Sunday, September 03, 2006

Here in St. Cloud's

One of my favorite authors is John Irving, and one of my favorite John Irving novels is The Cider House Rules. The story opens and closes (and spends some time in the middle) in an orphanage in the town of St. Cloud's, Maine. The orphanage at St. Cloud's is where unmarried women come to have either an orphan or an abortion, according to the book's protagonist Homer Wells. The orphans of St. Cloud's remain in the care of Dr. Larch and his nurses until a family comes to adopt them. Some get adopted sooner than others. St. Cloud's is a bleak place, but there is no shortage of kindness and care.

"Here in St. Cloud's," Dr. Larch wrote, "we treat orphans as if they came from royal families."

Strange as it may sound, and not to minimize the more serious issues in this delightful and challenging novel, but I think of my knitting projects in similar terms. Yarn comes to me, and I begin projects, many of which get finished and adopted out very quickly. Often into my own wardrobe 'cuz I'm a hog. Many others have a promising beginning, but remain unfinished and unclaimed in my bins for much longer. I think of them as my orphans. They are in my care, but have not officially gone into homes yet. One day. Then there are other items that are simply not going to make it. I perform my terminations with great tact, carefully winding the yarn back into neat balls for something else, or for a donation. If this image offends you, what can I say? I am an acquired taste.

Meet My Orphans:

This is a box of R2 Rag that I bought at a skookum deal from Elann. The idea is to make rugs, and I have started a rug too, but that's as far as it goes for now.

I liked this Cat's Meow stuff, and you can see that I got a pretty good deal on it now that it has been discontinued. I don't think it's going to make it as this scarf though. Maybe something felted. The single hand-warmer didn't warrant a pic of its own.

The "Ugly Betty" sock. I thought the yarn looked a lot prettier in the ball than as a sock, but I can't frog it. It's a finished sock. It fits. It turned out fine. It can't help being ugly. What to do with the extra ball (aptly named, don't you think??)

My daughter H, of the teeny tiny feet, wanted a pair of knee socks, but I made it a bit too teeny, and it goes mid-calf. Plus it's tight. Plus I had just made an identical pair for myself that my mom took home for herself. I'm thinking of finishing off the too-small pair for a friend, and then getting H's pair the right size.

The back of a cute hooded sleeveless top done in Sirdar Breeze. Pattern by Kim Hargreaves from a Rowan book. Why didn't it get finished for this summer? I don't know.

The back of a sleeveless tank I started in June. Why didn't I finish? See above.

A very special ongoing project. It is my prayer shawl (wavy lace wrap from VK fall/05) done in Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I work on it on...those days. Need a clue? What colour is it??

I just started this a few weeks ago. It's a scarf experiment -- a kind of fibonacci Noro Kureyon set against Noro Cash Iroha for softness. Will post a recipe when it's done.

I bought all the ingredients for this quilt nearly two years ago, which explains the Lion brand. But I still love the pattern, and I don't mind the LB for this project. I've only started knitting it in the last few months. I'm not looking forward to the tails...

This one might not make it. It started out as the sleeve for a lace-edged cardi, but...I hate knitting the lace, and I think the pink Sonata has already been claimed by another project. I love the yarn's Sonata. Lovely yarn. Go to Elann and buy some!

Okay, now this one is a bit shameful. Look at that -- I didn't even finish the row. I ran out of a ball in the middle of the row and didn't have another one close by. Doug and I were watching a movie, so fuck it, I worked on something else. I like the Icona in that eyelet though. It will either be a wrap or a poncho when done.

That's enough orphans for today. I'll post some more tomorrow. There are more?! Yes...there are more.

In case you think I never finish anything, just click on the Elann link to the right, go to the chat centre biographies and find me. You can see my FO's from the last six months or so there.


Sandra said...

OK, I can relax now, you are a normal knitter with UFOs like the rest of us! However, I think your orphans are all rather appealing :-). I also have one perfectly good & finished sock in my pile, the rest of the yarn for its mate went to another project, now what do I do with's the only sock I've ever made or am likely to make, so I need it as proof!

Jean said...

Thank God! I'm not alone! UFOs really do stop my knitting progress. I really need to stop feeling guilty and just KNIT!

Trish said...

Wait a darned just began knitting a few months ago?? WOW. On a literary note, I "just" discovered John Irving a few short years ago. I struggled with liking him, as I felt his novels weren't true literature, yet I couldn't put them down. By the end of Cider House Rules, I was hooked, and he is now elevated to the status of my favorite contemporary author. I've read passages from his novels to DH on long trips, which was quite enjoyable. Garp missed the boat with me, though.

jayne said...

Hi Trish, no...not months...three years ago. I think that shows up in orphans part II. Most of these UFO's are from a year ago or less though. I discovered John Irving about twelve years ago. He's my junk-food of "literary" fiction author. I love that he can give me the shivers and make me laugh too. I got DH hooked on them too. Haven't read Garp. Fave is Owen Meany.

benne said...

I have a mess of UFO's that I think about right before I go to sleep at night. I just need to finish or frog and get them off my mind. Glad to know I'm not alone with this.
I think I've read all of Irving's books and I vacillate from liking his work to thinking the guy has some "serious issues." :-}

jayne said...

That guy has serious issues, Benne, you've got that right! His latest novel is called Until I Find You, and it's brutal. But after years of denying that his issues are peppered all through his books, he finally admits that he wrote this latest one as an "autobiographical" novel. But I like him anyway. I'm pretty warped myself. :0

kathy in juneau said...

I found my way here via your comment at Franklin's site. CHR is one of my favorite books. (There's a back issue of Interweave Knits that has patterns for sweaters that appeared in the movie.)

Welcome to the cyber-Knitting community!!

jayne said...

Cool....gotta check that out. Thanks for stopping by, Kathy.

Anonymous said...

Can i get the pattern for the icona yarn - i have that yarn and need to make something with it! you can email me at