Prologue: My bright idea. My sisters, my niece and I will make a mitered throw for my parents. Surprise our mom who knits for everyone. This'll be in the spirit of Mason Dixon Knitting - a collaboration, two of us Yankees, the other two south of the divide line in the DC area. We ignore history. The last collaboration - a parody song for an anniversary party- unleashed levels of sisterly sniping unseen since we used to share a bathroom and steal each others' clothes. (usually they took mine. For the record..I still want that vintage mexican jacket back).
The rules: We agree there are no rules. We will use the same yarn & pattern. Choose any colors you want. No quota of squares per person. No hard deadline. No telling anyone else that their square is ugly.
The personae: We are all in the visual arts professionally. warning warning! We have Opinions on Things Visual. We grew up knitting but only one of us knits all the time now. One of us used to work as a textile designer/illustrator. One of us is more experimental with materials than all the others. One of us is still in high school and is slightly freaked out by her mom and 2 aunts bickering like 12 year olds.
Scene 1: My front lawn, late Saturday afternoon. I've already persuaded the sister who doesn't relax enough to watch me garden, take a long bike ride and have a glass of wine .That last one wasn't so difficult, persuasion-wise. We crack the book, take out the freshly arrived yarn. We cast on. We sip wine. Lulu develops some problems. The pattern says size 6 us needles gets gauge, she is using 7's. I am on size 5 because I almost always need to go down a size. A few rows in, Lulu's miters are looking funny. She can barely move the yarn, its squeaking she's got it so tightly pulled. She accuses me of telling her to keep the knitting on the tight side. I, of course, deny. We then have an extended conversation about why its pointless to try to guess gauge when you've only knit 3/4 of an inch. I tell her to measure when she gets to 4" or better yet, consider her first square a swatch and we'll measure when we finish them. She further claims I'm not demonstrating the ssk well. We sip more wine. We admire the stripes. she: what color will you do next? me: ummm, I don't know. I guess I'll see what I'm in the mood for. she: but , only two colors, right? me: No, I might use more. Remember, we agreed, no rules on colors? she: But you will keep the stripes uniform, right? No skinnier? me: oh, I think some split stripes will look cool she: No! the pattern says 6 row stripes me: remember, we all agreed, no rules... she: (and here's where the conversation starts to devolve ) You know. Saying No Rules is Making a Rule. You are making a rule. me:(with attitude although I guess she's right on a technicality but you didn't hear me say that ) well. I'm am not promising my stripes will all be the same thickness.
We restrain ourselves from sticking out our tongues. I breathe deeply and contemplate the nature of collaboration and sisterhood. Any Family Psychology PhD candidates looking for thesis material? Sign on now!
cue that cloying disney song that celebrates our planetary interconnectness
Because I had a comment from Kathy in Juneau. So I check out her new blog Knitting Weather. I like her knitting, I look at her profile and then I realize. I knew her. In real life. From a long time ago, in our hometown on the cloudy shores of Lake Ontario. What a hoot. Go check out her site, I mean, how many knitters in Alaska do you know? (so, are you humming the song? Is it stuck in your head yet? Did you know there's a name for that?)
On the sock front, pair #2 is coming along ribbingly. I might have 3 bear syndrome with my sock knitting. You know: the first pair was too big, the second too small and then my next will be just right. Let's hope. Anyway I do like how this one looks, and it fits the water bottle well. We'll see how it does on my foot. I've learned a few things about myself . I like heels, they are the entertainment value of the sock, and I really need to learn magic loop because I drop many stitches during transport. Accordingly, I learned it would be a very good idea to have a nice small crochet hook because a big one is as useful as my stubby fingertips in trying catch the drops.
Knitting time is little, its the time of year when things are flying everywhere. Testosterone. oh. my. god. I grew up in an all sisters family. Spring is sprung and the hormones of 12-15 year old boys gush forth in a manner that means all impulse control is gone. I just try to grab the needles, look at the stitches and not think about too much.
identity crisis (or just call me The Little Sock Knitter That Could)
id crisis a: In yarn stores, sometimes the owner says, "hey take a look at the wonnnnderful sock yarns". To which I reply, "oh, they are beautiful but...I'm not a sockknitter".
Scratch that, with a full pair complete. I am a goner. Thanks to the practice on the first, the second has a more polished toe and tighter stitch. Its a better fit but I have to do something about ankle baggage. And! I have the floor and the shoes to go with them. Thanks again Cate. (for the yarn, not the floor & shoes).
id crisis b: I have too much of the Question Authority left in me to think self-patterning yarn a Good Idea. Variegates, oh yes. Noro color changes, love 'em. But self-patterning just seems so... german.Oh look, what's that language on the ball band ? Anyhoo, scratch that, too. All that.Less than 30 rounds in I am LOVING this Opal Rodeo yarn.
id crisis c: I haven't actually been doing much knitting because, like every May, I get my Little Engine That Could head on and decide that this year I really will get theyard under control and do some landscaping. This small mountain was living a half mile away unwanted, so we've moved it here piece by piece and I can be viewed, when its not raining too hard, in my front yard with a pitch fork trying to dig out an area it can edge. These are big ol' heavy New England stones, and though my manly household has helped some, I'm doing the heavy lifting on this project. And I am not speaking figuratively here, sisters. I've been secretly thinking of myself as Rock Chick. I hope she doesn't mind.
Before I go totally off-topic, I must report my giddy sock enthusiasm remains full force as I approach the toe, grinning like a fool. I realize its a size too large and it'll be a baggy sock. But that's OK. I like baggy socks.
However, the next pair...any suggestions for a sock pattern that stays up well? I think I want something more than plain ribbing & stockinette. Nothing too challenging,though, like that Pot-a-Whatta-Mus. Don't ask how long I browsed sock patterns online earlier today, OK?
Ok, now to the magic.
Meet Gordo He is big & hairy & mostly lovable. He is the dog version of a frat boy, always ready for a party. Gordo joined our family about eight years ago from a dog pound, shortly after our dear old dog died. For a while we thought he was just settling in, and its hard to be the replacement model. Over time he's calmed down, and he's smart, with a lovely thick shiny fluff coat and friendly smile. Which is probably what's kept him in our good graces, most of the time. His fatal flaw:he has never, ever, ever - despite daily walks, yelling, sporadic serious training attempts, much upper arm muscle development and wrenched shoulders - walked well on a leash. At 70 pounds of unbridled enthusiasm, he can yank over most adults in a swift lunge. He always wants to be the lead dog, and that gets unpleasant when you are halfway down the street and there, at the other end of the block, is another canine.
No longer. We have been touched by magic. It said "satisfaction guaranteed" and because it was less than $ 10. I thought it worth a try. This product , the Anti-Pull Harness changed my dog owning, skeptical shopping life. Gordo walks like a trained dog. He doesn't act like the new harness bothers him in the least, there wasn't any pain or woofing. This is a dog who would just about strangle himself pulling on a choke collar, huffing and coughing while passersby said helpful things like "heh, heh, who's walking who?". Magic, I tell ya.