Tuesday, August 30, 2005

good lace, bad lace

With the aim of lightening tone, and after looking over previous, rather depressing posts, a return to knitting-only content.

On your left a pretty little thing, Paws to Remember, Margaret Stove doubled up, and just about properly blocked. 2 strands of Margaret Stove held together, and just about properly blocked.

My first piece of lace. And as it turns out, my first piece of lace knitting, because each patterned row is alternated with a plain (knit) row.

But coming up on the right - shield your eyes, it's not a pretty sight - is a piece in progress of knitted lace.

Now, listen carefully, because the Puzzle wrap is a thing of beauty, as is everything that Sharon Miller designs, but this thing? Knitted lace is dangerous in the hands of an amateur. Particularly one who won't cough up for the recommended yarn, and instead decides to use stash of a much thicker bent. With severe blocking, and apologies to Jamieson & Smith jumperweight (which is a lovely thing, but is perhaps better suited to jumpers, as it feels exactly like sproinging spring lambs ought to feel), I might just end up with a short, fat, no the holes aren't mistakes scarf.

If you make fat, and very possibly ugly, lace, shouldn't it be called something else?

Sunday, August 28, 2005


A wall. A very nice wall, old, fertile, missing bricks here and there, no longer quite even and straight, with colour and texture and interest. But a wall nonetheless.

It's a wall, because there is nothing new, or finished, under the sun. Green socks are slowly growing, because anything knitted on 2mm takes its own time. The puzzle is behaving, but is clearly saving its mysteries for the blocking future, when with water and pins it might just stretch to something sensible. Baby jackets and lace stoles and entrelac scarves are hanging around, hanging around.

And the wall is there because if I don't actually open a computer file, and start work-writing, well then, the wall still stands. And as walls go, it seems quite a nice one. But the wall needs to go, or I need to throw a crash mat over, and find a ladder.

Now, I've seen friends finish their PhDs, and I've helped along the way. I've held hands, cheered on, gone 'what the ...?', and proof-read. I pay my fees, go to meetings, do fieldwork, read, ask questions, take notes and notes and notes, and think about it all the time. It is there, hovering, within eyesight, within earshot, at the corner of my eye, screaming into my face. Sometimes, it even behaves nicely, kindly, entrancingly. But mainly, I watch. Because doing is hard. But with practice, I'm hoping, it becomes easier, just as old walls crumble and fall into interesting piles of brick.

Friday, August 26, 2005


Green socks and bananas (no ham in the house) - what could be better?

Because just in case I didn't have enough to do already, I decided to figure 8 cast on (but without the figure 8, it works, Gathering of Lace explains all) for a pair of socks. The gen-eric-ius Wendy provides the basis for the generic pattern, the sock wool is part shhh-silk,
and the bananas are because how else could I afford shhh-silk.

Now, I know the flavour is for multi-coloured, and the smart favour intricate, but me, I'm still hooked on the novelty of a sock that actually fits. So I'll work out a pattern when I short-row the heel, and in the meantime I'll dream of silk-clad green toes.

So why did I decide to add to my pile of I must finish this? Well, gangrenous feet are my reward (yes, that shallow that I respond to bribes) for having cleared a treasure trove of paperwork today. For over 6 months, I have been making little stashes of filing, but today was the day they died. Hands up all those who hate filing, now eyes down to pick up stitches.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

no knitting today*

because somebody has been trying to do some work. Notice the book title on top of the pile (squint a little). Notice the irony.

I'm bogged down in this pile of leisure - there is a theory that it probably should be turned into a chapter in my thesis - which seems to have sucked all the fun out of having fun. (I know, I know, 'leisure' isn't only about fun, but honestly, couldn't someone, somewhere, remember that enjoyment, which just has to be fun's kissing cousin, is an important part of that thing which is not work, but nor just play, nor sheer idleness.)

Nor is work helped by being surrounded by some small furry creatures, who show amazing dedication to the art of generally lounging around, with a speciality in sleeping. Surely, surely, the creativity they show in idleness is an indicator of enjoyment, of fun. The pleasure vocalized in getting the bedding just right, the padding and prodding and pushing of wrinkles and crinkles and bumps. The pleasure taken in roaming from potential sleeping spot to potential sleeping spot, to find the one that is just right, right now. The rise into almost awake, as the ear twitches to a 'was that the sound of food being prepared?' beat. The mid-nap, still asleep stand-stretch-and-switch-sides dance. Who knew that sleeping could take so much work?

But their work does not help mine, as my irritability with my inability to find the right way to write grows, and the word-count drifts again. Still, there is evening left, and an empty house apart from those dreaming, so time to work some more.

