Monday, January 29, 2007

Changing Plans

It's here!

* * *

Yesterday I drafted "My Personal Rules for Fair Isle February":

1. I will start knitting Glen Albyn, designed by Jade Starmore.

2. Even when it gets hard, I won't cave and knit something else. At least not in this short month.

3. Except plain stockinette socks. (If buying sock yarn doesn't count as buying yarn for you stash busters, it surely doesn't count to knit....)

4. But I can still spin, right?

5. No lace. No cables. Not even a little seed-stitch beret.

Can you tell I am getting nervous?

* * *

Recently, there has been quite a discussion on a listserv I lurk on about how kits from Virtual Yarns frequently run really tight on yarn, even for those who knit at the perfect gauge.

Can I knit at the perfect gauge? When I make my little swatch at the beginning, I will be all but a novice, and with a penchant for tight tension anyway. By the end of the sweater, I'll have enough experience with fair isle that I am sure my tension will loosen up--meaning I will not be at the same gauge and therefore even more susceptible to running out of yarn.

Eeks! Pull out the books for some guidance and start rifling through them for hints....

* * *

And then I read the comments on this post where I confessed that I wasn't yet swatching but instead casting on new lace projects here at the tail end of January.

My definition of a brilliant idea is something that you aren't thinking about but once you hear seems abundantly obvious and feels like you've known it all along.

Sarah lobbed in this one: "You 'ought' to do what you want to do!"

* * *

Fair Isle February is a KAL with no rules. Why did I feel like I needed such inflexible rules?

Fundamentally, knitting is an ordered rule-driven craft of the textile world. Stitch follows stitch, row follows row. What makes is fun--what makes it art, even--is how we learn to bend those rules to create things all our own. Bending the rules is what created cables, what created shaped garments rather than just simple squares or rectangles--and even what allowed Fair Isle knitting to blossom.

* * *

My partner David watched me reading through the library's copy of The Principles of Knitting: Methods and Techniques of Hand Knitting by June Hiatt and an interlibrary-loaned Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting. He listened as I talked faster and faster, my voice getting higher and higher as the muscles in my body tightened. I said I couldn't do it. He reassured me that he was sure I could. I was almost crying.

Finally, he looked at me and said, "Why not just do something a little easier? Make a mitten or a hat or something. How about those mitts of Eunny's you were talking about?"


I suspect that success in a smaller project will give me confidence as well as help me regularize my stranding tension enough that perhaps then I'll be ready for Glen Albyn.

So bring it on! Rather than trembling and trying to turn backwards, I'm chomping at the bit for February 1st.

* * *

The question is:

brown and ice blue?

or brown and rose?

Cross-posted to Fair Isle February


Inky said...

Another well thought out and thought provoking post!! I agree, one ought to give themselves permission to do what they want to (within the limits of the law, of course!). "we" don't often think we deserve to be happy/doing what we want vs. what we should be doing.

and brown and rose is my vote :)

Stuntmother said...

Stop! Stop! You're tempting me horribly! I love the endpaper mitts and your Starmore kit is a whole box of loveliness but I am so trying to get things done! not start new things.

I love the brown and rose too.

Maybe I will join the KAL. I really love those endpaper mitts. And I have some Jameison's two-ply in RED so all I'd need is something (maybe a heathery grey?) to go with it and I too would have the loveliest mitts ever.


SaraSkates said...

Oh My Gosh that kit is stunning!

Even though I'm generally not fond of much pink, the brown and rose is really really pretty.

jennifer said...

I like the colors of the brown & pink, but I want to see them in person so I can see how closely they match in hue -- the FI hat I just finished, two of my colors wouldn't work with each other in FI, though they work beautifully in the hat over all -- sooooo -- bring it tomorrow!

Kathryn said...

Yeah! FIF all the way (even though I totally can't get blogger to let me join). Don't worry about the complex sweater- work your way up; maybe you'll be able to handle it next FIF.

Also, it's all about the brown & rose.

tiennie said...

Decisions, decisions! I like both color combo!

Brenda said...

Sounds like a completely logical change of plan. And the endpaper mitts are pretty cool. I vote the brown and rose. I think the brown is a little too dark for the ice blue.

Sheepish Annie said...

Brown and rose!!! It looks so warm!

I'm one who still needs the rules just a bit in order to make patterns work. But, I'm finding a little more freedom in the knitting and sometimes even surprise myself with what I can make happen. But, it needs to feel fun not scary! Sometimes a change of plan is just what you need.

Lee said...

Me, I'm all about the brown and ice blue. But then, I see I'm all alone.

Sarah said...

Ooh, brown and rose! And in case the profile won't let you link to it, my blog is -- but I won't pressure you on the brown and rose thing. I did say you ought to do what you want, after all!

Lolly said...

Great post, H! I am starting nice and easy - this is my first fair isle ever, and I casted on for a Bea Ellis hat kit last night. Of course, I also cast on for something else. I know that once I hit the Fair Isle chart (I am still in the early stages) I will be hooked on the chart and won't leave it till it is done ;)

Another vote for brown and rose ;)

Specs said...

Brown and ice blue!

Jeanne said...

Great post - amazing how much pressure we can put on ourselves. Looking forward to seeing how you do on the Starmore...and the mittens too! I vote for the brown/rose combo

Kim said...

Another vote for the brown and ice blue - I just read the new knitty article on color, and I think the brown and rose are too similar in value. The brown and ice blue will really stand out!


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