Sunday, September 25, 2011

entrelac, here i come.

it is the current bane of my existence. 
if you are a knitter, 
and you like to try different things, 
and you have some attentional shortcomings, 
this may not be the thing for you. 

years ago, 
in a small world known as Harvard Square, 
i was a knitting junkie.
i lived in the square, 
i worked in the square 
and i had a t-shirt that suggested i did everything in the square. 
on its front side, it sported a simple message:
on its rear side, was an explanation. 
it was a simple statement that folks understood. 
natives and imports alike. 
we all looked like extras from the movie "The Sting".
our eyes would meet and we would knowingly look at one another signaling like we had just put our forefinger to the side of our noses. 
it was understood that we all KNEW something that outsiders did not. 
it was that we were in the land of milk and honey. 
our t-shirt backs sported:
The Most Opinionated Zip Code in the World
yes and we were members of its secret arrogant, informed, think tanky, elitist, 
who knows what the entrance fee or the secret handshake was. 
i just was delighted to feel part of something for the first time in my life. 
i had bartended and waitressed  at the Casa Blanca Restaurant.
as well as worked at the world renowned Design Research.
i drank beers, sipped cappuccinos and tippled cocktails 
in what i called the "golden triangle".
it was the nexus of three beloved places to me...
Casa Blanca, the Harvest and the Ha'Penny Pub. 
all three were well within a few blocks of my apartment and feet of each other. 

i also developed a strong, over indulged habit of knitting then. 
during my winter term break at college prior to these happy years, 
i spent the interstitial month between first semester finals and 
second semester starts 
learning to knit.
there was no Lopi sweater i was not willing to make. 
they were fast, knitted in the round(no purling need apply)
 and modestly priced to make. 
also they were fun and warm to wear. 
that was important in the colder months in western massachusetts. 

as time passed, 
i found the only reasonable way to support my harrowingly expensive knitting habit,
 was to work in a yarn store. 
go to the source for the costliest part of the financial burden. 
i was hired by a very quirky woman to work as a sales clerk in her store,
sadly, the now defunct
Woolcott and Company. 
i had no idea how much i could learn there,
 just by trying to figure things out for customers, 
as well as trading tips with co-workers. 
it was a whole other way of life to me. 
as my education in the world of knitting ensued, i developed many preferences in my own inventory of techniques. 
i eventually took on the joy of putting sweaters together for others, for pay. 
i learned enough to teach others how to knit.
i was able to develop a personal library of interests
 in color work through intarsia and fair isle knitting. 
i felt good. 
really good. 
and i felt i had perhaps earned a lot of stars for my virtual epaulets
 for accumulating and sharing as much of this handicraft as i had. 

there were naturally many techniques that eluded me. 
and for purposes of not making this too long and utterly tedious,
 i will say in one word, 
the worst was 
it is a technique that through one piece of knitted yarn at a time,
 one can create the facsimile of basket woven texture. 
it is apparently easy to do. 
it is also, not for folks that dislike following instructions. 
the ones like me. 

i can follow a chart and do complicated color knitting. 
things that Kaffe Fassett has created fall into this category. 
he is a genius as far as i am concerned and a very nice, modest one at that. 
i have been pleased not one, not two, but the three times i have met him. 
the only thing that is possible for me to share about this man 
other than his name is mispronounced constantly, 
is that he is a nice guy with the comfortable knowledge
 that he has talent oozing out of every pore of his being. 

with being a fan of kaffe's 
(rhymes with strafes, rafes, and chafes... 
no poncey accents anywhere for those of you not in the know...)
i truly felt no further need to master techniques that would ultimately frustrate me. 
so much of what mr. fassett does including the publication of many "glorious books"....
is that his style of work is very simple. 
its complicated and rich looks are created with color manipulations. 
i loved these to the nth degree. 

unfortunately, i took a sip of my own koolaid this summer. 
i saw a posting by a facebook friend that was a request for a knitting instructor. 
i wrote to the woman who was in charge of hiring.
let's just say,
 i did not do enough homework to evaluate the population i might be trying to teach to knit.
do not ask how many times that already has come to bite me in the tush. 
i had not knit for about 5 years, however that was not an issue. 
i feel that once you know how, your hands never forget. 
of course, my error was a little bit based on my 02138 mindset. 
clearly, i was unprepared for 02906.
i was feeling pretty smug, 
in that i applied for a job for the first time in nearly 20 years and
 felt completely qualified for it.
Wrong-o sleigh bell lovers. 
the women that i was to teach, are older than i, and part of a handicraft club. 
i missed the part of the introduction, where they were kind of all
"old providence" monied. 
i dare not say, but will in spite of the sureness that i am out of my depths with them. 
they are in my class to learn what they need to, to make gorgeous textiles, 
baby blankets, and whatever their little hearts desire. 
it is a good thing that they are all friends already. 
i am not one of them. 
i am second-guessing the hell out of myself in their company,
 alternating with feeling pissed at myself. 

while i was looking for something fresh to try about 10 yrs ago, 
i thought i might try a dip into a new pool of technical challenges. 
i tried to do some entrelac. 
i felt after less than half an hour, that my frustration level had reached 
alert level red. 
it seemed that with all that i could already do, knit-wise, this frustrating thing would be fine for me not to pursue. 
how often would i be challenged by not knowing how to do it? 
well two out of my four ladies are into it. 
and in a big way. 
i am just over my head, 
and now will be spending the rest of today working through the kinks in my focus. 
i will be suspending all of my other tasks on my stupendously long list of items to be finished. 
all for the love-hate relationship i feel with 

i feel grumpy still, but know i will succeed. 
cause that is what i need to do. 
as sure as scarlett o'hara would never go hungry again, 
i will try to harness the wild counting flamenco of increasing, 
picking up stitches,
 connecting fabric one stitch at a time,
 turning work,
 and decreasing...
until that basket woven texture from hell is my bitch.  
all to show these women that i am "all that" still. 
a shredded form of my former harvard square self who has lost her mind to the challenges of motherhood; 
a clever person that surely can keep up and abreast and ultimately lead their own skills into some other form of success. 
a person that takes the frustrating gauntlet thrown down in front of her and making it hers. 
i feel just so hobbled by their attitudes, that i intend to succeed. 

so wish me and that untouched hank of manos of uruguay yarn sitting on top of my piano 
accumulating dust and dog hair from lack of use. 
we are gonna kick some entrelac ass today. 
and i really mean it. 

um. wish me loads of luck too please? surely i will need it. 



  1. thanks sweetie. i will need some personal fortitude and a pair of long lost size 6 circular needles. grrrh. lost in my mess i fear. xow.