Julie knits and writes and knits.

Archive for May, 2008

Camp Dispatch

On the one hand, I knit endlessly while at camp. On the other hand, I don’t have much to show for it. Well, this hat:

And this hat:

Which is actually the same Very Warm Hat:

Which you’ll find in Knitting Around, by Elizabeth Zimmerman, p42. I switched out the yarn and the motif, using the lovely and stitch-definition-preserving Quebequois yarn you can get in lots of beautiful colors from Schoolhouse Press.

And I knit a lot on a swatch made specifically to learn steeks. And steeked that swatch into a funny looking woolly rag.

And I met and fell in love with a great many breathtaking sweaters…

and lots of wonderful knitters…

No doubt about it. These are my knitting people.

Got a lot of autographs on my Schoolhouse Library from Meg Swansen and Joyce Williams and Amy Detjen, who are all exactly as gracious and earthy and generous as you’ve read everywhere else.

Even mini-camp does not disappoint. Well I haven’t been to the big camp, and seriously don’t know if I could do it without my brain exploding. It leaked out my ears with just a couple of days of this…

Oh! And I met and hugged Michelle, who is somehow always the person I get by email or phone when I connect with Schoolhouse. So good to meet her. Egad this is a gorgeous family.

The main thing I learned is that I’ve been knitting color WAY TOO TIGHTLY. And while one can get away with that in a mitten or even a hat or a baby sweater, it’s a little hard to manage, or get the fabric you want or get the results you want when you move to a grownup size sweater (cough, investment).

I was a bit fraught, having decided before climbing into the car that I would pick a sweater and buy the yarn for it once I got to the Schoolhouse. But meeting all these sweaters had me so paralyzed that I couldn’t decide among the half dozen I know I want to knit. I couldn’t even prioritize them. Arrgh!

Bad luck ruled, and the stress of learning, frogging, choosing plus hormones (okay, it was really the hormones) gave me a whopping migraine on the day we all went out to the Schoolhouse warehouse/office. All I managed really to do is load up on the coilless safety pins I can’t knit without and snag a bundle of unspun natural black icelandic (with no idea what I’ll make out of it). I did also snag all the yarn samples, which I fondled all the way home, and which is putting me in still further distress about choosing/choices.

Also, and I’m not making this up… Meg let me walk out with a vest she made that my husband coveted. Just walk out of her cedar sweater storage room, taking it back to the hotel so I could figure out how she did it. She couldn’t remember. It’s a groovy vest, a kind of homage to the baby surprise sweater. Maybe a hippie surprise vest. I worked out a schematic and a pattern, and will either use the icelandic for that or get some different yarn to cast that on in the Fall. It’ll be a fast knit. More on that later too…

So…. NOW what? I’m profoundly inluenced after just a couple of days with these goddesses. No, I didn’t come away with much of my own work, but with a lot of good help and saving suggestions for all my stopped projects, and resolve to practice, practice, practice…

And with a lot of frogged knitting. And with the satisfying feeling (for me) that there is so, so, so much more to learn.

The little child’s vest has been ripped back to the armpits, and all the steeks started again. I’ll explain more about that and why in another post.

The peacefleece tunic is ripped just to the top of the bottom color border, so I can steek the sides to make side vents, or something. Not sure.

c.a.r.e.f.u.l.l.y ripping back Shoddy to put in the Bateau following the hints on the sweater above….

Plans for the great and glorious Mom Memorial Sweater (MMS) are now really boiling my brains. I’m stuck between wanting to finish and practice more color work on the projects I’ve got, ordering up yarn for and starting the spectacular Morroco Sweater from Latvian Dreams, or sketching and charting the MMS….. hmmm… but really feel I need to get some work and practice in for these before starting them. I may have to order the yarn, though. Just, you know, to encourage me…

The big lesson… to trust your knitting. Like a poem or a piece of fiction, or a painting or a sculpture, you let it tell you what it needs. Mindful knitting. That’s a big takeaway.

More later. More later…


Don’t I seem calm?

I do, don’t I? Don’t I? So then you could never guess, seeing me calmly packing, calmly deciding on projects and notions, calmly remembering my underwear and my toothbrush, that…


Yes I am. Headed to Mecca. To the source. To the epicenter and the circle of knitting magic and love and to the place EZ chose, herself, to set up camp, and to meet the ethereal Meg Swansen, and hope like crazy my husband doesn’t run away with her (because I can’t stop him from becoming smitten if I can’t stop myself, right? Wouldn’t be fair.), and to try so, so hard not to ruin our chances of a healthy retirement with overspending on great yarn, and to get HELP with the little vest, and…. just to soak it all up.

Tomorrow we start the drive, stopping along the way to gather IKEA goodies and to visit my old house in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

Well. I can’t believe it. The time has come.  Here I go.

So calmly.