Aw look! One pattern, 364 versions of the MDK New Ancestral Christmas Stocking.

Ma’am Who’s Knitting

Dear Ann,
Oh for Pete’s sake! “How do I knit so fast?” The truth: I don’t knit all that fast. I am an old-school thrower, still knitting the way I learned in Camp Fire Girls when I was 11 years old. (To my fellow Camp Fire alums, a hearty Wohelo to ya!) I throw so slow it’s like a rope trick. Each stitch is an event.
For me, the secret to fruitful multiplication of knitwear is not speed, but focus. When, as occasionally happens, I find myself not knitting, I ask myself, “Why am I not knitting right now?” Looking at the world from this perspective, one is shocked at the senseless waste of the oceans of knitting time that surround us. Knitting time just lying there: on the subway, in the waiting room, in front of the television, when somebody’s mom is talking about somebody else’s mom, when a tween is showing pictures of all the things in the PB Teen catalog that would look awesome in her room. One could knit through it all, and nobody would be the worse for it. My ability to multi-task–i.e., to knit while listening to gossip, or to knit while not ordering stuff from PB Teen–is without peer.
Just the other day, I was deep in the bowels of the City government bureaucracy, waiting for an appointment. Everyone else in the waiting room was slumped in their chair, the will to live seeping out of their pores, listening to receptionists chat in that way of receptionists who do not expect to be calling anyone up for their appointment anytime today. I was knitting away, cheerful as hell. (Knitting and eavesdropping–what could be better?) When it was my turn, the receptionist called out, “Ma’am who’s knitting?” I wish I could have heard the rest of the story she was telling the other receptionist, but at least I was at the end of my row.
piemanbacknsleeve.jpg
Here’s progress to date on my Ravelympics sweater for Afghans for Afghans youth campaign. The back has been held up to Joseph to confirm that it will fit an almost-ten year old. The back used exactly 180 grams, so most of 2 skeins. I have 4 full skeins left, and I’ve ordered another from a shop in Cleveland that says it has it. (A big thank you to those who pointed me to potential sources of Magpie shade 684.) When this sleeve is finished I’ll know for sure whether I can finish the sweater without compromising on the cabling, but I’m pretty confident (so confident that I’m taking the risk of having to reknit the sleeves and/or turn the back into the front and knit the back plain).
Department of Political Patisserie
electionpopsfront.jpg
Found these fun cookie-pops at the Jacques Torres chocolate shop, which is perilously close to my daily errand route.
politicalpopsback.jpg
There seemed to be equal numbers of blue and red pops. Unlike Gray’s Papaya, the hot dog stand nearby (our hot dog stands sell papaya drinks, don’t know why), which has a sign filling the whole front window saying, “YES, SENATOR ___________”. (I’m not telling which Senator. Think about it a minute. Or go get a hot dog and a cup of Coconut Champagne (which thankfully is not coconut and actual champagne) and find out. )
Speaking of Shibori
I know, nobody was speaking of shibori, but the mailman just arrived with an advance copy of Shibori Knits by Gina Wilde. I don’t mind telling you that I am quietly flipping out. There are beautiful photographs and clear explanations of simple shibori techniques (shibori is felting with resists–you’d know it if you saw it; it looks like felting with randomly unfelted bits), and gorgeous projects: hats that I want to make into bowls, shawls and scarves that I want to make into blankets and throws. I am intrigued by the mixing of wool and other felting, animal fibers, with non-felting fibers like silk and cotton. The ideas in this book are going to keep me busy when Fall Felting Frenzy strikes. Well done, Gina Wilde!
Love,
Kay

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. The cookie pops are great! We need one of each in our family.
    I am on old school thrower too! My great aunt taught me to knit many years ago when I picked it back up and took a class I could not convert even though it had been more than 25 years since the last time I had knit with her.
    I love the sweater and I am sending good vibes that you will have enough yarn to be able to knit the sweater just the way you want it

  2. I don’t know how much more I can take of these sweater photos — it is so beautiful, even in its incompletedness. (Spell Check seems to think that’s not a word. Spell Check must not have teenagers.) The color is gorgeous and I, who do not cable, am starting to reconsider. And thank you, thank you for not knitting the sleeves in a contrasting color. *Shudder*
    I’m starting to wonder why I’m sitting here, reading about knitting when I could be, you know, knitting. WWKD?

  3. the city government office description killed me

  4. A lot of times I’m sitting at my job and wondering “why am I not knitting”… and then I remember that my boss wouldn’t like it :)

  5. Oh, lordy – if Jacques Torres Chocolates was anywhere near my errand route, I’d be doomed for sure.
    As for the “why am I not knitting” question, well, I’m sure my boss would have issues with it too. Darn. =)

  6. Kay, dear, sometimes it seems that you might have had a tiny bit too much coffee. That’s quite a zippy post you’ve written.
    Your description of knitting focus is a hoot!

