Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I'm just thrilled to learn (here - pay special attention to the comments) that Icarus is such a nightmare when you get to the edging. Oh, yeah, thrilled. One huge cone of pale lace-weight cotton that seems to slurp up dirt and I'm already tinking extensively on the very early parts. Thrilled I tell you.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Have we met before?

Yes, it's deja vu all over again chez 'knitting out loud' as I've cast on for Icarus and am tinking my little heart out. What is it with me and these patterns? This isn't even the complicated part!

In spite of that, I'm quite happy with the new project. I got the yarn -- a whole cone of laceweight cotton -- for a super-bargain price at an NYC lys by standing up to the guy at the register who felt he had the wisdom and the right to comment on my choice. "Cotton? For a shawl?? What do you wanna do all that work for and make it outta that?" Back off, buddy. "I think it will be nice," I retorted and though it looks rather meek here in print, believe me it shut him up. I know what I'm going for -- a very light and casual shawl to throw over any old thing I'm wearing of a summer evening -- or morning, or afternoon. I think Icarus is the perfect pattern to create this and so for it looks like I'm right. The only thing that could be better is the color -- a VERY pale blue. Not bad, but not smashing. Still, it'll work for what I want.

In other knitting news -- I've been stalled on the corset by a style question, but I think I've finally resolved the dilemma. No crocheted edging and I buy buttons as opposed to crocheting them in the matching silk. I'd better find those buttons and a good strapless bra soon if I hope to don this puppy before the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Or should I say even worse? The grey skies and cool air have given me a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know it only gets worse from here on. I can't even enjoy fall anymore, I'm so filled with dread of the winter. Monsieur I -- hereafter known as monsieur Y (I just saw how his middle name is actually spelled) -- became a US citizen on Friday. On Saturday I asked him how he'd feel about leaving the country for good in favor of some nice, mediterranean climate.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

what was I saying?

Blogging? Knitting? Oh yeah. Something like that. I seem to recall I started this blog thinking I'd have a good record of my knitting, get regular practice writing, and meet people. Heh. Yeah. Something like that.


Today, a rainy day in Red Hook, was about gathering the overdue harvest of basil and making pesto.

This much basil:

and this size food processor:

mean a long project. Here's the photo essay:

after the harvest

the basil

the overflow in the "drying room"


Eris helped


Friday, August 04, 2006

The simmering on the back burner project

A number of years ago, my mother bought me a kit for a project. Now, I'm not usually one to go for the kit. More often than not I've got my own ideas about the colors, or the fiber, or something else. That is, if I see a kit project that I like at all. Generally speaking, I do think kits tend to be made up for not the most attractive projects. Why is that? Nevertheless, I have this kit, and I love it. I love it for several reasons, some of them completely mundane and obvious.

- I love the lace pattern. It's funky and delicate and not at all too froo-froo or hokey.

- I love the shapes. No granny squares here -- these are magic, organic looking hexagons, something I've not seen too many other places.

- I love the colors. The overall wash is of lavendar hues that bloom in each of the hexagons, looking almost tie-dyed but softer and totally flower-child but in a good way. As you're knitting, the colors unspool like a rainbow, individual shades arriving and changing and striking you anew over and over again. In certain spots, it's like knitting with Fruit Stripes Gum -- remember that? With the zebra?

- I love that you can make different things from the basic units. Right now, I'm just knitting hexagons to be joined later. Will it be a shawl? A throw? A blanket? Who can say? Who cares? It'll be whatever I want when I've got enough pieces.

- I love that it's transportable. Especially now that I've got the hang of the pattern (sort of), it's become the most perfect traveling pattern. Given that I'm on the subway nearly every day, I really need that.

- I love that the small pieces combined with the fine yarn make it a perfect summer knit. M. I's back deck? The beach? My own backyard? It's there, baby.

- I love that whatever else I'm working on and however crazy it's making me, I can always turn to this for a quick fix. One hexagon knits up pretty quickly -- even when I'm the one knitting! -- and even though that makes just one little part of the overall whole, it still feels like a finished object.

- I love that the last three things I said I love about this project make it a nice, comforting project that's always there when I need it. Just finished one project and don't have another ready to go? Knit some hexagons -- you always need more of those.

Most of all, however, I love the personal history I have with this project. When I first saw it, on the cover of which ever knitting catalog it came from, I had been knitting for maybe two years and had made several scarves, one dress that was really just a tube knit on circulars with ties at the shoulders, and, most recently, a real honest-to-goodness sweater with long sleeves and a cowl-esque neck for my mother. A lace-pattern shawl/throw/blanket made up of numerous hexagons knit with yarn as fine as embroidery floss on double pointed needles? Hey, why the heck not? Well, of course, I found out why not. I couldn't manage the dpns, the fine thread was a nightmare, and the pattern was full of terms I couldn't make head or tail of and couldn't find in the "How To..." booklet from 1950-something or the Martha Stewart article on beginner's knitting that were all I had in the way of knitting instruction. Still, I soldiered on, trying again and again to 'yo k1b' while needles were slipping out of yarn and stitches were slipping everywhere. The pauses between times when I'd pick up the project became longer and longer, until finally I'd stopped knitting all together. I didn't knit again for about two years.

Then one day, struck by the need for a gift, or maybe stumbling on some particularly delicious yarn, I picked up the needles again. As I recall, I made another scarf. Then a few more. Then a hat. Then a cardigan (a favorite that I'm wearing now). At some point, I made a pair of socks. There were those darned dpns again, but this time the yarn was chunkier, the pattern more straight forward, and I managed to turn a heel. I clearly remember feeling, quite suddenly, "hey, I'm a real knitter now -- I'm just turned a heel!" So sometime after that I picked up this project again. And, lo and behold, I could do it. It was a bit of a struggle at first, but nothing compared to the first time around, and it worked! I made a lovely, lavendar, multi-hued hexagon! The first of many, so that by now they're even easier than this time last year. It's a benchmark; a watershed. And it proves to me that no matter what else may or may not have been happening in the past few years of my life, I've been turning into a better knitter. I can do a project now -- and even enjoy it -- that seemed an utterly impossible mystery to me a few short years ago. That is a quantifiable, definitive good in my life.

Into Temptation

This Saturday I will be doing one of the somewhat odd, but also oddly satisfying, actorly things I do. I will stand in a small, windowless booth making my human English fit the cartoon lip-flaps of a character that originally spoke Japanese. It's called dubbing, and no matter how crazy it gets (and it does), there is always joy to be found for me when I'm in a vo booth, not to mention the little flutter of excitement that comes with the wide-open possibilities when you remove your own visual from acting and can create anything -- anything! -- with your voice. I've voiced everything from angst-y teenage girls to wicked witches to young boys to a stoner-type ghost's assistant to a robot having an emotional breakdown.

The reason this particular session makes it to the blog, however, is that I will be doing it just down the street from here. And the lovely producer/director who is smart enough to have his studio down the street from the store with the notorious "yarn bus" pays actors on the spot. Talk about dangerous: the first time I'm going to make it to Flying Fingers I'll have a hot little check in my hands, and I'm feeling yarn starved! I plan to bring one or two patterns with me, things I've been wanting to make, things that require relatively small amounts of yarn (!), in an attempt to give myself at least a focal point. Ah, yarn, it's been so long -- be still my beating heart!!