At the risk of willfully belittling mental illness, I think I'm a bit of a tortured artist. That's artist with a little "a," folks - we're not talking van Gogh here. Hahahahah! I crack myself up.
Now that I gained a bit of perspective on my particular brand of
heroin crazy, it's obvious that my creative energy is dysfunctional at least 50% of the time. When it's not working a large ball of electrostatic tension builds in my chest, shoulders and neck. I can't think straight and my mind and body crave a place where all my senses are suspended. For many years I interpreted this love of sensory deprivation as an indication of my being an Aspie.
Strictly speaking I was wrong; I'm not an Aspie. I just experience things like they do. A lot.
Well, this whole stranded knitting obsession has been taking a toll on me. LOL. Fer feck sake, you'd think I was homeless and starving, I get so twisted and turned 1. Each day I'm trying to keep myself raveled and I fail a great deal.
But the knitting? The knitting is OMG! friggin' fantastic! My latest project may be 14 stitches to the inch and I'm enjoying it immensely.
(I haven't actually measured the stitches. This piece fits snugly on my fleshy, five inch wrist and well, 70 stitches divided by 5 is 14.)
How's your stomach? Did you just throw up a little in your mouth at the latest dose of my self congratulatory adulation? Forgive me, if you can. Conceit "must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.2"
It may translate as conceit, but it's genuine joy. I love tiny little stitches. And being able to enjoy knitting them makes me smile ear to ear. I think back to how I grew to loath knitting my favorite sock yarn on size 2.25 and 2.00mm needles two years ago and I'm thankful. Stranded knitting has given me my sock joy back.
But for a couple of hours there on Saturday, I must admit, I lost my mojo. The hubby got me a few books on stranded knitting and I spent a couple of hours reading Ann Feitelson's The Art of Fair Isle Knitting. I really enjoyed reading the history and the technique info. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a book I reference time and again, but...but...but. Like I said, for a couple hours there, a waggin' finger of disapprobation spread from her words into my tender and malleable self-esteem.
Whether Ann means to or doesn't, her proselytizing gives great weight to knitting at great speed. Speedy knitting seems just as important to her as choosing the right colors. Now, to be clear, maybe she doesn't mean to give speed the weight I took from my reading. So, let's first say this is my perception.
As far as speed and technique, I've got neither. I can't even maneuver a chop stick. I knit in a way that would be considered long handed at best. I knit English, throwing my yarn with my index or middle finger and THUMB. And I enjoy the way I knit. I do, but for those few hours on Saturday, the part of me that believes that I am on the yellow brick road of becoming a master at this craft was knocked about. Jarred.
Ann wrote that you can knit fair isle with the yarn in any hand you want to hold it in, but when you knit stranded the one thing you can't do is drop your yarn.
What? Dropping the yarn is the only way I seem to enjoy knitting. LOL. Damn. I'm knitting it
Well, because I'm a fool, I did try to knit stranded the proper-er way. And maybe if I was going to be a master knitter someday I'd coerce myself into learning to knit this way. But I'm just me and I just like to knit and I'm not interested in doing it the right way, so go feck yourself. I'm a low rent knitter and that's just the way I feel like crumblin' that cookie.
That is the beauty of being self-taught. I don't have to absorb the belief system of a teacher. I can find my own way, and enjoy the travelling, as well as the destination. In the end, a master knitter makes beautiful product. And that really is what matters to me, making better knits.
As long as I feel like I'm on the path of making better knits, I am happy. And I do feel like I'm becoming a better knitter, still lazy and and still happy, but better is important to me. LOL.
And learning the hard way as I do, I'm about to embark on a whole new world and give up the gusset heel. I think on the gray and black sock first pictured above I'm going to get out of the safety zone and try a short row heel, or if I'm really ambitious, EZ's afterthought heel. Whoopedidoo, I'm excited. (Knowing this sock is never going to fit my foot has given me a sense of liberty to testing out new techniques. That and I'm using fairly cheap yarn.)
The one thing I haven't mentioned is that I believe I have finally settled upon a preferred tool for knitting stranded socks and that is the 4" DPN from Knit Picks. Single yarn socks I knit most comfortable with two 16" circulars. In learning stranded, two color knitting, I finally taught myself the magic loop method. After a half of sock or so I begin to feel comfortable knitting stranded, but I was not able to manage the puckering that occurs where I switched to the other needle side.
Instead of working harder on my technique, I gave up the one long needle for three traditional 6" DPNs. The DPN's helped me regain my sense of rhythm instantly, but puckering issues remained, so I ratcheted up to four needles. This did the trick but for the puckering, but messed with my rhythm, and I then tried the 4" DPN's, and like Goldilocks, I found they were just right.
Viva la knitting and before I go, I wanted to spread a little gossip. I wish I had the balls to open up a thread on BID3, but I'm a weak little chicken so I'm gonna whisper it here. Some people may find it distasteful to disseminate this kind of info, but I mean no disrespect, I just want to share my awe and also share the wealth, so to speak, about it. What does one do with knowledge like this, I don't know.
Okay, so here we go. In the Art of Fair Isle Knitting Ann includes pictures of authentic, early 20th century hand knit fair isle sweaters by a pair of sisters. She includes them, I believe, because the sweaters are beautiful examples of the craft and because they won top prizes in their time. The thing is, though, one of the recurring motifs the sisters use is the swastika. Oh yes, that swastika. Holy inappropriate sample use Batman. I'm like a eight year old kid, unable to hold a secret, I am.
1. I actually spent time homeless and hungry. I am very blessed that this was a long, long, long time ago.
2. As spoken by the character Mary Crawford in Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park. Although the original quote is "Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure," I couldn't help but take the liberty. Forgive me Jane.
3. BID is the Big Issues Debate forum on Ravelry.