Time Piece I: 4 – 10 January 2016
61 cm x 15 cm
Week 1 – 4 January 2016 / Monday
7cm x 14.5 cm – knit (n size 8 plastic needles)
I went through my Mom’s other yarn collection at her office – still looking for the right colours to start the project with. Again, my Mom wanted me to consider the fluffy textures and fun ‘sparkle’ yarns she had but I was intent on satisfying my own colour code range.
Once the yarns were out, my Mom got inspired to sort out her storage cupboard even more and so embarked on her own long-held intention to organize her space. She spent the half our or so, before her client arrived, on this mission and successfully de-cluttered that particular floor-to-ceiling wardrobe of art materials.
I found a few, including a nice yarn; deep red with variant shades slightly lighter and darker running through it. The colour is deep wine red that moves to a lighter shade of pinkish orange like a brilliant sunrise or sunset.
I started knitting in the afternoon in my Mom’s pottery studio, after finishing the glazing I needed to do.
I remembered how to cast on. Decided with 24 stitches as a consistent width for the project, to correspond with 24 hours in a day. So that each colour, representing a day of the week, is a day’s width wide.
The red yarn is relatively thin and made up of strands that seemed to separate easily and interfere with the smooth motion of the knitting needles. They would catch easily in between the strands.
Very slow, frustrated movements marked my first day of knitting with needles sticking and catching in the yarn at every insertion. I was unable to hold the wrapping thread in my left hand at all.
I did not knit for a particularly long time – a bit in the studio and a bit more at home in between games of Casino with B (hard to knit and play cards at the same time I found).
Before I went to bed I knotted the orange wool for Tuesday in preparation for the next day’s knitting. I enjoyed this preparation as a setting of intention to continue tomorrow.
Week 1 – 5 January 2016 / Tuesday
7cm x 13.5 cm – knit (n size 8 plastic needles)
Today I used orange wool from my Mom’s office collection. There was only a small amount there – but enough for the day. I used it all. It presented a different approach to knitting than I intended: instead of knitting as much I wanted for the day, I was restricted by how much yarn I had to knit with. Using a finite amount at the onset makes it a more goal orientated task with an aim to use up the yarn.
I knitted first thing in the morning as I was excited to engage with my new Knitting Time project. I also liked having knitting to do while I sorted out my head for the day…it bought me some thinking, or more accurately perhaps some non-thinking, time before getting on with the day.
Also appreciated having the knitting to do when B and M phoned to say they were running late.
This mustard, or yellow ochre, coloured yarn was considerably thicker than the day before. It sat heavily next to the thinner swatch of dark red. Also of different properties – either more synthetic or more natural fibers…I’m not exactly sure which. I worry that I am ignorant to tell the difference. Either way, the strands do not as separate as easily to get tangled up in with the needles.
Note: I have no sample of this yarn because it was before I realized that I want to record in this way.
Week 1 – 6 January 2016 / Wednesday
12cm x 14.25 cm – knit (size 8 plastic then metal)
A light, creamy yellow yarn from my Mom’s office collection. Again limited by a small quantity of it, however did not use it completely. A similar thickness to the mustard yellow of the day before – also a similar quality of fiber – synthetic I think. The two yarns sit well together.
Brought my knitting to Mom’s office where I saw E again. I was eager to show her my first Time piece in progress and tell her about my interest that she had ignited.
She looked over my knitting and commented on the tightness of the stitching as just bordering on too tight. She also watched me knit and had to correct my technique. The subtle thing she was trying to show me about how to insert the needle from behind in a particular way had been lost to me and confused me. She told me to forget that part and re-showed me how to do it. She also reinforced and repeated the benefits of learning to thread the yarn with my left fingers.
While I was showing her my technique I snapped the left plastic knitting needle that I was holding in my right hand. E commented that it was ‘stress’…or ‘tension’ something obvious that could be read on a couple of different levels and could hardly be argued with given the fact I had snapped the needle….’performance anxiety’ would be a good term I think.
I went back to her house with her to spend the afternoon discussing knitting related things and looking at her yarns. She was able to give me a set of metal needles (size 8 like the plastic ones I had been using) and also gave me a pair of wooden ‘circular’ needles attached together with a transparent plastic, thin cord. She told me how much she enjoyed using them, not just for socks and tubular projects but just generally. She showed me a wonderful set with many interchangeable pairs of different sizes. She gave me a pair that was basically a size 8 too.
Over the course of the afternoon she pulled out several storage containers full of yarn and invited me to pick ones I might want. Some she was able to part with and others not. I was still fixated on finding a green in particular and other colours along my rainbow spectrum. I found a few but not so many considering how much yarn she had on offer. Again many of natural shades. She also had many of the same yarn, obviously connected to projects she had worked on in the past.
While I looked through the bins, E brought out examples of things she had knitted (and sewed) for herself. I had already seen some wonderful examples in the clothing she had been wearing in previous encounters with her during my trip home.
She also pulled out many books. We spent much time talking about Kaffe Fassett as we had the F connection in common and I had just been to Nepenthe. She gave me an extra copy that she had of ‘Glorious Colour’, which I was eager to accept.
In addition to books she showed me, she gave me several references to other books she thought I might like. There was much in the conversation to reflect on and note which I hope to return to. I would also like to ask E if she would be interested in feeding back to me what she found interesting about our talk since she stated that she enjoyed our discussion. She said we discussed aspects of knitting that she rarely had a chance to talk to with anybody else.
I asked her lots and lots of questions not just about knitting in general but also I was very interested in her relationship to knitting and her ‘knitting practice’.
