You are currently browsing the archives for August, 2007
I finished it, finally, and here it is:
I raved about this shawl pattern when I began it, and it is really one of the simplest, yet prettiest triangular patterns. If I could actually knit about 70% of it in 100-degree-plus weather, you can bet that it was special. The fern leaf motif is quickly memorised, the edging is elegant and it’s easily adaptable to different weights. It’s quite a well-known pattern by Polly Outhwaite, but still, if you’re new to it, the free pattern is here (.pdf).
I’ve been knitting it for so long, it seems though, that I have a strange sense of anti-climax and irritation, that is amplified by the smell of the wet wool. I also can’t help feeling strangely dissatisfied with triangular shawls after they’re done. They are definitely process projects, the complete opposite of rectangular stoles, boring as hell to knit but totally worth it when done. I wrapped Kiri around me this morning after unpinning it, and even though it’s fingering yarn and the wingspan is nearly 80 inches, it still feels small, and as if most of it isn’t really going towards the warming effort – large bits hang down your arms and hug your bottom.
I know, these are meant to gently, airily take the chill off an early fall evening, not keep you warm in a winter gale. This one is going to England, just in time, to Bua, my husband’s aunt who generously gave me a suitcase full of yarn one summer, with some stashes of Rowan and Jaeger in it, when I visited her. Thank you, Bua, this little knitted thank you has taken me a long time!
Yarn: Brown Sheep Fingering 100% wool, in a big-assed cone. I have no idea how much I used, but I’ll weigh the shawl at the post office today and then calculate the approximate yardage. The colourway was Maple something, which bled in the wash. The colour is fairly accurate in the first picture. The yarn is soft, but one word that describes it well is durable.
Dimensions: 70 x 27 before blocking, 80 x 38 after blocking (not very severely, am thinking of steam-ironing the border)
Repeats: 17 repeats, plus the initial leaf and the edging
Needle: Size 4, with size 6 for the edging, and size 7 for the cast-off row. This going up a size for the edging and cast off is highly recommended!
Finally, since I finished this before the start of term and Labor day, I am totally claiming this as a project started and finished during summer. Now, onward to fall, garments, holiday gifts…
I surfed to one of my favourite food blogs, Evolving Tastes, and found that I am a Rockin’ Girl Blogger:
Thank you, ET! Am delighted that you picked me. If anyone reading this is looking for both conventional Marathi food and some interesting takes on them, plus a lot of creative and gorgeous desserts, do visit ET’s blog and try some of her recipes. Since I have eaten many of the dishes she has made and featured in there, I know what I’m talking about. The photography’s luscious, too.
Cloverleaves & Rangolis around the web:
So this is a good time to feature some pictures of my designs that I spotted on Ravelry and elsewhere. I’m still a little surprised that anybody is actually knitting these; it sure feels good.
Spudsayshi’s Rangoli hat:
Then there is
Dawn’s(thanks for pointing out the error in the pattern!)
These are Tuttlium’s Cloverleaves, and these are Kadiddly’s.
Some older readers’ project pictures are here and here. (How far do Typepad’s archives go? I swear there was a picture with the socks Quill made, but I just cannot find it).
My nominations for Rockin’ Girl Bloggers:
I’m going to pass on this award to three bloggers who inspire me in different ways. First, to Spud Says Hi, with whom I share a birthday, a previous job and some good times, and who inspired me to start my own knitting journal. Her ability to just intrepidly start a project, be it a sock or a sweater, and design it as she goes along (often around the world!) is amazing – and it produces wonderful results too. Check out her Frost Flowers and Leaves Cardigan. I really want to make it someday.
Secondly, to Uccellina, who knits only occasionally, but whose political commentary is dead-on and insightful, and who also tells the most wonderful stories.
Last but not least, to Swapna aka MrsFife, whose witty and sardonic blog about knitting in the tropics I enjoy very much, and with whom I also share a love of British mysteries.
School is barely two weeks away, and occasional emails from students about reading lists and such like are forcing me from the torpor of summer siestas, food and fiction. Has anybody ever weighed the stomach-churning anxiety of the first week of class against the last week’s nausea of grading? Every December and May I know that grading very easily trumps having to face a new batch of unknowns by a long shot in the what-I-hate-most-about-my-job department, but every August and January I’m not so sure. I try to calm the butterflies by thinking in cliches about clean slates, leaves turning, new dawns, fresh beginnings, but there’s still something about the introductory riot-act-and-syllabus spiel on the first day of class that depresses me no end.
Still, after this horrid summer where I haven’t been able to knit very much, I am looking forward to warm clothing and this beloved hobby that produces it. So after weeks of getting on to Ravelry and not doing very much with it, I’m looking around for patterns to queue. Look for me there: I’m (no surprises) Desiknitter. It’s also been a lot of fun looking at photos of people who are making and queuing my Cloverleaf socks and the Rangoli hat. Speaking of which, do look at the gorgeous shades on Spudsayshi’s Rangoli hat!
