UFOs I Have Known

Sooner or later, every knitter starts a project that is destined to remain uncompleted.  This might be due to a poor yarn choice, too difficult (or easy) a pattern, a short attention span, or any of literally dozens of other reasons.  We knitters call these UFOs (unfinished objects).

I am not immune to this phenomenon.  I have lots of projects that I’ve not finished and I am admitting to myself  that some of them will never be picked up again.

The copper colored sweater with the very cool cable up the front.  I just can’t get the sleeves to work the way I want.  Maybe this is just an excuse, and the real issue is that sweaters just take too darn long for me.

The mohair scarf that is so fuzzy and hard for me to see that I can only knit it outside in direct sunlight.

The basketweave wrap that is just plain boring.

There are many more.  Let’s not dwell on the exact number, I beg you.

So, what’s a knitter to do?

I used to really beat myself up over these, since my family hates a quitter, and that has been ingrained in me from childhood.  But lately I’ve begun to realize that (for me at least) the product isn’t really what knitting is about.  I am what is known as a process knitter, I’m in it for the actual act of making the loops.  Somehow this quiets my brain, helps me relax and acts as a stress reducer.

Other people, my business partner Cheryl, for example, are very much product knitters.  For them its all about the finished objects.  Cheryl  produces an enormous amount of completed items, all beautiful, all in superb yarns and all in record time.

I used to feel the tiniest pang of jealousy (ok, let’s be honest, I was sick with envy) when I saw that every week she had something new to show me and I seem to keep plodding along forever on the same old things.  Then I realized that I don’t enjoy knitting very much if I make it all about the product and finishing quickly.  That makes me feel a bit obsessed, and that’s going down a path I want to avoid.  So, I’ve decided to consciously watch my loops, enjoy my changing colors, and let the finished objects take care of themselves.

Here’s the pink cowl finished, modeled by a pretty girl.

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A Perfect Day at the Beach

I finished a new shawl the other day.  I called it A Perfect Day at the Beach because the colors remind me of Lake Michigan, the sky, the sand, sunshine and beach grass.  My favorite beach in the world is at Saugatuck Dunes State Park in Saugatuck, MI, and every time I worked on this shawl I remembered many really spectacular days there with my family.  One of the best things about the park is the mile long walk through the hilly woods to the beach.  What a great way to start and end a day at the lakeside!  Although all that stuff we carry to the beach can get a bit heavy by the time we arrive.  I think it just makes relaxing in the sunshine that much more gratifying.

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Here’s the pattern.  It’s called Pimpelliese.  I have no idea in the world what that means.  It doesn’t sound very pretty to my American ears, but it knits up into a very lovely triangular shawl that is easy to wear.  I used Knit Picks Stroll hand painted sock yarn.  I always enjoy working with this yarn.  It consistently knits up into a soft, springy, warm garment and I enjoy watching the colors change.

This item is for sale in my Etsy shop.  I’d really love to have one for myself, the colors are fabulous and the feel is so luxurious.  I think I will end up using my last ball of this yarn to make one to keep.   This colorway, Summer Vacation, has been discontinued, unfortunately.  I always wonder why my favorite colorways seem to be the ones that disappear.

Speaking of my Etsy shop, I spent a long time today trying to create a new banner for the shop.  After several hours of intensive concentration, numerous cups of coffee, and a fair amount of cursing – I bought a new banner from a graphic designer.  Check out my shop early next week to see it.

I just could not figure out how to get what I wanted.  And the banner I had was just not exciting, professional looking or really relevant to my shop.  So I bit the bullet and shelled out the price (a very very reasonable price) for a custom made banner.  And I supported an Etsy artisan in the bargain.  Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Nostalgia

Five years ago today my dad died.  I’ve been thinking about him a lot this past week, missing him, regretting some things, savoring some others.  In other words, enjoying a bit of nostalgia.

