Ganesha

I’ve been making progress on Wes’ sweater, and I think it’ll be done later this week. But of course, the second I get a fabulous new idea, I get distracted. I was digging around in my fabric stash and found a pair of Wes’ jeans, which were frayed around the hems and had a hole in one knee. I hemmed them and repaired the hole a couple years ago but he didn’t wear them, so I tucked them away to use the denim. However, on a whim I tried them on and they’re perfectly slouchy, and I really like the way they fit when I roll them up a little to offset their awkward length. So I got inspired and added an embroidered patch on one leg.

I’ve had this design knocking around for a while, thinking I’d turn it into a knit color chart, but it never quite worked. It’s also kind of a large stencil, so it wasn’t right for my previous projects. This ended up being just the right application. As I started embroidering I realized that some of my tracing (using chalk paper, since denim in pants-leg form is way too thick for my usual lightboard setup) was a little off. Check out what was supposed to be the toes on his left foot… Not quite right.

So I got a little creative rearranging those lines, rather than trying to retrace them and ending up with extra visible “draft” lines. I think the bed of flowers ended up being very sweet, and now I just need to give him a little mouse buddy and a few more flowers by his feet before he’s complete.

I love the image and the colors, and I’ve been familiar with Ganesha for a long time, but I wasn’t absolutely sure what he represents in the Hindu pantheon. How fitting is it that he is the god of beginnings, and that he is often honored and invoked as part of rites and ceremonies? It feels particularly germane to have brought Ganesh into my life during the month that I embarked on such an exciting, important new chapter. Ganesha is also known as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. In most images and statues, he’s shown holding an axe (to cut ties of attachment), a bowl of sweets or a dessert of some kind (an offering, and his trunk is usually heading straight towards the treats), a rope (to pull yourself forward, symbolizing ambitions), and a particular mudra (hand gesture) that symbolizes blessings of wisdom and protection.

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The sweater curse

The week we got back from our trip was pretty hectic, catching up at work and adjusting to east coast time. The following week, Columbus Day, we went down to the courthouse and got married. It was a very low-key event, with no one in attendance and no fanfare at all, but it was absolutely perfect in every way. Of course, this is a lovely and happy thing, and I’m thrilled about it on every level, but my fuzzy knitterly heart is particularly aflutter over the fact that I can now make Wes a sweater! I never had any real belief in the sweater curse, but for fun I haven’t chanced it, so this is the first large project I’ve made for him.

In case you’re not familiar, the rough idea of the sweater curse is that making a sweater for a partner you’re seeing (but not married to) will end the relationship. Perhaps it’s a sexist idea about seeming over-eager and scaring a man off, perhaps it’s a lesson in patience, generosity, or time management, and certainly it’s a silly folktale, but it’s still charming and it’s given a sense of extra formality and ceremony to this project.

I presented Wes with a few (visually) simple, classic designs, and he chose Brooklyn Tweed’s Brownstone. It’s a shawl-collared pullover, knit from the bottom up. We looked at a couple yarn options and ended up going with some recycled merino wool yarn that I harvested from a Goodwill sweater a few months back. I started a sweater with it for myself, but it languished for a long time and I knew it was never going to happen, so to Wes’ Brownstone it went. My guy is particular about how bland he wants his clothing to be, so this oatmeal color ended up being far more up his alley than the burnt orange or olive tweed options I suggested.

I made a bit of progress while sitting in the social security office, waiting to start the process of changing my name.

Wes has an exaggerated triangle shape- he’s a pretty skinny guy, and not exceedingly tall, but his shoulders are quite broad. I cast on a size small and scaled up to a medium by the time I reached the collar placket, and I plan to make the rest of the sweater according to the medium stitch counts. If the scaling is terrible, I’ll pick up stitches somewhere in the middle (before the placket, but after I increased; at about floating-rib-level) and knit back down to my original cast on edge, decreasing a little but not quite to the stitch count of the small size. I did this when I made my Stapi pullover, essentially knitting the piece inside out, and I liked how it combined the pattern elements of a bottom-up pattern but the flexibility of a top-down one.

It’s getting there! I decided to do a provisional cast-on for the sleeves and then knit them down from the sweater body, rather than knitting sleeves separately and attaching them. I really want Wes to be able to try on the sweater and determine how long the sleeves should be, so that method makes more sense to me.

 

Travel Knitting

The blog has been rather quiet lately, due to some exciting happenings in my life. First, we narrowly avoided a repeat of last year with Hurricane Irma. Charleston got lucky, much luckier than other folks, and our only damage was a fence that we were going to take down anyway and a dent in a sheet metal shed that we were able to pop back into shape.

I started a hat in the airport, but it really didn’t end up being what I wanted. It was good to have something to do on the plane, but I frogged it by the time we arrived in Oregon.

The day after the hurricane would have hit, had it not changed course (what a stressful weekend…), we headed to the west coast for 10 days and enjoyed two weddings in about 26 hours, nearly 1200 miles of driving, and visiting with everyone we could fit into a couple days here and a couple hours there. All that driving time meant lots of knitting for me, and I was able to finish a couple projects while we were gone. The weather was perfect, our families and friends were delightful, and we got engaged! I also accumulated a very large amount of yarn and spent a bit more than I meant to at a delightful yarn shop in Portland that’s owned by a dear friend of a dear friend, but I’m pretty content with it.

