I've started a new project! I'm working with some Danish wool that I've owned for longer than I'd care to admit. It's beautiful stuff, finely spun, and shifting colors ever-so-slowly.
I had been saving this yarn until I finished my huge handspun sweater, and since now all I need to do is sew on the buttons, I have my own permission to get started. I worked up a knitted sample this weekend, when my friend John was visiting. I wanted to knit my sample flat, and struggled with a technique called "knitting back, backwards." I'm sure there are very good reasons to use this approach, but ultimately I realized that plain old purling works just fine for me. (Sorry non-knitters, I'm sure this is terribly boring.)
I was delighted with my swatch, but also rather dreading the task of working up the math for the project. And then the universe smiled on me. Something prompted me to wander over to my friend Mary Jane Mucklestone's blog, where she just happened to be showing a (freaking amazing) technique for laying out complex sweater patterns. Instead of calculating, based on size and number of stitches, Mary Jane slaps her knitted samples on the photocopier, makes a batch of full-scale copies, and works up her templates, actual size. I wish I'd been clever enough to think of something that's simultaneously brilliantly inspired, and blindingly obvious.
Given how long it took me to knit the Ziggy Sweater, I imagine that I'll be working on this project for the next three years. (I see blogs of knitters who churn out elaborate sweaters in mere weeks, and I think "Damn. I know that I have no life, but who the hell *are* these people?")