I try to avoid too much wallowing in the past.  Nostalgia has an element of bittersweetness that can get just a bit too self indulgent.  Looking back at the past is fun, but it’s so easy to glamorize things from long ago (or not so long ago).

Music can make me feel this way.  I can hear a song from my teenage days and start remembering people and places that have been out of my life for decages.  I’m sure my memory is very rose-colored.  For example, I remember my teens as a turbulent time in general, but specific memories often seem to have a hazy glow around them.  How is this possible?

It’s not!  Maybe it’s just human nature to rub the rough edges off memories, or maybe a psychologist would tell me it’s the brain’s way of coping with things.  An evolutionary biologist might point out that there’s an advantage to being able to let go of traumatic events – too much reliving past traumas can take your attention away from the present with it’s dangers.  Of course, most of our lives aren’t very dangerous anymore, but you can see an example of this when you get somewhere in the car and realize you were zoned out during the drive and don’t remember it at all.  Driving can be dangerous – perhaps not as dangerous as being attacked by a saber tooth tiger, but it still requires quite a bit of attention.

It certainly makes sense that raw grief becomes more bearable, and I can (usually) think about my dad without tears, but why do memories of old boyfriends seem so romantic?  After all, if that guy was so fabulous we’d still be together now, right?

Having said all that, I just finished reading a magazine in which nostalgia is the whole theme, Jane Austen Knits.  Articles such as “What Would Jane Knit” and “Regency Fashion In Color”, among others, give fascinating glimpes into the fashions and fabrics of the upper middle class during the Regency era in England (approx. 1795 – 1837).

If you are a history geek like me, this is all riveting stuff.  The types of dyes used, the descriptions of fabrics and fashions paying tribute to classical Greek culture – all this is spellbinding stuff.

There are 35 patterns in the magazine, including those for the ever popular fingerless mitts and scarves.  Also present are some beautiful items which would difficult to wear except at a costume or Regency theme party, or as wardrobe in a photoshoot perhaps.  It’s been a long time since I was asked to a Regency themed costume party, so I’ll probably not be knitting any of those – but I’ll know where to find patterns if that invitation arrives.

I plan to knit the Frederick and Anne Scarf, theVariation Scarf, the Georgiana Shawl and the JosephineShawl.  Watch for them to come to my Etsy shop as items available for purchase.

It appears I do enjoy nostalgia when I dress it up as historical studies.  Maybe I’ll start thinking of my old boyfriends as lessons in 20th century interpersonal relationships!

New (Old) Cars

We bought a 15 year old car today for our 16 year old daughter to toddle around town in.  It makes me smile to consider that she was one year old when her car was built.
I wonder if the men and women who put the pretty white Nissan Maxima together ever thought about the future drivers.  Cecily will be driver number 3.  I wonder about the previous drivers myself.  Did they love this car or was it just a convenience?

I tend to get very attached to things I use daily for years.  It was very difficult for me the day I traded my Ford Taurus for the Ford Windstar I drive now (and not just because I was trading into a minivan and kissing my days of driving a fun car goodbye!).  I felt like I was abandoning the Taurus.  What if her next owner didn’t appreciate her?  What if they didn’t take good care of her?  Never mind that the “good care” I can manage is cleaning out the junk on the floor (used kleenex, mapquest directions, candy wrappers) once every couple of months.

I think Cecily might feel this way about her first car, pondering it’s past, it’s previous owners, it’s history, all the events it’s been a part of.

Then again she could just have the one thought I had at 16 when she looks at it – FREEDOM!

My pink cowl continues toward completion.  Rudy models it for you here.  I really like this Noro Shirikaba yarn, it’s 42% silk, 40% cotton, and 18% wool.  It’s super soft and the vibrant color is gorgeous!

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Books, Books, Books

I promised books for today.  Currently I’m reading more than one book, as always.1.     The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, subtitled A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Liking it a lot.  Writing my morning pages.  Thinking about artist’s dates.  My business partner and I have formed a tiny book club to read it together.

