Feb 22, 2015

Mile 2

Mile 2 is eating my dust! What a satisfying mile this was. I dug out a sweater that had been sitting in my UFO bin for years and pushed myself to finish it. I honestly cannot say why it was snoozing for so long - it's a lovely pattern in an amazing yarn. Finishing up a project that has been languishing since 2012 gives me a significant feeling of accomplishment; finishing up a sweater that looks absolutely smashing provides added joy!

I am freezing my tits off in these photos, but I do love this sweater! The neckline was a beast to knit - very hard on my poor hands - but ultimately worth the pain. The welt before the ribbing adds such a poshness to the whole sweater that I foresee myself adding this to future sweaters.

Yarn: Wollmeise DK in Petersilie
Yards: 1473

I also finished a pair of socks that had also been a bit of a monkey on my back, albeit for not nearly as long as the sweater. I wanted the highly variegated yarn to shine, so I went with a basic vanilla sock. I think my plan succeeded!

The photo does not do this colorway justice.

Pattern: plain vanilla with a 2x1 rib on the leg
Yarn: a glorious old label Wollmeise Twin in Türkis und Karneol
Yards: 383

Lastly, a few smaller projects to round out the second mile:

A wee troll hat for a friend's newborn. The pattern is for a larger baby using worsted, so I scaled it down a bit using DK. It's delightful when modeled on an actual baby rather than my macadamia wood bowl. 

Pattern: Troll by Gabriela Widmer-Hanke
Yarn: Wollmeise DK in Elsa
Yards: 103

This little number was the epitome of instant gratification. I knit it up in about a day, got to play with neon pink beads, and ended up with a very wearable and cute bracelet. This will not be the last of these... 

Pattern: Ribband by Laura Nelkin
Yarn: Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in Carey
Beads: Toho Luminous Neon Pink 6/0
Yards: 20ish

And there we have it! Mile 2 is in the books halfway through February, sweater #2 of 12 is also counted, and two WIPs have been whipped! Pretty damn good, if I may say so myself. 

Feb 17, 2015

Secular Lent

Happy Shrove Tuesday! I hope everyone has a belly full of pancakes, paczki, king cake, or whatever delightful Fat Tuesday confection you indulge in on this day. Confession: I am not of the Christian religious/faithful variety. I was raised as such, but have thrown it aside in favor of a different belief system. I'd go into more detail, but I tend to check out upon reading/hearing about other people's beliefs, so nope. The reason I bring it up is that I do love Lent. Not the religious aspects, per se, but the tradition of making sacrifices during its duration. Granted, this practice of sacrificing during Lent is rooted in religious stuff, but it also has secular appeal. It's like New Year's resolutions (which, as we all know, I loathe) but on a smaller timeline, with greater support. 40 days is an excellent period of time to sacrifice something. It's long enough that it can make an actual difference in behavior post-Lent, but short enough to where you can face the hardship knowing the end is in sight. Plus, if someone gives you shit about your sacrifice, saying "it's for Lent" tends to shut them right the hell up.

What am I sacrificing this year? The motherfucking internet. Yeah, that thing that I rely on for all my information, most of my social time, my morning and evening time wasting, patterns and general frivolity. Two exceptions: work-related internet usage (three websites) and email. The latter partially for work, but also because on rare occasions I get time-sensitive emails. I'll be doing the "Sunday is a free day" both for sanity and to make sure I don't miss us going to war or something.

I will try to keep track of the agony and post here about it (on Sundays, obviously). I fully expect to fail. I do hope that not being constantly distracted by facebook and ravelry, not being enraged by idiots on the internet, not idly shopping etsy, ebay and whatever other shops pique my interest will result in three positive outcomes: increased productivity (work, knitting, cleaning, whatever), greater peace within and saving some moolah.

Wish me luck! If you are giving something up for Lent, I wish you the best of luck as well!

Feb 9, 2015

The First Mile

 Recap of the first mile of my year-long half-marathon of FOs:

You've already seen my Rare Breeds Rockaway. A little bit more about it: Knit primarily with some absolutely amazing yarn I purchased at Rhinebeck, this bulky jacket is my new love. I still haven't managed to get the husband to take a good photo of me wearing it, so here is a painfully awkward selfie instead:

The yarn is amazing. The grey and brown are both from The Ross Farm - the grey is Leicester Longwool and the brown is Shetland. The Shetland came from a ram named Boris, which just provides me with such joy - both knowing the name of the sheep that gave me such beautiful wool and also that his name provokes impromptu Boris & Natasha impersonations in our house. The white is also Leicester Longwool, from Maple Frost Farm. I feel good wearing this jacket. Not just because it is an excellent and warm garment, but because I know that the wool came from happy sheep and that my knitting this sucker helped in a very small way to support small farmers focused on rare breed sheep. 

