Posts Tagged ‘finished’

Life Lessons from a Sweater

July 28, 2018

Like many knitters, I’m usually always working on more than one project at a time. Recently, however, I’ve been playing favorites, spending much more time with a pair of socks than with the Sunshine Coast sweater. Sure, I can blame it on a deadline. The Monkey Socks (pattern on Ravelry and Knitty) are a birthday gift for a special friend.

But there was something else keeping me from finishing the Sunshine Coast sweater: fear. That’s probably too strong a word. How about dread?

It had to be something emotional that was keeping me from finishing because I love everything about the project. The bright apple green cotton yarn is a perfect match for this casual summer sweater.

Green Sunshine Coast sweater knitting at beach

The pattern is simple yet detailed, with lovely eyelets interspersed at the neckline and sides and subtle bands along the body.

Detail of eyelet holes along neckline of sweater

After casting off the body (more than two months ago!) and before picking up the stitches to knit the sleeves, I held it up and realized that it was too short — at least, too short for my liking. Here it is just before bind off when I tried to gauge length with circular needle still attached.

Sunshine-coast-body

I picked back the bound-off stitches and knit for a few more inches, increasing as the pattern directed. And that’s where my brain kicked in. When I finally bound off the body, it looked too wide, too boxy, and that triggered my body self-image “baggage,” that inner voice that says “that’s too boxy; it’ll make you look fat.”

I expect we all have an inner voice telling us who we are or how we should be, a voice that really isn’t our friend. I try not to listen, but boy, it can be persistent sometimes.

Now I know I’m not fat, but I used to be — at least, I was heavier and fatter than I wanted to be. But that was decades ago — like three decades ago. But that self-image and those feelings linger and, apparently, are still pretty powerful.

But I’m happy to report that my rational brain was helped along by a good dose of reality from my dear, wise daughter Hannah, who responded to my “this may be too boxy” concern on Instagram with “Mom, you think everything is too boxy. I’m sure it’s beautiful and perfect.”

 

She was right.

MAH-sunshine-Coast

 

 

 

 

 

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First Mittens

February 24, 2018

Although already a competent knitter, Jeanne joined the Knitting 101 class at Stitch House a few weeks ago, accompanying friend Jean, a true novice. She’s a terrific cheerleader for Jean, giving her tips and encouragement as she created her first project: a Wham Bam Thank You Lamb neck warmer.

Jeanne arrived at last Saturday’s class with one completed mitten and another nearly finished. By the end of class, she’d finished the thumb, closed a gap in the wrist ribbing, and was done!

Jeanne-knit-mittens2

Feeling camera-shy, she struck the perfect pose for admiring these simple, beautiful mittens. When she commented that they were a bit roomier than she had hoped, I took the opportunity to share a general knitting tip.

Knitting Tip

Before starting a project, make a copy of your pattern and work from that.

  • Note the yarn and needles you used.
  • Highlight each size-specific instruction.
  • Use check marks or your method of choice for keeping track of repeats or numbers of rows.
  • When you’re done, make notes about what you’d do differently next time. In Jeanne’s case, she’ll make the mitten smaller by either using a smaller needle (with same size yarn) or by casting on fewer stitches.

I’ve never knit mittens. At least, I don’t think I have. After my recent memory challenge, I can’t be 100% sure.

Do you have a favorite mitten pattern?

Knitting Amnesia

February 23, 2018

I generally don’t pay much attention to the occasional “memory” that Facebook sends (because they care about me, of course!). But yesterday’s caught my eye:

No-memory-blanket

While I vaguely recall knitting this bright, log cabin blanket, I have absolutely no memory of who I gave it to — what new life sparked my desire to create something.  The information in my post, way back in 2009, was minimal and unhelpful: “log cabin baby blanket.” Duh, obviously!

I’ve got plenty of yarn in my stash that I look at and think: “What project did I have in mind when I bought this?” But until yesterday, I didn’t think that I’d forgotten a finished project.

Am I the only one? Have you ever forgotten a knitted creation?

 

For the New Life to Come

February 16, 2018

In the midst of breath-stopping tragedy and rage from my country’s latest mass murder, finishing a knitting project for a baby-to-be has been a welcome respite. When the project made its last appearance on the blog, I was in search of buttons and had cast on for a little pair of shorts (or, as the pattern called it, a diaper cover).

My search for green buttons yielded lots of unsuitable options – pastels, leaf, pine — but not the bright apple green that I wanted. So I switched to pink and found the perfect pair.

