Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Journey

After the finishing of a bigger project, the small projects that have waited patiently in the wings rush forward for immediate attention. Then comes a bit of a void, for small projects cannot sustain me for very long. I like a big, slow work that will challenge a bit but provide some pacing for my knitting -- to remind me that life is long and the pleasure of the journey should outweigh the arrival at the destination.

This fall, my "journey" piece will be a self-designed aran sweater (cardigan?) for myself. However, I can't seem to get on the road. I'm ready to enjoy the journey and all, but I can't seem to kick my butt out the frickin door.

It's the swatching. It's the designing. It's the planning. Why don't I conceptualize these steps as the journey as well? My painter explained to me that housepainting is really all about prep-work. Cleaning, repairing, scraping, sanding, priming. The painting is just the final step. I can tell that my big project knitting is undergoing a paradigm shift more in line with my painter's conceptual model. Prep work is essential.

So I began this new process. I took Teresa's fabulous suggestion and checked out Jane Szabo's excellent website on the Follow the Leader Aran Knitalong. I may even order her Aran Sweater Designs book. I am determined to do this the right way, as if I were a meticulous person (which I am not). But then after just one swatch and a bit of measuring, I ran screaming ("I don't need no stinkin' swatches in pattern, and I'm sure as heck not blocking them!") to a different project.

Now I love this new project (Pie Man for N or R, whomever it fits best, because I sure as heck didn't swatch well enough). It's beautiful and easy and is using up stash yarn from Ireland. But it's not my aran.

I'm going to take a deep breath and do some more swatches. Maybe, maybe, just maybe I will block them. Then I will create something very, very slowly. I will just creep along. No pressure. No rush. Life is long. Swatching and blocking as I journey ...

Charity Knitting Action
The Yarn Lounge hosted a benefit for the Virginia Breast Center yesterday. We knitted seatbelt covers and small pillows for breast cancer patients. Melissa designed the patterns (available here) and was a tremendous help as I bobbled for the first time. It was a thrill!

They will host another charity knit for the Virginia Breast Center on October 14th. If you live in the Richmond area, mark your calendar!

Sheer, Unfettered Power
As some of you know, I cancelled my subscription to The Washington Post this summer largley due to information overload and pure frustration with our Nation's course in this world (and also due to one Dolly, the mean-as-a-snake old lady who delivers the paper and has decided not to like me). Lately, I have felt more centered and have been able to re-engage in national politics (and ignore Dolly). But as sure as falling gas prices near election time, I have gotten righteously pissed off after just one week of following the news again (things with Dolly are fine).

I was pleased at first to see Sen. Warner (R-Va) apparantly standing up for the rights of prisoners of war and against torture and unfair detention. But a closer reading of Warner's bill is downright disturbing, and this is moderation? Giving the president, any president, such "sheer, unfettered power" is so infuriating that I want to run through the streets yelling at people to wake up from their media-induced, conspicuous-consuming haze -- look at how our constitutional rights are being swiped at every turn! This is tyranny people!

I've calmed down a bit now. But I still feel intensely disempowered and ready for a change. I'm attending the Family Peace Festival today here in Richmond. Maybe I'll find inspiration there.


JulieFrick said...

Hey there- first time commenter! I love the structure of your posts- three for the price of one! The aran is beautiful (even though it's not "your" aran). I'm developing a real thing for tweed. As for Warner, the only good thing I feel I can say about him is that he pissed off Bush. But they're ALL jumping off that sinking ship right now, like the rats they are, and I'm sure they'll find a new one to board, so I'm on the lookout!

chanceofbooks said...

I am lucky to have seen two FLAK sweaters in person. Simply gorgeous to behold. You can't go wrong with the design, which seems really flexible, if you want less swatching. I plan to get her book eventually too. Need my skills (and stash) to catch up too.

Liz K. said...

Ann, it's funny when you talk about the big knits, because it seems that I have been all about the littles this year. I have only made one adult sized sweater with sleeves (all my little sleeveless tanks hardly count) this year.

And I am regularly defeated by the planning of a big project.

Maybe we need a mutual big-project support group. Mr. S wants a sweater.

Maggi said...

Dang, I was gone to Carolina this weekend and missed both the YL knitting and the peace fest. Our sitter pal Pam's one of the organizers and we enjoyed it last year. You might find some aran tips at ChicKnits, because I remember Bonne Marie designing one at some point past, but it sounds like you are on your way!
[PS> Mo can't come to my first-Tuesdays S&B, but would you want to?]

Teresa said...

I am glad I could point you to Janet's work. I enjoyed reading the pattern and learning about the construction

Backyard Boulanger said...

First time bobbling, eh? I used to bobble some. Big bobbles. Little bobbles. Wobble bobbles, what have you. You really should have come to me for some tips - nothing beats a BackBou Bobble. And, by the way, Liz, are you sure its OK to knit to Pavement? I am unsettled a little by that...