Another one off the Production Line

2014-02-05 11.10.13I’ve finished one of the small cardigans I’ve decided to make to use up the never ending ball of wall that was left after I completed my aran jumper, and the rather disappointing beret.  It’s a little more chunky than I had anticipated, and the sleeves look rather disproportionately long, even thought I knitted them shorter than the pattern recommended, but I’m keeping the refrain ‘they’ll grow into it’ in my mind.

The buttons are courtesy of my sister’s button jar, and it was my mother who took the time to sew them on, otherwise I fear the garment might have stayed in that very nearly finished state for quite some time.

It’s incredibly tricky to get a photo which shows the true colour of the wool, so I’ll just have to tell you it is the very ‘on trend’ teal.

There is another cardigan in progress, but I’ve stalled a little, and it might take me some time……

Weighing the Wool

I am still working on using up the surplus wool left over after the completion of my major knitting project.  As many of you suggested, IMG_3604I have had a go at making a bunnet.  I had a sort of slouchy Tam in mind, and I found a pattern showing a photograph of a model wearing a beret at a jaunty angle, and I though that was the one for me.  Having completed the hat, there’s no avoiding the fact that it’s much smaller than I had anticipated  and not what I had in mind; the model on the pattern must have an extraordinarily small head.

I will persevere with it, however, and consult with trusted advisers before deciding about whether I will wear it outside of the house or not.

I have also finished a child sized cable cardigan which is still in the sewing up phase, and yet the never ending ball of wall continues.  There is so much of it remaining that I decided there must be enough to make something else, and therein lay the dilemma of the day:  is there sufficient for another small jumper?

The pattern indicated that 300g would be required.  How can you tell if you have three quarters of a 400g ball remaining?

Yep.  I weighed it.  On my mother’s Victorian balance scales.  9 and a half ounces.  That’s less than 300g.  Really.  I worked it out on my calculator.  But there’s always surplus inherent in a pattern’s recommendations, isn’t there?  And if the wool came in 100g balls all it means is that you’d need 3 balls, right?

It’s a bit of a risk to get to the end of a jumper and find that there’s not enough to finish the neck.  (Let’s not talk about the five pieces of cardigan that have sat in the cupboard for the last 15 years waiting to be sewn together…)  But it seems too much wool, not to be able to do something with it….

So then I weighed the completed, but not yet fully sewn up child’s cardigan, and that was 7 and a half ounces.  Result.  I have enough to complete another one the same.

Surely?

Don’t I?

I’ll let you know.

A Completed Project

IMG_3594I finished it!  It even fits, with properly long sleeves that reach all the way to my wrists.

This is what I’ve been doing for the last couple of months, instead of reading or writing, or doing anything else very much apart from listening to movies from the 1950 and 60s on the television (with all that pattern work and stitch counting I couldn’t actually watch the films of course, but then I’d seen all of them before.)

I bought too much yarn – I knew I’d need extra for the longer sleeves, but clearly not that much.  So now what to make with the leftovers…?  Don’t sit still for too long or you may find a teal woolly hat on your head….

A Hiatus

It’s true, once you get out of a habit, it ‘s very hard to resume its rituals.  It’s true for going to the gym, missing a couple of weeks attendance makes it oh so easy to believe that you will never go again, and makes that first donning of the shoes and the elderly t-shirts a hurdle apparently far too massive to scale.  Failing to write blog posts for weeks, when, for nearly three years it has been a daily ritual, poses even more imagined but none the less substantial hurdles.

It’s important now to take the first faltering step back.  Oddly, for a non sportif, I have found it easier to go back to the gym.  Returning to the writing has proved a little more difficult.  At the gym class, I just sit on the bike and do what I’m told, the loud music precludes conversation, and the untidy sweatiness of it all means I don’t even have to comb my hair first.  But to publish writing requires more care and attention – proper sentences, spelling, a spot of proof reading, something to say, and the hope that it might be interesting to someone else.

Advice on creativity makes much of habit, routine and discipline; and I’ve a bookshelf lined with books telling me that, even if I’ve never managed to finish reading them all (Twyla Tharp’s ‘The Creative Habit’ being my most famous failure – far too much talk of egg white omelettes in Chapter 1 for me to be interested in getting to Chapter 2).

Bereavement made me question those old habits.   I had no concentration for reading.  The blog felt trivial; I looked at the list of exhibitions I’d seen in London and had nothing to say about them.  Nobody would miss knowing how poor I thought the latest show at Tate Britain is, or whether or not I enjoyed Pat Barker’s Toby’s Room.  Even if I did return to the blog, what is it for?

Last month I read a post addressing that issue, which suggested that asking that question was as odd as asking what a book was for.  I found that a helpful thought.

So this blog continues to be what it’s always been, a place for me to write about things I fancy writing about…… and some photos.

Please bear with me while I get myself back in the groove.

In the meantime, my creative outlet has been in knitting, an activity which I have found very soothing, and at the end of which, hopefully, I will have a jumper.  I’ve completed the front and the back, and am now halfway up the first sleeve.  Here it is at an earlier stage.  There’s a small mistake in it, from when I was distracted by the caterwauling of the Britten opera Billy Budd on the television.  But like an oriental rug containing a deliberate error, as only God can create perfection, I decided to keep it.

2013-11-22 12.15.54

Twenty Year Old Work in Progress

You never know what you’re going to find when you start looking for something, do you?

I’ve had to move everything in my flat at least once in the last 12 months for repairs and maintenance to floors, walls and ceiling,  Along the way I’ve thrown away and given away a lot of accumulated stuff I’d forgotten I had.  I thought I knew what was in every cupboard, drawer and shelf, so was surprised to discover that I was wrong.

Yesterday I was looking for the bag of scraps of material I’ve had since I stopped making patchwork cushions and covers in the 1990s to take to my drawing class on Friday, when I found these in a plastic carrier bag.  I have no recollection of having made them, or why they were abandoned, unfinished.  I’m fairly sure they must have been in the bag since before I went to live in Russia in February 1995, but there are all five completed sections of one cardigan and four pieces of another.

The pattern for the purple one is a faded photocopy, so it’s hard to see the photo very well, but what I can see is a model right out of the 1980s: hair quiffed and large hoop earrings, and, could they be padded shoulders?

So, now, I can either finish them or put them back in the bag at the back of the cupboard………

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