Monday, October 27, 2008

Lane Cove, NSW

My mother has always, since I was a child, had a Sweet Cupboard (that'd be Candy Pantry, in North America, I suppose). No one could go there without permission, but we knew, we knew it was there, and we yearned.

Ruby and Charlie, on the other hand, have no inhibitions, and in fact seem pretty pleased with themselves.

We found bits of half-chewed sugary mysteries (I'm guessing those that didn't quite make the cut) around and about, as well as scraps of foil wrappers. 

There's been plenty of sitting-around-looking-glum time, which is pretty good for knitting.

I finished That Sweater, and it might even be wearable, though I wish I had more of the main yarn, as the body would do well to be about an inch or two longer. I have a couple of yards left, that's all.

Amazingly, this yarn endured multiple cycles of knitting, ripping, reknitting, rinse, lather, repeat pretty well. It didn't fuzz or pill or get nasty in any way, though due to my ball-winding and unwinding and the fact that sometimes I was knitting from both ends of the same ball, there was a bit of unplying, though nothing dire and nothing that I couldn't remedy as I reknitted.

Turns out They were right: you do in fact get pretty good results photographing outside when it's overcast - this has to be the most accurate picture, colour-wise, of this sweater (or its yarns) to date.

Although I have never lived in Australia, it has familiar vegetation. After all, back in the days of Gondwanaland, southern Africa and Australia were connected, so I see trees and flowers here that make me feel at home (even though home has not been in Africa for more than twenty years).

Then again, it's totally alien in every way; witness this guy at the side of the driveway:
He's about two inches fat (greatest diameter) and about fifteen inches long, but that's only because his tail appears to have been, um, curtailed.

Since The Sweater is finished, and since I did bring More Yarn, there's a project in the wings, but unfortunately I've had a hard time getting started.

My plan was to knit four strips, probably striped, and then to join them with sideways short-row triangles to make an A-line, four-panel skirt. Unfortunately, as I dozed on the flight here, visualizing it, I realized that my idea, while practical and even attractive in a relatively solid colour (and I'd lump kettle-dyed in this bin too), would be hideous in seven colours. Clown-like even.

I've been going round in circles, as I must be constrained by Australia's air travel laws which specifically forbid knitting needles, even though (a) this is the only country in the world that thinks knitters might be dangerous and (b) in truth it's possible to slide in wooden or plastic needles. Circulars may well be problematic, but double-points are doable, if not exactly permitted.

Given short needles, I can't make the kind of skirt whose instructions begin "Cast on one hundred million stitches, join to work in the round, being very careful that the stitches are not twisted, and continue knitting in the round, decreasing occasionally, until you give up all hope that you will ever finish" because I don't have a large circular needle. In part because of this, but also because I don't want to swatch.

So my key phrase has been "modular knitting" which in its most common form of mitred squares is generally best executed in garter stitch. The yarn I have, approximately double-knitting weight, is too heavy for this to be attractive in a skirt.

I spent many fruitless hours on my mother's very slow albeit supposedly broadband connection (I can pick up a fluctuating wireless signal on my laptop so I use her computer for signal-heavy activities) looking for the pattern for Horst Schulz's shell-shaped modular piece to no avail, though I suspect I could probably fake it. This after many hours of Googling "modular knitting patterns" and rejecting endless mitred squares, which I can do (and probably have done) in my sleep.

I kind of wanted to do the skirt on the Artyarns website, but again, I'd rather have a lighter weight yarn for this design, not to mention better colours - less contrasty, I think, and more in the same family with perhaps only one or two unrelated. Mine are all over the colour wheel. I also rejected a Kathryn Alexander-style skirt, since oddly, I don't have enough colours to do it justice.

I think I've settled on hexagons. They work well on four needles (three plus one, not four plus one), can be done entirely in stocking stitch, can accommodate some striping to achieve minimal colour-blending, can be adjusted to achieve as much tapering as needed, and best of all, I don't need to swatch.

I cast on some stitches (a number divisible by six) that makes a decent-sized hexagon (and by that I mean one big enough to not be irksomely small, but small enough so as not to look like clunky patchwork) and make enough of them for a decent skirt hem circumference (somewhere between 60" and 65" I think).

And then carry on.

We'll see.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This might be a good start to knit the shells on your own scroll down to the great close-up picture!

Judy from ST