Sunday, 2 March 2008

Automatic Knitting

It's funny, isn't it, how you sometimes sit down to knit something and you find yourself knitting something quite different. Like automatic writing, we might call this 'automatic knitting'. The haunted among us might say we are carrying out the knitting of those long gone; Freudians that we are doing the knitting that our subconscious wishes to do; or students of creativity that we are releasing our unconscious knitter. Jared says this sort of knitting is 'really refreshing'. It does tend to be free of the stresses that can accompany long-planned or cherished projects.

I had intended to return to the Kauni snails, but the pattern for that lacks the rhythm of real Fair Isle knitting, and I was feeling restless. Another friend has requested a knitted birthday present, and she, like me is a scarf aficionado. Where other woman have cupboards full of shoes, we have drawers full of scarves; where other women talk of Blahnik and Choo, we gasp over Liberty and Pucci. You have no idea of the work I had to put in to avoid becoming a Vera junkie when I discovered eBay - the trick is not to buy the first one. I know that she will like the idea of a Victorian pattern, so I thumbed through Victorian Lace Today. I knitted the Scarf on page 80 last year, and found the central pattern nearly drove me insane so I knew I couldn't do that again but I spotted the bordered scarf on page 16.

The yarn is from the Yarn Yard; it was a Sock Club yarn in 2006, I think. Jean gave it to me after she'd knitted this Little Boy Sweater. In a lace stitch it looks very springlike, and since the lace is just simple faggotting and not anything that the eye needs to follow, I think the variegated yarn works with it. It will look totally different after blocking, fortunately. At the moment it definitely fits into the category of boiled ass (TM, Rabbitch, 2006) The needles are Addi circs, size 6.5mm. I would prefer them to be a little bit pointier but I expect you're sick of hearing me wittering on about knitting needles, so I shall say no more. I don't think I'll do a border all the way round, but I might do the ends from the Page 80 Scarf - I thought I might do them with the toes-and-heels yarn that accompanied the yarn; or do you think that would look wrong?

This friend told me something yesterday which she had been afraid to confess, but which I found very flattering: a couple of years ago I knitted her one of those corkscrew scarves that were so compulsive and she lost it in the changing room of a well-known chain store. The flattering bit is that although she realized and went back 20 minutes later, someone had already stolen it.

The pattern is quite eye-intensive, I find - not suitable for watching subtitled films, or indeed any films that you actually want to watch properly, but perfect for watching the Oscars or old episodes of Law and Order. Although it is very simple, I think it would be quite impossible to rip it back and pick it up again correctly, so here's hoping I don't have to. Speaking of the Oscars, did you see Tilda Swinton? She wasn't wearing any make-up - she must have been the only woman within a 100-mile radius of the auditorium of whom that could be said - and she still looked stunning. Actually, I think the Best Supporting Actress should have gone to Amy Ryan, who was nominated for Gone Baby Gone, but never mind. Tilda was pretty good too.

On the subject of watching subtitles, I've just got the DVD of the first episodes of The Wire. It's been shown in the UK, but only on channels that don't have subtitles, so although I found it enthralling I was fairly mystified about what was actually going on a lot of the time. (There isn't anything wrong with my hearing, it's just that everyone mutters these days, honestly. And anyway, how much Baltimore street talk can you understand?) So I am going to watch it with the subtitles on and see if light dawns, or if I will continue to be mystified. Amy Ryan was in that too.

I'm meeting up with Jean and Spinning Fishwife tomorrow, for a spot of retail indulgence at the new branch of K1 Yarns. I think Spinning Fishwife and I, who haven't met before, may have had a mutual friend in the past, so there may be a fourth, absent, friend at the gathering. But I really mustn't buy any yarn.


mogs said...

You'll enjoy K1! There were cupcakes and Debbie Bliss there on Saturday, but I only bought a magazine and a circ as the only DB book I wanted sold out before I got to it! Have fun fondling.

Anonymous said...

Sick of needle talk? Never. "Addis with sharper points" (and limper cords) nicely describes the Knit Picks metal circulars I recommended a while ago. I like them so well I've finally ventured into all-stranded knitting with a color in each hand, and they're making it a pleasure. So satisfying to find the right tools for one's hands.
(signed) Gretchen

Knitting Linguist said...

I love the way that scarf is turning out! Thanks so much for the inspiration -- I've been wondering what kinds of things I might knit for the pay it forward swap I'm in, and that scarf looks like it might be a perfect choice. I do love that book... And it's good to know that I'm not the only one who knits to Law and Order reruns!

Thanks for the bannock/soda bread distinction. I may go hunt up that bannock recipe and give it a try. Or scones... Maybe scones... Have fun at K1!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Tilda Swinton-- I felt she looked witchy rather than lovely at the Oscars, but who cares when she can really act, unlike so many on the screen (and gave the best speech of the night, to boot)? She was inimitable in "Orlando"; she even managed to look beautiful in full late-18th-century costume, powdered piled hair and all. More power to her.
/s/ Gretchen

Spinningfishwife said...

Mutual friend? Really?

Edinburgh is a small town in some ways though so I belive you. I'll look forwards to finding out who it is.

Lee said...

Just so you aren't disappointed, Amy Ryan doesn't show up until the second season of The Wire. What a great show.