Know the feeling? You select the appropriate size circular twin pin, remove the paper band from a fresh, new ball of yarn, cast on stitches for what seems like forever and finally join to start knitting. Oh, the joyous moment of beginning a new project in sweet dreams of just how great it will fit you, how nice it will be to wear et c.
And then sometimes this happens: Several hundred stitches further on – here that’s just some five rows – you discover that you twisted it despite all efforts to avoid it. Instead of a waist band you’re knitting a Möebius band.
That is the point at which you sigh, perhaps swear a bit, and then begin to tink.
And no I don’t mean think. Because the thing to do is go back stitch by stitch to at least not have to cast on anew. And what is knit in reverse?
Shocks can take many forms. I was just on holiday with a friend and very keen knitter with whom I went to see her local yarn shop. That shop was where I bought the yarn for my red sweater (see previous posts for snaps of said beauty), and I was duly admired for the job by the owner. Both these women – friend and shop owner – have a tendency to hoard yarn, the latter making it a sideline job. When they learned that I refused to be tempted by something specific in her stock though sorely tempted I was, they wondered why.
I told them I’m trying to finish my (small) stash. All of it or as near as possible. Both were incredulous. The owner used the term “scraping the bottom”. My friend thought it highly unwise to use up so much there was nothing around for inspiration. I dream of the extra space it will give me as I plan to change parts of my wardrobe as I finish new things for myself.
The current portion of stash in the process of elimination is my sock yarn stash. Down to enough for two pairs + the one on the needles right now. And they are part of another type of shock:
One would hardly think it possible to dye wool in such vibrant neon colours, yet there it is. 80% wool. The 100 gr. ball proved enough for 1 whole pair and the parts on the needles. The rest will be black for biggest contrast. They are for my daughter who will no doubt wear them proudly. And to the danger of everyone else’s eyes.
Oh yes and for steady followers: I finished the embroidery. And forgot to take a snap. Sorry.
My red sweater is finally done! This includes the silken neckband that I had to go to a specialised shop to get. It was worth it just like it was worth the work. It turned out exactly the way I hoped it would.
So why did I caption this post with the words “goodnight, hot night”? Because this is a night sweater. Yes, I’m serious: Women used to sleep in sweaters like this. It was what you wore to bed some 150 years ago and before. In fact you would go to bed dressed in a linen slip and a sweater like this (more or less), sleep in something akin to a cupboard, cover yourself with a woolen sack stuffed with feathers and down and lined with a linen sheet. And you would half sit instead of lying down.
This was how every peasant woman slept for easily 200 years. Whenever I go to the open-air museum or think about it I wonder how they ever made all the children they had.
Hay must have something to do with it. Somehow. Because nice and warm as a sweater like this one is in those drafty, unheated-at-night houses, sex is the furthest away on my mind when I imagine the sleeping arrangement.
Of course, I’ll just wear this to keep warm. (And look … nice)
Yes I know I did not post for a long time. The main reason is that my work life has been in chaos for just as long. It’s finally settling into some sort of order and I can muster the oomph to do things other than work.
The one thing I was able to do was take up a sweater that’s been on hold for several months. Most likely to give myself something mindless to do and an idea that something was moving towards a definable target. And look now how close to finished it is:
The first two snaps are details of pattern and of the – if I may say so myself – rather brilliant way I went about not having to sew on the sleeves by picking up cast-off-stitches and knitting them together with the edge stitches at the sides.
The pattern is my take on a theme of regional variations of the so-called night sweater worn by women in Denmark in the 16-17-18-hundreds. The sweaters were more or less hidden away for festive occasions but visible when they worked. The crossed double bars and the eight-point stars were more or less standard, but some had only patterned sleeves, some had a patterne likes angles or V’s in rows on the trunk et c. I could find a partial pattern for the sleeves alone, and the stars had to grow with the sleeve to keep the same number pattern row by pattern row. I ended up with 6 pieces of A4-sized checkered paper taped together to make sure I got it right.
Those women did without pattern. Just skill. This sweater has given me enormous respect for them. Nowadays you really only see sweaters like these with folk-dancers performing in costumes. I call taht a pity: Let’s give this pattern a revival. Show our skills.
Or: Yard upon yard of cotton threat.
As epople following this blog may remember I started knitting yet anoy eldest daughter, the scout and aspiring geologist (both are outdoor things. She needs sweaters). She has a third feature to her: She is a mess-maker. And I´m an evil mother. She has been left to her mess while studying for three exams, one of which was a re-examination first time failed. After that it was clear out room time.
So did she begin to do so straight away? Of course not. Procrastination, excuses, endless talk and no action. Only because of a threat to begin throwing all her things out the window to the garden did she finally do something.
To most of the room. And so I decided to reward each still remaining item of mess cleared up with a row or two on her sweater in progress. Which leads me back to the word “knotting”. It’s “not knitting”, pointedly so.
Now before any possible reader’s hackles are raised, this is neither naming, blaming or shaming. Instead I’m straightly, strictly literal:
The dear girl studies geology and saw on one field trip a fellow student wearing a sweater that inspired her. Could I knit a pattern with stripes that are interrupted in a slanted line?
My answer yes prompted a sketch that’s turning into the above: A clourful rendition of a fault line. The blue, yellow and red layers of sediment, as it were, on the black background cut up and unjoined with the forces of the earth’s tectonic plates.
Or in this case, the force of my knitting needles. Don’t you just love a nerd like that?! I do.
Ah, the innocense of youth. My teenage daughter is into a lot of things important to adults too: Doing well, being liked, being online, dressing nice, fashion, keeping fit and healthy.
Lately she’s also into keeping warm. The reason has a name: January. Instead of dressing with a large eye to just the right look, driving her sister and me to head-shaking frustration when packing “suits” as opposed to merely clothes, she asked – pleaded – to have me knit her woollen socks.
Always happy to comply with such wishes I asked about colour. I like colours and share this feat with her sister to the point of being willing to fasten extra ends for the pleasure of seeing a pattern grow.
But no, she’s still a fashionista. It had to be:
A single shade of grey.