It’s official, this year’s vacation has started. I’m enjoying it so far.
I have absolutely no idea where June went. All of a sudden it’s July and I realize I wasn’t aware that summer has really begun. Somewhere between working too much, stress attacks and knitting as if my life depended on it, summer arrived, June came and Went and here I sit on July 1st wondering what happened. Sure, there is finished Great Lace (more about that in a later post) but then what? I still have a ton to do at work and I feel like I might miss this summer completely even though I now that’s not true. I was aware that yesterday was June 30 but that July 1 comes right after had completely escaped my mind.
So what happened to June? Or more importantly, what happened in June? I know I was on some kind of vacation to let my poor mind rest but I was perhaps a little too worked up because I don’t remember much of it. That’s a stressful mind for you (and yes, I’m less stressed out after vacation that before so it did the trick even if things are not entirely back to normal yet). Luckily I have my blog (even though it looks like I completely forgot about that one too in June) which means I try to take as many pictures as I can to show on the blog. So how about a little reminder? What actually happened on vacation?
Well, we went North. North is a good place to rest, it’s comfortable (as long as you don’t stay in a tent, which I don’t), it’s without Internet Connection and there is lots of tea. What more could you ask for? I had decided not to bring the Great Lace, partly because it’s a mess to move and partly because I needed to feel completely free. All I wanted was to puzzle and that I did. I made two puzzles of 1000 pieces each in three and a half days. Then the puzzle obsession ceased. For now.
I remember drinking lots of tea and never ending days and walking through the Midsummer night. I remember talking a million pictures of muskoxen and possibly finding a new favorit animal (next to elephants).
Muskoxen knows what’s important in life, feminism and wool and I don’t see how you cannot love that. Quivit is now on top of my yarn wish list. That’s the worlds warmest wool and I think it’s my knitterly duty to honor them and do my best to protect the muskoxen.
I remember walking up on the mountain with Julle, fighting off mosquitos (the thing in the upper left corner in the picture is not an airplane, it’s a mosquito) and hiding from the rain (and stumbling on the way down and get broken tights and broken skin but that’s okay because that happens during summer).
Our vacations usually involves me, Julle and a (or several) huge cameras. This one was no exception.
Julle taking pictures of the landscape and me taking pictures of Julle taking pictures.
I remember have tea at a yarn shop where I didn’t purchase any yarn, but two pattern magazines and tea and cake.
I love a yarn store that takes its’ tea seriously.
I remember having fake potato cake which was surprisingly delicious. I usually don’t like sponge cake nor buttercream but I do like almond paste and together all these Three Components where delicious.
Now, the big question is, what does a knitter, who has been knitting on an never ending white lace for a year, do when she’s finally allowed to cast on something new?
Another white lace of course!
I’m sorry about the elusiveness. June hit me with full force and I wasn’t at all prepared. Usually by June Everything calms down but not this year. Instead, the stress rate has increased steadily these past two weeks and I’m doing my best to keep up. I did manage to have the center of my huge lace shawl done by June 1st and since then I’ve worked on the final border lace. It’s about 78 repeats and so far I’ve managed 56 so it’s good progress and I might actually be ready for blocking on June 28. This hasn’t come easy though. Although I’m much more comfortable with knitting this pattern in this yarn than when I first started this Project it’s still slow progress. Back when I did the first 85 border edge lace repeats I only managed to make one per day and yesterday I did 11 but it still takes me half an hour at the least to make one pattern repeat. One pattern repeat is 640 stitches, it’s not much at all but it’s complicated lace and quite impossible to learn it by heart. I need to look at the chart all the time and that slows me down. And since there is lace on both sides I don’t have any rows where I can relax. My goal of making four repeats per day has prooved to be very difficult, not only beacuse one repeat takes so much time but also because all the other things I have to do is piling up.
This weekend the Swedish Prince got married and I was watching the wedding on TV, knitting away. It felt like a worthy television show for a huge pile of white lace.
It was actually very nice, we had tea and chocolate and wine and grapes and it was a great afternoon. The lace grew which is really it’s job right now. It also had a funny way of dropping its stoppers a few times this weekend but luckily I was prepared. Not only had I put rubber bands on the needles together with the stoppers but I had also put a life line thorugh the live stitches at the center which came in very handy (oh, the horror if I hadn’t!).
People are constantly asking why there are so many pink lines through the lace and I agree that it looks peculiar. I didn’t add a single life line before I had finished the 250 border rows but I think that was it with tempting fate. Life lines fill a purpose, that’s all I can say.
It looks kind of smashing even before it’s blocked, I must say. I can’t wait till it’s finished and I get to see it for real without and knitting needles in the way.
I took a pause from the lace tonight (don’t worry, I still made progress earlier today) and went to a concert with Jenny Holmgren and band, but it was really a family reunion. Three (from our perspective, two of the three were siblings) cousins with families met up and it was quite fun. Most of them I’ve never met before, or I was too young to remember or be remembered. The lead singer is my second cousin (I have a gazillion second cousins but I’ve barely met anyone so it’s both new and fun to actually do so and also hear her sing) and she is super talented. She sang, her husband played the guitar, her mum gave me good career advice and my mum told funny stories of long gone family members. On the train I knit on something not white lace and it was a great evening. Tomorrow, though, awaits white lace. That’ll be okay too.
