July 28, 2011
Hi. What’s up with you? [SPOILER ALERT] I’m knitting blankets. But my blankets are getting too big to carry around, especially in this heat. Experienced knitter that I am, I know the answer to this one: cast on something new! [SPOILER ALERT] Another blanket!
The latest blanket began its journey as a Gaia shawl. Before that, it was an impulse purchase, one early-summer evening at La Casita: 6 balls of Noro Aya in Color No. 12. While Mr. Noro’s colorways usually are mysterious in origin, this one seems clearly to be inspired by cherry trees in spring. You’ve got your blossoms, your bark, your green leaves and your leaf litter. It’s all right there. I fell in love with it in the skein–the odd juxtaposition of pastel pink and dead, earthy neutrals. I am always trying, as a matter of ongoing spiritual growth, to cure my prejudice against pastels. As Josef Albers teaches, all colors are good, once placed in their proper context, where they rub shoulders with the right other colors. I sat with my 6 skeins for a few weeks, not wanting to break the spell. Then I saw Gale’s post about her latest Gaia. Sold! (OK so it’s a free pattern. But, sold!)
So, next up: knit to LA (via Omaha) and back in early July. Start to get a sinking feeling. Consult with colorific friends. Unfurl Gaia-in-progress on the Adirondack Chair of Facing Difficult Truths.
I am just not feeling the love. What I like about Gaia–the way the eyelets and texture switches accentuate Noro’s stripes–isn’t working for me with this colorway. I feel like the pattern is too busy; the eyelets are breaking up the stripes too much, and it’s just not a happy thing. (This is very subjective, needless to say.)
Surveying friends, knitting and non-, there were many who counseled me to finish it. It’s almost done, right? Somebody will love it. I have a teenage girl. She has teenage friends. Maybe everybody will love it. But it was not about whether the shawl/scarf is attractive (it is). For me, it was about whether what I initially loved about these colors, together in the skein, was manifesting itself in the knitting-up of the yarn. And it was not. (Remember, this is subjective. Don’t judge me.)
So, as an experiment, I log-cabined Aya skein #4. The only rule, inspired by Gaia, was to bind off a strip, and start a new one, at the color changes. This is difficult! Noro’s color changes, while dramatic, occur so subtly and incrementally that it’s a judgment call every time. Is this still grey? Is it lavender now? Whoa, is it going brown on me? Should I wait until it’s More Brown? Wait! Now it’s orange! Is there enough orange for a reasonable-sized strip?
[SPOILER ALERT] In other words, I’m having a fabulous time. Don’t know what will happen to 6 not-quite-the-same-dimensioned log cabin blocks, but I’m thinking about that while I’m knitting. Improvisational blankets give you time to work out the problems they engender.
In other news, 2 kids, a pair of rubber rain boots still in their Land’s End packaging, and bales (actual bales, zipped into duffel bags) of dirty clothes and muddy shoes returned home from camp last week. One tube of toothpaste was suspiciously untouched. (Not naming names. But this tube of toothpaste had a name label on it.)
[SPOILER ALERT] Olive was not the only one wagging her tail and battening down the Ears of Extreme Emotion.
P.S. For more photo documentation of My Life With This Dog, see Gale’s reportage.