Saturday, March 15, 2008

Yes, I'm Still a Knitter

And a good thing I am. Being a job hunter isn't working out that well, and being a pet owner has definitely been a challenge this month. But knitting is one of those things that I do when things are good and when they're awful.

So what's on the needles? Well, of course, that darned Modern Quilt Wrap is still just about where we left it last...which is to say, no progress since I returned from The Mountain, a month ago. There's no point in taking another picture because, let's face it, no news is ... just no news.

And the EZ Baby Surprise is likewise stymied.
I'm almost at the end and the instructions say, "now add the buttonholes." EZ says to put buttonholes on both sides but that's because she was knitting in a time when we didn't know what gender our babies would be. I know this baby is a girl but I'm so spatially challenged that I can't figure out which side to add them to. So here it sits, waiting for me to get past that point.

As for Hanami, there is progress. I'm finally on Chart F. Once I finish that one, I need to do 2 repeats of Chart G and it's done. It might actually get finished. Whew! I've enjoyed it but now that I'm fairly sure that no one is going to actually wear it, at least in the foreseeable future, it's getting to be somewhat of a slog.

Yes, I know this photo is difficult to see--off-white shawl on beige carpeting is definitely not ideal--but can you see where the number of holes (the falling cherry blossoms) is getting greater toward the end? That part of it is actually pretty exciting.

Finally, I've committed to three items for the January-March sweater challenge for Children in Common and have only completed two, both vests. So I've cast on for a very simple sweater and am hoping to get it in the mail by the 31st--actually, I think I'll probably be finished later tonight or tomorrow. It's a side-to-side design and only one sleeve is missing. (What cannot be seen in this photo is that the color of the sweater (which we'll call Washington Redskins gold for lack of a better reference) exactly matches the gold color in the Knitpicks Harmony needle the sweater is being knit on.)
So how embarrassing is it that I can't seem to finish anything, even the smallest project, and all my friends are just pumping out huge complex lace shawls? Pat and Ellen are in a close competition on at least two knitalongs, both of them amazingly complicated, and both are almost finished. I'm putzing and not getting anything done. Oh, well.
What have I been doing? Well, the job search is still ongoing. I've had several interviews that went (I thought) well, but no job. One position I was interested in has been put on hold, temporarily or permanently--it's not clear. So that one's out. And another one--well, I keep being told that I'm not quite qualified for it. I guess I should read someone's lips on that and give it up. But I continue to press on.
What else? Well, I've been desultorily involved in working on the guild's nominating committee for next year--desultorily because I thought we had a slate of candidates--or most of one--identified. Then something happened and all of a sudden we're back at Square One. Amazing how difficult it is to find folks who want to serve an organization--selflessly--that has served them for almost 23 years.
Speaking of the guild, Janet Szabo came to teach last week. I was signed up for classes but had to cancel because of Lightning's illness. I did get to attend the guild meeting where she spoke and she was wonderful. I went right home and ordered her finishing book (The 'I Hate to Finish Sweaters' Guide to Finishing Sweaters) and her newsletter, Twists and Turns. Even before I read Janet's book on Cables and her book on how to design an Aran sweater, I've been thinking about making another Aran. (The last one I knit left with the ex-husband and that was 21 years ago!) I've got a bee in my bonnet about using Black Water Abbey yarn for it--but before I commit to that cost and project time, I need to finish a lot of other things. But I have to say that Janet was very inspiring. Although I completed three Arans, some 30 years ago, I certainly did not understand the complexity of designing an Aran, including selecting the particular cables to be included, or planning how those cables would behave when they encounter a seam or shaping feature.
I also just finished reading Donna Druchunas' book Arctic Lace, and highly recommend it, It's not really a technique book, like Janet's books, but more of a documentation of the efforts to preserve the musk ox and the old patterns of the Alaska native Americans. The musk ox is the source of quiviut, the incredibly soft, incredibly expensive, fiber made from the downy undercoat, and was at one time in danger of extinction. Likewise, many Alaskan knitters have put down the traditional patterns and their knitting due to pressures to travel long distances to work and support their families. If you're interested in reading more about this subject, go to Donna's website for more details.
Speaking of reading and books, Debra and I went to the Decatur Library this week to hear Mary Kay Andrews, aka Kathy Trocheck. I will be the first to admit that I'm not usually a huge Chick Lit fan (I like Kathy's cozy mysteries more), but MKA's Hissy Fit got to me. And Deep Dish, her newest is fun, too. It's about a Southern cook who wants to move from regional public television (in Atlanta, of course) to a fictional version of the Food Network. She was delightful and Debra and I had a nice evening, catching up over dinner and knitting through MKA's talk and reading.
Tomorrow is the Helmet Liner knitin. I need to finish the CIC sweater so I can cast on for another helmet liner. I have quite a stock of Paton's Merino in neutral colors, which is perfect for these liners. (I also have a bunch of Cascade 220 but using that would require breaking out the swift and winder and I'm pretty sure that isn't happening before tomorrow.)
And that reminds me that Janet Szabo scandalized the guild's members by letting us in on her favorite yarn for knitting cables: Lion Brand Wool. Most of us are pretty ingrained yarn snobs and the thought that the gorgeous sample she passed around had been knit in ... no, don't even say it ... yarn from Michael's ... caused an immediate hushed intake of breath. I thought I felt the earth shake, but it might only have been the collective shudder emanating from the LYSOs in the room. Once we all touched the sweater, however, we had to agree--great cable definition, beautiful sweater, soft yarn. At least she didn't send us all out to buy Red Heart!


Becca said... the Lion Wool scandal! MK Andrews aka Trochek is one of my favorite authors. I'm quite jealous you got to hear her speak. I love the mysteries she wrote about the house cleaning service in Atlanta.

Anonymous said...

Love Trochek and never knew that wasn't her name ...

Um about the KALs -- I abandoned SSS somewhere early in clue 1 when I decided it was too hard and just made an executive decision re dem fischer to end it early ... so Pat is the star knitter doing both of them! Jealous? me? nah


Peggy said...

thanks for commenting on my blog. You know, I purchase my Schaefer yarn at my LYS and the tag doesn't have a color or name listed. Strange huh?j It is a vibrant red, orange, and hot pink

Anonymous said...

I so relate to all the UFOs. I don't even want to think about them. Almost finished with sweater I've been knitting for weeks; sew together and finish. Then to try to start something else I can get excited about. But first I have to finish my helmet liner.

Keep on trucking! Job will hit you over the head soon.