COMPULSION

Today I try to appease both my constituencies – stitchers and knitters.

First, for the knitters, I make confession that I’ve been seduced.  I recently came into possession of a true one-skein wonder, two balls of Skacel’s Zauberball Crazy.  One is an addled mix of red, turquoise, yellow and green (#1701), the other is chocolate, teal, cranberry and according to the official photo, on the inside somewhere – tan (#1507).  It’s a lofty and soft fingering weight, 100g/459 yards per ball, enough to knit a pair of socks for me.  Here are Skacel’s own photos of the two, at a color fidelity much better than I could achieve:

zauberballcrazy1701.jpg crazy1507.jpg

But looking at this stuff made me want to do something other than socks.  Given the number of variables in play right now, I decided I didn’t want to take time to design my own pattern, so I began poking around the ‘net and found the Wingspan scarf.  I’m working up this variant.  It’s all garter stitch, with the demonstrative shaping formed by short rows.  You can see the play of the extra long color repeat even in this traditional blurry String snap, taken at dawn:

Wingspan-1

A quick knit, totally on autopilot, with a clever system of traveling markers that make it impossible to make a mistake.  More on this as the thing grows.

And on the Big Green Sampler, I’m inching along the fiddly bits at the bottom edge, filling in my voiding.  The tightly drawn two-sided Italian cross stitch goes more quickly in an open field.  Around these odd little bits – especially the Y-shaped extensions in the top and bottom borders (a detail done exactly this way in the museum original) – it’s a slow and exacting ride:

green-21

The little empty rectangles at the base of each Y are especially tricky to leave unworked.  Still, I am making incremental progress none the less.

Now, why did I start the knitting project? 

Compulsion.  Plain and simple.  I do 98% of my yarn acquisition at Wild & Woolly, my local yarn shop – a heaven on earth for knitters.  But driving across the state to drop Elder Daughter off at college put me within striking distance of  Webs, the Northampton, MA yarn hypermarket.  My rule is not to buy stuff elsewhere that I can find locally, so Younger Daughter and I took a quick jaunt through the place looking for stand-outs – things I haven’t seen anywhere else.

That’s where I was attacked by the Zauberball.  It fairly leapt of the shelf in a direct assault on my magpie color sense.  It’s hard to describe this compulsion to a non-crafter.  I HAD to get it, and I HAD to find something good to knit with it, and I HAD to cast on right away.  That’s the way the best projects work – the absolute mandate to watch the piece take shape.  Time flies on its own. Any encountered problems melt away.  I look down and see more done than I realized was happening.  Oddly enough, the final product while valued, is not the goal.  It’s the process, the journey, the materials, and the sense of progress.  

I’ll split my time between these two.  Maybe I’ll figure out something myself to do with Zauberball #2.  Or maybe not.  But in any case, both balls have to be cooked, chewed and digested before I return to normal.

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