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?

 

Why I’m Making a Blanket in the Summer

I suppose the statement “my cat is crazy” will elicit eye rolls the world over. Whose cat isn’t crazy, after all? And who among us hasn’t known at least one crazy cat in their lifetime? One time, years ago, my cat was making me particularly crazy, so I wrote as much on my Facebook wall. A beloved former professor wrote back, “You could just as easily have said ‘I have a cat,'” which is pretty hard to argue with.

But I’m here to talk about a blanket, which, I promise you, is related to my cat’s crazy behaviour. My cat, Manolo, is a peculiar mix of affection and antisocial behaviour. On the one hand, she loves to be touched. Loves it! This has been especially obvious since I started working outside the home. Now that I’m not around all the time to give her loving throughout the day, she’s very persistent when I get home. She even follows me to the bathroom, often pushing the door open if I haven’t closed it all the way and pacing in fast, short circles before eventually flopping on the ground and showing her belly expectantly. This is how she invites me to touch her. But the moment I’ve decided that I want a cuddle with her without her making the first move, she’s gone. She’s sussed out the best hiding spots in the apartment, away from prying eyes and the reach of unwanted handsy people like me, and she’ll run fast and hide deeply when she decides that cuddles are not her idea and, therefore, I can’t have any.

In addition to hiding places, Manolo, I’ve observed, has designated certain spots in the apartment as single use spaces. My favorite of these is how she uses the living room windowsill. The righthand side of the sill, where the window opens, is a favorite lounge spot, and I can see why: the breeze that sometimes comes through must feel great on her skin, and it’s the place that gets the most sunlight in the whole apartment. If I were a cat, I’d probably spend most of my time there, too. The lefthand side of the windowsill, though, is clearly her toilette. It’s now the only place in the apartment where I ever see her clean herself in the weird, flexible way that cats do, and when she wanders over to that side of the sill, I know it’s bath time.

My least favorite of her cat behaviours is the way she has claimed the couch blanket has her own territory. I know that lots of cats are immediately interested in whatever their people are interested in, and Manolo is no stranger to plopping down on books, papers, computers and knitting the moment I leave them out for even a second. But the blanket is by far the worst of it. Because, unlike papers or metal computer casings or even knitting, which I usually snatch away as soon as I see her near the yarn, that brown polar fleece blanket seems to retain smells like a box of baking soda in the fridge. And, based on the smell, it appears that Manolo has decided her favorite use for the blanket is as a dampener for her farts. So, because there are few things more unpleasant than draping oneself in cat farts, I have decided to make us a blanket this summer.

The pattern is Martine Ellis’ Knitted Patchwork Recipe, a foolproof project that makes for perfect summer knitting. Each 2-by-2 inch square requires around 2-3 grams of sock yarn (less than the size of a walnut) and takes about 20 or so minutes to knit, which makes it ideal knitting for the commute to and from work or on days when I’m dead tired but still need to do something with my hands. It’s also a great way to use up odds and ends left over from sock knitting, which I seem to have in abundance. I haven’t made many decisions regarding how big I want this blanket to be, but I think it’s a good idea to aim for at least 2 squares a day, which will give me somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 squares by the end of August. I’ve also decided to sew the squares together at the end rather than knitting them together now. I realize that I may come to regret this decision later, but I just don’t know how I want to arrange the colours yet.

As for preventing cat farts on the new blanket, I’m going to have to get creative. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Thankfully, the sock yarn is machine washable.