Posted on 29 September 2016
The last few months have been a whirlwind. I got a promotion at my day job, which while exciting has also meant a lot of early mornings and late nights while I get caught up. On top of that, Nate and I have decided to sell our too-small condo and move into a larger space. I'm extatic, because it will mean I'll have a larger space to do some pretty big and exciting things with La Mercerie. I think Nate's excited because he thinks that since I'll have a dedicated space, there won't be yarn and unfinished projects all over the house. Silly Nate...
All of this has lead to to-do lists that are a mile long, more open houses than I can count, and an unbelievable amount of stress about where we'll be in a couple short months. And while the blogging hiatus has left me with at least a little more time, I've missed making.
While I've always considered myself a sewer who likes to knit, I've been surprised by how much my knitting has helped me get through the chaos of everything else that's been going on lately. I've come to really appreciate the quiet moments that I have with my project, counting rows and calculating sleeve lengths. There's just something about the methodical clicking that's calming after a long day.
I started my Fringe and Friends KAL sweater right around the time that Nate and I decided to put our condo on the market. I'll finish by the time we close on our new home. It's funny how certain projects take on so much meaning, simply based on what's happening in your life while you're working on them. Maybe that's just me.
I've been following the Fringe Association tutorials on how-to knit an improvised sweater. I was so intimidated to get started, but Karen Templer's blog posts have really made the whole process so simple and straightforward. I tried looking to some other resources as well, and just keep coming back to the Fringe Association series. I must say, Karen really knows her stuff. I've loved watching along on Instagram and seeing how active she is in the comments, supporting each and every one of us that's participating in the knit along. Because that's what a knit along should be, right? A community, a support system, and a cheerleader when you need it the most.
I will say, the process hasn't been perfect and there's been a lot of ripping back and trying again. I used to find this really scary and I still cry a little inside whenever I find myself frogging a part of my sweater. But it's also allowed me to realize that not everything has to be perfect right away. The process is sometimes just as important as the finished product. While it's easy to say that about knitting, it's harder to apply that to other aspects of my life. And yet, I'm trying. Riding the emotional roller coaster of home ownership isn't what I would call "fun", but it's a necessary part of the process. Maybe someday we'll look back at this time in our lives and laugh.
As for the sweater details:
I reworked my yoke three times before finalizing the fit. My sweater design features a button band up the back and I had originally planned on making a somewhat reversible, backwards, cardigan type sweater. But once I got it on my needles, I realized that reversible neck approach just wasn’t what I was looking for. I sucked it up and braced myself for the fact that I’m going to have to steek my sweater if I want it to fit like I imagined. My third time knitting the yoke, I worked it with a slightly deeper crew neck. It’s not quite as deep as I think I originally wanted, but I actually really like how it turned out.
I started by basing my yoke calculations off of a sweater that I love and have nearly worn out, but then altered them slightly here and there to fit both my gauge and my body measurements better. I think that’s one of my favorite things about making my own clothes - if there’s something I don’t like, I can change it.
Once I separated for the sleeves, it was just a straight shot down! Stockinette for days. I almost reached the length I want for the body of my sweater, and then decided to stop and distract myself with some sleeves before tackling the short rows to create a dipped hem in the back.
I tried on my sweater while I was working on the sleeves and was so disappointed with how it was fitting! It was bunchy around my shoulders and folding over in weird places when I moved. For a moment, I thought I was going to have to rip back out to my yoke to re-work the underarm stitches. I thought I had too few and the sleeve stitches were pulling too much. Thank goodness for my Insta-support system on this one! I ended up reworking my sleeve and decreasing at a faster rate. Turns out my sleeve was just too big and was pushing the yoke around in a weird way. Crisis averted.
I’m still terrified for when I have to steek and cut my sweater apart. How is that even natural? Who came up with that in the first place? I guess it actually makes a lot of sense…it was probably someone who realized their pullover was too small and figured they’d just turn it into a cardigan. Either way - I’ll be turning to the rest of the knit-alongers for some major emotional support when I get to that part, that's for sure!