Competing Priorities

Dudes, I am having a week. You all know the kind: Too much stress. Few breaks. Lots of overtime. Little sleep.  To say that I’ve been looking forward to the weekend is to understate my feelings by a factor of 1000.

So, anyway, here we are. The weekend! For the next two days the world is my oyster, and let me tell you, I am excited. I’ve got a few projects on the go that I’m looking forward to digging back into, and the only problem I have now is deciding how to focus my attention. So, without further ado, here’s my list of works in progress:

  1. Ishnana Cardigan

Once upon a time, I was a super speedy sweater knitter–I have even been know to churn out a complete garment, including all finishing, in a week or less–but there’s something about Ishnana that has forced me to slow right down. I cast on this cardigan in late August after a great deal of hemming and hawing about what my first fall 2016 project should be, as well as a couple false starts with other patterns and yarns. In the end, I’m really glad I went with Ishnana for a few of reasons: 1) it’s been in my queue for more than a year; 2) it’s the perfect excuse to put my beloved Montreal Vacation yarn to good use; and 3)  the pattern is beautiful and awesome and so much fun to knit! I have much more to say about this cardigan but I’ll save it for when I’m finished the project, which could be soon. I cast on the second sleeve last night–the last missing piece–so the knitting could be completed as soon as the end of the weekend. I’m going to take my time with the finishing, though… this sweater still needs a perfect set of buttons (I’m thinking grey mother of pearl), and I will definitely be reinforcing these button bands somehow.

2. Mosaic blanket

Anyone who’s followed my ramblings since the start will be familiar with my struggles to finish a blanket. There’s just something about a project of this size that causes me to seize up and become paralyzed at the thought of spending so long working on a single project before it’s finished. But I can say with absolute confidence that this blanket is definitely going to be finished.

In an attempt to brighten my winter days, I’ve elected to knit up a bunch of different colours into my blanket–6 in total–and the effect so far is pretty fucking rad. At the K-man’s insistence, I’ve added two more stripes to the original five, which means that the blanket is taking longer to finish than I originally planned. But I’m now over the 50% mark and, if I put my mind to it, I could probably finish the 5th stripe this weekend.

3. Sewaholic Granville shirt

The observant among you will notice that there is no picture for this project, and the reason for that is because I haven’t taken a picture. Right now, my shirt is in the muslin stage and, despite my big talk about showing you my flawed projects, I’m really not ready to share this one with the world yet. I actually think this project is going well for such a complicated garment and one I’m attempting for the first time ever. But dudes, progress is slow. So, so slow. Last weekend, I forced myself to finish the collar, a component that has taken weeks to figure out and has caused a lot of tears of frustration. To be perfectly frank, it doesn’t look great, but the one thing it does look like is an actual shirt collar. So, that’s some progress! If I can tear myself away from the cozy pile of knits I’ve already talked about, I’d like to take a stab at making a sleeve placket and setting the sleeves.

Knitters and sewers: Do you agree with my weekend priorities? How would you reshuffle the order? And, what are your top creative priorities for the next two days?

 

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Ahem.

I’m back. Hello! How have you been? I’ve been well myself. A lot has happened in the year since I’ve updated you with my hijinx. Here’s the Cliff Notes version:

  • I changed jobs. Well, it’s probably more accurate to say that I changed companies, because the job is essentially the same, but with a much larger company and a fairer compensation package. It was the right move.
  • I  traveled. In October, the K-Man and I took our vacation in Prague and it was, as expected, amazing. Prague had been a bucket list city of mine since my musician days and, despite being swarmed by tourists (damn tourists!)*, the city didn’t–couldn’t–disappoint. We both ate and drank our weight in steak tartar, steamed cabbage, dumplings and unfiltered beer, thus forging what I now know will be a lifelong obsession with eastern European food. The weather while we were there was unexpectedly chilly–the temperature averaged between 15 and 17 degrees Celsius in the weeks before and after we arrived and plunged down to between 5 and 10 degrees while we were there–but we were well prepared for it. Here’s the K-Man modeling the sweater I made for for the SSKAL last year while standing in our incredible Prague apartment:

SSKAL15 Drangey

  • I traveled some more. A mere 6 months after Prague, waiting until fall for the next trip felt too much like torture. So we packed our bags and went back to eastern Europe, this time to Poland. Have you ever visited a place and felt like you found your people? That’s what Poland was like for me. I think about Poland at lot now and I can’t wait to go back. Also, spring time travel is the best! Why didn’t I know this before?
  • I paid off my student loan! This is probably, after earning my PhD, my most significant accomplishment to date. It’s been a big, weird adjustment trying to get my mind to switch from poverty mode to living like a regular person with a job and a salary. Mainly, I tend to feel a lot of guilt for spending any money on myself, an old habit from poverty days that I want to be ready to let go of. Now, I’m aiming to strike a balance between treating myself appropriately and saving for retirement. Because I’m getting old, and I have a lot of catching up to do…
  • I’ve knitted and sewed. A lot. At this point, my wardrobe is now easily 80% handmade. The not-so-secret thrill I get from the gushing compliments of my friends and coworkers before they know that what I’m wearing is handmade has been great validation that my skills have improved to such an extent that my wardrobe no longer looks particularly handmade. I know that probably sounds weird, not wanting my clothing to look handmade, but I think you probably know what I’m getting at here… striving for boldness and uniqueness is one thing, but looking like a living, breathing school craft project is quite another. I’m happy to report that I’ve been mostly successful at achieving the former, and the latter doesn’t seem to be much of an issue anymore. Here are some pictures from my visit to Poland, where I managed to wear a unique handmade outfit every single day of the trip:

Okay, now that we’re all caught up (sort of), I’ve resolved to make some attempt at getting back into regular blogging. Not that I intend to make any big promises about checking in more frequently, because y’all are prolific and I can’t keep up. But, as it happens, I miss writing for myself, and I’ve definitely been missing out on all kinds of constructive criticism that could help me become even better at fitting my sewing and knitting projects than I am. At the end of the day, I’m still very much an amateur and it’s occurred to me that I could/should write about my works in progress and solicit the advice of people far more experienced than I at fixing project problems. There are still some hurdles I need to clear if I want to post more frequently, such as letting myself be photographed in unflattering muslins and getting comfortable with showing off my failures. But if it all comes down to taking one step at a time, consider this the first step. So far, it feels good to be back.

*yes, I know that when I travel I am also a tourist.