Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Deadline knitting and the importance of craftsmanship

I have learned that I don't like knitting for deadlines, even self-imposed ones.  I have finally finished all the pieces of my aran sweater and will start the blocking and finishing process tomorrow.  And I have finished the beaded lace scarf and blocked it last night.
I blocked it using wires along the short ends and then down the long side where the beads are.  Then I pinned it out so the center section was 5.5 inches wide and pinned each scallop.  Wires are such a great invention for this.

Now I have to finish writing the pattern and the tutorial on beads.

The great news is that I now feel free to do lots of projects at once if I so choose.  I started a baby sweater last night, Whirligig Shrug.  I have yarn for one other baby sweater as well.  The baby is the first child of my husband's cousin and his wife.  They are delightful and so excited about having a daughter.  The baby is due in late March.  Now I know that knitting for babies is another deadline driven event, but for some reason I am not stressed about it.

Another exciting thing happened yesterday, but a bit of background.  My great-great-grandfather gave his daughter a pump organ for her 16th birthday in 1906.  They lived in a (then) very remote part of West Virginia and it was quite an event to get it there.  It was handed down in the family to my aunt as the oldest granddaughter and then to me as the oldest great-grandaughter.  By the time I got it, it was no longer in working condition, though I can remember my great-grandmother playing it more than thirty years ago.  I've had it in our garage for years saying I will get it restored.  When I first got it, we tried to do the wood restoration ourself but after breaking off a carved wood curlicue, decided that wasn't a good plan.  My great-grandmother and grandmother polished it once a week with a coal-oil based polish for 90 years, turning it a dark brown, almost black.  Turns out it is actually a light oak color under all that polish.  Thanks to the internet I found a wonderful organ restorer.  There were only two I could find in the country.  This gentleman has done hundreds of organs and is the person that Antique Roadshow uses for these instruments.  He came by yesterday and loaded up my organ.  We live in Texas, he is in Atlanta.  He said it was in amazing shape on the things that are hard to fix - all the keys are in pristine condition which is very unusual.  In seven or eight months, I will have it back, fully restored to original condition.

I appreciate craftsmanship, no matter what the form.  I hope he has an apprentice so this won't be a lost art.  If you are interested in seeing some of the organs he has restored, you can see his photo gallery here. Mine looks like the fourth one down but more carving.  He does amazing work.

There are no great-great granddaughters in the family, so it will be passed down to my son one day and hopefully to his daughter.

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