Across the Parnassus

Today was the Conferement Ceremony at the university where the new PhD’s receive their symbols of honor. I was there to listen to the cannon salutes and to watch Maja get her laurel wreath and take her walk across the Parnassus. She did so with dignity and I’m very proud of her.

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I’m also very impressed with the women and men who took care of the cannon salute. They’re really cool and quite a contrast with their uniforms to the promovendi in their tie and tails and full lenght-dresses.

Since the ceremony is almost three hours with no bathroom breaks and quite some waiting time before it all starts, I obviously brought my knitting and honored Maja in my own way.

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Maja has been a PhD student for as long as I’ve known her. Now she’s Doctor Bäckvall but there is knitting on the other side of the Parnassus as well. We will continue to knit together, my Knitter Doctor sweetie and me.

Yarn accident

I ran into a yarn sale on my way home from work (if by “run into” you understand that I might have known about it in beforehand, have already been there twice and had planned this visit for a few days) and came home with a little more than expected.

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Oops!

I actually feel a little dirty. I’m going to lie down now. Then I’m going to make lace to regain some perspective and quite possibly some dignity too.

Another go

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Ever since the Color Affection debacle I’ve been trying to find yarn in colors that work together. My latest attempt arrived last night, fresh from Poland and Magic Loop. It’s Malabrigo Arroyo, colorway Natural, Plomo and Regatta Blue. I’m not entirely convinced it will work out but I am at least going to give it a try. It can’t be worse than last time, that’s for sure.

Non-portable craft

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I’m on a lace deadline. Actually, I’m on two lace deadlines, which is even worse because I can’t do them simultaneously. Whit knitting I usually have a few projects on the go at the same time but with lace it’s harder. I do indeed have two lace pillows but I don’t have enough bobbins and without bobbins it’s not really bobbin lace anymore.

When I’m on a knitting deadline, I bring my knitting everywhere (well, I bring knitting everywhere with or without a deadline but when I’m on a deadline I make sure to bring that very project) and try to get as many rounds in as possible during the day. That’s kind of hard to do when making lace. The pillow is not really the ideal purse companion, it’s nothing you take out on the bus to do a few twists. I also think I would get a few weird looks and comments if I picked up the pillow and placed it on the table during coffee breaks at work.

So there is a lot of lace making to be doing the next couple of weeks. Here we go!

Field trip

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Today I’m at a field trip. I feel like fourteen again, at least excitementwise. Field trip when you’re grown-up usually means that you eat a whole lot since conference centers believe that conference participators need a constant refill on their blood sugar. The food is usually great too so I don’t mind at all.

As you can see, and what shouldn’t surprise you at all, I ended up in the knitting section of the bus. I like field trips!

“Whoever said orange was the new pink…”

“…was seriously disturbed.” /Legally Blonde

Since my Fairy Web is done I’ve been looking for a new project. I’ve had a baby sweater on queue for a while and the baby will be here in just about two months regardless if I’m done with this sweater or not so I figured I better get to it.

I cast on, decided that since my friend who’s about to be a mother will love the color, I get to choose a pattern that I want to knit. Hopefully the combination will please us both. Don’t get me wrong, I like to color too, but not as much as I know the mother-to-be will do.

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I had only knit a few centimeter when I realized it wasn’t going to work. Not because it looks bad or anything but because it’s an autumn color and I need spring on my needles as much as in my mind. The rust colored baby sweater will have to rest on the needles for a while.

I searched the web to find something that’s springy enough and found a lace scarf to cast on with left over yarn from Fairy Web.

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As usual with lace it looks like withered sallad before it’s blocked but it’s enough to know what possible treasure is hidden in there. Yep, lace is the new pink. Especially pink lace.

 

Secrets revealed

Yesterday I finally got to reveal a big secret that has been worked on the entire spring and has involved a lot of shenanigans.

My sweet friend Maja, who is also a knitter, defended her PhD thesis yesterday, a thesis she has been working on for the past five years about the eddic poetry. Three years ago I was in a Language History Class with one of my favourite professors and he was wearing a gray knitted slipover with his name on in runes. That’s when I decided that Maja needed a sweater with her name on in runes too.

This past winter it was decided that she would defend her thesis on May 24 and I realized it was time to start knitting. Me and my friend Agnieszka, who was also in on the gift, started looking for patterns, since it was to say Maja on the front we figured it would be best if the entire sweater was in reversed stockinette stitch, and yarns, and the hardest part of all, decide on a color.

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Finally we came upon the Double-Breasted Pullover by Cathy Payson and Cascade 220 from Cascade Yarns, color 2401 Burgundy. The color is truly lovely and suits Maja perfectly but it is a kind of fall color and it was a little demoralizing to knit an autumn color while yearning for spring. Instead of the cabled pattern on the front, I did the letters, starting just where the shaping for the sleeves starts.

