Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Glorious Technicolor

I'm knitting again, an indication that systems are returning to normal. For the most part, I'm able to live by Elizabeth Zimmermann's wonderful exhortation to "Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises," but there were several days when I picked up the needles only to drop them again.

I said that after staring exclusively at white for several months that I craved color, and sweet Minerva's dye pot did I get it.

colors

It's the now-ubiquitous Tulip Jacket from Dream in Color, which took off in a big way after Stephanie Pearl-McPhee knit one, and loved it, and so then she knit...I can't remember...what was it, something like 22 of them in a week?

Arcadia Knitting has made up kits for the pattern,* which is a boon because to buy full skeins of all those colors in any decent yarn would push the cost into the "when monkeys fly out my butt" category. I bought my kit on the day of the 1,000 Knitters shoot. After a few awkward lunges (imagine Karl Rove on a first date with Gisele Bundchen) the jacket and I found our common groove and it has flown pleasantly along.

When it comes to shaped garments I'm still a novice, and I know it. So I meekly followed the pattern to about row 25 or so, and suddenly found myself looking down at a recognizable neckline and shoulders. I got quite excited. I wanted to hold it up and show it to the lady next sitting next to me on the train. Look! Shoulders! Little baby shoulders! And the neckline! Squee!

I remembered in the nick of time that people who don't knit never understand the thrill. (Poor bastards.)

I think this must be one of the finest aspects of knitting. A person could knit for an entire lifetime without reaching the end of the techniques and sleights-of-hand that make up all things that have ever been, or ever will be, fashioned with yarn and needles. No matter how much you learn, you never lose the potential for amazement.

There's an old Peanuts strip wherein Linus, I believe, quotes somebody's aphorism that happiness lies in having "three things to look forward to, and nothing to dread." That might explain why knitters generally can get through rough patches in life with equanimity, or even cheerfulness. While there may be much to dread, we always have far more than three things to look forward to.

*To give yourself a creative jolt, check out the multiple colorways they've come up with at Threadbear. No wonder that place has become a Destination Shopping Experience.

44 comments:

Sneaksleep said...

You too??? I already wanted this kit bad enough, and now I get to see your amazing work too! Just emailed my LYS to see if they have kits, or if I'm going to have to order it from far away.

trek said...

Aren't you glad that you are an uncle now?

Saisquoi said...

Shaping is so amazing.... every time I knit a sock, I get absolutely giddy when it gets to be time to turn the heel. My non-knitting husband thinks I'm touched. But it keeps me happy and almost sane... kind of like the itty bitty shoulders and neckline of the baby sweater that I'm just going to have to knit NOW or I'll die... and unfortunately I'll have to order it and by the time it arrives all of the babies I know will be teenagers. Dammit....

meg said...

Gah! Arcadia has a kit for this?! Near me?! I'd only talked myself out of it because I didn't want to order it from Canada. Thanks, Franklin.

Netter said...

If only there were a baby I loved to knit it for.... I remember some of the gorgeous colorways Threadbear came up with for Charlotte's Web when that was the rage. They've got great eyes for color..

MoMo said...

I just went to Threadbear for the first time on Wednesday. I haven't recovered from the euphoria yet! It is a knitter's Mecca, Heaven, and Shangri-La all rolled into one. And the guys are incredibly wonderful! Go there if you ever have the opportunity.

Jen said...

Hey Franklin, this looks T riffic!!! Glad you are enjoying it. I love shaping, especially on baby things. Have you done bootees yet? Those are a miracle of shaping. You just have to keep following the directions and hope for the best, and then all of the sudden, a foot shape!

Anonymous said...

Yup, I'm working daily on proving the truth of this comment you made: "A person could knit for an entire lifetime without reaching the end. . . . No matter how much you learn, you never lose the potential for amazement."

Deb Robson
who finally figured out how to sign into Google/Blogger on the OTHER computer but has not conveyed that info to this one

Kate said...

I bought mine when I came in for the shoot and I've really enjoyed knitting it. I had some issues picking up the stitches for the button-less button bands in a straight line, but last night I finally managed. Only to be confronted with applied i-cord for the first time. It makes for a great edge, but omg it takes forever!

Still - I'm glad I succumbed to the sheep mind and bought one.

MonicaPDX said...

Hooboy that's color. Yum! I'm sure glad that: A) I'm working on a sock in LL's Daffodil - that's color too, by gum; and B) have neither the cash, nor baby to knit for, thus can resist the Tulip Jacket. Again. Because that sure looks wonderful! But-- Resisting. Successfully. ;) Besides, it's time to turn the heel!

Anna-Liza said...

Oh, I want one! I'll have to wait for next month's knitting allowance though--I've got this month's allotted already.

And my husband just put in a request last night for a cardigan. He's 6'1" and has arms that go forever, so I'm furiously calculating yardages ... maybe the month after next.

Lisa said...

Being an Uncle has certain advantages, would you not agree? Baby items are almost insant gratifiaction for knitters. Thasnkf or sharing all of the new shopping destinations.....

Carol said...

Oh yeah, my queue of things to look forward to is waaaaaay longer than 3!

Mom said...

I love the colors and the look so far. Is this for Abby? She looks good in all the colors shown. Can't wait to see the finish product.

tea cozy said...

Franklin Habit, I normally lurk, but I had to say thank you. It is misty and moisty and there are troubles with boys and friends to worry about, but you and Linus just made my day. I was going to go back to bed, but I have some baby socks to knit! Have fun with that rainbow!

