This one sock is both the fastest and slowest sock I have knitted to date. I started it nearly ten days ago, but as is normal with the simplest of projects, I made several mistakes and had to start over, and over, and over again. And then, bang, the day before yesterday I started off and finished it last night. I know that’s nothing for some people, but for me it was like streaked lightning. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I knit it *exactly* as is, with no changes to the pattern. It was quite refreshing!
This pattern is deceptive. As with all of Grumperina’s designs, the construction is intuitive and simple, but clever use of stitches results in a most satisfying project. As I was knitting this I wondered what all the fuss was about the brioche stitch, because it looked just like 3×3 rib, but took longer. Then I put on the sock as I was going along, and realized that the brioche adds a lovely little detail along the purl rib.
This sock, knit in Koigu on size 0 bamboos, is for a friend (hi!) who wanted one in fall colours. I couldn’t find any one brown or green that said fall colours to me, but then I saw this colourway, which looks quite like one overall. But it has taken me so long to knit one that I am going to send her the second one raw – she can knit it herself, I’m sure she’ll enjoy that. I’m done! I’m sending her the sock with a little handmade Indian lipstick case, just to keep with the whole handmade theme. I hope she enjoys the whole package!
Sometime this past summer, a friend of mine emailed me to say that a picture of my Rangoli hat had seized her with the desire to knit one for herself, and asked me how difficult I thought this was. Said friend is, in a word, intrepid – she regularly reports on seventeen-mile hikes as if these were like a walk to the nearby grocery, and her attitude is generally to beam at any challenge in welcome. So I didn’t even bring up the “don’t you want to start with a garter stitch scarf?” line. Garter stitch scarves, I am convinced, are a horrid way to introduce most people to the craft – yes, the stitches are simple, but boy is the boredom of it off-putting! This wretched fabric is what I’m poking every stitch in the ass with this needle for? you say.
Yet, my own mind boggled at the prospect of teaching someone to knit cables on their first try (well, second – her first was an unhappy childhood encounter with booties and a bad teacher that ended after a mere six rows of stockinette). So we settled on a stockinette watch cap from one of my favourite books, Hats On! by Charlene Schurch. Today we went to Stash, and bought her a lovely Araucania Naturespun skein in shades of crimson.
Apart from Schurch’s book, we were fortified by some chai and Zimmermann’s Bible for moral courage. Not that she needed any. Before I knew it, she was off, knitting, purling, casting on and ribbing. First a small swatch, then 120 stitches cast on, and wheeeeeeee. It was great fun to actually see her figuring it out and answering her questions – so, what happens to the tail? How do I know this is a knit stitch? What do you mean, ‘knit them as they appear?’ Gauge?? Do I really need a marker? Aaah, so you can tell when you’re coming up to a decrease? And so on. I swear, I could actually tell when her hands relaxed on the needles, and the stitches began to get loose – very very quickly for someone who swore she was going to be a disaster at this. It was a delightful Saturday afternoon. Made me wish I could remember when I learnt the actual process. All I can still recall is clutching the red and white acrylic in one hand and my mother’s hand with the other, climbing the stairs to Sushila teacher’s house to learn how to crochet, as a seven year old.
I also started playing around with something else, hoping to make it into another Rangoli pattern, this time with colourwork. Just a peek, since I’m not yet sure what (if at all) it will morph into.
First things first – do take a look at the photo albums, all neatly organized to the right. (Click on “view gallery” in the right sidebar, then album title, and one individual photo – it will bring up a cool lightbox slideshow.)
After realizing just what a herculean task it was to migrate my blog from Typepad to Wordpress, I have been laboriously editing every post in my archives to repoint each individual photograph to its new Flickr home. This process is only half-done, but I’m getting there slowly. (I had 200+ pictures, so now is the time for someone to step up and tell me how I could do it all through some simple code. Don’t worry about my feeling like a fool about the work I’ve already done. I’m used to that.)
In the process, I deleted many pictures and in many cases, altered the posts as well. I felt a wee bit guilty tampering with the archives, which is, as the good old Positivists used to say, anathema. I was altering the record I had made myself of my (knitting) life, and it would not remain the pristine original way I had blogged about it.
And yet, this belief in an original archive is, of course, always misplaced. We know that texts have been “improved” upon all the time – there is no pristine record of the past. A lot of my own work has examined these textual methods and their ideological environments. Depending on which period and kind of documents you work on, we can trace these “improvements” – sometimes they appear in handwriting differences and in our electronic age, they leave digital footprints. If I really wanted the first version, surely some geek would be able to get my computer – or some google index – to cough it up, right? (The “why in the world would you care, and who would read the archives anyway?” question is irrelevant – heck, it often isn’t for a lot of other topics – so it must be for my blog’s archives!)
The tedium of editing the posts was thus made a mite more tolerable by having my academic and knitblogging worlds collide. But also, my hesitation at altering my older posts made me realize how deeply and implicitly we still seem to trust in its fixity. It reminded me of my intrepid friend Sepoy’s Polyglot Manifesto again, a brilliant rumination on how historians can, and should, engage the digital world to their considerable advantage.
