Friday, February 24, 2006

Once more into the breach

Just as Salvador Dali can be a study in opposites, so too can the work of Debbie New - not the person - just the work. We have on the one hand teacups that melt and on the other a knitted vest as rigid as cement. At left is the Armoured Vest, an amazing work. Debbie designed and knit the vest, then soaked it in Plaster of Paris. In order to have the vest harden in the shape of...well... a vest, Debbie had to wear it around - cold, wet and rather heavy - for the day. Such is the artists' dedication to their work. For most of us the challenge is just to knit and, oh yes, finish the vest.

I am not sure how Debbie actually got the vest off her body after it had hardened, but there it is. Armoured Vest is available as a card from Philosopher's Wool.

I have given this card - sad to say- to several friends whose businesses have failed. It is a way of saying - be strong, things will change and you will have been made stronger by the experience.

Knitting can say so much in just a stitch or two. And we as knitters can give so much with just a stitch or two.

I was thumbing through a magazine the other day and came across a company that is marketing coffee cup protectors. Perhaps you have seen them or even have one or two yourself. For those who haven't seen them, they are the sleeves that you put around your paper coffee cup to protect your fingers from the heat. Well there were a lot of trendy styles - polka dots, fur, I-pod type skins, even a knitted one. Now there was something that I could work with. Just think of all the quick little gifts that you can make while using up your stash. I went rummaging through mine and came up with this.

It is a very basic attempt at a coffee cup protector in an Aran weight yarn and an ultra simple K1, P1 rib. But just think of the possibilities!

1. Practise fair isle or new techniques.
2. Bead them or add appliqued details.
3. Turn your left over swatches into them.
4. Practise cutting your knitting and make a number from an unfinished piece.

Send me pictures of your best coffee cup protectors and I will post them on Divineknits.

To start, using the size of the coffee cup you use most often, measure the circumference at the middle point. Cast on the number of stitches that will give you that width or size of circle. Begin your knitting with a border that will not curl. Knit to the length that you want the protector to be. Finish with a border that will not curl. Cast off. Stitch it together, if you have not used circular needles. Work in your loose ends and enjoy!

The title of this post, of course is from The Charge of the Light Brigade - not that light in vests like Debbie's; but still the concept of struggling, maybe even losing the first time; but getting back at it and finally winning GOLD is all part of the process!

I'd love to see your gold medal coffee cup protectors!!


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