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Dr. Jekyll and Uncle Stashley

To quote the musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood (which I had the pleasure of appearing in twice, both times as drug-addicted choir master John Jasper, for those of you who don't think I have a 'type'), "There are two men in me," and no, it's not dirty. Poor John Jasper is sometimes a kind, caring avuncular type, and at other times a raving maniac. (Note that the Dicken's novel upon which this was based came out a full 16 years prior to Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, but clearly influenced its author).

And, as I contemplate my purchases while I continuing the satisfying but lengthy task of organizing my yarn, I realise that there are two men in me as well.

The first me (I'll call him Uncle Stashley, just to make things easy) loves knitting with colour. He especially enjoys mysterious hand-dyed skeins which surprise one with unexpected pops of new colour, and which gradually change over time one from hue to another, perhaps striping, or pooling, but always keeping the knitter on his (or her toes). Uncle Stashley scoffs at the cruel, dead, flat colours found in the cheap acrylic stuff, and at the very least expects a bit of heathering or a slight marl, to make the colours come alive, with depth. Uncle Stashley does almost all of the yarn acquistion for me, and most of the actual knitting. My stash is full of things like this now:

And I love 'em to death, and then they knit up approximately like this:

And that's about when the 2nd Me kicks in.

Let's call him Dr. Jekyll. Dr. Jekyll's the one who picks patterns and also dresses himself/myself. Dr. Jekyll most emphatically is not hugely enthusiastic about vague, murky, randomly coloured articles of clothing, even though he can somewhat remember Uncle Stashley's great joy at knitting them in the first place. No, Dr. Jekyll's idea of attractive garments would be this:

Do I have anything like this? I actually have two garments that come pretty close, a vest in grey stripes (too big for me, but I'll wear it anyways), and a vest in a dark grey and light grey slip stitch pattern that's too busy--slip stitch pattern, shawl collar, and then Uncle Stashley added epaulettes (!) because the shoulder seaming was unsuccessful and he wanted to hide that. (Dr. Jekyll, of course, takes one look at those epaulettes and knows he wouldn't be caught dead in that).

It's a constant struggle. Uncle Stashley goes to the knitting store, squeals with delight at all the wonderful colours, comes back home, and adds them to his stash. Dr. Jekyll finds a marvellous pattern for a nice DK-weight sweater vest, but in his stash all he has are worsted-weight one-off hand-dyed skeins, or two or three balls of a fun gradient teal & beige concoction (not a solid colour, and not enough yarn), and it's no wonder he gives in and picks another hat for Uncle Stashley to knit, and for Dr. Jekyll to reluctantly wear.

I need to go to the local yarn store, smile, and buy 7 skeins of grey yarn, but it's just impossible to do. You may as well ask me not to sing for a month. Could we do trade-sies? Is there someone out there who loves knitting grey sweater vests, but loves wearing bright multi-coloured shawlettes?

Maybe over time one of the two personalities will win out--after all, it's only been recently that Dr. Jekyll managed to control the pattern-picking process ... until last year, Uncle Stashley would pick projects on the basis of how much fun they looked like they'd be to knit, regardless of whether he knew anybody who would want to wear such a thing.

It may sound like I'm on Dr. Jekyll's side, and I'm really not. If he were to win a battle-to-the-death, that would mean I'm knitting grey cardigan sweater vests for the rest of time. That's a hard no. But if Uncle Stashley constantly gets his way, it means I slave all year (at an enjoyable hobby) with nothing wearable to show for it. That's no good either.

So I'm going to be methodical about it. Every time I finish a project, I'm going to mark it Jekyll or Stashley. If it's a Jekyll project (grey, boring, useful for wearing over the nice English Laundry shirts I have) then the next project can be bright and colourful and useless. If it's a Stashley project (busy, vibrant, bold, useful for taking pictures of and posting to one's blog) then the next project can be dull and quiet and sensible. Moderation in all things!

On the Needles (and actively being worked on):

  • Sophie's Universe crochet project #2 (Part 4: Round 32) [that's a Stashley]

  • Sophie's Universe crochet project #1 (Part 16: Round 102, so so close to finishing the project as originally patterned) [that's a Stashley]

  • Sea Grass Scarf by Janina Kallio (I'm in part 6, third set of stripes). [that's a present, so doesn't count]

  • A Dream of Steam and Brass (it's a scarf/kerchief/shawlette--I'm making it bigger than patterned--for a colleague. I'm basically finished it as written, but I'm carrying on in pattern for as far as a second ball will take me). [likewise, a present]

  • Persian Dreams Blanket (round 20 of Hexagon 5) [that's a Stashley]

  • a linen dishcloth, Eloominator's Diagonal Knit dishcloth by Jana Trent. I'm in the decrease section! [that's a Jekyll. Can't get more practical than a dishcloth]

  • GGN Norwegian Ski Sweater (finished the torso, currently well above the cuffs of Arms One and Two (I'm knitting both at once--but on separate needles, I'm not that clever yet)) [that's a Stashley for sure ... the original is done in two colours and it's gorgeous, and somehow I've managed to convince myself to do it in five colours instead.]

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