Sunday, September 6, 2020

The What and The How

Do not ruin today with mourning tomorrow.― Catherynne M. Valente
It's funny how time passes us by sometimes. Time in particular is a strange thing for all of us at the moment. I can't really believe that three weeks have passed since I posted something. Where did that time go?

I suppose it was a combination of feeling like I had nothing to post about coupled with the lack of motivation to log on and say so. But I listened to this podcast the other day about how to write a bestseller, and I got a reminder that good writing isn't about telling what happened. Good writing is about telling how it happened.

So here's what's been happening... and how:

After coveting one for years, I finally decided to go for it and buy a vintage sewing box:

I picked it up locally from someone clearing out some of her things. It didn't have knobs to lift the top covers, so that offered me the delicious opportunity of looking for suitable ones to install. I thought about getting plain wooden ones, but when I saw these pretties, I knew they were perfect. It might be the easiest makeover anyone has ever witnessed, but dang it was a good one:

I have been planning to move a bunch of my supplies out of the rickety shoeboxes on my shelf into this lovely thing, but despite the fact that I've had the past week off, I don't seem to have made that happen. I chalk it up to laziness... but I'm quite ok with that:

I suppose the main reason I haven't done anything with that box yet is that I've been working away at a cardigan that I've been wanting to make for quite some time. It's the Dahlia Cardigan by Heather Zoppetti. I've been trying to understand for ages how one takes a doily that is worked from the centre out in a circle and integrates it into a sweater pattern, which is usually worked on a lateral plane from one end to the other. To me, it's like bending time. How do you work in one plane and then switch to another? HOW?

It didn't help that I did not have the pattern and it didn't help that I procrastinated for ages about getting a copy. When I finally did, it was kind of a disappointment to me, honestly. It's a lovely pattern, but it wasn't as magical as I expected it would be. It involved seams I didn't want to do and that I was pretty sure I was going to mess up. And when I looked at the pattern more closely and looked at the finished projects on Ravelry, I was even less enthused about the front of the cardigan, which is a drapey, swooshy style that I knew I would never feel comfortable wearing. 

So the pattern sat for a while as I mused on it. I picked it up from time to time, pulled out some yarn that I thought might work with it, looked at more finished projects... I thought and thought and thought about it. Finally, I decided I'd do what I've been doing for years: I'd re-engineer the whole thing.

I started out by making the doily as shown in the pattern. Once I finished that, I blocked it square, then put three sides back on a circular needle. I put another needle on the fourth side and used crochet provisional cast-ons to add stitches to either side to make the bottom part of the cardigan. I knit it downwards to the bottom edge and used a beaded rib stitch to make the cuff:

After that, I put the stitches on the right side of the provisional cast-on onto my needle and knitted upwards, knitting the live stitches on the doily together with the adjacent stitch on the stockinette fabric. Dudes: I used gauge like I have never used it before. I measured and counted and worked out how often I should join the stitches so that it would lie flat. The math, people. THE MATH. But it was working:

I worked the same thing for the left side but joined the live stitches on the purl side. I have no idea if I worked the same number of rows as the right side, but I really don't care. I'm just happy that I did it without any seams and that it is lying flat now... or it will once I block it out:

The next step will be to work out how I am going to do the shoulders and neckline. The yarn I'm using is Whirlette, a cotton blend yarn from Schjeepjes, and it is working out incredibly light and airy. It is so light that I am thinking I might actually need to work some seams into the shoulders so that it has some structure to hang from. My plan is to cast off the shoulders and re-join the yarn again and knit the fronts of the cardigan downwards... but we'll see how that all goes.

Anyway, that's the latest update. It's Labour Day tomorrow here in Canada and I have one more day off before I return to the reality of day-to-day work. I feel rested, but with a general sense of uneasiness around what the next few months will bring. I think I've been forced to focus on what is right in front of me, since I can't really plan ahead. The only future planning I can really handle right now is with my yarn projects...

Like this one. I'll share more about this next time. Have a great week!

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