Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Several disparate themes that have been floating in my mind came together today. I've been thinking about possessions quite a bit lately, how we thoughtlessly accumulate them, refuse to part with them, identify with them. On a completely different tack, after finishing the baby sweater last week, I'd been thinking about why I compulsively knit hats and scarves but shy away from knitted garments.

These ideas came together when I pulled out my honeymoon cami this morning. I finished it last summer, using up some pale peach-pink Berroco cotton that had languished in my stash for years. I've only worn it twice because everything is just a wee bit off - the border bulges when worn with jeans, the drape is too heavy, the knitting looks uneven, the decreases (which I carefully fit to myself) don't actually fit my body. But I fiercely refuse to give it away, because I feel so much of myself has been put into it. Does anyone else have trouble parting with your handknit pieces, even if they never make it out of the closet?! Why such attachment?

It also sheds light on why I have trouble knitting anything except hats and scarves -- I'm picky about fit and not very skilled with fitting. Are there recommendations out there for garments with 'automatic' fit? Wrapped sweaters, perhaps? Full body ribbing?!

Anyways, when I decided to wear the cami today, and take pictures to have a visual accompanying these thoughts, I was confronted with a third theme that has been quietly lurking: how to look more photogenic. Compare the two photos, please. Suddenly I have curves! And that blasted heaviness to the fabric has disappeared. Note to self, and anyone else about to face a platoon of photographers, and anyone else dealing with too-drapey knit camisoles: toss back those shoulders!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Froggie happiness

I received a refreshing comment on the last post that told me to stop complaining. In this new spirit of trying to be more self-congratulatory, I present my first FO of the season. Now, most mothers coo over their newborns, extolling their perfection. I do not have a new baby, but I do have a new baby sweater, and I am pleased as punch to show it off and talk about its loveliness.

Little Frog Baby Sweater

Pattern: Child's Placket Sweater, from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Knitpicks Crayon, color "green" (2 balls, I think)
Needles: 5, bamboo circulars and dps
Modifcations: Plenty, for such a tiny piece. My gauge, even on size 5s, was so wide that I used the stitch counts from the smallest size and the sleeve and body lengths from the next size up. I did garter stitch on the borders instead of seed stitch. I cast on a much smaller number of stitches for the sleeve border, to avoid belling. And I made mini buttonholes (k1,p1,yo,p2tog,k1) on the placket, so that I could use these darling frog buttons.

Incredibly, this is the first sweater that I have managed to complete; four half-finished ones, some as old as a decade (!), languish in my yarn box, casting me reproachful looks everytime I start something new. This sweater isn't perfect, but the fact that it's a genuine finished article makes it FEEL perfect. And that may be the real lesson for me. Now if only I could apply that same logic to my graduate work!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

85% match

I had my first wedding gown fitting yesterday; naturally, I toted along my lace shawl to see if it matched. This has been my first opportunity - a mere five weeks before the wedding! - to actually see the two fabrics together.

My sister's response was a cool "it's fine." Our main reservation is that, as suspected from the get-go, I should've gone with a stronger geometric pattern. A clapotis might have been just right, but the silk-wool yarn I'd ordered for it had a too-strong silk smell (I know that Knitty recently had a great article on de-gumming silk yarn, but it seemed like too much work at the time). Alternatively, a geometric lace pattern might've been better, like the arrowhead lace I first swatched.

But the color is pretty good, and the horizontal lines pick up on the grosgrain fabric, and the lace will look more impressive after blocking. So although I can't say that I'm overwhelmed by the fit and tearing up with joy, I think it turned out reasonably well. And I'm inspired to finish it now!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006


My life theme of late has been “unfinished business.” Wedding planning = overwhelming and unfinished. Academic work = pathetically unfinished. My garden = half-planted and gobbled by Japanese beetles, so unfinished that I may have to resort to Miracle Grow to get it looking lush by next month. There are those that would cheerfully call these things “works in progress.” But I’ve always been a glass-is-half-empty kind of gal.

All of this is a long way of saying that NO, I haven’t finished the wedding shawl. It wasn’t for lack of inspiration. To the contrary, lace symbolism was everywhere: my henna-painted hands, stone carvings, the wedding garlands.

But it was far too hot and chaotic to knit! And anyways, there was plum too much going on to be bothered with lace knitting. I tried a bit in the car (evidence below), since we had 10+ hour drives to Dharamsala and back, but most of the time it was too bumpy and I just wanted to observe the amazing landscape and people-scape that we were passing by.

I’m persevering now that I’m back in Vermont. I probably only have another five or six inches of knitting to go, which I can probably finish within a few weeks. Wish me luck! It's the homestretch now.