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.
Well, it seems like every time I blink, two weeks passes by. How does this happen? I don’t know, but I hear it happens to everyone, so I am trying not to let it get to me. There’s a lot happening around here and most of it is good, I think. Here are some things I have been working on, in no particular order.
First: Knitting. The last time I talked knitting, I was trying to decide what to knit while watching the Olympics. I ended up deciding on a sport weight pullover called Polwarth by Ysolda Teague. Out of my stash, I dug out some sport weight yarn called Brigantia by Spirit Trail Fiberworks that is a polwarth and silk blend.
After doing a quick gauge swatch, I cast on during the opening ceremonies and attempted to do brioche stitch for the first time while watching. For the most part, I did not find the brioche stitch all that challenging, but the little triangle gave me some trouble. The shaping directions for the triangle were a bit confusing, but I muddled through. I think it looks pretty good, but not perfect.
The rest of the sweater is mostly stockinette stitch, which is great for watching sports. Unfortunately, by the time the second week came around, I was growing bored with it and for some reason, the track and field events were not holding my attention as well as the swimming in the first week. Despite my ennui, I plodded ahead and by the end of the closing ceremonies last night, I had finished all but half of a sleeve.
Even though I did not finish, I am pretty happy with how much I got done, considering I really only knit while watching the olympics. The last half sleeve should only take another night or two of knitting and then I’ll have a new sweater!
Second: Baking. Blueberry season is pretty much over (sad face) and peach season never arrived up here in New England. A couple of frosty days in February and March killed almost all of the peach crop in the New England states. We’ve had to rely on the grocery stores for our peaches (another sad face). Last week, I was able to score a bunch of organic peaches that were pretty good and was really happy to make these peach buns.
These are my version of the traditional Baltimore Peach Cake and to say that we love them would be an understatement. Since I posted this picture on Instagram, I’ve had a few requests for a recipe. It’s really something that I have cobbled together over the years by combining a brioche recipe and a crumb topping recipe. All you need is a good brioche recipe (here’s one if you don’t have one) and your favorite crumb topping recipe. Combine those with peaches and you have a wonderful fruity breakfast or afternoon snack bun. I froze a bunch of blueberry ones, which I think will be good. The peach ones do not freeze well and are best eaten within 24 hours, just so you know.
Third: Sewing/Quilting. Gift quilts are so tricky to sew because I can’t show any photos anywhere until the recipient receives it and then sometimes I just forget. So here are two small ones I have finished in the past year. The first is a baby quilt for a dear friend.
If the fabrics looks odd, it’s because 13 different people went out and picked a fabric to represent themselves and sent them to me to put together a quilt. It was really fun to see what everyone picked and a fun challenge to figure out how to put them together in a quilt. I just realized I don’t have a photo of the whole quilt, but that’s ok. I love that it is being used by that cutie pie!
The second quilt is for my dad that will go well with in his log cabin in the woods.
He picked out the fabric a couple of years ago and I finally got it finished (almost-I was a week or so late) in time for his birthday last month.
I made the front and back different so that it could be displayed in two different ways. It was more work that way, but I like the way it turned out. Hopefully, he does, too!
I’ve also finished another couple of blocks from my craftsy block of the month class. Sewing progress was minimal the last couple of weeks because of the heat and all the knitting I was doing. I’d like to get back to that and finish off the blocks for the class and then get back to sewing the Splendid Sampler blocks.
Fourth: I have a bad case of wanting to start lots of new projects.
Today, I plan to cast on a mystery knit along shawl by SusannaIC using the yarn above, and I want to join in on the Fringe Association’s Top-down sweater knitalong. That last one might just take more brain energy than I have right now. There are about five other sweaters I would like to start as well as a couple of other little things. Oh, if only there was more time in the day!
What do you want to work on today?