Monday, July 24, 2006

You Can Never Have Too Many Projects On The Go

I was pretty miffed. Woke up with an excited feeling, rather like a birthday. Today my two little sets of rosewood dpns should arrive from Scotland and be welcomed into their new home. Perhaps that yarn I bought on eBay a week ago will get here too. And that incredible Irish crochet lace pattern. With a song in my heart I listened for the crash of the neighbour's cattle grid, which means that Garrett is on his way in the little green van. Dashed to the gate, accompanied by all three dogs, but - my heart plummeted. Garrett waved cheerfully, but sped onwards to Lissarda and Kilmurry. No post today. Not even a postcard. No lovely big squashy parcels of yarn, no large envelopes marked Do Not Bend. The sunshine went out of the morning for a bit, but after deadheading dozens of rose bushes and clearing the pond of weed, optimism returned. After all, as Scarlett O'Hara would say, 'Tomorrow is another day.'

After all, it isn't as if I had nothing else to do. Slowly, reluctantly, unenthusiastically sewing up Anny Blatt, trying to find a way of using one yarn for all the seams (although really the only way with a brightly striped piece like this is to use its own yarn for each section, but that takes ages as well as rather lending itself to ripping out during something really important like a symphony concert or an interview with Jeremy Irons.) Putting in a few more rows on First Ever Sock. Deciding on a pattern for that Aran jacket. Finding a lace pattern for the silver yarn. And in between, trying to climb the ironing mountain, attack the garden, find out which of the dogs is moulting all over the place (none of them will admit to it, but I suspect Muffy), finish Dickens' American Notes, oh yes, and write up some overdue articles. Plus tidy up my weblog and put on those new links (this business is becoming more and more like fishing for octopus (Octopi? Octopodes?) Each time you fish one out, it has another eight clinging to each of its legs, and each of those has another eight, and so on. Whenever I check somebody else's website, I find their links to other fascinating people and topics, and so it goes on. You have to run to stay still!

Angie says trying to put a new link on your weblog is always a hit and miss affair. I have to agree. You think you have it off pat, and then somewhere you miss out a tiny sharp-edged bracket or a quotation mark and the link either just doesn't appear (which is frustrating) or, far worse, it appears in a garbled manner which makes
you look like not only a computer geek but the kind of person who probably sews up jackets really really badly and doesn't darn in the ends either. Listen, we're knitters, right? How come we're the ones pushing back the borders of computer knowledge by learning how to control computer-speak? Shouldn't someone else be doing that? Still, I suppose it shows just how varied our capabilities are. Could a male computer nerd manage to knit a sock? I think not (not sure I can myself yet, so better not get too smug on that one just awhile.)

Anne assures me that sock yarn definitely doesn't count towards the size of your main stash. 'A side hobby all its own' she called it, which is a very good way of describing this most addictive habit. She also insisted that there was nothing to compare with spinning your own sock yarn: it really makes the project come alive. I think I'll test the truth of that with my new fleece. After all I did tell John-Joe I could, so I had better try to make the statement true in arrears at least. By the way, Anne's catalog (we'd still spell that catalogue here in
Ireland, but I'm aware I'm talking to the international set here), has some stunning patterns. The Criss-Cross Jabot Scarf is ingenious. I'm going to have to get that one, and also the Cable & Fold Scarf.

After my contretemps with Magic Loop, Rho, blessed girl, sent me a really detailed and well expressed set of
instructions for socks on two circulars. It is exactly what's needed for a beginner in this field - you're led by the hand every step of the way. That's good, even if you know the next bit - it's very reassuring to have the help on hand. Once I'd printed it off I immediately tried to ferret out two circulars the same size. Of course, unless you're into this method already, which of us habitually stashes several sets of circulars in the same sizes? But I was all afire to try the instructions out, so eventually settled for two almost the same, since this was a practice run really. And it's working. Yo! Rho you're a thoroughgoing petkin. Look, look what I've done!

OK, it's not much, but at least I've got it started. The dangling ends take some getting used to, and it probably would be better with shorter circulars as Rho advised, but needs must when the devil drives, Miss Furnival, as the saying goes.

Then, since I was still a bit cross about not getting any parcels in the post today, I did some more compensating for disappointment. After all, you can never have too many projects on the go, can you? (Thank heaven for Yarn Harlot who made it possible for all us Unfinished Project Hoarders to come out of the closet.) I swatched for the silver top in that Spritz yarn I got the other day. I know you're wondering about the hunky chunky that captured my heart - well, I know I wanted to get started on the designer Aran I'd in mind for it, but such things always take an age to get settled. There are so many lovely pattern stitches and combinations that it usually takes me a week to decide on which ones to use. Then there's the actual shape of the garment. An Aran-style sweater is really too warm for anything but the coldest weather, so probably a jacket which can be worn open - but then, cropped or hip-length, v-neck or collared, straight buttoning or that idea of a cross-wrap? You see how long it can take? And that's not counting the foul stage of working out the gauge - do you do it on stocking stitch and roughly divide by half (those cables can really drag a piece of knitting in like smocking) or do the decent thing and cast on enough for a whole pattern repeat (might as well start the blooming jacket and be done with it - what a waste of time!)

