Work-in-progress Wednesday :: all done but the weaving, the blocking, the wearing

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On Monday night, I finished Little Buddha’s sweater. Just in time for 60-degree weather! He was still happy about it, proclaiming that his insistence that I work only on this one project worked out really well.

I still have to weave in the ends and block it. And then I’ll probably have to rip and add length to the arms and body so he can actually wear it next season….

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Work-in-progress Wednesday :: Sleeve Island

It’s not so much that I’m stuck on Sleeve Island as it is that I have been here longer than I’d like and I’m ready to be done. I find knitting sleeves so tedious once the body is done – both because it seems like I should be done with the sweater already and because I hate having the bulk of the body to deal with (i.e., continually turn and rearrange) while doing the small circumference knitting of the sleeves. But I need to just quit my whining and finish up already.

The Deuce, with cat

The Deuce, with cat

I am to the point of adding the stripes to the sleeve, then the ribbing, and then it’s on to the second sleeve. I would love to be done with this by the end of this coming weekend, because I am ready to move on to Spring things!

Work-in-progress Wednesday :: the things I do for love

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I am kind of tired of knitting stockinette at this point, and I’m really ready to move on to other projects, but my son wants me to only focus on this sweater of his until I’m finished with it, and that does seem reasonable. Even if it weren’t reasonable, it would be kind of hard to tell a nine year-old who wants you to knit for him that you are going to work on other projects instead.

A Few Green Things

I’m giving a nod to St. Patrick’s Day today by both wearing green and knitting with it (and that will be pretty much the extent of my celebrations). Also, I’m ready for spring, and surrounding myself with green makes me feel hopeful that it might arrive one of these days.

I’m plugging away on Little Buddha’s Deuce.

The Deuce #2

The Deuce #2

That’s a pretty small amount of progress I’ve made, but I haven’t had a lot of time – the weekend seemed to go by in a flash!

I also pulled out an old project over the weekend. I’m looking longingly at it but trying not to pick it up and work on it, since Little Buddha has asked me to be knit-monogamous while I work on his sweater.

Cloud Bolero

Cloud Bolero

Ravelry tells me I cast on for this in the spring of 2010. Though I never even took one shot of the work-in-progress back then, I finished the body and had only the sleeves left to go before I set it aside. What happened was I decided I wanted it a bit longer, and that was going to involve undoing the picot bind-off – not my favorite thing to do in any circumstance, but I knew it would be made all the more difficult because it was single-ply handspun. I really, really want this sweater for this spring though, so I WILL make this happen. I’m posting this here to try to keep myself accountable.

Meanwhile, I’m wearing this handknit today:

Cape Cod

Cape Cod

I love this sweater so much. I originally envisioned it for cool summer nights but didn’t finish it until September. It has turned out to be perfect for fall and winter – and a very welcome splash of bright color in the dark, cold months. I especially love it paired with black.

And because it is still ridiculously cold here (it was in the low teens when I got dressed), I’m also wearing a super-cozy cowl with my toasty winter coat. This is a new free design I hope to be releasing later this week. It’s so super-squishy that it makes me not resent the endless winter quite so much.

Handspun Sprout

Handspun Sprout

How about you? Working with or wearing any green today? What did you work on this weekend?

 

 

Beginnings, and a Question :: The Deuce, #2

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I cast on last night for Little Buddha’s sweater, in the yarn he picked out last fall. I showed him this morning, and the following discussion ensued:
LB: If you did nothing else but knit, on just that one project, for 24 hours straight, would you be able to finish that in a day?
Me: Yes.
LB: Then could you maybe not knit on any other projects until you finish my sweater?

Oh, my little boy does know me, doesn’t he? Monogamous knitting is not my strong suit, but how could I say no to such a sweet request?

For my tween :: The Deuce

I had a vision in the fall, of coordinated sweaters for both my boys, knit in the same season. It was a lofty goal, one I’ve never managed to achieve, and it was made even loftier by the fact that I secretly hoped I would also be able to make a coordinated sweater for their father. Stop laughing, y’all! I can’t help it – I clearly just don’t understand how the time-space continuum works.

I cast on for a sweater for Tiny Dancer in September, but then got buried in other knitting commitments. After Thanksgiving, I got back to it, finished the body – and realized I was very displeased with my colorwork. In addition to the fact that my tension went wonky, I also decided that my original vision for the sweater was a bit too busy for my kiddo. After Christmas, I finally ripped it back and redid, opting for a much subtler bit of color.

20140313-090053.jpgThe end result is a pretty minimalist sweater design, which suits my little dude just great.

The Deuce

The Deuce

It’s an extremely simple, straightforward design – just a top-down raglan, with 1×1 ribbing on the neck, waist, and cuffs, with three garter stripes at the waist and above the cuffs. It’s kind of silly that it took me so long to knit what is basically the simplest sweater in the world.

garter stripes

garter stripes

I love this yarn to pieces and still mourn the fact that it was discontinued almost as soon as I discovered it. This is Plymouth Tweed, the same yarn I made my Allegheny Dress out of (in fact, the golden stripe is leftover yarn from my dress). I stocked up on a variety of colors on closeout in the fall of 2011, with hopes of eventually knitting sweaters for the whole family. Yes, I’ve had this dream for awhile it seems.

This tweedy sweater reminds me a bit of another sweater I once made him, and I couldn’t resist comparison shots.

The Deuce, on Tiny Dancer, age 9

The Deuce, on Tiny Dancer, age 9

How is this kid a tween already? I mean, perhaps nine isn’t really officially tweendom, but he’s on the verge of ten now, and trust me – the tweenish behaviors are all there. In fact, even though I think this sweater looks really good on him, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he finds it too embarrassing now to wear a sweater his mom made for him.

