Since the recent post where I outed myself as a serial WIP-er, I have been making a gargantuan attempt to actually finish some projects. Funnily enough, it’s paid off! Three of the sweaters that were on the needles are now finished and being worn (just as well, because we have had some bitterly cold days recently), and I love each one as much as the next.
First off the ranks was Shellseeker. I had intended to wear this for long walks on the beach when we went on holidays at Easter, but didn’t quite get it finished in time. It’s a great casual sweater for running around after the kids though, and there are bound to be beach holidays in its future.
I knitted it in Cascade Ultra Pima, which I have fallen in love with. It’s the perfect weight to be worn most of the year in our subtropical climate and, unlike other cotton yarns I have tried, holds its shape really well. Shellseeker is the third top I’ve knitted in it since our LYS started stocking it late last year.
Then I went back to my Audrey. Once I picked it up again, I finished the body in an afternoon. This is the sort of thing that drives me nuts; obviously, if I’d just stuck with it, it would have been finished months ago.
The end result is so deceptively simple, with its spare lines and elegant lace bib. Yet every detail is so carefully thought through, from the deep twisted rib at the waist to the i-cord edging along the neckline.
Finally, I finished my Atelier. I loved knitting this, and I love wearing it. The construction is so ingenious, and there always seemed to be something to look forward to, which meant it was always a pleasure to work on.
So with three sets of needles and three project bags liberated, I am feeling free! So free that I’ve cast on for two new sweaters… 😉
Yep, there’s no hope for me…
It sometimes seems that there are a disproportionate number of knitters who are also cat owners. I’m not quite sure why this is, but I’ve recently joined their ranks. Two gorgeous Abyssinian kittens have come to live with us and, in a very short period of time, they have completely enchanted us all.
While I was knitting on a recent bitterly cold night, Zahra crawled into my dressing gown, curled up into a ball with her little head on my knitting, and went to sleep. Isn’t she sweet?
(Officially, the kittens belong to the children, but I’m allowed kitty cuddles too…)
Recently I caught myself surfing Ravelry, matching up yarns from my stash with potential sweater patterns. Sometimes I even match patterns with yarn I don’t already have.
So what’s wrong with that?
Nothing…except that I currently have five unfinished sweaters on the needles. Yes, five.
I’ve been working on Olive since last winter. The nickel circulars I started with proved too slick for the fine alpaca yarn I had chosen, so my tension was a little wonky. It made me sad to see the sweater that I had such hopes for turning out so average, so I put it away while I
sulked considered if it would be fixed with blocking. Earlier this year I bought a set of bamboo interchangeables, which made such an immediate and visible difference to my tension on this project that I ripped it back to the yoke and started again. Now it’s looking good and I’ve separated for the sleeves but let’s be honest – it’s miles and miles of stocking stitch in fingering weight yarn. I’ll be lucky if I finish it before the end of next winter.
I cast on Audrey in Unst on New Year’s Day with the divinely gorgeous silver madelinetosh pashmina that my husband gave me for Christmas. I was almost up to the armholes when I realised that constantly picking it up, working half a row, and putting it back down while I helped my technical support students had really messed with my tension. So I ripped it back to the waist and sent it to the naughty corner for a bit. Now I find I’m just a little bit nervous about picking it up unless I know I can work on it uninterrupted for a while, so it’s moving forward more slowly than a snail can crawl.
There’s Aidez. I kidded myself that I was waiting for my LYS to get in the 30cm Addis I needed for the sleeves, but I’ve had them for three weeks now and still no progress. It’s that damn sleeve curse again.
Atelier I cast on because I told myself I needed something that was a little bit challenging, but mostly plain stocking stitch (because Audrey clearly didn’t meet these criteria) to kick me back into gear. I loved watching the construction of the yoke come together, I even managed to slog through the sleeves before moving on to the body and then… nothing. Officially, it’s because we went on holidays and I wanted something even simpler to work on, but we’re back now and it’s still languishing.