Eldronius said...

Crap, why do you taunt us so? I knew nothing of this jacket, but I love the colors arlready!

I went to Arcadia when I was in Chicago, and I left with the color Lipstick Lava...I could not pass that name up! But who knew she had a kit? grrrr...

TheBunny said...

I'm working on one too. I caved a few weeks ago and bought a kit (who could resist the colors and instant gratification of a baby sweater?) and it has ended up being the perfect comfort knit as I am dragged through my first home-buying experience.

When escrow papers and property disclosures give me a headache, I get to pick this up.

Yay!

Joe said...

Your blog entries never cease to amaze and amuse me.

I'd be curious to know how many millions of kits get ordered based on your blog entry.

Donna Lee said...

Knitting is good therapy. When there is boredom with a project, there are thousands of new, colorful things to make. The best part is that I learn so much each time I try something new. I learn new curse words as I try some new technique as well but most often I persevere and am so proud that I, too want to share it with whoever happens to be around. Not everyone is as impressed as I, their loss....

marie in florida said...

heh! i show people my knitting weither they care or not.

materfamilias said...

ohmigod, I love the colourway you're working with, and the Threadbears site offers some pretty stunning options displayed beautifully. I've made one Tulip and one Rocketry and I think I'm going to have to order one or two more kits now that I've seen these other possibilities. I have little experience with sweaters knit in one piece, and I, too, was really tickled to see a recognisable shape emerging.

marie in florida said...

i was just looking thorough you shop, my friend. can we have 'it itches' on a onesey for our babies?

sko_G knits said...

gorgeous. i can't wait to see how this piece develops as you move along with it! (or just get it done)

Sandy said...

I'm just glad you are back. It sucks being so sad that you drop your needles and I'm hopeful you are having glimpses of happiness....

May you never dread a thing again.

God Bless.

Marcy said...

Hey, Franklin, if you ever want to visit Threadbear, just give a holler . . . I'm right down the road, about two miles away.

geogrrl said...

Franklin, I have that exact same internal reaction every time I shape a neckline, armhole, or turn the heel of a sock. It just always seems to be a minor miracle.

Joanne said...

For one more new thing see
http://knittersblog.com/blog/techniques/steek/#more-19

Betsy said...

Yup, I'm on number three...used sweater wizard to "size up" the pattern for the other grandchildren...it's a fun pattern to knit...the only thing I changed was to NOT change to the smaller needles when doing the seed stitch...I like it much better that way...
For those of you trying to save $$$, just buy the pattern and use stash...I'm working through my 1824 cotton...it may be the ultimate stash sucking pattern!

Linda "K" said...

Franklin! I just had a brilliant - albeit pie-in-the-sky idea! In our dream world of easy everything, you and Stephanie could promote BOTH your books on all her tours (her latest and your to-be epic of knitters' photographs). That means just one set up for both of you; you can travel together and kvetch about annoying people in airports - she does her thing at the podium, and YOU get a zillion knitters per city all ready to be photographed - as many as you want - and their babies, and teen-aged knitters, etc.! Isnt' it great? Your job? Oh quit the damn thing. Doesn't this sound like much more fun? And you'll get to go to a zillion cities to choose which one you might want to live in next. And you can take your knitting. I haven't sent this to Stephanie but I figure if you like it you could sort of..er..uh..mention it to her?

Carol said...

I love affordable kits! And so happy some folks I know are having babies, because THIS factory is closed! Indeed, it does seem like I get through rough patches in life much better than before I knit. (knat? knitted?)

Stephanie said...

What did I say about the addictive qualities of that sweater?

I can't believe I warned you and you're knitting it anyway. It's like a potato chip of knitterly mojo. You're never going to be able to stop now.

Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

I was advised by another knitter to check out your blog and...and...I'VE GOT TO KNIT THAT BABY JACKET!!!! And I've been wanting to knit it for awhile. But seeing it on your site has totally thrown me over the edge and so thus, I will set forth and do it. I still have one friend left who's expecting (late October) and she's having a boy.

(Love your knitting and love your blog---hope you don't mind that I put you on my blogroll...)

Romi said...

Your post made me laugh - and I SO needed that. Thank you!!! :)

Megan said...

What hope and beauty. And the knitting is gorgeous too. Thanks.

sfmommy99 said...

Yay! I have a new desktop background - thanks!

KnitNana said...

OH I LOVE this! Your colors? I'd have died if ALL I did was white for months on end, so I'm not surprised to see the vibrancy! Whoohoo!
(((hugs)))

denny Mcmillan said...

oh for the love of fleece.

We will not whine about winding.

Julie said...

You know, I need to remember that. I'm going through a whole boat load of personal crap right now, and I've let my knitting slide. Perfect motivation and incentive to pick it back up. Thanks, Franklin.

Kristy said...

Thanks for the info on the Dream in Color kits. The colors really are dreamy and I hadn't come across the kits until now.

I think you are absolutely right, about having things to look forward to with the knitting.

Suann said...

Franklin, I'm the kit winder at Threadbear, and I just wanted you to know that between you and Stephanie, you have provided me the opportunity to rid myself of that annoying little wiggle on the underside of my arms from wielding my trusty niddy noddy for more hours than is safe.:) I thank you, and the people I wave at thank you too!

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