So Many Choices

I’ve been busy with my oldest’s high school graduation and his new student orientation at

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Obligatory Graduation Photo

West Virginia University, which is about 3 hours away from where we live. I’m so excited about WVU now part of me wishes I was the one going off to school. I think it’s a great fit for my son, who’s going in undecided – they’ve got a lot of programs that help students figure out what they want to do/what they love and could do for the rest of their life. I do keep reminding him that he’ll probably have more than one career, so he won’t feel so much pressure to choose the one, right thing that he’ll do forever. I’m certainly not doing what I first majored in (Creative Writing) or what I have my BA in (Rhetoric and French). I remember feeling overwhelmed instead of freed by the number of choices I had in my late teens and early twenties and I hope to help him avoid that.

Anyway. On to knitting choices …

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Hourglass Cowl, soon to be Hourglass Scarf

I finished the Hourglass Cowl that I’m designing and working on. Having the pattern all squished up into a cowl doesn’t do it any favors, though – it might as well be in 1×1 ribbing. I spread part of it out flat on my mannequin, but the reality of an actual moving breathing person wearing it means it won’t likely sit that way for long on a human. So I don’t think it wants to be a cowl; it wants to be a scarf. At least as a scarf it has a fighting chance for part of it to lay flat and show off the wavy ribbing. I picked apart the 3 needle bind off I did to add some pattern repeats to the scarf (49″ isn’t really long enough  IMO) and am contemplating the options for finishing the ends. Fringe? Some well-placed tassels? Maybe some artful decreases & partial bind-off to highlight the stitch pattern?

I’ve been working bit by bit on my Old Town cardigan – it’s my portable project because I don’t need to follow a chart as I do for the Hourglass project. I brought it with me to graduation, since we arrived almost 2 hours before the ceremony because of parking & traffic. I also brought it with me to WVU orientation Friday, but only pulled it out in the last session of the afternoon when I was desperate for something to help me stay engaged with the speakers. I should have gotten it out in the hour-long session before lunch; I’d forgotten how much listening to a boring speaker takes out of me. It’s probably a good thing I’m not the one going to college in August. 🙂

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Old Town Cardigan, Starting the Bodice Section

Knit & Design Projects Update

I haven’t been posting much about knitting or designing. I realized the other day that I’ve been avoiding working on the swatch/project for my next design because I don’t enjoy knitting it. It’s essentially lace knitting without any yarn overs – it’s all increases and decreases. To make it more challenging, it’s almost all purl increases and decreases. I’m using sock yarn on US size 3 needles that are rounded; this would probably go better with a set of lace needles. I also don’t particularly like the yarn I’m working with. I like the color but almost nothing else about it, and even the color adds to the difficulty of knitting because it’s so dark.

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The Swatch: Lazy Rib from the 3rd Walker Treasury with a temporary cast on.

I do (mostly) like the end result: it is very close to what I was shooting for. If I did enjoy knitting this, I’d redesign the pattern to make an even number of stockinette ridges so there isn’t one center line that draws your eye to … well … the center. And I’d make the center of each bulb 1×1 ribbing instead of stockinette stitch; I don’t like that the rest of the fabric is ribbing except for the centers, I want it all to have the same texture.

I was going to try switching to a larger needle, a US6 or 7, but I really don’t think that’s going to change how I feel about this project: I dread working on it. If I’m going to knit (or create anything), I should enjoy the process, not put off working on it and not have to force myself to complete x number of rows/repeats a day until the piece is done. This confirms, once again, that I’m a process knitter. The product is still important, but if I don’t enjoy the process, it’s not worth it and I’m not going to put myself through that.

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I had to include this; the yarn is so pretty (but looks basically black at night).

So it’s back to the drawing board for a third time on this one, which really doesn’t bother me as much as you might think. I’d rather start over a bunch of times and get it right than hobble along to completion with something that’s off somehow. And there’s a lot off with me and this swatch. I’m pretty sure I can do something similar and closer to the effect I’m going for with cables and I like cabling much better than lace for some reason. Maybe because it looks complex but is relatively easy to pull off, while a long lace pattern like this looks complex & is complex to pull off (for me anyway – I lose track of where I am in the pattern too often & too easily).

This weekend is a holiday weekend in the US and my family is taking a quick road trip to New Jersey, land of the jug handle turn and not pumping your own gas (no really: there’s a law). I’ll have 4 hours of knitting time in the car each way and will take the new design with me if I can finish the chart today, but I don’t think I will, so I think instead that I’ll make a lot of progress on my Old Town cardigan.

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My Old Town progress. This is the right back upper shoulder; this sweater has a pretty unique construction. 

 

TBT: My First Sweater

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That’s my youngest son in 2004 sporting my first sweater. Isn’t he sweet? I wish I could squeeze his cheeks and tickle his toes today (I could but he’s old enough for that to be awkward). The pattern is Sweetheart Pullover by Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas from their book Knitting for Baby: 30 Heirloom Projects with Complete How-to-Knit Instructions. It was a great pattern to use as a first sweater and gave me lots of confidence.

Not long after, I took a big risk and made my second sweater: the Rogue hoodie by Jenna Wilson, which I don’t have pictures of. Rogue is intricately cabled and technically complex but it’s a really well written pattern and because of Jenna’s pattern-writing skills, I was able to make it. I’m curious about first projects; for anyone reading who knits or crochets or weaves or does something else fiber art-related, what was your first project involving a particular garment?