Friday, June 27, 2008

What Swallowtail?


It has been rainy and cold and darkish week up here at the Arctic Circle. Since May 1st I have been eagerly waiting for sunny and warm days but have been greeted either with northerly cold winds or drumming of the rain on the roof. This kind of weather feels unfair and I can complain all I want but my complaining is not going to change it for better or worse, so I will stop complaining and take whatever comes.

Today I went to town to do some shopping (mostly groceries) and while there I was a bit cold and realized that I had left home without my most loved blue sweater. It is a simple, huge, no shaping stockinette raglan done with 3 mm needles.

I knit it last spring right after Winter Forest had gone ashtray. I never got around blogging about it, mostly because it was the most simple and most dull sweater in the world but it has ended being the most loved one. Mostly because it is huge and easy, you can put it one and take it off, and just toss it anywhere and the sweater seems to be good natured and never minds any kind of treatment. I knit it in xL size in the first place because I thought that I would felt it lightly and then embroider it but after it was finished, I tried it on and it felt so good that I did not want to make it any smaller. It is the best companion one could hope for, like a big blanket to wrap around. (And this is the best weather for it.)

I have to share with you this little piece of news in case you start to wonder where is Swallowtail. I would like to keep quiet of the happenings but then you'd be in the dark. I will not keep this as a secret (although I would very much like to do it), but will tell you honestly what happened: I did additional 20 repeats of the first pattern chart to the Swallowtail, then I started the nupps and finished four, four long rows with nupps. It was getting very late in the evening or you could also say, it was getting very early in the morning and THEN I took a long look at the shawl. I should have known better (most of us live and learn, while some of us only live), should have put away the knitting and gone to bed, but this I did not do. I looked at the knitting and decided that I really didn’t like the nupps, I did not mind knitting them but I thought, in the middle of the white arctic late night (or very early morning), that they seemed a bit messy. I said to myself, no big deal, I’ll just take them out. I quickly and casually took the needle out and started to frog. But for some reason the nupps did not start to ravel easily, although I had put extra care into the knitting and the yarn was not split. I swear this, the yarn in my stitches was not split. And still they would not come out easily and then after a while I just could not get them out at all. I had scissors, huge, ugly fabric scissors lying next to me and I looked at them, but couldn’t. I had this delicate piece of shawl that turned into tangled mess in seconds and I thought of cutting it into tiny pieces out of anger but just couldn’t. Instead I walked away, took the steps upstairs and went to bed. In the morning, I found a ziplock bag and put it there with the extra yarn and hid it into my closet where all the ufos are hidden.

Instead of drowning, I am coming to the surface like a cork. I will just find new yarn and cast on for something else. I have been so many times in these kinds of circumstances that I know my way out.

Because in this climate knitting wool sweaters and socks and scarves and hats is the most sensible thing to do. This summer is just another proof of it. Never mind if the wind stays in the north, that will just motivate me more and keep the needles clicking.

Because I know this weather is not quite right for skiing but it is right for knitting wool. And as widely known I'd rather knit than ski.

I will just say that one of these days, the sun has got to come out. And while waiting for that miracle to happen, one of my knits has got to turn out fine and that too, will be a miracle.



  1. Lene, I'm so sorry about Swallowtail, words fail me. When I was knitting my larger version.. a couple of 'oops' and I'm really no good at just ripping back, I have to tink back through the rows... and even that would get messy. Your Swallowtail will wait for you, they're really quite patient... and forgiving.
    A 'simple' blue sweater, yes, but 'dull'? no. I love simple raglan sweaters and they do make just the best of friends.
    I hope it warms up for you, and the sun decides to shine also.

  2. One of your knits has got to turn out fine... You're just playing catch-up for all those stunning knits you did without any "ooops!" in the mix! Let it go, enjoy your yarn and your quilting. It will come back to you.
    Here's hoping the sun returns soon!

  3. It's just not right when the end of June hovers in sight and it's still chilly and grey! I hope the clouds will blow away, the winds die down, and the sun wraps you in its warmth.

    On a clear day when the sun is shining, take swallowtail outside, the bright light will help unravel the edge and swallow will be set free and reward you.

    Simple, comfy sweaters are the best - especially when a cheerful blue. :-)

  4. I am so sorry your shawl did not work out. I know you will pick up and find something else wonderful to knit. I am hoping your weather will break and you will have a little "summer" sometime.

