Monday, April 28, 2008


I would be blogging more, but Teagan seems to be hogging the computer these days!

Well, now that my life is my own again, I find that I have a great deal of time to spin, knit and weave. Which is wonderful. So why aren't I churning out dozens of finished products?
Oh, I finished a pair of socks for Miss Julia that didn't even get a chance to cool from the needle friction before they were on her feet, as you can see...

And the hypothetical Blue Duck now has corporeal form...

...having been recently spotted nesting in its natural habitat. These rare photographs show that the blue duck is actually a felted knit, with tendencies to gravitate toward fiber crafts of all sorts.

I will be submitting my photos to National Geographic, and perhaps to publications aimed at teachers as well. I do believe Blue Ducks enjoy travel, and I am having difficulty keeping this one out of my knitting bag. However, I feel that if it must travel with me, it will need a name, and perhaps a snappy little hat of some sort.

There has also been much knitting, frogging, and reknitting of the Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend cardie. It is actually finished up to the collar now, and is awaiting the sewing up of the shoulders before I can pick up the sleeve stitches to knit. It feels like I have been knitting it forever, though it's only really been about two months, which leads me to today's pondering...

Instant gratification. There's nothing like it. You do something, you have a result. There are a couple of members of my knitting group who have a new show and tell every week. And not just a sock or a cap, but a whole sweater! That they just whipped up over a weekend! WHAT??? And here I am chipping away at the same cardigan for two months.

So pondering this phenomenon, I have come to realize that I am not in this for the instant gratification. Obviously. I suppose the socks come close to fulfilling that need for me. A week or so of dabbling in front of the TV or the doctor's waiting room and I have a completed project. I know that I can knit a single sock in about 4-6 hours, depending upon the gauge, but I never sit still that long, so those hours are spread out over a week (or two). So I do get things done.

However, I like to make things up as I go. That means that there is a lot of stopping to fix mistakes that seemed like a good idea when I started. I am very particular about how a stitch pattern looks and how the fabric drapes, which means I will rip anything that isn't just so. It also means that, in the end, I will have exactly what I want, not just another finished project. And in the end, that is what it will take to satisfy me.

There's something that I find deeply satisfying about solving problems and coming up with a new way to do things that seems to be integral to the process for me, too. It's that brain-work that balances out the hand-work and makes the project complete. I knit to relax, but I also knit to stimulate my mind. I do not knit just to make stuff--I will not go naked if this sweater isn't finished soon enough--I knit to create. And sometimes, creation takes time.

I also have a tendency to work on a pretty fine scale. I spin fine, fine, fine. Not quite frog hair, but lots of lace weight and fingering weight. The DAAGBF cardie is a handspun 3-ply at 20 wpi--fingering yarn by most definitions. This knits up at about 8 stitches per inch on 3.5 mm needles I am using. So why am I not churning out a sweater every weekend? Oh.

In the end, I will have the satisfaction of a well-crafted, custom-designed, fine-gauge sweater that will last for the ages and I know I will be happy in that. But I would just love the thrill of the weekend sweater every now and then.

Maybe I need to find something in between instant gratification and long-term satisfaction. A little gratisfaction. Or perhaps some satisfication. I actually have project lot of commercially-spun worsted-weight upstairs...maybe it's time to add some balance.

Gratisfaction, here I come!

Except that I will be designing the sweater as I go. D'oh!

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