I swear in a previous life I must have been a homing pigeon. It would help to explain why, although I flap frantically toward the far horizon, I so often end up nesting in the same dang tree.
Take my relationship with color. For years, my personal rainbow began with oatmeal and ended with taupe. In a wild moment, I might dally with forest green. I even whined, at length, in this very blog that there was too much fun sock yarn on store shelves and not enough navy blue.
Then came the lime green sock moment, and the one-two punch of Brandon Mably and Kaffe Fassett in a single day. I could almost feel the shackles falling from my wrists, or the scales dropping from my eyes, or the weight lifting off my shoulders, or the cows jumping out of my rucksack.
I was free, I thought. Free at last. Why, I even made a scarf out of Noro!
Then I went to Knitting Camp, where I sat for a week surrounded by museum-quality colorwork and piles of peerless yarn. And when I decided to choose a little Shetland jumper weight to make myself a hat, this is what I picked: heathery oatmeal and heathery blue.
I'm finding that as I knit them together, I can barely see the difference. Zing.
Mind you, I'm in love with the pattern: Meg Swansen's Dubbelmössa Hat from Handknitting with Meg Swansen. And this is my first encounter with real Shetland yarn, and I wish I had a room full of it. I'm just not certain whether, in the finished piece, this combination is going to be charmingly subtle or dull as Wal-Mart's new line of naughty lingerie designed by Lynne Cheney.
I've decided to finish it and find out.
Meanwhile, I've been crawling up the center of the Wedding Ring Shawl. And I do mean crawling.
The needle's the problem. I started with an Addi size 0, and found the tips weren't sharp enough to handle decreases in cobweb weight. So I ordered a Knitpicks size 0, and find that while the tips are ideal, every single stitch snags on the join between cable and needle.* So I'm open to suggestions from those who work with cobweb weight. What the heck do you use?
Noted with Pleasure
Several times I've nearly thrown the shawl across the room in frustration, although lace doesn't weigh enough to hit the wall with a satisfying smack. But my nerves have been soothed to a degree by a review copy of Richard Rutt's A History of Hand Knitting that was sent to me by Knitting Out Loud, a publisher of knitting-related audio books.
I suspect that the publisher expected me to question the selection of a woman, Melissa Hughes, to read the only book in her catalogue written by a man. In the letter that accompanied my copy, she explained at length her reasons for the choice.
The fact is, Melissa Hughes needs no excuses. She's a marvel. Rutt's text is a bear to read aloud, but Hughes never falters. The multiple languages (including German, French, Italian, Arabic, Turkish, Norwegian, Swedish, et al.) roll trippingly off her tongue. She capably brings to life at least four historical/regional inflections of English. And she never goes flat, not even in the middle of long technical passages. It's a bravura performance; and for a history geek like me, this audio version of an old favorite is a welcome companion.
That said, I do hope Knitting Out Loud will consider adding a male reader or two to the stable as future projects are developed. What's written by the goose may still be read with excellent effect by the gander, eh?
Finally, in case you've been asleep this week, I'd like to draw your attention to the launch of www.twistcollective.com, an online knitting magazine that launched with flags flying on August 1. I won't pretend to be unbiased about it because I'm not–they hired me to do an illustration for Ann and Kay's advice column.
Twist Collective departs from the all-for-free model of online knitting magazines to which we've become accustomed. The articles are free, but the patterns are available for purchase. Most of the money from pattern sales goes directly to the designers, who thereby stand to make a decent profit from their work.
There's been a lot of cheering for the gorgeous designs and the concept; and also some complaining about customers being bled dry while the designers grow fat and rich at $7 per pattern. That the cheers outnumber the complaints is, I think, a happy sign that most knitters recognize the right of artists to fair compensation–something the industry has often not recognized in the past.
Makes me proud to be knitter, yes it does, even if my colorwork looks like cold mush and my lace has developed a limp.
*In order to avoid starting one of those stupid Internet rumors, I want to clarify that the needles themselves are (so far as I can tell) free of defects and they'd be great with a thicker yarn–even, I think, a standard laceweight. They just don't suit cobweb weight, which is so wispy it'll snag on the patterns in busy Linoleum. I sure appreciate the advice, though - sounds like lace Addis will be the way to go.