Sunday, September 26, 2010

On the Needles

My latest "finish something from the workbasket" project is a little baby sweater I started well before a certain baby cousin of mine was born...and she is now well past the one-year old mark. Honestly, from what I hear this is not really that bad in the grand scheme of unfinished knitting projects. Frankly, I'm sure if I kept digging I'd find some even older projects down deep at the bottom. It still grates on me, though, to have so many of these projects littering my apartment. And I'm saving for a 40th birthday trip next year, so I'm really trying not to buy any more yarn (which would be ridiculous even without the trip, as after a couple of yarn binges this summer I am more tham amply stocked).

Incidentally, I love that word, "workbasket". It sounds so....productive, doesn't it? Slightly old-fashioned, of course, and conjures up Ma Ingalls sitting in her rocking chair by the fire on a chilly fall evening. While I would lose my mind without electricity and indoor plumbing, I can appreciate the sort of calm one must have felt back then, a quiet respite after a hard day of working in the fields. I imagine it was kind of like the little snippets of calm I find on weekend mornings curled up on my sofa, next to the window...although I have my tea and croissant and Nutella, a book and my knitting, Antje Duvekot on itunes, and the cat purring somewhere nearby. (Not to mention the indoor plumbing.) My life would be a lot better if I could manage this morning routine on weekdays too, but that would entail getting up at some ungodly-to-me hour (like 6 am). After two months at my job, I'm still fighting getting up at 7 am, and inevitably find myself making a mad dash for the train, praying I've put matching shoes on my feet. And, while I actually really like my job, there's no workbasket filled with yarn, just inboxes (electronic and paper) that never, ever seem to be empty. I have no problems, however, deluding myself into thinking that my knitting workbasket at least has the possibility of being cleared out, some day, if I just stop adding to it.

But on to the baby sweater. It's Sirdar Pattern #1752, a cute little cardigan (they call it a coat) with a knitted flower on the chest. It's knit in their bamboo yarn, which I've never knit with before. I haven't made my mind up about it, either. Mostly it's nice to knit with -it's not as impossible or stretchy as knitting with cotton, but the fabric just isn't turning out (for me) as well as my wool knitting. It's a little....drapey? flimsy? Definitely not the body that wool has. I've also found the yarn a little splitty in places, and (sort of weirdly) I've had the yarn break in sections. It's the strangest feeling to be knitting along and then all of a sudden realize you have about three inches of yarn left in your right hand, even though the ball is still full. Whenever this happens it takes a minute for it to sink in, my eyes dart from the knitting to the yarn and back again, trying to absorb why the rhythm has stopped working. To me, this is proof that knitting is meditative, or at least has the ability to turn off certain areas of my brain for short periods of time.

The pattern is a fairly easy knit, but has been slow going because I actually have to refer to the pattern while knitting, something that is a little tricky whilst being bounced around on a rickety old commuter rail train. The back and left front are done, and the right front only has another hour or so of knitting (if that) before I can start on the sleeves. The end really is in sight!

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