Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Finished Object- Textured (or not) Pullover

I am so pleased with my most recent finished object.
I finally seamed it all together and took photos on June 8th. In my part of California it has been quite toasty out, and so I had to take two sets of photos after I realized only a crazy person wears shorts with a sweater...oops.
The yarn is something I found super cheap at Big Lots in 2014. I believe I bought 10 balls at the time, because I like to take advantage of cheap yarn and apparently I thought my husband was a lot larger than he actually is. In 2014 I knit myself a hat and cowl, a saddle-shoulder sweater for my husband, a raglan pullover for my son and still had yarn left over. The yarn was enough to make this gorgeous pullover in a comfortable size for my mom. I think I'm finally mostly out of this yarn, which is great because I'm super sick of looking down and seeing endless swathes of stockinette fabric in this color.

The yarn is called Canan Baby Soft. A few ladies at my knit group asked, "are you sure it's canon and not caron? Caron is a yarn brand!" Nope- definitely Canan. It's 100% sport-weight acrylic which means my mom can wash and dry with no fear of felting, and it's actually incredibly amazingly soft. I actually really like this yarn's feel against my skin, which is impressive when you consider the fact that I paid $2.50 for a ball for 363 yards. I used size 4 needles for all of the sweaters I made, which meant that I only swatched once, which was the initial cowl I made. My gauge actually did stay the same over the last 4 years.

This pattern is by Amy Herzog and is called Textured (Or Not). Not only did I choose not to add the texture, but I also skipped the waist shaping. Although this pullover looks fitted and flattering on me-a fact that makes me very loathe to package it up and store it until Christmas- it will fit my mom with more ease and will be very easy for her to wear.

The only interesting thing I might add about this project is that I knitted each knit row with a size 4 but purled each purl row with a size 2. This was to compensate for my loose purl gauge and ever since I figured out this little trick it has completely minimized the "rowing out" that comes with stockinette projects knit flat for me. I would definitely recommend trying it if you struggle with getting your tension correct when knitting flat. I have also had success consciously purling tightly, but one can only be deliberate for so long before one slips back into old habits.

I am feeling quite in love with the idea of owning a simple plain pullover like this one. But not so in love with the idea of knitting another one! Right now I am preparing for a 4 day camping trip with my dad to celebrate both my birthday (30!!) and father's day and I'm having lots of fun packing yarns and projects.

I plan on casting on a shawl out of Malabrigo Sock in colorway Lotus. It's beautiful, beautiful yarn ranging from purples to blues and I think it will look super delicious in something simple like garter stitch. I'm looking forward to that project for simple social knitting.

I also plan on knitting on my Akiko cardigan on the way up to and home from the campsite- it is about 4 hours away from home and I am grateful to say that my husband is always happy to do the driving.

I might bring some socks to work on because, well, obviously one needs at least three projects.

I've got a little bit of time to finish my Orchids and Fairy Lights hat that I cast on last week and entirely expected to have done by now. Once the hat is done, I'm planning on starting my Plum Blossom Tee (finally.) I actually printed out the pattern so that I don't have to rely on internet or my phone. No service and no electricity! I'm excited for that freeing idea!

The hat is made of Valley Yarn's Haydenville left over from my textured make-it-up-as-you-go pullover.  I'm so sad to say that the pullover in question has met an unfortunate accident with a cup of coffee and due to the light (beautifully light) color, has stained in the front. I adored wearing that sweater, and the yarn held up to machine washing and drying very wonderfully. I think I will knit another sweater with this same yarn in perhaps a darker color. Still, for a hat, this yarn will do wonderfully. I think this hat is going to be a little bit on the smaller side, because I didn't swatch, but as it is a charity hat I'm sure it will keep someone warm and that's all that matters.

So before I log off and you go back to your day I wonder if I might brush on a slightly different topic... As I mentioned before I've been listening to the Yarniacs podcast at work (I feel I must insert again that it doesn't interfere with my work at all as I just do repetitive heavy lifting) and I just had this thought come to me yesterday about self-worth and knitting. I know that recently Gail from the Yarniacs acknowledged that she suffers from depression- an affliction I too have experienced as most of you may know. I guess I was just thinking about yarn, and Stitches West and the knitting community, and blogs, and photos, and sharing finished objects, and this whole separate existence I have as a knitter. Even in my most awful depressions, I have usually been able to churn the needles and make that magic out of yarn. There have been times where it felt pointless to knit and times where I derived no enjoyment from it. In the most recent episode I put the needles away for a while and sought professional help. But still, in spite of all the things going on in my life, there is knitting and it tends to soothe my soul. One day I was at school knitting on a part of the blue pullover and a classmate looked over and said, "Do you like doing that?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "That's weird," then watched for a few more moments before resuming attention to the teacher. I started to think, "is it weird?" Is it weird that I feel accomplished by taking something that is nothing and making it into something? That I have the ability to draw up a vision of what I would like to create, and then tweak that idea and work on that idea until I've created something I feel proud of? Even if I just follow someone else's instructions exactly doesn't it feel nice to know that I did it right? That it came out just like I planned? That I'm in control of SOMETHING! I thought too about how people have different roles in the world. Perhaps an accountant, or a police officer, or a teacher- and yet they may all go home and work on a few rows. And the Yarniacs- just these two friends who decided to start recording their plans and ambitions and their finished objects, their trials and tribulations and all of the wonderful decision-making processes that go into each project- they have become somewhat of knitting celebrities. These are people who have worth in our community! They provide wonderful entertainment, camaraderie in their ravelry group, and bring people together. Just by talking about their knitting! So, you know, I don't think it's weird. I think knitting is part of my identity, and the skills I've learned from knitting (both technical skills and the less technical such as patience and making sure you read the directions fully before you start something) have helped develop my sense of self-worth in this world. And that's pretty wonderful.

Happy knitting!

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