* You shouldn't believe the whole not knitting thing, but I'm trying to re-categorize it as a reward. Or, I could just be collecting many many different styles of works-in-progress.

Monday, August 22, 2005

wasting time

The sun was shining, so it was time for a puzzle or two. Accompanied, of course, by the ubiquitous cup of coffee. Now why would anyone want to be inside, working, when they could be outside, playing?

Puzzle number one could go horribly wrong, the pattern calls for Rowan's Kid Silk Haze, but being ornery, I'm using a Jamieson and Smith jumper weight. I'm also being cheap, as I had a little stash of J&S, and didn't want to fork out for KSH. Still, things seem to be going okay so far, the lace is readable, and it should be nice and toasty for winter, when I have to stay indoors, sitting at my desk, and pretending to work. The big question is, will there be enough yarn.

But that problem can wait for another day, as right now I seem to have an empty cup.

Friday, August 19, 2005

These boots are made for...

crawling. Well, what else does a baby do? From the infamous '50 baby bootees' by Zoe Mellor.

Hopefully, the baby will at least not chew them to bits, and the mother will like them. But I DON'T CARE, because they are SO DAMN QUICK TO MAKE. You do understand just how satisfying it is to complete something, don't you? And these were a gentle evening each. (Even if I might be smudging the truth just ever so slightly, as I haven't sewn them up yet, but that doesn't count.)

To emphasise just how small these boots are, here they are sandwiched between my (European 36) feet.

And why the different not babyboot socks? Well, because I can, because I can, because the day I turned my first heel was a day of true jubilation, so much so that I bored a psychologist, a philosopher and a real author (published books and all), as well as assorted friends, with much, much information about this magical thing called sock-knitting, when we were there to listen to the real author talk about his latest book. (And a very nice author he is too, who expressed an interest in the sock-making process, and I am sure that his question 'So do you actually wear your hand-knitted socks?' was one of genuine inquiry, not at all one laced with get-away-from-me-you-freak horror.)

And now, I can make toe-up, short-row heel, 2 socks on 2 circs socks. Nothing is impossible. (Except maybe doing the hoovering before the little fluff ball monsters on the carpet start building themselves semi-detached houses. And hitting my work word count for the day.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Look, ma, I made homework!

Now, me, I hate to swatch. Just dive on in, cos there is always a cupboard (or under the bed, or suitcase, or bin bag somewhere) things can be hidden in. And then there is the whole amphibian deal, if the yarn is very nice, but the pattern or user error have made things wrong.

However, I have heirloom ambitions. I'd like to think I came upon the idea of holey string before the whole summer of lace thing, but to be fair, I figure there was some subliminal imprinting going on. But I've never been a fan of seasonality - except in food - so I'll do this on my own time-scale, and that way I can't be help up to ridicule for saying that I thought you meant summer 2008.

(By the way, the two yarns: in the middle a rowan kid classic (I think, ancient stash, and why on earth would I save a ball band); and either side a Margaret Stove artisan lace, the one hiding, because it isn't blocked, in the top right corner doubled up and knitted on 5.5mm. The others are blocked, no really, and came off 5mm.)

Now that I have mentioned it, I want to go back to this 'my own time-scale' concept. Personally, I find it very useful. Unfortunately, there are some others who don't always seem to benefit. The prime example being my poor benighted long-suffering academic supervisor. A deeply patient woman, whose role in my life is to sit in despair as I continually 'yes, no, maybe' through our meetings. And the current example? Well, there is a little meeting scheduled for next week, and a draft paper due, and even though I am absolutely sure that it is all in my head, and don't worry about it, somehow the words just aren't quite down on paper yet.

Maybe she would like some lace instead?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Here goes.

So why does this make me nervous? Well, even though I like words - the day doesn't start without a crossword, and one day I WILL complete a cryptic - and supposedly I am meant to be writing a phd, I find laying them down in print frightening. Something final, even with an edit button. But I have a solution. I will be as anonymous as possible (but reserve the right to change my mind).

Knitting. Why, yes I do. I taught myself years ago (well, a book taught me), stopped, and started again last year. Amazing how just wasting time on the web sucks you back into things - and there does seem to be a rather large, sometimes friendly, and occasionally fractious online knitting community. So, when I get myself more organised, knitting will be mentioned, with an outside possibility of knitted items being finished.

One day, I might even post a few pictures.

Enough for now.

ps I'm also doing this to encourage myself to write often (no promises on what often means), because I have this vague theory that writing here will help me write a phd. That said, my favourite response to most questions seems to be 'yes, no, maybe'. So, yes, no, maybe.