Monday, May 27, 2013

What's in a name?

It's ages since I posted about my knitting. It's not that I've abandoned knitting. I still knit most days. But somehow, I've accomplished little. Sensibly,I realised that I would inevitably purchase yarns while I was travelling, so on my recent travels I took with me only one pre-planned project - Martina Behm's Viajante shawl. 'Shawl'. That's how I was thinking about and describing this project to myself and others. It seemed ideal for travelling. Not only does 'viajante' mean 'traveller' in Portuguese, but the pattern is composed of vast expanses of stocking stitch - ideal when I needed something that required little concentration. It's a perfect project for a huge skein of Wollmeise lace-weight yarn (a kilometre and a half of yarn!) and I had a lovely deep green-blue in my yarn collection.

So I knitted and knitted. Inevitably I was a bit distracted by other projects, but I knitted and knitted. On my way home from the Netherlands to Australia I stopped in the Philippines to catch up with my son and grandson. My son is absolutely uninterested in and unknowledgeable about fashion and dress more generally, but he did ask what I was knitting. By now it was clear that the 'shawl' was rather unusual, as it is knitted in the round. 'Oh', he said, 'you're knitting a poncho'. He was right. I was knitting a poncho. It's an asymmetrical and beautifully designed poncho, but a poncho nonetheless. I wore ponchos in the seventies. In fact, I knitted and crocheted the ponchos I wore in the seventies, but if there is one style of garment I now regard with horror, it's a poncho. I kept knitting. I tried to ignore the fact that the project on which I had spent so much time was really a poncho. A couple of nights ago I made a minor error in my knitting and as I pulled the stitches off the needles to remedy the mistake I finally found the courage to abandon Viajante.


I've not quite abandoned it. I haven't yet unravelled the knitting - mainly because I can't figure out how to deal with the kilometre or so of yarn I will have to re-skein or rewind if I do so. But I'm no longer knitting and knitting on it, and it's a relief.

So what else did I knit? I blogged about my visit to the Breidag (knitting day) in the Netherlands and my discovery of the unusual and wonderful yarns at the Bart & Francis stall. I purchased some silk shantung yarn - that's really thread. It is so fine that I would never have realised it could be knitted except that the stall had an example of it knitted up rather loosely. I fell in love with the texture. So, I'm knitting a simple Baktus scarf in grey with random darker blue stripes. Slow knitting as the thread is so fine and prone to tangle upon itself. But it's not a poncho and I know I will enjoy wearing it.

Shantung baktus

And I actually finished a project while I was in Amsterdam. My friend Mieke rode her bike to visit me one cold day. As she offered her cheek for the very Dutch three greeting kisses, her skin was icy. I decided to knit a cowl for bike riding. Mieke dresses very stylishly, but most individually. Lots of black, lots of stripes, and shots of vibrant colours. A perfect recipient for one of Veera Valimaki's graphic patterns. So I chose the Simple Sprinkle pattern and bought some black, white and deep bright blue Rowan aran weight yarns in alpaca and wool. I liked the outcome, and I think Mieke did too.

Mieke's cowl
Mieke's cowl 2

In the last day or so I've begun a new project to distract me from my failed Viajante. But it's a bit of an experiment and I'm not sure it will work. It seems a bit like tempting fate to share it just yet.


Rose Red said...

Gee that cowl is great! And right up your alley, garter stitch, stripes, interesting construction.

But you know, I really do think you can rock the poncho, you have such great style!

Brendaknits said...

It sure doesn't look like a poncho. thanks for the heads up. I'm like you. I see the poncho as the un-fashion statement. To be worn with earth shoes, long straight hair parted only dead centre.

Yarna said...

I'm so pleased that you found the courage to ditch Viajante. Life's too short to knit unsatisfying projects.

Love the cowl!

DrK said...

no we can definitely can not be knitting ponchos. but it is a huge shame that you got so far into it, because that yarn is just the most amazing colour. i hope you find something else worthy. im liking all the blue in your current projects too, that cowl is fantastic!

Barbara said...

I remember ponchos with great affection. They enveloped you and kept you warm and cosy. Renaming is par for the course in all things -- academia and fashionista. The colour is beautiful and viajante is a great word.Being uneducated in such things, I would have called the stunning cowl, a scarf. Not nearly so impressive!!

Mo Crow said...

just popping in to say hello from Jude's What-if diaries I love that blue poncho it would be so warm on these chilly mornings in Sydney.