Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Severe Case Of Start-itis Threatens!

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?


Birdsong Designs said...

I thought, "How expensive can this yarn be? I've never even heard of it!" and then I looked it up. I did faint. I haven't heard of it for a reason. Does your firstborn hate you much, for trading him for yarn?

I kid; you go girl! That's lovely stuff that would make a beautiful stole.

Cindy/Snid said...

Start-itis indeed! I think you need to grow a few more hands or something. I am trying desperately NOT to get my mind in that state (although I did pick up some lovely cashmere/silk in a laceweight this weekend...!)

No matter what project you choose I am certain that it will turn out beautifully, and I love those first cabled socks!!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, you are in a good mood indeed today. I had to laugh out loud several times. Denise and Charlie looked like good fun. And I was so glad to see Muffy. She hasn't been getting a lot of blog space lately.

Gizmo for holding yarn patterns. First, copy charts from book!!! If necessary, you can then tape them together and line them up as needs be. Second, get a magnet board with strips. They are traditionally sold for cross stitch charts, so you might find some in an old fashioned store somewhere. Or, just find a suitable metal sheet that will work with magnet strips, which are sold separately. Place your charts, prop with a plate holder or somesuch. I once sent you some transparent colored highlight tape. It is for working charts. Dig it out. Until you find the magnetic chart holders, you could even just clip your charts to a thick cardboard, use the removable tape to mark rows, and prop the whole up where you need it. Knitpicks has a lovely zippered magnetic chart case with it's own built in stand. Take a look. If the darn things weren't so heavy, and our new bloody postal rates hadn't gone into effect, I would simply mail you a magnetic set-up. They are wonderful.

As for start-itis, I am so with you, although my list is longer. And I am awful. I take things to the last couple of hours work remaining before finishing, then start something else and the pieces languish in the UFO chair.

Your socks are lovely! And I totally agree with you, who cares if we leave multiple UFOs behind when we are called on. Don't think it will bother us. Though I keep trying to tell my sons not to throw the stash away. It's their inheritence.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, the lure of starting afresh! I, like Angeluna, have a few things which need minimal work to be usable, but no, I start afresh. I found, in the UFO pile, a jacket which, as it turned out, only needed a few ends to be sewn in and it was ready. But I'd left it there for over a year!

I've had some luck using my music stand to hold a book. The stand can be placed wherever you like and it doesn't take much time to slip the turned page under the bar.

Thank you, by the way, for reminding me of the aran socks. I've hunted out my book and will probably start them soon too!

rho said...

tomorrow I will take a picture and email you a brilliant way to keep the book open... promise.

Tania said...


I just made those Aran Sandal Socks! I got some sport weight wool yarn from my workshop instructor's stash and made her a pair since she gave me enough for two. I'll be making the second pair soon. BE AWARE there's a bit of errata online for the pattern. Just a one liner about starting the heel flap.

Thinking of you and enjoying your blog here in Bonita, California.

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Life is too short girl to worry about little details like starting new projects - you are just doing swatches to see which project will win the contest!
Blame it on me, the shoulders can take it and I know you will handle this all well with a glass or two of Bailey's.
I will arrive bare foot, as Muffy might eat a girls socks as she tries to quietly walk through the gate!
I may have broad shoulders, but after birdsong's comments I will not try my faint heart by looking up the price of that too-die-for yarn!

Victoria said...

You will love entrelac...its so much fun....I just realized that I have not blogged yet about my entrelac stole ....I need to post about it soon....I also made an entrelac...i want to make entrelac socks from a magazine and then that socks, socks, socks book has a pattern for entrelac as well....

love that silk garden wrap...where did you find that pattern...

Anonymous said...

A cure for startitis would make far less interesting blog reading, darling. Can't have it.

Dez Crawford said...

As usual, with your photos, you have me threatening to pack for Ireland NOW. Would my great-granny forgive me for un-immigrating?

