Elizabeth Zimmerman's immortal advice to the Yarn Addicted was to "Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises." And I try, Elizabeth, I do try, but at the moment my knitting is the crisis.
I don't know whether Jupiter has collided with Mars a bit too heavily, or the Moon couldn't find the Seventh House and went to the corner bar instead, or what. All I can tell you is every time I've picked up my needles lately, something stupid has happened.
Take the second Mother Earth sock. It's nothing remarkable, just another garter rib out of Sensational Knitted Socks–the sixth such I've made. I'm working it on two circulars and haven't had to pull the book out, because at this point the pattern has burrowed its way into my skull. This makes it all the more puzzling that I knit blithely down the leg, zipped through the heel flap, and then neatly and flawlessly picked up stitches for the gusset without turning the fricking heel first.
One of my other assignments is a piece of mystery knitting, courtesy of She Who Cohabits with the Black Bunny. I received by a post a nice parcel of her yarn, gorgeous as always, with a note instructing me to pick a stitch pattern, knit a square, and return it to her with no questions asked "or the mouthy sheep gets it."
You would think such a simple, straightfoward task is well within my grasp, no? She's basically asking for a washcloth, albeit in yarn you'd never want to touch a dirty dish. So why, darlings, why, have I had to rip back twice after inadvertently creating an amoeba and a trapezoid?
I'm hoping the deep freeze (which may, just may, be ending) has caused some lever in my brain to become stuck temporarily in the "off" position, and with any luck the onset of spring will unstick it. If not, I'm afraid my niecephew is going to be christened in a shawl that looks like it was knit in the dark, on a moor, during a windstorm, by one of the hounds of the Baskervilles.
On the Other Hand...
It was not a weekend without high notes.
First, in tandem with a good buddy I produced a chocolate soufflé (the first for both of us) with crème chantilly that, were it human, would be husband material. We shoveled it down with cries of delight, then felt rather sick, then realized what we'd just eaten was intended to serve eight.
It was still worth it.
And then my brain got a much-needed jolt of creative energy when Leigh Witchel parachuted into town and whisked me over to the Auditorium Theater to see what the Joffrey Ballet is up to.
I will admit that I'm not entirely in my element watching dance. I come to it with no more than layman's knowledge. I don't know Who is Who as I do in opera, so I can't keep score. I always enjoy myself, but with limited pocket money for tickets, opera wins. I only make it to the ballet when sponsored by a Generous Benefactor. Thanks to Leigh, I'm considering whether I ought to revisit that policy.
The Joffrey presented a triple bill under the title of Destiny's Dances. The first piece, Les Présages, is a period piece–an allegory (with appearances by Fate, Frivolity, Energy, et al) choreographed by Massine to music by Tchaikovsky. It wasn't engaging emotionally; few of the dancers seemed to buy into such drama as there was. So it came across as a series of extremely pretty late-deco café murals come to life. Me, I loved it. Chiffon, bouncy music, and symbolic characters striking portentous "Ode on a Grecian Urn" postures? Yes, please. And I'll have seconds.
The second piece was Balanchine's Apollo. I have a feeling this production won't be hailed by the cognoscenti as an immortal interpretation, but it was charming. And the fellow who danced the title role has what my late grandfather would have referred to as An Ass That Won't Quit. I was also deeply amused by Calliope. She was...qu'est-que c'est le mot juste...animated. So animated that from our seats in the fifth row she came across as both cross-eyed and insane. If Ricky Ricardo decided to do a Balanchine night at the Tropicana, and Lucy secretly locked the prima ballerina in a closet and took over the part herself, this is how she would have looked.
They wrapped up with The Green Table, an anti-war period piece. At first, it worried me. After a stunning opening involving grotesque diplomats dueling around a (surprise) green table, suddenly there were Weeping Women and Grim Soldiers and I thought...ugh. I'm a devoted peacenik, but it seemed a bit ham-fisted. I won't summarize what came after–I'll just tell you that within five minutes, I'd changed my tune. By the curtain call, I was damn near devastated.
Between the performance and the opportunity to Talk Knitting with Leigh, I'm feeling re-energized about picking up my needles and getting some real work done. So thank you, Leigh. If I manage to produce a square with four even sides that meet at right angles, I'm totally going to dedicate it to you.