Sunday, April 25, 2010

Creative juices

The completion of the Adult Surprise Jacket set my creative juices flowing the past couple of weeks. Out of the leftovers sprang a netbook bag. I made it so that it was padded well enough to protect the netbook yet look fun. This bag turned out to be a little small but it works.

With that completed, I turned to thinking about the year and what I need to get prepared for Rhinebeck. The Knit In Public Day event is in June. I'm thinking that I could sell some of my handspun there, so I'm working on spinning yarn for that event. Currently I have some Briar Rose Fibers BFL on the Joy that I'm spinning up into fingering weight.

My colleague in crime at the office is pregnant and will be going on maternity leave in the summer. So on the needles is a Baby Surprise Jacket, this in yarn I picked up at GLBT Knit Camp in 2007 when I walked out with my arms stuffed with yarn from WEBS' back room.

In the back of my mind there are also craft projects for selling at the employee craft fair in November (I'm thinking washcloths and baby things) and Christmas projects. My neighbors in particular are on my list for all the things they have done for me. So there may be times when I'm working on a project and I can't say anything because I don't know if they're reading this or not. Fun stuff!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

FO - Adult Surprise Jacket

When my mom first taught me how to knit, she was your typical knitter of her generation. She didn't have many patterns but she had knitted for some time so had reached the point where she didn't need a pattern to make the basics. She had two books, Mary Thomas' Knitting Book and the Reader's Digest Book of Needlework. But she never did any knitting patterns from Elizabeth Zimmermann. I don't know if she ever watched her Knitting Workshop or other TV programs.

When I took up knitting later, I discovered Elizabeth's books and methods. Her writing encouraged me. My first lace shawl was her Pi Shawl. I tried the Baby Surprise and after a couple of attempts was able to complete it. I've looked at the Adult Surprise Jacket and wondered what I could do with it. The possibilities were endless.

When the February Lady sweater was popular last year, a number of my buddies knitted it. I tried it on but I didn't like how it looked on me. But as the months went by I wanted to make a sweater. Other projects were on the needles and wheel that required my attention. During the secret project time I revisited the Adult Surprise Jacket and looked through my stash to see what I could do with it. It naturally lent itself to being striped but the examples I had seen didn't appeal to me that much. However, the construction intrigued me so I went hunting in my stash to see what I could come up with. Several colors were in my Cascade 220 stash to do the job, so I gathered them up to hold until I could start the sweater.

The sweater took 2 skeins of 6 colors and one skein of ivory. It was knitted on size 7 needles and took me less than a month to complete. A friend of mine had said she had done it in one color and found herself growing bored. The color striping made my sweater fun to knit like self striping socks so in no time I had it completed.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

What to wear

Oregon spring is fickle. Some days are warm and sunny with the promise of summer, then the weather turns to cold, rainy, and windy and you feel betrayed. This year has been no different than others. We had some really nice days during March where the temps got up to 70 degrees. Then some Pacific storms came in bringing in cold air from up north and socked us. The mountains got more snow and people grumbled about the rain and wind. I got sucked into Mother Nature's temptation of the warm weather and reprogrammed my thermostat, only to be rewarded with 30 degree nights that froze our collected keisters off. It's hard to roll over in bed when you're plastered with cats trying to suck the warmth out of you.

But the days are getting longer and the spring colors are making the neighborhoods bright and cheery. It's a good time for working on a colorful sweater. I mentioned in my last post I had started working on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Adult Surprise Jacket. It's coming along very well. I'm nearly done with the sleeve section. I try to get a stripe done each day but of course there are the longer stripes that sometimes take two days to complete. It will be a great spring and summer jacket.

Yesterday I went with Agent D to view "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers." For those of you who were either not in the US in the early '70's or not yet born, Daniel Ellsberg was an employee of the RAND Corporation who was active in the decisionmaking on Vietnam in the mid '60's. He and others compiled a history of US involvement in Vietnam that came to be known later as The Pentagon Papers. These documents were rated top secret and contained incriminating evidence showing how deception upon deception had been made to Congress and the American people. Ellsberg at the time (so he claims) was just doing his job but had a crisis of conscience. The story of his involvement and subsequent leak of the Pentagon Papers to the press is told in "The Most Dangerous Man In America".

I went to see the movie partly out of curiosity and a desire to fill what was a hole in my understanding of that time period. When the Pentagon Papers were released to the press, I was just a kid, ten or eleven years old, with no true understanding of the implications of his act. I had heard of Ellsberg and the papers. But the movie helped fill in holes in my understanding. My political beliefs had already been molded in some ways by the Watergate scandal. I feel more how important it is for Americans to not take everything we are told as the absolute truth. It is easy to be swept by idealism and jingoistic rhetoric. I'm still one for seeking out nonviolent methods of resolving conflicts but understand that this is a very difficult goal to achieve. It's important for those of us who live in this country to do what they can to find out as much as they can from different sources and work to preserve our fundamental right to know.