Monday, January 28, 2008


You didn't think I'd forgotten about my poor Autumn Rose, did you? A brief recap, for those who are late to the party: I did several gauge swatches for AR, until I finally got gauge. Knit happily along, steeked, did the neckband, tried it on, and... big. Way big. The sweater that was supposed to be 39" around was 42" around, which, given that the sweater is supposed to be snugly fitted, was a big deal. I've been slowly but surely weaving in the ends so that I could see what, if anything, I could do to salvage the sweater.

The first thing I attempted was a gentle hand-fulling. Remember, this sweater is knit out of shetland wool, which fulls up if you if you so much as sneeze on it, so I didn't want to try anything too risky and end up with a pretty placemat. So I dunked the sweater in hot water with a little Soak, kneaded it about for a while, then rinsed it in cold water. Pinned it out and discovered that it was now 41" around. Still way too big.

At this point I figured, what have I got to lose? So I threw it in the washing machine (front loader) on delicate (warm water wash, cold rinse) with some more Soak and one washcloth to provide some friction. This time, the sweater came out measuring a little more than 39" around, and the stitches were nicely fuzzed up:

Unfortunately, still too big, especially around the shoulders and the hips. So, throwing all caution to the wind, I threw it in the wash again, same cycle, but with a pair of sweatpants and a tee shirt for some more friction. This time it came out measuring about 38 inches, and sort of fits. It's still a little bit loose in the shoulders, but I think it's doable:

(The picture looks a bit funky because it was taken without a flash and then enhanced.) See how the shoulders kind of stand up on me? Like I said, it's wearable, but not perfect.

I also got my first Rockin' Sock Club shipment this weekend. I joined this year for the first time, almost against my better judgment. I'm not a rabid fan of Socks that Rock, but thought it might be fun to try something new, move out of my comfort zone. I'm not exactly sure how much I can reveal under the super secret rules of the club, so no pictures. The yarn is a color I would probably never have chosen for myself on my own, but there's something nice about doing something different. It's not hideous, at least. And I have to admit that the yarn is much softer than other STR that I've used in the past, so knitting with it isn't painful. I've cast on and worked about halfway down the leg of the first sock. The pattern is easy, but tends to get lost in the overwhelming COLOR of the yarn. I've also started a plain toe-up sock in the Smooshy pictured in my last post. I still love the color. In fact, I love it so much that I went back to Loopy Ewe (love them!) and ordered a bunch of the worsted weight Dream in Color in that colorway to make a sweater. Now, design ideas are aswirlin'. That yarn should arrive today.

I haven't forgotten Miss Lambert's shawl. I haven't had enough concentrated time to sit down and start the edging. 20 minutes here and there is great for socks, but not for lace edgings. Today is a "teacher work day," so the kids are home, Thursday I have plans with friends, tomorrow I need to take S's car in to be inspected, but I should be able to sneak in a bunch of knitting tomorrow while I wait.

That just leaves politics, I guess. I read a great article in the New Yorker last week comparing and contrasting Obama and Clinton in terms of their visions of the Presidency. It's not anything terribly new, but it provided some nice analysis. The general idea -- referred to elsewhere as "inspiration vs perspiration" -- is that Obama's vision of the Presidency is one in which the leader sets the agenda and inspires others to fulfill it, while Clinton's view of the Presidency has the leader working with Congress, international leaders, etc. on the nitty-gritty details and knowing how to maneuver agencies to get things done. Obviously I think a good President has to do both -- inspire and be able to get down in the trenches to get things done. But I think this is a valuable debate, and probably explains why I've been unable to decide whom to support. I can see the value of the inspirational leader in motivating people to step up and participate in government and in making the country a better place. When I worked in the government myself, a lot of my supervisors were people who had come to government because they were inspired to by JFK. They were passionate about their jobs and making the world a better place. Those are the kind of people we really want in government! I can also see the value of having Obama as President in terms of (hopefully) finishing up a lot of the work of the civil rights movement and in terms of bringing the relationship between black and white in this country to a newer, better level.

On the other hand, I also know from my time in government that a lot of government action comes about because of the maneuvering, prodding, pushing, and hand-holding of a lot of people up and down the line. Experience -- especially international experience -- cannot be underestimated, especially because of the complexities of the situation in the middle east. The next President will have a big job on his or her hands (how cool that I can type that!) undoing the mess that our current inexperienced President has created. Critics say that Clinton's time as First Lady doesn't count as the type of international experience that is needed right now, but I don't necessarily agree with them. It's not the best type of experience, but I don't doubt that Clinton studied well during her time as First Lady and has a lot of nuanced knowledge and personal experience that she can bring to the table. I'm not sure that Obama has that kind of experience, frankly.

So there's the dilemma -- inspiration or perspiration? It's not quite that simple, because you have to factor in personality and history as well. Can Clinton work effectively as President or will people who disagree with her turn into enemies, as they did during her husband's terms? She seems to have earned a reputation as a Senator who is able to work with anyone, even the impeachment managers who targeted her husband. But her campaign...

... there's the ugh factor. Can I get over the campaign missteps, Bill's strident and overzealous defenses? I have until February 12th to figure this out.

* Meanwhile... is a great kid's book, by the way.

1 comment:

kippi said...

Gorgeous sweater! I have seen that out and about in the blogosphere. It looks so complicated. I've not yet knitted a sweater, mostly because I can't figure out how to measure correctly to knit the right size. How frustrating is it to put in all that work and then have fit issues? Does this just get filed under process vs product?

WOW. You've already started your STR? I have mine here and am still waffling about the pattern. Am considering the "firestarter" sock pattern. Can't wait to see your photos. Maybe in progress?

Seems like WJC screwed the pooch on his zealousness. One could argue that having a vision is more important than having experience. Also experience can be a negative; some times things need to be changed to move forward.

It seems that the Clintons are arguing against what they argued for during their first race. He was inexperienced. From a historical perspective, I believe that some of the most successful Presidents were Govenors. I'd have to research to find the last President who was just a Senator.

It is clear that the country is wanting a change. I don't think I've ever seen Teddy Kennedy nearly giddy with excitement. Who knew the man could smile without a drink in his hand? I actually enjoyed his speech this morning. Which is shocking. Also a fascinating power play of the Kennedys seeming to turn against the Clintons.

Who needs soap opera writers when we have THIS?