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Sunday, September 23, 2007
All Some Knitting Content
Oh la. Forgive me. Another long post
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about that Scandinavian Dress that turned out to be a Scandinavian tent – that mouse hotel up in my attic – that final disastrous knitting project that put me off the craft for 20 years. After all, a woman living on $40 a month who spends $30 of it on yarn that was supposed to knit into this:
But ended up knitting into a Norwegian tent! A thick, stranded colorwork tent in acrylic!! - can be forgiven for setting her needles aside for a while. Thank the stars someone put my address on the Patternworks mailing list 20 years later. I had no idea yarn had come so far.
But I had come even further. By then I'd made that all important shift from Hare to Tortoise. I had given myself up to the slow and patient, fiddly dedication one must commit to when it comes to finishing projects. Oh – I'm aware of those whiz kids (Eunny Jang, comes to mind here) who can zip through a project and finish it in a week, down to the darned in ends, sell it to a national publication and cast on their next project before the check arrives. But for most of us, and most of all, for me, there is the final 10% that takes as much devotion, as much dedication, and as much careful completion as the first easy 90%.
Time was when every skirt I owned was held together at the waist with a safety pin. Then, one day the thought hit me: If I was going to spend that much on beautiful fabric and fancy designer patterns, if I was going to sew that carefully – pad stitching the lapels of jackets, French seaming - I really ought to make that waistband button hole. From then on – all my clothes were completely finished. It was my first effort at 100%.
100% is a lofty goal. I don't actually do 100% all that often. I haven't put the buttons on the KipFee yet. But then, I'm not sure it needs buttons. It hangs so nicely as a Chanel type jacket and after all, I do live in the south. How often am I going to button it? That's one reason for lingering in the 90% zone. You might not need that final 10%
There's also the heavy burden of 100% - especially in areas where therecan be no completion. Love, for example. Do you love 100%? Couldn't you always love a little more? A little harder? A little better? If you visualize what you are doing – couldn't you just add one to that? And then one more? The trouble with 100% is the nagging notion of infinity. And if we have minds that can even conceive of infinity – how can there ever be 100%?
Oh la! I had intended to talk about that pattern and knitting patterns in general. Guess I'm still all hung up about why I quit working on projects I like. Knitting is harder than sewing. I can't just safety pin the sleeves into the armisches of a sweater. But it's really hard when the fashion editors and photographers conspire to mislead the poor knitter as badly as they did on this dress. The instructions have you cast on X stitches and at every band you increase stitches. Yet look at that model. Slim fitting sleeves, tapered waist, flared skirt. Wicked deceivers. You can see how I was misled into fiscal irresponsibility.
When I went hunting on-line for a photo of that dress I found the magazine for sale on e-bay from a nice woman in Nova Scotia who used to run a needlework shop. I had to own it. (I'd tossed my original in disgust somewhere in the 20 years between McCall's and Patternworks) It was my birthday present to myself. I still like the design. I'd do it in sport weight now – Lawsee – knit in worsted weight wool it would weigh a ton! I particularly like the black and white starry section. But I also like the juxtapositioning of the colored bands against the black and white ones. I still think it's a gorgeous dress and if only I too could be 19 feet tall with a 25 inch waist, and living above the arctic circle, I might consider making one.
The lesson learned, though, is Viewer Beware. If the model is wearing a belt – that knitted garment is waaaaaaay too big in the waist for you. If her arms are wide spread or clutched tight to her body, or hidden behind a handsome male model's broad shoulders, look for the seam line of sleeve and shoulder. I promise you – it'll be half way to her elbow and somewhere pinned behind her shoulder blades will be all the excess fabric you'll end up knitting if you cast on. Remember, no matter how perfectly you knit something, you'll never look like the model in the book. You don't get the figure when you buy the pattern.
I'm still struggling with a stitch pattern for that gorgeous sock yarn. The yarn is dark and its silky texture also makes it slippery. The stitch pattern can't be too complicated because while I'm manipulating the stitches - the dark, hard to see stitches - they slide right off my needles. I'm also looking for a stitch that's easy to memorize – which means under 10 rows. The cabled basket weave I'd picked didn't play nicely on the needles. I've found a slipped stitch cable – that might work – I'll give it a go later today. If it fights me I think I may just knit a plain old sock. I want this yarn on my feet before Fall Fiber Festival.
Mr.Horoscope promises us all that this coming week will be easier than last and that Monday is a good day to have those serious conversations you have been avoiding.
posted by Bess |