This weekend, I'm calling a time out. It began last night at Enoteca Sociale (my current local), eating gorgeous blue cheese (with candied pecans, made onsite - the key is deep frying), the best dense, sourdough bread in the city, soaked in copious amounts of olive oil (I don't like bread, but I'll make an exception here). I moved onto gnocchi with a smoked tomato sauce and dollop of silky ricotta. Somehow I resisted dessert - the wine pairings helped. I didn't waste my time with vegetables. Everything ingested was to soak up the floatiness and replace it with grounding. And seriously, if you care about service - amongst my most coveted requirements - you cannot go wrong here. Our Enoteca server friends bring a beautiful experience.
Peeps, if your world is uncertain, eat Italian. I mean, really good Italian.
Next week will go back to craziness at work, each evening occupied by some activity (more often than not meeting with architects and design-build firms, cuz we've got to do that reno I've been avoiding). But for the next 2 days, I'm sitting on my couch with knitting and a book. There will be some yoga. I may make a chicken pot pie. Convivially, I will drink a couple of bottles of wine.
A propos of reading and knitting, I'm fortunate to have some good things on the go:
The Knitting: Do you know this pattern?
|L'enveloppe by Sally Melville|
I'm using a yarn which is currently NOT impressing me: Rowan Super Fine Merino Aran in the Soot colourway. It does have lovely drape and it's a very nice grey meets black, but Lord, it's splitty. I had to buy a bamboo needle with very pointy ends, just to accommodate it, and I still need to be careful because the yarn is barely plied. You can actually untwist it by hand and see the numerous threads that make it an aran-weight yarn. Mind you, it is machine washable.
Since superwash yarns are notoriously expansive after blocking, I opted to use a size US8 needle which got me a horizontal gauge of 16 stitches in 4 inches and a fabric that coheres. The pattern actually gives you any number of choices to achieve 4 different gauges and numerous different sizes in those gauges. I actually find it more complicated than helpful, but if you want to use yarns of a variety of thicknesses, theoretically, you can.
I did swatch and block before starting this project because it's a fitted garment, to some extent - and I wanted to feel confident about the sort of drape the final fabric would produce. I was inclined to use a US9 needle (not that I ever knit anything with needles that big - even a US7 is an oddity for me), but the fabric would have been too open for my liking. I think this garment looks sloppy when the fabric is loose.
I've finally come to an understanding that, if one must be careful about one's knitting volume (for reasons of pain), it only makes sense to knit with bigger yarn on bigger needles. Fingering yarn on a US1 is 8 times the work of aran yarn on a US8 needle. Not to mention that aran yarn knits fast. Yeah, socks are always going to be a slim-gauge undertaking but they don't use a lot of yarn in the scheme of things. I sense my days of fingering-gauge sweaters are over for the foreseeable future (famous last words).
The wildcard here is the size. I'm making the small - which is a 32-34 in the bust. Now, the yarn (being of larger gauge) has more stretch-per-inch than a smaller-gauge one would. Not to mention, I'm a narrow person in the shoulders (where fit matters most in this garment). In fact, I'm surprised it doesn't give measurement by shoulder instead of bust circumference. Moreover, the next size up is 36-38. Where does that leave 35 inches? Point is, I don't think the sizing info is particularly robust (and oversized versions look unlovely in the photos) so I'm erring on the small side. We'll see how that plays out.
The Reading: Recently I was interviewed by writer, Matthew Remski, who's researching a book about modern postural yoga and the injuries it can cause / the premises that underpin yogic injury. (Here's the prospectus, in case you're interested.) The thesis is fascinating, IMO, and I'm so pleased to inform a small part of it. Since I discovered Matthew and his work (which is featured in a variety of online publications including his own blog), I've been reminded of an ever-polarizing school of thought about yoga (the postural vs the pranic) and it's really expanded my awareness.
Anyway, though I appear to have been living under a rock for the last 5 years (yoga-book-wise, anyway), I finally purchased a copy of Yoga Body by Mark Singleton. Full disclosure: It reads more like someone's PhD thesis than a yoga manual. It's an academic consideration of how modern postural yoga owes much more to Indian colonialism of the 19th century and the European gymnastics movement of the early 20th century than to the ancient Indian practices with which modern westerners generally accredit it. Note: No one's proposing that yoga isn't an ancient art, but that postural yoga (that stuff you do at your studio three times a week - that stuff I've been practicing and teaching for 25-years) is a modern, quasi-western construct through and through. Does that shock you? It's pretty well what I have always presumed - particularly since the onslaught of popularized yoga (what I like to call YogaLite) in the 90s.
This book, when published in 2010, raised the hackles (and undermined the foundation) of many a yogi and caused quite a bit of discourse. I recommend it, though I'm only part way through.
Finally, BTW, I'm ready to put it out there that I have non-negligible issues with the decline of daylight at this time of year (steadily worsening till it's almost impossible to bear). OMG, it's RIDICULOUS. I can actually feel myself ebb. Yeah, if you look back in my archives, at autumn posts over the last 9 years, I'm sure you'll see this theme emerge at every turn. But it never ceases to floor me. How did people survive this before modern shelter and heating? Those Samis and Inuits are punished by geography. It's no wonder that alcoholism runs rampant in the far north of northern countries. At a certain point, hygge is everything and, while I realize that hygge more about good food, wood fires and coziness than booze, don't kid yourself. The booze is a meaningful part of that equation.
Today's questions are all over the place: Have you made L'enveloppe (or would you)? If yes, how did it turn out, size-wise? Have you read Yoga Body? Does it surprise you that yoga might owe as much to the west as to the east? Does it bother you?
And let's leave it on the seasonal affective note: If you live in the north (let's say north of latitude 40, to maximize the pool), how the fuck do you stand it?? Really, a fireplace only gets you so far. (PS: You can suggest exercise, but I've already got that one in the bag and, really, it only takes the edge off the worst of it.) Hibernation, alas, is not an option.