After nearly fifteen years I still contemplate those two dreadful swatches of winter and spring with undiminished horror. One was either sleeping, eating, prepping for a test or taking a test; and both sleeping and eating were curtailed in order to leave more time for prepping.
Once, halfway through the ordeal, a friend persuaded me to unwind by leaving campus and heading into Boston to spend the afternoon at the Museum of Fine Arts. Unfortunately, I was an art history major. Instead of losing my cares for a couple of hours in the loveliness, after fifteen minutes I had a panic attack in front of a Renoir and fled back to my books.
October has felt a bit like that. I was either traveling to something or from something; or packing something; or shipping something; or drawing something; or photographing something; or writing something; or signing something; or writing about traveling or packing or shipping or drawing or writing or signing.
Notice, among all those -ings, the absence of knitting.
Not that there wasn't any. It's just all been small and simple, and some of it (like the patterns for the next column in Knitty) I can't show you in advance or Amy Singer will get all huffy.
But I am heartily sick of not blogging about knitting. Today, although a gaggle of -ings has clustered around my ankles to scream for attention, I'm shutting them all in the bathroom so I can show you the latest sweater for Abigail.
The knitting itself is as plain as plain gets: Baby Pullover #214 from always-reliable Knitting Pure and Simple. Top-down, raglan sleeves, highly recommended without reservations. My only changes were to work a seed stitch collar and cuffs, instead of rolled stockinette.
The yarn, Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in "Aslan," was pretty all by itself. But when the sweater was finished I wasn't happy with it. Handsome, sure. But dull. No dash. No surprise. A dish of ice cream with no cherry on top. Rock without roll. Mary-Kate without Ashley.
During my infrequent, unoccupied moments at home I'd pick it up and turn it over and squint at it, and then throw it back into the workbasket. I briefly considered slicing the front to make a cardigan with Fun Buttons, but I've had no time to shop around for Fun Buttons.
Then I opened one of the doors on the stash cupboard to hunt for something and three or four small balls of leftover Dream in Color from Abigail's Tulip Jacket fell out. The memory of a bird I'd seen pecking at a bush on Fremont Street knocked up against the memory of a embroidering the Baby Kimono, and a Eureka Moment ensued. (Passers-by in the street heard only a soft popping sound, but for me it was a great relief.)
I consulted briefly with my embroidery books, made a few preliminary sketches, and turned the pullover into "Bird and Berry."
One sleeve, the back, and the front all have the same sort of vine growing from the bottom up. It's just a feathered chain stitch with two-stitch "berries" sprouting at random.
On the front, one of the vines has a little brown bird perched on top, with a berry in its beak.
If you haven't tried embroidering on a piece of knitting, I highly recommend it. I liken it to working cables. For example:
- a well-chosen motif can add immensely to the success of a project;
- it's much simpler to do than it looks, given a little study and practice, and;
- to the uninitiated, it looks like magic, and you are not required to disillusion them.
Little Book News
The hometown launch for It Itches happened on Sunday at Arcadia Knitting an oh, what a merry crowd. It was a charge to stand in the same spot where'd I'd seen Debbie Stoller and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee talk about their work, and read aloud from mine. I wanted to hug everybody who took the time to come say hello. I think I probably did hug about three-quarters of you. I'm turning into the Leo Buscaglia of knitting.
Word is that the book is hitting the store shelves and (finally) landing in the mailboxes of those who placed pre-orders back when it was nothing but a pile of crumpled, ink-stained paper with a terrified cartoonist in the middle.
I spotted it in the wild for the first time at the Borders on State Street, and because I am a shameless, sentimental geek I took a picture. Sue me.
Holy crap. Right there next to Louisa Harding. And me, just a simple girl from Kansas with a pair of tap shoes and a dream.
Meanwhile, several folks have been kind enough to write about it, including The Knitting Scholar, who gave me the royal treatment–an interview and a review. I've also chatted about it on "Ready, Set, Knit," the WEBS Podcast; and the KnitPicks Podcast.
The Guys with Yarn 2009 Calendar is back in the Etsy shop, and a new batch of prints and gift enclosure cards will follow on Monday. The 2008 tree ornament and its ancestors are still available in the Cafe Press shop, where I'm hoping to launch new variations on the 1,000 Knitters bags and shirts this week.