Hello friends and followers, readers and people casually popping by. As many who follow this blog, or my Twitter or Facebook feeds may have noticed, words have been somewhat absent for the last few months. As many will also know, I have struggled with ill-health […]
The yellow striped sweater with kangaroo pocket is complete and off the needles. Isn’t she pretty? The majority of this sunshine-y wonder was knit, if you remember, by Jen of JenACKnitwear. I can take no credit for anything other than a sleeve and a half. […]
Well, it’s quiet here, so if there’s anyone reading I shall make a small and almost imperceptible wave of shy thanks.
Joy and creativity have been a tad sparse on the ground of late because I have been suffering a few health challenges this new year. I shall not go into detail as it is not very interesting and recounting it actually upsets me a tad, but I’ve had to step back from a few things that were detrimental to my health for a while and have been instructed to take some time off of work.
I thought that maybe I would be able to re-set myself in this time, to try to re-kindle those small embers of what I felt I had let fade, but it has been incredibly hard. I can’t seem to think or operate properly, perhaps because my mind is still busy sorting through everything that has passed and it will take time to clear the room in my head to let the ‘me’ things back in. Due to this my creativity has ebbed and my hands have remained idle. I have not been able to read, or watch TV – it’s like nothing has quite sunk in. Things are eased somewhat when Mr Awesome returns at the end of the day and I feel as if I am being loved and protected from the world, but I am having trouble with trying to regain the sense of calm self-understanding.
This all sounds quite negative, but I think it is sometimes part of the healing process, and yesterday I had a bit of a breakthrough. Jen of Jen A-C Knitwear had recently blogged about a sweater that she had fallen out of love with during the knitting. It was yellow, it had stripes and a kangaroo pocket, and looked to me to be all sunshine and happiness. There were a few elements of the sweater that she was unsure about and this brought about a reluctance to finish it, despite only being a sleeve and a half away from completion. Part of the inertia seemed to be driven by the uncertainty that Jen would wear and enjoy it. Ever helpful I spurred her along by very selflessly naming myself as a definite wearer of stripey yellow things should she not re-kindle the romance with the jumper of sunshine. In the end, though, Jen did not feel she had retained enough love for yellow stripes to finish, and actually asked me if I would like to finish knitting the jumper, if I’d wear it.
Sometimes, when life is challenging, every finishing line seems to be so far away as to be out of sight, and it is never more distant than at the outset. There can be a reluctance to start anything as with it comes the feeling (which feels almost assured when the world seems to be pitting its wits against you) that you will fail. But what if life could just drop you into that journey with the goal in plain sight?
So it is with this jumper. It would have been a mountain taller than I could dare to start with even a foot on the path to begin such a project, but the Jen A-C Helicopter of awesome (which is bright yellow) has dropped me with the summit in sight with a packed lunch for energy.
Somewhat surprisingly, the sweater Jen was working on is knit in 6 finely graded shades of yellow. From what I can tell the top starts with the extremes of shade (darkest and lightest) and moves through to the mid tones near the hemline, where the stripes blend closer together. I’ve studied the shades closely and the points at which they subtly change, and I have knit the second sleeve to the point where Jen left off the first sleeve to make sure that everything remains equal and closely matched. Now I have two half sleeves to finish, and that doesn’t seem like too strenuous a hike. It seems achievable, and it’s the first thing in a very long time that I can say that about.
Obviously Jen is very special and dear to me. She has been a kind and generous faraway friend throughout some great difficulties in my life, and is one of the people who I owe a great deal to for their support through a difficult period in the past. She is talented, and inspiring and wise. And she has awesome knitted things.
She has recently written a couple of posts about the yellow jumper above, and in the most recent: Letting Go, she has also decided to let go of something else: 4 skeins of 100% brushed suri alpaca from Frog Tree yarn and the Lingering Doubts shawl pattern to go with it. It looks beautiful, and would make someone very happy. If you think that person might be you, pop along to the blog post Letting Go and a Giveaway and leave a comment on Jen’s blog that will make her happy. The details are in the post, it is open worldwide and you have just under two weeks to help spread some happiness in the comments.
Thank you to everyone who sent well wishes for our wedding and marriage! Everything went perfectly and the day was a dream. We are yet to receive our official wedding photographs so we still have that excitement to come, but my bouquet was very well […]
Some of you will have read in my post on Tuesday that things have not been all sunshine and daffodils for me over these past three weeks. I have struggled with a bit of a knockback in an attempt to relieve some stresses and a bit of a dent cast in the armour of my self-confidence.
I have been very conscious that I really feel as if I need to take a bit more care of myself at present, and part of this involves trying to encourage even a little of my inner peace to flourish by doing just a tiny thing for myself each day – even if this amounts to just a single round of a sleeve of a sweater.
Well, one such tiny task yesterday saw the summation of many such little microspurts with just 40-odd stitches to cast off until my sweater was complete. I followed it up by weaving in the two remaining ends and then popped it on.
It fit perfectly. It was all worth it. Something fantastic and beautiful had come from that stressful time and I felt so much better for having achieved something for myself.
The jumper was knit quite airily in a 4-ply sock yarn – 75% wool and 25%. Soft but relatively hardwearing. The yarn was superwash so I popped it on a short delicate wash at 30ºc and sat down with a lovely hot chocolate.
You know what’s coming next, can’t you? That feeling of unease when everything on screen is seemingly serene and pleasant, yet you know that you are watching something called ‘Suburban Serial Murder Horror With Knives.’
I swept gracefully over to the washing machine and popped the door catch open with a happy sigh at the gentle scene of fabric conditioner as I removed from the drum a tiny matted lumpy mess that used to be my brand new sweater. The front had felted onto the back and the sleeves had fused shut.
The sweater is constructed mostly of stocking stitch with large areas of garter stitch. Due to the nature of the two different stitches the garter stitch had fulled and matted far more than the stocking stitch and has lost all of the definition of those channels and ridges that gave the sweater its interest.
Now, if I was wearing the sweater in front of most people they may not see the big deal, because I can still get it on (who sang that aloud in the style of Marvin Gaye? I did), but it doesn’t fit as it should or as it did. I specifically knit myself an airy summer sweater that I could wear in the warm months. The yarn has now bloomed as it has fulled, meaning that along with a loss of definition is a loss of the airiness.
I also knit the sweater with some positive ease. That’s now gone. The sweater ‘fits’ well, if you want it to fit to the body, but I wanted to float around in a light and airy cloud of brilliance.
The sweater is shorter and lumpy where the various areas have felted at different rates, and I’ve had to try and desperately stretch some shape into what was a crinkled bumpy lumpy grumpy thing. The stocking stitch pocket that once laid smoothly over the crisp garter stitch background now sits proud above the matted garter ridges where the two areas have felted at different rates.
It’s pretty much the exact kind of disaster that I really, really didn’t need and took away the one thing that I was trying to achieve – the ability to elicit some control over things.