Monday, October 16, 2006

This Mortal Coil

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

-Christina Rossetti

My weekend was okay - punctuated unfortunately by a heart-rending memorial for the father of a friend. I never knew the man himself, but the memorial made me wish I had. I haven't been to many funerals in my life: this was only my third. It has been ten years since my grandmother's funeral so I had forgotten how the feeling stays with's not a matter of simple sadness, or a sense of loss, but actual depression - sunken misery - and it hangs on for days. I remember a couple of posts by another blogger around the time a family member of hers passed away. When reading these posts, I was moved both to tears of sympathy, and to a profound despair at the seeming futility of our brief earthly experience.

But it's my birthday today
and Collette has made a paper cake
so I will put my pointy hat on my brain tumour
and dance.

Here's what I knit over the weekend. I found out (too late, as it turned out) about the Afghans for Afghans 900 sweater/vest drive, and was galvanized into action. I dug out my last two pucks of White Buffalo and my 6.5mm circular, did up a schematic, and cast on for a pretty sturdy little vest.

A note here about thick needles, thick yarn, and "fast" knitting: it doesn't work. There is a lot of chat about how fast it is to knit large yarn on large needles. "One-evening scarf!" or "Cast on this sweater on Wednesday, wear it to the party Friday night!"

It's all lies.

Knitting enormous six-strand unspun White Buffalo yarn, and Briggs & Little roving on 6.5mm needles takes FOREVER. Yes, even if the tension is 9 sts over 4 inches (there are only 61 sts per round in this sucker). My other current project is a pair of lace socks at 9.5 sts to the inch on size 2.25mm needles, and it flies compared to this vest. Part of the problem is that I can't knit continental (yarn carried in my left hand, tensioned over my ring finger) when using huge yarn. I have to knit English (or American, whichever you may call it) with the yarn carried in my right hand. I'm out of practice doing this, and it involves a lot of extra motion, so the knitting is slower. You also have to be careful not to pull too hard on the roving, or it will just come apart. Once the strands are knitted they are very strong; but as they come off the "puck", they pull apart like cotton candy. So, not too much speed. Additionally, after a couple of hours the exaggerated motions and the heavy yarn made my hands ache like the devil.

BUT, I got the vest done.

I still have to add a single-crochet edge in the contrast colour to the neck and armholes, to deal with the curling. I don't think it'll solve it entirely, but it'll still warm up the little body it's put on. Unfortunately I didn't find out about the drive early enough to have it done on time, so I think it'll go into the box for Dulaan 2007, along with two hats in the same yarn, and whatever the Stitch and Bitch produces in the coming six months or so. I don't do a lot of charity knitting but I thought the kids over in Afghanistan, or Mongolia, would appreciate the White Buffalo more than I would...I certainly can't handle knitting a me-sized garment with that yarn and those needles.

Still haven't found my Destiny Yarn for Eris...I am thinking of going in a different direction for a while. What does everyone think of this? No fitting, no pressure. Just something really warm and woolly that I can throw on at home. I am thinking about either Paton's Classic Merino (my true medium) or possibly, if I can swing it, Noro. I haven't decided whether Kureyon or Silk Garden. I did get some birthday money, after all...

Okay, time to hit the duvet: it's Day Two of my campaign against insomnia. The light is going out and by God I am going to lie here until I fall asleep or go mad. Note the nice early time of this post - begun at 9:00 PM and completed at 11:41, after many interruptions. I'm actually going to bed at night, instead of early in the morning! Great improvement!


Kate said...

You know I love the circular idea. I think that one would look really nice on you.
Great vest! I have a pink puck of the Buffalo, still mulling it over.
What time did you fall asleep?!
My word verification start with 'feh' ... sort of how funerals etc make me feel. Last year at this time I had two for two women who had been in my life a long time and were both too young. Feh.

Shan said...

Well, I was probably asleep by 12:30 that time.

Pink WBuffalo sounds great. If you want to mix it up with some olive green, or with "Sheep's Gray" roving, you're welcome to my spare bits.

See you tonight.