Most significantly I tried to articulate a question around a psycho-symbolic interest I have in the act of knitting…she had no idea what I was getting at and neither did I enough for it to really develop into a conversation. I will need to keep reflecting on it.
She showed me several books on Fair Isle knitting and I realized there was so much more to consider about knitting besides just colour and texture – and even these aspects offer so many different options and avenues that I had barely thought about. In addition there is also the whole synthetic and natural fibers continuum, stitching and various patterns, the combination of colour pattern and stitching pattern and then shape of garment and how all these factors come together around the human form.
The other exciting thing I discovered during that session was that it is possible to knit with more than one thread at a time. This seemed to be a very very useful bit of information to help me reflect my colour-coding process more accurately. While it may take me a month to introduce it, it means that I can show continuity for each month while still focusing on the individual daily colours. Aesthetically it will give it more cohesion and ‘calmness’ I think. It will also help to demarcate the start of a new month, especially when it occurs within the week. (January 2016 happens to end on a Sunday so it is not an issue until the end of February 2016).
Week 1 – 7 January 2016 / Thursday
4.25cm x 13.5 cm – knit (s 8 metal)
Not much knitting done this day – a big day in NYC with Mom, and then visiting with P and then G too.
I used a soft, olive green cotton yarn…seems more natural than the two earlier days and made up again of strands that seemed to separate easily and potentially get the needles caught up, although I seemed generally to be getting a bit better at avoiding that problem.
I brought the wooden needles because I thought they might be easier to travel with and experimented a bit with them but quickly returned to the straight, metal ones. I kept the wooden circular ones in my bag though, which was lucky when it came to the end of the week.
When I got back from an evening out I spent time online with a view to checking out some wool stores in the city the next day. I found a fantastic blog site on undergroundcrafter.com specifically for knitters visiting NYC that detailed all the wool stores and their virtues, vices and locations. It also gave good tips on checking opening hours, etc. I really enjoyed reading the blog – one of the first blogs I have actively searched, found and read ever.
Again I was introduced to a whole other element of the knitting world – branding of yarns and the fashion of yarns….it’s a whole world in itself it seems. And there I was, content to go to thrift stores and other second-hand sources for left over sources of supplies.
Week 1 – 8 January 2016 / Friday
5cm x 14 cm – knit (s 8 metal)
A steel blue wool – thin and made up of three distinct strands. A natural fiber I think. It is dense with ‘fuzz’ from the strands surrounding them lightly. It is a slightly heavy and shiny quality for such a thin, natural yarn. I am not sure if it came from Mom or E – if I had to guess I ‘d say from Mom though.
In trying to write these entries I realize that I would like to take my time to improve my use of words to describe colour and texture with my daily choice of yarn, as well as to get some tuition and gain knowledge on the actual differences of the yarns.
I abandoned my idea to visit wool shops because I ran out of time. Walking to The Open Center took much more time than I expected, as did my browsing in their bookstore. I had made a list of the ones I might try to get to, so next time I’m in the City I can plan a trip to them maybe. It was nice to have something specific to want to look for in NYC.
I knitted a little bit while hanging out with P, and a little bit on the bus to Binghampton – but really much less than I had anticipated. I mostly listened to my shuffle, wrote in my new notebook that I rushed to buy a block from Port Authority, and dosed off during the long bus journey…it was dark for most of the trip as well.
I was disappointed not to knit more though because I liked the green, from the previous day, and blue shades next to one another.
Week 1 – 9 January 2016 / Saturday
10 cm x 13 cm – knit (s 8 metal)
I used a knitted yarn swatch from my Mom’s office collection that I had un-done and rolled up to re-use. The yarn still had the evidence of having been used in it’s curls – added a little challenge to my slowly improving threading of the yarn with my left hand fingers.
This purple yarn is a natural wool, relatively thin. A rich royal purple colour – not too dark. I knitted a significant amount on this day as it was an easy pastime to do while hanging out with S and lounging around her house. I even knitted while we watched a film in the evening, and a bit more when I went to bed….tying in the magenta for the next day before turning out the light.
Week 1 – 10 January 2016 / Sunday
19 cm x 13 cm – knit (s 8 metal)
I was interested to learn that Z had been an avid knitter when she was living at home, and she still had some knitting books in her room that I was staying in. I have a vague recollection or image of her knitting but not sure if it is an actual memory or a fantasy. It was fun to imagine her knitting on the same furniture in the house that I was now knitting on…including her bed. I had hoped that S would know how to knit to help me cast off at the end of this first week, but she did not. She did say that she too learned how in Amity School though…
I had two small balls of similar magenta yarn that I had brought with me for this first Sunday – the last day of my first time piece of the Knitting Time project.
Both balls were of thin yarn, but one was shinier and had variations of the hue in it, while the other was more mat and constant in its colour. I started with the more jazzy of the two and finished it all so added the other one for more knitting in the day.
I was not sure how I felt about using two different yarns on one day, but I wanted to continue knitting so I didn’t think about it too much. They work very well together and you have to really look hard to notice the shift. To work with they had a different feel from each other though.
I found the knitting particularly useful this day for providing me with my own sense of center and focus while many other things were going on around me. It was wonderful to have the knitting to retreat to and relax with.
I had a real moment of insight too as I was aware of how tight the room to maneuver the needles was around the thread and then realized that I simply needed to loosen my ‘grip’ and relax the thread a bit in my knitting. It instantly helped and made knitting a smooth process rather than a staccato stabbing and stumbling experience.
Fortunately I had brought the other pair of knitting needles and so at the end of the day I was able to transfer the whole first time piece onto the wooden circular needles to leave the red metal ones free to start week 2 the next day.