Pattern: Rockaway by Jared Flood
Yards: 1,450
Happiness level: more than a woodpecker in a lumber yard

Onwards: Hugo.

I have little to say about Hugo, other than that he is big, squishy and well-loved by my nephew. He was a birthday present for him, and a total winner. My niece has already requested hers (which was of course already in the queue for her).

Yarn: Knit Picks Biggo in Green Tea Heather
Yards: 330
Happiness level: clam

There we have it: the first mile of yarn. I'm well into the second mile, and if I finish the sweater I am currently working on soon, I might be dipping into the third! I need to average 1.09 miles per month, and so far it seems I am on track!

P.S. I should also mention that I added another goal to my year by signing on to Tin Can Knits' 12 sweaters in 12 months challenge KAL. Thankfully, baby sweaters count! More info here, should you like to join the madness

Feb 3, 2015

Smile to Flatter

I feel there has been a lot of discussion in my twitter and Ravelry feeds, in books, in podcasts and even in Instagram hashtags about knitting sweaters that flatter your particular body type. I don't really have an issue with wearing clothing that flatters. I know, as a tall, fat 30-something, that I cannot pull off a tube-top paired with pedal-pushers. I shudder at the thought. When I clothes shop, I look for items that hide the rolls, accentuate the breasteses, and just generally give me a pleasing appearance. However, equally important (if not more so) is that I am comfortable and enjoy wearing the clothing. So, while a tailored, lined dress might look amazeballs on me, I would be constantly fighting the urge to go Hulk on it. I also find that if I am unhappily uncomfortable in clothing (be it the fabric, the bulk, the movement, whatever), it doesn't matter how objectively flattering it is, I feel like I am in that tube-top and pedal-pushers.

When it comes to knitting garments, these feelings are amplified and more complex. The time commitment of knitting means that if I knit something I do not find comfortable or pretty, I hate it and myself in it exponentially more than if I had bought it. That I knit for the enjoyment of knitting (I am 80% process, 20% product), if a pattern is full of aspects of knitting I find to be torture (more purls = more misery) or just boring, I'm going to both hate the knitting and the FO, and as such, hate myself in it. How I see myself in a handknit is influenced by the level of joy the knitting brought (a combination of pattern and yarn), general opinions on design (cables, lace, etc.), and fit. Emotion and preference are intertwined with objective elements of fit.

While I do consider objective fit and style - I do pass over patterns that I find unappealing based on that - it is not a primary criterion for pattern selection. This is mainly because when I look at sweaters that are meant to flatter my body type, they are all of a style that I find, well, hideous. My personal sense of style and preferences in clothing just don't mesh with what is "objectively flattering." When leafing through a certain book that caters to knitting sweaters that flatter different body types, I find my eyes drawn to precisely those patterns and styles that, apparently, look like dog shit has been flung upon my torso. I see people post photos of gorgeous aran sweaters and bemoan that it would make them look even heavier, or comment sadly on how heavy cables just aren't for fat girls. I see designers and knitterati champion accepting your body and knitting for it, I guess rather than for the body you wish you had.

Fuck that.

I accept my body, and I won't constrain it within clothing that others, not I, find acceptable. Isn't the whole idea of "flattering clothing" predicated on accepting that there is in fact a beauty standard and that we must dress in such a way as to get our nonstandard bodies as close to "ideal" as possible?

I say again: Fuck that.

Here's the deal: I love cables. I love big, heavy, intricate cables. I yearn to knit them. I don't give a rat's ass that they add weight to an already weighty body. Big girls can't wear cables? WATCH ME. Facts: I will enjoy knitting a cable-heavy sweater (a lot). I will find the FO to be exquisitely beautiful. I will have glee in my heart when I wear it. That glee will do something to my brain to make me secure in the knowledge that no other sweater could make me look as fucking awesome.

Perhaps a cabled aran sweater won't "objectively flatter" my body type, but so what? I am happy, and that is the most flattering thing for any body type.

Knit what makes you happy.