Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Just Knitting Knews

So many topics to write about, but being that I've already lost this post twice now, I'm going to make this rewrite as pleasurable as possible for me. And that means I am only going to post about knitting :-)

What I Knit While In LA
I barely had any time for knitting at all. Dancing and performing kicked my butt. But when I did knit, I mostly worked on the blue lace sock.
THE Sock.
Notice that would be singular, not plural.
And I didn't even finish the first one.

I worked on the blue lace sock whenever I could until one day I broke the needle stuffing it back into my little knitting tote. Of course the needle that snapped was the one holding the lace panel on the instep, causing a few dropped yarn overs and the need for a little minor sock surgery.

Here is the sock post-op.

Being that I had a few hours to kill before the LocalYarnStore was to open for the day, I started up sock #2 of the plain stockinette pair that I'd begun for myself way back when before I got sidetracked knitting socks for Karen, MyFK and TheMIG.

Remember this? There was a fourth pair, too (not pictured) and three of those four pairs are complete and with their owners. Except the sock on the left, which is mine, which still does not have it's companion. No biggey as I only have one leg, but still...

Anyhow, the broken needle called for a second trip into A Mano Yarn Center (oh poor me...just having to stop by a LYS)...and while I was there this second time, I was able to sit and knit for awhile with the Ladies Of The Shop. It's a really great store full of really good people. Do pop in and visit if you are ever in the area, gang. Check it out...they even have a rapper sporting handknits in the window.

Rewinding back to my first trip into A Mano earlier in the week, I bought two skeins of Trekking XXL sock yarn, one skein in my new favorite theme of blue-greys and the second in olives. Trekking is a yarn I've never tried before, and so that doesn't count as money spent to increase an ever growing stash pile, does it? We all know that socks are just one measly skein anyhow. I mean, it doesn't even really count as a yarn purchase, right? Neither does spending money to replace the broken needle of a work in progress either, I think.

Applying this logic, this would mean that for all intensive purposes, I didn't spend a dime on any knitting stuff while I was on this trip now, did I.
* giggle *.

What I Packed to Knit in LA
A question for you all about knitting on the go. Can anybody out there (because I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who does this) explain to me please how it is that I can pack this much knitting:

even though, while I am away from home, I'm only going to have the time available for this much knitting:

I do this every time, no matter how near or how far I'm going. It doesn't matter if I'm just stepping out for a couple of hours or if I'm going on a 2-week trip. I always overpack the knitting bag. The above photos are the 2-week bag version (it's the bag coming back from LA, the new Trekking tucked in). I would not pack a bag that large to go to a doctor's appointment, for example...but even with a smaller bag, I do still bring along more than one could ever knit while in the waiting room.

I am serious. I want to know. What is this phenomenon??

In the rest of my life I am very skilled at negotiating time. I am skilled at assessing the amount of time it actually takes to complete a task, and I am very realistic about how much time I have to actually complete said task. This talent made me an excellent chef and caterer. Why I cannot apply this gift towards my knitting, I will never understand. I always bring more kinitting than I can accomplish, and I always end up looking like a Bag Lady. Or HoboKnitter.

Knitting Presents Waiting at Home
I got home to find a package in the mail from my Secret Pal! She dyed me some lovely roving (wheeee!).

I've been just kind of winging it with that drop spindle I won a couple of months ago, but I think I'm actually ready to jump in and take a class. I found out there someone teaching at my local center for the arts. I'm hoping to register for the next session and do this gorgeous fluff some justice! Can't wait.

My Secret Pal also sent me a bracelet with moveable beads for counting rows, repeats, whatever....I love this!! I saw something like it in a magazine awhile back and thought it was totally cool. I'm not sure how my Secret Pal guessed I'd want one, because I don't recall mentioning it on any wish list. I certainly could have used this while trying to knit those lace socks backstage in Venice. I would often try to squeeze in a row or two on the lace sock when I had down time between running segments I was dancing in. The knitting would ground me. But it would always take me a minute or so to figure out where I had left off in the lace pattern when I set the sock down (and "wait 'til I finish this row" was not going to fly, so sometimes I was mid yarn-over, even!). I can't wait to use the bracelet with the second sock which I will work on during the SF and Hawaii runs.

