Arrrgh!

My knitting is refusing to work with me!

I am aiming for a gauge of 5 stitches per inch.

My first swatch on US 8 needles yielded 4.375 stitches per inch. It was light and airy and beautiful, which is what I am aiming for on this sweater.

My second swatch on US 6 needles yielded 4.75 stitches per inch. This swatch was also very pleasing, but it’s starting down the road toward super-warm-thick-sweater land. Not good.

I started a 3rd swatch on US 4 needles, but quickly came to the realization that a sweater knit that tightly would keep me warm on the frozen tundra despite airy lace panels (did I mention that I decided to do a different lace pattern than the sweater pattern specifies?).

So after a little math (God bless whoever invented the calculator!) I realized that if I knit the sweater a size smaller, but at my original gauge it would fit.

If my plan works out I will be a genius.

If not I will need lots of chocolate.

I’m thinking about stocking up on chocolate just in case…

Burnout

I have been knitting so much the last few weeks months that I think I’ve reached the point of burnout. I finished mom’s Christmas socks, Grandma’s sweater just needs buttons and a little neck modification, and that weird scarf I started 3 years ago for a roommate has been finished as a rather short cowl. Plus, add a birthday cowl for me, a sweater for my adopted nephew, and 1 lone mitten. The second mitten is glaring at me (or, rather, the yarn is glaring at me), but I just can’t bring myself to work on it.

I have started a sewing project instead.

A Stitch in Time

I am almost done with my Grandma’s Christmas sweater. I’ve been working on this since September, starting with the sleeves. Then I soldiered through the back, which I thought would never be done. After several brief meanderings through other projects I cast on the right front earlier this week, and lo and behold! A semi-finished object! Now I only have to knit the left front, do the sewing up, and knit the lower border on. This sweater is practically done! I can almost taste it.

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The back and right front (sleeves not shown)

(Is yarn-tasting a thing? Should it be?)

I did the thing…

I was knitting happily along on my grandmother’s Christmas sweater. Well, more like knitting grumblingly along. I’ve been working on it since September, and this sweater is sucking the life out of me!

I looked at my pattern, which instructed me to knit garter stitch over the middle 36 stitches, so I obediently counted and placed markers and began working the directions. I thought it a little odd that the pattern didn’t specify to wrap and turn at the ends of my short rows, but this pattern tends to be sparse anyway, so I figured they trusted the knitter to know to do that.

And then I saw it: Work remaining stitches as before.

GAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Stupid sweater.

The Sweater that Never Was

Once upon a time there lived a knitter. She was pretty young and inexperienced – in fact she had just graduated from college, which also means she was pretty broke. This knitter was also pretty new to the whole knitting thing, but she was eager to learn anything she could, and especially to make new, pretty things. She had made hats and gloves and a single scarf (can we just pause for a moment to discuss how long it takes to knit a scarf?), but never had she ever attempted a sweater. In fact it seemed like a daunting task. For goodness sake, she had to knit a hat over several knitting sessions because she would get bored with it. Nevertheless the knitter decided the time had come.

She found a pattern she liked and some crappy yarn she had been given (remember, she was broke), and valiantly swatched. Her swatch was decently close (remember the attention span problems), so she cast on. She knit. And knit. And knit some more. Since she was working from the top down she got to the arm holes pretty quickly, which was nice. It made the knitting go faster to know that she was getting somewhere (the fact that a bunch of stitches went on stitch holders didn’t hurt, either). And then she knit some more. And did some shaping. And knit some more.

And then inexplicably the knitter put her sweater down. Who knows what made her do it. Perhaps it was that the crappy yarn, while it was at the correct guage for the project, did not make a terribly pleasing fabric. Maybe the drab brown colour was getting to her. Maybe it was sheer boredom. Who knows why she put it down, the point is that she did. She thought about picking it back up again many times over the next few years months. But something always kept her from it.

Eventually, after a while of the sweater lurking at her and making her feel guilty she forgot about it. Until she found it again in a stash dive. She looked at the sweater. It looked back at her. And she realized this was a sweater that she would never knit. So she took it off its needles and gave it to someone else who might love it more than she did. And that is how knitting taught the knitter that sometimes you just have to let go. Some things you just can’t save. And sometimes you have to prioritize and choose what is the best use of your time.

Happy Birthday to Me!

I love my birthday. I know a lot of people hate birthdays or get sad because they are getting older, but for some reason I have always loved them. I take the day off work, I buy myself a (big) present, and spend the day doing whatever I please. This year I started off by going to my local farmer’s market. Can you believe I have never been to a farmer’s market before? I can’t. I walked around and looked at everything, bought some vegetables, handmade soap, and my first skein of handspun yarn! I have been hankering after handspun for a while.

Birthday yarn is the best
Birthday yarn is the best

So a year in review:

  • Last year for my birthday I got my 2 sweet kitties. I love them so much.
Sooooo cute!!!
Sooooo cute!!!
  • Not long after that I officially started dating. I’ve already told you how wonderful my boyfriend is. He’s definitely a keeper.
  • In January I started teaching voice lessons (sorry, I forgot to tell you about that). I always thought I would hate teaching, but I actually really enjoy it and would not at all mind teaching full time.
  • In May my oldest brother got married.
  • In June I was in my first car crash. It was minor and not my fault, but still a jarring experience.
Oops...
Oops…
  • I have knit…a good deal. I made a TARDIS inspired hat last winter because I’m that much of a nerd.
I'm a nerd..but not so much that you'd notice if you didn't know...
I’m a nerd..but not so much that you’d notice if you didn’t know…
  • I made my first sweater! It’s the Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann. A good friend of mine recently had her first baby and his room is decorated in a panda theme. How could I resist?
Who could resist a panda sweater?
Who could resist a panda sweater?
  • I have knit 2 pairs of socks for my mom – 1 for last Christmas, and the pair for this Christmas are done already. I’m so proud of me.

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  • Now I’m working on my first full-size sweater for my Grandma. I’m halfway done and running out of steam…

So that’s me and my year. Here’s to another one just as good or better.