Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Back in Black

Or blue, in this case. As I mentioned in passing a couple of posts ago, Icarus has been giving me a hard time. I would start row 11 of chart 2, everything would be going along swimmingly, I'd hit the center section and nothing would make sense. So, I'd rip back, figuring I must have made a mistake along the way, and start over, and get ... exactly the same results. When I'd repeated this process enough times to make me feel like a complete idiot (more times than you might think, thanks for asking), I pretty much just stopped working on it. I hoped, I suppose, that I'd find time to sit quietly with it in a well-lit, comfortable spot (as opposed to the bus, the subway, or the last few minutes of the day when I've had a glass or two of wine and really should be thinking about nothing but sleep) to examine what was going on and solve the conundrum. Yeah, wishful thinking that.

Until ... on my way to look for yarns for the two holiday gifts I want to make (I swear I'm keeping holiday knitting to a bare minimum this year), I stumbled across a promising looking bead store. There I found the perfect tiny, pale pink fresh water pearls to bead the shawl, at a low-down bargain price, too. Inspired by this new booty, I picked up the shawl again over the weekend. Still can't really tell what happened, but it's working now -- I'm nearing the end of chart two.

As for the holiday gift yarn -- I didn't find anything at that first store. Why is it I always go there? I hope to uncover some treasure trove, but never find anything I can really use. Later that day and farther downtown, however, I found the perfect raspberry-and-cream pink yarn for socks for one friend, and a delicious dark olive yarn that will become another pair of the fingerless opera gloves -- by special request!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

As if by magic

Yesterday, as I was obsessing about designing the perfect sweater coat and actually making it in time to wear before it goes the way of the poncho, a friend of mine (who's having a bit of a hard time) came by to stay with me for a few days. Somewhere in our meandering evening conversation I told her about my obsession, and she, grasping my arm with a bright look in her wide blue eyes, said, "I have something for you!" Out of her suitcase she pulled a yummy, cream-colored, perfectly cozy sweater coat. After wiping the drool off my chin, I said, "I can't! It's your coat! You packed it! You're wearing it!" "I haven't worn that coat in two years," she replied. "When I was putting it in my bag I thought 'why am I packing this?' Well, now I know why."

So -- I have a lovely new sweater coat to wear now (and I do mean now -- I'm wearing it today) and the luxury of taking as much time as I want to thoughtfully create the perfect pattern for a funky, bulky yarn, mini-skirt-length, cozy cabled French je'n sais quoi sweater coat. Magic!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Call Me Crazy ...

I'm thinking of designing a sweater coat. I want it to be something with the coziness of an old fisherman's knit sweater,

With the style of Alexander McQueen,

With the ribs of Kokosalaki,

And the funkiness of Adam + Eve,
(the one on the girl in the corner, right?)
I want it to be the sort of thing you could wear over leggings and Chelsea boots the way some terribly chic French woman might throw on a mid-thigh-length sweater and belt it and make it look fantastic, I want it out of chunky yarn on big needles, and I want it yesterday. The thing is, the yarn will be costly and the process long, or at least not short, and I've got an Icarus shawl on the needles doing strange things that I can't really figure out and an Annie Modessitt silk corset languishing on the bureau for the want of a few buttons and, at an absolute minimum, a pair of socks and a pair of opera-length gloves that should be started for friends' holiday presents. I'm also tempted to say I've never really designed anything before. However, the truth is I hardly ever knit anything as the pattern dictates and I did actually design those fingerless gloves from a couple of posts back.

Apropos of all this, the Yarn Harlot has a wonderful, rich, and thought provoking entry today on her blog (as she so often does), and I intend to learn from it. The truth is, I'm going through -- or should I say pushing myself through -- some professional stuff that really falls into the same category of taking yourself/not taking yourself seriously. As wonderful as being an artist is, being a professional artist can really suck. All the stuff you need to call on to be great at your art tends to run perfectly opposite to all the stuff you need to call on to be great in business. So it's all too easy to end up sitting around with a lot of unexpressed art inside you, a frustrating day job, not much money, and no ideas on what to do to change that. I've recently reached out to some people -- ok, they reached in to me -- to get some ideas about how to make things different. Part of what I'm seeing is just how I get in my own way, and trying to change that, my little lambs, is one of the hardest things I have ever done in a life that has not exactly been devoid of hard things by anyone's standards. However, Stephanie's post is so right on, and how are we knitters or women or artists of the type that don't so easily take ourselves seriously -- or perhaps it's more about giving ourselves credit where credit is due -- ever going to see a change in the world if we don't effect that change ourselves? I can hardly expect John Sayles, for example, to cast me in his next film if I can't, with total confidence and professionalism, introduce myself to the sort of people who might know people who know Sayles or whose work is on the caliber of Sayles'. We can't expect women to earn the same as men do for the same job if women don't believe we're worth it and ask for it. It's that little voice that says 'but of course I don't really mean that I could be in a film directed by John Sayles' that I have to quiet. Or just tell to bugger off. Because, why not? Why would I not -- talented, accomplished, and professional actress that I am, who has logged years of training and hard work, who works on her craft nearly every day and works in her craft with some regularity -- why should I not be in a film directed by one of the best film makers of our time? Who do I think is or should be in these films that is somehow better or more deserving than myself? Not that we aren't all wonderful and deserving, but that I am so no less than anyone else.

Ok, the truth is, it was still hard for me to even write that. But that's what this time is about -- transforming. So I'm going to design the sweater coat, I'm going to call the contacts I need to call about the next steps in my acting career, and I am going to value my own work and my own worth. May we all do the same, with love, and in a way that serves.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Weakly .. I mean WEEKLY post

Steady, if slight, progress continues on Icarus. One more row and I move on to the next chart! However, blogging, new knitting, photos, and anything and everything else not related to readings this weekend have been given a back seat to this:

As well as this:

The former happened at Ensemble Studio Theatre's Octoberfest last night and yesterday, and I could not be more pleased. It was an absolute privilege to play the character of Joyce, an actual woman whose story I did my best to give life and voice to. Penny, author of Flashback and friend of Joyce, was pleased, and I could not ask for more than that. Nobody's Girl happens Monday evening at 13th Street Reportory Theater and I'm thoroughly looking forward to my relatively light roles in that.

After Monday, we return to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Benefits of Being Miserably Ill

Actual knitting progress!

Of course they should be blocked and all that -- blah blah blah -- but there they are, completed! I'm excited just to have them done, but I'm especially excited because they are my first gloves and, most important, the first thing I've designed -- as long as we use that term loosely. I followed standard instructions for fingerless gloves in Interweave, incorporated the lace interlac stitch from Vogue Knitting, made them opera-length, trimmed them with crochet in the funky fuschia mohair, et voila! My own funky fingerless gloves, actually in time for winter.

In the meantime, there's been progress on Icarus:

Shown here with the sccript I should have been working on and the sunscreen which was -- blissfully -- needed today.

In the meantime, I appear to be working in kitty cat central. Here is but one of the creatures who visited today: