…and now we wait

So here’s one of the things I’m still learning, Blocking. 

Blocking is the arse-pain of finishing a project I’ve discovered. So yesterday I planned to really begin wrapping up my Folkloric Tunic (design by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton) and it would be my second sweater ever. First one, also by Hamilton, Benedikta, was in a slight need of blocking upon full completion, but was wearable as it finishes having the sleeve seams sown. This one, not so much. 

So yesterday I finished weaving in my ends which is no small feat on this pattern. I then went to measure where to begin sewing sleeves to body pieces and wowzers the measurements are off. 

Thankfully, I’ve watched a thing or two on blocking and tho there are no blocking instructions I’m guessing with this knit you really do have to block it first. 

For those who don’t know, Blocking is when you set the fabric you’ve just made into its desired shape. So, when you knit, you’re weaving the yarns together and quite usually, they may look fine, but generally, if you don’t set they’re shape, they just don’t look quite right, and if you’re sewing them together it just won’t work. So, sometimes a spritz of water will work but from what I’ve had to block so far a gentle dampening/soak is better. Then, you gently tug and pull the piece into the correct measurements, pin it, and let it dry. 

So, this is sleeve one, obviously of two, pinned and drying. I still have three more pieces to do this process with and frankly, am considering going to the dollar store for more of these foam pieces so I can get on with this. (Believe it on not for smaller, grided foam blocking pads at the craft store you pay, get this, $6.49 each, for one little pad! Why would anyone pay that!) At this rate, I’m Days and days away from sewing it together. Some days my patience is thin just because I get scared I’ll never finish it. The foam doesn’t allow as quick of drying as you’d think in such a dry climate. 

Anyway, I really want to see this sweater finished, it could have been done months ago, literally. I stalled for so long on finishing the last few rows. I think some times I stalk because I’m afraid of failure. Does anyone else do this? I’m honestly scared that when I’m done it won’t be good. I’m afraid it will be dreadful and I’ll never wear it or find someone who fits it. This is silly. Sometimes you do fail. It’s part of learning and growing. I would never think of myself as a perfectionist but then I have this fear of non-perfect. For days now I’ve been wearing my Benedikta sweater. Pretty much since returning from Florida. It fits very large on me, but, it was a one size fits all sweater. It’s perfect for just wearing when you jump into your car and drive kids to school or work and you don’t want to wear a coat but it’s minus 10. It’s light enough I don’t get hot in it when I’m around the house. The only thing is, I wish it were just a little smaller. I get compliments on it every time I leave the house in it tho, so it must be a good piece of knitting. Funny how critical I am of my own work. I wanted an unusual and beautiful piece, in fact, I always want an interesting piece when it comes to anything I spend my time on. I can buy ordinary. But within this desire for something unique there is a large margin for error. Reading & translating the patterns into full-fledged pieces means learning as you go. Mistakes will be made. Things will need to be backtracked. And then reknit. It’s part of the process. The scariest thing is when you’ve put that much work in and then, you are at the moment of finalizing. Will it have been worth it?

Folkloric is an unusual piece in the first place. It’s romantic & quirky. Not your average sweater. Will it work on me or for anyone I care enough for to give it to? Will it stretch out too much, be too big, not big enough…? All this has stalled me for months on the project. I truly fear failure. It’s many days worth of knitting & the cost of the materials, all sectioned off into amounts that would not conveniently unravel and become another project easily. 

How I hope this sweater is wear-worthy when it’s done. 

The Ides

The dawning Ides

What waste the winter has laid

At the soles of my feet

Heaven bleeds open 

Gathering all the melodies

Of angels & birds but even these

Could not take the snow away…
Spitfire, age 8, has been home from school this week with The Wicked Cough. She’s a creative one. She’s been bored and so, on a trek to the craft store I picked up a knitting loom for her. I have never knit using one but it seemed something a kid might learn and enjoy. It’s way faster & easier than traditional knitting and a great way to start & complete a project or at least, ingrain this habit of completion which can get more and more difficult for people because the older you get the harder the projects and the more draws on your time. Project completion will always be a struggle for me. Always. I’m trying to teach my kids this ability young. 

So, after a very short time & a quick YouTube tutorial, here is her first touque about half way complete. She’s super proud of herself, and I’m proud of her too. 

Folkloric Progress

Maybe not the best light for photos today, but one body piece & one sleeve complete. 

This pattern has three yarns & pickup stitches on each border, so tons of ends to weave in. The finishing will probably take a few hours. But all in all, should be a couple more weeks and I’ll have this one done in time for Autumn. 

