No fudging allowed. Not one stitch.
Friday June 24th 2011, 8:49 pm
Filed under: Knit,Wildlife

A male Nuttall’s woodpecker–I’ve seen a pair dancing around each other on the tree trunks of late, I’m hoping they set up housekeeping here–landed on the birdfeeder this morning, something I’ve never seen before. The quarreling house finches tried to play their games with him while he was trying to figure out how to stand on this perch here and get food out of that port there, being taller than they, and he would have none of their harassment–he would turn to them with that sharp beak of his and stand them quickly down and go back to his efforts: there is food here. Clearly. The trunk of this thing doesn’t do diddly, how do they all do it, okay (Go away chirpface!), and at last he leaned over just so and snatched himself a seed.

I said to somebody yesterday that knitting is therapeutic: if it doesn’t come out just the way you want, you can relive the hours you spent on it and by golly make it come out exactly right.

I got called on that today.

I knitted a lace repeat on my qiviut project, looked at it and there was no way around it. Out. As I reknit it I thought, well, at least I learned something useful that I can apply to the design. I was gratified  at how well such a fragile-looking yarn stood up to being ripped out yet again.

Except there was more to learn. When I was in my Kaffe Fassett colorwork phase years ago, back when I knit  a coat with 68 shades of wool and mohair and then a second in 86 shades just to beat his after my husband happily claimed the first for his own, I learned that a color will look different if you put it next to this one vs that one.

Lace patterns do the same thing. Who knew.  (Well, I did, but we’re talking particular details here.) After five hours of knitting… I get to go see exactly how this many stitches at this gauge will fit after it’s off the needles, no guessing anymore, because everything I did this afternoon is again frog-centric.

I have hopped around enough perches by now.  I have sown enough seeds. Now I’ll be able to get this design to come out exactly how I want.

(A little later, frogging finished, a fair amount knitted up again: the yarn is just ever so slightly fuzzier, almost imperceptibly so from any distance–but the hands know, and the neck will. Soft soft soft.)

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That a color yarn will look different when placed against another color, or when woven into a fabric, is something the great artists, dyemasters, and weavers of modern Aubusson tapestries have long understood.
I must tell you a story about your mother you may not have heard. When she was growing up she sometimes worked in the family business sorting paint-chip samples. Your grandfather was the inventor of the system now used by everyone of producing basic, high-grade paint which would be colored by using added colorant in specific quantities and proportions. This was the Colorizer system, which Bennett Paints franchised to other manufacturers.
Your mother and I were in Aubusson (France) visiting the ancient dyemaster studio of one of the largest producers of modern, handwoven tapestries.
The dyemaster had a vat of dye as large as a big bathtub.He had a small wool sample the artist had given him with instructions that a quantity of wool be dyed to match. The dyemaster held another sample which had been treated in the vat and then dried. He held the two up for your mother to see. “Do they match?” I could see no difference. She said, “This one is a little lighter.” The dyemaster was surprised. “You are right, but they are so close I was going to let it go.” With that he added about a thimbleful of dye to that big tub. “Now it will be perfect.”


Comment by Dad 06.25.11 @ 8:32 am

Methinks you don’t live in a house, but in an aviary.

Comment by Don Meyer 06.25.11 @ 10:31 am

Love the hue, and especially that the photo/post prompted that story your father shared!

Comment by Channon 06.25.11 @ 8:45 pm

I’m afraid Channon is right, your dad’s story edged your post out for enjoyment. I suspect that you will be a gracious “loser” in this case!

BTW, did you know that the fine Bohus yarns (2-ply merino-angora blends, lace weight or at least very light fingering) also handle lots of frogging, becoming slightly fuzzier but holding up really well. I have empirical data on that(!), and also that their halo continues to grow during wear, yielding a garment that seems to be alive, changing in character in a wonderful way over time.

Comment by twinsetellen 06.26.11 @ 7:25 am

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