Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rains

I was feeling all cozy on a rainy day with the windows open to the warm gray sky, and chugging along on a newly interesting patchy project when suddenly, my beautiful Singer 600 Slant-O-Matic turned recalcitrant and the bobbin winder stopped working. Now, the bobbin winder is the best part of the Singer 600 Slant-O-Matic; you simply flip a switch and hit the pedal and the presto! Bobbin wound. The least amount of bobbin fiddling ever. But it has ceased to wind, and I am so crushed. When will I take my own advice and learn to do the repairs myself on these lovely old machines? They break for me so often; I really should learn to fix them. I am just not mechanically inclined--I can't even understand my camera, so it's probably hopeless. Well, there's still yarn, which I do understand, and there's still Netflix, where I am fully engrossed in the blankety-blanket and Long Way Down with Ewan and Charley. I love that show so much I want to get a t-shirt, with "McGregor" on the back. There aren't enough episodes! I'm almost through it! Then what? I am armchair traveling my way through Netflix right now, while it rains.

 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer morning with cherries

The cherries are really not ripe yet, but I can't help eating them. They are tangy and small, bright with almost-cherry flavor. There are so many that even after we've eaten our fill and the neighbors have been over with their ladder and all our friends are begging us to stop giving them cherries, the birds will still get half. I don't really know what to do with sweet cherries, except to eat them and eat them and keep eating them, fresh and straight from the tree, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in between. Which seems fine, really.

 

There is much to do, so many things to knit and sew and crochet, but this is what we are doing. I eat cherries, spitting the pits off the porch into the grass, and she watches birds through half an eyelid, in between snores.

This blankety-blanket grows in spite of myself, because it is as plain as it comes. I know I keep saying this, but dang. This is the knitting for me. There is no wondering whether it will fit and flatter and if I will ever wear it and do I even have anything to wear it with and what makes me think I even need another pullover anyway...no. None of that! Just back and forth, sitting in the sun, eating still-tart cherries and thinking about life, and about how the boy--my Boy--has turned TWENTY now, and is really not a boy anymore, and what a wonderful, daring, clever, adventuresome, hilarious, grown-up man he is now. But I remember when he was no bigger than a football; a tiny, red-faced gnome with tremendous lungs, snuggled up sleeping in a sling like a caterpillar in a leaf. Now, he goes off to work in the morning wearing a jacket and tie. My boy, still.

 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Peace

It's gotten to the point with this project where I feel I deserve some kind of treat in between completed squares, like I've earned a reward for an hour's garter stitch knitting because it is, what, arduous somehow? This project, the sock yarn leftovers blanket, has lasted too long. My interest in it has fully waned, but it is something like three-quarters finished, which means I've almost reached that moment where the end is in sight, and that always motivates me again, but that hasn't quite happened yet. I start a square, work eight rows, put it down for a week, pick it up again and my brain says This? Still? Really? It looks like I should be weaving in some ends too, so that it doesn't all hit me at the end like a giant slap in the head. I think the too-big projects have really reached critical mass now, and it's time to find something small to make. A little zip-pouch with beads on it, maybe, or fancy mittens. Something. What are you all working on? I need something little and manageable.

Also in garter stitch; this blanket is a balm, honestly. Peace and calm is not my default setting, so this kind of thing is perfect for me; medicinal knitting. It is as plain as anything could possibly be, and there is almost no need whatsoever to look at it as I work. My hands are busy, which quiets my mind, and there are no decisions left to make, and I am free to think about other things as I go, and it grows, slowly but surely. Two colors of worsted weight yarn, US 7 needles. 300-ish stitches across. Breathe. Note to self: this is what the sock yarn leftovers blanket was like in the beginning. Finish this one before you get sick of it.

Catdog surveys her kingdom. She lolls in the grass. She chases a green rubber ball, catching up with it in a tumble, gnaws squeakily at it for a minute, then rolls onto her back, scrubs the top of her head into the lawn. A big, satisfied sigh. Then she's asleep again. It's warm, sunny, drowsy outside. The bumblebees explore the floppy rose blossoms, and I am asleep, too.

 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Things yarn and summer

This. This pullover, seemingly a simple matter of a few rectangles, is driving me bonkers. The sleeve-on-dpns with two striping colors [I am so tempted to cut the yarn at all the color changes and weave them in later, but the only thing I hate more than sitting in an increasingly tangled mess of more than one ball of yarn is weaving in ends] snags on itself and and the yarns twist and coil up together, besides which I have (the dread) modified the pattern ever so slightly, which means a bunch of notes to self so the second sleeve will turn out the same as the first. I can't stand fiddly things. Knitting is fun. Really, it is.

