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Knitting on a Deadline

I volunteered to work on a secret project, a commission for a knitting sample and I am excited about how it is coming out.

I am not excited, however, about the feeling of knitting on a deadline. Time is running out! I am making good progress but I feel the pressure and the strain of it all. This is not what knitting should be, for me, nerve-making.

I realized that I have quite a few unfinished objects that I would like to work on, but lack the time/focus/energy.  To keep myself honest and to out myself for my Unfinished Objects (UFO’s), here is my list:

  • Weaving in the ends of the Craftsman Afghan, a very late Christmas present.  This has been gathering dust on the back of my settee, so I will probably have to wash and reblock it. 
  • Finishing the final 1/4 of the back of the Sea Tangles sweater, a gift that is a surprise.
  • Seaming the Sublime Sweetheart sweater
  • Blocking the Sublime Ruffled Edge sweater (I would really like to be wearing this now, it’s cold out!)
  • Knitting the collar for the Fog Chaser jacket, another late Christmas gift
  • Another commissioned project, the Brain Hat. I bet my friend thinks I totally failed on this request.
  • I should start up the Foggy SF Sky Scarf too, since I bungled it last year.
  • Then there is my albatross, the sleeves for the Kauni Rainbow Cardigan by Ruth Sorensen, from 2007!
  • I would also really like to knit socks with my new bacon sock yarn, I think the Skew pattern will be perfect for this yarn.
  • Socks needing darning. Would you believe I have six pairs of socks that need darning, and one that needs a moccasin sole created? I only have 3 pairs of socks to wear and we are in the thick of winter.

I am ashamed these projects have lingered so long, but this year has been an unusual year for me with the ankle surgery and the accompanying brain fog and lack of interest in doing anything.  Last year’s shoulder repair also hampered me greatly, I am so glad it is better now.

Struggling with fatigue and burnout from the persistent SSS (stiffness, soreness and stabby pain) of my healing ankle is not helping my knitting time.

Meanwhile I look at the clock and watch it tick, tick, tick, and worry that I won’t make my upcoming deadline.

Worrying about knitting, no bueno.   Sigh.

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Status Update: Brain Hat & Crazy Winter Socks

I have been working every day to add a row to my Sky Scarf and the weather is cooperating nicely by being different every day. As soon as there is enough fabric to look interesting I’ll share another picture.

The Brain Hat is well underway – isn’t it amazing that this mess will become a hat some day?

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But after weekend of applying myself it is starting to shape up.

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The brim of the hat is a 1 by 1 ribbing then it’s folded over and the cast on edge is added to the live stitches – its sort of miraculous how if works out but it looks nice and will be comfortable on the head. After the hat is done then I start the fun part of knitting i-cord which will represent the nooks and crannies of the brain.

I hate these knitting needles though. My usual size 2 needles are malingering on my neglected Kauni cardigan so the only thing I could find in my needle basket was Prym circular needles with a 29″ inch cable of pure hell. No matter what I do the cables will not relax. Yelling, “Just RELAX!!!!” is not helping but I do it anyway. It makes what should be an easy peasy project into wrangling cobras.

I’ve got a headache that won’t quit and my brain hurts so it’s time for a brain break. To distract myself I started a new sock for myself. Selfish knitting!

Truthfully most of my socks have holes in the heels or need an entire new sole repaired and with this dreary, foggy weather it just seems like no fun. So I pulled out a crazy colored ball of yarn and found my size 0 needles and away I went!

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(the Crazy Zauberball by Schoppel, made from kleiner Fuchs 75%, Schurwolle sw filzfrei 25%, Polyamid crazy outfit. Crazy outfit? )

This yarn is stern stuff, very woolly feeling, not elastic, more like hiking sock yarn but I adore the colors. The bright red mixed with lime green in a two-ply is like color therapy against our dirty marshmallow weather.

My favorite sock pattern is the Simple Sock by Cat Bordi and uses two circular needles. Thanks to my pal Elaine I’ve been obsessed with socks ever since she gifted me with this book in 2006.

The first few rows are the hardest but after that it’s a breeze.

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There is something really soothing about knitting a simple sock. The quick round and round of 30 stitches on each needle, the brainless 2 by 2 rib forming a little skirt of fabric under my fingers, the anticipation of the color changes of the yarn and the purring cat sitting across one of feet, half under my chair. A cup of tea by my side and a classic French Resistance versus the evil Nazis on television makes for a relaxing afternoon.

If only this migraine would ease up. I blame the storm that is coming this afternoon. Time for more tea.

If I Only Had a Brain and Other Mindful Knitting

Last week I saw a fun tweet from a friend who found a hat pattern on Ravelry and wished he knew someone to make it for him.

After my shock of seeing that a non knitter and a dude at that knows about Ravelry naturally I had to check out the pattern.

It is a knitted brain hat.

It’s such a cool pattern so of course I offered to make it. A brain hat! The best part is that it’s designed by a med student and the small pattern cost is helping her pay for med school. The nerd in me was touched. Being a medical student she provided clear examples of the brain folds in each hemisphere for realism in the hat design.

My friend wanted it in grey – grey matter – of course! I hopped off to the local yarn store, Imagiknit. Surprisingly, light grey yarn the color of brain matter is not easy to find in fingering weight, but I did find 2 yarns. Sadly the best colored yarn only had 3 skeins in stock and I would have needed about 6 so that was out, but the other option had more yardage per skein and they had 2 skeins left. Whew, what a relief.

I also had an ulterior motive to shopping.  A Twitter friend mentioned another nerdy project where you knit a scarf for a full year, a row a day, based upon the colors of the sky. The project is supposed to help bring mindfulness and conceptualization of our surroundings to knitting.  Each participant is registered with the project and the collected images would represent the world’s weather as viewed by knitters. You can watch the project’s photo group and see how the weather changes.  How fabulous is that?

The Sky Scarf Project has a big following on the net and most people started January 1st and this was just the 11th so why not, I thought, what are a few days?

Back at the yarn store a few days later, I again had a hard time finding yarn with the right colors, in lace weight this time, but then my eyes landed on a display of Malabrigo lace.

Ah, Malabrigo, how I love this yarn. It is so soft, like a puppy’s ears and although I have knitted projects with it I’ve never kept one for myself. I certainly don’t need another scarf but this would be a special treat with this velvety soft stuff.

Given our weather patterns I deliberated for a day about what weather I would choose to represent in the scarf. I knew I would have to weight my palate more towards the greys to represent our fog.

If you are not from the Bay Area then perhaps you aren’t aware of our standard weatherman’s forecast: “cool and partly cloudy in the morning clearing to midday sun and wind, fog and cool temperatures in the evening.”. Repeat for 350 days. The remainder of the year is either rain or our few precious days of Indian summer.

So what should I do, knit the morning sky, the afternoon clearing skies or the fog and sunsets? I cogitated and realized the weather that most affects me is in the morning. What I see out the window as I get ready for work sets the tone for the day, and my wardrobe and to a large part my mood.

So here is my morning sky palette:

  • A soft grey with a touch of pink for those fog streaked rosy mornings
  • White for clouds
  • Blue for those rare clear skies
  • A mixed black/dark grey/light grey for rain and those dark foggy mornings
  • Lastly, a shimmering taupe for those mornings when the fog glows with an powerful diffuse light like an illuminated marshmallow.

Sky Scarf - foggy SF sky palette

Instead of doing a garter stitch as the pattern suggests I chose seed stitch and cast on stitches to represent my age this year – it is the perfect width!

Sky Scarf

I’m looking forward to watching it grow. And I’m looking forward to making my friend his brain. It might even be Abby Normal.

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