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Occasional musings on "life, the universe, and everything" from a fiber junkie.

September 22, 2008

Obsession and Y-Space



Every now and then, an otherwise lovely knitting project will transform itself into an all-consuming obsession.  It doesn’t matter how many other projects are on the needles, or what deadlines they may be facing.  No amount of self-discipline will make the knitter pick up the neglected project(s) after obsession has struck.  This situation has arisen once again at AuntyNin’s Place, and (as usual) it’s all Mmario’s fault.  


A week or so back, the Demon Enabler sent me a copy of the charts for one of his new designs, “Talia” or “Queen of the Arrows.”  Within moments of arriving at home that evening, I had rummaged through the stash, finding a cone of WEBS’ 2/14 Alpaca/silk laceweight that would be perfect for it.  Inspection of the DPN storage revealed that the only US8 double-pointed needles on hand really aren’t well suited to lace.  One set is Pony Pearls, which have rather blunt points, and the others are steel, and thus heavy and very slippery.  Since “Talia” is a circular shawl, worked from the center out, and the combination of alpaca and silk tends to be slippery itself, this presented some challenges.  After several hours of battle and copious amounts of … um … very unladylike language … I finally decided that this just was not going to work, gave up and went to bed. 


The next night, after some mental gymnastics, I got “Talia” started flat, then when she was big enough to fit around a 16” circular, joined the rows and sailed onward.  This pattern and yarn have refused to allow me to even pick up another project when I’m knitting at home.   It just leaps out of its project bag the instant I plant myself in the Knitting Throne, demanding to be continued.  


Now that I’ve knit a little over 1/3 of the rows, it’s obvious that this is going to be a rather large shawl, probably blocking out nearly seven feet in diameter as written.  Fortunately, I was able to consult with the Demon Enabler, who suggested some places where the pattern could be altered to make it a little smaller.   Time will tell.




During the aforementioned rummage through the yarn stash, besides looking for laceweight, I was trying to find a particular hank of sock yarn that I knew I had put in there.   I know the one I sought had entered the stash room at one point, as it was one of the 2007 Rockin’ Sock Club yarns.  Could I find it?  Nope.  I did, however, unearth two skeins that I would swear I'd never seen before.   


Looking  at the two “where did that come from?” hanks, my first instinct was to blame “Great Uncle Rupert” (my house ghost) for removing the one I wanted and replacing it with the two I’d never seen before.   Then I remembered the concept of “Polyfractal L-Space” as put forth by Terry Pratchett in Guards!  Guards! He expressed the notion that large masses of books, such as contained in libraries and bookstores, warp space-time in such a way that all of them are connected.  He further postulated that those who have been properly trained can walk “behind the shelves” from one to another. 


Terry, not being a knitter (to the best of my knowledge), didn’t take this concept quite far enough.  How many times has a knitter unearthed something in his/her/its stash that looked totally unfamiliar?  From my reading of various blogs, it seems like it happens quite often.  At the same time, yarns that you know ought to be there are nowhere to be found. 


My theory is this:  all accumulations of yarn are connected through Y-Space.  Yarn must therefore be a migratory species, by its very nature attuned to the pathways of this interdimensional space and able to wander from stash to stash at will.  Most yarns, of course, tend to be sedentary and perhaps fearful of this wandering, which is why most of what you find in your stash is in fact yarn you’ve put there.  Some yarns, however, just refuse to stay where they’re put, and seek out stashes more congenial to themselves. 


Check it out yourselves - my stash room can't possibly be the only one where yarns appear and disappear without human intervention.


10:29 am edt

September 15, 2008

Diversions and distractions
We had a bit of wind last night, and though it was nothing compared to what the folks in Texas experienced with Hurricane Ike, it was still very odd to feel an entire 200-unit apartment building quiver as gusts of wind struck it.  Since this building sits on top of one of the highest hills in the area, it catches any air movement that's happening.  Not much sleeping happened at AuntyNin's, with the result that my alleged brain is even less coherent than usual for a Monday. 
While there has been progress on most of the active projects, none of them look  noticeably different; that's the disadvantage of having only large projects on the needles.   The one exception is the Cashlana socks, as the first is done, and the second is begun.  It's growing slowly, as it's the "on the go" project for long bus rides and lunch hour at w*rk. 
Now, all this wouldn't be quite so ... um ... disconcerting, if the evil condition known as Startitis hadn't erupted again, causing me to cast on another of Mmario's patterns, one he calls "Talia" or "Queen of the Arrows."  Yes, I know, I know... I was about to cast on Mystery Stole 4 when last I posted.  That was before Mmario sent me a sneak-peek copy of the "Talia" charts last week.  It has taken over, as patterns sometimes do, with the result that the Faroese shawl and the Granny Weatherwax are muttering conspiracies in the corner, and the wrap cardigan is sulking in its project bag, in spite of having gotten a little bit of attention on knitting its endless ribbed borders.  One way or another, I will be wearing that cardigan this winter.  
One reason for not having cast on MS4 is that I still can't decide whether to use the ivory Zephyr for it, or to go with one or another of the other yarns in the stash.  It's quite unusual for me to waffle on like this, but now that I've seen the first two clues, it's even harder to decide which yarn/bead combination will be best for it.  Sooner or later, it'll get started.  Probably. 
11:53 am edt

September 2, 2008

Summer Frolics Remembered
Last post I talked a bit about summer frolics at the Sterling Renaissance Festival; here we have some longtime friends hanging around at the spot we call Splinters' Corner.  Yes, I've finally gotten some of the photos uploaded and massaged for the blog. 
That's Rose and Luther in the front, with Nigel, Tina and Mairi in the back.  Good times.
Now that September's here, it's definitely time to get back on track with the knitting, and progress is happening on a number of fronts.  The Silky Tweed sweater now has only the borders and ties left to be knitted, plus a bit of assembly.  Faux Spanish gets a little longer every day, as it's nearly mindless knitting, which goes very well with watching US Open Tennis.  Finally, the first Cashlana sock is almost at the toe, and I'm still loving both the yarn and the colors.
This is a tad washed out from the flash - the colors are considerably deeper than this, with the overall effect reminding me a lot of the Aurora Borealis in the night sky.  To give you a hint, the background fabric in this photo and the next one are the same - but the color is much more accurate below.
Finally, in spite of knowing better, in spite of already having three large lace projects on the needles, I've swatched for Mystery Stole 4.  The yarn is Jaggerspun Zephyr, color "Ivory."  My biggest decision now is whether to use the copper-lined crystal beads (on the left) or the darkest gray ones (middle, top).
There's still time to decide, as the first clue won't be posted until this Friday, and there's no guarantee I'll actually cast it on right away.   There's also the distinct possibility that I'll change my mind on what yarn to use - there's a cone of Webs' tencel in a bright teal that's been begging for a project assignment.  Or the pale green Habu silk, or, or, or . . . spoilt for choice, I am. 
With September comes cooler weather (great for sleeping!) and shorter days, both of which trigger the instinctive desire to wrap myself in wool.  The Silky Tweed ought to be done in time to be worn this fall, and its blend of silk, cotton, wool and nylon will make it an excellent "between seasons" sweater.  The Celtic Icon can emerge from its summer in the closet to become a wardrobe staple, and many pair of wool socks will warm my toes.  Yay fall!
11:35 am edt

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"Everything happens for a reason, except possibly football." -- Terry Pratchett