For the first time, ever, I have a completely wearable, long-sleeve (ish) cardigan.  But, I happen to have very bad luck when it comes to making any knit object larger than a scarf.  It just doesn’t go over very well with me.  I don’t know why.   My last cardigan experience was not the best one, and I still get a little sad when I think about it.

I chalk it all up to learning experiences.

My poor herringbone sweater was a lot of firsts for me (in no particular order):

-First time not following a pattern.

-First time knitting a long-sleeved sweater.

-First time steeking.

-First time knitting picot edgings

I had high hopes for it.  Really high hopes.  Turns out that the sweater was too tight.  I had used a sweater I like to wear as the basis for the measurements and completely disregarded the fact that the template sweater wasn’t made of worsted weight wool (in stranded colorwork) and the sweater I was trying to knit would be.  I tried to save it by steeking (which, by the way, is really really really really really fun), but it just didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to turn out.  I mean, the steeking part was fine — it was the making it up part that wasn’t.  Sad face.

So I learned some things:

(1) The kind of fabric determines how the garment will behave

(2) Stranded colorwork is not stretchy.

(3) If in doubt, go bigger.

(4) How to steek using a crocheted chain.

(5) Some things are fixable.  Others are not.

(6) Lionbrand Fisherman’s Wool is great for steeking.

This newest finished object (original pattern here) for which I harbor high hopes, too, could end very very very very very badly.  The yarn was given to me (and who am I to turn down free yarn?), and the color is revolting.  Or at least, I deem it revolting.  Which is all that really matters because it is MY SWEATER.  And I knit it because I wanted to knit it.  Thing is, I knit when I’m stressed, and this past month has been nothing if not stressful for me.  Stress + me = compulsive knitter.  Sometimes it ends well, sometimes not so much.  I’m not sure about this time around.

Pre-blocking, pre-mischief, it fits!  I grafted the arms together and I sewed up the underarms.  I have yet to weave in the ends, but that’s my least favorite part.  I have socks for which the cast on tail is still dangling about or tucked inside because I loathe weaving in ends almost as much as I loathe washing dishes.  It will get done, promise.

Well, here’s the thing: I don’t like the color and the color doesn’t like me back.  So, I want to dye it.  I lack a permanent residence and I currently live in remote tropical island.  My sweater is 100% wool.  All I have is Kool-Aid and a bucket.  I want to dye it.  Can I?  Should I?  I know dyeing is a fickle creature, but I am a compulsive monster.  The thought both delights me and scares me.  I don’t want to end up sad.

But, even if it does end up poorly, I have consolation in the fact that knitting up this cardigan has taught me a lot of things.  It was a learning experience, after all.  In no particular order, I learned:

(1) Why everyone loves short-rows.
(2) How to do short-rows.
(3) How to make button holes.
(4) How to graft garter stitch.
(5) I don’t have enough buttons.
(6) It is possible to knit an entire garment in a color which one does not like.
(7) How to spit join.
(8) How to do a crocheted provisional cast-on.

“Wanida” from Sock Innovation by Cookie A.

It has taken me the better part of the month to come to terms with what is actually going on.  Between the time I found out and now, I’ve managed to keep myself occupied and busy, so that I wouldn’t have to deal.  Or, rather, I’ve been dealing by distracting myself from what is really really going on.

Yesterday, it hit me.  Like a ton of bricks.  Like a train.  Like an eighteen-wheeler going 80 mph.  Like any other applicable idiom of which one might think.  Like that.

I don’t know why I didn’t realize it before.  No, actually I do.  I didn’t want to deal, and I still don’t think I want to deal but now I have no choice.  Thing is, I don’t know how to deal.  I don’t know if I’m talking too much or not enough or if I’m talking about the right things, or trusting God enough or not enough.  If I’m ignoring facts, if I’m being pessimistic or optimistic, if I’m worrying the right amount.  If I’m being a good daughter.  If I can handle being more than two thousand miles away from my family during this thing thats going on.  I don’t know.

All I do know is that, for the time being, I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do and I’ve got the most wonderful people on which to lean.  Or cry.  Or pout.  Or completely decompensate.

I don’t know what I ever did to deserve the people I have around me, but I thank God and my lucky stars and whatever other powers that be for their presence.  I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them.

In the past two weeks and a half weeks, I feel like I have aged about twenty years.

In that time, I’ve learned a few things:

(1) Textbooks lie.  There is no amount of textbook reading or med school learning that could prepare me for the reality of disease.  None whatsoever.

(2) My mom’s not Super Woman.

(3) Drugs have a lot of side effects.

(4) My family is fantastic.

