03 September, 2007


I didn't know the shawl was done until I actually finished it. It was the middle of the night, Thursday, and I was listening to a book-on-tape about four suicidal folks in England who accidentally intercept each other's plans to take their respective lives on New Year's Eve.

I was knitting away, swaying to the rhythm of my 16 row pattern repeat (laddered diamonds from Barbara Walker's, Charted Knitting Designs.) As most knitters know, as you come to the final inches of a long, repetitive project (for example, a garter stitch scarf,) you inevitably get sucked into this unexplainable vortex. No matter how much you knit, you can't seem to increase your project's length. At times, it seems even to shrink; an infuriating phenomenon.

Fully expecting this to be the case, I chugged right along, listening to four strangers gloomily not kill themselves. I didn't realize it was past midnight. I also didn't realize I was beyond my intended length by a few inches.

This doesn't happen. The last inch is supposed to be eagerly anticipated, just beyond reach, measured, measured, measured and longed for. Granted, this is a shawl and a broad range of lengths are acceptable.

I don't know why I miss the vortex. Perhaps the struggle though the final inches makes the knitter feel accomplished. Perhaps it is like an athlete being challenged by an adept opponent, rather than tossing around a player that is achingly below her/his ability. Did I still win if I didn't have to struggle at the end?

Being only fourteen inches wide, this shawl is more like an over-wide scarf. But Bride-to-be will be cozy and unencumbered with it wrapped around her arms at the reception. The yarn came from her family's sheep, and was spun here in Maine (Hope Spinnery, in or near Blue Hill.) I am looking forward to attending the wedding, on the very farm from which this yarn came.

Immediately after procrastinating for three days, I blocked my shawl and headed out for a photo shoot with my favorite Portland photographer, Jeanette Ross. First we spent hours taking pictures of spider webs at Fort Williams. I was scaling rock faces and hanging upside down to get shots of the center of gossamer funnel webs. Looks a bit like a vortex to me.

We took pictures of the shawl outside of Jeanette's house, using her neighbor's curbside garden to our advantage. She took lots of shots of the setting sun through the open work, and she was really into the shadow-play on my face, neck and arms when I held the shawl up over me. The shot above is one of my favorites because not only does it show the detail of the work, but it also showcases my favorite tattoo.

The aforementioned procrastination was not unproductive, nor was it due to my recurring reluctance to complete my projects. It was out of eagerness to move on to a new project, knit just for me.

When I drove my best friend to her new home in Santa Fe, her new roommate gave me a big bag of worsted weight wool; dyed in the most vibrant colors and in a large enough quantity to make a garment of some sort. I chose a skirt.

I am knitting it in the round, in chevron stitch (which shows up in the varying stripes of bright colors so well!) I think it will be a circle skirt, below the knee, but it may not be as full as that. I'm making up the shaping as I go along. I'll take a picture of the work in progress as soon as it's long enough to be appropriate for viewers under thirteen.

1 comment:

Liz said...

we are very crafty sisters ;)