I wish I could blame this heap of unfinished objects on spontaneous generation, or claim they were left on my doorstep in a basket with a note: "I can no longer work on this scarf. Please look after it, and finish it as though it were your own." But no. They're mine, all mine, and I take full responsibility. The only question is which to work on first.
- Möbius scarf in Douceur et Soie. Strictly speaking, this is a finished object. But in order to fit the recipient (my mother) I need to undo the grafting and add another few inches to improve the fit. Since this was given at Christmas, and is for my mother, and next Christmas is already approaching, it may step to the front of the line.
- Koigu vest. All I have to finish are the armscyes and the neckline. We're talking about twenty-odd rounds of k2, p2 ribbing. What happened? I took it to Knitting Camp, I finished one side, and realized I'd picked up way too many stitches. It looked dreadful. I got discouraged. Since then it has been sitting in a bowl next to my chair, mocking me.
- Poetry mittens. I finished one cuff and then decided I really wanted to chart my own poem, not use the one in the pattern. Then I couldn't decide on a poem. Still can't. You'd think I'm engraving my own epitaph in granite instead of just knitting a stupid pair of stupid mittens. Why do I do this to myself?
- Regicide Scarf. This one's giving me an ulcer. The yarn - Four Play from Brooks Farms, is delightful to the touch. The pattern, King Charles Brocade, makes it absolutely sing. So, what's the problem? I'll tell you. I hate knitting King Charles Brocade. And I don't mean it bores me. I mean I hate it. And not a small hate, either. A hate that burns with the heat of ten million suns. What's not to loathe about a pattern that is too simple to be interesting, yet too complicated for mindless knitting? A pattern in which it is shockingly easy to lose one's place, and in which the smallest error stands out like a pimple on the heavily insured nose of Heidi Klum? Options:
- Work the final moss stitch border right now and call it done. It would be five feet long. And I would never wear it, because in a Chicago winter a cute little scarf that won't wrap around my neck and face is a waste of yarn.
- Concede defeat. Rip it back and use it for something else. And remember, every time I look at it, that nothing will ever harmonize with that colorway quite so happily as King Charles Brocade. And grit my teeth. And get a headache.
- Shut up and knit to the damn end of the damn ball. And risk becoming one of those people who wanders about in the streets mumbling to himself. In my case, I'll be mumbling, "Knitting is so relaxing. Knitting is so relaxing."
Tulip Jacket Yarn
Knitguyla and Kay were curious about the source of the yarn in the Tulip Jacket. The ultimate source, of course, was Dream in Color, but I got my kit (and therefore colorway) from Arcadia Knitting here in Chicago. If you order from them, note that even though I made the jacket for Abigail, I chose the "boy" colorway. I'm not a big fan of pastels, even for babies, and as I recall the "girl" colorway has a bit more pink going on.
The Imperfect Wagnerite
Christine Olea asked for my general opinion on Wagner operas. Well, I'm not a musicologist, just a garden variety opera lover, but here goes. On the one hand, there are passages in just about everything he wrote (not that I'm claiming to have heard it all) that give me shivers of delight. On the other hand, I wouldn't be excited at the prospect of sitting through all of Siegfried again. Of the bunch, my favorite is Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, which had me at the overture. I seem to recall being thrilled at a Minnesota Opera production of The Flying Dutchman*; but I'm not sure whether the goosebumps came more from the music or the handsome fellow who invited me to go see it with him.
Among the Germans, I still prefer Mozart. More humanity, less theory.
Yesterday's batch of comments on the mention of "crocheting with two needles" in Buddenbrooks was a delight to read and I'm grateful to everybody who chimed in. Blogless reader "aka Bini" (I believe I parsed that correctly) was first with a well-supported hypothesis, and she undertook to read a text set in 1909 German blackletter for my sake, so she gets the sketch. Bini, please write to me at franklin at franklinhabit daht cahm and let me know where to send it.
And I'd like to give an Honorable Mention, by the way, to Country Mouse, who was first to raise the idea of the crochet/knitting confusion arising from Mann's use of the unreliable narrator.
If you missed the comments, do go back and read. They went far beyond my initial question to include discussions of unusual methods of crochet and debates about what the hell a "landscape room" is. Those Germans have a word for everything.
This is a quality crowd in here, folks. No doubt about it.
*Dutchman does offer the magnificent spectacle of a stage full of spinning wheels. In a live performance, this affords fiber types the pleasure of watching members of the ensemble treadle like they're leading the Tour de France and pretending to spin finished bulky weight yarn on the flywheel. If you can find a production of Gounod's Faust these days, chances are Marguerite will give you a similar giggle while she sings "Le roi de Thulé."