Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Zip Files

Do you know what this is?


Time's up.

Who said pizza peel? Wrong. Cutting board? Nope. African lip plate? Biodegradable Frisbee? Avant garde sunhat? Uh uh.

It's the flywheel for one of these–a Pocket Wheel. It's propped up against four more of the same, still bubble-wrapped.

I didn't get any other bits of wheel, just five flywheels.

In a normal household, this would suggest a serious slip-up in the shipping department. At my house, however, "normal" is but an elusive butterfly. We accepted the delivery of five flywheels with great joy.

I've wanted a Pocket Wheel since my first test-drive at Madrona. As it happens, lots of people want Pocket Wheels, which is why the Pocket Wheel Waiting List is at present 67 people long (not including the folks already in various stages of production) and has its own Ravelry fan group.

The most prominent piece of the teeny-tiny apparatus is the flywheel. So round, so smooth, so perfectly blank.

It simply screams to be drawn upon, don't you think?

I thought so, so I asked Mr. Pocket Wheel*–Jon McCoy, the man who makes them–if I could do that. He said yes, and sent me five of them.
  • One is for practice.
  • One is for a Pocket Wheel for me.
  • Three are for other Pocket Wheels, to be owned by spinners as yet undetermined. That will be up to Mr. Pocket Wheel.
Heaven knows I do a great deal of drawing, but this is a novel challenge. The surface will be sometimes kinetic, sometimes static. I'm burning through pages in my sketchbook playing with ideas that will take that into account.

Just in Time for Summer

On the day it hit 92 degrees Farenheit in my neighborhood, I finished my Icelandic sweater.

We're friends, so let's not play games. The thing had been lying around, mostly complete, for months. I knit it, I cut the steek for the front opening, I bought the zipper, and then I turned into a big bowl of cowardy custard. I, who make such symphonic noises about what a cakewalk eleven-stitch Estonian nupps are If Only You Believe, was afraid of sewing in a stupid zipper.

Sweaters can sense fear. This one took to sneaking around the apartment. I'd turn around and there it would be–balled up in the corner, grinning, ready to spring. I'd back slowly away, brandishing the yardstick.

At length, I grew disgusted with myself and decided it was time to end the game of cat-and-mouse. After luring the sweater into the workroom with the new issue of Evil Fibers Quarterly, I surrounded it with dressmaker's pins, armed myself with Deborah Newton's Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters–and just #@$%* did it, already.

Nobody died. I also discovered, to my surprise, that a) putting a zipper in is not especially difficult and b) I liked doing it so much, and felt so omnipotent in the aftermath, that I'm going to work zippering into one of the new classes I'm planning.

Harry took a couple of snapshots. I've left out the third frame, in which I collapsed from the ninety-degree heat and wet myself, but you can probably find Dolores's video on YouTube.


The pattern, as I've noted before, is "Vetur" from Lopi No. 28.


All I changed was the yarn, the gauge, the direction (I worked top down), the colors, the collar, the cuff chart, the yoke chart, the shape (I tapered it from underarm to waist), the finished length, and the bind off (I used the incredible sewn method from Jean Wong's DVD). Other than that, it's exactly as written.

I've now made two whole sweaters for myself. Two! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Not just now, but eventually.

* Yes, Mr. Pocket Wheel has a lovely Mrs. Pocket Wheel. In fiber circles she elicits the sort of envy that would usually be reserved for, say, Mrs. James Bond or Mrs. Doctor Who. So fantasize, as you will, about life with a man who builds incredible spinning wheels–but it must ever remain only a fantasy.