Everything you've chosen is gorgeous and YIKES Prism is expensive BUT you do have two skeins. Remember, part of that third skein is the fringe ... you could leave it un-fringed, or use coordinating yarns in the same selection of colors for the fringe ... you could also extend the volume of the Prism by finding some coordinating yarns, skeining them up a la Celtic Memory, and randomly substituting YOUR OWN yarn into a scattering of the entrelac squares.

Just sayin.' Sorta like adding a cup of water, a pat of butter and a pinch of salt and pepper to the soup.

Artis-Anne said...

WOW that yarn is expensive !!
Re doing your charts,I was going to say the same thing as Angeluna as that is what I do but I have a Daylight standard craft lamp which holds it all plus a magnifying glass ( I have a photo of it on my blog )The best craft gizmo I have ever bought , well DH bought :)
I too have start-itsi and have three things on needles at the moment which is not like me. I blame SM !!

LaurieM said...

During the Sock Madness you finished up like a champ. It seems only natural that you would revert to form with a vengeance once it's over. The cure would be another competition. But I think this is one of those cases where the cure is worse than the disease.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Jo,

I wonder if Deb or my friend, Sue, has that Noro Silk Lite (seems to me I remember it) in their stores. I'll call and ask her...and let you know. For, we are both going to see you in about a month.

Anonymous said...

Everyone else has commented about charts andchart-reading-aids, so I'll just second those suggestions (hooray for charts!).

Regarding "startitis". why search for a cure? If you are happy with the knitting in general, whatever is wrong with having multiple projects to switch between as you like? I may be terrible for having a heck of a lot of WIPs, but every so often there's a huge bout of "finishitis" to contend with too! Then one may cast on for a new pair of socks, and a shrug, and a bit of lace, and the cycle continues...

Anonymous said...

I think startitis is a seasonal thing--it seems to get worse when the seasons change (I'm not trying to blame the weather, simply to give a reason for apparently unreasonable behaviour.) It's very likely to occur when one is in a debating mood--am I a knitter, or a yarn collector? Perhaps it's a knitterly pandemic...

Anonymous said...

Isn't Denise just fabulous? I am glad that it worked out so that you could meet up with her.

Traci said...

those aran socks look tedious, but fun none-the-less. i laughed about the oil barons and then gasped as i fell to the floor at the actual price tag. oh well, you only live once.
i have to admit i have a morphed version of start-itis. it's in the form of 'which one thing to start at a time?'. what can i say? i'm a beginner. but i'm excited at what i have to look forward to!
i'm glad i stopped by your blog (from Golden Purl). your pics and wit are great and your knitting is inspiring. keep the tea kettle warm, i'll be back!


Charity said...

I love seeing you so full of chat! I, like Birdsong, also wondered how expensive it could really be. I, like Birdsong, had to pick myself up off my dining room floor. Yikes! But lovely. :0)

The Woolley Farm said...

Jo, you mean you started ALL of those in one week? You must thrive on stress! And not to be entirely yarn-stupid but what is Prism yarn? I'm sure between the 2 of us, we can re-create it. I have enough animals of all sorts and you have the color sense---and I can make martinis! OK, off to look up Prism... if you hear screaming near the ocean, it's just echoes of me when I find it....

The Woolley Farm said...

That red deer only has 3 legs. Lucky as a 4 leaf clover & very rare!

Anonymous said...

I don't even want to look at a yarn so expensive that people are fainting at the sight of it! I have no sales resistance and I too short of funds at the moment to take the chance.

The deer has all legs. The left back is bent up to clear the log and is just somewhat blurred into the leg behind it.

Katura said...

I tagged you in my blog! I think this is a fun way to learn about other bloggers. Enjoy.

Jeri said...

Hi, Jo,
I sure do know about startitis. My condolences or should it be congratulations?

And I have knit a ribwarmer, last Dec/Jan (pics and descrips on my blog) if I remember correctly. I knit the back in one piece using a variation on ez's theme. I do so like it.

And get some socks on those needles. They must be getting cold?

Fiberjoy said...

What a fun chatty post full of friendship, rare fauna, and fabulous fibers.
Sometimes it is simply too hard to be disciplined to work only one project when there is no end to inticing patterns!