Friday, March 31, 2006

Displacement Actvity

WE INTERUPT THE RED SMOOTHIE CARDIGAN TO BRING YOU AN IMPORTANT BREAK FROM BOREDOM........ Yes, it's true. I spent a good portion of yesterday sitting with ice on my back and knitting on things other than the red cardie. Don't get me wrong, I do love it still, but it is so slow going I really needed to see some significant progress. Given the fact that there are a couple (?) other projects on needles, I chose these: This is the tiny little beaded purse kit that I brought home from Camp Knitaway a few weeks ago. I had been wanting to try this technique for a couple years, so I was really pleased to be given this motivation. Here's what I'm learning: 1. Making a mistake is very easy; fixing the mistake is not. I have frogged this about 3 times, and figured a way to pick up dropped stitches at least twice. 2. There is no rhythym to knitting with beads, in this case there are only two knit stitches between sets of beads, just enough to get into the groove of knitting, and then you have to stop what you're doing to slide beads into place. While this is an amusing diversion, it is NOT soothing, as repetative knitting can be. 3. That my camp buddy Ginger was right, it does get easier as you go along. Working with 0000 needles is really tricksy at first, but it isn't long before it feels "right." The very sad part about this little project is that I don't think I have enough beads to finish the whole project, at least I don't have what the recipe calls for. I am looking at this as practice, an experiment of sorts to see if I like doing this kind of beadwork and to teach myself the technique. If I run out of microscopic seed beads before I finish, I will make a decision about either looking for more, or choosing diffferent beads and pearl cotton and doing one "for reals." Just so you get an idea about scale..... That is a quarter next to the wee little project. Go ahead, ask....what was I thinking? The other project that provided an enjoyable diversion yesterday was the sock on one circular needle. I've been working on it hit and miss for the last few weeks, usually when I've been out or when conversation is more important than keeping track of patterning. Yesterday I decided that I had enough leg and was ready to turn the heel. Since the socks are for me (I think) and I don't like long legged sockies, I gave it about 5 inches and read up on how, exactly, I was going to make the transition from leg to foot using just the one needle. Now, if you have read anything I've written about doing socks, you know I have always done socks on 2 circular needles, and although turning the heel is absolutely and by far my favorite part of knitting socks, I was having trouble wrapping my mind around how I was going to do it with just one circular needle. I am here to confess I am now a complete convert. It was far and away the easiest heel I have ever done, picking up the gussett stitches was a breeze and I oohed and ahhed for a good long time. Even Brad, deeply imersed in the taxes, turned around to see what was causing all the joy and exhaltation. It is such a clever technique, easy to pick up and frankly, I may never go back to 2, or even try 4. My only disappointment is that the needle is a size 3, and will not produce a really comfy sock, but again, it is all about learning something new, and I have more sock yarn and can always get a smaller needle for the next pair. Just look at that pretty little sock....... Okay, maybe you're not impressed, but I am. I love learning something new. Another thing that captured my attention yesterday was the idea rumbling around in my head about tackling a Fair Isle sweater this year. I did several Christmas stockings last fall, each with a Fair Isle bit round the top, did a sweater for Kramer with a bit across the shoulders, but as far as a garment, with sleeves and steeks and such, I'm a Fair Isle virgin. There is a photo is this book of a sweater I'd like to try, but if you've read anything by Elizabeth Zimmermann, you know that she gives just enough of a recipe to get you going and leaves the details up to the knitter. A marvelous concept if the knitter knows what he or she is doing; possible disaster if the knitter is me, unexperienced in the ways of Fair Isle technique. It's actually not the knitting that worries me, it's the planning; figuring how many pattern repeats there will be, where to place them, which to choose and so on. Any helpful suggestions other than miles of graph paper and trial and error? I also thought about another wee sweater, but I'll save that discussion for another day. And now, for those of you who thought I'd forgotten it is Friday.....

If you've been to Florence, you will recognize this as the Ponte Vechio or Old Bridge. It is truly one of the must sees in a city full of wonders. The bridge is lined with jewelrey shops and busy with tourists. I had such fun imagining what it must have been like during the late 1500's, while Michelangelo was busy sculpting, Savanarola busy trying to burn books, and the Duomo was under construction.

The fun part about this picture is that (if I remember correctly) I took it while standing on the balcony of a yarn shop, owned by a lovely woman named Beatrice Galli. She was such a delight and I had a grand time choosing a bit of merino (you didn't think I could come away with nothing did you?).

The other thing that makes this particular photo special is that later in the day, I bought a watercolor from an artist that was painting near the Ufizi Gallery. Brett and I debated a very long time over which painting to buy, they were all wonderful; the painter (another delight) had a very impressionistic style. We finally settled on a picture of this bridge. When we got home and took a good look at our pictures, I realized I had bought an impressionistic painting that is almost identical in content to this photo. While the painting suggests shops nearly falling off a bridge, the photo confirms that it is indeed a good representation of the Ponte Vechio.

Here's the watercolor, as it hangs on my wall in my livingroom. Have a great weekend!


At 3/31/2006 11:31:00 AM, Blogger margene said...

Shouldn't that be diversionary activity?
To plan a FI sweater (I planned my first and you can too) find a FI pattern you like, the large XO patterns and then a couple of smaller peerie patterns you to go with it. Then plot them out on graph paper...just one repeat. Then knit a swatch. If you are unsure of the colors use the swatch to try out different colorways. The swatch should be about 6" wide and can be as long as you want (just knit a loooonggg swatch in different color combos) until you find the design and colors you like. THEN (that part is pretty it play) you will need to count your gauge and how many inches around you want the sweater to be and decide where to start (you want one of the Xs or Os to be in the center) and how many stitches on each side of center you'll have of the motif. Whew!

At 3/31/2006 01:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that I am having sympathy pains for you today! :( This morning I awoke thinking that a good massuse would be wonderful...and a warm hot tub...still thinking about it all. Let me know how you are this fine Friday before the mayhem of the weekend...m

At 3/31/2006 04:58:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Wow, that's a teensy project! I really like the colors.

Very cool to see the photo and your watercolor of the Old Bridge - lovely.

At 4/07/2006 05:09:00 PM, Blogger AmyArtisan said...

What a great picture & water color of the Ponte Vecchio - I just posted one of my pictures of the PV on the Flickr Project Spectrum pool. I also got a watercolor when in Florence - mine is about a 2" square & I love it! :)


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