Wee-penny-buttons

Before sewing them on the top, I finished the bottom (if you’ll pardon the expression!). The pattern called for longer ribbing on the “legs” that would then be folded over like a cuff. Since this will be for an infant who won’t be moving much at all, I decided about six rows of ribbing would be plenty.

Wee-penny-bottom

The seed stitch pattern makes the flowers look a little wonky but so what? Although there’s not really a front or back on the cover, I think of this side as the back. The flower pattern lands on the waist (something a baby doesn’t even have!) on the other side, which seems more front-ish.

There’s probably enough yarn left for a little hat or two. For another baby at another time, I think.

Once I was done weaving in the ends on the diaper cover, I untwisted the yarn and sewed on the buttons.

Wee-penny-top

I’m quite pleased with the results and expect the mother-to-be will be, too.

Wee-penny-set

Lest I get tempted by another project, I immediately cast on the next striped sock because, you know, Second Sock Syndrome is real.

Sock-cast-on.jpeg

Wee Penny Plus Bottoms

February 11, 2018

Last Sunday, the lovely, almost-finished Wee Penny had an unfortunate encounter with a platter of baked chicken — with some tasty but messy sauce, to be precise. If I wasn’t the type of knitter who usually washed a finished project before blocking, I would have become one!

A good sudsy soak and swish in the sink plus a couple of rinses in cool water did the trick. I lay out the little dress on a towel and placed a couple of pins along the neck so it would drive evenly.

Wee-penny-block

I need to find two small buttons for the back opening. I think green would be nice. Agree?

Wee-penny-blocked

Since I had just under half a skein of the lovely Hayfield Baby Blossom remaining, I decided that I’d make “an outfit.” Rather than a hat or booties (which are cute but, given their tendency to slip off and get lost, kind of ridiculous for an infant IMO), I decided on a pair of “shorts” or, as I discovered after perusing Ravelry, is more commonly called a “diaper cover.

Hayfield-diaper-cover

Eventually I’ll get to the second sock, but for now, I’m having fun with baby knits.

 

Exuberant Girls with Yarn & Needles

February 10, 2018

Have I mentioned recently how much I enjoy teaching knitting? Oh, I have? Maybe a couple or few times? Well, I’ll say it again.

Every Thursday afternoon since early January, I’ve been teaching fourth- and fifth-grade girls from a local after-school program how to knit. There’s never a dull moment in what is definitely the fastest two hours of my week. Think knitting is a quiet, calm craft? Think again.

Only two students were complete novices; the others had learned in my class last year. Like all knitters, each developed her own style of holding the needles and working the yarn. One had to adapt since her arm was encased in a bright purple cast.

Girls-knit

Our sessions were interjected with regular fits of laughter, occasional shrieks (“Aaaaaah, I messed up! Help! Fix it!”), dancing or floor stretches, and spontaneous bursts of singing. They rehearsing for the fifth grade production of Peter Pan (the junior version — who knew? not me!).

Three projects were finished at the session’s last class this week. A fingerless mitt that will someday have a mate:

Bascp-mitt

What started off as a neck warmer was turned into a headband because time was short and finishing is key to a first project:

Bascp-headband

And a slightly too-large but still beautiful and pom-pom’d two-colored hat:

Bascp-hat-pompom

Their delighted pride at their accomplishments is everything!

How to Light a Fire Under a Knitter

May 26, 2017

Most of my afternoon knitting sessions with tween girls consist of a lively mix of joke telling, spontaneous singing and dancing, high volume stories of school, sports, and friends, and occasional knitting. I’ll often knit a row or round for every one they knit.

However, this week, I unconsciously threw down the knitting gauntlet (after all, who can knit with a gauntlet?!) and the results were remarkable. A couple of weeks ago, they’d started garter stitch headbands. Because she’d started earlier, Ella was a few inches ahead of Brigid, and I commented that she could probably finish that afternoon. “Do you think I’ll finish today?” asked Brigid. “I doubt it,” I replied.

Boom! The race began. United in their indignation that I’d doubted their abilities and ready for the challenge, their fingers flew. Progress was measured every two or three minutes.

Headband-measure

They helped each other with the decreases and i-cord. Ella was first to bind off.

Headband-bind-off

While she dashed off to change for lacrosse practice, Brigid zipped through the final few inches and sewed the ends together.

“YOU didn’t think we could do it, and we DID!” Delighted in their victory, they agreed to hold still for a photo.

B&E-headbands

They’re so awesome. I never doubted them for a minute!

Soft, Color-Shifting Cowl

January 19, 2016

After promising an update when I finished my second Chromatic Cowl, I completely forgot to post the finished product!

