I emerge from the wreckage of window replacement to renew our correspondence. Last week SOMEBODY in this household thought it would be a sensible idea to replace 4 circa 1929 steel casement windows with State of The Art Vinyl Windows That Will Change Your Life For the Better. I hate to do violence to anything that has survived 75 years, even if it is a nondescript steel casement window that has been painted and repainted and never properly stripped before repainting again. But since the single-pane 1929 models were riddled with cracks that were letting in appalling amounts of city soot and noise, not to mention the freezing cold in winter, I acquiesced in the plot to do them in. And the windows did not go quietly. It was a struggle to the death between window and woman. In the end, woman won, but at what cost?
What I failed to understand about the plan was that jackhammers would be involved. That no amount of plastic sheeting and duct tape would prevent a mist of plaster dust from descending on every surface in my home including my own skin. Vengeance is mine, saith the windows.
With rising dread and panic, I ran into the bedroom and tried to save the stash. Out of the closet came the 22 plastic storage boxes. Harvesting from doorknobs and behind the furniture, I emptied no fewer than 11 tote bags containing projects abandoned mid-row and new yarn that never got put away to begin with. I unearthed 17 knitting needles I had forgotten I owned. Tape measures? I have tape measures again! I vacuumed, I shook out, I cussed a little, I packed up stuff I don’t want and sent it to somebody who may want it. I organized by fiber and color. And, I will admit, I tossed a few particularly fugly bits of it into the trash. Such was my extremis that I RIPPED OUT A SHAWL, people. The shawl had 3 and a half hanks of Euroflax in it, but I hadn’t worked on it since 2004. I don’t want a green linen shawl anymore. I’ve worn out the top that would have matched it. I sat there, grim as hell, ripping and winding.
I wish I had a picture of my plastic-shrouded kitchen with gaping, jagged maws where windows should be. Instead I give you a new window with attractive insulation, and the exposed rubble of 1929.
It looks all innocent-like, when actually it is as bad as a window can get. A window into the heart of darkness.
Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Baby Sweaters
So where was I?
Here is another baby sweater that was knitted during our sojourn in the Great Midwest, and sewn up on Mother’s Day. On Wednesday I ran out of the plaster dust storm with this in a shopping bag, rang my neighbor’s doorbell, and said, HERE’S A SWEATER FOR ISAAC NOW SHUT YOUR DOOR BEFORE THE DUST GETS YAAAAAAAA!
The pattern is the Fisherman’s Tee from Oat Couture. Ganseyish! It’s a simple design but a clever one: the open shoulder seams and deep neck opening make it easy to put on and take off. Instead of wool, I used Rowan Denim. (An unconventional choice, I know, but it just came to me in a vision.)
Too many of my finished projects have been abandoned while waiting to shop for buttons, so I used mismatched vintage buttons from the sewing box. They’re charming (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). We’re all about the Charm.
And yes, I did use the bleach pen, but no Motorcycle Mama look this time. Just a tasteful touch on the tips of the edgings. I left the seams open at the cuffs and hem.
I followed my Handknit Gifting Guidelines by garnishing with a non-handknit. This year, apparently, we’re doing hats. A stroller kid can’t have too many hats.
Sunday in the Yarn Store With Wendy
On Sunday I got some most excellent R & R, sitting in Knitty City on a gorgeous spring day, knitting and listening to this one read from this one. A mellow, funny, inspiring time was had by all.
Thanks to Wendy, we experienced the love that dare not speak its name. Oh yes: Qiviut. We’re talking the down of the musk ox, baby. Exotic. Rare. Heavenly. ( Wendy travels with beaded qiviut. Other people are breaking their backs hauling suitcases crammed with dishcloth cotton. Just saying.)
It was a blast for those of us listening and I hope for Wendy, too.
After Wendy headed home, I found it hard to leave the yarn store, and not just because there was more Dust Abatement waiting for me at home. There were all kinds of cool things there.
Like this sweater Elaine is making. Elaine is participating in the Follow the Leader aran knitalong, which is sort of an Advanced Placement knitalong. The pullover is so dense that I am sure it is waterproof. Puts my loosey-goosey cable work to shame. I’m a poser!
The real shocker of the day was when I looked up and saw my Former Boss:
She Who Must Be Obeyed (Or At Least Given A Plausible Explanation). In a yarn store. Why was she there? I couldn’t even imagine. Jane is not a crafty type of woman. Jane has people to sue. She has other people to defend from suits. She has legal thoughts occurring in her brain every single second.
But here’s the thing. Jane is of Irish heritage. I do not wish to stereotype or generalize about an entire people, but I do believe that a woman of Jane’s genetic makeup can resist the needles for only so long. Still, I could hardly believe that the reason Jane had stopped by the yarn store was to buy her first skein of yarn and her first set of needles–on her own, without somebody like me dragging her. What is the likelihood that I would be there to witness this moment? We sat down and in under 20 seconds she had mastered the knit stitch. Her tension was even, her repetitive motions were repetitive, she required no rhymes. Knowing a Gifted Pupil when I see one, I tried to get her to learn to purl (‘just get it over with!’ the crowd chanted), but she wants to save that bit of excitement for later.