Monday, November 08, 2004

Vanity Fair and Sleeve Island

Today tastes like . . . axel grease and cotton candy, dust and hot dogs, iron railings and curly fries. It’s been a helluva day thus far—and it’s not even over!

Listening to: Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. I love the classics, I just find them hard to sit and read. Reading for me is reading in bits and bites—fifteen minutes here, fifteen minutes there. It’s tough for me to focus on long and intricate sentences or mannered plots in short spurts.

However, I love to have them read to me. The narrator’s voice brings me right back to where I left off (ah, yes, she’s just found out Mr. Rochester is still married to the madwoman in the attic, so she got up in the middle of the night—and I had to turn the player off and go to work. But now, here I am in the car, on my way home, and Jane is slipping out the wicket gate, off to who knows where.) whereas if I were reading this back at home while making dinner, I’d have to back up a page or three to get back to where I was.

And yes, the player Audible used to flog (I don’t know about the MuVo) came with attachments to allow you to play it over your car stereo, so you could listen hands and ears free. Just like radio without commercials, jabbering DJ’s, and with a program you were really interested in—all the time.

Progress report:

Here’s the ups part of the roller-coaster ride. I mentioned I had created Hagatha for an on-line list of folks-- the good people at Knitting Beyond the Hebrides. Part of what the list has been doing to promote excellent knitting (knitterly knitting, with an emphasis on finishing technique and knitting skill) has been to hold Virtual Conferences, where the focus is on certain knitting techniques. Fair Isle and stranded knitting, Aran and other cables, that sort of thing. The conference mascot has always featured an evil looking witch, with hooked nose and bulging eyes, toothless maw agape in a wicked grin, holding her knitting needles in the stereotyped way, wrapped in a swath of her own knitting. “Hagatha” is based largely on this cartoon.

This conference was “Way Beyond the Hebridies” and featured frippery knitting—knitting sculpted items, knitting with trendy frou-frou yarn, knitting at its simplest level without esoteric techniques.

They ran a contest for knitted items, and in the process of the conference, the deadline for entry was moved to allow for a little more time to take photos and post. I was working from my old notes, and when I went to post Hagatha—I thought I was too late. So I put her here, and dropped a note on KBTH, since this was her intended audience, after all. I was hoping for a mention on-list, and maybe to be able to post a picture on the website.

Well! Due to an enthusiastic write-in campaign (Nader should have been so lucky) Hagatha was awarded the “Way Beyond the Stratosphere” award! I’m beyond psyched.

And now for the plunging crash of the downs. When I sat down to work on the Queen Anne’s Lace cardi this weekend, I was halfway through the sleeves.

After spending the whole weekend working on the cardi, I am . . . halfway through the sleeves. Grrrrrr . . . sometimes process is incompatible with progress.

I thought I had a good idea with how the sleeves should be worked and attached. And they looked great . . . until you actually put the garment on a human being. Then they bagged and bulged strangely. So, rippity rippity rippity. Try another way. Nope, just as bad. Rip, rip, rip. Try again?

Finally decided that while it would have been really cool to work them attached as you go to avoid anything like sewing (‘cos the really cool thing about crochet is that you can take off in any direction you wish, to cover a 3-d object smoothly with an essentially 2-d covering without the limitation of needing to work in rows, like knitting) it just wasn’t going to do. Well, ok, if this were a one-off, it would be no problem. I would just drape as I went, and the whole thing would be just fine. On me. Maybe on people who were shaped very much like me. But no way would this work in a pattern.

The response I’ve been getting from other crocheters is that the garment is gorgeous and wonderful and oh my gosh I could NEVER do that—and to this last, when I explain that it’s nothing more than a chain partially filled with double crochet and then topped with chain picots, they stop and stare and say, “Is that all? I think I COULD do that . . .” Which is after all, exactly what I’m after. A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, after all.

So—no pictures till this is done, I think. All there is is one big purple glob with two little purple rectangles. See previous shots for stitch pattern and texture. The picture in your mind is probably better than the actual shot would be.

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