About Me

My photo
Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Creativity and Cross-Pollination

When I was knitting up a storm and knocking out simple sweater commissions in a week, back in the mid-1980’s, I was doing it in something of a vacuum. A quilting friend gave me the first three issues of Knitters, which she found did not engage her the way that quilting did. From there, I discovered EZ and Jackie Fee’s Sweater Workshop Book, which led to spinning and weaving [and a lovely exchange of letters with Ms. Fee herself].

I had picked up tatting a few years before that. I have been in the Quilters Guild of Dallas [twice, most recently in 2003] and the Dallas Handweavers and Spinners Guild [a better match for my interests and personality]. I refined my color sense when working one day a week in a quilt shop in 1982 and early 1983, before Middlest was born; I learned so much from the other women in the shop. And each new thing that I learn enhances the crafts and techniques I have already learned.

Those were good beginnings. And the internet has blessed my life and my creativity with so much more. It’s like the difference between counting with fingers and toes, and using the calculator on my computer’s toolbar. Because of the internet, I met my local knitting group. People in Hong Kong and South Africa and Ireland read my blog and have become, or are becoming, friends. My knitting life is becoming ever more chronicled and orderly, thanks to Ravelry, although its queueing function may be the death of me.

Up to now, I have bought yarn for its color, a knitterly manifestation of Oh!Look!Shiny! Or for its fiber; what Fourthborn called rubby when she was little. But now I can research a yarn before buying it to see what other knitters’ experience has been. When I was studying yarn substitutions for one of the cardi’s in my queue, I eliminated two yarns because splittiness was an issue. [For the muggles in my family, if a yarn is composed of multiple plies of yarn twisted together, and the twist isn’t properly balanced, or the fibers are particularly pig-headed, you can put the tip of your needle through the yarn while knitting a stitch, which leaves little loopies on the surface of your fabric.]

A knitter whose work I discovered recently, has a skein of the Claudia hand-painted silk laceweight yarn [like that turquoise and brown magnificence which I bought for my birthday this year] in her stash. She is planning to knit it up with a fine strand of laceweight merino in a compatible color. I wrote her:

I hadn’t thought of stranding the Claudia with another yarn. That might help to keep the slipperiness under some degree of control. Otherwise, I will probably have to knit it up on Addi Natura’s, and I am so spoiled by the pointiness of the KP Harmony’s but think they would be too slick.

I am so frustrated with the KP Alpaca Cloud that I have frogged twice, that I’ve listed it on Ravelry. I wonder if I would like it better if I stranded it with their Shadow, which I love, or with Gloss Lace, which I *adore*?

Thus far, knock wood, the new incarnation of Anastasia seems to be going well. I knit the toes on my new cheapie Susan Bates aluminum DP’s, on 000’s and have transferred the first toe to the circs. I'm about a third of the way done with the second toe and should have it done in an hour or so. And then the adventure begins.

Trainman was AWOL on the commute last night. I had my knitting and the thought of dinner with Brother Sushi to console me. We went to the soul food restaurant that Trainman had recommended, only to be greeted at the door by the sad news that they were already closed for the night. It is literally a family restaurant, and apparently when the food is gone, they are done. [It was nice to see someone standing in the doorway to greet us; we wondered why the parking lot seemed empty. We got there an hour before their website said that they close.] At least we know where they are, for future reference.

We went to the pancake house. Next time, I am taking my camera. Three plates: one for my salad, one for my ginormous chicken fried steak and a third for my mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and glazed carrots. I was just barely able to eat half of my dinner, in spite of being mama-bear-waking-in-the-springtime-hungry by the time we got there. These are the leftovers.

And yes, those carrots taste every bit as good as they look.

Getting my nails done this afternoon, and probably a haircut too. Tomorrow I feed the missionaries, so there’s that shopping to do. I will probably place that KnitPicks order I’ve been rambling on about, possibly including three skeins of something to knit up with the Alpaca Cloud that is currently sitting in the corner pondering its misbehavior.

1 comment:

AlisonH said...

For whatever it might be worth, I find the Misti brand laceweight to be softer than Alpaca Cloud, and it's not quite so frenetically energetic on the needles. AC always wanted to do a high jump off the tips. Baby alpaca in fingering weight is always a bit calmer than laceweight, as an aside to all that.

I have one shawl I knitted with an eye towards the (unofficial yet) second book, one Misti, one Claudia's silk, and having the silk as a separate strand rather than being carded together into a single strand means that it shimmers and shines and peeks around the corner constantly and is just plain more obviously silky. It's absolutely gorgeous in effect--you'll love it if you try it.