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Archive for January 28th, 2006

Turkish Sock Sweater is Remade!

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

sweaterWell, my friends, I made lots of noise about going to bed early to get enough sleep. Then I gave in to the obsessive thoughts I had about the sweater I was remaking. And I stayed up till 2:30am finishing the remake. I hate to admit I don’t regret it at all!

I call this my “Turkish Sock Sweater” because several of the motifs knit into it, are motifs I’ve seen at least in photos of Turkish socks. However, the sweater (which I got at Scavenger Hunt, the most fun and funky resale shop in the Lansing Area in my experience… for only $5.00 USD) is labeled as handknit in Bolivia.

The yarn is handspun and no doubt hand-dyed. Some of the yarn is very low spinning quality (particularly the light yellow paired with the purple, it is spun so tight it has corkscrew bits sticking out of the fabric, and that is after it was plied). Some of the yarn is much better than that, particularly the purple and green are very nice.

But I just LOVE clothing that was handmade in other countries! I think about who might have made it when I put it on. I am glad to be the custodian of this item, as imperfect as it is.

Well, the reason it would have been at the resale shop, even if the owner loved handmade things, is that it would not have fit most people in this country. It is long but the tube is pretty tight. I have smallish hips and the sweater barely makes it around them, but even if I had a longer waist it would have been too long to wear with the rib at belt-height as many sweaters are worn. Never mind the shoulders are too wide for most folks with smaller hips than me.

On top of that, the sleeves were fully six inches too long for me. I cut the cuffs off and put little rolled edges on instead (using some Manos Del Uruguay yarn, adding one more country’s handmade items to the mix).

The neck fit fine but was knit from the scratchiest wool in the whole sweater. The neckline style was high enough to touch bare skin under my neck. And the edging on neck, cuffs and bottom rib was a dark burgundy-mahogany yarn, not my color and out of place on the rest of the sweater. The cuffs and rib were not too scratchy but were not at all colorful (and the rest of the sweater is so electric it looks acrylic rather than wool).

So I unraveled the neck, and knit back up a softer neck that won’t touch my skin. Then I knit down from the hem as far as I could go. I could see I’d run out of the first skein and I didn’t want to open the second one. So I got out the last small ball of Manos del Uruguay from my last remade sweater (sweater-turned-skirt-and-legwarmers). I used the leftover reddish Manos to make a stripe in the bottom rib, then went back to the teal for the last 3 rounds and bind off. I think it looks pretty nice. It’s imperfect, but it’s much more wearable than when I bought it. And wowie, is it warm! I’ll be wearing this to Threadbear on Sunday for sure!

Project Spectrum

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

LollyKnitting has a new idea. It’s called Project Spectrum. It is dedicated to celebrating the colors around us. Who can argue with that idea?

Each month from March through August, she has assigned a color or group of colors. You just make *anything* in that color group, or lots of things, or nothing, in that group. Then the next month she goes on to the next color idea. It’s supposed to be no stress. If you can’t do it or that color doesn’t make your heart sing, you can wait for the next month. (August is neutrals/black & white… I’d have a very hard time with that assignment.)

I love the idea, but these days I’m practicing saying “no” to new committments. I do this cycle about 2-3 times a year. Opportunities sound wonderful, I keep saying yes to all the things that sound good, then not long after I suffer with deadlines and the fear of disappointing someone… so I say no for a while, things calm down and then I start doing the “yes dance” again. Right now I’m in the “Oh my goodness, did I really say I’d do all this? By when?” phase.

But I’m very sure that the readers of ColorJoy understand this Spectrum Celebration concept. I’m expecting that several of you will join Lolly in the color adventure. I hope you do. Take me along in spirit, if you would.

Read Kristi’s Entry on Mistakes in Knitting

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

Please, if you ever showed someone a mistake in your knitting before they commented on it, go read the blog entry on accepting imperfections, which Kristi/Reddogknits wrote on January 16. She’s right on, my friends.

