Knitting progress, simple but still progress: socks, chenille, new shawl

Sometimes simple knitting progress is all I can expect (or hope for?).

So far, 2008 has been a humdinger. I’ve written about a few of the reasons here, but there are others. I’m doing my best not to think about them right now.

As one example, though, before I forcibly turn my attention elsewhere to preserve my sanity, we just finished doing our 2007 tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service is doing okay from my publishing efforts. I think (I don’t really want to look, because I don’t want to know this for sure) that the IRS is making more money from our efforts than the four authors and publisher combined. (The illustrators get paid up front, so their income doesn’t ride on sales.) The publisher (that’s me) does have a garage full of books in lieu of income. The idea is that these books will turn into income, but at the moment they’re just boxes of books. The IRS won’t let publishers deduct printing costs as expenses on a tax return until the books sell, so the government counts the inventory re-stocking as "income" and charges taxes on it, even though piles of books are not much use for paying bills (including the printing bills, by far the largest bills I have and which also get paid up front, so the printers’ income doesn’t ride on sales, either . . . just the authors’ and the publisher’s).

The good news is that we’ve just reprinted three books—Ethnic Knitting Discovery, Knitting in the Old Way, and Spinning in the Old Way—so we have a good stash for a while. If we need to reprint, then it must mean that books are selling, right? So some time we should have some income, right? (Payments for book sales are delayed by 30, 60, 90, 120, or 365 days, depending on the account to which they are sold, so it’s hard to mentally connect income to sales. . . . This business operates on a lot of faith, guts, and hard work. . . .)

Moving right along to knitting. . . . Apologies for the funky photos; this morning the choice was "funky" or "nothing."

Here’s the cotton chenille cardigan for my acupuncturist, creeping toward the finish line:


I haven’t seamed the sleeves because I wanted to try it on her and make sure it fit first. It does. She wanted simple; it’s simple. The color’s great on her. It would not be great on me! There’s no pattern. I’m making it up, based on what she’s described that she wants.

HALLELUJAH! I finished the socks I started in . . . October. That’s way too long to be working on one pair of socks, and yes, I got tired of them. They’ll come in handy and I will like them again. But for now, I’m going to put them in a drawer until I happen across them and they feel new again. There was no pattern for them, either, just my usual Simple Socks process, with a 3/1 rib to keep the ribbing from breaking up the color in the yarn too much on the leg portion. Toe up.


I note by going back to find out whether I really did start those socks that long ago that I was also working on the massive gauge swatch for the chenille sweater in October. My knitting has been feeling too much like delayed gratification. The publishing business is that way and there’s nothing I can do about it. Oh. I just realized I was also dealing with computer malfunctions in October that are better but have not been completely resolved yet. Wow, these things drag on. It’s a wonder I haven’t pitched the computer out the window. Oh, right. I work in a basement. I’d have to heave it UP and out. Too hard.

With knitting, I have a bit more control. Sometimes.

So I chose to begin work on something new and completely different. Not the lovely alpaca shawl that I started last year and that’s still in about the same shape it was in then. Nor any of the perhaps dozen other things I’ve started and then set down, longer ago than last year.

No, I needed something completely fresh. It needed to be interesting and fun to knit, but not too demanding, because my brain is semi-fried by all the other things going on.

My new project is at the upper left right [oy] in that photo with the Almost Endless Socks: it’s another Evelyn Clark design, the Landscape shawl, one I’d picked up the pattern for a while ago although it had seemed too simple for my previous knitting needs. It’s perfect for now. Since it’s a product of Evelyn Clark‘s mind, it is so nicely thought out that it is both simple and elegant, not only in what it will produce but in the path it takes to get there. The design has a sweet rhythm and enough routine to be comfortable and enough variety not to be boring. Thanks, Evelyn! (Whom I look forward to visiting with in person some day.)

The yarn is a gift from a friend. It’s from her stash. I’m ever so grateful. The colors and texture are just what I need right now. . . . It’s by Textiles A Mano, devised by Laura Macagno-Shang. I don’t know, nor do I care right now, exactly which yarn it is, but I think it’s Sanibel, custom-dyed. It looks and feels like it’s predominantly rayon. It’s nice on the needles and on the eyes.

I’ve made one modification in the pattern: a mistake turned into a design feature. Evelyn’s shawl has picots along its edges, worked on two out of every four rows. I was tired when I began the shawl and ended up misreading the pattern and working the little frills on every row. When I discovered my error (on about row 8), I decided I liked what was happening and did not want to rip, even though it will take more yarn, and more time, to work twice as many bumps along the edges. There’s been too much ripping throughout my life lately, of knitting and other things. The extra bits are fun to knit; doing them on EVERY row means there’s one less thing for me to keep track of (a very good thing right now); and I think I will like the slightly weighted edge on the finished shawl.

How big will the shawl be?

Dunno. I’ll knit until I am close to running out of yarn, then figure out some finishing sequence that looks intentional, based on the course Evelyn Clark has laid out for me in her pattern. She’s like the scout or guide for this knitting trip I’m taking (or maybe the lifeguard, considering I’ve been feeling like I’ve been either bushwhacking or drowning for the past several weeks). My guess is that I’ll end up with something between her shawl and her scarf dimensions. If I’m feeling like it, I might play with the shaping she uses on the long edge of her scarf, but since I want to use all of this yarn and I don’t want to run out halfway through the shaping process, I’ll probably keep it simple.

And then maybe knit another one.

But one thing at a time. (Those who know me may laugh loudly here.)


1 thought on “Knitting progress, simple but still progress: socks, chenille, new shawl”

  1. Hey there, is it just me or does it sound like you’re really struggling there? (the drowning reference, maybe?) Please let your friends know if we can help. 🙂 In the meanwhile, let’s hear it for some fun knitting. We all need more of that!

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