Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The sound of one needle clacking

Here are photos of some of the most hardcore Booze & Yarn members, taken during a rare daylight gathering last spring for the Knitting Olympics.

The real Knitting Olympians began and completed projects in the time between the opening and closing ceremonies, and then donated them all to a women's shelter. Me, I'm just trying to get points for homemade birthday presents. Right now I am knitting a powder blue mohair straightjacket for my oldest, dearest friend. I have been doing so for a very long time, and the sad thing is that I took it on for the promise its big, loopy brioche stitch (a lace style popular in the Victorian age, says C. the knitting goddess) held for relatively instant gratification.

More than two years ago I got a 1940s pattern book (to which I've lost the first couple of pages so I can't tell you the exact date of publication or quote a few choice bits about virtuous huisvrouwly behavior) and started a handsome sweater vest/hairshirt in a color the husband refers to (happily) as feldgrau. Think brownish-greenish moss. It features a very subtle, elegant 'beehive' pattern of twin knit stitches punctuating a field of purls, and is the kind of thing other knitresses ooo and aaah over but that the general public (including the man for whom it's intended) just can't appreciate because it's not flashy or cable-y and because they've never gone back and forth, back and forth across rows of 160 stitches at 9 rows to the inch. I'm still finishing up the back half right now and hope to have it done in time for our seventh anniversary. Then it will be on to the bellywarmers, just in time for a hip senescence.

Anyhow the really bad news about the straightjacket is that my outside deadline for finishing it was M's birthday two days ago. And about 4 or 5 weeks before that, I lost one of the needles. (I was knitting in church--that'll learn me!) For awhile I just switched back to working on the hairshirt, but then finally stopped into School Products to buy a new mate. There, the size 13 needles looked right, but my instructions said 11, so I left them be. Yesterday I finally went in with the piece itself and discovered that I have indeed been knitting on 13s, never mind the instructions--calling the fit of the whole thing completely into question--and that the 13s in the acrylic needles I find I must have to work with such fine mohair are now out of stock. I looked for awhile at the circular needles because their tips look quite sharp, but decided that that would be lunacy because I'm an old-school armpit knitter--I have to clamp the left needle securely under my arm to get anywhere at all. I came home with wooden needles and a lingering sense of doom.

Meanwhile I'm getting totally backlogged on my DIY projects and this blog because I've suddenly got a pile of real work to do. We're going to be away next week but I hope to update you on the Belgian ale and the IPA, as well as tell you about a tour of Sixpoint Craft Ales before I leave.


maherjess said...

Did you post this today? I can't tell. I just checked out all the blogs at once, and they are brilliant!! Describing yourself as someone who "likes to make stuff" sounds just like us and just about right. I'm inspired to make stuff, too, just as soon as I'm gainfully employed. Do tell more about how the beer is tasting....and whether you're taking your life into your own hands with needles and beer!

Charley said...

In another blog I read you wrote you left your needle at my store when you visited. Please check the City Knitting website city-knitting.com, and find my e-mail. I will look for it in our lost and found tomorrow and mail it to you if you give me your address. I'd love to help you finish your mohair project this way.