My problem was that I'd seen the way that flirty silver yarn had been looking at my hunky chunky. I got a bit worried that if I left them alone together for too long, something might happen. It was a bit like the old riddle of the goose, the fox and the bag of grain. Which do you take across the river in your boat first? The fox? No, the goose would eat the bag of grain. The bag of grain? No, the fox would eat the goose. Aha, the goose, then. But then on your second trip, if you brought the fox he would eat the goose while you were back getting the grain, and if you brought the grain, the goose would.... You get the idea. Anyway I decided to give the silver yarn something else to think about besides oatmealy charmers and gave it a really complicated lace pattern to work out for itself. (Actually it's not that complicated - it's one of those ripple-effects which creates a nice line of points at the bottom. I tried it in the recommended needle size but found that one size up showed the lace pattern off much better.

So the silver yarn is now busily multiplying and dividing and subtracting the yarnovers it first thought of, and hasn't had a moment to itself for wicked thoughts, which is no harm at all. And Chunk the Hunk is safely tucked away in a private box, humming to himself in a rumbling bass and probably thinking of nothing at all. That's often the way with stud muffins, don't you find? The brain is in direct inverse proportion to the brawn. Who's complaining?

We've had a very welcome though small amount of rain in the past day or two - it's been a most unusually dry summer in Ireland. However, even the barest dampening was enough to send all the plants off in a frenzy of growth. The snapdragons in the rose garden were looking lovely, I thought - and a very small baby rabbit felt the same, I discovered, as I spied him from the window above, thinking he was quite safe as he sampled these strange, brightly-coloured temptations that Mamma hadn't told him about down in the cosy family burrow.

I know, I know: serious gardeners will tell me that rabbits must be kept out at all costs. I should go out into the neighbouring field forthwith, and check the wire mesh for holes. But it's rather nice to see the babies playing in the grass and crouching motionless when one of the dogs potters by. Don't know what the dogs would do if they actually saw the rabbit. I sometimes suspect that they do in fact know they're there, but think it advisable to err on the side of caution. After all, a baby rabbit might be quite frightening when roused, don't you think? I did hold Sophie up to the window to show her the intruder but she took one look and then buried her head under my arm. Yes, clearly a dangerous foe.

No moon at all tonight. That means a new moon tomorrow. Don't forget to curtsey.


rho said...

Sophie is just so brave isn't she LOL

That sock beginning looks fantastic - super in fact. I turned the heel on my sock last night and tonight I hope to pick up the gusset stitches and finish this sock by Friday so I can begin the second one over the weekend and have a week to finish it.

I think we must be stealing all your rain - we are hot hot hot and humid way beyond our normal island humid. The rain did not do the strawberries and good here and prematurely ended the season - and now I am concerned about the melons and tomato crops both things I love and look so forward to. Oh well the corn from the north shore is super and have some cooking right now for dinner.

Keep up the great work on the sock

Anonymous said...

ahh, i love your posts. thank you for mentioning my catalogue (which is how i intuitively spell it, myself).
so glad the socks are working out. just WAIT til you try them in your own handspun! i turned a student on to this recently ans now she is hooked on the handspun too. (it was a clever ploy to get her to spin more)

Angie said...

What an adorable bunny.In fact we always called Snapdragons "Bunny-rabbits" .As for the moon thank you Miss Grey Rabbit I shall curtsey to it ...that's if I can see it over the smoggy haze that is The Thames Valley.
I didn't feel like knitting yesterday until 11pm ...not a time I am up as a rule but with Jeff home fine as I can nap all day if needs must.I had sat on the porch step and waved at Jason the postie too a bit puzzled as an E:Bay parcel hadn't arrived but the seller tells me she listed it all wrong and now needs to send another colour .I'm not too hopeful.Lately unless I pay an extra £5.00s for special delivery I find a lot of parcels go missing.The whole Post Office hopped off to Germany I think and the temps couldn't speak English or read it .After a conversation of sorts I can verify that .Tomorrow the heat is to soar again so I'll just have to plan projects until 11pm ish again.I found a 3/4s finished Noro "Aurora" cardigan yesterday . The funny thing is it's metallic part is gorgeous but the colour looks very muddy knitted.I must finish it though .I also have an angora half finished that I am going to un-pick.Holly looks longingly at cardigans in "Kew" ,"East" and "Rachel Riley" . I introduced her to Rachel Riley when she could wear the children's clothes ( which are lovely) but she has gone on to like the adult range very much NOT my taste. Well it's time for first dip of the day with lots of lavendar .

teabird said...

The baby rabbit is enchanting - we live by a wooded area, and we have rabbits who are extremely spoiled because we leave carrots for them every day. No, we don't grow carrots. We buy them in the supermarket. Sometimes the bunnies have fresh vegetables, and we're making do with frozen!

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