  5. Anonymous20:31

    Lene, I am enjoying your quilting letters you send back and forth to Cassie. What a plus! Dances With Wool and now Fine Stitches! My daughter was in Ireland this last May and she brought me back some beautiful wool yarn. I made a scarf, hat and then mittens. Lo and behold! Not enough yarn to finish the mittins and Dingle, Ireland is not across town! So, I frogged the scarf to finish the mittens and I will do another version of a lacy scarf. I have been quilting, too. Not applique, however, I do love doing it. I love the dots in your applique flowers and that puppy is adorable. I want to jump in the computer screen, pick it up and hug it! I did not think we would get sunshine either....but now, for the last week in June, it is hot! Best regards as always, Jeanie in Missoula, MT

  6. It's been awhile since I've been over to visit. It's been nice catching up on your recent knits.

    Your blue sweater is just lovely, hope you have warmer days and sunny skies soon!

  7. Anonymous02:34

    Lene, you are so incredibly funny. Should have taken the big scissors to Swallowtail! Put the pieces outside for the swallows to feather their nests. Oh, well....c'est la vie! Late night/early morning doesn't find many of us at our best decision making moments. You are a normal and wonderful person.

  8. Your blue jumper looks so comfy and cuddly. Perfect for snuggling up in. Sorry about your Swallowtail. There should be a place, a UFO sanctuary where aal our pieces could go so we wouldn't keep coming across them and feeling gulity.

  9. Hi, Lene, I have not posted to you in awhile. Busy doing my "new" things as well. A little quilting, alot of painting on canvas, and a good amount of knitting, though small things. It is funny how when the weather changes your mind just "wants" to knit other than wool things. I have done some baby things for a new one coming in August, and dishrags. Useful, love to use, dishrags, though these will go into a wedding present I'm putting together for an August wedding of my niece. But I hear the call of a cardigan. Yarn I have gotten 2 years ago. I soooo want to get started on that. We have had rain, humidty, but then it got cooler and YES, I wanted to start that piece right then!!!! I love you fav sweater, I have wanted a black "simple" to wear, sigh, that is also on my "too long" of a list of knitting to do's!!! Your shawl will come out again, later, when you are of a different mind, you are soo talented, you will be re-inspired to make it beautiful. Now I need to catch up on you and your friends other blog of quilting. Hope the weather turns for you lovely, and soft, and inspiting. Blessings...Cynthia

  10. grannypurple16:23

    Ah, those nupps. I did that shawl in silk, and swore that I'd never do nupps again. But it was beautiful in the end, and a good birthday present for my co-granny! As for frogging difficulties--a friend visited recently, and one of our most delightful days was spent frogging a number of UFOs, and it is a lot more fun to do with a friend. And surely summer will come...

  11. Your cork analogy is wonderful! :-)

    It's no surprise that you like the big, cozy, blanket-like sweater the best. I feel the same way about sweaters--they are meant to be soft and comfortable, and to give your spirits a lift on a cold day. :-) I do hope you'll get some nice warm days soon, though, so you can put all the sweaters away! If I could send you some sunshine, I would.

  12. A sweater like your large blue one sounds perfect! That is exactly the kind of thing I need.

    UFOs and the dark recesses of closets were made foe each other.

  13. Lilly19:38

    Lene -
    One day after your swallowtail is all frogged and ready to finish you might try beads instead of nupps. I have seen a couple of them like this, and they just sparkle.
    Aren't we blessed to have such a variety of projects that we can put one away for awhile and still our family is not cold or unclothed?

  14. Oh, dear. I'm knitting Swallowtail, too, but I'm not yet to the nupps. Maybe I'll try them out with other yarn and see if I like them, and if I can do them at all.

  15. Anonymous05:41

    wishing you sun!!!!
    Margie in Maryland

  16. Lene, Your post came at a very good moment in my knitting life. I had to frog my vest decreases just when I was overjoyed that new yarn was mailed to me...sniff. I saw that even you have visits to the frog pond and the Yarn Harlot had to knit a piece several times recently I am back on track and happy to re-knit with fellow pond mates. This is me wishing you lovely weather. The sun just came out over here so I will ask him to drop in to see you!

  17. I really love your blue sweater and know just what you mean. I have an old, orange hoodie sweatshirt that I love to wear. Hopefully one day I will knit a sweater that gives me the same feeling.