Shellseeker – the project I cast on to take on our beach holiday (yes, I theme my knitting) – has reached the critical point. The body is finished, the fun of working out the pocket construction is past. Now there’s just one sleeve left and I’m struggling to push past that mental block and just. get. it. finished. I’m so good at procrastinating when it comes to sleeves that I’ve even whipstitched the pocket lining closed and woven in all the ends already.
(If I’m completely honest with myself, there’s also a Whisper that I started in a silk/ramie blend before Christmas. Although that doesn’t really count, ‘cos we’re heading into winter here, and I won’t really have any use for something that lightweight until at least September…)
Common sense tells me to keep going with the project that is closest to being finished, and then work through the rest of them until they’re all done. My guilty conscience agrees. But I’m still sitting here with five sweater projects on the needles and the desperate urge to cast on another. What’s that all about?
So I bought her some needles of her own, dug a ball of hot pink merino yarn from my stash and cast on.
Up she climbed on my lap and curled her still-pudgy hands around mine on the needles. She straightened out her pointy finger just like she’s seen me do and, with surprising patience, watched while I showed her how to poke the needle through the loop, catch the working yarn and pull it through, and slide the finished stitch off the needle. Once, twice… Then she wanted to try for herself. And I watched in utter amazement as she carefully made a stitch, slipped it off and squealed with excitement, “I’m knitting!!”
Every day since, she brings me her knitting (I think it’s a scarf), climbs up on my lap and painstakingly forms the stitches, counting each one. Sometimes, in her excitement, she drops all the finished stitches off her needle, giggles and pokes the needle back through them. She has no fear yet of making a mistake. After five or six stitches, she’ll tell me it’s enough “for now” and dashes off to play. She’s already earmarked several more balls of yarn – yellow, purple and green. It’s going to be one colourful scarf.
I feel so lucky to be able to share this with her, and I know that I will never be able to see that particular shade of pink without remembering these sunny afternoons with my little girl.
Having learnt to knit as an adult, I have no hazy memories of patient hands guiding mine. My mother didn’t knit and, although my grandmother did, she was half a world away in Sweden. When I visited her, I often watched her knit. I remember her being amazingly fast, her work flowing effortlessly from her needles. I wish now I had asked her to teach me but, for whatever reason, I didn’t. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to learn; I guess I thought I would always be able to ask her later. Now I regret that I missed sharing this with her.
Oddly enough, when I finally got around to learning after the birth of my first child, it was a Swedish lady who taught me. So, although I didn’t learn from my grandmother, my dad says I knit just like her. It’s still the best knitterly compliment I’ve ever had.
Watching a cold, cloudy dawn break over the beach is so much better with yarn and needles in hand…
My way of knitting can loosely be called continental, but it doesn’t resemble any of the English-language You Tube videos that I’ve seen (I have seen some Swedish and Finnish videos that show the same way of knitting, but that’s not surprising given that I was taught by a Swedish lady).
So I thought it might be interesting to show how I knit…
and how I purl…
I sometimes use a Norwegian purl for 1×1 ribbing or moss stitch, but mostly I stick with my purl. It’s fast and consistent … and it’s what I’m used to!
I’m not the most prolific blogger, and my blog has often gone months without an update despite my best intentions. But I like knowing it’s there, waiting for me to tell it something interesting, or show it something pretty.
So, when the urge came on me to visit the other evening, I was shocked to find it gone.
Yes, I’d paid my hosting fees. Yes, I’d paid my domain registration fees. But it was still just gone.
I considered ranting, I even practised a little in the shower. Ultimately, though, I decided to look on it as an opportunity to start fresh with new energy and new commitment.
Mr Purldragon has very kindly fixed up my blog and got it back online. He’s even prettied it up in the process (thanks, honey!)
From now on, I solemnly promise that I will be a more faithful blogger.
PS Happy Easter! Glad Påsk!