Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.

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I didn't see an email link. If you're interested in joining us for a knitting retreat held in VA in January, please email me.

By Anonymous Robin, at 5:06 PM  

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Sunday, December 03, 2006  

There’s a rose colored banner beneath the purple clouds to the east this morning. Sometime today rain is supposed to herald in some true December temperatures. It’s been so warm and wet that the forsythia is blooming in the yard next door to the library. The red sunrise isn’t so indicative of rain as the blanket of cloud cover that’s fading into the soft white of winter snow. Alas, it’s far too warm for snow here but my, wouldn’t snow at Christmas time be a treat?

I meant to write yesterday about poor Socks, our little house dog, who tangled with a skunk and has been relegated to the front yard for 3 days. She is our most patient dog, our sweetest tempered, and our most obedient. She lives to lie on the Big Bed and it’s been a sad few days that she’s had to stay outside in the morning when the others get to come in and snuggle with Daddy. Today she’s just below the stink threshold and I believe she’s snuck on upstairs. And today it is Jack who is banished to the front door because he came up out of the marsh in mud stockings and he is not coming into my sparkly clean house ... that I spent all of yesterday creating - from cleaning off the crud on the ceiling fans to swiping down the baseboards. Nope nope nope. No mudpups today.

I didn’t write about anything at all because the tendons in my wrist were plucking like a little harp. Tiny twinges that struck dread in the heart of a Christmas sock knitter. It’s much better today thank heavens. Still and all - I am watching it. Dooty requires the sock knitting but my heart belongs to The KipFee and as soon as the gifts are knit I will jump back into more colorful knitting.

The other knitterly thing I pondered off and on yesterday was the many rhythms of knitting. This was prompted by some ever so slight frustration I’ve been feeling as I knit on a pair of socks using 2 Addi Turbos of different lengths. I knit all small tubes on 2 circs because when I use DP’s I tend to pivot the working needle on my ring finger in a way that irritates a nerve in it. Try as I might, I’ve never been able to find a position, a way of holding the needle so that I don’t rub that poor nerve. Yet when I knit with circulars, for some reason I miss that tender place.

I use longer circulars because the shanks are longer too and I use Addi’s most of the time because I just love the way they feel. I like the KnitPicks circulars as well, though I think they are still working out some quality kinks, but I already have a lot of Addi’s. I have 24" and 36" (or whatever specific length Addi makes) and usually I just grab some needles and start knitting away. But yesterday morning it became increasingly obvious that by using a 24" needle on one side of my sock and a 36" on the other, the ballet of my knitting was suffering.

Of course, any repetitive task is likely to set up a rhythm in your head - the more so if once, you were a professional musician. I have lived my whole life to the beat of one tune or another. Some become wedded to the task, some visit only a while, to be displaced by another, some are seasonal, some depend solely on what’s on the CD player at the time. The 4x4 beat of ribbing, with its knit and purl stitches, just begs for some dependable Bach. The steady rush of stockinette fits right into a Dvorak Slavonic Dance. I even found myself humming Chestnuts Roasting yesterday because once through the whole song was one round on a Christmas sock!

That is, it was, once I made sure my needles were the same length. That extra reach I had to make to slide the stitches onto a 36" needle just ruined my dance. And that got me to thinking about other little routines of knitting perfection I’ve adopted over the years in order to feel like I was dancing through a project. Little things like singing a song as you cast on so that when you get to the end of it you have the correct number of stitches on the needles; like bringing the same color up from the bottom when doing stranded colorwork.

I tend to be a tad bit sloppy about things. Not a real pig, mind you, but just a little careless around the edges. I think of myself as a 90% girl. If 90% of my job is right on the money, that’s good enough for me. This is a deliberate choice, on my part. Something about 100% gives me the creeps. I’ve seen so much misery created by perfectionists, who reject all they’ve done because of that last 10% they didn’t do...or perhaps just think they didn’t do ... Bah! It’s wicked of them. Their rejection of love and compliments and joy and happiness, while they embrace the half empty part of their glasses, their lack, their losses, their misses, is not just a wounding of themselves, but of others who value their 90% but get slapped down when they say so. Besides, if you savor the 90% of perfect that you are, sometimes that pure happiness is enough to push you into a state of 100%. From that joy will come the energy and the vision to go the last 10%.

But now and then I like the idea of going after 100% right from the start, and setting up a rhythm, following a beat, is a tidy and pleasurable way of hitting a bulls-eye every time.

So. May you find your rhythm, dance your knitterly ballet. May you love your 90%.

posted by Bess | 8:53 AM
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