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July 29, 2006

Taught

Things I have learned in the very recent past:

1) It is possible to plan and knit a Fair Isle sweater on in five days when up against a deadline. It isn't much fun (in fact, it bears a marked resemblance to Sisyphean torture), but it is possible.

2) Life goes on in those five days - after all, there's the office to go to, dinner to be cooked, laundry to be done. Necessities of money and food and habiliment can be managed, somehow, but all the rest falls away. Thoughts, worries, itchy niggling descisions about the sweater - not the sweater, The Sweater - loom ever-present during all daily activities. As a result, those five days are only remembered as a blur, a sort of black hole of knitting, forever collapsing inwards. No real recollection survives.

3) Because The Sweater takes on such disproportionate importance, little things are magnified and distorted, as though reflected in a spoon or viewed through a fish-eye lens. Steeks become a thing of monstrous prettiness, too lovely to cut:

And successful wrangling with the problems of bulkless, hemmed slit cuffs and passably matched sleeve cap stripes cause tears of relief.

No, I haven't gone off the deep end - but it's definitely a strange thing for a piece of knitting to become so...well...consuming. It's a sweet, modern Fair Isle in an allover brocade pattern for the winter Interweave - the antithesis of bulky, droopy, baggy Fair Isles (wondrously beautiful though they may be). It would look great with a trumpet skirt and riding boots, tweedy trousers and loafers, a denim skirt and ballet flats. I can't wait for it to come out and for you to see the whole thing - I'm really proud of it.

Back to real life now - back to a mountain of email and backed-up projects and patterns. Sisyphean, too, in its own way, but at least it's familiar.

Spinning

I've been spinning a little, here and there - I tried out Jacquard dyes on some glorious Bombyx top:

I was going for a sort of subtly tonal effect, but I think my dyebath was way too acidic - I poured the dye on, and the silk drank it up right away where it struck, leaving none to disperse through the water. It's spinning up prettily, though:

So far, I'm just trying to get a feel for it - I bought it for an absolutely phenomenal price, and don't feel bad about waste. Silk is hard to spin - the pre-drafted top is so fluffy it catches on wrinkles and callouses I didn't know I had, no matter how much talcum powder I rub my hands with, but leaving it in its compact state makes it impossible to spin. Then, too, it takes a lot more twist than I expected it to - the high-speed whorls and bobbins I ordered haven't come in yet, so I've got the braking on the bobbin so light it barely turns, and I'm treadling so fast I feel like I'll take off. And it still feels undertwisted. It's such a pleasure to handle and admire, though - the luster of the silk shows beautifully in the places that did get enough twist - it's a soothing sort of challenge.

I've been working slowly on some Merino/Tussah top I bought at Sheep and Wool, too:

It was originally a shockingly pink color, streaked with the white of the bleached silk - I overdyed it with blue, which left it a more muted blend of purples running to deep raspberries. Nice for lace, maybe, someday.

And then, the wonderful Amie gave me the most wonderful present a beginning spinner could hope for - samples of all kinds of delicious things.

There's Ashland Bay and Polworth wools, linen and cotton, Suri Alpaca, Quiviut, and a fluffy ball of wispy angora. Thank you!

June 30, 2006

Sneak Peek

In the elder days of Art
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part,
For the Gods see everywhere.

Longfellow must have, had to have, knit Fair Isle.

Patterns

There has been some curiosity, lately, as to if/when patterns will be published for the things you see in progress on the site. I think it's safe to say that one way or another, sooner or later, they'll all be available - some of them, like the sock patterns and some sweaters, will be self-published, some are magazine projects, and others will be saved for the book.

I promise, I'm not trying to be infuriatingly vague on purpose! It's just that things are so hectic, and I swear, knitting isn't the only thing going on in my life :) Someday, someday.



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