Tuesday, March 15, 2011

do or do not ... there is no try

Why is it that as soon as I say ... well, okay,write ... that I'm going to tell you something in particular in the next post, other stuff intervenes ?

In this case, like a whole bunch of other bloggers, I have found myself just overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the continuing disasters in Japan.

It seems insensitive to blithely witter on about my latest knitting / gardening / singing, etc in the face of yet another horrendous natural occurrence


First it was floods in Queensland, and then in New South Wales and Victoria.

Then the horrors of Christchurch

and now Japan

so do I blog about my inconsequential stuff or don't I ?

Today as I trawled through my favourite blogs, and read about Bell's newest gorgeous shawl, and Sheepish Annie's ongoing battles with her students, I realised that reading ... and writing ... about the normal stuff is one way of dealing with the overwhelmingly big stuff.

as promised

the backstory to my Zen Shawl:

back in October of 2008, I was working on a pair of Broadripple socks for Nadie.
I'd already made a couple of pairs for myself and just loved - and still love - the pattern.
I had decided to dye some cream sock yarn with a totally random [ and the key word here would be 'unmeasured' ] mix of blues, purples and hot pink.
It turned out just as I wanted. So far so good
... until ... I ran out of yarn with just the toe of the second sock left to do.

Cut to frenzied gnashing of teeth

Granted I could have just unpicked the toe of the first sock and given both of them a contrasting toe. That trick has gotten many a savvy knitter out of a tight spot before this ... but did I consider that ?
Never even crossed my mind for a second.
Instead I attempted to duplicate the 'random' dye job.

First attempt: came out as a pretty but very pastel version.
Second attempt: surprisingly close.

If you look at the photo in the link above, you can see that one toe is ever so slightly paler than the rest, but as the person for whom they were made was happy, I decided not to listen to the OCD side of my brain, and to quit while I was ahead. Said socks were duly finished four days after I started them.

The full ball of attempt 1 and the almost full one of attempt 2 were relegated to the sock wool tub where they lived in complete harmony with all the other sock wool candidates for a couple of years.

October 23rd 2010

I was about to catch a train down to Melbourne to spend the evening-before-her-wedding with my darling girl.
As I headed for the door, bag in hand, 'She who must be obeyed' [ aka my BFF Beryl ] yelled "Take your knitting. You'll need something to keep you calm tomorrow morning!!"

far be it from me to argue with SWMBO

but what to take ?
the then current - and still unfinished - project was far too complicated.
I needed to start something new...
I needed to find yarn, pattern and needles ... like right NOW

Snap decision: lace, but something I could do with my brain in neutral. It pretty much had to be another a Forest Canopy Shawl
but what yarn ?

okay, that stuff leftover from Nadie's socks is pretty and I can dye a couple more balls darker for the border later

needles? these 4mm KPs will have to do. They're already screwed together. I don't have time to fiddle around changing the ends.

I cast on going down in the train and got a couple of repeats done

and of course this brings us to the next morning. Nadie's wedding day.
Amidst the chaos of hair and makeup people, I sat in my oh-so-elegant white, fluffy dressing gown, knitting fine lace

I only had to pull out a little bit when I lost the plot for a few stitches [ but I didn't tell you that ]

and that whole 'keep you calm ' premise ?
It actually worked.


pattern - Forest Canopy Shawl by Susan Lawrence [ ravlink]
yarn - Arlaan Arwetta [ ebay purchase ] originally cream
needles - KP Options 4mm
yardage - 760m or 830 yds [ 4 balls ]
mods - 7 extra repeats of the diamond pattern and 8 extra eyelet rows in the border

and in case you missed it the photo is here


Lynne said...

Ah, yes, very clever. The shawl is gorgeous.

Alwen said...

I think, for me, the normal stuff makes a little corner of sanity and peace in the face of so much disaster.

I can only look at the news, the videos, and the first-hand reports for a certain amount of time, and then I feel crushed under them, like my little donation doesn't DO anything.

But, thank goodness, it's not just my little donation, any more than it's just one knitted loop that makes a shawl - I'm an incrementalist, and just like every little stitch does get me closer to finishing, every little donation does help someone, somewhere.

gayle said...

I'd have taken the easy way out and reknit toes. But then I wouldn't have had lovely yarn for the shawl...