Thank you Secret Pal!! And thanks too for the emails and cards, too! It's been a huge treat and a very happy thing :-)

Knitting Since I've Been Home From LA
Well, I didn't knit for the first three days back home, as the bulk of that time was spent sick in bed. That's how crappy I felt. I didn't even have it in me to pick up the needles.
I got to work on the lace sock again on Saturday while hanging out in the park at MyFK's birthday party. I completed the foot and started into the toe right before bed time that night. I almost forced myself to stay awake to get it done, just for the sheer excitement of finishing something, but I was getting sloppy the more I tried to keep my eyes pried open. I decided I was still sick and needed more rest, so I forced myself to go to let it go and finish it Sunday morning.

But then Sunday morning I got derailed.

What I Am Knitting Right Now and That I'd Rather Not Be Knitting
This will take some explaining, so bear with me.

TheMIG is a drummer in a band. The guitar player in his band will soon be attending the wedding of a co-worker (and as it turns out, TheMIG has been hired to run the sound system for that very same wedding). TheBride is in a bit of a tizzy (what bride isn't?). It would seem that she needs some knitting done. Fast. The wedding is the 14th.

Apparently TheBride has a stole/wrap/BoaThingy that was made by her friend's Granny. TheBride would like a second BoaThingy in an icy-blue as a topper for her wedding gown. She had made arrangements to have Granny knit up another one for her. TheBride bought the yarn, and mailed it and the original BoaThingy to granny's house. But poor old senile Granny didn't recognize who the package was from when it arrived on her doorstep. I guess she deemed the package an unsolicitied purchas or a terrorist effort or something, so she refused to accept the package and sent it back without even opening it. TheBride tried to straighten things out through her friend, but I guess Granny got so flustered by the whole package ordeal that she now has no desire to knit another BoaThingy at this point. And apparently this wedding is not going to be complete without this BoaThingy.

TheBride complained to her co-worker, the guitar player in TheMIG's band, and was then was referred to me.
Enter TheAmpuT.
(if by some bizarre act of god TheBride is reading this, read on at your own risk)

I got wind of all this via TheMIG on Wednesday. TheBride didn't call me until Friday. She still did not have the returned package with the original BoaThingy. So now TheBride has no yarn, no pattern, and no protype. The wedding is less than two weeks away, and she is asking me if I can please be commissioned to knit it for her.

I proceed to ask her all kinds of questions about what the wrap looks like in an effort to determine if this is something I am skilled enough to get done in the small time frame I have. Let's keep in mind that I am dancing/performing and I'm in a heavy production run from the 10th through the 16th. I will probably have no knitting time at all that week. And if I do, it will be one row on my blue lace sock.

But getting TheBride to answer knitting questions is tough. I mean, she tries. She really does. But she's not a knitter.
Here's the information I got over the phone:

She thinks the original was black. Or maybe brown. Blackish-Brown. And that it is sort of a triangle, but sort of curved, but kind of like a scarf. It joins together in the front, but the ends are long enough toss over the shoulder. It's sort of lacy but it's not a lace pattern, and it's sort of thickish, but not really. It's not furry, but it's fuzzy, and...

Are you getting the picture of the non-knitter I am dealing with yet??
Asking her questions about gauge or yarn weight or stitch patterns is pointless.

She's not a ditzy lady by any means. She's very intelligent and quite the nice person. She's just a non-knitter (the poor dear). But she is also a non-knitter who can't describe what she wants and is trying to commission a hand knit garment that is to be a part of her wedding ensemble with only two weeks left before the wedding. Lordy.

And I'm not about to accept the job without more details.

Again, that phone call was Friday. TheBride said that the returned package with the original wrap and the yarn should be back in her hands that very afternoon or hopefully the next morning. I told her that when she got it to send me a photo of the finished item along with a close up of the stitch pattern and a ruler next to it. I also wanted a shot of the yarn and the yarn label.

TheBride gets no package Friday or Saturday. Sunday she calls me. She's given up on waiting for the package, and she's figuring the package is lost (maybe Granny sent it the FBI to be sniffed out by dogs).

But TheBride has just walked out of a yarn store (yarn store...that's promising!) and she has found a pattern in a book ("Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick" ...ok, that's promising too!) and she's bought new yarn (a yarn store employee seeing the pattern and helping the non-knitter with her yarn selection...even more promising! I'm feeling good about this!). So I invite TheBride over so I can have a little looksie.