2.     How To Sell Your Crafts Online by Derrick Sutton

Helpful so far (only finished 2 chapters).  I’ve implemented some changes to my Etsy store at the recommendation of this author.  I didn’t know anything about search optimization, and he did explain it a bit in simple terms that even a Luddite like me can understand.

3.     Living a Charmed Life: Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every Day by Victoria Moran

Having a little trouble with this one.  Just finding it hard to pick it up, although when I do, I like it.  Maybe this is more about my attention span than the book!  Might give up on this one.

4.     The Amazing Book of Useless Information by Noel Botham

I am a sucker for a good factoid book, although I am a bit suspicious about the truth of some of these.  And the section on math just plain creeped me out.  Ick, math, who wants to know more about that?  I actually finished this last night in bed.

The latest knitting book I read was

55 Christmas Balls to Knit: Colorful Festive Ornaments–Tree Decorations, Centerpieces, Wreaths, Window Dressings by Arne and Carlos

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I really enjoyed this book – it was full of gorgeous photographs of their home in Norway, and it’s always fun to see how the other half lives.  I do recommend it for yarn addicts like me, it’s knitter’s eye candy with patterns, what’s not to like?Their artistic vision is quite different than mine.  They lean towards lots of primitives strewn around, beat up stuff everywhere.  I like a clutter-free Zen-type décor.  Camel colored walls with big closeup flower prints.  My house is not much like that, of course.  I have camel walls, but absolutely no big lush flower prints.  Someday.  My current décor is more of the clutter everywhere, every flat surface covered by stuff school.The knitted ornaments were quite imaginative for the most part.  Some were very traditional Scandinavian type patterns, but there were quite a few completely original designs – those were my favorites.  I really liked the pigs, the squirrel, the 3-leaf clover, the pinecone and one of the geometric patterns.  When Christmas is rolling around again I might try that geometric.I like geometrics in general, I love 1950s style sweaters.  My mother knit one in white, with black and multicolored diamonds up the sides of the arms (she probably knit it in 1957) that is really sharp, even though it is obscenely tiny on any of us.  For some mysterious reason people were apparently much smaller in the 1950s.  Maybe my 13 year old daughter could wear it.

Or one of these darlings!

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Jackie (left) and Templeton (Templeton has been adopted)
Jackie is still available!

Welcome to Indigo Kitty Blogs

Welcome to the Indigo Kitty Blogs page.  I’ve been thinking about blogging for a while and I’ve decided to take the plunge.  Perhaps I’m the very last person in North America to have a blog, sometimes I do tend to lag behind on adopting new trends, I freely admit that.

What will I write about?  Yarn, books, cats, my volunteer work, my family, and anything else that interests me.

Today it will be yarn!  I am knitting a cowl that will be in my Etsy shop when completed.  It’s the Tiger Lily Cowl, I’m knitting it in Noro Shirakaba in pink.  Love this yarn, it’s amazing as it changes color and texture.  I have 2 skeins, a total of 272 yards.  Pattern calls for 216 yds , so I should have plenty.  I was knitting along Tuesday evening and had a moment of panic (as always happens when I start something new), “oh no, do I have enough yarn?”  I have run out a couple of times, and that feeling of panic is not something I want to repeat.  Went back to check pattern and yarn measurements so I could sleep Tuesday night.

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Pink!
I started knitting this cowl on Tuesday while meeting with my business partner, Cheryl, for our weekly knitting/strategizing/gossip session.  I tried to cast it on 3 times before we got together, for some reason it wouldn’t “take” until I was with her.   She’s magic!  And a fabulous partner, she’s good at all the business things I’m not, accounting, creating a “look” for our online shop, finding fabulous yarns at unbelievably low prices.  I’m good at writing descriptions and managing the actual shop website, so together, we make a strong team.  And she’s super-practical (I’m more of a dreamer); the shop wouldn’t exist without her gently pushing me to get things moving.I’m very lucky to have her as my friend and partner.Next time – books!