Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Recurring Persian Dream

About two and a half years ago, I found and fell in love with the Persian Dreams pattern.

WildJen's Persian Dreams (on Ravelry here)

That one is the one that really knocked me on my ass. I could not resist it. It remains the most beautiful piece of knitting I have ever seen.

A month later, I had a Come to Jesus with myself and decided I was crazy enough to knit this BUT not crazy enough to make all the color changes called for by the pattern. Solution: Self-striping yarn left from my Felici obsession. The amount remaining from knitting a pair of socks was enough to make one hexagon.

Two and a half months later, I was on block 6 of 24 and had redevoted myself to it.

Two years later, block 7 wasn't even close to being finished.

You know what's coming: DEPTH YEAR.

(mine ravelled here)

Yesterday I finished block 7. 

It took me the entire portion of the non-eating part of today's lunch break to get here: 

I didn't have a crochet hook, so I had to learn a new circular cast on. In case you ever find yourself in a similar predicament (and let's be honest, why would you?), I recommend this video

Even if I didn't have the cast on delay, let's be real about this project. It's going to take for-freaking-ever. There are 24 blocks. All of those blocks have live edges--288 stitches of live edges--that will be kitchner stitched to adjacent blocks.

I've thought about the best way to do this without plunging into the Pit of Despair. 

I thought about blocking the hexagons when I have a third of them done, and grafting those eight together. Maybe breaking up the project into smaller bits would be helpful. I could try to convince myself that things unfold as they should and trust that each hexagon was created at the right time in the right pattern with the right yarn. Just take a deep breath and work in tiny bits and believe that it's going to be gorgeous at the end.

Image result for who am i kidding meme
I miss you so much, President Obama.

So, after giving this a lot of thought, I've decided there's only one path to completion here: Abandon any hope of completion. Lean into it. Accept that the rest of my life will be me knitting stranded colorwork with fingering weight yarn. If by some miracle I get finished with that before I die, the remainder of my life will be kitchnering together said pieces.

At the end, there has to be some sort of border around the whole thing--some way of dealing with the remaining live stitches. Lots of people have done i-cord rather than the 20-row border. Since I will never get to the border, I'm not bothering to think about it.

If I'm not enjoying knitting this, then I should quit. There is no reason to keep doing it in hopes of a finished product because it will never be finished.

Here comes block 8.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Cycles: February

I'm beginning to understand that there are cycles of thought that should be respected rather than seen as a personal shortcoming.

For example, I used to feel badly about the obsession I would feel in February to research and order new flowers. I realize now that looking at seed catalogues and planning where I could plant new things is a very good coping mechanism for the gray and brown of February. It give me hope that someday soon the grass will once again green up and plants will dare to bloom.

This was yesterday morning:

I've started a wishlist of plants I'd like to buy. I want to try a couple plants that didn't work at all last year: lisianthus and ranunculus. They're beautiful enough that I'll try again. I plan to buy more dahlias even though the ones I overwintered in vermiculite in my garage didn't come back last season.

Hope springs eternal, and that's just fine by me. Hold on. Spring is coming.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Depth Year

I'm doing a Depth Year this year. It's based on the idea from this blog post: I've joined a Facebook group built around the idea, and I've enjoyed reading how other people are interpreting it for their own lives.

Here's what it means for me:

  • Shop the stash. Start with stash and search for a project to go with the yarn instead of the other way around.
  • Buy no yarn except Felici, yarn for donated items, or if very specific gift requests are made that cannot be fulfilled by stash yarn.
  • Try at least a pillowcase of Yumiko Higuchi embroidered flowers. Unless it makes me miserable, set the goal of embroidering the pillow and the linen picture.
Regarding the first two goals: This may come as a deep shock to you, but I own a lot of yarn.

I know. I'll give you a minute to recover.

Better? Good.

Because I work at a computer, it is easy for me to take a break by looking at yarn, which leads to buying yarn. I'm particularly weak in the face of a sale. As a result, I own a lot of great yarn.

Now to knit that great yarn.

The way this has taken shape these past few weeks is that I've been working on projects whose raw materials I've owned for an uncomfortably long period of time. I knew exactly what this yarn would become, but I'd just never done it.

First up: Mr. Banana Foster, the sock monkey

Mr. Foster Sock Monkey (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knit Picks Essential (discontinued--I told you it's been in the queue a long time)

I bought the kit for Mr. Foster in 2012 to make for a friend. The pattern seemed fussy, so I didn't do it. Now it's done. (Spoiler alert: It was fussy.) He's supposed to have a robe, but I decided life was too short to knit it. Plus, a robe would hide his adorable butt flap. That seems like a tragedy.