  7. Before I learned to knit, I only ever heard of the shibori that is a japanese method of dying textiles which involves tying fabric in intricate ways prior to dying and often leaving the ties in while it dries in order to make intricate designs and textures. A lot like tie-dye but much more controlled, but not specifically about felting (fulling) since it is often done with silk. Is it possible that “shibori” is a term that has been appropriated by the knitting branch of the textile tree to describe the tied methods used for artistic fulling? Or am I missing something??

  8. I didn’t even finish reading. I have to tell you I just found my Campfire Girl scarf. This is so cosmic.
    Okay, now I’ll go finish the post.

  9. Ok, I thought about it for more than a minute. I can’t go get that hot dog and champagne. What does the sign say? Please tell.

  10. That is growing into one gorgeous sweater!

  11. Waiting room description . . . still killing me. Also, this whole entire post is killing me.
    And frankly, the more caffeinated you are, the better.

  12. WoHeLo back atcha! I did the whole nine yards from Bluebirds through Horizon Club. My explanation for anything I can do that amazes someone is: Hey, i was a Camp Fire Girl!
    The sweater is bee-yoo-tee-ful.

  13. I have my vest complete with most of my beads except for the ones that my mother claimed during her macrame thing during the late 70’s when I was in Camp Fire denial. We did a good try at knitting in about 4th grade: grey yarn to learn with and beautiful pink to make lovely slippers with when we learned how. Somewhere about the 6th grade my pink and grey looked the same shade but no slippers. I really loved the citizenship beads, red white and blue tri colored. WoHeLo back at ya’ll.

  14. The clicking of the needles on hand
    Is my knitting “musical score”
    While all around them the soft yarn flies
    And great knitted fabric accumulates more!
    Woheloknit, Woheloknit…
    Thanks for those memories, Kay! I loved that song when I was in Camp Fire. (Now we have a version for knitting).
    Kay, my computer screen witnessed me laughing hysterically with your “every stitch is an event”. A better “event” is watching your cable sweaters (“random” and “traditional”) develop right before my eager eyes…
    Hey, I was a Camp Fire Girl in California. Since I moved to N.Y. (a lifetime ago) I’ve never again seen those mints we used to sell. It seems as if GS Cookies RULE over here. Do you think that Jacques Torres knows from Camp Fire Girl mints??
    Keep on throwin’!
    LoveDiane

  15. That A4A sweater is lookin’ good, Kay. I’m a slow thrower also. My knitting group friends like to watch me knit; they say it calms them! I forgot to take my knitting to my doctor’s appointment this afternoon, and had to spend 45 minutes in the waiting room, with only People magazines and a live TV aerial view of a police chase through the streets and freeways of Houston to while away the time. I was so bored that I was ready to claw my eyes out, which would have been appropriate, since I was in an ophthalmologist’s office.
    You may have papaya juice with hotdogs in your neck of the woods, but come Sept. a neighboring lah-ti-dah suburban high school will be serving sushi at their football games. I’m not making this up; I read it in today’s newspaper. According to the paper, the sushi will be flash-frozen and transported in freezer trucks from Washington state to Texas where it will be sold from a grass-skirted tiki hut on the stadium’s home side. I think I’m going to be ill.
    Mary G. in Texas (former Brownie and Girl Scout)

  16. You are so generous to share the secret to appearing to be a fast knitter. Still, there are many who will not believe, and to them you will continue to be a wonder of knitting nature.

  17. LOL from start to finish. (I must admit I secretly relieved that it’s time devoted versus technique that increases your knitting productivity). An errand route that is perilously close to a noted chocolatier?!? I’d gain 10 pounds in a year.

  18. thanks for the laugh to keep my morning going! I have to admit that thinking about the sign didn’t make the answer obvious to me, so I had to go to Google. For the curious, check this out: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/477o_-7VmcnTokazWtEa0A?select=1AZ7pjtn5g1Fq4vxyRhuuA

  19. I’ve had a “eureka” moment along those lines lately: it’s amazing how much more progress you make on a project when you, like, actually do it.
    Where did those 10 inches of extra-wide scarf come from?
    Dang, have I finished cross-stitching that mermaid already?
    The drums on Rock Band are not so hard if you stop complaining about how hard they are and sit down to practice.
    Now if I could only get away with knitting on the clock…
    …and my local hot dog stand has no papaya or coconut, but does have lobster bisque and Cajun rice.

