Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Terrible Dilemna of Knitting-packing

Toothbrush. Ipod. Sunglasses. A sweater and a shawl and a jean jacket, because I am cold in air-conditioning even when others are sweating. Yoga pants and mat, with hopes to find a quiet corner outside or in my room to do a bit of practice each morning. A copy of Barbara Pym's Excellent Women, suggested by Maureen Corrigan in Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading.

But what knitting project to take along for a week split into a professional meeting and then laying on the beach, reading the new Harry Potter? (My husband just came into the room to tell me that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix took in $77 million its first weekend. He hopes that the young actors get a cut.)

Just worked out promising-looking lace pattern for a scarf or shawl, based on the Double Rose and Tracery patterns in Barbara Walker's second volume of knitting patterns. Haven't swatched it yet, but sketching it out on graph paper looks good. A fairly regular movement to the pattern, some nice purl sections to give me a rest on the wrong-side rows. And with this effort at designing, my first feeling that I've found a lace design that has the symmetry and the simplicity that I've been looking for. Really, the credit goes to Walker; I'm just borrowing her work to serve as the basis for mine. I'm in good company here, though. Some of my favorite lace
designers use Walker's books as jumping-off points for many of their designs.

However, I know that I can't knit lace sitting in the airport or talking to colleagues who are on the same flight. And I don't have enough of any one yarn to make a decent-sized scarf.

Option #2 is an easy ribbed scarf with a lacey ruffle on either end. I'll be able to concentrate on this, regardless of crying babies, airport announcements, thousands of women all ostensibly traveling to the same conference as me and all wearing almost the same outfit. But the yarn situation is an obstacle here, also. I have plenty of Cascade 220, which is great for felting but not the soft yarn I'd prefer for a scarf. Three skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran: soft, but the color is a deep pumpkin orange and I'm having a hard time imagining myself working through three balls of this color. Euroflax? Two hanks, but I've never worked with it, and now is probably not the best time to experiment.

Enough with the fussing. I call it packing anxiety, and it's really about my anticipation of going somewhere new, sharing a room, finding decent and adequate vegetarian food, and avoiding hypothermia during the day-long, indoor meetings. I'll surprise you with my decision when I post again. It may be tomorrow, or it may be later in the week.

In the meantime, tomatoes are ripening, corn is perfect for grilling, and I'm going to the beach!

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