I am behind on this weeks stitch count. I did 32 000 stitches last week and should, according to all calculations, be a mere 30 000 stitches from a finished center. So far I’ve only made 16 of the 48 rows this week and need to make more than 10 rows every day for the rest of the week. I’ve also decided that this shawl should be blocking by June 28 so I need to step it up. Luckily, the 13 first rows of the pattern repeat, which are the most challenging ones, are now done. The rest should be quicker, but then again, you never know when it comes to knitting.
Throughout the years since I first joined Ravelry in 2010 I have favorited a lot of shawl patterns. By a lot I mean a lot. Some I’ve already knit and some I don’t care for anymore but a lot of them are still very pretty. I might not want them myself but I think they would be very fun to knit. Most of them are lace but not all. A lot of them are fingering weight yarn and some are lace and some are made of heavier stuff. Some are huge and some are small but I think the shawlettes are down to a minimum. When I last looked at these favorited shawls it struck me what a waste it is to have favorited all these yummy shawls and not knit them.
I know people who have made themselves their own sock club. In early January they put together 12 kits with yarn and sock pattern, they put the kits in ziplocks and stash them somewhere where they can’t see what’s inside the bag, like on a top shelf, and then, at the beginning of every month they randomly choose a ziplock and try to finish the pair of socks before the month is over. By the end of the year they have 12 new socks.
This might be disillusion from knitting way too much white lace on tiny needles speaking but I think it would be fun to make myself a shawl club. I would choose the twelve prettiest shawls amongst my unknit favorites on Ravelry, make sure they are a diverse, e.g not all lace weight lace shawls but also some fingering weight, some worsted weight, some cables, some slipped stitches and so on, purchase the pattern if I don’t have it already, maybe pair it with yarn (even though this is a bad idea, what if I happen to choose brown or blue in February, that poor shawl would never be knit), hide kits, randomly choose on the 1st of every month and then happily cast on. Instead of pair the pattern with a specific yarn I could perhaps designate a box with stash yarn, make sure I have everything I need in there for all the shawls and then pick a color that suits my mood.
This could be a fun way to actually knit all those lovely shawls I’ve favorited. First I would make sure I’m actually interested in making that specific shawl though. I have favorited a lot that I no longer like or that are just good looking but not something I would want to knit. At the end of the year I would have twelve new shawls. I’m not sure I would want them all for myself, they could just as easily become gifts. It would all just be more of a way of knitting and enjoying the process and knowing the end result will be something I appreciate, rather than the end result in itself. The shawl will not be destined for something in particular right away, maybe I figure it out as I go along. Or maybe I will just end up with a box of shawls that no one will ever use but at least I kept myself occupied and had fun in the process.
Last week I heard a comment that I’ve been thinking a lot of ever since. I’m not sure that I agree with the comment and I’m not sure I disagree. It has a lot to do with what I’ve discussed before, last spring when I was supposed to knit something masculine. I have good arguments for both sides of this comment and I’m not sure anything will be settled but I definitely think it needs to be discussed. The commenter was very sure of her thing and even though I might have given you a different answer to this if you’d asked me two years ago, I’d like to think that I’m now humble enough to see this issue from different perspectives.
The ever so interesting discussion about colors on babies arised last week. I am a firm believer that all babies (and older kids too for that matter) should wear all colors of the rainbow and then some (even though I might have some issues with black, which probably is more because of my lack of interest in knitting black than anything else). Then again, I personally like wearing all colors of the rainbow myself. From what I understand, kids usually like colors and I think that bright colors probably helps stressed parents to find clothing items when they are in a hurry at daycare. Also, knitting in only one color is pretty boring (you ask me how I know this? Well, I’m currently knitting a humongous white shawl on needles 2,5 mm, thank you very much. I can tell you it will be a while before I knit in white again) and I like to pick and choose when I knit. Maybe May isn’t the right month to knit dark red but an excellent month for lime green? Or, May might be an excellent time to knit dark red and December is good for lime green? It all comes down to what you are in the mood for and if you don’t want to knit in a certain color but cast on anyway, it will take a lot of will-power to finish that item.
Others are firm believers that little baby girls should wear pink and little baby boys should wear blue. Personally I think that they can of course wear those things as well as other things but I will never only knit in blue for a boy or pink for a girl. I have blue periods and I have pink periods but I also have green periods and yellow periods and red and purple and… you get my meaning (I’m like Picasso this way). I have knit pink for baby girls and I have knit pink for baby boys, I have knit blue for baby girls and I have knit blue for baby boys. I try to knit in colors that I know that the parents like since the baby in question is too young to have an opinion, and I knit in colors I like myself.
Interestingly enough, back in the days and up until the 50′s, pink was considered a good color for little boys since red was the color of power and pink was a lighter form of red and therefore good for boys whereas blue was a soft and gentle color and therefore suitable for little girls.
