Saturday, May 14, 2016

Make Do and Mend

Nothing like driving rain and 11C in mid-May, no? This spring has been cold. I'm sick of cold. I'm sick of not knowing that I can count on a bit of sun and warmth. One day it's 22C and bright and I feel my spirit relent. The next, there's chance of flurries. (Just want to keep up with my hateful TO weather diary - don't want y'all to feel that we've got lucky here.)

Of course, it predisposes one to sit on the couch and knit (or to make up a new quick dress). A propos of this, I'm hoping that I can print out the Kielo Dress this morning. Scott's printer is acting up so keep your fingers crossed. If I can, then it's likely I'll be able to make the dress before I go to see my parents in NC on Monday. One thing I'll say about NC - it's well situated for freakin' gorgeous weather. Note: I'm not suggesting that it will be gorgeous when I'm there because I'm superstitious.

As mentioned, if I'm able to print the pattern, I'll hack it off above the knee (I mean, carefully ensure that I maintain the tulip lines while shortening it by a good foot). I'll also follow my own knit sloper armscye (and bust width). What I'm wondering is whether I'll need to sew the dart at the bust if I actually cut according to my T shirt bust (which doesn't have darts). I suspect yes, cuz without a sleeve I'll need the shaping. But I'm not thrilled at the prospect of downward slanting darts. Here's the thing, this project is about not overthinking - not creating an artificial issue. So I'm going to get with a down slope dart if that's what's called for.

I'm currently working on 2 knitting projects - neither of which I can photograph because the weather is dusk-dark given the rain.

One is my second version of the Circular Vest (aka Balboa Waistcoat), which is a joy to knit. The other is a CRAZY pair of socks.

How and why are the socks so crazy? Well, it's not because I'm using a new sock pattern. I'm still attached to my Simple Sock (stockinette, top down, basic). It's that I've opted to do more freakin' colour striping. And, this time, just to make things more lively, I've used 2 self-striping yarns that have fuck all to do with one another - except that they are of the same brand.

These yarns, Regia war-horse which last forever (I know, I've been wearing the blue pair weekly for 3 years), aren't the most gorgeous colourways. To wit - here are the socks they produced originally (1 yarn, 1 sock):

I know - not my best choices from a stripe perspective.

You'd imagine that to combine them in a 1:1.5 ratio (I have 33% more of the brown/teal than the blue/grey) would be horrible. But I want to practice my yarn carry-up on socks and there's no better way to do it than with a 2-row / 3-row split in yarns that are so freakin' busy you can't tell what's going on. (Mind you, I'm still so bad at carry-up that I may never do this stripe ratio again because, if in future I don't carry up, I'll have to weave in ends and I will not do that every 2 rows.) Furthermore, when the universe throws you the perfect amount of yarn - well, slightly less than perfect but workable - you go for it. This is a stash-busting dream.

Yeah, I also know - hideous socks are hideous even if you do use up all your yarn.

Here's the amazing thing, and you'll see this when I take a shot of the final result: These self-striping yarns are less hideous, when combined again in manual stripes, than each is on its own. Don't misunderstand, they're skirting a "socks only a mother could love" vibe, but I love the integration. I love the practicality. Whenever I knit socks to use up stash, I am transported mentally to another time and place - specifically WW2-era England.

Those wartime ladies knit the shit out of scrap yarns and created warm, necessary things for their families and soldiers in a time when everything was scarce. (Note: Apparently by WW2 there were standards about how these women knitted for the soldiers - which seems a bit obnoxious, frankly - but the point stands.) And I wish we felt this way about resources now.

Hilarious and weird side note: When I lived in England in the 80s, I went to visit a co-boarder friend at her home in London. It was a totally amazing place (though I cannot remember the neighbourhood). Let's just say, the house was huge, over multiple narrow floors, but the 'hood was having a bad moment. I'm sure it's been so gentrified at this point that their home would sell for 6 million pounds today. At any rate, my friend lived with her parents and grandparents there, when she wasn't at school. Her gparents had lived through WW2, natch. While were were looking around (cuz I LOVE to look around fantastic houses), we went into the coach house at the back of the garden (it was ancient) and found a tin of salmon from the wartime, wedged between some shelves. It had been there for 40 years at least. I was amazed, in that way that only new-world people can be, and my friend brought the tin into the house to show her grandfather. No word of a lie, he opened it on the spot - it did look entirely normal, fwiw - and he ate it!! I was ASTOUNDED and horrified. But the guy was fine. BTW, I'm sure this place was one of my formative architectural influences. The tall, skinny Victorian is still my fave.

So that's my weekend so far. Here's to wasting not.

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