Under the Red Sky

January 16, 2011

Before we kick off with our recently announced Lit Knit series, dedicated to knitting in fiction writing, here’s one more post about the real thing, about knitting in the real world. I just finished knitting this cowl/neckwarmer…

…and what’s best is that I finished it in less than a week – after the long epic struggle with my last knitting project, it was a relieving and uplifting experience to complete a piece of garment in such a short period of time, even if it’s a really small piece of garment.

Pattern: Thermis by Kris Knits
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Melange
Needles: 4,5 mm
[More project details on Ravelry]

There’s nothing much to say about this particular pattern except that it’s nice and easy, so instead I’ll pick up last week’s remarks about giving names to knitting projects. In this case, the name I came up with is ultimately based on the yarn I used for the project: The brand is called Blue Sky Alpacas and I was immediately stricken by the discrepancy between the brand name and the actual bright red colourway I had chosen. My subconscious, however, quickly merged both elements to Under the Red Sky – which, as some of you might know, is the name of a Bob Dylan album, released in 1990. After some consideration even the conscious, rational part of my brain agreed that this would be a fitting project name because a) it sounds good and b) a certain common denominator can be made out between the cowl and said Dylan album. That common denominator is the fact that both are, in one way or another, linked to first times in my life…

As for the knitting, after making several gift knits for other people (and especially for other people’s babies), this cowl is the first piece of knitting I made for myself.* Also, I used the yarn I bought last summer on my trip to Berlin which was the first time I entered a yarn store all by myself. Then I knit the swatch for this project back in November 2010 when [m] and I participated in an event of public knitting for the first time…

As for Dylan, I discovered the man and his music through my dad’s record collection when I was about ten years old. If memory serves correctly, this must have been late 1989 or early 1990. Under the Red Sky came out in September 1990 which made it the first Bob Dylan album whose release I consciously noticed. Mind you, I didn’t buy it back then which, in retrospect, was all for the better because it’s one of the worst records Dylan ever made. Still, I have very clear memories of the album being announced in this mail-order catalogue my parents used to have and of the announcement being accompanied by a large colour photo of Dylan live on stage. I remember how I cut out that picture and stuck it on my wall – more than twenty years later, it’s still there:

A slightly blurry glimpse of my old room at my parents' house with a cut out Dylan peeking over my parents' old SHARP record player...

But the story doesn’t end there… When [m] and I finally got to see Bob Dylan live for the first time, in 2008, the very first song he played was Cats in the Well, a track off Under the Red Sky. Dylan is, of course, (in-) famous for refusing to do a “greatest hits”-setlist at his concerts and for digging up obscure, forgotten songs from his vast back catalogue instead, so this should probably filed under “pure coincidence”. Then again, even for Dylan’s notoriously unpredictable standards it is rather odd to open a show with a song from Under the Red Sky…

* Ok, this his already been somewhat subverted by [m] asking if she could eventually borrow it, but still…

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