Saturday, November 15, 2008

Back from the Misty World

My God, it's been almost a month since I posted.

To everyone who wrote me, thanks so much for caring. Yes, I was in the depths, seriously. A few days after Rhinebeck, I could tell I was diving deep. Triggered by my insane schedule. I was warned this would happen by my doctor but it's the paycheck that kept me going, until I could go no more.

That said, I'm back. And much better. I never give up fighting the good fight. And there's some really excellent news. From all things bad, comes good. I will no longer be doing what I have been doing. I'm going to a new tech writing job, one that pays a ton more money and is much saner. No more travel, no whacky Europeans, no fucked-up non-processes. A very well-known pharmaceutical company. The nightmare is over.

Sedated Knitting
So yeah, while I've been out on medical leave, I pretty much sat and knit this incredibly boring worsted-weight shawl. All seed stitch. Loopy couldn't imagine me doing this. But then, she wasn't taking a shitload of drugs, either. This is a Kathy Zimmerman design from the Vogue On the Go Shawl book 2. I just took the pattern and used it with a pile of leftover Morehouse 3-ply I had in the stash. I wanted something heavier, that would go well with jeans.

Then there are the Noro socks I took to the doctor's office, so that I didn't have to read a 3-month old edition of People.

The other is on the needles. Cuz I ain't done with waiting rooms.

But I knew I was repaired yesterday when I started this Mari Dembrow sweater.

Swatched, hit gauge on the first try, and started the back.

When I say that knitting keeps me together, it's very true. If I ever stop, just dig a hole for me.

And I did finish the Princess cardigan in time for Rhinebeck.

Me and my peeps. And me in the cardigan. I did take a lot of pictures at Rhinebeck, of everyone and everything, which I'll eventually stick into a PowerPoint slide show.

The Giftie Mags
I admit, I buy these, even though I have absolutely no intention of knitting gifts for Christmas presents. I rarely knit gifts, although I've done socks for the family on occasion. Working myself into a frazzle over knitting some stoopid scarf for a gift is not something I care to do.

I must say, both IK and Vague gift issues were uninteresting, with the exception of a Brandon Mably jacket and Deborah Newton cardigan in VK. However, in the winter issue of IK, due out shortly, there is a lovely cardigan by Laura Grutzeck, co-author of Knit So Fine, called Ropes and Picots. I particularly like the saddle shoulder shaping.

Cardigan and Finishing Fixations
I've pretty much let my lace knitting go for the time being, simply because I miss making garments. And I find that cardigans suit my lifestyle and figure much better than pullovers. How many airy-fairy shawls do I need?

I love the whole finishing process of a garment. Many years ago, I did finishing work for local yarn shops to earn extra money. And there's no question that my sewing background helped.

But more than that, long before hand knitters were using mattress stitching, 3-needle bind-offs, and other finishing techniques, machine knitters were doing all of these, as well as "cut and sew" on cardigan fronts, necklines, etc. From 1981 until the early '90s, I was a dedicated machine knitter, with two Brother machines, plus a Passap Duomatic 80.

I learned much about finishing from the machine knitting books, especially how to block properly. When you take a piece off of the knitting machine, it has to be blocked, due to the stress on the fabric from the weights and the stretching over the needle bed.

I believe that the finishing process is an act psychologically separate from knitting and shaping the fabric. And one that gives me enormous satisfaction. There's nothing better than a nicely finished garment. Otherwise, what's the fucking point?

Liz Update
My girl is starting to look at colleges. Can you believe it? I can't. Shit, she's a junior in high school now, headed for art college. Still doing the marching band thing. I went to see her band compete a few weeks ago in the Northeast Regional competition. They came in fourth, pretty damned good. Liz is playing the quints this year, those five little drums. And she's the shortest kid in the band, so you can easily find her in the crowd. I love seeing her in that uniform. She looks like a little tin soldier.

She's still my Punk Princess. Yes, there is a ring in her lip and a stud in her nose. And the bandana is a nice touch. When I see her, I'm always reminded of myself at that age. Musical, artsy, rebel. Take no prisoners. One rare and handy kid, forever my love.