knitting


I can knit! Can’t do socks yet, there seems to be more wrist action going on there than I would have anticipated, but I can work on straights. So I am knitting a shawl, because I hate seaming which is why I work in the round in the first place. I mean, to me as a seamstress, one of the coolest things about knitting is that you play with string for a while and then a finished object happens. (At least, it does if you are the sort of person who actually finishes anything, as opposed to my chronic ‘startitis’, but that is a whole other discussion).

So I started a shawl. Cast on seven stitches, started increasing on the ends and at the centre with some vague idea of stripes and perhaps a bit of lace. But not too much lace because what I’m actually going for is warm and practical rather than pretty. Also easy, because k2tog were giving me some trouble during the sock attempt. (yes, that is pathetic.)

By the way, I saw my x-rays yesterday. Holy hardware store, batman! I for some reason thought that medical screws were tiny, specially made items which would be carefully and delicately inserted by precision instruments. I was mistaken. Apparently they just sterilize a couple of wood screws and dive on in there with a Robertson. (that is the square headed one, which was invented by a Canadian and we like it.) anyway, no wonder my scar is so big, it looks like they were building a deck in there or something! /aside

So I’m knitting. At some point quite early on the stripes were abandoned as I began to consider cables. The lace went out the door at this point also. But just sticking in cables seemed kind of gratuitous, since let’s be honest, it only came up because I think cabling is neat.

And then Raven wandered by wearing the dressing gown I made with twining snakes appliquéd all over it and I thought “ooh, I could make the cables into snakes! Then I could have a matching shawl, sort of!” So that is what I am doing. It may be ghastly, I don’t know. I can’t really see it without taking it off the needles, which sounds like work, and there is no pattern, I have just randomly started making snakes as I go along. But I am knitting!

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Going…

going…

gone!

I closed off the egg more than a week ago, and I’m sorry it took me so long to post these – turned into kind of an exciting week, in a friend-of-mine-was-deathly-ill-in-the-hospital kind of way.  (She’s recovering.)

So yeah, the next time I got in the egg I was in there for about three, three and a half hours, and I cast off.  That part was hard – trying to knit just over my head, in a very small circle, and turn round and round without losing stitches… or my place… Probably would have helped if I hadn’t somehow wound up with only a black yarn left on the needles!  I can knit backwards, if not very well, but I wasn’t able to figure out how to knit backwards and upside down.  I couldn’t even figure out if that would actually help.  So I just turned around a lot, and listened to the people outside giggling as elbows and knees poked out various places inside the egg.

Tracy took some pictures of the closed egg before I came out.  She had me “pose” inside, so I am thinking of them as the Amazing Dancing Amoeba Pictures.

Then I steeked a little hole in the back and climbed out, which was neither graceful nor, as it turns out, quite as secretive as I had intended, since to my surprise there were two video cameras and three still cameras pointed at me  Tracy’s son Edward was there – he’d been talking to me when I was inside the egg, and his mom took his picture sitting with me.  I think he was a little disappointed that I didn’t have wings when I came out.  I ran around outside the gallery flapping my coat tails for a while, to make him feel better.

It is definitely getting harder to climb into the egg. Between the web of attached strands, which makes perfect sense when one is in the egg, but is rather a complicated tangle when one is not, and the ever-narrowing tube I’ve got to stuff myself through, it’s a bit of a trick.

The egg is knit in the round, and the majority of it has been knit on three circular needles, so I’ve got three rounds spiraling up over each other at all times. This was partly so that the knitting could expand fully over the needles – I definitely could not just wrap one circular needle around myself and still work – and partly so that it would be easy to keep track of increases and decreases – one needle does all the fancy stuff, and the other two just knit.

I started from four stitches and increased until I had a mat I could sit on, and from that point I’ve been knitting stockinette in circles around myself. For the first four days I had to turn around a lot, and kind of wished that I had a big lazy susan in there to sit on so I could just spin around. Once the egg walls got high enough, though, I was able to stay in place and just sort of tug the fabric round a bit and knit over each shoulder. This was faster, but meant that I was kneeling in one position for a long long long time, so each method has its disadvantages!

I am now at the point where I will be removing one of the three needles, because I’ve decreased so much they are just flopping around all over the place. I am probably also back to turning around in circles, because as of last night I am pretty much knitting right up in front of my face, and pulling the fabric around is going to get awkward. In fact this whole last stage is going to be a bit awkward, since what comes after “knitting in front of my face” is “knitting on top of my head”. I expect to be closing the egg on Tuesday afternoon, and I will quite possibly be attending Mark Reinhardt’s yoga class on tuesday evening, because assuming I can still move at all, I will probably need it!

