It might well be a nervous reaction to the strictures of Sock Madness. A wild urge to throw caution to the winds, live life to the full, sample the joys of unrestricted pleasure. Whatever. Not only has nothing been finished in the knitting line in the last week or so, several have been started and every day brings several more. It might help if I didn't sweep a dozen books from the knitting shelves each night and bring them up to bed with me to peruse. It might also help if I didn't go prowling round the stash, pulling out yarns, rediscovering treasures, sitting down on a heap of unironed laundry and going off into dreams of yet another incredible creation.
Incredible is right.
I do recognise the symptoms of start-itis. I'm a big girl and I know the risks. I shouldn't play with fire, walk too close to the edge, tempt Fate. But then, would it really be a huge consolation to sit up on my deathbed and think smugly, 'Well I was sensible at least. I have tidied away neatly every single project I ever started.'? No, I didn't think so either.
Forget it. Let's return to that painful topic later. To happier matters. The arrival of Denise in Ireland, with husband Charlie. Isn't it wonderful when you meet up with a fellow blogger, someone with whom you've exchanged so many confidences over the Net? Denise and Charlie are an adorable couple. We had dinner together at the Spaniard in Kinsale, wandered around Killarney, had coffee at that old thatched tearoom.
Yes, that is none other than Muffy the Yarnslayer in the foreground, very properly refusing to acknowledge the camera. She got on fine with Denise, though, even allowing a modicum of cuddling, since Denise is a dog lover herself, and rather missing Toby on this trip.
We were even lucky enough to spot the elusive and very wary native red deer as we drove through the Killarney woods, and Richard was out of the car with a 500mm lens before you could say, 'Look!
These are really very shy creatures and have only to catch a glimpse of you to fade away swiftly into the woodland shadows, so we were lucky indeed.
By now Charlie and Denise are, I hope travelling on the Dingle Peninsula. I wish them grey skies and wild winds. Yes, really, because that scenery looks its best in wild weather. Maybe we'll meet up again before they have to leave Ireland - I hope so. We talked and laughed so much that we actually didn't have any time to discuss knitting or spinning, if you can believe that!
OK, it can't be put off any longer. Let's face the facts and examine this Start-itis bug with a detached professionalism.
Item: One pair of Aran Sandal Socks, from the lively publication Socks, Socks, Socks, edited by Elaine Rowley. I'm using Silky Wool, Elsebeth Lavold. It's OK, Angeluna, the yarn seems to have plenty of bounce and spring in it, the knitting doesn't flop at all.
These are very nice indeed. The pattern isn't difficult as such (no purling 5 together or trying to do a 12 st cable), but you do need to concentrate, since there are several different stitch combinations within the overall round, and while most of them take only 4 or 6 rounds to complete, one has 22 rounds in it, which means, in effect, take one glance at the TV and you're dead. Haven't got very far with them yet - ten rounds on Sock 1 and four on Sock 2 - and have had to resort to typing out the basic instructions on a separate sheet since they're all over the place in the book (i.e. you are told, 'work 5 sts in Patt. A, k1 tbl, work 6 in Patt. b, k1tbl, p1, work 8 in Patt C...' and so on) and you have to keep referring back and forth between the sequence and the actual instructions for each pattern. Add to this the maddening propensity of the said Socks book to slam shut if not weighted down, and the difficulty of seeing the fine print on a flat table at some distance, and you see the need for a crib sheet.
When oh WHEN will someone invent a really workable gizmo for reading a pattern (or a racy novel for that matter) while knitting? Have seen them all and none of them work properly. Especially not the novel-reading ones, since by the time I've fitted the little whatsits in place to hold the book open at one page, I've already finished reading that page, and want to move on.
But I digress. Back to the cold-eyed examination of the facts.
Item. One pair of toe-up socks with mini cables, in Panda Cotton. Highlighted in earlier posting, no further on. Reason? Bored. Saw something more interesting. Sorry, that reason is unacceptable. Well, how about, 'at an interesting stage of progression, having reached a point where more time than is presently available is required to continue.'? Well... ok, but get back to them, all right? Yes miss. Promise.
Item. Dramatic wrap in Noro Silk Garden Lite. This one is entirely YOUR fault, Angeluna. You showed me the pattern, I was instantly smitten.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), Noro Silk Garden Lite is not instantly available pres de Celtic Memory. Or even tres loin de CM, come to that. So it's on the waiting list.
Item. A new Celtic Memory yarn. Angeluna suggested that since NSGL was not available p de CM, one should try designing one's own colour-shaded yarn, using all that stash that is just SITTING AROUND, doing NOTHING. Absolutely valid point. Laughed the idea to scorn, retired to bed, couldn't sleep for thinking about it. Several hours already spent pulling stash all over the place and turning stash room into something closely resembling Calcutta Central Station. The case continues...
Item. Entrelac stole in Prism Cool Stuff (sound of thumps as several people faint). Now I know, I know, we're talking oil sheiks and serious money here, but it so happens I have some Prism Cool Stuff in the house. (And the dogs are guarding the gates so don't even think about it.)
What's more, I have exactly this colourway - Periwinkle. How fortuitous is that?
(Actually the pattern calls for three skeins of Prism Cool Stuff - cue for more fainting fits. Yes, that does mean the combined annual wage of several Bohemian herdsmen or the life savings of one Goan fisherman who struck lucky with the tiger prawns. But I have just two skeins, and they're going to have to do. Unless I happen to meet a Swiss banker within the next week or two. I'll make it shorter or something.)
I really can't wait to get going on this one. Haven't tried entrelac before but wanting this stole with all my heart should help with any problems encountered en route. Starting it the MINUTE I finish this posting.
Item. Dolman jacket in Noro Silk Garden, from that famed Fall 2003 issue of Knitter's. Aired in a previous posting, eagerly enquired after by several readers. Er, well - yes, it's still there, got the back done, started the endless ribbing band... and there it sits. It just - well, it just doesn't look quite as interesting as it did. Do you ever have that experience? What was once to-die-for is now to-yawn-for. Sad. Maybe later.
Item. Ribwarmer from the legendary Elizabeth Zimmermann. Peg, dearest Peg, you and you alone are entirely to blame for this one! You deliberately bought a copy of EZ's classic Knitting Workshop and sent it to me as a generous gift!
Deny it if you can! You knew I would go through it immediately. You knew I would be entranced by the cunning design of that Ribwarmer. You knew I'd want to start it immediately. Oh the blame lies most definitely on Vancouver Island for this one. What do you mean, I should have had more self control? I defy anyone to exercise self control when Elizabeth Zimmermann starts to speak of the delights of one of her designs.
Of the languishing WIPs of other days we will not speak. The past week has been bad enough in terms of Start-itis. What is the cure? Is a cure needed? Is there a branch of Starters Anonymous nearby? Do I care?