Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Feeling restless

So you may have noticed that I've got this Schedule thing. In January, I planned out all the projects I wanted to accomplish this year, figured out how long I expected each one to take, based on how much I expected to be able to do in a single week, and then plugged all these weekly milestones into The Schedule, ditching the lower-priority projects when it became clear that my reach was going to far exceed my grasp. I've been more or less following this Schedule ever since. (And yes, it really does demand that I capitalise the first letter.)

In many ways, this has been really freakin' wonderful. I have been getting everything done that I wanted to do, with very little - if any - stress. Not once this year has my husband become a knitting widower, single-handedly taking up the slack of my responsibilities as I frantically knit into the wee sma's to get projects done on time. (Unsurprisingly, he is thrilled about this.) I've even been able to fit in smaller unscheduled projects, like socks, here and there when my Schedule duties are complete.

However, this weekend I discovered a disadvantage to The Schedule: A dull, bored feeling about my knitting that I think is due to the lack of project spontenaeity. (Sprinkling in a sock here and there among The Schedule's dictates is just not cutting it anymore, spontanaeity-wise.)

I discovered that I am really missing that wonderful feeling of being insanely inspired to do a new project, burrowing through the stash until I find The Perfect Yarn, cannibalizing other projects for the needles I need, and casting on before you can say "But what about all the Christmas knitting?"

I'm not sure when this realisation hit me. It might have been while I was pawing through every knitting book I own, desperately looking for inspiration. It might have been while I was taking half my stash boxes off the shelf and rifling through them with the vague notion that I was looking for something 'good'. It might have been while I was wondering whether I had enough blue alpaca left in the stash to make this (seriously...do click on that link and scroll to the bottom for the final photo, it's stunning), and considering who on earth I could give the finished product to. But at some point it hit me that what I was really doing was looking for excuses. Excuses to break out of The Schedule and do something CRAZY.

Don't get me wrong, I love The Schedule. It has gotten my knitting $#!+ together, which is really an unbelievable accomplishment, given that I have spent most of my life with my $#!+ scattered hither, thither and yon. But clearly I need to build more 'free weeks' into it - weeks that I can just say 'to hell with it' and do something insane, like a ridiculously intricate fair isle project with steeks, using motifs I charted myself. (Yes, the thought did cross my mind. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to pull something like that off without shelling out money that I don't have.)

Orenburg Style Shawl
This is the result of my frantic hunt for a crazy, new, inspiration-laden project. Originally I cast on according to the instructions (bottom border first), and then decided I wasn't up to figuring out how to turn the corners - I think I just wanted something mindless yet insanely gorgeous and stunning. Besides, when I am already stumbling over endless lace border repeats in another project, why heap on more of the same? Dammit, I just wanted to dive right in to the insanely involved lace part. So instead I'm just going to knit the centre first. I'll figure out the border later. Given that I have no idea if I have enough blue alpaca to finish the whole thing, this is probably a good idea. Hopefully I'll have enough to do the centre, and if it looks then like I'm running out of blue, I'll do the border with the grey alpaca - I've got tons of that. (The blue and grey alpaca, BTW, are leftover from this project.)

(It'll get bigger, I promise. Especially once I stop leaving the damn pattern at work every night.)

Fafner blanket for baby Whyte
Firstly, thank you so much to all the nice people who complimented and congratulated me on finishing this project.

I unwrapped it, labelled it, re-wrapped it, and brought it to work. It is now hiding in my filing cabinet until the shower party. However, before I re-wrapped it, my daughter insisted on snuggling with it. So I had to take an 'in action' picture:

(Damn, I should have written 'kid-tested and approved' on the label, too.)

Garden Shawl for MIL
70 repeats of the edging are done. 50 more to go. Whimper.

(Carrie K, you have provoked my wrath. I suggest you start running now. ;) )

Stornaway sweater for DH
I've isolated the two left shoulders (front and back) and put all other stitches on spare yarn. I'm ready to go for the left shoulder strap. One of these days I will remember to bring some spare cotton yarn to work with which to do the provisional cast-on.

Simple scarf for DH
At last, a picture.

The scarf itself is so visually dull that I felt it needed some added 'country style' interest, hence the rocking chair.

Foot-pampering socks for Mom
I decided to go ahead and start using the Austermann yarn that I bought originally, the stuff with jojoba oil and aloe infused into the fibres. I mean, what the heck, who else am I going to use it for, right?

Answer: ME. Omigosh...this stuff feels a bit scratchy in the ball, but knitted up it's much nicer. You really can feel the difference that the jojoba and aloe make when it's in sock form - but it's not oily in the slightest. I've no idea how they do that. Plus I love the way it stripes.

(I am determined to make them match, despite rachel's Opal sock yarn horror story from last entry's comments. Shudder.)

I'm using the Yarn Harlot's 'sock recipe' from her Knitting Rules! book, because I was tipped off by my dad that my mother's feet are so wussy that she absolutely cannot stand toe seams (thank you, Dad). Therefore my usual toe-up sock pattern that I usually use is right out, and Harlot's sock recipe (top-down, obviously) is in.

I haven't given up the idea of knitting my mom some socks in the Sea Silk - I had a dream this past week where I whipped it up into a pair of beautiful lace ankle socks, which, after I woke up, my conscious mind agreed was a really rockin' idea. But for this Christmas, I think she's getting these stripey ones.


Marina said...

"Make them match"? That's why I gave up self-striping and handpainted yarn & took up Fair Isle ;-)

Carrie K said...

oooh, pretty. For some reason, scratchy socks don't bother me in the least, but I can't bear it anywhere else.

You're more than halfway done with the edging! I ran all the way to the coast but I had to come back.

I still love that baby blanket.