Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Positive reinforcements

Last evening I came home from work and made myself a cup of coffee. The warm rich brew was just what I needed. It was far more satisfying than a glass of wine would have been, far more edifying that a cup of cocoa.

If there is something that is not part of the evening routine around here, it is having an evening cup of coffee. If I have coffee in the evening, it takes me a couple extra hours to get to sleep, not altogether a bad thing. With a cup of coffee I get to see 11:00 p.m., an otherwise unheard of lateness.

An evening cup of coffee makes my sleep cycle almost normal. It makes me feel just the smallest bit decadent to sleep in till 7:00a.m., to hear the alarm for Mr. Needles at 6:00 and go right back to sleep till whenever my body wants to wake. Evening coffee would never work when the next day is a regular workday. I need my early waking on a work day just to feel like myself.

With all the extra evening to knit, I started to practise the weekends lessons. I picked up some bits and pieces of yarn, a Paton's Classic merino, and a part of a skein of Noro Silk Garden, picked out a couple of patterns in The Complete Book of Traditional Fair Isle Knitting and set to work. Some of the stranding across the back of the rows is too tight. The section with the little squares will be impossible to block larger. The v's are better, and alternating stitch section is quite simply on target for stranded tension. Some of this has to do with the different designs, but I hope some has to do with a growing comfort with the technique.

Moving two strands of yarn at the same time is not yet music in my hands. There are strange hand and arm movements happening. My elbows seem to be directing some off stage cacophony. There are frequent flights of needle and yarns to the floor. There are occasional curses. It is akin to the first music a violin player plays. It would be correct to say that I am at the squeaky, strident string stage of Fair Isle knitting, and just like beginner violinists, the right notes sometimes magically sound out.

It is enough to keep me going to the end of this coffee cup cozy project, and enough encourage me to move forward to a real hat.

And if you are wondering about the Complete Book of Fair Isle Knitting, I'll rate that a double crochet. It has a really good history of the technique section, but it really is a pattern dictionary, and a very good one too. A great resource of basic stitch patterns if I don't want to take the time to design my own.

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