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Then began the problem about size. We wanted it to fit as perfect as possible so we needed to measure Maja without her knowing we did. The first part was fairly easy, Agnieszka simply waited till Maja was out of her office and then sneaked in and measured a sweater Maja already had. The sleaves were harder. I invited Maja to dinner and we thought that hopefully she would eventually go for the restroom. When she never did we tried to measure her cardigan literally behind her back but she noticed something was going on behind her and a lie about how her cardigan was just rescued from falling on the floor was produced. Eventually she actually did go to the restroom and measuring tape was quickly as the wind thrown over the table and sleaves were measured. The tape measure was hidden in a pocket just seconds before Maja came back.

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The knitting proceeded and three prototypes were needed to make up the pattern for the runes.
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As you can see I had to edit my pattern a lot.Maja-6

Finally it was all done and I tried the sweater on. Unfortunately I have shoulders that are a little similar to a bottleneck and that together with the fact that I’m much taller than Maja made the sweater look like it had stepped right out a Madonna video in the 80’s when I put it on. I was dead worried that it would be an awful misfit and that I would have to re-do a whole lot.

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Last night at the formal dinner to celebrate Maja’s newly achieved doctorate, me and Agnieszka held a speach where we explained the background to our gift and showed the audience our work (well, the knitted part is actually my work since Agnieszka is more of a knitting appreciater than an actual knitter (which works fine by me since I always have a grateful receiver of knitted goods and a great supporter of all of my projects)). I don’t think I’ve ever had a project being that appreciated before, everyone clapped their hands, Maja was really happy and was told by the audience to put the sweater on. It fit like a glove! It was the right length, the shoulders were fine and 1980’s Madonna won’t give her a call anytime soon.

I’m so glad I did this. Congratulations PhD Bäckvall!

Something delicious

This is what I’ve been knitting practically non-stop the last week. It’s been with me in sickness and in health, so to speak. When I had a sore throat last weekend, I knit on this. When I watched Eurovision Song Contest (Congratulations Denmark!) this was with me. At the lecture with Jack Halberstam, this is what accompanied me.

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Yesterday we took it out for a little walk and it’s just the perfect color and the perfect pattern for spring. I said I was going to knit something delicious and delicious is what it turned out to be.

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The pattern is Fairy Web from Garnstudio, one of the patterns that came with my big yarn order a few weeks ago (Thank you Tuptup!). Yarn is Drops Lace, also from Garnstudio, color 3112 Powder Pink.

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It didn’t turn out quite as big as the pattern stated it should be but that’s okay, it still works out fine and I think it big enough. Next time I knit it though, I will make the bind off even looser and also the upper edge, which might be just a little too tight.

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This was on my mind when I wrote about not being able to knit as much as I want to. It’s a small step but it is a step forward.

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Fairy Web has been a good companion to me and I hope it will be the same to someone else as it moves along. It was nice getting to know Fairy Web, I hope we meet again.

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The best part is that I have enough yarn  left over to make something else, eqaully delicious too.

Unable to connect

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I had this great post planned for you with amazing pictures but unfortunately my Internet connection is down. Hopefully everything will be in order by tomorrow.
Till then you’ll have to do with this, pretty flowers that I found in a flower bed yesterday. I love this time of year!

What’s so frightening?

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A while ago I spent some time with people who share an interest in something that has to do with technology but mostly with aesthetics. An artform using technology as a tool, if you like. I was helping them with their art but also had some time to knit. This was aparently an eligible subject for teasing. I did not know it was but figured it out quickly enough when I found myself in the middle of constant remarks about my “crochet”, even after having gently corrected that misapprehension, and the fact that I had even brought my knitting to begin with. I have nothing against crochet but I want my knitting to be recognized for what it is.

I’m okay with being teased about knitting, me and my knitter friends do it all the time, but when people who don’t know me start mocking me the same moment as I get my knitting needles in motion, I don’t find it very funny. Especially since these jokes, or whatever they might be, are not particularly fun to begin with.

What is it with knitting that makes it laughable? Especially in a situation where we were all creating art but my art also had the advantage of warming people. Is it that some art is worth more because it includes technology? Is two sticks and some string not cool enough?

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I was once given this picture by a non-knitter co-worker, accompanied with the words “It’s about an old lady who knits too much, I thought it would suit you”. When I wasn’t laughing at this, mainly because it’s not possible to knit too much, the person said the killer words “I hope you can appreciate a joke”. Well, I can, when the joke is fun, and I wouldn’t want to inslut the person by fooling him/her into believing that it was fun when it wasn’t.

I know that if you are a public knitter, like me, there will be comments. Usually the comments from strangers are nice ones, like how nice it looks when I knit or that they get inspired and want to go home and pick up an old project they abandoned fifteen years ago. I was once knitting at a coffee shop in Kyoto when an older lady approached me and started talking to me and we had a great time looking at my knitting. I have no idea what she said but she smiled a lot and we got along well bonding over knitting.

These are the comments form strangers. Non-strangers that are not really friends usually have some snidy comment and I don’t know why. Ignorance? Freight? Do they feel threatened that I can do something that they can’t or won’t do or that I have something that I like doing so much that  I do it everywhere? I don’t know but let me tell you, it’s good that I have my knitting because my patience with this is slowly but surely coming to an end.