As far as closing the egg goes, I am decreasing back to the original four stitches and casting off. This thing really is as egg-shaped as I can make it, given that I am sitting inside it and may not actually have the best perspective on the whole thing. But it is roundish, and wide at the bottom and tapered at the top and warm and cosy and soft inside, so it sounds pretty much egg-like from here.

Last night was the winter ARTcrawl, which was heaps of fun. Peter Moffat got some good pictures of me in the egg, as did Sonya and a few random pedestrians, so I will post more pics as soon as I have them. I have been taking pictures too, but since I have to be out of the egg to take pictures OF the egg, they don’t look like much. This makes me realize though, that I should bring the camera in with me on Tuesday and take some pictures inside it, just for yucks.  (YUCKS, not YOLKS.  Really, people. Control yourselves.)  There’s quite a bit of room in there though.  I mean, not like, living space, but I can definitely move around in there.

If you are in the Chatham area and weren’t at the ARTcrawl last night, you should go check out Laura Moore’s exhibit at the Thames Art Gallery. It will make you want to hug an acorn.  It is good thinky-stuff too, but really I wanted to fondle it.  Which fortunately Laura is entirely ok with.

The egg, day four.

The Cocooning project is going very well.  I’m making at least four inches a day, and I’ve got lots and lots of strands attached to the egg now. Navigating the window has become awkward.  I am constantly worried that I will forget to bring scissors in with me on the last day, and will be unable to get out.

I’m knitting with three circular needles, one strand for each, so the rounds are spiraling over each other.  Knitting the bit as each needle runs behind me is a bit of a crunch, as it is slow and annoying to have to turn around all the time, but the egg walls are high enough now that I can just sort of lean and knit over my own shoulder.

The yarns I’m using are all either recycled or leftover yarns from finished projects, some mine, some donated by other knitters.  I love that people gave me old yarn, it just helps to point up the interdependency of the whole craft thing.

The response so far has been very encouraging, and I’m even going to get to be in a book!  But, I don’t know what I’m allowed to say about that yet, so I will give you more details later.  It’s very cool, though.  You’ll like it.

Here’s day two of the egg:

Photo by Diana Martin, Chatham Daily News

Hera and I actually made the front page with this yesterday… presumably it was a slow week. We were at least below the fold, under Haiti!

And as an example of how things have been going this year – Blackie passed away yesterday afternoon. That’s what it’s been like. Kinda good thing, really really sucky thing. My karma is totally tipsy.

Blackie wasn’t a surprise, though. She’s been failing, and when I went out yesterday morning I was pretty sure we’d come to the end. So we had some cuddles, and I told her again what a beautiful perfect sheep she was. She died peacefully. And I dealt with the things that had to be done and then ran and hid in a shop window and knitted another four inches of egg. It is up above knee level now, and I am feeling pretty good about how it is going.

Also, I finished a sweater. Local artist Hank Bos is responsible for this, or at least that is what I am claiming.  See, there is this piece I’ve got in my head about wind farms, and Hank was encouraging me to get working on it.  I am not ready though, because wind farms make me angry (an immense oversimplification) and I don’t want the piece to be angry.  Or at least, not aggressively so.  So I had kind of pushed it to the back burner and stopped thinking about it.  Hank is a very encouraging sort of person though, and talking to him got me thinking about it again and trying to figure out how to tone down the anger or anyway channel it usefully.  And I decided that if I could work through some of my hostility on another project, maybe I could kind of get it out of my system and look at the idea with a clearer head.

So I made a sweater:

I think it worked.  I feel better now.  Also, I have a new warm sweater.

Here’s one final picture for the puppy fans:

See?  Bigger.  Eleven weeks.  Don’t they look sweet?  That’s because they are sleeping, unlike this very moment when they are thrashing around on the floor wrestling.  Actually they’re cute then too, just more dangerous.  And last night, Hera had her first big St Bernard drool!  Raven tried to take a picture, but it didn’t show up very well.  Baby’s first slobber, we’ll have to put it in the scrapbook.

By which I mean, the last year. I was VERY relieved to see that the giant wolf did not eat the world this past solstice, since if it was ever gonna happen, I would have thought this would be the year. It would just figure.

Fortunately, by the time solstice rolled around the bad things that were continuing to happen had started to be the sort of things that are funny when you talk about them later, which was a definite improvement, believe me!

Oh, there was some good stuff. Louie the Squirrel grew up and met a girl-squirrel and started a family. There were a few amusing weeks where he lived outside, but would break into the house and steal nuts from his dish whenever he was hungry – nothing like taking a nap on the couch and being startled awake by a squirrel landing on your face!

