Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Torn Tendons & "Drunk" Knitting

Life--it happens.
   I don't plan for interruptions in my life as an artist. No, let me correct that: I don't plan for interruptions. I hate nothing more than having several weeks of work laid out, and suddenly shelving it because "life" has interrupted what I'm attempting to get done.
   The current interruption is a large (to my eyes), bright red, fiberglass cast, currently encasing my right leg from just below my knee to my toes. It turns out, I've got a tear in my achilles tendon, and the first line of treatment is to completely immobilize my lower leg for four weeks, to give the tendon a chance to heal. This, definitely, was not in my plan for the month of August.
   Along with the bright red cast came a long list of instructions: Don't drive (well, duh!). Don't walk more than necessary. Don't sit for long periods with the cast on the floor. Don't get the cast wet. Pretty much, I get to spend the next four weeks sitting on the divan, with my right ankle (and cast) propped up on a pillow on the ottoman.
   I am managing to get a few things done in the studio. I finished winding a 10-yard warp for the Gem. There's a 35-yard towel warp on Mongo, waiting for me to sit down and throw a shuttle. However, I quickly discovered that weaving with a cast on one foot is nearly impossible: I can't flex my ankle to reach for the treadles, and the weight of the cast throws me off-balance. Weaving is definitely O.U.T. until I'm free.
   Since I can't weave, maybe I can spin. Spinning on any of my wheels is out: they all require at least a right foot for treadling and, quite frankly, if I could treadle a spinning wheel, I could probably weave. However, all is not lost: I own a Hansen miniSpinner, and that only requires that I plug it in to a battery. I've got some nice black Cormo all carded and waiting for me to spin it, so this is probably the time to do it. I also got several pounds of Corrie pin-draft back from the processor two weeks ago, so I really am not lacking for fiber to spin.
   Since a girl cannot live on spinning alone, there's plenty of knitting to be done. That brings me to the second part of the title: drunk knitting. I'm no prude, but I learned a long time ago that one does not attempt complex patterns such as lace knitting when having a glass of wine or a cocktail, or one later asks, "Who was working on my knitting, and what the hell did they do to it?" I've learned that simple, stockinette-based patterns are best when doing "social" or "travel" knitting because they don't require any real thought--the fingers know what to do, and they do it.
   My favorite "drunk knitting" is socks. I know--most people think socks are hard, but they really aren't, especially when you've knit as many socks as I have in the past ten years. My basic sock pattern is so simple and familiar that I don't even have it written down. Basically, it's cast on a "star" toe with increases to 60 stitches, knit 60 rounds, do the heel, then knit the leg until I run out of yarn. I knit them one-at-a-time, on two #2 circular needles. No kitchener stitches to close the heel, no worrying about whether or not I'll run out of yarn before I run out of foot. They're pretty much fool-proof: once the toe is done, I only need to pay attention when I'm actually turning the heel.
   I had a couple skeins of Knit Picks Felici sock yarn in the Boardwalk colorway in the stash, so I cast on another sock Friday evening. This is the 22nd pair of socks I've knit since 2007--I have an entire drawer of handknit socks and stockings--but I never get tired of knitting socks. Since this is such a bright colorway, I can't do anything elaborate. Instead, I'll just crank these bad boys out, and add them to the drawer for when I can wear pairs of socks again.