Knitting Like A Sailor

Monday, April 11, 2005

swatching around inside my head

I swatched the pattern that wasn't looking right in the border for the shawl mentioned in my previous post, and in the doing of it i realized that I was knitting it improperly. The chart is engineered to start with pointy "arrow" shapes (that's what I call them in my head) then a few rows of zig zags and ends up with a lozenge type motif at the top. I'm picking up stitches from the center of the shawl and knitting outward, and want the lozenges near the center and the points at the edge, so I had been knitting the chart from the top down without thinking about it. It was a crazy mess; the only thing that was recognizable was the arrows. Once I realized what I was doing wrong I played with it a bit and figured out if I go to the first row for each motif and start from there I can place them in the order I'm looking for and it looks fine. The zig zags still need some work but I think that's more of a gauge issue, I was using what fell to hand to swatch and the needles were bigger than I would have wanted for the yarn if it were for real. It was a very satisfying aha moment, and made me feel mucho competent when it worked.

While I was at my therapists office her receptionist and another knitter employee were oohing and ahhing over my swatch in progress. The receptionist mentioned she was thinking of trying her hand at lace so I was trying to explain to her what I was doing and that it was fairly simple, but she kept interrupting me to tell me that it was way more complex than she was capable of. *sigh* no not really. it was reassuring to hear that she's working on a project in size six needles with a non-fruu fruu yarn. It's acrylic but at least it's not a fluffy fizzy broom handle contrivance.

The therapist overhead the conversation and it segued into a discussion of self-worth and esteem, the end result, which was to assign me to knit something for myself.
I've started a lot of projects for myself over the years, but i always seem to set myself up to fail when it comes to my stuff. either it's so simple it's boring (heaven forbid I should make myself something nice, mom killed that instinct quite effectively) it's too much of a waste (i'm not a small person and yarn isn't cheap, i can get much more mileage making something for the kids) or i dither around and come up with ideas that i don't know if they're even possible or i attempt something that has a scary new thing in it and then manage to bugger up the simple parts and rip it because obviously i'll really fuck up the scary new thing, thus reassuring myself that nice things aren't for a fat stupid failure like me.
Strangely enough, I really want to do this. I guess I'm sick of being intimidated, self-depreciating and scared of things I want. I mean, it's yarn for crying out loud. if it's a big mess i know how to rip, so what's the big deal? dunno yet, but i'm going to do it and see what demons crop up on the way.

Ya know, I lied. I've actually made something for myself. I made myself socks out of a tequila sunrise colored bfl handspun sport weight that I dyed with wilton's food coloring. I still have a leftover ball of it. I wore them for oh, half an hour, and took them off to go shower. I came out and they were on Loverboys feet. He thanked me profusely for making such warm and snuggly socks, and batted his big baby blues at me until I sighed and said he could have them. I also presented him with a hand-spun hand knit bfl/llama blend scarf that winter too. Bfl (wool from blue faced leicester breed sheep for the non fiberholics reading) makes an amazingly soft, thick, cozy felt when washed in the washing machine. I cut the tops off the socks and the three year old wore the feet as slippers this winter, the cuffs worked as pajama leg extenders for the two year old, and I sewed the much shrunken felted scarf into a purse and gave it to a friend in Georgia when we moved. Loverboy's learned to sort his laundry even when he's in a big hurry, but that didn't prevent me from quietly frogging the sweater i was making him.

anyway, current projects are swatching and figuring what i want to do for the shawl, and figuring out what I want to do for me. I thought briefly about making jackie e-s's all over lace Faeroese shawl, a pattern that I love and have cast on for twice, but i think two lace projects at once would be counter productive. Socks aren't enough of a commitment, esp since i know i would blow off the second one. a sweater really seems the best bet, i just need to wrap my mind around the novel concept.