At any rate, here’s the first sweater I made him, when he was three years-old:

Cobblestone, on Tiny Dance, age 3

Cobblestone, on Tiny Dance, age 3

That sweater was knit in Cascade Elite Skye Tweed, which was also discontinued, and which I also bought a bunch of on closeout, also with a never-realized dream of coordinating sweaters for the whole fam. Ah, the kids grow up, but some things never change.

Given how long this winter seems to be going on here in Michigan, perhaps I can still get a sweater knit for his brother before things warm up?

raveled

 

 

Same sweater, different cat

I moved the sweater I was blocking this weekend up onto my cutting table so that my arthritic kitty couldn’t get to it, after I caught her making herself at home on the wet wool. The next time I walked by, I was treated to this:

Suki, on The Deuce

Who, me?

Thankfully, no yarn was (irreparably) harmed by their shenanigans. I did have to pull a couple of stitches back into proper place, but the sweater is fine.

Good things these gals are cute! (modeled shots of the sweater coming soon!)

Unknit, Reknit, Repeat

The Deuce, in progress

The Deuce, in progress

In the fall, I set a goal of knitting sweaters for both my sons – a feat I have never before accomplished in one season. Usually, I am doing well to get a sweater knit for one son before he outgrows it. I was determined this time to knit sweaters for both of them, in time for them to both wear them before winter was up.

Given my track record, this was an ambitious goal. I made it even more so by setting out to design the sweaters, too. My vision was of coordinated colorwork sweaters for all three fellas in my family (thank goodness there is no risk of My Old Man outgrowing his before I can finish it).

You know, a sweater for a kid, even a bigger kid, which mine now are, really shouldn’t take more than three weeks to complete. Of course, that would require not setting it aside multiple times for multiple other projects, which is what I’ve done. Also, it would mean not involving all the trial-and-error work original designs involve (at least that’s what they involve for me).

I finished the body of Tiny Dancer’s sweater in November, but I was horrified with the result of the colorwork. For one thing, I should’ve gone up a couple of needle sizes to accommodate for my tighter gauge when knitting stranded – I knew it was bad, but didn’t realize how bad it was until he tried it on. I also decided it was busier than I wanted it to be (though not nearly as busy as colorwork can be).
Craft Friday fail - colorwork gauge too tight compared to rest of body. Didn't realize how bad it was until my son tried it on. #craftfriday #knitting #sweater #pullover
And though I usually love corrugated ribbing, I hated it on this sweater.

I also decided I wasn’t super-wild about the lime green (which will be the main color of Little Buddha’s sweater, and was picked by him).
The Deuce
I like the color itself, but wasn’t loving it in combination with the other colors (it is also a different yarn than the tweed I’m using in the rest of the sweater).

As sometimes happens with crafting fails, the result was procrastination – I couldn’t quite make myself unknit and reknit. I set it aside after Thanksgiving and didn’t pick it back up until sometime last month. I’ve changed the colorwork completely, opting for subtle garter stripes instead, and I still had some trial-and-error with the sleeve fitting, but at long, LONG last, I am finally done.

Well, except for the weaving in and blocking. And except for the fact that I have a whole other kid to knit a sweater for and only a few more weeks of winter left. Theoretically….

 

Craft Friday

After three days of a house full, including 11 people for Thanksgiving dinner (and for dinner the night before), the house now feels strangely empty and quiet (even though there are still four of us here). As I mentioned earlier this week, I do not participate in the madness of Black Friday. I am fully onboard with PoMoGoLightly’s call for today to be Craft Friday. I have a ton of craft plans for December (natch) and the list has suddenly gotten much longer, with several family members requesting special handknit Christmas gifts. I’m happy that people want handknits and I’m going to do my best, but my first order of business is to finish a pair of sweaters for my kiddos.

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This one is for Tiny Dancer and I’m pleased with how it’s turning out. I’m devoting Craft Friday to this (plus a little spinning), and I hope to finish it soon. What are the chances I can knit one for Little Buddha and still get all my Christmas knitting done?

And how about you? What are your Craft Friday plans?

I threw away a handknit

On purpose.

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And I’d never even worn it.

This was the first sweater I ever started (not the first one I ever finished, because I paused to make one for My Old Man before this one was done). I made it back in 2006. It’s the To Dye For pullover from Stitch ‘N Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook. I loved the looks of the pattern because of the bell sleeves and the split sides. I loved the looks of the yarn (Suri from KnitPicks). But the finished product left a lot to be desired. It really only had two flaws, but they were fatal:

  1. It made me look like a lump.
  2. I seamed the armholes too tight.

I could’ve undone and redone the armholes (though in this particular yarn that would’ve been a HUGE pain). But it simply wasn’t worth it for a sweater that was so entirely unflattering on me.

So why did I let it sit in my closet for over seven years? Oh, my typical reasons:

  1. I thought that some day I might turn into a waif and the sweater would suddenly look great on me.
  2. I thought I might frog the sweater and repurpose the yarn.
  3. I hate throwing things away.

I’m running out of places to store the handknits I actually like and wear, so I finally got over these obstacles. I decided not to bother trying to pass this thing off to anyone else – the sleeve seams are just too tight (at least for anyone for whom the body would fit) and the yarn just isn’t worth recycling. I didn’t enjoy knitting with it the first time, why would I (or anyone else) want to knit with it after it had been unknit?

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So I tossed it. This represents progress for me. I hate to throw things away because I always figure that I (or someone else) will have a use for them some day.

Of course the real progress would be if I could always keep in mind that I am not, in fact, a waif, and should never knit patterns just because they look great on waif-like models.

What about you? Ever thrown away a hand knit?