Wednesday, June 26, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Background Radiation

This week I'm going to show some love to a project that I keep forgetting about in the context of WIPs. It's like the background radiation of the universe: always there, humming along.

The pattern for this shawl, "Mie," was originally written in Danish and then translated into English. I'm surprised it's only got 47 projects on Ravelry... especially since it's free! My project page is here.
I bought the yarn at Stitches Midwest 2012, and started knitting it last October. This photo shows it a little past halfway done. It's a simple end-to-end garter stitch pattern with a ruffle formed by short rows. It takes about four rows to memorize the pattern. Therefore it's become my social and stoplight knitting. I barely have to look at it. I've also knit on it while reading.

It's so perfect for those situations, in fact, that I seriously wonder what will take its place when it's finished!

The yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the colorway Lowland, which doesn't appear to be available any more. It was actually a limited run of short skeins (which was stated up front and priced specially because of that). It was a case where I saw the color and said "Oh my," and made a wild guess how much I would need. I bought two skeins at first, then went back and bought a third skein, thinking that might be enough for a sweater.

Ha! nope. After I got home, I strained my Ravelry search skills to the limit trying to find ANYTHING within the yardage I'd purchased. I wanted to use as much of it as possible, but it seemed I'd bought exactly the wrong quantity.

And then I ran across Mie.

Although it's not written that way, it seemed to me I could weigh my yarn, knit increase rows until I'd used up half of it, and then knit decrease rows until I used it up. It might actually turn out incredibly long... but I have ahem a generous circumference, so that'll probably be fine.

So that is exactly what I'm doing.

The pattern IS written for striping two colors. Since Madelinetosh is notorious for color pooling, I decided to knit from all three balls in succession. I switched every time the pattern called for switching colors (which is every time you get back to the straight edge). I think this scatters the colors nicely.

My photo doesn't do justice to the colors... When it's finished, I hope to get some really nice photos. Closeups and all that.

I like a challenging knit as much as the next yarncrafter, but there's a lot to be said for the elegant simplicity of this pattern.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A scarf pic, finally! (WIP Wednesday)

I've talked about this scarf in every WIP Wednesday post... now I can finally show you a WIP photo. I had to get my husband to snap the picture while I stretched it out between my fingers.

Pretty yarn, eh? It's the "Happy Forest" colorway in Dream in Color Smooshy. Obviously it'll have to be blocked severely when the time comes. The pattern is "Not a Drop" by Arlene's World of Lace.

I'm in a finishing mode this week... I finished two items already, and I just got the hook & eye tape in the mail today for my cardigan--everything else is done. I'll have to create a Finished Objects post sometime when it isn't Wednesday.

That's it for today. I have a couple pictures to take--can't do it now, though, there's a storm wrecking the light.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

More on "holity"

I have further thoughts on "holity" that didn't quite fit in the page for it. I originally planned to include these in that page, until I realized it needed to define the word more than anything.

I mentioned not wanting to write just a Christan blog. That's not to diss those who do write Christian blogs. There are reasons why that's not such a great idea for me.


I have to guard against compartmentalizing my life into "spiritual" and "not spiritual." Maybe a lot of Christians do, but it's been such a strong tendency for much of my life that I still find it rearing its ugly head.

I looked for a definition of the word "compartmentalization" and found it's used in psychology, which I didn't know. Wikipedia says: "Compartmentalization is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person's having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves."

I don't think I achieved pathological levels with it, but I think this could describe the nominal and/or weak Christian who does things during the week that they hope no one at church hears about. Yes, that has been me from time to time, of course. And that's a huge reason to guard against it—because compartmentalization can lead to hypocrisy.

On a milder level, though, it can mean merely thinking that there's church/spiritual life and then there's "real life," and that they don't have a lot to do with each other. That my job, my hobbies, my activities during the week, my Facebook wall, my friends outside church, are somehow separate from my spirituality. This is a lot  more insidious and hard to detect, and yet it can probably lead to the hypocrisy I mentioned in the last paragraph.

That's what I want to guard against. It would be too easy to chat about knitting without ever thinking about God. So what's wrong with knitting? Nothing, in and of itself. And yet, I observe some things in the knitting community that I'd like to write about sometime from a spiritual standpoint.

And sometimes I just want to write about knitting, or gardening, or whatever. Like I said on the definition page, it'll be the whole of the blog, ALL the posts, that combined will show who I am (especially after I've been at it a while).

Spiritual vs. Secular

The other swing of the pendulum from compartmentalization is the idea that if you're a Christian, the only thing you should talk about or think about or read or do is overtly Christian ideas, books, activities. Perhaps that's how some people guard against compartmentalization—but that's no reason to go too far in the other direction.

God created the whole world and everything in it. He created our creativity and our intellect and our appreciation for beauty. He created sheep and their wool, and created them so they're better off if they get sheared every spring. That wool is amazingly versatile. We can use it only to keep warm, but how much better if we also use our talents to make warm items that are also beautiful? Part of the "image of God" in us is that he made us creative, like He is.

That's just one example of "holity"... the sort of holistic approach I'm talking about and hoping to achieve.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

WIP Wednesday: starting to look like a cardi!

My Andie's Cardigan is all seamed up—it looks a lot like a cardi!

Now all I have to do is pick up & knit the collar and the i-cord trim down the front, and sew in the hook & eye tape... as soon as I find some hook & eye tape. Tried two stores the other day, no luck.

While I was at Jo-Ann's, I picked up buttons for my Comfort of a Friend shawl. Vintage look for a vintage design.
The scarf is proceeding slowly, and I just knit 2 more swatches for the baby cardigan. The first swatches didn't give me gauge so I am trying a larger needle size, and you have to swatch both plain stockinette and the stitch pattern. I haven't measured yet.
I am starting to think about picking up the socks that have been in time-out since last winter. I've got to rip back a couple inches, yuck. But is it really THAT bad? Well, the difficulty is I'm knitting two-at-a-time on two circulars and I'm worried I will muck them up.
Still, I should just get going on them so they aren't nagging me in the back of my mind.