Then there came Mawata Mittens. You take silk sheets that are nearly translucent in their thinness, stretch them out until you get something that sort of looks like yarn, cut the loop, and knit with it. It's strange and delightful.

Basic Mitten (mine ravelled here),

Next up were thrummed mittens. Thrums are weird and wonderful. You take roving, cut them into bits a few inches long, and knit them between stitches. The outside looks like this:

Classic Thrum Mittens (mine ravelled here),

The inside looks like this:

The thrums are supposed to felt some with wear, creating a nigh-impenetrable mitten. I've already worn them hiking this winter.

Nocturne adored both the yarn and the roving for these mittens.

Mine? Mine.

The strange thing is that these three projects took very little time. Granted, I can be an obsessive knitter, and I knit a lot, but still. It left me puzzled why I had put them off for so long. I'm feeling motivated to clean up my Ravelry queue!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Change of Plans

I bought some Mineville Wool Project Super Sock from Simply Socks. It's available in short runs at a fantastic price, and I really like knitting with it.

I was working on a pair of socks for Andrew, and I noticed that the sock seemed really.... dense. It didn't make sense to me. It was not a weird yarn. It was the needles I typically use. I have knit this pattern before. I mentally shrugged and carried on.

Simple Skyp Socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Mineville Wool Project Super Sock, Winter Sunrise colorway

We all know how this story ends. The sock was unusually dense. Despite good yardage, I ran out of yarn a few rows before the second toe.

The moral of this story is that sometimes you have to change plans unexpectedly when you thought you were close to the finish of something. So, change plans and move on. It's fine, and it might even be fun.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Year the Not Knitting Wasn't

I was ready for the Not Knitting. Every January, it seems that I lose the desire to knit. Instead, I read. I've gotten used to it, and it no longer scares me that I'll never want to knit again and will have gajillions of dollars in yarn that I won't use.

I was mentally prepared for it this year. I worked to get physically prepared as well. I checked out extra library books. I bought an embroidery pattern. I read up on British mystery series I might want to watch.

Then this happened:
Christmas Diagonal Ribs (mine ravelled here),

And then this happened:
Plain Socks (mine ravelled here),

And now this is happening:

Simple Skyp Socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Mineville Wool Project Super Sock in Winter Sunrise

Oh well. If the Not Knitting comes late this year, I'll still be ready.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Wisdom of Books

Awhile ago, I shared some quotes I'd written down from TV. Today I'd like to share some book quotes. These are all from Louise Penny's books.

Louise Penny's character, Armand Gamache, is particularly wise. This first quote is how I feel about knitting. I choose to do it anyway.
He walked briskly to the young couple and their son and joined them as they walked to the stall Old Mundin had set up. It was full of furniture, hand made. A person’s choices were always revealing, Gamache found. Mundin chose to make furniture, fine furniture. Gamache’s educated eye skimmed the tables, cabinets and chairs. This was painstaking, meticulous work. All the joints dovetailed together without nails; the details were beautifully inlaid, the finishes smooth. Faultless. Work like this took time and patience. And the young carpenter could never, ever be paid what these tables, chairs, dressers were worth. And yet Old Mundin chose to do it anyway.
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny 

Stupid people worried Gamache. They were unpredictable.
The Hangman by Louise Penny 

Gamache listened, but didn’t nod. Didn’t agree or disagree. He was bending much of his will to disengaging from Br├ębeuf, while still listening closely.
A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny 

It isn't just Inspector Gamache that's clever, though.
Yes, I’m in debt. Never was good with money and now that apparently I’m not allowed to steal, life is much more difficult.
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny 

“Do you think he’d lost his mind?” Clara asked. “I think,” said Myrna slowly, “that Peter could afford to lose some of his mind. It wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.”
The Long Way Home by Louise Penny 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Quotes: Books

These are all book quotes about books, a glorious world within an already glorious world.
Bringing a book of your own to school was a no-no, and not to recess either, where you were supposed to be getting balls thrown at your head. Carrying a book was practically against the law at summer camp, where downtime was for forced mass song.
 Books are how cautious kids get to experience a kind of secondhand rebellion, a safe way to go off the rails.
(Years later, the literary critic Liesl Schillinger would dub these “mumblenyms”—words mispronounced by heavy readers who’d encountered them only on the page.)
 This is every reader’s catch-22: the more you read, the more you realize you haven’t read; the more you yearn to read more, the more you understand that you have, in fact, read nothing.
 It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I understood it was okay and even right to read what you wanted rather than what you ought.
My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul 

There was a universe inside every human being every bit as big as the universe outside them. Books were the best way Nina knew—apart from, sometimes, music—to breach the barrier, to connect the internal universe with the external, the words acting merely as a conduit between the two worlds.
The Bookshop on the Corner: A Novel by Jenny Colgan