After Bryan and Gallahad died we started losing chickens to predators – coons and foxes, and the 3pm schoolbus were the major offenders. So we decided that we had to get another dog.

This is Ulster. He is a Big Brown Dog. (We’ve told him that’s a compliment.) People say that raising a Chocolate Lab is like raising an ADHD child. Actually, although I don’t know much about it, I think it is more like raising a mildly autistic child. Ulster is very, very focused on [whatever it is he’s interested in], to the exclusion of all else. It isn’t that he doesn’t listen – he doesn’t even hear. So training him is being, let us say, a challenge.

Fortunately, he kicks arse at his most very favorite activity, Playing Fetch. So whenever I’m frustrated and can’t find anything to praise him for, I can just go toss something across the yard and bingo – good puppy. Anyway, he’s only just coming up on his first birthday, he really is still a puppy. He’ll calm right down in ten years or so.

Thing about Ulster is, he is a Dog. A dog’s dog. Doggie doggie dog. He likes fetch, he likes going for long walks gallops in the fields, but what he likes best of all is playing with other dogs. He tries to play with the sheep, but they don’t like it. It doesn’t matter how many toys he brings Freyja, all she does is butt him and run away. We bring him over to The Ed’s to play with their ever-growing menagerie of pups, which is great because everybody sleeps well after, but he has no one to play with at home.

So, Ulster got a puppy for Christmas.

This is Hera.  She is a St. Bernard, about seven weeks old in this picture.  Ulster loves his baby sister.  He was so excited when we brought her home, and he plays with her very well.  She chews on his face.  She’s eleven weeks now, and going in for her second set of shots this morning, so I’ll find out what she weighs.  A LOT, is my guess.

Hera is going to be a cultured puppy.  She has been to the theatre, when I went to get measurements for a Moliere double-bill I’m starting to costume, and she is helping me with an installation I’m doing at ARTspace.  I am knitting myself into an egg.  There is a story about it here.*  So as you can see I am still actually hiding, I’m just now doing it in a very public venue.  I choose to consider this a step forward.

*There are no pictures yet, as I just started working on Tuesday.  Sonya at the gallery is taking pictures every day of the progress, and the Chatham Daily News took some pictures too, so I will be able to post some eventually.  The pic with the article is Velcro hiding in a sweater – which, appropriately enough, is now being unravelled to become part of the egg.  The sweater, not the cat.  Obviously.

Only the most utterly recent bit, actually, but the pictures are cute.

Meet Louie:louie

He’s about 8 weeks old. Don’t know what happened to his mother, he was found in Windsor, desperately and unmistakably looking for someone to take care of him. He was dehydrated and starving when we took him in, but he’s recovered now, growing lots of long grey guard hairs, and there’s no reason he can’t be released to live a happy, normal squirrely life once he’s old enough.

newfriend

Except for the part where his best friend is a cat, yes.  Right now they are rolling around together on the floor – Velcro outside Louie’s cage and Louie inside, but still – nose to nose and paw to paw.  And just my luck, the camera is down on the front porch.  But, Velcro looked after the bunnies too, and that didn’t seem to do anybody any harm.  I’m sure it’ll be fine.  Anyway, it’s the chickens he’ll need to watch out for!

Speaking of chickens, we had seven hatch on Mother’s Day.  MommaHen is doing a great job, although I think she’ll be cutting out as soon as they’re old enough, rather than hanging around as some do, just so she can get some sleep!

the_chickie_gang

I love that picture.  I think it should inspire a movie about the Chickie Gang.  I’m thinking something like The Dubliners, only with five yellow chicks, one black chick and an egg.

I did rip back the sweater, BTW.  You’re a tough crowd.  It’s knitted back a bit past where I was when I frogged it, seems to be going ok.  It’s going slow, but so is everything else I’m working on.  It is spring.  You may recall from last year that “spring” does not involve a lot of sitting on the deck sipping lemonade.  We’re even building fences again; we have some new pasture for the woolly darlings.

And here’s the sweater that I’ve been meaning to show you since last time:

I love this sweater.  It is Ysolda Teague’s Vivian.  It may or may not be the best sweater in the world, but it is by far the best sweater in my closet.  The shaping is flattering without being too extreme, the cables are great, the fit on the sleeves is great, I love this sweater.  I may actually knit it again so I can have two, is that weird?  With so much knitting to be done in the world… ok, maybe, maybe not.  But I still totally recommend this pattern.  If you’re on Ravelry, you can look it up and you will see that it continues to be flattering on a wide range of figures, too.

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