Optimism

Well, I’m home again from vacation.  Okay, I’ll be honest – I’ve been home for about 2 weeks now.  Vacation time is strange time, isn’t it? The days don’t seem to flow in an orderly fashion.  They don’t “feel” like the days they’re supposed to be – you know, that feeling you get when you think, “Today feels like a Wednesday, even though it’s Friday”?  And so you walk around all day thinking that you should be doing one thing when you’re actually meant to do another, constantly checking the calendar because it just doesn’t feel like today is the RIGHT day.  

With some vacations, that works just fine, and sometimes you come back from them all refreshed and lovely and are happy just to get back to your routine.  I was happy to come home and have my routine again – it made me feel grounded – but my routine was immediately thrown off by work.  There was a fundraising luncheon and meetings with other agencies and just a shift in the office environment with how busy we’ve become.  Joel went into rehearsals for The Iceman Cometh, and so everything switched to me spending more time at his place taking care of Zephyr the huskey, and of course un-packing took me longer than it should.  It always feels like there is just that little pile of items that I keep moving from one room to another, trying to figure out where they want to settle.

The vacation was fantastic though.  This was my first time in Colorado, and I spent a good deal of it shaking Joel’s arm excitedly and saying, “Look!  Look!  MOUNTAINS!!!”  I grew up in Pennsylvania where we have enough mountains that none of the roads can go in a straight line, but they were mere hills compared to those gorgeous crags.  There was snow tubing and horseback riding and hikes and watching people ski and board down the slopes.  In the evenings, there were warm fires and fun dates and games and knitting.  Endless knitting.

And yet, still not ENOUGH knitting.  I had been overly optimistic, the way I always am on vacations.  I took two books – even though one of them was nearly 1000 pages.  I got through a third of one of them.  I took 4 magazines to read in the airports.   I got through one, and that was on the first day of travel.  And I took along, somehow, 5 knitting projects.  That’s right.  FIVE.  One of them was a hat that I had been expecting to finish the day before.  I always forget how much of a project is still left when you hit the final decreases, and somehow I always imagine I’ll be done in 15 minutes.  I finished that on the flight there while watching Life of Pi on the world’s teeniest screen.  (This made me very happy that I had seen it in all of its beauty in the theatres.)  I then had an unstarted pair of socks, an unstarted sweater, a chunky vest that I would need to completely re-start, having totally ignored the concept of gauge or fit the first time around, and a gigantic shawl that I was about 60 rows into. 

Here’s what I accomplished – I started the socks on the plane.  They didn’t get much past the toe part.  When I got home from the trip, I worked on them in one movie that I went to see with Dad (42, excellent film, not to be missed), realized I hated how they were working up and that they were too big anyway, and ripped back to the toes.  I mostly continued working on the shawl and while I got a good ways into it, by the time I got home I was probably only about a quarter of the way in.  I want to knit this baby until the yarn is completely used up – a tall order to fill when it’s fine, Rowan Kidsilk Haze that I’m knitting with.  This isn’t my photo – it was snapped by greenerknits on Ravelry, but I think it perfectly shows why I’m so enthusiastic about this particular yarn…

 

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And then, of course, when I go to start this new entry, I just get disrupted for almost 2 days and can’t get around to finishing it!  Busy busy busy…

To get back to the important things in live (knitting, obviously), I really am loving the Kidsilk Haze wrap.  My friend Sarah and I have been collecting the yarn for it for years now and finally both got around to casting on.  She’s following the original colours the pattern calls for.  As much as I think those colours are beautiful, I had a whole bevy of skeins in other colours, some of which were called for in the pattern, and some of which weren’t, and I decided to just use those.  It’s definitely looking different than the original but honestly, I’m loving the process enough that I could see myself making this again with the called-for colours.  It’s working up beautifully – lots of earth tones and heathered colours and pops of brightness.  I’m just crazy about it.  My plan is to keep going until I use up the yarns, and I think I’m getting close to being there.  I’d say I’m at least 3/4 of the way through, even though some of those skeins still look pretty full.

I followed the pattern instructions about the colour pairings for the first foot or so, but some of the colour combinations were odd looking since I’m using different colours.  There were also a number of combinations that I thought would look great but which would never happen if I kept following the instructions.  So after I got through the first striping repeat of 160-ish rows, I abandoned that and just started mixing and matching what I thought would work.  I’ve come up with some beautiful stripes that way.  I made the fringe on Tuesday – always dull and time-consuming – so that I can just pop it on the second edge at the end and be done.  I’ve decided to take one skein out of the mix.  It’s this really gorgeous shade of green called Fern.

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Pretty, right?  For some reason, it’s just not at its best in this project.  The green constantly looks drab and washed out or just plain icky, depending on what colour I’ve paired it with.  I did a little two row stripe of just the green, and it’s gorgeous on its own.  I don’t want to waste it, so I’m going to just pull it out and save it for another project, probably Ice Queen – I’ve got some beads that I think would work beautifully with it.  Here’s a photo from the project page on Ravelry…

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I just think that I should play to the yarn’s strengths.  All of us have forged ahead on projects knowing that we hate a particular colour in it or that it’s just not working with the pattern we want to use.  Best to change my course of action now before the project is done and I think “I should have saved that for something special.”

The only downside to the Earth Stripe Wrap?  Every time I knit on it, I get fuzz ALL OVER ME!  But just look at this…to have something like this, it’ll be well-worth it.

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God, I love that photo.  Just looking at it makes me excited all over again about this project.  Just one week until Sarah and I are on our way to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, proudly wearing our (hopefully) finished objects.  Look for the two pretty ladies wearing fantastic FOs and huge smiles, and that’ll be us!

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