While we were traveling, I finished these stashbusting socks for myself. They’re comfy and cute, and I take a huge amount of joy at how the stripes don’t line up at all. I did that on purpose.

I also whipped up a simple colorblock hat and started a couple other small projects, including a slouchy beanie with some fun pooling experimentation. As usually happens when I visit, my friend Stephanie gave me a pile of goodies and I couldn’t help but buy some treats at the local yarn shop. My destashing efforts were less than impressive, but everything I brought home is wonderful quality and, you have my word, will be used up!

The self-striping yarn is mystery sock yarn my dad traded for, and the plain brown is mystery leftover yarn that my friend Stephanie destashed to me. This hat is soft and cozy, and I hope it finds a happy home!

The striped Stashdown socks I mentioned in August were finally finished right before we left, so I brought them to wear on our trip. While we were visiting Wes’ brother and his family, I overheard his sister in law mentioning a hole in her last pair of winter socks, and I knew that my time had come! I sprang into action and raided my suitcase, and in mere moments, Alycia had a new pair of thick socks to wear with boots. Knitters really do have superpowers.

I made these socks for myself, as stashbusters, but they found a toasty new home with Wes’ sister in law Alycia.

Pants

IMG_8256I made these pants last summer, using the Purl Soho City Gym Shorts pattern as a guide and improvising the pants legs and ankle drawstrings based on a lovely pair of purple elephant-print lounge pants I found at an import shop last time we visited Oregon.

The fabric I used (of which I still have plenty- perhaps it needs to be another Patsy?) came from a Hancock Fabric closeout sale, and it’s a bit on the casual side for work. I think I could get away with this style of pants for work if I wear them with a tailored shirt and heels, at least on Fridays, but none of the fabric in my stash really works for another flowy pair of pants like these. While the ship has completely sailed for participating in the Summer of Basics challenge, I think focusing on my own basics when I actually need them is a good plan.

Stashdown 2017: End of August

I’ve been slowly but surely working my way through my stash. The bag of “give away or donate” yarn is getting more and more full, and the drawers where I keep my yarn are no longer packed so tightly that I can’t move things around in there. This is progress, and I’m happy to say that I’m almost to my yarn goal of having all of my yarn fit into its dresser comfortably (with no stashes hidden around the craft room or in bags pretending to be works in progress). I still haven’t committed to sorting my beads yet, and that will take a good long time, but it’ll happen.

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I’ve been making washcloths these days, and it’s nice to be able to use up a ball of cotton on about a cloth and a half. There are so many free washcloth patterns, and to be honest, any stitch with an interesting texture can automatically be a washcloth if you make it square-ish and washcloth-sized. They’re ultra-portable and lightweight while in progress, quick to make, and useful. They also make decent gifts!

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As always, socks are on the needles. Much of my stash is in the form of sock yarn, so two-at-a-time toe-up socks are a perfect way to use up every inch of your sock yarn and still have a matching pair. The above is the leftovers from a friend’s birthday socks in Cascade Heritage Prints in the colorway Tut, and it will make a perfectly ankle-length pair of socks with just enough of the supplemental color (Pagewood Farms’ Denali sock yarn in the colorway Grasshopper) to make toes and a short cuff.

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These colorful little beauties are the leftovers from a pair of socks I made for a family member earlier this year, along with some leftovers from my Grandma’s Sacre du Printemps socks. I used up the multicolored yarn (Stroll Hand Painted sock yarn from KnitPicks in the colorway Big Top) to within a couple feet, and there was just enough Grasshopper left to make the toes and cuffs of the Tut socks.

 

Sisyphus

Friends, I was determined. You’ve no doubt grown tired of seeing these socks, year after year, and I am tired of showing them to you. I’ve fallen in love with pattern after pattern, and all of them have been… wrong. Too long, too short, too tight, not enough yarn to finish, you name it. I posted a picture of the socks the other day, and my grandma responded that she had thought they were finished, and I have to say, I thought they were too. However, my lot in life (at least where these socks are concerned) seems to be something of a Greek punishment. My craftiness has been met with a permanent obsession with rolling these socks up the hill only to have them come crashing down again.

Well, this time, I got that rock to the top of the hill, and the rock shrank in the laundry. I was so happy with the finished product, but unfortunately they went directly from the washer to the dryer rather than hanging to air-dry. We’ll just blame that one on the cat. Anyone have a size 8 or smaller foot and thin calves? I have some socks for you.

Recalibration

I’m happy with my decision to put down all the sweaters and prioritize things a little differently. Recalibrating my energy for the summer has meant focusing on stashing down by knitting hats, and getting down and dirty with my old frenemies, my colorwork socks.

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They’re coming along pretty well, and I’ve tried them on a couple times and been quite pleased. I’m hoping I can wrestle the whole pattern out of the blue yarn, but at this point (both in my drive to finish these and in my resistance to buying new stuff) I am okay with sneaking in the leftovers from previous attempts to make it happen. Perhaps each sock will have a band of some nearly-identical blue around my calves so that the cuffs will end up being the same blue.

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