Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ars longa, vita brevis

Art is long, and time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
- from Psalm of Life, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
My oldest son and I have similar taste in literature. He is memorizing the above poem, in complete form, for a student competition. It was always a favorite of mine in my younger years as well. The above verse, however, strikes me now as a bit of a downer. Hippocrates, he of the Hippocratic oath, gave us "ars longa vita brevis." Basically, there's a lot to learn and life's not long enough.

Work proceeds on my current cardigan, a fair-isle stranded knitting project called Green Mountain Gardens, made of yarns reclaimed from unraveled thrift store finds. I finished the body over Christmas break and sewed and cut the steeks. Steeks are a way of knitting complex colorwork in the round without having to turn and purl the back side: after knitting is complete, you sew some reinforcing stitches so the knitting won't unravel, then cut the areas where you want an opening.
I am of the "don't think about it too much, just do it" school of steeking, so I sewed and cut them immediately after I finished knitting the section, and without photographing the process. I finished the bands where the buttons (actually clasps) will go and the neckband, so all the finishing has been done that can be done at this point...

and the sleeves have been started.

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