I’ve been a knitter for about 14 years now. One thing I have noticed over those years is how whatever project I am knitting somehow gets associated with whatever is going on with my life at the time. In other words, each project has memories attached to it that come to mind whenever I see or wear that knitted item. For example, there’s a pair of socks that I remember knitting one year at the beach. Every time I wear those socks, I remember back to those happy moments knitting contentedly while on vacation. There’s also a sweater that I worked on while the husband was in the hospital following a serious car accident. When I wear that sweater, I am reminded of those anxious times and feel grateful that things turned out ok. We knitters spend a lot of time with our projects and sometimes those projects become part of our lives during that time.
Two years ago, I started a sweater. Two years ago, we were also deep into house hunting for our move. Somehow, I was never able to really get into the groove of knitting that sweater. I think now that it was perhaps a reflection of how I was feeling at the time. Moving is stressful and as much as I knew it was the right thing to do at that time, it was also something I very much did not want to do. And, just as I struggled with adjusting to all the changes that the move brought to us, I really struggled with being motivated to knit that sweater.
Occasionally, I would pick it and work on it. A few times, I even managed to finish a piece of it.
This was the state of things at the beginning of May. All the pieces were finished except for the sleeves.
Sleeves don’t usually take too long for me, but I was not feeling particularly motivated to finish these. So, I did something that sometimes helps me to make some progress on a stalled project. I took it with me on a road trip and did not take any other knitting that I could do in the car.
It worked. At least, it worked for that first sleeve. The second sat around waiting for a bit until I decided that enough was enough and I cast on on that second sleeve.
A few days of dedicated knitting was all it took to get the second sleeve finished. All that was left was the sewing up.
Instead of diving into that, I found myself distracted by other things again. But, on the eve of going to the MA Fiber Festival last weekend, I wondered if I might be able to finish the sweater to wear the next day at the festival. Nothing gets a knitter motivated to finish something than the prospect of being able to wear it around a bunch of other knitters! I did not end up finishing the sweater in time, but it got me started and I did manage to finish by the end of the weekend.
It just needed a bath and rest after that. Now, two years later after I started the sweater, it is finally finished.
The sweater is really comfortable and I like it a lot. The pattern was great. It must be because every time I came back to it, I had to figure where I was and what I was supposed to be doing. And that’s sort of how I have felt on and off over the past two years. Where am I and what am I supposed to be doing? I would ask myself this often as I adjusted to our new normal here. I can’t really explain why I was so unmotivated with the sweater except that maybe it was somehow a reflection of how unsettled I have felt this past two years in this new place.
And now that it is finished, I think it is also a reflection of how I am feeling these days here; more comfortable, more settled, more at home. This is not to say that I am totally at home here because I still don’t feel like I really “belong” here. To be honest, I’ve never felt like I “belonged” anywhere but that’s a topic for some other time. I think there is always a part of us that lives in the places we leave behind, but those places also go with us and live in us.
There’s nothing magical or mystical about this sweater, but I do think it will always remind me of these last two years when my world was shifting and changing and I was struggling to figure out how to live in it. Thankfully, the sweater, just as this life, fits pretty well, looks pretty, and is really quite comfortable.
While I was busy getting the house ready to put on the market, I looked forward to being done so I could just sit back and enjoy my well-organized and sparkling clean house. I envisioned myself sitting on the sofa while knitting with a cup of tea nearby, just enjoying myself and relaxing. It has not quite turned out the be the idyllic dream I wished for, though, because, as it happens, I am no good at waiting around. I find myself constantly wondering why the phone isn’t ringing. Why aren’t people coming to look at my house? And then I look around and wonder if there is something wrong with my house. So, I take a little wander around. I go from room to room, tidying or dusting or just looking at it. Then, when we do have someone who is interested in looking, there is a little whirlwind as we go around putting everything away that indicates anyone actually lives here. We go away for a little while, feeling weird that someone is in our house looking at it when we are not there, and then we come home and wait some more. It is torture by waiting. I haven’t done this much waiting around since I was waiting for my boys to be born. And until it ends, I am sure it will feel like it will never end.
Thankfully, I do have some things to distract me. I was able to go back to a test knit that I was working on for Anne Hanson of Knitspot. Here is what it looked like a few weeks ago when I had to put it on hold.
I was able to finish it over the weekend and got it blocked yesterday. Today, I sewed on the buttons. Aren’t they cool? They are made from antlers.
When the husband came home, I made him do a little photo shoot.
Doesn’t he look excited? Actually, he does quite like it and I am sure he will get lots of chances to wear it when we move. It’s generally much colder in Boston than it is here.
I love the collar on this. And there are cables along the side, too. See?
