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Archive for August 31st, 2008

Yes, Yes, Nanette!

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

I am knitting the Nanette Tee by Joan McGowan-Michael, of WhiteLies Designs. I’ve known Joan online for years and finally met her this last June at TNNA. It was so great to meet her!

Joan specializes in retro-inspired and shapely designs. She knows that women have curves and sometimes the curves are larger than those expected by ready-to-wear. She knows how to design items that fit those curves in a flattering way without resorting to a baggy cover up.

I’m in love with a good number of her designs. One very new one which should appeal to a good number of renaissance-shaped women, large or small, is the Evangeline Tunic which is knit in a fine DK-weight yarn. Spectacular in all ways!

My friend Rae would look so beautiful in Evangeline, I wish I had the leisure to knit one for her. I won’t be knitting it, but I love it so much I ordered the pattern. I wanted to “vote” for this quality artfulness even if I can’t make it come to life.

But I got a “tee” called Nanette for myself. It is such a luxury to take time and knit for myself. I sometimes knit socks because I don’t need to pay attention to a pattern. However, when I knit a top, or really anything someone else designed, I am stuck looking at that pattern. It takes time and focus, and I usually do not have focus to spare.

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What made Nanette work for my schedule is that it is knit of really fat yarn. Now, I did not use the specified yarn, I needed to use something from my stash. And I did not have anything this fat in my stash for summer.

So I held together three yarns… Kim, an aran-weight tube in cotton/acrylic; Cascade Fixation, a cotton-lycra springy DK yarn, and a soy-silk blend sockyarn (like Tofutsies) from Ellen’s Half-Pint Farm in Rainforest colorway which I got last year at Michigan Fiberfest (there is another quality woman-owned fiber business for you). This is very ColorJoy. It’s a trick holding the elastic yarn with two non-elastic yarns but I’m OK with that challenge.

I swatched to get 3.5 stitches an inch, at the Stitch ‘n Pitch event just over a week ago. I love the colors, with raspberry, hot green and a bunch of tropical-water colors in the fingering weight. It should be a trick washing this without the raspberry dye running into the yellow=green, of course I did not think of that till I had nearly finished the top. I guess I’ll hand wash cold or put a dye magnet in the machine. It can still be put in the drier.

Another big reason Nanette works for me right now, is that it is knit in merely two pieces (plus thin knit-on neck/arm edgings). It’s not truly a tee, it instead has wonderful shaped cap sleeves. They remind me of The Jetsons, which is odd because the sweetheart neckline is very Renaissance. Whatever the influence, they are all girl-friendly details.

I usually wear roomy tunics (read: long and baggy), but I have knit a few smaller summer tops and I really wear them more than I expected I would. this top will go well with my broomstick skirts which have so many colors in them.

I bound off the front this morning. I’m hoping to cast on the back before the sun goes down. I’m off to do just that!

So far, I’m being lazy like a good vacationer…

L is for Lazy

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

I don’t relate easily to the idea of Laziness. I am always working, often at things I enjoy but always on the move. My attention is not good, so I often am working on things out of order from when they maybe “should’ be worked on, but I never seem to stop.

Once, many years ago, someone wanted to hurt my feelings and called me lazy. I was so surprised that I laughed. I may be inefficient, but lazy is just not my word. Apparently that word would have hurt them, but it did not do the same for me.

Maybe because of this tendency, I’m self employed. When I worked for other people, I would work till 9pm, 11pm, even past 1am when I had a key to let myself out. There was always something more to do, and I work best in silence. People distract me (in a pleasant way) from paperwork, so I did paperwork after hours. I still do.

Now I am a company of one, for the most part. I have wonderful friends and family who knit for me at times (you know who you are… thanks), but I write the patterns and then get good input, I knit the designs at least the first time around, I print my patterns, stuff them into page protectors, take orders, print packing slips, address envelopes, create/print invoices, deliver local pattern orders to shops. If I do not knit my own samples, I make sure the samples will happen somehow, arranging yarn and knitter for each project.

I write class handouts (including typing/layout on the computer), I teach classes. I schedule (ugh). I do my own publicity/press releases, I am the photographer and then the graphic artist for all my advertisements. I answer the phone and the emails. I am the publicist, the webmaster, the marketing guru, the everything. I do most of my techie work (though thank goodness I have great help from Brian when I can’t do it alone).

I am excellent at some of these tasks, good at some, adequate at a handful and I drag myself through just a few, screaming. But every job has things we dislike, and that’s how it goes.

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For the record, I’ll say it again. They say when you are self-employed that you are your own boss. I disagree. In effect, every single customer becomes your boss. In effect, you have more bosses… though you can essentially quit one without quitting them all. I have been very lucky in this area, no complaints, but it is NOT as though one can do whatever one wants when one is self employed. People who say that are trying to sell you a book or video, or something that benefits them, not you. They are cashing in on misconceptions. End of digression.

I love my work, I love my life, I love my job and my everything. Yesterday I went to a music party and took knitting along. It was actually frivolous knitting, a pattern written by someone else, just for me to wear. I have not done this sort of knitting yet in 2008, but it was still observed that I took my “work” to a party. I often do that, but in many cases it is because I work at the thing I would rather do than anything else.

purpleflower16.jpgI love to dance, I love to sing, but I would rather knit than either sing or dance. I live a charmed life in that way.

Today, however, is a day with no obligations. Brian has gone off on a bicycle ride and he will be gone until dusk. I am alone in the house, with Jen Sygit on the CD player to keep me company. I bound off the front of my cute frivolous summer top and will cast on the back shortly. And just plain do not much of anything important.

If the neighborhood stays relatively quiet, I will knit on the porch in my beloved Mexican hammock. Right now I’m typing this with the laptop on my lap, feet propped up sideways on the couch with the door wide open.

I have important things to do again soon. I may even do them tomorrow which is officially the holiday. But I will take my holiday today. I will try to live hand in hand with selfishness of a self-nurturing sort.

I will be creatively lazy. On the last day of August. Sigh. Summer is my friend and she is slowly pulling herself away. I will hold her hand for the day, at least.

Photos: 1) My hammock/porch a few years back, it still looks the same. 2) A huge bug I found on a tiny flower in our yard several weeks ago, the one flower in the middle of the yard with no other plants near it. This bug left and came back to the same leaf on a different day. He looked like he had lobster claws in front or something! I was told it was a cicada. There are a few cicadas making some noise today on my block, I wonder if one is this guy? 3) Same plant this week, blooming with fuzzy and bulbous bits in a light orchid color (I had remembered it purple, maybe the stems hinted at that color). What plant is this???