Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Stash Skirt

My knitting skills develop in fits and starts. Sometimes I only want to make easy and mindless scarves, then I’ll wake up one day and select the most complicated pattern and the most finicky yarn. The stars must have aligned on the day that little voice inside demanded that I learn to knit on circular needles. It wasn’t difficult, although I still don’t believe you can just knit and get stockinette. I mean, I see it happening, but I don’t understand it exactly: it’s like Leap Year—I don’t get it, but I go along with the experts and it seems to work out ok.

Part of the little-voice demand came from the kind of infatuation for a glossy photo that I have not experienced since propping up a Shaun Cassidy album cover on my nightstand so I could look at it while I fell asleep. Our crushes are a little different as grown women...I was obsessing over the skirt in Greetings From Knit Café. It is scarcely a pattern, more like an equation: you figure it out based on who it is meant to fit. The seamlessness also appealed to me because I’m not great at “finishing” or sewing pieces together. And it is the easy mindless scarf of circular needles—you just knit around and around and around, which I did mostly during my younger daughter’s ballet class. I even used the aloe-coated yarn from Brooks pharmacy, which I bought just so I could say, “I bought yarn at Brooks.” (If it has aloe, it must be medicinal.)

Things I loved about the skirt in the photo, the inspiration I wanted to emulate:

  • kooky and colorful—it is one of a kind, no color combination is wrong, novelty yarns appear, some of them fuzzy

  • you get to “design” it yourself—patterns are only a suggestion for me anyway, and I love something that is constantly changing throughout the process, so the designing choices continue all the way through

  • stripes—I love stripes! Random stripes! Unexpected combinations!

  • use what you have knitting—STASH REDUCTION! very important: it frees up storage space including the kind in your soul, where guilt used to hang out

  • free—since I didn’t buy any yarn and I used up my stash, and we all know Nature Abhors a Vaccuum (only slightly more than I abhor a vaccuum)...I can buy more yarn!

In that spirit, I went and knit a tube of amazing color collusion the likes of which the world has never seen. It didn’t fit either daughter, but it looked great. Except for know what’s coming next...hundreds HUNDREDS! of ends!

That is the price you pay for all those random stripes.

The poor forsaken thing sat like a dirty dishrag on a bookshelf, smooshed in with the Stash—almost like the Stash wouldn’t let go of its own. Sometimes the skirt would try to make a break for it and leap off the shelf, and I would, no lie, kick it back into the recesses of the bookcase. So ashamed. Later I’d try to make up with it and tell it I loved it. “C’mon let’s go buy you something pretty.”

Then one day, just as mysteriously as the urge to start the project appeared, the little voice demanded that I sew in the ends right now. It was a long snowy afternoon by the fire, the kids were laughing at the TV...there are worse ways to spend the day. And all the ends were in. It didn’t kill me. I repeat, it did not kill me.

It just proves to me, again, that no amount of guilt or “shoulding” can make me do something one second before I’m darn good and ready. And I know two little leaves who are not falling far from the tree (the second little leaf grew just enough while the skirt was “resting” and now it has a proper owner).

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