Saturday, August 15, 2009

*Almost* the End of Summer

Notice the date? It's inevitable: school will be cranking itself into high gear again very soon. The new crop of first-years will arrive for their orientation on the 30th of this month, and our fall classes will start on September 7th, while the rest of the country celebrates Labor Day. That may seem a bit out of line, but remember Tevya & Co. singing about "Tradition"? It's always been the way of things here for the term to begin on the first Monday in September. The practice actually pre-dates the existence of a Labor Day holiday, and so local custom trumps the federal mandate. Every time. Funny, that...

Anyway, more organizational and planning emails are appearing in my campus account every day now. And although the summer has been a splendid respite from all of that for a while, as long as it lasted, I find my thoughts turning to academic pursuits once again with increasing urgency — which means that this blog, and the needlework activity by which it is fed, will naturally have to slow down to make room for things like reading assignments, lecture preparation, tests, student papers, etc.

But that said, there are still a few project goals that I would very much like to reach before the students return.

For instance, what I have been calling the "Great Guernsey Adventure" continues unabated. Eriskay is still waiting in the wings, but we have been exchanging glances lately, especially because I am eager to show off the *lefty* Channel Island Cast-On, which I recently learned. But I have been telling myself that I can't stand to have both Guernsey projects on the needles at the same time unless they are at different stages of their development. Otherwise I won't know which way to turn!! So my self-imposed rule has been that Stornoway must be done up to the armhole gussets, where I will divide the front & back (& stop working in-the-round), before Eriskay can commence.

It is happy news, then, that I have been making steady progress with Stornoway. Such lovely, simple, geometric patterns!! They are easy to memorize and very satisfying to knit, especially because the 5-ply guernsey wool really makes them visually "pop", as the saying goes, without being ostentatious. Yet this is also unmistakably a sturdy, functional garment and not just a show-piece. I *LOVE* the idea that it can stand up to heavy use, and is meant to be worn. It is a fabric closely tied to life and work and weather, where man meets nature and is unafraid to face the elements. So here now is Stornoway, with 75 rows of the body complete. That's 9 3/4" of the 13" needed below the armhole gussets.

These photos got the color of the "Cedar" just about right. What a surprising beauty!! When my husband first picked it out, if truth be told, I was concerned that it might look dull, but that changed once I saw the cones as opposed to the snippet on the color card, and especially when I actually started working with it and seeing the knitted fabric emerge. It's far more green than gray, with remarkably rich undertones. I have been warming to it more and more all the time, and by now it has completely won me over.

In the picture on the left, you can see how much (or rather, how *little*) remains from the first cone of yarn, which will leave me a little bit shy of the half-way point when it is used up. The picture on the right shows the center front (or back), with the patterns in their symmetrical ranks on either side. Click on either photo, as usual, to get a closer look. The sweater is taking shape nicely, but ribbing will still have to stretch somewhat more in order for the side "seams" to lie flat. I will probably take the plunge and acquire a proper wooly board when the time comes to block the guernseys. I have always wanted one, and this will be the perfect excuse, er, *opportunity* to make it happen.

Ah well, having said what I came here to say, I should really get back to my end-of-summer tasks. Duty calls...

1 comment:

  1. The Stornoway looks cosy, it must feel wonderful. I've not seen a wooly board before. Thank goodness the postage to Australia would be prohibitive, or there'd be more clicketyclick ordering going on.
    And I love the colours you've chosen for the stained glass bag. So many beautiful projects, so little knitting time!