The simple life

As I've gotten older, my life more cluttered, the idea of living simply has taken on an aura of charm that I my mind contemplates, savoring the vision of a simpler existence.

In the midst of our excess - being packrats, creative, and consumer-oriented - I think of Thoreau. His trip to the woods has magical overtones as it plays out in my head.

A storybook of Matthew's chronicles the building of his cabin as the epitome of minimalist thinking.

I think of starting small - with clothes. It sounds nice and straightforward to narrow to a closet with 10 or so shirts for a season. Enough, but not enough to clutter. Not so much that the closets and drawers are bursting at the hinges, clothes wrinkling as they fight for space.

It will never happen. Even for this short trip, we brought 45 pounds of stuff - not counting my carry-on. 45 pounds for me and the baby. I packed as lightly and minimalistically as possible, and we were still bulging at the seams.

I brought 6 long-sleeved shirts and 3 t-s. I am really sick of all 9 now, but living out of a suitcase wasn't all that bad.

In reality, I know 10 or so in the closet would never work.

But the idea still holds appeal.

At the same time, the idea doesn't at all translate to my world view when it comes to my love of books and the "supplies" related to all my creative endeavors.

I guess if I was living simply, I would have just packed my socks-in-progress and a backup skein just in case I finished the Fluted Bannisters. (Socks always feel like they take a lot of time to me.)

Instead, I brought two scarf novelty yarns, rainbow and red for Matthew's scarf, rainbow for the final rainbow hat, poncho yarn, LL angel for a long-overdue hat for Spencer, and the Fluted Bannister yarn. Add to that an assortment of needles ranging from 1's to 13's, and my knitting wasn't space-friendly or 'simple.'

Still, much of the yarn got put to use. Matthew's scarf is finished. The final Canadian rainbow hat is done. The purple Wendy scarf is nearing completion. The first Fluted B sock is ready for a heel. The poncho was started and frogged. The red micro chic was started numerous times and frogged. (I was having a gut reaction against garter.) The Lorna's Laces rainbow Angel was knit into a wonderful baby hat (that doesn't fit). All in all, it was a good assortment of yarns and projects that were easy to pick up and not gauge or size dependent (with exception of Spencer's hat).

The hat is a sad story, a tale of big heads, good intentions, and wonderful yarn...

A few months back, M. bought Lorna's Laces Angel for us both to make baby hats. She made hers right away, and Spencer has gotten good use out of it. I didn't ever make mine. Since the colorway of my Angel is rainbow, just like the hats I've recently made (okay, I am getting a bit tired of it!), it seemed a good time to make his - before he outgrew the 1-skein pattern from ImagiKnit.

The pattern calls for an 8. The shop owner told M. to work it on a 9. M. bought a really short circular 9, and I thought I'd grabbed it to bring it with me.

Before casting on, my mom and I examined the original purple Angel hat Megan had made. It is getting small, but the Angora has so much stretch to it, that it still fits around, just needs more height. Or so we decided.

I knew Megan had a small ball of yarn left after finishing the pattern, so I felt confident making it an inch or so taller, especially if I wasn't increasing the cast on number.

So, I cast on.

After casting on, I realized I was using a 10. The metal circular is stamped with a 6 (for mm), which my brain flipped and saw as a 9.

Not a huge deal. I decided casting on with the bigger needle might work in my favor in terms of fit. So I left it and switched over to 9 dpns.

The circumference did seem small as I was working, but I thought it must just be a perceptual thing with it on the needles. I knit on. I added an inch to the height, worried the whole time about running out. I finished all the decrease rows and had a bit left over. Instead of finishing it off, I knit a length of I-cord to knot at the base of the top. Very cute.

I waited patiently for the baby in my arms to wake so I could try it on.

He woke.

I began the one-arm wrestle to get the hat on.

It didn't fit.

The cast-on edge was too tight, and unlike the one M. made, mine wasn't stretchy.

I did try and give it some stretch though, and it broke.

Yep. To my horror, the cast-on edge broke.

angel hat

(You can see the broken thread hanging on the right bottom edge.)

I didn't have the heart to deal with it then other than to tie a knot to try and stay the break.

Given the circumstances and the stress of the last few weeks, I handled it pretty well. I did want to cry though! (Thank goodness my Charlotte didn't break when I fought with its cast-off edge during blocking.)

I'm thinking I'll just frog the hat, buy a second skein, and start anew.

Angel is wonderful to work with and feels so incredibly soft. You just want it next to your skin. But be forewarned - angel works best when treated gently!

www.flickr.com

Contents (visual and textual) copyright © Amy Cowen 2000-2009. All rights reserved.
Do not reproduce content from this site without permission, including graphics and photos.