Sunday, October 2, 2016

Yes, it's another knitting post.

It occurred to me last week, after I wrote about those cute alpacas, that it had been a while since I talked about the stuff I turn all this yarn into. And knitting is on my brain anyway, since I've been doing a lot of it lately (knitting is a stress reducer! The New York Times says so!) and also since I've been evaluating my project queue with an eye toward packing for a trip later this week.

Since my last post on my projects in May, it turns out, I've been pretty darned busy. First up is the Pogona shawl, which I mentioned in that post.

There's a story behind the yarn I chose for this project, and it begins when I was in college. Back in 1975, freshmen at Indiana University came to campus for a few days over the summer for orientation and to sign up for classes. Back then, there was no such thing as online anything. Registration was a real-time event. Each academic department set up long tables with boxes and boxes of IBM punch cards, organized by course number and section; to sign up for a class, you went to the department's table and told them which class and section you wanted. If there were punch cards available, you were in; if not, better luck next semester. Anyway, after all that, you were funneled into the Financial Aid line, where they gave you actual cash money; unfortunately, from there, you went immediately to the queue for the bursar's office, where you handed over all the money that Financial Aid had just given you. The very last thing you did was to get your photo taken for your student ID. "Stand right there," the photographer said, and pointed to a pair of barefoot footprints painted on the floor of the gym. After the gantlet I had just run, I thought those feet were hilarious. The resulting goofy grin graced my student ID for the next four years, and earned me the nickname Chesh -- short, of course, for Cheshire Cat.

So when my daughter Amy spotted a yarn called Cheshire Cat at the shop where she worked, she alerted me, and of course I had to buy some. And I used it to make the Pogona.

Moving on...

I brought a lot of yarn back from Ireland, but I kept just two skeins for myself. I used it for an asymmetrical triangular shawl that I'm calling Emerald Hills. The pattern is called Winter Sea, but mine is green. I think the chevron design looks a little like trees marching up a hillside, if you squint just right. Here's a close-up so you can be the judge.

Then I decided I wanted something big and navy blue that I could wrap up in and wear with jeans. So I bought a bunch of aran-weight yarn in a dark blue and made a Guernsey Wrap. The big challenge with this project was reading the charted directions correctly when I turned the work to knit back. I ripped out more than a few rows of knitting before I got the pattern settled in my mind.

Here's the final result, stretched across the back of my loveseat (pardon the mess!). I'm looking forward to wearing this when it gets a little cooler outside.

Before someone asks: Yes, I made the cover on the pillow in the foreground. As for the ripple afghan: I made part of it. My mother bought me a kit so I could learn how to crochet. I got maybe a third of it done before she realized I was going way too slowly to finish it before I headed off to college, and took it back. So Mom made the afghan, but I helped.

One more: the project I finished tonight is called the Vee Vee shawl, and it, too, comes with a story. The dark yarn is a qiviut sock yarn that I bought in Alaska. It's beautiful stuff, as you can see from the photo. I knitted it up into a shawl right after I bought it, but either the pattern was screwy or my gauge was way off. In any case, I had only half as much yarn as I needed to complete the project, and I ended up never wearing the shawl. Last year, I reclaimed the qiviut yarn and paired it with this lighter variegated yarn, and last week, I decided to make them into a Vee Vee. The knitting took no time at all, even though I made a mistake about halfway through and had to rip out one whole section of the dark yarn. (The photo is not great; the parts that look green are actually gray. But you get the idea.)

Have no fear -- I'm working on story ideas, too, while I've been doing all this knitting, and I plan to bang out the first draft of the next book during NaNoWriMo. I'm pretty sure nobody in it will be a knitter.

These moments of knitty blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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