February 15, 2007

Abominable Arctic Air

It's frosty here again, -20c (about -30 with the windchill, that's -22F for the Americans) and it is very, very beautiful and clear outside. It is a sparkling crystalline blue sky, and it looks like it would be wonderful to go for a walk...right up until you open the front door and your nose hair all instantly freezes. Everybody swears then. This morning the girls all opened the door, stepped outside and swore. I was hard on them until I tried to get the mail. Opened the door, stepped outside. Swore - and instantly forgave the girls. Dudes, it is cold. I cannot believe the high point of the weather this week has been it warming up enough (-10c) for it to dump huge snow on us. It's foul.
(You may have gathered that I don't care for this season, although in the time it's taken me to get this post together the temperature has risen to an almost balmy -16c)

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(Those of you who live in very cold places will notice the presence of that "dry" snow. If you look outside at your porch or the road out front of your house and notice that at high noon under a bright sun that there is not one melted flake of snow...It's cold.)

Luckily for me, I have nowhere to go. Joe's going to run my errands today (the upside of him still being "between opportunities") and I've earned myself a playdate with Guld by meeting a big work deadline this morning.

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I read, weighed and contemplated all of the comments you guys left about your opinions about converting Guld to knit in the round, and while they were all compelling, a couple of them really made excellent points.

Lene said:

You know my take on it: it's tradition and you don't f*** with tradition. Keep your evil changing paws off of it and do it the way it's been done since it began.

p.s. Of course, that's my reflex response to anything that messes with time-honoured things and I might be persuaded to see the point if I wasn't still bitter about how Disney changed the end to my favourite H.C. Andersen fairytale just because maybe the original tale of the little mermaid was a little dark. It is my favourite exactly because of the way it ends. I mean - you don't make the Mona Lisa blond, do you?

p.p.s. What was the question again?

Hugo said:

Because I've spent most of my life studying language (even though I don't always spell properly) I tend to relate it to everything. Knitting for me is a language. Language is dynamic and can grow both more complicated and more beautiful as it changes. It can also grow more logical and simple. Just like language, there are reasons for certain things and sometimes they're just that way because that's the way they've always been done. Nothing will be lost memory/tradition-wise if you know the road you're coming from. After all, many traditions were simply adaptations of their time.

Sounds like Hugo and Lene should be seated next to each other at a dinner party, yes? Let's ask Loribird to pass them the bread.

The history won't be lost just because you choose not to follow its dictates precisely - the history is still recorded, and the reasoning behind it may be something we don't consider today(like crap-o-licious circ. needles, as Mary Lou said)I think that especially since, historically speaking, knitting tends to be such a practical application of art, any personal innovations add to the history rather than obliterate it. (Can't you hear them in the 24th century, "At first, Bohus sweaters were knit round for the yoke, then seamed through the body, but innovative knitters in the early 21st century began to knit entirely in the round...")

I thought over these things and gave some thought to the idea of "The Spirit of the law" vs "The Letter of the Law", and decided on a hybrid approach. (You saw that coming, didn't you?) Since I wanted to make the sweater a smidge smaller, and since there is a lot to be said about understanding something before you change it, I decided to knit the portion immediately after the yoke (the part from the yoke to the armholes) Flat.

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Once I had worked the short-rows that lower the front neck and the shaping that dictates the depth of the armholes, I joined my work (decreasing out the seam stitches) and began to work in the round.

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The orange thread you see there is my "counter". It marks the stitches that I am decreasing either side of and counts the number of decreases at the same time. Each time I work a decrease (or a certain number of rows, for the purposes of counting) I flip it from the front to the back (or the back to the front...depending.) When I'm done I'll just pull it out. So far, the whole thing is working pretty well.

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My mission today is to get the whole thing onto enough needles that I can try it on and make some decisions about fitting. I don't want the whole thing to be too roomy so I'm inserting a little side shaping. Out for the bust (such as it is) in for the waist (again, such as it is) and out again for the hips. If all goes well, I think it will be one of the prettiest sweaters I own. Very styling. Naturally, since I have departed from the beaten path with this one, I have a feeling that this comment from Mother Chaos may apply:

You could try my method: First, I will do exactly what the pattern said to do because I'm maintaining the art of the designer. Then, I will not like something about it (usually that I think it's "overly complicated" or "taking too long"), rip it out, and start over my way.

THEN I discover that 'my way' doesn't work for one or a thousand reasons, tear it out again, start over using a second, similar pattern for reference but really just doing my own thing again. This also does not work. Tear it back again, sit down with a pencil and my arsenal of cuss words, write down what I think I'm going to do, cuss, cross out, write, cuss, cross out, write, cuss, cross out, write AND THEN?

One last cuss and I go back to the pattern. Humbly. And refusing to acknowledge that I ever left it. Except that I'm just going to change this one itty-bitty thing over here because it's too >>fussy<<...

Ahem. Not that any of us use that method. Yeah. That Mother Chaos is alone on that one.
Knit on. Big news tomorrow.

Posted by Stephanie at February 15, 2007 12:01 PM