 220 for the first time, and finding it a bit hard. Ravelry lists it as the most popular yarn, and I got it on a great sale at Webs, but it’s not soft, and the hand is a bit heavy at this point. We’ll see how it goes; it’ll be just fine for what it is, but I’m not sure I’d use this yarn for anything that needed to go against my skin.

we had joy we had fun, we had blanket in the sun

And in other news, I may just be taking an exciting trip in September. I’m not sure yet, there are some impending changes in my life that make it a little uncertain, but if I do go, here’s the masthead for that blog:

I really did love Vietnam, so much, and I’ve heard that Laos is amazing. I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope……….

being a maker

on the pleasures of making shit

A few days ago, I was thinking about the different names for creative people – artist, craftsman, artisan, crafter, and then the specifics, like knitter, quilter, furniture maker, etc. Today I am sewing, working on my daughter’s wedding dress, and the living room is my messy workspace. As I was stepping around papers spread on the floor, I glanced at my Shaker box on the coffee table and was just filled with pleasure, the pleasure of the colors, the yarn, the textures, the messy pile. And I saw my sunny sewing table and felt such happiness. And the dress pieces, stacked on the table waiting for me.

beautiful, beautiful projects in mid-making
such a lovely place to sew
beautiful green Italian linen, waiting to be sewn

And I didn’t care one little bit what I call myself, or what it is I do. I make shit. And that makes me happier than I can possibly say.

totally autumn

casting on for a new blanket…

I guess I’m in the middle of the road, in the scheme of numbers of works-in-progress. Some knitters are relatively monogamous (or so I hear), focusing on one or two projects until they are completed, before starting another. And obviously, other knitters seem kind of addicted to casting on new projects (I totally get this, and am usually trying to resist the urge). I have a few projects on the needles now, for different purposes:

  1. the secret wedding shawl, secret only in its final appearance
  2. my 2nd Kai-Mei sock, which is in my category ‘subway knitting’
  3. the green lace-weight Ishbel, languishing in my beautiful Shaker box until I finish the shawl
  4. my mondo cable cardigan, languishing because I’m afraid I won’t have enough yarn to finish it but I tell myself I’m not working on it until I finish the shawl

The shawl is my most important project, but you know how it goes. There are times when you feel kind of shaky, or kind of exhausted, and don’t have the necessary focus and calm required to knit cobweb-weight yarn on tiny needles….and yet you really want to knit and veg with some mindless tv. I could just pick up the sock and work on it, but that’s so perfect for subway knitting, I want to save it for my commute.

SO! Last night I cast on a new project. I’m sure, if you’re a knitter, you are aware of the huge yarn sale that Webs has been advertising. I bought six skeins of Cascade 220 with this project in mind; it’s a heathered yarn, in rich chocolate. It perfectly matches my brown leather sofa, so that’ll be sweet and warm in winter.

This is my first Anne Hanson pattern, and there will be many more. I always enjoy her work, and have several of her shawls, sweaters, and socks in my faves and queue. I’m knitting the Totally Autumn throw, from Knitty. In this rich, heavy, brown wool it will have a very different look than you see on the Knitty pattern page, but it will be perfect for me:

close-up
look at the dimensionality!

Now, though, I’ve piddled long enough, finished 3 cups of coffee, read all the items in my google reader, checked all my daily sites, and knitted a couple of rows on this project. I’m off to get dressed and start sewing the lovely wedding dress for Marnie. Pics to come, I hope!