It’s a little quirky, but, lovely. Worst case scenario, one of my daughters claims it for themselves if I don’t care for it on myself. I can totally see Kawaii liking this one. 

Folkloric Progress

This 29″ at the widest X 16″ height panel is the progress I made this week on the Folkloric Tunic. It still needs the upper border knit onto it, but it is beginning to take shape. 

The pattern is written as knitting up two of these, one front, one back, and then knitting the sleeves. It’s a fun piece to see taking shape, not too repetitive, constantly changing. 

Using Wisdom Yarns: Poems Silk, Baffin Island; Poems Chunky, Autumn Haze; Poems Puzzle, Autumn Haze. 

These colours drive me crazy with an anxiousness to have it done for the upcoming Autumn, which seems to be beginning to settle already, with a big thick weight and a crisp breeze. 

My girls are already coveting it…but that is why I’m knitting women’s sweaters, they are all becoming women. Eventually, they’ll all have cool sweaters I’ve knit. 

Folkloric Tunic

This is my next project—same designer, Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton. 

I understand I have a bit of bohemian flair, which in six months of winter is very difficult to sate, so my plan it to knit myself a collection of sweaters and clothes that satisfy the urge to dress comfortably yet original and classic. Tunics make for comfy cozy and a little quirky fashion. 

Getting old is fun, because I just don’t give a darn what anyone thinks anymore. It’s a bonus if people like what I make and or wear, but frankly, I don’t care. I want to wear what I like. And I like quirky with colour. So, here we go. 

I have a goal of two more sweaters this year. And to finish my daughters 10 stitch blanket, for which I’m waiting for some awesome yarn sales which hopefully will happen this fall. I’ll be impressed if the blanket gets done because it’s SO MUCH KNITTING! But, I hope to finish it up for her. Next blanket might be a larger yarn tho. Whew. So much work. 

Benedikta Complete!

Well, closer to 70 hrs later, this gorgeous sweater is officially done! 

Proudest knitting moment yet! 

Started this in the spring of the year and it’s done mid summer. People who knit sweaters will tell you that’s not bad. I’ve learned how to ‘seamlessly’ seam too. I actually couldn’t find the neck line seam which is hidden on the one shoulder. And I didn’t even block it. It seems to have naturally taken shape. I may block it just to settle down a couple spots in the block work. But otherwise, it’s perfect. 

On to the next project. 

Today, in leu of life, I knit. Unlike my projection of three hours, the sleeves being stitched on and the neckline being knit took ALL day. Which is fine because I am flat out exhausted. Finally fighting my round of the cough everyone else had a few weeks back. Summer viruses. Great fun. 

But now all I have left is to seam the underside of the sleeves—tomorrow’s rainy day project. It which ever day is next to storm itself away. 

So close I got to slip it over my head for size. It needs to be blocked to let the stitches sit more flatly in parts but for the most part, I’m nearly there. And my neck seaming was so flawless I actually couldn’t find it until I flipped it inside out. So. Ya. I impressed myself. 


The Last Stitches

I’m scared I’m going to mess this up.

Last stages of the Benedikta sweater. I have to attach the sleeves and begin the neckline. I wouldn’t be as scared if I had enough of my main colour yarn. But I don’t. And to special order it now would be so expensive. I’m literally fractionally off. No doubt a slight waste yarn issue. I have left over of the other three colours but, I’m not sure yet if I can bridge the gap in an esthetically pleasing way. If this doesn’t work, my next trip to the states in the late fall is the soonest I’ll be able to get the yarn meaning I can’t finish until then! 

My plan is: proceed regardless. And if it looks bad, special order the yarn and get it shipped to my In laws house and pick it up in November, then, unravel and reknit the last little bit. 

Guess we’ll see. 

Side note: Each block took an hour, totalling 44hrs of block work knitting. I’m guessing about 5 per sleeve, tatalling 10hrs. And another 5 for the lower trim. Will gauge the neckline will take 3 hrs. 

So over 60 hrs of knitting to make this baby. That’s a lot of work! Yowza! For sure. My largest project to date. This is why you only knit sweaters for yourself or for those who understand the magnitude of the work that goes into homemade garments. The yarn was one investment, but the time too! It’s a whole massive thing that I’m guessing only other knitters and fibre artists understand. No quick routes. No shortcuts. Nope. Every single stitch slowly slipped over and off each needle. Back and forth. Row upon row.