Come back, autumn!

Just a quick update to say that I’ve been making good progress on the Lia sweater, but had to quit working on it until the weather cooled off. It was really going great during that first mid-month cool snap, but then it got hot and humid again, and the sweater had grown to the point that it was too hot to have it on my lap while I knitted. I switched back to mittens and socks in the hope that the cool weather would return…and that was almost two weeks ago. Sigh. I admit it: I’m not committed enough to be a four-season knitter. I like to knit, I do knit in the summer, but I definitely flag when the weather gets hot. And because I’m a wimp, that tends to mean anything more than about 75F in the house.

Still on my agenda is work in the Historic New England archives on the Codman family knitting activities and papers. My plan is to go on October 27 and combine it with a gallery talk for the third embroidery exhibit installment at the MFA that is scheduled for that day. I may have made a connection to give a talk on the Codman research, and heard another rumor of some WWI-related research on other families whose houses are part of our organization. I may be able to turn this into something! More as things develop. I’m still finishing the last of my edits on my thesis, and that’s been taking up my free time when I’m not teaching or pinch-hitting as secretary/IT support for my husband’s budding law firm. One more computer problem solved or office supply order placed and that job is going on my CV, I swear it. I’d planned to knit a lot of Christmas gifts, and that time is going to have to come from somewhere.

One thing I’m really looking forward to is the With Cunning Needle conference at Winterthur in a few weeks. I registered last spring, and since I rarely get to go to these things (or stay in hotels by myself while someone else cleans up after me), I’m excited all out of proportion to the event. I’m even looking forward to the seven-hour drive. I’ll be able to listen to books and podcasts while nobody pukes in the backseat. Yes, I’ve reached a sad stage in life where that is something that I must happily anticipate, rather than take for granted.

One good thing about the weather lately:

I haven't seen one like that since Grand Canyon in 2006.

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Stymied

I’m so frustrated. I’ve been wanting to make a Lia sweater for the past year, ever since it was published in Knitty. But I took the yarn and needles out the other night, when I finally had a chance to work on it and it also wasn’t 110 out, and right out of the gate I’m stuck on the cast-on.

I watched that video about forty times. I don’t even make a slipknot like she does! My hands feel like meat tenderizers. I really could have used a win today, too. Now I’m browsing for other sweater patterns that don’t make me hate everybody.

Changing Seasons

We’re at the beach for Labor Day, as is our wont. Other weekends vary, but we’re always here for Labor Day and July 4. Some concern it would be rainy, but instead it’s been hazy and very warm, just as you’d want it to be if you were going to swim off the coast of New England. I went in. As soon as you can’t feel your skin anymore, it’s a breeze.

Last night, I had my Snapdragon mitts out after dinner, and cast on for the second one, saying casually that I hoped I wouldn’t make the same mistakes I made on the first one. My husband’s grandmother, one of the great knitters in my life, turns out to be one of those people raised never to let a mistake stand in knitting, so she talked about the heartbreak of ripping back to fix something. I always thought I had relatively little tolerance for knitting mistakes myself, but it turns out I’m of the “if it’s too much trouble, and won’t show in the end, or can be fixed after, why bother” stripe. I’m also frequently inclined to make a third of something that’s normally a pair, if the second one comes out a lot better than the first. With a mitten, who cares. It’s another two evenings.

She’s making my baby a knitted intarsia Christmas stocking next, bless her. She’s eighty-six and arthritic, and I was sure that when my older son was born, she wouldn’t be able to make him a stocking (all of her children and grandchildren have them). But two years later, she presented him with one, saying that she wasn’t sure she’d be able to do it, but had drawn up all of the directions for me so that I could do it if she didn’t make it. Now she’s made one for the next great-grandchild, my husband’s cousin’s baby, and says she’s doing one for my second boy, and then the fourth great-grandchild, a girl. Four great-grandchildren. Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe I’ve been with this family for nearly fifteen years. This is my fifteenth summer at the beach. It’s a little different every year, or seems like it should be, and yet, as though all of the people who are new here have always been here. It is a place of echoes.

I feel that way about my knitting sometimes. I finished the Budding shawlette in record time, and gave it to my sister for her birthday. It’s out in the world now. I don’t often feel attached to the things I knit. Not like I’d rather keep them for myself to prevent their coming to harm, anyhow. They’re just in my custody for a while, and then they’re off to be out there. I mean, I don’t think I’m giving them to people who then set them on fire, but sometimes knitting is more like getting yarn into a condition to be out in front of other people, as one does when raising children. Mistakes there may be, but off they go, nonetheless.