Sunday, June 22, 2008

Knitting in lieu of tranquilizers

The more we travel, the more stressful it seems to be. I used to get nervous a day or two before a trip. Now it is more like three or four days, and the anxiety is even more intense. When the actual day arrives, it reaches a peak as we wait for the ride to the airport, then sit and wait the obligatory two or three hours for the flight. I have found recently that a combination of knitting and listening to music can help pass the time and is sufficiently distracting to lower the stress level. The same is true during the 3 or 5 or 12 hours of flight time.

This time we had a 12 hour flight to visit our son and grandchildren. I was only gone for 5 days but planned my knitting very carefully. I managed to finish the various pieces of the Scallop Edge Pullover from a recent issue of Knit Simple, worked on the Luscious Lace Scarf from Pixie's Paraphernalia, and fiddled with a ball of Louisa Harding's Kimono Angora until it found a pattern it liked.

The Scallop Edge Pullover is an easy knit, though I made a few changes to the pattern. The back was excruciatingly boring (plain stockinette), but the detail in the front made it much more interesting.

Pattern: Scallop Edge Pullover by Lauren L., Knit Simple (Spr.-Sum. 2008)
Yarn: Lily Chin Chelsea (cotton, merino, acrylic blend) - 8 balls
Needles: Knit Picks Harmony US #4

GAUGE – larger gauge than pattern calls for. I miscalculated the number of stitches to cast on, and then decided to make it an “A” shape, wider at the hips, partly out of laziness (since I didn’t want to frog) and partly because that style is usually flattering. I probably should have ripped it out and started again.
HEM – Simple crocheted edging, because I was afraid the picot hem would be too bulky. That was a mistake. After I did the picot edging around the neck I realized that it would have been fine. Sleeve hem – ditto, but used garter edge.
LENGTH – added several inches. The pattern was much too short.

When all that stockinette got to be too much, I switched to lace. The Luscious Lace Scarf was easy enough to knit with only an occasional glance at the pattern at the beginning of every few rows. The fine cashmere yarn was soft and stretchy and felt lovely in the hand. I am still debating how many more pattern repeats to do. Maybe I will just keep it as an UFO for our summer vacation.

The other project for this trip was to find a satisfactory scarf pattern for the Kimono Angora. It is nice and soft but the colors are really strange. I bought it on sale and thought I liked the colors, then vacillated between love and hate. After trying several different patterns I gave up and just did a simple stockinette rectangle, adding a drop stitch across the row at random intervals, sometimes using single yarnovers and sometimes doubles. This was also good airplane knitting, because there was no pattern to juggle, but the occasional drop stitch rows kept it interesting, along with watching the effect of the color changes.

A lot of knitting was done in those five days. Because of the impossibility of sleeping in the tortured position those airline seats force you into, I alternated knitting (while watching movies or listening to music) with reading. And thanks to jet lag, there was also a lot of knitting time at night once we were there. And thanks to all that knitting, I was much calmer during all that time, and I have a completed sweater and two 75%-finished scarves to show for it – instead of just high blood pressure and palpitations.

1 comment:

fleegle said...

That is a beautiful sweater and a delicately lovely scarf!

But, um, yesterday, knitting did NOT relieve the stress. And the stress of travelling these days can only be address with a blackjack to the head. I hate it!