Hello everyone! I’ve returned to the land of the blogging! It’s been almost two months since I last posted, eek! As I mentioned at the end of my last post in December, my husband was having surgery and would be in the hospital a few days. He ended up being there three nights and I stayed with him, and then when we got home I was mostly just taking care of him and not doing much else. Then we went home to Ohio to visit family, and then there was a big academic conference in my field, and then I began working on my dissertation like crazy because I’m lucky enough to get a semester off of teaching so I can devote all my time to writing my dissertation. And I’ve been doing okay with that and getting things done, but do you know how when there’s something you really want to do but you feel like you *should* be doing something more productive, you end up just wasting your time instead because you don’t have the motivation to do the productive thing and would feel too guilty doing the fun thing? Let’s just say I’ve spent a lot of time staring at screens in the evenings when I’m done with my dissertation work for the day. I need to get back in the swing of doing things I enjoy when I’m not at the library, and this blog post is part of that plan!
So, along with not blogging, I haven’t been sewing much either. I’m working on a knit Belladone right now, but I’m at the 90% done point where things start to get boring for me – all I have to do is finish all the edges – neckband, sleeve hems, and bottom hem. But it just seems so boring and I’m not going much of anywhere these except the library, so I haven’t had much motivation. On the slate for this weekend are a bunch of utility sewing projects – a second pair of fleece pants for my husband to wear around the house, a pair of leggings for me and long underwear for him made out of Under Armour fabric I got online, a half slip for me because the one I made about a year ago has always sucked and I’ve reached my limit with it, and adding a lining to a wool sweater dress for a friend. I also have two jackets to alter – one for a friend and one for my mother. None of this is at all exciting, but I want it all to quit staring me in the face anytime I think about sewing!
The one exception to my infrequent sewing recently is this last week when I stayed up for 24 hours making cushions for a bench that an architect friend was having custom made for a pedicure station at a spa. I had to make four cushions – two seat cushions and two curved back cushions, and I had to make the curve in the foam myself by cutting it, which was horrific. I had to get Ben to help me and I was afraid he was going to divorce me from the frustration and all the bits of foam everywhere. I stayed up all night cutting all the foam and making the first two cushions, then we drove home for a quick weekend visit, and I made the next two cushions on Monday. I didn’t take pictures and I don’t know if my friend has any, but I kind of want to go to this spa and get a pedicure (I’ve never had one before!) sitting on my cushions, and if I do, I’ll get a picture.
So now that that’s all out of the way, we can get down to business! Which is knitting! I mentioned earlier that I was taking a Craftsy beginner’s knitting class with Stefanie Japel, and I finished it! The class project was a lacy keyhole scarf that’s made up of a bunch of rows of garter stitch (so you get lots of practice), and then some basic lacework, purl ridges, and a buttonhole you make by binding off in the middle of a row. I was so thrilled with learning so much in one class! Below is my completed scarf, which you can see is just a short little neck scarf. I’m not sure I’ll get much use out of it because it’s made with some of the cheapest scratchy wool yarn I could find in Joann’s, but it was great practice. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on yarn before I knew whether I could even manage to finish a project! I mostly knit this while Ben was in the hospital. He was pretty out of it for a couple of days, so there wasn’t much to do, and even when he was up or I was visiting with his parents who came to town to be there for him, it was easy to knit at the same time since I was just doing garter stitch most of the time.
And here it is on me! I was trying to take these pictures quickly today before I went to campus to meet with my advisor, and they all turned out awful. This was the best one I could muster, and I kinda look like I’m giving someone the side eye. It’s probably the version of me who bought that scratchy yarn I had to wear to take this picture!
Here’s a close-up of the purl ridges and lacework. It was pretty basic – I think it was just yarn-overs and knitting two together to do all the lace.
This scarf was knit in two pieces that were later joined in the center. I didn’t really like the look of that and thought about doing a provisional cast-on to keep it all as one piece, but I didn’t want to complicate my first project, so I just did it exactly how Stefanie did it. You can see my seam here . . .
The scarf can be worn around the neck or around the head as an ear warmer. If we thought I looked kind of weird in the first photo, now we know the truth. That was just practice for this. I don’t know what I find so horrifying about this scarf on my head, but I do know that I don’t like looking at this photo. The look just isn’t for me.
So, with that knitting project under my belt, I decided to start a second project, which I decided would also be lace because I think it’s awesome. I tried to make this Poppy Lace scarf I found on Ravelry, but I failed miserably. I kept messing up the stitch count, and then I somehow ended up with a big unraveling hole in the middle of my work. I have no idea why that happened, but I just ripped it all out at that point and took a break from knitting for a few weeks. Not to be deterred by utter failure, though, I decided that instead of trying the same scarf again or trying something simpler, I would completely overwhelm myself by starting a cardigan that includes lacework. After all, cardigans are what I got in this whole knitting thing for, right? So below you will see the first seven rows of my first cardigan: Andi Satterlund’s Miette.
You guys, can you see all those lifelines? I’m seven rows in and have three lifelines! For those not in the knitting know, lifelines serve as a guide for where to put your needles if you have to rip back a few rows of knitting because you made a mistake. Instead of having to rip everything out and go back to the beginning, you just rip back to the lifeline and insert your needle along the path of the thread you used as a lifeline and then knit from there. They’re especially helpful when you’re knitting lace for two reasons – you’re more likely to make mistakes when you’re doing so many different stitches, and while you may be able to rip out a row of regular knitting and see the stitches you need to insert your needle into, it’s hard to do that in lace knitting because it looks so complex. I didn’t use any lifelines on my poppy lace scarf, and I wished I had when I had to frog 12 rows of lace knitting! I had to start this sweater over I think four times before I even got far enough to put in a lifeline. I kept messing up the first lace row! Once I put that first lifeline in, I ended up using it twice. I’m telling you guys, I suck at knitting. That’s a close up of the seven rows I’d done at that point, and I’m now up to eleven, courtesy of waiting for our car to be fixed at the dealership last night. I really hope I can keep it up because I’m so excited about having my own hand-knit sweater! This yarn is Cascade Sierra (what the pattern recommends) in Dark Cyan. It’s showing up a bit brighter here than it is in real life, but I love this color so much! I can’t wait to finish my sweater and wear it for spring.