Friday, December 14, 2007

Messin' with Multi's

For anyone who was worried about me, no, the Stash didn't get me. It's still ruling my existence, but I continue to work, eat, sleep, and even knit at times. I guess I'm just happy it doesn't demand access to the TV remote.

I've actually been struggling with lining up my next project. An exercise that should be one of the most fun parts of knitting took on something of a dark overtone this time around. Even though my multiple myeloma is in remission, it's pretty hard to forget. This time I looked at all of the projects I want to knit and tried not to think about whether I'll really have a chance to do the ones I put aside. So I ended up not feeling much like communicating about the whole experience.

I'm glad to be back. Playing with Fire's finished and waiting to be blocked. My next projects are on the needles. The big project waiting beyond those is on paper and in my computer. All of these projects have a common theme, (predictable given the composition of my stash), and that's that they all use multi color yarn. Unfortunately none of the concepts I'm playing with right now are Fair Isle, but I'm enjoying them just the same.

The project that's getting lots of attention at the moment is a Lace Leaf Scarf. Even though the pattern's source is Vogue Knitting, the source of my inspiration is this posting by Grumperina about a beloved gift from a friend. I never gave the scarf a second look in Vogue because they showed it knit with a very open gage. The pictures that Grumperina posted show a wonderful ripply effect and leaves that have much more body. Very cozy and inviting, at least to me. By strange coincidence, this same stitch pattern showed up at about the same time on Yarn Harlot as a pair of socks called "Embossed Leaf". (See Stephanie's Dec. 7 posting.) When you're hot, you're hot!

Yarn for the Lace Leaf Scarf is a Cashmere Koigu sold only at String in NYC, shades of red closing in on black in spots. It's not as soft as I'd usually expect from Cashmere, but somehow it has an extra cushiness that's unusual and appealing to both touch and eye. This yarn's really been talking to me, wanting to cuddle around my neck while I drive to work and Christmas shop. I'm sure I've stretched its patience by taking so long to find just the right pattern. (I've had it for some months now from a city trip with Susan.) I didn't buy enough to do the full lacy length called for in VK, but by knitting it on smaller needles, (US#3 instead of US#5), I've decreased the width. Estimating by the weight that went into one pattern round, I'm only going to be a few inches short in spite of having only two skeins instead of three.

The Cashmere Koigu skeins are the two on the right. Their current competitors for my attention are Blue Moon's RSC Raven in color Lenore, then two by Hand Maiden, Sea Silk in Sangria, and Mini Maiden in Amethyst. (Loopy's pictures of the Sea Silk don't show the precious-metal sheen of this amazing stuff.)
I'm very happy with the way this scarf is turning out and also with the loops-through-loops experience. I can't wait to wear the finished scarf, but once again don't want to finish!
I also mentioned that Playing with Fire is waiting to be blocked. That will probably happen this weekend along with blocking of the first cuff of the Summer RSC sock. The exciting finish of the Fire project is all tied up in the strange behavior of the insanely varied multi yarn. Blue Moon's Fire on the Mountain color has a dark band across the middle of the skein with rainbow colors all around it. In the collar of my sweater the dark band hit three times so that each round alternated the forward and return colors in the skein loop. This was the resulting effect.Isn't that wild?! Even the lighting bolt effect is perfect for a project named "Playing with Fire"! I just enjoyed everything about this silly project. Hope blocking goes well. Also hope I don't double in weight over Christmas so that I end up looking totally dumpy in it!!

Speaking of crazy pooling effects, I've begun the analysis of my amazing Fiesta Boomerang Surf yarn. It's been a while since I raved about how much I love this yarn. Right now I'll just say that while the rest of my stash has been banished to the floor of the Knit Pit, Surf continues to enjoy a privileged and reserved location on the sofa with me. Yes, all nine skeins. Even a swatch of this stuff reduces me to tears with its beauty. I wonder if I should buy enough to decorate my house…

As a token of my great love for Surf I've set up my PaintKnits program to analyze how the multi will behave. I will settle for nothing less than perfection on this project, (even though I'm sure this yarn could never be ugly in any form). Here are some of the fun poolings I've come up with based on pattern width and the start point in the color banding. These could be button bands or borders.
Check out these lovely patterns.
And this one's worth setting up a design around just to see if it really happens!

I'm deep into sketching my design for this sweater and can't wait to feel that Fiesta slipping through my fingers. We'll just have to see if I can exercise enough discipline to finish up the C & G cardigan first. (Not likely at all! Notice I don't even mention all those ends that need tucking on Pyramids!)

These are all fun and wonderful things to think about, (except for tucking those ends). Maybe I'll be smarter this time about lining projects up ready to go before I run out. Or maybe more time spent swimming in Surf is what my spirit needs. The future will tell.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Out of Control

There was no question that this time the beast was playing to win. The tamer circled it warily. Muscular ripples of color covered its form, the epitome of brute power. Its size alone was enough to cause a rush of panic in spite of the tamer's years of experience. This time was different.

The tamer desperately fought the urge to give in to the seductive and hypnotic beauty of the monster. Focus had to be maintained. Containment must be achieved. There was no longer an option to attempt a loving approach. No possibility that the tamer could run her hands gently over the creature, shaping its performance into grace and art as she had done so often before. The time for that was past. This being had grown huge, a giant mass which allowed no entrance to its enclosure, ferocious in its ability to destroy even the psyche of its cohabitants.

Battle engaged. The tamer grabbed frantically at the exposed fringes of the beast bare-handedly ripping away at its bulk. It did not flinch. Frantic effort was rewarded with no discernable change in the size and strength of the behemoth. No response at all. Lunging desperately toward its heart the tamer finally felt despair. This creature had no soul. Mitosis occurred before her very eyes. With no apparent reduction of its massive power the beast divided, surrounding her with walls of brain-ripping color, every shade and hue she'd ever loved.

Consciousness was slipping away. A final thought flickered in the tamer's mind before she succumbed. "I think I feel qiviut under my left elbow. Forgot I had that." Then it was over.


Ok. I'm having some stash trouble. Yes, it's pretty serious. Not quite ready to dial 911, but getting close. I realized the other day that I don't play DVDs any more because I can't get to the TV. My original stash-control plan just isn't working… I was just going to knit really, really fast.

Here's just one stash location. I refuse to photograph all of the stash outposts. (Those two dark wood cubes are completely stuffed.)
I've broken down and bought 6 huge, (41 quart) under-bed boxes, giving up on my resolve to add no new stash locations beyond the large cedar chest (below) and two Pottery Barn coffee table cubes (above) that I lined with cedar. I'm now facing the terror that even those six new boxes may not contain my stash. This is not a good situation.

Here's my last hope for containment. Hope those boxes are bigger than they look stacked! (That is the packed cedar chest by the way.)
I'll update on this activity as I proceed. Unless of course the stash wins…

In other, happier news, my friend and knitting mentor Susan has been chosen as a finalist in DishRag Tag. Congratulations! (I can't wait to talk about this at work!) Check out the finalists and vote here. Voting is only being held to the end of today, so hurry!