On second thought, go read it even if you do not knit. We tend to be so mean to ourselves when we are not perfect, whatever that means. I figure we’re humans on earth… and both the words “human” and “earth” imply randomness and unevenness. That does not mean that imperfect is a problem. Look at trees which grow in a crooked or uneven way. They tend to be some of the most interesting plants I see.

I tell the children I teach to knit, that perfect doesn’t exist, at least not in physical things. We may feel like we are having a perfect day… feelings may occasionally be perfect for fleeting moments… but things? I think it’s impossible. Look at NASA, they strive for perfection in spaceships, and they struggle with physical limitations even when supported by an extremely large budget.

Maybe striving for perfection helps us reach higher standards, but I’m not convinced it’s a healthy goal in many cases. Olympic athletes strive for perfection, but they are exceptional by definition, and since when does a gold medal require a 100% score? They often give up much balance in order to achieve so far in one realm. They may live in a different state from their families, for example. I’ll take balance, any day.

Go on, it’s not a long entry… see what she has to say. Then prepare to be kinder to yourself. I’m working on it, myself. It’s harder than it sounds.

A Photo, thanks to Sue!

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

bloom shawlBye, Bye Bloom
I dropped off my new Bloom Shawl at Threadbear Friday. It was hard to say goodbye to it, I’ve enjoyed my day and a half of wearing it myself.

Sue took two photos of me wearing the shawl, neither is really great (they looked fine on the tiny monitor at the back of my camera, of course). I should have thought to take a photo of the shawl on the mannequin at the shop while I was there, as well.

That said, here is one angle of the shawl when it is just over my shoulders and not tossed over the shoulder just so, as I like to wear it. Can you see how at the right side of the photo the color changes to nearly purple, then moves through blue and turquoise and yellowish-aqua? It’s soooo pretty. I just have a hard time when I have to give up a little control and not see through the viewfinder of the camera! I’ll have to get more photos but for now I’m making good on the promise of something by today.

Rush to Sign Up for This!
By the way, Beth Brown-Reinsel is coming to Threadbear in March for three classes. She is well-known for her knowledge of historical knitted forms. She’ll teach Norwegian Mittens (I took this one last year, a wonderful class), Twined Knitting, and a sweater style that has roots in Danish tradition. I’ll be taking the Twined Knitting class all day on Tuesday, March 7. Trust me, any class by Beth is worth the time and investment. She’s gentle, patient, passionate, listens well, and a great teacher.

Adventures in Knit-Land/Lansing
After Threadbear I popped by the other Lansing shops where I teach, Little Red Schoolhouse and Rae’s Yarn Boutique. It was fun to run into friends at all three shops. Very fun indeed.

At Rae’s I ran into Kristi/RedDogKnits who had writen me about a week or so ago, that she’d seen me at knitting guild but not had a chance to say hi. Well, Rae wanted me to meet someone and that someone was Kristi. She (and Bethanie will be doing my First-Time Toe-Up socks in a fun self-striping yarn, for the Yarn Harlot Knitting Olympics challenge. We chatted a while and I think she will really have fun doing this project for the challenge. I was so glad she made sure to let me know who she was. Hi, Kristi!

Sunny Day, Tired Lynn
It was sunny today, which was very nice. I tell you what, though, the second the sun went down I felt like it was time to sleep. Me, the stay-up-past-1am-almost-every-night grrl. I have had several early mornings this week and the last two days I half-awoke before the alarm rang, afraid I’d miss my first appointment of the day. I’m just wiped out as though I didn’t sleep at all! This, too, shall pass. I fell asleep on the couch last night just around midnight and if I can stay awake that late tonight I’ll be shocked.

Tomorrow is a new day. I have a helper coming over to wind yet more sockyarn for dyeing while I finish up the sale web pages for you guys on the first batch. Slooooooow going, but I keep plugging.

And Sunday… Sunday is my Darn that Sock! class at Threadbear. Please join me, the class is definitely a “go” and we’d love company. Only $20 to learn how to fix your handknits in one session, and you’ll feel smarter than the average knitter for sure! No need to knit a replacement pair if you can fix the pair you already love… Come on down! Please join me.