I love how there are cables along the raglan sleeves. This is one of those classy sweaters that would look great on anyone. For this sweater, I used the same yarn that I used on my Ommegang, Bare Naked Wools Kent Dk. This is the mussel shell colorway. When I asked the husband what color he wanted, he told me to get the darkest one they have, and this is it. This yarn is fabulous. It has a silky feel and is light and warm, but also very breathable.
The pattern is called Gearhead, and I believe it is being released soon. Now, I have to find something else to distract me while I wait by the phone. No worries, there, though, I have plenty to choose from! I’ll tell you more next time.
Last week, I was able to finally block a project that had been finished for a little while. This is one of those projects that I started a long time ago, thinking it would be a quick knit, but it was not. The pattern chart was not one that I was able to see or memorize quickly, so I kept making silly mistakes. Because of this, it took more concentration than I have most of the time, so it languished. At the end, though, I seemed to finally get the hang of the chart (after the fourth repeat!) and it went more quickly.
I only got a couple of quick photos of it before I carried it off to its final destination as a gift to dear friend. Believe it or not, before it was blocked, this project looked like a pile teal stringy knots. I blocked it out as much as possible and am really happy with how things opened up.
Once you can see it like this, the chart all makes sense. Some projects are like this. You knit and knit and follow the directions on faith that it will all turn out ok. And once it is blocked, it nearly always is. It’s a very satisfying feeling.
The pattern is In Snowy Pinewoods by Knitspot. I used Shalimar Homage, which is a lovely blend of merino, cashmere, and silk. The silk gives it a lovely drapiness. The pattern is really well written; all the difficulties were all in my mind. It’s one of those bottom up shawls and the nice edges are knit on as you go along. All in all, I am very happy with it and I think my friend likes it as well.
In other knitty progress, I have finished the bodies of two sweaters and now I have four sleeves to knit. I’ll show you those next time.
What a whirlwind of a the last ten days has been! So much has happened that I am afraid this post will have to consist of photos with captions because if I told you everything it would take longer than you want to be here for. I will start with Rhinebeck, also known as the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. This year was more fun than ever for me. The fall leaves were beautiful.
I knit almost the same color Longshadows scarf for Judi.
It was really fun to see everyone’s gifts and the thought that went into them. Here we are all modeling our wonderful gifts.
Then, I had a super fun meetup with Thea Colman, also known as Baby Cocktails. We had a great time talking knitting and sweaters and yarn.
This year, I really enjoyed seeing my knitting friends more than the shopping. Although, I did manage to find a few goodies to bring back home with me.
When Rhinebeck was over, the fun went on at Knitspot’s Rhinebeck After Party. I was so busy and had so much fun there that I have no pictures. What I can show you is the yarn I brought home with me. There’s enough here for a sweater and several other things.
And the fun didn’t stop there! The husband surprised us by taking the entire week off and whisking us away for a grand few days in New York City!
We ate a lot.
Saw some cool things.
And I even bought a little more yarn.
We were spoiled for sure and had enough fun to last us quite awhile. Now that we are back, we are getting ourselves re-organized. The first thing was to re-open the etsy shop with stitch markers with a post Rhinebeck sale. Everything in the shop is 20% off with coupon code RB2014SALE until November 4. We will be adding some new sets later today and tomorrow. Today’s sets have a bonus owl.
Today is the first day in over a month that feels normal to me. It’s not necessarily a good day or a bad day. I am not getting any more or less done than usual, but there is a slight shift in my brain that feels better somehow. It’s a nice feeling to be here and feel like I have some coherent thoughts to share with you. I guess my mind has been feeling overwhelmed and scattered the past few months, which has made blogging difficult. This new clarity of mind may not last long, but I will take advantage of it while I can!
I can show you some things I have finished in the last few weeks. First up is this cashmere shawl from the Bare Naked Knitspot Club. This shawl is so soft and light, it is like wearing a cloud of warmth. I made a sort of medium size and now wish I had made the biggest size because I just want more of that soft warmness around my neck.
Next, I have been quite taken with a new series of patterns by Ysolda Teague called KnitWorthy. For just a few dollars, this is a collection of 8 patterns to make as gifts for yourself or for those whom you think are worth of knits. A new pattern comes out every other Monday. It started back in September, and there will be new patterns until the first week of December. Anyway, the first one is this hat, which was fun to make and quick, too.
And the second one is a shawl that starts out like this. There are cables and short rows and later I will have to pick up stitches to knit the body. I do love a project with lots of variety and different techniques.
As of today, there are four patterns and I have to say, I love each one so far, which is really rare for me. The fact that I am interested and engaged in these more complicated projects is also a good sign to me that my foggy brain is clearing. It’s just in time, too, because the New York Sheep and Wool festival, aka Rhinebeck, is this weekend and I will need all my mental faculties present to enjoy that!