Sunday, September 29, 2013

Knitting Charts

I knit the first section of the Winter Leaves shawl watching a very interesting Canadian tv series called Bomb Girls
The setting of the series is Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1942.   Because Canada is part of the British Empire, it has already entered the war.  Male workers are in short supply, so women from all walks of life go to work in the munitions factories.  Women working for a wage on factory floors are still viewed suspiciously here and to their male counterparts they are mostly sex objects and second class citizens. One of the main characters, a rich girl, discovers that in some ways she has less freedom than her blue-collar colleagues in the factory.  My mother was ten that year and this is a decade that helped shaped her life. I found it fascinating and it triggered a marathon knitting session. 

I am very unhappy that Bomb Girls was cancelled after two years.  It was intelligent, interesting, thought-provoking and humorous at times.  The people seemed real.  It's extremely rare to have such a good program with an ensemble cast of women.  There should be more of these programs, since women make up at least half of the population.  Unfortunately most women have probably been too busy taking care of spouses, children, other relatives and households to watch it and affect tv ratings.  More's the pity.

I discovered that I knit too far on the shawl so I had to take some rows back.  At least I had the correct number of stitches. Now I'm faced with a challenge. There are three knitting charts to this pattern.  I have never used knitting charts before. Somehow I achieved As in geometry, trigonometry and even algebra (I don't know how I ever managed to do the word problems) in high school, as well as Spanish, German and Italian. I should be able to follow knitting charts, right? 

My first attempt was not successful.  It seems like there's some unwritten knowledge that's taken for granted and not written down. This is also the row where I change to the larger circular needles. As I've written in the past, my cat Emily loves circular knitting needles. The stitches I took out went back on the smaller needle as they came off the larger needle. I accidentally let go of  the larger needle after I put the last stitch back. Emily was right there with her paw ready to grab the circular knitting needle.  She has her own circular needle with a split cable to play with, but she ignores it. The fun must be in the theft. 

I attempted to follow the first chart a different way.  I think I must be close, but it wasn't perfect.  I was short one stitch.  I'm hoping that I miscounted stitches or forgot a step somewhere.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Knitting Again

I am finally knitting again.  It occurred to me that I hadn't knitted since my dear friend Kay's memorial service on August 3.  Three friends, who also knew Kay, had trouble going back to knitting.  It was easier for me to go back to it after this realization and hearing from my friends.  I chose my next yarn a while ago:

I bought this pretty yarn from Liberty Fibers at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival in 2011. The night before the festival I tried to think of colors I'd want to knit in a shawl and this yarn captured them almost exactly.  Both skeins were hand-painted at the same time, but they came out differently.  I am knitting one shawl with them, alternating the yarns every two rows.  Hopefully it'll work out fine.  The pattern I finally chose is the Winter Leaves Shawl by Anna Szymanowka on Ravelry.

I didn't want to think too much at this time and I think hand-painted yarn usually requires a simpler pattern.  It feels good to knit again.  My cat Emily is happy to have that to watch again.  She sits next to me on the arm of the chair.  Of course, I am swinging the cable of a circular knitting needle back and forth.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Haunting Tributes

I just heard this haunting song, "Here Comes The Water" by Chuck Pyle on the Hudson River Sampler.  It is a deserving memorial to a Colorado trooper who sacrificed his life to save people from flooding in 1976.  It put me in mind of Tom Paxton's song "The Bravest."  I first heard him sing it live on the Prairie Home Companion the fall of 2001.  I haven't heard a better tribute to the survivors and the victims of 9/11.