Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Let nature take its course

Looking at myself in the mirror today, I sighed deeply. Even my husband remarked that these shoes don't really fit together with the outfit. Even my husband? What even? He actually is the one concerned with the issue of shoes blending nicely with the rest. So in this case even I noticed.

And then I reflected on some things that in the past would be an absolute no go and now are not only a go, I don't even seem to notice. It all started two years ago when after working in academia, I decided to go corporate and found an almost real job. Little did I know, that move changed my style. And not in the Armani suit, fancy heels way. At the university I tended to complain a lot about long hours, bad pay, etc etc, slavery in the name of research nobody really cares about, etc etc. The truth is I had plenty of time on my hands and nobody controlled what I did. Eh...beautiful times.

Now I seem to be always on the run and some rules of the strict code I lived by just had to go:

1. In my previous life I would never ever think twice about spending precious time in order to choose a handbag that would go with the rest of my outfit. The habit was as obvious as brushing my teeth. Nowadays, hmmm, I've been carrying around the same black handbag for the last four months. It makes packing much easier though. Before I needed to take at the very least two handbags on every trip longer than two days.

2. My former self would never leave the house with unwashed hair. Maybe sometimes on Sundays but I knew I wouldn't meet too many people on that day. At present, well... I shamefully admit that sometimes my hair is one day past its washing due date. I know, I know, it's not pretty and I hate when other people do it.

3. I often realize at work that I'm wearing my clothes on the wrong side. While discovering it in the bathroom in case of underwear is OK, if it's the blouse and a nice co-worker quietly points it out to you, it can be embarrassing.

4. Some years ago when people looked at me on the street, I would assume it's because they are blinded by my beauty and find me very attractive (men) or wish they were me (women). OK, maybe I exaggerate a little but you get my drift. Nowadays when it happens I immediately do a mental check: Is it possible I have food on my face? Are my garments inside-out? Do my socks match? Do I look like a gypsy? Does my hair look like a bird's nest?

But the most important thing is I really don't care that much anymore. Who would worry about looking decent, when you can focus your all attention on knitting ill-fitting sweaters?

This brings me to the news from the knitting front. 

Yet again, reckless knitter that I am, I started a project (Tomten jacket by Elisabeth Zimmermann) without having enough yarn to finish. I actually had only one skein that I didn't know what to use for and decided to try it out. It turns out it works pretty well with garter stitch and today I wanted to buy some more but the shop doesn't have it anymore. Ah well, I will order on the Internet. Who cares about dye lots! I am such an irresponsible knitter, I do this all the time. Part of it comes from my stinginess. I don't want to spend too much money on yarn in case I change my mind and decide to stop knitting forever or something happens that prevents me from it. So far there are absolutely no indications that such an event could occur, in fact I 'm definitely cuckoo about knitting, but you never know.

This reminds me about my first ever knitting project. One reason I taught myself knitting was that I wanted to knit a sweater like one I already have. See, the sweater I have is really precious to me and unfortunately after many years of use not so freshly looking anymore. So what a girl got to do? She ought to learn knitting and try to create a reproduction of the favourite sweater. And that's what I did. Whaaa? Well, correction: that is what I attempted.

First I bought myself Vouge Knitting and figured out how to perform all the basic stuff. Cast-on, knit, purl, increase, decrease, yarn over, cast-off.

Then I bought some cheapy bulky yarn.

I chose a pattern with lots of yarn-overs to mimic the original sweater's lacy design

And made a swatch and some dubious calculations

And I started knitting.

I even sort of finished the whole thing. There are many reasons why I don't wear it. One would be that it would fit a person who weighs an extra 35 kilograms. The thought of trying to put on weight crossed my mind but I discarded it after careful consideration. There are many conclusions I came to after this little project. I will list them here and maybe someday some newbie knitter can learn from my mistakes.

1. If you are new to knitting, trying to design a sweater as your first project may backfire. For Christ sake try a scarf first!

2. White scratchy bulky wool is not good and leaves white fluff everywhere.

3. It is of utmost importance to knit consistently. Not too tight and not too loose. While blocking, I realized that one sleeve is about 70% smaller that the one on the other side. On the one side I was knitting really tight while the other side was completely loose.

5. Sewing pieces together is boring and requires a lot more effort than knitting.

OK, that's it for today. I go on to work on the Tomten some more.

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