(5) Cancer is a bad word.

Way back when, I promised my dear dear friend HB a “shark hat.”  She has a pet inflatable shark named “Steven,” and naturally, wanted a wearable counterpart.  I willingly obliged — I had already knitted a fish-like hat for my IK (the “Dead or Alive” hat pattern from knitty, obviously).  Then, a few months passed, I had still not knitted her any sort of shark-like hat, and we both kinda “grew up” and had to wear grown up clothes.  By “grow up” I only mean relatively, and only in such a way that wearing an actual knit shark on one’s head at this stage in our growing up would not be acceptable.  So, I made some concessions and made her a grown up shark hat.  Not to be deterred, and in a last ditch effort to preserve our free-wheeling youngin’ days, Shark Teeth received a giant pom-pom to the head.

Unfortunately, I did not get any completely finished pictures of Shark Teeth, because (fortunately) HB loved it and snatched it up immediately.  Invariably, I love it too (and the yarn — Lionbrand “Wool-Ease,” in Grey Heather — is so squishy) and want one for myself.  Luckily, I’ve got another skein in Sienna, and that one is for me.  My travel knitting plans are nearly complete.  I have an 11 hour travel day, which includes a five-hour layover (!!!) in San Juan, but does not include the  one-hour drives to Melville Hall (which is only barely an airport) and away from Chicago O’Hare.

“When the dog bites /

When the bee stings /

When i’m feeling sad /

I simply remember my favorite things /

And then I don’t feel so bad!”

–“Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music

One exam and 5 days between me and home sweet home.  I wish I could say I’m keeping cool as a cucumber, but I, for sure, am not and neither am I a hot tamale.  No pain, no gain?

This sweater sweater-fetus is what I’ve been daydreaming about for the past few days.  I started it last semester in a fit of homesickness and yearning for cold weather.  Its insanely insane knitting a stranded colorwork sweater in Lionbrand Fisherman’s Wool while residing on a tropical island and living in an apartment overlooking the Caribbean Sea.  Insane, but so am I.

To Connecticut Sweater and I travelled: an unstoppable duo we were, until i realized that its …um, quite small.  Or rather, my arms are larger than I thought they were and my bust is bigger than I had imagined. So, it languishes — several thousand miles away and in another country — in its one armed state. It’s lucky that its wooly fibers stick together so well.  I stole the needles (size 10) from it in a hurry when i had to book it back to dominica Jurassic Park (red’s my favorite!  …but not that I actually used them since…  I don’t know why i did that).

The guilt of having started something so momentous and not finishing it (like so much else in my life: mostly knits) creeps up on me when I least expect it.  I loved it once — I did, I did!  I have to save it, I thought!  I must must must save it!  Then i read about steeking and about crochet steeking, and I decided that surgery — sweater surgery, at least — is definitely in my future.

So, when Sweater and I are reunited, I’m promptly going to finish its other arm and turn Sweater into a Cardigan.  Then, I’m gonna knit it a button placket.  I’m gonna make it some crocheted button loops and slap a ruffle over it to cover it up; like in this one (ohhh, ahhh, pretty!), only different, of course.

I’m gonna rip that silly little shoulder ruffle off and then I’m gonna steek the arm to the elbow (or maybe the whole length?) and fill it in with short rows.

i’m going to make it work, and i’m going to love it.

I am excited. Or, perhaps I’m a little delirious?  Studying tends to do that to me.  I’ve never steeked a thing in my life.

In other news: I finished studying microbiology for the night, and am embarking on a pharmacology trip to last me till tomorrow.  Then exam!  Then a week to study four months’ worth of med school learnin’, another exam, then CIVILIZATION HOME!

One day closer, every day.  Five exams down (since the beginning of this semester), 2 more to go.

I’m digging deep to find the motivation to keep on studying.

I’m trying  really really hard to keep my brain away from the glorious thoughts of travel-knitting, but its not working so well. I am fiend-ing for some yarn, needles, and a pretty pretty pattern.

Microbiology and pharmacology instead.  It always strikes me how ironic it is that these future doctors I’m around (not that I’m so innocent myself) lead such unhealthy lifestyles in order to pontificate healthy living choices to the general public.  Very, very ironic.  Even more so is that I know how bad it is to binge on caffeine, stay up all night,  and sit on my ass all day and yet i feel guilty if I do anything other than just that.

Three exams to go before I can go home.

In the midst of all this studying, and in light of the past week, one thing really really sticks out to me: living is risky, but life is short.

In other news, my refrigerator sounds like its preparing to launch into space.

Please can I get off this island now?

past present future

August 2017
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