Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Of Singing and Knitting

Last week we went to the 18th Annual North American Jewish Choral Festival. In all those years I have missed only two, and every year it is surprising how fabulous it is. It is four solid days of singing, going to workshops, listening to performances, and eating worse-than-mediocre food (but then we keep reminding ourselves that "it isn't about the food"). Workshops and performances covered 500 years of Jewish choral music in every conceivable style, from Italian Renaissance to "hot-off-the-presses" American and Canadian. This year's honoree was Theodore Bikel, storyteller, actor, activist, and folk singer par excellence. He spoke, he sang, and he charmed all 500+ attendees, whose only regret was that his time on stage was limited to one afternoon session and an evening performance.

One thing that was different this year was amount of knitting going on during the brief "down" periods between sessions, or while waiting for something to begin. Waiting for the first "community sing" session to begin, I was knitting the cuffs of the almost-finished socks and the person on my left said "phooey, I should have brought my knitting too... I left it in the room!" Then somebody sat down on my right and started knitting on a hat. At almost every session I spotted somebody nearby knitting something, and many were people I had known for years without knowing they were knitters. Question to ponder: Why is it that this was the year we all brought along our knitting for the first time?

Not surprisingly, this wasn't the time or the place for knitting lace, but I couldn't bear to get behind on Mystery Stole 3 – especially since my decision to redo Clue 1 with a double strand (on the night before Clue 2 was released) meant that I was already behind. (Yeah, yeah, I know it isn't a competition.) So lace-knitting time was restricted to 5:30-7:00 every morning. Clue 2 was finished within an hour of the release of Clue 3 on Friday morning!

The decision to restart was a good one. I am much happier with the look and feel of the doubled yarn, and the 6/0 silver beads are more visible than the 8/0 beads on the single-stranded version. (Trust me on this, despite their invisibility in the photo.) The design is starting to take shape and is looking really beautiful.

Before going away I finished the Alix's Shawl from the Interlacements merino sock yarn that had a previous incarnation as the too-pink-for-a-boy baby sweater. It knit up very fast, and like Myrna Stahman's other patterns, it is nicely shaped to fit easily over the shoulders without slipping off. The 500-yard skein was just enough for a smallish (54" x 28") shawl which will be perfect for a birthday gift for my mother, who often wears these colors and frequently suffers from the cold in over-air-conditioned Florida. If I make this pattern again I will make a few more pattern repeats to make it larger.


feltboots said...

Beautiful work on the mystery stole ! I really must try some of the ColourMart silk now I've seen how well it knits up.

Phyllis said...

Your shawl is coming along beautifully. I love the yarn you're using. I should possess such skills. Beautiful!!