Friday, February 13, 2009

Willpower 2, Failure 0

I cannot count how many times in the past two months I thought I finally was going to get ahead of the curve only to find myself behind a seemingly insurmountable mountain of work and life obligations.

I'm in government finance and its budget season, so the forces in my world have been excessively engaging, at their best, and infuriatingly obtuse, at their worst. Ugh. But, you know there is an amazing silver lining, and one that I keep coming back to time and again.

White Christmas 2008

It's already February. That's right, February. I have been far too busy to even notice winter passing me by. Now, that is something to celebrate at chez yarn. Usually by the winter solstice, which is December 21st or 22nd, I am miserably counting down the hours and days and weeks and months left of the dark days of winter. This misery wallowing begins the moment we turn the clocks back.

I'm in awe of how busy I've been to really, and I mean really, acknowledge the time of year. It's like I've been in a dream state and upon waking I learn I hibernated through (hopefully!) the worst of winter. This is totally a cause for celebration in my world.

Yet the excitement, hmmm...., the excitement is messing with my resolution to finish up what's on my needles. A couple of days ago, when I thought I had reached a milestone on my second Gold Hill Cable Rib sock, I realized I was a repeat and half away from where I thought I was.

Cable Rib Socks

I thought I was ready to begin the heel on the second sock, but I was about 10 rows out. That minor snafu generated a whole cloud of bad knitting mojo. And somewhere right below mental consciousness it festered for about 20 or so hours where it bore fruit, resolution bending fruit.

No! I do not want, under any circumstance, to start a new project. I am definitely feeling the power of my will in keeping this stance. So even when I was at my weak point last night, I kept to the spirit of it. I needed a little sumthin' sumthin' and so I came up with a way to keep to my word and to satisfy the wanderlust.

First, I caked up one of these fantabulous dark Paul skeins of Wollmeise:

Paul Dark

And I let it sit there on the coffee table in front of me while I swatched a gorgeous lace panel that has captured my imagination. The panel is from Barbara Walker's Second Treasure of Knitting Patterns.

This is the second time I sat down to knit the panel. The first time was with a worsted weight yarn when I was trying to come up with scarf pattern for Claudia. The swatch came out okay, but I determined the pattern itself didn't jibe with what I was looking for in designing her scarf.

This time around, though, my goal was to satisfy the constant, and primal, urge I've been fighting to knit with laceweight yarn. I have yet to really work with this type of yarn and my inner knitter has been fixated on it for some time.

I picked up a cone of silk laceweight yarn I sorta accidentally inherited from my Dad's wife, Chris, and had a go at the panel. After two or three times of knitting four or five rows and then frogging, I decided to chart Barbara Walker's written instructions.

I have some kind of reading disability that was never diagnosed in school. It rears its ugly head when I try to knit from written patterns. This is why I usually design most of what I knit. It wasn't until I happened upon the wonderful world of charted instructions that I realized I wasn't shut out of the wide world of lace. Charts just work for my brain. After the initial hump of learning a particular designers key, I am good to go.

So after I spent some time charting the panel, I gave the swatch another go and a miraculous thing happened. I lost all interest in it. I realized I actually was in the mood for the double stranded garter stitch goodness of my Log Cabin Afghan.

Log Cabin Afghan

Willpower: 2
Failure: 0

Happy Friday!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Willpower. I haz it!

So about 10 days ago I wrote a post with the title "I can haz willpower...?" By the time I had a chance to proofread it, things changed. It was no longer a question, but a reality. The theme over the past two weeks has been more like I HAZ willpower! That's knitting willpower, not blogging willpower, silly goose. :-P

Things in my life have been all over the place. As an aspy I thrive when my life goes along a highly regimented schedule. Since getting sick two days before my 41st birthday back in December, it's been everything but calm at chez yarn. Last Friday marked the beginning, it seems, of things really feeling on track. Not surprisingly, there's been a lot less yarn acquisition going on.

One of my post-holiday goals is to clear out my knitting basket and not cast on anything new until I do. I figured it would take a lot of willpower to do, and as I've kept to my goal, making significant progress, I've decided that this must mean I am a font of willpower. (Oh yes, I am a master of deductive reasoning too!) Now I just have to find the time to blog all the FOs.

The fourth project I completed this year, Claudia's Cocoa Scarf was finished a week and a half ago.

Cocoa Scarf and beads

I purchased beads, intending to add beaded fringe. After two thorough attempts at the process I gave myself permission to hate beading. I'm sure if I kept at it, I would have found a way to make my ideas work. But more importantly, I would have succeeded also in forcing myself to be unhappy for who knows how many hours. It's never a good idea to knit (or bead) bad mojo into a gift.

Cocoa Lace Scarf

Although I know I did the right thing for me, there's still that nagging in the back of my mind that I failed. Understanding on an intellectual level that I shouldn't have to bead if I hate it with the fire of a thousand suns, can't erase a fundamental drive to complete any task I set for myself. I've got to accept the things I cannot change, right?

This gift project went through many iterations, and as many yarns. Some pics and details are on my ravelry project page. In the end I went with Bristol Yarn Gallery's 80% Baby Alpaca/20% Silk fingering weight yarn, Buckingham.

I used approximately 420 yards.

Monotonic browns are not a color I would normally be drawn too. Yet, as I knit on and on and on, the yarn, and even the color, grew on me.

One 16" Harmony wood circular size US3/3.25mm.

Like the yarn choice, coming up with the perfect pattern was difficult. I really wanted to knit Claudia a Branching Out. It wasn't in the cards. One of the last yarn choices Claudia made didn't work with the pattern. So back and forth we went until we settled on the Jojoland Cashmere Scarf pattern.

Cocoa Lace Scarf

It's the second time I've knit this pattern; it has a great rhythm to it. Was it just a year ago that I thought I could never enjoy knitting lace because of all the attention it requires? How wrong I was. The pattern has (I think) a 10 row repeat that is easily memorized. It was a very fun knit.


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