Monday, June 12, 2006

Challenge 2: 80 Inches in Around the World

Team ‘ever green’ has been hard at work, pushing through grueling training in preparation for an extreme knitting adventure.

Stage 1: Learning to outpace threats in a controlled environment
Lace and I each had our roles to play. For my part, I was in charge of mastering and memorizing the lace pattern (to avoid it falling into the wrong hands). Also, I was responsible for protecting lace from dastardly, dangerous foes.

Enemy #1: “Lightning Claws”
This devious feline has a reputation for chomping[link] on knitting needles, ripping yarn to shreds, and creating tangles[link] beyond repair. Nocturnal. Surreptitious. Pointy teeth and sharp claws. She would like nothing more than to eat tender alpaca yarn for breakfast.

Enemy #2: “Muddy Paws”
She tracks dirt and vegetative matter about like it’s her job. Easily overexcited, rather ungraceful. Would think nothing of knocking lace to the floor, shaking mud onto its pale ivoryness, and tromping across its delicate fibers.

As for the lace, its role was to defend itself against competitors, elbowing its way past the other projects that vied for my attention: baby sweater, summer camisole, jaywalkers.

Stage 2: Testing our survival abilities in the wild
Two weeks ago, Lace and I had our first mini-adventure: a camping trip. We gained essential travel skills, including sweet-talking our way past airport security guards, avoiding sticky-fingered children, and squeezing knitting into the most unlikely of moments. The camping itself was fraught with peril: campfires, sunscreen, woodsmoke, stove-soot, pine sap, poison oak, and, perhaps most frightening, tequila. Straight from the bottle. Some may consider this camping trip to be, by itself, “extreme knitting.” We at team ‘ever green’ considered it to be rigorous training for the real adventure.

Stage 3: Passage to India
Today we depart for a voyage to India, where I will be attending a close friend’s wedding and then meeting Mountain Man’s extended family. You’ve all heard of ‘Around the World in 80 Day.’ It has nothing on the challenge that I call ‘80 Inches in Around the World.’ Our objective is to finish knitting the entire length of the shawl, all 80 inches, over the course of this trip. There will obstacles thrown in our path, including the exhaustion of travel, saffron- and turmeric-laced sauces, mayhem and chaos. I fear that knitting may suddenly seem unappealing in the sticky heat of the monsoon. And we must be wary, lest the allure of Indian silk distract my attention and shift my textile affection.

This story is not yet written. But it will surely be extreme: risky and challenging, adventurous and exotic.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Green Pastures

I am strongly drawn to all things green. Green leaves. Green tea. Green politics. Green yarn. Which brings me to two new and delicious projects started in the last week, both on circular needles (which I love). First up: a summery camisole in Cascade Fixation, color "fern." Here's a slice of it at the end of the first ball:

To be honest, I'm souring on this one a bit. The yarn was broken and knotted in three places in this one ball, which I find terribly annoying. But the bigger problem is that it's hard to figure out gauge in such an elastic yarn. I swatched and calculated much more carefully than usual, but I was far too conservative (not something I'm usually accused of) in terms of estimating how much stretch to allow. It fits, but it'd fit better with 30 fewer stitches. Sigh. Think I'll have to start over.

My second project is going more smoothly: a baby sweater in Knitpicks Crayon, color "green." Color is brighter and more saturated than I'd have ideally wanted, but the yarn is incredibly silky for cotton. And it's nice to have a project where I don't have to worry about sizing and fit.

Yay for light summer knitting!