For The Birds

Piggybacking onto the momentum of having finished Catkins (did I mention that I finished Catkins?), I finished the second sleeve of the Knot Garden.  Just a couple of weeks short of a YEAR since starting it, for the record.  Smug dance of completion to follow, as soon as they dry and get sewn into the body...

So smug am I (and un-anxious to return to the swatchapalooza that is my other concern this week) that I went completely batshit and conceived a cunning backdrop for the Knot Garden. 

I seem to have remembered that in a previous life I used to sew things sometimes.  I have no memory of consciously stopping all sewing activity, but I think it must have been around the same time I stopped a bunch of other stuff I like, in the hopes of getting a book written on time.  Not that I'm complaining, you understand -  it's good to rest some muscles in favor of others from time to time.

Now that I'm gainfully unemployed, all sorts of stuff I used to like doing is popping back into my conciousness.  Stuff like hearing music, and digging in the dirt (garden dirt, not kitchen floor dirt), reading books.  And my old friend, sewing.

And sewing, you may know, is just like falling off a bicycle - once you've learned how to properly screw up a sewing project, you never forget.

It actually started with a conversation I had with my friend Jill (non-knitter, for the record, but still completely lovable).  She asked me what kind of bird I was, and I didn't know.  I know for sure that she's a Great Blue Heron - (leggy, graceful, eats a fair amount of fish) but I was unable to locate my own inner bird.  Jill thinks I might be a robin, which notion I sort of like. 

So the bird thing has been with me, and I got it in my head that I must need a dress with birds on it to go with my finally-finished Knot Garden.  I waltzed into the fabric store, and there it was:  Exactly what I would have made if I had set out to design fabric with birds on it:  

I cut out the dress last night, and I sewed it today.  And in a turn of fate which is nothing like knitting (and nothing like sewing, for that matter), it fits just right and I completely love it.  Too weird.  That is just not the way it works - no drama, no odyssey, no falling out of hair clumps.  Just found it, made it, love it.  Interesting how easy it is when there's nothing at stake.  Wonder where that magic goes when someone inserts a deadline?

And now there must be shoes.  We're not savages here, after all.

All Things February

It's easy for me to avoid feeling overwhelmed by holiday pressures this year:  I've moved on to being squeezed by things due 2 months hence.  I'm up to my armpits in February Projects.

It is unfailingly true that I feel most like knitting on projects that are not currently available to me.  Color problems on the Wisteria sample causing 30-skein redye?  Then that's what I want to knit!  Too bad I can't for a couple of days.  By which time I will be completely over it.  Waiting for shipment of new high-contrast yarn for Catkins Cardigan?  Can't get the wee beastie outta my head.  The minute the yarn comes, I'll be on to something else.  What's with that, anyway?  So while I wait at the intersection of these two projects for February, I turn my gaze back to the dear old Knot Garden, who you will recall, lacks only this one sleeve.  Since all my other knitting is February-centric, I have decided to make a goal of finishing Knot Garden in time for Madrona (Valentine's Day weekend).  Could happen:  There's only two projects competing with it, and as I said, it's really almost done.

It should have been finished a long time ago (shouldn't everything?), like last April or so.  I fell out of love with it around the time my first drop-spindle arrived and distracted me.  And by "distracted", I mean that a lot of things fell away from my consciousness when I discovered spinning.  Things like the water bill, automobile maintenance, and childrearing.  I should probably look in on those things again at some point.  

But now that I'm back to the Knot Garden, I have to tell you - this sleeve kinda stinks.  Here's why:  The only stitch I dislike executing more than 1x1 rib is seed stitch.  It physically hurts me to do it, and I seem to have designed a whole garment around it.  Nice work, that.  Also, being a sleeve, it's getting bigger and slower as I go, which is not conducive to momentum.  I usually  make a conscious effort to work all my pieces from the widest to the narrowest part, relying on my initial enthusiasm to get me through the fat part of the knitting, and picking up speed (at least emotionally) as I go.  But having placed the big wide cable sideways on this sleeve, I didn't look for a way to go from wide to narrow.  And of course, if all that isn't bugging me enough, this sleeve is knit flat, and that is just not my cup of tea.  All of which is the more galling because the stupid sadistic designer is ME.

But now that I've confronted these issues, Gentle Readers, I hereby decree the knitting train to be pulling out of Snivel Station.  There is no crying in knitting, after all, and I really do think I'm equal to a few rows of stoopid seed stitch.  Anybody else need an elbow massage after a k1, p1 session, or is it just me?

Comfort and Joy

The Catkins project falters at the threshold of its very inception.  I made a tactical error in the color choices, resulting in my old friend "not enough contrast".  This error seems to be one of my greatest hits.  Sometimes I worry it will end up on my tombstone:
"Here Lies Mary, who failed to choose colors with adequate contrast."

I knew something was wrong from the start, but my powers of denial being what they are (epic), I plowed ahead anyway.  Good thing I started small with a sleeve, which I only knitted halfway up before admitting that it was flatly All Wrong.  I know what to do - it just requires a visit with my new pals at Toots LeBlanc to sort it out.  Logistical bother, nothing more.  But disappointing, nonetheless.

Other things went sideways for me yesterday, as well.  A gargantuan project at the day job has completely derailed, so there I am further unfulfilled. 

Casting about for solace in the knitting pile (I used to call it "the knitting basket", which has long since overflowed and now fools no one; not even me) I picked up the Knot Garden.  Sleeve two is well underway, and greeted me like a good book I'd forgotten to finish.  Close as it is to completion, I gave it a few more rows.  I just wanted something to show for the day, even if it was only one more set of twists.  

It feels good to sit with an old and patient friend.  I lightened up, beginning even to fantasize about wearing the Knot Garden to Madrona in February.  Could happen.  There's only this one sleeve to go, after all.  At times like these, even the possibility of completion helps. 

Thin as I am spread at the moment, tangible progress is more precious to me than usual.  And there it was, waiting for me with the reliability that only knitting can offer.  Knitting is dependably there to give solace in a world filled with failure, both real and imagined.  Making one stitch at a time is proof and reinforcement of our ability to do something right, hundreds of times at a stretch.  The world can be cold and the people in it mean and petty.  But knitting will never blame us for things over which we have no control.  Knitting doesn't care if the laundry is done or not.  Knitting beckons us to be still, and focus on one small thing at a time. 

Tidings of Comfort and Joy, indeed.