In the intervening week or two since my back seat knitting, I completed the cowl and grafted the two ends together with the Kitchener stitch. I must be doing something wrong with my provisional cast-on because I ended up with an uneven number of stitches — fewer on the provisional/waste yarn end. However, I cast on one a couple and grafted.

Blocking, as usual, was a tepid bath in the sink.

chromatic_bath

Drying this airy creation took only a couple of hours. Although I’m not thrilled with the similar color values of the dark gray and hunter green, I love the gradual colors changes.

chromatic-cowl-green

 

chromatic-cowl-neck

 

Curlers in Her Hair

June 8, 2015

For the past few months, I’ve been monogamous in my knitting, working on Michael’s sweater with the hope of finishing it by Memorial Day, when it’s still cool here in Massachusetts. The sweater is finished, but it’s not done. But that’s a story for another day….

In the aftermath of finishing/not-finishing, I’ve cast on two smaller projects, neither of which will have size issues.

Last fall, I bought a skein of Kidding Ewe by Done Roving Yarns at Bee’s in Bar Harbor, Maine. “Cherries Jubilee” is a yummy mix of reds, purples, and greens that will make a lovely cowl or, in this case, a wimple.

First 2 inches of Old Shale Wimple

Yes, “Maria” has been running through my brain.

Second project: “A Good, Plain Sock” in Berroco Sox. This pair for Patrick, who casually commented that I’d knit socks for everyone in the family except him.

Good plain sock recipe

What’s on your needles these days?

 

 

 

A Knitting Palette Cleanser

January 23, 2015

Just as when enjoying a big, complex meal, sometimes a knitter needs to cleanse her palette with something refreshing. I’m working on a sweater for Michael and am nearly done the second sleeve. But a couple of nights ago, I had the urge to finish something  — anything.

An early Valentine decoration fit the bill. Using DPNs and some of the red yarn for the sweater, I finished the first side in about 15 minutes. After soaking and blocking (I know, not totally necessary but I’m a creature of habit), I had this lovely wee thing.

small red knit heart

The next day, I knit its pair and, after a refresher on the blanket stitch, finished.

Finished small knit red heart

Aaaah, that felt good.

Virtual High-Five

August 15, 2013

There are many pleasures to finishing a project:

  • being able to wear or use the completed item;
  • knowing that someone else will be able to wear or use the completed item;
  • anticipation of the gift-giving;
  • moving on to another project (there’s always another project!);

And then there’s the joy in sharing your finished creation with other knitters, who have an understanding of the skill and effort that you put into the piece and who can “ooh,” “aah,” and applaud the details — yarn color and texture, stitches, patterns, tension (the good kind).

Friend and fellow knitting cruise pal Cathie finished a bee-yoo-ti-ful square shawl last week — all by herself, in a bar. Before you picture a solitary knitter, boozing it up in a dingy bar somewhere, please know I’m quite sure that she was in a lovely lounge and waiting for a couple of friends to arrive. At least that’s what she wrote on her phone in the note that accompanied this photo of said shawl. (Pattern is Traffic Furniture by Ann Weaver)

CathieSquareShawl

Cathie wrote, “OK, I’m in a bar…but there’s no law against knitting in a bar – as you know. The problem is this … I’m waiting for friend and just finished the shawl. No one was recording, taking pictures and the only cheer was in my head.  I clearly have to block it but …. anyway …. I’m wishing you guys were here.”

Can you relate? How about a virtual high-five for Cathie and her shawl?

 

Surprisingly finished.

July 22, 2013

The Illusion Cube blanket is more than I thought it’d be. I knew the design was dead clever — 56 individual hexagons, each knit to look like a cube.

IllusionCubeCloseup

I knew the colors would be surprisingly lovely. Eight colors, each pair knitted twice in slightly different combination.

IllusionCubeFinished

Sure, each cube had about six ends to weave in and snip, making the back side a bit bumpy.

back side of Illusion Cube blanket

But I’m still delightfully surprised and pleased with the finished product.

I knew when I started this project, that this would be a gift for the child of neighborhood friends. Daisy was born when I was about 3/4 of the way through the cubes, the much-anticipated and greatly loved sister of big brothers Ben and Mookie and blessed child of Kerrie and Steve. The Yarn Harlot has said that knitting is “the best container for love.” I hope Miss Daisy is wrapped in love, in the form of this blanket and the less physical but no less tangible love of friends and family, for years to come.

Finished Illusion Cube Blanket over porch railing

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