A haze of knitting

I think my burst of sock mojo left me drained. Just as the endorphins flee the tiring athlete’s body, so the imagination particles have scattered. They’ve left behind fragments of ideas that need to be picked up and played with before they can take shape and attach themselves to a part of the fabric or yarn stash.

For knitting at least, this is what swatching is really good for – a ten centimetre square of idea fragment that can be held up to the light. And thus frogged, reworked, frogged again, cast aside and picked up three days later after you saw another idea fragment lurking in the knitting basket.

This little ball of gorgeous possibility

had six swatches before it latched onto the Wakame Tunic (at Interweave Knits). A beautifully fine, single-ply, kettle-dyed, lace-weight merino from Uruguay, the variegation of hues had to be called out and celebrated while the lace weight needed room to move, twist and stretch. So it felt heavenly as stocking st, looked impressive with slit st rib but they weren’t striking the right balance of tone and movement. The Wakame Tunic suggested itself and that was very nearly right:

The nearly there swatch

The nearly there swatch

I let the idea fragment rest in the corner for a few days and it was only then it tapped me on the should and suggested 6mm needles for 1 ply lace. Perfect.

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Because it’s Melbourne

I do have a very few words on the Brownlow.

  1. ‘Brownlow fashion’ is oxymoronic.
  2. Footballer’s names are so special: Caden and Danyle for a start.
  3. Footballers should not be allowed to name their children. Jett and Ace are crimes against humanity (even if they are the sons of a former Collingwood captain).
  4. Exception to (1): Samantha Lane looked lovely.

Race day flair

We’ve received a wedding invitation where dress is ‘lounge suit with race day flair’. It makes perfect sense, given it’s the Spring Racing Carnival and all, but I am a little perplexed since I have no experience of the Bird Cage at Flemington.

‘Race day flair’ really depends on your experience growing up in Melbourne. For me, it’s knowing the code to your dad’s phone betting account (off by heart at age 8). For innercitygarden, I imagine it’s the seriousness of bookies’ odds and the calendar of race days*. Race day fashion has always been a little tricky. Jean Shrimpton certainly had flair turning up in a shift dress without hat, stockings or gloves. She may as well have performed a striptease according to the raceday standards of the 1960s. This was Melbourne after all, not London.

I don’t think we’re looking at Kath and Kim ‘tizzy’; and I certainly don’t want bogan flair that involves orange spray tan, a dress that is too short, too tight and too wrong. So, what else to do but reach into fabric stash on an early spring day on an uncertain hunt for flair.

* Since it’s the Bloke’s side of the family with the wedding, it’s her side of the family that will need to babysity the lad. ‘But it’s Derby Day‘, her mother exclaimed.

Inspirations

Spring blossom at our front door

Spring blossom at our front door

Play date with innercitygarden

Play date with innercitygarden

Knitting bag at the studio door

Knitting bag at the studio door

Monash Rd 1

Monash Rd 1

Monash Rd 2

Monash Rd 2

Racing trains

A lot of my knitting (very occasionally, crochet) happens on the train. My travel time is roughly one hour and it’s amazing how much can be done. A child’s jumper can be knit in 3 weeks, except where said child is going through yet another growth spurt and adding 2-3 centimeters in a month. That adds at least another week what with frogging the shoulder shaping or sleeve cap to accommodate the extra height. An adult’s jumper is maybe 5-6 weeks and that depends on whether the garment be knit requires needles that are about 80cm long. I don’t use them on the train so you’re looking at extra time for that one (that counts as a hint, sis).

The most exciting thing about train knitting is racing the train. How many rows in this trip? Will I get this section done? Bloody hell, I need to finish this row before my train arrives at the station… Yes, I am competing with myself but it does keep me awake and it’s really good for my speed knitting. Juggling patterns on my lap does get interesting and I have thought of something like a lap mat that would prevent this but I think that’s getting dangerously close to trainspotting behaviour. It’s kind of easier to just memorise the pattern.

With my new job, I’ve added a short tram trip which has added to excitement. It’s also a really good little clock because I can tell whether I’m going to miss my train by how much I’ve been able to knit. Being able to knit an entire row of a top-down cardigan on 3mm needles (approx. 300 sts) is a really good sign you’re not going to make the 4.35 train.

Room for more

I’m two weeks into a new job (coincidentally, I just started reading a humanities researcher who is at the same place, but I’m in different faculty). It is, as I hoped and expected, a satisfying, fulfilling and challenging position, working alongside people similarly fired up by ideas, research, writing and talking about it all. And I’m confident I will be saying that 13 months in, which certainly didn’t happen in my old job. I do so like a staff meeting that doesn’t involve an agenda (stated or otherwise), minutes, papers, an iss-ewes register and powerpoint.

Which is to say that I get to do lots and lots of thinking during work time, that previously happened in non-work time. So, my partner asked recklessly, what are you going to do now?

I showed him three pages of sketches for my summer wardrobe

The family already know about this

sewing table

sewing table

and this

Then there’s this

also this,

Doll's bedlinen

Doll's bedlinen

which is part of another idea to make some money to feed my yarn and fabric habit.

There’s always room for more. The fact that it requires manipulation of the time-space continuum is completely irrelevant.

The reflections of an auteur OR why the hell am I doing this?

Two pieces in and I’m beginning to understand why I felt the need to blog. It’s not like there aren’t enough out there. I think that I’d like to bring together in a conversation the life and craft ideas I have going on in my head and the thoughts, comments and ideas prompted when I read other blogs, and my craft life.

And if I get them out of my head and onto paper, then there’s more room for other stuff.

I really enjoyed the Harry Potter series (except for the fourth one I think, where my internal editor wanted to put a fat green line through whole chapters and write in the margin, why is this here?). And what I really wanted was Dumbledore’s Pensieve*. Somewhere to put thoughts aside for reflection. So this might be a pensieve for ideas about creativity, life and craft.

*And Honeydukes’ chocolate. And Butterbeer, which seemed like alcoholic, liquid butterscotch. If it isn’t that, I don’t want to know about it. Seriously.

I have sock mojo!

Sock mojo

Sock mojo

This was how a significant part of August was spent: socks and remotes. Courtesy of a partially torn foot ligament and the Olympics, I knitted:

  • a long pair of socks for me;
  • two pairs for my lass;
  • a pair for my neice; and
  • one sock for my lad (I ran out of wool).

In one month. That’s more socks than I’ve ever produced in my knitting career.

I’m not fond of the long socks since they’re too loose to stay up but they are the socks where it finally clicked. I got why heels are constructed that way; I got gussets, insteps and stitch placement. I can see socks inside my head now, where to turn and a heel, gussets, length and all the rest. So now I can produce socks from pattern notes that look like this:

A foot on the back of an envelope

A foot on the back of an envelope

And after all that construction and engineering, I found Cat Bordhi’s article on simple sock construction in Twist Collective’s first issue.

C’est la vie.

But I still got sock mojo.