I amused myself the other day by learning a new method to start toe-up socks – Magic Cast On. I used the wool I bought in Delhi, with two US 0 (2 mm, or Indian size 14) circular needles. This is way simpler and quicker than the short-row toe, and allows you to manipulate size better, too. That’s if you can figure out which effing needle is which, and don’t complicate matters by using the wrong needle every single time. During several tries, my project looked like blurry and messy with visible signs of frogging.
Did I mention that I bit off more than I could chew by casting on for two socks at the same time? It all actually settled down after a while, and I couldn’t help thinking this is probably a lot like having twins – double the trouble and you keep asking yourself what the hell happened, but then you have two instead of one all at once and tell yourself that at least you don’t have to start all over again soon.
Mercifully socks are easier to manage than twins; if doing them together gets to be too much, at least I can just take one off the needles and do it later! I find that continuously moving the stitches to the end of the circulars for every round is quite annoying, so I might actually switch each one to DPNs and finish them individually. Try keeping one of your kids in storage while you focus on raising the other! Oh, and although you can’t see them because of the rolled brims, these are Flintknits’ Marigold Socks! (Pattern free, easy and gorgeous)
I’m nearing the end of my Kiri shawl – stay tuned, I have a long trans-Pacific flight to take one of these days….
Edit: apologies for reposting a couple of times, found some awful spelling errors.
When I was a little girl, my aunt took me to get my nose pierced. Cool, I thought then, and came back attached to a little gold ring. I had it till I was a teenager, when much of my annoyance against the world in general, and my parents in particular came to be expressed through this ring. I thought it to be the worst kind of rural hicky tradition and unfashionable piece of jewellery they could have foisted on me. Diamond and gold studs were bad enough, but noserings? Come on, Hindi film heroines in milkmaid-damsel get-up wore those. The first chance I got, I took it off and basked in my non-pierced urbanity. (Ears were a different matter, earrings have *always* been cool) My mother tried to tell me about ways to keep the piercing even without the ring, saying, "what if they become fashionable again?" but with strict linearity and progress, I pronounced myself and the modern world done with them and looked down my gold-free nose at all those recommendations.
It is always painful when you have to redo what you needn’t have. It is always more painful to try and heal a piercing as an adult, especially when the memory of the nice one you had adds to the stab. It is the most painful when your mother tries not to look reproachful, and manages to say "I told you so" without uttering the words even once. My sister and I determined sometime back to get the damn things back because they didn’t look so bad after all, but The Ring, it would appear has not yet forgiven us for rejecting it back then. Both of us have bonded this summer over allopathic, homeopathic, ayurvedic, yunani and last-resort-internet remedies. I felt a warm and fuzzy feeling when she confessed that she too was now angrily, but surreptitiously staring at other women’s noses, resenting their happily ensconced studs and rings.
Do-gooders and well-wishers (I am trying not to use the nose-pokers descriptor here) abound here, and over the last few weeks I have gathered several such remedies and advice about How to Deal With Your Recalcitrant And Angry Piercing. Friends call to ask about it. Strangers peer at it in the market and offer the surefire solution that their neighbour’s sister’s daughter used. These range from possibly effective to positively hazardous (I’m not going to say which is which, or which ones I’ve tried): sea salt soaks, hydrogen peroxide dabs, aspirin crushes, neem leaves paste, honey daubs, tea tree oil rinses, boroline, soframycin, neosporin, fomentation, betadine… the list is endless. Others shake their heads and say, yeh to kabhi theek nahi hoga ji (this ain’t ever gonna work). But I live in hope, as I try desperately to remember other things that I threw out the window, which might
come back to bite me in the ass become fashionable again.
To cheer myself up, I went to look for some wool at the Punjab Woollen Co in Munirka Market in south Delhi.
I was happy that they were open, and that they did not laugh me out of the store for asking for pure wool in the first week of August. The shop is typical Indian wool store – reasonably priced and dyed acrylic-wool blends that wear like iron, with a few brands of pure wool
that are more expensive, and are neatly stocked away in boxes. The price differential means that most people prefer the acrylic for its durability and price. Some Merino is available, but as Mrs. Arora explained to me at great length, for a number of reasons only a few companies manufacture it locally. Knitting and the heavy consumption of yarn is not a hip hobby here as it has suddenly become in the US and elsewhere, so I imagine the high prices of imported wool would put it out of reach for those who could use it, and useless for those who could afford it but prefer to buy readymade
cashmere instead. Mrs. Arora oohed over my Kiri shawl, she showed me some of her sample swatches, and we spent some happy minutes exchanging tips and notes. Bliss. She was too shy to be photographed directly, but you can spot her behind the counter:
I almost bought a gorgeous fingering acrylic blend in a moss green shade, but then I found a few skeins of fingering yarn in a lovely light coffee shade for a pair of basic socks instead and stocked up on some metal needles.
As soon as I cast on for a sock, I’ll be ready to deal with any damn piercing.