So far everything is pretty clear, some people like a variety of colors and some want to be a little stricter and some completely ban pink for both boys and girls. Now for the comment that has gotten me thinking. During this discussion someone said that parents should be grateful just to get something knitted, no matter the color. I agree that if you get something knitted you should always say thank you, the gift itself is less important than the fact that someone spent time and effort to think of you. That goes for all gifts and in that aspect I think that a reciever should be grateful no matter what the gift is (unless it’s obviously meant in a spiteful way, like, you don’t have to be grateful someone gave you chicken pox or an envelope full of gravel, even though those things too can be kindly meant). But, as a knitter, should I respect the parents wishes and beliefs or should I go on with my own political agenda (and yes, no matter which of the three aforementioned opinions you choose, it’s a political choice). Maybe I can combine the two? Maybe I don’t have to do anything that goes against my own beliefs but at the same time meets the beliefs of the receiver? Is it more important for me to do what I want than to listen to the receiver? Don’t you want the thing you knit to come to use? For example, I don’t give my mum a pink frilly blouse even though I might love a pink frilly blouse, because I know she would never wear it in a million years. She, in return, would never get me a dark blue plain t-shirt, because she knows that I will never wear it. I want to give her something she will like and I think that goes for most people. You wouldn’t get a bottle of wine for someone you know don’t drink alcohol and I try not to knit in anything but merino for someone who is sensitive to wool. If I don’t drink alcohol I probably won’t get a bottle of wine for someone who does but I might buy a nice cheese and some crackers instead. If I am not fond of merino myself I can perhaps knit in cotton for the person who finds wool too scratchy.
When we get gifts for our friends and family we try to get them something we think they will love, without bending our own beliefs, and I’m not sure I actually think that the sober alcoholic who receives a bottle of whiskey has to be grateful (unless the giver had no idea the receiver is a sober alcoholic, then it’s an honest mistake, but then again, maybe a bottle of whiskey isn’t such a good idea for a gift for someone you don’t know very well…).
Why would we do anything differently when it comes to babies? Why then is it suddenly more important that we get to follow our own agenda than to listen to the people who, after all, is in charge of that little person. They are in charge and that means that if they don’t like what you’ve made they aren’t going to use it. Even though I might have issues with the idea of you changing what I’ve made, I respect that that is your choice, once I’ve handed over my gift, it’s your decision what to do with it (but perhaps you don’t have to tell me about it). I personally love knitting in pink but if I know the baby’s parents doesn’t like pink I won’t make something pink for that baby. Instead there are so many other colors to choose from.
I guess here is my problem with the comment that all parents should be grateful no matter what. Yes, we should all be grateful when we receive something but if I knit something orange for someone who doesn’t like orange or if I knit frilly lace for a baby boy whose parents doesn’t like that on little boys or if I refuse to knit blue for the parent who loves blue, then how much is my gift worth if I didn’t even bother to respect the receiver enough to make them something they would love and use? Of course, sometimes you don’t know the parents wishes but then you might want to be a little neutral in all directions. I wouldn’t embroider a skull on a baby’s cardigan for someone I barely know but for my heavy metal friends I might do. Is it more important to get to knit pink to every little baby girl there is or is it more important to stay friends with their parents? Couldn’t red be an equally good color? It obviously goes both ways, I won’t knit pink for parents who doesn’t like pink on their baby boy but I might knit green instead. By knitting green I have listened to the parents’ wishes about no pink and I have followed my own beliefs that kids need a variety of colors and not just one.
And, when in doubt, remember that all babies look good in white.
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. These past three weeks I’ve made more than 30 000 stitches per week for a total of 95 000 stitches. According to my calculations and also according to Julle’s, (his might be more accurate but he doesn’t know the lace as I do and and he has never had his arse kicked by the knitter goddess and therefore I trust my own calculations more. They might not be as based on real numbers and algoritms and such but they are based on simple math, knitterly experience and sanity) the center will be done in two weeks as long as I keep this 30 000 sts/week thing up. In twelve rows I only have two repeats of the pattern left but I still think that is about 60 000 stitches. It would be great if the center ended when May ends so I can use all of June to knit on the edge lace. If I’m not mistaken, the edge have 78 repeats and if I make a mere 3 repeats a day over the course of June, the whole shebang will be ready for blocking by June 26. That would be a great idea but it will not happen as I’m going away over Midsummer and I don’t want to bring the Great Lace. It’s not very transportable and when I say I need a vacation I really mean a vacation, from everything, even kick-ass laces. (I’ll bring other knitting though, don’t you worry.) So, considering I’m not going to knit on the lace for almost a whole week, I have two options. 1. To raise the amount of repeats made per day from three to four or 2. to have the lace ready for blocking by July 4. I’m not sure which of these options I’ll choose, maybe something in between. July is still a fairly good margin but I’d prefer it if the lace was done before the end of June.The point is that I can at least see the end of it, I know how much is left and I have a plan for making it happen. And, I also know how close I am to get to knit other things again…