 

Never fear, there's still so much plain, crazy-free knitting to do. The garter stitch blanket grows, slowly, and it shouldn't reach the huge, lapful stage for quite awhile, which pleases me. The days still alternate between light and fog, driving rain and surprising little bursts of sunbeam through the golden clouds. Summer is happening in individual moments this year. We've been eating the barely-pink cherries one or two at a time, straight from the tree, so impatient for them. They are not yet even cherry-flavored, but just a small mouthful of tartness, a hint of things to come.

 

 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Utility

 

This quilt top is lagging. I am easily distracted, lately by things that are so much more pedestrian: how to deal with curly hair when it's humid? Why does the washing machine keep falling into the sump pump? Where did all these walnut trees in the hedge come from? [answer: squirrels] There are four freezing and rainy days for every one summer day, which seems unfair, but there's no point in raging about it. I stood on the porch in the dark last night, watching the wind and rain lash at the cherry tree, sure the half-developed fruit would be all over the yard in the end, but nature is wise and cherries are meant to stick to their branches until it's time. It's almost time, too; I can hardly wait.

I also spent about ten minutes on a boring but necessary project:

 


In utility crafts, I have made a pillow cover for the dog's bed, from a thrifted tablecloth that had also spent some time as a pair of curtains, because I purely hated the original dog bed cover. And also because I got new curtains, but I still wanted to look at this fabric. It's all utility crafts right now--I worked on the garter stitch blanket for hours this week, through about forty-hundred episodes of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown [I'm hungry...] and it still just looks like a tiny strip of knitting, just a couple inches wide. I love it when they start to look blankety, but that's a long time away.

 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Marathon, step one

 

I don't know why I can't work on small things. All the projects are enormous right now, and this right here is the beginning of a blanket, knitted in garter stitch. For crying out loud. I love/hated working on this, so much stultifying, calming, meditative garter stitch, and I hung up some new curtains that kind of made me want something like that, only different--not extremely different or anything--and just like that, I was at the yarn shop. They start so painlessly, these enormous things, and it's only later that they become arduous and you feel like you're in mile 23 of your marathon. The sock yarn blanket has got that way--mile 23, and I'm climbing a big hill--and it only now occurs to me that this means I have two garter stitch blankets on the needles at the moment, and it makes me wonder whether somebody should feel my forehead.

 

It got absurdly cold again for a few days and so I did what I always do when I feel chilly and instead of putting on a cardigan I already have, thought to myself, "I need to knit a cardigan" and drew a scribbly doodle representing the one I imagine. The hunt for the perfect cabled cardigan is one of my lifelong projects, apparently. They continue to elude me, but I will never stop looking. I just want something that covers my derriere and doesn't expose my wrists and will meet at the front, without being big and square and shapeless. But then the sun came out again and this hasn't progressed any further.

 

 

I made a pillow cover. This is utility crafting at its very best--this was an old, stained, linen napkin I have either had for years or else thrifted, I don't remember, and last fall my pal You-Definitely-Wish-She-Had-a-Blog-Michelle and I dyed everything we could find in a bucket of indigo, and this napkin was one of those things. It was September, and everything we made turned out perfectly, but it all looked very summer, so we (mostly she) commenced to cover everything in plaid and put the indigo goodies on a shelf until now. For the backing, I used a piece of nubbly, oatmeal-colored upholstery fabric from an IKEA slipcover that I bought in their discount section for ten dollars.

This dog thinks all pictures are supposed to be of her.

 

Maybe she's right.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sky drama

It's warm one day, cold the next. Blue sky, then it pours for ten minutes. Dramatic. I spread a quilt on the grass the other day and lay there on the ground, arms spread, as the clouds gathered and darkened, rain sprinkling down. The dog sprawled beside me, snuffling and chewing the grass. It was warm, even without the sun, so we stayed there, getting lightly dripped on, dozing. Summer. I love it so much.

 

I'm working on this striped pullover, in Berroco Vintage DK and Malabrigo sock. It is slow going, but slow is my pace this time of year. I knit a row, scritch the dog's perfect ears, knit another row, kiss her on the nose, knit some more. She snores a little, I close my eyes for just a minute...

There's another quilt happening, too. Quilts kind of overtake me in the summer. They seem like a warm weather project somehow. I kind of want to make every quilt I see right now.


This one is in low-volume scraps + gray. I think it looks like the world outside my window these days, which is so appealing--rain, sun! Rain again! Wait, it's sunny now! The clouds glide by in a big hurry, the sky behind them is blue, blue, blue. Warm wind, so lovely. Laundry on the clothesline flaps dry in five minutes. Have you seen Lynne's latest project? It's right in the sweet spot between orderly and scrappy. I want to start one just like it immediately, which is no way to get anything done. One quilt at a time!