Another project

I love, love, love the spring. My creative sap starts to flow. Whenever possible, I sit in my garden plotting my next book. It’s hard not to be distracted by the birds flapping in the birdbath or the squirrels spilling my clothespins, but I can usually manage. (Not today, though, since it’s pouring rain.)

A few weeks ago, in another creative burst, I made this skirt on my knitting machine. It’s my own design and oh, so warm and cozy.

A winter’s afternoon

Last year for Christmas, I treated myself to a knitting machine I found on craigslist for $50. It’s an antique from the 80s that was still in its original box and had obviously never been opened. Just like new. It took a little while and plenty of cursing to get the hang of it. A year later I am by no means an expert, but with every project, I learn something.

The first thing I attempted to make was a shrug. I’ve worn it once and, besides looking ridiculous, it is easily the most uncomfortable sweater I have ever donned. It’s now in my knitting basket, waiting to be frogged – torn apart to use the yarn for something else. My next project was a pair of red pants with a fair-isle motif. I know…knitted pants? The concept was too crazy not to try it. The motif was so frustrating and time consuming, that I gave up and it only goes part way around one cuff. Then, I ran out of yarn and have not been able to find more, especially since the department stores have all either closed or totally down-sized their craft sections. Curse you Zellers and Wal-Mart for forsaking the knitters! The pants are also waiting to be frogged.

But I do not give up easily.

I turned to projects for my son, who is significantly smaller than me – less time and less yarn. I’ve made him two sweaters and a large blanket for his bed. Now it’s my turn again.

I spent Sunday afternoon knitting. I started a new project with the mountain of leftover wool from the blanket project. (Yes, I overestimated, but I didn’t run out this time, did I?) So, based on the difficulty level (intermediate) and the fact that I had to get on the internet to find missing instructions, I calculated a 4-week timeframe.

As it turns out, I was able to finish the front, the back and the sleeves in an afternoon – by hand, that would take me months, if not years. If it looks terrible, I’ll rip it out and use the yarn for another project. No big deal because I only invested a couple of afternoons of my time. This is why I love my machine.

My man, on the other hand, hates my knitting machine. It’s loud and clackety and my projects take up the whole dining room table. It’s also insanely addictive and I tend to be obsessed with a project until it’s finished. In fact, I had to give myself a stern talking-to today to get online and post something – and what am I writing about? Yep, I’m obsessed. But that will pass once I finish this project and find something else to try.

I haven’t forgotten about the century farm house. It’s on my mind – it would be great to have my own workshop so I could clack away to my heart’s content without having to hear my boys complain about it, but I can’t let ‘wouldn’t it be great’ distract me from my daily life. Besides, I just spent a January afternoon doing what cold winter afternoons are meant for – right where I am (which is also within walking distance of the grocery store, a pub and a ton of restaurants – not sure I’m ready to leave that behind). When I was getting ready to finish up for the day, my son buzzed by on his way to go potty and shouted, “I love my house!”. Out of the blue.

I will post pictures of my knitting project when I finish it. In the meantime, this is the pattern I’m using, and if you’re inspired to try it, you can find the all-important cable charts here if you just scroll down a little. For more on frogging, check out this article on