She shows up and shows me a pattern for a shawl that is a lacy semi-circle that is accomplished by knitting several pie-shaped sections together via the use of shortrows. Except she doesn't really want a shawl. No, nothing that deep in the back. Nor does she want a semi-cirlce. She really wants something that is more like a big long scarf that is sort of rounded on the edges, and is rounded, but not rounded, and the original kind of had this way of curving in the middle, and it should show off some shoulder, but not be...(aye aye aye).

It is at this moment that a giant plastic bag from OneVeryLargeBoxCraftStore makes an appearance. Promise and hope flies right out the window.

Now I'm not a yarn snob. I'll knit with any fiber if it feels good in my hands, fuzzy novelty yarns included. But what I am handed is 6 skeins of the most barfy yarn I have ever handled in my life (I hope TheMIG's guitar player hasn't given TheBride my blog address to show her my work, but if you have read this far, forgive me...I like you, I just dont like your taste in yarn..even if it is "just the perfect color!").

Oh. And did I mention that the yarn is in two different dye lots?

Okay. Back to our trying to figure out exactly what it is that I'm making. So I pull out my pattern books and magazines and we try to find a pattern that more accurately fits the description of what she is truly looking for. In my opinion, this is making matters worse for me. She's finding things that "feel like" the idea she's trying to capture, but the messages for me are getting more mixed. I feel like a hairdresser dealing with someone looking at those horrible books full of hairstyles, and there we are flipping through them together, and then this next moment happens and this is when hopeful promises leave me entirely.

She starts oooing and ahhhing over all the FunFur capelets in the Lion Brand ads.
"Ooooh it's kind of like that!! Only... not really!!!!"

I was about to reject her outright at this point, because well...I don't have time to pull something out of my arse in 3 days, and that's all the time I've got because guess what...it's crunch time on my SF shows. And I think any attmept to make her happy and look lovely on the biggest day of her life is doomed for failure.

But I can tell if I say no that she might just cry when she gets to her car, and it's a friend of a friend of TheMIG, and I totally remember the chaos surrounding the two weeks before my own wedding years ago, and I am really feeling sorry for this gal.

I'm conflicted. I'm also seriously stressed about making something wedding dress worthy out of yarn that maybe I would only use to make something like a bathmat.

Seriously. This crap is Grade 5/Bulky polyester at 1.75 st to the inch, and it is supposed to be the crowning glory on TheBrideToBe of a July wedding. I can't imagine this working out. I shudder to think that this horror will be immortalized in photo albums everywhere for generations to come.

I get TheBride over to my computer and we end up looking at a pattern in Knitty for Tie One On. So we agree that I'm sort of making something like that. Sort of. But not really. It should look just like Tie One On, but well...it should not...Tie.

I'm winging it. I'm working with annoyingly fluffy and nubby yarn. I'm using US 15's to get any kind of drape or lacy feel to it at all (and there's my salvation--the big needles should make it go fast). I just pary that it's even close to what she is hoping for and that she doesn't end up looking like Cinderalla at midnight as her ballgown is transitioning back into a floor mop.

Believe it or not, I'm venting here on the blog so that when her knitting is actually in my hands I am only thinking positive and loving thoughts while working on it (I have strong beliefs in that kind of ju-ju, and I am either focused enough or bipolar enough to pull it off). Luck for me that my day off with TheMIG and playing Mouse In The House was just the ticket for a smooth casting on yesterday*grin*. At least TheBride will be swathed in hot monkey love and goo-goo eyes.

And maybe that's good enough.

But if it were me, I'd have bought a white wrap from Bridal-Gowns-R-Us and had it professionally dyed.

For those of you here in the US, you all have a Happy 4th.
I'll be the one over here in the corner knittin'.


Carol said...

Oh that sock looks AMAZING!! Yay!

Sounds like you are dealing with a nascent Bridezilla. May I recommend this website?

Mouse said...

That story is precisely why I break into hives at the thought of knitting for someone when I don't have complete control of the project.

BeanMama said...

You are ONE BRAVE knitter - that scenario would scare the short rows out of me! (And the blue sock is smashingly beautiful. And the Yarn Harlot says in her latest book that sock yarn does not count toward the accumulation of stash. So, quite right - you bought no yarn while in LA.)

Anonymous said...

Is this a bad time to remind you that you asked all of us to remind you not to try to knit to deadlines?

Good luck with this.