Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Picking up the slack

It's been a very unproductive few weeks for me. I think I might just have run out of steam. Maybe this is what happens at the end of the summer, after the flurry of activity out in the garden, all the outdoor walks, and all the summer fun takes its toll on you.

The garden is suffering at the moment, after a couple of weeks of chilly weather. My cucumbers are currently basking under a layer of plastic to give them some warmth and the tomatoes are trapped in the greenhouse (I say trapped, because the vines are growing so huge that I'm sure they're trying to take over the garden). We still had some pretty good bounty this year: onions, peas, broccoli, zucchini... and we're about to be buried under piles of purple beans that are growing like there will never be another winter.

This morning, as I shuffled around the cold kitchen, I was reminded of the fruits of our labours by a couple of sights. The raspberries picked last night:

The cherry tomatoes ripening on the windowsill:

I suppose I can use the garden for an excuse for not getting much done, but the truth is, I've been plain lazy. I haven't knit a single stitch in two days - blasphemy! But I did finish a scarf this weekend. I've called it the Coffee Scarf, for the colourway of the yarn I used. It's from Fiber Optica, and the colourway is Espresso.

It was an exciting project because it was the first time I got to try my new blocking wires, which I purchased from Elann.com.

I was a little disappointed with the pattern I used, as I really didn't know what I would end up with at then end of it all. If I'd known it would be so short, I would have left out one pattern repeat. As it is, it's still a pretty good scarf, perfect for draping around my neck to keep me warm on chilly autumn mornings.

About the blocking wires: I thought I could get a set of TIG rod from one of the welding shops here in town to use as blocking wires, but it turns out that there isn't a single bit of TIG rod in this entire town! I never did say what I wanted them for when I arrived at the shops. One guy even said to me, "Did the guy that you're buying this for tell you exactly what he wanted?" I was indignant... but I just said, "No... he didn't. But I want 1/16 gauge." Hmph.

I have picked up my poor Phoenix and done a bit of work on it. The yarn I needed to finish it arrived last Monday (thanks, Fun Knits!). I'm about 5 repeats away from finishing it. I'm of two minds as to weather or not I like it, what with the crazy colours and the funny shape, but maybe it will grow on me once I've washed and blocked it.

If I ever get my butt back into gear, that is...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Tale of the Slumbering Phoenix

There the phoenix lies alone
resting where it might have flown
waiting for her magic yarn
to make her truly whole.
Lacy scarf of leafy vine
fashioned from the hempy twine
wonders how the phoenix waits,
resists the mild cajole.
"Why will you not rise" quoth he,
"to show off your complexity?
Your lovely hues and lacy stitch
will win admiring stares."

"T'is fine if you stay put, I hear,"
said scarf of silky wool in sneer,
"You're much too large, of awkward shape
to be much fun to wear."
"A shame that you must wait in pause,
whilst I be one to take applause
since I am ready to be worked,"
the sock yarn mocks aloud.

"A week or two, I'll be complete,
and you must take the second seat
since you have far too much to go
to make your maker proud."
The phoenix sighs, but isn't glum,
with knowledge of the day to come
when yarn arrives to match her wings
from online shop of yore.

"In time," she says, "I'll rise from here,
I'll be complete, and they will cheer.
I'll wait and dream of future days
when I can truly soar."
It ain't Homer, but he couldn't knit anyway.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Being in the right headspace

I've been working away on IzzyKnit's In the Pink in the Kauni Effektgarn I bought on my trip to Alaska. It's been a really difficult knit for me, probably because my head has just not been in the game.

I started working on it a couple of weeks ago, right after I finished my Affair in Sonata Skirt. I don't usually leave any time between projects. It's the reason I work so quickly: I usually have something else I can't wait to cast on for. This yarn has been sitting around, waiting for just the right project, and I figured I may as well just start.

This shawl is knit in pieces: centre, right front and left front. I managed to get the centre done without any trouble. I started on the right front immediately afterward, on a Friday night.

Saturday morning, the trouble started.

Hubby came in from the garden and announced that all the onions we had growing in the garden were rotting. This was just as I had discovered that I'd managed to drop a bunch of stitches, and was trying to navigate my way through the lace to pick them up. I was already upset. The onion news, well, that upset me more. I mean, when you spend hours and hours outside, working in the garden, getting bitten my zillions of mosquitoes, only to find out your work is for naught - well, you lose it a bit.

I had a bit of a tantrum.

Ok, a big one.

It turns out, only a couple of them were rotten. We (and when I say we, I mean, my husband) pulled them all out and they were fine. They're all dried and ready in boxes for use in the laundry room. The rest of the garden is ok, so far.

But it was really only the beginning.

I was still angry, unsettled, upset. I finished the right side of the shawl, after lots of stops and starts, dropped stitches, broken threads. The next day, I finished the left side in one sitting, calmer, clear-headed. Then, I put them side by side and compared them.

They looked totally different.

The left side was perfect. The right side looked like a cat got it and used it in a street fight. Well, what to do?

Frog it. Rip it, rip it, rip it.

There is much to be said for putting things down and walking away when things just aren't right, when your mind is not in a good space, and your shoulders are hunched while you clutch your project in front of your eyeballs. You know it's time to stop when your significant other asks you what a noogie is, and you look at him like you're going to singe his eyebrows off in one glance.

I'm still plugging away at this. I've made it to the edging, and I've decided that I'm going to make it a little less wide. I finally feel like my brain is able to make those calculations, but I won't hold my breath. I think I may need to have a hot bath and foot massage to truly get myself back in gear. Or a coffee. Or a nap.

It could be worse. I could be doing brain surgery.

Yesterday, we decided to head into the city and have a picnic in Glenmore Park, near where we used to live. I envisioned a relaxing day, picnicking in the sunshine, with Rascal exploring in the shady trees.

I keep forgetting the reality of summer in the city. Traffic. Dust. Haze. We spent a couple of hours crawling along the highway. Sigh.

Luckily, before we hit the traffic, we managed to get a bit of shopping done, which we'd been putting off until then. Hubby finally got some new swimming trunks and shorts. I finally got to a shop that sells my most favourite tea in the world: White Ambrosia by Tea Forte. And while I was in the shop, I spied this:

It's a manual coffee grinder. I've been looking for one for a while now, and they have been ranging anywhere from $30 to $60. This one? Only $20. Yeeeahhh. The bottom of it is a stainless steel canister, but I will likely only grind enough to make a pot at a time.

I did have an electric grinder, but it died a horrible death when I used it to grind some almonds a while back. I took it apart and tried to fix it, but yeah... no go. I figured that I could at least control the speed of this one a bit more.

So... let's not mention that I gave my coffee maker away a while back. Ahem. I'm working on it, ok?

Anyway, it's been a hard week, and yesterday was a hard day. Rascal's been feeling it, too.

Time for a nap. Let's hope this week is a bit better.