I should confess that in addition to this effort to make my blogging hassles feed my academic imagination, a good bottle of Chianti has greatly aided the entire migration effort.
But amidst (literally!) all this ruminating, you can witness some knitting progress.
My red alpaca pullover for the spouse, requested last year and only a year late in submission, is now entering the interesting phase. Sleeves and body done separately and joined. Right now I have 468 stitches on the poor 24-inch needle! Serious overcrowding. 8 stitches are being flung off the ship every third row, but it isn’t creating much room for the remaining masses. Deep breath for the next few inches, before the stitches (and I) can breathe more easily. But the good news is that I might actually have it done this Christmas.
I’m glad you all approve of the move – a lot remains to be done! I panicked when I realised that my photos from the archives had not moved with me, plus there’s much to be done with permalinks and suchlike. But I am hoping to conquer this new world of acronyms and abbreviations (css? php??) with a little help from my friends. I was complaining about my Luddite status in this world of high-tech to a friend of mine and how something like ‘.htaccess’ seemed like English but really wasn’t. She came back with a long rant about academic jargon and how ‘the subject’ in a lot of critical history and literary writing was not what it seemed. Heh. ‘Coding’ took on a whole new meaning as we argued about whether jargon serves more as convenient shorthand or as an aura of scientific authority, and a barrier to outsiders in different academic disciplines.
Anyway. Like I said in my previous post, after my brief but painful encounter with the tech world I took refuge in the yarn and needles and made short work of the Ogee tunic front.
I would have finished this a lot earlier, if I hadn’t had to knit the border twice (used wrong needle and realised that only after six inches, ouch!!) and the middle motif twice (something went wrong with one cable, don’t ask). Still, it’s done, all the numbers and dimensions are behaving themselves so far. Given that the back and sleeves are mostly stockinette bar the border, I should have this done soon. But those, as we all know, are famous last words.
Isn’t the motif gorgeous? It’s a lot like the kurta/kameez yolk yoke (Thanks, Deepa!) motifs in desi clothing. I’m loving this pattern.
Okay, this is the new place. I’m still unpacked and have to figure out the fixtures and the neighbourhood, but so far so good! Please do let me know what you think of the decor; any tips with home improvement are most welcome. I’ve tried to keep it like the earlier one, but clearly there’s still work to be done. Since this move has exhausted all my tech skills and more, I’m going back to some basic knitting now.
But I thought that after the awful dancing in the last post, I’d leave you with one song that has been playing in my head all day – it’s a classic from the ’50s movie “Howrah Bridge” (sung by Geeta Dutt), and the dancer is the gorgeous Helen. Nobody can wiggle it like she could, no matter how much the hip actresses of today try to. O.P. Nayyar, the composer of this film’s songs, would later bring in a lot of Punjabi folk tunes and rhythms into his music to brilliant effect, but this song is also a great example of how he incorporated swing into some of his early tunes too. This song was part of my regular Geeta Dutt repertoire in the college band days. Those were good times, we always had a blast performing it!
(The words go – “My name is Chin Chin Choo, The night, the stars, me and you, hello mister, how do you do?”)
First of all, people, thank you SO much for all your kind comments on my waistcoat! I dithered for a while before posting the pictures but am delighted with all the feedback. I don’t think I ever got so many comments.
And now, on to two new sweaters! After the last gauge disaster, I have restarted the Ogee Tunic yet again, this time in Elann Highland Silk, which is a truly wonderful yarn to work with. Really, I cannot recommend it enough. It is a little splitty at times and I’ve spotted a knot or two but it knits up so neatly and with its shine and price, it’s a great deal. This is a picture of the beginning panel at the bottom hem, which I have knitted and frogged so many times that I now know it by heart.
You know, this name Ogee is most unfortunate. Every time I see or read it, it reminds me of a really really awful song Ae Jee, O Jee Lo Ji Suno Ji(O hey, hello there, look here, listen up!) from this late ’80s film called Ram Lakhan. It had some ghastly music which inexplicably became wildly popular. This song is a good example of the godawful depths to which Hindi film music sank in the 80s, when earlier singers and composers aged or died, leaving the field of a variety of Cacofonixes, especially Mohammed Aziz and Anuradha Paudwal who sang this song. The film (and this song) starred the unbelievably hirsute Anil Kapoor, whose unkempt looks were only outdone by his bizarre dancing. How he became a hit star continues to be a mystery to me. But I gotta share it with you folks –
Anyway, here’s something else I started yesterday:
It’s the Cobblestone pullover from Interweave Fall 07, which I adapted to a women’s shaped style after seeing Impulsiveknitter’s gorgeous version. The yarn is the rather promiscuous handdyed yarn that you might recall has flirted with many other patterns and projects already and left them. Am hoping this one will be a lasting relationship! Gauge has been adjusted – mine is 5.5 on bates 4, so I’m knitting a much larger size to get a good fit.