Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Midyear Knitting Report

Yes, I said that right. Each profession seems to define the start and end of a year differently, fiscal years, school years, sales years, tax years, etc., so I get to define a Knitting Year for myself. It begins when the temperature hits 40 degrees for the first time after summer, and ends with the first full week of temperatures above 70 degrees in the spring.

I define it this way because, unlike most time periods of my life, which are rational and predictable, I am a whimsical wooly caterpillar when it comes to knitting – I knit for the weather I’m experiencing, and neither force of will, nor aggravations over UFOs (unfinished objects), nor a driving need to have a project finished in time for some particular event will cause me to pick up a handful of yarn during warm weather. I can occasionally fudge my way through with cotton and small kitcheny (and kitschy) stuff when it warms up, but I have an innate resistance to knitting while sweating.

I’ve already mentioned over the course of the last few months, directed projects attempted and completed – Hats to the Capital, Knit for Kids sweaters, things send to the Pine Ridge Reservation. I did wind up finishing the Fishwife’s Shawl (or whatever it’s called) from Cheryl Oberle’s book on Folk Shawls. I could be more impressed, and probably will be once it’s blocked. Right now the fishtail stitches at the bottom border are a little bunchy compared to the looser garter stitches of the main body.

I had an unpleasant surprise over Christmas, which I had to knit for – somehow the plastic storage box with the stockings in it had been breached since it was last seen, and mice had eaten away a large portion of my daughter’s stocking. It was not reparable. Her teddy bear’s stocking (she’s had the bear since she was 4 years old or so, and the bear is as much a part of our family as our live pets) had also gone missing. My imagination has placed it in a mouse den somewhere, acting as a sleeping bag for some elderly grandmother mouse, wearing Beatrix Potter tiny glasses and a mobcap.

So, I knit up another stocking for each of them, with fluffy cuffs and contrasting heels and toes. They were ready with 48 hours safety margin before the Big Night. The bear was worried, but we’re all OK now.

Since then, I’ve been in knitting limbo. It’s warm out, unusually warm, and that’s put a hitch in my get-along. Normally, in January, I’d be working on the last third of at least one afghan, finishing up a nice patterned sweater, and launching into mittens. I’ve stalled on a baby aghan in donated yarn (and therefore quite neon like colors of screaming yellow and eye popping bright pink), a mitered afghan lies under the coffee table only half finished, and the only thing I’ve been working on steadily, if half-heartedly, is a roll brim stocking cap in lightweight sock yarn of tan and brown. Bleah.

So, I’m planning instead. Some of my former “wanna dos” are still undone. I hope to do a Charlotte’s Web shawl this year and that pair of Sanquahar gloves I’ve been eyeballing for much too long. I have the yarn and the pattern for the Peacock Feather shawl, but I’ve been dawdling along, a little daunted by the lace charts. I think I’ll take either CW or PF in to my Chix with Stix group, now that we have another experienced knitter and see if she can bolster my skills and confidence. I’d also like to get three oddball afghans done, including the mitered squares one from under the coffee table, and then send them off to Pine Ridge. That should probably hold me until summer arrives.
I’ll post pictures along the way.

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