Friday, August 08, 2008

Citius, Altius, Decubis

Today tastes like endive, licorice basil, fresh tomatoes still warm from the sun, and balsamic vinaigrette with enough garlic. All the very best parts of late summer.

It’s Friday and once again the weekend is rolling up like a 48 hour juggernaut. Tonight, apres gym , I plan to sit in my favorite armchair with something cold and tasty and knit on the current obsession until my fingers fall asleep. Which may not take very long. Yesterday’s workout included 135 pull-ups, so by the time we finished, I had trouble getting my fingers to wrap around the combination lock. My hands still feel a little off.

Saturday means a Project Linus gathering and an opportunity to work on the blanket nearest completion. I have learned that I like the strip blankies a lot better–they’re so much more portable and less ghastly during the dog days. It’s worth the finishing work to sew the seams and add a border post-knit. I have two strips and a bit done in an estonian star stitch, and one strip and a bit in a favorite knit and purl pattern.

Sunday will get poured into the current obsession again. Why no pictures? It’s a black lace shawl, which will be lovely when it’s off the needles and blocked, but right now . . . it’s a forlorn black blob. It started as a little black strip, then became a little black blob, and now it’s a bigger black blob. Not very exciting to look at. (Although Thorax thinks it’s stunning cool in the sun where you can see the blues and greens underlying the black, and is scouting locations for the shoot. I have been telling her that there is no way in hell I am subsidizing a trip to the Manhattan garment district for a blog post.)

After this, I have a couple more shawls that need to be worked up, but my heart is lusting after garments. Real garments. Made to fit a body, not just shapes. Garments with sleeves and closures.

Bizarre, huh?

Maybe not so much. I have cones of rayon chenille I bought back when I was flirting with the idea of knitted suits (before I understood just how much stockinette that would entail). I’ve meant to knit up some twinsets, because that might actually happen. The rayon doesn’t hold heat well, so these would be cozy and nice in the air-conditioning of summer, and just enough in winter. I’m thinking top-down u-neck shells in the round with bust darts and waist shaping and shirt-tail hems paired with cabled v-neck cardis that button up. I have a jacket whose fit I like a lot (length and everything) to mimic for the cardis.

I’m woozy with lust for this one pattern in the fall 2005 Knitty (an online knitting magazine). I love the trees on the front, so of course I want to make copious changes.

I want the trees on the back; I want something more like the Gondor motif in LOTR; and while I want the leaves on the sleeves, I want saddle sleeves that are bracelet/three-quarter length. I’m thinking I’ll have to knit the back from the bottom up, but then I can construct the saddles, sleeves, and fronts from the top down. And rather than do the fronts in a pattern per se, I want to do stochastic cables like Lucy Neatby’s Cables After Whiskey. That’ll be enough texture to make the sweater cohesive without being fussy and over-the-top.

See, the back will be fussy and elaborate, with fancy sleeves, and the front will be interestingly crunchy with nifty buttons and fancy sleeves, so the sweater will look like it all belongs together. It’s all crunchy and textured from any viewpoint. But at the same time, it’s not all complex and ethnic funkified museum-piece work.

But first I’ll need to swatch. I think I’ll swatch random cables, as that should give me a good idea how many stitches I’ll have to play with over the back. I may design trees on the fly up to where the branches go, or steal a tree from another designer.

And I have more ideas for Linus binkies. I want to use some multi-strand knitting and do random cables in a strippie so the colors shift softly while the stitches wander around. I want to take odd balls and do the three-ball trick where you knit one row of color a, purl one row of color b, then knit one row of color c and just keep moving them along. This creates a kind of blend between variegated and its homemade pooling tendencies and “I’m trying to use up every bit of my yarn” stripes. Doing slip-stitch work at the same time makes cheerful peerie type patterns.

So I’ve got startitis again. (Which is a good thing, actually. Earlier this week I didn’t want to knit on the current obsession, I didn’t want to think about knitting, I didn’t want anything to do with sticks and string.1) I just need to get some of these off the needles before I wind myself up into too many things at once.

1. This is how my obsessions usually end–I took down the quilting frame, and haven’t made a top in years. I put down the crochet hook, and aside from knitting-related work, I haven’t made a crocheted item in forever–although the aragumi movement is calling me, a little2. I deco’d for about a year before the fire died.

2. I want to knit or crochet tiny penguin mascots3 for me and Gareth.

3. We were working out one day, and I was frustrated at my utter lack of pullups. I growled, “I’m tired of being weak,” and Gareth misheard me as saying “I’m a tiny penguin.” The Tiny Penguin has become our gym mascot, embodying perseverance and fierceness. Penguin up!

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