Sunday, June 15, 2008

Did You KIP?

Well, sort of. I meant to, and I actually got a few stitches in while finishing lunch with a friend (hi, Joyce!), but KIP? Really? Nah.

We meant to. We had good intentions, but you know how those things are. Joyce and I were on our way to KIP with some folks at Cast On Cottage but by the time we got there, the threatened rain had come to pass and we sat in our respective cars for over 20 minutes, KIA'ing. (That would be knitting in our automobiles for those of you who aren't acronym-savvy.)

But what in the heck is the point of Knitting in Public Day anyway? For me, it's sort of pointless. There are very few days that I don't KIP. It's something that many knitters do on a daily basis. That's because knitting is part of our lives, and of course, we do it wherever we are. We don't need a special venue. We knit in the line while we wait at the bank, some of us knit while we wait in traffic, we knit when we finish a meal or wait to be called for our table at a restaurant. I knit in the car today while Mr. Pug and I went for an early breakfast at IHOP to celebrate Father's Day. We do it because we're Knitters.

And when Debra and I went to the Decatur Library on Thursday to hear an author (Jeffrey Deaver!) speak, we knit at the table after dinner, knit through the author's presentation, and then sat quietly and knit after everyone else had left the auditorium. Knitting was the perfect dessert, it helped us pass the time before Mr. Deaver spoke, it helped us concentrate while he spoke, and then it seemed natural to keep knitting while we caught up on our lives at the end of the day.

So Knitting in Public Day, while sort of interesting, always confuses me. It makes knitting something odd or strange, like being a nudist for a day. (Which seemed more interesting to me when there was less of me, and it was less wrinkled.) People do it every day, we just don't see them do it. But knitting's different. Knitting is not an odd pastime, limited to a few weirdos--it's a Part of Life, Normal, Not Strange.

More of us are knitting all the time, or maybe we're just more visible. Sometimes it amazes me that Ravelry has over 130,000 members (139,040 as of today), and in another way, I'm not surprised at all. Many of the people I know (friends, sisters) knit. The Atlanta Knitting Guild has over 325 members. No big deal. And if 130,000+ of us are registered on one social networking site, how many more are knitting in shops or at home or in public and just aren't joiners? You gotta believe there are lots!

And the benefits are huge. I've been knitting since I was 10 or 11 (and we won't discuss how many years that has been!). I've been largely a solitary knitter, originally taught by my grandmother but really mostly self-taught from books and magazines and old tattered Red Heart pamphlets. That means I've learned a lot of things I probably shouldn't have learned over the years. Being around other knitters has helped unlearn some of those things.

Yesterday I attended a mini-workshop put on by the guild. Five of us learned some "tricks of the trade" from one of our much more experienced and more polished knitters (thanks, Jean!), and it was wonderful to sit with friends, knit together, and pick up a tip or two that will make life easier. Here's one of Jean's tips that's so simple you'll wonder why you haven't been doing it all along: When you're doing a series of increases or decreases, count out coilless pins or markers in the same number as the number of decreases. Pin them to another part of your work. When you complete the increase or decrease, add the coilless pin to the increase/decrease place. When you run out of markers, you're done. Now why is that so much simpler than just pulling out one pin after another and counting or marking tics on a piece of paper and then trying to keep track of the paper? I don't know, but it is!

So what am I knitting these days? I'll just start by saying, in a moment of embarrassed honesty, Not Much! I'm in one of those periods when I just don't seem to get much done, knitting or otherwise, and certainly nothing completed. But I do have some things OTN and a few things IMME (In My Mind's Eye) and it's as good a time as any to mention them.

First, I need to say that I've been working away on a pair of socks for a month or so. I love the yarn (J Knits from The Yarn Grove) and have been playing with the whole concept of toe-up socks--trying all the cast-ons and heels and trying to figure out which one I really love. I finally found the right combination for me, I think, though I just got my copy of Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet and she has some good ideas there, too. Anyway, I was working away on Sock #2 when disaster struck, in the form of two dogs that I was dogsitting over Memorial Day. Actually I went to Charlotte to babysit but ended up with two dogs, too. So here's the score: Kids 0, Dogs 2.

So this picture is actually three projects, because when I put what I am now calling the Memorial Day Disaster into my knitting bag, the two destroyed projects actually became entangled with a third project which is now caught up in the whole MDD thing. So, from top to bottom, 1-2/3 socks, now in the process of being detangled and rewound. The red and black thing is a multidirectional scarf which is the Innocent Victim of the group. Finally, at the bottom is a Noro cabled bag. The main part of the bag is complete and the strap is on needles (at the very bottom). I guess that someday I'll go back there and figure it all out, but for today it looks bleak for three projects.

Then, of course, I continue to plug away at my Tess diagonal vest. I love this project but I've just reached the point where I've made all the diamonds the pattern calls for and, oddly, the darned thing doesn't fit around me. Two things--first, I knew that I was knitting the diamonds at a slightly smaller gauge than called for (using 7's instead of 8's), but I liked the fabric much better so I just kept on keeping on. Not the designer's fault. Second, my body seems to be larger than I remembered. Again, can't blame this on anyone but me (and maybe McDonald's). Luckily, it's a modular pattern and I'll just add another row (or two or three) and eventually it'll circle the globe, to coin a rather unfortunate metaphor.

Next, the new Toe-Up Sock of the Day. I seem to be suddenly rather poor, but I couldn't resist this Opal Rendez-Vous from The Yarn Grove. Love those girls! And it's really Jane's fault for bringing the darned stuff to the Noble Knitters group one Wednesday night right after the MDD. I cast on Thursday, sitting with Debra, tore it all back down yesterday after I figured out that 68 stitches was going to be too big (why are my feet normal size and the rest of me so, Not?). So back down to 64 and it's going to fit much better. And I love this yarn!!!!!! It fits with my new focus on green.

So, speaking of green ... Jelly. All of my friends are making really complex shawls. They bring them to knitting gatherings and I'm suitably impressed but can't compete in this arena at the moment. My brain in its current configuration just won't handle this. But this new pattern from Knitty, called Seascape, looked do-able. Of course, it calls for the dreaded Rowan Kid Silk Haze, which I have sworn never to use again, but ... Jelly. 'Nuff said. Jelly. From Cast On Cottage, where a valiant group of knitters sat out in the sunshine yesterday and KIPped, but without Joyce and me. Not OTN, yet.

And, finally, another Knitty pattern, Helena. And the rather sublime, er, Sublime yarn, for the not-yet-met-but-sublime-by-every-report Ruby, my new grandniece. The Sublime, which is machine wash but lay out to dry, seemed to be a reasonable choice for a new mother--sort of a PITA but not entirely. At least it can go in the machine. The Sublime is from Needle Nook.

Finally, a note of another sort. If you're going to put something really cool on your cellphone as music to be heard while the caller is on hold, don't choose "Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday" by the Rolling Stones, just because your new granddaughter's name is Ruby. This just makes the callers a little nuts when they realize that all that is going through their small, empty minds for the next few months is "Goodbye Ruby Tuesday, who could hang a name on you?" (I suppose it's marginally better than "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" but not by much.) Thanks a lot, Deirdre. And Mick!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Right on, Diana! I KIP whenever I am in public, doctors' offices, stop lights, etc. So, the point about what is the big deal is only to amass more attention and more people together - but who knew in Roswell or Atlanta or any other place that this was all over the country on the same day? And what difference would that make??

Glad you're back to posting on your blog. I guess that once a month will be the expectation at this time in your life.

Glad we yarn crawled anyway.