  20. Oh, great. Now I’m going to have “Sing Wohelo, sing Wohelo/Work…Health…Love” stuck in my head for the rest of the day. xoxoT

  21. I too am a Campfire alumnus. Bluebirds through Horizon. I inherited my ceremonial gown from my mom, but made a new collar/yoke to string the beads from. My group knit 2-needle mittens for charity when we were in Jr. High. It is amazing what different results can come from the same pattern! As for knitting speed, I am also a turtle. A few months ago I bought a bunch of DK yarn and took it to a family gathering where 6 of us are knitters. We were going to knit these simple little hats for Paula to take to the neonatal unit where she works. Except for my sister-in-law, Ellen, we all throw in various styles. We were all chugging away, most were finished with one hat, when Ellen shows up, casts on and finishes the hat in 1/2 an hour. OMG
    For my speed, I think that I finish a lot of knitting, but it is solely due to diligence. Taking my kniiting along has become such a habit that I take even when there really isn’t much chance that I can knit. It is kind of an adult security blanket. Your cabled sweaters are beautiful and generous.
    Remember this:
    I desire to seek the way
    That shall become a delight to my feet
    For it shall lead me to the fire of human kindness
    Lighted by those who have gone before me on the Campfire trail

  22. I too am a Campfire alumnus. Bluebirds through Horizon. I inherited my ceremonial gown from my mom, but made a new collar/yoke to string the beads from. My group knit 2-needle mittens for charity when we were in Jr. High. It is amazing what different results can come from the same pattern! As for knitting speed, I am also a turtle. A few months ago I bought a bunch of DK yarn and took it to a family gathering where 6 of us are knitters. We were going to knit these simple little hats for Paula to take to the neonatal unit where she works. Except for my sister-in-law, Ellen, we all throw in various styles. We were all chugging away, most were finished with one hat, when Ellen shows up, casts on and finishes the hat in 1/2 an hour. OMG
    For my speed, I think that I finish a lot of knitting, but it is solely due to diligence. Taking my kniiting along has become such a habit that I take even when there really isn’t much chance that I can knit. It is kind of an adult security blanket. Your cabled sweaters are beautiful and generous.
    Remember this:
    I desire to seek the way
    That shall become a delight to my feet
    For it shall lead me to the fire of human kindness
    Lighted by those who have gone before me on the Campfire trail

  23. I too am a Campfire alumnus. Bluebirds through Horizon. I inherited my ceremonial gown from my mom, but made a new collar/yoke to string the beads from. My group knit 2-needle mittens for charity when we were in Jr. High. It is amazing what different results can come from the same pattern! As for knitting speed, I am also a turtle. A few months ago I bought a bunch of DK yarn and took it to a family gathering where 6 of us are knitters. We were going to knit these simple little hats for Paula to take to the neonatal unit where she works. Except for my sister-in-law, Ellen, we all throw in various styles. We were all chugging away, most were finished with one hat, when Ellen shows up, casts on and finishes the hat in 1/2 an hour. OMG
    For my speed, I think that I finish a lot of knitting, but it is solely due to diligence. Taking my kniiting along has become such a habit that I take even when there really isn’t much chance that I can knit. It is kind of an adult security blanket. Your cabled sweaters are beautiful and generous.
    Remember this:
    I desire to seek the way
    That shall become a delight to my feet
    For it shall lead me to the fire of human kindness
    Lighted by those who have gone before me on the Campfire trail

  24. I was only a Bluebird, then we moved and they didn’t have Campfire Girls there. We should have taken that as a hint and gotten the heck out!
    I want a t-shirt that says “Why am I not knitting right now?”

  25. I’m so nostalgic now – I lived on Coconut Champagne and Banana Daquiris from Grey’s Papaya in college, and the two hot dogs for two bucks deals. Ah, my misspent youth. My thesis is why I am not knitting now, and I will try very hard to believe that that’s a good thing. It’s not working, though. Beautiful sweater!

  26. I work in a University Hospital medical clinic where appointment times are an “approximation.” We honestly try to stick to a schedule but our patients are so sick and so complex that usually the schedule goes out the window. I see people waiting way TOO long and looking so bored and miserable and all I can think is WHY AREN”T THEY KNITTING? I want to teach them all to knit;it would make the wait so much easier.

  27. we need t-shirts for casual Friday that say “Why am I not knitting?” on the front, and “Oh yeah, because I’m at work” on the back.

  28. oh gawd, gray’s papaya?? when I was pregnant with my 2nd son (17 years ago) I drove from park slope brooklyn EVERY NIGHT to eat that stuff! belch…